Martin’s class ring finds way back to finger after 31 years in Lake Huron

Leigh Gray Martin, a Markle resident and 1984 graduate of Huntington North High School, holds her class ring, which was found and returned to her this summer after being lost in Lake Huron for 31 years.
Photo by Steve Clark.

Leigh Martin's class ring spent 31 years on a stranger's finger.

That finger, however, didn't belong to a person; it belonged to the state of Michigan.

The lower peninsula of the Great Lakes State is said to look like a mitten, with the "thumb" jutting out from the state's northeast side. Albert E. Sleeper State Park is located on the tip of the thumb, and that's where Martin lost her class ring in the summer of 1983.

Robot goes from Andrews workshop to star in summer blockbuster ‘Transformer’ movie

Mike Smyth, of Andrews, takes a breath on set of “Transformers: Age of Extinction.” His handmade robot, MiniMech, stars in the summer blockbuster.
Photo provided.

A robot from Andrews is a movie star.

MiniMechadon, or MiniMech, as his creator Mike Smyth calls him, has a starring role in the major motion picture "Transformers: Age of Extinction."

The fourth installment of the Transformers series was released on June 27 and is now the highest-grossing movie ever to be released in China. At press time, the film had grossed $575 million worldwide.

It is the number one movie in America, and Smyth thinks, "It's kind of cool."

Smyth, an electrical engineer, built MiniMech 10 years ago in his workshop.

Roanoke Lions Club has a mission to help people gain 20-20 vision

James Vachon (left) and James Coppock of the Roanoke Lions Club prepare to pack up a table-full of about 100 eye glasses in support of the Lions Club’s program to donate glasses to help improve the vision of low-income and poor people.
Photo by Rebecca Sandlin.

Originally published July 7, 2014.

The Roanoke Lions Club is on a mission to help people gain 20-20 vision.

The club is looking for donations of eyeglasses of any type, including sunglasses, but particularly prescription glasses it can then pass on to underprivileged people.

The Roanoke organization is one of several Lions Clubs in Huntington County - and across the state - to participate in the program.

Historic treasure glides through Huntington skies over weekend

A 1929 Ford Tri-Motor glides across the skies above Huntington Municipal Airport on Thursday, June 26. The aircraft visited Huntington June 26 to 29, offering flights that recreate air travel in the “Golden Age of Aviation.”
Photo by Lauren Winterfeld.

Originally published July 3, 2014.

A rare, historical treasure visited Huntington the weekend of June 28.

A 1929 Ford 4AT Tri-Motor plane touched down on the tarmac at Huntington Municipal Airport on Thursday afternoon, June 26, and stayed for three days, giving citizens the opportunity to see and experience air travel as it was in "the Golden Age of Aviation."

The plane, which is owned by Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), is part of a fleet of the world's first mass-produced airliners.

Autism may slow this Scout, but hasn’t kept him from Eagle honor

Anthony Schmaltz (center) is recognized after receiving his Eagle award, with his parents, Michelle and Gerald Schmaltz, at his side.
Photo provided.

Originally published June 30, 2014.

It's not every Cub who grows up to be an Eagle.

Nationally, only 2 percent to 4 percent of all boys who enter Scouts will persevere to earn the program's top award, says Bill Oswalt, who helps coordinate Eagle projects for local Troop 637.

There are a host of challenges on the way from Cub to Eagle - Scouts are required to earn nearly two dozen merit badges and recommendations from respected adults, hold positions of responsibility in the troop and, as the final challenge, coordinate a service project in the community.

Garrett’s ‘opportunity’ at Parkview Huntington coming to close soon

Parkview Huntington Hospital’s retiring chief operations officer, Darlene Garrett (right) chats with ultrasound technologist Hannah Wyatt (left) and receptionist Leigh Ann Jones in the office area of the hospital’s radiology diagnostics department.
Photo by Rebecca Sandlin.

Originally published June 26, 2014.

When Darlene Garrett began her health care career in 1978 as a night nurse on the medical-surgical unit at Caylor-Nickel (now Bluffton Regional) Medical Center, she had no idea that 20 years later she would eventually serve as chief operating officer of an entire hospital in Huntington.

Retiring library exec director won’t let grass grow underfoot

Huntington City-Township Public Library Executive Director Kathy Holst (left) chats with Janelle Graber, the director of the Eckhart Public Library in Auburn, during a retirement reception for Holst held at the Huntington Branch on Friday, June 13.
Photo by Rebecca Sandlin.

Originally published June 19, 2014.

When Kathy Holst retires as executive director of the Huntington City-Township Public Library, she may just pick up where she left off so many years ago - in Argentina.

"I've always been interested in paleontology," she explains. "I was an exchange student in Argentina when I was in high school. And that new, great big, giant dinosaur - largest in the world - that they just found down there? I might go back and investigate that. Maybe even help dig it up."

Campaign chair to tee off for kick-off

Pete Schownir, chair of the 2014 Huntington County United Way campaign, will unofficially kick off the new campaign with a marathon 81-hole golf day on June 23.
Photo by Cindy Klepper.

Originally published June 16, 2014.

The unofficial official kick-off to the 2014 Huntington County United Way campaign is one that will leave campaign Chair Pete Schownir dragging.

In fact, he's already scheduled a visit to the chiropractor midway through the day and a massage for the next morning.

Schownir is taking his favorite leisure-time activity and turning it into a marathon, setting out to play 81 holes of golf on six golf courses in one day.

United Way collections to flow back as grants

Originally published June 16, 2014.

All of those individual donations to the Huntington County United Way last year will flow back to the community this year in the form of grants to local social service agencies.

For the 2014-15 fiscal year, nearly $400,000 in United Way funding will support 27 programs offered by 17 organizations.

Each of the programs supported by those grants fits into one of four areas - education, financial stability, health and wellness and crisis needs - where the United Way wants to have an impact on the community.

More stories to tell, curtain to go up on Theatre Guild: Act II

Working for a comeback of amateur theater in Huntington are (front row, from left) Alan Short, Michele Short, Janet Ashley and Christian Albertson; and (back row, from left) David Dean, Deanna Albertson, Rhonda Landrum and Becky Arnett.
Photo by Cindy Klepper.

Originally published June 12, 2014.

Once upon a time, the people of Huntington got up on stage to tell stories.

Then the people got tired, and the stories faded away.

"We just got burned out," says David Dean, one of the storytellers.

But there are still stories to tell, and there's a new energy among the people who want to tell them.

Cue the lights, and open the curtain on the Huntington Theatre Guild: Act II.

Retiring teacher, coach Vance leaves lasting legacy for girls’ sports at HNHS

Phyllis Vance, a retiring Huntington North High School teacher and former coach, stands by a display case of trophies won by the softball team, which she started in 1985.
Photo by Steve Clark.

In the early days of the girls' track program at Huntington North High School, the most important exchanges didn't involve batons in relays, but uniforms between races.

A nonexistent budget coupled with a large squad necessitated the sharing of team-issued garb amongst its members, with girls at the end of one race swapping threads with girls who were at the start of another.

In addition to giving each other the shirts off their backs, the girls also served as each other's starting blocks in practice - again, due to the lack of funds.

Bell tower, focal point at Victory Noll, speaks volumes to Carney about missions

Sister Alodia Carney stands in front of the bell tower at Victory Noll, located on the plaza in front of the Holy Family Building.
Photo by Rebecca Sandlin.

Originally published June 5, 2014.

The large bell encased in a tower, which stands as the focal point at Victory Noll, was cast in 1885, is 31 inches in diameter, weighs 550 pounds and rings the musical note of "C."

But it is what the bell symbolizes that speaks to the heart and life's calling of many of the sisters at Victory Noll, and Sister Alodia Carney in particular.

2014 Miss Huntington is not just another pretty face

Miss Huntington, Alli Harris, opens the Huntington County  Memorial Day service on Monday, May 26, by singing the national anthem.
Photo by Cindy Klepper.

Let it not be said that the 2014 Miss Huntington is just another pretty face.

If Alli Harris gets anything across to people from her experience as this year's queen and a candidate in the upcoming Miss Indiana pageant, it's that this beauty queen has more depth to her character and to her mission.

"I am here as a goodwill ambassador to our community, and to brighten the eyes of those in our community and help them know that their dreams can come true," she says.

Huntington resident Jepsen makes the ultimate comeback from cardiac arrest

Sue (left) and John Jepsen sit together in their home in Huntington. John Jepsen survived cardiac arrest in March.
Photo by Lauren Winterfeld.

Originally published May 29, 2014.

"It was just God looking after us I guess," says John Jepsen, who was revived after suffering a cardiac arrest in March.

The attack was brought on while he was at Parkview Huntington Hospital waiting to have his gallbladder taken out. His gallbladder ruptured, which caused the attack.

"I went into septic shock," he explains, "and that's what caused my cardiac arrest. I also had renal failure - my kidneys went down too."

Creative use of park space gets Warren a disc golf course

Disc golfer Dustin Fortney plays a hole at the Tower Park Disc Golf Course, in Warren, which was recently installed.
Photo by Steve Clark.

Originally published May 26, 2014.

The layout for the Tower Park Disc Golf Course, in Warren, came to Dustin Fortney on the back of a lawn mower.

Fortney, a town employee, was mowing in the park when ideas for hole placements started coming to him. It was a major breakthrough on a project that had been stalled for nearly two years.

Disc golf is similar to traditional golf and sees disc golfers line up at tees and aim their Frisbee-like discs toward a basket, with the goal of getting the disc in the basket in as few throws as possible.