Features

Veteran motorcycle racer Flynn adds traveling buddy this season

Pat Flynn (left) stands alongside his grandson, Logan White, with the motorcycles they use for cross country racing. While Flynn has been competing in national races for more than 30 years, this year marks the first time that his grandson, 15, has joined him.
Photo by Steve Clark.

Originally published March 30, 2017.

Pat Flynn has been traveling around the United States for cross country motorcycle races for more than 30 years.

This year, however, he has some company.

For the first time ever, Flynn’s grandson, Logan White, is on the road with him.

And after years of teaching White about cross country motorcycle racing, the teenager is now out competing in the same national races as his grandfather.

County farm family’s beef herd expands quickly with rare triplets

The Little family — (from left) Cory, Cole, Jennifer and Todd — show off their 7-year-old heifer, “Tessie,” and her triplet calves. A triplet birth is extremely rare.
Photo by Cindy Klepper.

Originally published March 27, 2017.

When Cole Little noticed that the family’s pregnant cow “Tessie” had wandered off into the trees, he went to check on her.

That’s a sign that the cow’s about ready to give birth, explains Todd Little, Cole’s dad.

And “Tessie,” as expected, had given birth — to not one, not two, but three calves. Cole immediately called his mom, Jennifer Little.

“I called her and said, ‘She had three,’” Cole says. “And she said, ‘No, she didn’t.’ But I told her she did and one was just laying out there and I think she needs help.”

HNHS student becoming real-life ‘guitar hero’ with talent, hard work

Local guitarist and Huntington North High School student Jesse Gonzales takes a break from practice on Friday, March 17. Gonzales and his band, The Timebacks, will perform in a benefit concert on Friday, April 21, at the HNHS auditorium.
Photo by Rebecca Sandlin

Originally published March 23, 2017.

Jesse Gonzales, by his own admission, is “music illiterate,” meaning he can’t read music. And he didn’t come from a family possessing any musical abilities. However, there is nothing not musical about him.

“My parents don’t play any instruments; my grandparents don’t,” he says. “I don’t know where I got it from.”

Gonzales’ interest in playing guitar sparked when he was in eighth grade — a late age, by comparing many who have reached his level of talent.

State honors local poll worker for her contribution to election process

Joanna Grassl (third from left), “Huntington County’s poll worker extraordinaire,” poses with (from left) Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson, Huntington County Clerk Kittie Keiffer and Pam Fowler, Huntington County voter registration and election deputy, after Lawson recognized Grassl as Huntington County’s Poll Worker of the Year on Thursday, March 16.
Photo by Cindy Klepper.

Originally published March 20, 2017.

Joanna Grassl loves politics.

But don’t expect to see her name on the ballot.

“I don’t want to be in politics. It’s too much dog eat dog,” she says. “But I enjoy the outside part of it, the voting, how it works.”

And if there’s an election going on, she’s likely to be there, making sure the voting process runs smoothly and that everyone who wants to cast a ballot has that opportunity.

‘Nothing special’ for Huntington couple as it hails 73rd anniversary

Edward and Hertha Sowell keep active on their own at home, with Edward driving and doing chores around their apartment home in Huntington. The couple celebrated their 73rd anniversary on March 13.
Photo by Rebecca Sandlin

Originally published March 13, 2017.

One Huntington couple is celebrating its 73rd wedding anniversary today, Monday, March 13, by going out to dinner with their family, presumably as they say they’ve lived their life together – quietly, with nothing special – but remarkable just the same.

Edward and Hertha Sowell have known each other since seventh grade – about 80 years, Edward estimates. But it wasn’t until their freshman year of high school in Clay Township, near South Bend, that he says he saw Hertha in a new light.

Downtown fire has businesses scrambling to keep rolling

Marty Burns, director of New Options at 35 W. Market St., was back at work Monday morning, March 13, after a fire ravaged a building two doors down the previous Wednesday. New Options, Vanity Fair and Classicut have re-opened in their current locations; Coldwell Banker Roth Wehrly Graber real estate agents are working from their cars and homes, using the Fort Wayne office as home base; attorneys Stan Matheny, Wil Hahn and Jill Denman have found temporary quarters downtown; and barber R.C. Eichorn is looking for a place to land.
Photo by Cindy Klepper.

A law firm whose long-time home was waterlogged during firefighting efforts on March 8 is now operating out of temporary quarters in downtown Huntington, and the barber who plied his trade on the corner is looking for temporary quarters.

“I’ve got 620 customers to take care of,” says R.C. Eichorn, owner of RC Barber.

Group makes sure good food doesn’t go to waste

Lincoln Elementary School fourth-grader David Kendall places his unopened carton of milk on a tray of unwanted broccoli, cheese sticks and more milk before heading to the trash can in the school cafeteria. Lincoln is the first Huntington County school to join Food Rescue, which allows students to donate unwanted food to the food pantry at Love In the Name of Christ.
Photo by Cindy Klepper.

Originally published March 9, 2017.

Day after day, Jill Morrow watched as untouched bananas, sealed cartons of milk and other perfectly good food filled the trash cans in the Lincoln Elementary School cafeteria.

When she heard about a way to save that food, she was in.

The bounty now goes to the Love In the Name of Christ food pantry through Food Rescue, a program launched locally by the Huntington County Health and Wellness Coalition.

HNHS-HU partnership puts local man on road to independence

On the job, Zachery Arivett wipes down the pizza counter in the dining commons at Huntington University during lunchtime on Wednesday, March 1. Arivett participates in the ABLE program, a partnership between HU and Huntington North High School for students with mild to moderate cognitive disabilities.
Photo by Rebecca Sandlin

Originally published on March 6, 2017.

At 20 years old, Zachery Arivett is busy being a college student — going to classes, hanging out on campus and holding down a part-time job.

He plays video games and makes the traditional college student late-night runs to Taco Bell with friends.

He has a quiet confidence that underlies a winsome sense of humor.

And while many think this is just the norm for a young man his age, Arivett considers it to be his success story, because it is.

Agricultural industry in Africa could soon get a boost, thanks in part to former local

Jordan Garrity (left) sits in the passenger’s seat as Arsene, an employee of the non-profit ACREST in Cameroon, test drives one of the AgRovers that Garrity’s company hopes to manufacture in several countries in Africa.
Photo provided.

Originally published Feb. 27, 2017.

The agricultural industry in a handful of countries in Africa could soon get a boost, thanks to a project involving a man who grew up in Huntington.

Jordan Garrity is co-founder of a company that has designed a low-cost, multipurpose utility vehicle that he envisions being manufactured and sold in central African countries including Nigeria, Cameroon, Uganda and Kenya.

In fact, Garrity has already built a handful of vehicles in Cameroon, and the first of what he calls microfactories is up and running in Nigeria.

Local woman Bangma hoping to get to next level with great showing at ‘The Arnold’ this weekend

Christina Bangma, an amateur strongman from Huntington, heaves a keg of steel into the air during a recent training session at Champs Academy. Bangma will be participating in the Arnold Amateur Strongwoman World Championships at the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus, OH, which runs from today, Thursday, March 2, through Sunday, March 5.
Photo by Steve Clark.

Keeping Christina Bangma off the Internet might be harder than keeping her out of the gym.

As the amateur strongman prepares for the biggest competition of her career, the Arnold Amateur Strongwoman World Championships, she can’t help but hop online to keep tabs on her opponents heading into the event.

“I stalk them,” she says jokingly.

Checking competitors’ social media accounts to glean details about their training progress has become one of her routines, not unlike exercising at Champs Academy, in Huntington, or sticking to a strict diet to cut weight.

Quiet Palmer stands on top step of HU women’s hoop program

Miranda Palmer (left), a senior guard on the Huntington University women’s basketball team, rises to the hoop for a basket during a game against visiting Spring Arbor University earlier this season on Jan. 7. Palmer became the program’s all-time leading scorer this season, breaking Amy Bechtel’s record of 2,019 points, set in 2000.

Originally published Feb. 23, 2017.

Miranda Palmer is only 5-6.

But in one monumental way, she stands taller than anyone else in the history of Huntington University women’s basketball.

In a game on Feb. 1, the Foresters’ star senior guard broke the program’s career scoring record. That mark – 2,019 points – had been set by Amy Bechtel and stood for 17 seasons.

Crestview seventh-grader Dominguez designs, crafts commissioned stained glass panels for school

Crestview Middle School student Abimael Dominguez (left) receives instruction from art teacher Liesl Haupert on the next step in constructing a stained glass panel during class on Wednesday, Feb. 15. The panel is one of three that will be displayed in the foyer and office area of the school.
Photo by Rebecca Sandlin

Originally published Feb. 20, 2017.

In Liesl Haupert’s eighth-grade morning art class at Crestview Middle School, a seventh-grader sits quietly off to one side, wielding a soldering pen on his project while the rest of the class is using pencils.

Abimael Dominguez, 13, is invested in a project involving three commissioned stained-glass panels that will be used to fill in holes in the school’s foyer and office ceilings that once contained TV monitors. Abi, as he is known, is not only working to construct the panels, but he is also the designer of the project.

Huntington man has close-up memories of new president

Bob Cline, of Huntington, stands with a model he built several years ago of the Trump Princess, a lavish yacht once owned by Donald Trump. Cline got to meet the future United States president and spend time aboard the yacht, which he counts among the highlights of a long and fruitful career in model-making.
Photo by Steve Clark.

Originally published Feb. 16, 2016.

Bob Cline remembers Donald Trump having a strong handshake.

It was June of 1989. Cline was in Atlantic City, NJ, staying at Trump’s Castle, an opulent hotel owned by the real estate mogul.

Cline had been invited to the hotel by the senior vice president of Trump’s organization, J. Jeffrey Walker. The two had struck up a correspondence via letters after Cline, a model ship builder from Huntington, had expressed interest in making Trump’s lavish yacht, the Trump Princess, his next project.

National program Kids Hope USA creates impact for local students

Kids Hope USA volunteer Sarah Wust (left) and Flint Springs Elementary School first-grader Elyni Long check out a boxed puzzle they planned to do during their meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 31, at Flint Springs.
Photo by Cindy Klepper.

Originally published Feb. 9, 2017.

It’s a national program, based on the power of the individual.

“One school, one church, one student, one mentor, one hour,” says Ronda Hawkins.

All of those “ones” add up to a big impact — a feeling of worth for each student involved.

That feeling of worth, professional educators say, is the foundation on which everything else is built.

“We can talk math and reading until we’re blue in the face,” says Mark DuBois, principal of Northwest Elementary School.

Local couples find out that Cupid apparently likes skating

Brandi (left) and Chris Fife, of Huntington, are one of the many couples who met and fell in love at the local West Park Skate Center. They celebrated their 22nd wedding anniversary in January.
Photo by Rebecca Sandlin

According to Kathy Elmore, if you’re looking for love, you should probably strap on a pair of skates.

As the office manager of West Park Skate Center in Huntington, she has seen a lot of love go ’round and ’round the skating rink over the 40-plus years the center has been in business. It’s the perfect place to find a valentine, she says. She can’t count how many people have met and fallen in love on wheels.

“I know we have had couples since the first year,” she says. “Those were clear back in the late ‘70s and early ’80s.”

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