Features

Local churches stepping up in different ways to continue ministering and helping people

Amid a sanctuary full of empty pews, Bobby Kemp (left), lead pastor at Huntington First Church of the Nazarene, talks to his congregation in a livestreamed service Sunday, March 29, as members of the worship team wait for their turn to minister. Numerous area churches have taken their Sunday, midweek and other services online in response to the “stay-at-home” order during the coronavirus pandemic.
Photo by Rebecca Sandlin.

During the continuing coronavirus pandemic, there may be no one warming the pews in churches.

However, people in Huntington County are finding local churches stepping up to continue their ministries, not only online but by mobilizing volunteers to help those in need.

Huntington First Church of the Nazarene is one of those churches making use of the Internet to minister in several platforms. Lead Pastor Bobby Kemp says even though the building may be closed, “HNaz” is still open online with Sunday services through its Facebook page.

Local woman hopes little things help out big

A box packed with various food and personal care items has been set up in Andrea Storms’ front yard, located at 856 Dimond St. in Huntington. The sign invites those in need to take what they can use but leave a “blessing” for others.
Photo by Rebecca Sandlin.

At 856 Dimond St., there is a wooden box posted in Andrea Storms’ front yard, serving as a waystation of blessings.

It’s dubbed the “Blessing Box,” and inside can be found both food and non-food items, such as toilet paper, canned goods, tooth brushes, feminine items, sanitary wipes and even fresh eggs.

Signs nailed to the box’s post say “Take what you need” and “Leave what you can.”

Love INC among those doing it for neighbors

Volunteers (from left) Bob Gooley, Paul Vining and Jeremie Winkelman fill bags with dog food in the storage room of Love In the Name of Christ. The ministry will begin giving out a month’s worth of groceries at a time to area residents in need of food.
Photo by Rebecca Sandlin.

As many businesses across the nation scramble to weather the threat of the coronavirus, those organizations who serve others, such as Love In the Name of Christ, have had to think out of the box and on their feet to make sure the community’s hungry neighbors receive the food they need.

Love INC Executive Director Erin Didion says how the ministry is handling the precautions needed to stay safe during the COVID-19 outbreak is constantly changing, but several changes are in place to allow them to help the community.

Andrews Utility Department gives back yet one more way

The Andrews Utility Department has built trails on a wooded piece of land owned by the town. The department has put the trails in over the course of several years and continues to add new ones. Open to the public, the trails are located beyond the end of Terrell Street in Andrews.
Photo by Steve Clark.

From collecting leaves to running the town’s wastewater plant, the Andrews Utility Department performs the same wide range of responsibilities that any utility department does.

The Andrews department, however, has also taken on a unique responsibility.

Seven years ago, the department started building trails on a wooded piece of land owned by the town. Located at the end of Terrell Street, the department liked the idea of transforming the area, which was underutilized, into something of a recreational spot for residents.

Huntington County Department of Health asks county residents to learn about COVID-19 illness


Graphic provided by World Health Organization.

The Huntington County Department of Health asks that residents of the county educate themselves about coronavirus disease 2019 – or COVID-19, for short.

To that end, the health department has provided information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about COVID-19.

As of Thursday, March 12, the health department recommends that events and gatherings be limited to no more than 50 attendees, in the interests of limiting the potential for COVID-19 to spread.

HCCSC schools to be closed through April 10

Huntington County Community School Corp. schools will be closed from March 16 through April 10,  due to the COVID-19 virus, administrators said in a press release issued earlier today, Friday, March 13.

School administrators will be re-evaluating the situation during spring break regarding the return of students on Monday, April 13, 2020.

At this time, HCCSC administration feels that closing school is in the best interest of its students, staff members and families.

Local restaurant again rewards naval ship crewmen with a taste of breaded tenderloin specialty

Ray Shearer (third from left), the chairman of the USS Indiana and USS Indianapolis commissioning committees, presents a picture of the latter vessel that was signed by the crew to Jean Anne Bailey (second from left), the owner of Nick’s Kitchen, during a visit to the Huntington diner on Monday, Feb. 17. Shearer thanked Bailey for sending tenderloins to the crews of both vessels. The idea to do so was hatched by the Huntington County Commissioners. Also pictured are Commissioner Tom Wall (first from left) and Commissioner Rob Miller.
Photo by Steve Clark.

Tenderloins from Huntington will once again be served aboard a vessel in the United States Navy that has Indiana ties.

At the end of February, 140 tenderloins from Nick’s Kitchen will be shipped to the USS Indianapolis (LCS-17), a Freedom class littoral combat ship based in Mayport, FL.

Former nursery owner Fox delays retirement to keep doing job for which he still has passion

Wayne Fox stands inside a greenhouse at Huntington Nursery & Florist, where he has worked for 51 years. Fox was also the owner of the business for a long time, selling it in 2008, but he opted to stay on to help out and continue doing work he says he loves.
Photo by Rebecca Sandlin.

Wayne Fox agreed to stay on and help for a year after he sold Huntington Nursery to Jim and Kevin Yarger in 2008.

Twelve years later and counting, he’s still there.

“I’m one of the managers here,” he says, when asked for his current title. “I do the design work, and I do the estimating for all the outside contracting, and I’m kind of the horticulture guru, so to speak … I’ve been here so long, I do what I have to do. I’ve been doing it so long that whatever has to be done, I do.”

Indiana winter may be daunting to some, but one hardy group continues its mission to hike on

Bundled up on a cold wintry day, Tommi Tucker (left) and Rachael Dettling, holding her son Harrison, 23 months, enjoy a leisurely stroll in Memorial Park recently, as Tucker’s two sons run off to check a ditch in the park for crawdads. The Hike it Baby group meets on Friday mornings to go on walks at various Huntington County locations.
Photo by Rebecca Sandlin.

While Indiana’s weather may prove daunting to young and old at times – even closing school on occasion – one hardy group of Hoosier moms and their children look forward to a weekly stroll in the elements, come what may.

Roanoke Beautification Foundation returns to brick fund-raiser after gap of many years

John Nelson, coordinator of the Roanoke Beautification Foundation’s brick drive, stands at the site of some bricks alongside Main Street in Roanoke. The RBF is currently selling bricks that can be personalized with text and placed in the sidewalk. A brick drive was held in Roanoke in the early 1990s and the RBF felt the time was right to bring it back.
Photo by Steve Clark.

John Nelson enjoys reading all the different text on the sidewalk bricks in downtown Roanoke.

Several bricks feature the names of businesses and churches. Others bear the names of families and graduating classes from Roanoke High School.

One brick even proclaims which beer Roanoke residents like best, to Nelson’s amusement.

“One is located just outside of the Village Inn and it says, ‘Roanoke Loves Miller Lite,’” states Nelson with a grin.

Markle church hoping to help many cut medical debt for those in need

Aaron McClary, lead minister at Markle Church of Christ, holds a letter sent to more than 1,600 families, informing them of a Christmastime donation that forgave them of medical debts. The church was one of three area congregations that pooled their resources to purchase and redeem the debts.
Photo by Rebecca Sandlin.

Three local churches, including one in Markle, are hoping their 2019 “Christmas Offering” causes a ripple effect of redemption through the area and inspires other congregations to follow their lead to eliminate thousands of dollars of medical debt for those who can’t afford to pay the bills.

Rickards finish long project of saving historic home from demo

Vicky and Alan Rickard stand on the grand staircase in their Huntington home, which was built in 1892 and originally owned by David Alonzo and Elizabeth Purviance. The Rickards purchased the house in 2015 and have been renovating it ever since, working to restore its 19th century charm while giving it their own spin.
Photo by Steve Clark.

Alan and Vicky Rickard’s house in Huntington is distinguished by a flower bed that states the year the house was built.

The numbers “1892” are rendered in the flower bed with artificial flowers, which are visible to anyone who passes the house on North Jefferson Street.

While the house has been a familiar sight in Huntington for 128 years, there was a time when demolition loomed for the historic structure.

And if it wasn’t for the Rickards, along with the owner who preceded them, it wouldn’t still be standing.

Youngest patrons welcome renovations at library main branch

Andrew Richardson (far right) keeps an eye on his son, Cameron Richardson (center), 22 months, as he finds a new toy to play with in the newly remodeled Children’s Department of the Huntington City-Township Public Library on Friday, Jan. 3. The library will host an open house this Friday, Jan. 10, and Saturday, Jan. 11, to celebrate the completion of the renovation project.
Photo by Rebecca Sandlin.

It finished up a bit later than anticipated and cost a bit more than was bid, but the renovations at the Huntington City-Township Public Library’s Huntington branch are now in use and have been welcomed by – primarily – the library’s youngest patrons.

Executive Director Beka Lemons says it’s been about 19 months since the library’s Children’s Department underwent its first space planning back in April of 2018. Bidding took place in September 2018 and construction started a month later. It was completed, for all practical purposes, by the end of November 2019.

Fetters feels his call to service leaves Huntington in good place

Huntington Mayor Brooks Fetters stands by his seat in the Huntington Common Council chambers on Dec. 18. As he leaves the mayor’s office, Fetters says he does so with great pride over his administration’s accomplishments over the past eight years.
Photo by Steve Clark.

In 2010, Brooks Fetters was busy running funeral homes in Huntington and Markle.

While he was a public officeholder, serving on the Huntington Common Council, he had no aspirations of seeking the city’s highest office and becoming mayor.

However, a municipal election was approaching in 2011. And as it drew nearer, Fetters found himself searching for an answer to one question, posed to him again and again.

Burson living dream of teaching - in Nigeria

Ashley Burson (right) helps her mother, Susie Boyer, make one of the family’s traditional Christmas treats Wednesday, Dec. 18, at Boyer’s home in Roanoke. Burson, of Huntington, is on leave from her assignment as a missionary in Nigeria.
Photo by Rebecca Sandlin.

Ashley Burson got an extra, early Christmas present when she returned home from Nigeria for a visit with her family.

She got engaged.

Burson, a Huntington native who graduated from Huntington North High School in 2009 and Huntington University in 2013, has spent the past six months in the Nigerian town of Jos, located in the Plateau state in the central part of the African country. While there, she lived her dream of teaching kindergarten.

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