Friday, September 23, 2011

Plow Days this Saturday, September 24

By TRSmith
What began as a day of fun for a group of local farmers quickly developed into a major fundraiser that has now assisted many people in the area.
Whitley County’s Plow Day started in 2006 with a group of farmers in South Whitley area who wanted to get together and plow, according to Beth Ann Sickafoose.
“It was just a bunch of farmers getting together to begin with,” Sickafoose said. “Then it turned into a benefit.”
A month before the event, the late Becca Hollenbaugh niece of Steve Sickafoose (Beth Ann’s husband) and Don King, was just diagnosed with stomach cancer.
A day of plowing evolved into a Rally for Rebecca. Proceeds were used to help her family with medical expenses. Since then, the committee has continued to combine a day in the fields, a variety of events, food, and a benefit to help someone in our county.
Committee members are Steve Sickafoose, Don King, Roy Rubrake, Stan Studebaker, Doug Reiff, Stan Sickafoose, Marcus Schwartz, Mike Schwartz, Johnny Graber, and Sam Schwartz – the same people who started the event in 2006.
Over the years volunteers, friends and other community groups have lent a hand. Last year more than 225 volunteers helped to man this event last year.  And, it couldn’t continue without the visitors on that day, too.
Back on September 16, 2006, 70 modern, antique and vintage tractors along with horse and pony plow teams turned under 160 acres on the Doug and Terri Reiff farm on CR 1000S.
Baked goods provided by the Amish quickly sold out. Buggy rides were quite popular with visitors showing much interest in the horses and accompanying equipment.
The first hog roast fed more than 700 people. Sickafoose said plates are counted to determine the number of lunch attendees.
Last year more than 2,000 plates were provided at lunch time and not everyone stops for lunch.
The event has grown by leaps and bounds until now there are craft tents, apple cider making, demonstrations, a large tent where produce is sold and a long line for lunch. That long moves quickly, though.
This year’s event is this Saturday, September 24.
Plow Day 2011 hosts are Willie and Susie Hilty. Their property is four miles south of South Whitley. Go south on SR 105 to CR 1000s, then west three-fourths of a mile. Follow the signs.
This year’s event benefits Rylie Powell, 4, who is undergoing a stem cell - bone marrow transplant. At the age of 2 she was diagnosed as having severe combine immune deficiency syndrome which means her body doesn’t process infections well.
The committee will also give to the South Whitley Area Emergency Food Bank and the Shrine van fund.
The tractors and horse teams begin plowing at 9 a.m. There are wagon rides to the field. The Amish bake sale begins at 9 a.m., too.
At 9:30 a.m. pony rides, children games, apple-butter and cider making, blacksmithing, cream separating, rope-making and other handcraft demonstrations start.
Lunch starts at 10:30 a.m. featuring pulled pork from the roasted hog, whole hog sausage sandwiches with homemade potato salad, baked beans along with chips, drinks along with homemade desserts and  soft ice cream. From 11-1 p.m. Sunbeam the clown visits with his balloon creations.  A new event is the pull against two work horses starting at about 12:30 p.m.
An adult cornhole competiton is  at 1 p.m. 
Tractors and teams are on display at noon. At 1 p.m. the plowing resumes. Plowing continues until the fields are finished.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Whitko school board begins facilities stydy

By TRSmith
PIERCETON -- A 25-year facility plan committee has been formed as part of the Whitko school board’s set of goals. The committee is comprised of Whitko employees and community members who will meet about eight times between now and December 17 to craft a recommendation for Whitko buildings and grounds for the next quarter century.
During the Monday, September 19 meeting board president Deb Collier said she and member Roger Boggs will serve on the committee with Jorell Tucker as an alternate board representative on the committee.
Tucker voted against a cell phone allowance for a list of administrators and staff who wish to carry their own cell phones. The stipend, approved by the Internal Revenue Service, is for up to $50 per month.
Financial officer Tom McFarland explained the corporation can provide a cell phone for business use only to certain personnel. Many people do not find it practical to carry two cell phones - one for work, one of their own - and prefer the one they chose for themselves. The IRS allowance reimburses them for their always-available status while taking calls, texts or email messages on their chosen devise.
Superintendent Steve Clason said the program saves the corporation money and the other board members approved the item.
The board began the evening with a hearing on the 2012 budget, capital projects plan and bus replacement plan, adjourning, opening the regular meeting and approving the items with a first reading. The budget and plans will have a second and final reading at the October 17 meeting.
Principals Eric Speicher, Bruce Hansen and Parrish Kruger presented their reports.
Speicher, in his first year as principal at Pierceton Elementary School, said the wireless system is up and running at PES.
Students are engaged in volleyball, football, organizing a student council and have plans for an after school chorus.
Abby Spurling is the school’s Webmaster.
Hansen, the South Whitley Elementary School principal, presented his report. He said it was nice to return to school having the roof repaired, wireless networking installed, computer systems updated, heating and air conditioning systems improved, classrooms reorganized and new staff hired.
Hansen said there were 344 students enrolled at SWES with three full-day kindergarten classes.
Terrill Brown is the school’s Webmaster.
Kruger, the Whitko High School principal, presented the national Scholastic Award medallion given to art teacher Walter Malicki.
Last year the artwork made by student Wade Eberly advanced to the national Scholastic Awards exhibit in New York.
High school staffers developed a ‘Cats Pride advisory program over the summer, hashing out how the teachers and support staff can provide guidance to the students. One way is to encourage them to receive a secondary education.
During this year’s college fair employees will wear sweat-shirts with their alma mater’s logo in the hope that students interested in that university will ask them about attending the campus.
In personnel actions, the following people retired, resigned or were terminated -- Angie Robbins, resigned as PES title 1 assistant; Janet Goff, discontinued as Whitko Middle School resource aide; Tammy Campbell, resigned as WMS reading resource aide and Title 1 coordinator; Janet Thompson, discontinued as WMS resource aide; Lori Lancaster, resigned as special needs bus aide; Dena Smith, resigned as WMS cook; Mark Rickerd, resigned as SWES winter sports coach; Jennica Juillerat, discontinued as WMS seventh grade volleyball coach; DeeDee Maggard, discontinued as WMS eighth grade volleyball coach and WHS junior varsity basketball coach; and Ed Reed discontinued as WMS eighth grade boys basketball coach.
Employments -- Lori Betten, WHS part-time nurse; Heather Fox, Title 1 coordinator; Daniel Brubaker, tech assistant; Wendy Collier, PES preschool resource assistant; Katherine Bromley, WMS reading assistant; Andrew Farrell, WMS resource assistant; Stephanie Craig, PES Title 1 assistant; Andrea VanCleve, PES lunch room monitor; Ashley Little, PES crossing guard; Linda Schannep, bus aide; Tammy Studebaker, change from WHS cook to special needs bus aide; Jennifer Day, SWES student council sponsor; Vanessa Hart, WMS seventh grade volleyball coach; John Carroll, WMS eighth grade boys basketball coach; William Keel, WMS eighth grade volleyball coach; Ashley Hoopingarner, WMS sixth grade volleyball coach and WHS 1/2 position as junior varsity girls basketball coach; Adam Gray, WHS 1/2 position as junior varsity girls basketball coach; Jeff Walpole, WMS seventh grade boys basketball coach; LeeAnn DeMoss; WHS FCCLA sponsor and sophomore class sponsor and Brad Clark, WHS junior varsity softball coach.
Leave of absences were approved for Crystal Zielasko, effective October 2011 and Walter Malicki, effective September 19, 2011.
The graduation ceremony date for the class of 2012 was set at Friday, June 8 at 7:30 p.m.
Several field trip days were approved: PES preschool to Pizza Hut; special needs, nine trips for bowling in Columbia City; 16 trips for swimming in Warsaw; and seven days for horseback riding and movies in South Whitley and Warsaw.
The board recognized school supply donations from New Hope Wesleyan and Eel River Community churches.
The next school board meeting is October 17 at 7:30 p.m. School board members are Deb Collier, Roger Boggs, Jorell Tucker, Cindy Kreger and Terry Eberly.