by Eric Stearley
It’s an exciting time for the City of Wabash. In so many areas, the city is being updated, transformed, and repurposed in an effort to create a vibrant, modern small town. In all the excitement, a local group saw one area of the city that was not being addressed through these efforts: the city’s small, neighborhood parks.
The Hanna Park Project Committee was created as a collaborative effort between local service organizations with a single goal in mind: take responsibility for one of Wabash’s neighborhood parks and completely transform it, from a largely unused and ignored space into a destination for local families and children. With the help of other local service clubs, businesses, and individuals, the committee is working to ensure that its vision becomes a reality.
On Oct. 1, the Kiwanis Club’s Board of Directors voted to donate $15,000 to the project, more than half of the club’s service budget for the year.
“I am thrilled with the club’s decision to commit to the Neighborhood Parks Project,” said Wabash Kiwanis Club President Jordan Tandy. “We’ve always had an active and service-oriented membership, but I don’t know that we’ve ever tackled something of this magnitude before. The board’s decision to make this significant contribution is a great demonstration of the club’s commitment to our mission, which is to serve children.”
The idea for the project originally came from a Kiwanis member.
“Judy Ward, she’s the president-elect, she had the idea of focusing on one of the neighborhood parks,” said Tandy.
Wabash has three small neighborhood parks: Hanna Park on East Hill Street, South Side Park on Vernon Street, and Broadmoor Park on Broadmoor Drive.
“I talked to Todd Titus, the parks superintendent, and I kind of asked, ‘which park could we get the most bang for our buck,’” Tandy continued.
The answer, it turned out, was Hanna Park. The park is most familiar to people who live in Wabash’s historic district and those who travel in and out of town on Old 24. It is also just a short walk uphill and around the corner from Paradise Spring Historical Park. While the park has a pavilion and basketball court, both are showing their age. In addition, the park lacks playground equipment of any kind.
“I don’t know how many people go by Hanna Park. It’s on the way to Lagro, but it’s basically on the corner of town right now,” said Tandy. “We really want it to be something cool enough that it’s going to be a destination for people.”
The current vision includes a large playground system, as well as rejuvenation of the existing facilities. The park will continue to be maintained by the city, and the committee has been in close contact with the parks department throughout the planning process. During this process, the committee soon found out that quality playground equipment is pricey.
“Going in, I thought, ‘Well, if we can put together 10,000 bucks for a playground, we can get something pretty impressive,” said Tandy. “That barely gets us a swing set.”
by Eric Stearley
On Friday, Oct. 17, City Councilmember Margaret “Boo” Salb was joined by friends, family, and supporters at the Northeast Business Park for a very important announcement.
“I’m here to officially announce that I’m going to be running as a democratic mayoral candidate in the 2015 election,” Salb said as those present applauded.
Salb was joined by her husband, John, a former conservation officer, as well as her two daughters and other family members from across the country. She is the third candidate to make such an announcement, behind fellow councilmember and republican Scott Long and Wabash Fire Chief Bob Mullett, who she will run against in the May 2015 primary for the Democratic Party nomination.
“I’ve always called Wabash my home, and it always will be my home,” said Salb. “This community has instilled my values and beliefs, and I believe that we have passed those on to our daughters, Keri and Kaitlyn, as well as our four grandchildren.”
In addition to eleven years on city council, Salb has worked as an educator for 27 years, spending the last 22 years as a student advocate at Northfield Jr./Sr. High School. She plans to draw on this experience should she be elected.
“I have managed a classroom for 27 years,” said Salb. “I believe that managing a classroom with teenagers is hard enough, and I believe that I will bring a lot of management skills to the office.”
The location of the announcement was of special significance.
“As we stand at this Northeast Business Park, I envision seeing it filled to capacity, and I plan on working closely with Economic Development and other county officials to see this come to fruition,” said Salb. “That’s probably my main goal.”
Salb would also like to see improvements to residential areas that she believes have worn down and been forgotten. Anyone considering running for Mayor of Wabash is watching the Stellar projects closely, and Salb is no exception.
by Eric Stearley
Ernie Bradley of rural Liberty Mills is heading to the Indiana Statehouse to deliver a speech during the National Freeze Don’t Shoot March on Oct. 25.
Bradley’s life was turned upside-down on March 10 when North Manchester Police pursued multiple drug offenders on foot from a residence in Liberty Mills. When the pursuit crossed through Bradley’s property, his dogs, Kramer and Mc, ran toward the officers and were shot. Kramer was killed instantly, while Mc survived, eventually losing his left eye. Since then, Bradley has become passionate about the issue and discovered that people across the country have been put in similar situations.
“After what happened, I was putting things on Facebook. I had some people put up the website for me called “Justice for Kramer and Mc,” and after I got involved in this, everyone else that this has been happening to all over the nation started posting similar sties.”
The online community of distraught pet owners has collaborated for a nationwide event, organized by Donna Earley. On Oct. 25, at every state capital in the nation, victims and supporters will gather to demonstrate against police shooting pets. Bradley will be the guest speaker at the march in Indianapolis. He will deliver his speech at noon.
“My message is going to be, we want proper training for our police officers,” said Bradley. “I researched after this happened to me, and I found out, it’s somewhat protocol for police officers, as soon as they come into contact with a canine animal, to kill it, so that it doesn’t become involved in whatever they’re doing. Colorado has special training for police officers, and what were asking for is mandatory training of police officers for when they come into contact with a canine.”
The Community Foundation of Wabash County distributed $47,069 in its 2014 fall grant cycle, supporting initiatives of local nonprofits to meet urgent needs of county citizens or provide enrichment opportunities to underserved people. Eighteen organizations were awarded grants for projects in education, the arts, food insecurity, domestic violence awareness, leadership training, and support for youth.
Honeywell Foundation received funding for the Vocal Impact Youth Choir, which invites students, ages 7 through 20, to participate in bi-weekly rehearsals and five concerts throughout the year.
Boy Scouts of America will use a CFWC grant to support the 75th Anniversary of the Lincoln Pilgrimage, to be held at the Honeywell Center, Feb. 14-15, 2015.
Second Harvest Food Bank received a grant towards the Tailgate Program, which provides food twelve times each year for individuals in need.
Wabash Area Community Theater was awarded grant money to support its productions in the 2014/2015 theater season.
FAME (Foundation for Art & Music in Education) was awarded a grant for the 2015 FAME Festival, which will take place on April 18 and will serve hundreds of school children.
Wabash Kiwanis Club received a grant for renovation of Hanna Park in Wabash that serves an eastside neighborhood.
Arc of Wabash County was awarded a grant to purchase training materials for Arc staff in order to maintain high quality service to 100 individuals and families in the county.
Through the generosity of donors who have created scholarship endowments, the Community Foundation of Wabash County offers scholarships to students enrolling at accredited schools for bachelor degrees, associate degrees, and industry standard certifications in fields such as welding, nursing, advanced manufacturing, and engine repair. Options for education after high school have increased significantly, giving recent graduates and adults a greater range of choices to suit their interests, skills, and life plans. Scholarship options have increased as well.
Wabash County is working to increase the number of people with education or training beyond high school. By 2025, more than 60% of all jobs in the state will require more than a high school diploma.
Census reports show that only 28 percent of adults in the county currently have the training for these jobs.
“It’s no secret that education improves lives,” says Ryan Twiss, Director of the Big Goal Collaborative to drive the educational attainment high in Northeast Indiana. “Getting education or training after high school usually means a higher salary, a better quality of life, a stronger economy, and a brighter future.”
Most high-quality credentials take only between 3 and 24 months to complete. In jobs that require a certification, employees can quickly earn higher wages and salaries. With less than a high school diploma, median earnings are $1,920 monthly. With a high school diploma median earnings are $2,500 monthly. With a professional certification license the median earnings are $3,053 monthly.
If, starting this year, all high school seniors planned to enroll in college or high quality training, the Northeast Region of Indiana could not reach its goal of 60%. Post-secondary training for workers who are 25 and older will be necessary to meet the workforce demands of business and industry. Community Foundation scholarships are also available for “nontraditional students,” students who are beginning post-secondary training as adults or who are returning to education after an absence.
by Emily Armentrout
Bill Engvall returned to the Honeywell Center after a two year absence, bringing with him new experiences to regale the audience and some of his classic “Here’s Your Sign” comedy to keep the audience laughing from beginning to end.
Engvall, 57, recently competed on Season 17 of Dancing with the Stars, with new dance pro, Emma Slater, after having knee surgery. Engvall believes there is some validity to the warning doctors give after major surgery about not making important decisions while on pain medication. Engvall was contacted by Dancing with the Stars the day after his surgery to be on the show. After agreeing, Engvall went on the ride of his life with Slater. Thinking he would only appear on the show for the first few weeks, Engvall made it 13 weeks and into the finals, finishing fourth in the competition, even with a torn groin. Engvall attributes his 13-week run to his fans continuously voting for him and Slater.
Finding big fame on the Blue Collar Comedy Tour, Engvall has also hosted Lingo, participated in Blue Collar TV, hosted Country Fried Home Videos, and had his own sitcom, The Bill Engvall Show.
Spending the evening joking about getting older, his wife’s lack of acceptance of her age and how they diet together when his wife doesn’t like the way she looks kept the practically sold out crowd roaring all evening, looking at one another with that “that’s you” look.
Be sure to check out www.honeywellcenter.org for upcoming shows or contact the Honeywell Center box office for tickets at 260-563-1102, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
by Emily Armentrout
Kurt Rothman, owner of Wabash’s Subway, located on Cass St. near US 24, recently opened a second Subway restaurant location on the south side of Wabash, next to Penguin Point.
“It was time for us to expand out this way, and this location became available,” Rothman told The Paper. “We’re the fresh and healthy alternative to other fast food.”
Rothman owns 15 Subways around Indiana. His Subway locations have been a family business for over 25 years. “It was just a business opportunity,” said Rothman.
“This location is convenient. It seemed like there was a need for our business on this side of town,” explained area supervisor, Teresa Sargent.
Southside Subway is open during the week from 7 a.m. to 12 a.m. and is open on the weekends from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. The new location is also currently taking applications. Subway serves breakfast and also caters events.
“We’re glad to be a part of this community and we look forward to serving this community for years to come,” added Rothman.
by Eric Stearley
On Monday, Oct. 6, four school board candidates for the Metropolitan School District of Wabash County met at Bachelor Creek Church of Christ at 7 p.m. for a public forum, hosted by Citizens Committed to the Constitution (C3).
The five-member board has two seats open for the Nov. 4 election. Currently, there is a board member from each of the northwest, northeast, and south districts. The board can have, at most, two members from the same district, which effectively breaks this year’s election into two separate races. Only one candidate from each district can be elected.
Incumbent and current MSD School Board President Matt Driscoll faces challenger Brad Fleck for the northeast district seat. Todd Dazey and Jeff Snyder face off for the open seat in the northwest district, currently held by Ryan Rosen, who is not seeking re-election.
The candidates were asked to sit in alphabetical order, placing the northeast candidates between the northwest candidates.
While not technically a debate, the forum allowed candidates to voice their opinions as they responded to questions from moderator Laura Cole and select members of the audience.
The candidate forum began, inexplicably, with a five-minute YouTube clip of “Robin Williams as the American Flag.” Pastor and C3 member Timothy Morbitzer led attendees in The Pledge of Allegiance and prayer, and collection buckets were passed to benefit C3. Each candidate then gave a two-minute introduction.
Matt Driscoll is a Wabash County native and graduate of Northfield High School. He has four children; three graduated from Northfield, and the fourth is still enrolled. Driscoll has a degree in agricultural education from Purdue University and he is currently serving as school board president. He operates a family farm with his brother outside Urbana. His interest in serving on the board came out of his desire to be involved in his children’s education, and said it was “one of the most enlightening things I’ve ever done.”
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