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Cupid uses Clarion to strike early

February 11, 2009
Whitney Bean likely will have a wonderful time Saturday evening, when she and her boyfriend of four years, Clint Novak, celebrate Valentine's Day. However, it won't even begin to come close to comparing to this past Dec. 16.

Novak, 26, who lives just up the road from Bean south of Marengo, had been receiving the hints for some time, but, like several feet-dragging boyfriends, was taking his sweet time. Finally, in mid-December, he decided to pick up his feet and offer his hand to Bean, 20, asking her to be his wife.

A true romantic, Novak wanted the proposal to be not only the most special moment of her life, but one they would reminisce about and excitedly share with friends and family for years to come.

Novak, therefore, concocted a plan. First, with the help of Bean's best friend, he bought a ring, a white gold band sprinkled with diamonds with a round-cut stone in the center. Then, he contacted our own Karen Hanger, whom he had known for some time. He called Karen on a Sunday evening, Dec. 14, and asked for her help. Believing Novak to be one of the nicest young men she knows, she immediately agreed.

The plan was simple.

Novak knew Bean, a nursing student at Indiana University Southeast and nursing assistant at Floyd Memorial Hospital and Health Services, always picked up the Clarion News each Wednesday after she got home and immediately turned to the social news page to see who was getting married.

The Style section of the newspaper is printed on Friday afternoons, so Hanger grabbed a copy of the Dec. 17 issue and, with a photo of the couple from Novak, designed what looked like an engagement announcement for the couple. She even made a copy of it on newsprint, so she could paste it on that issue's social news page, under the "Engagements" heading, and make it look authentic. On the way home, she gave the "special" section of the paper to Novak.

Novak asked Bean to come to his house the next night, Tuesday, to help decorate his Christmas tree. He normally doesn't receive his copy of the Clarion News until Wednesday (although some in Crawford County get it on Tuesday), but he didn't want to take a chance that Bean might see the "real" paper.

Unfortunately, Mother Nature apparently hasn't been struck with Cupid's arrow, as inclement weather made the roads slick, and Bean's parents wouldn't allow her to drive to Novak's house.

"It did throw a little hitch in my plans," Novak admitted.

However, he remained persistent and said he would be happy to pick her up.

When they arrived at his house, he had the Style section laid out, hoping Bean would follow her normal routine and open it to the social news page.

However, the front page had one of her friends' photograph on it, and she looked at that page first, before putting it down and asking Novak about decorating the tree.

Novak suggested she go ahead and read the newspaper. When she turned to the social news page, she did a double-take, perhaps even a triple-take, before bursting out, "That's me and you! What is this!?!"

Below their photo, the copy read:

"Novak - Bean

Clint Novak would like to announce his engagement to Whitney Bean if she says YES."

And, yes, Bean did say yes, as she looked up to see Novak standing with his hand extended holding open the ring box.

Following a few playful slaps on his chest and once reality set in, the newly-engaged couple visited both of their parents to share the news.

Novak and Bean will be married on Aug. 8, likely either at Sycamore Springs Park near English or the Leavenworth Inn.

The future Mr. and Mrs. Novak didn't share their Valentine's Day plans, but no matter how great they are, they won't even come close to the true night that Cupid visited and struck their hearts with a single arrow to solidify their love.

Good luck, guys.

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Barbara Shaw
Schuler Bauer
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