Niles Daily Star top 10 stories of 2013: Stories 8-10

Published 9:02 am Thursday, December 26, 2013

Over the next several days, the staff at the Niles Daily Star will be looking back at the top 10 stories of 2013. We will feature three per day until the Dec. 31 issue when we will introduce the year’s top story.

The list is based on staff review of the most read, talked about and impactful stories of the year.

10. River Valley Trail/ Be Healthy Berrien

Promoting a healthy and active lifestyle was a major priority this year in Berrien County.

In March, the Niles Charter Township board of trustees approved a plan that paved the way for the completion of a 34-mile recreational trail that, when finished, will connect Niles to Mishawaka, Ind.

While some trustees were concerned with the safety of the trail’s crossing at U.S. 12 and Third Street in Niles, they ultimately decided to move forward with the plan.

The Indiana-Michigan River Valley Trail, as it is called, is expected to increase tourism and encourage people to get outside and be active.

In November, Be Healthy Berrien, funded in part by the Michigan 4 x 4 Health and Wellness Plan, completed the installation of 12 pieces of outdoor fitness equipment in Riverfront Park in Niles. Be Healthy Berrien is a countywide partnership of several organizations, including the local YMCA, dedicated to increasing the overall health and wellness in Berrien County.

Be Healthy Berrien also challenged Berrien County residents to collectively move one million miles during a period of several months this year. While the goal was not met — the community logged 651,000 miles — organizers are hoping to do better when they bring the event back in 2014.


9. Ethan Shelton turns 110

Ethan Shelton, the founder of Shelton’s Farm Market, turned 110 years old July 10, becoming one of approximately 60 verified supercentenarians (110 years old) alive today.

In recognition of his birthday milestone, Shelton appeared on the Willard Scott Birthdays segment on The Today Show Aug. 20.

During the segment, which recognizes people over the age of 100, Ethan’s picture appeared on a Smucker’s jar next to his name, hometown and age.

Willard Scott had this to say about Ethan: “[Ethan] taught himself to play the fiddle when he was 108. He can do ‘Fire on the Mountain’ in stereo. Happy birthday to you.”

In order to get the attention of The Today Show, Shelton’s family took to social media.

A single Facebook post asking people to help get Ethan on the show was viewed more than 47,000 times, liked 2,500 times and shared 1,100 times.


8. Chamber changes leadership

Longtime Four Flags Area Chamber of Commerce president/CEO Ron Sather retired in June, ushering in a new era for the chamber under his replacement Tyanna Weller.

Sather had been with the chamber since 1998 and its president since 2003. Prior to that, he served as the chamber’s executive director. He was hired in 1998 for a temporary interim position Sather said was expected to last two to three weeks.

“For a two- or three-week job, it’s certainly been a long time — I never dreamed I’d be here this long,” Sather said in February, shortly after announcing his intention to retire.

Under his direction, the chamber grew in membership from 200 to 500.

Sather said he was most proud of bringing the Carson & Barnes 5-Ring Circus to the Apple Festival Grounds in Niles in 1999. Revenue from the circus was used to help purchase equipment for the playground at Riverfront Park.


Make sure to pick up a copy of Friday’s edition of the Niles Daily Star for stories five through seven on the top ten list.