by Eric Stearly
On Sept. 17, the Lagro Township Board met in the Lagro Township Fire Department for its second meeting of the year in which it voted on the 2015 budget. Board members Ralph Ranck, Max Chamberlain, and Terry Bassett were joined by Deputy Trustee Beverly Burns and nearly 30 members of the community. Township Trustee Andrew Delong did not attend.
During the board’s first meeting of the year, just two weeks prior, the board questioned a number of expenses. According to the board, Delong walked out of the meeting soon after the questions began.
“He says he’s operating within the law, but it’s very narrowly within the law on a couple of things here,” said Ranck. “I say there’s more than law involved. Simple ethics and the oath we took to the people need to be observed.”
The township trustee is in charge of purchasing necessary equipment and services for the township and volunteer fire departments. They also maintain cemeteries. Currently, the board has unanswered questions about several large expenses, totaling more than $90,000.
“I’ve tried to call him all week, just about every day, and he wouldn’t return my calls,” Ranck said during the meeting.
The Paper has found this to be the case as well. Following the meeting, we attempted to make contact with Mr. Delong on a number of occasions. After messages left on the township office phone and the trustee’s provided cell phone went unanswered for more than a week, Deputy Trustee Beverly Burns was able to schedule a meeting with Delong during regular office hours on Oct. 14. Delong did not show up.
Under his direction, Burns rescheduled the meeting for Oct. 23. During the nine days between these appointments, we tried again to contact the trustee in hopes of an earlier meeting. In addition to township phones, we attempted to make contact through his employer, INDOT, and Facebook. His mother was also called, unintentionally, when dialing a phone number published with his name.
Delong replied through email, stating that a meeting date and time has been set, and there is no reason that we need to keep calling. The message included a bolded, all-caps order not to contact him through his work, family, or Facebook, but only through the trustee landline and cell phone. Again, Delong did not show up to the Oct. 23 meeting. He was unable to be reached on the trustee cell phone, even when contacted by Burns.
To date, the only contact we’ve received from Mr. Delong was the two-sentence email ordering us not to contact him further. Not a single message has been returned since the board meeting; more than a dozen have been left. The last message informed Mr. Delong that, though The Paper wants to hear his side of the story and include any explanations he may have, we have delayed publication for three weeks and cannot wait any longer.
Unable to get any of their questions answered, the board voted to cut the budget by more than 28% from last year in an attempt to stop what it sees as wasteful spending.
The board started to question a number of purchases after Ranck dug into the township’s records and discovered receipts for large, previously unknown items. Primary among these was a 2007 Chevy Tahoe, purchased at Stoops Buick GMC on June 13 for $14,549. According to Ranck, after this discovery, Delong explained to the board that the Tahoe would be used by firefighters when they need to run errands for the department.
by Eric Stearley
The Winchester Senior Center was full of excitement on Tuesday, Oct. 21 as constituents from across Indiana’s 2nd Congressional District traveled to Wabash for the only debate of the 2014 election cycle between Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (R) and Dr. Joe Bock (D). The event was hosted by the Wabash County Chamber of Commerce and Indiana Farm Bureau.
A long line formed outside the building as eager voters waited for the doors to open. Originally limited to 150 people, the room soon filled up, and the campaigns agreed to a larger audience; more than 200 attended the debate.
After an introduction by debate organizer Bill Rupple, moderator Jordan Tandy gave the floor to Dr. Bock for a two-minute introduction. In addition to his experience as a professor at Notre Dame’s Eck Institute for Global Health, he talked about his time as a hired hand on a farm and as a professional firefighter.
“I’ve responded to disasters all over the world, and currently, there’s a disaster in our federal government,” said Bock. “Congress is not functioning correctly, and I am running for office, because I am dismayed by that dysfunction, and I believe I have the ability to have an impact there.”
Bock criticized Walorski’s vote to shut down the federal government, costing the economy $24 billion, and her views on Medicare.
Congresswoman Walorski began with her goal to bring “hard-working, Hoosier values to Washington D.C.” She talked about her support for the Military Sexual Trauma Bill and her bipartisan work on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, as well as her efforts to reduce the cost of propane during last winter’s harsh weather.
by Eric Stearley
Wabash County health and emergency response officials held a press conference at the Wabash Fire Department on Thursday, Oct. 23 to inform the public of new procedures at Wabash County Central Dispatch. The changes were made in response to recommendations by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Indiana State Department of Health after the recent Ebola outbreak in western Africa resulted in multiple cases within the United States.
“The reason for having this meeting is not to cause panic, but just to make people aware that there’s more questions that are going to be asked should there be an concern of a possible exposure,” said Wabash Fire Chief Bob Mullett. “It’s really to try to keep people from panicking and let them know that these questions are going to be asked to anybody who has these signs and symptoms.”
The meeting was led by Wabash County Health Officer Dr. David Roe. He urged that the “likelihood of anyone in Wabash contracting Ebola is extremely low and highly unlikely, unless a person has direct, unprotected contact with the bodily fluids of a person who’s sick with Ebola.” While the new standards were implemented in response to the recent outbreak, they will extend beyond the current crisis. In addition to providing first responders with more information to make treatment decisions, the new questions will protect these individuals from contracting a virus like Ebola when responding to individuals in an emergency.
by Emily Armentrout
Every year, 6th grade students from Wabash Middle School take a class trip to Chicago at the end of the school year, and every year, some students are missing out due to the financial burden this trip can cause on families. This year, community members are given the opportunity to step up and sponsor the event and sponsor a child to enjoy the trip with their classmates.
Heading up this fundraising effort is Jennifer Scott, mother of a middle school student. “My personal goal is to send the whole class, but also send the chaperones for free and make t-shirts for the students too,” Scott told The Paper. Experiencing field trips as a chaperone, Scott feels the shirts would help the chaperones a lot because the kids would be more identifiable as Wabash Middle School students.
While on the field trip, the students will visit the Field Museum of Natural History, which is an estimated cost, for all students, teachers and chaperones, of $1,500. They will also visit the Museum of Science and Industry, with an estimated cost of $1,400. The students will enjoy a boat tour with Wendella to see the beautiful architectural history of Chicago, at an estimated cost of $1,200. There will also be the estimated cost of $5,200 of charter buses for travel.
The first fundraiser for this trip is an Origami Owl open house, hosted by Lynn Ellis. “All sales and parties booked between now and December 31, 2014, will help send the Class of 2021 to Chicago in May 2015. Charmed by Lynn will donate 20 percent of all profits to the Wabash Middle School Trip Fund,” Scott told The Paper.
The Woman’s Clubhouse will host the 4th Annual Sip-n-Shop at the Honeywell Center on Saturday, Nov. 1 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The following home based businesses will provide all types of products: Charley Creek, Partylite Gifts, Pampered Chef, Soapology Body Shoppe, Arm Candy, Spray Tans-Suzi, Dyanna Delights, Raih’zn’Moon Unique Creations, Scentsy, Jocky Person to Person, It Works Body Wraps, Matilda Jane, Kerig, Elliott Esstentials, Tupperware, Beauty Control, Paparazzi, Initials Purses, Mary Kay, Bella Bloom Photos, Psychic, Fox n Hound, Museum, Woman’s Clubhouse, Ellen Stouffer Studio, Younique, and Willow Spa.
Two weeks ago, I promised to submit a few of my favorite crock-pot recipes for you to try. By now, I hope you had a chance to make the pepper steak over white rice. If you did, I'm sure you will agree that it is simply delicious. This next recipe for crock-pot steak and rice is a family favorite.
When my Daughter Andrea was in college, I often tried to make sure this crock-pot steak was on the menu when I knew she was coming home for the weekend. It was one of her favorite suppers. Just reading over this recipe, it may seem like such an odd combination of ingredients but, the end result is fantastic. The taco seasoning along with tomato sauce and instant rice makes for Spanish rice over cubed steak. I often serve buttery mashed potatoes on the side. I know, it's very starchy but, everything in moderation. Right?
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.
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