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May 24, 2017

Superintendents share educational insight at Chamber luncheon


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The Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center hosted the annual Whitley County Education Forum on Tuesday at The Center for Whitley County Youth in downtown Columbia City, welcoming all three county school corporation superintendents for lunch and discussion. Attorney and Chamber board president Dawn Boyd moderated the discussion and presentations by Steve Clason of Whitko Community Schools, Dr. Pat O'Connor of Whitley County Consolidated Schools and Galen Mast of Smith-Green Community Schools. The event's sponsor was The Post & Mail.

Old Type Writer


(Talk of the Town photos provided)

The Blue Bell building has always been an important part of columnist Susie Duncan Sexton's life. Now, the building has undergone a major renovation and was recently reopened as the Blue Bell Lofts in Columbia City. Sexton appears above, at center. Check out Susie's coverage of the grand opening celebration, here:

First time campers invited to participate in Camp Whitley Fun Night

From reports

Spending the night away from home at summer camp is a milestone in a child's development and maturity -- but it can be a cause for anxiety for children and parents alike!
To help families determine whether their children are truly ready for camp, Camp Whitley in northern Whitley County offers a first time campers overnight each year called Fun Night at Camp Whitley. This year's overnight will be held on Friday, May 26, beginning at 6 p.m. and conclude at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 27. During this overnight event, first-time campers will have an opportunity to participate in many of the activities ordinarily enjoyed by campers -- but in a shorter time frame, enabling them to determine if they're truly ready to spend a week away from home.
"The one-night event for first time campers is great because you and your child can find out if they're ready for the challenge of being away from home in a new place for an extended period of time," said Camp Whitley board president Tony Romano. "As a parent, this was helpful for my daughter to determine if she was really ready for camp and helped her experience what camp would be like. It was a great opportunity for her."
The cost to register for Fun Night at Camp Whitley is $20 per child. First time campers are typically between the age of 6 to 8.
Any child who attends Fun Night at Camp Whitley can apply the $20 from Fun Night toward their regular 2017 Camp Whitley registration.
Camp Whitley, located on the shore of Troy Cedar Lake, has been welcoming campers for weeks filled with fun, imagination and memories in the making since 1928. Camp Whitley is proud to offer a no technology environment where building new friendships, learning important life skills and spending time outdoors are the main priority. During the weeks of camp each year, participants enjoy swimming, kayaking, riflery, archery, crafts, sports, team building and more.
Information regarding Fun Night at Camp Whitley will be provided with confirmation of payment.
For more information about Camp Whitley or to register for Fun Night, visit or email

'Power of the Purse' was a powerful event


(Talk of the Town photos by Jennifer Zartman Romano)PowerPurse517b.jpg

The inaugural United Way of Whitley County's Power of the Purse program has been deemed a tremendous success. Held last Thursday evening, the event drew nearly 200 local women to consider the philanthropic efforts of women, to raise funds for the United Way's Kindergarten Countdown program and to enjoy a fun evening. Whitley County native Nicole Moore Keffer was the event's keynote speaker and spoke about her international work to empower women around the globe to create and support their communities.

United Way executive director Cindy Baker affirmed that the organization would plan to host the event in 2018, but a date was not disclosed. Major sponsors for the event included Parkview Whitley Hospital and Scientific & Regulatory Consultants, LLC. In all, 29 purses were raffled off -- each one donated by local businesses, organizations and individuals.


Whitley County Republican Women's Club to meet June 7

From reports

The Whitley County Republican Women's Club will hold their next club meeting on Wednesday, June 7, 2017, at 4:45 p.m. at the Whitley County Government Center in Columbia City.
For more information about the club, contact Linda Gottschalk at

Registration continues for CCHS Lady Eagles soccer camp

From reports

Registration continues for the Columbia City Lady Eagles Soccer Camp slated for June 5-9, 2017. Grades K-5 will meet from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. while grades 6 to 8 will meet from 9:45 to 11 a.m. at the Columbia City High School soccer practice field.
Registration is $50 per child. Participants should wear soccer shoes or tennis shoes and shin guards and bring a water bottle.
For more information, contact Shanon Roberts at, Karen Basham at or coach Mike Cotter at

May 17, 2017

United Way of Whitley County's Kindergarten Countdown gives little ones a super start for school success

From reports

Late last July, 33 students went to school for the first time -- participating in circle time, story time and small group activities. They ate lunch, went to recess and learned what it was like to go to school two weeks before their peers. They made friends, met teachers and began building their foundation for learning.

Through this unique program, Kindergarten Countdown, students have an opportunity to become comfortable with school, the expectations and the environment before their real first day of class begins.

On the final day of the program, parents and family were invited to see the progress the children had made over their two weeks with Kindergarten Countdown. Before leaving, each child also received a backpack for school filled with the supplies they would need for kindergarten, as well as four new early reading books, including "The Night Before Kindergarten" by Natasha Wing.

For the first year, the program was piloted in Whitley County Consolidated Schools. Funded by the United Way of Whitley County, Kindergarten Countdown has the potential to grow and expand to help more children each year as they begin a lifetime of learning. With the philanthropic efforts of a group of enthusiastic local women, funds to support this year's Kindergarten Countdown will be raised at a first-time event, Power of the Purse, on Thursday, May 18, from 5:30 to 9 p.m. at Eagle Glen Event Center. The event will feature designer purse raffles, dinner and camaraderie.

"Many of our Power of the Purse committee members are mothers and they know the value of giving children a solid start when it comes to education," said Cindy Baker, executive director of the United Way of Whitley County. "That is why they are so passionate about making sure every child in our community, regardless of economic challenges, has an opporunity start school with the resources and preparation they need to be successful."

Baker has received a lot of feedback from parents about how last year's Kindergarten Countdown helped their children.

"It was a great experience and very helpful for our child that never went to preschool or a babysitter. We were worried about him starting school, and he had never been in that type of environment. Thank you so much for helping our nerves as parents for a successful couple weeks from your program relating to a successful start of kindergarten," one parent shared.

Another parent said, "It helped ease my child into kindergarten making it easier for her to handle all the distractions and stress that come with so many new things in a new environment."

The Kindergarten Countdown teachers also saw results in positive behavioral changes that took place for students as they participated in the two-week long program. Now, having been inside a classroom and having become familiar with being at school all day, these students will be able to make the difficult and sometimes scary transition into Kindergarten, allowing them to be more prepared to learn on their first day of school.

The Power of the Purse is sponsored by Parkview Whitley Hospital and Scientific and Regulatory Consultants (SRC). The event is also made possible with contributions from Professional Federal Credit Union, Edward Jones Investments - Melinda Woll, Daniel Menu and Party Consulting,  Brook & Co. Salon, Downtown Business Alliance, Dewitt Marketing, Tiffany Jones - Stylist at House of Style, Opal& Ruby Emporium, Star Financial Bank, The von Seggern Family, Snippers and Jennifer Zartman Romano - Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center.

For more information about tickets to the event or to provide a donation for the event, contact the United Way of Whitley County at (260) 244-6454 or via email at

Registration is required for the event and can be completed by visiting

Chamber presents annual Whitley County Education Forum Luncheon

From reports

Funding, enrollment numbers and student testing are often mentioned in the news as the hot topics in education. Hear from local districts about what they foresee in the future of education when the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce and Visitor's Center presents the annual Whitley County Education Forum. This year's luncheon is sponsored by The Post & Mail newspaper.
Each superintendent will have time to present their most pressing concerns and a questions and answer session will follow.  Moderator for the event will be attorney and Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center board chair Dawn Boyd.  
School superintendents attending the forum will include Dr. Patricia O'Connor of Whitley County Consolidated Schools, Steve Clason of Whitko Community Schools and Galen Mast of Smith-Green Community Schools. The event will be held at noon on Tuesday, May 23, 2017, at The Center for Whitley County Youth, located at 201 W. Market Street in Columbia City.  
Cost for the event is $15 per person and includes lunch. 
To register, contact the Chamber office at 248-8131 or email: . The deadline to register is

Sexton to appear in upcoming Ann Arbor Civic Theatre musical

Article provided

Whitley County native Roy Sexton will have an important role in Ann Arbor Civic Theatre's hilarious audience-solves-the-murder musical, Rupert Holmes' "The Mystery of Edwin Drood," June 1 at 7:30 p.m., June 2 and 3 at 8 p.m. and June 4 at 2 p.m. at the Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre. Tickets can be purchased at
The musical concerns a troupe of players at an English Music Hall putting on a musical production of Charles Dickens' last novel which, alas, he died before completing. It is up to the audience to vote and decide who the murderer, detective, and the evenings lovers will be. Every performance features a different ending based on the audience vote, and is an evening of smartly written, very funny entertainment for all ages. "Drood" won 5 Tony Winning and 9 Drama Desk awards in 1986, and recently had a revival on Broadway which garnered raves. The musical was originally produced by the Joseph Papp New York Shakespeare Festival in New York's Central Park.
Parents should be aware that there is a light smattering of late 1800's colorful British language.
All performers in the 19-member cast play dual roles -- those of performers at the Music Hall, and the characters they become "on stage" for the staging of the novel. Jared Hoffert is the evening's Chairperson. Drood (a male impersonator) is played by Vanessa Banister. Evil Jasper is played by Roy Sexton. Love interest Rosa Bud is played by Kimberly Elliott. Brother/sister Neville and Helena are played by Brandon Cave and Becca Nowak. Brodie Brockie plays the Rev Crisparckle, Michael Cicirelli is Bazzard, and Alisa Mutchler Bauer plays the mysterious Princess Puffer while Durdles is played by Jimmy Dee Arnold. The cast is rounded out by Peter Dannug, Sarah Sweeter, Heather Wing, Julia Fertel, Ashleigh Glass, Chris Joseph, Kari Nilsen and Kelly Wade. There is a mysterious guest appearance by Ch. Brady Cesaro.
Directed by award-winning Ron Baumanis (Bonnie & Clyde, The Wedding Singer, next to normal), musical directed by Daniel Bachelis (who also conducts the full orchestra), and choreographed by Debra Calabrese (Croswell Opera House's Memphis, In the Heights). Designed by Ron Baumanis, Lighting Design by Thom Johnson, Sound Design by Bob Skon, Costume Design by Molly Borneman, properties designed by Aaron Wade. Produced by Wendy Sielaff.

Lady Eagles tennis competes at Dekalb Invitational

From reports

The Columbia City Lady Eagles tennis team went to Dekalb to compete at the Dakalb Invitational against Dekalb, East Noble, and Angola recently.  There were two flights of competition and results were:
                                                                           Flight #1                    Flight #2
#1 Singles: Haley Cearbaugh                         4-8                           2-8
#2 Singles:  Grace Newton                               3-8                          5-8
#3 Singles:  Sam Barcus                                  3-8                           8-3
#1 Doubles:  Erin Wight/Addie Bishop            3-8                         6-8
#2 Doubles: Taylor Tinsley/Katie Stoddard    1-8                         8-5