Local Hoosier Homestead Awards

From State Senator Ed Charbonneau:

Hoosier Homestead Awards


In honor of Indiana’s rich agricultural heritage, the Hoosier Homestead Award Program recognizes families that have made significant contributions to Indiana agriculture.

To be named a Hoosier Homestead, farms must be owned by the same family for at least 100 consecutive years and consist of more than 20 acres or produce more than $1,000 of agricultural products per year. The award distinctions recognized are Centennial, Sesquicentennial and Bicentennial – for 100, 150 and 200 years respectively.

Recently, several farms in Senate District 5 were recognized by this program with a Centennial Award at the Indiana State Fair. These family farms include:

  • The Glen – Ray – Den farm, located in Winamac;
  • The Louis Tieman farm, located in Winamac;
  • Needham House farms, located in Winamac; and
  • The Will farm, located in San Pierre.

There are two Hoosier Homestead ceremonies each year. One is at the Statehouse in March, and the other is during the State Fair in August. The deadline to apply for the March ceremony is Dec. 1, and the deadline to apply for the August ceremony is May 1.

I encourage anyone whose family farm qualifies for a Hoosier Homestead Award to fill out the application, which can be found at www.in.gov/isda/2337.htm.

Indiana’s farming industry plays a significant role in our economy and history. I’m proud of these four local families for keeping the tradition of agriculture going and contributing to the success of our state.

Spotlight on Child Abuse Prevention

From State Senator Ed Charbonneau:

Spotlight On: Child Abuse
Prevention Measures


In recent years, we have been hearing an alarming number of reports of child abuse and sexual misconduct in Indiana schools. To address this issue, the Indiana General Assembly passed legislation that aims to prevent Hoosier children from being abused in the environment where they should always be safe from predators.

Senate Enrolled Act 355, authored by my colleague State Sen. Mark Messmer (R-Jasper), requires the Indiana Department of Education to provide Indiana schools with access to curriculum on recognizing and responding to child abuse and sexual child abuse. Under SEA 355, the materials must also cover policies and procedures for reporting and responding to suspected abuse.

Keeping Hoosier children safe is important, and this legislation ensures that school employees are educated on these matters. I am confident this measure will further protect our students.

September Volunteer Training


From Compassion to Action

2017 September Volunteer Training


Center for Hospice Care needs volunteers in St. Joseph, La Porte, Elkhart, LaGrange, Starke, Marshall, Kosciusko and Fulton Counties. The next Volunteer Training is in September & October. No previous health care experience is necessary. Volunteers are needed for:


·        Patient Care

·        Companionship

·        Bereavement Callers

·        Office Support

·        Massage Therapists

  • Veteran Volunteers to serve our veteran patients

·        Hair Stylists and Barbers

  • Pet Visitation
  • Camp Evergreen Grief Camp for Kids
  • Life Bio (capturing the life stories of our patients)


Training is comprehensive and will prepare volunteers for various opportunities. Following training, volunteers may assist patients and families in activities such as respite, transportation, laundry, errands, companionship, or bereavement. Volunteers will serve patients in their homes, in nursing homes, or may serve in office or clerical roles. Center for Hospice Care is in need of individuals with licensure/certification in massage therapy, hair styling, pet visitation, or notary public.


Training dates are:


September 23 & October 7, 8:30 am – 5 pm

Mishawaka Campus, 501 Comfort Place, Mishawaka


Registration required. Please contact Kristiana Donahue, Volunteer Recruitment Coordinator, (574) 286 -1198 or donahuek@cfhcare.org.

Rainbow Splash 5K

Time is running out for pre-registration for the Rainbow Splash 5K.  Get signed up today!  It’s a fun and colorful way to help kids.

The Rainbow Splash takes place Sunday, August 20th. The run/walk begins at 8 AM at the Hamlet Fire Station and follows a scenic route through Hamlet. Get splashed with vibrant colors as you travel the route.  Finish the event with snacks, awards, and a photo booth for fun.

The entry cost is $26 per person.  A team of four is $100, a $4 savings! Round up your friends and family for a fun and fabulous time.

Each entry received before August 11 receives a t-shirt, a packet of color, and the chance to win the overall prize for best finish.
Online forms available at: http://www.thescyc.org/ways-to-give

Moonlit 5K

Hoot With The Owls – Run With The Chargers
This moonlight 5K fun run/walk is going to be a hoot! It will be an evening run, instead of morning, and you’ll be traversing the Lake Galbraith trail instead of paved streets. There will be luminaries lighting your way as you move along the prairie-lined trail, through the woods, and along the lake. You might just hear the hoot of an owl during this outing!
Hoot & Run is a walk or run event. To help keep it safe, each participant who registers by September 15 will get a lighted bracelet and a souvenir “Hoot with the Owls; Run with the Chargers” tee shirt.
The event is a fund-raiser for Ancilla College Cross Country and will be held rain or shine, so dress accordingly.
Ancilla College Charger Cross Country Coaches and Team, Facilitators
Saturday, October 7, 2017;Walk begins at 5:45 p.m.; Run begins at 6:30 p.m. EDT
Check in at the October 7 Hoot with the Owls; Run with the Chargers event opens at 4:15 p.m.
Check-in Location: MoonTree Studios Parking Lot
Please register by Friday, September 15 – member $25.00; non-member $30.00 (T-shirt & lighted bracelet included)
Late registration September 16-October 7, 2017 – member $35.00; non-member $40.00 (We cannot guarantee you will receive a tee-shirt.)
Register Now
MoonTree Studios, The Center at Donaldson, PO Box 1, 9601 Union Road, Donaldson, IN 46513

Blessing of APAC Residence

Ancilla Hosts blessing of APAC Residence


DONALDSON – “This is really quite a momentous occasion for Ancilla College,” said Dr. Ken Zirkle, president of the college, on August 1, 2017 as a large group of VIPs lined up for the ribbon cutting of the Lake House and the launch of the Autism Program at Ancilla College (APAC).

APAC is a college-level program to help students with Autism Spectrum Disorder to build social, workplace, and academic skills and knowledge. It is designed for students who, while exhibiting superior intellectual ability, face serious challenges with communication, social interactions, and group educational settings. The APAC program is a residential, college-level program providing for the successful immersion of these unique students into a small, rural, supportive campus community. “This is just another way for Ancilla to make a difference in the lives of so many,” said Zirkle.

“Ancilla College has provided a nurturing academic environment that has attracted some of the best and brightest students from right here in Indiana and around the world,” said Lauren Varga, reading from a letter sent by Sen. Joe Donnelly, (D-IN). “It is with great pride and excitement that we acknowledge the beginning of this important chapter in the history of this distinguished institution.”

Also on hand was Ben Parsons, who represented Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (R-IN2). In a video message that was shown to the group, she stated, “This important new program has created a unique opportunity for students across the country to get the education, resources and support they need to thrive. Ancilla College is leading the way as a model for other programs like this and I hope more and more states will follow Indiana’s lead.”

Leading the group of state politicians who came to share in the excitement was Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch (R-IN). “Our culture celebrates personal achievements in a variety of ways,” she said, “but we all too often don’t take the time to recognize and show our appreciation for those whose talents go unnoticed.” She further added, “One of Ancilla College’s values is to serve the underserved; and suitably, it is the first two-year college to offer an ASD specific residential program in Indiana. Support programs such as APAC can result in substantial improvements in social interaction and enhance talents of those with ASD. Ancilla’s innovative foresight in addressing the needs of the ASD population will provide a model program which can be replicated across other institutions.”

Before Lt. Gov. Crouch cut the ribbon on The Lake House, Sr. Judith Diltz of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ gave a prayer and displayed the bottle of water that would be used to bless the home. Coming from the streams running behind the Heilborn Chapel in Durnbach, Germany, ‘Heilborn’ roughly translates to ‘healing waters,’  “which makes it appropriate to be used in this special home,” said Sr. Judith.

The program will open its doors to the new students enrolled in the program in the fall semester of 2017. “This is really exciting,” said program director, Kristen Robson. “This will be an opportunity to help these special students achieve goals that may have previously seemed unattainable.”

Ancilla College (www.ancilla.edu), part of The Center at Donaldson, offers 25 associate degrees, eight one-year certificates and has 20 athletic teams. Since 1937, the college has been a sponsored ministry of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ. It is a small, private, liberal arts school located two miles south of U.S. 30 on Union Road near Plymouth, Indiana.

Art – Fun- History

Art – Fun – History Coming to Hamlet

Some festivals are all about fun events, some about history and others about art and music.  The Yellowstone Trail Fest (YTF) combines them all in creating a truly “sociability” weekend for the community and surrounding areas. August 19 & 20th at the Starke County Fairgrounds in Hamlet is where you will be able to enjoy all these.  Thru the generosity of community businesses (check the website www.yellowstonetrailfest.com for a listing) the following events will be offered free of charge: Bounce Houses, Zucchini Contest, Rendezvous village, Car Show & Displays, Draft Horse “hitch wagon” show, Make & Take Craft hour, Knockerball, Skillet Toss, Kalita – Master of Magic Show, Church Services, Hula Hooping with Kalixy, Parade, Ice Cream Social, Bicycle Races and lots of Music!

Something super special this year . . . Indiana Historical Society has created a traveling museum display featuring the history the automobile industry has had on Indiana. The Community Foundation awarded a grant from the Hardesty Endowment Fund to bring this Free of charge to the community! All are encouraged to walk thru and enjoy the interactive displays, art made from the automobile and even place your young ones in the seat as a future Indy 500 winner for your very own photo op!

Indiana Arts Commission awarded another grant to the growing Yellowstone Trail Festival for their signature event; Repurposed Metal Sculpture Contest.  This project is made possible by the support of the Indiana Arts Commission, a State agency to grow the outreach of artists in Starke County and the surrounding area using automotive parts (springs, gears, chains, etc.) to create pieces of art or new usable items!  Due to the request from artists last year, this grant has opened up a division for any scrap (tines, shovel heads, rods, metal sheets, spoons, cans, etc.) metal and a forged division.  The YTF committee has been busy setting up at fairs and festivals around the area to get the word out and are expecting a large assortment of artist and skilled welders to turn out a growing display for all to enjoy, before they are auctioned off after the parade.

The parade this year is Grand Marshalled by the Hamlet Volunteer Fire Department!  There is no theme this year; however, the community is encouraged to join in with floats, cars and walkers thanking the firemen for the great service they provide.  No pre-registration is required just provide your entry form with your announcement when lining up.

The festival is also a favorite for non-profit organizations to create events for fundraisers!  This is the third year the Starke County Youth Club is taking advantage of this opportunity with their Rainbow Splash 5K run/walk event.  The sixth year for the Redskins Band Boosters Rib-eyes, the third year for the Starke County Historical Society Ham & Beans, the first year for the Hamlet Girl Scouts Water Slide and the  Cub Scouts with an assortment of games of luck. Check the website noted above if you have a 501c3 company and still want a booth this year, or stop at the information booth and talk to Juanita about doing an event next year.

The YTF mission statement notes “The object of the association shall be the teaching of the history of the Yellowstone Trail”.  And also, “to provide a weekend of fun activities to the public along sections of the Yellowstone Trail while educating its visitors on the Yellowstone Trail.” It looks like all aspects are available again this year as we learn Starke County is a part of history by being a part of the very first trans-continental road going from Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts – thru Hamlet, Indiana – and ending at Puget Sound in Seattle, Washington.  Stop at the Rendezvous to learn how this land was used for free camping from 1912 – 1932 and check out the maps and books at the information booth to extend your learning on August 19 & 20th.  And be sure to check out their facebook page and have fun this year at the ninth Yellowstone Trail Fest in Hamlet.

Chester, Inc celebrates 70 years!

VALPARAISO: Valparaiso based Chester, Inc is celebrating its 70th year in business.

In 1947, Orville Redenbacher and Charles Bowman established Chester Incorporated, after purchasing the George F. Chester & Sons Seed company.

At that time, Bowman was Manager of the Purdue Ag Alumn Seed Improvement Association, Lafayette, Indiana, and

was formerly Manager of the Indiana Crop Improvement Association Seed Certification Service.

Orville Redenbacher was Manager of Princeton Farms, Princeton, Indiana, a large farm operation which among other major projects,

produced hybrid seed corn, certified seeds and commercial popping corn.


Orville Redenbacher was employed by Hunt-Wesson Foods to help promote the Orville Redenbacher

brand of gourmet popping corn by making personal appearances and television commercials. Charlie

Bowman remained as President of Chester, Inc. and, for three years, utilized one half of his time teaching

Hunt-Wesson Foods how to produce, process, condition, and store both popcorn seed and popping corn. Orville

passed away in 1995 and Charlie in 2004


Republicans accepting internship apps

From Senator Ed Charbonneau, Unemployment in Indiana

State Unemployment Rate
Continues To Fall


Indiana’s unemployment rate fell to 3 percent in June, making it the lowest rate we have seen since October 2000.

At this rate, we remain below the 4.4 percent national average, and continue to outrank our neighboring states, with Michigan at 3.8 percent, Illinois at 4.7 percent, Ohio at 5 percent, and Kentucky at 5.1 percent.

Since June 2016 alone, our unemployment rate has dropped 1.5 percent, making it the second-largest decrease in the country. I am proud of Indiana’s success. We work hard to bring new jobs to our state each year, and I will continue to advocate for policies that make Indiana A State That Works.