Pokémon Go making big splash locally as well as worldwide

Preston Reinier shows the “augmented reality” of the Pokémon Go game inside Nick’s Kitchen, in Huntington, on Monday, Aug. 22. As he holds his camera up to an adjacent booth, the screen of his phone shows a Pokémon character sitting on one of the seats. Reinier and his wife, Shanna, will hold an event for Pokémon Go players in downtown Huntington on Sept. 10.
Photo by Rebecca Sandlin.

Originally published Aug. 25, 2016.

The gaming craze that has swept the country – and even the globe – in the past month-and-a-half is very alive and well here in Huntington County. Pokémon Go was unleashed on the world on July 6, and the fun, addictive game has aficionados from young children up to Senior Citizens; in other words, anyone who can use a smartphone and walk from Point A to B. Others are curious why people seem to be walking around town with their eyes riveted to their phone screens while others are afraid the game is dangerous.

Local man makes world his classroom with videos

Joey Tackett, of Huntington – also known as “Indiana Joe” – records an introduction to his video blog on Thursday, Aug. 11. Tackett has recorded a journal of his daily life for the past two years and posted the videos on YouTube.
Photo by Rebecca Sandlin.

Originally published Aug. 22, 2016.

Joey Tackett can often be seen around town, taking a walk or hanging out at Walmart. He’s known by the Canon video camera he carries, focused mainly on himself, as he tells his story, his way.

Tackett, a Huntington native, has logged more than 470 individual videos so far, just on his “INDIANAJOEVLOGS” You-Tube channel.

That’s not counting another, more music-themed channel he also posts videos to called “JOEDCTALK.”

Local home brewers’ talents find them in spotlight

Huntington home brewers (from left) Rob Myers, Erik Garrison and Adam Larkey competed at the GnawBrew Beer, Art and Music Festival on July 22. Myers won third place and Garrison was awarded first place.
Photo by Ehren Wynder.

Originally publilshed Aug. 18, 2016.

A passion for craft beer brewing has pushed a team of Huntington County home brewers into the spotlight.

Rob Myers, Erik Garrison and Adam Larkey were recognized for their craft at the GnawBrew Beer, Art and Music Festival on July 22, near Gnaw Bone.

Garrison took first place for his “Bushwhacker” British Strong Ale, which he developed from his desire to rediscover “defunct” styles of beer.

Trip has Roanoke man thinking direction change

Trey Sorg, of Roanoke, stands in front of a cathedral that was built in the 1300s in the town of Częstochowa, one of the places he visited during his pilgrimage to Poland for Catholic World Youth Day.
Photo provided.

Originally published Aug. 14, 2016.

A once-in-a-lifetime trip abroad that fostered a life-changing experience for a young Roanoke man this summer may also result in a change in his life’s occupation — working full time for God.

Trey Sorg is playing soccer this week, participating in pre-season games for his college, Holy Cross in South Bend. The incoming freshman left straight for college after he returned from a trip to Poland, where he participated in the Roman Catholic Church’s World Youth Day.

Pieces of lots of things live second life in Johnson’s club creations

Tommy Johnson poses next to the pedal-powered car he cobbled together using the body of an old Idle Hour roadster, seven bicycles and other bits and pieces.
Photo by Cindy Klepper.

Originally published Aug. 11, 2016.

The Idle Hour is long gone, but a piece of it lives on in Tommy Johnson’s creation.

Actually, pieces of lots of things live on in Johnson’s creations.

His old porch railing, for example; a dismantled office chair.

And that’s the point of the Hoodratz Alternative Transportation Club, organized by Johnson and a buddy in 2006. Everything is made out of something else.

Helping Hands garden puts quality produce into hands of HC people

Emma Helmich, one of the many volunteers at the Helping Hands Community Garden, harvests summer squash on Wednesday, Aug. 3, as the garden nears the end of its summer harvest. Fall planting is scheduled to begin this week.
Photo by Ehren Wynder.

Originally published Aug. 8, 2016.

Huntington County residents, regardless of their financial situation, have access to farm stand-quality produce thanks to the Helping Hands Community Garden.

The Community Garden, under direction of the Huntington County Purdue Extension Office has harvested a successful summer crop of produce that is free and open to the public.

Summer harvest began in June, and residents still have a chance to pick up fresh summer crops like green beans, cucumbers, zucchini, summer squash and tomatoes.

5 new principals head up HCCSC changes

New principals for the Huntington County Community School Corporation for the 2016-17 school year include (from left) Russ Degitz, Huntington North High School; Shane Grove,Crestview Middle School assistant; Allison Holland, Lancaster Elementary School; Ashley Ransom; Ashley Ranson, Lincoln Elementary School; and Dawn Morgan, Salamonie School.
Photos provided.

Some new principals and administrators have joined the ranks at Huntington County Community School Corporation for the upcoming 2016-17 school year, while other administrators have switched positions at county schools.

Here is the lineup of new HCCSC administrator positions for school year 2016-17:

• Huntington North High School: Russ Degitz, principal.

Degitz is a familiar face to HNHS, returning to take over from Chad Daugherty, who was promoted to a corporate administrative position.

Bowman, at 90, finally gets around to entering 4-H fair project

William Bowman, of Markle, holds the pillow he created for the Huntington County 4-H Fair’s open class next to the loom he made it on. Entering something in the 4-H Fair fulfilled a lifelong goal for Bowman, who recently turned 90.
Photo by Steve Clark.

Originally published July 28, 2015.

William Bowman always wanted to enter something in the Huntington County 4-H Fair.

This year, just days before his 90th birthday, he finally did.

Though Bowman has lived in Markle for most of his life, he grew up in Huntington. Residing within the city limits, he says, prevented him from participating in 4-H.

“We lived in town, in Huntington,” he says. “At that time, you couldn’t be in 4-H if you lived in town.”

Old craft becomes new again to youngsters at Roanoke library

Reagan Hess (left), 8, admires the quilling work of his sister, Elli Hess, 7, as she winds up another strip of paper during the quilling class held Thursday, July 21, at the Roanoke Public Library. The siblings are the children of Jennifer Hess, of Roanoke.
Photo by Rebecca Sandlin.

Originally published July 25, 2016.

When there’s nothing new under the summer sun, some kids at Roanoke Public Library have learned they can trust something old to be a new fascination.

It’s called quilling — a craft that dates back to the 16th and 17th centuries, explains Library Assistant Karen Baker, who led a class for kids on Thursday, July 21. Baker herself claims she’s a novice quiller, but says she found the art beguiling.

“My kids did it in school, so that’s how I knew about it,” she explains. “It’s an old paper craft.”

Martin’s hidden treasure among highlights of Rolling Into Roanoke

Terry Martin, of Roanoke, stands alongside his 1966 Dodge Coronet 500. The car, which has a 426 Hemi engine and an automatic transmission, is one of only 132 manufactured with those specifications. Martin discovered the rare car sitting in an abandoned barn in rural Huntington County. It will be on display at this year’s Rolling into Roanoke car show, which takes place Saturday, July 23, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Photo by Steve Clark.

Terry Martin, of Roanoke, owns a 1966 Dodge Coronet 500, replete with a 426 Hemi engine and an automatic transmission.

Chrysler only made 132 ’66 Coronets with those specifications, notes Martin. Considering the car’s scarcity, it makes Martin’s story of how he found his all the more unbelievable.

It was 2007 and Martin discovered the car sitting in a deserted barn in rural Huntington County.

Pair continuing work of fixing up Jackson Twp. cemeteries

Library staff members Diane Miller (left) and Amber Hudson pore over the books that Marsha Martin has contributed to the Huntington City-Township Public Library’s Indiana Room on Monday, July 11. Martin has written 12 books on the cemeteries in Huntington County that are available in the Indiana Room.
Photo by Ehren Wynder.

Originally published July 14, 2016.

Two influential Jackson Township women are working to keep their area’s history alive by ensuring the deceased are remembered.

Prior to the work of Jackson Township Trustee Sheila Hines, many of the township’s cemeteries have fallen into disarray because of time and vandalism. Her work is not only helping return them to pristine condition, but is also helping history buff Marsha Martin with preserving the history and genealogy of the area.

Every breath sweet for double winner at Transplant Games

Brian McCoy, of Huntington, holds the framed gold and silver medals he recently won at the U.S. Transplant Games, surrounded by the many friendship pins he collected in trades with other athletes at the games. McCoy won the gold medal in the men’s doubles bowling event and the silver in mixed doubles bowling.
Photo by Rebecca Sandlin.

Originally published July 11, 2016.

At age 43, every breath Brian McCoy takes is sweet, especially after he brought home two medals — a gold and a silver — for his bowling prowess at the Transplant Games, held June 10 through 15 in Cleveland, OH.

The Huntington resident received a double lung transplant on March 2, 2014, at the University of Michigan, after a medication interaction caused him to develop interstitial lung disease.

New face at local 4-H fair brings wealth of experience with her

Rae Ann O’Neill will be the new face in charge at this summer’s Huntington County 4-H Fair. For the past 29 years, she’s been coordinating the 4-H fair in Blackford County.
Photo by Cindy Klepper.

Originally published July 7, 2016.

Rae Ann O’Neill may be a new face to Huntington County 4-H, but 4-H isn’t new to her.

When the first events of the 2016 Huntington County 4-H Fair — the dog show and the tractor operators’ contest — take place this weekend, she’ll show up with some experience under her belt.

Huntington’s ‘Joe Regular Guy’ thrilled to be serving hoop hall of fame with his heroes

Bill Walker, of Huntington, stands by a picture in his home displaying famous high school basketball players from across the state. A high school basketball enthusiast, Walker was recently promoted from the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame’s board of directors to its executive committee.
Photo by Steve Clark.

Originally published June 30, 2016.

Bill Walker is living the dream of any Indiana high school basketball fan.

Walker, of Huntington, serves the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame, doing so alongside many of the players and coaches he grew up idolizing.

“It’s like, I’m ‘Joe Regular Guy’ along with these guys who, I mean, they are legends to me,” Walker says. “They’re my heroes. I can tell you about every one of them.”

Playing at Carnegie Hall an epiphany for local musician

Maitlyn Christman relaxes in the backyard of her Huntington home, holding her clarinet. The 14-year-old won an audition to play in the Honors Performance Series at Carnegie Hall in June.
Photo by Rebecca Sandlin.

Maitlyn Christman isn’t shy about saying she has talent.

But rather than a statement of boastful pride, it’s more like a confirmation – perhaps even an epiphany – that she only recently received, when she traveled to New York, NY, to play at Carnegie Hall June 22 to 26.

“I’ve realized how talented of a performer that I actually am – I don’t know how else to say that – in that I have a lot of potential in music and performing,” she says, somewhat abashedly.

July 4 a loud birthday party to preschool youth

Kids Kampus Discoverers Class teacher Karissa Ditzler (right) helps Madison Yarger, 4, stamp her handprint on the flag mural during craft time Thursday, June 30.
Photo by Rebecca Sandlin.

The 3 and 4 year olds in the Discoverers class at Kids Kampus know all about birthdays.

With three or four digits held up in the air, they can tell you on one hand how many of them they’ve celebrated. However, the kids spent the past week learning that our country has a birthday, too.

The eager pupils in teacher Karissa Ditzler’s class got their red, white and blue on, as they created crafts, lent their handprints to make the stripes on a flag painting and celebrated Independence Day with birthday cake.

Jiosa comes home to share talent, knowledge at local store seminar

Huntington native Denny Jiosa (left) illustrates a point by playing a tune during a guitar clinic he conducted Monday, June 20, at Copper Chord Music.
Photo by Rebecca Sandlin.

Originally published June 27, 2016.

It’s been 15 years since Denny Jiosa has been back to his hometown of Huntington, but he says things have remained pretty much the same.

Long-time Andrews resident smitten with town’s history

Janice Harshbarger displays a copy of her recently published book, “Only in Andrews,” which recounts the early history of the Huntington County community.
Photo by Cindy Klepper.

Originally published June 23,  2016.

Janice Harshbarger knew nothing about the town of Andrews when she moved there as a young teen.

“We knew it was a small town in Indiana that had a parsonage,” she says.

Now, she could write a book about what she knows.

Wait — she did.

“Only in Andrews” details the goings-on in the small Huntington County community from the 1880s through 1916, starting with a Miami village and tracing the town’s growth as first Antioch, and then Andrews.

Local man a walking experiment for new pacemaker

Larry Zahm, of Huntington, displays an illustration of an innovative new pacemaker he had implanted last year. Zahm had the pacemaker, which is no bigger than a large vitamin capsule, implanted as part of a clinical trial that included a little over 700 people worldwide.
Photo by Steve Clark.

Originally published June 20, 2016.

Last year, Larry Zahm was contemplating having routine cataract surgery.

Instead, he wound up being one of 700 people in the world to be implanted with an experimental pacemaker.

Before Zahm, of Huntington, would consider having a cataract operation, he wanted to make certain his heart would be up to the challenge.

“I wanted to be sure that I could stay awake, watching somebody working on my eyes without having a heart attack,” says the 77-year-old.

Victory Noll sisters sell tract of land to ACRES for permanent preservation

Sister Ginger Downey, general secretary for Our Lady of Victory Missionary Sisters, points out toward the 106 acres of land behind the Victory Noll campus that will be preserved by ACRES Land Trust. The purchase will be finalized late this summer.

Originally published June 16, 2016.

The sisters of Victory Noll, in keeping with their land ethic, have partnered with ACRES Land Trust to permanently preserve 106 acres of land on their property.

The land was originally enrolled in the Crop Reserve Program (CRP), a government subsidy program that takes active agricultural land and puts it in a nature preserve system. The land that Our Lady of Victory Missionary Sisters wishes to preserve was farmed until around 1990, and the CRP will protect it from development for only 20 years.

Changes, versatility keep Warren library viable as it hails centennial

Librarian Robert Neuenschwander (left) and Assistant Susan Mills make up the whole of the staff of the Warren Public Library, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this weekend.
Photo by Cindy Klepper.

Originally published June 13, 2016.

The Warren Public Library is the place to be — for movies, for a WiFi signal and, yes, for books.

Movies and WiFi were far from the minds of the small group of people who organized on June 16, 1916, to lay the groundwork for the Warren Free Public Library.

Now, it’s one of the selling points.

“We have the strongest signal in town,” says the library’s director, Robert Neuenschwander. “People sit outside when we’re closed just to use the WiFi. And that’s OK.”

Plaque at Pilgrims Rest now honors residents long gone from this world

Jo (left) and Bob Ramsdell stand with the bronze plaque they erected at Pilgrims Rest Cemetery. The plaque memorializes 20 of Bob’s ancestors who are buried in unknown locations, many at Pilgrims Rest.
Photo by Cindy Klepper.

Originally published June 9, 2016.

A bronze plaque tucked near the treeline at Pilgrims Rest Cemetery north of Huntington bears the names of nearly two dozen people, all of whom left this earth a century or more ago.

Their names — Hitzfeld, Behr, Jung, Schmiedes, Wuersten — bear out their roots in Germany; their final resting place is evidence of their lives in Huntington.

End of an era in Huntington as Child Conservation Club disbands

Child Conservation Club members (from left) Nancy Fellinger, Janet Mettler and Mary Machall share a laugh prior to the start of the club’s final meeting on Tuesday, May 17, at Lock No. 4 Food and Spirits, in Roanoke. A dozen women attended the luncheon meeting.
Photo by Rebecca Sandlin.

Originally published June 6, 2016.

A keystone of an era in Huntington lasting nearly 100 years came to a close recently, after the members of the Child Conservation Club voted to disband.

A dozen women of the 17 still actively on the club’s membership roll came to the Lock No. 4 restaurant in Roanoke for their final meeting on May 17, where they enjoyed a lunch together and reminisced about some of their favorite moments being in the club.

HNHS senior takes anti-bullying message to young students

Huntington North High School senior Molly Smith (left) talks to fifth-grade students at Lancaster Elementary School during a convocation held Monday, May 16, about how to deal with bullies. Smith used lessons from her own life experiences to teach the students how to recognize bullying, make friends with kids who bully and develop their own self-confidence.
Photo by Rebecca Sandlin.

Originally published May 26, 2016.

Molly Smith is a reformed bully.

Not that her career as a bully was a long one – in fact, it was quite short. She loathed what she had suddenly become when she recognized it for what it was.

Hammel earns HCCSC teacher of year honor

Huntington North High School math teacher and baseball coach Jarod Hammel (left) receives the Huntington County Community School Corporation’s 2016 Teacher of the Year award, presented by HCCSC Superintendent Randy Harris on Wednesday, May 25, during the Huntington County Community School year-end breakfast and awards ceremony, held at Huntington North High School.
Photo by Rebecca Sandlin.

Jarod Hammel, a Viking New Tech math teacher and freshman baseball coach at Huntington North High School, is the Huntington County Community School Corporation’s 2016 Teacher of the Year.

He received the prestigious award Wednesday, May 25, during the corporation’s end-of-year breakfast, held in the HNHS school cafeteria.

Hammel was chosen from a select pack of 10 teachers, each one chosen as the 2016 teacher of the year from his or her respective school.

Volunteers find many items cleaning roadside

Vinny Lisinicchia (front) brings up a tire he found in the brush along CR 200E during a cleanup project there on Saturday, May 14. Behind him is Larry Algon.
Photo by Cindy Klepper.

Originally published May 19, 2016.

What can you find alongside the road?

A half-dozen volunteers who spent Saturday morning, May 14, cleaning up along a section of CR 200E can tell you.

Liquor bottles, chunks of Styrofoam, debris from fast food, tires, a toilet, a windshield and an adding machine.

“I found plastic fangs,” says Larry Algon, trash bag in hand.

Honor Flight to honor local native, others for giving program wings

Honor Flight Northeast Indiana Founder Laura Carrico (standing at left) assists World War II United States Navy veteran June Harshman (seated at left) as retired Air Force Brigadier General Wilma Vaught (standing at right) helps WWII Army veteran Polly Lipscomb during a past Honor Flight to Washington, DC. Carrico will be recognized during the upcoming 20th flight planned for Wednesday, May 25.

Right off the bat, Laura Carrico will tell you Honor Flight Northeast Indiana is not about her, but about the veterans who are served by the organization.

The Huntington native, who now lives in Fort Wayne, is not one to toot her own horn about founding the group in Indiana that has touched the lives of so many World War II servicemen and women.

“This whole thing is in honor of the veterans,” she says. “It’s not any of the volunteers.”

Retiring King literally builds HU track, field program from ground up

Tom King, the longtime head coach of Huntington University’s track and cross country teams, sits in his office with an award recently given to him by the school thanking him for his 46 years of service. In March, King announced his retirement, which becomes effective at the end of May.
Photo by Steve Clark.

Originally published May 9, 2016.

Tom King remembers hauling railroad ties back to Huntington from Fort Wayne.

King, the head coach of the Huntington University track and field teams, made the trip with a few of his student-athletes and the ties became the perimeter for a makeshift track, the school’s first.

“That was sort of the first thing we did,” King recalls. “I don’t remember how many trips we made up there to get that stuff.”

Abbett Leadership Center at Lincoln Elementary a way for family to honor former two-term mayor

Lincoln Elementary School Interim Principal Ashley Ransom holds a photo of former Huntington Mayor Terry Abbett inside the new Terry R. Abbett Leadership Center, located inside the school’s library. The center, which is still under construction, will be unveiled during an awards presentation set for May 5 at 6 p.m.
Photo by Rebecca Sandlin.

Originally published May 2, 2016.

When former Huntington Mayor Terry R. Abbett died Oct. 16, 2015, memorial donations flooded in, amounting to about $2,000.

Abbett’s widow, Connie, and her family decided they wanted to put the money to good use to honor the two-term mayor, his accomplishments and a salute to the school where he began his education.

‘Sewing ministry’ involves several segments of community

Students from the Huntington University Theater Department helped sew children’s clothing for use in missions around the world. Pictured (from left) are Alyssa Plisco, Sarah Moloney, Alora Trinkle, instructor Mary Zellers, project coordinator Kris Hittler, Jordan Gregory, Trenidy Cox and Emma Fried. Students not pictured are CeCe Cherry, Karli Melder, Jessi Snyder, Cailin Fielding, Kaeley Osterman, Emma Slavin-Hall and Lauren Sowers.
Photo by Steve Clark.

Originally published April 28, 2016.

For an hour every Wednesday afternoon, about a dozen dedicated women can be found sitting around the large dining room table located at The Heritage of Huntington.

Most of them are residents of the facility and, for the past year and a half, their sewing circle has served a worldwide ministry as they sew hundreds of brightly colored, brand new dresses for little girls living in other countries.