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 Eric Stearley
Wabash County Habitat for Humanity celebrated the opening of its new office space with an open house May 30. Previously, the organization worked out of an open office at Friends Church, and before that, there was no office in Wabash County. This represents the second major step in the local affiliate’s transition from a volunteer-only model to a full-time, staffed model, the first step of which was the hiring of Executive Director Steve Miller last year.
“It’s been a really smooth transition,” Miller said during the open house.”
Other than a few leaky pipes, the house was in good condition and structurally sound. After receiving some donations in the form of furniture, they did some decorating and made it their own.
“We actually moved in three weeks ago. That’s why its good to have volunteers, because otherwise it would not look like this. We’ve been really blessed in a lot of ways.”
The organization’s new office is a repurposed house located at 375 N Manchester Ave., on the corner of State Street. Two volunteers who helped with the project are interior designers, who Miller said made a huge difference. Terry Echard of Lafayette donated the house to the organization.
“We finalized the donation in November, and we talked about, could we rehab it and turn it into an affordable house for a homeowner, and that didn’t quite work,” said Miller. “And then we talked about, well, we could sell it, and we didn’t like that idea, so could we put our office there, and we talked about it and the key thing was making sure we could utilize the property properly.”
An educational conference room occupies the lower level’s main room. This will be used primarily as a space for homeowner and financial literacy education, as well as the organization’s board meetings. Past that, you can find Miller’s office and a smaller seating area. In the back, you can find a bathroom and a kitchen, which Steve and the volunteers made use of to prepare a few snacks for the open house guests.
In addition, the house has a second story, and the detached garage has an apartment above it. Miller hopes to use the house’s upstairs to house an AmeriCorps volunteer in the future. The apartment above the garage was recently designated as a space for Growing Grounds to house women in need.
“Once we got that finalized, that’s when we kind of pulled the trigger and turned the utilities on,” said Miller. “We’ve got room to grow and add staff.”
Habitat for Humanity is always looking for volunteers to help with upcoming projects. They have two pieces of property in Wabash on which they are looking to build and find homeowners for. Recent changes in mortgage and credit regulations have changed the organization’s homeowner application process substantially, making it more difficult, but may assure long-term affordability. The local affiliate has seen substantial growth in recent years, which is both exciting and challenging.
“The most difficult and challenging stage of growth for a habitat affiliate is the one this affiliate is making right now,” said Miller. “Going from all volunteer to hiring staff, and getting all that stuff in place, and really getting intentional. The board is starting to look strategically at how we’re going to grow, where we’re going to be an asset to the community, and how we’re going to impact, because we’re on the end of the housing continuum, so how are we going to help this community all the way down to the homeless on the street?”
Still, the most important things in making the organization function are the volunteers and supporters.
“A big part of it is the volunteers, and that’s another thing we’re trying to grow is our volunteer connection,” said Miller.
Anyone 16 and older can volunteer at a Habitat for Humanity build site. One thing Miller is currently working on is reaching younger students who are interested in the cause but not yet able to help build houses. One of the way’s he’s getting kids involved this summer is through a “Nickels for Nails” fundraiser. Miller says that the average nail used to build a house costs about five cents.
“This is a way that even little kids, like at vacation bible school, can help out,” said Miller. “They’re going to have a nickel drive.”
Another way the organization is reaching out for support is through their most recent piece of equipment, a playhouse that will be used as a parade float. It was built by the campus chapter before school let out this year.
“[We’re] trying to get the word out, because a lot of people still don’t know we have a Habitat here in Wabash,” said Miller. “Even some that do don’t realize what it is we really do and how we work. We thought, ‘Well, we can’t be at every festival, but we can be in every parade, so we built this little playhouse and it’s going to be in all the county parades.”
Habitat is selling parade float sponsorships to those who would like their company’s name displayed. At the end of the parade season, the playhouse will find a new home, but for now, it sits in front of the new office, making the corner quite recognizable.
As Miller and the board settle into their new location, they are looking forward to their next building project. For more information on the local Habitat for Humanity affiliate, or to inquire about volunteering and/or donations, call Executive Director Steve Miller at 260-563-9188.