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October 25, 2016

Fall Fest was fun!


(Talk of the Town photo by Tony Romano)

A giant box filled with corn was a popular point of fun during First Church of God's annual Fall Fest held last Sunday evening in Columbia City. The event welcomed scores of local residents for food, games and more.

Public invited to share ideas and offer input on US 30 corridor

Article provided

The Whitley County US 30 Planning Committee has announced a series of scheduled Public Input Sessions for November and December.
Four sessions, to be held in different parts of Whitley County along the US 30 corridor, will inform the public on the current issues with US 30 and the potential ideas for elevating this highway to Interstate status. The public is encouraged to attend to gather information and ask questions.

The meetings are scheduled as follows:
- November 1 at 6 p.m. at ​​New Hope Wesleyan Church, 971 North 400 West in Columbia City
- November 17 at 10 a.m. at the ​Whitley County Government Center, 220 West Van Buren Street in Columbia City
- November 29 at 6 p.m. at ​​Coesse Elementary School, 2250 South 500 East in Columbia City
- December 1 at 6 p.m. at ​​Columbia City High School, 600 North Whitley Street in Columbia City

While no finalized plans have been established by the local planning committee or the Indiana Department of Transportation, consideration for elevation to interstate status has been considered for multiple years.
"We want the public's input, so we can plan for the future of our community," said Mayor Ryan Daniel.
The group has already held three business-focused meetings in the last two months. These four public input sessions will focus on residential issues and needs.
"It's important for us to help lead and guide INDOT as they make decisions that will affect Whitley County for generations to come," commented Commissioner George Schrumpf. "This group has really focused on what is best for Whitley County and its citizens."
The meetings will be led by local officials, not by the Indiana Department of Transportation.
The US 30 Planning Committee is a subcommittee of the US 30 Coalition, which encompasses leaders from seven counties along the US corridor. In 2015, the US 30 coalition was created to be an effective voice for the future of US Highway 30 improvements.
Each county, from Allen County to Porter County, has a local planning committee that is made up of local individuals to make decisions on what is the best option for their portion of US 30. The Whitley County local planning committee is made up of the following individuals: Mayor Ryan Daniel, Commissioner George Schrumpf, County Planning director Nathan Bilger, County engineer Brandon Forrester, City Community Development director Jeff Walker, Economic Development director Jon Myers, Chamber executive director Jennifer Zartman Romano, Parkview Vice President Mark Hisey, Farm Bureau President Dane Drew and City Plan Commission Member Larry Weiss.

Many upcoming local events will bring the community together, celebrate autumnal fun

From reports

Numerous great events are planned locally over the next several days to celebrate fall, show off the community's costume creativity and share some fun with friends and neighbors.
Here are just a few:
Boo-La-Palooza at Peabody Public Library is planned for Thursday, October 27 from 5 to 7 p.m. The event features a costume contest, treats and fun for the whole family.
The Whitley County Family YMCA will host their first annual free Trunk or Treat on Friday, October 28 from 4:30 to 7 p.m. All activities will take place outside unless the weather doesn't cooperate. In addition to goodies and treats, there will also have games and activities.
South Whitley United Methodist Church will host a Trunk or Treat event Saturday, October 29 from 4 to 6 p.m. They will serve hot chocolate, popcorn and all the candy you can eat. South Whitley United Methodist Church is located at 6685 West SR 14 in South Whitley.
Orizon Real Estate in Columbia City will host trick or treating at their office on Garland Avenue on Saturday, October 29 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
The Columbia City Fire Department will host their second annual Halloween Bash for the community at the Fire Museum on South Whitley Street on Saturday, October 29 from 3 to 8 p.m.
Churubusco Church of the Nazarene will host a fall festival on Saturday, October 29 from 6 to 8 p.m. They plan to serve treats, chili, hot dogs and cocoa.
Trick or treaters are encouraged to visit downtown Churubusco businesses on Saturday, October 29 from noon to 2 p.m. This event is being coordinated by the Churubusco Chamber of Commerce.
Columbia City Church of the Nazarene has planned a Fall Festival for Saturday, October 29 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the church. The free community event will include food, games, prizes, treats, a maze, costume judging and more. Columbia City Church of the Nazarene is located at 506 North Main Street in Columbia City.

If you have an event you'd like to add to this list, please email it to

October 24, 2016

Columbia City launches annual fall leaf pickup

Columbia City's Street Department began their annual leaf pickup on Monday October 24, 2016, and will continue for the next six weeks. The crews will be following the same routes as last year. Columbia City has two leaf vacuums. Columbia City will be divided into half down Main Street, with one machine in each half, running at the same time. The pickup is at street side only. The vacuum equipment will not fit in the alleys. This is a "one pass only" per week for six weeks. The Street Department asks that you have your leaves ready before the Monday of each week. Please rake leaves up to the curb not in the street. Leaves in the street cause many problems in bad weather plugging storm sewers. This is leaf pickup so please do not put limbs on the leaf piles, limb pick up is done for this year. If possible try not to have cars parked in front of the leaf piles. Leaves will not be raked from behind parked cars due to the time restraints of the pickup to cover the city each week. City officials hope to make this a safe and productive pickup program this year.

New scholarship created to inspire young educators

The single most important factor in student success is an outstanding teacher in the classroom.
In order to attract more of Indiana's best and brightest to the teaching profession, I supported a new law creating the Next Generation Hoosier Educators Scholarship for high school students who want to be educators.
Beginning Nov. 1, both incoming and current college students studying education can apply for the scholarship, which awards $7,500 per year toward college costs to those who commit to teaching in Indiana's public or private schools for five years after graduating.
The scholarship is available to 200 students statewide each year who either graduate in the top 20 percent of their class or earn a score in the top 20th percentile on the SAT or ACT. While in college, students must maintain a 3.0 cumulative GPA and complete at least 30 credit hours per year to continue receiving the grant. Graduates must obtain their teaching license and teach in Indiana for five consecutive years.
Students interested in applying need to be nominated by a teacher and submit the nomination form to the Indiana Commission for Higher Education. Students are encouraged to complete the nomination form before the application opens.
Visit for more information.
Hoosier students hold the keys to Indiana's future, and we will continue to work together to strengthen our commitment to students, teachers and schools.

Set aside some time to assess your home's fire safety

Indiana State Fire Marshal and the Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) are encouraging all Hoosiers to take steps to ensure their homes are prepared in the event of a fire.
"One of the most important steps Hoosiers can take to safeguard against fires is to ensure that working smoke alarms are installed in their homes and are not outdated," said Indiana State Fire Marshal James Greeson. "Homeowners should check the dates on their smoke alarms to ensure that no alarm is more than 10 years old."
Sensors in smoke alarms can become less effective with time, and it is recommended that smoke alarms be replaced every 10 years. To find out how old a smoke alarm is, look at the back of the alarm and locate the date of manufacture. Alarms should be replaced 10 years from the date of manufacture, not the date of purchase.
In addition to checking the dates on smoke alarms, here are some other tips to consider:
· Test smoke alarms every month to make sure each one throughout the home is functional.
· Make sure that smoke alarms are installed on every level of the home, and outside of each sleeping area.
· Identify at least two exits from each room of the home.
· Establish a meeting place outside and away from the home, and make sure that every member of the household is aware of its location.
It is also important to practice escape plans with family members. Here are some tips to remember when practicing escape plans:
· Make sure that everyone knows which exits to use in each room of the home.
· Escape plans should be practiced both during the day and during the night.
· Make sure everyone is accounted for and designate one person to call the fire department.
While Hoosiers take time to safeguard their households, schools and businesses should consider holding a fire drill during the week to ensure that escape plans are still being practiced with staff and students alike.
For more information on fire safety, visit

October 19, 2016

Find Marcus: Concerned community continues to seek clues in disappearance of local young man

(Talk of the Town photo provided)
Marcus Wolfe, a 19-year-old from South Whitley, disappeared after leaving a home in Union Township and hasn't been seen since July 25. His family, friends and local officials hope someone, somewhere has information that could help with the case.

By Jennifer Zartman Romano

On a recent Sunday morning, the faithful flocks of several local churches might have ordinarily been bowed in prayer or pensively listening to their pastor.
But, that Sunday was different. Dozens of volunteers gathered at Whitko High School and began an extensive foot search of Whitley County in hopes of finding something relevant to the case of missing teen Marcus Wolfe. Armed with maps of the county, teams of searchers scoured the countryside. While they didn't find anything, they did discover several areas they plan to ask the Sheriff's Department to look at. MarcusWolf1016.jpg
Wolf was last seen on July 25 at 9:30 p.m. when he left the Miami Village trailer park in Union Township. Wearing a Shoemaker Construction t-shirt and black shorts, the 5 foot 10 inch young man with dirty blonde hair and blue eyes climbed into his mid-1990s dark blue Saturn two-door car with Indiana license plate 337 NEJ. Reportedly, he was heading home to South Whitley to his apartment, but he never made it home.
Weeks have passed. Summer has faded to fall. The initial flurry of public interest in his case has seemingly disappeared and a group of local residents hoped to reinvigorate it with a push to find more information, something...anything...that might bring answers to Wolfe's heartbroken family. His mother, Tammy, has taken to the internet hoping someone, somewhere will know some clue that could lead to him.
While there haven't been many details made public about Wolfe's case, several things have happened recently pertaining to it.
A "Help Find Marcus Wolfe" page has been created on Facebook. Reportedly, local law enforcement officers conducted an aerial search of the areas surrounding SR 205, Old Trail Road and Pook Road a couple of weeks ago. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources has also reportedly checked ponds.
Now, as the fall comes to Whitley County, the landscape is changing. Fields are being cleared, leaves are falling and as county residents go hunting, new details could emerge.
Tammy Wolfe hopes landowners across Whitley County will take some time to check their fields, woods, back tracks and ponds for signs of Wolfe or his car.
Local residents Tim and Christine Scroggs were among the approximately 50 people who attended the recent cross county search for Wolfe. A local pastor, Tim Scroggs opened the event with prayer.
"People need to keep eyes open," Scroggs said. "If anyone has any information, they need to get ahold of the sheriff's department."
Christine Scroggs, though unrelated to the missing man, empathizes with his mother's pain.
"As a mother, I could not imagine the stress and pain of not knowing where one of my children were," said said. "This community has proven itself time and again to love and support families in times of loss or stress.  This family is in need of that same support."
With little details to go on, it is unclear whether Wolfe disappeared -- or was taken.
"Regardless of the situation, this is a young man that for no apparent reason, has been absent from his families lives.  He needs to be found so that there can be answers, accountability, or closure...whatever the case may be," she added. "The not knowing is the worst part.  I feel for his Mom, Dad and family, and am hoping that he be found soon for them."
Those with any information or potential details that could be helpful with the case are encouraged to contact the Whitley County Sheriff's Department.

State Auditor Suzanne Crouch to speak at upcoming Whitley GOP Lincoln Day Dinner

From reports

The Whitley County Republican Party will host their annual Lincoln Day dinner on Monday, October 24 at Ceruti's at Eagle Glen Event Center in Columbia City. Events begin at 5:30 p.m.
State Auditor Suzanne Crouch is the keynote speaker for the dinner. Candidates in the upcoming election will be recognized.
 Dinner is $40 per person or $320 for a table of eight. Corporate and candidate sponsorship opportunities are available.
 Reservations are due now. Please call Laurell Hodges 244-3887 or

Chamber celebrates open of Indiana Physical Therapy's location in Columbia City


(Talk of the Town photo provided)
Recently, the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce was on hand to celebrate the grand opening of Indiana Physical Therapy's new Columbia City Clinic.
A Chamber Ribbon Cutting Ceremony was held to mark the important occasion.
Above, from left, in front is Mayor Ryan Daniel, Keah Southall, Sarah Daley, Erin Thomas and Ben Schafer, all of Indiana Physical Therapy, and Doug Brown of the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce. Row two, from left, includes State Representative Chris Judy, Whitley County Councilman Bill Overdeer, John Smith of Indiana Physical Therapy, Shelby Longenbaugh of Star Insurance, Jeff Walker of the City of Columbia City, Mary Hartman of Peabody Public Library and Randy Holler of Crossroads Bank.
Erin Thomas is the senior therapist at the Columbia City Clinic. A graduate of Indiana University, Thomas holds a doctorate in Physical Therapy. She also has a bachelor's degree in exercise science from Ball State. Following extensive training, she is also a certified orthopedic manual therapist.
Indiana Physical Therapy's Columbia City Clinic is open Monday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Fridays from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, visit their website at Indiana Physical Therapy or to schedule an appointment, call (260) 209-2464.