Editor’s Note: This is the third in a series of nine articles outlining each of the proposed projects included in this year’s Stellar Communities application.
by Eric Stearley
A decade ago, downtown Wabash was lackluster. Many old buildings, which once housed thriving businesses, were vacated and in a state of disrepair.
“When you drive through a town, that first opinion, that first thing you see, is the impression you get, and something had to be done with that in our downtown,” said Mayor Robert Vanlandingham. “We had old buildings, and they were in need of help. Marketplace stepped in and has just done a heck of a job.”
Four years ago, Wabash Marketplace awarded grant money to building owners looking to improve the façades of their buildings. It was a catalyst for the remodeling of Charley Creek Inn, Eagles Theatre, and nearly two-dozen other buildings
Downtown building owner Lisa Gillman took advantage of the program, using the grant as part of larger project to remodel the buildings at 41 and 47 West Market Street. Since completion, two new businesses, Lost Treasures in Tyme and Bash Boutique, have opened. The second floor of both buildings was remodeled, creating two luxury apartments. An open house is scheduled Sept. 25 from 5-8 p.m.
All told, the $174,000 grant total leveraged more than $30 million in downtown investment and brought over 100 jobs to Wabash. With the help of the Stellar Communities designation, Phase 2 will be much bigger.
by Eric Stearley
In true Wabash fashion, three organizations are collaborating to offer a constructive environment with healthy food to students after school. The Access Youth Center, which provides a safe place for kids after school, was recently approved as an off-campus site for Wabash City Schools’ afterschool snack program. In addition, the Wabash Rotary Club recently applied for a grant, which will be used to purchase a commercial freezer and refrigerator to store food at The Access.
“Studies show that the most dangerous time for any kid is the time between when school lets out and mom and dad get home,” said Wabash High School Principal Josh Blossom. “There’s really hardly any supervision at all, and if we can insure that they’re here with people that care about them and getting something to eat, that means they’re going to be safe.”
The Access started an afterschool program almost five years ago. Open from 3:45-5 p.m., students of all ages head toward the downtown building to hang out with friends, play games, get help with homework, and get a snack.
“It started out with us having six to eight kids a day,” said Executive Director Liz Hobbs.
“If we had 10 kids, we thought that was great, and one day we had 15 about three or four months into it, and we thought, ‘Oh my gosh, we’ve got 15 kids in here!” Assistant Director Laura Helm added.
“And now, our two-month average is 38 kids per day, and the six-month average is 31, so we’ve seen a huge increase in that amount of time,” said Hobbs.
Wabash County Chamber of Commerce Board Chair Lance Agness recently announced Schlemmer Brothers Metalworks as the 2014 Business of the Year.
“We recognize their longstanding dedication to Wabash County and their ongoing support and investment within our community,” said Agnes. “Schlemmers’ continued business growth and expansions in recent years has helped enhance our downtown area and benefited many within our region. Please help us celebrate and honor Schlemmer Brothers as our 2014 Business of the Year.”
In 1903, John Schlemmer opened an implement, harness, and buggy business at 108 and 114 West Canal Street. He was joined in the business shortly thereafter by his brother, Jacob. Five years later, two more brothers, Clarence and George, rented the east room on the second floor of the building and opened a sheet metal shop, which they called Schlemmer Brothers. They eventually bought the implement, harness, and buggy business from John and Jacob and added a line of hardware.
In 1931, George became ill and Clarence bought his half of the business. Clarence’s son, Elton, came on board in 1936 and served as salesman for a new line of appliances that had been added to the retail mix, including washers, dryers, refrigerators, and small appliances.
In 1945, two more of Clarence’s sons, Byron and Sam, returned to Wabash, and with their brother Elton, bought the business from their father. The three brothers operated the business together until 1955, when Sam sold his one-third interest to Byron and Elton in order to open Sam’s Sport Shop on Market Street in Wabash.
The superintendent of Wabash City Schools, Jason Callahan, has been named 2015 Superintendant of the Year for District 3 by the Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents.
District 3 includes Carroll, Cass, Clinton, Grant, Howard, Miami, Tipton, Wabash and White counties.
Winners are selected by other superintendents in their district who consider the qualifications and accomplishments of area colleagues and their instructional leadership.
Callahan instituted numerous programs in the school district and community that created a mission statement “to provide a relevant and rigorous education to ensure each student is college and career-ready for success in a global economy.” Wabash High School has been recognized nationally for its advanced placement and state standardized test scores by US News and World Report magazine for 2012 and 2013. The high school has also achieved a 90 percent graduation rate for three consecutive years and received “A” ratings for the last two years.
In cooperation with two other Wabash County school districts, Callahan helped organize a school readiness network that led to an early childhood education program called Begindergarten. The program, funded by the Community Foundation of Wabash County, provides a six-week summer program for incoming kindergarten students who have limited or no preschool experience. Another six-week program in partnership with the YMCA of Wabash County provides enrichment for students who are at risk of falling below grade level in reading. The district’s third grade students have shown a 90 percent pass rate on the IREAD test every year, even though 70 percent of the district’s students qualify for free and reduced-price lunch.
Wabash City Schools is one of the state’s earliest adopters of 1:1 computing. In years 2014-2015, every kindergarten through second grade classroom will have a combination of Macbooks and iPads, and every third through twelfth grade student will have a Macbook.
Transamerica Financial Advisors congratulates Jarrod McKee of Investment Center at Crossroads Bank, Wabash, for attending the Wall Street Academy. The Academy is a comprehensive, professional training program that was conducted in the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) for select independent financial advisors.
Mr. McKee was one of only 10 top advisors who attended this highly specialized training during the first week of August.
“This was an opportunity of a lifetime that not many advisors get the opportunity to be a part of,” said McKee. “The relationships I now have on Wall Street and the events I took part in will directly benefit my clients and the future of our business. I am grateful for the opportunity and look forward to sharing my knowledge and insight.”
Greico Financial Training Institute, a long-standing Wall Street educational firm led by James Greico, conducted the experiential training. Mr. Greico is a recognized leader in training within the securities industry and a highly respected member of the Wall Street community.
by Emily Armentrout
The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society is hosting a charity ride in honor of Bob Leonard, a Wabash native and myeloma survivor. The ride will be held Saturday, Sept 20 beginning at Brandt’s Harley Davidson and ending at Harry’s Old Kettle Saloon. The ride will go from Brandt’s Harley Davidson, down to Wolfie’s at Morse Lake, and back to a tailgate party at Harry’s around 3 p.m., with kickstands up at 11 a.m.
Interested riders can register online at in.lls.llservant.org/cruisinforcures or in person the morning of the ride. If you are interested in only participating in the tailgate party following the ride, you can still register online or in person. The midpoint stop at Wolfie’s will also include a visit from the Colts’ cheerleaders and your registration fee covers a welcome bag and the tailgate party. Registration begins at 10 a.m. on Sept. 20 at Brandt’s Harley Davidson.
There will also be music, raffle prizes and a silent auction along with the food at Harry’s Old Kettle Saloon. The proceeds from the Cruisin’ for Cures ride will go to Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s mission to find a cure for cancer.
“September is blood cancer awareness month, and my dad, Bob Leonard, is a survivor. In 2008, dad was battling what he thought was walking pneumonia, and thanks to Dr. Rose Wenrich’s advisement, he completed blood work, which uncovered an abnormal count leading to his diagnosis of multiple myeloma. Although he has had some ups and down, Dad is still in remission,” explained Mandi Fagan, Campaign Specialist with LLS and former Wabash resident, of why she choose to hold a motorcycle ride in Wabash.
Contact Mandi Fagan at 317-860-3853 by Wednesday, Sept. 17 if you are interested in helping sponsor this event or if you have questions.
by Emily Armentrout
When Robert Mattern was a senior in high school, he was like a typical high school student – unsure of his future – until he was assigned a paper over his occupation of choice.
“I just thought about this earlier today. I just happened to choose dentistry to write about and it just went from there,” Mattern told The Paper.
After being impressed by his paper, Mattern’s mother encouraged him to go into dentistry, and after 56 years, Mattern has never looked back.
“Many times over the years, I have thought about what I would do if I hadn’t become a dentist, and I can’t think of anything I would rather do.”
Graduating from Wabash High School in 1952, he went onto Indiana University School of Dentistry, graduating in 1956 and heading into the Air Force. Mattern was a dental officer for two years before moving back to his native Wabash in August 1960, going into a practice with two other dentists at the Wabash Medical Center for 19 years. In 1980, Mattern purchased property and built his current practice.
In 1985, Mattern’s son, who also went into the dental field, graduated from dental school and joined him in the practice. The Matterns have been in a practice together since then, and his son has taken over the practice.
“He’s taken over the property and the building. I’ve just been working here as an employee for the last few years. He plans to be here for a number of years and continue on by himself for a while,” Mattern said of his son’s plans after his retirement.
On Aug. 29, at approximately 4:32 p.m., Wabash Police had reports of a reckless driver in the North Cass Street area. The vehicle was reported passing cars and running red lights in the area. The vehicle was located in the Wal-Mart area.
Officer Kevin Evenson approached the parked vehicle in attempt to speak with the driver. As Officer Evenson reached the vehicle, the driver tried to leave. Officer Evenson reached inside the vehicle, trying to stop the driver, as the driver drove away.
The vehicle drove down through the Wal-Mart parking lot, at a high rate of speed, turning northbound on State Road 15.
Sgt. Matt Benson, Wabash City Police Department, attempted to stop the vehicle, but the vehicle continued northbound on State Road 15. The driver led police near County Road 30 N and State Road 15. The vehicle rear ended a northbound motorcycle driven by Jerry L. Rose, 45, Claypool.
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