In February 2014, Congress signed a new five year farm bill creating many new farm programs. The new programs will cover crop years 2014-2018. While some final adjustments are still being made, many details about the new programs are being made available.
In August of 2014 landowners with crop bases were sent letters telling them what their current crop bases are along with their current counter cyclical payment yields. They were told to review the information and contact their local FSA office with questions.
Landowners could first visit their local FSA office on Sept. 29 to decide whether to keep their current base acreage or reallocate their bases. Reallocation looks at what was grown on the farm in 2009 – 2012 and calculates a new crop base off of those planted acres. The landowner has until Feb. 27, 2015 to make this decision. Since many landowners head south for the winter, FSA encourages an office visit before leaving.
With a grant from the Community Foundation of Wabash County, Wabash High School will host the first annual Wabash County College and Career Fair. The event brings together representatives from more than 30 colleges, universities, trade schools, unions, and the Armed Forces. Students will browse college and career literature and learn about requirements for various career paths, including traditional college and industry standard certification programs.
In a combined effort to increase college and career-readiness in Wabash County, all area junior and senior high school students are invited and encouraged to attend the daytime event. The College and Career Fair will be held on Wednesday, November 12 from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. at Wabash High School.
The Community Foundation will be available to help students learn how to apply for local scholarships established by generous donors and administered by the Foundation and how to complete the College Costs Estimator, a free online program to demonstrate financial need, which is a requirement of many scholarships. The Indiana Youth Institute, headquartered in Indianapolis, will introduce students to “Trip to College,” an online planning app that helps students explore career interests and training requirements. Information will also be available for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and the Wabash County Promise.
“Students have lots of options today. Some will go to traditional college. Some are on a pathway to a trade. These days both options require education and training after high school to be successful,” says Joe Kaufman, Guidance Counselor of Wabash Junior Senior High School. “The nearest college fairs for Wabash County students were held in Peru and Fort Wayne this year. We wanted to give local families an easy-to-attend, information-filled event during the school day that everyone could participate in.”
The Northfield theatre department, directed by Mandy Shull, will be performing Friday, Nov. 7 and Saturday, Nov. 8, beginning at 7 p.m. in Northfield’s auditorium.
Join them for two ensemble plays, with a variety of leading roles. The first show will be “Unplugged,” a play with a social message of unplugging from your electronics, followed after the intermission by “The Murder Mystery at the Murder Mystery.”
Tickets may be purchased at the door.
Jo Young Switzer was awarded the highest distinction in Indiana, a Sagamore of the Wabash, in a special presentation during a celebration of the highly successful Students First! campaign at Manchester University.
“We are deeply grateful to President Switzer for her leadership,” said MU President Dave McFadden, who presented the award Thursday on behalf of Indiana State Sen. Jim Banks, R-Columbia City. Banks has been deployed to Afghanistan for the 2015 session of the Indiana legislature.
Switzer became the first female president and 14th chief executive of Manchester University on Dec. 1, 2004.
Before her retirement in June, Switzer led a campaign to raise $100 million for the University. It blew by that goal, raising $108.7 million a full 18 months ahead of schedule. It included more than 50,000 gifts from alumni, friends, corporations, foundations and churches.
The largest was a $35 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to launch the Manchester University College of Pharmacy, which enrolled its first students in August 2012. The gift enabled Manchester to construct a LEED Gold certified, state-of-the-art 82,000-square-foot building on its new Fort Wayne campus, which is home to the four-year pharmacy doctoral program.
The University’s enrollment increased about 30 percent during Switzer’s tenure, from 1,074 in 2004 to 1,400 during the 2013-14 school year. In the past several years, Manchester also launched a master’s degree program in athletic training and has implemented two key initiatives — the three-year bachelor’s degree Fast Forward program and the Triple Guarantee. The Triple Guarantee promises financial aid for all students and full tuition for academically strong low-income students who live in Indiana; graduation within four years for all full-time students who meet the guidelines, or pay no tuition for credit needed at Manchester to graduate in five years; and a job or enrollment in graduate school within six months of graduation, or return for a full year, tuition-free.
Petfinder has partnered with Pets Add Life (PAL) to help more pets find homes. Wabash Animal Shelter, as a member of Petfinder, is participating in their Shelter Showdown contest, running from Oct. 22 through Nov. 19. A total of $50,000 will be given away to three Petfinder member organizations with $25,000 awarded to the grand prize winner, followed by the second place winner receiving $15,000 and the third place winner receiving $10,000.
Supporters and communities are encouraged to vote daily for their organization of choice. To vote, shelter supporters can simply “like” the PAL Facebook page at www.facebook.com/PetsAddLife and click the Shelter Showdown app, or visit www.ShelterShowdown.com. Voters can simply search and vote for their shelter or rescue organization of choice, one per 24 hours during the contest.
Wabash Animal Shelter is asking the residents in Wabash County to vote on the Pets Add Life Facebook page and vote daily. The money would be helpful in covering vaccinations, other medical items, spay and neutering surgeries, food, office supplies, and building and ground improvements.
The top shelters with the most votes win and will be announced and notified on Nov. 19 during National Get a Pal for your Pet Day.
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.
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