Co-op People

Man holding puppy

Training K-9

Al Gill believes well-trained German shepherds can mean the difference between life and death in many law enforcement situations.

The property is now home to a world-class training facility as well as housing units for male and female officers who come from across the country to participate in academy classes. There is also a kennel that can accommodate 60 adult dogs as part of the business’ breeding operation.

Indian Creek Distillery

American spirits

On a splendid day in May when bright sunshine bathes Ohio and seems to portend progress against the coronavirus, Missy Duer arranges bottles of whiskey in the antique-laden tasting room at Indian Creek Distillery.

“This farm has always been the hub of my family’s life,” says Missy. “I grew up two minutes away and loved coming here as a girl. Now my grandchildren represent the farm’s eighth generation of Staleys, and they love it, too.” 

Roger Trump with airplane

Crop duster

Roger Trump, owner of Trump Aviation Inc. in rural Darke County, expects to be busy this year doing his part to support agriculture from high above farm fields.

“Some people mistakenly think flying across the sky and then swooping down over fields to deliver the payload is romantic or glamorous,” he says. “It’s grueling work, and the most important part is bringing the plane home in one piece. There is never an end to routine maintenance.”

Chris Hart

Tales from the Hart

Chris Hart dons a frock coat and sports a fancy walking stick as he prepares to portray John George Nicolay for the residents of StoryPoint Grove City, a senior living complex in suburban Columbus.

Today’s performance is “Mr. Lincoln’s White House,” a vignette set in 1900 that Hart scripted, featuring himself as Nicolay, Abraham Lincoln’s personal secretary. Nicolay pays a visit to President McKinley and relates what 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue was like years before, during Lincoln’s tenure. As Hart enters the room where he’ll perform, StoryPoint residents greet him like groupies with smiles, handshakes, and fond words about his monthly presentations.

E. Lucy Braun

Woods woman

I have a recurring daydream where I try to imagine what it must have been like to see the Ohio country hundreds of years ago, long before European settlement.

Large apex predators once lived here, too: mountain lions and wolf packs preying upon myriad white-tailed deer and elk. Ohio even had buffalo herds (I’ll write more about those later this year).

Dave Shiffer poses with Champaign Lady in the museum’s hangar.

Flight plan

Of the more than 10,000 B-17 Flying Fortresses built during the World War II era, probably fewer than 10 of the iconic bombers are currently air-worthy.

It wasn’t long after the Liberty Belle left Grimes Field that Tom Reilly, who had led restoration efforts on the plane and brought it to Grimes Field, contacted the airport looking for someone to lead another B-17 restoration project. The Shiffer family jumped at the chance.

Tim Kuenning carving with chainsaw

Cutting edge

Tim Kuenning looks at a bark-covered log and envisions a design — a majestic eagle, a plump jack-o’-lantern, a bowlegged cowboy with saddle in hand, a hungry seagull perched on a dock waiting for lunch to swim by. Soon, his vision materializes amid a shower of sawdust.

“I carve things in all shapes and sizes,” he says. “However, people are happiest when I do eagles.”

Kuenning, a member of St. Marys-based Midwest Electric, remembers watching a chainsaw artist — a Stihl factory representative — demonstrate how to make rustic chairs and larger-than-life mushrooms with well-placed swipes of the blade.

“I told my wife I could do better than that, and I went to work proving it,” he says. “There has been a lot of practice during the ensuing years — it’s something you have to learn on your own, because no one offers classes on the subject.”