Mark Hobbs, director of the Heartland Caree Center, discusses several grants the facility has received in recent weeks. Photo by Joseph Slacian
By Joseph Slacian
The Heartland Career Center (HCC) has received grants worth more than $250,000 to help upgrade its industrial technology programs.
Officials from HCC, Ivy Tech, the county’s three public school corporations and a variety of supporters gathered Wednesday, Feb. 18 to learn about the grants and how educators envision using them.
“We’re truly blessed to work with a large, collaborative group of people for support of your efforts to continuously improve the education and training for our students from Wabash, Miami, Grant and Huntington counties,” HCC Director Mark Hobbs said, discussing the grants.
Southwood’s Robbie Cole (34) drives for two of his 19 points on Friday night against Northfield. Photo by Gary Andrews
By Gary Andrews
The Southwood boys’ basketball team was one win away from a piece of the Three Rivers Conference title and needed a win over county rival Northfield to get that share Friday. Jumping out to a quick 7-0 start the Knights defended home court by defeating Northfield 64-46 to share the TRC title with Tippecanoe Valley and Manchester.
The quick start was just that as Carson Blair took the Alex Harmon tip off and drained a three just four seconds into the game. Robbie Cole and Brandin Frazier then hit back to back buckets for the 7-0 lead. Tanner Wilcox stopped the run with a bucket with Alex Harmon answering. Jared Short made it 9-3 with a bucket when Noah Kirk hit from long range for a 12-3 Knight lead. The Norse would respond with buckets from Heath Miller and Noah Shear to cut the lead to 12-7 when Mathew Norse drained a three to give the Knights a 15-7 lead. Austin Burns finished the scoring in the quarter as Southwood led 15-9 after one.
The Wabash Lady Apaches basketball team poses for a team shot after winning the regional title on Saturday in Lapel. Photo by Gary Andrews
By Gary Andrews
After winning their seventh straight sectional title the Wabash Lady Apaches made the trip to Lapel on Saturday for the second straight year in search of that elusive regional crown.
It was no easy task as Wabash took on No.9 Shenandoah in game one, holding off a late Raider charge for a 50-47 win and another shot at a regional title. No. 10 Fountain Central defeated Sheridan on a buzzer beater in game two, setting up the championship game. The Lady Apaches trailed most of the game before wearing down the taller Mustangs in the fourth for an exciting 60-52 win to earn the schools first ever girls regional crown.
Southwood’s Abby Houlihan is joined by her parents, Vicki Houlihan (front row, from left) and Scott Houlihan as she signs a letter of intent to play golf at Indiana University Kokomo. She is joined by (back row, from left) Southwood Athletic Director Tom Finicle, IUK Athletic Director Brandon Podgorski, Southwood Golf Coach Rod Cole, and Southwood Assistant Coach JoDee Dale. Photo by Gary Andrews
By Gary Andrews
Southwood senior Abby Houlihan became the first recruit for the new golf program at Indiana University Kokomo. Houlihan signed her letter of intent Wednesday, Feb. 11, at Southwood.
While holding or being a part of 15 golf school records while at Southwood, Houlihan will be looked upon by the Cougars as a leader with the opportunity at playing number one right away.
by Kalie Ammons
Rachael Polk, owner and creator of Vapor Place, has a story that many people can relate to.
“I went to college and became a smoker, and my parents weren’t very happy,” Polk said.
After coming home from her freshmen year of college smoking, Polk’s parents were determined to help her quit. Polk explained e-cigarettes to her father.
“My dad started looking into it and researched all the different brands because he wanted to make sure he got me the number one,” Polk said. “And that was by far Green Smoke, and it still is, which is why we sell the product.”
Green Smoke produces electronic cigarettes that consist of a flavored cartridge called a cartomizer, a battery and a cigarette-like stem that lights up and releases a vapor when in use.
The e-cigs don’t contain the tar or carbon monoxide found in traditional cigarettes. There is also no harsh smell or smoker’s breath.
However, Polk had some issues with trying to find the right flavor and nicotine level.
“I smoked menthol and he got me a tobacco flavor, and then it was too strong or not strong enough, so we kept having to buy it off the internet without getting to try it or figure out what we really liked,” Polk said. “I wondered, ‘why isn’t there a place where people can come in and try it out so they don’t have to buy blind off the Internet.”
Polk’s father advised her to look into the business. And, at just 20-years-old, Polk did just that.
“I went into the City of Kokomo and got a revolving loan fund and then one of the banks matches it,” Polk explained. “I got a storefront in downtown Kokomo and I opened up on what seemed like the coldest day in 2011 in February.”
Six months later, Polk opened her second store in Kokomo and has just now made her way to Wabash.
Something unique about Vapor Place is its trade-in policy. After testing a Green Smoke e-cig, if you decide it’s better than your current e-cig, you can trade it in to get a discount on your purchase.
However, even those who smoke regular cigarettes have the opportunity to save money.
“We figured out a pack a day smoker would save about $1,500 in nine months by switching,” said Polk. “One cartridge is good for about a pack and a half to two packs, and there are five cartridges in one pack.”
The decrease in negative health effects is also noticeable to users. Polk said she’s had several customers come in and thank her, saying the product changed their lives.
“I had one person, they smoked two to three packs a day, and they were able to completely switch to e-cigs, and they said they’d be out of breath just getting in and out of the shower,” Polk said. “Now they can walk up and down the stairs without being out of breath and they have more energy.”
There is also no worry of second-hand smoke with e-cigs and can be used inside most places.
“It’s up to the establishment, of course,” Polk said. “I know Chuck E. Cheese wouldn’t be an appropriate place, but people use them in movie theaters or at the grocery store all the time.”
The flavored cartridges contain water vapor and nicotine, along with the flavoring. Consumers inhale the nicotine and exhale the water vapor.
When it comes to rumors of negative effects of e-cigs, Polk is very honest about.
“I think that it’s something you would want to talk to your doctor about, just to check,” she said. “We’ve got cardiologists in Kokomo that actually recommend the product to their patients when they can’t smoke cigarettes before they go to surgery.”
E-cigs are alternatives to cigarettes that can be used like a regular cigarette or an aid to help quit altogether.
“The idea is we have different levels of nicotine ranging from zero nicotine, where’s there’s none, all the way up to 24, which is a high level,” Polk explained. “18 is like a full flavored cigarette, but the idea is just to kind of find a level that you’re comfortable with and taper down until you get down to just the vapor…then it’s more of just the hand to mouth motion and seeing the vapor.”
The Wabash store is managed and run by Andrea Kaiser and Angie Sturgill-Honeycutt. As soon as the doors open, the ladies are waiting to find you a seat and have you test some products.
“We really just want to make everyone comfortable and find out what product best fits them,” said Kaiser, the Wabash manager.