by Eric Stearley
This weekend, faith groups are combining forces to benefit the community through the YMCA’s Togetherhood program. Hundreds of community members are expected to gather at the YMCA at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 24 to kick off a day of service.
Togetherhood is a national pilot program focused on service and community building through collaboration and community involvement.
“It’s an awesome opportunity to bring the faith community together, to get out of our own little groups and come together as a collective faith community and have an impact on organizations that are serving and caring for people in our communities,” said Wabash County YMCA CEO Clint Kugler.
In Wabash, this year’s Togetherhood program consists of four events. The first of these was focused on preparation for the Stellar Communities tour, which recently paid off with Wabash’s designation as a Stellar Community. Sunday’s event will have a broader focus, as the group will split into dozens of teams, each working to improve the community in a variety of ways.
“We’re going to be working with the parks department, helping clean up the parks. We’re going to be working with the street department,” said First United Methodist Church Pastor Kurt Freeman, who is coordinating the event. “I know we’ve got a couple paint crews that are going to be painting, so people have all sorts of opportunities, but it’s also about trying to get people, regardless of their physical ability, involved in serving, so were going to be writing cards to people who work with the Department of Child Services, (among others) because often it’s a thankless job, and it’s a hard job.”
by Eric Stearley
When the Wabash County Fair comes to a close in mid-July, it is the end of the road for many 4-Hers. For a few, however, the county fair is a warm up for the big competition at the Indiana State Fair in Indianapolis. For two county residents, the seemingly endless hours of work paid off big, bringing their grand champion awards back to Wabash.
Elizabeth Michel of North Manchester showed the 4-H Grand Champion Meat Goat Wether, Quake, in the Indiana State Fairgrounds Coliseum on Aug. 4.
“It was really neat getting to show in the brand new coliseum Monday night with the spotlight on us,” said Michel. “It was just such an amazing experience.”
The daughter of Jeff and Amanda Michel, Elizabeth began showing goats seven years ago when she started 4-H. The Michel family grows corn, soybeans, and wheat for a living, only raising livestock for 4-H, but they’ve come a long way since that first year with the animals.
“My first year of 4-H, we knew nothing about goats whatsoever,” said Michel. “My dad used to be in 4-H, and he did nothing with them. He showed hogs and beef and sheep when he was in 4-H, and he suggested my first year that I show [goats]. This is my seventh year, and I’ve been showing them all seven years now.”
This is not the Michel family’s first success this season. Elizabeth showed the Grand Champion Market Wether/Doe at the Wabash County 4-H fair, with her brother, Skyler, showing the Reserve Grand Champion. But the state fair, according to Michel, is a different ball game.
“It was a lot different than Wabash, because all the people in Indianapolis, they break their goats and they do their legs a lot different,” said Michel. “It’s just a lot more competitive.”
On Friday Aug. 1, Habitat Partner Homeowner Barb Wood came into the office to pay her monthly house payment. This was a special payment in that she actually wrote a bigger check than usually so that she could pay off her mortgage. This is a very exciting occasion, not just for Barb, but for Habitat as well. Barb is the first Wabash County Habitat Partner Homeowner to pay off her no-profit, zero interest mortgage.
To mark this momentous occasion, Barb shredded her mortgage in the office shredder. Congratulations to Barb and thank you to the community for making Habitat for Humanity’s efforts to turn the dream of homeownership into reality!
In 1994 Barbara and her three children were living in the basement of her mother’s home. Her pastor took Barb’s sons on a weeklong Habitat build project. When he returned, he encouraged Barb to contact the local Habitat for Humanity affiliate in Wabash County. With some trepidation, she did make the call and completed the lengthy application. On March 5, 1995, Barb received a phone call,
“I can still remember that day clearly,” Wood said. “The man on the other end said he was calling to tell me that I would be Wabash County Habitat for Humanity’s next homeowner. I hung up and asked my mom, ‘Did he say they were going to build a house for me?’ I called right back and he said yes you are going to be the next family we will build a house with. It was too good to be true.”
by Eric Stearley
For the past 20 years, Hands of Hope has provided help to those in need, in particular, those faced with domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. For much of that time, it has also provided prevention education to the community and local schools.
This fall, Hand of Hope is partnering with schools in a different way, asking students to design a new logo for the organization. The contest is open to 9th through 12th graders enrolled in any Wabash County high school between April and September 2014, allowing all current high school students, as well as recent graduates to compete for cash prizes.
The first place entry will be used as the new Hands of Hope logo, and the artist will receive $200. Second place will receive $100, with third place receiving $50.
Entries are due by Friday, Sept. 19 at noon. Selected entries will be on display at the Wabash County Historical Museum as part of the First Friday activities on Oct. 3. It will remain on display until Nov. 2.
All artwork should be submitted on canvas or paper measuring 8 x 10 inches using each artist’s medium of choice. Contestants should also submit the attached entry form for identification, which includes the artist’s name, address, phone number, school, grade, parent/guardian name, and parent/guardian contact information.
“Entrants are encouraged to incorporate the purpose of the organization, as well as be catchy, inspirational, positive, educational, awareness, non-violence, and motivational in nature,” according to the contest organizers.
Young artists are also urged to relate their designs to the organization’s mission statement: “To empower and educate individuals to break the cycle of abuse through providing safe shelter, advocacy, and education.”
Hands of Hope also asks entrants to make sure the content is appropriate and the organization reserves the right to refuse to display an entry based on questionable content. Entrants should submit entries to their school’s office before noon on Sept. 19. Late entries will not be accepted.
by Shaun Tilghman
The start of the 2014-15 school year holds special significance for Manchester Community Schools (MCS), as it also marks the opening of Squire Academy, an alternative school program for students who are in need of credit recovery, dropped out, or opted to be homeschooled.
Manchester Jr.-Sr. High School (MJSHS) Principal Nancy Alspaugh first introduced the idea for an alternative education venture during the April 1st school board meeting.
"We have a need for an alternative educational placement for some of our students," Alspaugh said. "We have students coming into their junior and senior years with credits to make up so that they can get to graduation. We feel we could do a much better job, and offer more [credit recovery] opportunities for students, if we had an actual program with a supervisor.”
Alspaugh also stated that 16 students had dropped out to be homeschooled last school year. “Certainly, some of them have gone to a viable program,” she added, “but we also know that many students who say they are withdrawing to be homeschooled have no good options for their educational program after they leave us. We would ask that they go to our Squire Academy and at least attempt to have a better educational experience than just dropping out of school to be homeschooled."
The school board unanimously approved her proposal to apply for the Alternative Education Grant, and now, just four months later, Squire Academy is set to welcome its first participants.
MCS Superintendent Dr. Bill Reichhart has also been a big proponent of Squire Academy and what it means for Manchester. “Squire Academy is one of my passions for helping all students succeed in our community,” Dr. Reichhart explained.
A few years ago my husband and I bought a tandem bike. Little did we know when we purchased our bicycle that it would take us on so many adventures. On July 23 we set off on an amazing journey that would test our cycling ability. With a few articles of clothing, some close friends and a satchel full of trail mix , Slim Jims and water, our amazing journey began. We started in St. Ignance in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. From there we peddled our way to Newberry then all the way up to White fish Point. We passed through little fishing towns with names such as Trout Lake and Paradise. We stopped at Tanquamenon Falls where I stood in awe at the breath taking view. Tired but determined to go on we rode along Lake Superior to Sault St. Marie.Soon we were off again to a little town called Detour along Lake Huron and finally back to our starting point, St. Ignance. I couldn't believe we had biked a total of 323 miles!
Each night we would stop at a little dive in the middle of absolutely nowhere and have dinner. Every night we had fresh white fish cooked every way possible and it was delicious! Once again, I am reminded how fortunate I really am.Yep, I could be a Yooper. No problem.
I think you will agree, this recipe for Lemon Grilled Salmon is a keeper.
by Shaun Tilghman
Bill Haywood and his 17-year-old son Canaan spent the last weekend in July doing what they do most weekends: hunting and trapping snapping turtles. The weekend went a little differently, however, as Nate “Coyote” Peterson, host of the online nature series “Breaking Trail,” joined the father-son turtle-trapping duo from Laketon.
According to Bill, he developed a fascination with snapping turtles when he was 10 years old, and at that time he started hunting them as well. “I had heard the story about the giant turtle they had in a lake up in Churubusco, and I wanted to catch the biggest one anybody had ever heard of,” said Bill.
“After hunting and searching, and feeling through the mud and rivers, and catching them by hand, I knew I had to catch a lot more to ever find one that big,” he continued. “So, my dad and I came up with a trap that would catch turtles safely and not harm them – it was very effective. Since then, Canaan and I have modified the traps to make them even better.”
Canaan added, “I’ve been around it ever since I can remember, but I actually started trapping with my dad last year. In that time, I’ve learned a lot about trap location and how important that is, but knowing how to handle the turtles is definitely something you have to learn because I actually got bit this year. I kind of lost my concentration for a minute and that’s all it takes – you take your eyes off of them for a second and you’re going to get bit.”
Bill and Canaan have been gaining notoriety based on the unbelievable size of the snappers they’ve caught in the area. In fact, last July, an author named Ben Romans, from Utah, wrote an article about them for “Field & Stream.”
Ivy Tech Community College in Wabash recently received a $38,000 grant from the Pauline Barker Education Trust that will enable the College to fund a machine tool training project in the community. The grant will cover tuition and books for 12 Wabash County residents to take four degree-credit classes. The classes will meet on Tuesday and Thursday evenings during the fall and spring semesters in the machine tool lab at Heartland Career Center, 79 S. County Road 200 West.
Wabash Campus Executive Director Pam Guthrie said she is excited about this opportunity to help the Wabash County workforce.
“We have relatively small manufacturing companies that need assistance from Ivy Tech in providing training for increasingly higher skilled jobs.” Guthrie said. “These companies are too small to have their own training programs, but many of them have similar training needs.”
Guthrie said the College’s Wabash Advisory Board discussed the need for skilled machinists in the community and the program was designed to help local workers who have an interest in this field get the knowledge and skills they need to qualify for these jobs.
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