HU knitters group serving pair of purposes

Huntington University senior Denise Lehman (foreground) works on a knitting project with fellow HU students on Wednesday evening, Dec. 1. A knitting circle was formed for students in order to create hats and scarves for local people in need of winter wear
Photo by Jessica Williams.

Originally published Dec. 6, 2010.

A group of students at Huntington University is meeting to serve two purposes at once - socializing and giving back to the community.

Yikhwan Dillard is the resident director at HU's Meadows and Miller halls, where he supervises resident assistants as part of a graduate assistantship through Taylor University. This is his first year in Huntington, says the former Seattle, WA, resident, and he has heard it gets cold here in Indiana during the winter.

Markle is venue for pilot sitcom filming during the past weekend

Audio specialist Matt Boylan (standing) adjusts the microphones over actresses (from left) Robyn Scott, Kate James and Colleen Murray in a former office space in downtown Markle on Saturday, Nov. 20.
Photo by Jessica Williams.

Originally published Nov. 25, 2010.

If you visited Markle the weekend of Nov. 20-22, you might have seen handwritten signs taped to doors downtown reading, "Filming in Progress."

That was about the only outward evidence that a professional production company was filming a sitcom in the Huntington County community.

Punch Films, with offices in Chicago and Fort Wayne and made up of John Cuneo and Derek Devine, was in charge of the production.

Huntington native competes for USA bike team

Huntington native Duell Murphy was one of 34 riders that recently competed in the 2010 FIM International Six Days Enduro for Team USA, in Morelia, Mexico. Murphy has been racing competitively since age 10.
Photo provided.

Originally published Nov. 22, 2010.

When Duell Murphy first started riding bikes at age 4, he had no idea that 16 years later he would be racing against 370 of the world's best motocross bikers in Morelia, Mexico.

The Huntington native competed in the 2010 FIM International Six Days Enduro for Team USA, Nov. 1 through 6, an honor given to only 34 of the best riders in the country.

"I started riding at age 4 and my dad bought me my first bike," stated Murphy. "I started riding competitively at 10 years old in local Indiana Series races."

Local veterans service office ready to help those who fought for us

Dave Heiney, left, accepts a plate of free food from Lynn Clabaugh during a veterans’ lunch at the Roanoke American Legion Post 160 on Saturday, Nov. 6. Looking on is Heiney’s brother Dennis, a veteran visiting from Ohio.
Photo by Jessica Williams.

Originally published Nov. 11, 2010.

The Huntington County Veterans Service Office offers assistance to those who fought for the freedoms of America and live right here in the community.

According to the VA, 3,027 veterans are in Huntington County, and Bruce Stanton, service officer of Huntington, says his office not only helps them but their spouses, dependents and widows. The service office also assists active duty servicemen and women and their dependents.

‘Knowing right people’ has former friary buzzing with activity

Kevin Rhoades (center), bishop of the Fort Wayne-South Bend Catholic Diocese, talks with Rev. Ron Rieder (left), pastor of SS. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, and Msgr. Owen Campion, from  Our Sunday Visitor, take a tour of the St. Felix Friary .
Photo by Scott Trauner.

Originally published Nov. 8, 2010.

If you know the right people, things start happening.

Take the former St. Felix Friary, for example.

Just months ago, the building sat empty, without a purpose, on the north side of Huntington.

Last week, the 30-acre site was swarming with workers bringing the grounds and the massive former monastery back to life.

And just what is the building's new purpose?
Nobody's quite sure - yet.

Lincoln teacher Purdy doing her part to help corporation by bringing in big grant

Lincoln Elementary School fourth grade teacher Julie Purdy (left) accepts an award from Superintendent of Huntington County Community School Corporation Tracey Shafer at the HCCSC Board of School Trustees meeting on Monday, Oct. 25.
Photo by Jessica Williams.

Originally published Nov. 4, 2010.

Fourth grade Lincoln Elementary teacher Julie Purdy is doing her part to help out the school during hard financial times by bringing more than $10,000 into the school through the Kohl's Cares for Kids program over the last 18 months.

Purdy, a Huntington native, attended Ball State University and returned to teach in Huntington County. She has been at Lincoln for about 20 years and is also a part-time employee at the Apple Glen Kohl's in Fort Wayne.

Huntington resident gets big surprise in form of book contract

Donna Rich.
Photo provided.

Originally published Nov. 1, 2010.

Huntington resident and author Donna Rich received a big surprise last month when she achieved every writer's dream - a book contract.

Rich has been writing since high school and received her first rejection in 1978.

"I tried to get a couple things published, (but) I never was able to ... You write, you lay it down, but if you're a real writer, you always keep writing no matter what," she says.

New Tech director pleased with program after 1st quarter

Viking New Tech students (from left) Robert Sliger, Tyler Henline, Skyler Wilery, Cade Abbett and Laren McCullough work on their Global Perspectives’ project on Monday, Oct. 11.
Photo by Jessica Williams.

Originally published Oct. 28, 2010.

Everything's going well in Huntington North High School's new school within a school, administrators say.

The "New Tech" program opened this fall, based on a model that emphasizes project-based learning and collaboration with heavy reliance on computers.

Viking New Tech Director Kelly Renier reports that after the first quarter of VNT's inaugural year, students are finding their niche.

Pup nobody wanted is now top dog among hunting beagles

John Brown (left) and Joe Brown pose with Halfway Annie B, the United Kennel Club’s  2010 Hunting Beagle World Champion.
Photo by Cindy Klepper.

Originally published Oct. 25, 2010.

A year ago, Annie was the pup nobody wanted.

This month, she's the top dog.

Halfway Annie B, as she's formally known, outhunted all the other dogs in the race to become the United Kennel Club's 2010 Hunting Beagle World Champion.

"That's about the biggest you can win," says an obviously pleased Joe Brown, who handled Annie during the competition held Oct. 1-3 in Bridgeport, WV. He and his dad, John Brown, both of Huntington, own Annie and about a dozen other hunting beagles.

Local bar association encourages professionalism, respect

Huntington County Bar Association President Amy Richison stands with the sign the association had redone outside the Huntington County Courthouse, which celebrates the landmark “Ex Parte Milligan” Supreme Court ruling involving a Huntington attorney.
Photo by Jessica Williams.

Originally published Oct. 21, 2010.

One local organization provides a voice to Huntington attorneys and allows information from the state level to be passed down to Huntington County.

The Huntington County Bar Association, explains Huntington County Prosecuting Attorney and Association President Amy Richison, is an affiliate of the Indiana State Bar Association. The Huntington association is made up of about 25-30 members, she adds, depending on the number of active attorneys in the county.

Census bureau releases first of ‘flood of information’ about U.S.

Mary Jane Thompson (left), Esther Hinen (back to camera) and Richard Newell play a hand of euchre on Monday, Jan. 3, at the Senior Center in Huntington.
Photo by Cindy Klepper.

Just before Christmas, the U.S. Census Bureau released the first of what will become a flood of information resulting from its 2010 count of the nation's population.

The official purpose of the census - counting the nation's residents every 10 years to determine how many representatives each state will have in the U.S. House - was fulfilled.

Handful of economic development projects has local economy looking stronger in the last several years

Mark Wickersham, executive director of Huntington County United Economic Development, welcomes Helena Chemical for Huntington County during a groundbreaking ceremony for the plant on Dec. 14.
Photo by Cindy Klepper.

The local economy has seen significant improvement for not only 2010, but 2008 and 2009 as well.

During the year just ended, Huntington County saw five new industrial development projects, with a capital investment of over $32 million in Huntington County, notes Mark Wickersham, executive director of Huntington County United Economic Development - the agency charged with attracting new economic development to the county.

Arduous task of Christmas clean-up falls to street dept.

City of Huntington employee Brad Borntreger maneuvers cardboard boxes in the back of his hauler on Monday, Dec. 27, on College Avenue. Along with regular trash pick-up, city employees are picking up holiday trash as well.
Photo by Jessica Williams.

After all the presents, food and festivities of the holiday season, somebody has to clean up the mess.

In Huntington, that arduous task falls to the Huntington Street Department, headed up by Dave Spencer, street commissioner.

"We see about a 30 to 40 percent increase in trash right after Christmas," states Spencer. "It's definitely one of our busiest times of the year."

The post-Christmas trash, he says, includes a list of seemingly random items.

County residents make holiday for less fortunate

Bill Fetrow, director of Love INC, displays one of the food boxes his agency provided to area families in need of a Christmas meal.
Photo by Cindy Klepper.

There are thousands of families out there basking in the glow of Christmas.

For more than 500 of those families, there would have been no Christmas glow if not for the generosity of their fellow Huntington County residents.

Bill Fetrow, director of Love In the Name of Christ, estimates that about 530 families throughout Huntington County received boxes of Christmas cheer through Love INC, The Salvation Army and Karing for Kids.

Locals to again participate in society’s Christmas bird count

Betty Jo Wallace has been bird watching for about 25 years, including participation in the annual National Audubon Society Christmas bird count for Huntington County, which will be held Jan. 1, 2011.
Photo provided.

Huntington residents could see some cool sights in the sky if they'd open their eyes, according to local birdwatcher Betty Jo Wallace.

The Christmas bird count is just a way for those interested in bird watching to get involved.

Wallace and her mother-in-law, Ellen Eppard, organize the Huntington County Christmas Count independently and send the compiled information to the Indiana chapter of the National Audubon Society. Wallace has been bird watching for about 25 years. Eppard is the representative for Huntington and she's been birding for over 30 years.

Italian native notes similarities, differences in Christmas celebrations

Giuseppe (left) and Julie Ceravolo display the nativity scene in their home in rural Huntington. The “presepe,” or nativity scene, is more prominent in Giuseppe Ceravolo’s native country of Italy than a Christmas tree is during the holiday season.
Photo by Jessica Williams.

It's been years since Huntington resident Giuseppe Ceravolo has celebrated Christmas back home in Italy.

And even though traditions have changed over time, he doesn't mind reminiscing about the past.
Ceravolo says there are similarities between the two countries' customs because Italian traditions were brought overseas long ago.

But, he says, there are also a number of differences from how he used to celebrate Christmas and how his Catholic family - wife, Julie, and sons, Alex, 21, and Raphael, 20 - celebrates in America.

Meshing of traditions gives Bosnian couple 2 Christmases

Bosnian immigrants Ira (left) and Dalibor Bencun have meshed their country’s Christmas traditions with those of the United States, and because of that celebrate two Christmases.
Photo by Jessica Williams.

A Bosnian family living in Huntington has meshed its own holiday traditions from home with those of America, a compromise that includes the celebration of two Christmases.

Ira Bencun moved to Huntington in December 2004 after meeting her future husband, Dalibor. They are from the same town, Kakanj in central Bosnia, but she says they didn't meet until he was home visiting his family after he had already moved to America in the late 1990s.

In January 2005, the couple married in America; in December 2005, their son Stribor was born here.

Familar face at local bank soon to retire after serving bank, community for long time

Steve Zahn, CEO and chairman of the board of directors for First Federal Savings Bank, seen in his office on Friday, Dec. 10, will retire at the end of this month.
Photo by Matt Murphy.

A familiar face at a local bank will soon be celebrating his retirement after 46 years of service, including 25 as the bank's president.

Steve Zahn, CEO and chairman of the board of directors for First Federal Savings Bank, has announced his retirement effective Dec. 31. Although leaving the CEO post, Zahn will continue to remain as president of First Federal's Board of Directors, and will keep his office at the North Jefferson Street location.

Santa’s magic present all year for one couple in Huntington

Phyllis and George Pieper, of Huntington, have a massive collection of Santa Claus items, and many are displayed all year round in their home. Their first Santa was purchased in 1964.
Photo by Jessica Williams.

Santa's magic is present every day of the year in the lives of one Huntington couple.

Phyllis and George Pieper have amassed a collection of 400 to 500 Santa Claus items, and most are displayed at their home in northwest Huntington County all year round.

Abandoned Roanoke cemetery has been ‘bustling with life’

John “Walt” Walters fills a large crack in a repaired tombstone at an abandoned cemetery in Roanoke on Wednesday, Oct. 13.
Photo by Cindy Klepper.

Originally published Oct. 18, 2010.

For the most part, John "Walt" Walters' job is a solitary occupation.

He spends his days in cemeteries, face to face with tombstones that communicate little but the essential facts about the person beneath the ground.

Last week's job at an abandoned cemetery near Roanoke, though, was different. The cemetery was bustling with local volunteers helping Walters and his two co-workers straighten and repair the stones dotting the burial ground.

Post office seeing major uptick in shipping boxes this season

Huntington Post Office clerks Ragena Mittan (left) and Jenny Smith scan some of the packages that flooded the Post Office on Tuesday, Nov. 30. The Post office staff says that more holiday packages are being shipped earlier than ever before.
Photo by Cindy Klepper.

The boxes just keep coming.

So many boxes, in fact, that the Huntington Post Office is already seeing Christmas shipping records set and shattered.

Julie Przybylinski, supervisor of customer services at the local post office, says the growing popularity of online shopping can be credited with the uptick in post office business - which became very evident when UPS made its daily delivery on Tuesday, Nov. 30.

"Normally, we don't hit over 200 packages until well into December," Przybylinski says. "Last year, it was quite a ways into the holiday season."

Local man donates WWII photos to Smithsonian Institution, D.C.

Former Army Air Corps gunner/aerial photographer Bill Jones (fourth from left) presents his scrapbook of photographs and other memorabilia to representatives of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. on Monday, Sept. 27.
Photo provided.

Originally published Oct. 14, 2010.

A Huntington World War II-era veteran and aerial photographer has donated his collection of World War II-era photographs and memorabilia to the National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

On Monday, Sept. 27, William "Bill" Jones, 84, traveled to Washington, along with three other members of the Hoosier Warbirds, Inc., to present his scrapbook of photographs and memorabilia - valued at $42,000 -from the end of the Pacific Theater campaign.

‘Getting out of Dodge’ not the direction taken by HU senior

Huntington University student Jackie Bashop (right) shares a moment with Meghan Menchofer, match grant caseworker and employment specialist at World Relief Fort Wayne, where Bashop interned this semester.
Photo provided.

At 22 years old, most people are finishing school, finding jobs or possibly planning weddings and raising a family.

But for Huntington University senior Jackie Bashop, her focus lies in a different area - changing lives.

Bashop, an educational ministry major, grew up in Roanoke and graduated from Huntington North High School.

Her plan was simple: work hard, get good grades, graduate and "get out of Dodge."

Local soldier excels as she continues family legacy

Command Sgt. Major Jon Smith (left), Indiana Recruiting and Retention Command, presents Pfc. Alyssia Brown with a minuteman statue during an awards ceremony and banquet in Indianapolis on Nov. 22.
Photo provided.

Army Basic Combat Training can be a daunting hurdle for anybody joining the military. Army Pfc. Alyssia Brown completed basic when she was a junior at Huntington North High School.

Army Advanced Individual Training to become a military police officer can also sound intimidating to those thinking of joining the armed forces. Brown enlisted before she turned 18, and graduated at the top of her class.

Lintz reunites with Canadian pen pal after 42 years of words

Archie Lintz (left), of Huntington, meets with his Canadian pen pal Marilyn Webb on Saturday, Oct. 2 at the Lintz home on North Jefferson Street. The two have written each other since the late 1960s.
Photo by Jessica Williams.

Originally publsihed Oct. 11, 2010.

After decades of mail correspondence, Huntington resident Archie Lintz was recently reunited with a pen pal for the first time since 1968 on Sept. 29.

Lintz and his wife Lu Anne played the role of tour guide for six days for pen pal Marilyn Webb and her husband David, visiting from the Vancouver, British Columbia area.

Lintz says he has had many pen pals in his life because he enjoys writing and has a curiosity about people around the world.

Pieces of Harry Potter have made way into lives of HU professor and wife

Huntington University professor and Huntington resident Tanner Babb stands in front of some items on display at the Huntington City-Township Public Library from the Harry Potter collection he and his wife Julie have.
Photo by Jessica Williams.

Pieces of Harry Potter have made their way into the lives - and home - of Huntington University psychology professor Tanner Babb and his wife Julie.

The Huntington residents are displaying their Harry Potter collection at the Huntington City-Township Public Library in anticipation of the latest installment of the young wizard's story, which hits theaters Friday, Nov. 19.

Varsity Singers to host 26th annual Pomp and Plenty gala

The Huntington North High School Varsity Singers will present their annual Pomp and Plenty dinner concert on Saturday, Nov. 20, with the concert repeated on Sunday, Nov. 21.
Photo provided.

The Huntington North Varsity Singers will host their 26th annual Pomp and Plenty gala, with the theme of "Let's Go to the Movies," on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 20 and 21, at Huntington North High School.

The Huntington North jazz band will begin each of the three shows with a performance.

On Saturday, dinner will be served at 6 p.m. The menu includes chicken and noodles, mashed potatoes, green beans, tossed salad, homemade yeast rolls, apple a la mode and a beverage.

Deer season just getting rolling in Hoosier state

Gary Hunter, a Wabash County resident who lives near Salamonie Reservoir, signs in at Sign-in Station No. 2 at Salamonie Reservoir on Friday, Nov. 5. Firearm deer hunting season is set to begin this weekend.
Photo by Matt Murphy.

Coming off of the second-largest deer harvest Indiana has ever seen last year, early archery deer season is in full swing and firearm deer season begins Saturday, Nov. 13.

Salamonie and J. Edward Roush Reservoirs are ready for the large numbers of hunters that will take to the fields this weekend.

"We encourage people to spend a lot of time out in the field scouting for deer," says Dennis White, property manager at Salamonie. "The entire property is good for deer."

Firearm and early archery deer seasons will end Sunday, Nov. 28.

Carmichael working way up as actress and model

Sabrina Carmichael.
Photo provided.

Originally published Oct. 7, 2010.

Former Huntington resident and Huntington North High School graduate Sabrina Carmichael is working her way up the Hollywood ladder as an actress and model.

‘Fair local trading point’ now just a cluster on the road

This building at the intersection of Ind.-124 and CR 300E, in Plum Tree, formerly housed Doris and Herschel Simpson’s lumberyard, blacksmith and auto garage businesses. The Simpsons’ business served as one of the social hubs for the town.
Photo by Matt Murphy.

Orignally published Sept. 27, 2010.

At the intersection of Ind.-124 and CR 300E in southwest Huntington County, a silent breeze swings through the town of Plum Tree, Indiana.

Buildings recognizable as businesses and a still-active church cluster the intersection of the roads. But when the church is not meeting, or the handful of residents stay inside, there are no people.

Cars whiz by on the state road, and the bridge carrying Ind.-124 over I-69 is within view to the west.