LEADER STAFF REPORT
Kevin and Kim Oxender put the final touches on a floragraph portrait of their son, Kaleb McLaughlin, Sunday. The portrait will be part of the Rose Bowl parade Jan. 2.
PIONEER – Kaleb McLaughlin gave the gift of life when he was killed in a motorcyle accident several years ago. He was an organ donor and McLaughlin’s family donated his organs, which in turn helped 64 people. Now McLaughlin’s family is being honored in the Rose Bowl parade as part of the 2017 Donate Life Rose Parade float. McLaughlin, who resided in Pioneer, and 59 other people will be represented at the Rose Bowl parade as a "floragraph.” In making McLaughlin’s floragraph, organic materials such as spices and seeds were used to cover a digitized photograph of him. The final image is realistic, recognizable and a fitting memorial to donors.
The portrait was completed Sunday evening at the American Legion in Pioneer with the help of McLaughlin’s parents, Kim and Kevin Oxender.
The Rose Bowl float, titled "Teammates in Life,” recognizes 96 honorees on a Polynesian catamaran that will be propelled by 24 organ, eye and tissue transplant recipients rowing in unison thanks to the strength gained from their donors. A total of 60 floragraphs will be interwoven in the final design and 12 living donors and recipients will walk alongside the float with flowers to celebrate the life they have given or the life they continue to enjoy. McLaughlin’s floragraph was sponsored by Community Tissue Services.
"We are very honored to be part of this year’s sponsors who support the 2017 Donate Life Rose Parade float, to continue showcasing the importance of organ, eye and tissue donation,” said Abby Brentlinger, director of Community Tissue Services in Toledo. "We are excited to represent our community through the stories of our participants, whose lives have been forever changed and touched by the gift of life, whether they are living donors, donor families or recipients.”
The parade is Jan. 2 in Pasadena, California.
The Oxenders said previously they will be unable to go to California for the event, intending to stay in Ohio to attend the wedding of McLaughlin’s best friend, instead.
It all started because his kids were bored.
Ashlyn Coblentz, fourth grade, kicks the ball, while waiting for their turn, from left, are Kaiden Snow, sixth grade, Jarid Haas, ninth grade, Brently Wright, ninth grade, Edward Brown, tenth grade and Johnny Wieland, graduate.
Jason Miller, of Montpelier, had a problem — what to do with his kids. With the extended warm weather looming over the area until mid-November, Miller found his kids sitting around his home with that age-old complaint, "There’s nothing to do!”
So Miller had his kids call some friends and they gathered at Storrer Park for a rousing game of kickball. Those friends called their friends and by Nov. 11, there were 26 kids of all ages running, kicking and burning off some energy. "We play whenever it’s nice out,” said Dyllon Godfrey, a recent Montpelier graduate. "The first time was about two or three weeks ago.” People started noticing, including the Montpelier Ministerial Association, which sent over pizzas last week. "That was awesome,” Miller said.
Miller says the group will definitely pick the games back up in the spring. "My biggest worry now is what to do during the winter months,” he said.
Miller has posted on the Facebook page, "Issues in Montpelier,” and is getting some good feedback. Some of the ideas include having a snowman building contest, sledding, shoveling snow around town as a service project, using the school’s weight room and playing pool and card or board games.
For more information, or to help Miller with the endeavor, contact him via Facebook.
With the cold and the snow came Santa Claus.
Santa waves to parade goers as he comes into town
The scene was set for Christmas on Saturday, during the 10th annual Olde Tyme Holiday Gathering, as the temperatures dropped and snow fell from the sky, even if it didn’t accumulate.
The lighted parade that evening brought Santa Claus himself down from the North Pole to Montpelier, triumphantly heralding the start of the Christmas season.
Kara Custar, the chairman of the gathering, said there were many different aspects of the event aside from the parade.
"We work together with the Montpelier Public Library. They always do fun activities for the kids,” she said.
"The (Montpelier Area Chamber of Commerce) is doing a fundraising project, they are doing some repairs to their building that they need some funds for so they are doing a barbecue.” Custar has been involved with the gathering since it started 10 years ago. She said her mother got her involved, initially, and it "snowballed from there.” "It’s all about the community,” she said. "We wanted to create an event, a positive event that is going on here in town that people can get out and get involved and have a really good time in their community.” New this year was a book fair that was going on at the same time as the craft show.
Michelle Kannel, craft show chairperson, said the school’s book fair coincided with the craft show so the two organizations teamed up to host them in conjunction with each other.
The book fair was hosted in the library of Montpelier Public Schools while the craft show was going on in the halls and the auditorium, she said.
The craft show has been part of the gathering for all 10 years, Kannel said, and this year featured 120 booth spaces.
Lighted tractors and even golf carts are a special part of the parade.
"It’s a fairly low rent for the vendors and they always report that they do very well, so we have lots of vendors who want to come and I have a waiting list of people who are unable to come,” she said. There was also an hourly prize giveaway with an item from one of the vendors up for grabs, Kannel said. The local archery club also offered a babysitter clinic for donations, she said.
"They will hold your kids while you shop,” said Kannel, who was also at the show as a vendor for Kannel Kraft.
"Kannel Kraft is all stuff for little kids,” she said. "There are Boo Boo Buddies and hair bows (among others). I have little kids of my own.”
Kannel said she has set up a booth for eight years at the show and has been in charge for six. "I enjoy the people who come in from Montpelier and from all the other communities, just sharing my craft and watching people go by with things. They’ll go by with something big and go to their car and come back with something else,” she said.
Karen Barber also set up a booth at the craft show. She was there for Deaf Teen Quest, part of the Youth For Christ organization in Defiance. "We are raising money to help the young people get together and talk about Christ,” Barber said. "One of the biggest events is the Christian Camp where they get to meet everyone else, including hard-of-hearing people. They all get together for that whole week experience.”
The brass band adds a cheery touch to the gathering.
Her booth was also stocked with peppermint spoons people can use to stir hot chocolate, and also featured ingredients for soup or cookies pre-packaged in a jar for quick cooking. Barber said volunteers created the homemade items for sale. Another major part of the booth was homemade ornaments. "Our main focus is our ‘I love you’ hand shape, because that is our sign language and that is the way we communicate,” Barber said.
Rose Dockery has been giving her students a lifelong love of music for the past 36 years.
Rose Dockery has been teaching music for 36 years, most of that time at Montpelier, some of her former students remember her as Miss Belden, some as Mrs. Weger, she switched to Mrs. Dockery fairly recently, when she married her husband, Dave in 2010.
Rose’s two older brothers were teachers, and her mother was the school librarian, so a career in education always seemed right up her alley.
It was an extraordinary band director who spurred her desire to teach music. Although her guidance counselor refused to help her with the college application process, saying, "There aren’t any female band directors, and I’m not going to help you if you’re not going to be practical.”
Growing up in northeast Ohio, it might have seemed unlikely Rose would end up in Montpelier, but Montpelier has benefited from a quirk of fate.
Rose’s brother Dave Belden who readers surely remember as the long-time editor of the Leader - graduated from Bowling Green State University, and was hired by Montpelier schools, teaching Special Education. Rose graduated from Youngstown State University and was looking for a job when the band director job opened up at Montpelier. That was in 1981 and Rose stayed until 1987 when she moved with her husband (whom she met while pursuing a Master’s Degree at the University of Southern Mississippi) to Forest Mississippi.
She was a band director in Mississippi until 1997. The marriage ended and as luck would have it, there was an opening for a band director at Montpelier, so Rose headed back to Montpelier. Rose continued as band director until 2010, when the elementary music teacher spot opened up, and there she is.
"Montpelier schools are fantastic,” Rose says, "both my daughters went through the system, the administration treats its employees great, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Although Rose is proud of her teaching career, her most cherished role is that of Mom to daughters Elizabeth (MHS 2007), a marketing executive in Columbus, and Gretchen (MHS 2012) a graduate student at Kent State University.
The best thing about teaching music, says Rose, "is when you see kids that you’ve taught continue to be musically active. Several of my former students are music teachers, music therapists and professional musicians. But when I see former students simply playing in a community band, singing in a church choir or with a Barbershop group, I know I've done my job of giving the students a lifelong love of music.”
She paused for a while before saying, "Another nice thing is having the kids of kids I’ve taught before, that’s always fun. I’m even starting to get some grandchildren of kids I had early in my career.”
Another pause, "You know another nice thing? I've had band couples — kids who meet in band and they get together and stay together.”
The worst thing about teaching? "Sometimes you get kids and you just know they are having problems at home, and there’s nothing you can do about that — and I think there’s a lot of pressure on kids these days,” but, she brightened, "That’s the great thing about music — maybe they can relax and let go of some of that stress while they’re with me!”
Music is definitely Rose’s passion. When she’s not teaching, she’s playing the clarinet and saxophone in area musical pit orchestras. Rose serves on the Board of Directors of Fountain City Festival, is active in the Defiance College Community Band and the Black Swamp Orchestra.
To celebrate National Education week, Nov. 13 through Nov. 19, the Leader interviewed two teachers, Rose Dockery, an elementary music teacher at Montpelier with 36 years of teaching experience, and Connie Myers, a junior high science teacher at North Central with 29 years’ experience. Their stories are below:
Science has always been Connie Myers’s ‘element.’
She’s been teaching junior high science at North Central Schools for 29 years. "For me, this is the best age,” she says. They’re old enough to not need the emotional support of young children, and young enough that the high school drama hasn’t started yet. I try to give them a good foundation for their high school careers.”
"I’ve always loved the sciences, she said. "When I was in junior high I wanted to be a microbiologist. But when I took a course, and it was, ‘look through a microscope and count the cells,’ I didn’t want to count cells all day, so I switched to a broader field.
Connie drives a long way to teach at North Central, she lives in Auburn, Ind. A Hoosier through and through, Connie graduated from Ball State with a degree in teaching physical education, health and aquatics. She worked as a program director for the YMCA for five years, married and had a baby. The job required her to be available from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. — not family friendly — so she went back to Indiana University to get a degree in science. She later got a master’s degree from Indiana Wesleyan.
After getting her teaching degree, the junior high science teaching position at North Central opened up, she took it, and has never looked back.
"I like the kids at North Central.” she said. "And I like teaching, there’s no other career like it, every day is different, and I’m in control of how I present the curriculum.”
For every upside, there is a downside, and for Connie, the downside of teaching is the paperwork that the state mandates and the requirements.
"It’s not that I mind the requirements, I just wish they’d stay the same from year-to-year. One year they (the state) stresses astronomy, the next it’s biology. Now with year-end tests that students have to pass to graduate, I have to give them a good foundation.
And her students get it, Connie said the only detentions she has given this year is for not being prepared (NP.) "They get three chances,” she said, "sort of like three strikes and you’re out. I have them do some reading and answer some questions, it’s not a huge burden, and they have plenty of time.”
"The one thing I do, is try to be fair. To not play favorites.”
Connie hasn’t forsaken her interest in physical education, in her spare time, she likes to golf, hike and kayak, as does her husband. They have hiked portions of the Appalachian Trail and belong to a golf club in Garrett, Indiana.
Officially, Connie is retired, but is in her second year of rehire, and has no plans to stop teaching. "I like what I’m doing and I feel like I’m still doing a good job.”
Connie Myers is pictured in her science class.
Students at North Central schools honored veterans of all ages at a special Veterans Day program Nov. 11. Among those honored were 85-year-old Jacob Myers, former United States Marine, pictured at right. Other veterans attending were Ron Baker, United States Marine and Willard Miller, 90 years of age, United States Navy.
The best H2Ohio!
Once again, the Village of Montpelier has had its water judged the best, according to judges at the annual Ohio Section Water Taste Test.
Montpelier’s water took top place at the annual Ohio Section Water Taste Test, and will represent Ohio in the "Best of the Best” water taste test during American Water Works Association’s (AWWA) 2017 annual conference and exposition in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, June 11 to 14.
"Matt Peters is the supervisor,” said employee Thane Apt. "We bring the water in from the well, and soften it with lime. We take samples every day, make sure ph, alkalinity and hardness (are at the correct levels). The hardness is about 300 mg per liter when comes out of the well, we try to shoot for 120-ish.”
The exact process is Montpelier’s own secret.
Montpelier competed against seven other municipalities: Berea, Columbus, Dayton, Fairborn, Hamilton, Troy and Wyoming, Ohio.
See the rest of the story in this week’s Leader
Helping those who serve planned at local business
PIONEER — On Friday, volunteers will take patrons of Jim’s Carry Out back to the time of full service gas stations, and it’s for a great cause.
Volunteers from American Legion Post 307 will be on hand at the station, 406. N. State St., to take care of everything so you don’t even have to get out of your car.
"We will pump your gas, clean your windshield and provide you with a smile,” volunteer John Teats said. "We’ll be working for tips and everything goes to ‘Stop Soldier Suicide.’”
Stop Soldier Suicide is a non-profit organization started by veterans dedicated to building "Reverse Boot Camps” and making them part of the military’s training curriculum.
The bottom line up front, according to Director of Business Development and Outreach Ian Fuller, is that the military does a phenomenal job turning civilians into warriors, but does almost nothing to train warriors how to be civilians again.
That is the root cause of the military’s high suicide rate, Fuller said. The veteran and service member suicide rate is still 50 percent higher than the rest of the civilian population, in spite of the $173 million supporting 900 programs in the Veterans Administration dedicated to preventing every one of them.
See the rest of the story in this week’s Leader
Montpelier Legion, VFW rededicated in Michael's name
It couldn’t have happened to a better man.
Such was the sentiment on Oct. 27, when the Montpelier American Legion Post was renamed the Dane Michael Veterans Center.
Michael was surprised when he unveiled the sign on the newly-christened building.
"I don’t believe it,” he said in an interview afterward. "They’re always pulling something, but we get along real good.”
Michael said he didn’t know the local American Legion Post was renaming the building after him.
"I was overwhelmed,” he said. "I can’t believe they kept it a secret ... It was a real surprise.”
Kevin Motter, commander of the American Legion Post 107 in Montpelier, said the center — which houses both the Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 944 — was named after Michael because of his contributions over the years.
Se the rest of the story in this week’s Leader
The Montpelier American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars building was renamed the Dane Michael Veterans Center on Oct. 27. Dane Michael, left, is pictured with his wife, Marge, in front of the new sign.
Helping those who serve
Jack Teats, left, and his brother John, will be working the pumps from 2 to 6 p.m. on Friday at Jim’s Carry Out, 406 N. State St., Pioneer. "We will pump your gas, clean your windshield and put a smile on your face,” John said. "We’ll be working for tips and everything goes to Stop Soldier Suicide.” The non-profit organization is dedicated to building Reverse Boot Camps into the military training curriculum so warriors can transition back into successful civilians.
Defiance Man to Serve Two Sentences of 15 Years to Life
PAULDING – A Defiance man will serve two consecutive sentences of 15 years to life, as well as a mandatory two years for a gun specification, in the murders of Montpelier High School graduate Hannah Fischer and her boyfriend, Frank Tracy Jr. Read more
Montpelier students back to school!
Montpelier students headed back to school Aug. 17.
Community remember life of young woman
On Aug. 13, some 80 members of the Montpelier community gathered at the Montpelier Church of Christ, 104 W. Jefferson St., to comfort one another and share a time of remembrance of Chanelle Albertson. Read more
Business After Hours
The Montpelier Chamber of Commerce is hosting an inaugural "Business After Hours" for members and the public to mingle and network. Read more
Teen Miss Montpelier determined to make a difference
Nichole Siearra Davis won Teen Miss Montpelier last month wowing friends, family and community alike with her courage over nerves, her stunning beauty, and her ready and encouraging smile. Read more
Fair Board splits with Foundation
The Williams County Fair Board voted unanimously on Aug. 18 to cut ties with the Williams County Fair Foundation. Read more
North Central scholar athletes
North Central scholar athletes: North Central High School fall student-athletes recently recognized for their efforts in the classroom by the Buckeye Border Conference were Read more
North Central boys
Receiving North Central boys cross country awards Read more
Montpelier’s Playoff Hopes Slip Away
The voice of a radio announcer was the only audible sound to be heard in the press box at Hobe Krouse Field Friday night as Montpelier’s playoff hopes slipped away in the second half. Read more
Rediger Advances to State Meet
Montpelier’s Jared Rediger advanced to the Ohio High School Athletic Association Division IIIboys state cross country finals with a 5K time of 17 minutes, 16 seconds at the Division III regional meet Saturday in Tiffin. Read more
North Central, Bryan compete in dual match
North Central’s golf team competed in a dual match at Riverside Greens on Thursday, losing to Bryan, 157-168. Read more
Montpelier loses to Fairview in scrimmage
The Montpelier Locomotives lost to an offensively explosive Fairview Apache team, 38-13, in a preseason scrimmage Friday night. Read more
Montpelier’s Landri McKelvey tries to spike the ball over the net to score a point for her team in a scrimmage against the Bryan Golden Bears on Thursday. Teammates, from left, Rheanna Stoy and Aubree Moss watch on. Read more