Tuesday, June 27, 2006

People Who Shape Towns

“The McHale Performing Arts Center was built from a fund put together by Frank McHale, who was born and raised in Logansport and became a very prosperous railroad attorney in Indianapolis.” Skip Kuker showed me the 650 seat center along with a century old carousel that is prominently located in Logansport’s Riverside Park that was also supported and named for Mr. McHale.

Cole Hardwood was another stop on our tour of the town. “They are the third largest hardwood company in the country. They burned down seven years ago, but the owner Milt Cole kept every one of his 85 employees on the payroll while he rebuilt. He paid them for 14 months, without any revenue coming in.”

Logansport has teamed up with Ivy Tech, the state technical school, to begin offering entrepreneurship classes beginning in the fourth grade. The curriculum culminates in a business plan competition at the high school level which awards a $1000 scholarship to the winner. “We have a middle school student who has a patent pending on a stabilizer bar for bow hunting. He is selling it all over the country and is only in the eighth grade.”

It only takes one or two passionate people to influence and change a town for the better. Educating, cultivating and encouraging those few can make a world of difference for a community.

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