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March 31, 2011

Resident says he sees mismanagement 'on a grand scale'

Dear Editor:

Mayor Fleck has asked his department heads to develop a plan to save on gas consumption because of the high price now being charged at the pump.
Mayor Fleck: stop the take-home policy for all of your departments!  Sell 12 of your police cars.  Sell your ambulance.  Sell your city-owned car.  Stop city cars and trucks from leaving Whitley County and being used for second jobs.
And for goodness sakes stop personal use of a city vehicle by an employee on sick leave from driving his city car to his non-city full time job for a year and a half.  That is just mismanagement by the department head and the mayor on a grand scale.
Not only would the city save on gasoline, but it would also save on insurance and maintenance.
What say the candidates?

Terry L. Smith
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March 28, 2011

Democratic House leader announces compromise provisions

Today we can announce compromises that are great steps forward for working Hoosiers. The principled stand by House Democrats forced concessions by the House Republicans that reflected the concerns expressed by so many people who came to the Statehouse in recent weeks.

The timeout forced by Democrats gave Hoosiers an opportunity to examine the radical agenda being attempted in Indiana and to speak out. We've protected working people from a march to the minimum wage. We've protected collective bargaining rights for Hoosier workers and teachers. We've softened the blow to public schools and prevented passage of a bill for the private takeover of public schools. This timeout gave millions of Hoosiers a real voice in their state government.

We are appreciative that the Speaker was willing to reach out to us and make compromises that address the most serious concerns. We are hopeful that we can continue to work and find common ground.

These compromises are not perfect. Democrats aren't bound to vote for them, and we will make an effort to continue to amend the proposals before us. But, this is something to work with and we are headed back to Indianapolis to do just that.

The provisions of the compromise include:

- right-to-work legislation is off the table, preserving collective bargaining rights;

- the permanent ban on public employee bargaining is off the table in the House;

- enabling legislation for private takeover of public schools is off the table in the House;

- private school vouchers will be limited to 7,500 students in the first year and 15,000 in the second year, rather than the largest voucher program in the nation the Republicans originally wanted;

- rather than an outright ban of Project Labor Agreements as Republicans wanted, PLAs still can be included with projects passed by public referendum; and

- the threshold for applying the common construction wage to projects would be $250,000 for 2012 and $350,000 for 2013, rather than the job-killing $1
million threshold the Republicans wanted.

Pat Bauer
Democratic House Leader

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March 18, 2011

Columbia City Rotary thankful for many individuals, businesses who contributed to fundraising success

The individuals who attended this year’s Columbia City Rotary Scholarship and Community Auction held February 26, 2011, at the Eagle's Nest Event Center came with generous hearts and raised over $19,000 for CCHS scholarships and community special projects.  THANK YOU!

But none of that would have been possible without the many businesses and individuals who donated items.  

Columbia City Rotary Club members give a sincere thank you to the following:  Aboite Grill, Ace Hardware, Al Anderson, Al Baatz, Andy's Car Wash, Anthony Wayne Boy Scout Council, B.A.B.E., Ball Furniture, Barbara's New Beginnings, Barnes & Noble, State Farm Insurance, Better Than Grandma's Bakery, Bob Grawcock, Bones Theatre, Brad Farnsworth, C. Taron & Gloria Smith - Smith & Sons Funeral Home, Candice Yeakle, CC Deli, Century Link, Chad Moore Photography, Cheryl & Bill Tucker, Churubusco Rotary Club, City Chevrolet, Columbia City Pizza Hut, Columbia House Interiors, Connie's Art Gallery, Cort Chilean & Kathleen Anderson, Crooked Lake Golf Course, Crossroads Bank, Dairy Queen, Dale Pence, Daniel Menu & Party Consulting, Dick Haworth, Don & Rosie Armstrong, Don Langeloh, Doug Brown, Doug Graft, Dr. Ron Longenbaugh, Eagle Glen Golf Course, Eel River Golf Course, Eric & Tonya Horvath, First Source Bank, Five Star Distributing, Francis Bundy, Frank's Wood Shop, Friends of Paula Reimers for County Council, Gene Heckman, George Schrumpf, Goss Grocery, Gregg Goewert, Hagerman Construction, Hinen Printing, J & J Insurance, Jane Langeloh, Jennifer Zartman-Romano, John Meier, June Keiser, Kathy Sauers, Kriders Meat Processing, Kroger, Lake City Bank, Lee Baatz, Linda Beck, Linvill Sod Farm, Los Tequilas, LT Foundations Real Estate, Mama Luginni's, Maria Stauffer, Matt Boyd, Mayor James Fleck, Michel Tire, Mike & JoEllen Rush, Mike & Linda Grant, Mike Roy's Chicken Farm, Parkview Whitley Hospital, Parkview Whitley Rehab Department, Papa John's Pizza, Pride C Stores – Valero, Robin Wright, Running Around Screenprinting, Ryan Wilson, Senor Fajitas, Stan & Doris Horne, Star Financial Bank, Subway, The Nook, The Post & Mail, The Romine Group, Edward Jones, Tom Drew, Tom O'Neill, University of St. Francis, Whitley Chiropractic, Whitley County Family YMCA, Whitley Tire & Auto Care.

Our sincerest appreciation,
Columbia City Rotary Club Auction Committee

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March 17, 2011

Out-of-town companies taking advantage of Whitley County residents, fail to offer fair price for valuables

I’m writing this letter in regards to out of town companies coming into our great community and taking advantage of the good people of Whitley County. These companies come into town, run large ads in the paper to entice people to bring in there keepsakes and turn them into cash. This would be good and well if they paid a fair price for the items.
My name is Gary Grepke and I own a  small local business and the last time they came to our community, I sent down a small bag of gold jewelry and they offered us 12% of what it was worth. We then sent down some coins and even though the out come was better, my local store still paid 27% more. I not trying to toot my own horn, I just want everyone to be careful when selling things and getting a fair price. I have no problem with people getting a second opinion as on occasion someone else may be trying to fill another customers request and will pay a little more to do so.
It’s always good to do business locally as that person will be there tomorrow and not in another state. This is also a good way for thieves to sell gold jewelry and the next day it is out of town. This type of activity has been banned in three states already and hopefully more states will follow. It also gives the person trying to run a legit business paying fair prices a bad name.

Gary Grepke
Dollars & Cents Coins
207 W Van Buren Street

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March 11, 2011

A call to action regarding dangerous intersections along US 30

Those of us that drive the stretch of US 30 between Warsaw and Fort Wayne, IN are acutely aware of the dangers at the intersections. Sadly, we see many crosses dotting the sides of the roads, reminding us of the inherent risk of entering the intersection. These crosses should further remind us that we should respond with a call to action.

Many of the accidents on US 30 intersections involve tractor-trailers, and many people witness tractor-trailers driving through red lights. The constant visual of the problem makes it easy to over-simplify the issue and blame a singular group. While no one is a perfect driver, and enforcement of existing codes and laws is an important part of reducing the number of collisions, the issue is more complex. This issue needs approached from a root cause analysis, not just reactionary feedback.

We need to work WITH professional truck drivers and ask them how we can make their jobs safer. These professionals are very concerned about safety and are anxious to work towards solutions.

Professional truck drivers contend that the duration of the yellow lights is too short and the intersecting green lights should be on delays.

This matter should be taken up with the Department of Transportation, the entity that regulates the safety features of our highways. Currently, the duration of the lights is based on a formula that includes variables such as distance between consecutive stop lights. The formula should include and give heavy consideration to the extradorinary weight of a tractor-trailer and the corresponding stopping distance required.

Send emails to [email protected] to bring attention to the issue, and to request further study of the timing of the lights. Senator Jim Banks recently requested the DOT to study the 30/205 intersection, and his action resulted in upcoming rumble strip application. Contact Senator Banks to encourage him to continue pushing this issue. http://www.jimbanks.us/contact

Meghan Lawrence

Allied SPD Fleet Supervisor

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March 07, 2011

Farmers’ contributions to our economy go beyond Ag Appreciation Month

There are images, scents and sights that are close to the hearts and minds of Hoosiers whose lives are linked to agriculture.  The smell of spring. The miraculous moment a newborn calf makes its first attempt to stand.  The vision of a farmer fighting dusk and dodging raindrops to unload that last wagon of hay.  All are powerful scenes of the sometimes quiet force that is Indiana agriculture. Its contributions are countless, and though we celebrate them (often subtly) everyday, we now have a unique opportunity to truly relish them.  
March is “Agriculture Appreciation Month.”   And while it may compete with another Hoosier pastime, a good game of basketball, Indiana’s farmers have certainly proven they can handle a full court press during tough times.  
Our standings reflect the score and tell the story.  For example, do you know that when your children’s faces are spackled with spaghetti sauce, the tomatoes used in it likely come from Indiana? We’re second in the nation in tomatoes for processing.   The next time you savor a scoop of rocky ripple or butter pecan, consider that we are also second in the nation in ice cream production.  When you prepare pork chops, hamburgers, and chicken for the grill, are you aware of the efforts made by our Indiana family of farmers to ensure those backyard barbecue favorites are safe, affordable and nutritious?
Agriculture contributes $25 billion each year to Indiana’s economy, and it is critical to the future of our state and our ongoing efforts to achieve a complete economic rejuvenation.
At a time when it seems as if everyone is asked to do more with less, our Indiana farmers serve to remind us what can happen when we look at obstacles as opportunities.  Their efforts and attitudes are gaining global attention.  When we visit other countries, we know just how fortunate we are to have a strong agricultural industry and abundant, affordable food. America and the world are quite literally depending on the agricultural industry to thrive and grow. We’ve never lived in a time when so many depend on so few for their quality of life.
Our international trade missions have resulted in a number of success stories for Indiana agriculture, including potential corn and soybean export deals, jobs, and investment ventures in our state. These kinds of relationships are a direct reflection of the values and commitment of our Hoosier Ag community.
In this economic climate, we cannot afford to ignore any opportunity that would breathe new life into our communities and put Hoosiers back to work. And agriculture continues to be one of our strongest assets.
Indiana farmers are innovative, inspiring, giving of their hands, and humble of heart.  Each time I present our Hoosier Homestead awards, I gain a deeper understanding of those families who’ve cultivated their properties for more than a century.    
As we face new challenges and work together to overcome them, may we all be grateful for the rich heritage and high standards Indiana agriculture brings to that collaborative quest, not only this month, but always.  To Indiana’s family of farmers, and all that you represent, we salute you.

Lt. Governor Becky Skillman

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