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.
The Honeywell Golf Course and the Ladies Golf Association (LGA) are hosting the fourth annual Breast Cancer Prevention Scramble for men and women on Sunday, Oct. 5. The event begins at with a 1 p.m. shotgun start and concludes with a meal for all players. The scramble is a fundraiser to raise awareness of the importance of mammograms in the fight against breast cancer.
Proceeds will go to the Wabash County Hospital Mammogram Charity Fund. This fund provides for free mammograms and radiology readings for qualified women residing in Wabash County.
Lana Garber, secretary of the Ladies Golf Association, is assisting Mel Thomas of the Honeywell Golf Course in coordinating the event.
“Choosing to give our proceeds to the Mammogram Charity Fund allows us to directly help women in our own community,” said Garber. “Statistics show that breast cancer has touched every family in our county. Breast Cancer Awareness month in October is an ideal time for golfers, both men and women, to participate in a scramble for this great cause. Over $3,000 was raised in last year's event. Our goal is to exceed that this year."
“The Mammogram Charity Fund is directly assisting numerous women in our own county,” said Wabash Community Foundation Director Karen Newhouse. “As with all gifts to the WCH Foundation, 100 percent of the proceeds of this fundraiser is going to the cause to help provide free mammograms for qualifying women. I could share stories of how lives have been saved because the Mammogram Charity Fund was available. The Honeywell Ladies Golf Association’s scramble is a wonderful example of the compassionate action our community is willing to take to prevent breast cancer locally. ”
by Gary Andrews
The Manchester football team remembered their opener at Mississinewa last season and had one thing on their mind Friday night, and they got what they were looking for, payback !
The Squires got three touchdowns from Jacob Casper and one from Bailey Ness to top the Indians 27-13.
Casper got his first touchdown with 2:02 left in the first quarter after he ran a kick off back 82 yards for the score. After a Zach Hill kick, the game was tied at 7. The Indians led 13-7 in the second when Casper scored again. The Zach Hill kick was good and the Squires led 14-13 at the half.
With 11:51 left in the third quarter, the Squires would grab their first lead of the game when Bailey Ness scored on a 28-yard pass from Lucas Schilling to put Manchester up 20-13.
With the Squire defense dominating, Casper would put the nail in the coffin with 8:20 left in the game to grab a 27-12 lead, which Manchester would hold for their opening night win.
Lucas Scilling was 12 of 18 for 102 yards and 1 touchdown. Jacob Casper carried the ball 14 times for 94 yards and scored three touchdowns. Lucas Schilling rushed 5 times for 37 yards. Evan Milam rushed 2 times for 7 yards. Bailey Ness caught 5 passes for 60 yards and a touchdown. Keelan Norwood caught 5 passes for 23 yards. Daniel Griese added 2 catches for 12 yards. Evan Milam had 2 catches for 7 yards.
by Gary Andrews
It took two quarters for the Southwood offense to find their rhythm Friday at Southern Wells, but with the defense controlling the game the offense found that rhythm in the third to explode for 19 points on their way to a 26-7 win.
The Knights got two rushing touchdowns from Nathan Hollars and a receiving touchdown from Zach Ball. Southwood also got a defensive touchdown on a fumble recovery from Blake Martz.
Passing: Hollars 4/14 for 41yds.
Rushing: Hollars 16/67, 2 TD’s; Berlier 17/73; Weiss 2/34; Kirk 1/7.
Receiving: Finicle 1/0; Kirk 2/28; Ball 1/13.
The Knights had 263 offensive yards.
Tristyn Howell led the defense with 13 tackles. Nick Rebholz and Luke Perlich added 12 tackles each. Noah Kirk and Kale Weiss had 8 tackles each.
Evan Kirkover had 1 sack. Blake Martz and Jeremy Keller each had a fumble recovery. Noah Kirk and Tristyn Howell each caused a fumble.
by Emily Armentrout
On Sunday, Feb. 23, Sheriff Bob Land terminated Walter Woods, Reserve Deputy and Wabash County Sheriff candidate, from the Wabash County Sheriff’s Department. Following the termination, Sheriff Land issued a statement explaining the action. After reviewing Sheriff Land’s statement with legal council, Woods issued a response. As both are candidates in the upcoming Republican primary election for Wabash County Sheriff, Woods’ response has been included in full, just as Land’s statement was included in full last week. Woods responded as follows:
“As a Republican candidate for Sheriff of Wabash County, I welcome this opportunity to address the circumstances surrounding the decision of the current sheriff, who is also seeking our party’s nomination in the upcoming primary, to discharge me from my role as a reserve deputy with the department; a position that I have held for approximately 12 years.
“At issue is whether I acted improperly by permitting my work release employee to travel, in the course of his employment, outside the State of Indiana. I believe the evidence clearly shows that, given the facts known to me at the time, I did nothing improper.
“Indiana law authorized certain individuals who have committed a non-violent criminal offense to be placed on work release. In our county, the program is administered by Wabash County Community Corrections. This program has been supported by many of our local businesses, including my own. I operate two businesses under the name “Tri-W.” One involves heating, plumbing and electrical contracting, and the second involves farming and boarding horses.
“Last August I agreed to accept, as a work release participant, an employee who had worked at Tri-W prior to his incarceration. He had just been convicted of a traffic offense. I signed the standard community corrections agreement, which states, in part, as follows:
“’Participants may be released for work at a place of full-time employment within Wabash, Miami, Kosciusko, Fulton, Huntington, or Grant Counties in the State of Indiana. Participants may work outside of the counties listed above, only in order to maintain employment which he held prior to beginning his current sentence.’
“Both of my Tri-W businesses are located in Wabash County. In complete accordance with the agreement, I discussed with the director of Community Corrections the fact that this employee would indeed occasionally work outside the counties listed “in order to maintain the employment which he held prior to the beginning of his current sentence.” Between August of 2013 and February of this year, this employee worked in several counties other than the six counties listed above. Because of our prior understanding, and because the employee wore a GPS monitor, Community Corrections was well aware of his location at all times. On none of these occasions did Community Corrections complain to me about this employee working in a county other than one of the six listed.
“Approximately two weeks ago, Tri-W sent this employee, in the course of his employment, to rural Monee, Illinois. Although others accompanied this employee, I did not. However, nothing in the rules of Wabash County Community Corrections require that this employee perform his work only in my presence. Indeed, many work release participants regularly perform their duties under the supervision of various members of their employer’s workforce. In any event, this employee returned to Wabash County on schedule and as expected.
“There was no reason for me to believe that this trip was any different than those occasions when the employee traveled to work in Starke County, or in Cass County, or in LaGrange County; all of which were well known and which occurred without complaint.
“The one-page agreement utilized by Community Corrections is entitled “Work Release Employment Restrictions.” I have endeavored to follow those restrictions explicitly. Certainly, I had no way of knowing what other restrictions may have been placed upon this employee by the court, or by the probation department, or by Community Corrections. If, as it now appears, he was ordered not to leave the state, and if I had known of that restriction, then I certainly would not have authorized his travel to Illinois. The employee never told me that he was ordered not to leave the state. The Community Corrections agreement that I signed also contains the following: “Remember that you, as the employer, are not responsible for any of your employee’s activities.” Perhaps Sheriff Land missed that sentence. No one, except Sheriff Land, has accused me of any impropriety.
“The sheriff has cited the following reasons for my termination:
-“This employee was allowed to leave the State of Indiana without permission.” This issue has been fully addressed above.
-“The employee was allowed to go into public places.” Nowhere in the “Work Release Employment Restrictions” form that I signed do the words “public places” appear. The form prohibits the employee from entering a “restaurant” or “establishment that sells food items,” but Community Corrections simply does not prohibit any work release participant from going into “public places.” Does the sheriff actually believe these employees are forbidden to walk on a public sidewalk, or travel down a public highway?
-“This employee could have escaped at any time” – of course that is true; not only for this employee, but also for every other person who is now on work release, or who has ever been on work release, or who will ever be on work release in the future. He could also have escaped while working in downtown Wabash. He did not escape, nor did he make any effort to do so. If the sheriff does not like the risk that accompanies any work release program, then he should probably take it up with the Indiana Legislature the body that implemented the work release law. Incidentally, prisoners have also escaped directly from the Wabash County Jail while supposedly incarcerated.
-“Mr. Woods did not have direct control of the inmate.” Mr. Woods relied upon family members to oversee security on the inmate. It would be well to note that our Legislature has chosen to implement a “work release” program – not a “chain gang” system. Like most other work release employers, Tri-W has several employees. Work release employees, just like any other employees, are expected to perform the reasonable duties assigned by their employers. The sheriff knows, or should know, that there is nothing in the Community Corrections agreement signed by me that requires the employee to be in my physical presence every moment that he worked.
-“Mr. Woods utilized the inmate for personal use.” This employee was on the payroll of Tri-W, and paid by Tri-W for every minute that he worked. It is no concern of the sheriff’s whether this employee was stringing wire, hauling manure or transporting an animal. Obviously, work performed by any employee would, presumably, be of personal benefit to the employer. Why else would an employee be hired?
“In his press release last week, the sheriff stated “I am releasing this information to the public in order to quash any indication that Mr. Woods’ dismissal from the Wabash County Sheriff’s Department Reserves was politically motivated.” Really. Any reasonably astute person who now knows “the rest of the story” might very well conclude that the sheriff’s only motivation was the hope of damaging his rival in the upcoming political election.”
Upon receiving Woods’ statement, Sheriff Bob Land told The Paper about information that was gathered in his absence by Land’s Chief Deputy, Major Randy Miller and Community Corrections. As part of the investigation, telephone calls between Mr. Woods and the inmate in question were reviewed, as all calls between inmates and the general public are recorded.
“If Mr. Woods is in agreement, I will make the conversation available to the media,” Sheriff Land told The Paper.
Sheriff Land went on to explain that Major Miller and the director of Community Corrections agreed that violations in the Work Release Agreement were committed by both the inmate and Mr. Woods, and that it was not for political gain.
“I could ill afford to wait until after the primary elections to do something,” added Sheriff Land. “As I’ve stated before, it is unfortunate and bad timing, but I treated Mr. Woods the same as any other employee would have been treated, whether running for Sheriff or not.”
Mr. Woods responded, stating, “Obviously there are a few things taken out of context with the paperwork he did, and I know all phone conversations are recorded at the Sheriff’s Department. That’s why I instructed [the inmate] not to lie about anything. I want to go through what [the sheriff is] planning on releasing to the public with my attorney just to make sure that anything that’s said or done is not out of character of what we’re responding to.”
As of Monday, Feb. 3, the telephone recordings were not available to the media.