by Eric Stearley
On Thursday, Aug. 28, the Wabash Carnegie Public Library invited its patrons and members of the Wabash community to meet, share, and discuss the future of the library, particularly plans to expand the facility.
“We have, for the past couple years, been thinking about some kind of expansion of the building,” said Director Ware Wimberly, “because we feel that there are needs that we cannot meet with the current structure.”
After analyzing how the current facility is used, they began looking at consulting firms, eventually choosing MKM Architecture and Design, a Fort Wayne firm with a long history working with public libraries, including several Carnegie Libraries. Partner Zach Benedict and Senior Associate Matt Sparling represented the firm at the public open house on Thursday, explaining the project motives, concepts and plans.
“In an evolved, progressive town of Wabash’s size, the type of community that would win a Stellar grant, it provides a really interesting civic institution that allows a self-employed, creative class to thrive, a place to meet clients, a resource, a business incubator,” said Benedict. “This is what a library used to be, and still is, in smaller rural communities that have a high percentage of creative class individuals, something that I think Wabash could attract in the coming 10 to 20 years.”
While expanding the library would create space for a larger collection, it would also create space for groups to meet, engage, and share ideas.
by Eric Stearley
Years of hard work are paying off for two young Manchester Aquatic Club swimmers. Halle Briner, 10, and Grant Dale, 11, are headed to the Natatorium in Indianapolis this weekend to compete in the three-day Indiana Age Group State Swim Meet, which begins Friday, March 14.
A fifth grader at Manchester Intermediate School, it will be Halle’s second trip to the state competition. She is the daughter of Craig and Nikki Briner. Craig is also the Manchester Aquatic Club head coach.
A fifth grader at Sharp Creek Elementary School, it will be Grant’s third appearance at state. He is the son of Greg and Rhonda Dale. Greg is the Wabash High School Swim Team head coach.
If it weren’t for their size, one could easily mistake Grant and Halle for high school swimmers. During practice, they’re focused, moving smoothly and swiftly through the water with near perfect form. At the pool’s edge, however, it doesn’t take long to realize that the two are simply young kids with exceptional talent. They joke and play around between sets, splashing each other occasionally, doing the things that 10 and 11 year olds do in a swimming pool. Laughter comes easily when they’re not trying to catch their breath, but when Coach Craig says, “go,” it’s back to business.
“It’s a long season, and a lot of kids anymore just don’t have the dedication or work ethic to do it,” said Craig. “It’s tough coming in six straight months, three or four times a week.”
Briner knows firsthand the dedication that it takes to be a top-level swimmer. A state competitor in high school, he still holds the 200-yard freestyle record for Manchester High School, a record he set as a freshman in 1990.
“They’re getting older, swimming some more 200s and a few 500s,” said Briner. “If they’re not swimming 4000-4500 yards, they don’t have the endurance to do it.”
Late in the season, the young athletes start to see their three-mile practice regimen pay off. Both swimmers will be competing in multiple events at the competition this weekend. A bit of luck comes into play with Age Group swimming, as birthdays determine the competition groups. Halle got lucky, as her 11th birthday falls the week after state. She will be competing in every event offered against the best 9 and 10 year olds in Indiana.
“It’s really fun, because I win a lot,” said Halle.
Grant is not so lucky. He turned 11 just weeks before this year’s state competition, pushing him into the much stronger 11-12 year old division. Still, he was able to qualify for state in three events, the 50 yard butterfly, 50 yard backstroke, and 50 yard freestyle.
“It’s tough because you’re not used to them,” said Grant. “You’re always used to winning a lot of your events, and it’s really tough to do that now.”
Qualifying for state as a barely-11-year-old means that Grant will likely be a top competitor when he competes as a 12 year old. At the last state swim meet, Grant made it to the medal podium, finishing 8th in the 100 backstroke.
Swimming at the Natatorium in Indianapolis is an exciting experience for any young swimmer. Several U.S. Olympic Team Trials have been held at the massive facility. Both swimmers remember their first time swimming in the iconic pool.
“It was really big,” said Halle.
“It was pretty cool, because Missy Franklin and Michael Phelps, that’s where they got into the Olympics at,” added Grant.
The two young swimmers enjoy traveling around the state to compete throughout the year. They particularly like the pool at Fort Wayne’s South Side High School. Grant’s favorite pool is in Huntington, where he got his first state cut, swimming faster than the minimum qualifying time. They’re both excited to see the new MAC record board put up in the Strauss-Peabody Aquatic and Fitness Center, where the club holds practice. Halle will have six records on the board, while Grant will have two. Right now, however, the only thing they’re focused on is state.
“We just want to meet our goals,” said Grant.
Being at the top of her age group, Halle is looking for a spot on the podium. Grant knows that at his young age, he probably won’t be a top competitor this year, but he’ll be able to get more experience competing in his new age group. In addition to state cuts, both swimmers have qualified for the Zone competition in the past, a multi-state event that brings swimmers from more than 13 states together in competition.
Spending as much time together as they do, Grant and Halle have become good friends. They are also very competitive. After asking Grant if Halle ever beats him, a debate quickly unfolded.
“Only in the breaststroke,” said Grant.
“Oh, sure!” Halle shot back.
“I whip her in everything else,” Grant continued.
“I’m still beating you by 1/100th (of a second) in the 50 breast,” said Halle.
As a small team from a small town, Manchester Aquatic Club doesn’t have the depth of the state’s larger programs. At this point in the season, they have about a dozen swimmers at any given practice. Teams in Indianapolis consistently have more than 300. Swimming, however, is an individual sport, and team size and strength doesn’t hold swimmers back. Briner has high hopes for the swimmers down the road.
“If you’re looking at doing something in college, swimming is still a sport that, if you’re very good, you’ve got a really good shot at having a college look at you,” said Briner. “If you just want to have it be on you, swimming is the way to do it.”
When asked if they would swim in high school, Halle quickly said, “yes,” while Grant answered, “questionable.” As a future Northfield student, Grant would be only the third Norseman to represent his school in the water, and would likely practice with another team.
But high school and college are still a long way off for the young swimmers. For now, they’re focused on preparing for this weekend’s Age Group State Swim Meet.
The Wabash County Christmas Spirit is excited to announce the release of their new website, www.wabashcountychristmasspirit.com. Registration began Sept. 1, and runs through Nov. 1, for the 2014 Christmas season. Through the website, businesses and individuals will be able to view information concerning volunteer and donation information.
Wabash County Christmas Spirit’s mission is to receive all of Wabash County’s gifts – their time, energy, and charity– repackage it, and distribute it as hope to all of those families in need in Wabash County. By this gift of hope, they wish to build neighborly love throughout the community and to maintain Christmas Spirit all year long.
If your family is in need of assistance this holiday season with the purchase of gifts for your children ages newborn through high school, make sure to visit their website or go to the following locations for a paper form: Wabash County Chamber of Commerce, North Manchester Chamber of Commerce, Wabash County YMCA, Lighthouse Missions, Bowen Center, F.I.S.H., Wabash Christian Church, Christ United Methodist Church, First Farmers Bank & Trust, Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana, The Access, or Living Well in Wabash County.
Fall clean up in Wabash will begin the week of Sept. 8, according to Scott Richardson, Wabash Street Department superintendent.
Pick-up will be divided into four sections, following the same route as weekly trash. Items will be picked up from lawns and along city streets only. No pick-ups will take place in alleys.
Items for pick-up need to be in place by 7 a.m. on the day of pick-up or the items will not be picked up. Piles of items for pick-up can be no larger than 4 foot by 8 foot. Also, items for pick-up have to be separate from brush piles. Brush will not be picked up the week of fall cleanup.
Items that will not be picked up are: batteries, paint, petroleum products, household chemicals, tires, appliances with Freon (appliances with red tags to denote Freon that was professionally removed, will be accepted), shingles, drywall and plaster, televisions, computers and other electronic devices.
“If residents miss their pick-up time, they have the option of taking it to a City-provided dumpster at the Wastewater Treatment Plant or taking it back inside,” Richardson said.
The dumpster at the wastewater treatment plant, 700 S. Carroll St., will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. The dumpster will be manned, and those wishing to leave items will be asked to provide proof of residence in the City.
Residents can take chemicals, tires, appliances, batteries, paint, petroleum products, televisions, computers, and all other electronic devices, to the Wabash County Solid Waste Management District located at 1101 Manchester Avenue (between Speedway Redi Mix and Family Physicians). This is a free service for residents of Wabash County. There is a small fee for business services.
The district’s normal hours of operation are Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. For questions regarding what may be taken to the District, please call 260-563-7649.
The district will host a special clean-up day on Saturday, Sept. 13. Residents can drop off items from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
by Emily Armentrout
The Roann Covered Bridge Festival begins Thursday evening and runs through Sunday evening, with events for all ages throughout the weekend. Events ranging from tractor pulls to cake walks and skillet throwing to kid’s bicycle rodeo can be enjoyed by all in Roann.
Vendors and amusement rides open Thursday evening at 5 p.m. with an antique tractor show running all weekend. The festival officially begins with a welcoming ceremony at 5:45 p.m. The weekend will also be full of entertainment with bands ranging from gospel to country rock’n’roll. Livin Forgivin will be playing from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Thursday at the North Stage, with The Bulldogs playing at 8 p.m. at Center Stage. Be sure to take part in the raffle for the signed poster of the Bulldogs. Red Roots will be playing Friday night from 8:30-10:30 p.m. at Center Stage, and you can catch Flyin Blynd at South Stage Saturday evening from 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Hannah Anders Band was supposed to play Saturday night from 8:30-10:30 p.m., but due to an illness, the band has been replaced with Justin Blazer, who also is a country singer. You can catch Justin Blazer at Center Stage.
Be sure to visit Center Stage on Thursday evening to see the Prince and Princess crowned, along with the Cutie King and Queen, beginning at 6:30 p.m.
Little Girls and Ladies Skillet throwing will take place at 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., respectively, on Friday, Sept. 5. This event was so large last year, the committee had to split ages this year.