Huntington Area Transportation gets unlikely exposure at Daytona

A go-kart bearing Huntington Area Transportation (HAT) emblems zips across Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, FL, last December. HAT driver Mike Brennan personally paid to have the HAT emblems placed on the go-kart, plus another kart, which both competed in a karting event held at the speedway. Brennan liked the idea of HAT being represented at the speedway, which is among the most famous in the world.
Photo provided.

Vehicles bearing black and yellow Huntington Area Transportation emblems are a common sight around Huntington County.

Huntington Area Transportation – or HAT, for short – is a free public transportation service offered by the Huntington County Council on Aging.
Retiree Mike Brennan, of Huntington County, is a driver for HAT.

And on a recent trip to Daytona International Speedway, in Daytona Beach, FL, Brennan gave HAT some exposure at the racing venue, which is among the most famous in the world.

Annual Huntington County Chamber dinner is night for listing 2018 accomplishments

Randy Warner (left) chairman of the board of the Huntington County Chamber of Commerce, presents his predecessor, Steve Petry, with a plaque recognizing the latter’s year as board chairman at the chamber’s annual meeting on Monday night, Jan. 21, at the Huntington PAL Club.
Photo by Scott Trauner.

Monday was not only a night for laughs, it was a night of pride, as the Huntington County Chamber of Commerce reviewed its accomplishments the past year and what it hopes to accomplish in the new year ahead.

At the chamber’s annual dinner on Jan. 21, Executive Director Steve Kimmel told about 150 attendees to relax and enjoy the evening, as awards were presented, followed by some fun.

Local church trying to assess needs of area homeless with overnight quarters

Rev. Jimi Staton stands in one of two sleeping rooms containing bunk beds in the basement of New Life Fellowship Church, in Huntington, which are open to anyone needing a warm place to sleep through February. The overnight shelter has seen a steady increase in people since it opened the first week of the new year.
Photo by Rebecca Sandlin.

A 60-day experiment that gives Huntington’s homeless a warm place to sleep at night could reveal some interesting statistics about the status of homelessness in the community.

Rev. Jimi Staton, pastor of New Life Ministries, says when the New Life Fellowship, located at 313 E. Franklin St., opened its doors at the first of the year, on the first night they had one person take advantage of the warmth inside – and the sleeping quarters housed in its basement.

Huntington youth has big return to football field thanks to Make-A-Wish, NFLer Jameis Winston

Conner West (left), of Huntington, stands with Jameis Winston, the starting quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the National Football League, on Dec. 28 last year in Tampa, FL. West got to meet Winston, his favorite athlete, through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which granted West a wish after he was diagnosed with leukemia in 2016. West is now cancer-free.
Photo provided.

When Conner West, of Huntington, was fighting acute lymphoblastic leukemia, one of the casualties was his senior season on the Huntington North High School varsity football team.

Ultimately, West beat leukemia. And, fittingly, with the fight behind him, he found his way onto a football field once more.

Only this field wasn’t Kriegbaum Field, the home of West’s Huntington North Vikings. Over a thousand miles away from Huntington, the venue was Raymond James Stadium, in Tampa, FL, the home of West’s favorite football team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

New sheriff takes over ‘well-oiled machine’

Chris Newton (left) and Chad Hammel are the new sheriff and chief deputy, respectively, of the Huntington County Sheriff’s Department. Newton takes over the sheriff’s role from Terry Stoffel, whom he served under for eight years as chief deputy of the sheriff’s department.
Photo by Steve Clark.

As Chris Newton’s tenure as sheriff of the Huntington County Sheriff’s Department begins, he describes the department as a “well-oiled machine.”

He credits that to his predecessor, Terry Stoffel, whom he served under for eight years as the department’s chief deputy. Stoffel was a mentor to him during that time, shares Newton, and his tutelage prepared him for the opportunity to succeed him.

Creative Abilities move creates new market and friendships

Marsha Sommers works on a needlework project in the new Pathfinder Services Inc. Creative Abilities studio, located at Café of Hope, 900 E. State St., Huntington. The Creative Abilities artists have been working out of their new home, which also features a gallery store, since Nov. 1.
Photo by Rebecca Sandlin.

A move by Pathfinder Services Creative Abilities has led to not only new digs, but a new market – and new friendships.

The art studio, the clients of which are artists with primarily developmental disabilities, moved from its former home on Theater Avenue after the lease ran out on its building Nov. 1, and landed at Café of Hope, a ministry of Life Church, located at 900 E. State St., Huntington. Those with Creative Abilities, Café of Hope and Life Church say it’s a partnership made in heaven.

Having reached lofty goal, Crispen says he’s retiring from shuttling Shriners’ patients

Bob Crispen shows the logbook he’s kept since 1982 of the more than 365 trips he’s driven to take patients to the Shriners Hospital for Children. Each trip is a minimum of 12 hours long, and an average of 356 miles of driving to either Chicago or Cincinnati. Crispen says.
Photo by Rebecca Sandlin.

Over the past several decades, Bob Crispen has literally put the rubber to the road in helping people – namely, children in need of specialized medical services.

Recently he reached a milestone and his personal goal, making his 365th trip chauffeuring kids and their families to a Shriners Hospital for Children.

On Dec. 3 he surpassed that goal with trip No. 367 – one for each day of a leap year plus an extra for good measure.

Roanoke youth on comeback trail after scary medical ordeal

Alayna Stroup (right) sits with her mother, Sarah, in their Roanoke home. Earlier this year, Alayna spent almost two months at Riley Hospital for Children, in Indianapolis. The cause of her ailment was a medical mystery. While Alayna has since returned home, she is in the midst of a lengthy recovery process.
Photo by Steve Clark.

As the season drew to a close for the Huntington North High School girls’ swim team this past February, Alayna Stroup had reason to smile. The sophomore had qualified for the second day of competition at the formidable Warsaw Sectional. Competing in the 100-yard backstroke for the Lady Vikings, she achieved a clocking of 1:13.51.

It was her fastest time ever.

Recently-opened residential facility already near capacity

Staff and residents of Remnant Ministries are shown in front of the house they live in located north of Huntington. Pictured are (front row from left) residents Amanda Hayslip and Katie Blackstone and Director Jessica Brooks; (second row from left) House Manager Jan Baggett and Assistant Director Krista Rohrabaugh; and (back row from left) residents Lauren Kellerman and Brittany Davis.
Photo by Rebecca Sandlin.

A recently-opened residential ministry – modeled after one already    in operation in Huntington – is already near capacity, as young women struggling to overcome the throes of opioid addiction find their recovery grounded in faith.

SS. Peter and Paul sprucing up for 175th anniversary

Workers with the Fort Wayne-based Jack Laurie Group work on removing the steps leading to the sanctuary dais of SS. Peter and Paul Catholic Church on Wednesday, Nov. 28. The first phase of renovations at the church are expected to be completed by Dec. 14.
Photo by Rebecca Sandlin.

With the 175th anniversary of SS. Peter and Paul Catholic Church coming up in 2019, the leadership of the church thought it would be a good time to update the interior and bring it back to much of its former glory.

Stoffel adds student power to ‘Shop with a Cop’

Huntington Police Department Patrolman Ben Spurgeon (left) helps Kaliyah Raichart make a tough decision on which toy to purchase as they shop together during the Shop with a Cop event last year at the Huntington Walmart. This year’s shopping night takes place on Tuesday, Dec. 18.
TAB file photo

When the 16th annual Shop with a Cop night gets underway on Tuesday, Dec. 18, Huntington County Sheriff Terry Stoffel will have extra manpower to help underprivileged kids shop for Christmas. Now, he just needs some donations.

New Decuis employee gambled and won in world of high-stakes pro poker broadcasting

Tatjana Pasalic Karr covers the Super High Roller Bowl at the Aria Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, NV, for CBS Sports in 2016. Karr now works for Joseph Decuis, in Roanoke, but prior to that, she spent 10 years covering poker professionally around the world.
Photo provided.

Tatjana Pasalic Karr once played in a poker tournament where there was a lot more at stake than money.

Karr currently works for Joseph Decuis, in Roanoke, but before that, she covered poker events all over the world, working for poker tours and media outlets.

Commissioners send off new sub with cuisine from local eatery

Displaying the famous tenderloin sandwiches of Nick’s Kitchen, Huntington County Commissioners lead the effort to send 150 tenderloins to the USS Indiana submarine (SSN789) to celebrate the sub’s entry into active service. Pictured are (from left) Commissioners Larry Buzzard and Tom Wall; Nick’s Kitchen owner Jean Anne Bailey; Julia Surber, of VS Engineering; and Commissioner Rob Miller.
Photo by Rebecca Sandlin.

Members of the newly launched USS Indiana will enjoy some northern Hoosier hospitality when they dine on hand-breaded tenderloins from Huntington’s Nick’s Kitchen, compliments of Huntington County’s commissioners.

A ceremony marking the Virginia-class nuclear submarine’s entry into active service in the U.S. Navy was held Sept. 29, in Port Canaveral, FL, and each of the Hoosier state’s 92 counties sponsored its commission.

Local teen’s passion for horses earns her national recognition

Sixteen-year-old Emily Freise, of Majenica, runs a barrel pattern with her horse, “Jaguar’s Blazing Coco,” or “Jag” for short, at the Chief LaFontaine Saddle Club, in Huntington. In addition to being a horse trainer and riding instructor, Freise competes in the rodeo event of goat tying and currently holds the top ranking nationally in her age range.
Photo provided.

It’s 5:30 a.m. The alarm blares. Emily Freise blindly paws at her clock until it finally becomes silent. She climbs down from her bunk and gets dressed.  Horse figurines of all shapes and sizes fill the shelves that line her walls.
Her chores for the day begin.

Leadership Academy idea may help fill vacancies

The members of the Huntington County Vacant Buildings Committee are (from left) Terry Miller, Malcolm McBryde and Dessie Krumanaker, who founded the group from a project birthed during a Huntington County Leadership Academy class. They seek to find occupants for the county’s vacant commercial buildings.
Photo by Rebecca Sandlin.

An idea that grew out of a Huntington County Leadership Academy think tank is taking aim at filling empty buildings in Huntington and throughout the county.

Simply called the “Huntington County Vacant Buildings Committee,” the group is looking for commercial buildings that are without occupants, with the idea of connecting them with businesses that are seeking a spot to land.
The group is made up of three Leadership Academy graduates, Dessie Krumanaker, Malcolm McBryde and Terry Miller, who came together during the 2018 academy in March.