Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Thanks to those who make our lives better

Posted on Jan. 8, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.

Our regular Tuesday expression of gratitude for those working to make this a better community:

Thanks to the ice carvers who transformed downtown Goshen into a crystal wonderland Saturday, even if Neanderthals wrecked most of your work.

Goshen’s Fire and Ice Festival, part of First Fridays, features a chili cook-off and ice carving up and down Main Street. People look forward to it all year.

Using chainsaws, drills, torches, grinders and irons, artists transformed 600-pound blocks of ice into elaborate dragons, flowers, pigs, teddy bears, bistro tables, fairies, palm trees, gazelles and spires. Then, over the weekend, a vandal — or vandals — smashed most of the sculptures. Among the casualties: The winning piece, an elephant balancing blocks outside Better World Books. Officials valued the sculpture, created by Mike Evans of Edwardsburg, Mich., at $500.

Goshen and Downtown Goshen Inc. announced Friday that they’d put up $500 for information leading to the arrest of the vandal or vandals. Call the Goshen Police Department at 574-533-8661 if you know who was responsible. You can also send an email to

For a few glorious hours over the weekend, downtown Goshen glittered like a diamond. We’re grateful for the memory.

Thanks to Wheelchair Help, which helps those who are not covered by Medicare.

After distributing hundreds of wheelchairs, walkers and other supplies last year, the nonprofit agency now operates out of a building with 20,000 square feet of display area in downtown Elkhart.

“We have 20,000 square feet of display area now, which we needed, and all of it is wheelchair accessible,” director Joe Lidy told an Elkhart Truth reporter. “It also allows us better organization. It’s going to help us with people looking to volunteer much more easily.”

To learn more about the organization, or to ask about a wheelchair or walker, call 295-2230, visit or email

And finally, thanks to Faith Slayton, who pointed out the need for more handicap parking spaces downtown.

Slayton, 45, deals with a brain disorder that affects her balance while walking and makes it increasingly difficult to use her right hand. Despite the creation of more than 150 new parking spots last spring, thanks to angle parking, Slayton noted that the city reserves one spot on South Main — in front of Seifert’s Drug Store — for drivers with mobility issues.

“I would think I’m not the only one to be concerned about this,” Slayton told a Truth reporter. “Just about everybody eventually is going to know someone or themselves who will need a wheelchair, a walker or a cane.”

Slayton approached a city official about the problem last summer and got nowhere. The city is in ADA compliance, the official told her, and besides — there’s plenty of handicap parking on side streets and behind stores.

The city plans to add three more handicap slots in front of ADEC’s new offices in the 300 block of South Main. But after learning about Slayton’s concerns, city traffic engineer Leslie Biek said she’d be open to the creation of more spaces. Maybe one or two per block, she said.

Good for Biek. And good for Slayton, too.

She wouldn’t take no for an answer, and the city will become more accessible as a result.