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Monday, February 27, 2017

ACRES preserves acres and acres of beauty



ACRES Land Trust Outreach Manager Lettie Haver, left, and volunteer Tina Puitz fill trash bags with invasive vinca Saturday during an ACRES work day at Tom and Jane Dustin Nature Preserve in Huntertown.

The ACRES Land Trust office in Huntertown has a view unlike any other.

“Here, when you come up a long drive and you’re driving in the woods, you get to the top of the hill and you’re overlooking an 80-foot ravine, a unique vista in northeast Indiana,” ACRES Land Trust Outreach Manager Lettie Haver said. “Suddenly, when you’re here you’re in it, you understand preservation in that way.”

This being ACRES’ home office was no accident. The office is in the home of two of the organization’s founders, Tom and Jane Dustin, nestled in a preserve bearing their name that connects to the nearby Robert C. and Rosella C. Johnson and Whitehurst nature preserves. These combine for more than 88 acres of diverse land along the Cedar Creek corridor, one of only three Indiana Scenic Rivers, a state designation.

Along with the Izaak Walton League, area Girl Scouts and Metea County Park, more than 1,500 acres along the river are protected, Haver said.

“People really want to roll up their sleeves and pitch in,” Haver said about the Dustin preserve and other ACRES properties, totaling more than 6,000 acres in Indiana, Ohio and Michigan. “It’s just something inside them, they want to contribute and be a part of it.”

About 10 people had an opportunity to do just that during one of ACRES’ recent work days.

The crew was hand-pulling the invasive, non-native vinca, more commonly known as periwinkle.

“We’re clearing the area so we can get some species that are natural to the area to grow,” outreach team member Kelly Shepherd said.

The work days, which take place at different ACRES properties each month, have been growing, with more than 20 people attending some of the events, Shepherd said.

These work days are beneficial not only for the land ACRES owns but also for the people working, allowing them to “gain knowledge and be invested in the preserve so they know what it takes to keep them going,” she said.

Volunteers include ACRES members and other area residents interested in preserving the land.

But volunteers present this day knew they weren’t just toiling for satisfaction or the good of the land, but rather on behalf of people from all over the region who enjoy the trails and natural beauty of these outdoor spaces.

Volunteer Linda Miller was helping for the second time, and said she is eager to attend more work days.

“I think it’s important we preserve and protect our natural areas and ACRES is a great resource,” she said. “They work to protect land and provide it so that everybody can come out and enjoy it.”

Garrett Museum of Artshow to open March 10


Garrett Museum of Art will open its annual members show with a reception from 6-8 p.m. Friday, March 10. This event is free to the public. The museum is at 100 S. Randolph St., Garrett.

Works remain on exhibit through April 9. Museum hours are 5-8 p.m. Friday, 4-7 p.m. Saturday and 1-4 p.m. Sunday.

This year’s show will feature cash prizes for first, second and third places and for the top student artist.

“Our membership’s work has grown over our four years to actually fill every wall in the gallery,” a museum spokesperson said in a statement. “Growth in content, skill, scale and media is what any true art gallery wishes to happen.”

The museum shows works of local and regional artists, and regularly hosts artists and speakers from other states and Canada. Shows also feature children’s art. Professional art teachers work with the children regularly.

Each member may exhibit two pieces of artwork for a single entry fee of $5. Both 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional art will be accepted. A $25 annual membership entitles the member to participate in the annual shows and to receive discounts to participate in other exhibitions. Find more information at garrettmuseumofart.org. See samples of work entered in the members show at the Garrett Museum of Art page on Facebook. For more information, call (260) 704-5400.




An attendee takes a picture of one of the ice sculptures at Weather the Fort on Feb. 11. The downtown Fort Wayne event, in its third year, featured music, food and winter-theme activities. It was sponsored by the Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana, Lutheran Health Network, Alt 99.5 and the Downtown Improvement District.


An attendee takes a picture of one of the ice sculptures at Weather the Fort on Feb. 11. The downtown Fort Wayne event, in its third year, featured music, food and winter-theme activities. It was sponsored by the Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana, Lutheran Health Network, Alt 99.5 and the Downtown Improvement District.

Two-day FAME Festival to feature Chinese opera


The 2017 FAME Festival will celebrate “Destination China.” More than 15,000 children and adults are expected to perform or attend.

Hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, March 18, and noon-5 p.m. Sunday, March 19. Admission is $5 for adults; ages 18 and under are admitted free. The Grand Wayne Convention Center is at 120 W. Jefferson Blvd., Fort Wayne. Parking is available at the Hilton and Harrison Square garages and at the Anthis Career Center.

FAME, in collaboration with Fort Wayne Sister Cities, will present the Taizhou Launtan Opera from Taizhou, China. The troupe will perform at 11 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. Saturday.

The Taizhou Chinese Opera is a 100-year-old opera company. Elaborate costumes help to tell the story in this ancient art form. Find a full description at famearts.org.

The opera also will be presented at 6 p.m. Sunday, March 19, at the Embassy Theatre, 125 W. Jefferson Blvd. Tickets are $20 or $45, and are available at fwembassytheatre.org, at the Embassy box office, through Ticketmaster.com or by calling (800) 745-3000.

The Foundation for Art and Music in Education will welcome children in kindergarten through eighth grade from northeast Indiana school districts.

Highlights include:

• 60 schools displaying art and sculptures, with over 6,000 pieces of art.

• 45 choir, band, dance and drama performances by local schools and organizations representing over 3,000 student performers.

• The Imaginarium, an area where many hands-on art projects will be set up for families to create their unique cultures. There will be 15 make-and-take projects for the kids to do in the Imaginarium. Hours are Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sunday, noon-4 p.m.

• The Instrument Playground, where children may try out new instruments from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and 1-4 p.m. Sunday, with Quinlan & Fabish. Children also can learn to rock ‘n’ roll at the Sweetwater Rock Academy, sponsored by Sweetwater Sound and Mynett Music.

• At 3 p.m. Sunday, the Fort Wayne Philharmonic Youth Symphony and Youth Orchestra and Fort Wayne Children’s Choir in collaboration with FAME and the Fort Wayne Ballet Youth Company will perform the Celebration of Youth Concert.

• A world premiere will be presented of “Twelve Chinese Animals,” composed by David Crowe and FAME fourth-grade musicians, who were part of the FAME composition project, and choreographed by the Fort Wayne Ballet Youth Company with original choreography by Lauren Ettensohn.

• Fusion of Concert Colors promotes arts understanding by encouraging students to draw emotional connections between music and visual arts. Art and music educators guide students to create artwork inspired by music within the scope of FAME’s cultural focus. FAME then assembles a public exhibition of the student artwork, and the FAME Fusion concert is performed by the Fort Wayne Philharmonic Youth Symphony and Concert Orchestra.

First Food Waste Summit ‘made a dent’ in problem



Jodi Leamon of the Allen County Solid Waste Management District moderates the discussion at the Food Waste Summit at the Mirro Center. The agency’s motto is Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

People representing every stop in the food supply chain shared ideas recently on how to speed more food to those in urgent need and divert more food from the landfill.

The 80 people who gathered at The Mirro Center on the Parkview Regional Medical Center Campus did not resolve every obstacle, but they advanced the conversation. That networking will continue, according to Jodi Leamon, the business technical coordinator for the Allen County Solid Waste Management District, which organized the conference.

“We made a dent,” Leamon said. The conference drew four times the number who attended the initial focus group in October. The dialogue will expand even further, Leamon said. “We try to make the connections.”

Educated consumers will not overspend, not overserve, and not send as much material to the landfill, she said.

Panelists detailed progress on on-site composting, how to distribute produce and other groceries in a timely manner, and how to direct excess food from catered events to the agencies that provide hot meals to the needy. The audience will continue researching regulations and efficiencies.

John Wolf, the chief executive officer of Community Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Indiana, said the Tillman Road food bank strives to ensure that all usable food is distributed instead of wasted. He stressed in-house training; a few bananas with a few spots still are edible and still can be frozen for baking. He stressed public education. “It was great to receive the butternut squash, the acorn squash, the spaghetti squash. The problem is a lot of people don’t know how to prepare it,” he said.

Rob Harmon, director of the host Mirro Center, said the events center has begun exploring ways to direct leftover, prepared food to outlets such as The Associated Churches, The Salvation Army, and the Simply Serving ministry that distributes meals and clothing in downtown Fort Wayne each Saturday. “We were just throwing it away,” Harmon said.

Initial efforts since the October conference have revealed time limitations due to health codes. Participants said they will continue the research and efforts, something of a pilot program.

Harmon also raised the question of how to deal with food that has been plated or touched, and how to return the organic material to the soil.

Rebecca Eifert Joniskan, section chief of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management Office of Land Quality, said her agency encourages on-site, small scale composting. The process requires only registration, not a permit. The process ensures attention to issues such as the water table, odor and pests but does not throw up a barrier to composting.

Leamon asked the panel about curbside composting programs.

“It can take a lot of capital to get something like this up and running,” said Sean Daley, a sustainability specialist for Waste Management. On the other hand, current operations allow food to be placed in a landfill to decompose and generate gas that can be sold to industry within four weeks. “GM powers the entire plant with it,” he said.

Suzanne Lindsay-Walker, director of corporate sustainability for Kroger, said the company’s 1,400 stores are pursuing a goal of zero waste by 2020. “Waste energy is not considered part of that intent,” she said. Lindsay-Walker noted diversions of unused food to animal feed. “It is absolutely a cost-effective outlet,” she said. She said the corporation is looking for more outlets for organic materials. She called attention to the efforts of the Food Waste Reduction Alliance. “If we can work together we can figure this out,” she said.

Kroger and other stores donate unsold produce to Community Harvest. “Kroger, Walmart, Meijer — we pick up food every day,” Wolf said. Holsum Bread delivers bread three times a week, and donated 138,000 pounds of bread last year, he said.

Those who need assistance receive vouchers to pick up a set weight of food at the Tillman Road center, which is set up similar to a grocery store. Clients also are allowed to choose produce and bread from the “free weight” shelves of food. “So a person may receive 50 pounds of food and they may get 20 more pounds of food and bread,” he said.

Wolf said Community Harvest distributed food to 21,100 clients each week last year and gives away an average of 250,000 pounds of food each week.

Panelists and audience members continued networking after the formal presentation. Further requests for contact information can be directed to the Solid Waste Management District, which did not announce specific plans for the next step in the conversation. It’s all part of the district’s broader mission, according to Leamon, who helped to spearhead the program and gather the panelists and pop and cookies, and who dismissed the conference. “The recycling is right next to the food tables for your cans,” she said.

Carroll guard plays ‘Waiting Game’


Junior Maddie Salay rehearses with the Carroll varsity winter guard. Her mother, DeeDee Salay, works with the guard’s uniforms.

By Garth Snow


Winter guard helps develops connections and confidence, said Carroll junior and varsity guard member Rylee Holland.

“It’s really amazing, all the hard work that people put into the show and hearing the audience clap for you is really amazing after every toss and every catch,” she said. “ … [you] feel like you’re a part of something. And yes, it’s a lot of pressure but you’ve put in so much to get to this moment and it’s really worthwhile.”

Geoff Goelz directs the varsity guard. This year’s show is titled “Waiting Game.” Goelz said the show tells a story of longing for something, only to realize that it is something that was already available.

Carroll’s three winter guard units will compete Saturday, Feb. 25, at the home gym. In all, 64 winter guard units will compete that day. Because the event is a contest and not an invitational, host Carroll will compete with the visiting schools.

Competition begins at 10 a.m. Admission is $6 per person, with children under 5 admitted for $3. Infants who will be held on laps will be admitted free.

The Carroll Cadet Guard will compete at 10:35 a.m. Carroll has added a junior varsity guard this season; the unit will perform at 4:11 p.m. The Carroll Varsity will perform at 6:04 p.m. Performances continue until 7:34 p.m. Visit ihscga.org for the full schedule.

Holland also marches with the Carroll band. She said most color guard members take part in both activities. “This is just us, to our own music,” she said. “The winter guard also has more complicated choreography in the show.”

Holland tosses and catches the weapons — sabres, flags and air blades, which are in the shape of rifles. “The work this year has been more complicated, so it’s been a bit of a struggle,” she said.

Holland’s mother, Roanne Marlow, is a co-chairwoman of the Carroll contest. Marlow said winter guard has been a positive influence on her daughter. “She was in Cadets in the eighth grade, and that was the first year that we had a cadet guard, and she’s been in the guard for three years,” Marlow said. “She has grown tremendously, not just in confidence. It’s amazing the difference in her from the time she started this until now. She has great friends, whom she met in guard.”

The junior varsity show theme is “Sellers of Flowers.” Goelz said the story follows life’s ups and downs and what it takes to put food on the table.

Brittany Krieg is the assistant director. Lauren Lawhead also works with choreography. Shelby Frank instructs the handling of the flags. Chad Yount is the stage designer.

Sherri Foster coaches the Carroll Cadet Guard, which draw from both Carroll and Maple Creek middle schools.

Lori Wellman and DeeDee Salay coordinate uniforms. The correct term is “uniforms,” not “costumes,” said Wellman, who also works with the marching band color guard.

Goelz is in his fifth year as Carroll’s winter guard director. He also assists or directs other winter guards and fall color guards, and works with the Legends Drum &Bugle Corps based in Kalamazoo, Mich.

Ring 221 back at Byronfor third Night of Magic


The crowd takes in the magic show at Byron Health Center. The public is welcome.

James Mitchell has been confusing his audiences for just over 10 years. As he strolls among customers each Sunday night at Granite City, he leaves each guest with a playing card and a puzzled expression.

He has polished his magic act, not with the mere tap of a wand but with a decade of dedication. “With any entertainment, the more you do the more experience you gain, and therefore you can deliver a more quality entertainment,” he said. “And from my standpoint, that means being able to read the audiences and providing them a real good, close, interactive performance that can be funny at times.”

Mitchell and about five friends will continue polishing their acts Wednesday, March 8, at a community event at Byron Health Center. This will be the third Night of Magic for Byron residents and friends. The show is open to the public; admission is free. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and seating is limited. The magic begins at 7 p.m. Byron Health Center is at 12101 Lima Road on the north side of Fort Wayne.

For the Fort Wayne Magic Club, this isn’t their first time shuffling the deck. “We are part of the International Brotherhood of Magicians, and we’re the local chapter of that,” said Mitchell, the president of Ring 221. “On any given night we’ll have a dozen people at a meeting.

“We get together to fellowship, to challenge and grow, and really to continue top shine a light on the art of magic.”

Mitchell described the group as a “mix of hobbyist magicians, part-time performers and those who make the bulk of their living with magic.” As for Mitchell, he described himself as “a part-time professional.”

One of the magicians used to work at Byron, did a magic show for the residents, and then asked his friends to join in. “It’s a little fundraiser for us; they make a donation to the club,” he said. “And we rally around and give both the residents and the staff and families a little bit of a show.”

He said the event also serves to educate the public on what Byron has to offer.

As the new director of Life Enrichment at Byron, Nichole Miller arranged the show. “It’s an opportunity for our residents and for the members of the community to have an evening out, watching magic,” she said. “It’s a time for our residents to share with the wider Fort Wayne community. Our residents enjoy getting to visit with members of the community.”

She said there will be some refreshments, probably popcorn from the magic popcorn maker.

Seating is limited, so Byron recommends that guests arrive early to get a good spot. The magic and comedy will fill about an hour.

Mitchell and friends are happy to help. “We’d like to keep the tradition going,” the Ring 221 leader said.

Anyone who would like to add the magic to their own event can find contact information at ibmring221.com

Byron Health eyesformer YWCA site


By Linda Lipp


The Allen County Board of Commissioners may be a couple weeks away from reaching an agreement to craft a master plan for redeveloping the 100 acres or more it owns at Lima and Carroll roads.

The property includes the nonprofit Byron Health Center, which leases its facility from the county.

Byron recently announced it is exploring the purchase of the former YWCA campus at 2000 N. Wells St. The potential move of its operation to a new site is a part of that – but, in any case, the commissioners have been discussing a sale for months.

“We want to move that property. We don’t want to be in the business of development,” Commissioner Nelson Peters said.

The property that includes Byron is on the north side of Carroll Road; the county owns 50 acres south of Carroll that might be sold for redevelopment as well.

The county property is in a high-profile location and is located in a part of the city that is growing rapidly. Peters envisions it becoming a mixed used development. The commissioners have been getting “nibbles and bites” from potential buyers, but want to develop a plan before entertaining any specific suggestions.

“If we allow one thing to happen, then we would have to build around that,” Peters said. “We’d rather have a full plan.”

New possibilities

The 25-acre campus Byron is eyeing is owned by Virginia-based Schoolhouse Finance and is currently home to Horizon Christian Academy. School officials could not be reached by phone, but responded to a query about the school’s future through Facebook.

“We’ve talked to the potential new owners and agree that it would be a win-win for both parties for Horizon to remain on that campus,” Superintendent Tammy Henline wrote.

It has been more than a decade since the YWCA sold the campus, which was built beginning in the late 19th century as the St. Vincent Villa orphanage. The subsequent owner, charter school operator Imagine Schools, sold it in turn to a subsidiary, Schoolhouse Finance, and then leased it back.

Imagine later lost its operating charter from Ball State University, and its campuses on Wells and Broadway were taken over by a private school, Horizon Christian Academy, which then also had a school on Coliseum Boulevard.

Horizon closed its Broadway and Coliseum schools at the end of last year, and consolidated everything at the Wells Street campus.

Although the Wells Street buildings are as old as or older than Byron’s current building, they may be in better shape. A number of updates, such as the installation of new windows, were made under the YWCA’s ownership.

A tipping point

The facility Byron leases from the county is out of date and maintenance costs are too high. Parts can no longer be obtained for mechanical systems, and because of the way the building is configured, the nursing home cannot close off unused parts to save on costs.

“It becomes a tipping point where it is not financially feasible to keep doing those things,” said CEO Deb Lambert.

Byron celebrated its 50th anniversary as a nursing home last year. But the site’s history goes back much further, and was also once used by the county as an orphanage.

Lambert said she loves the “parallel histories” of the two properties.

Byron Health has architects, contractors and other experts looking at the property as part of its due diligence, and also is analyzing historic considerations to determine what may be changed and what cannot. “It may end up being that there are so many historic restrictions…that it may not work out,” Lambert acknowledged.

Byron also plans to seek feedback from neighborhood associations, city and council officials and Wells Street constituents.

Byron’s patients include residents from their 20s to their 90s with medical and/or developmental issues. It currently has 150 residents whose care is covered almost exclusively by Medicaid.

Forty Under 40 winners announced


Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly recently announced the winners of the ninth annual Forty Under 40 Awards, which honor 40 individuals 39 and younger who are making a difference on the job and in their community. These young professionals were chosen by a panel of distinguished judges out of a record-breaking number of entries.

Following are the members of the Forty Under 40 Class of 2017:

Lynn Altevogt, 28, Three Rivers Running Co.

Amy Ballard, 38, 3Rivers Federal Credit Union

Scott Beasley, 34, Northern Lakes Insurance

Rachel Bobilya, 38, Ambassador Enterprises

Edison Byzyka, 28, Hefty Wealth Partners

Bethany Copperidge, 30, Costco Wholesale

Jeremy Cronkhite, 34, Steel Dynamics

Tony Desplaines, 37, Fort Wayne Tin Caps

Thad Gerardot, 30, Lincoln Financial Group

Jonathan Gottschalk, 35, Cirrus ABS

Al Hamed, 34, Hamed Homes

Sam Hartman, 30, Coldwell Banker Roth Wehrly Graber

Jenee Johnson, 39, Junior Achievement

Joel Johnson, 39, Johnson &Cohen Orthodontics

Ryan Kay, 30, AMI Investment Management

Shubitha Kever, 38, IPFW

Lindsay Koler, 34, Grunden Law Office LLC

Satin Lemon, 33, First Federal Savings Bank

Brad Minear, 36, Minear Real Estate LLC

Renee Miner, 36, Empyrean Events &Catering

Kevin Mitchell, 34, Faegre Baker Daniels

Brian Nordan, 39, Afdent

Jeff Ostermann, 38, Sweetwater Sound Inc.

Alex Platte, 35, Rothberg Logan &Warsco

Andrea Pyle, 35, Kendallville Housing Authority/Lamplighter

Billy Reffitt, 36, Yo2Go, Great Lakes Mobile, Reffitt Investments, Sunkiss Tanning

Madalyn Sade-Bartl, 35, town of Churubusco

Corey Smith, 35, Smith Academy for Excellence

Phyllis Smoot, 35, Mount Pleasant Lutheran Church

Stacey Strack, 30, the Mako Group

Christine Stephan, 38, Matthew 25 Health &Dental Clinic

Angel Suttle, 35, Adams Radio Group

Emily Szaferski, 38, Barrett McNagny LLP

Eric Trabert, 25, Jacob Insurance Service LLC

Ben Van Order, 37, Northwestern Mutual

Adrienne Wampole, 39, Ambassador Enterprises

Andrew Welch, 38, Ivy Tech

Erin Whittle, 36, Whittle Strategic Accounting

Donnieka Woods, 33, Aging &In-Home Services of Northeast Indiana Inc.

Mike Zawahri, 39, Parkview Health

The winners will be honored at an awards dinner 5:30 p.m.- 9 p.m. Thursday, March 23. The event will be held at the Memorial Coliseum Conference Center. The Memorial Coliseum is the official venue for all 2017 Business Weekly events. Tickets are $50 each. Tables of eight and 10 are available. To purchase tickets, visit FWBusiness.com under the Events tab.

“I am truly in awe of the caliber of young professionals nominated each year and this class of 2017 is a great indication of the kind of incredible talent we have right here in northeast Indiana,” said Randy Mitchell, CEO for KPC Media Group, publisher of Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly and this newspaper.

The awards are sponsored by Lake City Bank. Email events@kpcmedia.com for more information.

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