Features

HCS adds Spanish to curriculum for its K, first grade students

Ana Velazquez (left) helps Gavin Sink with his math in Rachel Nelson’s first grade classroom at Huntington Catholic School on Monday, Aug. 28. Velazquez is also teaching Spanish to the students in kindergarten and first grade.
Photo by Cindy Klepper.

Originally published Aug. 31, 2017.

By the end of the year, Ana Velazquez hopes, her small charges at Huntington Catholic School will be able to follow along as she speaks to them in Spanish.

“My goal is at least to have them say five complete sentences,” she says. “If I carry on a conversation, they can pick up on it.”

Velazquez is teaching Spanish to the school’s kindergartners and first-graders, and Huntington Catholic Principal Derek Boone says plans are to eventually expand the classes to take in more grades.

Huntington County Jail inmates helping to spruce up roadsides

Trusties Billy Craft (left) and Cory Cove pick up trash along CR 300W on Thursday, Aug. 24, with Sgt. Tom Tallman following behind in a Huntington County Sheriff’s Department van. Craft and Cove are the latest Huntington County Jail inmates to volunteer for the trash detail.
Photo by Cindy Klepper.

Originally published Aug. 28, 2017.

If you’ve noticed an absence of litter along Huntington County roads, thank a group of inmates from the Huntington County Jail.

The inmates, non-violent offenders who have earned the trust of the jail staff, are walking rural roads, picking up trash tossed from car windows and marking the location of larger items pushed from the beds of pickup trucks.

“It’s bottles and cans,” says trusty Billy Craft as he fills a black plastic garbage bag with debris found along CR 300W on a perfect summer day.

Former Roanoke hockey fan working his dream job in Atlanta

Chris Treft, formerly of Roanoke, is the team broadcaster for the Atlanta Gladiators, a minor league hockey team competing in the ECHL. Entering his third season with the team, Treft, a lifelong hockey fan, says he’s working his dream job.
Photo provided.

Originally published Aug. 24, 2017.

Chris Treft was 18 months old when he attended his first hockey game.

His grandfather, Harold Treft, took him to see his beloved Komets, Fort Wayne’s longtime minor league hockey team. While the elder Treft loved his infant grandson, he also loved the perks that came with having a diaper bag to carry into the Komets’ arena, the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum.

Forsythes reaching for the stars with NASA internships

Alex Forsythe (left) and her brother, Scott Forsythe, work at Scott’s computer in the office of their home near Bippus. The two siblings completed internships this summer working at NASA.

Originally published Aug. 21, 2017.

Most parents hope their children will do well in school, college, career and life. In the Forsythe household, their two kids have sailed over hurdles on many of those milestones, shooting for the stars way ahead of the curve for their ages. And yes – it is, indeed, rocket science.

‘Getting lead out’ has true meaning at range

Eugene Lovas, of Metals Treatment Technologies LLC of Arvada, CO, and Bethany Blicharz, assistant property manager at Roush Fish and Wildlife Area, watch as clean dirt is expelled from a machine being used to remove lead bullets from the backstop of the Roush Shooting Range.
Photo by Cindy Klepper.

Originally published Aug. 17, 2017.

The shooting range at Huntington’s Roush Fish and Wildlife Area is a popular place.

In a slow month, says Assistant Property Manager Bethany Blicharz, the range gets at least 1,000 visitors.

During the heat of July, about 1,800 shooters visited the range.

As the weather cools and hunting season approaches, the numbers will increase to 2,000 to 3,000 a month, says Denise Reust, regional office manager at Roush.

And that’s been going on since the range opened in August of 2005.

Warren’s Sarah Jones continues family tradition with Duroc royalty

Sarah Jones (middle), of Warren, was named the 2017 Indiana Duroc queen. Jones’ grandfather, Guy Jackson (right), holding a Duroc piglet, passed a love of pigs on to his family, which inspired Jones’ mother, Kelly Jones (left), to become Duroc queen, as well as her aunt, Karen Johnson, and sister, Suzzette Corbin.
Photo by Steve Clark.

Originally published Aug. 14, 2017.

Sarah Jones, of Warren, was named this year’s Indiana Duroc queen.

It’s a title that comes with the responsibility of being an ambassador for the Duroc breed of swine. Chief among her duties will be appearing at the Indiana State Fair, where she will hand out ribbons to 4-H’ers during swine events.

Kindness Rocks Project rippling through Huntington and beyond

Seven-year-old Noah Crittendon poses next to a painted rock he’s hidden at the base of a tree in Hier’s Park. Noah’s mom, Ashley Crittendon, discovered the Kindness Rock Project while vacationing in Florida and spearheaded the organization of Huntington Indiana Rocks. The venture, she says, is meant to “make people happy” by painting and hiding rocks for others to find.
Photo by Cindy Klepper.

Originally published Aug. 10, 2017.

Ashley Crittendon was on vacation in Florida over spring break when she found a rock hidden in a hole in a palm tree.

It wasn’t just any old rock; this one had been painted blue and was adorned with a picture of a sun.

“It was really exciting, just finding a simple rock,” Crittendon says.

Cleanup at old H.K. Porter site in Huntington among the less worrying ones for EPA coordinator

Jorge Gonzalez pumps liquids from a benzene storage tank on the site of the H.K. Porter/Friction Materials site on Thursday, Aug. 10. This particular tank contained only rainwater and rust, but the EPA team will cut holes in it so it can’t be used.
Photo by Cindy Klepper.

The old H.K. Porter/-Friction Materials is full of stuff that shouldn’t be left laying around.

There’s lead and asbestos, raw materials used in the manufacture of linings for automotive parts including brakes and clutches; and benzene, a solvent used in the manufacturing process.

All are known or suspected carcinogens, but all are still used — under strict regulations — in manufacturing today.

HCCSC superintendent stoked about upcoming school year

Lancaster Elementary School fourth-grade teacher Kayla Whitacre works on a bulletin board offering tasks for her students that can earn them extra credit or prizes in her classroom on Thursday, Aug. 3. School begins for students on Wednesday, Aug. 9.
Photo by Rebecca Sandlin

Originally published Aug. 7, 2017.

While Huntington County’s schoolchildren may not be all that fired up about returning to the classroom, Huntington County Community School Corporation’s superintendent, Randy Harris, is stoked about the 2017-18 school year, and ready to take the proverbial bull by the horns for the year’s tasks ahead.

Student council fund-raiser turns HNHS parking lot into art canvas

Katie Paolillo, an incoming senior at Huntington North High School, puts the finishing touches on her own personalized parking spot in the HNHS student parking lot Friday, July 28. This is the first year that senior students can reserve a spot and paint it. So far, the student council has sold 69 spaces, raising $1,380.
Photo by Rebecca Sandlin

Originally published Aug. 3, 2017.

It seems everybody likes the idea that incoming seniors who reserve a parking space at Huntington North High School can paint their space in a creative way. It’s the first year the school has allowed the painting of the reserved spaces, serving as a fund-raiser for student council.

A photo of a painted spot posted on the high school’s Facebook page has already received more than 330 “likes” – from the likes of fellow students, teachers and even Huntington Mayor Brooks Fetters.

Old-fashioned milk shakes still a big hit at county’s 4-H fair

Taking advantage of the calm before the storm on Thursday, July 20, Kathy Blinn readies a milk shake machine to churn out hundreds of cold and creamy treats for visitors to the Huntington County 4-H Fair.
Photo by Cindy Klepper.

Originally published July 24, 2017.

Mix 1,500 gallons of ice cream with a few hundred gallons of milk, toss in some chocolate syrup, and what do you get?

New pens for the goat barn.

That’s after you serve hundreds and hundreds of milk shakes.

Shakes that have developed such a following that the line to order one sometimes snakes clear across the Huntington County Fairgrounds.

Peer supporters help local responders deal with tough calls

Huntington firefighter Jason Meier (right) works with firefighters (from left) Andrew Wust and George Markou to fold a hose onto a fire truck. Meier is executive director of the newly organized Indiana Public Safety Peer Support, which offers a listening ear to anyone involved in public service.
Photo by Cindy Klepper.

Originally published July 17, 2017.

You may think the firefighter freeing your loved one from a mangled vehicle is a god.

He’s not.

Neither are the dispatcher who sent him out, or the police officer or the emergency medical technician also working the scene.

Sure, sometimes they go back to work unscathed and wait for the next call.

But sometimes that horrible thing that just happened eats at them.

“We’ve had some pretty tough hits on the fire department,” says Huntington Firefighter Jason Meier.

Pair of Mustangs at Rolling into Roanoke come with happy ending

Steve Federspiel (left), of Roanoke, stands beside his 2016 Shelby Mustang GT350 while Blake Caley, of Markle, stands beside his 1967 Shelby Mustang GT350. Tony Cotterman, of Fort Wayne, won the cars in a national contest in March, but was unable to drive them due to a physical disability. Federspiel and Caley stepped up and purchased the cars from Cotterman for more money than the contest’s cash prize alternative. Both vehicles and all three men will be at this year’s Rolling into Roanoke car show on Saturday, July 22. Photo by Steve Clark.
Photo by Steve Clark.

Tony Cotterman was surprised when he won a pair of Ford Mustangs in a contest earlier this year.

What’s even more surprising is that he almost turned them down.

Cotterman, of Fort Wayne, was awarded a 1967 Shelby Mustang GT350 and a 2016 Shelby Mustang GT350 in the Mustang Dream Giveaway. The contest, which is open to residents of the United States and beyond, is conducted annually by Dream Giveaway Promotions, an organization that raises funds for charities through prize drawings. Cotterman made a donation and entered the contest last fall.

Old house helps turn Andrews woman into ‘treasure’ finder

Sonya Harshman, of rural Andrews, shows off the collection of objects she found while using a metal detector. She has traveled to several states to enjoy her hobby, which has netted some important finds including a gold coin.
Photo by Rebecca Sandlin

Originally published July 13, 2017.

Sonya Harshman moved to Andrews about three years ago so her husband could be closer to work. But an old house located on their new property provided the inspiration to hunt for historic treasures. And, catching the “bug,” Harshman hasn’t stopped hunting.

“That’s an 1857 log cabin,” she explains. “Whenever we moved here I thought, you know, I’m going to get a detector and just see what’s out in the yard. And that was it.”

Local 12-year-old gets to hang out, share with another guy through BBBS program

Jason Meier (left) and Connor Huff hang out on the patio of the Huntington Branch of the Huntington City-Township Public Library. They discovered a mutual love of the outdoors after being matched through the Big Brothers Big Sisters program about two years ago.
Photo by Cindy Klepper.

Originally published July 10, 2017.

Connor Huff has two sisters at home, but they’re, well, girls.

He has “a whole bunch of brothers,” but they don’t live with him.

There are some other kids in his neighborhood, but they’re all younger.

Luckily for 12-year-old Connor, he has Jason.

“I actually get to hang out with another boy,” Connor says. “I actually get to talk to him.”

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