Megan Dues – One Woman’s Mission to Reach Happiness

Megan Dues hunched over the bathtub and cried out in pain as Piper, her 2-year-old daughter, sat in the water.

Dues quickly removed Piper from the bathtub in fear of something worse happening, but Piper did not leave her mother’s side.

“Piper held my hand and patted my back and said, ‘It’s going to be okay, mom,’” Dues said.

It was the only time she experienced a ruptured cyst alone with Piper, but Dues said she specifically remembers the situation as the first time she realized Piper was there for her.

Dues unexpectedly became pregnant with Piper when she was 18 years old. She said this changed her plans in life and more struggles arose accordingly, but she thrived during adverse times.

For instance, Dues said she struggled with diet restrictions from her endometriosis — what causes cysts to grow and rupture — and having 32 food allergies. But she adjusted to her limitations and saw the silver lining — she has to be healthy.

“Dieting has definitely changed my life for the better,” Dues said. “Even though I have all my restrictions, it makes me feel healthier.”

When Piper was almost three, Dues’ boyfriend broke up with her after he spent the first years of Piper’s life as her father figure, even though he is not a biological parent. Consequently, the family they created split apart as Dues and her daughter moved into her parents’ house.

She said this transition was the lowest point of her life, but she was tired of letting adversities consume her.

“I just decided one day that things weren’t going to get better unless I focused on myself,” Dues said, “like getting out of my parents’ house, getting back on my feet, getting back to having my own things. I just couldn’t sit there.”

To get out of her depression, Dues said she set new goals and began working as a baker in a hotel resort. She enjoyed her job, and it helped her discover a passion for cooking. It also lead her to meeting her soulmate, Bill Dues, another chef at the resort.

“I was thinking how ridiculous she looked with her tall chef hat on and her retro-framed glasses on,” her husband said, as he smiled talking about the first time they met. “She asked me to make her a salad, and I thought, ‘Who is this girl?’”

Since meeting Bill, Dues said her life has improved tremendously. He is the piece she had been missing, and today, they have a daughter together, Willow, who Dues said takes the highest priority in her life along with Piper.

She hopes her daughters will grow into strong, ambitious women.

“If you aren’t passionate about something then where are you going to go in life?” Dues said, while holding Willow’s hands to help her stand. “I just want them to be happy with where they end up in the future.”

One passion in Dues’ life is horses. When she was in seventh grade, her parents gifted her Sophie. She said her life began to improve by having an outlet to help release her stress and anxiety. To this day, she still has Sophie.

For her future, Dues said she hopes to own a horse farm in Michigan, and bake for people who have numerous allergies like her.

But, today, Dues said she is content with her life, and proud of herself for overcoming the obstacles she has faced.

“I’m glad that everything happened, because even though I am not where I want to be yet, I am happy with who I am, who I am with, and what I now know,” Dues said. “This is just the happiest I have been in my entire life.”

Cinema Center – A Unique Experience for Fort Wayne

Cinema Center is not your typical theater.

Instead of showing major studio releases, the non-profit organization focuses on giving Fort Wayne natives a unique experience.

They feature indie, experimental, foreign, and classic films, since it was founded in 1976.

Currently residing at 437 E. Berry St., moves are a part of its history.

“Going from space to space severely limited the types of films that could be shown,” Jonah Crismore says.

Jonah, the current executive director for Cinema Center, says it is always changing.

Cinema Center was formed after The Spectator Theater was shut down, and film enthusiasts wanted to see movies that were different from what were shown at regular theater chains according to its website.

Prior to finding a home in the Hall Community Arts Center in 1991, the Cinema Center debuted films at any location available.

It showed “The Big Sleep,” their first film, on Sept. 11, 1976, in the Fort Wayne Art School auditorium in West Central according to the website.

After their first event, they continued to show films in the Allen County Public Library, One Summit Square, the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, and the Unitarian Universalist Meeting House, according to the website.

Kathy Bock, currently an adviser to the Board of Directors, says she found the organization shortly after coming to Fort Wayne.

“I was very happy to have a place like Cinema Center to go to myself,” she says.

Kathy says she had her first Cinema Center experience around 1980 at the Unitarian Universalist Meeting House, but the quality was not ideal.

She says they sat on regular chairs right next to the projector, which was almost louder than the movie itself.

This did not stop her from going back to Cinema Center.

“That was before you could rent movies to see on your VHS or your Betamax player or whatever it was,” she says.

Similar to Kathy, Jonah first encountered Cinema Center when he was a teenager. Though he says the experience was different from what he was expecting, it still had an impact on him.

“This is truly where I learned to love film,” he says.

Because of the movies that they show, Cinema Center has been able to differentiate themselves from larger nearby theaters.

“Cinema Center is more about showcasing film as an art form,” Kathy says. “I think and if you come to movies there, you’ll definitely notice a difference in the kinds of films you see.”

Tammara Cornett, the director of office administration and bookkeeping at Cinema Center, says she appreciates the diverse collections of films they show, which is how her and her husband found out about the organization.

At its current location, Cinema Center houses only one screen, but has a number of other commodities.

They have upgraded to a digital projector in recent years, as well as adding brand new seats and Dolby sound, and also featuring a wine bar section for concessions, Kathy says.

Even though they are not a theater like Carmike or Regal, Jonah says they still feel the consequences of the industry.

He says that with fewer people going to see movies now, Cinema Center is looking for new ways to bring people to their location.

“We’re constantly having speakers come in to generate excitement,” Jonah says, “as well as just create more awareness that we’re here.”

But guest speakers and unique films are not the only things that make Cinema Center unique, Kathy says.

They will sometimes have food trucks stationed in their parking lot ahead of special screenings, or will hold discussions after the credits have rolled as well Kathy says.

Kathy says all of this is part of making the trip to Cinema Center more than a film experience.

“To get people to come to the theater,” Kathy says, “its more about making it an event and making it an occasion to come to the theater.”

Jonah says this is not the typical community for independent art theaters, but they have supported the organization continuously.

“The community has always rallied around and helped Cinema Center persevere,” Jonah says.

Moving forward, Cinema Center will continue to bring new events for members such as Hobnobben, Fort Wayne’s first film festival that they hosted for four days last year, Kathy says.

Jonah says they are happy with their current location, but one with more screens, foot traffic, and in the heart of downtown Fort Wayne would be ideal.

For now, Cinema Center will stay in the same location it has been in for over 15 years, and Jonah urges more citizens to visit.

“If you haven’t been here give it a try,” Jonah says. “I mean, there’s no reason not to. We show better films than anybody else and we show films that, you know, are definitely more likely to make you think.”

Like a Rolling Stone – Wooden Nickel Continues After 34 Years

Summer of 1983 was the first time anyone in Fort Wayne could buy a CD.

In fact, the only place you could get a CD was from 24-year-old Bob Roets, owner of the Wooden Nickel record store on North Clinton Street.

The CD cost $32, and Bob said he also purchased one of the first CD players, a Japanese-released Toshiba, for $850.

Bob said people have been coming back to buy their CDs ever since they started selling.

“And that’s what keeps us going,” Bob said. “That’s why in this particular store I’ve made money every single month since I opened in ’82. I’ve never lost money here.”

Bob said he moved to Fort Wayne in 1980, after graduating from the University of Wisconsin, to manage Slatewood Records.

In 1982, the owner of Slatewood Records closed all the stores in one week. Six weeks later, Bob opened Wooden Nickel in Slatewood’s vacant lot.

“Wooden Nickel actually opened with $8,000 that my wife and I had saved up at the time,” Bob said, “and my record collection, which was about 3,000 albums.”

He said the name came from customers using small, wooden nickels to get free music. Ten tokens equal a $5 credit at the stores.

After the success of the first store, Bob said he opened a second location on North Anthony Boulevard, near IPFW and Ivy Tech, their “college store.”

He hired one of his biggest competitors, Tim Hogan from Karma Records, to manage that location.

Bob said Tim’s store was the only place locals could get vinyl in the early 1990s, when they largely stopped being pressed and sold, after the CD boom.

“We never gave up on vinyl,” Bob said. “We were the only place that you could get vinyl for about 15 years.”

Wooden Nickle 1

By 1988, Bob he had six stores open across town.

Then, a free music downloading website called Napster appeared in 1998, and Bob said it changed the business forever. His younger clients started to download all of their music, instead of buying it in store.

“People were enamored by the fact that they thought they could get something for nothing,” Bob said.

By 2007, it had cost him three stores.

After that, Bob took part in the first ever Record Store Day, along with 130 other record stores nation wide.

Record Store Day is held on the third Saturday of April every year where Bob said record stores have hundreds of new releases and special sales.

“That was a turning point on vinyl,” Bob said. “Because no one was collecting vinyl and nothing was being pressed.”

Bob said for the first couple of years, he couldn’t get the local press to talk him about it. But vinyl changed everything, and Record Store Day has become his busiest day of the year.

The tables turned. Now the press calls him ahead of time to cover it.

Ten years ago, Bob had no vinyl in his store. Now, he has about 6,800 records in his location alone.

Tim’s location now sells about 120-150 vinyl pieces every day.

“New vinyl is really, really big,” Tim said. “I just had a guy buy three new albums, it was like $75. If people want something, they’re willing to pay for it. It’s pretty shocking.”

Bob’s son Chris said he grew up in the stores and has been around music his whole life.

“My mom would put me in the bins to corral me,” Chris said. “And when I was in my baby walker, I would sometimes leave the store and walk down the corridor and someone would have to bring me back because I escaped.”

He was the manager of the West Jefferson location in 2008, before leaving to open his own store, Entourage Music, in 2013.

Now he’s back where he started, managing Wooden Nickel.

After Entourage Music closed, he said he brought all of his merchandise over to the West Jefferson store.

“Our total work experience in-store is well over a hundred years,” Bob said. “And I don’t know how many record stores could say that around the country.”

Tim has been selling records for 45 years, Bob has for 39 years, and his wife Cindy has for 34 years.

Next year will be the 35th anniversary of Wooden Nickel and the 10th anniversary of Record Store Day. Bob said it’s a pivotal year for the company.

One of the things he has planned is bringing bigger musicians such as Bob Dylan to the Foellinger Theatre. You can buy tickets to the show and others at any of the Wooden Nickel shops.

“Next year I’m really looking forward to,” Bob said.

Wooden Nickle 2


Let Us Learn – IPFW Students and Faculty Fight Program Eliminations

Their signs, hand-crafted in Sharpie and tattered from the wind, said it all.

“My major matters.”

“IPFW leaders, stop lying to students.”

“Let us learn.”

For two days, IPFW students, faculty, and community members gathered outside of the school’s engineering building, drawing a crowd from the Obelisk to Kettler Hall.

The event, which served as a rally and “teach-in,” was created by faculty and the student group Not in Our Future intended to spread word about the proposed department cuts at the university.

Under the cover of a few tents, students and faculty braved the cold and spoke out against the closing of various majors.

“I was blown away with everything the students had to say,” said Janet Badia, director of the women’s studies program. “It didn’t surprise me students in the affected majors would have a lot to say, but it did surprise me that students who aren’t in those majors could see the way their education was going to be impacted by the changes.”


On Oct. 18, just a week prior to the teach-ins, Carl Drummond, the university’s vice chancellor for academic affairs, announced the closing of 25 departments and majors.

The departments to be cut included women’s studies, philosophy, and geology. The French and German programs were also suspended.

Audrey Leonard, a junior from Columbia City majoring in women’s studies and communications, is one of the students directly impacted by the closures.

Like most of the students in the affected majors, Leonard says she is disappointed in her university.

“The fact that it feels like they’re not valuing certain degrees, that’s the most heartbreaking, disappointing thing to hear,” Leonard says, “especially from a place that’s considered comprehensive.”

Leonard, a member of Not in Our Future, says the group wanted the event to be a teach-in so professors and their classes could come to the event and learn about what is happening on campus.

One of the most challenging things for the student group so far has been getting others to believe them.

“One of my professors used the term, ‘It’s like Chicken Little,’” Leonard says. “You’re saying, ‘The sky is falling, the sky is falling,’ but no one believes you. And then the sky is literally on the ground now.”

While the original USAP recommendations to restructure 13 departments came out in June, Director Badia says she was still devastated when upon finding her program would be eliminated.

In fact, she had been working hard to save it.

The recommendation was initially to merge women’s studies with anthropology or sociology, so began meeting with the chairs of both departments to create a new, interdisciplinary unit.

She was later told these plans were not drastic enough.

And Badia fears this is not the end.

“We’ve been talking a lot about the majors that are closing, but I hope people can see the big picture here, because those of us who have been saying this is the tip of the iceberg, we’re not exaggerating,” Badia says. “We’ll see more cuts to the humanities and the fine arts, and Fort Wayne will lose its only comprehensive, public university.”



Steve Carr, interim chair for the department of communication, went up to the microphone several times to speak out against the cuts.

Even though his department was not affected, he says the lack of transparency in regards to IPFW’s budget is frustrating.

He says while the university has made its financial documents readily available, they have not done so with all, including cash flows and how money is transferred between accounts.

“These particular cuts have absolutely no savings. All of the programs either cost no money, so they make their costs back, or they actually make money for the university,” Carr says. “I think a big part of the problem is that these cuts are really not serving a financial agenda, because we don’t even know what the financial is here. They’re serving an ideological one.”

With the cuts officially going into effect place on Jan. 1, Director Badia says she is still working to save the women’s studies program.

“We’re still fighting. I’m not giving up. I know we have lots of support, and I think the Dean supports us existing,” Badia says. “We’re still working to try and make a plan. I think we’re still working to try and make a merger happen. We have definitely not given up.”

But the area by the Obelisk is much quieter now. Messages written in chalk, such as “Save liberal arts” have faded now, but are still visible.

The Right to Learn

“Let us learn” is the message IPFW students and faculty want the administration to consider before suspending liberal arts programs, but that message has resulted in harassment from other students and the community.

Protests, calls for resignations, and sexual harassment have been products of the USAP report in October, leading to backlash between students, administration, and the community.


The three major departments being slated for suspension at the start of the 2017 calendar year are women’s studies, philosophy, and geology.

Not In Our Future, student and faculty-run organization started in May against Purdue and IPFW’s decision to cut liberal arts programs being suspended Jan. 1st of next year.

The group held protests at the obelisk between Kettler Hall, Neff, and the engineering building on Oct. 26 and 27 in cold and cloudy conditions.

Janet Badia is a professor and director of the women’s studies program at IPFW, and is one of the many school professors who were at the protests last month in support of the students.

“I am here to help them, support them, make sure their voices get heard,” Badia said, “amplify their voices, second what they have to say, and help them make the arguments they want to make.”

Cody Fuelling, an IPFW student associated with Not In Our Future, said women’s studies students and professors have been sexually harassed.

“There is a study lounge (associated with women’s studies), and Dr. Badia has a door, and these doors have been covered in sharpie of male genitalia,” Fuelling said, “and this has happened to women’s studies before, and it’s continuing now.”


At one point, there were Twitter accounts made to troll Not In Our Future, but Fuelling said many of them have since been deleted.

Twitter troll.jpg

The group is comprised with others on campus who feel that the cuts could lead to bigger problems.

“It doesn’t affect me directly,” Jalyn Ely, an IPFW communications major said, “I’m afraid of how it’s going to affect the community in the future.”

Not In Our Future’s Facebook page, which as of yesterday has 1,504 page likes, describes itself as, “IPFW students, alumni, and Fort Wayne community members resisting Purdue leadership and complicit members of IPFW administration as they attempt to deprive Northeast Indiana of access to affordable, comprehensive education.”


As a result of the backlash surrounding the USAP report, many at IPFW have shifted blame toward the university’s chancellor, Vicky Carwein, resulting in an official document, “A Faculty Notice of No Confidence in Chancellor Carwein.”

In the document, the faculty states that Carwein has failed the campus as followed: failure to represent the interests of the campus, lack of commitment to the stated mission of IPFW without the ability to articulate a clear vision or rationale or changing the mission, mismanagement of USAP and lack of commitment to operationalizing the 2014-2020 Strategic Plan, and damage to the campus morale by creating a culture of fear.

The full document can be read here: statement-of-no-confidence.

These claims have led people in the community to criticize the protests in the comment sections on Facebook posts related to the issue. Many believe the protestors are just being immature and do not understand these cuts are happening for a good reason.

“Get over it,” one Facebook user said, “change your major to something that has meaning in the REAL world.”

In an email sent to students from Chancellor Carwein on Nov. 15, she made it clear that harassment has no place at IPFW.


“It’s all being magnified, because women’s studies is being slated for elimination,” Fuelling said,” women’s studies says, ‘Hey don’t eliminate us.’ And then people who want to see women’s studies go away now have this opportunity to voice that it should be eliminated.”

A common concern for students and alumni is that the changes now will lead to bigger ones down the road, and the IPFW brand will be terminated. Leaving the 52-year history of the school in limbo.

Alexander Sanderson, an IPSGA officer, says that kind of thinking is wrong, because “IPFW will never die.”

Not in Our Future plans to hold more events by the end of the school year as the women’s studies, philosophy, and geology are suspended.

Women’s Studies, Case in Point


The women’s studies department is being cut, but all women are being affected.

IPFW is losing a number of academic programs and departments at the end of this school year as a result of the the University Strategic Alignment Process (USAP).

The USAP recommendations propose cuts of the philosophy, women’s studies, and geology programs, along with as two dozen other majors within larger departments.

“They called it a recommendation, but as soon as they made the recommendation, they suspended admissions to our program. So you can no longer sign up for a philosophy major here,” says Charlene Elsby, assistant philosophy professor.


Elsby is one of nine female professors whose job is in danger come Jan. 1, when the preliminary cuts take place, eliminating three departments entirely. She is not directly involved with women’s studies, but these cuts affect the livelihood of herself and others.

“My dad says I can move back in with him,” Elsby says with a nervous laugh.


Laura Laudeman, a junior theatre major, is also beginning to feel the ripple within her department, one not even on the long list of cuts.

“We’ve even decided that for this upcoming season, instead of focusing on shows, selecting shows that they thought would be beneficial to students,” Laudeman says, “one of the major factors in choosing the shows was, ‘Will they make money?’”


Money seems to be a driving factor in all of the decisions that will force change on students.

In 2015, 7,106 women were enrolled at IPFW, compared to 5,703 men. Women have been the majority of students on campus since before 1985, according to the annual IPFW Statistical profile.

Janet Badia, professor and director of the women’s studies program, realizes that it’s not just her colleagues or students that are feeling the changes.

“The students who are impacted in the other majors,” Biday says, “I see them around, they go to our events, I go to their events.”

One thing is agreed upon by many: the community will change because of USAP.

Jalyn Ely, a senior communication major, says this makes her look at the university in a different light.

“There are people who care about this,” Ely says, “There are people who are genuinely affected by this, who are seeing their hopes and their dreams and their career paths destroyed.”

Ely’s family members who were previously considering attending the university have decided not to in the wake of the cuts.

Worse yet, community members feel they are out of the loop regarding the changes affecting them.

Professors like Elsby and Badia, whose jobs are on the line, have known about the changes for almost a year, but students only recently found out details about the USAP recommendation in a campus wide email blast from Chancellor Vicky Carwein.

“They keep talking about, ‘we’ve tried to be really open and communicative about this,’” Laudeman says, “but I feel that there’s been a real lack of transparency.”

Laudeman is not wrong. In fact, a freedom of information on open records request regarding details of the USAP process and recommendations has been denied by university lawyers.

The recommendations have been the central focus of campus for weeks as IPFW approaches the first leg of USAP eliminations.

The university is also undergoing Legislative Services Agency (LSA) recommendations to repurpose the Fort Wayne campus. The process will put more of an emphasis on certain departments and could possibly mean major changes to the curriculum and programs offered.

Reasons given for the LSA changes by administration are budget adjustment and best-serving the purposes of the Fort Wayne community.

Mitch Daniels is the president of Purdue University and a driving force behind the LSA recommendations.

“He has underestimated the value of our campus and all that we do here when he says that the point of a regional campus is to train our students to be good employees,” Elsby says. “That negates their possibilities to become the innovators or the good employers.”


Tensions are rising around campus as the true consequences of the recommendations come to light. Women are beginning to realize the 22 students seeking degrees in women’s studies are not the only people affected.

IPFW Says No More Philosophy


The recommendations started promisingly enough.

Little did faculty know, philosophy professors, among others, would lose their jobs, and students could no longer earn a degree in this and other departments.

“They are planning to cut our program and our department as of January first,” said Charlene Elsby, assistant professor in philosophy.

But philosophy is just one of the many programs IPFW plans to cut next year part of the University Strategic Alignment Process.

The Legislative Services Agency was brought in to review to programs and departments that listed recommendations they should complete by the university.

“They call it a recommendation,” Elsby said. “But as soon as they made the recommendations, they suspended admissions to our program.”

She said a month after the philosophy department received its notice, they started to change the courses based on the report.

According to the “USAP Recommendations 2.2 and 2.3”, the philosophy department is to “develop and implement a plan for attracting and retaining students from introductory courses.”

The report showed the department had a 11.6 percent graduation efficiency and an average of 27.6 graduates within the major every year, higher than many programs like biology and computer science that were not suspended.


Students affected by the suspensions and cuts were also vocal.

Shortly after the announcement, on Nov. 2 and 3, students and faculty gathered to share their frustrations, as a Teach-In was held outside of Kettler Hall. It drew 1,000 students throughout both days.


“I wanted to be out here because I am kind of passionate about this,” said Jalyn Ely, a communication major.

Ely said she is passionate about education because she enjoys learning and studying. It is important to her that other people get those opportunities also.

She is afraid of how the suspension of these programs is going to affect the community in the future. Ely is not from Fort Wayne, but enjoys it here. She is afraid the cuts will force students to leave IPFW to find a better education.

“I have three younger siblings,” she said. “At least two of them were considering coming to IPFW, and they’re not anymore.”

She explained the protest is encouraging, because students are willing to listen and talk about why they do not want these cuts to happen.

Ely said she is also skeptical with the metrics they are using to cut the programs, especially the philosophy department.

“You can’t justify cutting a foundational discipline,” she said. “They didn’t even have a good reason for philosophy.”


Steve Carr, chair of the communication department, said he does not understand why they want departments to market themselves more.

He said universities usually hire the faculty to teach classes and conduct research.

“Wanting faculty to have to conduct marketing and recruitment on top of everything else they already do seem to undermine the core mission,” he said.

He said with Indiana University and Purdue University splitting, as a result of the recommendations, it has forced Purdue to look at all the programs and make cuts.

According to the LSA study, IU will change hands with being in control of the nursing program, causing it to change from a Purdue degree to an Indiana degree.

“Purdue is going to lose a lot of money because of that,” he said. “Purdue sees a lot of small programs that either pay for themselves or make money for the university.

Charlene Elsby is not sure what is going to happen to her after the cuts have been made either. She said there has been a lack of communication between the faculty and Vice Chancellor Carl Drummond on what is to come.

“I have a contract until May,” she said. Whether that will be renewed is completely up in the air.”