by Eric Stearley
Klutz Well Drilling, located a few miles east of North Manchester, is celebrating its hundredth anniversary as a family-owned and operated business. Founded in 1914 by Alva Klutz, the business has been passed down from father to son through five generations to Ralph, James, Tom, and now Brent Klutz.
“We’re the only company in Wabash and Huntington counties that has a rig,” said Tom as he thumbed through is great-grandfather’s record books from the 1930s.
“Typically, most well drillers are all small businesses, and most of them have been in the business because their family is in the business,” said Brent. “It just seems to be part of the nature of our business.”
The company was founded to fill a very basic need in the early years of the last century.
“The need for water,” said Tom. “They used to put a lot of windmills up; they were a dealer of air motor windmills. In fact, somewhere around here, I’ve got shipping crates that say Alva Klutz and Son from the air motor company.”
Over the course of the last century, the company as drilled hundreds of wells throughout the county. These days, most of the county’s residents who need a well already have one, so the business is largely focused on service and maintenance.
“There’s not as many wells that get drilled now as there used to be,” said Tom.
“We do a lot of service,” said Brent. “That’s the main part of our business. Drilling is just kind of a bonus.”
“The fact that we’ve been in business so long has gotten us a lot of customers, and they need service, so that’s our big thing,” Tom added.
by Eric Stearley
Tuesday’s General Election saw the Republicans pick up seven seats to take control of the US Senate. In the House of Representatives, Republicans gained at least 13 seats; seven seats have yet to be called. The same trend was alive in Wabash County, as Republicans swept every contested race. Locally, 6,439 citizens, making up 28.87 percent of registered voters, cast a ballot. This turnout was much lower than the year’s national average of 36.4 percent, but reflected the state’s turnout of 28 percent. This was the lowest among all 50 states. According to the United States Elections Project, 2014 saw the lowest national voter turnout since 1942.
Wabash had the honor of hosting a congressional debate this year, and voters made a definitive choice in the race. For Indiana’s 2nd Congressional District, Jackie Walorski easily defended her seat in Congress; in Wabash County, she beat Joe Bock by a 46 percent margin, receiving more than seven out of ten votes. Across the district, Walorski took a smaller majority, with 59 percent of the vote.
In state politics, Republicans swept the elections for Secretary of State, Auditor of State, and Treasurer of State, with large-margin wins going to Connie Lawson, Suzanne Couch, and Kelly Mitchell respectively; each took more than 72 percent of the vote.
In the only contested race for Wabash County Council, Jeff Dawes (R) beat out Chad Harris (D) for the District 2 seat, taking 1,001 of the 1,315 votes, or more than 75 percent.
Pleasant Township had five candidates running for three seats on the Township Board. Republicans Stan Bagley, Lisa Flack, and David Hawkins won out over Democrats Glendon Morgan and Denise Rohrer. Bagley received 25.98 percent of the vote, with Flack and Hawkins taking 27.57 and 26.15 percent respectively.
The Community Foundation of Wabash County has awarded a grant to the Heartland Career Center to fund a nationally recognized certification program for Wabash County students in the fields of welding and advanced manufacturing. The grant is part of the Community Foundation's ongoing efforts to advance educational attainment, increase employment and end poverty.
"The Community Foundation is working hard to help more adults in Wabash County acquire the skills needed for good jobs," said Patty Grant, Executive Director. "Having the validation of recognized certifications helps young people who are pursuing trades get the most out of their training."
Mark Hobbs, Director of Heartland Career Center, said the Community Foundation of Wabash County is a strong supporter of Heartland's efforts. "This extensive training to certify our welding instructor is such a great investment for our students, and we certainly could not have done it without their help."
As the welding instructor at Heartland Career Center, Jack Holley focuses on helping kids in Wabash County forge a productive future with in-demand job skills. "We try to give our students a career-oriented skill set that they can take straight into the workforce after high school," said Holley. "There's a shortage of skilled labor out there, and my goal in the welding field is to prepare my students for a real life job setting — both in their welding performance and in all of the other things that are expected of them.
"The certification being funded by the Community Foundation is the American Welding Society SENSE program," continued Holley. "It is both an academic and skill-based certification of lifelong skills. This will help us tremendously in our goal of having a welding lab here at the Heartland Career Center that will allow us to become an accredited test facility and certify students in many different welding processes."
A five-year campaign to increase the Honeywell Foundation’s Endowment Fund has ended successfully after having exceeded its $8 million goal. Plans are currently underway to celebrate this great achievement. An open house reception will take place on Thursday, Nov. 13 from 4 to 5:30 p.m. in Legacy Hall of the Honeywell Center and will be open to the public. The reception will include an Educational Outreach exhibit highlighting arts-in-education opportunities, individual and corporate donor recognition, live piano music provided by Susan Vanlandingham, and refreshments.
A presentation will take place at 5:30 p.m. featuring comments from campaign volunteer leaders. The Honeywell Center Vocal Impact Youth Choir, under the direction of Emily France, will also perform.
One of the key elements of the campaign was securing the future of the Foundation’s Educational Outreach Program. The Outreach Program provides arts-in-education opportunities to students in its 12-county service region. Over 41,000 arts opportunities were made available to schools during the 2013-2014 school year at no cost to the students or to the schools. Through this campaign, $2.6 million was raised to support this specific program.
Cordier Auditorium was full Friday — an abundant response to a man who has “poured his heart and soul into Manchester University for decades,” according to Board of Trustees Chair D. Randall Brown, who presented the Presidential Medallion to Dave McFadden.
McFadden was inaugurated Friday as the 15th president in the 125-year history of the University, and he spoke often during his address about abundance and gratitude.
“Going forward, we will be audacious in embracing opportunity,” McFadden said. “We aim to grow our total enrollment by as many as a thousand students by the end of this decade, grounding new programs in our mission and infusing them with our values.
“Why? Because the world needs more Manchester graduates. We will be a source of hope and optimism, of promise and possibility, of ability and conviction.”
The auditorium on the North Manchester campus, which seats 1,300, resounded with the anthem “Only Now,” commissioned by McFadden and composed by MU alumnus Shawn Kirchner. “Only Now” adapts excerpts from the Wendell Berry novel “Hannah Coulter”:
“The world is so full, like a pregnant woman carrying a child within her, carrying a child in one arm and leading another by the hand…. Every puddle in the lane is ringed by sipping butterflies that fly up in a flutter when you walk by.”
November’s Blue Ribbon Business of the Month is Kirtlan Automotive. Kirtlan Automotive is a full-service auto repair and preventative maintenance center; they also offer light truck repair. Located at 750 South Cass Street, Kirtlan’s was established in 1993 and has been a Chamber Member since 1999. Kirtlan Automotive employees eight full-time and six part-time employees. All technicians are ASE Certified and enrolled in ongoing training programs.
Steve Kirtlan, owner and operator, has lived in Wabash all his life. He and his family pride themselves in being involved in the community. That being said, Steve was anxious to share information about an upcoming community outreach initiative. Steve and his staff will be selecting one person in need for up to $1,000 in repairs/service to his/her vehicle before cold weather makes its way to Indiana. Beginning Nov. 15, folks may stop in Kirtlan’s and pick up nomination forms. Nominations will be taken until Nov. 30.
Kirtlan Automotive is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. and can also be found online at kirtlanauto.com. They can be reached by phone at 260-563-0848.
Owens Corning Thermafiber employees responded to the beginning of the Wabash County United Fund 2015 fundraising campaign with an overwhelming pledge of $7,600.
“Once again the employees of Owens Corning Thermafiber responded with their generous support of the Wabash community and the agencies of the Wabash County United Fund by giving $4,626 for 2015. We are exceptionally proud of our employees’ continued generosity in supporting these agencies,” said Steve Edris, Owens Corning Thermafiber director & general manager.
Vince Brown, Wabash Plant Leader commented that “our employee pledges increased more than 28.5 percent over the previous campaign, and I am impressed with the level of generosity and caring expressed by the Wabash team.”
More than twenty employees participated in the annual in-house campaign drive, according to Alan Siepker, Human Resource Leader.
“Our extraordinary employees have again responded to the need and given generously. We will be celebrating their achievement with fresh, home-baked cookies this month,” Siepker continued.
In addition to the employee pledges, the corporation matched the employee pledges up to $3,000.
The Wabash County Sheriff’s Department recently released their statistics for the month of October.
Throughout October, the department issued 56 traffic citations and 83 traffic warnings. They made two DUI arrests.
The department arrested a total of 19 individuals, resulting in eight felony counts and 19 misdemeanor counts. There were a total of three drug arrests, resulting in one felony count and six misdemeanor counts.
The sheriff’s department worked a total of 36 criminal cases and 78 crashes. There were a total of 49 transports, and they served 434 civil process papers, along with 24 warrants. The department also made 12 public appearances during the month of October, with a total of 879 calls for service.
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