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July 23, 2014

Friends raising funds in support of John Bates Barry

(Talk of the Town photo provided)
John Barry, a fun-loving Tri Lakes resident, was involved in a nearly fatal accident on July 10. Having already faced six surgeries to repair his injuries, he's approaching a long road of recovery. Friends are planning a fundraiser in his honor on August 2 at Portside Pizza, Tri Lakes.

By Jennifer Zartman Romano

Most of us take the ability to communicate for granted, talking freely and sharing with others using our voices.
Tri Lakes resident John Barry is deaf and has relied on his hands and arms communicate with others using sign language. Relishing in summers at the lakes as many do, he has also relied on his hands and arms to canoe and barbecue, meaningful activities in his life.
A tragic accident on July 10 has made Barry's path in life even more difficult and, in many ways, taken away his ability to communicate and do the things he enjoys. The head-on collision involved an INDOT truck and nearly took his life. While he survived the accident, doctors have been working around the clock to repair his broken body -- most specifically his hands and arms so that he can again communicate in the way he is accustomed and, with time, return to the activities he enjoys.
Barry and his mother, Lynne, have been surrounded by loving, supportive friends in these difficult, painful weeks since the accident.
As Barry focuses on the hard work of recovery, his friends are hoping to help with the financial needs of rehabilitation and care. To help in that effort, a fundraiser is planned for August 2 at Portside Pizza in Tri Lakes. The event begins at 5 p.m. with a hog roast. Activities include karaoke with Diamond Lil from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., a silent auction, drawing and more throughout the evening. The reggae band URB will perform from 8:30 to 10 p.m. and features Dave Pagan, Jim Teel, Tim Manges, David Trevino and B Funk Bankson.
Admission is $10 per person or $20 per family. Donations will be gladly accepted to support Barry.

Local merchants join together to offer prizes in 'Fishbowl Frenzy'

Article provided

As a thank you to all the “buy local”-minded consumers in Whitley County, 14 different Whitley County merchants are offering prizes in a simple “drop your name in our fishbowl” contest. Nearly $1500 in products, services and gift certificates are available.
To enter, visit any participating business and sign up. One entry per location, but you can sign up at each merchant if you like.
Companies participating include:
The Jean Scene  1080 Spartan Drive, 260-244-5524, $100 GIFT CERTIFICATE
Eagle Glen Golf Course  129 S. Eagle Trail, 260-248-6055, 2 RDS GOLF W/CART, $68 VALUE
Discount Mattress Center  541 N Line Street, near Walgreens 260-229-6264. $130 GIFT CERTIFICATE OR $160 IN MEMORY FOAM PILLOWS
Ball Furniture   212 Van Buren St, 260-244-5805. $100 GIFT CERTIFICATE
L’attitude Hair & Nails  1080 Spartan Drive, 260-610-5500. $100 GIFT CERTIFICATE
Brew’ha Coffee House  120 N Main St., 260-248-4111. $50 GIFT CERTIFICATE
Star Bank  102 W Van Buren Street, 260-248-6055. “TWO CHAIR +” PACKAGE, $50+ VALUE
Rabb Water Systems  303 Argonne Rd (Warsaw), 260-244-1909. 400# SOFTNER SALT, $70 VALUE
Murphys Jewlers  103 S Main Street, 260-244-6411. PIERCED PEARL EARRINGS, $75 VALUE
Quality Inn  701 W Connexion Way, 260-248-4531. ONE NIGHT W/AMMENITIES, $90 VALUE
Aumsbaugh Flooring  1032 W Depoy Drive, 260-248-8206. AREA RUG, $300 VALUE
The RV Center  On US30 (just east of CC), 260-244-3414. $50 GIFT CERTIFICATE
Aladdin Carpet Cleaning  120 W Walker Way, 260-244-3447. $100 VALUE (250 SQ FT CARPET CLEANING OR FURNITURE CLEANING PACKAGE)
Morsches Builder’s Mart  E Terminal Market Street, 260-244-6145. $100 GIFT CERTIFICATE
Simply fill out a form at any or all locations. One entry per family per location. Winners will be contacted/announced the second week of August 2014.
For any additional information, contact Todd Earl at 244-5524 or come to The Jean Scene for more details.

Kiwanis members learn more about the mission of The Center for Whitley County Youth

(Talk of the Town photo provided)
Below, Jeff Wike, executive director of The Center for Whitley County Youth, speaks about the way his organization reaches out to at-risk youth, providing a supportive environment and positive adult interaction -- all with the goal of aiding in their personal growth and success.

By Melissa Alexander

The Whitley County Kiwanis Club met at The Center for Whitley County Youth's building on Market Street in Columbia City.
Jeff Wike, executive director, explained The Center's mission to promote youth development through service, outreach and collaboration. The Center serves Whitley County's middle and high school students by offering, among other services, mentoring and recreational activities after school, on Friday nights and in the summer.
Kiwanis members discussed The Center’s need for continued support as they continue to grow each year. Wike also shared that transportation of students can sometimes be a challenge, but The Center is grateful for the support from those local schools that are able to add these students to their bus routes. 
Individuals interested in becoming members of the Whitley County Kiwanis Club can attend our next meeting for free at Parkview Whitley Hospital on Wednesday, August 20, 2014, from 12 to 1 p.m. in classroom A.
If you are interested in becoming a member or supporting the Whitley County Kiwanis Club, please email or visit for more information.

Gather your friends and associates for a great day of golf at the Whitley County Chamber golf outing

From reports

It's time to gather your foursome and register for the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce's Annual Golf Outing on Thursday, August 21, at The Links of Eagle Glen.
With 14 teams committed so far, this is shaping up to be the largest Chamber outing in recent memory, according to Chamber executive director Doug Brown. Brown says the event will be a fantastic opportunity to get outdoors, enjoy a summer day and network with representatives from dozens of other businesses and organizations.
Sponsors thus far include PHP and Lake City Bank.
For additional information, to register your team or to get sponsorship information, please contact the Chamber at 248-8131.

East Van Buren Street closed for sewer work

The Columbia City Police Department advises motorists to avoid East Van Buren Street between Whitley and Washington Streets due to utility work in that area. The street will remain closed until Friday as crews work to remediate an emergency sewer problem in that area.

July 22, 2014

Omni Source makes significant donation to Whitley County employees' aluminum collection drive for Fort Wayne Ronald McDonald House

(Talk of the Town photo by Meredith Hoffman)
Brian Everly, plant manager of Omni Source, brought a donation of 58.6 pounds of aluminum tabs to the Whitley County Government Center this week, contributing them to a collection drive to support the Ronald McDonald House in Fort Wayne.

By Meredith Hoffman

Omni Source helped pick up the tab for the Fort Wayne Ronald McDonald House this week. 
Employees donated 58.6 pounds of aluminum tabs at the Whitley County Government Center. 
“If everybody helps out a little, it can make a big difference," said Brian Everly, plant manager for Omni Source.
Omni Source is a 65 year old Corporation that was founded in Fort Wayne.  It has grown to be one of North America's largest processors and distributors of scrap and secondary metals, and is now owned by Steel Dynamics, Inc. The local operation is at 875 E Business 30 in Columbia City.
Many Whitley County children and families have used the Ronald McDonald house in both Indianapolis and Fort Wayne.  The aluminum tabs help underwrite the cost of their stay in the house.
In 2000, Whitley County employees and Whitley County residents collected a million tabs for the Ronald McDonald House. Several  of Whitley County’s elementary schools, churches, individuals and organizations have collected tabs from time to time.  The employees, with the support of the commissioners, have created two permanent sites for tab drops.
Currently, the county has 785 pounds and need to collect 1000 pounds to generate a million tabs. 
If you have aluminum tabs you can drop them off at Whitley County Government Center or Courthouse, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Garrett Summer Sixties Music Fest is August 16

By Stephen Rowe

Saturday, August 16, 2014, will be the 45th Anniversary of Woodstock in Garrett, where the City’s Parks and Recreation department will host a free and unique Garrett Summer Sixties Music Fest at Feick Park for all ages.
The program will offer live 60’s music from 2 to 8 p.m. on two stages, dancing, art/craft and food/drink vendors, activities for children, an adult hula-hoop contest, and more, followed by an 8-Midnight black light record hop. Overlapping the live and recorded music and just a short walk from the main event, American Legion Post 178 will host a 6-9 pm vintage car cruise-in, beer deck, and food.
The festival will also feature “Go-Go dancers” of two sorts. In the first wave will be those special people who simply love to dance, and have the charisma and confidence to spontaneously engage the crowd and get people moving per encouragement and demonstration. These “Dance Missionaries” are being identified and recruited, and the magic mix of their vibes and the music will generate the second wave of 60’s dancers – the crowd at large, no matter how rhythmically challenged.
The Sixties were a unique decade, so come and be that incredibly unique person that you are, one gem among many in the Cosmic Kaleidoscope that glows so bright each day!
Those looking for something to do on the eve of the event might visit the Garrett Museum of Art, which will host a free “60’s Art” exhibit reception from 6 to 8 p.m., on Friday August 15.
For directions and more information, see the website at

Registration still open for inTIMidator 5K walk/run

From reports

There is still time to register to participate in the upcoming inTIMidator 5k Walk/Run.
The event will be held on Saturday, August 2,  2014, at 8 a.m. with registration at 7 a.m. at Columbia City High School. All proceeds to benefit the Tim Hearld Memorial Scholarship fund held by the Whitley County Community Foundation.
Entry fees are $20 for race entry and T-shirt or $15 with no T-shirt as race day registration doesn't include T-shirts.
Awards will be presented to the top three males and females in each age group.
The race course starts at CCHS, runs through Greenhill cemetery and Grove Park, and finishes on the CCHS track.
Register online at
Checks to be made payable to the Whitley County Community Foundation, memo: intimidator 5k run.

Update: Livvie has been found!

Thanks to calls from readers, Livvie, the missing Goldendoodle, has been reunited with her owner.

'Whitley Promise' launches initiative to create college savings accounts for area children

From reports

Local leaders announced that Whitley County is launching a collaborative, community driven initiative called Whitley Promise today at the WhitleyForward mid-year update meeting. Whitley Promise is a partnership with the Indiana Educational Savings Authority (IESA), which is offering the College Choice 529 Direct Savings Plan to pilot communities as a starting point for a sustained, community-wide focus on the importance of post-secondary education.  
“We all want the children in our lives to have the brightest future possible,” said Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock, who chairs the IESA board of directors, “This is a wonderful way to help them with a gift that will last a lifetime – money to help them afford higher education.”  
Whitley Promise is the cornerstone of what is intended as a sustainable, community-wide effort to change perceptions about college attendance and degree attainment in Whitley County. For example, in addition to the College Choice 529 Direct Savings Plan, the initiative launched this school year will also include a “Walk Into My Future” event for kindergarten and first grade students to visit Manchester University, and there will be lesson plans incorporated into school curricula.   
“Whitley County Family YMCA is convening a team of individuals and organizations that are working together to launch the Whitley Promise initiative,” said Executive Director Erica Miller. “This announcement demonstrates once again how Whitley County leaders come together to support efforts that improve our quality of life.”  
Parents of kindergarten and first grade students in Smith-Green, Whitko, and Whitley County Consolidated school systems will have the opportunity to setup a College Choice 529 Direct Savings Plan for their children during school registration this fall.
The savings plan provider will waive fees to open the accounts during school registration.
In addition, sponsors are being invited to contribute funds to provide up to $100 in initial funds in every account.
"As part of our mission, we are always looking for ways to better improve the health and well-being of the communities we serve," said Scott Gabriel, president, Parkview Whitley Hospital. "Supporting the Whitley Promise can help to potentially achieve that in a number of ways. Parkview Whitley Hospital and Parkview Health appreciate the opportunity to provide the initial seed money towards the College Choice 529 Direct Savings Plan, with the intent of encouraging many young minds around Whitley County to dream of and ultimately pursue a higher education after they graduate high school."  
As a result of Wabash County’s successful “Promise” program, the Wabash County YMCA is assisting Whitley County and other Northeast Indiana counties, LaGrange and Noble with the launch of their new community-driven programs. The percentage of kindergarten through third grade students with college savings accounts in Wabash County went from 6% to 72% after implementing the Wabash “Promise” program.   
“On behalf of the Whitley County Community Foundation, I am thrilled to see the momentum developing for the WhitleyForward initiative and programs like Whitley Promise,” said executive director September McConnell, “We are quickly identifying and acting on priorities like Whitley Promise that will better enable our residents to achieve their 'American Dream' in our community.”  
Whitley County is one of only four counties in Indiana selected to participate in the Indiana Promise pilot community program this school year. The Whitley Promise community-wide initiative is being led by the following entities: Smith-Green Community Schools, Whitko School Corporation, Whitley County Consolidated Schools, Whitley County Family YMCA, the Whitley County Community Foundation and the Whitley County Economic Development Corporation, and is a priority project for the WhitleyForward initiative.

July 21, 2014

Missing: Help find Livvie

(Talk of the Town photo provided)

Have you seen Livvie?
A local pet owner is worried and hoping the community can help reunite her with her pet.
Livvie is a black, curly haired Goldendoodle. She weighs approximately 40 pounds and is probably very muddy and dirty.
She has been missing over 24 hours and was last seen in the vicinity of the Cider Mill, North SR 9 and Widman Road area after she took off chasing an animal.
She does not have a collar or chip. She is very friendly, but may be frightened.
If found, please call 609-1396.

Micropulse honors 20-year employees with donations to their favorite charities

Article provided

Micropulse, Inc., a leader in the medical device manufacturing industry is recognizing five employees for their dedication and service to the company.
Micropulse is thankful for Larry Sutton, Shawn Beard, Matt Krider, Dan Stauffer and Mark Fahlsing for their commitment and service, and is honoring them for their 20 year employment milestone by making a charitable contribution in their name to a charity of their choosing. The following charities will benefit from their donation: Whitley County Humane Society, Acres Land Trust, Wounded Warrior Project, Star 88.3 and LWC.
Micropulse provides development and manufacturing solutions for instruments, implants, and sterilization cases for all market segments of the orthopedic industry. 
Micropulse is committed to being a leader in the medical device manufacturing industry by creating high value for our customers through highly skilled people and the latest technology, all supported by an organization built on foundational values of quality and integrity.
For more information about Micropulse, visit

Bible School in the Park begins July 28

From reports

Final preparations are underway for Trinity Presbyterian Church's upcoming Bible School in the Park, July 28-August 1 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Morsches Park.
Each evening begins with a cookout followed by Bible School activities. Adults are welcome to join us for the cookout and stay to relax, talk with friends and ask questions while kids do crafts, sing, play games and learn during Bible School. For more information, you can call 244-5494.

Salvation Army spearheading school supply collection drive Saturday

From reports

This Saturday, July 26, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Wal Mart in Columbia City, the Salvation Army of Whitley County will be hosting their annual Pack-A-Bus collection drive to collect school supplies. The purpose of the event is to help provided school supplies to children in the community who may need them, but be unable to afford them.
Lists of school supplies are available inside Wal Mart and can be used to purchase the supplies. The Salvation Army will then distribute the supplies to families later this summer.

July 20, 2014

Sheriff's department seeks information on missing woman

UPDATE: This person has been located. The Whitley County Sheriff's Department is seeking the public's assistance in finding a missing person. Missing Person: Age 71, White Female 5'2" 135lbs, grey hair, tan shirt and jeans. Last seen in area of 600 S/800 E. Call 911 if located.

July 18, 2014

Master Gardeners program seeks new crop of volunteers

Article provided

If you want to sharpen your gardening skills and you have an interest in sharing your knowledge with others, Purdue University has the ideal program for you.   
Beginning September 9, 2014, a Purdue Master Gardener Basic Training series will be offered for residents of Noble and Whitley Counties and surrounding areas.
The Purdue Master Gardener Program is a volunteer training program that provides a learning framework for participants to increase their knowledge on a wide variety of horticultural subjects. In turn, participants volunteer by teaching others while representing Purdue University. As volunteers, participants grow as they share knowledge and provide leadership and service in educational gardening activities within their communities.   
Training sessions will be held on Tuesday evenings from 6:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. EDT from Sept. 9 through Dec. 16. Participants will be exposed to a wide range of subjects including soil and plant science, diagnosis of plant problems, pesticide safety, and culture of vegetable, flower, landscape, and fruit plants. Most class sessions will take place in Merriam at Cornerstone Wesleyan Church.
"The class is centrally located for Noble and Whitley County residents," said John Woodmansee, Extension Educator in Noble and Whitley Counties. "I think class participants will enjoy learning with people from our neighboring county and sharing ideas."  
Materials and expenses for the series of classes cost $125.00 per participant. This expense fee covers such items as the Master Gardener student handbook, handouts, name badges, and other materials.  These materials all become part of the Master Gardener's personal collection. Couples sharing the same single set of materials may attend for a rate of $160. A completed application and payment is required for all potential students by Aug. 29, 2014.   
While class participants will be encouraged to create new educational outreach programs, there are already many opportunities for which volunteers are needed. The theme of the Master Gardener Program is "Helping Others Grow."   
If you'd like an application to join this league of volunteers or if you have questions about the program, call the Noble County office at (260) 636-2111 or the Whitley County office at (260) 244-7615. You may also stop by the Purdue Extension office in the Noble County South Complex located just south of Albion at 2090 N. State Road 9, or at the Whitley County Courthouse Annex at 115 South Line Street in Columbia City.
Interested persons may also access local Master Gardener information (including an application for the class) under the "Garden" tab at the local Purdue Extension website at: or

Northeastern REMC warns of recent phone scam

By Jennifer Zartman Romano

The scammers are at it again -- this time, contacting and confusing Whitley County residents about their electric bills.
According to Mike DeFreeuw, spokesperson for Northeastern REMC, customers have reported receiving phone calls from someone claiming to be with a collection agency hired by Northeastern REMC and a neighboring electric company.
"In one case they claim Northeastern had recently partnered with the large investor-owned electric company serving Fort Wayne, and on Monday the caller claimed to be calling on behalf of Northeastern and United REMC," DeFreeuw stated. "In both cases, the caller demanded that payment be made to them immediately to avoid disconnection."
DeFreeuw said this is not the way they handle these kinds of matters with customers and they're urging anyone who receives these calls not to give personal information, credit card numbers or anything over the phone.
"The REMC has never partnered with anyone in collection payments nor would they notify members in this manner," he said. "If anyone receives a call in which the caller asks for money or credit information please be cautious. If you receive a request like this or a call that is in the least bit suspicious, please notify Northeastern REMC immediately."
To contact Northeastern REMC, call (260) 244-6111 or (260) 625-3700 during normal business hours.

Brief power outage in southern Whitley County caused by garbage truck

By Jennifer Zartman Romano

On a clear, crisp day, several Whitley County residents awoke Thursday wondering why they didn't have power.
According to a Northeastern REMC representative, a garbage truck hit a pole at 4:48 a.m. Thursday, knocking out power to 427 REMC members in southwestern Whitley County.
Crews worked swiftly, returning power to most homes by 6:10 a.m. Twelve remaining homes had power restored at 8:45 a.m.

Shelter offering low cost vaccine clinic for pets, proceeds to benefit Helping Paws Across Borders

From reports

The Whitley County Humane Shelter is hosting a low cost vaccine clinic for pets on Saturday, July 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 951 South Line Street in Columbia City.
The clinic will be presented by Helping Paws Across Borders. Appointments are not needed and services will be available on a first come, first served basis.
Vaccines will include:
- 1 year rabies for cats and dogs - $12
- 1 year DHAPP (K9 distemper combination vaccine) - $12
- 1 year FVRCP (for cats) - $12
- Deworming (strongid) - $5
- Heartworm tests - $18
- Nail trim $10
All proceeds from the event will support Paws Across Borders, a program that helps to provide spay, neuter, vaccination and medical care to animals in impoverished areas abroad that have no access to veterinary care. Donations to the Whitley County Humane Shelter will also be appreciated.
For more information about Helping Paws Across Borders, call (260) 494-7670

July 17, 2014

Reserve a spot at the upcoming Parkview Whitley Foundation Golf Classic

The annual Parkview Whitley Foundation Golf Classic will take place at Eagle Glen Golf Course on Friday, July 25, with an 8 a.m. shotgun start. 
There is still time to register for this year’s event. Golfers can register online as individuals or in teams.
Proceeds from the 2014 event will continue to benefit the Parkview Whitley Hospital Medication Assistance Program (MAP). This program is funded solely through generous donors and community support, and provides vital medications at little or no cost for qualified applicants who have limited or no prescription insurance. MAP serves as a link between the patient, the physician and pharmacies.
More than 330 patients are helped through this program each year thanks to support from generous donors and golfers like you. Your participation in this year’s Parkview Whitley Golf Classic will provide life saving funds for patients in Whitley County who otherwise could not afford necessary medications. You can show your support by registering to golf as an individual ($100) or a foursome ($400). The registration deadline is July 17.
For more information or to register, visit  or call (260) 248-9802.

July 16, 2014

Hurry! Registration due for Big G's 3-on-3 tournament

Today is the final day to register for the Big G's 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament benefiting the Columbia City Main Street Association. The tournament is this Saturday, July 19, beginning at 8:30 a.m. on the Whitley County Courthouse square. According to event organizers, there is a need for women's teams to register and participate. For more information on the tournament or to download a registration form visit: Later in the evening there will be live music performed by local jazz band, “Lake Effect,” and CCMSA will have life-size family games such as: Angry Birds, Scrabble, Tic-Tac-Toe and Jenga set up along the courthouse square. If you have any questions about the event contact Liane Minier at 244-5506 or Event updates will be posted on the Columbia City Main Street Association Facebook page.

Tri Lakes community event celebrates the spirit of trying with second annual 'Try-athlon'

This little red Corvette could be yours!

(Talk of the Town photo provided)
Be sure to stop by the Commercial Building today, Wednesday, July 16, to see the red, low miles 1995 Corvette the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce is raffling off this year.
Tickets are available for $20 each or six for $100. A portion of the proceeds will be set aside for a scholarship for Whitley County students. The raffle runs through October 20, 2014, with the winner announced on October 21, 2014. For more information, call the Chamber at 248-8131, visit, or follow us on Facebook. (License #135136)