• By Kirk Gaw

Walkerton Highlights For Year 2019

2019 was a year of extremes from climate, burgeoning wildlife, hot dogs, pizza wars, pancakes, and even war of the bars. We enjoyed many discussions throughout! We saw the John Glenn High School Marching Band win 8th Place at the State Finals, we watched the John Glenn Theater Company perform "Les Mis" and "Clue!" We walked the midway during the Falloween Festival.

At the October 26th, Harlem Wizards - versus - JGSC teachers fundraiser.

We saw a country church get demolished on US 6 at the east end of town, and we saw the completion of the new Hiler Media Center on the west side of town. We discussed housing, a hotel, and supermarkets! We supported local farm stands, rodeo bulls, and horses! Readers went to the Walkerton Farmers Market at The New Kitchen Store and showed up on the 1st and 3rd Fridays for the Cruise-In's happening on Illinois St. during warm weather. Here are the top 15 moments of Walkerton, year 2019:

15. Rosie's Hot Dogs on Roosevelt, and All-American Hot Dog's & Catering battled it out for "top dog" in Walkerton. Rick Shultze is the winner for his innovative recipes and marketing at "All-American Hot Dog's & Catering" located where the crowds are. Rick's humor and knowledge makes his food stand a popular destination for those seeking the ultimate weiner!

14. "All Seasons Sports Bar & Grill" opened at 1004 Roosevelt Rd. and served as a convenient location to unwind, have a cocktail, dance, and see live bands. Micheal Swiger provided good drinks, snacks, and games. Patrons enjoyed the "Assbag" Signature Cocktail, comedians, and the front deck.

13. Whacky extreme weather! 2019 was the year records were made. We experienced the lowest temperature ever recorded in town on January 31st. National Weather Service meteorologist, Chris Roller, recorded -21 degrees that day. Then, Christmas 2019 included a high of 65 degrees!

12. The John Glenn Theater Company produced "Les Miserable's" and "Clue." Both shows included enormous casts! The talents of all participating were insurmountable! The director was challenged with sophisticated scripts.

11. The new Walkerton library opened after years in the old Michigan St. shopping plaza. Today, it is known as theHiler Media Center which, includes an upgraded facility, a computer center, meeting rooms, a kids center, and arts & crafts. Saturdays include the Knitting Club hosted by Jenny Fry. The new location is prominent on the west side of town at Roosevelt & Washington St.

10. US Highway 6 and the SR 23 pavements along, with crossings were upgraded throughout town after months of detours.

9. Illinois Street "Cruise-Ins" 1st and third Fridays of the month became a new tradition after being organized by the Walkerton Main Street Program. The classic car event along with food and entertainment has become a destination for those seeking antique chrome, auto curves, and white wall rubber!

8. James Cain brought the community its first radio station! "The Walkerton Wave" began on broadband internet. It is still on the verge to become an FM broadcast awaiting certification. Cain provided the best mix of todays artists and the older favorites along with hip hop, R & B, rock, pop, country classics, and more!

7. A very successful 4th of July parade, Oktoberfest Beer & Wine Festival, and Falloween events were organized by the Walkerton Parks & Recreation Department. Money was raised, crowds gathered, and fun was had.

6. Revitalizing the community business district was a priority for the 2019 Town Board. Karol Jackson - from Ward 4, was elected Town Board President, Gene Reese - elected to Ward 2, elected Board Vice President, Tommi Weeks elected to Ward 1, Jeffrey Fansler elected to Ward 3, and Joyce Joiner elected to Ward 4. The Board has been working on improving the water works, expanding water lines and conducting polls to get feedback about improving downtown.

5. Oakwood Cafe closed. At the first of the year it was polled as the favorite restaurant of Walkerton Page readers. One of the owner's became injured and they were forced to sell off to a Plymouth restauranter. The Nick Asani family are now reopening a new concept at a North Webster, Indiana location.

6. "Casey's" won the 2019 Walkerton Page readers poll for "Best Pizza!" The 200 Roosevelt Rd. location was voted as the best between 15 contenders of area pizzeria's. The talents of Lou Zellers, Terra Elder, Robin Miller, and Bonnie Nowatzke are the crew behind "Casey's Carry Out." Liberty Lanes was voted in 2nd Place.

5. "Memo's Restaurant" of Michigan City announced they are expanding to their new Walkerton location located on the east side of town. The former Falcon Dipper will reopen this winter as a new, much desired Mexican restaurant! They will include their pancake recipes and versatile breakfast menu! Patrons can look forward to an elaborate family style menu from fresh grilled Steaks, Carne Asada, Taco's, Caldo de Pollo, Menudo, Burritos, Ribs, Salads, Pozole, Nachos Supreme, Crepes, Coffees, Micheladas, and Sope's!

4. "Sunrise House of Pancakes" opened in October at 280 Liberty St. They are open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Customers enjoy the diverse menu! They open early for morning people at 5am looking to perk up coffee, friendly faces, rustic decor, omellettes, pancakes, crepes, eggs and bacon, waffles, and juices. Lunches, and dinners include steaks, soups, salads, and casseroles. Don't forget dessert!

OPEN: 5am to 9pm.

3. John Glenn High School - Falcon Pride - Marching Band won 8th Place at ISSMA the State Finals in Indianapolis. The students performed at the Lucas Oil Fieldhouse under the retractable roof. Members were challenged under the direction of Nathanael Sudduth. It was the first time the Band has been there since 2006.

2. People cringed when they learned the old Center Baptist Church, Church Of The Bretheren located on US 6 east of town was demolished. Memories of pastors from yor, weddings and congregations persisted. Only the old graveyard behind the lot remains. Black poisonous mold was the culprit. It invaded the wood surfaces after years of water in the basement. The owners were unable to save it.

1. The Harlem Wizards came to town on October 26th as part of a fundraiser to help raise money for the John Glenn Educational Foundation. The game featured members of the Harlem Wizards going up against teachers from the high school, middle school and the two district elementary schools. On the Friday preceding the game, Harlem Wizards player Arthur Lewis Jr, aka “King Arthur,” visited North Liberty Elementary to sign autographs and helped get students amped up for the Saturday big game. Gerald "Skywalker" Walker and, "Loonatic" performed also.

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