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March 31, 2011

Community Voices...

A local resident wants the City of Columbia City to sell 12 police cars, an ambulance, stop the take-home vehicle policy and not allow city-owned vehicles to be used outside of the county or for second jobs... read more today on Community Voices by clicking here.
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ISMA students were special guests at Whitley County Historical Society dinner

(Talk of the Town photo by Jennifer Zartman Romano)
Four Indian Springs Middle School students with a love of history had the opportunity to attend the 2011 Whitley County Historical Society annual dinner Wednesday evening -- with their attendance and that of their teachers sponsored by the society. Following the presentation by historical reenactor Gib Young as Theodore Roosevelt, the youths had an opportunity to share their knowledge of Roosevelt by asking relevant questions. Above, from left, Indian Springs Middle School students in attendance included Colin Reidy, Brett Roberts, reenactor Gib Young, Katie Doehrmann and Audrey Leonard. The students were selected based on their keen interest in history.

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Maggart named 2011 Lilly Scholar

The Whitley County Community Foundation has announced that Columbia City High School senior Trevor Maggart has been named the 2011 Lilly Endowment Community Scholar from Whitley County.
Trevor is the son of son of Beau and Aimee Maggart of Columbia City. He plans to attend Huntington University and major in Youth Ministry.
In writing a referral for Trevor’s application, CCHS Track Coach Kyle Nelson wrote, “He pursues his interests academically and athletically with great passion, determination and with purpose. This candidate consistently represents our student body, academic teams and athletic teams with class and a burning desire for excellence. He knows one speed – all out. He gives everything he has back to his team, classmates and community.”
A gathering of foundation representatives, family, friends and school colleagues surprised Maggart with the news on Wednesday afternoon. He was called away from a meeting with his guidance counselor due to a “problem” with his car in the parking lot. Once outside, he found a congratulations message, streamers and balloons decorating his red Grand Prix.
Renee Menzie of Columbia City High School and South Whitley’s Ashley Rudd were alternates for this year’s award, and they will each receive a $1,000 scholarship from the Community Foundation.
Made possible by Lilly Endowment Inc. and administered through the Whitley County Community Foundation, the scholarship provides full tuition, required fees and a special allocation of up to $800 per year for books and equipment.
The Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program was designed to raise the level of educational attainment in Indiana and increase the awareness of the potential of Indiana’s community foundations to improve the quality of life of the state’s residents.  
Since its inception in 1998, The Lilly Community Scholarship Program has awarded Whitley County over $3,000,000 in scholarships.  

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Maximize benefits of membership in the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce by attending upcoming seminar

By Jennifer Zartman Romano

Perhaps you've been a member  for years or maybe you recently joined the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce -- but you still don't understand how to get the most out of your membership.
You're in luck!
The Whitley County Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors, under the leadership of co-chairs Cari Wells and Kristi Maloney, have developed "Your Chamber, Your Business -- Making the Most of Your Chamber Membership." The seminar is planned for Tuesday, April 12, 2011, from 7:30 to 9 a.m. in the Parkview Whitley Hospital Auditorium. Breakfast will be provided.
The seminar will be offered to existing members, new member and also potential members to help better understand how to maximize the benefits of membership in the local Chamber. Additionally, attendees will learn what services are offered and how to leverage membership benefits to improve visibility, marketing, networking opportunities and more.
This is the first time such a program has been offered locally to help explain the Chamber and its benefits. The event's planners are hopeful that it will be a valuable opportunity for members to better get to know all the Chamber has to offer. Additionally, some of the Chamber's most active board members and Ambassadors will be present as well to answer questions and to make introductions.
The program is free for current members and only $5 for anyone interested in attending to learn more about potential membership in the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce.
The event is sponsored PHP.
Please RSVP by April 8 by calling the Chamber at 248-8131 or register online by clicking here.
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Historical Society highlights volunteer service of Anna Rhoades with Waugh Award

(Talk of the Town photos by Jennifer Zartman Romano)
For the past 20 years, Anna Rhoades has been volunteering her time each Wednesday to help out at the Whitley County Historical Museum. From organizing artifacts to cleaning projects, Rhoades has done it all cheerfully and givingly. On Wednesday evening, the Whitley  County Historical Society recognized Rhoades' giving spirit by presenting her with the Waugh Award for volunteerism.
Above, a sense of surprise and pride shows on Rhoades' face as she learns she is the Waugh Award recipient. Around her, many fellow volunteers cheered at her selection for the award.
At right, Rhoades is presented with a plaque (and a hug) by Whitley County Historical Society president Dennis Warnick and Whitley County Historical Museum director Dani Tippmann.

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Jones honored with Whitley County Historical Society President's Award Wednesday night

(Talk of the Town photo by Jennifer Zartman Romano)
On Wednesday evening, Whitley County Historical Society president Dennis Warnick, above at right, presented the President's Award to fellow society board member Chuck Jones, at left. The award was presented during the organization's annual dinner held in South Whitley. According to Warnick, Jones was selected to receive the award this year based on his leadership in presenting the society's most lucrative fundraiser to date -- a gun drawing that in a matter of just a few weeks raised $2000 for the organization.

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Whitley County Commissioners will sell tax liens on delinquent property at Internet auction

The Whitley County Commissioners will conduct an on-line tax certificate sale from June 2 to June 13, 2011 for delinquent properties that did not sell and remain unpaid from the Whitley County Tax Sale conducted last fall.
In Indiana, the County Commissioners are authorized to sell tax liens on delinquent properties that did not sell and remain unpaid from a prior County Tax Sale.  The Whitley County Commissioners will offer twenty-four tax sale certificates at a public sale on the Internet for amounts less than the total due in delinquent taxes, costs, and penalties.  
“The purpose of the Commissioners’ Certificate Sale is to offer these delinquent properties at a discounted price in order to collect back taxes,” stated a representative of the auditor's office. “Unpaid property taxes affect the funding of local government services and penalize responsible taxpayers with higher property tax rates to make up for the shortfalls in funding.”
In addition to serving as a source for local governments to collect unpaid property taxes, Commissioners’ Certificate Sales also serve as an opportunity for real estate investors to earn interest income upon redemption of the property within one hundred twenty (120) days from the sale, or to take title to the property through a post-tax sale process that involves petitioning the local court for a tax deed.
The Whitley County Commissioners have contracted with SRI, Inc., an Indianapolis-based company founded in 1989 that conducts county tax sales, commissioners’ tax certificate sales, and commissioners’ deed sales for over 80 counties in Indiana, Michigan, and Colorado.
Persons interested in viewing the property list and bidding should click here.

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Help a local family find their missing chihuahua

(Talk of the Town photo provided) Daisy, a chihuahua, is missing. Her family and a 7 week-old puppy are hoping you can help bring her back home again. This recent photo shows Daisy just after her puppy was born.

By Jennifer Zartman

A local family hopes you can help reunite them with their lost pet, Daisy.
Daisy is a grey and white chihuahua. With a 7 week-old puppy at home, it should be pretty obvious that she's a mother, too.
Daisy was last seen on March 29 near the intersection of CR 425 West and 150 South in Columbia City.
If you've seen Daisy or have any information on her whereabouts, call the Ness Family at 610-5859 or contact them via email at
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March 30, 2011

South Whitley's Annual Townwide Garage Sale expands by a day, adds crafting festival

(Talk of the Town file photo by Jennifer Zartman Romano) Always a frenzy of activity in South Whitley each spring, the annual townwide garage sale is set for April 29-30, 2011. Those interested in participating are urged to begin filling out their forms and reserving space. Above, in 2010, even a day of unending showers didn't keep bargain hunters away from South Whitley.

By Jennifer Zartman Romano

A committee comprised of South Whitley residents and business owners and the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce have been working since the snow flew to plan a spring time tradition -- the annual South Whitley Townwide Garage Sale.
This year, however, it has a new slant with the addition of a craft festival as well.
The well-attended and widely-anticipated event is slated for April 19-30, 2011. Last year, the event featured at least 150 garage sales in and around the southern Whitley County community. This year, they're expecting even more participation.
"We extended the event to a two day event, so that means even more treasure finding time," said Sara Lochner-Goff, president of the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce. "We have also added a BIG tent on Mulberry Street for local craft vendors to display their talented items. We will have spots next to the BIG tent for those folks who don't have the space for a sale at their own place, or live out of town and want to bring their goodies in town."
Shoppers won't be left hungry either.
"There will also be local food vendors scattered throughout the downtown and several of the local restaurants and businesses will be open for you to enjoy," Lochner-Goff added.
During the festivities going on that weekend, Lochner-Goff is also excited about the creation of a community-wide video that will be created as well. She expects it could be a real treasure in years to come.
"We want you to stop into to Eberly Photography & Videography so Terry can take a photo of you with your garage sale "Best Buy/ Find," said Lochner-Goff. "All who participate will be entered to win a photo session and photography package from Eberly Photography & Videography."
For individuals in the vicinity of South Whitley who would like to go ahead and reserve a craft vendor booth, food vendor booth or to reserve a garage sale spot on Mulberry Street, visit the Chamber's website and download the forms by visiting Click here for a craft vendor form. Click here for a food vendor form. Click here for a Mulberry Street spot registration form. South Whitley residents who want to reserve a spot on the printed garage sale map can contact the Tribune-News at 723-4771 or via email at
The annual South Whitley Townwide Garage Sale is sponsored by the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce.
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Major musical performance presented Thursday by local middle, high school band students

By Jennifer Zartman Romano

On Thursday, more than 200 local students will display their musical skills during a school-wide concert for Whitley County Consolidated Schools.
The concert begins at 7 p.m. this Thursday, March 31, 2011, in the Donald S. Weeks Gymnasium at Columbia City High School -- a large venue local music enthusiasts hope will be filled with community fans for this free concert.
"Our students have prepared an excellent evening of entertainment, which we will present to the community," stated Whitley County Consolidated Schools' band director Helen Foster.
Performers will include the sixth grade band, seventh grade band, eighth grade band, Varsity Band, Wind Ensemble, ISMS Jazz, CCHS Jazz II and Whitley Street Jazz.
"All students will combine to play a song, which has earned this event the historical name of 'Band-O-Rama," Foster said. "We hope that you will join us to celebrate music education in our community at this collaborative event."
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Free mulch for the taking

(Talk of the Town photo by Terry Wherry)
A large pile of mulch sits in Morsches Park -- just the perfect thing for local residents to detail their lawns and gardens with. The mulch is available free of charge on a first-come basis until it's all gone. Residents are responsible for loading and transporting their mulch. The free mulch tends to go quickly, so if you want some, make plans to pick it up this week if at all possible.

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'Garment of Praise' to perform gospel concert Sunday at Blue River Church of the Brethren

(Talk of the Town photo provided) Gospel a Cappella group Garment of Praise, above, will perform at Blue River Church of the Brethren on Sunday, April 3, 2011.

Article provided

The singing group, "Garment of Praise," will share in concert at Blue River Church of the Brethren, 3040 East 700 North, Columbia City, during the 9 a.m. Sunday School hour in the church auditorium on Sunday, April 3, 2011. The group will also have special music during the regular 10 a.m. worship service at Blue River.
The Garment Of Praise Quartet is a male quartet from Reading, Pennsylvania that sings Gospel a Cappella music with enthusiasm and energy.
They will be in Indiana for the "A Cappella Gospel Sing" at the Fairhaven Mennonite Church in Goshen on April 1 and 2.
The quartet consists of Brian Fox, tenor, who teaches at Fairview Christian School in Reading; Daryl Petersheim, lead, who is project assistant at Wexcon Inc.; Jason Fox, bass, who is a Little Debbie Cake Distributor; and Danny Petersheim, baritone, who installs water conditioning systems.
With the proceeds of their ministry, the group has been privileged to support the ministry of Fairview Christian School in Reading, Pennsylvania.
Blue River Church of the Brethren is located near Merriam, on the Noble-Whitley County Line Road, 1.5 miles east of State Road 9, or 2 miles west of U.S. 33. 
Pastor Craig Alan Myers invites the community to these services.  
For more information, please call 691-2605, or visit the church's website at

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Laughing Lotus Yoga Studio offering unlimited yoga for eight weeks

Laughing Lotus Yoga Studio is offering a spring package including eight weeks of unlimited yoga for $65 per person or $80 for a family.
Classes are offered Mondays and Wednesdays from 6 to 7:30 p.m., Thursdays from 12 to 1:15 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9 to 10:30 a.m.
Laughing Lotus Yoga Studio is located at 1746 South 350 West in Columbia City.
For more information, call Tiffany Herron at 260-213-1953.
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March 29, 2011

Whitley County Shrine Club presents annual Swiss Steak Supper Saturday

The Whitley County Shrine Club will be hosting their annual Swiss Steak Supper from 4 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 2, 2011, at the Mizpah Shrine Horse Patrol Grounds on SR 9, just north of Columbia City.
Tickets are $7 for adults, $3 for children ages 5-12 and children 4 and under eat free.
Proceeds support the Whitley County Shrine Club.

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Consider giving blood now...or in April

By Allison Graber

Individuals and organizations can seize the moment and share in honoring America’s volunteers this spring.
National Volunteer Week runs April 10 through 16 and celebrates the millions of people who dedicate themselves to taking action that helps better their communities. The week also provides opportunities to inspire, recognize and encourage people to seek out and engage in activities that can effect positive social change.
The next Whitley County blood drive is scheduled for Thursday, March 31, 2011, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the United Methodist Church , located at 605 N. Forest Parkway in Columbia City .  
“Everywhere you look, you’ll find a story about ordinary people accomplishing extraordinary things through volunteer service, including blood donation,” said Sharyn Whitman, CEO for the Indiana-Ohio Blood Services Region of the American Red Cross. “And that’s cause for celebration.”
National Volunteer Week was established by President Richard Nixon in 1974, and continues to grow in scope through the support of all subsequent U.S. presidents and other elected officials.
At the American Red Cross, volunteers constitute 96 percent of the total work force needed to carry out the organization’s humanitarian mission. Around 155,000 volunteers assist Red Cross staff in collecting 40 percent of the nation’s blood supply from about 4 million volunteer blood donors. In addition, more than a half million people a year deliver Red Cross services in areas such as disaster relief, health and safety training, and support to military members and their families.
“Volunteers show all of us that you can make a difference in today’s world,” said Whitman. “We invite you to join the millions of people who help save the day by donating blood or giving of your time and talents through the American Red Cross.”

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Video from Saturday's redistricting meeting

(Talk of the Town video by Otto Bochet Jr.)
If you were unable to attend one of several meetings planned throughout the state regarding redistricting over the weekend, click here to watch a recording of the event brought to you by Whitley County resident and videographer Otto Bochet Jr.

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Grimes, Beagles honored for continuing to strive for highest standards of care

(Talk of the Town photo by Jennifer Zartman Romano) Randy Grimes, above at left, and Eddie Beagles, right, recently qualified for recertification for the designation of Certified Funeral Service Practitioner, an honor bestowed by the Academy of Professional Funeral Service Practice.

Article provided

Randy L. Grimes and Eddie P. Beagles, funeral directors with DeMoney-Grimes Countryside Park Funeral Home in Columbia City, have recently qualified for the recertification of the designation of Certified Funeral Service Practitioner (CFSP), by the Academy of Professional Funeral Service Practice.
A number of professions grant special recognition to members upon completion of specified academic and professional programs and “CFSP” is funeral service’s national individual recognition.
A select few have distinguished themselves among their peers within the funeral service profession as they continue their education to exceed the highest standards of care.  This achievement is especially notable because Grimes and Beagles have voluntarily elected to participate in quality educational and service opportunities that far surpass what the funeral service licensing board in Indiana requires.  Grimes and Beagles have committed to a program of lifelong learning to serve families in this community with the level of excellence expected of a CFSP.
Since its 1976 founding, has had as its goals:  1) to recognize those practitioners who have voluntarily entered into a program of personal and professional growth, 2) to raise and improve the standards of funeral service and 3) to encourage practitioners to make continuing education a life-long process in their own self-interest, the interest of the families they serve, and the community in which they serve.
To initially receive this award, the practitioner must complete a 180 hour program of continuing education activities and events.  In addition, the practitioner is required to accumulate 20 hours per year to recertify.  Credits are awarded by the Academy for work leading to personal and/or professional growth in four areas, including academic activities, professional activities, career review, community and civic activities.
DeMoney-Grimes Countryside Park Funeral Home is Columbia City’s only funeral home to have 100% of its funeral director staff as Certified Practitioners by the Academy of Professional Funeral Service Practice.
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Storyteller Carol Knarr brings family-centric performance to Brew Ha on April 2

(Talk of the Town photo provided) Storyteller Carol Knarr will perform at the Brew Ha in Columbia City on April 2 at 10 a.m.

Article provided

The Brew Ha welcomes Carol Knarr, professional storyteller, to share family-friendly trickster tales on Saturday, April 2, 2011, at 10:00 a.m.  
“I have just returned from a storytelling tour through Pennsylvania, Virginia and North Carolina.  I’m excited to share many of the trickster tales I told while on tour,” states Knarr.
Knarr's 60-minute program will include much audience participation.  Although stories are geared for a young audience, trickster tales are enjoyed by all ages.
"Every culture has a trickster.  Fox, coyote and rabbit are popular animal tricksters who love to trick others and oftentimes get tricked themselves.  Malese is a popular trickster in Haitian culture.  He is a lazy man who manages to trick his friends to do his work,” adds Knarr.
A Whitley County native, Knarr is a theatre instructor for Jay County High School in Portland, Indiana.  She has been telling stories professionally for ten years.  
For more information about storytelling, visit Knarr's website at

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Whitley County Community Foundation grant review session is approaching

The Whitley County Community Foundation’s grant review session is approaching.  The Foundation funds charitable projects that will make a positive impact on Whitley County and its people.  The Foundation is particularly interested in ideas that shed new light on local needs and provide innovative, long-term solutions.  Categories include: Arts and Culture, Health, Civic Affairs, Recreation, Community Development, Welfare and Education
Requests for funding are reviewed by the Foundation’s Grants Committee, composed of residents from communities throughout the county.  Their recommendations are forwarded to the Foundation's Board of Directors, with whom all grant-making authority resides.
The deadline for submitting an application is May 1, 2011, and grant seekers are strongly encouraged to call the Foundation to discuss a grant proposal before submitting a formal application.
If you would like an application or have questions call John Slavich, program officer, at 244-5224.  
You may also download an application from the Foundation’s website at   

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March 28, 2011

Community Voices...

Tonight on Community Voices, Democratic House leader Pat Bauer outlines provisions in the compromise brokered between parties to get state government moving forward once again. Click here.
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Fifteen children participated in First Communion on Sunday at St. Paul of the Cross

(Talk of the Town photo provided) The 2011 First Communion class from St. Paul of the Cross Catholic Church in Columbia City smiles proudly, above.

By Jennifer Zartman Romano

On Sunday, March 27, 2011, during the second morning Mass at St. Paul of the Cross Catholic Church, 15 children received First Communion.
Those participating in First Communion this morning included:
Carson Anspach, Shawn Barber Jr., Phillip Campbell, Lacey Furlotte, Dylan Garza, Ella Harris, Katy Krider, Colby Leatherman, Gracelynn Martinez, Daniel McCullough, Tyler Miller, Bryce Roy, Arrianna Smith, Isabella Smith and Sophia Smith.
The students began their First Communion preparation and education last fall.

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Snapshots: Salvation Army's Italian dinner fundraiser

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Snapshots: Whitley County Chamber of Commerce hosted Legislative Update Saturday

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CC Deli's Soups of the Week

What follows are the CC Deli Soups of the Week:
Monday: Stuffed Pepper and French Onion*
Tuesday: Tomato Tortellini and Cheesy Potato
Wednesday: White Chili* and Broccoli Cheese
Thursday: Chicken Dumpling and Tomato Bisque
Friday: Veggie Beef* and Clam Chowder

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Venture capital bill would promote local economic development

State Representative Kathy Heuer’s bill to increase the amount of tax credits for investmentvavailable to qualified Indiana businesses passed out of Senate Committee on Commerce and Economic Development by a vote of 8 to 0 and will now move to the Senate floor for debate.
House Bill 1008 increases the amount of tax credits for investment in qualified Indiana businesses from $500,000 to $1,000,000. Additionally, the bill suspends the$200 application fee that a qualified Indiana business must pay for two years.  A qualified Indiana business is determined by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) for its potential to create jobs, bring significant capital to Indiana, and diversify Indiana’s business base.
“Passing this bill opens the door to a larger stream of money flowing into our new and growing businesses,” said Heuer. “It will help create jobs and a job-friendly atmosphere to attract new businesses to Northeast Indiana.”
“On behalf of the Whitley County EDC, I greatly appreciate Representative Heuer’s leadership on this proposal,” said EDC president Alan Tio. “Access to capital is critical to our efforts to encourage entrepreneurs to “go and grow” their businesses in Whitley County.”
The legislation is sponsored in the Senate by Senators Brandt Hershman, Luke Kenley, and Jim Arnold.  If approved as currently written, the changes would be retroactive to January 1, 2011.
In addition to House Bill 1008, the EDC is also monitoring House Bill 1005, which wouldstrengthen the industrial recovery tax credit to encourage redevelopment and reuse of vacant manufacturing facilities; House Bill 1006, which would create a “one-stop-shop” for entrepreneurs to register a new business in Indiana; and House Bill 1007, which would provide additional tools for local communities to encourage job creation and investment projects.
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March 26, 2011

Living veterans' names sought for D Day Celebration on June 4 in Whitley County

By Jennifer Zartman Romano

Whitley County Historical Society board member Scott Allison and volunteer Jeanette Brown are working together to plan a D Day Celebration for Whitley County's World War II veterans on June 4, 2011.
For the past several weeks, Allison and Brown have been building a list of veterans living in Whitley County or who have a Whitley County connection -- perhaps they were born or raised here.
"We have a pretty good list, but don't want to miss anyone," Allison added.
To be sure you or a World War II veteran you know is on the invitation list, please contact Scott Allison via email at or Jeanette Brown at

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Mobile mammography unit coming to Columbia City on April 4

Francine’s Friends Mobile Mammography unit will be in Columbia City for women interested in scheduling a mammogram. On Monday, April 4, the mobile unit will be at Kroger, 6210 Countryside drive, Columbia City.
Screening mammography is for women who:
- Are age 40 and older and have not had a mammogram screening in the past 12 months
- Have no prior or current history of breast cancer or problems with their breasts
- Are insured or uninsured
The Breast Diagnostic Center (BDC) performs the screening. For women who have insurance, the insurance company will be billed. If patients do not have insurance but have the ability to pay, the BDC offers a reduced rate if paid the day of the screening. For women without insurance, a high deductible or who do not have the resources to pay, funding is available.
To schedule a mammogram with Francine’s Friends Mobile Mammography unit, call 1-800-727-8439, ext. 26540, or (260) 483-1847. For more information on Francine’s Friends, visit its website at
Francine’s Friends Mobile mammography is a partnership between Francine’s Friends, Parkview Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Breast Diagnostic Center.
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March 25, 2011

Key Club delivers cheer to dozens with roses fundraiser Thursday

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Whitley County Farmers Market donates prize basket during 2011 Whitley County EXPOsed

(Talk of the Town photo by Jennifer Zartman Romano)
Participants in the Whitley County Farmers Market put together a delightful basket of goodies to giveaway at last Saturday's Whitley County EXPOsed presented by the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce. The winner of the basket was Barbara Bradbury who said she was thrilled to win the basket full of homemade and homegrown surprises. Many of market participants donated items to fill the basket and joined in presenting the basket to the drawing winner. Above, from left, in row one is Brooke Burman of Artcfartz Designs, winner Barbara Bradbury, Canda Goldwood of Goldwood Gardens and Carly Reid of Artcfartz Designs. Row two, from left, includes Becky Thompson of Suri Alpaca Farm, Tom Wise of Wise Farm, Juanita Jones of Juanita Jones Expressions, Jill Lash, Margaret Wise of Wise Farm, Julie Beers and Steve Beers, both of Masters Hand BBQ.

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Laughing Lotus Yoga Studio presenting 'Belly Shop' weekend to focus on abdomenal health

By Jennifer Zartman Romano

Get your belly in shape for summer with this weekend's "Belly Shop" at Laughing Lotus Yoga Studio.
Beginning this evening, Friday, March 25, 2011, from 6 to 8:30 p.m., Laughing Lotus' owner Tiffany Herron will teach a "Belly Thai" workshop focusing on Thai yoga massage techniques for the abdomen. The cost for this class is $25 per person.
On Saturday morning, March 26, from 9 to 10:30 a.m., instructor Jessica Burkett will teach a "Belly Yoga" class designed to focus on core strength and opening the belly chakra. Participants are asked to make a donation to attend this class.
Later in the afternoon, from 2 to 4 p.m., Johara, owner of Hot Hips School of Belly Dance in Fort Wayne will present a belly dance workshop for beginners. An introductory workshop, this class is suitable for all abilities, ages and sizes.  Participants are encouraged to wear comfortable clothes. You do NOT have to show your belly. Please bring a dish to share for a post-class potluck.  Belly dancing is a great combination of stretching, strengthening, conditioning, and mild aerobics; and a fun way to get moving. The cost for this class is $35.
Finally, on Sunday, March 27, from 3 to 4:30 p.m., Neely Gladd from GladdMD Integrative Medicine will present a "Belly Talk" health lecture discussing the effects of diet (namely sugar and gluten) on the gut, liver and adrenal glands. The cost to attend Gladd's lecture is $15.
You can participate in all four events for $65. All events will be held at Laughing Lotus Yoga Studio located at 1746 South 350 West in Columbia City.  
Spots are limited due to space, so reserve your spot by calling 260-213-1953.
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Lenten, gluten free meals available at tonight's 'A Night in Italy' fundraiser for Salvation Army

From reports

Those observing Lent and those on gluten free diets will be pleased to know that there will be something for you to eat at tonight's "A Night in Italy" dinner to benefit the Whitley County Salvation Army.
According to the dinner's chairman, Cheryl McDevitt, meatless sauce and a small quantity of gluten free noodles will be available for those with diet restrictions this evening.
The pasta dinner fundraiser will be held tonight, March 25, 2011, from 4:30 to 7 p.m. at Grace Lutheran Church in Columbia City.
Dinners are $7 for adults, $4 for children and children under age 2 can eat for free. Carryout meals will be available. Dinners will include pasta, salad, bread and dessert.
Proceeds from the event will benefit the Whitley County Salvation Army Women's Auxiliary projects including Tools for School and sponsorship of Christmas families.

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Whitley County Chamber hosts lawmakers for Legislative Update Saturday morning

(Talk of the Town file photos by Jennifer Zartman Romano)

By Jennifer Zartman Romano
Do you have questions about current issues you'd like to talk to your elected officials about?
Tomorrow, Saturday, March 26, at 9 a.m. you'll have an excellent opportunity to do so at the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce's Legislative Update at the Peabody Public Library. The forum will be held in the Robert Brittain Auditorium on the lower level of the library.
Senator Jim Banks, State Representative Dan Leonard and State Representative Kathy Heuer will speak briefly about matters currently under discussion at the state level. Then, they'll open it up for questions from the audience.
There is no cost to attend the forum and some refreshments will be served.
The 2011 Legislative Update is sponsored by Talk of the Town Whitley County.

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March 24, 2011

Rotarians donate $1000 to United Way

(Talk of the Town photo by Jennifer Zartman Romano)
On Tuesday, the Columbia City Rotary Club members donated a check for $1000 to United Way of Whitley County -- a gift that included matched contributions from club members. Above, from left, is Rotary Club president Erica Miller, United Way of Whitley County campaign chairman Carrie Hoffman and United Way executive director John Black.

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Fry events slated for Friday, Saturday

From reports

St. John the Bosco Catholic Church in Churubusco is hosting a fish fry this Friday, March 25, 2011, from 5-7 p.m. at the church. The meal will be prepared by Gaerte's Jonah Style.

Boy Scout Troop 94 will be hosting a fish and tenderloin fundraising dinner on Saturday, March 26, from 4-7 p.m. at Grace Lutheran Church. Gaerte's will also prepare that meal.
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Impressing the audience

(Talk of the Town photo by Jennifer Zartman Romano)
Columbia City resident Tad Varga, above at center, owner of Three Birds Casual, an international teak furniture company headquartered in Whitley County, attended Faith Christian Academy's Jump Rope Club program Monday and volunteered to try his skills at Double Dutch. Obviously, the crowd was quite impressed! Above, from left, is Kristian Stultz, Tad Varga, Margaret Cash and Varga's son, Charlie Varga. More photos from the program will appear soon on Talk of the Town.

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Advanced Materials Development LLC announces $12.9 million plan to transform former foundry, add 68 jobs

(Talk of the Town photo by Jennifer Zartman Romano) The former Fort Wayne Foundry building, above, has been purchased by Advanced Materials Development LLC, a premier metal alloys facility, and will create 68 jobs in Whitley County by 2014. Renovation work at the 115,000 square foot facility appears to be already underway.

By Blair West

Advanced Materials Development, LLC, a manufacturer of premium metal alloys and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fort Wayne Metals Research Products Corporation, announced today that it will locate a new operation in Columbia City, creating up to 68 new jobs by 2014.
Advanced Materials Development, LLC plans to invest $12.9 million to renovate the 115,000 square-foot former Fort Wayne Foundry building and purchase production equipment that will enhance capabilities and increase capacity in support of current operations. The facility will process stainless steel, nickel, cobalt and titanium alloys that are used in the company's products.
"Fort Wayne Metals planted its roots in Northeast Indiana more than 60 years ago and continues to create new opportunities for hundreds of Hoosiers in its home region.  We are happy to see the company continue to make Indiana a central part of its future," said Governor Mitch Daniels.
Established in Fort Wayne in 1946 by founder Ardelle Glaze, Fort Wayne Metals Inc. pioneered many new applications for stainless steel wire. In 1970, Fort Wayne Metals Research Products Corporation began operations and has evolved into one of the nation's top suppliers of high-quality precision wire, strands and cables and component assemblies. The company's products are used in various medical device markets including vascular therapy, cardiac rhythm management, endoscopy, orthopedics, dental, neuromodulation and neurostimulation, as well as in other industries where demanding applications are a necessity.
"Fort Wayne Metals continues to see growing demand for our products, both domestically and internationally. Our investment is intended to meet the anticipated needs of our customer base. We believe Indiana, more specifically Whitley County, provides us an excellent opportunity to meet those needs," said Troy Linder, chief financial officer.
Fort Wayne Metals currently employs 570 team members throughout its seven Allen County locations. The newly established subsidiary plans to begin hiring production workers in Columbia City in August.
The Indiana Economic Development Corporation offered Fort Wayne Metals Research Products Corporation up to $700,000 in performance-based tax credits and up to $50,000 in training grants based on the company's job creation plans. Whitley County provided additional property tax abatement at the request of the Whitley County Economic Development Corporation.
"Our entire community extends a warm welcome to Advanced Materials Development," said Whitley County Commissioner Tom Rethlake. "We look forward to promoting a business climate that will encourage the company's success in the years ahead."

About Fort Wayne Metals Research Products Corporation

Fort Wayne Metals Research Products Corporation is headquartered in Fort Wayne, Indiana with production and distribution in Castlebar, Ireland, sales offices located in The Netherlands and China, and distribution representation throughout the United States, Brazil, Argentina, Japan and Turkey. For more information, visit
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Whitley County Business & Networking meets Friday

If you'd like to network and get to know others active in the local community, join Whitley County Business & Networking tomorrow, Friday, March 25, 2011, at the Brew Ha at 8:30 a.m.
Canda Goldwood, owner of Goldwood Gardens, will speak about Community Supported Agriculture programs, a great opportunity to learn how you can support a local farmer and enjoy fresh, healthy food all year long. Additionally, there will be time for networking among members present.
Founded more than a year ago, WCBN serves as a catalyst for local business leaders, non-profit organizational leaders and others to share ideas and information on a bi-weekly basis. Meetings are informal and there are no dues to participate.
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Redistricting meetings set to begin Saturday across the state

By Erin Reece

Members of the Indiana House and Senate Election committees will conduct a public hearing Saturday in Fort Wayne to receive input on how new maps for the Indiana House of Representatives, Senate and congressional districts should be drawn.
“Constituents have an opportunity to learn more about the redistricting process and share their opinions with lawmakers at one of eight hearings being held across the state,” said Senator Jim Banks of Columbia City.
Indiana’s redistricting process involves drafting new legislative boundaries for Statehouse and congressional seats.
Banks said the hearing will be held from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Allen County Public Library located at 900 Library Plaza.
For those unable to attend the hearing, there are three additional opportunities scheduled for Hoosiers in Northern Indiana to share their input:
- Friday, March 25, at the Faith Baptist Community Center, 5526 State Road 26 E, Lafayette, from 10 a.m. – Noon (EDT);
- Friday, March 25, at the Crown Point High School Auditorium, 1500 South Main St., Crown Point, from 3 p.m. – 5 p.m. (CDT); and
- Saturday, March 26, at the Memorial High School Auditorium, 2608 California Road, Elkhart, from 10 a.m. – Noon (EDT).
Under the Indiana Constitution, the General Assembly elected during the year in which a federal decennial census is taken shall fix by law the number of senators and representatives and apportion them among districts according to the number of inhabitants in each district, as revealed by the census.

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March 23, 2011

Reid competes in state swimming meet

(Talk of the Town photo provided) Swimmer Hannah Reid, above, finished sixth in the 100 Butterfly at the Indiana Swimming Age Group State Championship Meet held over the weekend in Indianapolis.

By Jennifer Zartman Romano

Ten-year-old Hannah Reid competed at the Indiana Swimming Age Group State Championship Meet held at the IUPUI Natatorium in Indianapolis last weekend, March 18-20, 2011.
Reid placed sixth in the 100 Butterfly with a time of 115.29.
A swimmer with the SWAC swim team in Fort Wayne, Reid practices six days a week in the pool with practices lasting an hour and 30 minutes per day.
Reid is the daughter of Todd and Heather Reid.

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(Talk of the Town photo by Jennifer Zartman Romano)
Maintaining their determination despite all the activity going on around them, above, several men participate in a friendly game of chess during the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce's EXPOsed held Saturday at Indian Springs Middle School. Members of the CCHS Game Club volunteered their time to occupy game tables and provide competition for anyone wishing to take them on.

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Columbia City's limb pick-up program set for April 4 through week of October 3, 2011

The City of Columbia City would like to announce that our limb pick-up program is beginning soon. This program has been initiated as a means to dispose of limbs and branches from storm-related events and small pruning projects. Dates for this year are as follows:
Week of April 4
Week of May 2
Week of June 6
Week of July 4
Week of August 1
Week of September 5
Week of October 3
Properties bordered by an alley will have their limbs picked up along that alley. Limbs will not be picked up along the street for these properties -- alleys only. Properties bordered by streets only will have theirs picked up along the curb as in the past. Limbs are to be placed along the curb in front of your property. Do not place in roadway.
The limb pick up is limited to City limits only. This will be one pass only in an area. Please have your limbs out ready for pick up by 7 a.m. the first day of pick up that month so you will not be missed. The City reserves the right to refuse pick-up for those properties it considers not fitting within the guidelines of the program.

Program Guidelines


• Limbs and branches up to 4” in diameter
• Bushes (without roots)

Not Acceptable:

• Piles are not to exceed pick up truck size load
• Brush from fence-row clearing
• Trees and logs
• Branches left from contractor-provided tree removal
• Bushes with roots attached
If you have any questions regarding the acceptability of your materials, please contact Kelly Cearbaugh, Street Superintendent at 248-5131 or 248-5115 ex 2721

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Tickets remain for Whitley County Historical Society's annual banquet in South Whitley

There is still time to reserve tickets for the annual Whitley County Historical Society banquet. The event will be held on March 30, 2011, at 6 p.m. at the Brownstone on State in South Whitley.
Keynote speakers is Gib Young of Huntington, a historical re-enactor who focuses on the life and times of President Theodore Roosevelt.
Tickets to the dinner are $18 per person.
To RSVP, call the museum at 244-6372.
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Annual Honors Convocation set for May 23 at Columbia City High School

The Columbia City High School Honors Convocation is scheduled for Monday, May 23, 2011, beginning at 7 p.m. in the Newell Rice Auditorium.  
Any group or individuals planning to present an award to CCHS students, please call 244-6136, Ext 3207 to speak with Barb Knuth or email  
Please include:  (1) the NAME of the award; (2) the PRESENTER of the award; and (3) the name of the STUDENT recipient.  
All information must be submitted by Monday May 16, 2011.
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March 22, 2011

EDC, Whitley County Chamber join forces to present wind energy discussion Wednesday night

By Jennifer Zartman Romano

In an issue with a lot of grey area, there are many points of view that are very black and white involving wind energy in Whitley County.
To help bring further information to county officials and to the general public in search of a better understanding about wind energy, the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce is partnering with the Whitley County Economic Development Corporation to present a program called "Wind Energy 101." The session will be held tomorrow, Wednesday, March 23, 2011, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Indian Springs Middle School.
Speakers for the event will include Chad Martin, renewable energy extension specialist with Purdue University; Todd Samuelson, a partner at H.J. Umbaugh & Associates; and Travis Murphy, business development manager -- renewable energy at Johnson Melloh Solutions.
Following the presentations, moderated discussion will be led by Phil Shaull, host of "Midday Matters" on NIPR, 89.1 WBOI Fort Wayne.
"We're trying to have na open discussion about wind development," said Alan Tio, president of the Whitley County Economic Development Corporation. "These are national and state level groups who've looked at it closely and we're bringing them to Whitley County."
"These three speakers are going to share their thoughts so that local officials and residents can hear from outside sources," Tio said, adding that he'd like this to remain a purely informational dialog so that people can form their own opinions.
"The people who will be sharing perspectives on wind development projects are not for or against local projects," Tio continued.  The program will be moderated so that all perspectives can be presented and there will be an opportunity for written questions to be answered as time allows.
"Really, this is just a good opportunity to listen," added Tio.
"People on both sides are very vocal, but what about those in the middle," he asked. "They want to be informed too."
Tio said a great deal of care and concern went into selecting individuals to speak at the session.
"We were deliberate in who we selected to speak. We were looking for experts with statewide experience and a high-level perspective," said Tio. "Our elected officials have gotten a lot of calls about wind energy in Whitley County. This will be the first time we've brought in an outside perspective to get them involved in the discussion."
"At the Whitley County EDC, we want to be facilitators," he concluded. "We don't know where this will go, but we wanted to start the discussion."
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Greatbatch Medical employees raise $1,469 for Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana

(Talk of the Town photo provided)
Today, Greatbatch Medical employees presented a check for $1,469 to Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana, an organization that directly helps individuals with cancer in Whitley County. The funds were raised through a basket raffle organized by Greatbatch Medical employees. Above, from left, in front is Stephanie Beck, Amber Recker of Cancer Services and Kathy Ryan. Row two, from left, is Sharon Lock, Tina Kimmell, Emily Schilling, Michele Goudy, Jessica Schultz and Trudy Miller Longhenry.

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Kaminski named Whitley County Chamber EXPO's 2012 chairman

(Talk of the Town photo by Jennifer Zartman Romano)
After many years at the helm of planning first the Columbia City Chamber of Commerce and now Whitley County Chamber of Commerce's annual EXPOsed event, Bob McGregor has decided to pass the reigns of leadership on to someone new. Greg Kaminski will be the EXPO planner for 2012. Over the weekend, he and McGregor worked side by side to learn the details of the event. Kaminski says he has great ideas for next year's event and that planning for that EXPO is already underway. Above, from left, is 2012 EXPO chairman Greg Kaminski, Whitley County Chamber of Commerce president Sara Lochner-Goff and retiring EXPO chairman Bob McGregor. The board of directors for the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce thanks McGregor for his commitment, enthusiasm and many years of service to chairing the EXPO.

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New installment of Old Type Writer...

An animal lover, Susie Duncan Sexton shares a story about two of her pets in today's Old Type Writer. Click here to read it.

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March 21, 2011

Snapshots: 2011 Whitley County Chamber of Commerce's EXPOsed held Saturday

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Whitley County Consolidates Schools' board of trustee meeting is streaming live now

Click here to listen to the Whitley County Consolidated Schools' board of trustees meeting taking place now, Monday, March 21, at 5:30 p.m. at the Marshall Memorial building in Columbia City. The live streaming of the meeting is made possible by WJHS, 91.5 FM.

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Volunteers looking forward to annual spring Relay for Life fundraiser

(Talk of the Town file photo) Volunteers will show their skills and some humor while they raise funds at the upcoming 2011 Donkey Basketball game for the American Cancer Society. Below, Ryan Wilson finds an unconventional way down the court in the Marshall Memorial Gymnasium in 2009.

By Jennifer Zartman Romano

It is basketball season in Indiana right now -- but locally, there is something that's an even bigger crowd pleaser than regular basketball -- DONKEY basketball!
Indeed, for the past three years, a group of enthusiastic, basketball-loving Whitley County Relay for Life fundraising volunteers have found a way to combine their love of sports, passion for raising cancer fighting funds and an apparent love of farm animals!
This year's Relay for Life Buckeye Donkey Basketball game is Friday, April 15, 2011, at 7 p.m. in the Marshall Memorial Gymnasium on Walnut Street in Columbia City.
Tickets are available from the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce, at Portside Pizza or through Terri Zumbrun at Parkview Whitley Hospital.
Tickets are $20 for a Family, $10 for adults, $5 for kids 6-12 and they're FREE for children ages 5 and under.
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BABE program opens satellite locations in both South Whitley and Churubusco today

From reports

The Whitley County BABE program is now operating satellite locations in Churubusco and South Whitley and both locations are open today, Monday, March 21, 2011, from 2 to 4 p.m.
In South Whitley, you'll find BABE in the basement of Star Financial Bank.
In Churubusco, BABE is located at Farmers & Merchants Bank.
The BABE program rewards parents of children ages 0 to 5 for making positive parenting choices, providing opportunities for them to earn baby supplies, diapers, clothing and more. If you aren't familiar with BABE and want to learn more, stop by these satellite locations today to learn more or visit their main office on North Main Street at Jefferson Street in Columbia City.
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CC Deli's Soups of the Week

The CC Deli will be closed this Friday, March 25, 2011, and will reopen on Monday, March 28.
What follows are the CC Deli Soups of the Week:
Monday: Chicken & Rice and French Onion*
Tuesday: Tomato Tortellini and Smokey Poblano
Wednesday: White Chili* and Potato Bacon
Thursday: Chicken Dumpling and Cheesy Potato
Friday: Closed
* denotes soups that are gluten free.
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Easter Egg Hunt planned in Churubusco on April 16

Dime Travelers will be hosting an Easter Egg Hunt at the Churubusco Community Park on Saturday, April 16, 2011, at 2 p.m..
Participants will be divided by age groups and will search for eggs filled with candy, party favors and free admission tickets to great locations like Science Central, Bones Theatre, Black Pine Animal Sanctuary and Crazy Pinz.
The event is open to the community and everyone is invited to participate.
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March 20, 2011

Ready to stop smoking?

Article provided

Parkview Whitley Hospital’s Cardiac Rehabilitation Unit will host a series of four smoking-cessation classes for the general public beginning March 29, 2011. Other dates in the series include April 5, 12 and 19.
Classes will be held at Parkview Whitley Hospital, 353 N. Oak Street, Columbia City, in the lower-level boardroom. Classes will begin at 1 p.m., except for the March 12 class, which will begin at 3:15 p.m.
The cost is $25 for the four-session program.
To sign up, call (260) 248-9459. 

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Basketball legend Bobby Plump to speak at Boy Scouts' annual dinner Thursday

Article provided

The Anthony Wayne Area Council of Boy Scouts of America will be hosting their 2011 Friends of Scouting annual dinner on Thursday, March 24, 2011, at 6:30 p.m. at Westminster Hall on the campus of Grace College, Winona Lake. A buffet dinner will be served and the program will begin at 7 p.m.
The evening's featured guest will be Indiana basketball legend Bobby Plump. Plump was a star of the 1954 Milan High School state championship basketball team, the team which inspired the film "Hoosiers." He went on to play college basketball at Butler University and professionally for Phillips 66. Sports Illustrated Magazine named him as one of the Top 50 Indiana sports figures of the 20th century.
Plump will share a motivational message based on his experiences on and off the basketball court. Additionally, he will have copies of his book available for sale.
The event is open to the public and is free of charge, but a charitable contribution or pledge to the Boy Scouts is expected. Whatever you can pledge is appreciated. Proceeds from the event will support the Anthony Wayne Area Council of Boy Scouts and the more than 1200 scouts in this area.
Registration for the event is available by calling the Boy Scout office at (800) 272-2922 or contacting Kelly Bergman at
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Party planned for today to wish Kay Walter well in her retirement

By Jennifer Zartman Romano

A familiar face behind the desk at the Whitley County Purdue Extension office and well-known to many 4-H families, Kay Walter retired this week after 24 years of service.
Walter says she's looking forward to having more free time to enjoy family, her pets and traveling.
In her honor, a party will be held this Sunday, March 20, 2011, from 2 to 4 p.m. in the 4-H Center Building at the Whitley County Fairgrounds. Everyone is invited to attend and wish Walter well in her retirement. She requests no gifts.
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March 19, 2011

Fans as far as the eye can see!

(Talk of the Town photo by Betty Graves)
A huge number of fans are taking part in the Columbia City High School boys basketball team's Semi State challenge this afternoon in Huntington. Above, wearing black shirts, Eagles fans are on the edge of their seats, hoping for an Eagle victory!

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Listen to the Eagles at Semi State!

Listen to live streaming coverage of the Columbia City Eagles at Semi State with WJHS 91.5 FM by clicking here.

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March 18, 2011

Up come the flowers!

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'Light the Way' candlelight ceremony planned to contemplate plight of child victims of violence

(Talk of the Town file photo by Jennifer Zartman Romano) Below, a candle is lit in memory of an abused and neglected child during the 2010 Light the Way ceremony presented by the Whitley County Salvation Army and local Kiwanis club members.

By Jennifer Zartman Romano

The Whitley County Salvation Army, in conjunction with Whitley County Kiwanis and the Whitley County Domestic Violence Taskforce, has launched a community public awareness campaign this coming April in observance of Child Abuse Prevention Month -- with the highlighting event being the annual candlelight vigil for child victims of violence.
On April 7, 2011, at 6 p.m., the annual "Light the Way" vigil will be held to remember children lost to abuse and neglect. The event will be held at Eagle Quest Church, 1120 North SR 109, just north of Columbia City.
"It is estimated that 5 or more children die each day in the United States due to abuse and neglect," stated Pat Mossburg of the Whitley County Salvation Army.
"Five lives that could have been saved. It only takes a moment to make a difference in the life of a child."
"The evening will provider information, help and hope to all who come," added Mossburg. "You will realize you can be a light for a child suffering from abuse and neglect -- a voice for those who are fearful to speak, and hope for those feeling alone and lost."
According to Mossburg, speakers for the evening will include Sherry Sausaman of the Whitley County Domestic Violence Taskforce; Jim Redslob, the past lieutenant govenor of Kiwanis; Pastor Rick Pride of Eagle Quest Church and Ken Locke of the Salvation Army. Music this year will be provided by Live 4:1 and Susan Derr.
Child Abuse Prevention Month has been observed each April since its first presidential proclamation in 1985. Since that time, individuals and organizations have joined together during April around the world to raise the public awareness of child abuse and its prevention. The local observance of "Light the Way" has been planned for the last four years.
"Be the 'light' for a child in need," concluded Mossburg.
For more information, contact Pat Mossburg at the Whitley County Salvation Army by calling 248-1711.
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Free seminars offered at 2011 Whitley County Chamber of Commerce's EXPOsed on Saturday

By Jennifer Zartman Romano

The countdown is on for the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce's annual Whitley County EXPOsed this Saturday, March 19, 2011, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Indian Springs Middle School. Admission is free.
More than 70 area businesses and non-profit organizations will be participating in this year's EXPO, making it one of the largest in recent history. In addition to a full schedule of entertainment, which you can view by clicking here, there will also be door prizes and several great seminars offered.
Seminars at this year's Whitley County EXPOsed include:
Come and join one of our local speakers as they share on the following topics:

"Funeral Pre-Planning" with DeMoney-Grimes Funeral Home
10 a.m.

Pre-arrangement specialist, Dianna Budd and Lola Damstra, certified senior advisor and certified insurance advisor, will cover essential planning.  Topics will include:  long term health care, wills, medical advance directives, Medicare Part D, Medicare Supplemental and Advantage, funeral pre-arrangements and estate planning.

"History of the Emerald Ash Borer in Indiana" with the Columbia City Tree Board
11 a.m.

John Dabler, a technician  with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) , Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)  in the Plant Protection Quality (PPQ)  department, will be presenting the "History of the Emerald Ash Borer in Indiana."

"Whitley Forward" with the Whitley County Community Foundation
1 p.m.

Participate in a discussion with Lori Shipman about what the Foundation is doing through "Whitley Forward" and the importance of the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) initiative and post-graduate education.  Bring your questions!

"Seven Blind Spots in Financial Planning" with Dottie Cole, Crossroads Investments
2 p.m.

Do you think your ability to manage your finances is more appropriate for TV's Fear Factor? Does your financial plan depend on buying lottery tickets?
Financial concerns surround us every day; budgeting for our households, planning for vacations and holiday, college tuition, braces for kids and retirement savings. The demands on your paycheck are numerous and can be overwhelming if ignored.

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Columbia City Rotary thanks each business, individual who helped raise $19,000 for scholarships

Today on Community Voices, the Columbia City Rotary Club's auction committee thanks each person or business that contributed to the success of this year's Rotary Scholarship Auction held February 26, 2011. Who contributed? Click here to read Community Voices.

If you have an issue you'd like to address or people you'd like to thank, send your letter to the editor to:

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Farm fresh meats, eggs available at Avis Acres

Avis Acres Farm is currently offering grass fed, grass-finished Angus beef for $4.37/lb. which includes the processing cost. This will be the last quarters available until the autumn.
Additionally, they're offering farm fresh chickens beginning in early May. Place your order now. There is a $5 deposit per chicken and they will still cost $3/lb ( less your deposit) for whole birds.
As always, Avis Acres offers fresh, non-GMO grain fed, pastured eggs for $3 per dozen, two dozen for $5 or five dozen for $10.
For more information, call Avis Acres at 248-8413. Avis Acres is located in northern Whitley County, just south of Loon Lake on CR 250 west.
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Blood drive at Walgreen's is canceled

The American Red Cross blood drive scheduled for Monday, April 4, 2011, at Walgreen's has been canceled and will be rescheduled at a later date.

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March 17, 2011

Getting ready for tonight's art auction to benefit Passages Inc.'s art program

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Local artists work submitted to international juried exhibition for artists with disabilities

(Talk of the Town photo by Jennifer Zartman Romano)
Than Boutelle, above, recently submitted several pieces of his artwork to the "SHIFT: An International Juried Exhibition by Artists with Disabilities" set for June 3-30, 2011. If selected, his work will be on display at the Kennedy Center. According to Boutelle's art instructor, Candy Pease of Passages Inc., the exhibit seeks  to investigate those moments that alter the direction of a person's path and create a new reality.
Several of Boutelle's photographs and paintings will be available for purchase tonight, March 17, 2011, at "Paintings, Pickles & Patrick," a fundraiser that supports Passages Inc.'s art program for disabled adults. The art auction is open to the community from 5-7:30 p.m. at Northeastern REMC's Touchstone Energy Room, just north of Coesse of US 30.

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Governor pays a visit of historical proportions

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(Talk of the Town photo by Jennifer Zartman Romano)
Well-known for their starkly different political perspectives and for well-penned editorial sparring matches on various subjects in local newspapers, Terry L. Smith and Susie Duncan Sexton paused for a photo during Wednesday evening's Lincoln Day Dinner in Whitley County. The two exchanged pleasant conversation, smiles and demonstrated that even polar opposites can find common ground!

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Governor Mitch Daniels was keynote speaker at Lincoln Day Dinner Wednesday night

(Talk of the Town photos by Jennifer Zartman Romano) Above, Governor Mitch Daniels spends a few minutes meeting personally with attendees at the Lincoln Day Dinner Wednesday evening in Columbia City. Below, Daniels was the evening's keynote speaker.

By Jennifer Zartman Romano

As Governor Mitch Daniels stood before fellow members of the Republican Party Wednesday evening, he noted that he'd personally attended 40% of the Whitley County GOP's Lincoln Day Dinners -- a remarkable attendance record for the growing event that was first held five years ago.
Despite having an arm in a sling as he recovered from recent rotator cuff surgery, Daniels was pleased to attend the event and address fellow Republicans about matters of the state and the nation. As the evening's keynote speaker, Daniels talked frankly with fellow Republicans assembled for the annual party fundraiser.
"People are noticing our state as we've always wanted them to," Daniels said, saying that representatives of states across the country have been asking him how Indiana has managed to fare so well in a bad economy. "They want to know, 'How are you not going broke like everyone else,'" he added. Of particular interest to outsiders: Indiana's health care free market, growing infrastructure, 1% cap on house values, well-run Bureau of Motor Vehicles offices, ongoing road maintenance, quick tax refunds and the fact that Indiana has managed to raise the amount of child support collected in the state by 10%.
"What people are starting to figure out -- there's something different about Indiana," he said. "Really it's about making life better. We are very different."
Yet, while Daniels feels positive about what has been accomplished within the state recently, he feels there is room for additional improvement. "We have got to get better," he added, citing one area of concern for him at this time: public education.
"Public education has many fine aspects...but it has got to get better," he said.
Daniels told party members he was terribly concerned with inaccurate communication about what his intentions are regarding public education.
"Dishonesty, I have trouble with," he said. "Reformers of education have become accustomed to people misrepresenting."
He feels the confusion created by bad information and dishonest information is creating a situation where many teachers are outraged, not knowing truth from fiction.
"I do not blame some of the teachers who've been writing," he said. "They've been misinformed." Daniels said he's received letters written by children about why charter schools are bad, something he found devisive. He said he also has not heard a single constructive idea from opponents about fixing public education's problems.
Daniels said he'd like to see changes in the way teachers are evaluated and he doesn't want to continue seeing some of the state's best teachers shortchanged because of seniority. Many opponents have complained that continual education cuts will be damaging to education, but Daniels stated, "The state in America that dedicates the largest percentage to education is Indiana. Half of every dollar spent is spent on K-12 education. We've protected it like nothing else. Along with public safety, nothing is more important."
Despite opposition, he said most Hoosiers are in agreement with his plans. "When you poll Hoosiers on these questions (about education), two-thirds of Hoosiers agree with this philosophy," said Daniels.
Daniels discussion then turned to national issues, making many in attendance wonder about his potential run for the presidency.
"I'm frequently wrong -- but I've been looking at the arithmetic of this nation and I cannot work out the math that comes out happy," he said of the nation's financial situation. "I'm very sober about this. The debt we're looking at...the new red more alarming to me. There is no weapons system to disarm it. Something big has got to change."
"We've got numerous opportunities to produce our own energy," he said, in addition to opportunities to trigger growth. He feels deregulation is necessary in many sectors."
"In the next election, we're going to have to make some fundamental changes as a nation -- it's heavy lifting," Daniels said.
He said that the national government has created many entitlements and that infuriates him.
"All you're entitled to is life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," Daniels said. "Everything else is what we decide to do. We don't want people destitute, but we don't want people entitled. Who's in charge here?"
Daniels seemed to indicate that for repairing the nation's bigger issues, bipartisan efforts may be necessary. "We need to try to avoid 'us and them' and bring people around tasks that need to be done," he concluded.

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Snapshots: Politicking at the GOP dinner

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Rethlake honored by party faithful as 'Whitley County Republican of the Year'

(Talk of the Town photo by Jennifer Zartman Romano)
Whitley County Commissioner Tom Rethlake took a red-eye flight home to Whitley County from Florida Wednesday evening, unaware that a surprise awaited him at the 2011 Whitley County Republican Party's Lincoln Day Dinner. Rethlake was awarded the GOP's top achievement award, being named 2011 Whitley County Republican of the Year. Rethlake received the award from long time friend and associate Kim Wheeler. Prior to presenting the award, Wheeler shared heartfelt memories of Rethlake dating back to his childhood years when he remembered Rethlake's friendship with his father, Harold "Potch" Wheeler.
Above, at center, Rethlake thanks party faithful for their support over the years. Standing nearby are Whitley County Councilman Kim Wheeler, left, and Senator Jim Banks, at right. At right, Rethlake is congratulated by Wheeler and Banks. He received a limited edition print of the Whitley County Courthouse and with a plaque.

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Business owner warns against selling valuables to companies that aren't reputable

Business owner Gary Grepke is alarmed about the business practices of companies coming to the area to buy gold and other valuables. Today on Community Voices, Grepke shares what happened when he tested one company's here.

If you'd like to share a concern of your own, send us letter via email to:

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Entertainment schedule set for upcoming Whitley County EXPOsed this Saturday

The Whitley County Chamber of Commerce's annual Whitley County EXPOsed is slated for this Saturday, March 19, 2011, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Indian Springs Middle School. Visit vendor booths, enjoy the entertainment and learn something new in one of several seminars offered throughout the day. Admission is free.
What follows is the entertainment schedule for Whitley County EXPOsed:
9 a.m.  -  Cooking Demonstration with the Local Celebrity Chef Jacob
10 a.m. - Amy Fortman, Whitko Middle School
11 a.m. - Fashion Show sponsored by Wal-Mart & hairstyles by Snippers Salon & Spa
12-2 p.m. - Dance 'Til U Drop and various acts
    "Mascot Madness" - Have your picture taken with local business & school mascots including: MadAnt, "Cosmo" from STAR Financial Bank, "Cowabunga Caffie" from Midwest America Federal Credit Union, Chick-Fil-A Cow, School Mascots from Whitley County area high schools and elementary schools, "Ficey" from the "Fire & Ice" Festival, "Smokey The Bear" as well as Chef Jacob and "Helper"
2 p.m. - Game Show Challenge - "Minute to Win It"
3 p.m. - CCHS Jazz Band and Whitley Street Jazz
Additionally, there will be Game Challenge Tables open throughout the day.  CCHS Game Club members will be available to take on your challenge at chess and other board games.  Go through the food court toward the main entrance to ISMS to find them!
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"Team Un-named" demonstrated trivia prowess, claimed top prize in 2011 PPL Jeopardy Tournament

(Talk of the Town photo provided)
Team "Un-named" was declared the winner of the 2011 Peabody Public Library's Jeopardy Tournament on Tuesday evening. Team members included, from left above, Mark Parker, Janet Stier and Richard DeRemer. All participants received books and Rice-A-Roni. Plans for the much-anticipated 2012 tournament are already well underway.

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Huntington University launches new website

By Ashley Smith

Huntington University launched a new public-facing website today.
The look of has changed to provide a more intuitive navigational structure as well as an improved overall design. Behind the scenes, the new site’s software platform will provide simplified content management and easier updating.
“One of the goals of this project has been to update our ‘front door to the world’ with fresh imagery and contemporary layouts that instantly convey the excellence of a Huntington University education,” said John Paff, executive director of communications. “We also wanted to make it easier for faculty and staff to participate in the ongoing editing and updating of our web content.”
The website was built from the ground up with a new server environment running Ektron CMS400.NET, a robust content management system used by many major corporations and universities.
Thousands of pages and tens of thousands of individual files were painstakingly moved from the old site to the new web system by a diligent team of staff and students, Paff said. Once this phase was complete, more than 50 meetings were scheduled before public launch to enable faculty and staff to carefully review every section of the new web site.
Paff expressed appreciation for the teamwork and collaboration that characterized the 10-month project.
“It has truly been a team effort. I am incredibly grateful for the hard work of many talented individuals, including my colleagues Julie Babb, Jason Boothman, Gary Campbell, Varun Kaushik, Paul Nalliah, Michelle Pyles and Ashley Smith, as well as a dedicated team of student workers: David Barlow, Allison Finley, Kelly Gould, Nick Kight, Erdal Kulgu, Alysse Perez, Monica Salvo, Eric Sells, Brett Swanson and Martin Vivas.”  
Huntington University is a comprehensive Christian college of the liberal arts offering graduate and undergraduate programs in more than 70 academic concentrations. U.S. News & World Report ranks Huntington among the best colleges in the Midwest, and has listed the university as one of America’s Best Colleges. Additionally, Princeton Review has named the institution to its “Best in the Midwest” list. Founded in 1897 by the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, Huntington University is located on a contemporary, lakeside campus in northeast Indiana. The university is a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU).

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March 16, 2011

Special edition shirts on sale for CCHS Boys Basketball team spirit


(Talk of the Town graphic provided) The image, below, shows the design for the special edition shirts created for Saturday's game. Shirts will be available for sale Thursday at the high school.

By Jennifer Zartman Romano

The Columbia City Boys Basketball team's advancement to Semi-State is reaching near-frenzy proportions as local residents are fired up for Saturday's game.
Show your spirit by purchasing a special edition black t-shirt for $10. Fans are urged to wear it Friday in the community and again on Saturday at Huntington High School for the game at 3 p.m.
Shirts will be available for sale at CCHS in the front lobby during lunch periods on Thursday and from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday evening.
Proceeds from the sale of the shirts will benefit the CCHS Boys Basketball Team.
If you are unable to purchase a shirt, but would like to support the team -- please wear black to the game on Saturday.

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CCHS Class of '91 seaching for missing classmates as they prepare for reunion in 2011

The Columbia City High School Class of 1991 is preparing for a reunion later this year and they're searching for a few lost class members.
The following classmates are missing:
Here's who we're missing addresses for from the CCHS class of 1991:
Robert Bellinger, Roger Brewer, Staycee Caster, Lora Collier, Tera Compton, Scott Draper, Jeff Embury, Santos Estor, Kevin Frankart, Michelle Frantz, Todd Gilliom, Tracey Goldwood, Chad Hull, Jeff Johnson, Sherm Keirn, Todd Keiser, Mike McGuigan, Sonia Menchaca Mast, Anna Miller, William "Shane" Minnier, Jammie Phillips, Scott Russell, William Russell, Brent Sunderland, Robert Thompson, Brandi VanEmon, Nathan VanHouten, Randy Weston, Jerry Zorger and Brenda Zumbrun
If you have contact information for any of these Class of 1991 graduates, send an email to Heidi Darley at
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Whitley County EDC's program puts start up businesses on the 'FastTrac' to success

(Talk of the Town file photo by Jennifer Zartman Romano) FastTrac program participant Teresa Ladd and program facilitator Sharon Sallot, below, celebrate another program participant's success upon completion of their learning cycle in 2010, above. Past participants have commented about how helpful FastTrac was in helping them grow their businesses and reach their goals.

Article provided

The Whitley County EDC today announced the start of its third FastTrac New Ventures business planning workshop , which builds upon the successful launch of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Initiative (SBEI) during 2009-10.
SBEI is led by aerospace and defense industry veteran, Bruce Stach; FastTrac facilitator and owner of Shallot Ventures, Sharon Sallot; and SBDC business advisor Scot Goskowicz, who are now completing business coaching with graduates of the fall 2010 FastTrac New Ventures workshop.  
"The EDC’s SBEI business incubation program provides resources for pre-start up, start up and growing businesses to find success in Whitley County," said Stach. "We have exceeded our initial goals for the program and are now looking toward serving this next group of clients in their entrepreneurial development.”
The latest session of SBEI will again incorporate a unique combination of the Kauffman Institute’s FastTrac New Ventures program and personal business coaching provided by seasoned and experienced business owners over a six+ month time frame. FastTrac New Ventures is a practical, hands-on business development program designed to help entrepreneurs to fine tune the skills needed to take their businesses to the next level.  
“Throughout the country, local programs like SBEI have been helping entrepreneurs turn their ideas into viable businesses, promoting innovation and creating jobs. Rather than relying solely on efforts to attract existing businesses from other locations, the Whitley County EDC recognizes the need to help local residents build new businesses from the ground up and support those already in motion,” said EDC president Alan Tio. “Like many others, I have faith in the ability of Whitley County entrepreneurs to jump-start our economy as we continue to move forward by generating revenue and creating new jobs.”
To date, the EDC’s Small Business & Entrepreneurship Initiative has worked with 16 companies that have created or retained 41 jobs and have secured $2.25 million in new investment.   The program was launched in 2009 with a Rural Capacity Grant from the Indiana Office of Community & Rural Affairs, matching funds from the Northeast Indiana Fund and the Whitley County Community Foundation, and in-kind support from the EDC.
The latest FastTrac-based business planning workshop will include representatives of 10 companies focused on business development and strategic planning.  Future program enhancements are already being planned in an ongoing effort to support start up and growth stage companies.  
For more information on the EDC’s Small Business & Entrepreneurship Initiative, please contact program manager Bruce Stach via email at or by calling 244-5506.

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Sirens sounding across Whitley County today to help you prepare for weather emergencies

(Talk of the Town file photo by Jennifer Zartman Romano) Last June, the summer skies grew dark and the weather situation deteriorated rapidly, above, causing chaos in Churubusco's Turtle Town Park during the annual Turtle Days festival. Weather can change quickly - how will your family react when severe weather approaches? Consider practicing your drill tonight at 7 p.m.

By Jennifer Zartman Romano

If you just heard sirens in Whitley County a short while ago, it's all part of the Whitley County Emergency Management office's goal of helping local residents prepare for severe weather.
This is both Severe Weather Awareness Week and National Flood Safety Awareness Week.
According to the Whitley County EMA's Cathy Broxon-Ball, today, Wednesday, March 16, 2011, they are testing emergency sirens mid-morning and they'll be testing them again at approximately 7 p.m. this evening.
Broxon-Ball hopes local families will use the evening's siren as an opportunity to review their own safety plans in the event of a tornado. She also views the sirens as a great time for businesses, schools and other entities to practice their response times in reacting to a severe weather situation.
"This weather safety campaign is promoted by the National Weather Service and encourages citizens to take safety precaution and preparedness steps to protect themselves and their properties from devastating floods," Broxon-Ball stated.
Bad weather situations can happen at any time, during any month of the year, but creating a solid home emergency response plan can make a major difference for your family. Several resources exist to help you. For additional information on weather and flood safety, visit the following links:
NOAA National Weather Service:
Federal Alliance for Safe Homes:
FEMA Flood Safety:

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March 15, 2011

Whitley County Plan Commission holding public hearing tonight on 'Draft D' of comprehensive land use plan

From reports

As we've reported several times in recent months, Whitley County has been developing a new Comprehensive Plan for land use and development over the last year. The county and planning consultant, Ground Rules, Inc. will be holding a public hearing tonight, Tuesday, March 15, 2011 at 7 p.m. in meeting room A/B on the lower level of the Whitley County Government Center, 220 W. Van Buren Street in Columbia City.  
The purpose of the hearing is to seek input from the Whitley County community about Draft D as part of the official adoption process. The plan has been available for review in the Whitley County Joint Planning and Building Department, inside the Whitley County Government Center during office hours, for several weeks. The document can also be viewed online at or by clicking here.

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Indiana General Assembly formally supports Israel

By Erin Reece

With Holocaust survivor and author Hart Hasten looking on from the Senate balcony, State Senator Jim Banks of Columbia City and his colleagues passed House Concurrent Resolution 12 on Monday, which formalizes support of the Indiana General Assembly toward Israel.
“As the longest-standing democracy in the Middle East, it’s important for Americans to recognize Israel as our steadfast ally,” said Banks. “In these times of uncertainty, this resolution sends reassurance to the Israeli people that they have our continued support.”
Hasten wrote a personal memoir of his experiences during the Holocaust entitled “I Shall Not Die!”
Banks co-authored a non-binding resolution promoting democracy worldwide – particularly in the Middle East where constant violence and turmoil is fueled by heavy-handed regimes.
Recent news suggests that threats to the Israeli democracy are on the rise. Troubles in Cairo and Libya, as well as other neighboring nations in the region put pressure on Israel’s freedom, Banks said.
“Indiana’s elected officials recognize Israel has a right to defend itself against attacks and support our democratic allies,” Banks said.
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Library celebrates budding writers, illustrators with annual young author's contest

(Talk of the Town file photo by Jennifer Zartman Romano) Above, from left, winners in the 2010 PBS Go Kids Young Writer's Contest at Peabody Public Library included Kiersten Stalling, Dillon Sheiss, James Romano and Drew Sigler.

Article provided

It’s time for the PBS Kids Go! Writers Contest.  
Once again, the Peabody Public Library is accepting stories written and illustrated by local children in kindergarten through third grade.  The PBS Kids Go! Writers Contest (formally the Reading Rainbow Writers Contest) has been a favorite of local children as a way to show off their writing and illustrating talents.  Local winning participants will be forwarded on to PBS to compete at the regional level.  
This year, the Peabody Public Library has decided to open the contest to 4th and 5th grade students.  The winners in grades 4 and 5 will be kept at the local level.
Information and registration forms are available in the Children’s Department at Peabody Public Library.  Entries will be accepted from kindergarten through fifth grade students until Wednesday, April 13, 2011.  
A panel of judges will review the entries and select winners in each age group on April 14.  
An Awards Ceremony honoring the students who entered the contest will be held on Wednesday, April 20 at 4 p.m. in the Robert Brittain Auditorium at Peabody Public Library.  Each child who enters the contest will receive a prize and a certificate. Local winners will be announced and share their stories. The first place winners’ stories for kindergarten through third grade will be sent on to the regional PBS Kids Go! Writers Contest.
If you have any questions about the contest, contact the Children’s Department at the Peabody Public Library at 244-5541.

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CC Deli's Soups of the Week

The following soups will be served for the remainder of the week at the CC Deli:
Wednesday: White Chili* and Potato Bacon and Broccoli Cheese
Thursday: Chicken & Rice and Cheesy Potato
Friday: Veggie Beef* and Vegetarian Veggie
Soups with a * are gluten free.
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St. Paul of the Cross gears up for annual St. Pat's Party on Saturday night

From reports

St. Paul of the Cross Catholic Church in Columbia City will be hosting their annual St. Pat's Party this Saturday, March 19, 2011, following 5 p.m. Mass.
Dinner will feature corned beef and cabbage and much more. Games are planned for children to enjoy and adults can partake in a euchre tournament or win some great raffle prizes.
Tickets are $5 per person at the door. Children ages 10 and under eat for free.
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Snapshots: CCHS Eagles celebrate Regional win

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Whitley County 4-H's annual fish and tenderloin fry dinner set for Friday night

From reports

The Whitley County 4-H will host their annual fish and tenderloin dinner at the fairgrounds this Friday, March 18, 2011, from 4 to 8 p.m. in the 4-H Center Building.  In addition to dinner, look forward to a variety of children's games and activities as part of the local clubs' annual Fun Night celebrations. The all-you-can-eat dinner is $8.50 for adults, $4.50 for children ages 6-12 and free for children under 5.
The Fun Night booths open at 4:40 p.m. Additionally, a silent auction is planned. All funds raised support Whitley County 4-H.
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Etna United Methodist hosting annual Irish dinner

From reports

Etna United Methodist Church will be hosting their third annual Traditional Irish Dinner this Saturday, March 19, 2011, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the church.
Dinner will include corned beef and cabbage, Irish soda bread, Irish casserole, scones, apple cake and more. Admission is a freewill offering.
Etna United Methodist Church is located at 4255 West 750 North in the village of Etna.
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March 14, 2011

Whitley County Master Gardeners presenting free April seminar entitled 'Trees: Pests, Pruning and Planting'

The Whitley County Master Gardeners are presenting a seminar entitled “TREES: Pests, Pruning & Planting” on Saturday, April 16, 2011, at the Peabody Public Library in Columbia City from 9 a.m. to noon.  
Kasey Krouse, urban forester and projects manager for Davey Resource Group, will discuss invasive species management, including the Emerald Ash Borer.  He will also discuss proper tree planting and pruning techniques for woody plants.  Tree identification will be included in the seminar with a walk in Morsches Park, Columbia City.  
Everyone is welcome and registration is not required.
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March 12, 2011

Paul Davis Restoration provides spring storm safety tips to help prevent water and fire damage

Article provided

Spring is almost here officially and with it comes the threat for severe weather.
Thunderstorms, heavy rain, flooding, lightning, hail and tornadoes are all too common during this time of year, and can cause significant damage to homes in minutes.

Paul Davis Restoration and Remodeling of northern Indiana, a leading provider of fire and water damage clean up and restoration services, offers consumers some safety measures to protect their family and property.
According to Dan Leffers, Paul Davis office owner, every homeowner should have a disaster plan and a basic emergency kit for their family should a severe storm strike. A family disaster plan should include where to assemble in the house when the storm hits (i.e., sturdy interior room or basement) and the nearest designated storm shelter if you have time to evacuate.

The Basic Emergency Kit should include:
• Water – one gallon of water per person and pets per day for at least three days.
• Food – at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food for adults, children, babies and pets, along with a can opener.
• Battery-powered or hand crank commercial radio and a NOAA Weather Radio.
• Cell Phone with charger.
• Flashlight
• First aid kit – sterile dressings; antibiotic ointment; scissors; thermometer; non-prescription drugs such as pain relievers; prescription medications and supplies.
• Copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in waterproof container.
• Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person.
• Fire Extinguisher

Below are some valuable tips for protecting your property from severe weather.
• Secure major appliances to the wall studs or foundation of your home using "L" brackets.
• Inspect your roof and repair any loose shingles to prevent leakage from water and winds, and remove debris.
• Repair siding, awnings, gutters, downspouts and brackets if loose or damaged.
• Clear yard of loose articles and debris. Keep yard tools, patio furniture, grills, garbage cans and toys stored when not in use.
• Trim trees and shrubs to prevent branches from breaking off during high winds.

According to Leffers, if damage to your home or business is significant, contact a properly licensed professional or company in the property loss restoration and emergency mitigation service industry. Look for certifications from The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC). For more information on Paul Davis Restoration, click here.

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March 11, 2011

Cathy Heritier announces candidacy for Mayor of Columbia City

(Talk of the Town photo by Jennifer Zartman Romano) Cathy Heritier, below in her downtown Columbia City business, has announced her candidacy to run for Mayor.

By Jennifer Zartman Romano

Entrepreneur and downtown Columbia City business woman Cathy Heritier has announced her candidacy for Mayor of Columbia City.
Heritier, a 1989 Columbia City Joint High School graduate and lifelong Whitley County resident, attended Indiana-Purdue University at Fort Wayne.
Growing up on Dowell Road, Heritier says, "I'm a farm girl at heart." For the past four years, Heritier has served as the vice president of Whitley County 4-H Inc.
Though she's spent the majority of her life connecting to her rural roots, Heritier has been an integral part of the heartbeat in downtown Columbia City.
"I have two decades worth of experience in business in downtown Columbia City," Heritier said. For 11 years, she worked at Our Compliments, a gift and collectible shop at the corner of Van Buren and Line Streets. 13 years ago, she began a corporate gift basket business and has been the owner of Bravo Home & Gift for the past 13 years.
"I'm looking at the position (Mayor) as a way to utilize the skills I've developed over the years," she said. "I have had experiences down here and listened and talked to fellow business owners for years."
A strong fiscal conservative, Heritier is already looking at the financial end of how city government has been run in the past and how it could be done more conservatively in the future.
"In running a business, fiscal responsibility is very important. Being a downtown business owner for 13 years absolutely requires fiscal conservatism."
"I believe with these experiences, knowing first what it takes to run a successful business and how to work well with others. These will be wonderful skills to take forward into the Mayor's office," she continued.
Heritier feels her experience in leading the 4-H program has facilitated great leadership development.
"I feel like I can flourish and share many new ideas," she said.
"I can be very diplomatic and as Mayor, I feel this is a very strong skill I have," she said.
Heritier's diplomatic skills, in particular her ability to bring people of many points of view together, she believes could be particularly advantageous in political circles.
"We need to bring Repubicans and Democrats together to make this city great," she added.
To Heritier, becoming Mayor or becoming involved in politics is not a path she anticipated taking, but she feels called to take a leadership role in ensuring economic develop, good stewardship of resources and positive growth for the city.
"I have a vested interest in this town and its economic structure," she said. "Without that, I cannot function and people around me cannot function. Without jobs, we cannot expect people to shop in our community. We need to get back to the basics of what makes our community work."
"I am about Columbia City not only because we're raising our children here and I've built a business here," Heritier said. "My entire heart is in this. I have invested my life and soul in this community."
Having not previously held political office, Heritier believes she is uniquely qualified to pursue the Mayor's office.
"I'm looking at this from a totally fresh perspective," she said, adding that she will be able to move things around, make changes and improve things without dwelling on what has been done in the past.
Heritier and her husband, Christian, have been married for 11 years. They have a son, Julian, and a daughter, Marley.

Mayor Jim Fleck announced earlier this year that he does not plan to seek re-election in November. Heritier is only the second woman to run for Mayor of Columbia City and no woman, to date, has ever been elected to that position.

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Columbia City High School students ‘blast off’ into engineering and technology fields


(Talk of the Town photos provided) Below, Dr. David Wolf, a NASA astronaut, speaks with students at a Project Lead the Way student conference on March 4, encouraging them to pursue careers in science and technology. Above, students observe an engineering demonstration from the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI.

By Jamie Olson

Four students from Columbia City High School recently joined over 150 peers from around the state for the Project Lead the Way (PLTW) student conference featuring keynote speaker NASA astronaut David Wolf. The March 4 event—hosted by the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI)—fueled teens’ interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) through engaging hands-on activities and career-themed sessions.

Leading authorities across the nation point to STEM-related industries as critical to the country’s growth in an increasingly competitive global economy. But in order to pioneer innovations in these vital fields, the U.S. must develop a workforce with the best STEM education and training in the world. PLTW aims to do just that.

The Project Lead the Way student conference is part of a larger national program that partners with middle schools and high schools to provide a rigorous and relevant STEM education. Through an engaging, hands-on curriculum, PLTW encourages the development of problem-solving skills, critical thinking, creative and innovative reasoning and a love of learning that are a proven path to college and career success in STEM-related fields.

Wolf, an accomplished astronaut, engineer and research scientist, was this year’s featured guest. "I definitely owe credit for any of my accomplishments to the fine academic institutions of Indiana, including IUPUI, which provided the knowledge and inspiration necessary to persevere," said Wolf, a native Hoosier who also earned a Purdue University B.S. in Electrical Engineering and a Doctorate of Medicine from Indiana University, in addition to his honorary Doctorate. "It’s great to see these students taking their education seriously early-on—they’re heading in the right direction to make a meaningful impact on our world."

During the conference, students participated in hands-on sessions with activities in 3D computer generated modeling, nanoenergy, live a/v, motorsports engineering, biomechanical analysis, and more. Leading professionals also shared their real-world knowledge and experiences with students through career sessions related to energy engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, computer engineering, biomedical engineering, motorsports engineering, computer graphics and more.

Freshman Kaitlin Moore was among the Columbia City High School students who attended the conference. Moore enjoys hands-on projects and experimentation and dreams of one day becoming a biomedical engineer. Commenting on her dream of helping people through biomedical engineering and prosthetics, Moore said she’d like knowing, "‘I did this so that someone could walk,’ or, ‘I did this so that somebody can have this part for some other important thing.’" She also really enjoyed the motorsports career session with Lucas Oil Racing team members. "Just having the driver there and knowing what he’s mentally thinking about when he goes out there in the car to drive down the drag strip" was "definitely the best thing," she said following the morning’s events.

Hosting the PLTW conference for the seventh time, IUPUI has brought hundreds of students, teachers and professionals together through the years to ignite a passion for innovative excellence in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

"The Project Lead the Way conference is one of our favorite events each year," said Dr. David Russomanno, Dean of the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI. "We really value this opportunity to help students get a concrete picture of the possibilities open to them in engineering and technology – related fields. We see this conference as a key part of students’ development and we are thankful for the opportunity to work with the Department of Education, PLTW, local businesses and schools to make this fantastic event possible."

For more information, visit

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A call to action for greater safety along US 30

Watching vehicles run red lights along US 30 in Whitley County is,  unfortunately, something many residents see all too frequently. A local resident believes it is time for a call to action regarding improving safety and awareness of these dangerous intersections. Read what Meghan Lawrence has to say today on Community Voices.

If you'd like to speak out on a matter of local importance, send your letters to:

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March 10, 2011

South Whitley Town Council agrees to move forward with bond funding for sewer project

From the Tribune-News

Come summer, work will resume in South Whitley on Phase II of the sanitary/storm sewer upgrades.
After hearing the results of a rate impact study from Jeff Rowe of Umbaugh & Associates accounting firm and a report from Sue Beezley, bond counsel with Bingham & McHale Attorneys, the town council adopted a resolution to proceed with bond funding for the project.
Previous to the vote, the council also conducted a public hearing.  During this hearing, residents were able to hear from both Angela Hoffman, with Region 3A, about a grant application to defray $600,000 of the cost of the $3.5 million project, and Nathan Anderson, engineer with Fleis & Vandenbrink, who explained what the project entails.
Hoffman and Anderson were able to answer several questions from the audience.
The project is mandated by both the Environmental Protection Agency and the Indiana Department of Environmental Resources who have required the town to stop dumping raw sewage into the Eel River during storm events.  South Whitley is not alone in meeting these requirements; all over the state cities are being held to the new standards.
Phase II will consist of installation of a new 24 inch interceptor, disconnection of direct inflows to the sanitary sewer such as downspouts, and improvements at the wastewater treatment plant.  The council will soon put an ordinance into place requiring downspout disconnection and establishing fines for noncompliance.
As expected with any project of this magnitude, sewer rates will go up to help cover the cost.  Hoffman explained that currently the rate is $36.28 for 4,000 gallons; that rate will increase by over 65% if the town is not able to get the $600,000 grant.  However, with the grant the rate will go up by only 52% to $55.32 per 4,000 gallons.  Hoffman is collecting letters from residents to submit with the grant application to increase the town’s chance of success.
With the yearly spring townwide garage sale approaching, Joan Eberhart said that the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce would like to work with the town to make the sale a two day event calling it the “South Whitley Annual Garage Sale and Craft Festival”.   Their idea is to include vendors on Mulberry Street, but Utilities Manager Dennis Eberhart said that there is not a good ready power source there.  An alternative street may be used for vendors.
In the ongoing problem with repairs to the Green Parrot Bar and Grill, attorney Greg Hockemeyer said that a survey has shown that there is not encroachment of the Parrot building onto the neighboring Deaton property at ground level.  However, since the building leans, if a plumb wall was put in it would cross the line by a little over half a foot.  The council discussed giving owners Randy and Linda Striggle a deadline for repairs, but decided to hold off until March when John Dunn said that there is some hope of ground being deeded over between property owners to solve the problem.
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Eagles Auxiliary to host Irish evening of 'fun'-raising on March 12

By Jennifer Zartman Romano

Eagles Auxiliary Post 1906 will be hosting a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society on March 12, 2011, at 8:30 p.m. at the Eagles Lodge on the corner of Line and Van Buren Streets in Columbia City. Prior to the evening activities, an Irish meal will be served from 6 to 8 p.m. by the Eagles Lodge members. All events are open to the community.
Many activities are planned throughout the evening, including prizes for the most authentic Irish clothing and the person wearing the most green clothing. Additional fundraising opportunities will be offered throughout the evening.
The Lemon Brothers Band will perform and DJ Steve Adair will provide additional entertainment throughout the evening, as late as midnight.
"I believe a small group of the Red Hat Dancers will do the Irish Jig for us and teach it to all who are interested," said one of the event's coordinators, Barb Lemon. Lemon added that there is no need to RSVP for the evening entertainment. "Just come and support this worthy cause which is close to this family's heart as we lost three immediate members to cancer  during a 2-1/2 yr. period from 2006-2008."
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Run for Jesus planned as part of Whitley County's National Day of Prayer on April 30

Whitley County will be hosting a 5K Walk and Run for Jesus on April 30, 2011, at 9 a.m.  This race is to promote the National Day of Prayer.  Participants will be encouraged to lift our community up in prayer while running or walking.
The cost is $10 for pre-registered runners by April 23 and $15 for the day of the race.  Pre-registration can be mailed to: Kim Bolinger, 1971 S. Kleespie Ct., Columbia City, IN  46725.
Race day registration begins at 7:30 a.m. at the Morsches Park Pavilion in Columbia City.  Awards will be given for male/female (overall and age groups).
For more information, contact Kim Bolinger at 260-244-4480 or Suzie Langohr at 260-229-1037.  Entry forms can be found on
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March 09, 2011

Another kind of March Madness about to overtake Northern Heights Elementary School

(Talk of the Town photo by Kelley Sheiss) A dedicated group of volunteers met recently to finalize plans for the upcoming March Madness school carnival at Northern Heights Elementary School. Above, clockwise from left, is Meggan Hoag, Stacy Geiger, Cheryl Stalter, Barry Nelson, Tim Martz, JoAnn Butler and Jeni Miller.

By Kelley Sheiss

While many people are preparing to fill out basketball brackets, a different kind of March Madness is in the works at Northern Heights Elementary School.
On Saturday, March 19 from 5 to 7:30 p.m., Parents in Education (PIE) at Northern Heights Elementary School will be hosting a free carnival open to the community.   Events include games, a cake walk and cake decorating contest, food and a fantastic raffle featuring the chance to win Disney park hopper passes, an iPOD touch and a get-away to Wolf Lake Lodge.  
New this year is a "one price plays all night" wristband for all the games at March Madness. They are available presale only through March 16 by contacting the school at 691-2371.  
In addition, if you would like to participate in the cake decorating contest, donate an item for the cake walk, or donate a raffle prize, please call the school office by March 18.   
This is the PIE group's biggest fundraiser of the year and they encourage everyone to join them in a great evening of family fun.

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Jump Ropers to present program at Peabody Public Library on March 21

The Faith Christian Academy Jump Rope Club, coordinated by teacher Deanna Thompson, will be having their first-ever performance on Monday, March 21, 2011, at 6:30 p.m.  The program will be held at Peabody Public Library's Robert E. Brittain Auditorium.  
The community is invited to attend and watch the school's jump rope club members demonstrate partner tricks, horseshoe group routines, long rope jumping and of course the always popular “Double Dutch.” 

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Chamber offers 10-hour OSHA training session

The Whitley County Chamber of Commerce is partnering with M&M Crown Corporation to provide a ten hour OSHA Compliance Training Certificate Class in April.  
The class will be held on April 19 and April 20 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day in the Northeastern REMC's meeting room at 4901 East Park 30 Drive, Columbia City. Registration is $235 for Chamber members, $265 for non-members. Any registrations received after April 12 cost an additional $20.
For more information, visit for a printable version of the form or to pre-register on-line.
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Interesting seminars sought for upcoming Whitley County EXPOsed

There is a lot to enjoy at the upcoming Whitley County EXPOsed, from live stage entertainment, fashion shows, cooking demonstrations to pictures with mascots!
The Whitley County Chamber of Commerce is currently looking for interesting, engaging seminars to offer during the EXPO. The EXPO is slated for Saturday, March 19, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Indian Springs Middle School.
If you have a seminar you would like to share or have an entertainment suggestion, please contact either the chamber office at 248-8131, or contact Erica Miller at 244-9622.
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Learn to spot severe weather at upcoming training session led by National Weather Service

By Jennifer Zartman Romano

With spring approaching, there are bound to be some severe weather days.
If you're interested in learning more about weather and how to spot severe storms, tornados and other concerning situations, consider attending The National Weather Service of Northern Indiana's upcoming semi-annual Skywarn Spotter Seminar.
The event will be held on March 10, 2011, beginning at 7 p.m. The seminar will beheld at Crestview Junior High's auditorum in Huntington, just across from Parkview Huntington Hospital.
This seminar will last approximately two hours and will include slide and video presentations of severe thunderstorms and tornados. Additionally, participants will learn the stages of storm development, reporting procedures and spotter safety.
Please arrive early to register so that the program can begin promptly at 7 p.m.
If you have questions, contact Cathy Broxon-Ball of the Whitley County EMA office at 248-3167 or via email at
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March 08, 2011

Highly anticipated art auction showcases the work of Passages clients, raising funds for ongoing art program

(Talk of the Town artwork provided) The piece above, a cooperative effort of two artists, both Passages Inc. clients, Than Boutelle and Amber Coverstone, is one of more than 60 pieces that will be available at the upcoming Paintings, Pickles & Patrick art auction fundraiser to support the Passages Inc.'s art program.

By Jennifer Zartman Romano

Creative self-expression through art is a wonderful thing. Artwork in various forms can be a vehicle to express emotions, mood and feeling.
Disabled adults through Passages Inc. enjoy regular opportunities to express their creativity and art skills through the organization's art program. Truly, Passages Inc. has some amazingly talented artists who excell in the areas of painting, drawing and photography.
Noticing these awe-inspiring works of art, members of a volunteer committee along with Passages Inc. president Tom O'Neill began planning an event to showcawse the art. With the participating of the artists, it was decided that Passages Inc. would plan a large scale public auction event as a means of providing continuous funding to maintain the art program even in lean years when it might be tempting to reserve vital funds for more pressing client needs like housing or care.
Under the direction of Passages Inc. employee Candy Pease, the art program has been up and running for several years. There have been small scale art auctions in the past, but the upcoming event will likely top them all in scale and, hopefully, funds raised for the program.
Paintings, Pickles and Patrick is slated for Thursday, March 17, 2011, from 5 to 7:30 p.m. in the Touchstone Energy Room at Northeastern REMC, located in the Park 30 business park.
The St. Patrick's Day event will feature more than 60 pieces of artwork by Passages Inc. clients -- each piece hand selected by volunteers Mike DeFreeuw and September McConnell. Many pieces have been framed and matted to be on display during the event. Attendees will have the opportunity to place bids and,
hopefully, take home a piece of artwork.
According to Pease, many of the artists whose pieces will be available for sale will be in attendance at the auction as well, each feeling a great sense of pride in their work. In all, 16 artists will have their work showcased in this event.
Proceeds from the sale of the art will ensure Passages' art program continues in perpetuity. All purchases above the opening bid price will be tax deductible, offering buyers an additional incentive to support the program and to purchase some amazing pieces of artwork.
Heavy hors d' oeuvres will be prepared by Kim  Oddou of Pickles Cafe in Dunfee, including a delectable assortment of Irish themed treats.
"If you cannot attend, we will be accepting the donation of funds or art supplies here at the Passages office," said Tammy Nickolson of Passages. Additionally, Nickolson said her office would be willing to take proxy bids for anyone interested in bidding on the artwork, but who may be unable to attend the art auction.
Admission to the art auction is free, however, reservations are requested by March 14. To RSVP, call 244-7688 or email

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Whitley County Genealogical Society recognizes women with First Family certification

(Talk of the Town photo provided) The Whitley County Genealogical Society recently recognized two women with First Family certificates, recognizing their genealogical efforts in tracing their ancestry back to  1849 in Whitley County. Above, from left, is First Family certificate recipient Pam Blain-Bingham, Whitley County Genealogical Society president Charlotte Blair and First Family certificate recipient Christine Blain Melcher.

Article provided

The Whitley County Genealogical Society recently presented First Family certificates to Pam Blain-Bingham and Christine Blain Melcher.  Their First Family ancestors are Alexander M. Blain and William A. Blain who settled in Troy Township in 1849.
Direct descendants of early settlers of Whitley County may become a member of First Families by proving that their ancestor or ancestors lived within the boundaries of present-day Whitley County on or before December 31, 1850, and that they are direct descendants of these early settlers.
Additionally, direct descendants of later settlers of Whitley County may become a member of Pioneer Families.  Applicants must prove that their ancestors lived within the boundaries of present-day Whitley County between December 31, 1850, and December 31, 1870.
For more information about First Family or Pioneer Family applications, leave a message at the Whitley County Historical Museum at 244-6372 or visit the Genealogical Society’s website The website provides a wealth of information regarding Whitley County's history and early citizens.

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Program offers incentives for commercial, industrial city electric customers who seek efficient energy usage

Article provided

The City of Columbia City recently launched an energy efficiency program through its wholesale power supplier that encourages commercial and industrial customers to reduce their energy usage and save money.
The Indiana Municipal Power Agency (IMPA) and the City of Columbia City, offers qualified business customers cash incentives for a variety of energy efficiency measures involving lighting, motors, cooling and other equipment. Perhaps, even more importantly, the proven technology will help customers operate more efficiently once implemented, bringing years of energy saving benefits to local participating businesses.
"The IMPA Energy Efficiency program offered by the City of Columbia City can help our commercial and industrial customers get the most from their energy dollars by installing proven energy saving technologies," said Larry Whetstone, Columbia City electric superintendent.
"We are committed to supporting energy efficiency," stated Raj Rao, president and CEO of the IMPA. "This program is just one of the ways we can help our members' customers realize energy savings in a cost-effective and environmentally friendly manner."
Interested commercial and industrial customers should first contact the Columbia City Electric Department at 248-5115 to obtain a brochure and application form. To apply for a cash incentive, customers must fill out the application form and return it to the IMPA with the supporting documentation described on the application. Currently, cash rebates are offered to qualified commercial and industrial customers in the following areas: energy efficient lighting, motors, fans and drives; heating, ventilation and air conditioning; and refrigeration, food service and controls.
The IMPA Energy Efficiency Program is only available to commercial and industrial customers of municipal utilities which are members of the IMPA, such as Columbia City Utilities.
For more information about incentives avialable to your business, call the Columbia City Electric Department at 248-5115. An IMPA Energy Efficiency program brochure  and application can be downloaded at
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Proposed bill would enable pharmacies to serve as a drop-off site for unwanted prescription drugs

By Erin Reece

A key Senate committee is set to hear a bill sponsored by State Senator Jim Banks of Columbia City creating a statewide prescription drug take-back program to help curb abuse by young Hoosiers.
Banks said the Senate Committee on Health and Provider Services will consider House Bill 1121 at 9 a.m. on Wednesday in the Senate Chamber. For those unable to attend the meeting, constituents may watch the proceedings live at
One in every five high school students has taken a prescription drug such as OxyContin, Percocet, Vicodin, Adderall, Ritalin or Xanax without a doctor's prescription, according to 2009 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey.
U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency officials said the majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, usually from the home medicine cabinet. Banks said many Hoosiers do not know how to responsibly dispose of their prescriptions - often flushing them away or putting them in the trash, both potential hazards.
"If passed, Hoosiers could dispose of unused prescription medications or any other controlled substances like painkillers at participating pharmacies," Banks said. "By increasing the accessibility of drop-off locations, fewer youths could get their hands on expired or unwanted drugs."
This legislation would authorize the Board of Pharmacy to write regulatory rules to implement the program. Banks said this move would help ensure medications are disposed of safely and securely.
"Expanding take-back efforts nationwide is critical in the prevention of prescription drug abuse and safeguarding the environment," Banks said. "I look forward to shepherding this legislation through the Indiana Senate."
Currently, federal law mandates law enforcement to be present at drop-off sites but Banks' legislation would not require a police officer to be on site at a pharmacy.
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March 07, 2011

Columbia City Redevelopment Commission meets Tuesday in City Hall

The Columbia City Redevelopment Commission will meet Tuesday, March 8, 2011, at noon in the council chambers on the second floor of City Hall.
Topics of discussion will include the 2010 Annual Report and a review of Facade Grant applications. This meeting is open to the public and anyone with an interest in the redevelopment of downtown Columbia City is invited to attend.
Redevelopment Commission members include Carl Siler, Kevin Snell, Belinda Hawn, Eddie Beagles and Jerry Freewalt.
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Conley & Koontz Equine Hospital celebrates first year of operation in Coesse

(Talk of the Town file photo by Jennifer Zartman Romano) Conley & Koontz Equine Hospital, shown above shortly after completion in 2010, recently celebrated their first anniversary. The facility is located in the village of Coesse on Whitley County's east side. Below, residents toured the facility's state of the art operating rooms during the grand opening of the hospital on January 24, 2010.

Article provided

Conley & Koontz Equine Hospital announced today that the facility has celebrated its first year in operation by hosting a continuing education session with 20 equine veterinarians from throughout Indiana.
“We have met our goal of establishing a first-class medical facility to serve clients from throughout Indiana, Michigan nd Ohio,” said CEO Dr. Rob Koontz. “Our facility is quickly becoming a center of excellence for equine care in the Midwest.”
The 13,000 square foot facility is located at the Southeast intersection of US 30 East & County Road 500 East.  Partners Dr. Ron Conley and Dr. Rob Koontz merged heir veterinary practices and hired Board-certified equine surgeon Dr. Ryan Rothenbuhler, and added other staff to support the enhanced operations.  The facility now has 12 full time employees, which includes four registered veterinary technicians.  
Owners Conley and Koontz continue to explore opportunities to expand the facility’s capabilities.  On January 29, 2011, they held a continuing education seminar for over 20 veterinarians from around the state of Indiana.  Nationally known speakers Mary Beth Whitcomb and Kent Carter led a discussion about lameness and lameness ultrasound.  Conley and Koontz are also focused on increasing community outreach to include participating in local horse shows and sponsoring 4H vaccine clinics.   
“We are very pleased to be involved in the local community at this point in our center’s development,” said vice president Dr. Ron Conley. “Our entire team believes in our mission to provide the highest quality equine medical and surgical services, which includes outreach to horse owners throughout Northeast Indiana.”
IN 2009, Whitley County Council approved a tax abatement to phase-in new property taxes on real property improvements associated with the new building project.  The Whitley County EDC and the Indiana Small Business Development Center continue to support the company’s business development goals.  

About Conley & Koontz Equine Hospital

Conley & Koontz Equine Hospital is a full-service equine medical and surgical center located on US Highway 30 just 10 miles west of Interstate 69.  The facility offers advanced specialty care, 24-hour emergency treatment, and diagnostic services for all breeds and disciplines of horses.  Conley & Koontz Equine Hospital brings together the practices of two recognized Northeast Indiana equine veterinarians and the only Board-certified equine surgeon in private practice in the region.  For more information about the facility, visit

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Skillman praises Hoosier farmers

Lt. Governor Becky Skillman shares praise for Indiana's farmers during Agriculture Appreciation Month in today's Community Voices. Click here to read it.

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Sheriff Hodges invites Whitley County residents to join Indiana Sheriffs' Association

Article provided

Sheriff Mark Hodges announced today that Whitley County residents who would like to join him in the fight against crime are invited to become members of the Indiana Sheriffs' Association. Many local citizens and some businesses have already joined the organization in support of their efforts.
The Indiana Sheriffs' Association is a non-profit, professional, educational and service organization dedicated to improving the criminal justice system through education, training, service and the protection of the lives and property of the citizens of Indiana, the sheriff said.
The membership program has been instituted to provide citizens with an opportunity to lend their support of crime prevention and awareness programs, promote public safety and to provide more and improved training for sheriffs and their personnel. Additionally, the organization allows citizens with an opportunity to support the Summer Youth Leadership Camp and college scholarships for teenagers interested in pursuing careers in law enforcement, additional programs provided by the Indiana Sheriffs' Association.
"We are inviting the public to help us better serve them by joining our efforts to provide effective law enforcement," Hodges said. Whitley County residents will soon receive an application for membership in the mail.
"It is difficult to get an application to everyone who might want to join the Indiana Sheriffs' Association as a member," Hodges added. "If you don't receive an application by mail, you can call or stop by the Whitley County Sheriff's Department  front office to obatin one or visit the Indiana Sheriffs' Association website at"
All members will receive a membership card, two star decals and newsletters throughout the year.
Hodges stressed that the application and invitation for membership in the organization are the only way membership will be solicited. He stated that residents will not receive telephone calls or other methods of solicitation that other law enforcement-related organizations in the state are using currently.
"Your decision to join the Indiana Sheriffs' Association will be welcomed as an expression of your support of our Associationand its many worthwhile programs," Hodges concluded.

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CCHS Baseball Boosters reschedule garage sale for April 16

From reports

In light of the recent basketball sectional win, the Columbia City High School Baseball Boosters have rescheduled their annual garage sale for Saturday, April 16, 2011, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Multipurpose Room at the high school.  Look for outstanding bargains -- indoors!
All proceeds are to benefit the high school team.
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CC Deli serving hot pizza subs on Monday, Tuesday of this week

Try something new at the CC Deli this week. On Monday and Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., they will be serving hot pizza subs topped with pepperoni, sausage or the deli meat of your choice and topped with mozzarella cheese.
What follows are the Soups of the Week:
Monday: Tomato Tortellini and French Onion*
Tuesday: Chicken Noodle and Smoky Poblano
Wednesday: White Chili and Stuffed Pepper and Potato Cheese
Thursday: Chicken with Rice and Potato Bacon
Friday: Veggie Beef* and Clam Chowder

* notes the soups that are gluten free

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March 06, 2011

CCHS Eagles win Sectional Title

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Grace Lutheran Church to host 'Fat Tuesday Tenderloin Fry' this week

Grace Lutheran Church in Columbia City is holding its annual “Fat Tuesday Tenderloin Fry."  Fat Tuesday is the last festive day before Ash Wednesday and the beginning of the Lenten season.  Some also call it "Mardi Gras" which is French for Fat Tuesday.
This will be on Fat Tuesday, March 8, 2011 from 4 to 7 p.m.  Prices will be $8.50 for adults, $4.00 for children 6 to 12, and free for children 5 and under.  This price includes an all-you-can-eat tenderloin dinner, beverage and dessert.  Carryout dinners are also available.  This is a cholesterol-free cooked meal.  The supper will be held in the Parish Church Hall at Grace Lutheran Church, 204 North Main Street, Columbia City. Proceeds generated from this fund-raising project will be given as financial support for church activities and outreach.
Gaerte’s frying service is doing the cooking again this year.
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Whitko Dollars for Scholars raising funds with phone-a-thon slated for March 8

Article provided

Dollars for Scholars is an organization you have probably heard of, but do you know what it is or how it works?
Dollars for Scholars is a national organization with local community-based chapters in cities, towns and neighborhoods throughout the United States.
These chapters are volunteer –driven scholarship foundations.
The local chapter for the students in your neighborhoods and towns in Whitley and Kosciusko counties is Whitko Dollars for Scholars.  All money raised stays local and goes to qualifying graduating seniors from Whitko High School every year.
Each spring many seniors submit scholarships applications to apply for the funds raised through the local chapter and many scholarships are granted annually.
The major fundraiser for Whitko Dollars for Scholars is our annual Phone-A-Thon.  Last year the students raised $8,000 in pledges in a four hour period of time! Those pledges were thanks to local folks like you that chose to support the students in our communities as they pursue a higher education.
Some students may go to technical school, some may go to a local college and others may go to a college campus further away.  No matter where the college, or what the major is, a very common denominator is the need for monetary support.
Whitko Dollars for Scholars Phone-A-Thon is March 8 from 4 to 8 p.m. Thirty juniors and seniors from Whitko will meet at the Century Link building in Columbia City.
Century Link has kindly donated the use of their facility and phones for the students to use during the fundraiser.  There are two shifts of students and they work in pairs.  One student makes the call and one does the paper work involved.  Then to complete the smile on the students faces, Pizza Hut has donated pizza for their dinner!
There is a friendly competition that goes on each hour and between the shifts for the amount of funds raised.  Subway, Uptown Marathon, Bones Theatre, North Point Theatre, Kroger, Dairy Queen, and Myer’s Deli have all generously donated prizes for the diligent students making the phone calls and we are very appreciative of all the support.
Please give some thought to how you might be able to assist graduating seniors from Whitko High School take that next step towards continuing their education.  Your support is greatly appreciated.  If you have any questions or would like to donate towards this fund, please contact Sam St.Clair at 723-4194, Rachel LePage or Sara St.Clair at WHS at 723-5146.
Whitko Dollars for Scholars continues to build funds for the endowment so that some day, they will not have to do the annual fund raisers. The money for scholarships each year will then come from the interest from the endowment funds
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March 05, 2011

County EMA director maintains watchful eye as precipitation falls, flood waters rise

By Jennifer Zartman Romano

Whitley County's Emergency Management director Cathy Broxon-Ball continues to watch the melting snow, falling rain and resulting rising water levels in the area with pensivity.
This morning, Broxon-Ball reported that 3/8 of an inch of rain had fallen in the Tri Lakes area overnight, but that she hadn't had further rainfall calculations from other areas of the county yet. With additional precipitation forecasted today and into early next week, Broxon-Ball has reason to be concerned.
"This morning there is a lot more surface water," she stated. "Hopefully this will continue to go down over the course of the day.  Field tiles are fast flowing into the ditches and some ditches are close to overflowing in the normal areas." She stated she was particularly concerned with ditch flooding in the Tri Lakes and SR 9 area toward Columbia City.
"Our weather spotters will continue to watch the incoming weather and the height of the ditches and flowing field tiles," she said. "Some normal roadways are water covered and signs have been placed at these areas for residents to be aware of the high water on the roadways."
Motorists should be cautious as they travel around the county as some areas that may not have been flooded could soon become flooded.
If the situation worsens, sand bagging may be necessary in some areas.
"We have sandbag bundles at South Whitley, Churubusco and Columbia City along with the Highway Dept and in the disaster trailer and Thorncreek Township Fire Department," she added. Thus far, no one has requested sandbags.
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LWC Spotlights John Black: A servant leader across diverse job sectors

(Talk of the Town photo by Kelley Sheiss) John Black sits at the desk of his office at United Way of Whitley County, below. Black has had difficult struggles in his personal and professional life during the past several years, but has found the connections he made with fellow Leadership Whitley County alumni have carried him through the tough times.

By Kelley Sheiss

When John Black sat through the Leadership Whitley County orientation two years ago, he remembered the class was told over the course of the program participants would experience many life events together.    Little did Black realize some of these events would affect him personally and professionally, thus allowing his participation in the LWC program and the connection he made with fellow class members to have a deep, lasting impact.
Several years ago, as the Plant Manager for Dana Corporation in Churubusco, Black became aware of the community’s unique servant leadership program.   He immediately saw the value of supporting employees through the program and serving as a corporate sponsor.
“From a business industry perspective, I saw employees who participated in LWC gain self-confidence and witness their personal growth,” said Black.   He added while he had the opportunity to go through a variety of training programs through Dana, his participation in LWC offered engagement and the opportunity to sharpen his personal skills for the business setting.
A significant event occurred as Black and one of his employees, Bob Sollazzo, embarked on their LWC experience.  It was announced the Dana plant in Churubusco would close.    While Black said he was primed to get immersed in the LWC program, he also realized he would now have to seek new employment.
“LWC became a safety net for me.   My most valuable piece from the program suddenly became personal enrichment,” said Black.    His career path took a diverse detour, leading him to apply for and be hired as the Executive Director of the United Way of Whitley County.    Black said he has seen Leadership Whitley County in action in his new position.    Many LWC alumni serve as United Way volunteers and board members.  “The United Way is other people doing stuff that they are passionate about; they are involved and self-motivated,” said Black, adding these are key characteristics of servant leaders.
Coming out of the program, Black said he was posed with the question “What are you going to do to help others in life?”    On his desk in the United Way office in clear view is his LWC handbook.    Black said the list of graduates is a huge asset and helps him to remain connected in the community.   Other components of the program that have stayed fresh in Black’s mind include the assignment to contact a servant leader who made an impact on his life.    This simple directive from the retreat re-connected Black with a former pastor and Cub Scout leader who helped Black achieve his “God and Country” award when Black was a teenager.
“Harry and I were able to re-establish a meaningful relationship and a sincere emotional connection before his death late last year,” said Black.   He added the program helped him develop his own set of life rules and guiding principles as well as core values.  He was inspired by a speaker during the program to focus on relationships and the attitude of “it’s not what happens to you, but how you handle it that makes the difference.”     The final session on personal mission motivated Black to seek purpose and focus on leaving a meaningful legacy.
Black realizes many LWC participants voluntarily apply for the program, while others may be mandated to go through it by their employers.   Regardless of the way participants find their way to the class, he said there is always value in it and each individual comes away with their own positive experience.
His final words as he encourages community members to participate in future LWC classes:  “LWC offers an abundance of top-drawer motivational and inspirational materials, speakers, and thought enhancing discussions.  You can take advantage of the take-aways and personal development changes according to how much time you are able to immerse yourself into the program.”
For more information on the Leadership Whitley County program, contact LWC Program Director Kelley Sheiss at 213-4045 or, visit their website at or become a fan of LWC on Facebook.

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March 04, 2011

Paul Davis Restoration returns peace of mind when disasters strike

(Talk of the Town photos by Jennifer Zartman Romano) Above, from left, Tim Hearld of Synergid Construction and Dan Leffers, owner of Paul Davis Restoration, stand near a gigantic dryer unit used to fix water damage in the upper floor of a Columbia City business recently. The company has had crews in Whitley County frequently lately fixing similar water damage and flooding issues and last year, they were involved in repairing flood damage at Columbia City High School and tornado damage in central Whitley County.

By Jennifer Zartman Romano

What do the horrific flooding at Columbia City High School last summer and the tornado that tore through Whitley County on October 26, 2011, have in common?
They were both major disasters and both times, a firm with local connections came in to clean up and return peace of mind for local residents.
Professionals with Paul Davis Restoration were onsite within hours of these disasters, cleaning, rebuilding and returning damaged properties to their original state.
Larwill resident Tim Hearld, owner of Synergid construction, works alongside Paul Davis Restoration, providing building services that compliment that company's remediation work.
"Our crews had several projects in Whitley County during the summer flood of 2010," Hearld said. "The biggest loss of the flood was Columbia City High School."
"We were on site within 20 minutes of the call and had four semi trailers of equipment set within six hours time," Hearld recalls. As a graduate of Columbia City Joint High School, it was quite an experience for him to be directly involved with the cleanup of a natural disaster within that building. "With great planning by the high school administrators, the graduation, which was the same evening as the flood, went off without a hitch at Indian Springs."
As you may recall, flooding didn't just damage the high school -- it effected many homes and businesses as well. "We also had multiple crews responding to homeowners losses in both the floods and tornadoes throughout the county," added Hearld.
As spring approaches, flooding is likely to become an issue for many Whitley County homeowners.
"Some of the biggest issues that homeowners face as the snow and ice melt away are the ice dams that form along the valleys and gutters of the roof," he said. "They are formed when the sun melts the snow on the roof in the warm attic area and then is rapidly cooled as it approaches the cooler overhang. Some homeowners are tempted to chip away at this ice. This causes more damage as the surface of the shingle becomes damaged."
Hearld recommends using a snow melt salt or simply allowing the sun to melt these ice dams away. Resulting water stains on the ceiling inside the home can be easily repaired.
"Another issue that is common in the spring is basement flooding," Hearld said. "When the winter frost is still in the ground, any rain usually is shed across the ground instead of being absorbed. Once the frost starts to thaw, rains further saturate the ground and can cause excessive water to seep into basement walls, flood through basement windows, or overpower sump pumps."
"Check with your insurance agent to see if you are covered on these issues. Minor flooding can be a major expense to your budget if you are not covered," Hearld advised. "Basements are usually the hardest hit in the spring, simply due to the subterranean location. Make sure that your sump pump is properly serviced and that downspouts are clear and have a free path for runoff."
If you discover flooding in your basement or on your roof, fast action is key.
"As in any emergency, a quick response mitigates the crisis," he said. "As soon as you see water in the home, or shingles blown from your roof, you should contact your insurance agent. It not only keeps the cost of a potential claim down, it lessens the damage it can do to your home. Call your agent first and they will suggest a firm that has a good track record for getting the problem under control. Paul Davis Restoration can usually be onsite within an hour of initial contact."
Professionals with Paul Davis Restoration deal with a wide variety of natural disasters -- wind damage, flooding, tornados -- and fires in the home as well.
"Paul Davis Restoration and Remodeling deals with all types of weather related insurance loss as well as new construction and remodeling," Hearld said. "We have the equipment and technicians on staff to serve the northern half of the State with the assistance of our other locations in Muncie, Indianapolis, and South Bend."
You might be surprised to learn that Paul Davis Restoration not only deals with the damage to structures, but they also fix what might appear to be destroyed personal possessions as well. It is surprising and almost magical to watch crews take household items that one might expect to be completely ruined and return them to usefulness once again.
"We are the only company in the area that can handle textiles, contents and reconstruction," he said. "In the event of a fire or flood to your home, Paul Davis Restoration can pack out your possessions, clean them and store them in a climate controlled secure facility until your home is restored and ready for their return.
We have state of the art facilities, and equipment, that not only saves time and money for the insurance companies and homeowners, but the items are cleaner than before the insurance loss."
Returning life for residents impacted by disasters back to normal as quickly as possible is something Hearld and others at Paul Davis Associates feel a strong commitment to.
"The remediation of a project varies depending on the severity of the loss," Hearld said. "Once the authorization has been given to proceed with the work, our staff is on site working to get the homeowner back in their home. A full house fire can take months to restore while a minor flood to a basement may take days. We give job schedules up front to the homeowner at the start of the project as well as progress reports weekly. This ensures good communication with the homeowner, insurance company and contractor."
Hearld said they've been busy in Whitley County in recent weeks, primarily with flooding caused by heavy snowfall we experienced this year.
"There have been no catastrophic floods or fires recently, but the steady stream of leaking roofs (no pun intended), kitchen fires, poor drainage to basements, and wind damage keeps our crews busy, sometimes around the clock," he said. "We have 24 hour on call technicians that ensure a quick response if there is an
emergency at your home, no matter what time it is."
Hearld said that while flooding locally has not been catastrophic at this point, Paul Davis Restoration is working hard in an area heavily hit by recent flooding.
"We have several projects ongoing in Portland currently. We have met with Mayor Hosier and the drying process of an entire town has begun," Hearld added. "The rebuilding of those buildings will take months after the water and mud is removed."
Hearld expects the problems in Portland and other areas to get worse in the coming weeks. "With more rains expected today and over the weekend, I am sure the number of problems will increase," he said. "We still have more than enough equipment and staff on hand with the option of help from our other locations as well."
For more information about Paul Davis Restoration, visit their website at or call 1-800-436-7510.

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LWC alumni, guests learn about Eagle Tech at First Friday Networking luncheon

(Talk of the Town photo by Kelley Sheiss)
Leadership Whitley County alumni and guests gathered at Big G's in Columbia City for the March edition of First Friday Networking this afternoon. Eagle Tech director Brady Mullett provided an update on the project-based learning facility (known by many as "New Tech") slated to open at the start of the 2011-2012 school year. In addition to fielding questions from those in attendance, Mullett shared his enthusiasm for the cutting-edge educational initiative offered to high school students in the Whitley County Consolidated School System. The event was held at Big G's Sports Cafe in Columbia City.
First Friday Networking is a monthly gathering of Leadership Whitley County alumni, providing an opportunity for networking and information sharing.   For more information on Leadership Whitley County, visit their website at

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Whitley County Extension seeking board members

From reports

Are you interested in learning more about Purdue Extension? Have you ever wondered what all is involved in the responsibilities of the Extension board of directors?
Now is your chance to get involved by running for a seat on the Whitley County Extension Board. The annual board election will be held Monday, March 21, 2011,  at 6 p.m. at the Whitley County 4-H Center Building.
The board meets four to six times a year in addition to the annual meeting.  The board helps to determine policy and programming in Whitley County, evaluates the Educators in our office, and works with budget issues for Extension in Whitley County.  
If you are interested in running for the board, contact Al Gaff, 723-4627.

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Explore your child's educational options at Faith Christian Academy's open house March 7

(Talk of the Town file photo by Jennifer Zartman Romano) A group of elementary school students work on a project-based learning project with peers during a science lab at Faith Christian Academy. Their teacher, Karen Van Voorst, stands at right.

By Jennifer Zartman Romano

It is nice to have many educational options for families available in Whitley County, including access to a faith-based education through Faith Christian Academy.
Located on SR 205, just north of US 30 near Eagle Glen, Faith Christian Academy is a non-denominational Christian school featuring an inclusive, child-centric learning environment. A challenging curriculum that is tailored to the individual needs of students, small class sizes and the daily presence of God in the classroom are just a few of the many reasons why many local families choose Faith Christian Academy for students in pre-school through Grade 8.
Faith Christian Academy's families are hosting an Open House at the school on Monday, March 7, 2011, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Interested families are invited to attend and learn more about the benefits of a personalized education in a Christian school environment.
"This is an excellent opportunity for others to see what we have to offer and what sets an education at Faith Christian Academy apart," said school administrator Rev. Larry Schmoekel. 

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His days may be numbered

(Talk of the Town photo by Jennifer Zartman Romano) A friendly reminder of winter's better days, this snowman is still standing tall welcoming motorists to Andy's Carwash in Columbia City. With the warm weather today, it is questionable whether he'll make it until tomorrow -- but if he does, there's more snow in the forecast this weekend.

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LWC's First Friday Networking luncheon is today

From reports

Leadership Whitley County’s March First Friday Networking is today, Friday, March 4, 2011, from noon to 1 p.m. in the meeting room at Big G's Sports Cafe.   Join fellow alums and class members for lunch, networking and the opportunity to learn more about Eagle Tech as Brady Mullett leads a presentation at 12:30 p.m.   Leadership Whitley County members and guests are welcome to attend.
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March 03, 2011

Enjoy a bountiful harvest of summer fruits and veggies as a shareholder in Goldwood Gardens CSA


(Talk of the Town photos provided) Above, the iconic barn at Goldwood Gardens, above, serves as one of four distribution points for shareholders in the Goldwood Gardens CSA program, a program that provides participants with a giant box of fruits and vegetables during the 20-week summer growing season. Below, a glimpse of what CSA investors receive each week during the summer. At bottom, Goldwood Gardens grows more than 60 varieties of tomatoes -- a sampling of which CSA participants enjoy during the summer. You don't personally need a green thumb to enjoy fresh produce all summer!

By Jennifer Zartman Romano

Finding healthy, locally grown fruits and vegetables couldn't be any easier these days -- with Whitley County's farmers markets acting as a major source of all that's good. But, if you want to make it one step easier, considering joining a Community Supported Agriculture program -- often called a "CSA."
Located on CR 350 North in rural Whitley County, Goldwood Gardens has been operating a summer CSA for many years and recently expanded to offer a winter and spring program.
A CSA is a program where you make an investment in the growing season buy purchasing a "share" or "half share" and later enjoy the proceeds of the season -- the harvest. Each week, you pick up a box filled with whatever fruits and vegetables are in season -- a great way to support a local grower and to enjoy fresh from the farm produce.
Grower Canda Goldwood, owner of Goldwood Gardens, has been painstakingly caring for fruits and vegetables for more than 20 years without the use of pesticides or chemicals. When her harvest began to have a surplus her family wasn't using, she began offering her homegrown produce for sale at the local farmers market and to chefs in the region.
Though not formally certified as organic, Goldwood says she follows organic methods to protect her land, her customers and herself.
Goldwood views her enterprise as not unlike what everyone's grandparents once had -- a large garden with ample produce and filled with things that are good for you.
"That's what our grandparents ate -- the greens they grew," she said. "It is homegrown fruits and vegetables that are food for your health. They have the nutrients we're missing out on."
Goldwood enjoys filling customers' boxes and bags each week with a wide variety of items as they become available through the growing season. "We have everything from asparagus to zucchini really," she added with a laugh.
"They're going to get all sorts of things," Goldwood said of the packages shareholders will receive throughout the season. "We grow over 60 varieties of tomatoes, different greens, many colors of beans, melons, potatoes, zucchini, squash and more."
Goldwood is now accepting shareholders for the summer CSA season which begins in June and continues until October. Participants can choose a full share for $425 or a half share for $275 for the season. Divided over the 20 week season, that's just $21.25 for a full share and $13.75 for a half share -- and you'll have
more produce than you'd likely get spending that amount in a grocery store. Best of all, it is locally grown!
Each week, you can visit Goldwood Gardens to pick up your share -- or you can pick up your produce at three other locations. This year, in addition to a pick up location in Columbia City, Goldwood has added pickup dates and locations for Warsaw and Fort Wayne to accommodate a growing interest in her program from residents of neighboring counties.
"I'm getting a lot of interest from the Fort Wayne and Warsaw areas," Goldwood said of her decision to add additional pickup locations.
You'll want to hurry -- in order ensure an adequate harvest for all shareholders, Goldwood needs commitments by mid-March at the latest.
For more information on Goldwood Gardens CSA, contact Canda Goldwood at 260-229-1421.

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Hoosier senators begin second half of 2011 General Assembly this week

From reports

Indiana senators started the second half of the 2011 Indiana General Assembly on schedule this week and proceeded with a growing calendar of key committee hearings for the days and weeks ahead.
Last week, senators met and beat legislative deadlines. During the first half of session, senators introduced 600 pieces of legislation, heard 213 proposals in committee, debated and passed 198 bills on the Senate floor - approving all but six with bipartisan majorities.
Senators are now prepared to tackle the state's two-year budget and proposals to foster private-sector job growth and  improve public K-12 education.
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'Colors of Leadership' to be presented during 2011 Whitley County Extension Annual Meeting

From reports

The 2011 Whitley County Extension's annual meeting is slated for Monday, March 21, 2011, beginning at 6 p.m. at the 4-H Center.  All friends of Whitley County Extension are invited.  
A sponsored meal will be followed by the evening's program, educator reports and election of Extension board members.
“Colors for Leadership” will be the program topic.  Have you ever wondered why some committees are more productive than others?  Do you get frustrated because others just don’t do the job as you would?  Do you know who is the organizer, the warm hearted and the visionary of your group?  This fun & educational program will help you better understand yourself and group dynamics.
Reservations are due to Janet by March 14 at 244-7615, 625-3313 or
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Snapshots: Columbia City Rotary's Mardi Gras-themed Scholarship Auction was a great success

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Whitley County Chamber Ambassadors honor Shindigz with Business of the Month award for January

(Talk of the Town photo by Michelle Culbertson) A recognition ceremony was recently held to recognize the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce's January Business of the Month award recipients, Shindigz. Those present for the ceremony included, above from left, Kris Wurst and Shep Moyle of Shindigz; Chamber president Sara Lochner-Goff; Teresa Smith, Tribune-News; Shawn Ellis, BABE; Jim Landrum, STAR Financial Bank; Greg Fahl, Orizon Real Estate; Dennis Norris, Merritt L. Norris Insurance; and Kristi Maloney, Sycamore Village.

By Michelle Culbertson

In January, the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors selected Shindigz in South Whitley as the year's first business of the month.
Shindigz is a family owned business and has been serving South Whitley and surrounding areas for 85 years.  The goal of Shindigz is to help busy parents and party planners juggle the responsibilities of their hectic everyday lives while making party and event planning as easy as possible.  The Shindigz goal is to make life more fun.  The company takes pride in this cause by offering over 36,000 party supplies online so busy parents and event planners all over the world can plan parties, weddings, proms and other special events from the comfort of their own homes.
Shindigz has extended this cause into the lives of their growing work force, also known as party hosts.  This year, Shindigz made an investment of over $1.7 million dollars in new equipment and facility improvements.
“We are making these investments to increase our capacity and capabilities as we continue to experience record order growth.  Our formula of offering the lowest prices nationally, providing unique party favors and personalized products for events and celebrations has allowed us to grow quickly during the past year,” said Shep Moyle, company president.  
Shindigz has experienced order growth rates exceeding 40-50 % in the past year, according to Moyle.
Shindigz has also invested in numerous community organizations such as BABE which they will soon be throwing a baby shower.
DQ Grill & Chill will be providing a congratulatory ice cream cake to Shindigz.

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Dance photos now available at Parks Department

From reports

The Columbia City Parks Department now has photographs from the Father-Daughter Dance taken by local photographer Chad Moore. If you had photos taken at the event, feel free to stop by the Park Office Monday-Friday 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. to pick them up.
For more information, contact program coordinator Melinda Wheeler at 248-5180.
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March 02, 2011

Help reunite a local family with Chachi

By Jennifer Zartman Romano

A local family needs your help in locating their beloved French bulldog, Chachi.
Chachi has been missing since Monday and local vets, the Humane Society and shelters are on the lookout for him.
He was last seen in the Eagle Glen subdivision. He is wearing an orange and purple collar and is micro chipped. He has a friendly disposition and a rugged build.
If found, please call Talk of the Town at 610-1873 or deliver him to the Whitley County Humane Society so that he can be reunited with his family.
Talk of the Town readers have been successful in reuniting many other pets with their families -- won't you help this time too?
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County's high schools, hospital compete for spoils in annual The Center Cookoff Benefit

(Talk of the Town file photos) Each of Whitley County's three high schools will be competing for recognition at the annual The Center Cookoff Benefit in April. Parkview Whitley Hospital will also compete in the event as they have for many years. Below, from left, are team captains Gregg Goewert, Scott Gabriel and Jorell Tucker.

By Jennifer Zartman Romano

If fighting for titles in the sporting arena wasn't enough, Whitley County's three high schools will vie for prestige and coveted trophies in this year's Cookoff Benefit for The Center for Whitley County Youth. If they approach cooking with the vigor they have on the court and ball fields, this could get very interesting!
The Center for Whitley County Youth will host their fourth annual Cookoff Benefit on Thursday, April 14, 2011, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at First Church of God in Columbia City.
Last year, more than 400 people attended and helped to raise over $32,000 for the organization that serves at-risk youth in Whitley County with after school programs.
Four teams will each prepare a three course meal for guests to enjoy in hopes of earning votes. This year's teams include:
- THE Columbia City High School team led by Gregg Goewert
- Whitko High School team led by Jorell Tucker
- Churubusco High School team led by Shanna Fleetwood
- and the wild card team...led by Scott Gabriel and members of the Parkview Whitley Hospital staff
Admission to the dinner is free, but guests are encouraged to make a monetary donation to The Center. To RSVP, contact Jeff Wike at The Center by calling 248-4977 or via email at  Please include your name, the full names of each of your guests and a phone number or email address for contact purposes.

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CCHS Baseball Boosters hosting huge indoor garage sale April 16

From reports

The Columbia City High School Baseball Boosters will be hosting their annual garage sale on Saturday, April 16, 2011, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Multipurpose Room at the high school.  Look for outstanding bargains -- indoors!
All proceeds are to benefit the high school team.
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Grant Loy to speak at upcoming Whitley County Historical Society Second Sunday program

(Talk of the Town file photo by Jennifer Zartman Romano) War history buff Grant Loy, shown below at left demonstrating a cannon at the 2010 Veterans Marathon, will be the featured presenter at the upcoming Second Sunday program at the Whitley County Historical Museum.

By Jennifer Zartman Romano

Whitley County resident and war historian Grant Loy will be presenting a program entitled "Sailor Sayings -- Settler Sayings" at the Whitley County Historical Museum on Sunday, March 13, 2011. The program begins at 3 p.m. in the Annex Building immediately behind the Thomas Marshall home.
Loy will share how the history of many of the sayings we take for granted have a link to maritime and pioneer history -- and you might find they mean something different than you might expect!
Second Sunday programs are free and the community is invited to attend and learn together. There is no need to RSVP.
The Whitley County Historical Museum is located at 108 West Jefferson Street in Columbia City. Visit their website at

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EXPOse your business at the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce's 2011 EXPO

EXPOse your business or organization to thousands of residents from Whitley County and beyond at the Whitley County EXPO, March 19, 2011. The EXPO will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Indian Springs Middle School.
For more information, visit the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce's website at  or to download a registration form by clicking here.
Special rates apply for non-profit organizations and for food-related businesses. If you are a non-profit organization or a food vendor, click here for your form.
The deadline to register for a booth is March 7.


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March 01, 2011

Rotarians raised over $19,000 for scholarships during Saturday's Mardi Gras auction event

(Talk of the Town photos by Jennifer Zartman Romano) Members of the Blue River Quartet, above, provided jazz music to compliment the evening's Mardi Gras theme at the Columbia City Rotary Scholarship Auction Saturday night. Below, Bryan Graham and Tina Houser were chosen as "Best Dressed."

By Jennifer Zartman Romano

The 2011 Columbia City Rotary Scholarship had an attitude all its own this year -- a lively, engaging event featuring a Mardi Gras theme.
From table tops to colorful beads and feather masks, an excitement and enthusiasm filled the room as Rotarians and their guests geared up for an evening of fundraising and...well... fun.
Always a popular item at the auction, Dick Haworth's signature peanut brittle was the first item on the block -- with five pounds selling at $55 per pound.
Six steaks, donated by Krider's Meats, sold for $200.
Sweet items were good sellers Saturday night! Fern Reimers will enjoy delicious homemade maple syrup from Yoder's Sugar Camp that was donated by Francis Bundy. The sweet treat sold for $100 per quart.
Savory items sold well too. Six steaks, donated by Krider's Meats, sold for $200. Six steaks donated by Goss Grocery sold for $150.
A $500 gift certificate donate by Ball Furniture sold for $700, purchased by Rotarian Mike Copp.
A lucky bidder took home the opportunity to enjoy an all-American picnic for 12 this summer at the home of Al Anderson on Crooked Lake -- for $800. Anderson promises a day of fun, frivolity, beverages and boating.
One of the biggest steals of the evening was a barbecue for eight and front row seats to watch the American Legion Old Settlers Day Parade donated by LT Foundations Real Estate which sold for a shockingly low $70. Tina Houser of LT Foundations is looking forward to serving free range chicken and ribs from Avis Acres farm  with all the side dishes and beverages. Her guests will enjoy the parade on comfortable seating under a canopy -- truly the royal treatment!
Another ridiculously good deal was the sale of a 16x20 framed print by Chad Moore, along with a $100 gift certificate and an hour of private photography tutoring. What would one expect to pay for that? Surely more than the $175 sale price.
Rotarians and their guests are evidently looking to leave town too! Destination packages sold well, including a week's stay in New Orleans donated by Terry and Gloria Smith, a week's stay in Naples donated by Don and Rosalie Armstrong and a weekend in Southern Indiana donated by John and Aileen Meier. The single best-selling item of the evening was the week in Naples, purchased by Doug and Marla Fahl for $2000.
An opportunity that usually results in a bidding war between Rotarians, Chad Moore was the victorious winner of the "First in Line, Free of Fines" for the second consecutive year. This enables Moore to be the first Rotarian to eat lunch at the weekly club meeting and makes him immune from fines during those meetings as well. Moore paid $125 for the opportunity. Moore was also the fortunate winner of the evening's 50/50 prize drawing -- netting himself $250 to help offset his big purchase of the evening.
Rotarians June Keiser and Jacie Worrick once again offered a chance to win fundraiser where participants tried to win a 32 inch television or a color Nook book reader. The mini fundraiser raised $1000. Zack Ziliak won the television and Jo Ellen Rush won the book reader.
Another mini fundraiser called "The Doubler" in which participants paid $25 for an envelope with at least $50 worth of prizes inside was coordinated by Tom O'Neill and Al Anderson.
Both dressed in full Mardi Gras regalia, Tina Houser and Bryan Graham were selected as the evening's Best Dressed winners -- each receiving a $25 prize.
In all, the evening ended with net proceeds of precisely $19,344.92 toward the Columbia City Rotary Scholarship Fund. The fund awards significant scholarships to three Columbia City High School students each year. More than 160 individuals attended this year's auction and many are already eagerly looking forward to next year's event. In all, more than 60 items were donated for the live auction and countless others were contributed for the silent auction -- all generous gifts from local businesses.

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Hospice volunteers needed in Whitley County

Article provided

Parkview Home Health & Hospice is in need of volunteers to help hospice clients and their families with various tasks. Volunteers are needed in Whitley County.
Volunteers typically donate one to four hours of their time per week. Volunteers are especially needed during weekdays to stay with patients so caregivers can rest or leave for appointments.
Examples of volunteer duties:
• Visit with patient
• Sit at patient’s bedside
• Offer companionship and support to patients and caregivers
Interested individuals must complete a training class before beginning volunteer opportunities.
Classes are scheduled for April 4, 5, 11, 18 and 19 in the seminar room at Parkview Whitley Hospital, 353 North Oak Street, Columbia City, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
In addition, a new program, Vet to Vet, is being developed for veterans to be trained as Parkview Hospice volunteers to assist other veterans who are Parkview Hospice patients. Also, Parkview Hospital Vigil Volunteers sit with patients who are nearing end of life to support them and their loved ones.  
For more information or to register for the training classes, call (260) 373-9896 or (800) 363-9977.

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Salvation Army Women's Auxiliary plans 'A Night in Italy' fundraiser for March 25

From reports

The Whitley County Salvation Army Women's Auxiliary is planning "A Night in Italy," a pasta dinner fundraiser on Friday, March 25, 2011, from 4:30 to 7 p.m. at Grace Lutheran Church in Columbia City.
Dinners are $7 for adults, $4 for children and children under age 2 can eat for free. Carryout meals will be available.
Proceeds from the event will benefit the Whitley County Salvation Army Women's Auxiliary projects including Tools for School and sponsorship of Christmas families.
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Physicians Health Plan donates $2,500 to support the Friends of the Eel River Trail

(Talk of the Town photo provided) From left above, Jay Gilbert, president and chief executive officer of Physicians Health Plan, presents a check to Rod Mitchell and Karla Barnhart, board members of Friends of the Eel River Trail.

Article provided

Physicians Health Plan of Northern Indiana, Inc. (PHP), recently presented Friends of the Eel River Trail with a check for $2,500. The purpose of the gift was to assist the non-profit organization in their continuing effort to build a non-motorized trail on the abandoned Eel River Railroad between Columbia City and South Whitley.  The trail will be available for walkers, runners, bicyclists and wheel chair occupants.  
Because PHP is in the health care related business, they realize the potential benefits of a trail in our area.  A trail not only enhances the health and well being of those who use it, but the trail will be an asset in attracting quality employers to our communities, they said.

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Governor Mitch Daniels to chair IEDC meeting in Winona Lake Thursday morning

From reports

Governor Mitch Daniels will be in Kosciusko County Thursday morning.
Daniels will be present to chair a meeting of the board of directors of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation at 10:30 a.m. Thursday at the Remnant Trust Building at 1101 Park Avenue in Winona Lake.
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