Sunday, October 21, 2007

Canines On The Catwalk

The fashion industry has officially gone to the dogs, if only for a day in South Bend, Indiana.

On Tuesday, October 16 2007, a talented and resourceful group of volunteers known as “The Pet Refuge Guild” sponsored a full blown poochie fashion show and on this auspicious afternoon, it was all about the dog.

The show featured six different dog stars and their human counterparts complete with music, wardrobe changes, and a full service luncheon at the accommodating Waterford Estates.

The music was lively and the talent was primed but what was most impressive is that these wonderful dogs were flawless in their delivery. It was as if they were trained to do this yet they were just novices with no formal training. Turning on a dime, strutting to the music, and representing their brethren famously, these precious souls brought it! A “paws” for the cause, if you will, which raised over $2000.00.

The proceeds from this event will serve a truly benevolent cause by supporting the ongoing efforts of The Pet Refuge which is a no kill shelter serving the South Bend and greater Mishawaka areas.

Pet Refuge was founded in 1978 as a not-for-profit Corporation and consists of many volunteers whose sole mission is to protect the health and welfare of these rescued animals while providing the best possible placement options.

They recognize the value of these animal’s lives and are quite creative in establishing temporary foster homes while searching for long term and permanent placement. It is in this arena that the greatest challenges lie, in that there is an ever increasing demand as these pets are abandoned and left behind.

Another uplifting attribute of this organization is that they have created an opportunity for the youth of the community to contribute to this worthy cause.

A young man named Ethan Starke helped Pet Refuge to repair the roof and some of the exterior kennels as part of his Eagle Scout Project. Ethan spent 139 hours selling over $400.00 in candy bars and an additional 40 hours on the repair job with some help from Troop 256 from the Bremen area.

Pet Refuge also supports a “Junior Program” which meets every other Saturday from May through October and has children and their parents working side by side while instilling the values of caring and nurturing as they serve this wonderful organization.

Every dog has it’s day, and with the hard work and determination of these selfless volunteers, many other dogs will have their day as well.


Thursday, October 4, 2007

A City On The Rise

The City of Buchanan was settled in 1833 at the spot where McCoy Creek meets the St. Joseph River and was once a major transportation route for Native American tribes in the area, especially the Potawatomi.

An historical marker to that effect has been placed on Moccasin Trail north of Buchanan near Batchelor's Island.

Buchanan is in the midst of a civic rebirth in that many of the historic buildings that have come to define the downtown district are under renovation.

Not to be lost in translation, it is important to be cognizant of the industry that once flourished here.

Buchanan was historically known as the headquarters for Clark Equipment Corporation. A manufacturer of truck axles, fork lift trucks, front-end loaders, and other heavy machinery; Clark left the area in the 1990's and this departure forced the city to diversify which resulted in a number of smaller businesses which ultimately took over the buildings that Clark had essentially donated to the city.

Another industry leader was the Electro Voice Corporation which was a manufacturer of high quality audio equipment such as microphones, amplifiers and loudspeakers. Soon after being purchased by Telex Communications, Inc., Electro-Voice's management left Buchanan and several years later, in 2002, the remaining Electro-Voice manufacturing plant closed.

In addition to the remnants of industry, it is the beauty of this enclave that truly defines the character of Buchanan.

Bear Cave is a camping resort north of Buchanan featuring a cave which was once a stop along the Under Ground Railroad, assisting freed and escaped slaves from the Southern States to reach freedom in the Northern States or Canada. Bear Cave offers canoeing and boating along the St. Joseph River.

The Tin Shop Theater, located near Pears Mill, is a wonderful, little theater with great performances in the summer. The seasons run into September and a variety of shows for everyone of any age and any occasion are performed here.

Pears Mill which utilized the water power of the swiftly flowing McCoy Creek, was built in 1857. This beautiful piece of Americana remains open during the summer for visitors.

Fernwood is a nature preserve along the Eastern bank of the St. Joseph River along Rangeline Road and Redbud Track 'N' Trail is an event site north of Buchanan featuring motocross, BMX, and other motor sport activities. Certain races held there are of national interest and are often featured on ESPN and other such cable sports networks.

The hidden treasure and jewel of Buchanan lies in the diversity of the citizenry. There are winemakers and farmers, there are entrepreneurs and visionaries, but best of all there are the people who will shape the future while embracing the past.