Republicans dominate local, national elections; polls see historically low turnout

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.

Posted on 2014 Nov 11
Community Foundation of Wabash County awards grant to support Heartland Career Center Certification Program

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."

Posted on 2014 Nov 11
Honeywell Foundation surpasses $8 million campaign goal, celebration planned

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.

Posted on 2014 Nov 11
Manchester University inaugurates 15th president in Spirit of Abundance

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.”

Posted on 2014 Nov 11
Chamber names Kirtlan Automotive ‘Blue Ribbon Business’ for November

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 They can be reached by phone at 260-563-0848.

Posted on 2014 Nov 11
Owens Corning Thermafiber employees increase gift to United Fund by 28.5 percent

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.

Posted on 2014 Nov 11
Wabash County Sheriff’s Department releases October statistics

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.

Posted on 2014 Nov 11
Stirring it up with Angie Baer

 Few things taste better than a piping hot bowl of beef stew. I'm always looking for ways to use up the last of the garden vegetables, and this recipe for slow cooker beef stew is just the thing. This stew is chock-full of root vegetables from our garden. I don't recall ever having such a bountiful garden. We have had a surplus of carrots, onions, potatoes, and parsnips. This is Dave's second successful year for growing parsnips. A parsnip looks like a white carrot but tastes nothing the same. The best way that I could describe the taste of a parsnip would be that it has a hint of black licorice with a slight amount of heat. Sounds tasty doesn't it? I don't believe I would ever eat a raw parsnip but added to this beef stew, it adds a wonderfully unique flavor.

Posted on 2014 Nov 11

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