Carroll White REMC — December 2019 Indiana Connection

Page 1

Zimpfer brings sound building practices to the boardroom.

Carroll White REMC’s

Toy Wonders pages 20–24

Indiana couple crafts toys that harken back to Christmases past


from the editor

The gift of warmth One of my favorite Christmas traditions is spreading some holiday cheer to a lucky reader. In the past, I’ve given out ornaments, Christmas CDs, one of my favorite holiday movies and a gift basket of Christmas goodies. This year, I’d like to share something meaningful as well as practical: the gift of warmth. With the emergence of winter’s chill, I can often be found snuggled in a throw blanket — not just at home, but often while I’m at my desk at work. In fact, as I write this column, there’s a throw draped over my shoulder! I hate being cold! However, there are people throughout the state facing the coldest months of the year, without blankets, coats, gloves and hats to shield them from bitter temperatures. December — and the next few months of upcoming snow and ice — are not a winter wonderland if you’re not prepared for the elements. Several REMCs, and organizations in your communities, collect hats, scarves and gloves to distribute to those in need. During this holiday season, consider donating snuggly fleece and knitted items for folks who are struggling. Not only will you give the gift of warmth to others, you’ll get a warm feeling inside, too. And, that feeling will make your Christmas extra special. Wishing you a warm and blessed Christmas! To learn how you can win this warm throw, see below.


Giveaway: Enter to win a French Lick prize package. Details on pages

14–15. Also, enter to win a holiday blanket. (See above.) Visit Entry deadline for giveaways: Dec. 31.

On the menu: April issue: Potluck recipes, deadline Feb. 3. May issue: Rhubarb

recipes, deadline Feb. 3. If we publish your recipe on our food pages, we’ll send you a $10 gift card.

Three ways to contact us: To send us recipes, photos, event listings, letters

and entries for gift drawings, please use the forms on our website; email; or send to Indiana Connection, 8888 Keystone Crossing, Suite 1600, Indianapolis, IN 46240-4606.

VOLUME 69 • NUMBER 6 ISSN 0745-4651 • USPS 262-340 Published monthly by Indiana Electric Cooperatives Indiana Connection is for and about members of Indiana’s locally-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives. It helps consumers use electricity safely and efficiently; understand energy issues; connect with their co-op; and celebrate life in Indiana. Over 280,000 residents and businesses receive the magazine as part of their electric co-op membership. CONTACT US: 8888 Keystone Crossing, Suite 1600 Indianapolis, IN 46240-4606 317-487-2220 INDIANA ELECTRIC COOPERATIVES OFFICERS: Gary Gerlach President Walter Hunter Vice President Randy Kleaving Secretary/Treasurer John Gasstrom CEO EDITORIAL STAFF: Emily Schilling Editor Richard George Biever Senior Editor Holly Huffman Communication Support Specialist Ellie Schuler Senior Creative Services Specialist Taylor Maranion Creative Services Specialist Stacey Holton Creative Services Manager Mandy Barth Communication Manager ADVERTISING: American MainStreet Publications Cheryl Solomon, local ad representative; 512-441-5200; Crosshair Media 502-216-8537; Paid advertisements are not endorsements by any electric cooperative or this publication. UNSOLICITED MATERIAL: Indiana Connection does not use unsolicited freelance manuscripts or photographs and assumes no responsibility for the safe‑keeping or return of unsolicited material. SUBSCRIPTIONS: $12 for individuals not subscribing through participating REMCs/RECs. CHANGE OF ADDRESS: If you receive Indiana Connection through your electric co-op membership, report address changes to your local co-op. POSTAGE: Periodicals postage paid at Indianapolis, Ind., and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send change of address to: Indiana Connection, 8888 Keystone Crossing, Suite 1600, Indianapolis, IN 46240-4606. Include key number. No portion of Indiana Connection may be reproduced without permission of the editor.








03 FROM THE EDITOR 05 CO-OP NEWS Energy news and information from your electric cooperative. 10 ENERGY Newer heat pump technology can keep you comfortable for less.



12 C OOPERATIVE CALENDAR OF STUDENT ART Enter the contest. Order a calendar. 14 COUNTY OF THE MONTH Spotlighting Orange County. 16 INDIANA EATS Santa’s sweet tooth satisfied at Santa’s Candy Castle. 17 FOOD Recipes that are “Very Vanilla.”


Indiana Connection

cover story



20 COVER STORY Toy wonders: Northern Indiana couple handcrafts wooden toys.

30 PETS How to tell if your kitty has heart disease. (Not in all versions)



What’s going on around the state. 29 SAFETY Protect your furry family members from electrical dangers.

33 TRAVEL Hohman for the holidays: A Christmas Story comes to life. (Not in all versions) 34 PROFILE Steuben County REMC Energy Advisor Josh Durbin. (Not in all versions)

On the cover Trains still tickle the fancy of children — like Avery Mynsberge. His toy train is one of many old-fashioned toys handcrafted by My Unique Wooden Toys of Silver Lake, Indiana. Avery, who turns 3 in January, lives in rural Oldenburg, Indiana; his home is served electrically by RushShelby Energy. COMPOSITE PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY RICHARD G. BIEVER AND GETTYIMAGES



co-op news “This institution is an equal opportunity provider and employer.” CARROLL WHITE REMC P.O. Box 599; Monticello, IN 47960 800-844-7161 (Toll Free) MONTICELLO OFFICE 7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday – Friday DELPHI OFFICE 7:30 a.m. – 1 p.m., 2 p.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday – Friday EMAIL CEO Randy W. Price BOARD OF DIRECTORS Kevin M. Bender, 574-686-2670 4280 W, 700 N, Delphi

Margaret E. Foutch, 219-279-2677 7535 W, 500 S, Chalmers

Gary E. Gerlach, 574-595-7820 9833 S. Base Road, Star City

Kent P. Zimpfer, 765-479-3006 4672 E. Arrow Point Court, Battle Ground

Tina L. Davis, 219-204-2195 7249 W, 600 S, Winamac

Milton D. Rodgers, 765-566-3731 3755 S, 575 E, Bringhurst

Ralph H. Zarse, 219-863-6342 1535 S, 100 E, Reynolds

MISSION STATEMENT “Creatively enhancing our community through safety and service.”

Safety, Service, and Community IMPORTANT DATES Cycle 1 November bills are due Dec. 5 and are subject to disconnect Dec. 26 if unpaid. Cycle 2 November bills are due Dec. 20 and are subject to disconnect Jan. 9 if unpaid. Meters are read using the Automated Meter Reading system. Cycle 1 meters will be read on Dec. 1. Cycle 2 meters will be read Dec. 15.

LAUNDRY EFFICIENCY Dry towels and heavier cottons separately from lighter clothing. You’ll spend less time drying the lighter-weight items. — U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY



Bringing sound building practices to the boardroom In this ongoing seven-article series, we’ll introduce you to each of Carroll White REMC’s board members. This issue, we feature Kent P. Zimpfer, who represents CW REMC’s third district. In 2016, the Carroll White REMC board of directors appointed Kent Zimpfer to represent District 3, replacing Jim Jeffries, who retired from the board. “When the opportunity arose to interview for the CW REMC board, I was excited to represent my district and become part of an incredible co-op team,” said Zimpfer, who is finishing the last year of his three-year board term. Zimpfer plans to place his name in the hat in 2020 to continue to serve District 3. Zimpfer grew up in Carroll County, where he says, “everyone knows each other.” He remembers a close family friend, Jerry Berkshire, who worked for Carroll County REMC. “Jerry was a great guy who loved the outdoors and loved his job,” Zimpfer said. “When I was young, he used to tell my brothers and me stories of the linemen and the things they did to keep the power on … guys like Berkshire, Boone, Jargstorf and Chapman. These guys were heroes to us.” Zimpfer’s community relationships led to his opportunity to serve on the board of directors. “The thing that interested me most about running for the board was being able to represent our community and help navigate the cooperative through future challenges,” he said.

Kent Zimpfer with his wife, Kasey, and children, Ryn and Kane.

Like each board member, Zimpfer has attended ongoing educational classes. “After joining the board, I was pleasantly surprised to learn about the continuing education classes offered to new board members,” he said. “These classes inform us on anything from policies and bylaws to boardroom rules and procedures. The classes also cover topics, such as future green energy needs. “The classes are current and necessary to help us effectively govern a successfully run electric cooperative,” Zimpfer continued. “I am very proud to say that I’ve completed over 150 hours of educational courses in the last four years.” Zimpfer owns and operates Z Construction Company which specializes in custom homes, remodels and commercial projects. “There are



co-op news CONTINUED FROM PAGE 5 similarities in the aspects of my job and being a CW REMC board member… commitment to quality, concern for community, sound financial practices, continuing education and a strong work ethic,” Zimpfer said. Like any business, CW REMC must evolve with industry changes. Energy efficiency is a high priority for CW REMC. “My future goals for REMC include green energy production and sustainability, as well as electric vehicles and their impact on overall demand,” Zimpfer said. “The research and development on these two items that we are already deploying will be incredibly useful in helping guide decisions in the future. “I think one of our greatest challenges REMC faces is staying relevant with younger generations,” Zimpfer said. “The implementation of the CW REMC Junior Board is a great success, and with their help, hopefully, we can spread the word of all the co-op has to offer to our younger members.” Zimpfer graduated from Delphi Community High School in 1994. He was a four-year, four-sport varsity athlete. The avid sports fan attended Ball State University, majoring in business management, and playing football there for two years. “I moved back to the area in ’96 and took night classes at Purdue in supervision and construction management while working as a crew leader for my family’s construction business,” Zimpfer said. Working in the family businesses was a way of life for him and his brothers. In the family’s construction business, Zimpfer was able to build knowledge in all phases of construction, design, drafting, estimating and supervision. “My family also owned and operated three Convenient Food Stores,” Zimpfer said. “My brothers and I were



expected to work there. It was through these businesses that I learned good accounting practices and financial responsibility. When I was in my mid 20s, I worked nights and weekends for Wise Farms and McCormick Farms during planting and harvest. I truly enjoyed those experiences and am grateful to both of those families for the opportunity to learn successful farming practices.” Zimpfer and his brother, Mark, ran Zimpfer Construction until 2008. “Times were very difficult in construction in 2007-09,” Zimpfer recalled. “We decided to split the company, and I started out on my own as Z Construction in 2009. It has been a whirlwind of projects ever since.” In the past 22 years, Z Construction has completed projects in eight surrounding counties. “Our service territory is very similar to that served by CW REMC,” Zimpfer noted. “I think the thing that drives me is helping people.” Zimpfer enthusiastically explained he always tries to build the perfect house. “I have never built the same house twice,” he said. “Each project is a new challenge and inevitably when you complete it, there are things you would change or ways you could have been more efficient. I love when a project is complete, and I retrace my steps to find out how I could do it better.” Zimpfer brings his strong work ethic and love of the community to the boardroom and shares these values with his family. He said having great parents who instilled values in their children is something he and his brothers had and something he is passing on in his family which includes wife Kasey, a human resources director at Indiana Packers, and children Kane, a 17-year-old senior at Delphi Community High School, and Ryn, a 13-year-old 8th grader at Delphi Community Middle School.


holidays from the board of directors and employees of Carroll White REMC. Our office will be closed Dec. 24 and Dec. 25 for Christmas and Dec. 31 and Jan. 1 for New Year’s.

CW REMC salutes Dana Larimer for 45 years of service On June 3, 1974, four young people started working at White County REMC: Ron Corso, Randy Rowland, Rick Sweet and Dana Larimer. All spent their careers serving REMC members. The last one to retire from that impressive lineup is Dana Larimer, who retired on Oct. 11 after 45 years of service. On April 3, 1974, a devastating tornado struck Monticello. Larimer was a senior in high school then. That day was officially her last day of high school. As an 18-year-old high school graduate, Larimer had no idea what the REMC was. She was soon to find out. Someone from White County REMC contacted her high school class business teacher, Mrs. McClintock, to ask if she knew someone qualified to work at a new position there. Larimer was the first person who came to mind. At retirement, Larimer served as Carroll White REMC’s plant accountant. “Dana has a unique skillset,” said Casey Crabb, Carroll White REMC communications and public relations manager. “She had to know all about operations and all about the front office. It’s a big job. Tracking our inventory and everything that position requires is vital to our cooperative.” When Crabb started his career at REMC, Larimer took him under her wing. Many employees echo those same sentiments. “Dana was a true joy to work with,” said Cathy Raderstorf, chief operating officer. “By working in different areas of the organization during her employment she gained a lot of knowledge and used it to support others. Dana was just someone you could count on. She was dependable and did whatever it took to get the job done.” Larimer served under five general manag-

co-op news

ers/CEOs. She was instrumental ensuring a smooth transition during the consolidation when the REMC footprint expanded. The work doubled following consolidation. In addition to consolidation, Larimer cited advances in technology as another huge shift in operations. She remembers doing work orders by hand and when billing was completed off-site. “Processes have certainly changed with technology,” said Larimer. “We used to use a lot of paper and ink! Technology and computers have certainly made our processes easier and more efficient.” “I feel lucky to have worked my entire 31 years at REMC with Dana,” said CW REMC CEO Randy W. Price. “Dana is the type of person who treats everyone the same … members, co-workers, CEOs and board members. During her career, Dana has always put the members first.” “Many of us witnessed Dana putting members first on multiple occasions,” continued Price. “We watched Dana working major outages, putting on work gloves and boots or driving a forklift to assist. She also put in long hours on the phone and computer. Dana’s loyalty and dedication started at home with her family and REMC benefited by those great qualities for 45 years. We hope retirement exceeds all that Dana thought it would be.”

RETIREMENT PLANS Larimer was born in Logansport and grew up in Burnettsville. She was the oldest child with two younger brothers. She said she was often the family “taxi driver.” She and her husband, Kevin, live in Idaville. They have one daughter, McKenzie. Down the road, she and Kevin plan to relocate out west. They’ve enjoyed traveling in the western United States. Recently,

Dana Larimer they visited Arizona, traveling to the Grand Canyon. But Arizona is not where they want to land. Currently, they are looking at Las Cruces in New Mexico. Las Cruces is home to New Mexico State University and is situated with the majestic Organ Mountains to the east with the mighty Rio Grande River to the west. Being a university community, there is a lot to offer, noted Larimer. Larimer thinks about exploring that area, enjoying good Mexican food and taking walks. She is an avid Indiana University basketball fan and a Green Bay Packer fan. Crabb said Larimer was the best golf scramble player he knew. “That girl could hit a long drive!” Whatever the Larimers do when they make their way west, their hearts will always have fond memories of REMC and the community. How does Larimer want to be remembered? “I always worked for the members. They were my driving force. I did whatever was best for them," Larimer said. A Cherokee Prayer reads, “Great Spirit, help me always to speak the truth quietly, to listen with an open mind when others speak, and to remember the peace that may be found in silence.” For 45 years as a leader at REMC, Larimer spoke the truth and listened with an open mind. We sincerely wish her peace in the next phase of her journey.



co-op news



he following are the guidelines

and the Secretary shall post the same at

from the bylaws detailing Carroll

the same place where the list of nomina-

White REMC’s director nomination

tions is posted. Nominees and members

procedures. The bylaws state: It shall be the duty of each director to call a meeting of the members of their district during the year in which a director is to be elected for their district at least 75 days prior to the annual meeting, and during such meeting and by the vote of the members present from such district, one person from such district shall be nominated for director for such district and shall be certified by the Member Teller of such meeting to the Board of the Cooperative within five days after such meeting. Persons seeking nomination at a district meeting shall declare their intent to seek nomination by

making such nominations must be from the district in which a director is to be elected. Nominations from the floor at the annual

Kent Zimpfer

meeting of the members will not be accept-

lowing the Cooperative’s Annual Meeting

ed. The Secretary shall be responsible for

of the Members, unless such absences

mailing to each member of the Cooperative

are attributable to illness, injury, or other

at least ten days prior to annual meeting, a

just cause as determined by the board of

statement of the number of Directors to be


elected and showing separately the nominations made by the several districts.

ELIGIBILITY No Person shall be eligible to become or remain a Director of the Cooperative who: a. Is not a member and bona fide resident

providing a petition with the signatures of

in the district from which he/she is nom-

at least fifteen (15) members at least three

inated; or

(3) weeks before the designated date for the district meeting. Such petitions shall be presented to the Cooperative headquarters. No nominations from the floor will be received at the district meetings. Each candidate seeking nomination shall be permitted to speak at a district meeting for the candidate’s district. The Board of Directors shall determine the maximum time to be allowed for each candidate’s comments. All nominations and voting at such meeting shall be by secret ballot, and each member present shall cast only one ballot. If two members are candidates, then the member with a majority of the votes shall be certified by the Board. If more than two members are candidates for nomination, the member receiving a plurality of the votes shall be certified by the Board. In

b. Is or their spouse is, in the opinion of the board, employed by or holds a voting interest in an enterprise the board reasonably believes to be competing with the Cooperative in providing services to the Cooperative or members of the Cooperative. Not-withstanding the foregoing, the board may find that such interest is nominal and is of minimal impact on the Cooperative. In such case, the board may waive the conflict of interest. Further, a Director’s election to the Board of Directors of the Indiana Electric Cooperatives or to Wabash Valley Power Association, Inc. does not make such Director ineligible and does not constitute any conflict of interest. c. Fails to attend two (2) consecutive meet-

Ralph Zarse

Tina Davis

d. Has been an employee of the cooperative or a subsidiary of the Cooperative within the last three (3) years.

EXPIRING TERMS Those directors whose terms expire at the next annual meeting June 22, 2020 are: • District 3: Kent Zimpfer • District 5: Ralph Zarse • District 7: Tina Davis The following are the boundary lines for those districts. • District 3: The Township of Prairie in White County, Indiana and Tippecanoe Township in Carroll County, Indiana, as well as the adjacent territory in the townships of Tippecanoe, Washington, and Perry in Tippecanoe County, Indiana. • District 5: The townships of Carpenter, Jordan and Milroy in Jasper County, Indiana and Honey Creek and Monon townships of White County, Indiana. Also, that portion of Liberty Township in White County, Indiana, south of County Road 500 North. • District 7: The townships of White Post,

addition to the district meeting nomina-

ings of the Board of Directors, including

tion process, any twenty five (25) or more

regular and special meetings, or fails to

of Pulaski County, Indiana. Also, that

members may make other nominations in

attend three (3) regular or special Board

portion of Liberty Township in White

writing over their signatures not more than

meetings during the twelve (12) month

County, Indiana, north of County Road

three (3) weeks after the district meeting

period commencing the first meeting fol-

500 North.



Jefferson, Monroe, Salem and Beaver


Newer heat pump technology can keep you comfortable for less Many people feel the heat of high energy costs when weather turns chilly. Fortunately, air source heat pumps can warm your home without wearing down your wallet. Hoosiers use a variety of heating fuels to keep them cozy in the fall and winter. Liquid propane, fuel oil, natural gas, and electricity can be found in our members’ homes. New technology can provide more energyefficient ways to keep you warm while minimizing your energy costs. Some balk at air source heat pumps (which use electricity) because of concerns about how they perform in very cold temperatures. Yet air source heat pumps have become more efficient over the last few years, and can provide energy savings compared to other options to heat and cool your home.



Air source heat pumps contain a condenser, which circulates refrigerant, and an air handler that moves the conditioned air throughout your home. Air source heat pumps essentially pull heat from the air — in the summer the system pulls the warm air from your home and pumps it outside; in the winter, it pulls the heat from the air outside and pumps that heat into your home. Typical heat pumps can lose their efficiency when the temperature drops near 20 degree F. But newer Variable Speed Compressors are capable of efficiently heating a home well below 0 degrees F. As the air grows colder, the heat pump must work harder to pull heat from the outdoors. This is why air source heat pumps need a backup heat source. In an all-electric home, this may be electric resistance

How an air source heat pump works: SUMMER Heat from the air is absorbed by refrigerant in indoor coil

compressor Refrigerant in outside coil releases heat to the air

WINTER Heat from the air is absorbed by refrigerant in outdoor coil


heat or auxiliary heat, which are coils that warm the air passing through the air handler. For those who have a hybrid heating system, liquid propane (or even natural gas) would be that backup heat source. If your home uses liquid propane as a heat source, you may benefit from adding an air source heat pump. Energy efficient air source heat pumps, which have a minimum Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) of 16 and a Heating Season Performance Factor (HSPF) of 9, can provide long-term energy savings compared to solely using

Refrigerant in indoor coil releases heat into house

liquid propane or fuel oil as a heat source. If your system is almost 15 years old, it may be time to plan for a replacement. Contact the energy advisor at your local electric cooperative if you have questions; your co-op may even have rebates available for energy efficient upgrades. Don’t be left out in the cold when your system gives out!


Joe Spear

Energy Advisor Carroll White REMC

win $200

You could

ENTER YOUR BEST ARTWORK Fill the pages of the 2021 calendar!




Indiana public, private or home-schooled students in kindergarten through 12th grade during the 2019-20 school year are eligible to enter the contest.

A complete set of rules and required entry forms are available at Artwork must be received by March 20, 2020.

A first-place artist will be selected for each grade, K-12, and will receive $200. The artwork of each grade level winner will also illustrate either the cover or a month of the calendar. Up to nine additional artists will earn honorable mention awards and will receive $75. Their artwork will appear in a special section of the calendar. An “artist of the year” will be selected from among the first place winners and will receive an additional $100. Judges will also select merit award winners who will receive certificates.

ORDER YOUR 2020 CALENDAR TODAY! Please send ______ copy (copies) of the Cooperative Calendar of Student Art 2020 at $6 each to: Name:

Price includes shipping and

Address: City, State and ZIP:

Indiana sales tax. Make check payable to “Indiana Electric Cooperatives.” Send this completed form and a check to Indiana Connection Calendar; 8888 Keystone Crossing, Suite 1600; Indianapolis, IN 46240.



county feature


Within three years of his French

Franklin D. Roosevelt probably didn’t dub his successful 1932 presidential campaign — “New Deal” — after unsuccessfully playing cards in a French Lick gambling house. But he

Countycts Fa FOUNDED: Feb. 1, 1816

NAMED FOR: Orange County, North Carolina, from where many of its earliest settlers — families of Quakers and free blacks fleeing slavery — came in 1811.


would be the Hoosier National Forest.

hilly terrain of south central Indiana

table at the 1931 National Governors’

had been cut by the early 1900s, and

Conference at the renowned French

its abuse and erosion made for poor

Lick Springs Hotel.

farmland. By the 1930s, the state asked

Along with the location itself, one of the cards in the hand FDR played in his June 2, 1931, address to the conference has heavily shaded the colorful history of Orange County to this day.

the federal government to help it do something with the lands residents were abandoning in large numbers. The Hoosier National Forest was created in 1934, and through New Deal programs like the Civilian Conservation Corps,

In the depths of the Great Depression, Roosevelt called for a new role for government to assure relief and fairness. When the Democratic New York governor addressed the conference, he also laid out an reforest nonproductive farmland. The speech had all the makings of became his platform, and Roosevelt

reforestation began. Other parts of the Forest surround Patoka Lake in Orange County’s southwest corner. Most of the lake, the state’s second largest, lies within Orange County. Created in the 1970s primarily for flood control and water supply, Patoka Lake is a major destination for outdoor recreation. A century before Patoka Lake, mineral

won an unprecedented four terms.

Through Dec. 23 1-800-74-TRAIN


southern half of Orange County. That

Much of the forest land across the

French Lick Scenic Railway’s “The Polar Express Train Ride”


legacy that includes almost the

deal for the American people” on the

a presidential platform. Of course, it COUNTY SEAT: Paoli

administration created an enduring

first laid what became his bold “new

innovative agricultural program to POPULATION: 19,500 (2018 estimate)

Lick speech, President Roosevelt’s

This magical experience includes entertainment, hot chocolate, a cookie, and a keepsake sleigh bell to take home. Families are encouraged to wear their pajamas for the ride! Dates and times are available by visiting (Please note: tickets for Polar Express do sell out. As of press time, some Saturday and Sunday excursions were sold out, but many were still available.)

county feature


The West Baden Springs Hotel — with its enormous atrium under dome — is always amazing to see, but it’s even more magical to visit at Christmastime as a giant tree takes center stage.

water was the draw to Orange

200-foot dome above an atrium —

restored them to their original

County. Mineral springs at French



The heady days were not to last.

With the world-class resorts and

The Great Depression brought the

casino, natural resources providing

closure of the West Baden hotel

recreation and relaxation, and

in 1932; the French Lick hotel

small town and rural charm in its

survived but passed through a

midst, Orange County still provides

number of owners and decline.

what FDR said he and the other

Both historic resort hotels

attendees at that 1931 Governors’

experienced a renaissance at the

Conference received: “true Indiana

turn of the 21st century under the

hospitality of the finest kind.”

Lick and West Baden lured guests from across the country for relaxation and the alleged curative powers of the bottled mineral water and spas as the two neighboring resorts became fierce competitors. Almost simultaneously at the turn of the century, the building of the grand French Lick Springs Hotel, with its distinct buff-colored brick, and the circular West Baden Springs Hotel — with its amazing

sole ownership of Bloomingtonbased Cook Group which

Courtesy of Visit French Lick West Baden and French Lick Resort Enter at: https://www. contests/ Contest will run from Dec. 1 to Dec. 31.

Richard G. Biever is senior editor of Indiana Connection.

Prize Includes: Two Night Stay at French Lick Springs Hotel, Two KidsPlus passes, Carriage Ride for four at French Lick Resort, Foot Golf for four at French Lick Resort, French Lick West Baden Museum for four, Giraffe Encounter at Wilstem Wildlife Park for four, French Lick Scenic Railway for four (excluding special excursions)



Indiana eats

Santa’s got a sweet tooth!


Candy Castle offers goodies for good boys and girls No need to leave a plate of cookies

Harris’ unexpected death in 1950 and

choosing to drink their cocoa cold can

for Santa later this month. He already

a series of new owners up until the

opt for the castle’s self-proclaimed

has his pick of delectable sweets at

1970s. But those new owners could

“legendary” frozen hot chocolate

Santa’s Candy Castle in the Spencer

never recapture the magic of the

which is available in a 16-ounce size

County town named after him.

business’ heyday.

or the half-gallon “Avalanche” version.

Since the jolly old soul is also

That changed when Kevin Klosowski

hospitable, he invites you to visit and

bought the castle in 2005, restored

indulge in an overwhelming variety

it, and reopened it to the public in

of candy and chocolatey goodies any

2006. Today, the real-life candy

time of the year, too.

land purveys handmade gourmet

Santa’s Candy Castle is an actual brick castle built in 1935 by businessman Milton Harris. Harris hoped the castle would be the first attraction in “Santa Claus Town,” a kids’ wonderland that would sell toys and treats. In 1936, Santa’s Workshop and a Toy Village opened

The “Avalanche” is the world’s largest cocoa beverage. Those who finish it receive a bumper sticker and have their photo placed on the Candy Castle’s “Wall of Fame.”

confections, flavored popcorn,

Celebrate an early Christmas, and

flavored candy canes, different

Santa’s Candy Castle’s 84th

varieties of salt water taffy, and retro

anniversary, on Dec. 22

candy favorites like wax lips, candy

from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

buttons, candy cigarettes, Pop Rocks,

Enjoy giveaways, raffles

Clark bars and Fruit Stripe bum.

and 84 cent specials.

There’s an entire room dedicated to PEZ and PEZ dispensers, and Belly varieties.

Santa’s Candy Castle

onset of World War II ended Harris’

When visiting the Candy Castle,

15499 State Road 245

dreams of further expansion. Santa

you’ll want to indulge in its signature

Santa Claus, Indiana 47579

Claus Town and its iconic candy

hot chocolate. There are 33 flavors


store remained in business through

of this tummy-warming treat. Those

their doors, but soon after, a lawsuit with a rival businessman and the



another room fully stocked with Jelly

very vanilla


Sweeten the holidays with this classic flavor

Old Fashioned Vanilla Cream Pie Connie Loehmer, Monterey, Indiana 1 baked 9-inch pie shell â…” cup sugar Âź cup cornstarch 1/2 t. salt 3 cups milk 4 egg yolks, slightly beaten 2 T. soft butter 1 T. plus 1 t. vanilla

Stir together sugar, cornstarch and salt in a saucepan. Blend milk and


thickens and boils. Boil 1 minute.

4 egg whites (leftover from making the pie) Âź t. cream of tartar 6 T. sugar 1 t. vanilla extract

Remove from heat; blend in butter

Beat egg whites until foamy. Beat

and vanilla. Immediately pour into

in cream of tartar and sugar (one

baked pie shell; press plastic wrap

tablespoon at a time). Beat until stiff

onto filling. Chill pie thoroughly,

and glossy. Beat in vanilla. Top pie

at least 2 hours. May serve with

and brown in a 400 F oven until lightly

sweetened whipped cream.


egg yolks; gradually stir into sugar mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture

Pie can also be topped with meringue.

food Vanilla No Bake Cookies Marilles Mauer, Greensburg, Indiana ¾ cup unsalted butter ⅔ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk 2 cups sugar 2 t. vanilla extract Pinch of salt 3 ½ cups quick oats 1 (3.4 oz.) box instant vanilla pudding ¼ cup white chocolate chips Lay a long strip of foil on your counter or table to place cookies on when done. In a medium-sized pot over medium heat, add butter, almond milk and sugar. Stir mixture occasionally and bring it to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, then remove

Spanish Flan

from heat. Stir in vanilla extract, salt,

Spanish Flan

and half the oats. Slowly stir in dry

Denise J. Hershman, Ligonier, Indiana

pudding mix. Once all the pudding is mixed in, stir in chips and the rest of

1 cup sugar

the oats. Stir until completely combined.

3 eggs

Use desired size cookie scoop to drop cookies on the foil. Let set and cool. Vanilla No Bake Cookies

1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk 1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk 1 T. vanilla extract Melt the sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Pour into a 9-inch round baking pan, coating the sides. Beat the eggs. Add the sweetened condensed and evaporated milk, and the vanilla. Pour this mixture into the baking dish. Cover with foil. Bake at 350 F in preheated oven for 1 hour. Carefully invert the flan on a serving plate when cool. Makes 8 servings.

Homemade Vanilla Extract Charlotte Rymph, Monterey, Indiana 6 vanilla beans, split lengthwise 2 cups vodka Place vanilla beans in a tall jar; cover with vodka. Seal jar tightly. Let stand in a cool dark place at least 6 weeks, gently shaking the jar once a week. Cook’s note: Rum or bourbon can be used instead of vodka, but the flavor will not be as clean. Depends on your taste and the recipe in which it will be used.




Toy Wonders Northern Indiana couple’s handcrafted wooden toys harken back to Christmases past By Richard G. Biever When Christmas dawns and children

such, the rural Kosciusko County

scamper with wide-eyed anticipation

couple has a share in Christmas

to the tree, often the most anxious

mornings across all of kiddom —

to gather are the parents and

from New York to California and

grandparents bringing up the rear.

everywhere in between.

As the wrapping paper and ribbons

“Every Christmas morning we always

start flying, there are so many things

say, ‘Well, I wonder if all the kids

for the adults to ponder among the

are happy with what they got,” said

wonder. Will each child burst with


glee at the first glimpse of that special something longed for all year? Did Santa bring what each child whispered

When the emails start ringing in, they know …

in his ear? Will the clothes fit? Does

• “The train bank looks like a piece

the shape of those two big remaining

of art. My grandchildren … will

presents for Addie from her grandmas

cherish them forever! Thank you

look an awful lot alike?

so much for putting all your love

Teresa Martin-Gay and husband Darren Gay know that ponderation. They have 12 grandkids, ages 10 years to 2 months. But come Christmas morning, their anxiousness and wonder isn’t twelvefold; it’s more like twelve-hundred.

into the things you build.” • “My baby loves [the wooden infant rattler toys].” • “Beautiful wooden train set and very well made. Looks like a piece of art but rolls around like a busy little choo-choo! No rough edges

The two are makers of handcrafted

anywhere. I can tell this will be

wooden toys sold mostly online. As

used a lot.”



Avery Mynsberge, who turns 3 next month, sure loves trains. Decked out in his hickory-striped railroad cap and overalls, he is the engineer and conductor as he plays with one of My Unique Wooden Toys’ creations. The beautiful walnut wood and handcrafted quality keep the simple toy an on-time arrival under any tree at Christmas. Avery’s family lives in rural Oldenburg, Indiana, where their home is served electrically by RushShelby Energy.

Teresa and Darren’s Etsy store,, has nearly 800 five-star reviews.

Choo-choos and fishing rods My Unique Wooden Toys, the company Teresa and Darren started 13 years ago, specializes in, as its name says, unique wooden toys. From scratch, the two handcraft


planes; trains; automobiles; fishing

site posts the reviews that buyers

finding on our website or Etsy shop or

rods; farm sets with fences; tractors;

leave on each seller’s page. A

store, you’re not going to be able to go

stick horses; gun cutouts; and more.

brief survey clicking through 155

out and find at a big box store.”

They also make prop rifles used by

pages of the reviews for Teresa and

color guards and dance recitals like

Darren’s account, which goes by

performances of the Nutcracker Ballet.

“MyHandMadeToy” on Etsy, reveals

Nine out of the 10 toys they sell are through Etsy, the online shopping

a satisfied clientele giving Teresa and Darren five stars on most all sales.

In this age of mass-produced, “flyingoff-the-shelf” over-hyped toys and throwaway electronic gadgets that are cheaply made overseas, there’s something to be said for the charm

mall of handcrafted and vintage

“We are making something that is

of individually made, sanded and

merchandise. Customer satisfaction

unique. That’s USA made. That’s

finished timeless old-fashioned toys.

is right up front. The Etsy shopping

quality,” said Teresa. “The stuff you’re

continued on page 22 DECEMBER 2019


“There is a clientele that looks for that

“What inspires us were the toys that

In 2004, Teresa, who is now 58, and

type of thing,” Teresa said. “They don’t

my kids actually made when they were

Darren, now 53, met online. Darren

want China. China’s done the lead

growing up,” Teresa said. “My kids

was a bachelor from Georgia. The two

paints and everything else. They’re

grew up on a farm. They played with

began a relationship. He moved to

done with China. And they want to

stick horses and guns. So, where we

Indiana, and they married. But milking

help small family businesses; that’s a

came from was: ‘Let’s go back. We’re

400 cows three times a day began

big thing.”

going to just do the toys that my kids

taking a toll on the new couple and

loved to play with.’ Those were the

her children. By 2006, Teresa said her

first things we made.”

children were tired of it. “That was a

Parents or grandparents shopping My Unique Wooden Toys will learn they are all made right here in Indiana by Teresa and Darren. They use only child-safe paints and finishes, some

From milking parlor to woodshop

lot of demands for kids.” The family sold the dairy cows and went into other farming ventures.

of which Darren and Teresa mix

In the early 2000s, Teresa and her first

Though Teresa still keeps the books

using mineral oil and beeswax in their

husband, Randy Martin, were running

for the farm now run by Landon,

workshop. They also source most of

a dairy farm on Kosciusko REMC

neither she nor Darren would continue

their lumber — walnut, maple, cherry

lines southeast of Silver Lake after

as farmers. She said she and Darren

— locally and mill it out themselves.

relocating from Elkhart County. They

asked themselves, “Well, now what

had four children: Landon, Tosha,

are we going to do?”

Teresa said they often get emails or messages from customers that say

Trent, and Kyle.

Darren had been a woodworker in

things like: “This takes me back to

Days before Christmas 2003, Randy

Georgia. He worked for a company

my childhood”; “This is something

died in traffic accident. At the time,

whose main client was Georgia-based

like I had”; “My grandkids are playing

their oldest child, Landon, was 20 and

fast-food chain Chick-fil-A. The firm

with stick horses like we did in our

their youngest, Kyle, was 13. Teresa

designed and built the serving count-


carried on running the dairy farm with

ers and cabinetry for all the Chick-fil-A

help of her kids and farmhands.

restaurants across the country.

And that’s by design.

Teresa Martin-Gay uses a drill press working on one of the toys she and her husband, Darren Gay, created in their rural Kosciusko County workshop. Having multiple drill presses allow them to work more quickly on toys requiring 2019 holes of variousDECEMBER sizes.



After some online research, Darren

“We picked

and Teresa thought they found their

up where he

new career — making wooden toys

left off,” said

they could sell on the internet.


As an aside: It’s odd that the Chick-

One of the

fil-A mascot imploring folks to “eat

toymaker’s big

mor chikin” (instead of beef) is a

clients was

black and white Holstein cow, a

Lifetouch, a

breed mostly used for dairy. But how


apropos that Darren, who perfected

chain of

his woodworking skills working for the

photography studios,

Chick-fil-A contractor, set up a wood

which uses the toys as

shop in the farm’s former milking

props in photos of children.


Darren and Teresa made 485

Teresa said their e-business plans brought a negative reaction from an unexpected source: her kids. “How is anybody going to find you?” they pooh-poohed. “My four kids laughed at us,” Teresa added. “But they’re not laughing now.”

wooden planes, four-piece train sets, race cars, and “cookie cutter” pieces meant to look like cookies. They are currently making 546 trains for Lifetouch due in April. The biggest boon to their business, though, came from

Going online

Etsy. “I was told not to create

The couple that first found each other

overtake your business,” said Teresa.

online quickly found a niche for their new enterprise online. Starting in November 2006, they began their own dot-com toy store and created an account on Etsy. To help establish their presence, they asked a maker of similar toys in Pennsylvania if they could sell his goods on their website, as well, a practice known as “drop shipping.” He agreed. Two years later, the toymaker

an Etsy account because it will “And it does.” But that was a good thing. “We’ve never been where we’re looking for work,” she added. “We never would have known it would be this big,” said Darren. Based in Brooklyn, New York, Etsy was launched in 2005. The dot-com says it has some 2.3 million active

The Vermont Teddy Bear’s “Gone Fishin’ Bear” sports a wooden handmade fishing rod and reel that Darren and Teresa created in their Hoosier workshop. The designer bear sells for $79.99 online at PHO TO PRO VI DED BY VERM O NT TEDDY BEARS

fishing hat and vest, sells for $79.99 online. “They wanted a very, very small fishing pole set for their bears,” Teresa said. “That was not a product we had online. But they specifically were looking for somebody to make what they were originally getting from

sellers and 42.7 million buyers. Etsy

China, and we created that.”

accounts racked up $3.9 billion in

That order was for 600 wooden rod

had a question for them: He was

gross sales in 2018.

retiring and wanted to know if they

Through their Etsy account, Teresa

fish attached.

would buy his business. They did.

and Darren were contacted by

As they were hitting their stride online,

They traveled to Pennsylvania to pick

Vermont Teddy Bears, makers of high-

up his toy patterns, and they picked up his customers. “His clientele was valuable,” noted Teresa, “because it had a lot of wholesale. That was what really got us in the wholesale business. We were able to grandfather in.”

end handcrafted soft furry designer teddy bears. The Vermont-based company was fishing for an American supplier to tackle the tackle accessory for its “Gone Fishin’ Bear.” The 15inch bear, which also comes with a

and reels with string and a wooden

disaster hit on the homefront. On Nov. 17, 2013, a tornado leveled nine of the 11 buildings on the farm, including the milking parlor-turned-woodshop. An area resident generously offered Teresa and Darren a woodshop he

continued on page 24 DECEMBER 2019


rarely used until they got back on their feet, and they barely skipped a beat fulfilling Christmas toy orders that year. As they rebuilt the farm, Darren and Teresa took a corner parcel for a new house for themselves. The new house included a walkout basement they turned into their new workshop. A portion of the basement was set aside as a small showroom and store for their work. At the store and online, they also sell the work of an Amish associate who makes barns and toy farm implements. Perhaps the most frequent shoppers at the store are the grandkids who all live nearby. “They come with their dollar bill,” said Teresa. “We let them pay because I think it’s good that they know they have to pay for something. They just can’t come to Me-me’s house and ‘I want this … I want this … I want this,’ and Me-me gives it to them.” But she noted with a laugh, “They

Teresa Martin-Gay and Darren Gay met online in 2004 and married. Not long after, they traded dairy cows for wooden toys to create a successful online handmade wooden toy company. They also have a small store adjacent to their workshop just east of Silver Lake in southern Kosciusko County. P H OTO B Y RI CHARD G . BI EVER

don’t pay full price … they do get the ‘friends and family discount.’” In addition, she said her grandkids are their “testers” in product development. “We have this new toy. Try it out,” they’ll tell them. “We’ll let them experiment on that. There were some things we had to redo because they didn’t work so good,” she said. “We’ll take it back to the drawing board.” Teresa noted though the store is off the beaten path, people seemed pleased when they find it. And Teresa and Darren, by living upstairs, are able to accommodate evening hours by appointment for folks unable to shop during the day. Another bonus, she



said: “It’s not going to be like your big crowded stores.”

Christmas afterglow In the glowing aftermath of the crazed Christmas morning rush, most parents and grandparents sit back, take a deep breath and rest on the laurels of another successful holiday. But Teresa and Darren, who kiddingly call themselves “The Elves,” soldier on. For as soon as one holiday passes, another looms. “We have a busy season,” said Teresa, “and a busier season.”

Richard G. Biever is senior editor of Indiana Connection.

TERESA MARTIN-GAY AND DARREN GAY’S TOY SHOP ADDRESS: 11152 S. 100 W., Silver Lake, Indiana PHONE: 260-578-0725 EMAIL: WEB: ETSY: MyHandmadeToy

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calendar NORTHWEST

21, 28 Jan.


GLOWING LIGHTS NIGHT, Michigan City (LaPorte), The Barker Mansion. Selfguided tour of the historic home, which has been decorated for the holiday season. 4-6 p.m. Cost: $5-$8. 219-873-1520. 3-DUNES CHALLENGE FIRST DAY HIKE, Chesterton (Porter), Indiana Dunes State Park. Meet at the Nature Center and hike through the high dunes. 10 a.m.- Noon CST. This program is free after paying the gate admission for the park. 219926-1930. events/3173349292737785/ ?active_tab=about



RUMELY ALLIS-CHALMERS HERITAGE CENTER OPEN DATE, LaPorte (LaPorte), Rumely AllisChalmers Heritage Center. The center promotes the agricultural and industrial heritage of the Rumely and Allis-Chalmers companies. Free (donations accepted). 9 a.m.-1 p.m. (219) 369-1690.



SARA EVANS, Nashville (Brown), Brown County Music Center. 8 p.m. Tickets: $59. 802-255-1826. Order tickets: www.


NEW YEAR’S EVE CELEBRATION, Kokomo (Howard), Downtown Courthouse Square. Annual lighted ball drop, live music, activities and fireworks show. 10:30 p.m.Midnight. Free. 765-457-5301.



NTPA WINTER NATIONALS, Cloverdale (Putnam), C Bar C Expo Center. Indoor pull event at the world’s largest indoor track. 320’ Smoke Tube, trade show and open pits. Event and ticket information at www.



2ND ANNUAL WINTER AT RICKENBAUGH HOUSE, Bristow (Perry). Tour of the Rickenbaugh House presented by the Hoosier National Forest along with other winter activities. 10 am- 2 pm. Free. 812-547-9231. alexander.johnson@


SOUNDS OF SUMMER: A BEACH BOYS TRIBUTE, Mitchell (Lawrence), Mitchell Opera House. 7 p.m. Cost: $22 for adults and $10 for children. 812-547-7933.


SILVERSTERNACHT, Tell City (Perry), Tell City Jr-Sr High School. Be sure to also enjoy fireworks and the annual Apple Drop at the city hall. 8 pm–Midnight. Free. 812-849-4447.





To ensure our readers have sufficient time to plan ahead to attend these events, we have revamped the timeline of our calendar. Our events listing runs from the 15th of the current month to the 15th of the next month. We hope you find this revised schedule helpful.



SHIPSHEWANA ICE FESTIVAL, Shipshewana (LaGrange), downtown. Ice carvers compete and create sculptures representing local merchants. $5 admission for chili cook-off. Pins for sale at participating merchants and chili cook-off. Pin ensures January discounts. Festival is free. 866-631-9675.


RUMBLE IN FORT WAYNE, Fort Wayne (Allen), Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. Midget car racing. Event and ticket information at


DUO DOLCE: BOUNDLESS MUSIC SERIES, Portland (Jay), Hall-Moser Theatre. Featuring cellist Kristen Yeon-Ji Yun and pianist Phoenix Park-Kim. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $9-$15. 260-726-4809.




BIG OAKS NWR ANNUAL CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT, Madison (Jefferson), Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge. Volunteers may sign up to count birds for a half day (until noon, or noon to sunset) or all day. Lunch provided. Begins at 8 a.m. To participate, contact the refuge at 812-273-0783. Free.

through ELF THE MUSICAL, Clarksville


(Clark), Derby Dinner Playhouse. Musical based on the holiday film. 6 p.m. Tickets: $39-$49. Ticket price includes dinner, show, tax and parking. 812-2888281. elf-the-musical



MARIO THE MAKER, New Albany (Floyd), TheatreWorks of Southern Indiana. 11 a.m.Noon. Tickets: $12-18. 812-7257601. info@theatreworksofsoin. com. mario-the-maker-magiciantickets-69887159375.

This calendar is published as a service to readers and the communities electric cooperatives serve. Indiana Connection publishes events free of charge as space allows, giving preference to free community festival and events in and around areas served by subscribing REMCs/RECs. While Indiana Connection strives for accuracy, please note that events, dates and time may change without notice. Indiana Connection advises using contact phone numbers or internet sites to check times and dates of events before making plans. To add events to Calendar, please use the “Submit and Event” form under the “Talk to Us” or “Calendar” buttons at; or mail your info to: Calendar, Indiana Connection, 8888 Keystone Crossing, Suite 1600, Indianapolis, IN 46240. Please submit info two months before the date of the event.





even the ones with paws! Spending a little time “pet-proofing” your home will help you avoid a pet-related accident. If you have a pet, check out these tips to protect your furry friend from electrical hazards: • Small mammals and birds

Picture this all too familiar scene: You walk into the living room after a long day at work and find your dog chewing on something (again). You ask him what he has in his mouth (like he’s going to answer you!). On most days, he’s chewing on your

tangled up and injured. • Just like kids, pets hate certain foods because of

If you have any other questions about pet electrical

spray from a pet shop and

safety, reach out to your

coat your electrical cords

electric co-op for more

to discourage chewing.

advice and information.

on things, which might

deter them is to give your

include exposed electrical

pets toys to play with.

cords. Try to block access

Some dog and cat breeds

to these cords by strate-

have more energy, so

gically placing your furni-

make sure you under-

ture so pets can’t reach

stand your pet’s needs.

should consider wrapping or encasing them.

• Invest time in training. You can train a dog to stop chewing the couch, you can train a cat to keep

• Most hardware stores sell

off the counters, and you

this time, he has an electrical

flexible safety cables and

can train your pet to stay

cord in his mouth. Being

PVC. Aesthetically speak-

away from wires.

cute and cuddly won’t help

ing, they’re not the best

him now. He may have put

solution, but safety comes

himself in danger of injury

first. Electrical shock is

or death and created a shock

not the only issue with

or fire hazard in your home.

wires. If you have multi-

favorite pair of shoes. But

ple cables close to each other, your pet might get

your pet.

purchase a pet deterrent

Another great way to

to hide every wire, so you

detect just by looking at

how they taste. You can

have a habit of gnawing

them. Sometimes it’s hard

symptoms aren’t easy to

• If the worst happens, visit a veterinarian immediately. Remember that electrical shocks are life-threatening and should be treated as emergencies. Some

What to do if your pet is shocked If you think your dog has suffered from an electric shock, approach him with caution and care. He is already going to feel stressed and you don’t want to startle your pet. Also, if the wire is still live you don’t want to be exposed to the source. Take your pet to your veterinarian or pet emergency center as soon as possible to see if treatment is needed. If your pet becomes tangled in cords, again, try to keep him calm. You may need help from another person to gently remove the cords and keep your pet still. DECEMBER 2019



HOW TO TELL IF YOUR KITTY HAS HEART DISEASE The Purdue University Small Animal Hospital provides 24/7 assistance and a referral practice for questions and concerns about your pet. 765-494-1107, or visit: vet/vth/small-animal/.


any a cartoon shared among cat lovers on Facebook depicts skeletal remains of cat owners who died rather than upset snoozing kitties, still on their laps. While “cat naps” are part of a cat’s nature, if your cat becomes lethargic, he can be suffering from or heading to the same health issues inactive humans develop or have: heart disease. Cats tend to mask signs of illnesses better than dogs, and, therefore, they go longer without detection. Since early detection is key to treatment, here are some signs of heart issues to look out for in cats: VOMITING. While coughing is a major symptom of heart disease in dogs, it does not often occur in cats. Cats, however, do vomit as a result of heart disease. LABORED BREATHING. Your cat may experience shortness of breath or begin to breathe more rapidly than usual. BLOOD CLOTS. Often blood clots are the first noticeable sign of feline heart disease. Most frequently, it is “saddle thrombus,” by which a blood clot lodges



at the end of the aorta and cuts off proper blood supply to the hind legs. Symptoms are pain and the inability to walk normally on the hind legs. DEPRESSION/WITHDRAWAL. Your cat may begin acting depressed or isolating itself. POOR APPETITE. A cat will not suddenly lose its appetite for no good reason. There will almost always be a larger cause behind a poor appetite. PHYSICAL CHANGES. While weight loss is definitely a symptom of heart disease, weight gain can be, too. More likely than weight gain is a bloated or distended abdomen. LETHARGY. Cats nap a lot under normal conditions, but yours may appear less playful or tire more easily. While most feline heart issues have origins that are either genetic or unknown, some are caused by such things as hyperthyroidism, high blood pressure, gum disease, or heartworms.

Many pet owners don’t realize that protection from heartworms is as important for cats, even indoor cats, as it is for dogs. While heartworm disease in dogs presents itself as heart failure, cats are typically only infected with one or two heartworms. Heartworm larval migration to a cat’s heart can cause changes in the pulmonary arteries that can trigger a debilitating or even fatal asthma-like condition. Heartworms can also cause a fatal artery blockage. All of this adds up to making sure your kitty visits the vet for its annual examination. If the vet hears a rapid heartbeat or murmur, or notices something else suspicious, he or she might suggest an X-ray or other tests to make sure your cat isn’t concealing a health problem that can be addressed immediately and, therefore, be more effectively treated. SOURCE: PURDUE UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF VETERINARY MEDICINE AND PETMD.COM



for the Holidays C H R I S T M A S C O M E DY C L A S S I C C O M E S T O L I F E I N H A M M O N D

BY RICHARD G. BIEVER If words and phrases like: • • • •

“You’ll shoot your eye out” “Triple-dog dare” “Fragil-ee” and “Oh, fuuuuuudge!!”

immediately bring smiles to your face and visions of BBs ricocheting in your head, have we found a home for you this holiday season! Hammond’s “‘A Christmas Story’ Comes Home” is a holiday exhibit and festival fashioned around events and characters from the classic comedy “A Christmas Story.” The oft-shown 1983 flick is about young Ralphie Parker’s Christmas quest for a Red Ryder BB gun. Set in the early 1940s in the fictional town of Hohman, Indiana, the movie is based on the semi-fictional collection of short stories by the late humorist Jean Shepherd. Hohman was a disguise for Shepherd’s real hometown: Hammond. Hohman is one of Hammond’s busiest downtown streets. Now in its 12th season, the exhibition and events, which run through Dec. 31, take place at Hammond’s Indiana Welcome Center, 7770 Corinne Drive. The center is easily accessible on the southwest side of the Interstate

94/80 interchange with Kennedy Avenue and sits between the Wendy’s and the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store. Highlights include: • THE EXHIBIT — Six animated displays depicting scenes from the movie that were first showcased in the windows of the Macy’s in New York City. • SANTA’S MOUNTAIN — A great photo op with Santa atop a mountain — just like the one in the movie — where youngsters can share their Christmas wishes and then ride the red slide down into a pillow of snow. • HOLIDAY MARKET — More than a dozen artisans from around the Region will be selling handmade items. Dec. 7-8, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. • ALL IS CALM — Santa welcomes children with autism or other special needs in a sensory friendly and accessible visit. Dec. 13, 10 a.m-1 p.m. and 4-7 p.m. • OH FUUUDGE! RELAY RACE — Two different age groups of kids, 4-7 and 8-12, along with a parent will partially (it’s hoped) recreate the flat tire scene from the movie, racing against time to remove lug nuts, run an

‘A Christmas Story’ Comes Home When: (Nov. 9) Through Dec. 31 Where: Indiana Welcome Center, 7770 Corinne Drive, Hammond, Indiana Tickets: Free Information: 800-255-5253

obstacle course with the lug nuts in a hubcap, and re-install the lug nuts. Dec. 14, 10 a.m. • MOMMY’S “LITTLE PIGGY” EATING CONTEST — Another movie scene is recreated to see who can eat the most mashed potatoes. Four age groups will compete for major awards: 4-7, 8-12, 13-17 and 18-and-over. Pre-register online. Dec. 21, 10 a.m. For a full list of activities, events, dates and times, please visit www. And if you go, just be sure to: • consult trusty Blue’s compass in the stock, • avoid tripledog dares, • beware of bullies with yellow eyes and toadies, • D-R-I-N-K Y-O-U-R O-V-A-L-T-I-N-E, • but mostly — deck your holiday with Christmas cheer and song … “fara-ra-ra-raaaa, ra-ra-raraaaaaaaa …”



career profile

Finding solutions for a changing industry

Top 3

responsibilities in a day: •

Data Analysis. Finding solutions to issues our consumers are facing and answering residential and commercial bill questions.


Energy Evaluation. Determining usage and trying to help consumers understand their bill and how they can be more efficient.


Commercial Accounts. Energy analysis inside businesses to look for opportunities for rebates.

What part of your job do you find to be most fulfilling? I really enjoy being a problem solver. I am a research and data junkie. I love to dive deep into trying to figure out a problem. I like helping a consumer find solutions to a high bill or comfort issue within a home. I also feel fortunate helping commercial consumers understand their energy footprint.

Why did you choose to accept a job at a co-op? While in college I was able to intern at an electric cooperative. This gave me a glimpse of what



Josh Durbin Energy Advisor Steuben County REMC the cooperative world was like and the type of company they are. Upon graduation, I actually turned down an offer with the cooperative thinking there were bigger fish in the sea. Shortly after, I realized how great the local electric cooperatives were. As I started to look for different job opportunities, I heard of this position and did not hesitate to put my name in the hat.

Do you see opportunity for growth in this position? Absolutely. In the short time I have been in the industry I have seen

vast changes in technology. When we look at things like renewable energy, electric vehicles and smart appliances, we see consumers are better able to control their energy use than ever before. There are so many more things on the horizon; it will be exciting to see what the future holds.

INTERESTED IN AN ELECTRIC CO-OP CAREER? Visit to learn about available careers or tell us about yourself.