By Jim Nowlan
Blake Ouart, of Wyoming, has purchased and is stabilizing the red-brick building at the main intersection of his city (100 N. 7th Street), which had threatened to become an eyesore.
Blake works at Aldrich and also does metal artwork, which he may feature in his building, though he isn’t sure at the moment what his plans are for the structure.
Chris Babb, also of Wyoming, is doing the work on the front of the building, for example, the plate glass windows and doors.
“I am really pleased with what Chris is doing,” says Blake.
I chatted with retired Wyoming pharmacist and community leader Pete Johnson about the building:
“Before my time growing up in the 1940s, ‘Snapper’ Ogburn operated a pool hall in the building. Then it became a Kroger Store—can you imagine our small town had a Kroger’s?
“There were two apartments upstairs, which teachers lived in.
“Later some folks from Galva operated a furniture store from the building and then for some years ‘Jungle Jim’ Callahan had an antique-type store there.
I’m glad to see the building coming back. Good work, Blake and Chris.
Theresa Carlton, of Bradford, is the director of the local OSA pageant that showcases the qualities of girls and young women in our county.
Each year about this time Karen Roberts and Theresa and “the queens” put on a formal dinner for a family that has been struggling.
This past Sunday, the ladies decorated the News Room Bistro as if it were set for a White House dinner, with regal China and place settings and beautiful decorations throughout the space.
The dinner was in honor of the family of Jordan Hardy, of Wyoming, son of Jason Hardy and Lovely Arconado. The two-year-old has already at the beginning of life, gone through multiple operations.
I was away during the dinner (I live upstairs) but on my return, the ladies had put two heaping plates of the dinner in the fridge, just for me. I can tell you the turkey, ham, multiple salads and more were food fit for a king.
What a nice gesture to show a family that the young ladies of the pageants care about them!
And a great way for the young ladies to learn and appreciate that not everyone has it easy, and that giving is even more rewarding than receiving.
One of my favorite baristas at One Eleven Coffee is Ashley Kunzle, originally of Toulon and now of Wyoming.
Ashley, as with all the baristas at the clever coffee emporium, is a real pro at taking good care of customers, and with a warm smile.
Ashley also has an artistic flair, even at creating lattes. Nearby is a photo of a holiday snowman she designed for a customer’s latte.
From what I can observe, all the baristas at One Eleven have great futures ahead of them, and the experience they are gaining at the coffee shop will prove valuable to them all.
My Toulon High classmate Jack Pitzer, longtime resident of Alexandria in Fairfax County VA, was this past year named “Lord Fairfax” by the county board of that populous county, honoring him for many community activities.
Jack is retired from the national FFA and is busier than a cranberry merchant at holiday time, as my dear late Mother used to say.
Jack works with a local Cub Scout pack, volunteers at the National Arboretum, sings in a national award-winning barbershop chorus, is active in the Cursillo Movement, and much more.
Congratulations, Lord Fairfax.
During the past year, Stark County’s one bona fide Indian chief resident passed, at about 85 years.
According to his friend Norm Black, of Toulon, Chief Lone Eagle grew up in the Navajo Nation in Arizona, where he became a medicine man.
According to Norm, the term “chief” is accorded to an Indian who shows great skill in his craft, such as that of a medicine man, and thus the title chief is bestowed.
Chief had an uncle who was a “code talker” in World War II, a member of the legendary Indian fighters in the Pacific whose native language was never broken by Japanese intelligence.
Chief Lone Eagle (that was his name on his driver’s license) came to Illinois chasing a job as a steelworker and somehow ended up working for years at Tanner’s Orchard, while living in the old grade school in Camp Grove.
Chief spent his last years at Sunshine Village in Toulon.
“Chief believed in giving away whatever money he had as soon as he had it,” recalls Norm, who says that was why Chief could never manage his money.
Chief apparently had a good sense of humor.
“Indians never get lost,” Chief declared to Norm and others. So once when he was in a doctor’s office and didn’t know how to get back home, Chief simply said: “I’m not lost, but I don’t know where I am.”
“Chief was a very loving, peaceful guy, a gentleman,” says Norm, which serves as a kind of fitting epitaph.
I had meant to get to know Chief, but it never happened.
This reminds me that when long-time Toulon businesswoman Edna Rashid turned 100 a few years ago, I called her to see about doing an interview.
She put me off, by saying, over the phone, “Why don’t we just wait a while, Jim?”
How was I to respond? I never got the interview.