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December 1, 2016

Caucus events set to fill vacancies in local state senate, prosecutor seats

By Jennifer Zartman Romano

Whitley County GOP chairman Matt Boyd announced Wednesday that dates have been set for two caucuses, filling the vacancies created by Jim Banks and Matthew Rentschler following the recent General Election.
The first caucus will be held on Tuesday, December 6, to fill the Indiana Senate District 17 seat vacanted by Banks when he was elected to the Third District Congressional seat. The caucus will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Heartland REMC Community Room, 350 Wedcor Drive, Wabash.
Current candidates include Lee Baatz of Whitley County, Andy Zay of Huntington County, Darren Reese and Ann Vermillion, both of Grant County.
Additional candidates could still file for this caucus as filing must happen no later than 72 hours prior to the caucus in Indianapolis. Political affiliation is not required.
In all, 32 Whitley County precinct committee men and women are eligible to vote in the caucus.
The winner of the Senate District 17 Caucus will complete the remainder of the term that Jim Banks was elected to in the 2014 General Election, that term will expire November 6, 2018. District 17 includes portions of Whitley, Huntington, Wabash and Grant Counties.
The second caucus has been planned to fill the vacancy created when current Whitley County Prosecuting Attorney Matthew Rentschler is sworn in as Whitley Circuit Court Judge on January 1, 2017. 
This caucus will be held on Thursday, December 8, at 7 p.m. in the auditorium at the Peabody Public Library, 1160 East Highway  2015 in Columbia City.
Currently, only one candidate has filed for the seat, local Deputy Prosecuting Attorney DJ Sigler.
The deadline to file as a candidate in that caucus would be Monday, December 5 at 7 p.m. No party affiliation is required to be a candidate in the caucus.
Whitley County's 34 Republican precinct committee members will participate in this caucus to fill the remaining portion of Rentschler's term beginning January 1, 2016, through December 31, 2018.

Banks announces latest Congressional leadership staff

From reports

Congressman-elect Jim Banks today announced that Matt Lahr and Paul Lagemann will assume the roles of Chief of Staff and District Director when Banks takes office in January 2017.
Both Lahr and Lagemann currently serve on the staff of retiring Indiana Senator Dan Coats. Lahr is Deputy Chief of Staff and Communications Director, and Lagemann is Northeast Regional Director for Coats.
"Senator Coats has been a friend and mentor to me, and I respect his approach to public service and focus on constituent services," said Banks. "I am pleased that two key members of his staff will be joining my team to help me best represent the Third District in Congress. Matt and Paul are uniquely qualified for the roles they are taking on and are committed to serving the citizens of northeast Indiana."
Lahr is a native of Columbus, Indiana, and has worked on Capitol Hill for over a decade. He is a graduate of Indiana University and began his career working for then-Congressman Mike Pence in 2006. Lahr worked in the House of Representatives for five years and has spent the last six years working for Senator Coats. Lahr has an MBA from George Mason University.
Lagemann is a native of Fort Wayne and currently works as Coats' representative to Hoosiers in twenty-two northeast Indiana counties. Prior to working for Coats, Lagemann spent nearly twenty years in the private sector, owning and operating a small family business. He chairs the board of Fort Wayne Trails and currently serves on the boards of Concordia Lutheran High School, Allen County Right to Life, Lutheran Social Services and the Northeast Indiana Innovation Center. Lagemann is a graduate of Ball State University and has a master's degree in public management from Indiana University.

November 30, 2016

CCPD collecting 'Coats for Kids'

From reports This year Columbia City Police Department is currently collecting Coats for Kids. They will be accepting new coats, hats, scarves and gloves for ages 1-18 and for boys and girls. The drop off site for donations is at City Hall on the first floor. Monetary donations will be accepted by City dispatch. For any questions please contact Officer Rae Carpenter via email at or call 248-5121. Checks can be mailed to: Patroling for Presents c/o Columbia City Police Department, 112 South Chauncey Street, Columbia City, IN 46725. Please join the Columbia City Police Department in keeping kids in our community warm this winter.

EDC seeks winter photos

From reports

There's still time to submit your photos for the EDC Christmas Card Photo Contest! Submit a wintry photo from Whitley County-photo can be a "throwback" since we haven't had a big snow yet this year-for the chance to win a $25 gift card to El Dorado Restaurant & Bar and 2 free movie tickets to Bones Theatre in Columbia City!
Submit your photos to by Friday, December 2.

Libraries recognize young writers

From reports In honor of all veterans, each of the three libraries in Whitley County invited students to participate in a Veterans Writers' Contest. For the past 14 years, the community has shown tremendous support for the annual Salute to Veterans recognition program. Winners included: Abigail Erwin - Churubusco Public Library
Kayla Carpenter - Peabody Public Library
Cassidy Skinner - South Whitley Community Public Library This year, local libraries wanted to encourage more students to participate and understand the reasons why the United States sets aside one day in November to honor and recognize veterans and all that they have done for the country.Students were asked to choose a writing style such as a story, biography or poem and develop a theme describing what a veteran means to them. A winner was chosen from each library. All the students did a great job and library staff were very pleased with the number of students who participated. Each of the winners received a medal and book, plus a donation will also be made to a Veteran's association of their choice.

November 29, 2016

Santa will visit 1st Source Bank in Columbia City

Article provided 1st Source Bank announces that Santa Claus will visit its Columbia City Banking Center, located at 630 Countryside Drive, on Saturday, December 10 from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Children and their parents can stop by to visit with Santa and have their photograph taken (please bring your own camera). Attendees are encouraged to bring a donation of canned food, paper products, gift cards or other items for The Lighthouse Mission. 1st Source Corporation, parent company of 1st Source Bank, has assets of $5.4 billion and is the largest locally controlled financial institution headquartered in the northern Indiana-southwestern Michigan area. The Corporation includes 81 banking centers, 22 1st Source Bank Specialty Finance Group locations nationwide, eight Wealth Advisory Services locations and ten 1st Source Insurance offices. For more than 150 years, 1st Source has been committed to our mission of helping our clients achieve security, build wealth and realize their dreams. For more information, visit

'The Price is Right LIVE' coming to the Embassy Theatre

Article provided The Price is Right LIVE™ is coming to the Embassy Theatre Thursday, February 9. The Price Is Right Live™ is the hit interactive stage show that gives eligible individuals the chance to "Come On Down" to win. Prizes may include appliances, vacations and possibly a new car! Play classic games from television's longest running and most popular game show from Plinko™, to Cliffhangers™, to The Big Wheel™ and even the fabulous Showcase. Playing to near sold-out audiences for more than 10 years, the Price Is Right Live!™ has given away more than 12 million dollars in cash and prizes and sold more than 1.7 million tickets. If you enjoy the rush of emotions experienced while watching the show on television, just imagine the possibilities if you were actually in the audience watching it live.

November 28, 2016

Uh oh! It's good for children, but it sure looks weird

From reports

Do you still use the same phone that you used in 1980? When you need medical care, do you avoid new techniques in favor of older, more invasive procedures? Of course not! Most of us jump at the advantages that research and technology provide.
Through an upcoming media campaign, the Dekko Foundation will contend that early childhood education is due for an update as well.
"Through research and study we know so much more about how children grow and learn than we did twenty years ago," says Kimberly Schroeder, program officer for the Dekko Foundation. "It's time to pair the timeless principles related to how children learn with the knowledge gained by people who study children's development today. Together those things bring us to the next logical step forward in early childhood education."
For the past seven years, the Dekko Foundation has partnered with early education centers in its Indiana and Iowa grantmaking areas. Those leaders have studied deeply about how very young children learn and what they need to maximize their development. These leaders have changed their approach, their words and their buildings based on what is known now about children's learning needs. Children are thriving. But there's a problem.
The new approach just looks weird!
Missing are the brightly-colored classrooms filled with ABC and 1,2,3 banners. (Knowledge about how children learn tells us that too many distractions keep children from learning.) The teacher is no longer the center of the room. (Research tells us that children thrive when they direct their own learning at their own pace.) Two-year-old's are making their own snacks and cleaning up afterward. (Children see adults do this work. When they can do it themselves, they feel powerful!)
"Many people who work with young children believe that this approach to learning is really good for children, but they meet resistance from parents and grandparents," says Sharon Smith, the Dekko Foundation's program director. "Our media campaign is designed to inform people about what children need in their early education environments so that their learning can be maximized. We want parents to seek out excellence in care for their children and have the information available to determine what is excellent in their opinion.
Local education programs using this approach include:

Armstrong Early Learning Center
950 E Van Buren St
Columbia City, IN 46725
(260) 244-9622

Cole Center YMCA Preschool - Albion Elementary
202 Cougar Court
Albion, IN 46701
(260) 347-9622

The Dekko Foundation's awareness campaign is designed to help parents understand that there is early education out there that's really good for their children. The target market for the campaign is parents ages 18 through 35. Because this age group uses technology heavily, the Foundation's campaign will use digital advertising on websites and online radio stations. The campaign will also attempt to reach a secondary audience of grandparents and community leaders by using traditional radio, print and in-person presentations.
The Dekko Foundation was started in 1981 by entrepreneur, Chester E. Dekko. The mission of his foundation is to foster economic freedom through education. The Foundation serves communities where Mr. Dekko had an interest. In Indiana, the Foundation serves DeKalb, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben and Whitley Counties.
The Dekko Foundation is supported in this campaign by Ferguson Advertising, based in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The campaign's first phase will run through the end of August 2017.
For information contact: or phone 260-347-1278.

Quality Inspection & Gage set to expand in Blue River Industrial Park

From reports

Locally based, manufacturing company Quality Inspection & Gage (QIG, LLC), has announced plans to expand its operations at its facility in Blue River Industrial Park. 
"QIG, LLC designs and manufactures custom gages and fixtures for customers around the world," said QIG President Kelly Geiger, "We work closely with our clients from the gage or fixture design through the build and calibration process to ensure they are receiving the highest quality product that is available." 
QIG, LLC works with clients from start to finish on gage and fixture design, to using cutting-edge equipment and tools to manufacture the products, and offering inspection and gage calibration.  
"QIG, LLC is one of several companies in Whitley County that builds gages and fixtures for manufacturing clients across the country," said Whitley County Economic Development Corporation President Jon Myers. "We are happy that this company and this industry continues to grow here." 
The company is located at 225 S. Towerview Dr. in Blue River Industrial Park in Columbia City, and will invest $250,000 in new machinery for the facility, will modify existing lab space to accommodate the equipment and will add 5,000 square feet of additional manufacturing space.  
The City of Columbia City approved ten-year tax abatements for construction of the additional manufacturing space, the new machinery and modifications to the existing lab space to accommodate the equipment.  
"We're proud to support the expansion of this high-quality company in Columbia City," said Mayor Ryan Daniel, "Their investment into the company, and our community, is a testament to the great business environment that has been cultivated in Whitley County and the State of Indiana." 
To learn more about QIG visit

Humane Society of Whitley County launches 'Letters to Santa' campaign

From reports

The Humane Society of Whitley County would like to help brighten a child's Christmas by having Santa write him/her a letter.  
For a $5 donation, the Humane Society will send a customized letter from Santa to a child of your choice! A customized letter will be sent for each $5 donation provided. All letters will include a small gift.
To request a form, contact the Humane Society of Whitley County via email at
All letters must be ordered and paid for no later than December 15, 2016.

November 25, 2016

Fifth annual Whitley County Christmas Parade set for November 25 in downtown Columbia City

From reports

A celebration of the Christmas Season commences with the fifth annual Whitley County Christmas Parade tonight, Friday, November 25, 2016 at 6 p.m. and we are anticipating a large, excited crowd awaiting Santa's arrival!
The parade, featuring illuminated floats and walking units, will lineup near Eagle Tech Academy, heading south on Walnut Street, east on Van Buren Street and then south at the corner of Chauncey and Van Buren Streets in downtown Columbia City.
Santa will, of course, be the featured parade participant -- arriving in a surprise fashion to delight the young and young at heart as he does each year. Will his arrive by horse and carriage? Via an antique tractor? On a snowmobile? It's all a surprise that won't be revealed until parade night!
As soon as Santa arrives at his house, located on the corner of Chauncey and Van Buren Streets, a tree lighting ceremony will begin with musical performances by the Whitley Community Children's Choir and the Columbia City High School Marching Eagles Band.
A warming station, sponsored by Northeastern REMC and Ball Furniture, will be located inside Ball Furniture, featuring hot coffee, hot cocoa and cookies.
A live reindeer will greet visitors at the corner of Line & Van Buren Streets and has been sponsored by Running Around Screenprinting.
Sponsors for the parade include Northeastern REMC, Downtown on the Square, Big G's, Passages, Inc., Whitley Crossings Neighborhood Corp., City of Columbia City, J&K Communications, Eberly Photography & Videography, Charlie & Joe Wigent, The Clark Family, The Gaerte Family, The Lowrance & Henney Families, The Romano Family and The Schmitt Family.  
Updates can be found on the Whitley County Lighted Christmas Parade page on Facebook.
In addition to the parade, the Walk of Trees will be open at The Clugston on parade night from 5 to 8 p.m. Additional Walk of Trees times include: November 26 from 5 to 8 p.m., December 2-3 from 5 to 8 p.m. and December 9-10 from 5 to 8 p.m. The Clugston is located at 108 South Chauncey Street.

More than half a century's tradition continues with Santa's House

From reports
Thanks to the generosity of local businesses and families, the tradition of Santa's House will continue again this year in Whitley County. Santa's House will officially open for the year following the arrival of Santa in downtown Columbia City on Friday, November 25 at 6 p.m.
Located at the corner of Chauncey and Van Buren Streets in downtown Columbia City, Santa's House has welcomed visitors for more than 60 years to share their wishes with Santa, enjoy a candy cane and create a memory to last a lifetime.
Santa's House will be open for the following hours in 2016:
Friday, November 25 - after the parade
Saturday, November 26 - 5 to 8 p.m.
Sunday, November 27 - 12 to 3 p.m.
Friday, December 2 - 5 to 8 p.m.
Saturday, December 3 - 5 to 8 p.m.
Sunday, December 4 - 5 to 8 p.m.
Friday, December 9 - 5 to 8 p.m.
Saturday, December 10 - 5 to 8 p.m.
Sunday, December 11 - 12 to 3 p.m.
Friday, December 16 - 5 to 8 p.m.
Saturday, December 17 - 12 to 3 p.m.
Sunday, December 18 - 12 to 3 p.m.
Friday, December 23 - 5 to 8 p.m.
Christmas Eve - 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Admission is free. A photographer from Eberly Photography will be present to take professional photos and print them on site for you, if requested.
Santa's House is made possible thanks to the gifts of many, including Northeastern REMC, Downtown on the Square, Big G's,
Passages, Inc., Whitley Crossings Neighborhood Corp., City of Columbia City, J&K Communications, Eberly Photography & Videography, Charlie & Joe Wigent, The Clark Family, The Gaerte Family, The Lowrance & Henney Families, The Romano Family and The Schmitt Family.
Gifts to support Santa's House are always welcome and can be mailed to: Whitley County Lighted Christmas Parade Fund, c/o Community Foundation of Whitley County, 400 North Whitley Street, Columbia City, IN 46725.

Whitley Crossings Neighborhood Corporation & Clugston Senior Apartments to host annual Walk of Trees

From reports

The Clugston Senior Apartments and Whitley Crossings Neighborhood Corporation are again hosting the Annual Walk of Trees. This event is a community favorite and gives families something fun and free to do during the holiday season while downtown visiting Santa and partaking in other downtown festival events. The event is free and open to the public.
The Walk of Trees will be held:
November 25 & 26, from 5 to 8 p.m.
December 2 & 3, from 5 to 8 p.m.
December 9 & 10, from 5 to 8 p.m.
Walk the historic lobby of the Clugston Senior Apartments as it is transformed for this holiday season with beautifully decorated trees for all to enjoy. Trees are donated by local businesses, organizations, etc. Trees can be traditional or theme-based. They will also have wreaths as part of this year's event. You may purchase raffle tickets for a chance to win one of the beautifully decorated trees. Tickets will be $1.00 or 6 for $5.00 and available at the door.
The drawing for the trees will be held on December 10 at 8 p.m. Winners need not be present to win.
Proceeds from this event will benefit low-moderate income senior residents.
The Clugston is located at 108 South Chauncey Street in downtown Columbia City.

6th annual Christmas Decorating Contest encourages downtown Columbia City businesses to get festive

From reports

For the sixth year, Talk of the Town will host their annual Christmas decorating contest for businesses in downtown Columbia City. Participating businesses are urged to have the decorations ready this evening, Friday, November 25, prior to the start of the parade at 6 p.m.
Parade attendees are invited to walk around downtown Columbia City and pick their favorite displays. Voting will begin online on Talk of the Town in early December.
The business that receives the most votes for their Christmas decor will receive an advertising prize package on Talk of the Town.
For more information, contact Jennifer Zartman Romano, owner and publisher of Talk of the Town, at 610-1873.

Show your support of local businesses with Small Business Saturday

From reports

Many local businesses across Whitley County will be open this Saturday, November 26 in observance of Small Business Saturday, a day dedicated to supporting small businesses during the holiday season. Numerous activities have been promoted in downtown Columbia City and Churubusco. Participation is easy -- simply make a point of visiting your favorite local and locally owned small businesses this Saturday!