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January 31, 2015

Winter Storm Warning in effect

From reports

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning in effect for Whitley County and surrounding areas from 7 p.m. tonight, Saturday, January 31, to 3 a.m. Monday, February 2.
Total snowfall amounts across the area are expected to be in the 6 to 12 inch range. Confidence remains low to medium on the exact track and area of the highest snowfall amounts, but it looks as if most of the area will see at least 6 inches of snowfall.
At this point, the best potential for heavy snowfall will be along and just south of the US 30 corridor. There has been a slight northward trend of the highest snowfall amounts over the past 24 hours. Any shifts in the expected track or strength of this storm will cause variations in our snowfall forecast, so please check back this evening and through the day on Saturday for the latest forecast information and any potential changes to the watches/warnings/advisories.

January 30, 2015

Delays & Closings

Updated: Whitley County Consolidated Schools and Faith Christian Academy are now closed. Smith-Green Community Schools is now on three hour delays this morning. Whitko Community Schools is on a two hour delay this morning.

January 29, 2015

Roads becoming slick tonight

Roadways throughout Whitley County are becoming ice snow covered and are slick in spots. The Whitley County Emergency Management office urges drivers to slow down and use caution.

AMVETS#2919 Ladies Auxiliary hosting collection drive

AMVETS#2919 Ladies Auxiliary in South Whitley is hosting a collection station Sat 1/31/15 in the upstairs hall for the Josh Thompson family who lost their home and all possessions Friday evening in a house fire at 224 S. State St. in South Whitley. The auxiliary will collect clothing for the family from 10am to 2 pm. Sizes for adults, Josh and Rose, and the three children are as follows: *Twin boys size 14 to 16, size 6 in shoes *Rose and daughter women’s size 13/14 pants, X large shirts, 8.5 & 9 in shoes. *Men's 34x34 jeans, x-large shirts, men's 12 in shoes.


Whitley County Consolidated Schools and Smith-Green Community Schools have 3-hour delays this morning. Faith Christian Academy is on a 2-hour delay this morning. Roads are icy in some areas.

January 28, 2015

Thursday may bring a slick commute

From reports

The National Weather Service of Northern Indiana has issued a Freezing Rain Advisory in effect from 4 to 9 a.m. Thursday.
Freezing rain is expected to develop overnight and into the morning hours, with some snow and sleet expected as the weather transitions temperatures. Light icing is expected and roadways may become slick and dangerous for travel.

CCPD casting wide net to find future officers

(Talk of the Town photo by Jennifer Zartman Romano)
Acting on concerns that the Columbia City Police Force will need bolstered sooner that later, the Columbia City Board of Works approved plans to begin casting a wide net to find future officers.

By Jennifer Zartman Romano

Most of Columbia City's Police force will be eligible for retirement within the next several years, creating a challenging situation.
New officers cannot be hired until other retire, but if they were to choose to retire in quick succession, Chief Tim Longenbaugh would have a predicament on his hands as hiring a new officer isn't as easy as it sounds.
In fact, hiring a new officer, according to Longenbaugh, is really about a 12 month process -- four months worth of hiring activities and eight months of training before the officer is fully up to speed.
"There's so much we have to do for training," Longenbaugh told the Columbia City Board of Works Tuesday evening when he asked permission to being the hiring process now to prepare for as many as four openings in the near future.
Longenbaugh said he's already aware of an officer retiring in April and another on January 1, 2016. A bigger worry, however, is that three other offers are eligible for retirement this July. Longenbaugh is unsure of their plans, however, they only need to give two weeks notice and it would take nearly a year to replace them.
To tackle this problem, Longenbaugh asked the Board of Works for permission to create an eligible pool of applicants that could be tapped for future positions as they become open. While the pool of applicants would not be trained, all would have passed the lengthy process of interviews as well as written and physical agility testing.
Longenbaugh said he hoped to cast a wider net than they did last year when two officers were hired, however, a variety of issues have made finding a large pool of applicants difficult to find.
"We would get 50 applicants 10 years ago," Longenbaugh said. "Now, 30 is a good number. Numbers are very low."
Longenbaugh's request was unanimously approved and the hiring process officially began this morning.
To apply for a position with the Columbia City Police Department, visit columbiacitypolice.us

Heckman to speak about decades of public service at upcoming Patriots meeting

(Talk of the Town file photo by Jennifer Zartman Romano)
The Whitley County Patriots are honored to long-time Thorncreek Township Trustee Gene Heckman, as their guest speaker for the Tuesday, February 3, 2015, meeting.  
A trustee since 1971, Heckman, shown here, will be sharing many of his experiences as trustee and will discuss how government should responsibly serve the community.  The Patriots invite the community to attend and learn more about local government and in honoring this outstanding public servant. 
The meeting begins at 7 p.m. at The Church of The Nazarene, 506 North Main Street, Columbia City.

Hearing date set for history Eel River Bridge in South Whitley

Article provided

The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) will hold a public hearing for the proposed State Road 5 (S.R. 5) Bridge project over the Eel River. The meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m. on February 5, at the South Whitley Community Public Library, 201 East Front Street, South Whitley, Indiana 46526.
The purpose of the hearing is to offer all interested persons an opportunity to comment on current design plans and the environmental document for the S.R. 5 Bridge over the Eel River, located in Whitley County. The proposed rehabilitation of the bridge involves widening and replacing the existing deck with 12’ lane widths. The existing bridge rail and sidewalk will be replaced and ornamental street lights will be reset on top of the new bridge rail. The bridge is proposed to be closed during construction to vehicular traffic. The detour route will use S.R. 14 to S.R. 13 to S.R. 114. Further details, such as the tentative timetables for the construction, will be discussed during the formal presentation.
The concrete arch bridge, built in 1935, is listed in the National Register of Historic Places (National Register) eligible “South Whitley Historic District,” and is eligible for listing in the National Register. As part of the Indiana Historic Bridge Inventory project, the bridge was determined to be “Select.” Select bridges are those that are most suitable for preservation and are excellent examples of a given type of historic bridge.
Public statements for the record will be taken as part of the public hearing procedure.  All verbal statements recorded during the public hearing and all written comments collected before, during and for a period of two weeks after the hearing date, will be evaluated and addressed in the final environmental document.  Written comments may be submitted prior to the public hearing and within the comment period to: Public Hearings, Indiana Government Center North, Room N642, 100 North Senate Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46204.
If inclement weather prevails, please call (317) 232-6601 to find out whether the public hearing will be held or rescheduled.  Should the meeting be postponed, it will be rescheduled on Thursday, February 12, 2015 at the same time and location listed above.
With advance notice INDOT can make special accommodations for persons with disabilities and/or limited English speaking ability and persons needing auxiliary aids or services of interpreters, signers, readers, or large print.  If special accommodations are needed please call the Public Hearings office at (317) 232-6601, or email rclark@indot.in.dot, preferably by Wednesday, January 28, 2015.

January 27, 2015

On a path to possible stardom, Boston urges others to chase their dreams

(Talk of the Town photo by David Allon Lee)
Whitley County musician Trent Boston, shown above during a round of auditions Sunday, is competing to appear on the television show "America's Got Talent."

By Jennifer Zartman Romano

He can sing, but right now he can't say much.
Yet, the little news Whitley County musician Trent Boston can report sounds favorable. On Sunday, Boston was among thousands of talented folks who traveled to Chicago to audition for the television show "America's Got Talent." Thanks to a front-of-the-line ticket from a radio station, Boston was able to capture producer's attention early. He arrived around 9 a.m., auditioned around 3 p.m...and the auditions didn't stop until sometime after 10 p.m. Sunday night, each time moving him forward -- how far forward? No one knows at this point. Not even Boston. He was still in the game until the event closed down Sunday, so that must mean something good, right?
"The experience was AMAZING to say the least," said Boston, a Blues guitarist and vocalist who got his start in music at church.
"I was able to sing for them in that room the way I have always wanted to sing," he added, "with everything that I have and at the top of my lungs."
Once he finally got in the room with show staff Sunday afternoon, he sang a song. Shortly after that, he was called back in to sing two more songs.
"Then they gave me 20 minutes to go learn a new song," he said. Shortly after that, he sang two more songs, met with executive producers for the show and performed two songs for them.
Boston won't know until sometime in March what the outcome of the process might be, but a lot of good has come from the experience.
"So many people and so many new friends," he said of his favorite part of this process, an experience he has described as the greatest experience of his 34 years on Earth.
"I felt extremely loved, even among strangers," Boston added.
Regardless of the outcome, Boston has a nice piece of advice for all of us.
"Never give up, chase your dreams, follow your heart's passions because your shot may be closer than you think," said Boston.

Banks, Judy will speak at Chamber's Third House Legislative Forum in February

(Talk of the Town photos)
State Senator Amanda Banks and State Representative Christopher Judy will speak at the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce's upcoming Third House Legislative Forum on Friday, February 20. The event is open to the public.

By Jennifer Zartman Romano

A flurry of planning and preparations are underway for the Chamber's first legislative forum in many years.
The Whitley County Chamber of Commerce's Third House Legislative Forum is being planned for Friday, February 20, 2015, at 12 p.m. at the Whitley County Agricultural History Museum and 4-H Learning Center on the Whitley County Fairgrounds campus. The event is sponsored by the Regional Chamber of Northeast Indiana and NIPSCO.
As of Monday morning, State Senator Amanda Banks and State Representative Christopher Judy have committed their attendance at this important event geared at updating Whitley County residents on critical issues happening within our state government. President Pro Tempore State Senator David Long and State Representative David Ober, who also represent portions of Whitley County, have been invited to participate as well.
Each legislator will have an opportunity to speak on current legislative affairs and the Chamber will facilitate a question and answer segment following the discussion.
"We feel it is important for the citizens of Whitley County to have an opportunity to sit down and talk with our legislators during the current session while their opinions still have a bearing on the outcomes," said Chamber executive director Doug Brown. "Business owners, local leaders and the residents of our community will have the opportunity to ask the questions most important to them and learn more about legislative matters that impact their lives and businesses."
A light lunch, for $5 per person, will be served. This event is open to Chamber members and the general public. You do not need to purchase lunch to attend, but a reservation is required for lunch. The lunch fee may be paid in advance or at the door.
To RSVP for lunch, contact Jennifer Zartman Romano at 248-8131 or via email at jennifer@whitleychamber.com

Commit to clean water!

From reports

Help the Tippecanoe Watershed Foundation reach their grant goals by completing a two-minute online awareness pledge.
The purpose of the survey is to urge your action on any one of the four following topics:
·  Use phosphorus-free or no fertilizer on your lawn
· Pick up pet waste
· Properly maintain your septic system
· Use native plants on your shoreline or landscaping
Go to http://indiana.clearchoicescleanwater.org/ Choose a topic of interest to you and make a commitment to act -- whether that's being mindful about picking up pet waste, building a garden with native plant species, using phosphorus-free fertilizer or simply agreeing to pay closer attention to what is happening with your septic system.
Show state and local officials that you're doing your part for clean water. Complete the survey by January 31, 2015.

Check out our updated JOBS! board

After some tweaking, our job board is back up on Talk of the Town! If you're looking for candidates to fill a position or you're looking for a great new job, be sure to check out our JOBS! board on Talk of the Town.
To send a free job posting, type up a simple description and email it to: jennifer@talkofthetownwc.com

January 26, 2015

Three named to Whitley County Domestic Violence Task Force board

From reports

The Whitley County Domestic Violence Task Force has announced the election of three new board members. The new board members include Katie Kinsey, Robin Strup and Michelle Gibson.

The mission of the Whitley County Domestic Violence Task Force is to reduce the impact and frequency of domestic violence incidents in Whitley County, Indiana through the education of our citizenry, assessment of our needs, coordination of our existing services and the implementation of new services.

The organization, founded by Sherry Sausaman, works with law enforcement and community services to provide resources to those facing domestic violence.

Whitley County Chamber of Commerce to host annual State of the City luncheon

From reports

The Whitley County Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the annual State of the City luncheon. The luncheon will be held Wednesday, February 25 from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Robert Brittain Auditorium at Peabody Public Library. Columbia City Mayor Ryan Daniel will speak. The lunch is $12 for Chamber members and $16 for the general public.

To RSVP for the luncheon, call the Chamber office at 248-8131 or email Michelle Lesley at office@whitleychamber.com.


Whitley County Consolidated Schools, Smith-Green Community Schools and Whitko Community Schools are on two hour delays this morning.

January 25, 2015

Whitley County is under a travel advisory

Whitley County is under a travel advisory, the lowest level advisory, due to slick, snow-covered roadways. This advisory serves as a warning to motorists to remain cautious and travel with care. Whitko Community Schools have already announced a two-hour delay for Monday morning classes.