The Journal Gazette
Sunday, July 04, 2021 1:00 am

Fowl living high life on governor's grounds

NIKI KELLY | The Journal Gazette

Indiana's first family is reaping the benefits of a pandemic project – fresh eggs from a chicken coop added last year to the governor's residence.

And the four hens – Iris, Violet, Peony and Daisy – are giving Henry, Indiana's first dog, some competition.

First lady Janet Holcomb recently showed off the coop, saying Iris is the unofficial leader of the hens. And she said 10-year-old Henry, whom the Holcombs have had since he was a puppy, gets along just fine with them.

The coop was paid for with private donations and the Holcombs built it with help from friends. Now Janet Holcomb says the garden – where the coop is – is her refuge.

She lets the hens out at least once a day, and they fly and hop around, fertilizing the garden area. Their egg output is consistent – several a day. And Janet Holcomb even found mini egg cartons on Etsy to give to visitors.

The coop itself is nicer than most – it even has art hung inside and a small chandelier – an upgrade from the chicks' initial basement dwelling. They then moved to the garage before the coop was finished.

Janet Holcomb is a farm kid herself and feeds and cares for the chickens – including mucking out the pen every few months.

Shift in mask policy calls for new habits

Even before Fort Wayne Community Schools officially announced it would relax its mask policies this month, board members were considering the cosmetic consequences.

“So we'll have to start shaving?” member Steve Corona asked before the meeting last week.

The women chimed in, noting a renewed need for lipstick.

Vaccinated employees and middle and high school students can now be mask-free inside FWCS buildings.

While that policy relies on the honor system, the district requires proof of vaccination from all visitors wanting to go maskless.

Indoors, masks are encouraged for elementary students and recommended for unvaccinated staffers and secondary students.

Appointments made to regional commission

Gov. Eric Holcomb recently announced several appointments to various state boards and commissions, including three to the new Northeast Indiana Strategic Development Commission, who will serve until mid-2023.

They are Ron Turpin of Fort Wayne, CFO and head of Civic Engagement at Ambassador Enterprises, LLC; Andrew Briggs of Geneva, retired CEO of Bank of Geneva; and Michael Vanover of Keystone, CEO of Clean Fuels National and a Wells County commissioner.

Ashley Sloboda of The Journal Gazette contributed to this column.

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