Good Neighbors: Introducing the new Open Closet

Danny Trout and Tammie Micheau have a heart for adoption and foster care but that desire has spread beyond their choice to be foster parents. They purchased the beautiful old bed and breakfast on 26 with big plans to engage their community to serve some of the most deserving, and in need. For the past 6 weeks they've been collecting donations to prepare for their new mission. They have over 5 car bays full of clothing and household item donations to prepare for the opening of their new Open Closet serving foster families, fire victims, and those in difficult circumstances. They know what it's like to need a kind hand to help you up. They'll be open once a month to the public at thrift store prices to help offset their cost of operating. Wow! Thank you Danny and Tammie! If you'd like to request a time to drop off at their house you can contact him at 765-661-7251. They'll be accepting donations next week.

Community Event Brings Youth Together

Despite the blazing heat, community youth and adults gathered at Baldwin Park last Saturday for an outreach event with a singular goal - unity. The event kicked-off with some crazy, camp-style games in which youth worked both individually and together as teammates. After all, there’s no better way to break the ice than by acting out silly commands like “dead turtle” side by side. Afterwards, participants were invited to grab a plate of food before moving into a time of worship and teaching.

    The event speaker drew from his own past experience with alcohol and poor choices to deliver a powerful reminder for youth that they are responsible for their own choices, and that those choices will greatly impact not only their own futures, but possibly even others’ futures and the future of this town, also.

Local leaders and pastors believe it’s important to gather the youth of the community to help them make connections both with one another and with the community as a whole. According to organizer, Hugh Taylor, the purpose of the event was “to win this community back for the next generation.”

    Parent Cassie James commented, “Youth events are important to us because we need to reach out and teach the kids about Jesus. Today’s kids are tomorrow’s leaders, and they deserve to know they’re loved and respected. We hope to involve the entire community because we’re all brothers and sisters in Christ, and this community needs some solidarity. We want to reach people, not make them feel as if they don’t belong with us.”

    What better way to encourage unity than to gather young people and show them positive ways to have fun together, as well as speak to them about the future?  Local pastors plan to host another such event this Fall and hope that even more people will join in encouraging the young people of our community! Anyone who would like to help plan or volunteer at the next community youth event can contact Pastor Hugh Taylor at 765-329-0869or Pastor Jeremy Stults at 765-499-8644.

Crafts in the Park Participants Celebrate Flag Day

   On Tuesday, June 14th, children arrived at Baldwin Park ready to create some arts and crafts magic with volunteers from the Montpelier Community Group. The group is in the midst of its first annual Crafts in the Park, a free community program, each Tuesday in June from 11 a.m. to noon for children of all ages. This week’s focus was on celebrating the American Flag for Flag Day, and despite the sprinkling rain, twenty-four children were in attendance.

   As they crowded around picnic tables, they first listened to a story about our flag, Old Glory. Following the story, participants worked with markers, glue, and stickers to create their own patriotic masterpieces - red, white, and blue hats to wear. Once finished with the hats, they decorated treat bags for Veterans. According to group member Kim Batten, the treat bags will be donated to Marion VA Hospital, where they will be filled with treats for bingo night. Kids received their own treats for participating in the form of fruit snacks and candy.

    Grandmother Judy Duncan brings her grandson each week because, in her words, “It’s fun to see them happy and learning.”

    Mary Chechak brought a few of her great nieces and nephews. When asked how events like this benefit the community, she replied, “It’s good to keep the kids busy since they’re not in school. It gives them something to look forward to.” 

    Montpelier Community Group members recognized a need for a local program earlier this spring when other organizations were planning summer activities for kids. Although surrounding towns like Hartford City and Bluffton offer a wide variety of summer activities, the group believed more townspeople would benefit from a program that would take place right here in Montpelier on a weekly basis. So, they decided to do something about it. So far the response from the community has been positive, and the group is already discussing possibilities for next year.

For parents and caretakers looking to avoid the problem of summer boredom, events like Crafts in the Park and the weekly library program (on Wednesday mornings) provide a dose of fun along with educational value. The Crafts in the Park program will run for two more weeks on Tuesdays - June 21st and June 28th. 

Bob and Sandy Mansfield's Heirloom Tomatoes

Bob and Sandy Mansfield have been growing and selling heirloom tomatoes and peppers for years. Every summer into fall Bob faithfully collects seeds to try and store from each of his varieties.
We asked them for a couple of tomato success growing tips:
-Start with a good starter soil.
-Water your seedlings from the bottom up! They use baby wipe containers with holes in the bottom to water by submersion.
-Whether you use mulch or not doesn't matter as much as planting your tomatoes deep. 
-If you see your larger varieties of tomatoes starting to split, pick them with about 2 inches of stem left intact and place them on the counter out of the sun. They'll continue to ripen without splitting. 

Thanks, Bob and Sandy, for your time and talents! 

If you'd like to finish up your tomato shopping, stop out at their house just off of 500, south of the Jail! 

Demolition of the T.W.O. Building- Build a Better Blackford

We wanted to send a big thank you to both the city of Hartford City and Blackford County for their collaboration with Build a Better Blackford on the demolition of the T.W.O. building! It was a lot of work and they took care of a large building quickly and thoroughly. 

A Gallery of photos of the T.W.O. building before, during and after.

And thanks to Sam Schroyer for your meticulous work! From letting children help move the bobcat to sweeping the sidewalks- his cheerful work in Blackford county is much appreciated!

Do you have any memories of this building when it was functional and there were businesses thriving there? Please share in the comment section!