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.

Voglemans’ wait to adopt turns into start of fostering career that continues 25 years

Jan and Tim Vogleman, shown in their rural Huntington County home, have fostered about 140 children during the past 25 years.

Originally published May 22, 2014.

Some 25 years ago, the desire of Tim and Jan Vogleman's hearts was to adopt a child.

During the long adoption process, they thought it would be a good idea to become foster parents.

"The waiting time was so long that we thought, ‘Well, we have the room. Why don't we just foster while we're waiting for our name to come up on an adoption list?'" says Jan Vogleman. "So that's really how we started."

‘Difference in world’ leads local Brownies back to own community

Brownies in Troop 20299 are preaching the merits of shopping locally.
Photo by Cindy Klepper.

Originally published May 19, 2014.

A handful of local Brownies set out on a journey to find out how they could make a difference in the world.

They ended up right back in their own community.

And like any modern girl, the Brownies popped a video of their discovery on YouTube for the world to see.

The video, Brownie Sara Burnworth explains, is about shopping locally.

Local Skywarn Program manager has ‘fascination’ with storms

Huntington County Emergency Management Agency Skywarn Program Manager Butch Williams sits in the EMA’s Emergency Operations Center, located at the Huntington County Sheriff’s Department.
Photo by Rebecca Sandlin.

Originally published May 15, 2014.

For those who remember it, the devastating tornadoes that ripped through Indiana on Palm Sunday of 1965 were a frightful experience.

But for one Huntington resident, it was the beginning of a lifelong fascination of keeping an eye to the sky.

"I was 7 years old," recalls Butch Williams, who is now the county's Emergency Management Agency Skywarn Program manager. "I was in Hartford City and it was getting dark. There had already been several violent tornadoes on the ground in the afternoon of that day.

Local man, fund-raising group seek donations for kidney surgery

Elisabeth and Chad Johnson, of Huntington, are planning a hog roast fund-raiser to help defray expenses following a kidney transplant for Chad.
Photo by Rebecca Sandlin.

Originally published May 12, 2014.

Several pictures grace the living room walls of Chad and Elisabeth Johnson's home on Huntington's east side. They are mostly of painted Japanese characters that spell "Wish," "Patience," "Faith," "Honest," "Love," "Dream" and "Family."

There is another picture that says, "Tomorrow Begins Today." It is that saying, plus the hope that comes from the others, that Chad Johnson is clinging to in the fight of his life.

Veteran turned bicyclist sees bike trip turn into people trip

Stephan Speer, Vietnam veteran and avid bicyclist (left) is interviewed by Riverview Middle School student Jessica Ditton. Speer is making his way from Washington D.C. to Seattle by bike in support of nine veterans whom he served with in Vietnam.
Photo by Lauren Winterfeld.

Originally published May 8, 2014.

"Pretty good doesn't begin to cover it," he says.


"Out of this world.

"Far more than I ever imagined."

He is Stephan Speer, a veteran (and industrial microbiologist) from Decatur, IL.

His task - bike from coast to coast.

"I have three missions that I am trying to accomplish," he explains, "I am attempting to see if, ‘Does an old man like me still have what it takes to bicycle across the U.S.?'

Mitchell’s ‘can do’ attitude helps her Andrews neighbors

Charlotte Mitchell displays some of the grocery items she purchased last week for The Shepherd’s Pantry in Andrews. The Andrews resident makes multiple shopping trips each week as she searches out bargains to help fill the food pantry’s shelves.
Photo by Cindy Klepper.

Originally published May 5, 2014

Charlotte Mitchell can, so she does.

"It's my form of enjoyment," she says. "I just love doing it."

But her coupon clipping, bargain hunting and grocery shopping is much more than one woman's hobby.

For many of her neighbors in her adopted hometown of Andrews, it's how they make ends meet.

Week in and week out, usually several times a week, Mitchell stocks the shelves of the Andrews food pantry with meat, dairy and boxed food items.

Inaugural Walk for Water in Huntington May 10 more significant than just a symbolic gesture

Shane Blair, son of Michele Blair, participates in the 2013 Walk for Water in Indianapolis. The Walk for Water is coming to Huntington on Saturday, May 10. Michele Blair is spearheading the event.
Photo provided.

"Many people in the world don't have the luxury of running water," says Michele Blair, a Huntington resident who is spearheading the city's inaugural Walk for Water.

The Walk for Water is the brainchild of the nonprofit organization Jubilee Village Project, which was started by Blair's uncle.

The walk is three miles round trip, with walkers carrying five-gallon yellow buckets of water for half the journey.

HNHS students, teachers working hard to wrap up year-end loose ends

Sue Muncy of Jostens hands a bag of graduation goodies to senior Thomas Bolinger during lunch at Huntington North High School on Monday, April 21.
Photo by Lauren Winterfeld.

Originally published April 28, 2014.

"It's coming to an end very quickly," says Huntington North High School principal Chad Daugherty.

The school year will wrap up five weeks from today, with HNHS students' last day of school slated for Thursday, May 29.

Daugherty says the students and teachers are working hard to wrap up all the end-of-the-year loose ends, such as getting seniors caught up with the credits needed to graduate and a full calendar of senior activities, including prom and graduation.

Local Vietnam veteran working to preserve tradition of service

Markle Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6671 Commander Larry Jenks (left) and Quartermaster George Keplinger hold a copy of the book they have compiled, listing the names and service dates of veterans from Rock Creek and Union townships.
Photo provided.

Originally published April 21, 2014.

Larry Jenks served in the United States Army in Vietnam from 1966 to 1967.

Following his father's footsteps, Christopher Jenks served in the army in Afghanistan and Iraq, still active in the reserves.

It's that tradition of service, and the military service of everyone in four townships, that the elder Jenks wants to preserve and honor.

Local man earns top accolade from National Wheelchair Basketball Assn.

Bob Burnsworth, of Huntington, is a wheelchair basketball coach at Turnstone Center for Children and Adults with Disabilities, in Fort Wayne.
Photo by Steve Clark.

Originally published April 17, 2014.

When Bob Burnsworth fell off a roof in 1988, he fell into the disabled world.

The accident left Burnsworth in a wheelchair, paralyzed from the waist down, at the age of 28.

The first few years following the accident, he admits to feeling bitter, thinking that he got the short end of the stick.

"I was drinking and partying and didn't know what I was going to do the rest of my life, didn't really care," he says.

But then he discovered wheelchair basketball.