New Publication Aims to Draw Churches Together

As a husband and father of five Pat Bass of Urbana seeks out local family-oriented entertainment and activities.

Pat Bass, editor and publisher of The Road to Damascus Publication, Urbana, Ohio

Pat Bass with a copy of The Road to Damascus Publication.

He just wished he had a resource to make his search easier.

While out of town in his job as a business coach last year he found what he had in mind – a publication in the lobby of the church that hosted his seminar. “This is exactly what I want to do,” he thought.

Thus, Bass created The Road to Damascus Publication, a monthly tabloid size newspaper – his first venture in publishing – which he launched in April. The free newspaper – supported by advertising – features news and events of Champaign, Clark and Logan county churches. It’s available in print throughout the three counties, and you can read it online.

Thanks to a small business attorney that Bass works with, The Road to Damascus stretches beyond a listing of events. “When I shared my idea, he said, ‘I think you’re missing the boat. I think there’s a place for events. But what about reporting on the good that people are doing, what about the good things churches are doing in your community?’”

So that kind of news is in The Road to Damascus, too.

“I think we’re in a special time in life and a special time in our community, in Urbana, in Clark County and Logan County,” Bass says. “There are a lot of people here who have a heart for God and helping people.”

Bass, who attends Second Jerusalem Baptist Church in Urbana with his family, envisions Road to Damascus uniting churches: “How can we together further the kingdom of God?”

And that, he believes, could cause people not involved in a church to take notice – that maybe our local churches have more in common than not.

Check out the June, May and April editions and share your thoughts here – or with Pat.

Your St. Patrick’s Day Guide to Reuben Sandwiches in Urbana, Ohio

How will you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?

I recommend a good Reuben sandwich – the handheld alternative to traditional Irish corned beef and cabbage.

The Reuben’s heritage, however, may not be Irish. As with many foods, stories conflict as to its origin. The two more popular legends – from the early 20th century – trace the sandwich to the New York deli of German immigrant Arnold Reuben or the Blackstone Hotel in Omaha, Nebraska, where grocer Reuben Kulakofsky, a native of Lithuania,  concocted the sandwich for his poker buddies.

Whatever the story, the Reuben is right at home at several local Urbana, Ohio, restaurants. My wife, Kay, our sons, Andy and Alex, and I recently checked them out – and found a few variations to the classic grilled Reuben with corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Thousand Island dressing on rye.

Here’s our pictorial review:

The Farmer’s Daughter (904 Miami St., Urbana; 937-653-3276) offers two varieties:

Reuben sandwich, Farmer's Daughter, Urbana, Ohio

A classic Reuben, which to my German taste, offered a pleasing, full-bodied sauerkraut flavor. Alex didn’t share my appreciation (“the sauerkraut almost overpowered the rest of the flavors”).


California Reuben at the Farmer's Daughter, Urbana, Ohio

The California Reuben, which substitutes turkey for corned beef and coleslaw for sauerkraut. The sweetness of the coleslaw was a nice counterpoint to the traditional Reuben. Alex thought the sweetness brought out the taste of the rye.


Mumford’s Potato Chips & Deli (325 N. Main St., Urbana; 937-653-3491):

Reuben sandwich at Mumford's Potato Chips and Deli, Urbana, Ohio

Accompanied by a serving of Mumford’s famed potato chips, and a pickle, this Reuben also stands out from the others in its packaging — wrapped up in a rye roll, rather than slices of rye bread. Andy thought the roll lacked the rye taste he savored in the other sandwiches, while Alex reported, “just enough Thousand Island dressing so it doesn’t overpower the other flavors.” Alex is all about balance.


Rock’n Robin Diner (1010 Scioto St., Urbana; 937-484-7625):

Reuben sandwich at Rockin' Robin Diner, Urbana, Ohio

This Reuben is an American classic, right down to the ’50s-style diner where it’s served, on Texas rye, with a pickle. The robust flavor of the corned beef comes to the forefront.


TeaBaggers (127 N. Main St., Urbana; 937-653-7817):

Reuben sandwich at TeaBaggers, Urbana, Ohio

Made in a panini press, rather than grilled, the TeaBaggers Reuben offers another distinction: It’s served with banana peppers — your choice of mild or hot. And it comes with your choice of chips. I agree with Alex that the banana peppers make a good addition and contribute to an overall pleasing taste. To Andy’s taste, though, the peppers distract from “the real Reuben flavor.”


Vintage Roadside Café (1549 S. U.S. 68, Urbana; 937-484-6900):

Reuben sandwich at Vintage Roadside Cafe, Urbana, Ohio

Here’s another classic Reuben, except that the Vintage gives you the choice of sauerkraut or coleslaw. We went with tradition — and it was good, though Kay would have liked a dab more Thousand Island dressing.


Who makes the best Reuben you’ve ever eaten? Please share in the comments below.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!


Thanks to Alex and Andy for the photography.

Buy Local at Walmart?

Walmart draws a fair share of accusations across small-town America. Among them: Walmart sells low-priced merchandise from China and forces local retailers out of business.

As a well-known spokesperson for thankless, dirty jobs, Mike Rowe recently took some of the flak for Walmart when he voiced a commercial announcing the mega-retailer’s pledge to buy $250 billion of U.S.-made products over the next 10 years.

Bundy Baking Solutions, Urbana, Ohio

Sonja Ropp of the Urbana Walmart store holds two of the American Baking Classics products made by Bundy Baking Solutions.

Responding to the negative comments left on his Facebook page and explaining why he did the spot, Rowe wrote:

“Dozens of American factories are going to reopen all over the country. Millions of dollars will pour straight into local economies, and hundreds of thousands of new manufacturing positions will need to be filled.

“There’s a lot of merchandise currently in Walmart that’s manufactured right here in the USA.”

Made in USA in Urbana

Did you know that the Urbana Walmart store sells products that are manufactured right here – in Urbana, Ohio?

If not, don’t feel bad.

When I asked Sonja Ropp, Urbana Walmart zone merchandising supervisor, if I could snap a photo of her holding an American Bakeware Classics brand 12-cup muffin pan and half sheet pan, she was surprised. And not just by my request.

Until I told her, she had no idea that the products, and others on the shelves behind her, were made by Urbana’s own Bundy Baking Solutions.

The world’s leading baking corporations have long recognized Bundy for the quality and durability of its commercial baking pans and associated products. Now home bakers are discovering Bundy’s quality through the American Bakeware Classics consumer line, made since 2013 for Walmart.

Wendi Ebbing, marketing manager for Bundy, says that the company makes other consumer brands, such as USA Pan, for retailers that include Williams-Sonoma, Target and Bed Bath & Beyond.

“We are known as experts in manufacturing baking pans and we’re thrilled to bring the same quality that commercial bakers have come to appreciate into the home,” Ebbing said.

What other Champaign County-manufactured products are available at local retail stores?

Share your answers in the comments section below.

And stay tuned for upcoming posts.


Today’s bonus: A downtown Urbana retailer shares her view of  Walmart at the end of a previous Champaign Uncorked! post. It may not be what you’d expect.