Local karate school opens women’s self-defense class

by Eric Stearley

A local dojo is expanding its offerings in an effort to help local women stay in shape while learning to protect themselves. The Saikou Shuri Ryu Karate School, located at 1595 Stitt Street, has begun offering a women’s self-defense class on Tuesday from 7-8 p.m.

“A lot of the women around town have come to me and asked about a self-defense program and what they can do to stay in shape,” said Sensei and owner Jerry French. “A lot of them are worried about being attacked by crazy people now a days. On the news, I saw where some women had been attacked, and I felt that if they had known a little bit about martial arts and how to defend themselves, they could have probably defended against their attacker.”

Shana Knight has been training in martial arts for two years, and when French opened his newest class, it was exactly what she was looking for.

“It’s a passion that I have. It’s for safety and to learn how to take care of myself, because it’s just my son and I, and the world isn’t like it used to be,” said Knight. “I am not personally into the karate side of it, because I like the self-defense side and learning how to take care of myself and the practicality of that.”

French has made it a mission to spread knowledge of martial arts and self-defense in the Wabash area, and has been teaching students for more than 20 years. He currently teaches half a dozen classes each week, and he’s well qualified to do so. On the nights he’s not teaching, he’s training. On some nights, he travels to Muncie to train under Chief Instructor George Sheridan. Other nights, he travels to Fort Wayne to learn from Grand Master Robert Bowles. 

A student himself since the early 1980s, French holds a fifth-degree black belt in Shuri Ryu Karate. As if that wasn’t enough, he also holds a second-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do, a second-degree black belt in weapons, a first-degree black belt in Shinto Yoshin Ryu Jujitsu, and a brown belt in Kempo Karate. He’s competed in numerous tournaments throughout the country and held a Florida kickboxing title for five straight years. In 1997, he traveled to Japan to compete in the World Karate Championships, where he placed ninth. 

Posted on 2014 Dec 16
Pumping iron for Christmas Spirit

by Eric Stearley

On Saturday, Nov. 6, the Wabash County YMCA hosted a bench press competition to benefit Wabash County Christmas Spirit. Male contestants were tasked with bench-pressing their body weight as many times as possible, while the ladies had to put up half their weight.

Local attorney Alan Zimmerman announced the competition, which featured five divisions and 23 contestants.

The Christina Doan kicked off the competition for the ladies in style, posting a respectable 56 repetitions, which won her first place. It was noted that Doan, a trainer at the YMCA, doesn’t actually train for bench press. Christina Bagma put up 44 reps, while Angela Graham completed 33 and Jill Owens posted 24. Hannah Hall took top honors for the teen division with 14 reps.

The men’s competition was split into four divisions by age. In his first bench press competition, Kyle James took first place for the 20-29 year old division, tying the competition’s overall winner with 33 reps. Dylan Poole repeated last year’s performance, taking second place in his division and losing by only one repetition. Brock Byram and R.J. Waldon tied for third with 31 reps.

In the 30-39 division, Adam Garrison was able to lock out 270 pounds 21 times for the win. Alvin Roberts took second with 20 reps, and Brandon Meekin lifted 295 pounds 15 times for third.

Last year’s overall winner Keith Herron matched last year’s number with 28 reps, which was good enough to win the 40-49 division. Don Peterson was second with 26 reps.

Posted on 2014 Dec 09
Bill Konyha appointed Director of OCRA, member of Pence’s cabinet

by Eric Stearley

During an economic forum in Indianapolis on Nov. 19, Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann announced that Bill Konyha will take over as Director of the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs starting Jan. 5. Konyha has been the president and CEO of the Economic Development Group of Wabash County for more than eight years and quarterbacked the successful Stellar Communities application process.

“OCRA’s mission is to provide capacity-building solutions which assist Indiana’s rural communities in pursuing economic growth and quality of place,” Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann said during the forum. “We are extremely pleased to have someone with Bill’s experience in economic and community development lead our OCRA team.”

The appointment means that Konyha will answer to the state’s top two officials.

“I will be on the lieutenant governor’s executive staff, primarily in charge of the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs, the agency that relates to rural communities and economic development, and I will be a member of the governor’s economic cabinet. I don’t know what that entails yet - whatever the governor tells me it does.”

Konyha will bring his many years of experience to the agency. He spent 18 years in private real estate development, including his time with Eastside Community Investments, Inc. in Indianapolis. He has been involved in community development for the past 24 years, including his time leading economic development organizations in Tipton and Fayette counties before making Wabash his home. He is currently the president of the Indiana Main Street Council, and previously served as president of the Indiana Economic Development Association.

Posted on 2014 Dec 09
Stirring it up with Angie Baer

I love everything about this season. Though it can be harried and down right hectic, still, I love Christmas. I asked the children in my class to tell me what their favorite thing about Christmas was. Hearing their response from the heart of a four year old was endearing to say the least.One little girl said "Santa knocks and knocks on the door until my Mom goes to the door and lets him come in with a bunch of presents." Their joy and excitement is contagious.

A few years ago I had a little boy named Hank in my class. Two years later His sister Millie was also in my class.At Christmas time their Mother would make the most delicious caramels I have ever tasted. They just melted in your mouth. I was the lucky one to receive them as a gift.She graciously gave me the recipe and since then, I make them every year and give them as gifts. Here are just a few tips when making caramels.

Posted on 2014 Dec 09
Vogel heading to Miss Indiana pageant

by Emily Armentrout

Katelin Vogel, 2013 Wabash High School graduate, daughter of Tim and Karrie Vogel, and former Wabash County Festival Queen, was crowned Miss Fort Wayne 2015 on Nov. 15.

Vogel has been competing in pageants for a short time. Her pageant career started in 2013, being crowned Wabash Festival Queen. After graduating from Wabash High School and moving to Fort Wayne to study psychology at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, Vogel went on to compete in the Miss IPFW pageant just two weeks before the Miss Fort Wayne pageant. Vogel was first runner up in Miss IPFW.

“My mom almost forced me to start pageants. She said it was for money and would help for school so I grumbled along and went ahead with them. I found that I really enjoyed them though, so I continued,” Vogel told The Paper.

Along with the scholarships, Vogel believes one of the greatest things she has taken away from her time in pageants is the interview skills she has acquired.

“If I had to tell girls what good comes from pageants, it’s the interview skills. You have to learn to meet people and talk with them, using that etiquette that you normally don’t find in regular, colloquial conversation. You have to be confident in yourself and that has helped me and that’s why I have stuck with them,” explained Vogel.

Vogel has learned a new appreciation for the communities she represents through her pageant experiences as well.

Posted on 2014 Dec 09
Wheat certification deadline announced

Farmers that planted wheat this fall with the intention of harvesting next summer need to certify the wheat by Dec. 15, at their local FSA office.  Wheat growers have traditionally reported their wheat crop in the summer along with their corn and soybeans, but  rule changes implemented in 2013 to make FSA and crop insurance reporting dates more uniform now requires the wheat to be certified by the December date. 

Failure to report your wheat by the Dec. 15 date will result in a late file fee of $48 per farm being charged for wheat certified after Dec. 15.

Wabash County FSA personnel are available from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday thru Friday to complete the required paperwork.  Appointments are not necessary but can be made by calling 260-563-3145.

Posted on 2014 Dec 09
MJSHS Students Subjects of Cyber Threats

By Shaun Tilghman

Last week, Manchester Community Schools (MCS) officials collaborated with students, parents, staff, and ultimately local law enforcement, during an investigation into one Manchester Jr.-Sr. High School (MJSHS) student’s alleged cyber threats targeting 16 fellow students.

According to MCS Superintendent Dr. Bill Reichhart, the potentially dangerous situation came to light on Wednesday evening, when MJSHS Principal Nancy Alspaugh was made aware of threats that some students had received through “Snapchat,” a social networking application. The app allows users to send pictures or videos, along with text and/or symbols (“emojis”), to other users; however, the sender also determines how long recipient(s) have to view the “Snap” before it disappears.

According to a parent of one of the threatened students, the original Snap was a picture collage of 16 MJSHS students that included the caption, “meet the victims shall we,” as well as two symbols: a gun and a devil. The first threat was sent during the school day, followed by others, such as one warning recipients to “check your doors are locked tonight.”

Alspaugh said, “Wednesday night I received a text or an email from a parent alerting me to the problem, and [Athletic Director Jeremy Markham] also sent me a text around that same time because parents had called him about it. So, I went to Dr. Reichhart’s office to discuss it with him and then contacted some of the parents who had called me and said that we would begin an investigation. Several of the parents were very key in sending me more information and more examples of things that had been sent to their children that evening by the student threatening them.”

Dr. Reichhart stated that, the next morning at school, they received additional information from students, staff, and parents. “That information, along with the school security measures we have in place, helped us to identify the student,” he explained.

Alspaugh added, “I had sent out an email to the kids the night before, and lots of kids responded with ideas, suggestions, or information about the situation. We were then able to identify the student we thought was responsible, and quite frankly, the other students involved didn’t want to believe it could be that person, but all things were pointing to that student. I talked to that student at length, and she finally did confess.”

Posted on 2014 Dec 02
Miller Furniture celebrates 60 years in business

After opening its doors on Oct. 3, 1954, Miller Furniture is celebrating its past 60 years in business and announcing its plans for the future. John and Charles Miller have reached an agreement with Steve Wampner, a Marion businessman, to acquire Miller Furniture Company. 

“John, Charlie, and the staff will remain the same, and it will be business as usual at Miller Furniture,” Wampner said. 

“Our customers are the most important thing to all of us, and we will continue to provide them with the same level of service, selection, and value they have received from us over the last 60 years,” said John Miller. “Knowing Steve as we do, it’s gratifying to know that he aspires to these same values.”

The Millers have known Wampner for many years as both a customer and friend.  Through that relationship, discussions developed about the possibility of Wampner joining the company, and those discussions ultimately led to his acquiring the business.

“It has always been our hope that Miller Furniture could continue to serve Wabash and the surrounding areas for many years to come, and Steve’s keen interest in interior design as well as his business experience will allow him to accomplish that,” said Miller.

Wampner recently retired from a successful career at Needham-Storey-Wampner Funeral Services in Marion, where he was a co-owner and president. Wampner has always been interested in interior design and architecture, designing his current residence, as well as serving as the building chairman for the design and construction of the sanctuary at the Brookhaven Wesleyan Church where he is a member. He has also overseen several renovation and redecorating projects at the funeral homes.

Posted on 2014 Dec 02

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