New baseball season brings back memories for Roanoke businessman

Pete Eshelman, the owner of Joseph Decuis, in Roanoke, poses with the World Series ring he won as a member of the New York Yankees front office in 1977. Eshelman was originally drafted by the Yankees as a pitcher, but went on to work for the team in a different capacity following an injury. Eshelman says his time around the team, especially owner George Steinbrenner, had a positive impact on his life.
Photo by Steve Clark.

In a little over a year, Pete Eshelman went from being a Major League Baseball draft pick to a World Series champion with the New York Yankees.

It was a whirlwind 17 months for Eshelman, to put it mildly. Ultimately, it was a stretch of time that saw his playing career cut short, but a new career, inspired by legendary Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, begin to take shape.

Today, Eshelman is the owner of Joseph Decuis, in Roanoke. But in the 1970s, he was a baseball player at Williams College, in Williamstown, MA, striving to fulfill a lifelong dream.

Faith Community Church women learn ministry comes in all shapes and sizes - of formal wear

Chris Jackson (left) adjusts the bowtie of Converse resident Jonathan Maynus as he tries on a tuxedo at the Faith Formal Attire shop located inside Faith Community Church. Maynus came back this year after renting his first tuxedo from the ministry for last year’s prom. Faith Formal Attire has also provided formal clothing for a wedding, plays and other special occasions.
Photo by Rebecca Sandlin.

A group of ladies at Faith Community Church have not only learned how to share God’s love by renting – of all things – tuxedos and prom dresses, they have seen their ministry expand to provide affordable formal attire for weddings and other events as well.

It’s called “Faith Formal Attire,” a “closet” full of clothing housed in a little back room at the church, located at 3615 N. Norwood Rd. on Huntington’s west end.

Learning Center doing its part to help local manufacturers fill jobs

Jack Curless, a senior at Huntington North High School, concentrates on a radius project in his precision machining class at the Huntington County Community Learning Center on Feb. 25. The Learning Center strives to help fill in-demand positions in the local manufacturing sector. Employees with experience running computer numerical control machines are currently sought after.
Photo by Steve Clark.

The Huntington County Community Learning Center is endeavoring to help fill positions at local manufacturing companies.

Tiffaney Drummond, the Learning Center’s director, says the facility makes it a point to stay abreast of manufacturers’ needs. One of the main ways it accomplishes that, she notes, is by interacting with the Learning Center Advisory Board and Advisory Council, both of which feature representatives from the local manufacturing sector.

New recreation room at county jail to have many uses, sheriff notes

Dylan Hamilton (right), a trusty at the Huntington County Jail, cuts a sound panel that will be hung up in the jail’s revamped recreational room on Thursday, Feb. 28. Assisting Hamilton is Mike DeLong, of Lehman Floor Covering. Once sound panels are done being installed in the room, which had echo issues, it will be ready to host programming that Huntington County Sheriff Chris Newton believes will have a positive impact on inmates’ lives.
Photo by Steve Clark.By

The highlight of the recreational room at the Huntington County Jail used to be a basketball hoop.

Inmates utilized the hoop regularly, says Huntington County Sheriff Chris Newton, playing games that often got rowdy.

“It’s barnyard basketball in the jail, every game,” he says.

It was a brand of basketball that frequently led to battered wrists and ankles.

“There were so many injuries that were happening as a result of it,” says Newton. “Of course, when they get injured, we have to take an officer, put them at the hospital.

‘Roll-Around’ March 28 to wind up city’s disability awareness efforts

Huntington Mayor Brooks Fetters (far left) leads the charge for the Mayor’s Downtown Roll-Around, as a cavalcade of wheelchair-bound officials and others makes their way along a downtown street in observance of Disability Awareness Month in March. The annual trip, which will return this year on March 28, is an exercise in getting a feel of the challenges some disabled people face in navigating simple everyday ambulatory tasks.
Photo provided.

Sometimes, it’s an effort to just get through the day.

For community members with a disability, that “sometimes” ends up being all the time.

Doorways are too narrow, bathrooms are inaccessible and the print on the menu is too small.

Local siblings put ‘R&R’ on back burner with January trip to Panama for World Youth Day

Siblings Grace Richert (left), 18, and Stephen Richert, 19, were among 75 pilgrims from the Catholic Church Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend to make the journey in January to Panama to celebrate World Youth Day. They joined Pope Francis, more than 150,000 young people from 155 countries and a total of 600,000 people who attended Mass on the final day of the event.
Photo provided.

This is a good time of year to take a journey to a tropical climate, and two siblings from Huntington, Grace and Stephen Richert, did just that in January. But the two young adults didn’t make sightseeing and “R&R” their top priority – they had a more spiritual goal in mind.

Popular daddy-daughter, mother-son events coming up in Hgtn.

Boys and their moms participate in activities including playing with Legos at the 2018 Mother-Son Extravaganza event sponsored by the Huntington Parks and Recreation Department. This year’s event will take place March 2 at the First Merchants Heritage Hall on the Huntington County Fairgrounds.
Photo provided.

Hundreds of little girls are dreaming of a special night with that special guy.

Those dreams will come true later this month at the Daddy-Daughter Dance, undeniably the most popular event sponsored by the Huntington Parks and Recreation Department.

“I kind of describe it as a little bit like prom for kids and their dads,” says Sharon Cuttriss, who coordinates the dance as well as other parks department activities throughout the year.

Senior Citizens increasingly becoming targets for scammers; sheriff issues warning

Ed Robbins, of rural Huntington, shows a list on his cell phone of the multiple calls he’s recently received from scammers. A variety of scams that especially target the elderly have not only inundated his phone, but his wife and numerous other local Seniors have also gotten calls. Photo by Rebecca Sandlin.
Photo by Rebecca Sandlin.

In today’s high-tech world, one can never be too wary – especially if one is a Senior Citizen.

Scam attempts seem to be on the uptick in Huntington County, and it’s not even official tax season yet. Some area residents – all of them over age 55 – say they have been inundated with calls, informing them their sensitive information has been compromised by scam artists who are actually trying to pry their personal information from them. And more and more, the crooks’ prime targets are the elderly.

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.