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00 The




3 1 0 2 1913

Telling the story of DeKalb County


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Telling the county’s stories for 100 years The Evening Star made its debut in February 1913 when founder James E. Buchanan merged the daily editions of the Courier and Dispatch newspapers. Those papers continued as weeklies. Six months later, James Buchanan died, leaving The Evening Star to his son, Vern, who ran it for the next 55 years. Nixon Newspapers, based in Wabash, bought The Evening Star from Buchanan and owned it for a brief span from 196871. The Dec. 3, 1971, edition of The Evening Star announced the sale of the newspaper to Kendallville Publishing Co., now known as KPC. George O. Witwer became editor and publisher of The Evening Star. In his first column for the paper, he wrote, “I dedicate The Evening Star to the interests of Auburn

and DeKalb County.” He also pledged to resume publishing a Saturday edition, which had been canceled a short time earlier. Witwer kept both those promises. In 2000, The Star went beyond Witwer’s promise by adding a Sunday edition. We then launched a website at to give readers access to local news whenever they choose. This special section celebrates our 100 years of telling DeKalb County’s stories. We’re looking back at 10 of the most significant news stories and people we covered, along with 10 of the top sports teams and athletes. We hope you’ll enjoy our look back at DeKalb County history. You might even have fun debating whether our top 10 lists match yours.

Our top 10 lists, 1913-2013 Top 10 news stories

Top 10 sports stories

and people

and athletes

Auburn automobile heritage

State champion teams:

Charles Eckhart

DeKalb baseball 1980

Dean Kruse

DeKalb football 1986

DeKalb’s hospital

Eastside softball 1998

Dillinger’s gang

Garrett football 1974

Garrett Mayor Fred Feick


Interstate 69

Chuck Bavis

School consolidations

MaChelle Joseph

Steel Dynamics

Alex Kock

Stump v. Sparkman

Don Lash Luke Recker

STORIES BY Dave Kurtz, executive


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The Star 100 Year Anniversary

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Auburn’s automotive history spans two centuries Auburn Automobile Co. grew out of the city’s Eckhart Carriage Co. It was incorporated in 1903 with Charles Eckhart and his sons, Frank and Morris, as directors and officers. In the 1920s, new owner E.L. Cord made Auburn famous for the speed and styling of its cars. In its final years, the company produced the 1935 Auburn Boattail Speedster and the 1936 Cord, widely regarded as two of the most beautiful cars in history. They could not save the company, which finally fell victim to the Depression in 1937. But Auburn’s role in automotive history had not seen the final curtain. Enthusiasts who owned cars built by the Auburn

Automobile Co. formed a club in 1952, and by 1956 members of the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Club arranged to gather for a reunion at Auburn. In 1969, with John Martin Smith as president, the chamber decided to expand the event with more aggressive promotion and renamed it the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Festival. In 1971, festival organizers arranged an auction of collector cars at the west edge of Auburn. For 1972, the auction moved to DeKalb High School. Its success left the chamber with more than $25,000 in proceeds. The money went to newly formed Auburn Automotive Heritage Inc.

to create a museum for the city’s classic cars. Auburn Automotive Heritage purchased the former Auburn Automobile Co. headquarters on South Wayne Street and began restoring it. It opened July 6, 1974, with only the front showroom restored. Thanks to the museum and festival, “Auburn is better known now than when the automobiles were manufactured here,” festival organizer Del Johnson said in 1987. “We’ve made something out of our past, which has helped the future. Smith would go on to establish the National Auto & Truck Museum. These excerpts from articles in the 1970s give a glimpse into to Auburn’s

new role as a center of automotive history: Sept. 7, 1971

One bidder was disappointed when his bid of $70,000 was rejected, but a surprising number of bidders managed to spend near $750,000 at the first annual Classic and Antique Auto Auction here Monday. The top check of the day was written by Solon L. Spinchorn, Jamestown, New York, who let $61,000 go for a Duesenberg ... In all, more than 100 autos were under gavel and 65 were sold. ...The tent in which the auction was held had bleacher seats for 700 and the crowd was estimated at near 15,000.

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Aug. 30, 1974

With a flourish, Auburn Mayor John Foley snipped a red velvet ribbon Thursday noon, officially opening the long-awaited Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Museum and kicking off the 19th edition of the A-C-D Festival. … Since the old Auburn Automobile Company administration building was bought by Auburn Automotive Heritage Inc., more than $50,000 has been spent on restoration, primarily to the old showroom. Visitors to the luncheon who had not seen the showroom since restoration began were visibly impressed by the progress so far. …

Del Johnson, chairman of the annual A-C-D Festival since it began 18 years ago, recalled that first reunion and said, “Many at that time expressed the wish that someday we could have an AuburnCord-Duesenberg Museum in Auburn. Thanks to that interest by the A-C-D Club and local enthusiasts, we are today able to realize that dream.” Sept. 3, 1974

Over 5,000 people visited the Auburn-CordDuesenberg Museum this weekend to view the classic cars, the Tri Kappa collection of Auburn automotive literature and the movie, “The Pleasure Seekers.” … Most were lavish in their praise of the museum.

From our Automotive Heritage to Worldwide Festivals, Antique & Specialty Shops, and Tasty Restaurants, DeKalb County offers the Visitor an Experience of Indiana’s Small Towns.

DeKalb County Visitors Bureau • 500 S. Grandstaff Drive • Suite C • Auburn, Indiana 46706

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Auburn’s ‘greatest benefactor’ A native of Pennsylvania, Charles Eckhart came to DeKalb County in 1866 after serving in the Civil War. He visited an uncle in Waterloo and met his future wife, Barbara. The couple returned in 1874 and settled in Auburn. Eckhart founded the Eckhart Carriage Co., starting in his home. Eckhart built his company into a success, and when he retired in the mid-1890s, he turned it over to his sons, Frank and Morris. They began Auburn Automobile Co. in 1903. In 1910, Eckhart gave $40,000 to build Eckhart Public Library in his desire to give the city a better library than it could build with $12,500 offered by philanthropist Andrew

Carnegie, who was paying for libraries across the nation. A few years later, Charles and Frank Eckhart donated $20,000 apiece to build a YMCA in Auburn, which was dedicated April 14, 1914. Although the cost reached $56,000, the Eckhart Eckharts generously agreed to pay the overrun. Charles Eckhart also donated the land for Eckhart Park. Eckhart ran for governor of Indiana on the Prohibition Party ticket in 1900, but got less than 5 percent of the vote even in DeKalb

County. Eckhart died Sept. 30, 1915. No copies of The Evening Star from that era survive, but the company’s weekly newspaper, The Auburn Courier, published a story on Oct. 4, 1915, under they headline: “Auburn’s benefactor, Charles Eckhart, is no more.” It is possible that the same story appeared in The Evening Star: Auburn, gaily decorated, and with thousands of people making merry on every side, was covered with a cloud of sorrow Thursday when news rapidly spread from mouth to mouth that Auburn’s greatest benefactor, Hon. Charles E. Eckhart, had quietly passed away at 11 o’clock

Part of


since 1901

The Star 100 Year Anniversary

Dean Kruse soared high, crashed, over and over For nearly 50 years — half of this newspaper’s history — no single person dominated its headlines more than Dean Kruse of Auburn. Like a pioneer aviator, Kruse soared high and crashed to earth, again and again. In the early 1970s, Kruse and his family pioneered the business of auctioning collectible cars. Kruse Before long, they found it to be a boom-and-bust proposition. After the first down cycle in the late 1970s, Dean Kruse carried on alone until his son, Mitchell, joined him in the business a decade later. But before Kruse began his career as a car auctioneer, he gained prominence in politics. He became DeKalb County’s

Republican chairman in 1964, claiming to be the nation’s youngest chairman at age 23. In 1966, he won election as the youngest state senator in Indiana, and he said that at age 25, he also was the youngest in the nation. He later rubbed shoulders with national leaders as head of the National Association of Realtors political action committee. The first Kruse car auction took place on Labor Day 1971. Kruse and his father, Russell, collaborated with leaders of the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Festival, which celebrates classic cars built in the city in the 1920s and 1930s. Seeking a way to pay for a museum for the cars, they came up with an auction to sell collector cars. The first auction on the west edge of Auburn succeeded beyond the organizers’ wildest dreams. A mere three years later, SEE KRUSE, PAGE 6



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KRUSE: Auto auction company was sold and repurchased twice FROM PAGE 5

festival organizers had saved the Auburn Automobile Co. headquarters in the city and opened it as a museum. By then, the Kruses had taken their business concept nationwide. The Kruses’ first hard landing came at the end of the ’70s, when a recession gripped America. As Dean Kruse would learn more than once, collector cars are a luxury people don’t buy in lean times. Kruse found himself besieged by lawsuits from people who sold cars at his auctions and didn’t get paid. He stubbornly refused to file bankruptcy and set about slowly repaying his customers, seeking to rebuild trust. Kruse sold his company to investors, and by the late 1980s, he had

worked his way into a position to buy it back, with his son, Mitchell, as president. Using the name Kruse International, the company bought land south of Auburn along Interstate 69 and built Kruse Auction Park. Through 1988, the company had conducted its local auctions at DeKalb High School. Moving the auctions indoors eliminated rain and mud as a threat. In 1999, Internet auction giant eBay bought Kruse International. Dean Kruse used some of his income from selling the company to establish the Dean V. Kruse Foundation and build the World War II Victory Museum on the west side of I-69, across from the auction park. He purchased an extensive collection of World War II military

vehicles from a museum in Belgium. By 2002, eBay had grown frustrated in its efforts to master a new business, and Dean Kruse bought his company back for a fraction of the price eBay paid. A worldwide recession in 2008 turned out to be a blow that floored Kruse so hard, he finally could not get back up. The barrage of lawsuits that hit Kruse made his late 1970s crisis seem like a joyride. Back then, the court cases chiefly involved customers. This time, court cases filed by large banks revealed that Kruse had mortgaged his company and even his museum for millions of dollars. The key blow came when Indiana took away Kruse’s license as an auctioneer, one

of the very first granted by the state. That left him helpless to work his way out of his debts the way he had in the past. But Kruse worked out a happy ending for the community, finding an established auction company, RM Auctions, to buy his auction park and maintain Auburn as a center of the collector car world. As his legacy, Kruse left Auburn as a tourist destination with three museums in which he played a key role. He served as one of the founders of the National Auto & Truck Museum, conducted auctions that paid for saving the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum and started the museum that today is known as the National Military History Center.

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The Star 100 Year Anniversary


‘Miracle of Indiana’ gave county a new hospital A movement to build a new hospital for DeKalb County began in the late 1950s and led to a report to the county commissioners in 1960 recommending the project. It became known as the “miracle of Indiana” when local donors gave large and small gifts totaling $2.5 million to build the hospital on the east edge of Auburn. In June 2011, hospital leaders announced a change in its name to DeKalb Health to reflect its wide variety of care, including outpatient, diagnostic and wellness services. DeKalb Health remains one of the area’s few independent, not-for-profit hospital systems. The Evening Star reported in its Dec. 2, 1963,

edition about an open house at the new hospital: Most roads led to the DeKalb Memorial Hospital, Inc. in Auburn Saturday and Sunday where an estimated 12,000 persons attended (an) open house. The big weekend celebration climaxed a hospital movement that had its beginning in DeKalb County eight years ago. An estimated 3,000 attended (the) open house Saturday afternoon when biting winds cut down the expected crowd. On Sunday, more than 9,000 persons jammed the site. At one time during the 2 p.m. dedicatory service, upwards of 1,000 were forced to wait outside the building. The corridors on all three floors were

jammed and there was no shelter available. ... The dedication service was held at 2 p.m. Sunday in the main lobby of the hospital The service was broadcast over the hospital intercom system to all parts of the building. Hal G. Hoham of Auburn served as master of ceremonies for the dedicatory program. … Mr. Hoham, in making brief introductory remarks, said: “This is the hour of realization. It is a tribute to an accomplishment of free men working together. This hospital is this generation’s contribution to its needs and to posterity.” He praised the gallant leadership, the tireless labor of devoted citizens, and the

unselfish generosity of the community. … He paid special tribute in behalf of the community to the guiding influence of President Glenn T. Rieke and Vice President C.J. Maxton. On Oct. 24, 2011, The Star reported on another open house to unveil a major expansion: DeKalb Health unveiled its $8 million, two-story expansion with an open house Sunday afternoon. “You will be in awe of the incredible transformation that has taken place,” Deb Lindstromberg, chair of the board, promised visitors before cutting a ceremonial ribbon. Auburn Mayor Norm Yoder recalled the local hospital’s founding in the


Deb Linstromberg, center, chair of the board for DeKalb Health, celebrates after cutting a ribbon to open the hospital’s new expansion Oct. 23, 2011.

early 1960s, when it became known as the “miracle of Indiana” for the way local citizens raised the

money to build it. “The miracle continues” with the hospital’s expansion, Yoder said.

In 1932, DeKalb County Farm Bureau Co-Op Credit Union was founded and later became DeKalb Financial. Over the years many farm bureau credit unions have joined together as DeKalb Financial merged with Beacon Credit Union in August of 2010. Post merger, Beacon Credit Union is now the largest agricultural lending credit union in the nation and the fifth largest credit union in Indiana.

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Dillinger and gang rob Auburn Police station Hoosier outlaw John Dillinger and his gang terrorized the Midwest in 1933 and 1934. Dillinger’s gang broke him out of the Lima, Ohio, jail on Oct. 11, 1933. Three days later, armed men broke into the Auburn Police station and stole its Thompson submachine gun, other weapons and bulletproof vests. Dillinger is believed to have taken part in the robbery, but The Evening Star’s account says he did not enter the police station. Here’s how the next edition of The Evening Star reported the events of Oct. 14, 1933: A group of daring bandits, believed to have been led by Walter Deitrich, who was among ten

prisoners at Michigan City who escaped recently, and Harry Copeland, a paroled convict, made a raid on the police station at the Auburn City Hall Saturday night, held up two officers and made away with about one thousand dollars worth of weapons and ammunition, including a machine gun. A wide search is underway for the desperadoes, but so far without avail. Two veteran members of the police force, Fred Krueger and Henry West, were the victims of the outlaws. They were threatened with guns in their ribs, but were not harmed. The hold-up required only a few minute’s time and the loot consisted of a Thompson machine gun, a common .38

caliber revolver, a .30 caliber Springfield Army rifle, a .401 Winchester automatic rifle, a 44-40 Winchester 16 shot rifle, a .45 caliber Colt’s revolver, a .44 special Smith and Wesson revolver, a .25 Spanish automatic pistol, a .38 German Luger revolver, a large quantity of ammunition and three bullet proof vests. The police office is located in the front of the building, which is situated at Ninth and Cedar Streets, opposite the Court House. In one corner of the room is a desk where Officer West was sitting with Officer Krueger entered at 11:20 o’clock carrying a sack of popcorn. Mr. Krueger sat down, his back towards the door. Immediately after,

two well-dressed men about thirty years old strode into the room, each brandishing two revolvers, one in each hand. Walking up to Officer West, one of them said, “You might as well sit still. We don’t want to kill anyone unless we have to. Have you got any guns?” Mr. Krueger stood up and answered “Yes” at the same time reaching towards his hip pocket. “Oh, no,” said the bandit covering him. “I’ll get it.” Krueger dropped his hands to his side and the bandit reached into the officer’s pocket and removed the revolver. One of the bandits then commanded the officers to furnish a key to the gun cabinet located beside the desk. The officers started to

demur, but with guns in close proximity to their ribs, Mr. West produced a key and unlocked the cabinet. Mr. Krueger in the meantime had glanced out the window in an effort to get a look at the bandit’s automobile. He failed to see it, but one of the hoodlums thereupon ordered him to face the opposite wall. After removing a few of the guns from the cabinet, one of the bandits remarked, “Why not put these fellows into a cell and get rid of them?” Suiting the action to the word, the bandits forced Mr. Krueger to get a key to a cell from a desk and the officers were then marched into a cell, which is just in the rear of the office, and locked them up. ...

Sheriff John P. Hoff and Chief of Police Davis left the City Hall only a few minutes before the raid. As soon as they learned of the crime they spread the word to surrounding counties and to state police headquarters. It was deemed probably that not only Deitrich and Copeland were implicated, but also John Dillinger, who was freed from the Allen County jail last week after killing the sheriff. Dillinger was shot and killed by police in Chicago on July 22, 1934. According to the late John Martin Smith’s history of DeKalb County, a search of Dillinger’s apartment after his death turned up a map of DeKalb County showing the location of Auburn City Hall and all county banks.

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Auburn Hardwood Mouldings was formed in 1988.

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The Star 100 Year Anniversary


Mayor Fred Feick shaped Garrett I-69 changed Perhaps no one influenced the city of Garrett more than Fred ”Fritzie” Feick, its mayor for 28 years. Before his election as mayor at the age of 57, Feick first became a leader in the labor movement that was sweeping the nation at the start of the 20th century. Feick was elected to the Indiana House of Representatives in 1915 and led the way in passing the nation’s first laws requiring full crews on trains and several other laws providing for rail employee safety. Feick then went to work for the federal government, becoming a friend of future president Franklin D. Roosevelt. As mayor of Garrett, Feick used his connections to the White House to help land money for projects including a post office, public swimming pool and new heating plant for the high school. The Evening Star described his impact on the city in an obituary one day after he died Jan. 15, 1967: Garrett’s “grand old man” and its mayor from Jan 1, 1934, until Dec. 31, 1963, died Sunday at 4:50 p.m. in the Garrett

Community Hospital from a heart attack suffered shortly after noon that same day at his home. The venerable politician had been in excellent health for a man of his years until suffering the attack. He lived at 200 East Houston Street, Garrett, and was active until the time of his death. ... One of the mayor’s great loves was that for children and young people. His pride and joy was the city’s recreational park on South Cowen Street, which Feick was named the Feick Memorial Park in his honor by the city council in October 1959. … Mr. Feick dropped out of school at the age of 12 to help support his family and his search for employment brought him to Garrett where he hired out as a call boy. At the age of 20 he became the youngest conductor on the B&O line. On June 16, 1901, he received injuries in a wreck at Gravelton, Ind., when both of


his legs were broken. ... While recovering from his injuries, he decided to embark on a new career and began reading books on law and railroad legislation. He then held various officers with the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen ... He was admitted to the practice of law in 1909. ... During World War I, under President Wilson, and when Franklin D. Roosevelt was assistant secretary of the Navy, Mr. Feick entered government service. He settled some of the biggest strikes during the war. He received many high honors from the administration for the services he rendered. Feick became a personal friend of Mr. Roosevelt and was also a friend of Harry Truman. ... Feick easily won seven elections for mayor of Garrett, the last one being in 1959 when he defeated his opponent 1,271 votes to 532. … At the time of his retirement from office, Feick was the dean of all mayors in the State of Indiana, and it is believed he served the most consecutive terms of any mayor in the United States.

SEE I-69, PAGE 10

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In the second 50 years of The Star’s history, perhaps nothing has affected the county’s way of life more than the arrival of Interstate 69. In 1960, before I-69 was built, Auburn had a population of 6,350. By the 2010 census, the city had almost exactly doubled to 12,731 people. Auburn once ended just beyond the railroad tracks on West Seventh Street. It now stretches west by more than a mile to meet the interstate highway and continue beyond it. Before the interstate, Seventh Street was designated as both S.R. 8 and U.S. 27. Traffic heading north from Fort Wayne passed through downtown Garrett and then traveled east to Van Buren Street in Auburn, where it turned north toward Waterloo and Angola. The vast majority of those travelers now use Interstate 69, transferring commerce

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1-69: Highway’s impact explained to Lions Club FROM PAGE 9

from downtown Auburn to its bustling west side. The four-lane highway also brought industry to Auburn, the west edge of Waterloo and Ashley along its route. The first segment of I-69 in DeKalb County opened May 30, 1963, extending from Allen County north to C.R. 60, which had a temporary exchange until a permanent exit-entrance could be built at C.R. 11-A, a little over a mile to the north. Four months earlier, DeKalb County highway superintendent Charles Miser explained the I-69 project at an Auburn Lions Club meeting described in the Jan. 22, 1963, edition of The Evening Star: Speaking to the Auburn Lions Club in their weekly meeting at Marvel’s Cafe Monday evening, Charles Miser, DeKalb County Highway Superintendent, presented a fact-filled review of the coming construction of the “Auburn-south” link of I-69. … Commenting on the construction to begin in the three miles plus south of U.S. 27 west of Auburn, Mr. Miser stated that it

will be one of the most heavily “structured” sections in I69, due to structures over Cedar Creek, the New York Central, Pennsylvania and B&O railroads, diamond interchanges at the St. John’s Road and U.S. 27 and overpasses for county roads 68, 60 and the South AuburnGarrett road. … By way of other useful information, Mr. Miser stated that all interchanges in DeKalb County would be the diamond type and that present plans call for nine different county or state roads to remain open after construction, identified as road 68, road 60, the South Auburn-Garrett road, U.S. 27, the Feagler’s Corners road, the Ashley road, Old U.S. 6, the George Duncan (St. Michael’s) road and Indiana No. 4. Mr. Miser commented that the county would experience dislocation of school bus routes, fire protection routes, use of land on divided farm holdings and excessive traffic during construction. Among the benefits mentioned are the obvious traffic movement advantage and increase industrial development.




May 9, 2013

Consolidation changed county’s school systems The face of education in DeKalb County changed after the passage of the School Reorganization Act of 1959. The law created a nine-member school reorganization committee for each county, headed by the circuit court judge. DeKalb County’s committee created a plan that called for five school districts — three of which remain in the same form today. Garrett-Keyser-Butler consisted of the city of Garrett and Keyser and Butler townships. They already had been consolidated since 1952, so no change occurred. DeKalb County Eastern would combine the city of Butler and the townships of Troy, Stafford, Newville, Spencer, Concord and Wilmington. Hamilton Community Schools joined Franklin Township of northeast DeKalb County and two townships in Steuben County. Before consolidation, students in

Franklin Township could choose to attend schools in either Butler or Hamilton. DeKalb County Northwest took in the towns of Waterloo and Ashley and the townships of Grant, Smithfield, Richland and Fairfield. DeKalb County South Central consisted of the city of Auburn and the townships of Jackson and Union. Voters approved the consolidation plan in a referendum on May 8, 1962. Within two years, Northwest and South Central school district leaders saw the advantages of joining to build a new high school. They merged as DeKalb County Central at a meeting on Jan. 10, 1964. The South Central board voted 5-0 to merge, but the Northeast board agreed by a narrow 4-3 margin in favor of merging. Voters of the Northwest district

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CONSOLIDATION: Merger forms DeKalb Central FROM PAGE 10

approved the merger by 1,057 votes to 705 in a referendum on May 5, 1964. Because Northwest was considered to be merging with South Central, no vote by South Central residents was needed. Here’s how The Evening Star reported on the Jan. 10, 1964, meeting: A plan to join schools in the Auburn, Waterloo and Ashley areas was given approval at a joint session of the school boards involved on Friday evening in Auburn. Norman Rohm of Auburn, a member of the DeKalb County South Central School District, served as chairman of the joint meeting in the school offices in Auburn. Attending the meeting along with Mr. Rohm from the South

Central district school board were Robert Ball, Noah Yoder, John Kelley and Ford Walter. Attending from the Northwest United Schools were Willard Stonebraker, Ernest Sewellin, Raul Reinoehl, Robert Dygert, Carl Diehl, George Clark and John Graham. ... The wisdom of considering such a merger was brought to light recently when it was found that Indiana University had surveyed the school needs of the Northwest District and recommended a new high school very similar in size to the one recommended by Ball State College for the South Central District. Each of the new high schools would have been a medium sized high school with limitations on its

curriculum and facilities. They would be built probably within five or six miles of each other with many duplicate facilities. Should the merger take place the total student body in grades one through 12 would be approximately 3,362 pupils …. The Evening Star reported on the voter referendum in its May 6, 1964, edition: ... The tally in the Northwest district, including DeKalb County only, was 1,044 for consolidation and 647 against. ... Come July 1, Judge Harold D. Stump will appoint a school board for the new consolidated district. They will serve until a school board is elected at the November general election to take office Jan. 1, 1965.

the quality of life for seniors & others for

Enriching 36 Years

The Star 100 Year Anniversary


Steel mill sprouts in rural DeKalb County Steel Dynamics Inc. has grown into one of America’s largest steel companies since its birth in DeKalb County in the mid 1990s. The company now plays a huge role in northeast Indiana’s economy and philanthropy. But not everyone welcomed its arrival in the beginning. In late 1993, SDI founder Keith Busse revealed his surprising idea of building a steel mill in DeKalb County. Busse had worked 15 years at Nucor Corp. in DeKalb County, followed by six years in Crawsfordsville, where he oversaw the building of a Nucor steel mill that became the model for SDI. New technology made it possible to build minimills that did not require mile-long factories or large bodies of water for transporting iron ore. Busse promised that hourly workers for Steel Dynamics would earn $40,000 to

$45,000 per year through a productivity bonus system much like Nucor’s. He said his Nucor experience taught him DeKalb County would be “an excellent place to do business in terms of employees.” In the beginning, SDI was considering multiple sites near Garrett and Butler, but also near Columbia City and in Ohio. Bert Hollman led Butler’s effort to recruit SDI. County commissioners pledged, “We will do everything that we can do within the bounds of fiscal responsibility to provide the proper infrastructure to service this new industry…” But not everyone rolled out the welcome mat. The new steel mill would require a giant power transmission line cutting diagonally across the county from the southwest corner to Butler. Hundreds of people came to meetings to raise concerns about destroying natural areas SEE STEEL MILL, PAGE 12

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and the health effects of electromagnetic fields. In March 1994, SDI chose a 745-acre site southwest of Butler. Company officials said it offered advantages over an alternative site directly south of Butler. The southwest site had better land, fewer homes nearby and a power line route that would be three miles shorter. The company eventually bought 868 acres for $3 million. Once the site was chosen, opponents put up a bitter fight against rezoning it for the steel mill. They eventually lost their battle when the Indiana Court of Appeals upheld the rezoning in a July 1995 decision. County leaders agreed to issue a $17.6 million bond to pay for SDI’s pollutioncontrol system, with repayments to come from property taxes on SDI and surrounding industries and a new county economic development income tax. “The investment that we make now will be small compared to the benefits that future generations will receive,” said Tom Lavin, DeKalb County Council president. Gov. Evan Bayh attended a groundbreaking ceremony for the steel mill in September 1994. He said SDI’s investment

of more than $300 million made it the largest economic development project in the state in three years. In October 1994, a throng of 2,795 people came to Kruse International Auction Park south of Auburn to apply for approximately 250 jobs with SDI. The mill produced its first steel in November 1995. In March 1996, SDI said it would expand at the site, adding 175 employees to its original roster of 250. In its Jan. 6, 1996 edition, The Star reported on the start of steel production at the new mill: BUTLER — An orange glow gives the first warning that a blistering-hot bar of steel — 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit — is approaching the rolling mills at Steel Dynamics Inc. Next comes a burst of steam, as a water spray hits the steel at a pressure of 6,000 pounds per square inch to remove impurities. Then the steel begins its journey through six massive rolling stands that will stretch it like so much taffy. Finally, a powerful coiler wraps the steel into 25-ton rolls with the apparent ease of a cassette spooling videotape.

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The Star 100 Year Anniversary


DeKalb County case reaches US Supreme Court National attention focused on Auburn in 1978, when the U.S. Supreme Court decided a landmark case the originated in the DeKalb County Courthouse. Stump v. Sparkman tested the limits of a judge’s immunity from lawsuits. It centered around DeKalb Circuit Judge Harold Stump, who in 1971 had approved an Auburn woman’s petition to have her 15-year-old daughter sterilized. By a 5-3 vote, the Supreme Court ruled that Stump could not be sued for his action. Justice Byron White wrote the majority opinion, saying, “The Indiana law vested in Judge Stump the power to entertain and act upon the petition for sterilization. He is, therefore, under the controlling cases, immune from damages liability even if his

approval of the petition was in error.” Justice Potter Stewart wrote an opinion for the three dissenting justices, saying, “A judge is not free, like a loose cannon, to inflict indiscriminate damage whenever he announces that he is acting in his judicial capacity.” The justices heard arguments in the case Jan. 10, 1978, and announced their decision March 28, 1978. On Nov. 4, 1977, shortly after the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case, The Evening Star published a profile of the woman at the center of the controversy. Here is the introduction to story by Dave Kurtz, which was republished in major newspapers across the nation: Linda Kay Sparkman just doesn’t seem the type to cause

national headlines. The 21-year-old woman lives in a plain-looking mobile home on the south side of Kendallville. Until she started a factory job recently, she stayed at home with her poodle and liked to keep house. Her husband, Leo, is a laborer at the same Albion factory where Linda took a job. There is one thing unusual about the Sparkmans, however. … Six years ago, Linda was sterilized. Her mother requested the operation, and DeKalb Circuit Judge Harold Stump signed his official approval. Linda did not find out about her sterilization until four years later. When she did, she and Leo sued the judge, her mother and the doctors, lawyer and hospital involved for $3.25 million. Last month, her case reached

the U.S. Supreme Court. Because it involves sex and sterilization, it has made headlines in newspapers across the country. Because it involves suing a judge, many Supreme Court observers consider Stump v. Sparkman one of the year’s most important cases.

For over 100 years, American law has held that a judge can be sued only for the most extreme abuses. Linda’s lawyer must convince the court that this is one of those cases — or that if it isn’t, the justices should make new, more stringent rules for judicial conduct.

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DeKalb dominated 4A football in 1986 DeKalb High School’s football team won the Class 4A state championship on Nov. 29, 1986, giving the school its first and only football state title. Kevin Gordon, The Evening Star’s sports reporter at the time, filed a report on the game in a special, eight-page section that was published the next day on Sunday, even though the paper did not start its Sunday edition until more than 13 year later. Excerpts from Gordon’s story: INDIANAPOLIS — What’s been the talk of the town for the last 16 weeks finally became reality Saturday afternoon for the DeKalb Barons. The Barons wrapped up a superb season by winning the state Class 4A football championship with a convincing 28-7 trouncing of fourth-ranked Franklin Central

at the Hoosier Dome. … The Barons’ chew ’em up and spit ’em out ground game amassed 301 years in 68 attempts, allowing DeKalb to hang onto the football for 34 minutes and 46 seconds of the 48-minute contest. Defensively, the Barons stymied the Flashes every time they had the ball except one. DeKalb allowed only 117 yards — 65 of which came on the Flashes’ touchdown march. The Barons gave up just 23 yards rushing — the fewest ever allowed in a state championship bout. “This is the ultimate,” DeKalb coach Dale Hummer said. “I’m just so darn proud of these kids for the way they played today. They were faced with a challenge and, by golly, they

responded to it.” … (DeKalb’s Rick) Endsley finished the game with 194 yards on 41 carries, while (Mike) Cochran chipped in with 101 yards in 25 attempts. Endsley’s 41 attempts are the most ever in a state title game. The Star’s editor, Dave Kurtz, wrote a column about the championship team, including these observations: All season long, and especially Saturday, Baron opponents might as well have tried to stop a glacier. The boys in black were predictable, slowmoving, relentless, crushing everything in their path, and they always reached the sea. … In more than one DeKalb game, by the final whistle it looked like the tacklers were trying to get out of the way. …

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Baron baseball captured state crown in 1980 In 1977, DeKalb High School’s baseball team reached the state’s final four at Indianapolis, but lost in the daytime semifinal game. Three years later, the Barons returned to the state finals and finished the job of winning a state championship trophy, although it took extra innings to break a scoreless tie with a “walk-off” hit by a freshman. The Evening Star published a four-page wraparound special section to cover the victory, with giant, red headline type proclaiming “Barons state champs,” on Monday, June 23, 1980. Sportswriter Jim Klopfenstein covered the title game. Excerpts from his report: INDIANAPOLIS — At 10:31 p.m. on the night of Saturday, June 21, 1980, something happened in Indianapolis Bush Stadium that will be remembered by fans of the DeKalb Barons for years to come. A sharp single to right field by Bob Squires scored Chris Forrest from second

base for the only run of an exciting, extrainning baseball game between DeKalb and Muncie Northside. When Forrest touched home plate, the DeKalb Barons became high school baseball champions of the state of Indiana. … The northeastern Indiana school is by far the smallest ever to capture the crown. The decisive DeKalb run came in the bottom of the eighth inning of an excellent pitching duel between Brad Dobbs of Northside and Mike Hasselman and Todd Cobbs of DeKalb. … With no one out in the inning, Forrest beat out a ball that pulled Titan shortstop Jeff Warner all the way onto the outfield grass to his right. The speedy DeKalb right fielder then stole second, the first Baron success after three failed attempts … … Forrest was off in a flash as Squires drove Dobbs’ first pitch to him — a fastball on the outside corner — into right, covering the intervening 180 feet so

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quickly that the Titans did not have a play on him at the plate. … in the final four games of the tournament series, Baron pitchers have given up three runs, all of them unearned, and only

16 hits, this against competition that had won at the regional level. Cobbs has gone 20 2/3 innings without allowing an earned run, while Hasselman has run his string to 20 straight frames.


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Railroaders ran over football rivals in 1974 In the early days of the state football tournament, only a few of the state’s top teams qualified for the playoffs. In the fall of 1974, Garrett reached the playoffs following an undefeated regular season. Dave Wiant coached the Railroaders, who won tense, late-season clashes with DeKalb, by 22-21 in overtime, and Columbia City, 22-20. Evening Star sports reporter T.J. Hemlinger covered the championship game against North Knox. Highlights from his story published Nov. 16, 1974: GARRETT — Garrett won the Class A state championship in convincing fashion Friday night, whipping North Knox 20-6 to send the entire town into delirium and touching off a celebration that will last at least until Tuesday morning when the school opens its doors once again. Paul Yarian climaxed a spectacular season by rushing for 201 yards, 153 in the first half when Garrett put North Knox on the ropes, and three touchdowns, and the Railroader defense forced five turnovers that set up the game-winning touchdown and thwarted two desperate attempts by North Knox to get back in the game. Linebacker and offensive guard Paul Rassel received the Phil Eskew Award for mental attitude, citizenship, scholarship and athletic ability. The defensive stalwart continually came up with excruciatingly hard hits which stopped Warrior runners cold.

Congratulations to The Star on 100 years of service to the DeKalb County community!

“Everyone knew what Garrett was going to do: pitch the ball to Yarian, put two monstrous blockers in front of him and dare the opposition to get in the way.”

• The game was the culmination of a perfect season for the Railroaders as they finished with an 11-0 mark. The Garrett attack was one of size and power, punishing people and chewing up yards in chunks. … Everyone knew what Garrett was going to do: pitch the ball to Yarian, put two monstrous blockers in front of him and dare the opposition to get in the way. It never failed. Garrett could be slowed but never stopped, bent but never broken, behind but never defeated. Garrett only passed occasionally to keep the defense honest … The script followed others Garrett has used this fall: the Railroaders just outgunned the other team, playing a more physical game and wearing the opponents down. North Knox was no match for the Railroaders in the trenches, and the defensive backs couldn’t handle the pounding runs of Yarian and the crushing blocks of fullback Matt Ellert. Garrett gained 207 yards in the game, all on the ground, as the Railroaders were 0-2 passing.

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Eastside girls ruled state In June 1998, The Evening Star reported on Eastside’s state championship in softball. Sports editor Mark Murdock wrote the story: CARMEL — Eastside’s quest to “live the dream” was realized Saturday when the Blazers defeated Riverton Parke 3-1 for the Class 1A softball championship at Cherry Tree Softball Complex. The Blazers sported the Panthers a run in the second inning, but scored twice in the fourth inning to take the lead on hits by Sarah Ruckman, Lindsay Mitchener and Karla Ridge. A strong Eastside defense backed the three-hit pitching of Mitchener, who had six strikeouts. Only two Riverton Parke batters reached base after the second inning. Mitchener scored an insurance run on a wild pitch in the sixth inning, then retired

the Panthers in order in the seventh to nail down the victory. Eastside finished the season with a record of 32-3-1. The Blazers, ranked third in the final Indiana Coaches of Girls Sports Association Class 1A poll, captured Northeast Corner Conference regularseason and tournament championships before winning the Garrett sectional, the Bremen regional and the Garrett semistate on their way to the finals. The state championship was the first in a team sport for Eastside, which also made history by becoming one of the first state champions in the first year of the IHSAA’s new three-class tournament format. … The Blazers, their huge group of supporters and coach Aaron Willard and his staff were overcome with emotion in the pandemonium after their quest to “live the dream” finally became reality.

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DeKalb County athletes earn statewide acclaim Chuck Bavis A 7-foot center, Bavis led outstanding Garrett Railroader teams in 1964, 1965 and 1966, then started at center for Purdue for two seasons before a foot injury sustained in an automobile crash ended his career. The 1965 Railroader team compiled a 23-2 record and a Northeast Indiana Athletic Conference title. At one point during that season, Garrett won 21 straight games. At Purdue, Bavis was part of a highly regarded class of recruits that included Mr. Basketball Rick Mount. The first varsity game for Bavis and his classmates came on the opening day for Purdue’s new arena, now called Mackey Arena, with UCLA as the opponent. Matched against Lew Alcindor (later known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar), Bavis held the nation’s top player to 17 points, but UCLA escaped with a 73-71 victory on a last-second shot. During the 1968-69 season, Purdue reached the NCAA final game for a rematch with UCLA. Bavis was unable to play due to a shoulder injury suffered earlier in the NCAA tourney, and UCLA won the championship 92-72.

MaChelle Joseph Somehow, DeKalb High School’s MaChelle Joseph finished second in the voting for Indiana’s Miss Basketball 1988. Four years later, after Joseph’s standout career at Purdue University, Women’s Basketball News selected her as the College Player of the Year for the entire nation. Earlier this year, The Star summed up

her career in reporting her selection for an Indiana silver anniversary team: NEW CASTLE — Former DeKalb High School and Purdue University basketball star MaChelle Joseph has been named to the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame Women’s Silver Anniversary Team, the Hall announced Thursday. Joseph, currently the head women’s basketball coach at Georgia Tech, will be honored at a banquet in Indianapolis ... Joseph led the state in scoring as a senior at 35 points per game, and is DeKalb’s all-time girls scoring leader with 1,633 points. She set the DeKalb girls single-game scoring record of 57 against Bluffton that season. ... Her career at Purdue was just as amazing. She scored 2,405 career points as a four-year starter, the most ever in the conference at that time, and is still fourth all-time in scoring in the Big Ten.

Don Lash Don Lash once told an interviewer that he was the only athlete who legendary coach Zeke Young ever asked to quit Auburn High School’s football team. Young must have known what he was doing when he encouraged Lash to concentrate on track and field. Young coached the track team, too, and Lash became a state champion in mile and half-mile for Auburn’s Red Devils. Lash continued his career at Indiana University, and eventually he set every U.S. record from 5,000 meters to 10,000 meters in 1935, 1936 and 1937. In the process, he became the first American to run two miles in less than 9 minutes.

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Lash made the U.S. team for the Olympic Games at Berlin, Germany, in 1936. Though he did not win an Olympic medal, Lash continued to win races when he returned home. He won the national cross country championship a record seven times, and he was presented the Sullivan Award as the nation’s outstanding amateur athlete in 1938. World War II prevented Lash from making a second attempt at the Olympics in 1940. He turned his attention to a career that saw him serve as an FBI agent for 21 years, an Indiana state representative for 10 years and a trustee for Indiana University, making his home in Rockville in western Indiana.

Alex Kock Alex Kock rarely tasted defeat in on the basketball court for the DeKalb Barons. In his sophomore year, the Barons pulled off an undefeated regular season. In those three seasons, his fifth defeat did not come until the Class 4A state champi-

onship game against undefeated Pike of Indianapolis. Playing against a Pike roster full of major-college recruits, Koch led all scorers with 25 points and picked up the Trester Award for mental attitude. Success continued in college at Huntington University, where Kock earned honors as national player of the year in NAIA Division II. The Star summed up Kock’s college career as part of a story on Jan. 30, 2009: … Kock, who transferred to Huntington after one year at Wright State, was a threetime Mid-Central Conference Player of the Year. He was a first-team NAIA Division II All-American as a junior, when he helped the Foresters to the national title game, and the NAIA Division II National Player of the Year as a senior, when he averaged 23.4 points and 10 rebounds per game. “We had some good teams,” Kock said. “That makes the individual accomplishments more meaningful. We had some good players and some good teammates. Without the team accomplishments, the individual honors don’t mean anything.”

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Trester award winner earned NCAA ring at Indiana The Auburn Red Devils reached the state finals of Indiana’s boys basketball tournament in 1949. At the Final Four in Butler University’s fieldhouse, Auburn lost to eventual state champion Jasper, 53-48. James Schooley, a lanky, redheaded center, led the Red Devils with 21 points that day. Auburn got a consolation prize after the state final game that night, when Schooley received the prestigious Trester Award for mental attitude. Schooley went on to play in many more huge arenas as a member of Indiana University’s basketball team. He finally got his championship ring when the Hoosiers won the NCAA tourney in 1953. “It was a kid’s dream, really, getting to play with those guys and reaching the state finals,”

Schooley said years later about the Red Devils. “All of that is like a fairy tale.” Schooley would joke that as a substitute on the IU teams, his key contribution came in helping his star teammates pass their classes. After graduation, Schooley worked through 1990 at the National Bureau of Standards, which became the National Institute of Standards and Technology in 1988. At the institute, Schooley rose to become chief of the Temperature Measurement and Standards Division for the Center for Absolute Physical Quantities. He was inducted into the institute’s Gallery of Distinguished Scientists, Engineers and Administrators. Schooley and his wife live in Braddock Heights, Md.

The Evening Star reported on the semi-state championship game in March 1949 that sent the Red Devils to the state finals. This story ran under the headline “Red Devil victory was a thriller.” The Auburn Red Devils, gaining Schooley momentum as they go down the path toward a state championship, came through with another thrilling victory Saturday evening at Muncie fieldhouse when they clipped a band of Trojans from New Castle to take the first semifinal crown in the history of Auburn schools. As a result of the Auburn victory the Red Devils will play Jasper next Saturday afternoon at

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2:15 at the Butler fieldhouse at Indianapolis. The first game of the finals will be played between Madison and South Bend Central. The margin of victory was slight — just two points at 45-43 — but the Red Devils, who are picking up well-wishers by the thousands as they roll along the title path, just wouldn’t call it quits when time after time that Trojan offense came roaring back. The Red Devils came through the hard way. After having a dogged battle in the afternoon game with the Kokomo Wildcats, the Trojans were all set to stop Big Jim Schooley, who has tossed in 22 points against Kokomo in the afternoon. The Evening Star published an excerpt from a New Castle sportswriter’s article describing Schooley: “He is the owner of a



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beautiful break-away pivot shot. The rangy, poker-faced redhead is precision itself dealing out passes from the ‘keyhole’ — and he is much faster than basketball’s average big men.” A week later, when Auburn lost 53-48 to Jasper in the afternoon round of the state finals, The Evening Star gave the game front-page coverage — a rarity at a time when the front page was reserved almost exclusively for national and world news. The Star’s story had this to say about Schooley’s performance: Big Jim Schooley played a whale of a ball game for Auburn and proved he ranks among the top pivotmen in the state. … Schooley’s accomplishment was 21 points and that won him individual scoring honors for the game.




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The Star 100 Year Anniversary


Focus-Train-Triumph Time Well Spent

Recker named Mr. Basketball By his freshman year of high school, Luke Recker could dunk a basketball with ease. By Recker’s sophomore year, coach Bob Knight had seen enough to offer Recker a scholarship at Indiana University. Before leaving for Bloomington, Recker left his mark on DeKalb High School basketball. He set a single-game scoring record of 49 points and led the Barons to the semistate championship game in the last year of Indiana’s one-class tournament. He won the title of Mr. Basketball and headed for IU. Recker started two years for the Hoosiers before a falling-out with Knight led him to transfer to the University of Arizona. He never played a game for the Wildcats. An automobile crash on a vacation trip seriously injured Recker and left his girlfriend paralyzed. After a year off to recover from his injuries, Recker enrolled at the University of Iowa, coached by another Indiana Mr. Basketball, IU legend Steve Alford. Recker enjoyed success in his two years with the Hawkeyes, including a flurry of hot shooting that knocked Indiana out of the Big Ten tournament in his senior year. By then, the soap opera surrounding Recker’s career had made him a national celebrity and a villain to IU fans. After missing the final cut to make the NBA, Recker headed for Spain, where he played professional basketball successfully

for several years. The Star reported on April 14, 1997, that Recker had been selected as Mr. Basketball. Excepts from sports editor Mark Murdock’s report: It’s official. Luke Recker is now one of the legends of Indiana High School basketball. The DeKalb senior reached that status when he received the 61st annual Mr. Basketball award from the Indianapolis Star Saturday, an award many followers had anticipated for him since before the season began. DeKalb’s all-time scoring leader will wear the traditional No. 1 jersey for the Indiana All-Stars this summer in their battles with the Kentucky All-Stars … Recker was awed by receiving the highest honor a high school player can be given in a state where little matters as much as basketball and the young men who play it. He won the award convincingly, receiving 142 1/2 votes from the coaches and media, more than double the total of the next-highest vote-getter, Batesville’s Michael Menser, who had 67 … “When I found out, I was real excited, ” Recker said … “It’s a tremendous honor to have your name added to a list with guys like Rick Mount, Oscar Robertson, Damon Bailey, Glenn Robinson.”

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May 9, 2013

Architectural Scavenger Hunt Stroll Downtown Auburn and search for these unique buildings and architectural features.

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Sunday May 19, 2013 11 AM-5 PM Downtown Auburn

Visit The Star booth in Downtown Auburn on Sunday, May 19 from 11 AM-5 PM and submit your form.

One lucky person will WIN a bike valued at $150 from Moe’s Bikes & More!

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The Star 100-Year Anniversary  

This special section celebrates our 100 years of telling DeKalb County’s stories. We’re looking back at 10 of the most significant news stor...

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