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."

Stephan's been the Vikings' 'numbers guy' for 55 years

Dean Stephan has served as official scorekeeper for Huntington North High School boys' basketball since 1954. Stephan says his love for basketball, math and the fans is what keeps hime going.
Photo by Andre Laird.

Dean Stephan is a "numbers" guy and a sports enthusiast, specifically basketball.

For the past 55 years, Stephan has been the official scorekeeper for the Huntington North High School boys' varsity and junior varsity basketball games.

"I first had the chance to keep score after Dick ‘Doc' Goshorn, who was the scorekeeper, decided that he didn't want to travel to away games anymore," states Stephan. "I kept score for the teams' away games for the first two years and then for all games shortly after Doc was appointed B team coach."

Basketball standout steps out of the gym and into the line of fire

Alex Kock, seen in a physical education class at Huntington North High School, left the school Feb. 27 to begin training to become a Secret Service officer.
Photo by Cassie Wieckert.

Originally published March 2, 2009

A Huntington North High School physical education teacher and basketball coach will soon begin training to fulfill a long-held dream.

It will take more than six years, but if all goes as planned, Alex Kock will find himself responsible for the well-being of one of the most important people in the world - the president of the United States.

After a year-long application process, Kock received a phone call unlike any other, offering him a position with the United States Secret Service.

Blast off!

Photo by Richard Coyle.

Finally ...

Discovery is launched! As the third time was the charm, the launch went off on time at 7:43 p.m. in excellent weather conditions. As twilight settled in on Cape Canaveral, and the launch tower faded from view, everything changed with the ignition sequence as the launch pad lit up brighter than daylight.

Commander leads team on 'walkout'

Photo by Richard Coyle.

In the final media sequence of events, the seven astronauts, led by Commander Lee Archambault, performed what is called a "walkout" in their launch suits, exiting from their quarantine area Sunday, March 15, at 3:53 p.m.

They entered the special NASA van and were escorted directly to the space shuttle Discovery on the launch pad.

They were promptly outfitted with their helmets and other necessary gear, then taken to their respective stations and reclined into the launch-ready positions.

Last phase prior to fueling

Photo by Richard Coyle.

Tonight Saturday, March 14,  we witnessed the last phase prior to fueling of the space shuttle Discovery with the support structure rollback, which exposed the entire shuttle with a perfect view of the orbiter. And when they turned the "headlights" on it looked like daylight, but nothing compared to the brightness of the launch itself, from what I'm told.

Japanese astronaut waves to media

Photo by Richard Coyle.

Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata, who will spend three months on the International Space Station, waves to the media assembled at Cape Canaveral as the space shuttle Discovery astronauts make their way across the tarmac upon landing in Florida earlier this week. The shuttle is scheduled to launch Sunday, March 15.

Former local resident has upclose ticket to upcoming space shuttle launch

Lee Archambault, commander of space shuttle Discovery (left), leads several of the astronauts across the tarmac upon their arrival at Cape Canaveral  earlier this week.
Photo by Richard Coyle.

The Huntington County TAB is pleased to present our readers with some special editorial material courtesy of former Huntington resident Richard Coyle.

Coyle, who spent 30 years in Huntington with C&C Oil until its sale in 1998, is currently at Cape Canaveral, in Florida, as part of the press contingent awaiting the upcoming launch of the space shuttle Discovery.

Rock Creek Township: mysterious places, plenty of mud

Shown is the residence and mill property of John and Mary Scotton, located on Section 14 in Rock Creek Township. The image was taken from the 1979 Atlas of Huntington County.
Illustration provided.

Beautiful scenery, rich farmland, mysterious places and plenty of mud.

All of these phrases have been used to describe Rock Creek Township since its organization in 1842, which is bordered by Union Township to its north, Salamonie Township to its south, Lancaster Township to its west and Wells County to its east.

The scenic beauty along Rock Creek is probably one of the county's best-kept secrets.

HU's interim president brings passion for learning, hometown

Ann McPherren, a Huntington University graduate and business professor, is serving as interim president of the university during the sabbatical of Dr. G. Blair Dowden.
Photo by Cindy Klepper.

Ann McPherren never planned to stay in Huntington County.

But then again, she never planned to leave.

She admits, with a laugh, that the lack of a plan for her personal life seems to be somewhat at odds with her responsibilities in shepherding the long-range plan at Huntington University.

But, she says, she's just never run across a good reason to leave.

"Why would you want to leave Huntington County?" she asks. "There's fabulous people, a great quality of life."

And so, she's spent her life - so far - close to home.

From street names to anthrax, a firefighter's training never ends

Huntington firefighters practice extinguishing a flaming LP tank during a drill held Thursday, Feb. 12, at the South Side Fire Station on Etna Avenue.
Photo by Cindy Klepper.

Originally published Feb. 19, 2009.

Back in the old days, they'd sit around at the station, talking about the best ways to put out a fire.

"They had ‘Red Books' that would have subjects to talk about," Huntington Fire Department Lt. John Keiser says. "We'd read the articles and take written tests."
Not any more.

Now, the training is hands on and non-stop.

The 'Big Dog' is barking again

Bob Bartrom is an avid musician and has his own one-man show performance. Bartrom also call bingo for the residents at the Tipton House each week.
Photo by Andre Laird.

Originally published Feb. 16, 2009.

For Huntington, IN, resident Robert "Bob" Bartrom, music has always been a source of comfort and strength.

Bartrom, who now suffers from a bone-deteriorating disease which has affected his knees and vertebrae in his back, says music has always been there for him.

"I started playing the guitar at the age of 16," states Bartrom. "But even earlier on, I had always had a love for music. My favorite genre is the blues, although I love and play almost everything."

Soldiers get a warm welcome home after their year in Iraq

Capt. Douglas Rapp (left) presents a flag to Joel Jerabek of United Technologies Electronic Controls in appreciation of UTEC's hospitality toward families of Indiana National Guard members.
Photo by Cindy Klepper.

Originally published Feb. 9, 2009.

The Guard is back in town.

The Huntington-based Team Delta of the Indiana National Guard received an official welcome home on Sunday, Feb. 1, just a day after a statewide ceremony at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

"On behalf of the state of Indiana, on behalf of the 50th District, which I represent, and on behalf of all of Huntington County - thank you so much, and welcome home," State Sen. Dan Leonard told the troops and their families assembled at Huntington University's Habecker Dining Commons.

Seniors get back in the groove with a video game that's right up their alley

Sam Eichhorn gets a little help with the control from Melissa Young, assistant activity director, during a Wii bowling tournament Friday,  Jan. 30, at Markle Health & Rehabilitation.
Photo by Judy Fitzmaurice.

Originally published Feb. 5, 2009.

The sound of the heavy ball rolling down the lane, the crash as it hits the pins. This may sound like a familiar scenario, but it isn't quite what it seems.

Instead of a traditional bowling alley, the scene is an area nursing home and some of the residents are locked in an intense game of Wii bowling. With participants and spectators gathered together in a comfortable social room at Markle Health & Rehabilitation, all eyes are glued on the television as the first bowler takes her place center stage, so to speak.

They're starting a new year by learning the Chinese way

Fourth-grader Dakota Roe twirls a pretend fireworks display he made during a celebration of the Chinese New Year on Monday, Jan. 26, at Lancaster School.
Photo by Cindy Klepper.

Originally published Jan. 29, 2009

Jeanne Paff's kindergartners may not know much about China now, but they will when she's done with them.

Paff's students - one class at Lancaster Elementary School and a second at Salamonie - celebrated the Chinese New Year this week, a prelude to a project that will ultimately have the Huntington County children communicating with a class in Zhu Hai, China, over the Web.

Shopkeeper's art 'discovered' as he hits his 100th year

John Schoolman, shown here in his art studio, will celebrate his 100th birthday during open houses Jan. 22 and Jan. 25. Schoolman lived many years in Bippus, where he owned a general store from 1936 to 1973.
Photo provided.

Originally printed Jan. 22, 2009

He's been a soldier and a shopkeeper, a hunter and a fisherman.

Now he's an artist, preparing for exhibits in Bloomington and Nashville, Indiana.

And today, he's celebrating his birthday.

His 100th.

The occasion calls for not one, but two, parties - both open to all of the friends John Schoolman has made along the way.

Hours pile up, but volunteer says work is a labor of love

Huntington native Ruth Hoffman has been volunteering at the VA Hospital in Marion since 1965. Hoffman says it's her way of saying thanks to the veterans.
Photo by Andre Laird.

When it comes to volunteering tireless hours of service, Huntington native Ruth Hoffman is a perfect example.

Hoffman has been volunteering at the Veterans Association Hospital in Marion for more than 40 years.

As of Wednesday, Jan. 14, she had logged 25,967 hours, the equivalent of approximately 3,246 eight-hour days.

"I started volunteering on Jan. 15, 1965," states Hoffman. "My late husband Paul served the Army as a military police officer for four years."

At that time Hoffman says she was also hospital chair of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary.

Wayne Township site of beautiful forests, much wildlife in past

Above is the farm of A.T. Searles in 1879, which was located in Section 24 of Wayne Township. Searles was noted for his fine farm, and he was also the proprietor of the largest tile manufacturing company in the county at the time.
Photo provided.

Editor’s note: Imagine a land covered with primeval forest and underbrush so dense that it was nearly impossible for humans to walk through, and in that wilderness were prowling wolves and bears, as well as bobcats, cougars and, of course, an abundance of deer.

New Red Cross director sees need for better communication

Mike Rohler is the new executive director of the Huntington County Chapter of the American Red Cross. Rohler says the organization's goals this year include implementing better disaster preparedness measures.
Photo by Andre Laird.

Michael Rohler is the new executive director of the Huntington Chapter of the American Red Cross.

Rohler, who officially started on Oct. 6, 2008, previously worked with the Tippecanoe County Chapter.

"I was a volunteer on the local and national level for four years," Rohler says. "I was also on the chapter's board of directors and was chairman of disaster services."

He adds that after several national volunteer assignments, he was encouraged to pursue full time opportunities within the organization.

Stitchers put their skills to use to benefit their community

Jenice Haneline (left) and Kate Schwartz work on quilt squares during a recent meeting of the Piecemakers Quilt Club. The group, one of 11 Extension Homemaker clubs in the county, meets on the first Thursday evening of every month.
Photo by Andre Laird.

Huntington County is fortunate to have a large pool of local stitchers who are willing to provide comfort to those in need by way of their homemade gifts.

Extension Homemakers from around the county gather in groups throughout the year to work on various projects or discuss upcoming events, like the sewing day on Jan. 29. That event will be held at the Courthouse Annex meeting room, 354 N. Jefferson St., from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Pulse Opera House goes 'All American' for 2009 theater season

Cynthia Smyth-Wartzok (center), artistic/managing director of the Pulse Opera House, announces the line-up for the 2009 season during a New Year’s Eve celebration Dec. 31 at the downtown Warren theater.
Photo provided.

Friends, fans and families of the Pulse Opera House celebrated the arrival of 2009 several weeks ago by gathering at the downtown Warren theater to hear about the new "All American" season.

Cynthia Smyth-Wartzok, artistic and managing director of the Pulse, says the season - which starts on Valentine's Day - will feature shows "written by some of the most prominent American writers and are about faith, family, friendship and good old American ‘can do' spirit."

She announced the lineup at the stroke of midnight.

Elston shares his passion as head of state robotics group

Chris Elston (right) of Huntington, talks with participants of a Girl Scout convention held in Indianapolis in November. Elston is serving as state president of Indiana FIRST.
Photo provided.

Chris Elston fondly recalls experimenting with a computer-controlled desktop robot while a student in an electronics program at Huntington North High School.

The class was taught by Jack Oberholtzer, a teacher who earned Elston's admiration.

"He was my inspiration for getting into what I do," says Elston, who now works in automation and industrial robotics.

Oberholtzer is now retired and, Elston says, the school's electronics program has fallen by the wayside.

Metalloid assists others with chemical compounds

Jerry Meehan, an employee of Metalloid Corp., Huntington, IN, transfers chemicals into a drum. The company ships drums across North America to customers that use the chemicals in a variety of production applications.
Photo by Jason Parsons.

An industrial organization located on the west side of Huntington, IN, helps a wide array of manufacturers form their products by assisting with chemical compounds.

Metalloid Corporation, 500 Jackson St., produces tube end forming compounds, stamping and forming compounds, machining and grinding fluids and specialty fluids, compounds and miscellaneous products to help their heating and cooling industry buyers and ma-chining organization customers, among others, create their products.

Optimist Club providing for county youth for more than 45 years

The Huntington Chapter of the Optimist Club has focused its efforts on providing for the youth of Huntington County for over 45 years.

The first official Optimist Club was formed in Buffalo, NY, in 1911, when citizens started to form voluntary organizations to address the needs of their communities.

The name "optimist" was used to define the group's expression of its desire for a positive outlook in the face of all problems.

Momentum for a nationwide Optimist movement began when the Optimist Club of Indianapolis was formed in May 1916.