Exchange Club

MICHIGAN CITY — The Michigan City Exchange Club met on Feb. 11 at the DAV, Michigan City.

Jim Fisher introduced Lyn Swanson, a deputy coroner for La Porte County. Swanson informed Exchangites about some statistics of the deaths in the county. The coroner’s office reported 260 deaths in 2019. Thirty-one of those were considered accidental though they were caused by drug overdose. Swanson said the coroner’s office works closely with law enforcement so as to prosecute those who are dealing these deadly narcotics. The office is staffed by the coroner, two deputies and nine additional part-time investigators. Swanson said the average age of overdose victims is 40 to 45-years-old. Swanson is running for the office of Coroner.

Jim Fisher introduced Major Becky Simmons and Jessica O’Brien of the Michigan City Salvation Army. Major Simmons said the Red Kettle fundraising program reached 98 percent of its $200,000.

“We host a summer men’s shelter,” Simmons said. The Salvation Army can house up to 30 men in their shelter, she said. Simmons also informed Exchangites of a program the Salvation Army started in April of last year, Pathway to Hope. The new program is designed to aid those that wish to change their situation.

“They have to be ready to change their lives,” she said.

Individuals are aided in stopping devastating habits and replacing those with positive, healing habits, she said. During a question and answer session, the Major reported that the food pantry is serving approximately 400 folks each month who have fallen on hard times. Simmons also told Exchangites the food they serve at the shelter is prepared by several different providers including Saint Anthony’s Hospital and John Sheets of Three Sheets Bar & Grill. The Michigan City Exchange Club has budgeted $6,000 in donations to the Salvation Army this fiscal year.

The next meeting of Exchange is Feb. 18. The meeting starts at 12 noon and doors open at 11:30 a.m. The program is to be determined.

Exchangettes

MICHIGAN CITY — The Exchangettes Club of Michigan City held their monthly meeting at the Elks Club in Michigan City on Jan. 21.

The speaker for the evening was Jeremy Sobecki, superintendent of the La Porte County Parks Department. Sobecki presented a program about how to kick the invasive gardening habit with native plant alternatives. Invasive plants out-compete the surrounding native plants. They tend to put their leaves out earlier in the spring and lose them later in the fall than their native counterparts, Sobecki said. This extended growth period gives them an advantage over the native species. Non-native plants have no natural enemy, quickly reproduce, and are unpalatable to deer, he explained.

Sobecki said all the parks contained in the La Porte County Parks Department are in the process of replacing invasive plants. For consumers, education is key.

The winner of the 50/50 drawing was Annette LaBerge, and Gretchen Kalk-Castro won the door award.

The next meeting of the Exchangettes will be held on Feb. 18 at the Elks Club in Michigan City. New members are always welcome.

Hesston Homemakers

HESSTON — Women present at the Jan. 27 meeting of Hesston Homemakers Extension Club were Linda Barnes, Connie Garrison, Teri Lebo, Patty Sardeson, Betty Swanson and Carolyn Warren. They welcomed guest Sharon Russ from East Galena Extension Club.

President Barnes opened the meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag and the Homemakers’ Creed. She introduced their guest. Roll call was taken by members telling them what their favorite activity was when they were young. Some of the favorite activities were bike riding, playing with friends, swimming, square dancing and enjoying the outdoors.

Sardeson read the minutes from the last meeting, and shared the health, safety and wellness report on “15 Minute Hacks for Good Health.” Garrison gave the treasurer’s report, and reported donations made to the two food pantries they had chosen in November. “Coins for Friendship” were collected. The song “Let it Snow” was sung.

Barnes brought up for discussion old business items. She and Sardeson said they attended the council holiday party in December and had a wonderful time. It was noted that the auction at the holiday party was exiting and entertaining. Russ invited members to come to the crocheting and knitting group that meets at the County Extension Office every Monday the office is open. All present agreed that the Christmas party at Heston Supper Club was wonderful. Russ noted the PAX center in La Porte always needs plastic bags and could use cloth shopping bags to pass out to their clients. Many donated plastic shopping bags to be crocheted into mats for the homeless.

Barnes reminded members that “Lend a Hand Day” is scheduled for April 2 and will be held at the Community Building at the La Porte County Fairgrounds. The group meets from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and all are welcome to help with projects.

Several other upcoming events were mentioned. The Spring District Meeting, held in St, Joseph County, will be March 25. Russ shared parts of a memo sent to club presidents from the State Extension Club President. The State Home & Family Conference is scheduled June 1 through June 3, and will be held at Embassy Suites in Plainfield, Indiana. Russ announced the Cultural Arts project this year will be “Aprons”. Scholarships are available for women planning on going to the state conference. If applying for either the “First Timers Award” or “I Want to go Again Award,” applications are available online and are due by March 9 and March 15 respectively.

Their next Educational Retreat will be March 18 with registration starting at 2:45 p.m. at the County Extension Office. Sessions include “Trends in Healthy Eating,” “Staying Sharp,” and “Asthma and Allergies.” The carry-in dinner and dinner speaker are scheduled for 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Those interested in going should call the Extension Office to reserve their space. The Country Women’s Council will be held Sept. 14 through 16 and will be held in Indianapolis.

Ideas for next year’s program book were discussed. Russ offered several ideas for roll calls and songs. She suggested July could have a patriotic roll call or ask who has attended a parade, and the song “America” could be sung. For the month of August, she suggested that for roll call members could answer by telling of a vacation we enjoyed. She suggested the song “School Days” for September and answer roll call by telling about their kindergarten class. Roll call in November could be telling if they celebrate Thanksgiving with family, they said.

Barnes suggested a flower theme where a flower is picked for each month and they use songs that have flowers in the title. Sardeson passed around a list of 50 songs with a type of flower in the title. Garrison will research and bring a list of quotes that could be used for parting shots. Barnes said she would like to see a calendar on the back of the program book. Members will continue program book discussion at the February club meeting. Barnes said their ideas for the program book need to be turned in sometime in April. It was uncertain if Russ would be able to attend the next meeting on Feb. 24, or if Barnes would be able to visit the East Galena Extension Club meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 25.

Secret Pal gifts were given to Swanson, Struebing, Lila Brown, Cheri Schwenk and Sardeson. The door Award was won by Sardeson.

The next meeting will be Monday, Feb. 24, at Lamb’s Chapel United Methodist Church at 6 p.m. Refreshments will be provided by Sardeson.

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