Features

After 45 years, Keller's service to 4-H finally draws state attention

Joenita Keller gets help from her son to hang backdrops for the 4-H Fair at the Family Living Building at Hier’s Park in Huntington on July 22.
Photo by Matt Murphy.

Nearly three-quarters of a century ago, Joenita Keller joined 4-H after a few of her friends and her siblings became part of the local club.

Decades later, in 2009, Keller is still assiduous in her work for 4-H, and she can be seen working hard getting Hier's Park ready for this year's 4-H Fair - that is, if one can keep up with her.

Shelter re-opens its doors to homeless

Jenny Simpson (left) and Kerry Wilson stand in front of the Huntington House, located at 576 William St. in Huntington. They are the new managers of the shelter, which has re-opened after being closed for several months.
Photo by Jessica Williams.

A program that can help Huntington citizens get back on their feet under a safe roof is back and running as of this month.

Jenny Simpson and Kerry Wilson are the new directors of the Huntington House, located at 576 William St.
Simpson is a 2008 graduate of Huntington University graduate, where she studied social work and psychology, and lives in Bluffton. She previously provided home-based services for people in poverty.

Ring steward hangs 'em up after 30 years

Ring steward Bob Jones sends a signal to the announcer to ask riders to change their pace during the Huntington County 4-H Horse and Pony Show Sunday, July 19, at the Chief LaFontaine Saddle Club.
Photo by Cindy Klepper.

Bob Jones has been felled by horses, and he's been felled by a heart attack.

But for 30 years, he's kept coming back, assuming his place as ring steward for the annual Huntington County 4-H Horse and Pony Show.

Not any more, he says. This year's show was his last.

"Yesterday told me it was time to quit," Jones said as he waited for the 4-Hers and their horses to enter the ring at the Chief LaFontaine Saddle Club on Sunday, July 19. "It was all I could do to get up and down, my legs hurt so bad."

Local teacher joins colleagues in massive grading session

Mary DeLaney, a teacher at Huntington North High School, graded more than 800 essays from the Advanced Placement English Literature and Composition Exam for a week in June at the Kentucky International Convention Center in Louisville, KY.
Photo by Matt Murphy.

Originally published July 2, 2009.

Each year, hundreds of thousands of high school students around the country and around the word take what are known as "Advanced Placement" exams.

These exams are usually the culmination of year-long high school courses, and students are eligible to receive college credit for passing the exams, depending on the grade received.

Every exam, except for a small number of art and language courses, consists of a multiple-choice section and a free-response or essay section.

Woodstock lives on in one man's heart -- and basement

Richard Williams stands in front of the peace sign etched in his back yard to the 1969 music festival Woodstock. Williams guesses the sign reaches between 60 and 70 feet across. His original peace sign was created in 2007 for the “Summer of Love."
Photo by Jessica Williams.

Originally published June 25, 2009.

As society moves forward, Richard Williams of rural Huntington wants to make sure people don't forget to look back.

Williams grew up in the '60s, and he knows just about everything about the era to prove it.

He has a library of more 200 books on the generation and tons of DVDs and videotapes. But what's most impressive is his love for Woodstock and all the keepsakes he owns from the monumental event that have piled up his basement.

Herz bares his soles for the run

Michael Herz completed his first barefoot half-marathon recently in Illinois. Shown with Herz is a pair of Nike Free running shoes, which he says are the closest thing to running barefoot with actually going bare.
Photo by Jessica Williams.

One Huntington resident knows his feet better than the back of his hand, as the saying goes. That's because he runs mile after mile barefoot.

Dr. Michael Herz just received his anger management therapist license in May. He hopes to open an office in town. He has lived in Huntington since 1988, moving here from Chicago.

He's been training barefoot for three years after he heard about barefoot running on the Internet.

Herz has even discussed this with his physicians and, he says, "they have no problem with it."

Curiosity may be bad for the cat, but not for the brain

Huntington resident David Beaty works on his computer at the Huntington City-Township Library. The library is launching a program geared toward helping seniors increase their brain power through a variety of activities and creative experiences.
Photo by Andre B. Laird.

Originally published June 15.

It was once believed that as a person gets older, he or she loses brain power and is unable to retain as much information as before.

Kathy Holst, director of the Huntington City-Township Library, says recent research has shown that to be false.

"A lot of earlier research was usually done on diseased brains," Holst states. "However, with the advancement of technology, we are now able to study healthy, functioning brains, which has resulted in a lot of new findings."

School may be out, but these teachers are still learning

First grade teachers from Northwest Elementary (from left) Ronda Hawkins, Stacie Hines and Nancy Peace listen as first grade teacher from Andrews Elementary, Jo Keller (right), talks in a small group activity during Model Teaching Week at Horace Mann Elem
Photo by Jessica Williams.

Originally published June 11, 2009.

This week is Model Teaching Week for Huntington County Schools.

Elementary, middle and Huntington North teachers have volunteered a week of their summer vacations to attend the series of trainings, held at Horace Mann Elementary for elementary school teachers and Riverview Middle School for middle school and high school teachers.

The purpose of the session, called Highly Effective Teaching, is to learn better methods of effective teaching.

Kindergartners put new reading skills to good use

Lancaster Elementary School teacher Jeanne Paff coaches student Nicholas Johnson as he records a story for students at the kindergarten class’s sister school in Zhuhai City, China. The books and a CD of the students reading the stories will both be sent t
Photo by Cindy Klepper.

Originally published June 1, 2009.

The kindergartners at Lancaster Elementary School are learning how to read English.

Their counterparts in Zhuhai City, China, are learning to speak English.

Through connections forged by a Huntington University professor, the two schools on opposite sides of the world have created a link that will help both classes achieve their goals - and the rural Huntington County students, at least, are learning how much they have in common with the Chinese children.

Miss Huntington heads to Zionsville

Miss Huntington Mallory Bunting.
Photo by Matt Murphy.

Huntington's own Mallory Bunting will have a shot at becoming Miss Indiana next week at the Zionsville Performing Arts Center in Zionsville.

Bunting was named Miss Huntington last October, beating 11 other contestants to win the crown.

Now, she's gearing up for the statewide pageant, to be held June 21 through June 27.

"I'm nervous. I've never done the state pageant before," says Bunting.

Bunting cites the high-profile nature of the event, constantly being on the spot and older, more experienced competitors as reasons for her anxiousness.

Student composer finds the roar of the crowd a sweet tune

HNHS senior Adam Riecke (right) poses with the score of his composition, "Red of Roses," and HNHS band director Thaine Campbell, who directed the school's Symphonic Band in a performance of Riecke's piece.
Photo by Cindy Klepper.

Originally published May 28, 2009.

Adam Riecke is pretty well-rounded, musically.

He sings and dances, he plays a half-dozen instruments. And he writes music.

Not rap, not rock, not gospel.

Riecke, a high school senior, is composing for an orchestra.

"I like all genres of music," he says. "But I think the sound of an orchestra playing is relaxing."

A dream (almost) come true

Kent Schenkel with the state-of-the-art helmet he uses. Schenkel will participate in an ARCA test run May 27, with an opportunity to race on June 12.
Photo by Matt Murphy

Originally published May 25, 2009

Kent Schenkel has been chasing a lifelong dream for almost a decade.

Literally chasing. And passing. And tuning up.

Schenkel, 58, of Huntington, will be at the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich., on May 27, testing for a chance to qualify in the Automobile Racing Club of America's (ARCA) RE/MAX Series "Racing for Wildlife 200" on June 12.

"It's been a dream that's coming true," he said.

A passion for pooches sends young trio into fund-raising business

Kylie Frederick, Stephanie McElhaney and Chloe Spencer (from left) display the three dog portraits they donated to the Huntington County Humane Society, along with more than $300 earmarked for a new humane shelter. The girls raised the money through a rum
Photo by Cindy Klepper.

A duo determined to help lost and abandoned animals has expanded to become a trio, holding fast to their dream of helping to build a new shelter for the homeless pets.

"We love animals so much," says Chloe Spencer.
Spencer and friend Kylie Frederick were recognized last year by the Huntington County Humane Society for their longstanding efforts to help improve the humane shelter.

And they're still at it.

Local Elk says year at the top has given him a wealth of experiences

Don Schoeff is state president of the Indiana Elks Association. Schoeff says the post has afforded him the opportunity to visit many other chapters.
Photo by Andre B. Laird.

Originally published May 14, 2009.

Don Schoeff says the past year has been one filled with many miles on the road and many friendships made.

Schoeff is the president of the Indiana Elks Association, a one-year term that has seen him make numerous visits to other Elk chapters.

"I have been a member of the Elks for 45 years," Schoeff states. "The journey to becoming an Elk president is not a short one."

Schoeff says that in order to qualify to be an Elk president, there are a number of stages that a potential member has to complete.

A leap, and then a splash -- and another trophy under his paws

Brian Johnson and his dog Gunner, along with Johnson's daughter Krista, display some of the awards Gunner has won while competing in dock jumping competitions around the Midwest.
Photo contributed.

Originally published May 11, 2009.

It's a family affair, but it's the family dog that is basking in the spotlight.

Brian Johnson and his dog Gunner got involved in dock jumping last year and enjoyed it so much, they plan to go to even more competitions this year. Since the whole family generally goes along, the Johnsons consider the events "mini vacations," Brian says.

Women knit friendships as they warm their corner of the world

Linda Lakes, Cindy Shideler, Kathy Harrell, Beth Fulton, Sandy Diffenbaugh, Dortha Beachy and Sally Schenkel (from left) are members of The Loose Ends, a knitting and crocheting group.
Photo by Andre Laird.

Originally published May 7, 2009

For many people, crocheting and knitting offer a form of therapy and allows them to create pieces of art.

One local group of women has taken its love for the art form and used it to help others.

Beth Fulton heads up The Loose Ends, a group comprised of area women who love to crochet and knit.

"We started last October," states Fulton. "I was asked by a friend to start up a group that could get together."

World War II veteran left Huntington a legacy of service

Ted Rogers (left), who organized the Huntington-based unit of the Army National Guard, talks with the company’s most recent commander, Command Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey Duncan, during a welcome home party Saturday, April 25, for Delta Company.
Photo by Cindy Klepper.

Originally published April 30, 2009.

Ted Rogers seems almost offended when asked why, after spending four years serving his country during World War II, he agreed to take on the responsibility of establishing an Army National Guard armory in Huntington.

"To protect our country," he says, after a pause. He had the training and the know-how, he adds. "I wanted to pass that on to another generation."

Andrews lays claims to its famous Clark twins

Shown with one of the signs the Andrews Lions Club had made to recognize the accomplishments of the Clark twins are (from left) Lion Phil Bitzer, Joe Clark, Dale Clark, Lions President Joyce Walker and Lion Phil Ruppert.
Photo by Scott Trauner.

Originally published April 27, 2009.

Members of the Andrews Lions Club recently recognized the accomplishments of the famous Clark Twins, who hailed from the small burg in western Huntington County, by having signs made to place on the north and south ends of town in their honor.

The signs, which read "Hometown of the Clark Twins," will be placed along Ind.-105 - near the Andrews-Dallas Township Fire station on the north edge of town and just before the curve on the south edge of town.

Huntington County man's home is where the buffalo roam

Huntington resident Blaine Kaylor is the owner of a small herd of bison. Kaylor says his interest in the animals grew after much research.
Photo by Andre Laird.

Originally published April 23, 2009

One of the last things anyone would associate with Huntington County is bison.

However, Huntington resident Blaine Kaylor is now the owner of a small herd of the unusual - for these parts, anyway - animal.

The decision to start raising bison, more commonly known as buffalo, came after a lot of research.

"Four years ago, I decided that I wanted to build a barn to raise beef cattle," Kaylor states. "I started building the barn and began to research bison."

Jefferson Township: ghost towns and scenic drives

Shown is the homestead of Mr. and Mrs. Peter Wire in Jefferson Township. The Wire homestead was the site of the first religious worship in the township.
Illustration provided.

Originally published March 3, 2005

Long before the white settlers came, a frequently used trail ran along the Salamonie River.

It was known as the Godfroy Trail, or trace, and ran between Chief Francis Godfroy's reservation further southeast along the Salamonie River to his principal village near present-day Peru.

The trail became the River Road, and it remains today one of the most scenic drives in the county.

She'll help make health-friendly meals kind to the budget

Susy Jennings is the program assistant for the Purdue Extension’s Family Nutrition program, which helps low-income families develop a healthy eating plan on a tight budget.
Photo by Andre Laird.

With rising food prices, many families find it difficult to maintain balance when it comes to eating healthy and staying within budget.

In response, Indiana Family and Social Services Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have teamed up with Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service to offer the Family Nutrition Program.

Susy Jennings, program assistant and recent addition to the Huntington County Extension Office staff, says the aim of the program is simple.

'Hanging out' -- and helping others -- puts Smith at the top of the club

Josh Miller, program director of the Huntington County Boys and Girls Club, presents Huntington North High School senior Tiffany Smith with he chapter's youth of the year award on Wednesday, March 25.
Photo provided.

Originally published April 9, 2009

Tiffany Smith, a senior at Huntington North High School, has been selected by the local Boys and Girls Club as the community's Youth of the Year.

Smith is the fourth recipient of the Huntington Chapter award, and the first female recipient.
Boys and Girls Club Program Director Josh Miller says,

Strong women, religious fiction are among popular reads

Jessi Brown holds up a copy of Janet Evanovich's "Four to Score," the adult fiction title most borrowed at the Huntington City-Township Pulbic Library in 2008.
Photo by Cindy Klepper.

Originally published April 2, 2009

What are we reading?

Depends on where we live.

In Huntington, we're enamored of Stephanie Plum, "a bounty hunter with attitude."

In Markle, we'd rather settle down with a thriller.

"There is a big difference in what is read in Huntington and what is read in Markle," says Huntington City-Township Public Library Director Kathy Holst as she flips through a list of the most-checked-out books for 2008.

Mural of memories brings city back

Robert Fettinger adds defining brush strokes to a mural of downtown Huntington he is painting at the Huntington County Historical Museum. Photo by Cindy Klepper.
Photo by Cindy Klepper.

Robert Fettinger's family seems to have a history of coming home.

His parents, who were living elsewhere when he was born, came to Huntington when he was just 2 years old.

That was a homecoming for his mom, whose family was from the Lancaster and Huntington areas.

When Fettinger himself came home, it was after stints in Arizona and Mexico, where he met and married his wife.
The city he came home to was a place so familiar to him that, even at age 77, he can reproduce the exact shades of the bricks that made up the facades of its downtown buildings.

They have the strength -- and they want more numbers

Members of "The Tribe: Huntington Strongman Athletles" are (front row from left) Scott Smith, Nate Falcone and Bryce Davis and (back row from left) Aaron Snider, Chris Schuman and Gabe Rice.
Photo by Andre Laird.

When it comes to fitness and strength training, five Huntington men are taking the sport to a new level.

The group, known as "The Tribe: Huntington Strength Athletes," consists of Aaron Snider, Nate Falcone, Gabe Rice, Scott Smith, Bryce Davis and Chris Schuman.
Snider, the team leader, says the name means a lot to the group.

"The definition of tribe is a group of individuals who come together for a common purpose," Snider states. "We all have different personalities and backgrounds, but the sport is what brings us together."

Any way you count it, it's been a long time

Representatives of the Syracuse office of the National Weather Service were in Huntington Tuesday, March 17, to honor the staff of the Huntington water works plant for 75 years taking weather readings for the NWS.
Photo by Cindy Klepper.

Originally published March 23, 2009

In October of 1882, O.E. Mohler stepped outside and recorded the weather in Huntington.

Somebody's been doing it ever since.

Rosary Sodality members offer support to each other, church

Dana Flora (left), president of the St. Mary Rosary Sodalilty, and member Marcy Wall prepare pie to be served at a recent meeting of the organization.
Photo by Cindy Klepper.

Originally published March 16, 2009

Once a month, a group of women gathers at St. Mary Catholic Church.

They've been doing it for 50 years - probably longer.

"It's possible it was started in the early 1950s," says Dana Flora, president of the St. Mary Rosary Sodality, but she's not sure exactly when it was organized.

The name "sodality" might puzzle some, but it's actually a fairly common term for describing a lay organization in the Roman Catholic Church with a devotional or charitable purpose.

Area blanket-maker's treasures finding way into Huntington homes

Betty Leininger talks about her yarn-tied quilting hobby, which she does at her rural Yoder home, on Friday, March 6. At 85, she started making the blankets just a little over a year ago and has already made over 100.
Photo by Judy Fitzmaurice.

Originally published March 12, 2009

Betty Leininger learned to sew as a young girl but it wasn't until recently that she took up the art of making yarn-tied quilts. And once she started, there was no stopping this 85-year-old rural Yoder resident.

Leininger picked up the hobby when she joined a group of women at her church who were making the blankets. But over time, the group dwindled to just a handful of people and Leininger was having difficulty seeing at the church, so she decided to exit the group and continue her stitching at home.

Beetles' services in high demand for efforts in taxidermy

  Carpet beetles eat away flesh from a coyote skull. The process takes approximately four days with roughly 5,000 beetles devouring the flesh.
Photo by Cassie Wieckert.

Originally published March 12, 2009

Six months ago, Brian Spice picked up a hobby resulting in approximately 10,000 live beetles moving into his Huntington County barn.

His services - more specifically, the services of his bugs - are in high demand.

Spice and his colonies of carpet beetles can prepare an animal skull as a European mount in a matter of six to eight weeks, a mount preferred hunters who want just the skull, not the hide, of their trophies preserved and mounted.

Senior Center volunteer saw USA from cab of truck

Retired truck driver Florence Jackson (center) displays an old family photo as she chats with John Ulrich (left) and Holly Saunders of the Huntington County Senior Center, where Jackson now volunteers.
Photo by Cassie Wieckert.

Florence Jackson does not like New York.

But then again, after being mugged and robbed there, who would?

Jackson, also known as Rocky Mountain Lady, now retired from a 12-year driving career, has traveled to all 48 contiguous states, Canada and Mexico.

She's earned numerous safety awards and worked for several companies, but her love for the road has never changed. She even seemed destined for the job, explaining, "I could never sit still. I found a job that would pay me for not sitting still."

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