August 21, 2014

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Local Columnists

Providing a 'hand up' in addition to a 'handout'
Tuesday, May 13, 2014 9:33 PM

Providing a ‘hand up’ in addition to ‘handout’

By Bill Sherry

Have you ever heard about something and wondered about what it is or does? I have and in my opinion we need to help people have a better understanding of things like The Grover Hill Area Ministerial Association which is moving in a direction that will, in my opinion be a ‘hand up’ in addition to a ‘handout’(more about this in future stories).

We are in the process of changing our services in order to make a bigger impact on individuals and communities. This change is represented in our new logo, “Come and see how the Grover Hill Area Ministerial Association is moving toward being a ‘hand up’ in addition to being a ‘hand-out.’”

You say potato...I say just plant 'em
Tuesday, May 06, 2014 9:09 PM

By Kylee Baumle

Most of us are fans of phenology, even if we don’t know it or have never heard of the word. When we talk about how late the crocus bloomed this year as compared to last, that’s phenology at work.

“Knee-high by the Fourth of July” when talking about corn is another example of phenology, and saying that spring is imminent when the red-winged blackbirds return is too. Observing environmental signs that are affected by the climate can make for some very interesting table talk.

Bringing back the old?
Tuesday, May 06, 2014 9:09 PM


Do you remember what you had to eat for lunch when you were in school? I remember the likes of goulash, Johnny Marzetti, hot dogs, ham and beans, beef stew, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, mac and cheese and even fish sticks.

We know how difficult it can be cooking for our own family, so can you imagine cooking for many many students? Because, let’s face it, “We don’t all like the same food. We all have likes and dislikes and distinct tastes.”

Help stop spread of gypsy moths
Tuesday, May 06, 2014 9:08 PM

By Mark Holtsberry

Education specialist Paulding SWCD

The gypsy moth has infested many states in the northeast United States, resulting in massive defoliation of the region’s precious trees. If you live where the gypsy moth is prevalent, you know the damage this insect can cause.

The beginning of a lifetime journey of steps
Tuesday, May 06, 2014 9:07 PM

By Jim Langham

A close friend this week had the special experience of seeing a child take the first steps right in front of her as she was visiting with the parents in their home.

At the time, she felt like the most blessed person in the world to be present for such a special moment.

I remember when our granddaughter, Kirsten, started walking, and also the initial steps of our children. It is such a historical moment, both in our lives and especially in the life of the child. To think that they have just taken the first steps of hundreds of thousands over a lifetime; the future of those steps and where they are going to go is unimaginable.

'Serendipity' must be one of God's favorite words
Tuesday, April 29, 2014 9:00 PM

By Jim Langham

It has been a week of “serendipities.” One evening as I walking along a trail in the Black Swamp Reserve south of Paulding, all nature seemed to still around me. Suddenly, there was sense a circling motion in the sky above me. I couldn’t believe my eyes.

There, circling over a large pond in the reserve was a beautiful bald eagle, the “prize catch” of my nature walks these days, one of the eight sights of Planet Earth that God enjoys the most. Couple that with my mystical love for cardinals that God sends to speak to me through their various songs and the combination is almost like the merging of heaven and earth to me.

'Project' isn't a four-letter word
Tuesday, April 29, 2014 8:59 PM


By Kylee Baumle

It’s that time of year when I utter the word that my husband most hates hearing. He knows it’s coming because it all starts with, “Honey...” (pregnant pause) “...I’ve got an idea.” This brings on eye-rolling because “idea” is on his list of four-letter words, which also includes the words “mall” and “shop.”

He knows when I get an idea that the idea itself is very likely going to be my biggest contribution to the project and that his part will mean the most work. He admits that it isn’t the work part that he dislikes the most; it’s the figuring out just what he’ll need to make what I’ve shown him I want.

He also knows that the reason it’s never easy, this part, is because I never want anything that goes in a straight line. I’m a fan of curves and angles. He’s most definitely not. He likes things very uniform and straight and orderly. I like it better when it’s asymmetrical and wonky.


After nearly 39 years of marriage, he has learned to never assume anything. I have learned that when he says, “No, I can’t do that,” that if I just leave him alone, he’ll eventually figure out a way.

He knows if he gives me enough time and he doesn’t complain too much about doing it the way I want it done, that I’ll compromise and change it up a little bit, just to make it easier for him. We have learned how to work together well so that neither of us kills the other one.

The neighbors will tell you that during the act of compromise and working out the details of The Projects, things can get a little testy and rather loud. But they know that it’s all part of the process of each of us getting our own way just a little bit, making it a true joint venture.

That’s kind of what life in general and marriage in particular is like, isn’t it? Give and take? In every partnership I think there is one who is a little more giving than the other and one who likes being on the receiving end a little too much maybe. I tell him I don’t deserve him. He tells me he doesn’t know how I put up with him. Now it’s my turn to roll my eyes.

So anyway, this year’s project is an enclosure for the blackberries and the blueberries, the latter which the rabbits decimated, meaning I may be purchasing new ones. Last year, we netted the blackberries, which worked, but became a pain when it came time to harvest and then later remove the nets from the primacanes and when I pruned the second-year floricanes.

The enclosure is basic – just a wooden framework covered with chicken wire, tall enough for us to walk into, with a pathway down the middle. Blackberries to the north, blueberries to the south. The point of contention in this project is the top. I don’t want a simple A-shaped roof; I want a scalene triangle for a roof, because the blueberries are quite short and don’t need for the roof to be as tall on their side. And it will look cool. Asymmetrical – just the way I like it.

He should be thankful for small favors. At least it has no curves. He should also still be celebrating the fact that I agreed several years ago that we will never hang wallpaper together ever again as long as we both shall live. Maybe I should remind him of that.

Read Kylee’s blog, Our Little Acre, at and on Facebook at Contact her at


Ticks: Out for blood
Tuesday, April 29, 2014 8:59 PM

By Mark Holtsberry

Education specialist Paulding SWCD

Warmer weather is finally here and with the rising temperatures comes the emergence of ticks that may carry dangerous diseases, and now are looking to feed.

People need to understand there is a risk of getting sick from tick bites when they are outdoors, and that there are things they can do to keep themselves, their families and their pets safe.

Got Milk?
Tuesday, April 29, 2014 8:58 PM


By Nancy Whitaker

Last week some loose cows in Paulding County drew media attention as they were spotted cavorting around and down Oho 500. In fact, the bovines made the Fort Wayne TV news and drew some interested onlookers as well.

Information as to how the cows got out is quite sketchy, but as the pictures depicted, it was quite a sight to behold. This got me thinking about cows and how everyone used to raise cows for milk and food.

‘Buy local!’ The garden version
Sunday, April 27, 2014 9:26 AM

In The Garden


Clichés are just so...cliché. When we see them, our eyes tend to move quickly past them, our brains barely registering the words we just read. Yet we somehow grasp the meaning in a split second, giving clichés inherent value even as we dismiss them as a tired communication tool.

You hear it all the time - “Buy local!” We generally take it to mean that we should spend our dollars in locally owned businesses. It can be a tough row to hoe (cliché alert!) for the smaller independent businesses, as they struggle to maintain their presence alongside the big stores.

It can be a dilemma for the shopper too, because we all only have so many dollars to spend and we want to get the most for them. I will be the first to admit that if I can buy something considerably cheaper at a big box store, that’s where I’m going to buy it. Add to it that many times those stores are more convenient in terms of location as well as being a “one-stop shop,” and it’s hard not to shop there.

But there are compelling reasons to buy your plants and garden materials locally. “Local” can be an ambiguous term, but generally it means a business that is both located in your community and owned by people who live there. Consider these things when you’re ready to get in the garden this spring:

Your local garden center often carries the same plants you might find in a big box store, but if you want something out of the ordinary, you’re more likely to find it in a smaller, independent garden center (IGC).

There’s a lot of thought given by the IGC owner when they make their buying decisions. They want to carry attractive plants that perform well, including those tried-and-true varieties that we’re familiar with, but they also want to cater to those who seek the unusual.

It’s always a gamble as to what will sell well. No business owner wants to get stuck with inventory that buyers passed over. But IGCs also don’t want their business to look like one you’d see in Every City, USA. And besides, those big box stores don’t have as much invested (relatively) as the independently owned ones do.

You know those plants that have a one-year guarantee at the chains? When you return a plant there, the store doesn’t lose money outside of the lost sale. They only pay for the plants that go out their doors and stay out. That loss is borne by the supplier and/or grower. Not so with the smaller independents. So when they offer plant guarantees, appreciate what that means to their business.

IGC owners also care a lot about whether their customers have success with what they buy, and they often choose to carry plants that have a high rate of success for their particular geographic and climatic area. That means happy customers, which in turn means repeat business. Happy customers often share their experiences with others and word of mouth can be the best PR a business can have.

Local garden centers are known to take better care of their plants too, and healthy plants already have a better start in your garden before they even go out the door. As a rule, IGCs are more knowledgeable about plants in general and the ones they carry in particular. They can help you make decisions about what would work best in your individual situation.

Many times, the local garden centers purchase plants as liners and grow them larger themselves. That may mean that the plants you buy locally have acclimated themselves to local conditions, thereby increasing their chances of success in your garden.

Want a certain plant or a large quantity of something? Sometimes local businesses will special order things for you. Good luck trying to get a big box store to order you a couple of flats of something specific.

It’s no secret that the smaller garden centers are struggling. Last month, I spoke with the owner of one of them at the Fort Wayne Home & Garden Show and during the hard part of this winter (which was pretty much all of it), he shared with me that just keeping his greenhouses going cost him $200 a day in propane.

It takes a lot of sales to support costs like that and it’s representative of the things that all businesses have to face, whether large or small. But these things have a bigger impact on the smaller businesses.

Sometimes I think we take our local small businesses for granted. We assume they’re doing okay and that they’ll always be around, but they won’t be if we don’t support them. There’s another cliché that I’m sure you’re familiar with: “It takes a village to raise a child.” It also takes a village to make a village.

Read Kylee’s blog, Our Little Acre, at and on Facebook at Contact her at

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