All We Want for Christmas is Fort Wayne
Dec16

All We Want for Christmas is Fort Wayne

We here at Living Fort Wayne asked some of our volunteers what they wanted for Christmas. What did they say in response? “All we want for Christmas is Fort Wayne!” See their local holiday wishlists below! HAPI Painted Calbas Necklace from ­ Creative Women of the World – These necklaces are made from Haitian gourds by women in Mizak, Haiti and distributed through Haitian Artisans for Peace International. 6-­piece Truffle Assortment from ­ DeBrand Fine Chocolates – With 12 types of truffles to choose from, it’s easy to find something for every taste. Peacock Art Print from Redeem The Art by Gwendolyn Leinginer – Gwen Leininger is a local artist specializing in art prints and small crafts. Hayley Swimsuit from­ OFabz Swimwear – Olivia and Cheryl Fabian are the creators and designers of this beautiful vintage swimwear line based in Fort Wayne. Gift Certificate from ­Old Crown Coffee Roasters – Locally grown coffee blends by day, full bar by night,­ Old Crown has every type of coffee you could dream of, Available by the pound or freshly brewed in the shop. Tickets to Tincaps Home Opener on April 8, 2014 – Enjoy an American pastime at Parkview Field. Telescope (AstroMaster 70 AZ) from Phil’s Hobby Shop – Stare at the stars and dream. Seat in the YLNI Leadership Institute – Network with other professionals and learn new skills. Two Tickets to the Fort Wayne Philharmonic Pops Concert – Enjoy a little culture at the Historic Embassy Theater. Membership to the CinemaCenter – Free popcorn, discounted tickets, and plenty of movies for your cinema addiction. W.H. Harrison Presidential Reserve, on the rocks, at Red Rok BBQ & Bourbon Saloon –  Stay for some awesome food and a drink or two from their extensive selection of bourbons and whiskeys. Tickets to a Komets Hockey Game –  Nothing heats up the cold winter like a game at the Jungle. Tickets  to a Tincaps Baseball Game – In a stadium that will make most professional teams jealous, there isn’t a bad seat in the house. Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo Season Pass – Easily the best summertime value for families in Fort Wayne.  See one animal or spend the day, the pressure is off when you can visit one of the top ten children’s zoos in the country. Science Central Season Pass – An awesome and fun learning environment.  Don’t miss Science on a Sphere!  Fort Wayne is on the cutting edge as one of 100 cities to have this exhibit. Shoes, clothes, gadgets, or anything a runner like me would want can be found at Three Rivers Running Company. Red Fox Bakery features homemade treats, family recipes, creative designs by request, and delivery in the Fort Wayne...

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Faces of the Fort: Stasha Carrasquillo
Oct07

Faces of the Fort: Stasha Carrasquillo

Stasha Carrasquillo joins us for October’s Faces of the Fort, asserting that there is no shortage of things to get involved with in our area. Stasha is quite active in the community from volunteering for a slew of causes to working at Parkview Health as the director of foundation communication to championing Northeast Indiana as a great place for Millennials to raise families. Originally from the 101 lakes of Steuben County, she graduated from a small high school near South Bend. She says choosing where to attend college is what led her “straight to the heart of Fort Wayne”–and she’s never looked back. 1.) You’ve achieved a great deal in a short amount of time: worked for a handful of terrific Northeast-Indiana-bred employers, earned two degrees, AND served as Miss Kankakee Valley. What are some benefits to making a life here in Fort Wayne as a young Gen Y professional? What are some challenges? I have never second guessed my decision to build my career and life in Fort Wayne because the biggest benefit of making a life here is that opportunities abound for anyone who is willing to make their move, share their passion and be a part of what is going on around them. This takes initiative which is a challenge that may turn away some, but for those who truly want to make their life about sharing their passions and accomplishing their goals, life in Fort Wayne is perfectly staged for just that. My passion is learning and my goals challenge me to broaden my horizons and challenge myself to grow personally, spiritually and professionally; all of these elements of my life have found a place in Fort Wayne. 2.) What’s one of the things about the Fort that you’re most proud of? What makes me most proud of Fort Wayne is the loyalty and camaraderie that can be found behind in every corner you search. Local coffee shops, bakeries, a growing trail system, Parkview Field, Lunch on the Square, new local restaurants, Fort4Fitness, RiverFest, the list could go on, but all of these share the common denominator that a Fort Wayne resident had an idea, dare I say a passion, and championed something they believed would benefit our community. I see so much growth happening throughout our community and knowing that the drive for this is homegrown makes me all the more proud to be able to share in the excitement. Not to mention my husband Andre and I get to show-off all of the new and wonderful things there are to share with others here in the Fort to our out-of-town family and friends....

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Faces of the Fort: C. Ray Harvey
Sep09

Faces of the Fort: C. Ray Harvey

September’s installment of Faces of the Fort features the visionary, artistic side of Fort Wayne. Creative director at Aptera by day and musician with Heaven’s Gateway Drugs by night, C. Ray Harvey was kind enough to let me pick his brain on why our city is a great place for artists and creatives to call home. C. Ray spent some of his early years in Fort Wayne before his family moved to Texas, then the Indianapolis area, and then finally back to Fort Wayne. He says it’s not the physical amenities this city offers that made him stay here but rather the strong sense of community among creative types. 1.) You moved around a bit when you were younger. What made you decide to set up shop in Fort Wayne? How did the Fort fit you in a way that other cities didn’t? I had a lot of options when the time came to decide where to go to college. Several from Indiana were on my list. In the end I chose IPFW because I liked Fort Wayne and wanted to settle here with my (now) wife Andrea. It was through my wife’s connections that I landed a copywriter job at Aptera in downtown Fort Wayne. I still had years of college to finish, but I slowly worked my way through various areas of the business, from copywriting to project management then business analysis, and now as creative director. 2.) As a musician and writer, what’s the Fort Wayne scene like for a creative like yourself? Where does it excel? Where does it fall short? I consider myself a musician first and foremost. With that said, I think Fort Wayne sets the stage for you to do whatever you want to do. It’s the doing that stalls people, I think. Fort Wayne is not a place where you can just go to art openings and rock shows and other creative events and call yourself an artist because you showed up. The community isn’t quite big enough for that. There aren’t enough events for anyone to be a full-time attendee. Instead, it demands action from its participants. I like that. I like playing music for other musicians. It’s not that I wouldn’t appreciate a bigger audience, but this setting forces me to keep doing. 3.) If you moved away to a different state tomorrow, what’s the one thing you would miss about the Fort? I usually miss the Brass Rail even if I’m gone for just a couple of weekends. It’s certainly not a slice of heaven, but to me it embodies the community of people that I identify with....

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Faces of the Fort: Erica Kennedy
Aug06

Faces of the Fort: Erica Kennedy

It’s hard to believe that August is here already! If you listen closely, you can hear the faint sound of school bells in the distance. In the back-to-school spirit, August’s Faces of the Fort column features Erica Kennedy, an elementary teacher who takes pride in positively impacting the lives of her students. A transplant from Goshen, IN, Erica was attracted to the bustling cityscape, amenities, and colleges. By the time she earned her degree in elementary education from IPFW in 2011, she had fallen in love with the Fort and decided to stay. She has lived in Fort Wayne for 6 years and now works for Fort Wayne Community Schools (FWCS). Read on as Erica dishes on finding her calling, her experience teaching with FWCS, and the one piece of advice she has for all parents sending kids back to school this year. 1.) What made you decide to become a teacher, and how has teaching in the Fort Wayne community facilitated that dream? I realized that I wanted to be a teacher after completing an internship in high school. I was placed in an elementary classroom and worked with students for a semester. During that internship I realized the feelings of accomplishment and pride I felt after a student had shown growth because of something I had taught them and knew that I wanted that to be my career. I love watching my students achieve their educational and personal goals and knowing that I played a part in that. Teaching in the Fort Wayne community for the past two years has been a great experience for me. I have had the opportunity to teach in many different schools in the area and meet many parents, students, and teachers. FWCS really pushes teachers and students alike to dream big and work hard. With the support of the school system and some awesome kids that are willing to work hard, I have enjoyed watching my students grow throughout the year. I get to relive the feelings of accomplishment and pride every single day! 2.) From a behind-the-scenes teacher perspective, what positive things have you seen the Fort Wayne school system doing to improve education and overall quality of life for area students? FWCS really takes a vested interest in students’ achievement and success in the classroom, always pushing them to try harder and do their best. The school system also gives students many opportunities to learn through and interact with technology. Many of the students in the district come from low income families and may not have that hands-on interaction with technology that they need in our ever-changing society. Teachers...

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Faces of the Fort: Reneta Ushana Thurairatnam
Jul14

Faces of the Fort: Reneta Ushana Thurairatnam

By Ashley Motia The featured Face of the Fort for this month is Reneta Ushana Thurairatnam. Reneta works in the private wealth management industry by day, which affords her many adventures as a foodie by night. She loves the big city amenities Fort Wayne offers while still feeling like she can easily make a difference in the community around her. Find out more about Reneta and what she loves about our city below. 1.) Tell me about your roots: when did you move to Fort Wayne and what brought you here? I moved here in 2002 for a job, but I was already familiar with Fort Wayne because I went to Huntington University and the Fort was the closest city with decent shopping! My husband Steve is Fort Wayne born and raised–and his father before him and his father’s father before him. He’s never really ventured beyond northeast Indiana, so sometimes he feels like he’s missing out. I think I have given him an appreciation for the city through my eyes. While my sister and I were born in the United States, we definitely didn’t have a traditional American upbringing! My parents immigrated from Sri Lanka in the 70s prior to a 26 year civil war. The effects leading up to war started much sooner for my parents, who were part of the Tamil ethnic group which at that time was being persecuted by the Sinhalese ethnic group. My dad left his job as an attorney to come to the United States and start all over again, bringing his family over once he had established a life here. 2.) What’s your favorite thing about Fort Wayne? I am a foodie. I absolutely love Fort Wayne’s restaurants, and I love the food truck scene. One of the things I love the most is that while Fort Wayne cuisine is predominately American, over the past several years we have opened our arms to several ethnic restaurants including Thai, Vietnamese, Malaysian, Korean, and even Burmese! Fantastic! Now if only we had a Sri Lankan restaurant… 3.) What makes the Fort stand out among other cities? Many people think Fort Wayne is small, but it’s not to me. While I love cities like New York and Toronto because they are constantly active and culturally diverse, I grew up in a town of a couple thousand. With a graduating class of 48, that’s small. What I love about Fort Wayne is that we do things like big cities (festivals, crazy 5k races, and social media events), but we are small enough that your voice can be heard. If I want to be involved in...

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