Features

New group in county helping women to feel more confident behind the trigger of a gun

Under the watchful eye of The Well Armed Woman leader/instructor Alysha Wilson (left), Jo Ann Reed, of Andrews, practices taking aim at a target at the outdoor range at Hillside Shooting Sports, in Roanoke. The club had its first Roanoke chapter meeting on June 15.
Photo by Rebecca Sandlin

Originally published June 22, 2017.

As a nurse, Huntington resident Alysha Wilson found herself working in some very unsavory neighborhoods in Fort Wayne.

Jenny Eversman, a Fort Wayne resident, was fearful for her young family when her husband was away at work.

Both women found a way to deal with their trepidations and now have formed a new club in Huntington County to help other women become confident behind the trigger.

New ministry designed to help women with children find shelter moves to build stage

Rev. Jimi Staton, pastor of New Life Fellowship, stands in front of the house the church purchased for $50 that will become the Women and Children’s Life House residence, once renovations are complete. The ministry is expected to be open to residents in October.
Photo by Rebecca Sandlin

Originally published June 15, 2017.

A new ministry devoted to helping women with children find shelter and get back on their feet has moved from the vision stage to the hammer and saw stage.

Salvation Army going back to its past to serve original ‘doughnut girl’ treats at HD balloon fest

Huntington native and Salvation Army officer Helen Purviance became known as the original “doughnut girl” after frying the treats for World War I soldiers serving on the front lines in France in 1917.
Photo provided.

Originally published June 12, 2017.

Helen Purviance was 28 when she gained fame as the “doughnut girl” of World War I.

The Huntington native, then an ensign with The Salvation Army, was ministering to soldiers on the front lines in France in 1917 when she and a friend surprised the men with freshly-fried treats.

A century later, the doughnuts are coming back to Huntington, served up freshly made by Salvation Army Capt. Dennis Marak and his crew using Purviance’s original recipe.

Naturalist blends history, acting, with passion for native plants

Salamonie Lake Interpretive Naturalist Laura Whiteleather, as Millie the pioneer granny doctor, forages for some plants to add to her basket of wild herbs used to treat illnesses and maladies such as poison ivy. Whiteleather has been giving her presentation for the past nine years.
Photo by Rebecca Sandlin

Originally published June 8, 2017.

The story goes, she rode along with her family from Pennsylvania, traveling in a canvas-covered wagon to the frontier known as Indiana – the “Land of the Indians.”

It was the early 1840s, and Millie was a pioneer woman in a rough, new, unforgiving country.

Although time has made her appear a bit older, in her long pioneer dress and frilly bonnet, Millie is only about 9 years old – a fictional character made up by Laura Whiteleather.

UTEC worker shifts to Plan B ... with a technology twist

Steve Mitchell shows how his 3-D printer lays a thin layer of plastic at a time to make the fidget spinners he is creating with the machine.
Photo by Rebecca Sandlin

Originally published June 5, 2017.

When Steve Mitchell learned he was going to lose his job as a surface mount technician at United Technologies Electronic Controls in Huntington, his world was in for a major shift. After working there 23 years and close to retirement age, he needed to kick in Plan B.

“They decided to move to Mexico; I don’t really have a choice,” Mitchell says. “My family is here; that’s where I belong.”

People seeing double a lot at Roanoke this year

Eight sets of twins at Roanoke Elementary School celebrated the last days of school this year by getting together for a group photo. Pictured are (front row, from left) Kennedy Zahm, Sophia Scheer, Matthew Gross, Chloe Horne, Ethan Kelsey, Layla Wigmore, Delaney Molitor and Ellison Smith; and their siblings (back row, from left), Jerica Zahm,  Stella Scheer, Tyler Gross, Danny Horne, Evan Kelsey, Logan Wigmore, Alexis Molitor and Elliott Smith.
Photo provided.

Originally published June 1, 2017.

This past year at Roanoke Elementary School, people were seeing double a lot more than at other Huntington County schools — make that double times eight.

The school had eight sets of twins this year — three sets of girls, three sets of boys and two sets of boy/girl twins.

“We have kind of a ‘twin anomaly’ here,” says Principal Chris Tillett. “They’re just cute … They’re a lot of fun.”

Local Rotary Club has seen its share of changes in first century

Current members of the Huntington Rotary Club are (front, from left) Annette Carroll, Beka Lemons, Holly Saunders and Nicole Johnson; (second row, from left) Rich Beaver, Adam Drummond, Joe Santa, Dawn Harvey and Megan Reckelhoff; (third row, from left starting in the middle of the photo) Natalie McConnell, Kathy Branham, Mandy Reber and Cindy Krumanaker; (fourth row, from left) Mike Perkins, Jim Hoffman, Steve Pfister, Matt Roth, Chris Sands and Rose Meldrum; (fifth row, from left) Mel Ring, Lyle Juillerat, Randy Sizemore, Mark Wickersham, Kevin Killen, Lori Mickley and David Dyer; (sixth row, from left) Sarah Hain, Rose Wall, Stefan Poling and Billy Winter; (seventh row, from left) Joe Hake, Brooks Fetters, Pat Brown and Chris Fleck; and (eighth row, from left) Dave Mettler John Jepsen and Michael Howell.
Photo by Cindy Klepper.

Originally published on May 29, 2017.

Like most things that have lasted for a century, the Huntington Rotary Club has seen its share of changes.

“It’s really evolved, because it was at one time a good old boys’ club,” says Jim Hoffman, who’s been a Rotarian since 1973.

“It used to be men who didn’t punch the clock, and they had secretaries,” says Mel Ring, whose 57 years of membership makes him the longest-standing Rotarian in Huntington.

There were no women, and there were strict limits on the number of members from any one profession.

California couple looking for Midwest farm and land instead winds up with lodge hall project

Theresa and Atom Cannizzaro are the new owners of Huntington’s former Masonic Temple, a 20,000-square-foot building that has become their home and may, eventually, house a business.
Photo by Cindy Klepper.

Originally published May 22, 2017.

Theresa and Atom Cannizzaro were looking for a Midwest farmhouse surrounded by a couple hundred acres of land.

They bought a massive former lodge hall near downtown Huntington, complete with two parking lots.

“We just really fell in love with this,” says Theresa, who, like her husband, Atom, was born and raised in San Diego, CA.

Huntington’s Carroll enjoys his work at ‘happiest place on Earth’

EJ Carroll, of Huntington, stands by a flag for The Masters, one of the most famous golf tournaments in the world, which is held annually at Augusta National Golf Club, in Augusta, GA. In April, Carroll got to fulfill a lifelong dream and go to Augusta National, working in security at The Masters.
Photo by Steve Clark.

Originally published May 15, 2017.

Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, GA, is widely known as the home of The Masters, one of the most famous golf tournaments in the world.

EJ Carroll, of Huntington, has another name for it.

“It’s the happiest place on Earth,” he says. “It really is. Everybody wants to be there.”

Zay notes being new guy in statehouse a bit tough, but not overwhelming with some help

Indiana State Sen. Andy Zay, who was appointed to represent the 17th District when Jim Banks was elected to Congress, makes a point during a senate session earlier this year.
Photo provided.

Originally published May 12, 2017.

What’s it like to be the new guy in the Indiana Statehouse?

There’s “a little bit of learn by fire,” says Sen. Andy Zay, fresh off his first term as a member of the state’s legislative body.

On the other hand, he says, there was always a seasoned lawmaker, an aide or a representative of a state agency available and accessible to provide him with the information he needed.

Rotary Reading Buddy partnership turns into long-term friendship for Schwob, Snyder

Rotary Club member Kay Schwob (left) and Sarah Denton Snyder take a break at Café of Hope on Monday, May 1. The two have remained friends ever since they were first paired in the Rotary Reading Buddies program at Lincoln Elementary School back in 2000. They have kept in touch through letters, cards, get-togethers and Facebook.
Photo by Rebecca Sandlin

Originally published May 8, 2017.

When Kay Schwob signed on to help out her Huntington Rotary Club with its newly-launched Reading Buddies program at Lincoln Elementary School in 2000, she thought she was helping to give back to the community she loves.

Courthouse clocks not just a way to look at time, but their workings are way to look back in time

Greg Ricker, facilities manager of the Huntington County Courthouse, cranks one of the building’s four exterior clocks on Tuesday, April 25. The clocks, which require cranking once a week in order to function, have been in continuous use since they were installed in the courthouse in 1907.
Photo by Steve Clark.

Originally published on May 5, 2017.

Looking at one of the clocks outside the Huntington County Courthouse isn’t just a way to look at the time — it’s also a way to look back in time.

The clocks were installed in 1907. And while many aspects of the courthouse have changed since that time, the devices in charge of keeping the time have not.

There are four exterior clocks in all at the courthouse. None of them are automated. To keep the clocks running, maintenance workers must trek up to the courthouse attic once a week and wind each one of them up.

Cancer survivor helps raise funds with her apron-making skills

Roberta Rector models one of her cancer-fighting aprons, with more aprons laid out on a sofa in the lobby of the LaFontaine Center.
Photo by Cindy Klepper.

Originally published May 1, 2017.

It all started eight years ago when Roberta Rector received a cancer diagnosis.

Now, Rector is turning out aprons by the dozen in an effort to keep others from going through what she went through.

“I’m a survivor,” she says. “I’m just making aprons to try and help get rid of the disease.”

Once about the future, Kirby now heads into past with spirit

Sarah Kirby, librarian in the Huntington City-Township Public Library’s Indiana Room, has a career that began in rocket science and has evolved into library science.
Photo by Cindy Klepper.

Originally published April 27, 2017.

Sarah Kirby’s trajectory has taken her from the future to the past.

Once part of a team that sought to explore the outer reaches of space, Kirby now heads a team whose mission is firmly planted on (or in) the ground.

Her new job as librarian in the Huntington City-Township Public Library’s genealogy collection is, she says, the answer to her question, “What do I want to be when I grow up?”

As a child, she says, the answer was space.

“I was a space cadet when I was 3,” Kirby says. “I named my dog ‘Star.’”

County woman says achieving inner peace and tranquility may be as far away as own back yard

Taking advantage of the wooded property at her parents’ home on Rangeline Road on April 12, Christy Thomson demonstrates how taking time to sit and take in the sights, sounds and scents of the woods can help hikers relax and reap several benefits to their physical, emotional and spiritual health.
Photo by Rebecca Sandlin

Originally published April 24, 2017.

A rural Huntington woman says achieving inner peace, tranquility and spiritual renewal may be just as far away as your own back yard.

Christy Thomson, who may be better known as the music coordinator at the Parkview Huntington YMCA, calls it “forest bathing” or “forest therapy.” The moniker is derived from the Japanese word Shinrin-yoku, which is translated as “bathing your senses in the forest.”

Genius Hour showing educators that letting students pick studies might be right track

Alayna Pohler (left) and Josie Eckert, members of the Riverview Middle School Seventh Grade Blue Team, explain to the Huntington County Community School Corporation Board of School Trustees at its April 10 meeting how they decided to create a lip balm product for their Genius Hour project. The profits from sales of the lip balm are being donated to The Salvation Army.
Photo by Rebecca Sandlin

Originally published April 20, 2017

The idea of letting kids learn what they want to learn sounds like a recipe for disaster, but as the seventh-grade Blue Team at Riverview Middle School has proven, it’s sheer genius.

It’s called Genius Hour, a program that is teaching middle school students to not just think out of the box, but for themselves as well. The results have been impressive, says Assistant Principal Michael Parsons.

Chance calling has county resident among best in world

John Nixon, of Huntington County, stands with the Founders Award, an accolade given out by the American Academy of Forensic Sciences that recognizes outstanding service to the engineering sciences. Originally from Scotland, Nixon has made a name for himself in the United States as a forensic consultant and expert on weapons systems and explosives.
Photo by Steve Clark.

Originally published April 17, 2017.

John Nixon found his calling in life by chance.

While training to be an engineer in London, he was approached by government representatives who were searching for engineers to work on munitions and ordinance.

“They kind of picked me out and said, ‘Come for an interview,’” Nixon recalls. “So, I had an interview and then got the job. I was kind of like a troubleshooter, going from one technology area to another.

“So, I worked on a lot of things – like missiles, explosives, small arms.”

Artist creates living willow tunnel at Salamonie Lake as part of Arts in Parks

Sadie Misiuk (left) and Viki Graber plant willow branches on the banks of a pond at Salamonie Lake on Friday, April 7. The branches will eventually become a living tunnel, an installation put in place as part of the Indiana Arts Commission’s Arts in the Parks program.
Photo by Cindy Klepper.

Originally published April 13, 2017.

In another week or so, with any luck, the willow will have budded and the ground will have dried, making the newly installed living tunnel at Salamonie Lake an enticing place to play — or just chill out.

But willow weaving artist Viki Graber and her assistant, Sadie Misiuk, had to contend with a chill in the air and mud under their feet when they created the sculpture on Friday, April 7.

“This is going to be a child’s tunnel, but adults can go in there if they want to crouch down a little bit,” Graber says.

Agencies working hard to solve county location mysteries

Marla Stambazze, land use coordinator with the Huntington County Department of Community Development, displays a sign designating lot numbers for a subdivision where about a dozen homes share the same address. The designation of lot numbers was part of a project to assign addresses to every location in Huntington County where people might gather.
Photo by Cindy Klepper.

Originally published April 10, 2017.

They haven’t quite solved the mystery of the lost city of Atlantis, but they have found a number of cemeteries throughout Huntington County.

Although preferring anonymity, top Lancaster Elementary volunteer turns into ‘school asset’

Volunteer George Richardson (right) helps Lancaster Elementary School first-grader Olivia Thomas, 7, with a difficult word as she reads aloud to him during class on Wednesday, March 29. Richardson volunteers the equivalent hours of a full-time employee, working year ’round at the school.
Photo by Rebecca Sandlin

Originally published April 6, 2017.

George Richardson says that “someone” twisted his arm to do this story. Truth told, it was more likely a bunch of “someones” who convinced him that he deserves all the attention he’s recently received.

“I like to be anonymous,” he said, simply.

But at Lancaster Elementary School, Richardson is anything but anonymous. His name is often heard overhead on the school’s PA system, summoning him for one task or another.

Reunited friends’ latest project at LaFontaine Center designed to show different people can get along

LaFontaine Center residents Lorraine Dunford (left) and Rose Hawkins spearheaded the creation of the “Fantasy Gnome and Fairy Garden” in the center’s lobby.
Photo by Cindy Klepper.

Originally published April 3, 2017.

Lorraine Dunford and Rose Hawkins were childhood friends who, over the years, lost track of each other.

While Hawkins stayed close to home, Dunford spent years overseas as a member of a military family.

Then, last December, both — coincidentally — moved into apartments at the LaFontaine Center, in Huntington.

“It was just a total surprise out of the blue,” Dunford says of reconnecting with her old friend.

“I was sitting in the Brick Room coloring, and she walked in,” Hawkins says.

Veteran motorcycle racer Flynn adds traveling buddy this season

Pat Flynn (left) stands alongside his grandson, Logan White, with the motorcycles they use for cross country racing. While Flynn has been competing in national races for more than 30 years, this year marks the first time that his grandson, 15, has joined him.
Photo by Steve Clark.

Originally published March 30, 2017.

Pat Flynn has been traveling around the United States for cross country motorcycle races for more than 30 years.

This year, however, he has some company.

For the first time ever, Flynn’s grandson, Logan White, is on the road with him.

And after years of teaching White about cross country motorcycle racing, the teenager is now out competing in the same national races as his grandfather.

County farm family’s beef herd expands quickly with rare triplets

The Little family — (from left) Cory, Cole, Jennifer and Todd — show off their 7-year-old heifer, “Tessie,” and her triplet calves. A triplet birth is extremely rare.
Photo by Cindy Klepper.

Originally published March 27, 2017.

When Cole Little noticed that the family’s pregnant cow “Tessie” had wandered off into the trees, he went to check on her.

That’s a sign that the cow’s about ready to give birth, explains Todd Little, Cole’s dad.

And “Tessie,” as expected, had given birth — to not one, not two, but three calves. Cole immediately called his mom, Jennifer Little.

“I called her and said, ‘She had three,’” Cole says. “And she said, ‘No, she didn’t.’ But I told her she did and one was just laying out there and I think she needs help.”

HNHS student becoming real-life ‘guitar hero’ with talent, hard work

Local guitarist and Huntington North High School student Jesse Gonzales takes a break from practice on Friday, March 17. Gonzales and his band, The Timebacks, will perform in a benefit concert on Friday, April 21, at the HNHS auditorium.
Photo by Rebecca Sandlin

Originally published March 23, 2017.

Jesse Gonzales, by his own admission, is “music illiterate,” meaning he can’t read music. And he didn’t come from a family possessing any musical abilities. However, there is nothing not musical about him.

“My parents don’t play any instruments; my grandparents don’t,” he says. “I don’t know where I got it from.”

Gonzales’ interest in playing guitar sparked when he was in eighth grade — a late age, by comparing many who have reached his level of talent.

State honors local poll worker for her contribution to election process

Joanna Grassl (third from left), “Huntington County’s poll worker extraordinaire,” poses with (from left) Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson, Huntington County Clerk Kittie Keiffer and Pam Fowler, Huntington County voter registration and election deputy, after Lawson recognized Grassl as Huntington County’s Poll Worker of the Year on Thursday, March 16.
Photo by Cindy Klepper.

Originally published March 20, 2017.

Joanna Grassl loves politics.

But don’t expect to see her name on the ballot.

“I don’t want to be in politics. It’s too much dog eat dog,” she says. “But I enjoy the outside part of it, the voting, how it works.”

And if there’s an election going on, she’s likely to be there, making sure the voting process runs smoothly and that everyone who wants to cast a ballot has that opportunity.

‘Nothing special’ for Huntington couple as it hails 73rd anniversary

Edward and Hertha Sowell keep active on their own at home, with Edward driving and doing chores around their apartment home in Huntington. The couple celebrated their 73rd anniversary on March 13.
Photo by Rebecca Sandlin

Originally published March 13, 2017.

One Huntington couple is celebrating its 73rd wedding anniversary today, Monday, March 13, by going out to dinner with their family, presumably as they say they’ve lived their life together – quietly, with nothing special – but remarkable just the same.

Edward and Hertha Sowell have known each other since seventh grade – about 80 years, Edward estimates. But it wasn’t until their freshman year of high school in Clay Township, near South Bend, that he says he saw Hertha in a new light.

Downtown fire has businesses scrambling to keep rolling

Marty Burns, director of New Options at 35 W. Market St., was back at work Monday morning, March 13, after a fire ravaged a building two doors down the previous Wednesday. New Options, Vanity Fair and Classicut have re-opened in their current locations; Coldwell Banker Roth Wehrly Graber real estate agents are working from their cars and homes, using the Fort Wayne office as home base; attorneys Stan Matheny, Wil Hahn and Jill Denman have found temporary quarters downtown; and barber R.C. Eichorn is looking for a place to land.
Photo by Cindy Klepper.

A law firm whose long-time home was waterlogged during firefighting efforts on March 8 is now operating out of temporary quarters in downtown Huntington, and the barber who plied his trade on the corner is looking for temporary quarters.

“I’ve got 620 customers to take care of,” says R.C. Eichorn, owner of RC Barber.

Group makes sure good food doesn’t go to waste

Lincoln Elementary School fourth-grader David Kendall places his unopened carton of milk on a tray of unwanted broccoli, cheese sticks and more milk before heading to the trash can in the school cafeteria. Lincoln is the first Huntington County school to join Food Rescue, which allows students to donate unwanted food to the food pantry at Love In the Name of Christ.
Photo by Cindy Klepper.

Originally published March 9, 2017.

Day after day, Jill Morrow watched as untouched bananas, sealed cartons of milk and other perfectly good food filled the trash cans in the Lincoln Elementary School cafeteria.

When she heard about a way to save that food, she was in.

The bounty now goes to the Love In the Name of Christ food pantry through Food Rescue, a program launched locally by the Huntington County Health and Wellness Coalition.

HNHS-HU partnership puts local man on road to independence

On the job, Zachery Arivett wipes down the pizza counter in the dining commons at Huntington University during lunchtime on Wednesday, March 1. Arivett participates in the ABLE program, a partnership between HU and Huntington North High School for students with mild to moderate cognitive disabilities.
Photo by Rebecca Sandlin

Originally published on March 6, 2017.

At 20 years old, Zachery Arivett is busy being a college student — going to classes, hanging out on campus and holding down a part-time job.

He plays video games and makes the traditional college student late-night runs to Taco Bell with friends.

He has a quiet confidence that underlies a winsome sense of humor.

And while many think this is just the norm for a young man his age, Arivett considers it to be his success story, because it is.

Agricultural industry in Africa could soon get a boost, thanks in part to former local

Jordan Garrity (left) sits in the passenger’s seat as Arsene, an employee of the non-profit ACREST in Cameroon, test drives one of the AgRovers that Garrity’s company hopes to manufacture in several countries in Africa.
Photo provided.

Originally published Feb. 27, 2017.

The agricultural industry in a handful of countries in Africa could soon get a boost, thanks to a project involving a man who grew up in Huntington.

Jordan Garrity is co-founder of a company that has designed a low-cost, multipurpose utility vehicle that he envisions being manufactured and sold in central African countries including Nigeria, Cameroon, Uganda and Kenya.

In fact, Garrity has already built a handful of vehicles in Cameroon, and the first of what he calls microfactories is up and running in Nigeria.

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