Meet this year's first four Putnam County dancing stars

Friday, March 29, 2013

Dancing with the Putnam County Stars is set for Saturday, April 6 at the DePauw University Indoor Tennis and Track Center. Local celebrities will go toe to toe and raise money for Putnam County Youth Development.

This is the first of three sets of biographies of the 2013 stars.

Mike Balka

Mike Balka

Mike Balka is the director of Autumn Glen Senior Community. He has two children, Emma, 9, and Dylan, 6. His girlfriend is Jeni Pohlar.

In his free time, Balka is a musician. He is also a Greencastle Rotarian and an Indiana Freemason.

He agreed to particpate in DWTPCS for the community involvement and service, as well as for fun and to "show off."

Asked what he hopes to gain from the experience, Balka replied, "Fortune and glory!"

Dance experience:

"Air Band," an ISU Greek event, as well dancing at frat parties, in the shower and poolside.

Tara Baugh

Tara Baugh

Tara Baugh is a kindergarten teacher at Cloverdale Elementary School. She is married to Jerrod Baugh and has one daughter, Gayle.

Her hobbies include scrapbooking, reading and doing Zumba. She also belongs to the Friends and Neighbors Extension Homemakers Club, as well as volunteering in 4-H and Girl Scouts.

She said her time as a teacher have shown her just how valuable PCYDC can be.

"As a teacher, I see firsthand how this organization helps the youth of Putnam County," Baugh said. "It is my honor to help out such a wonderful organization."

Baugh hopes to gain new friendships while helping out a worthwhile organization.

"It's also a bonus that I get to learn some new dance moves."

Dance experience:

Belly dancing classes and a few tap dance classes. "I do a lot of Zumba, which has helped out with coordination tremendously."

Amber Bowers

Amber Bowers

Amber Bowers (Hecko) is a photographer and the owner of Amber Bowers Photography. She is married to John Hecko and is the mother of Wilson, 3, and Leo, 1.

While her two "amazing and energetic" boys leave little time for hobbies, Bowers formerly enjoyed running, reading and quiet time.

Bowers has served as the president of the Greencastle Chamber of Commerce as well as on the board of the Greencastle/Putnam County Development Center and the United Way. She is also a member of Gobin United Methodist Church.

She has also volunteered her time as a photographer to the Indiana Heart Gallery, Ivy Tech, the Putnam County Community Foundation and to the PCYDC for past Dancing with the Putnam County Stars events.

Bowers is participating to support a great organization, have fun and because "I can't say no to my awesome sister-in-law."

She also hopes to raise money for the PCYDC and enjoy the time for herself.

Dance experience:

Elementary school.

Ken Eitel

Ken Eitel

Ken Eitel is the director of the Ivy Tech Business and Entrepreneurial Services Center and part-time instructor in the Ivy Tech Business Department. He is a retired small business owner.

He has been married to Jackie for 34 years. Together the have four sons, two grandsons and one granddaughter.

Eitel's hobbies include family time, visiting the beach, landscaping and yardwork, community activities, golf and watching basketball, golf and football.

His community activities currently include the Heritage Preservation Society, entrepreneurship, community development and civic engagement. He is also a member of the Greencastle Christian Church.

Eitel said he was encouraged to participate in DWTPCS by former stars and his family.

"In additon, I remember when the first group of individuals was brought together in the interest of coordinating the programs of the organizations that advocated for the youth of Putnam County. The effort and outreach of each program has been enlarged due to the formation of the PCYDC," Eitel said.

"The opportunity to raise support and awareness for PCYDC by participating in an evening that unites Putnam County for youth is special."

Eitel added participating in the event is a risk that takes him out of his comfort zone. "Out of that risk, I expect to have a great time and be challenged, plus, connect and share the experience with the other stars and learn about their interests," he said.

Dance experience:

Dance lessons in Junior High School in 1958 or so as well as dancing socially.

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