Regional Roundup: Northwest Literacy Council holds fundraiser

February 16, 2013

LIMA — The Northwest Ohio Literacy Council held its eighth annual Scrabble fundraiser Feb. 9.

Twelve teams participated in this fundraiser, held at St. Rita’s Auxiliary Conference Center. The winning team, the Graceless Rabbits, took home the honor of top Scrabble team. Becky Hirn, of Delphos, organized the Graceless Rabbits team.

This is the largest fundraiser for the Northwest Ohio Literacy Council, and the fundraiser brought $4,500 to the organization.

“This is very competitive and a lot of fun,” said Ken Blanchard, director of Northwest Ohio Literacy Council.

Blanchard said the organization is thinking of doing another Scrabble competition in the fall on a smaller scale because everybody who left Saturday had such fun. The Northwest Ohio Literacy Council holds a Kewpee Pie day in the fall as a fundraising project for the organization as well.

While competing and having fun is important, Blanchard never misses the opportunity to talk about the importance of the Northwest Ohio Literacy Council, and what its services provide to our community.

Blanchard said, “One in five adults in our region read at a third- to fourth-grade level, leaving them limited to jobs and health care.”

Their health care costs are four to five times higher than those who are literate, he said. His office sees generational problems, which “seems to be an uphill battle for us."

“If you don’t read, you can lose that skill. You become less and less literate the older you get. We have a fair amount of immigrants in our area, as well,” Blanchard said.

The immigrants most likely have a poor education.

The number of people who cannot read, or who read at a low level, has not decreased in our society.

“Numbers have not changed dramatically in the past 20 years. We would think this would be something that would go away, but it doesn’t,” Blanchard said. “We are always looking for tutors. It is not a difficult job. It takes one to one and a half hours a week. We need people that want to share their love of reading."

Findlay named “Best Hometown” by magazine

FINDLAY — Findlay has been named northwestern Ohio’s “Best Hometown” for 2013, according to Ohio Magazine.

The city was chosen for its community spirit, business climate, safety and health and education systems. It was also highlighted for its diversity and beauty of homes.

The residents of Findlay also wrote essays about why the town was important to them.

Lute Harmon Jr., Ohio Magazine publisher, presented a framed copy of the magazine, which features downtown Main Street on the cover, at the Findlay-Hancock County Alliance’s annual meeting.

Potash gives to Wapakoneta athletic boosters

WAPAKONETA — Potash Corp., of Lima, presented a check for $25,000 to Wapakoneta High School athletic boosters. The money will be used for renovations of the soccer field.

The funds will be used for improving the press box at Ryan Field. The improvements include enlarging the press box and installing a separate stairway to gain entry into the press box. A sign will be installed at Harmon Field as well as a sign installed at the Ryan Field press box to honor and thank Potash Corp.

According to its website, Potash Corp. is the world’s largest fertilizer company by capacity, producing the three primary crop nutrients — potash, phosphate and nitrogen. As the world’s leading potash producer, they are responsible for about 20 percent of global capacity.

With operations and business interests in seven countries, Potash Corp. is an international enterprise and a key player in meeting the growing challenge of feeding the world.

OSU-Lima art professor has solo exhibition

LIMA — Ed Valentine, associate professor of art at The Ohio State University at Lima, is the featured artist at the Linda Warren Gallery in Chicago with his solo exhibition, Somebody’s Beauty. The exhibition runs through April 5.

Valentine’s exhibit will feature 14 of his portraiture paintings.

He has taught drawing and painting classes at The Ohio State University at Lima since 1997. He was awarded the Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching in 2011.

Valentine has had more than a dozen solo exhibitions in New York City and Los Angeles as well as the National Moravian-Silesian Theatre, Ostrava, Czech Republic, and the Atrium Gallery in Prague. He has three paintings in the permanent collection of the contemporary wing at the National Gallery in Prague. He has had group exhibitions in Paris, Tokyo and the United Arab Emirates.

Photos of his paintings are available at

Auglaize County Historical Society holds membership drive

WAPAKONETA — The Auglaize County Historical Society is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. The organization would like to expand its membership base. It is holding a membership drive throughout the month of February titled, “History is Where the Heart Is!”

Yearly memberships begin at $25 for adults and businesses. As a special “History is Where the Heart Is!” bonus, anyone who obtains a new membership at the $50 level or above will receive a special gift, a copy of the Historical Society’s "Postcard Images of Auglaize County."

"Postcard Images of Auglaize County" is a hardbound, full-color, 232-page collection of more than 600 historic postcards of Auglaize County. Readers will learn about Auglaize County through the scenes and stories revealed by these postcards.

For information, contact the Historical Society at 419-738-9328 or for a membership brochure.

Three women representing area

LIMA —The Distinguished Young Women Scholarship Program will be held Friday and Saturday in Mount Vernon. This was previously known as Ohio’s Junior Miss Program.

Our area has three representatives this year:

Representing northern Allen County will be Haley Snyder, daughter of Melissa and Darin Michael and Devin and Michelle Snyder. Haley is a senior at Elida High School.

The greater Allen County representative is Kolleen Duffy, daughter of Brian and Julie Duffy. Kolleen is a senior at Lima Central Catholic High School.

Central Allen County will be represented by Stephanie Lamoreau, daughter of Steve and Kathy Lamoreau. Stephanie is also a senior at Lima Central Catholic High School.

These three young women joined 20 additional Ohio high school senior girls in Mount Vernon for a week of rehearsals, luncheons with various service organizations and numerous speaking opportunities.

Cash scholarshps totaling $18,500 will be awarded to the participants. About $2 million in college scholarshps are also awarded in the scholarship program.

Tickets are available for Friday and Saturday evening’s performances. For information, go to or call 740-399-5116.