The 97 Percent

Planned Parenthood has been providing a range of health services to men and women for 100 years.

The clinic offers much more than abortion services, including birth control, general health care, HIV testing, LGBT services, STD testing, and men’s health care. In fact, men make up 11 percent of Planned Parenthood’s patients according its website. In 2015, nearly 650 Planned Parenthood centers served 2.4 million men, women and youth.

This is despite an effort to defund Planned Parenthoodsin the U.S. In 2015, nine states eliminated Planned Parenthood from public health programs, according to its website.

The opposition also hits home. Abigail Lorenzen is the operationsand media director for Allen County Right to Life, which coordinates the 40 Days for Life campaign in Fort Wayne.

The campaign has three pillars: prayer, presence, and community awareness. Lorenzen said the presence aspect requires participants to be present and pray in front of an abortion clinic.

She said there is at least one person praying at an abortion clinic every day during the campaign and that their presence raises awareness about the issues behind abortion.

Lorenzen said they protest in front of the Fort Wayne Planned Parenthood because although the location does not provide on-site abortions, they refer patients to other Planned Parenthoods that do. Yet according to the Planned Parenthood website, only three percent of their services nationally are abortions.

I Stand With Planned Parenthood protest and counter-protest, Feb. 2017

IPFW senior Sylvia Rusk, a communication and political science major from Fort Wayne, has used these other services offered at Fort Wayne’s Planned Parenthood. Rusk said she went to Planned Parenthood to get contraception after her general practitioner refused to provide her birth control based on their religious beliefs.

Rusk said she had a positive experience at Planned Parenthood, as they were informative and explained the process to her.

IPFW senior Nicole Sanders is an English and women’s studies major from Fort Wayne and is the treasurer for IPFW Generation Action, formerly IPFW Voices of Choice. They are a Planned Parenthood affiliated group that is working to educate students about reproductive health.

IPFW Generation Action hosts events such as “condoms and candy,” where they hand out contraceptives and informational pamphlets about services that Planned Parenthood provides.

Nicole said she advocates for Planned Parenthood because she had a negative experience at her family doctor after getting a pap smear when she was only 16.

“I wish I had had information about Planned Parenthood,” Sanders said. “If I was able to go there, they would have been more gentle, more understanding, and they would not have put me through a physical examination that I was not ready for.”

Fourth Annual North Anthony Corridor Block Party

Dozens of community members gathered in the streets for the fourth annual  North Anthony Corridor Block Party on Sept. 10.

The free, family friendly block party was held in the North Anthony Corridor, the triangle formed by North Anthony Boulevard, Crescent Avenue, and Coliseum Boulevard East.

The party ran from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and had activities like miniature golf, photo booths, and face-painting.

Community Member Erin Brady, who lives near the North Anthony Corridor, attended the block party for the first time this year to see the live local music.

nickel“The development of this neighborhood over the last two years has really started,” Erin said. “The nice sm

all, little local shops that we have here gives people a chance to come and really see what’s in the neighborhood.”

Long-time local record store, the Wooden Nickel, hosted three bands in front of their North Anthony location from 2 to 6 p.m.

The Windows, a group of teens with one member as young as 13, began their set at 3 p.m., and played a variety of covers, including songs from The Velvet Underground and original songs.

All of the members of the band are in high school, and one is still in middle school. Dylan Record, singer and rhythm-guitarist, said they play post-punk and new-wave, and are currently working on new original music.

Bob Roets

Bob Roets, owner of the Wooden Nickel, has hosted different bands at the block party all four years.

Bob said they pick teenage and college-age bands for the block party, to draw in more families.

Bob said there were about 200 people in attendance at one point this year, and sales were way up from last year. He plans to continue hosting the bands.

“I’m really happy with where it’s going,” Bob said. “It gets bigger and better every year.”

MGMT Headlines Middle Waves Music Festival

Fort Wayne’s Middle Waves Music Festival brought hundreds to Headwaters Park over the weekend.

The two-day festival had three stages packed with a blend of both local and international artists. This year, award-winning band MGMT closed out the festival Saturday night at the St. Mary’s Stage.

The band played some of their most popular hits, including “Kids,” “Time to Pretend,” and ended with “Electric Feel.”


Thousands Participate in the Women’s March on Chicago

Over 250,000img_1043-jpg women and allies gathered in downtown Chicago carrying vibrant signs for the Women’s March on Jan. 21.

Event Emcee Fawzia Mirza said the march was cancelled due to the unexpectedly large turnout that created a safety issue, and was instead a standing rally.

But people were still marching. Supporters formed small groups and marched independently through the packed streets, where other supporters were participating in the standing rally.

“If a woman’s right is affected or at stake, it’s important for everyone to show up,” Mirza said. “That’s why we’ve been hearing from the organizers that allies are welcome. Allies are needed. Allies are important.”

img_1164-jpgHundreds of these allies filled the provided seats to watch an array of speakers and performers present onstage.

These speakers included Broadway performers Ari Afsar and Karen Olivo from the cast of “Hamilton”.

One of the performers, Vernon Mina from So Chi Voices, said his group was there to represent issues that minorities and women face.

Mina said he was told to expect around 3,000 people, and was shocked when he heard there were hundreds of thousands in attendance.

“You see little girls and little boys with signs that say ‘stand up for my mom,’ or ‘women’s rights,’” Mina said. “It tells you that despite what’s happening in the government right now, there’s so many people here ready to fight for all these rights.”

Volunteer Betimg_1093-jpghany Williams said the event, held the day after the inauguration of President Donald Trump, was meant to create a sense of unity and support amongst women and minorities whose rights are being threatened.

President Trump recently proposed plans to build a border wall with intentions of keeping immigrants out, as well as targeting women’s healthcare.

Two days after the marches, President Trump reinstated the “global gag rule,” banning U.S. funding to international healthcare organizations that provide abortion information or services.

Men, women and children were carrying signs with positive messages on them, but not all of the signs were as optimistic.img_1281

Some signs included more negative messages, such as one sign that said “sexual harasser in-chief” and “not my president.”

Despite some of the pessimism displayed on the signs, Mirza said she considered the march a success.

The Women’s March on Chicago was one of hundreds of women’s marches that were held worldwide. The total attendance was in the millions, making it one of the largest marches in history.

“Women’s rights are human rights,” Williams said.

The phrase was chanted loudly by the thousands of women and allies, reinforcing the inclusive message of the march.


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


Free the Nipple – Fort Wayne Fights the Double Standard

A year ago, when Fort Wayne native Liz Turkette was in Maryland with her boyfriend Chris, they saw a woman walking her dog while topless.

The woman was simply exercising her right, at least in 36 states, to expose her breasts in public. But it made Liz feel uncomfortable.

Liz said it made her think about why she was uncomfortable, and she realized it was because of how society has portrayed women and how it has sexualized female breasts.

“It’s so obvious that women are treated as pieces of meat,” Turkette said. “You see it in advertising, and men throw dollars at us because we’re taking our tops off.”

Liz said she now recognizes that people feel uncomfortable because of how female breasts are portrayed and is working to bring awareness to it.

“A male’s chest can look sexy, just like my chest,” Turkette said. “And I can be turned on by a male’s chest, just like they can be turned on by mine. But I have to control my mind and they don’t? That’s not okay.”

In Indiana and 13 other states, only men are allowed to go topless in public.

But things weren’t always this way. According to the Go Topless organization website, men were not legally allowed to be topless until 1936 in America.

Women were not allowed to sport bare breasts in any state until 1992, when a law was passed in New York, and 35 other states followed.

Fourteen other states have more ambiguous laws. In three, Indiana, Utah and Tennessee, it is completely illegal for a woman to expose their nipples in public. If she is topless, her nipples must be covered.

But local women are working to change that, by bringing the Free The Nipple movement to Fort Wayne.

Lauren Conklin, a 23-year-old Fort Wayne native, helped organize her first Free The Nipple rally on Aug. 14, along with Turkette.

They held the protests in front of the Fort Wayne Courthouse holding signs and going topless, while wearing pasties or covering their nipples as Indiana law dictates they must.

“What better way to bring on awareness and have people actually start asking you questions about why these women are doing this than doing something a little edgier?” Conklin said.

Conklin said there were only about 20 people at the first rally. But with the help of Facebook, they were able to raise more awareness for the next one.

120 people showed up to the second Free The Nipple rally on Sept. 12.

“We had this turn out of really excited and really ambitious women,” Conklin said. “And even men were showing up and saying ‘How can I support you guys?’”

The Free The Nipple Facebook page said that men were encouraged to come wearing bras or bikini tops to highlight gender inequality.

Both Conklin and Turkette said that Indiana passing the law for women to go topless legally would be a step toward gender equality.

Fort Wayne activist Vijaya Birkes-Adams said she works alongside Conklin and Turkette to fight for their right to make the same choices men do.

“In order for us to fully embody equality, we really need to be able to do be viewed in the same way as a man, and just being human in a human body,” Birkes-Adams said. “A big part of this is combatting the notion that women’s bodies are for men’s pleasure.”

Birkes-Adams said she likes to go topless sometimes, like when it’s hot and she’s working in the garden. Her fiancé takes his shirt off.

“For me to make myself uncomfortable just because someone thinks my body is inappropriate is not fair,” Birkes-Adams said. “It just needs to change.”

Birkes-Adams and Conklin said this anxiety is perpetuated by the negative comments that the women involved with this movement receive.

They said much of the criticism they receive is from comments online, mostly on their Free The Nipple Facebook page.

“When you’re not face to face, people feel more comfortable saying horrible things about us,” Birkes-Adams said. “Like calling us sluts or saying that we’re just out there for attention.”

But the rude comments aren’t stopping these women.

A third rally was held on Oct. 10, and Turkette said they are planning to have a fourth rally on April 10.

Conklin said they plan on holding these rallies until women can go topless legally in Indiana.

“You’ve got to plant the seeds,” Conklin said. “And you may not sit in the shade of that tree, but you have to plant it.”

McKayla Atkinson (front row, far left) and Lauren Sanderson (front row, second from left) participated in Fort Wayne’s Free the Nipple Rally on September 12. Photo by Liz Turkette.