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
Mainstreet Property Group pays off part of Wabash’s Economic Development Revenue Bonds

It was announced recently that Mainstreet Property Group, developer of the Fifteen million dollar health care campus in Wabash, has paid off $12,565,000 of the City’s Economic Development Revenue Bonds. The bonds were originally issued by the city to assist the developer in financing the health care campus. The developer had primary responsibility for repaying the bonds, but the city provided credit support in order to help get the project off the ground, with the agreement that the bonds were to be refinanced by the developer within five years.

Now, upon successful completion of the project, the developer has obtained other financing that relieves the city of any obligation on the bonds years earlier than required by the bond documents.

Mayor Vanlandingham stated, “We were pleased when we were able to assist Mainstreet in providing a source of financing for this valuable project in the city, and now we are even more pleased to see that they have been so successful that they are able to refinance the project so that the city is no longer on the hook for the bonds. This is a great example of how a city can encourage economic development and work with the private sector to create jobs and opportunity for its citizens.”

Posted on 2014 Dec 02
Mobley named Interim Administrative Assistant for MJSHS

By Shaun Tilghman

The Manchester Community Schools (MCS) administrative team recently named Dorey Mobley as Interim Administrative Assistant at Manchester Jr.-Sr. High School (MJSHS) following the unexpected resignation of Assistant Principal Lisa Ulrey earlier this month. Mobley, who began her new role on Monday, has served as the lead teacher for Squire Academy this fall and will continue her involvement there until a replacement can be found.

In the wake of Ulrey’s resignation, MJSHS Principal Nancy Alspaugh has spent the last few weeks as the lone administrator in the building while MCS officials searched for a suitable replacement.

MCS Superintendent Dr. Bill Reichhart said that Mobley expressed interest in filling the position of Interim Assistant Principal; although, in her case the title is that of Interim Administrative Assistant, as she does not yet have her Administrator’s License.

“After interviewing Dorey, as an administrative team we thought she would be a fine choice to serve in this capacity until the end of the school year,” Dr. Reichhart explained. “She is currently taking classes to get her Administrator’s License, and she will be finishing that up in May; in the meantime she needs to have the title of Administrative Assistant. So, Dorey will be Director of Squire Academy, and also serve as Interim Administrative Assistant for the junior-senior high school.

“As of [Monday], we have a substitute teacher in Squire Academy, and Dorey is working with that teacher. Also, Wendy Isbell continues to work as an Aide in that room; she is very familiar with the procedures, and the students are very familiar with her, so we feel like we’ve got a pretty good transition plan in place for Squire Academy. We just posted an interim teaching position at Squire Academy for the remainder of the school year, and I suspect that we may have a teacher internally who may be interested in trying that out.”

Posted on 2014 Dec 02

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