What’s the deal with these gasoline prices?

by Eric Stearley

The rapid change of gasoline prices can be frustrating. The inconsistency in the value of such a vital commodity can make a trip to the pump feel like a trip to the slot machine – “Should I wait to fill my tank until the price drops? What if it goes up just as I run out? Then I’ve overpaid. But I can’t run out of gas! Maybe the it’s cheaper down the road…” Eventually, you stop the car at a pump, swipe your card, and grab the handle. You watch as the numbers roll by, but unlike a slot machine, you won’t know until the next day, or later in the week, if you’ve won this round.

In late October, gas prices in Wabash approached $3.50 per gallon. While certainly not the highest it’s ever been, it seemed to be more expensive than usual. When locals compared prices in Wabash to those in surrounding towns, they began to wonder why prices at stations in Marion, Huntington, Peru, and North Manchester were falling to $3.00 as prices in Wabash held.

Now, in mid-November, the market has adjusted. On Monday, Nov. 17, the average price in Wabash was $2.93, much closer to prices in the surrounding area: prices for a gallon in Peru range from $2.89-2.97; North Manchester stations are selling a gallon for $2.89; Huntington stations were more expensive than those in Wabash, ranging from $2.95-2.96 per gallon. While it appears that prices have stabilized temporarily, the question remains: what causes the variance in gasoline prices from day to day and location to location?

To answer this question of economics, The Paper reached out to Dr. Michael Kaganovich, chairman of the Indiana University Department of Economics. Kaganovich pointed to two industry-specific factors that could result in price variation between two similar cities.

“First of all, they vary because of county taxes. County taxes may differ,” said Kaganovich. “In Bloomington, our prices are about 20 cents higher than a 20-mile radius, and that’s because Monroe County collects taxes.”

Taxes play an important role in the retail side of the gasoline industry. Federal and state excise taxes each make up roughly 18 cents of the sale price. Sales-use tax is calculated each month based on the average pricing from the six-week period prior to the start of that month, and is roughly 7 percent. In addition, all taxes associated with gasoline must be paid for upfront.

“When I buy gasoline, I pay every tax up front, so then I’ve got a tremendous amount of carrying cost that I have to pay up front instead of paying the government down the road,” said Jim Reynolds, owner of J.M. Reynolds Oil Company, a local petroleum retailer. “So when I pay my sales tax, you’re looking at somewhere between 56-59 cents of excise and sales tax on a gallon of gasoline right now. If anybody’s making a lot of money off gasoline it’s the government.”

Given that the national average profit for a gallon of gasoline in a cash sale is 15 cents, it’s easy to see how taxes play a large role in the gasoline market, however, neither the city nor county levy an additional tax on gasoline, so a difference in tax rate isn’t responsible for the price variation.

“It could be that your town requires a specific gasoline formula,” Kaganovich continued, “and this means that the regional refiner has to manufacture gasoline with a specific formula, and this means there may be less supply of your specific type as opposed to some other [type,] so that will affect prices, but I doubt that’s the case. That may be the case in Chicago or in California; they notoriously demand some specific formula.”

Posted on 2014 Nov 18
Local Author Publishes First Children’s Book

by Sandy Johnson

Following her childhood dream, Wabash native Sarah Dawes Graham recently published her first children’s book, Baxter’s Big Adventures, an exciting tale of a pup’s early life and the lessons he learns about the true meaning of friendship.

Growing up, Graham received much encouragement from her parents, who assured her that “all things are possible when you have a dream and you always have someone supportive,” she told The Paper.

A couple of years ago, Graham began writing her manuscript. With inspiration from her own dog, Baxter, the book’s canine character and his adventure soon evolved. Having the summer off, and with the support and encouragement of her husband, she completed the manuscript in a couple of months. Soon after, she started to look into the publishing process, but that came to a halt due to other responsibilities and events in her life. The manuscript sat until recently, when Graham decided to take time to revisit the topic of publishing the book.

With the writing task completed, Graham began the search for someone to illustrate her book. “I wanted the story to come through a child’s eyes,” she explained. After seeing a drawing of a dog that 12-year-old Bella-Saige David of Wabash had drawn, Graham decided to ask her to illustrate the book.

A homeschooled student who had been drawing for some time, David had won local art competitions and honed her creative talents with the help of an art tutor. To Graham, she was the perfect artist for the job. To David, the opportunity to use her creative abilities as an illustrator was one she couldn’t pass up.

Posted on 2014 Nov 18
Wabash Little League to offer Challenger Division

The Challenger Division offers boys and girls with physical and developmental challenges, ages 4 to 18, the opportunity to participate in an organized game of baseball

by Emily Armentrout

In the 2015 Little League season, Wabash Little League will be bringing the Challenger Division to Wabash County.

According to a press release from Little League International, “The Challenger Division of Little League is a program for developmentally and physically challenged youth, helping them to enjoy the full benefits of Little League participation in an athletic environment structured to their abilities.” 

Though the Challenger Division has been a part of Little League International for 25 years, this will be the first year for the program in Wabash County, and Challenger Division Commissioner, Joy Ruse, sat down with The Paper to discuss why this program is important to the community.

“I feel like there is a need for the Challenger Division. A lot of kids in the community need something like this; something they are able to participate in that they might have seen older siblings doing, that they were unable to do. With the Challenger Division, they’re able to play,” Ruse told The Paper.

The Challenger Division will differ from typical Little League games in that they play two innings, or a maximum of one and a half hour games. They play through the entire roster and then switch field positions. The Challenger Division also does not keep score or keep track of outs. “They get the chance to run around the bases and get a chance to play on a Little League team,” Ruse continued.

Posted on 2014 Nov 18
Ulrey resigns as MJSHS assistant principal

By Shaun Tilghman

There was a late addition to the agenda for last Tuesday’s monthly Manchester Community Schools (MCS) Board meeting, and it turned out to be an important personnel item, as the board eventually approved the resignation of Manchester Jr.-Sr. High School (MJSHS) Assistant Principal Lisa Ulrey.

Ulrey, who was not in attendance, officially accepted the role on April 1,after having served as the interim assistant principal since Oct. 1, 2013, when Brandon Penrod resigned to take the business manager position at Fremont Community Schools.

A 1990 graduate of Manchester High School, Ulrey was a three-sport athlete competing in swimming, basketball, and track. Following graduation, she attended Valparaiso University and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics with a minor in Secondary Education. She also competed on the swim team at Valparaiso University.

Upon graduating from college, Ulrey began a 13-year tenure with Warsaw High School. During her time at Warsaw she held several positions, including 8-10 years as a math teacher, which was broken up for maternity leaves for her two daughters: Madyson and Emma. She eventually earned her master’s in Administration, as well as receiving her Administrative License from Indiana University Purdue University-Fort Wayne.

After serving as the Dean of Girls at Warsaw, Ulrey transitioned to the position of attendance coordinator before becoming assistant principal for the freshman grade level. She then decided to return home for work, and for three years she worked as the School to Work coordinator at MJSHS, but her wealth of experience made her an excellent choice for the vacant assistant principal position.

Posted on 2014 Nov 18
The Thankful Heart crafts & gifts by Suzanne Teulker to re-open Nov. 21

by Emily Armentrout

After relocating, The Thankful Heart by Suzanne Teulker will hold its grand re-opening beginning Friday, Nov. 21, extending through the weekend. If you are looking for unique, hand-painted gifts for the holidays, The Thankful Heart is a great place to do your holiday shopping. Teulker specializes in hand-painted Christmas ornaments, along with custom painted lighted glass boxes and crocks, among other one-of-a-kind items.

Loving crafts since her childhood, Teulker got into craft shows 23 years ago, when her son was born.

“I did my first craft show after Josh was born. After Kayla was born, I decided I didn’t want to work. I was working full-time up to that point, and I decided I wanted to stay at home and take care of my kids, but we needed a second income. I just got into it more and more,” explained Teulker.

The Teulker’s began their first business, Teulker’s Treasures, before moving to Wabash 10 years ago, as a family, along with Teulker’s father-in-law, who did woodworking, with her husband, for Suzanne to paint on. After Teulker’s father-in-law developed Alzheimer’s, she began purchasing furniture from yard sales, auctions and flea markets.

“Anything I can find to paint on, I will get it,” added Teulker.

With all of the items The Thankful Heart has to offer, Teulker’s favorite things to work on are Christmas ornaments.

Posted on 2014 Nov 18
O.J. Neighbours Elementary staff honored by Wal-Mart

by Emily Armentrout

The Wabash Wal-Mart recently chose the O.J. Neighbours Elementary staff as their Teacher Appreciation award recipients. The honor comes with a $1,000 Wal-Mart gift card to be used by the staff to purchase school supplies for their classrooms.

“What I tried to do was talk to some of my employees and customers about the schools in the area,” Justin Ramsey, Wabash Wal-Mart manger, told The Paper.

Along with the $1,000 from the Wal-Mart Foundation, the local Wal-Mart donated a cake and other supplies from the store to hold a surprise presentation for the O.J. Neighbours staff.

“It was a complete surprise to me,” O.J. Neighbours Elementary principal, Danielle Miller, told The Paper. “I received a phone call from one of the managers at Wal-Mart, telling me their staff had selected us.”

“It’s really an honor because we have such a heart for what we do. Teachers are not people who go out looking for praise. We do it because we love students and we want to make our community better. So for them to call me up and say that we’ve been selected is really nice to see that people in the community can see the work that we are doing,” added Principal Miller.

“Obviously it’s an honor to be recognized by the community but I appreciate that they recognize that our kids can benefit from supplies we can get from Wal-Mart,” Mrs. Wilson, a kindergarten teacher at O.J. Neighbours told The Paper.

Posted on 2014 Nov 18
Klutz Well Drilling celebrates 100 years of family business

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.

Posted on 2014 Nov 11
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

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