Classroom Without Walls

Seventh graders from Southmont Junior High left their science textbooks at school for a day to see what nature could teach them at Camp Rotary.

Science teachers Jamie Welliever, Gary Mosbaugh and Michelle Eisenhart led the students through a day full of different activities on for Science Day on Thursday. Students learned about rocks and erosion on the hiking trails, leaves and their classifications with a coloring activity and about birds of prey during an afternoon presentation.

“The goal is to get the kids out in nature,” said Kim Priebe, a teacher assistant at SJHS, “which it seems they don’t get to do much anymore.”

Science Day was hosted by the Montgomery County Education Foundation and the Rotary Club. The two organizations also provided lunch for the students.

“We are blessed to have the opportunity to use Camp Rotary, SJHS Principal Mike Tricker said. “With the support of the Rotary, we are able to have our students experience science in nature.”

As Marissa Craig sat and worked on classifying the leaves she had

collected, she said she likes getting the chance to learn outside of the classroom.

“We can learn more about nature,” she said.

“You can only see so many things in a book,” Priebe explained. “When they get to be hands on, get to see things right in front of them, experience it and touch it, it’s a whole other experience for them.”

Evan Francis said that even though he was learning throughout the day, it’s a lot different from learning at school.

“You don’t have to write a lot of things, and your hand doesn’t hurt from it,” he said. “It’s easier, and also, there’s less stress. You don’t have any homework or anything to do after school.”

Science Day proves to students that learning can be fun. And hopefully, both the fun memories and the lessons learned will stick with them for a while.

“For the students, this experience will bring science to life,” Tricker said. “Our science teachers do a great job preparing the students for the trip and will refer back to the experiences throughout the school year. It is one of the educational experiences that most students talk about.”

‘Rising Stars’ advance to final auditions

Local singing group, The Sugar Creek Players “Rising Stars” led by John P. Blair, made it to the final auditions for Indy’s favorite holiday tradition the 53rd annual lighting of Monument Circle the “Circle of Lights: Indiana’s Got Talent.” Each year thousands of spectators gather to watch the spectacular holiday display illuminate the downtown landscape and Vanity Singers Rising Stars are hoping to be part of this year’s festivity. 

The “Rising Stars” was one of 10 chosen out of 180 talented acts that will be showcased in an audition special, Circle of Lights: Indiana’s Got Talent. The show will be taking viewers behind the scenes of

singers, dancers and entertainers who are competing for a spot in the beloved Circle of Lights show. The one-hour special will premiere at 7 p.m. Nov. 24 on WTHR-13 Indianapolis. If selected one of the top five acts they will be part of the live coverage of the Circle of Light at 7 p.m. Nov. 27. 

Blair has been involved with the Sugar Creek Players since 1978. He leads three talented youth singing groups: 

• Young Performers — grades K-6th that offers the introduction to choral music.

• Rising Stars — grades K-6th who demonstrate an intermediate level to choral music.

• Inspirations — grades 7-12th participates in a variety of choir competitions,

including choral competition held in November at South Montgomery Senior High School. 

The Sugar Creek Players will perform Nov. 28 at the Vanity Theater during the Crawfordsville Downtown Party Night. 

To learn more, contact the Vanity Theater Box Office at 765-362-7077.

Coats needed for local families

Organizers of the ninth annual Coats for Families coat drive need your help.

“We are again accepting new and or gently used coats for families,” said organizer Paula Willis. “Donations must be new or gently used and with no repairs needed.”


Donations may be dropped off in the front foyer of the Hillsboro Nazarene Church, 453 S. State Road 341, Hillsboro, at the donor’s convenience.

Coats also may be dropped off from 6:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Giggles-n-Grins Day Care, 1803 E. College St.; or at Curve’s, 705 N. Englewood Drive, Suite A, Crawfordsville.

The drive will continue through Oct. 10.

Organizers ask that no clothing or toys be donated to this cause — just coats, hats, gloves and new socks, if possible.

Coats will be distributed 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 17 at the Hillsboro Nazarene Church.

“Please help us help those in need all around our Fountain and Montgomery County school districts,” Willis said.

For more information, call Willis at 765-918-8114; the church at 765-798-2350; or Alisha at 765-376-9725.

Ribs and Blues Fest set for Saturday

ROACHDALE — The second annual Rib and Blues Fest will take place 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday at Roachdale with a menu of good food and good music.

Railroad Street in the northern Putnam County town is where the action will take place.


Organizer Joe Buser said his group learned a lot from last year’s festival.

“We served 600 meals last year even though the weather turned out to be very wet and cold,” Buser said. “But, this year we realize that was not a bad thing because it has made us be better prepared. We are planning on 1,000 meals this time.”

This year there are three barbecue vendors. Smokehouse BBQ, Hog-In-It-All and Crawfordsville’s Norvell BBQ will serve ribs and other barbecue favorites all day.

Roachdale residents will participate in a cooking competition of their own with a rib grilling contest. Participants will grill their favorite barbecue recipe to be judged by local residents Alan Zerkel, Gail Smith, Debbie Winger, Susan Price, Jason Hartman, Charley Riggle and Mike Mahoy.

The Roachdale Public Library will provide a children’s activity area at the library on Meridian Street during the festival.

The Carquest Cruise-In will begin at noon.

Those wanting to quench their thirst will find a variety of drinks at a beer and wine garden. Craft beer and domestic beers will be sold. Traders Point Winery will sell its wines.

“One of the craft beers we will have is the popular Sam Adams Oktoberfest Ale,” Buser said. “We will also have Sierra Nevada Pale and domestic beers.”

Spear Corporation will sponsor the music stage this year. Bands scheduled to perform are Wingnuts 1-3 p.m., Joel and Tosh of War Radio 3-5 p.m., Tad Robinson 5-7 p.m. and Blue’s Side Up 8-11 p.m.

“All of our performers are from either Putnam or Montgomery counties,” Buser said. “They will each bring their own styles and I am sure the people will enjoy each one.”

Buser said attendees should plan to bring folding chairs to the event.

The festival is sponsored by the Roachdale Revitalization Cooperative Alliance. All proceeds go to the betterment of the Roachdale community.

Co-op earns IACT award

FRENCH LICK — People across Indiana are taking notice of Crawfordsville and its newly formed Crawfordsville Health and Wellness Center.

On Wednesday, the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns presented the City of Crawfordsville, Montgomery County, Crawfordsville Community Schools, North Montgomery Community Schools and South Montgomery Community Schools with the annual Local Government Cooperation Award. The honor recognizes the success of the community’s health and wellness center.

Crawfordsville Mayor Todd Barton represented the five largest government taxing units in accepting the award.

“The real story here is to pull five tax supported entities together — it is really unprecedented,” Barton said. “When you think about three school boards, county commissioners, county council, a mayor, city council and the Board of Works there are a lot of layers to get everybody on board.”

The clinic provides health services for free to employees of each taxing unit. The City of Crawfordsville alone reported saving its employees $300,000 in medical expenses in 2014.

Wellness for Life, the company that operates the clinic, was represented at the award presentation by Brian Garcia, manager of client relations. Garcia admits the clinic, which opened in January 2014, has exceeded the company’s expectations.

“The success of the clinic was bigger than what we thought would happen in the first year,” Garcia said.

Barton said the city’s return on the investment was 180 percent, and that all units showed positive financial success.

Barton said continued cooperation is important for the future.

“The clinic has laid the groundwork that could carry over to other things,” Barton said. “It starts with trusting each other, and that is a major part of this success.”