A Twist on a Valentine’s Day Chocolate for Your Sweetie
Feb13

A Twist on a Valentine’s Day Chocolate for Your Sweetie

Valentine’s Day is coming. What are you going to get your sweetie? Some Hershey’s Kisses and a dozen roses? Fine, do that, but if he or she happens to appreciate good beer, maybe take a look at this list and pick up one (or some) of these. I know, I know, this will be a stirring subject. People are very sensitive about craft beer. If you’re going to get all worked up because there’s commercial “Big Beer”-owned beer on here then maybe just skip over those. And I’m a pretty positive guy, so while you may think some of the beers on here are putrid, an opinion you’re more than welcome to have, I didn’t have a problem with any of them. And I’m not a paid critic, so there’s no need for negativity here! This list includes a variety of beer styles from a mix of national and obscure breweries. I’m not a homebrewer, but am a pretty avid craft beer (and good beer, in general) drinker. So, while this isn’t written by Geoff the Beer Snob (no offense to any Geoffs reading this), it’s authentic – and by that I mean I’ve tried all of these. I’m not going to get into mouthfeels and head, that’s another list altogether. If you want that kind of beer review you should check out Beer Advocate. And yes, I know that technically just about any robust porter or sweet stout could qualify here, but this list is specific to beers that actually say chocolate is in them – hence the tie to Valentine’s Day. 1. Shake Chocolate Porter from Boulder Beer One of the first “chocolate beers” I ever tried and I still love it. In fact, I’m drinking one right now. This is a very flavorful robust porter that includes chocolate wheat, chocolate malt (and others) and cacao nibs – these guys in Colorado have mastered their craft. I’ve never been to a truly respectable beer contest, but Boulder Brewing has, and this beer has some bling to show for it. Reasonably-priced and pretty widely available, this one tops my list of favorite beers, not just favorite chocolate beers. The nice thing about porters is that they typically have a distinctive enough touch of hops to add unique flavor, but are also roasty and malty without feeling like you’re drinking a milkshake. Remember Choc-Ola? This is kind of like that, but beer. 2. Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter from Horny Goat Brewing Company This one should be pretty easy to replicate, really. Just melt a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, throw it in a blender, dump in your favorite American porter, put the lid on,...

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Special Olympics Polar Plunge Returns February 20!
Jan20

Special Olympics Polar Plunge Returns February 20!

Special Olympics Indiana will host their annual Fort Wayne Polar Plunge on February 20 from 10am-1pm at Metea County Park. This fun and safe event consists of individuals and companies raising funds through pledges and donations for the chance to take a “plunge” into Metea County Park Lake. Special Olympics empowers people of all ages with intellectual disabilities to live active lives through socializing, exercising, and friendly competition. The impact this organization has on the lives of not only the athletes, but also the parents, coaches, and volunteers, is immeasurable. Talk to anyone who has volunteered with Special Olympics and they’ll likely tell you that the joy on an athlete’s face when they complete a race, score a basket, or catch a fly ball is indescribable, and impossible to erase from their mind. The only way to truly experience the power of Special Olympics is to attend a game or event – the pure-hearted enthusiasm and camaraderie you’ll witness is exceptional and memorable. The Polar Plunge is fun, safe, and simple—to be a Plunger all you have to do is register online, raise a minimum of $75, and show up at Metea County Park (8401 Union Chapel Rd., northeast of Fort Wayne, near Leo-Cedarville) on February 20 between 10-11am. Upon arrival you’ll sign in and prepare to take a quick dip in the shallow lake. Following the Plunge, participants and spectators are invited to join the After Splash Bash in the Metea Park Nature Center to socialize and enjoy food and beverages. This event helps raise funds for Special Olympics Indiana programs and generates awareness of the positive impact of Special Olympics. Athletes from all over Allen and almost every other Indiana county participate in Special Olympics Indiana hosted and sanctioned events and these funds go towards keeping cost of participation down, awards, administrative costs, and more. Special Olympics is encouraging as many businesses and schools as possible to get involved by putting together a team of Plungers or by nominating one lucky person to serve as the Plunge representative and helping them raise funds. Prizes are awarded for fundraising levels met, and door prizes will be drawn at the After Splash Bash. Door prize donations, in-kind sponsors, and event volunteers are also needed. For more information or to get involved please contact Jake Pickett at jake@ylni.org or 260-402-9633, or...

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YLNI the Vote: Meet the Candidates and Rally the Vote
Sep25

YLNI the Vote: Meet the Candidates and Rally the Vote

On November 3rd Indiana voters will elect representatives for mayor, city council, and clerk. These offices don’t headline the national news, but in many ways, they can affect our community as much, if not more, than any other offices. They are positions held by our neighbors, our co-workers, and our peers, and they’ll help guide Fort Wayne through this inspirational rise in civic engagement and pride. Just 10 to 15 years ago Fort Wayne was seeing its young professionals moving to Indianapolis, Chicago and other locales after graduating from college. Recently, however, there has been a shift and more graduates are considering job opportunities right here in Fort Wayne. This year’s election will place leaders who determine what this city has to offer to help retain and attract talent. Additionally, it will shape the type of community our children and grandchildren will grow up in. Issues like safety, education, entertainment, economic development, and jobs are on the forefront. Fort Wayne has a hotly-contested mayoral race and could have as many as seven new city council members. Fort Wayne will have a new city clerk for the first time in over 30 years. Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana urges voters of all ages to pay attention to what the candidates are saying, doing, and advocating. As a nonpartisan organization that encourages young professionals to get involved, to make their mark, and to make their voices heard, YLNI finds it troubling that Indiana had the lowest voter turnout in the country last November. And, the 9.8 percent turnout in the May primary elections in Allen County was the lowest in history. Whether that was due to misinformation, lack of information, or just plain apathy, they’re not going to stand by and just hope more people turn out to vote in November. YLNI is committed to doing something about it by hosting multiple events, in partnership with several other organizations, to help engage and educate voters. On Oct. 1, YLNI will host a “Meet the Candidates” night. Candidates have been invited to give a short speech to let attendees know who they are and what they stand for. The event is 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Embassy Theatre and is open to members of the participating organizations. On Oct. 8, YLNI will host “Rally the Vote” – a free, family-friendly block party open to the public from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on the Landing, Columbia Street in downtown Fort Wayne. Voters can vote at the County building until 4:30 p.m. and then join us for music, food, beverages and outdoor games. Just as important as increasing turnout, is having...

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Special Olympics Polar Plunge is February 21 – Take the Plunge!
Jan09

Special Olympics Polar Plunge is February 21 – Take the Plunge!

Special Olympics Indiana and Allen County will host their annual Polar Plunge on February 21 from 10am-2pm. This fun and safe event consists of individuals and companies raising funds through pledges and donations for the chance to take a “plunge” into the freezing cold Metea Park Lake. Special Olympics allows for people of all ages with intellectual disabilities to live active lives through socializing, exercising, and friendly competition. The impact this organization has on the lives of not only the athletes, but also the parents, coaches, and volunteers is immeasurable. Talk to anyone who has volunteered with Special Olympics and they’ll likely tell you that the exhilaration on an athlete’s face when they complete a race, score a basket, or catch a fly ball is indescribable, and impossible to erase from their mind. The only way to truly experience the power of Special Olympics is to attend a game or event – the pure-hearted joy and camaraderie you’ll witness is rare and memorable. The Polar Plunge is fun, safe, and simple—to be a Plunger all one has to do is register online, raise a minimum of $75 in pledges, and show up at Metea Park (8401 Union Chapel Rd., northeast Fort Wayne, near Leo-Cedarville) on February 21 between 8am-10am where they’ll prepare to take a quick dip in the ice-cold lake water. Following the Plunge, participants and spectators are invited to join the After Splash Bash in the Metea Park Nature Center to socialize and enjoy food and beverages. This event helps raise funds for state and local Special Olympics programs and generates awareness of the power of Special Olympics, which allows children and adults with intellectual disabilities to live active lives through socialization, exercise, and friendly competition. Special Olympics is encouraging as many businesses and schools as possible to get involved by putting together a team of Plungers or by nominating one lucky person to serve as the Plunge representative and helping them raise funds. Prizes are awarded for fundraising levels met, and door prizes will be drawn at the After Splash Bash. Door prize donations, in-kind sponsors, and event volunteers are also needed. For more information or to get involved please contact Jake Pickett at jake@ylni.org or 260-402-9633, or visit www.soindiana.org....

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Cirque du Soleil at the Coliseum – $10 off tickets
Oct23

Cirque du Soleil at the Coliseum – $10 off tickets

The world’s most famous circus, Cirque du Soleil, is coming to Fort Wayne November 5-9 to perform the last run of its “signature production,” Dralion, at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana (YLNI) and Living Fort Wayne are proud to be partnering with the Coliseum to offer $10 off tickets to YLNI members and supporters. Most people associate Cirque du Soleil with Las Vegas, and rightfully so, because according to the always reliable Wikipedia, 9,000 people are attending each one of its eight different shows each night. However, the largest theatrical producer in the world actually began in Montreal in 1984, started by a couple of street performers. They grew from a traveling troupe to what’s known now as a contemporary circus, or “nouveau cirque,” and they’re not only all over Vegas, but touring in 20 countries across the world. While we love 3 Rings of Fun just as much as any 7-year-old in a 30-something’s body, Cirque isn’t ten clowns jumping out of a VW or monkeys riding elephants. We’re talking about some of the most incredibly athletic and coordinated performers on the planet telling a story through music, dance, gymnastics, and theatrics. Here are some fun facts provided by Cirque du Soleil: More than 150 million spectators have seen a Cirque du Soleil show since 1984 and almost 15 million will see a show in 2014. Don’t you want to be 1 in 15 million? It takes five hours for six touring stagehands and a handful of local carpenters to set up the stage for Dralion. This includes 250 magnetic panels, 11 trap doors, and a revolving lift. And it’s assembled using only a mallet and a hex key—true story. Apparently it was designed by Ikea (not true). The sound system includes over 100 speakers divided into 32 zones. And the sound team performs more than 700 cues during each performance. They go through a lot of wardrobe. Over 16,000 feet of fabric was used in creating the original costumes and thousands more is used each year in replacements and repairs. This includes 3,000 wardrobe items (my guess is 1,000 of those items are single socks whose match got lost in the dryer). Some interesting materials are used—including horsehair, colored raffia, metal and plastic springs, faux fir, and even cable ties. All artists do their own makeup. They train for up to 16 hours to learn how to do it and some can use 25 brushes, 10 different colors, and take an hour to apply. Sounds like Saturday night in a sorority house to me, but what do I know? If you’re unfamiliar with Cirque du Soleil you really should...

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