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.

Heritage Tool and Die makes its living with the big boys

Kevin Scheiber is one of three partners at Heritage Tool and Die Inc., which began operations on the outskirts of Huntington in 1993 primarily as a plastic injection molds producer.
Photo by Jason Parsons.

A 15-year-old industry on the outskirts of the Huntington city limits may only employ four people, but even with its limited employee numbers, Heritage Tool and Die Inc. makes its living with the big boys.

Heritage President John Wegmann, one of three partners who started the organization in 1993, says the company's products go to several big-name industries, including companies like General Motors, Ford and Chrysler.

"We build primarily plastic injection molds," Wegmann says. "A lot of our business is from the automotive industry, electronics field and medical field."

Metro Kiwanis serves for 35+ years

For more than 35 years, the Huntington Metro Kiwanis have invested time and financial resources towards the development of programs for Huntington County residents.

The first Kiwanis club was organized in Detroit, MI, and received a charter from the state of Michigan on Jan. 21, 1915.

The group began as a small network of local businessmen who referred clients to each other's businesses. As the network grew, the members started to focus on not only themselves, but the needs of the community as well.

Amick's Welding serves industries, individuals

Kevin Amick is co-owner of Amick Welding, 1275 W. Park Drive, Huntington, with his brother, Alan. The company is in its third-generation of Amick owners and its 78th year as an organization.
Photo by Jason Parsons.

Amick Welding's 78 years of history have taken the three-generations of owners all over Huntington County.

Owned now by brothers Kevin and Alan Amick, the business was started in 1931 by the brothers' grandfather, Dale. Since then Dale Amick's son, Jack, and two of his grandsons have kept the family welding business alive across the county.

Brain and Brawn: This teacher deals in both

Scott Foster, bodybuilder and teacher at Huntington Catholic School, leading his students (left) and competing.
Photo by Andre Laird, provided

To some of his students, Scott Foster, a teacher at Huntington Catholic School, has the "coolest" pastime.

Foster is a bodybuilder and says he was introduced to the sport by a friend.

"I had a friend who competed in an event in Fort Wayne," states Foster. "He encouraged me to look into the sport and give it a try."

Since then, Foster, who is from Decatur, has been training and competing.

"I got involved in the sport in 2002 and to date I have competed in 14 competitions," he says.

Jefferson Township: ghost towns and scenic drives

Pictured is the homestead of Mr. and Mrs. Peter Wire in Jefferson Township. The Wire homestead was the site of the first white child to be born in the township -- Lavina Wire -- and it was also the site of the first religious worship in the township.
Photo provided.

Editor's note: Imagine a land covered with primeval forest and underbrush so dense 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.