On the Beat in Bluffton

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Zoo-tastic time at Wells County Library!

Fort Wayne Children's Zoo came to Bluffton last night and folks turned out in large numbers to visit with the animals.
Jennifer Heffernan, educational instructor at the zoo, brought five animals with her to show: a guinea pig, tree frog, hedgehog, owl and python.
Nearly 300 people showed up for the hour-long program, but everyone who wanted a chance to pet the hedgehog, got it.

City Clearing Branches and Debris

Bluffton city crews have been working feverishly to collect fallen tree limbs and debris from last weeks ice storms. They might need to temporarily close a street while they do it, so drive carefully and be on the lookout.

Rollover on the Northside of Wells County

One roll-over on the northside of the county: 224 and 600E. No injuries reported, but police say the roads up there are very slick. Watch yourself.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

On the Beat 24/7

See that Twitter box on the right side of this page? Sign-up to follow my Tweets and see where I am, when I am there and what the heck I am doing while I am there...
I'll try to post a few sentences throughout the day so you can see just what your community journalist is doing when I'm not at my desk...and even when I am.

Water levels rise, but not too much

National Weather Service is still warning that flood waters may yet come higher, but locally the situation seems under control.
These geese didn't seem the least bit worried.

Sports Pics Wanted!

Send your pictures in and we'll post them at the new Sports & Outdoors Blog.

Photos of your best catch; your favorite amateur sport moment; your buddy at the gym trying to lift too much weight--whatever!
We'd love to see it, so share it.

Send your photos to Jerryb@news-banner.com and don't forget to tell us who you are and what we're looking at.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Holiday Cab has busy weekend

This past weekend several Bluffton residents took advantage of the free Holiday Cab program offered by Bluffton Police Department, rather than attempt a drive home after a night out.
Friday night and early Saturday, callers requesting a safe ride home got one from the Bluffton Police Department.
If you think your ability to drive might be impaired this holiday season, or know someone who could use a free ride home, call BPD dispatch center at 824-3320. An officer will gladly take you home (within Bluffton city limits) no questions asked.
(No, they won't take you to the next party...so don't even ask.)

Shot anything interesting lately?

We have started a new blog, but we need your help with it.

It's called Wells County Sports and Outdoors. We want to feature photos of Wells County athletes of all types: amateurs, school sports, traveling teams, try-outs, fishing, hunting--whatever, we'll take it all. If you or your team is on a mission, you need to get in touch with us.
But don't just tell us what type of sport you enjoy most, show us. Send your photos to me and I'll post them on the blog.
So, if you shot the biggest buck in the county (or think you have), or if you've been bicycling through the Italian hillside, send your photos to me: jerryb@news-banner.com
I practically guarantee it'll be on the blog...

Blustery Weekend Kept Power Co. Busy

Wells County residents reported downed power lines and downed trees throughout the day Saturday, as high winds whipped through the county. Some homes were without lights for hours as crews scrambled to restore power.
As of this morning all Wells County outages had been repaired.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Wells County plagued with icy roads

For those brave enough to venture out today, whether for shopping, dinner or off to work, the roads were especially treacherous this morning.
Ice covered Indiana 1 north of Bluffton, reducing traffic to a crawl. Slick county roads meant a flurry of slide-offs from Zanesville to Montpelier...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Chicken Dancers

Here's a great picture of Alex Gerber and Brandon Anderson doing the Chicken Dance during halftime at the Bluffton/Southern Wells Boys Baksetball Game.
Alex is the one in the gorilla suit.
(Photo by Glen Werling)

Holiday Season marred by house fires

Coming on the heels of a major regional power outage, a trio of house fires this week have dampened holiday spirits for some in the community.
Fortunately no one was hurt in the fires, but these residents, William Frye, 524 W. Wiley Ave., Sylvan and Betty Gerber, 7250E-100S, and Mark and Annette Thompson, 10500W-600S, lost everything just a few scant days before Christmas.
(Read the complete stories at News-Banner.com

Wells County roads still thawing

Wells County Sheriff's Department received a number of calls from motorists stuck on roads too iced over for traction this morning.
You should anticipate all county roads will be slick and dangerous throughout the day. Temperatures are expected to hover just above freezing with a constant slight drizzle. It is possible the rain will switch to freezing rain later today.

So....please drive safely.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Animals at the library

Meet cuddly critters and find out what the animals do at the zoo in the winter when the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo comes to the Wells County Public Library on Tuesday, Dec. 30 at 6:30 p.m. The program is free. Bring the whole family. Kids under age 10 must be accompanied by an adult. For more information, call the library at 260-824-1612.

(Does this mean we get to cuddle with a hedgehog? I'm in! -JB)

Library Open House Spreads Holiday Cheer

It was unusually noisy at Wells County public Library in Bluffton last
night for the Open House festivities. Children feasted on popcorn and
holiday cookies, while being entertained by 'Lucy' the shy puppet and a
chorus of librarian staffers belting out Christmas carols.
It was a great time for children of all ages...

Monday, December 22, 2008

More Christmas Light Displays

These are just a handful of the many homes in and around Bluffton decorated with beautiful Christmas light displays this year.

1323 Sunny Glenn Court

Dozens voted, now here are the results: Seems most of you enjoyed the Christmas lights at this home on Sunny Glenn the most.
So, braving the plummeting temperatures, I snapped a few pictures.

Weekend House Fires; Arctic Temperatures

As temperatures plummeted and stayed there, local firefighters found themselves contending with the frigid working conditions to battle two major house fires in Wells County.
Meanwhile, local utility workers, struggling with ice-covered power lines and strong winds, worked nearly 'round-the-clock to restore power to thousands of area residents.
Temperatures are expected to remain in the single digits almost right up until Christmas...
Read more in today's News-Banner.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Wells County Emergency Shelter Open

Hundreds of Wells County households are still without power tonight, prompting the Wells County Emergency Management office to open a shelter at First United Methodist Church, 325 W. Washington St., Bluffton.

If you know of someone without power, send them down to First United. Temperatures will drop well below freezing tonight, so please, find someplace warm and safe to stay the night, if you haven't already...

Ice Storm Sweeps Through; Thousands Without Power

Late autumn ice storm swept through the region this morning leaving thousands (including me) without power.
Utility workers struggled with freezing temperatures, sparking wires and generally miserable weather to restore power as quickly as possible. As of the writing of this Post thousands are still without power though crews expect to have most homes reconnected today.

Boys & Girls Club Gets Wet (but volunteers put it right)

A broken sprinkler head caused slight flooding in the gymnasium at the local Boys & Girls Club Thursday night.
Dozens of volunteers flocked to the site to clean up the mess, and all is well today. (Read the whole story in today's News-Banner.)

NMS Gives to Santa's Workshop

The Norwell Middle School Student Council proudly donated Winter Dance proceeds to the Wells County United Way Santa’s Workshop Program this week. The 2008 program benefited over 360 families. Toys and or gift certificates were presented to approximately 363 children, 114 teens, and 76 senior citizens during the holiday season.
Pictured are students council members: (standing) Chloe VanRyne, Leslie Wendel, Leah Wendel, Molly Gates and Franki Daizovi, presenting $500 check to Wells County United Way representative Karen Dauterman. Seated are Josh Weikel and Justin Gray. (Contributed photo)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

2008 United Way Campaign closing a successful year

The 2008 Wells County United Way Campaign has been very successful. They are well within reach of the $325,000 goal they set for themselves, though some donors may not finish their 2008 fundraisers until February.
Read more in today's News-Banner.

BPD Offers Holiday Cab

Rather than getting all drunk and disorderly at a Christmas party this year and driving your car through a crowd of pedestrians, why not call the Bluffton Police Department for a free Holiday Cab ride home?
The annual program is meant to protect the citizens of Bluffton. Both the impaired drivers and the unimpaired drivers (and/or pedestrians.)
So, if you think your ability to drive might be impaired, or know someone who could use a free ride home, call BPD dispatch center at 824-3320. An officer will gladly take you home (within Bluffton city limits) no questions asked.
Drivers caught operating under the influence, however, will not receive the same courtesy...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Shooting "Buckets for Santa"

The Kiwanis Club of Greater Bluffton recently participated in the “Buckets for Santa” program at Bluffton High School, an annual fundraising activity coordinated by Tony Garton through Bluffton High School. Funds raised through the program are utilized to assist underprivileged individuals in the community.
This week Tammy Slater, President of the Kiwanis Club of Greater Bluffton presented a check for $150 to Garton to be used for the program. Also pictured are Kiwanis members (l to r): Bob Plummer, Bill McBride, Slater, Garton, Brent Hiday and Chip Topp.

New Bluffton Movie Theater Looking for Investors

Plans for a new movie theater in Bluffton were announced this morning at the Commerce and Visitors Centre.
Chris Jones, owner/operator of Bones Theatre in Columbia city said he will be seeking more than $3 million in local investment for the project.
Read all about it in today's News-Banner.

Bake Sale proceeds go to House of Hope

On Monday Norwell Middle School student Madison Collins, 12, donated the proceeds from a September bake sale to House of Hope. The total raised: $51.01
Collins first heard about House of Hope at Lancaster Chapel United Methodist Church in August, when program director Alicia Hill spoke about the counseling and residential center. (Photo by Dave Shultz)

'Paws & Claus' big hit with the four-legged

Santa Claus came to Bluffton Department of Parks and Recreation Monday to visit with some four-legged, furry friends. Photos were taken, love was exchanged and everyone went away smiling. (Photos by June Grove)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Extension Office Christmas Joy

The folks at the Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service Wells County office joined together for holiday fun and comraderie this past weekend at the 4-H Park Community Center.
Gingerbread cookies, caroling and Christmas tidings were all on the menu as folks sought to banish the freezing weather with hearts warmed by good cheer.

King and Queen of "Winter Wonderland"

Jayden Claghorn and Moriah Lewis, were crowned King and Queen respectively at the Winter Wonderland Dance Saturday evening at Wells Community Boys and Girls Club. (Photo by Frank Shanly)