Cheryl Harris has been working with people with disabilities for several decades and has always loved animals. For years, she was trying to think of a way to incorporate her passion for animals with her passion for helping those with special needs. She learned how animals can be used as rehabilitation not only for people with disabilities, but also for children, people with illnesses, and the elderly. In 2008, she bought a farm and two miniature cows. Then there were miniature horses and pygmy goats, followed by baby doll sheep...and eventually a baby red kangaroo. Eventually, the farm grew from two animals to almost 200.
Babby Farms is an exotic petting zoo. Their public facility is designed so visitors can get up close and personal with different kinds of animals they would otherwise be unable to see or possibly touch in such an intimate way. They give guided tours of the facility to provide a safe environment for people to interact with the animals, and each tour is very educational so visitors can learn about every animal and ask questions pertaining to them.
Babby Farms was originally a mobile petting zoo from 2009-2012. In 2013, they opened to the public. By charging a fee to visitors, they are able to bring out non-profit organizations including schools, at little to no cost to them. A future goal of theirs is to have summer camps for disadvantaged and disabled children to have the benefit of discovering the unconditional love an animal can provide.
Cheryl and Babby Farm employees believe "until one has loved an animal, a part of their soul remains unopened." Cheryl says, "Babby Farms uses animals as rehabilitation for children and adults with disabilities. By visiting the facility, you are giving us the opportunity to allow those with special needs to realize the love of animals."
For any addition information on this spectacular farm, please visit their website at Babbyfarms.net or call
Since 1893, there’s been a newspaper in Emmett to record the happenings of the local community. From births to deaths and events in between, the Emmett paper has taken note and written the community’s history. The Messenger Index celebrated that history in November with an open house marking the paper’s 120-year milestone.
From its earliest publication, the Emmett newspaper found a welcome place in local homes and businesses. By way of introduction, Emmett Index Publisher Eugene Lorton wrote, “To the people of Emmett and the public in general, the Emmett Index extends a cordial ‘howdy,’ and this morning starts out upon a career which it hopes will be fraught with success.”
It would be a lasting venture, but it wasn’t an overnight success. The Index struggled to get on its feet, and when its subscribers couldn’t afford to pay the yearly $2 rate, Lorton accepted eggs, fruit and firewood instead.
At one point there were two newspapers in circulation. But “Emmett is a one paper town,” and the brief life of the Emmett Examiner – from 1910 to 1925 – ended with those words in its final edition before being sold to the Index.
In 1933, that statement was challenged with the first publication of the Emmett Messenger. The two papers coexisted until 1957, when the Index sold to the Messenger. The Messenger Index debuted on July 4 of that year. With a combined subscriber base of about 3,000, the Messenger Index had the largest circulation of any weekly community newspaper in Idaho.
“Small community newspapers are well supported,” Messenger Index Managing Editor Diana Baird said from the Messenger Index office, where black ink still stains the walls of the back room where the presses once rolled. A sister paper to the Idaho Press-Tribune, the Messenger Index is now printed in Nampa.
The newspaper has embraced the global shift to online media as well, offering an online copy of the paper to each subscriber.
Baird attributes the MI’s sustained success to its identity as a hometown newspaper. It’s an identity that she’s invested countless hours into learning and archiving. “You have to know where you’re working so you understand the people in the community,” she said.
Baird has hundreds of computer files chronicling the community’s 150-year history and was the driving force behind the 2011 publication of Gem County, Idaho: Historic Moments, News & Photos. She has also created a living document, “The history of the news in Gem County.” She balances time spent on past events with current news and said the role of the paper is still much the same: “To find the things happening countywide that are significant.”
The Messenger Index is located at 120 N. Washington Ave. and is open 8-5, Monday-Friday. For more information or to subscribe, call (208) 365-6066.
Expect more. That’s the philosophy behind the recent redesign of Hen House Home & Gift. It’s also what’s driving owner Tamara Walker to expand her business offerings in downtown Emmett to include the recently opened sister store, The Barn Door, with plans for a third, more whimsical shop on Main Street to satisfy local demand for wedding décor and rentals.
“We want people to expect more. We have what’s not already available in Emmett and we’re bringing people back to downtown to shop. There are great shops and something for everybody here,” she said.
Black Friday drew crowds of people to the new store, and shoppers were treated to deep discounts on merchandise left over from Hen House Timeless Treasures. There are still great bargains to be had, from vintage furniture - including 20 percent off an 1860s parlor set with local history - to fully decorated Christmas trees on sale.
The Hen House makeover occurred over a two-week period when Back in Time reopened its doors and attracted several of the vendors who were renting space at Hen House. “I had been wanting to expand to new décor and new merchandise, so it worked out perfectly. It was exactly what we needed at the right time,” Tamara said.
All-new inventory includes a huge variety of unique holiday and gift ideas, from accessories home décor, candles and melts, herbal soaps, artwork, wall décor, jewelry and accessories, handbags, hats and more. There’s a selection of brand-new furniture, including sofas and loveseats, refurbished vintage furniture, and an “Inspirational Corner” featuring Brave Girls Club artwork. Hen House also carries a nice selection of Billy Jacobs cottage-style art, rugs and coasters, linens, primitives, tin works and signs, and popular Willow Tree collectibles.
There are still some familiar touches at Hen House, too. Ron’s “Man Cave” is still stocked with all the guy favorites, and the wrap-around balcony upstairs is still a great place to find one-of-a-kind treasures. You’ll also continue to enjoy the hometown feel of the store as well. “We have great, personable service. Old-fashioned values in a modern era,” Tamara said.
Hen House is located at 110 E. Main St. in Emmett. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday. For more information, call the store at 208-398-8300.
Thinking of opening a downtown business?
Tamara is willing to help anyone who’s thinking about opening a business in downtown Emmett. “The Business Improvement District is working hard to get the downtown area revitalized. I’d be happy to help you! Give me a call at 208-941-0066.”