Lincoln Elementary students starting chain reaction of kindness

Jonas Bent (left) and Jayce Keyser, Lincoln Elementary School students, pose with their classroom’s addition to the blue paper chain currently making its way around the school building.
Photo provided.

Originally published March 6, 2014.

Every day, 160,000 students don't go to school out of fear of being bullied or harassed - a sobering reality that an organization named Rachel's Challenge has set out to change.

The goal of Rachel's Challenge is to "create a culture of kindness and compassion."

High-schooler with local roots set to become entrepreneur if his invention becomes reality

Originally published March 3, 2014.

He's only 18, but a high school student with ties to Huntington County is on track to become an entrepreneur if his high-speed invention becomes a reality.

Julian Erickson, of Fort Wayne, who grew up in Warren and attended Huntington North High School, came up with a design for motorized inline roller skates when his passion for skating developed a need for more speed.

The journey to build a better pair of skates began about two years ago, when Erickson needed something fun to occupy his summer.

Community Corrections program giving its participants new paths to travel on map of life

Huntington County Community Corrections Executive Director Leslie Rentschler (left) signs off on paperwork submitted by program participant Talon Lynch on Thursday, Feb. 20. Lynch is one of 11 active participants in the program.
Photo by Rebecca Sandlin.

Originally published Feb. 27, 2014.

A year ago, Talon Lynch might have been found getting himself into all kinds of mischief. Some of his activities landed him in jail.

Today, his old friends would probably not recognize him and the new focus that's driving him toward a better path and a new life.

"I'm probably going to enroll in Ivy Tech as a student," he says. "From there, I want to go to college - maybe I.U. because they have a really good medical program. I want to be a physical therapist."

Hoops hall to have tribute to Huntington’s Straight

Bob Straight, of Huntington, the longtime coach of the Huntington High School boys’ varsity basketball team, gazes at a picture in his house of the 1963-64 team that played for the state title.
Photo by Steve Clark.

Originally published Feb. 24, 2014.

After planning awards banquets for the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame for 25 years, Bob Straight, of Huntington, doesn't mind attending this year's ceremony as a spectator.

"It's a relief," he says with a laugh.

Straight, however - the longtime coach of the Huntington High School boys' varsity basketball team whose 1963-64 squad played for the state title, and a 1979 hall of fame inductee - will still be a part of the banquet in a big way.

Business personal property tax elimination, marriage amendment hot topics at state level

Originally published Feb. 20, 2014.

The current legislative session of the Indiana General Assembly reconvened Monday, Feb. 17, after a halfway point break the week prior.

Area representatives Sen. Jim Banks (R-Columbia City) and Rep. Dan Leonard (R-Huntington) returned home during the breather, and held a few legislative forums at areas throughout the community.

‘Snow days’ create more than obvious problems for HCCSC and students

Huntington North High School junior Hannah Edris (left) looks over her Spanish vocabulary lesson while Beth Beery, Spanish teacher (center), assists sophomore Dalton Caley with proper English-to-Spanish translation during Spanish class on  Feb. 13.
Photo by Lauren Winterfeld.

Originally published Feb. 17, 2014.

The snowiest of Januaries on record and a February that so far has been just as daunting have brought a double-digit count of "snow days" to area students.

Huntington County Community School Corporation (HCCSC) students have, as of Thursday, Feb. 13, missed 12 instructional days. On top of which, countless two-hour delays have been issued in response to sub-zero temperatures and an overload of the fluffy white stuff.

Bit of Huntington in Iditarod tradition this year

Jada Tucker, a fourth-grader at Lincoln Elementary School, displays one of the centerpieces she and her classmates made for the Feb. 27 Mushers’ Drawing Banquet in Anchorage, AK.
Photo by Cindy Klepper.

Originally published Feb. 10

There's a lot of celebration involved in sending 71 mushers off on a thousand-mile journey across Alaska.

That's as it should be for the Iditarod Great Sled Race, an event that pays tribute to the long and storied history of dog sledding in the 49th state.

IMPACT Institute makes soft entrance into community as it takes over adult education

Stephanie Ross, adult education coordinator for IMPACT Institute, sits at her desk in the adult education room at Horace Mann Education Center.
Photo by Lauren Winterfeld.

Originally published Feb. 6, 2014.

The IMPACT Institute, of Kendallville, has made a soft entrance into the community, quietly taking over the operation of adult education in Huntington.

The institute is now in charge of the classroom and testing for the Indiana High School Equivalency Exam (formerly the GED) in Huntington County, as of Jan. 1, 2014.

The IMPACT Institute, established more than 40 years ago, administers adult education and offers free adult high school diploma classes in several counties in northeast Indiana.

Senior pair -- and fortune cookie -- know the time is right for marriage

Heritage Pointe residents May Slagel and Floyd Blake have known each other about five years. The couple will marry on Saturday, Feb. 15, in the Applegate United Methodist Chapel at Heritage Pointe.
Photo by Rebecca Sandlin.

The Feb. 15 wedding of a Warren couple may be proof that God speaks in a variety of ways, even using a fortune cookie.

May M. Slagel, 80, and Floyd E. Blake, 86, met when May, who worked at Heritage Pointe as a beautician, styled the hair of Floyd's first wife, Marge. They had known each other about four or five years.

"She became, probably, Marge's best friend, because she had serious dementia," Floyd recalls. "May did a lot of things for Marge beyond doing her hair and nails every week ... I became friends with May because of that."

Area letter carriers cope with recent weather problems with proper gear; positive attitude

Rick Curry, letter carrier for Huntington’s U.S. Postal Service, drops mail at one of the 766 homes he delivers to daily.
Photo by Lauren Winterfeld.

Originally published Feb. 3, 2014.

What do U.S. Postal Service Letter Carriers have to wear when temperatures are subzero?

"A lot," says Rick Curry, who has been tending to his walking route in the city of Huntington for the last eight years.

"The important thing is to stay warm," he explains.
Staying warm seems simple enough.

HU four square game goes from routine to record-breaking

Four Huntington University students play a game of four square in the Baker/Roush Hall lounge on campus on Friday, Jan. 24, in an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for longest marathon playing four square.
Photo by Steve Clark.

Originally published Jan. 30, 2014.

Playing the game four square is a routine for second floor residents of Baker Hall at Huntington University.

The game is played on a square court divided into four sections, with a number from 1 through 4 assigned to each section. A player eliminates others by striking a ball into one of the three sections unoccupied by them in an effort to cause an error. When a player is eliminated, the other players move up to the next highest square with the goal of advancing to, or maintaining possession of, the highest square.

Varsity Singers look to Johnson for competitive edge in shows

Members of the Huntington North High School Varsity Singers listen intently as Choreographer Jason Johnson (far right) explains proper dance technique on a number for the upcoming show choir competition season.
Photo by Rebecca Sandlin.

Originally published Jan. 27, 2014.

The man behind the snazzy dance moves of the Huntington North High School Varsity Singers says the kids making up the group have one of the best chances to take home some wins when show choir competition begins next month.

But it's Jason Johnson the Varsity Singers look to for their competitive edge when they meet with him twice per week in rehearsals.

Book series rule list of most popular adult fiction books checked out in 2013 at Huntington library

Circulation Clerk Matt Etzel looks over the list of most popular fiction books at the Huntington City-Township Public Library for 2013.
Photo by Lauren Winterfeld.

Originally published Jan. 23, 2014.

Book series ruled the list of most popular adult fiction books checked out in 2013 at Huntington City-Township Public Library.

The library annually compiles a report that lists its most popular checkouts and total number of checkouts by type of patron.

Authors such as James Patterson, who is famous for his thriller series, and Janet Evanovich, who penned the Stephanie Plum series, topped the list of most popular authors, as well as landing several of their titles on the "most popular" hard copy adult fiction list.

Huntington University campus pastor tells BBBS mentors how program made a difference

Arthur Wilson, campus pastor at Huntington University, discusses his relationship with the mentor he was paired with through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Indiana. Wilson spoke during an appreciation breakfast for local BBBS mentors.
Photo by Cindy Klepper.

Originally published Jan. 19, 2014.

Arthur Wilson is accustomed to dispensing advice.

He has four kids of his own.

He's worked with youth through Fort Wayne Area Youth for Christ.

His counsel is sought by students at Huntington University, where he now serves as campus pastor.

But he knows - through personal experience - that advice, though sound, isn't always followed.

He ignored advice from his big brother on what girl to date, what car to buy.

"And you know what?" Wilson says. "He loved me anyway."

Former local says getting his book to library shelf was not easy

Former Huntington resident Bill Stamper holds his first novel, “Reality Checks.” Stamper self-published the book, which is a publishing method available to authors who have been overlooked by traditional publishers.
Photo provided.

Originally published Jan. 9, 2014.

Former Huntington resident Bill Stamper authored a novel that can be pulled off one of the shelves at the Huntington City-Township Public Library and checked out with the simple swipe of a library card.

For Stamper, though, getting the book there was anything but simple.