On the Beat in Bluffton

Friday, February 27, 2009

OES Book Club

The Ossian Elementary School Student-Parent Book Club we held February 24. The “OES Book Club” is for all students in grades 3-5 and their parents. This month’s book was The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo. Over 60 students and parents attended the meeting. The book clubs are sponsored by various community donations and OES uses these donations to purchase 60 copies of the book of the month so that all children have an opportunity to participate. Many borrow books from OES and some purchase their own. This is the second year for the OES Book Club.
The agenda for each book club includes:

-Author study of the featured author
-Group assignments (the whole group is divided into about 6 small groups)
-Small group book discussion (we provide guiding questions for the book and do a specific activity with the book. This time each group did a character trait analysis of their two favorite characters from the book)
-Gather as a whole group to discuss the “aha” moments from each small group meeting
-Intro the next book club selection

The next book club will meet April 20, at 6:30 p.m. They will be reading The Secret School by AVI.

Bluffton Middle School: Hoosiers Helping Hoosiers

Bluffton Middles School students gathered hundreds of non-perishable items for the Hoosiers Helping Hoosiers Food Drive. They paused Friday afternoon for a photo, packed up the items and loaded them into a vehicle for delivery to three local food banks.
Lancaster Central Elementary and Ossian Elementary School students also conducted recent food drives for the county.

Daddy-Daughter Dance Spectacular

Dozens of dads and daughters turned out to trip the light fantastic for the annual Daddy/Daughter Dance at the Wells County 4-H Building this month.

Bluffton-Harrison Still Ponders Bus Route Reduction

The final of three community meetings held by Bluffton-Harrison MSD this week wrapped-up last night at Bluffton Middle School.
Transportation Director Jon Bennett and Superintendent Dr. Julie Wood listened to ideas from concerned parents and taxpayers for more than hour. No firm decisions have been made, but it appears likely one country bus route will be eliminated meaning school schedules will need to be adjusted so start and end times are closer in line.

Garage Fire in Downtown Bluffton

Bluffton Firefighters fought a suspected garage fire this morning, just after 9:30 a.m. Smoke billowed from the windows of the two-story structure in the 700 block of Williams Street.
Read the complete story in today's News-Banner.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Track Economic Stimulus Plan Spending

President Barack Obama is trying to make good on his promise to bring more transparency to U.S. government dealings.
Here is a link to Recovery.gov the official White House for following every penny spent on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
According to the web site:
"Recovery.gov is a website that lets you, the taxpayer, figure out where the money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is going. There are going to be a few different ways to search for information. The money is being distributed by Federal agencies, and soon you'll be able to see where it's going -- to which states, to which congressional districts, even to which Federal contractors. As soon as we are able to, we'll display that information visually in maps, charts, and graphics."

You can also read the complete bill here and post your own comments.

Bargain Hut Ladies Honored by Tri Kappa

As part of their celebration of Tri Kappa week (Feb. 22-28) the members of Beta Phi chapter of Kappa Kappa Kappa have chosen to recognize three Wells County groups for their involvement with education, culture and charity. Recognized for their volunteerism and charity were the ladies of the Wells County Bargain Hut. On hand to present the certificate of appreciation to the group’s president Mary Lou Markley, was active Tri Kappa vice president Daphne Dahl, standing center of photo. The Bargain Hut accepts used clothing and other items for resale at their store located at 120 West Spring St. in Bluffton. The profits from the sales are used to fund community projects. Seated left to right are Hallie Pace, Mary Ann Flowers, Ruth Reynolds, Jan Briner, Margaret Crandall, Glenna Plummer and Mona Jean Highlen while behind them are Gae Lewis, Christa Mittlestedt, Jane Carpenter, Judy Herring, Arleen Smith, Ruth Sein, Mary Lou Markley, Agnes Collins, Daphne Dahl, Susan Price, Joan Gavilanez, Shari Wolf, Sandy Imel, Barbara Bowman, Vera Scott, Deborah Hosier and Sue Blair. Other active volunteers, not pictured are Amy Nicole Arnold, Ruth Arnold, Peggy Bate, Rose Marie Bates, Hildegarde Bauermeister, Donna Breedlove, Betty Bynum, Rhonda Jean Carson, Betty Dunahoo, Martha Flowers, Martha Gearhart, Jeanne Gilbert, Opal Gilbert, Connie Grider, Janet Grimm, Hilda Gutwein, Jane Hamilton, Midge Hankins, Joyce Harris. Ilah Hart. Elberta Huffman, Anna Kaufman, Mary Ogan, Mary Jo Painter, Mary Jan Park, Anna Quillen, Ellen Reff, Bonnie Royal, Kylene Royal, Marilyn Scherrer, Nellie Sleppy, Deoris Sprunger, Norma Weaver, Jan White and Doris Ann Wilson. (Photo by Barbara Barbieri.)

Real Sweethearts

Conley Shane and his sister, Kristina, along with Conley's parents, Rick and Tammy Shane, were on hand during the Bluffton Lion's Club Little Sweetheart Tea held Saturday in the fourth floor conference room at Bluffton Regional Medical Center. The contest raised $3,744.29 for the Shane family. (Photo by Patty Elwell.)

Haley Chaney Recognized by NWCS board

Norwell High School senior Haley Chaney received special recognition from the Northern Wells Community Schools board for winning the Courage Award presented by the National Federation of State High Schools Association. Board president Gene Donaghy personally thanked Chaney for being an inspiration to students, teachers and the community. (Photo by Jerry Battiste)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

10-Star All-Star Basketball Camp

Applications are now being evaluated for the Ten Star All Star Summer Basketball Camp.
Boys and girls ages 10-19 are eligible to apply but the camp is by invitation only.
Players from 50 states and 11 countries attended the 2008 camp. Past players include Michael jordan, Tim Duncan, Vince Carter, Jerry Stackhouse and Grant Hill.
College basketball scholarships are possible for players selected to the All-American Team. Camp locations include Champaign, Il, Phoenix, Ariz., Babson Park, Fl., Gainesville, Ga. and Glassboro, N.J.
There is also a summer camp available for boys and girls ages 9 to 18 of all skill levels.
For a free brochure call 704-373-0873 or visit www.tenstarcamp.com.

Relay for Life

Relay For Life is the American Cancer Society’s signature fundraising event. This year Wells County will hold its relay on June 12-13, 6 p.m. to Noon at Bluffton-Harrison Middle School. Northeast Indiana hopes its Relays will raise more than $900,000 in 2009
Held overnight in honor of the fact that cancer never sleeps, Relay For Life has grown from a single event in Tacoma, Wash. that raised $27,000 to the largest grassroots movement nationwide. More than 4,800 communities throughout the U.S. now host an American Cancer Society Relay For Life event and have raised more than $2.6 billion dollars for the fight against cancer. Teams of people camp out at a local high school, park or fairground and take turns walking or running around a track or path. The teams raise funds that continue to support the mission and services of the American Cancer Society.
“Relay For Life provides a venue where everyone can celebrate, remember and fight back,” said Kathie Fleck, Area Executive Director, American Cancer Society. “It is truly inspiring to witness the cancer survivors in our community celebrate their victory over the disease. The Luminaria Ceremony gives us a time to remember those we’ve lost, and the Fight Back ceremony allows participants and community members the opportunity to make their fight against the disease personal.”
To participate in your community’s Relay or make a general donation, visit www.relayforlife.org and click on Find Relay Events.

Norwell Preschool registration

Norwell Pre-School registration for the 2009-10 school year is scheduled for March 2-6.  Registration packets can be picked up at Ossian or Lancaster elementary schools. 
Norwell Pre-School is expanding and will offer classes at both Ossian and Lancaster. Both sites will offer morning (9-11:30 a.m.) and afternoon (1-3 p.m.) classes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday for ages four and five and on Tuesday and Thursday for ages three and four. 
Youngsters must be four years old on or before August 1 to enroll in the older class; three years old on or before August 1 and must be potty trained for the younger class.
A Play Care program is also being considered as extended day carefor kids enrolled in a Norwell Pre-School class. Information on Play Care is included in the registration packet.
Completed registration packets and the $35 registration fee can be mailed to the NWCS Administration Building, 312 North Jefferson Street, Ossian, IN 46777, or be dropped off at the same location between 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.  Registrations must be received during the week of March 2-6.

More Jump Rope for Heart

Ossian Elementary School students (and teachers and volunteers) had a great time working out their hearts last week. There was no standing around, everyone grabbed a hoop, ball or rope and got busy having fun.

Jump Rope for Heart

Ossian Elementary School students jumped to their hearts content at last week's Jump Rope for Heart event. The kids raised money for the American Heart Association and learned some fun ways to get in shape and stay in shape.

Bluffton-Harrison Transportation Meeting Tonight

The first B-H MSD community meeting to discuss changes in the bus schedule, and by extension the school schedule, was held this morning at 7 a.m.
I missed that one, but I'll be at the second meeting, which is tonight, 5:30 p.m. at the high school. The final meeting is tomorrow, 6 p.m., Bluffton-Harrison Middle School

School leaders are still looking for help in making the best decision for students.

Community input is crucial; If you have something positive to add to the discussion, be at BHS tonight and join the conversation.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Family Math Night at Lancaster Elementary School

Lancaster students attended the school’s first ever Family Math Night on February 19. Students brought their families and together they spent the evening exploring different Math Standards by playing games and participating in activities. Students learned more, and families learned some games they could play together at home.
It was a wonderful evening full of number-crunching fun!

Boys & Girls Club 2009 Dinner Spectacular! (pt. 3)

Thanks to Timber Ridge Golf Club for the wonderful facility. And thanks to all the volunteer servers who gave their time and did an excellent job.
Community support is vital, so stop by the Wells Community Boys & Girls Club, 1410 Wayne Street or give them a call: 824-5070. Give, volunteer, or bring your kids; there is something for everyone at the club.

(Photos by Matt Day)

Boys & Girls Club 2009 Dinner Spectacular! (pt. 2)

Wells Community Boys & Girls Club celebrated its success and kicked-off a new year of fund raising to keep the successes coming at its 2009 Dinner Spectacular a couple weeks back. Here are a few more of the photos.

The event may have been a few weeks ago but the work these folks do for the children of our community, for the families that are finding it more difficult than ever to get by, that work never stops.

Stop by the Wells Community Boys & Girls Club, 1410 Wayne Street or give them a call: 824-5070
(Photos by Matt Day)

Boys & Girls Club 2009 Dinner Spectacular!

Wells Community Boys & Girls Club celebrated its success and kicked-off a new year of fund raising to keep the successes coming at its 2009 Dinner Spectacular a couple weeks back.

The list of folks who have already given their time, money or both to help the Boys & Girls Club is lengthy and includes parents, business owners, professionals, law enforcement departments, local schools, and many others with a vested interest in helping the club continue to provide great programs to keep kids safe, off the streets and perhaps most importantly, inspired.

The event may have been a few weeks ago but the work these folks do for the children of our community, for the families that are finding it more difficult than ever to get by, that work never stops.

Stop by the Wells Community Boys & Girls Club, 1410 Wayne Street or give them a call: 824-5070
(Photos by Matt Day)

B-H MSD Teacher of the Year

Bluffton-Harrison school board president Daryl Elliott presents librarian Ruth Ann Monroe with the Bluffton-Harrison MSD Teacher of the Year Award at Monday’s regular board meeting. Bluffton Middle School Principal Tom Gibson said when it came to technology in the school, "Ruth Ann is the person that helps not only the kids but our own staff." Monroe has worked at B-H MSD for 21 years. (Photo by Jerry Battiste)

USMC Comes to Bluffton High School

Corporal Cliffton Roush, United States Marine Corps, visited with students at Bluffton High School this week.
Roush talked about his two tours of duty in Iraq and military life in general. Read more in today's News-Banner.

Memorial for a sorely missed colleague

Monday afternoon Bluffton Regional Medical Center friends and colleagues of CT technician Becky Hay, who died January 4, honored her memory with a plaque commemorating her life, service and “passion for learning that continued until the end.”
Hay worked at the hospital for 41 years. The plaque dedicating the unit in her name will adorn the wall at the entrance to the scanning room. (Photo by Jerry Battiste)

SW Americanism Essay Winner

Front row (L to R): Sydnee Jones, Chloe Maddox, Matthew Morales; Back row (L to R): Principal Brett Garrett, Elks Representative John Barnes, 5th Grade teacher Mrs. Nusbaumer.
Southern Wells Elementary School announced the 2008-2009 essay contest winners for the Grand Lodge Americanism Essay Contest.
The winners included Sydnee Jones, first place who will receive a $50 U.S. Savings Bond, Chloe Maddox, second, and Matthew Morales, third place. The students submitted their essays to the local lodge and the top three students will now continue to the state level.
The Americanism essay contest is an opportunity for school children in grades 5 -8 to compose a personal essay on the theme “What Freedom Means to Me.” (Submitted Photo)

Monday, February 23, 2009

NHS ICE Student

Senior Cody Campbell has been selected as Norwell High School’s ICE (Interdisciplinary Cooperative Education) Student of the Week for the week of February 23, 2009.
Campbell’s place of employment in conjunction with the ICE Program is Precision Service located on Old Corning Road in Bluffton.
Campbell runs and stocks parts, assists technicians, and does general cleaning at the auto/diesel maintenance facility. His supervisors are owner Kevin Morris and manager Dean Grote.
Campbell is the son of Tammy Clark of Bluffton and Ryan Campbell of Warren. Following graduation he plans to attend Northwestern Auto and Diesel College in Lima, Ohio, to pursue a career as a mechanic.
“Cody has done a very nice job at Precision Service. He has become a member of a very close team of employees,” said Norwell ICE Coordinator Ron Harnish. “Cody is always willing to do whatever the technicians ask of him. He is not a stranger to work and getting dirty. I was impressed with Cody’s desire to come back to work after being involved in a very serious automobile accident last fall. His employer was patient with Cody’s recovery, and he is now 100 percent. I wish Cody well as he intends to learn more about the ever-changing technology in the auto/truck industry.”
The ICE program allows students to be released early each school day to work at jobs that could develop into future careers. Students learn skills, attain credits, and earn wages. Each student is also involved in a related-learning class taught by Harnish.

Southern Wells ICE Student

Jessica Nusbaumer is the recipient of the Southern Wells ICE (Interdisciplinary Cooperative Education) Program, Student of the Week Award.
Nusbaumer works for Southern Wells Jr-Sr High School as a secretary in the office.
Assistant Principal Ali Justin said Nusbaumer has all the characteristics of success.
“Jessica can juggle an amazing number of responsibilities and projects simultaneously while maintaining high quality results despite deadline pressure,” Justin said. “She is continually looking for newer and better solutions to benefit her peers and co-workers in the office. Jessica is self motivated and rarely has to be given instructions twice. She is extremely mature and as compassionate as they come.  Rarely do I see a student her age with the combination of good character and dogged determination that she possesses.”
The Southern Wells ICE program allows students to be released early each school day to work at jobs in Wells, Blackford, and Huntington counties, that could develop into future careers.
Students learn skills, attain credits, and earn wages. Every student is employed in a career that the student is interested in pursuing. Each student is also involved in a related-learning class.

Ossian Preschool Meeting Tonight!

Northern Wells Preschool is expanding to Ossian Elementary School next year.
Up to now, the fully self-funded and wildly successful program has only been available at Lancaster Central Elementary School.

A public meeting is being conducted tonight, 6 p.m. at the administration building, to discuss the new Ossian program and provide details.

Parents with 3,4, 5 or 6 year-olds interested in utilizing the program are encouraged to attend.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Principal Thieme kisses pig; Students squeal with delight!

Bluffton-Harrison Elementary School principal Doug Thieme dressed the part for a promised kiss with a county piglet.
It was all to reward the students of BHES for raising money for Riley Children's Hospital. Read more in tomorrow's News-Banner.

Ossian kids jump rope for the health of it!

Ossian Elementary School students celebrated national Jump Rope for Heart day at school Thursday. Teachers, volunteers and anyone with a hoop, rope or basketball took an hour or so to get their heart beating fast and their circulatory system racing.
All part of raising money for the American Heart Association and teaching kids that being healthy often means doing fun things...like playing!

Read-A-Thon at New Life Christian

New Life Christian School just finished celebrating reading by having a Read-A-Thon. The top five winners of the Read-A-Thon received giant floor puzzles for their efforts. Pictured (from left) are Bekah Drummond (2nd Place), Jordan Markley (1st Place), Cheryl McClure (Director), and Emerson Graft (5th Place). (Submitted Photo)

Diaper Donors

(From left) Taylor Dove, 8th grade student president at Bluffton-Harrison Middle School, presented a check for $100 to Kelly Meade-Alstoft, mentor mom and coordinator of The Closet, at Wells County Family Centered Services and office intern Katie Sprunger, while members of the student council proudly display their donated diaper packages in the background. (Photo by Jerry Battiste)

Mrs. Rodger's Mitten Tree

Lyn Rodger’s second grade class at Lancaster Elementary recently completed a service project called “Mitten Tree.” The class read a book by author Jan Brett called, The Mitten, then compared it to a motivating story called The Mitten Tree. The class decided it would be a great idea to make their own Mitten Tree and donate mittens to needy children. (Submitted Photo)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Mother's Kitchen Closed

Downtown restaurant Mother's Kitchen, 229 W. Market St., has closed its doors permanently.
Dave Schultz will have a story in Saturday's News-Banner.

Ossian Boil Water Advisory

Ossian Water Department is warning residents to boil any water used for consumption until further notice.
Officials say it may be as early as Saturday that the advisory will be lifted.
A 6-inch water main break on Lafever Street, Thursday, was enough to drop water levels in the two water towers low enough to warrant the advisory. Those towers will need a couple days to refill, then the water will need to be tested for safety.
Town Manager Luann Martin said they are hoping to have the advisory lifted by Saturday, but admits test results could take until Monday or Tuesday, meaning the advisory would remain in effect until then.

Jumping Rope for Heart Countywide

Students across Wells County will be Jumping Rope for Heart this month.
Jump Rope for Heart is a national fundraising event sponsored by the American Heart Association and the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance.
In the 30 years since it formed, the organization has raised about $800 million for the fight against heart disease and stroke.
I'll be shooting some video, hopefully there are some fantastic displays of rope-skipping prowess

Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan: What does it mean for Wells County?

The Washington Post has a great story on President Obama's Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan.

It's difficult to gauge how much this might impact the current housing market. Or how many will ultimately be helped. What is good for the nation is good for our state which has built itself into a logistics and automotive hub:
Major banks are reporting that half the folks they helped refinance last year were delinquent again in six months.
economists are reporting some degree of capitulation on the part of
property owners
. They say more than half of all homeowners now agree
their property has lost value in the past year.
This could be a sign the housing market is finally sensing a bottom, even if it hasn't actually reached it yet.

At this point, any positive is something to cheer about.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Have you read the stimulus package yet?

No doubt you've been hearing all about the new stimulus package. Well, it's official name is the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
Now you can read the entire thing for yourself. All 1588 pages of it.
The U.S. Government Printing Office has published the final text of the legislation.
Visit this White House site to read it online. When you finish reading there is a handy comment box for you to post your thoughts on the whole sordid mess.

But you might consider grabbing a bottle of antacids before you get started...

(P.S.- If you're a fan of Cliff's Notes, CNN has a nice pie chart that breaks down the major catagories.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

TV's Go Digital...Eventually

AP Reports:
NEW YORK (AP) — Though hundreds of TV stations are turning off their analog signals next week, households in line for their $40 coupons for digital converter boxes are likely to have to wait at least several weeks longer. The fund that subsidizes the coupons has reached its authorized limit. It's still sending out around 100,000 coupons a day as older coupons expire unused, but there's a wait list of 4 million coupons. At that rate, it would take the National Telecommunications and Information Administration about two months to process coupon requests made today.

If you or someone you know is having an issue with the digital television conversion, please drop us a line at daveS@news-banner.com

Looking for local bee keepers!

Indiana Beekeepers school on February 28:
The Indiana Beekeepers' Association will hold its Indiana Bee School VII in Indianapolis Saturday, Feb. 28 at Southport Presbyterian Church at 7525 McFarland Blvd.
Randy Oliver, a commercial migratory beekeeper from Grass Valley, Calif. will be the keynote speaker. He writes for Bee Culture and American Bee Journal and maintains the website: www.scientificbeekeeping.com.
There will be four breakout sessions with each session having five different topics to choose from including introductory beekeeping tools and techniques as well as learning opportunities for the more advanced beekeeper.
There will be a raffle, an auction and vendor displays.
On-site registration begins at 8 a.m. The program will start at 9 a.m. and conclude at 3:30 p.m. Registration fee is $25 per person or $35 per family with lunch included. To guarantee a spot register by Feb. 20, 2009 by calling 317-485-5593 or email: jsdoty@indy.net or www.indianabeekeeper.goshen.edu.

(If you or someone you know is a bee keeper, thinking about being a bee keeper, or just plain gonna go to the beekeepers school in Indidnapolis for kicks, please let me know. I would love to talk with them. --jb)

CIA in Bluffton

For 15 years Ralph Garcia worked for the Central Intelligence Agency (C.I.A.) based in Langley, Va. He saw more of the world than most have seen, spending time on “most continents” as he puts it.
Read Frank Shanly's story on Garcia and the CIA in this weeks News-Banner.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Wells County Spelling Bee Showdown!!

Ok, it's taken me longer than anticipated to sort through all the video I shot, but here it is: The showdown for runner-up.


The AIDS Advisory Council of Northern Wells Community Schools will meet Tuesday, February 24, 2009, from 5 to 5:30 p.m. in the school corporation board room at 312 North Jefferson Street in Ossian.
This is a public meeting where members of the community have the opportunity to comment on the corporation’s current AIDS instruction.

Covenant Christian Spelling Bee winner

Covenant Christian School spelling bee winner was eighth grader, Jonathon Stuech, who competed Friday in the Wells County Spelling Bee. Runner up was seventh grader, Jonse Hatfield.

Food Check-Out Week Feb. 15 to 21

(Center) Connie Kaehr, food bank coordinator, accepts a $400 check from Wells County Farm Bureau board member, Mike Fiechter, and Shari Fiechter in honor of Farm Bureau’s Food Check-Out Week, February 15 to 21, devoted to helping teach Americans how to stretch their grocery dollars with healthy, nutritious food. (Submitted Photo)