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February 25, 2008

Local residents share appreciation for local YMCA

Editor’s Note: What follows are two testimonials from local families who have benefited from the Whitley County Family YMCA’s financial assistance. The local YMCA is currently in the process of raising funds to support this type of funding with their Partner with Youth Campaign. Talk of the Town will continue to keep you updated on the progress they are making with this effort. Whitley County YMCA executive director Erica Miller provided the stories shared below.


A senior citizen writes:

“I am 66 years of age and have been overweight all of my life.  Can't remember when I wasn't dieting.  My health finally became a very important issue.  Blood pressure, arthritis, bad knees, back problems and etc.  I had the gastric bypass surgery last March (2007) and was instructed I must lose weight to live.  I knew then I had to get myself under control and get to the pool.  Because I need knee replacement I knew the water would be what I needed.  And my doctors were in agreement.
I applied for financial assistance, as I had not been able to work in about a year and was on social security.  The YMCA so graciously gave us the discounted fee.  I believe that was last June or so.  I have lost 120# and still losing.  Coming to the YMCA has been such a blessing. 
Thank you ALL for allowing me and my husband to come and enjoy the water.  My husband has bad knees and back and he enjoys the exercise too.  He will be 70 this year.  We should all take care of ourselves when we are younger.  For some reason we think we are too smart for that (when we are in our youth). 
You are a blessing to our family.”


A young mother writes:  

“After my divorce (and losing a significant amount of money through the divorce), I knew that I had to make some cut backs in my budget.  I thought one of the cut backs would have to be the YMCA, but I didn't want it to be one.  I went in one day and talked with Ms. Miller, explaining to her my situation, and we were able to come up with a manageable solution.  I was able to keep my Y membership for me and my children!!  I love going to the Y, to see the friendly people who work there and who are genuinely interested in your well being.  I have used the Y for body exercise, to relieve anger and stress, to lose weight, and to lift up my spirit.  It has played a very important role in my life and gotten me through some life changing events.”

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February 22, 2008

Reader gives vote of support for Hillary Clinton

Dearest Hillary,


Well, there you go again!  Winning yet another debate!  Your all-encompassing knowledge of facts, daily current events, statistics, the ever-changing political landscape, crucial issues which matter to us all, and how to score points in significant discussions/debates impresses this voter continually!  The televised exchange in Austin, Texas, allowed you once again to demonstrate your sense of fairness, serenity, stability, subtlety, and occasional, though necessary, brave feistiness.  (Truly hope that "one cannot xerox change" becomes part of the lexicon through March 4th and onward!)  Your LAST WORD resonated with several "white male voters" polled on the FOX network following the CNN broadcast. Yes, you one-upped Barack with your closing comments citing your acknowledgement of the plight of far too many Americans' disenfranchisement!  Your genuine concern for others and uncanny ability to focus outward and beyond yourself underscored that as of that moment you not only won the debate; you also won hearts and will garner the nomination!  My best to you today and always!  By the way, I am a free-thinking 61 year old midwestern white female who would approve of you regardless of my demographic status!



Submitted by Susie Duncan Sexton


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February 19, 2008

Are you tired of duplication, high tax bills?

By Dennis H. Warnick

I hope some how Whitley County will get ahead of the curve in regards to the Shepherd-Kernan Report. We don’t need to go overboard three elected county commissioners as we always have is ok, and a elected sheriff as we always have is ok, but from there on we need to change. Every other office in the courthouse except Judges and Prosecutor and County Clerk should be appointed offices by the Commissioners, the County Clerk should be appointed by the Judges. There should not be any term limits in the state of Indiana. If an elected official is not getting the job done then people will vote them out of office.

Township Trustees who deal with poor relief, fire service, and grave yards as well as assessments, we may no longer need. Poor relief can be handled by FSSA, Fire service could be taken care of by a County wide Fire District of which each Fire Department would still elect a chief and the chief’s of each department would elect a Fire District Commander, together the chief’s committee and the District Commander will decide when and where to replace equipment. Tax Assessment could as the Governor’s plan states are taken care of by an appointed county assessor. Graveyard’s maintenance could be looked after by the county wide park department who would do the mowing of parks anyway so the additional mowing would not be a big deal.

To have three public Library Districts in Whitley County and still not everyone can check out books from one of the Libraries is nonsense, we need one Library District with everyone being able to check books out of any of the Libraries, and maybe even a small Library at Tri Lake in years to come.

We need One School District, were there is now three, for Whitley, Noble & Kosciusko County tax payers to pay the salaries of three School Superintendants is nonsense! Each Superintendant makes over one hundred thousand dollars per year, plus they each have an assistant superintendant who makes more then eighty thousand dollars per year, you could run all three school corporations with One Superintendent and One Assistant Superintendant.

I am not talking about doing away with any libraries in fact we may be able to add a library, I am not talking about doing away with and Schools, each School would still have it’s own identity, its own personnel. But in both cases we would have one board to run the County Library System, and one School Board to run the county Tri County School Corporation. We should also look at combining the three communities, South Whitley, Columbia City and Churubusco park departments and include the County and Tri Lakes to come up with a county wide parks department, which would include the county wide trail system people are talking about, if it was a Whitley County Parks System it may be able to apply for larger grants, and maybe even get them.

The reason for all of this is that with all of the talk out of Indianapolis about making government smaller it is better to work toward making government smaller on our terms then to do it the way Indianapolis tells us we must do it! So I am throwing this out for people to tell me I am nuts, but we need to start from somewhere so I hope this will get people thinking and maybe start the ball rolling. And since I am presently on the Columbia City Parks Department as well as the Peabody Public Library Board I want to state that I would be more then happy to give up my set on both boards if it meant better library service to all county residents and better a better park system for everyone in Whitley County.

Will this or anything else ever take place? Only if enough people get tired of all the duplication of board and the high tax bills that the duplication causes, so it is up to all of us to push forward and make Whitley County a better place to live for our children and grandchildren by doing something. So these are my thoughts, please let those in government know your thoughts.

Editor's Note: If you'd like to write a guest column on a topic you're passionate about, please contact Talk of the Town's publisher, Jennifer Zartman Romano, at [email protected]. We will consider columns for publication as long as they are signed, content appropriate and fit the criteria of our news site. Additionally, you may post your comments about any topic on Talk of the Town by clicking on the comments link below. Please be respectful in your responses -- we want to be open to all points of view.

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Native American History: Something to be proud of

Editor's Note: On his midwestern genealogy blogsite, Midwestern Microhistory, journalist Harold Henderson wrote about how impressed he was with the Whitley County Historical Society's recent decision to hire Dani Tippmann for the directorship of the local museum. Henderson seems impressed with a community that would value Tippmann's hereditary link to an early Native American born in that county. Henderson is also impressed with the amount of local tools Whitley County residents or those with genealogical ties to the county will find at the Whitley County Historical Society's website. Thanks to Becky Wiseman at kinnexions for the mention in her blog as well as to Harold Henderson for the mention in his. -- JZR

What follows is Henderson's message:

History and Change in Whitley County, Indiana

The other night I was reading a 2003 article in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly (available online to members) by Elizabeth Shown Mills. Recapping the history of genealogy in the US, she explains how, after the Civil War, "Genealogy became a tool of ideologies and prejudices rooted in concepts of blood, heredity, race, and stock," often claiming or implying that northern Europeans were genetically better than others.

After that immersion in an unpleasant past, it was a a breath of fresh air to find Becky Wiseman at kinnexions pointing to a recent Talk of the Town profile of Dani Tippmann, the incoming director of the Whitley County History Museum. Tippmann is a member of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma; a distant uncle is Little Turtle, who fought on the losing side against Gen. Anthony Wayne in the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794. Besides having older-than-the-oldest-old-settler credentials, Tippmann's been extensively involved in local and regional history activities.

And if you click over to the Whitley County Historical Society's site and scroll down, your jaw may drop (as mine did) to see the number of genealogical records and indices available on line for this county just west of Fort Wayne.

Sigh. How could my ancestors and relatives have skipped over it altogether?

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February 12, 2008

YMCA: Building a Strong Whitley County

I am exceedingly proud of Whitley County's YMCA. We have a great facility, JoEllen Rush, YMCA Board of Directorsa variety of programs for a wide range of people, a dedicated director, and a very caring staff. What really brings the greatest pride to me as a board member, however, is how we are committed to making quality programs and facilities available to everyone, regardless of their ability to pay.

Through our yearly YMCA Partner with Youth Campaign, the "Ys" in the Greater Fort Wayne Area ensure that scholarships for individuals and families who want and need YMCA programs, but who have fallen on hard times, can still participate in Y programming. We strive to continue providing life-changing opportunties to children and adults that build self-control, promote health and develop positive values. Whether it is childcare, water safety, before and after school care, youth sports, day camps or summer camps, our YMCAs want to continue to build strong kids and families, and therefore, a strong community.

The 2008 Partner with Youth goal for our local YMCA is $25,000. During February and March the board and staff will be personally pledging their financial support. They will also be approaching the community for support and donations to help us reach this goal. All proceeds stay right here in Whitley County and contributions are tax deductible.

The YMCA wants to continue its legacy of service to those that live and work in Whitley County. Your charitable gifts will make this possible. We are most grateful for the support given in past years, and we hope for your continued generosity.

"It is only in the giving of oneself to others that we truly live." - Ethel Percy Andrus

JoEllen Rush, Chairman of Whitley County's Partner with Youth Campaign

Editor's Note: If you'd like to write a guest column on a topic you're passionate about, please contact Talk of the Town's publisher, Jennifer Zartman Romano, at [email protected]. We will consider columns for publication as long as they are signed, content appropriate and fit the criteria of our news site.

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