Category Archives: County

Whitley County Council news

by Chuck Jones
The Whitley County Council is made up of seven members. Four are elected from Districts and three are at-large. John Barrett represents the Smith and Union Township District which is District 1. John is from Churubusco and served in the United States Air Force for five years and after was a State Trooper for 27 years. More recently he was the Investigator for the Whitley County Prosecutor’s office and retired from that job in 2007. John was on the Town Council for 12 years and is currently serving his first term as a Whitley County Councilman.
The primary purpose of the County Council is to deal with financial issues involving the County.
In their most recent meeting, held on February 2, they approved a tax abatement for Undersea Sensor Systems. The company is located in the U.S. 30 Industrial Park and plans to expand their operation. They now employ 300.
In other business, they received a request from Subdivision INFO for EDC funds for an expansion of their business which will create 25-30 jobs by 2015. They approved adding a part time employee at the Extension Office, agreed to fill a teaching position at the Youth Improvement Center, and voted to lift a hiring freeze that had been put in place last year.
Appropriations were approved for $3,500 more to the general fund and $50,000 to the health fund. They will have to cut about $290,000 from the general fund for 2010.
In the Commissioner’s report to the Council they were informed that bids are being received for a new furnace at the jail and that a new furnace had to be put in the County Museum/Thomas Marshall home. Monies from the Museum’s 2009 budget will be used to cover those expenses. Quotes are also being received to replace the County’s phone system in the jail and Government Center.
Kim Wheeler was elected President for 2010 and John Barrett was elected Vice-President. Other Council members are James Bayman, District 4, Glen Larue, District 3, and the three at-large members are Jim Banks, Bill Overdeer and Thomas Western. The County Council meets the first Tuesday of the month at 8 a.m. at the Government Center.

by Chuck Jones

The Whitley County Council is made up of seven members. Four are elected from Districts and three are at-large. John Barrett represents the Smith and Union Township District which is District 1. John is from Churubusco and served in the United States Air Force for five years and after was a State Trooper for 27 years. More recently he was the Investigator for the Whitley County Prosecutor’s office and retired from that job in 2007. John was on the Town Council for 12 years and is currently serving his first term as a Whitley County Councilman.

Parkview Whitley COO accepts position with Parkview Health

Parkview Whitley Hospital chief operating officer, John Meister, has  accepted a leadership position with Parkview Health’s corporate office in Fort Wayne.
Meister will serve as vice president of special projects. He will help lead and participate in the implementation of key projects for Parkview Health and Parkview Physicians’ Group, a physician-led and physician-governed division of Parkview Health.
Meister will continue to be involved with the building of the new Parkview Whitley Hospital, as well as continue to be a leader in Whitley County.
He will begin his new duties on March 15.
Rick Henvey, regional COO, Parkview Community Hospitals, will oversee Parkview Whitley Hospital until a permanent replacement is hired.
“It has been a true honor for me to help improve access to care for Whitley County residents,” said Meister. “We continue to hear from residents and businesses that Parkview Whitley Hospital is making a positive difference in the delivery of patient care. I’m looking forward to my new opportunity with Parkview Health. This is a great time to be involved with several unique initiatives aimed at improving the health of the communities in our region.”
Meister has served as COO for Parkview Whitley Hospital since 2005.

Parkview Whitley Hospital chief operating officer, John Meister, has  accepted a leadership position with Parkview Health’s corporate office in Fort Wayne. Meister will serve as vice president of special projects. He will help lead and participate in the implementation of key projects for Parkview Health and Parkview Physicians’ Group, a physician-led and physician-governed division of Parkview Health.

Greg Hockemeyer

Hockemeyer announces candidacy

CLICK HERE FOR LARGER IMAGE

Whitley County native Greg Hockemeyer is a candidate for Judge of the Whitley Superior Court, to fill the position of Judge Michael D. Rush (D) who announced his retirement in December of 2009.  Hockemeyer brings a number of years of legal experience to the position through his 18 years of local practice and, prior to that, in the administrations of Indiana Attorney General Linley Pearson (R) and Indianapolis Mayor Bill Hudnut (R), respectively.
“I’ve never let politics get in the way of getting work done,” asserts Hockemeyer, who is running as a Democrat.  Before starting a local firm with Attorney Jonathan J. Myers in 1995, he also worked as an associate of Columbia City Attorney Terry L. Smith.
In addition to his work in the Consumer Protection Division of the Office of Attorney General and prosecuting land use violations for the City of Indianapolis, Hockemeyer has served as the following: attorney for the Towns of Larwill and South Whitley; chairman of the Community Corrections Advisory Board; a member of the Board of Health; president of Columbia City Chamber of Commerce; a member of Drug-Free Whitley County; United Way Campaign chair and volunteer; a member of the Sheriff’s Department Merit Board; a certified civil mediator; attorney for the Whitley County Office of Family and Children; and a director of Northeastern Indiana CASA.
He has volunteered for many other community events and scholastic causes, and, currently, spends a lot of his time as a Band Booster in support of his son William.  Hockemeyer is a graduate of Columbia City Joint High School and completed his undergraduate degree at Wabash College. He earned his law degree from Indiana University School of Law at Indianapolis and is currently managing partner of Myers Tison Hockemeyer & McNagny, LLP.

Whitley County native Greg Hockemeyer is a candidate for Judge of the Whitley Superior Court, to fill the position of Judge Michael D. Rush (D) who announced his retirement in December of 2009. Hockemeyer brings a number of years of legal experience to the position through his 18 years of local practice and, prior to that, in the administrations of Indiana Attorney General Linley Pearson (R) and Indianapolis Mayor Bill Hudnut (R), respectively.

John Barrett

Barrett seeking re-election

CLICK HERE FOR LARGER IMAGE

John M. Barrett announced plans to run for re-election of County Council District #1 on the Republican ticket. District #1 is comprised of Smith, Union, and Columbia Townships (Northeast).
He is a veteran having served in the United States Air Force for five years from 1959 to 1964. In 1966, he became an Indiana State Trooper and retired in 1992 with 27 years of service. He then became the Avilla Town Marshal and served the Town of Avilla for five years. In 1997, he became the Investigator for the Whitley County Prosecutor’s Office from which he retired in 2007.
Barrett was on the Churubusco Town Council for 10 years and is currently in his first term as a Councilman for Whitley County, District 1.
He and his wife, Linda,  will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary in June, 2010. They have three children and 13 grandchildren.
He is a member of the Churubusco Lions Club, Churubusco American Legion Post #157, American Legion Riders, Blue Knights IN II, and the Whitley County FOP #131.
If he is re-elected to serve another term, he will approach the fiscal matters of Whitley County with integrity, dedication and make prudent and logical decisions.

John M. Barrett announced plans to run for re-election of County Council District #1 on the Republican ticket. District #1 is comprised of Smith, Union, and Columbia Townships (Northeast).

Heart of Gold nominations needed

Continuing a 15 year tradition, the Whitley County Community Foundation will host the annual Heart of Gold Awards in celebration of the people in the community who give of themselves to make life a little better for others.
Whitley County is a great place to live and work thanks to the many thoughtful people who call it home. Your neighbors, friends and co-workers may be among those who deserve to be recognized. Any person living in Whitley County, regardless of age, who enhances another’s life is eligible to be nominated.
Whitley County residents may nominate someone for a Heart of Gold Award simply by filling out a nomination form which can be found at businesses throughout the community, public libraries or at the Whitley County Community Foundation. The forms will also be published in county newspapers. people who have been nominated in years past are eligible for nomination again in 2010, as long as they are recognized for a different act of kindness. Monday, March 15 is the deadline for submitting the nomination forms to the Whitley County Community Foundation.
This is not an essay contest, and anyone needing assistance to fill out a nomination form should contact the Community Foundation at (260) 244-5224. Excerpts from actual nomination forms may be reprinted in local newspapers and should be suitable for sharing with the public.
All nominees will receive a heart-shaped medallion inscribed with their name. Three overall winners will each have the opportunity to direct a $1000 grant to the Whitley County charity or service organization of his/her choice, which works to enhance the community.
When considering overall winners, the Heart of Gold committee will take into account whether the nominee identified a need and filled it; recognized an opportunity and acted upon it; shared his/her time and energy for the sake of others; overcame unusual challenges to serve others; rendered a service which changed a life; worked to create positive change; inspired others to volunteer; or performed an exceptional act of kindness.
A festive reception honoring nominees and revealing the identity of their nominators will take place on Thursday evening, April 22 at Indian Springs Middle School in Columbia City.

Continuing a 15 year tradition, the Whitley County Community Foundation will host the annual Heart of Gold Awards in celebration of the people in the community who give of themselves to make life a little better for others.

Whitley County AARP news

Whitley County Chapter 3248 met February 2, 2010 at the Woodlands.  President Pat Loe opened the meeting welcoming all present.  We had two guests,  Betty Flynn and Carol Mettert.  Virginia Wright led the group in the Pledge to the Flag followed by a prayer by Mike Hazen.
The minutes were approved as read and Jeanette Zumbrun gave the treasurer’s report.
Phyllis Swick gave the health report on the signs of a stroke.  A stroke is bleeding to the brain or a clot that has shut off the blood flow to the brain.  Signs to look for are if a person is acting differently or may have fallen at the table or off the chair. You should ask them to repeat their name, say something, stick out their tongue or smile.  If you notice any problems with any of these, call 911 and get them to the hospital as soon as possible.
Judith Hicks opinions for the government report are as follows:  Maybe we don’t agree with the decisions of our leaders, but they were elected to office and we should support them.  She also stated that the cuts for school assistance may not be beneficial to our school and our future.
Bonnie Hazen gave a reading entitled “Mr. Groundhog’s Day,” and shared special dates in February. February 7-Super Bowl Day, 12-Lincoln’s Birthday, 14-Valentine’s Day, 15-Presidents Day, 17-Ash Wednesday and 22-Washington’s Birthday.
Wilma Bender reported that Vesta Bennett is still at Millers and having therapy.  She is unable to get in or out of her wheelchair without assistance. Also, a reminder that Edith Oschlager is a patient at the Oaks.
Betty Mink reported the dates and productions for the season.
June 10 – “South Pacific,” July 20 – “On the Road Again,”  September 9 – ” Get a Kick out of Frank,” October 29 – “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown,”  December 9 – “Homestead Holidays.” The price will be $35.00 unless otherwise stated.
Jeanette Zumbrun presented Jackie Hake, director of the Whitley Council on Aging, a $200.00 check from the Chapter.  Martha Meier made a motion to donate $250.00 to the Whitley  County Council on Aging to support two senior packs of groceries for this year. Motion carried.
They welcomed new member, Jennie Childs.   The meeting was closed.  Cookies and punch were served by Bonnie and Mike Hazen.

Whitley County Chapter 3248 met February 2, 2010 at the Woodlands.  President Pat Loe opened the meeting welcoming all present.  We had two guests, Betty Flynn and Carol Mettert.  Virginia Wright led the group in the Pledge to the Flag followed by a prayer by Mike Hazen.

Manual reminder for 4-H’ers

All 4-H’ers must remember to pick up their manuals from their 4-H Leader – not at the Extension Office. Even when it gets close to the 4-H Fair, participants still must pick up their manuels/record sheets from their 4-H Leader.
Manuals are ready for pick-up by the 4-H Leader at the Extension Office after the 4-H’er has turned in the enrollment form and paid dues to the Township 4-H Club/Leader.
Parents and 4-H’ers keep in mind: This is after the forms have been coded and entered in the computer. Please do not expect to receive manuals immediately.
For more information call 244-7615 or 625-3313.

All 4-H’ers must remember to pick up their manuals from their 4-H Leader – not at the Extension Office. Even when it gets close to the 4-H Fair, participants still must pick up their manuels/record sheets from their 4-H Leader.

County has new website

by Katie Wagner
kwagner@busconews.com
Whitley County residents will soon be able to pay property taxes, print township maps and report road problems from the comfort of their own homes.
After two years of planning and research, whitleygov.com is up and running.
Although Whitley County has seen success with the GIS (geographic information system) website, it was still lagging behind without a government website. It was the only county in the northern half of the state without a website. Feeling that it was time to make the information more accessible to the public, several government employees, including Doug Jones, Linda Gerig, Jennifer Baxter and Dave Sewell, formed a committee to research and create a website to meet the needs of the County. County coordinator Amy Crickmore, GIS Coordinator Dan Weigold and County Engineer Brandon Forrester were appointed “webmasters” and trudged through several county, city and state websites to find what information should be included on the website.
“We wanted to go from worst to first,” Weigold said. “I think we did that. This is a real positive for the community.”
Visitors to whitleygov.com will be able to:
• pay property taxes, probation fees, speeding tickets and all other fees associated with the offices of the Treasurer and Clerk through the Payment Center
• print County documents, such as meeting agendas, ordinances, forms, applications and maps through the Document Center
• fill out and submit forms online to report incidents, provide feedback, request tours and more through the Action Center
• view employment opportunities
• find links to tax-based entities, such as schools, libraries and towns
• learn about local government
• be aware of weather emergencies, bridge and road closings and other reminders through “In the Spotlight” and “News and Notices” sections
• view the Whitley County events calendar
The County Council appropriated $24,000 towards the creation of the website through County Economic Development Income Tax (CEDIT) money to pay eGov Strategies of Indianapolis to create the website programming, design and templates. eGov Strategies hosts several county websites, and the committee felt the company would serve the needs of Whitley County well. The team of webmasters and department heads plan to continually update the site.
The webmasters of whitleygov.com said the main benefits of the website are convenience and improved services offered to Whitley County residents.
“There will be some bugs to work out and further requests to look into,” Forrester said. “But residents will be able to get and provide information at their leisure–after hours and at a distance.  We want to have an impact on how people view our County,” he added. “We want the website to be impressive and reflect positively on the community.”

by Katie Wagner

kwagner@busconews.com

Whitley County residents will soon be able to pay property taxes, print township maps and report road problems from the comfort of their own homes.  After two years of planning and research, whitleygov.com is up and running.

Kim Wheeler

Whitley County Councilman Kim Wheeler announces bid for re-election in 2010

CLICK HERE FOR LARGER IMAGE

Whitley County Council president, Kim Wheeler, has announced his plans to run for re-election on the Republican ticket for the office of County Council, District 2, a district comprised of Richland, Etna Troy and Thorncreek Townships.
Wheeler understands that balancing the budget is the most important thing right now.
“It will be hard to do with the economic down times,” Wheeler said. “Council must find a way to fund the county’s emergency services.”
Wheeler feels tax rates can be kept low by bringing new business to the county and by retaining existing businesses, both of which will make for a broader tax base.
“It is important to continue to lobby State officials to help with ways to fund the county budget,” he said.
Wheeler says he has worked hard to make sure tax dollars are spent on the needs of Whitley County and will continue to serve the taxpayers of District 2 as well as Whitley County. If re-elected, he will continue to work to keep taxes as low as possible without cutting services.
A lifelong resident of Etna Troy Township, Wheeler graduated from Columbia City High School in 1972. After graduation, he went to work full time for his father at M.C. Wheeler & Sons, Inc., which he now owns along with Wheeler Properties LLC.  He is also a grain farmer in Etna Troy Township.
Married to his wife, Phyllis, for 30 years, they have two adult children, including Crystal (Chad) Wheeler Leighty and Nathan (Melena Headford) Wheeler. Another daughter, April, is a junior at Columbia City High School.  Additionally, they have one grandson, Cayden Leighty. A second grandchild is anticipated in February.
Wheeler is a member of the Indiana Ground Water Association and now serving on the legislative committee for the Indiana Ground Water Association in Indianapolis.  He served for four years on the Whitley County Hospital Foundation Board and 12 years on the Etna Troy Township Advisory Board.
In the past three years while serving on the County Council, Wheeler has been actively serving on the Plan Commission, Joint Plan Commission and the Personnel Committee.  Wheeler is a board member on the Whitley County Economic Development Corporation. He has served as vice chairman the past two years and was recently elected as Chairman of the County Council in January.
Wheeler is asking for your support in the May Primary Election.

Whitley County Council president, Kim Wheeler, has announced his plans to run for re-election on the Republican ticket for the office of County Council, District 2, a district comprised of Richland, Etna Troy and Thorncreek Townships.