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Fort Wayne native wins recreation award

– Fort Wayne native and naturalist Niki Schmutte won the Indiana Park and Recreation Association’s top award.

Schmutte, the LaPorte County Parks chief naturalist, was presented Jan. 17 with the Award of Excellence Leadership under the category Outstanding Professional, the highest individual honor the IPRA can bestow. She’s been the chief naturalist for LaPorte County since 1994.

Her role as a chief naturalist includes developing original programming for a variety of age groups and audiences, managing the nature center’s day-to-day operations and playing a key role in long-term planning for the parks.

“Niki exemplifies the true meaning of an outstanding professional,” LaPorte County Parks superintendent Tim Morgan said in a release. “She has a track record of being a great storyteller, an invaluable fountain of facts and knowledge, and an icon as a naturalist, interpreter, and environmental educator. She demonstrates outstanding leadership in enhancing the quality of life and enjoyment of the outdoors for all ages.”

Ironman, amputee to talk at Grace

Scott Rigsby, ironman competitor and double amputee, will be the guest speaker of the Grace College Chapter of the Council for Exceptional Children on Friday in Winona Lake.

Rigsby, who lost both legs at 18 in a crash involving a tractor-trailer-rig, holds world records for double below-the-knee amputees in the marathon, half ironman and international distance triathlon. He was also a member of the 2006 USA triathlon team and was the first double amputee on prosthetics to finish an ironman distance triathlon.

Rigsby is an active speaker who has counseled wounded United States troops. He began the Scott Rigsby Foundation, which is “designed to inspire, educate, and enable amputees and all challenged athletes around the world, and is opening new doors for challenged athletes to meet their personal goals.”

The event at the Orthopedic Capital Center invites high school students with disabilities in the area to explore post-secondary options available in the community. Students will have the opportunity to visit a Transition Expo where area agencies, educational institutions and businesses will have display booths of opportunities and resources available as the students plan for post-graduation.

For more information, contact Nina Ferry at, or Dr. Cheryl Bremer at

Menís softball team to enter state Hall

The Lewis Quality Homes/Questar Capital men’s slow-pitch softball team will be inducted into the Indiana ASA Hall of Fame on March 9 in Bloomington.

Members of the team include Chad Gust and Keith Schmidt from LaGrange; Brett Slone and Chuck Leamon from Kendallville; Darrin Miller from Nappanee; Bob McHenry from Lansing, Mich.; Jeremy Hochstetler from Cromwell; Jay Gingerich, Eric Hostetler and Matt Martin from Middlebury; Mike Fawcett from Decatur; Chad Marchand from Fort Wayne; Jay Grate from Auburn; Dennis Gerke from Warsaw; and Kevin Lambright and Butch Lehman from Topeka.

A total of 74 ASA state championships were won by these players.

Boat Show slated for Feb. 7 to 10

The 32nd Fort Wayne Boat Show & Sale is coming to Memorial Coliseum Feb. 7 to 10.

More than 60 exhibitors, including 20 area marine dealers from Indiana and Michigan, are expected to participate.

Among the items on display will be wet suits, wake boards, floats, water toys, lifts, piers, docks, boat covers, boat repair and patio furniture. The show also includes a free Department of Natural Resources water and boating safety class from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 9.

DNR chat on ice safety, ice fishing

Facebook followers of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources can chat about ice fishing and ice safety with Lt. William Browne of DNR Law Enforcement and Michelle Cain, DNR wildlife information specialist, from 2 to 3 p.m. Wednesday.

They will discuss guidelines for having a safe and enjoyable experience on the ice, whether fishing, skating or just sliding around.