• Kirk Gaw

Reflecting On The Top Walkerton Stories From 2018

It's been a wild year! Weather, people, business ideas, business closures, and business openings! Housing was hard to find, and the real estate people were busy! Child daycare was difficult to find and after it was consolidated into the John Glenn School's system. We had elections, festivals, and got flooded. We cheered for our teams! And we cried for our loved ones. Our police force continues to deal with the opioid drug epidemic. And we honored those who are distinguished. We watched performances, and saw our youth excel! Here is a random list of Walkerton events from 2018:

1. The Year of 2018 began with windchill advisories of -28 degrees below zero during a January snowstorm. Climate change continues to make headlines since last January.

2. Remember when businessman, property owner, Rich Foreman, proposed to reuse the old Welco's lot for mobile home housing? We asked our Facebook group members what they would like to see happen there, and heard ideas from a new grocery store, family fun zone, tiny titanium houses, a Taco Bell, and another Welco's. The Walkerton Town Board denied his application to put RV mobile housing there for senior citizens.

3. The Floods of February made headlines everywhere! Rain instead of snow caused the low lying, frozen, land to flood, overspilling the banks of streams and rivers in the Walkerton vicinity. Rescues were made, and traffic was rerouted. Lots of property damage. Nearby, Plymouth was hit hardest.

4. Walkerton lost philanthropist, businessman, Ray Chapman. He was very active in Walkerton affairs and was well known as the owner of Ray's Supermarket. He lived to be 90. He raised funds for Walkerton youth and charity. Was a devoted Cubs fan.

5. Residents of the Walkerton area followed the construction of the new Walkerton - Lincoln Township Public Library. It includes plenty of new spaces and state-of-the-art technology! Children will find lots to do, and the Hiler Media Center includes new internet computer terminals, and conference space.

6. The formation of the new "Main Street Of Walkerton" group includes professional volunteers who are dedicated to improving downtown. They want to make Walkerton a forever home for all generations. And their vision is to realize the full potential of the community through innovative, economic, and community development. It includes an Organization Committee, Design Committee, Promotion Committee, and Economic Vitality Committee.

7. After 12 years in operation, the O'Connor family closed "Memories Pizza." Kevin O'Connor decided to retire. They became the center of national attention once, after a South Bend TV news reporter crafted a story about the reinstatement of the Indiana Religious Freedom Act. The sloppy reporting put the O'Connors at an unfair advantage.

8. Hearts were broken after John Glenn High School student, and basketball star, Zac Mago, passed away from a heart condition. He was a 17 year old Senior. His sudden passing took many by surprise.

9. The Dollar General Store at Michigan St. in downtown Walkerton was remodeled and many residents asked them to include an improved variety of food to choose from once they reopened. The location was once the Wilcox Superstore, a popular shopping spot, one of 4 grocery stores that once existed in town.

10. The newly rebuilt "Red Hot's" closed and reopened as the "All Seasons Sports Bar & Grill." The new Don McKinney tavern includes a popular menu of pizza, pulled pork sandwiches, Italian beef subs, turkey subs, philly cheesesteak sandwiches, and calzones. Their stage offers weekly, live, entertainment.

11. "Kurma" opened at 613 Roosevelt Rd. in downtown Walkerton. Cassie Seal, the owner, not only has a Doctorate in Physical Therapy, but has studied other Holistic practices including the use of Essential Oils, and Yoga. Cassie combines all of these modalities to help with any kind of pain or stress in a natural way.

12. We lost popular Dr. George Hershberger. He practiced Osteopathic Medical treatment in Walkerton for over 37 years. He was well known for making house calls. Something thought of as rare at the time. He had his practice at the corner of Roosevelt & Illinois St. for many years.

13. Urey Middle School Spelling Bowl team wins state championship! The 9 students performed the contest with a perfect score. Their bus was greeted with a parade when the team arrived home from the Purdue campus in West LaFayette. Proud parents, boosters, and residents lined the streets of Walkerton cheering and honking their horns as the Walkerton Fire and Police personnel escorted the bus to the school lot.

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