On the Beat in Bluffton

Friday, May 29, 2009

Ouabache State Park Events

1:30 p.m. - Our Masked Bandit. Meet at Trails End Shelter to join Naturalist Kate as she takes introduces you to the Masked Bandit that roams the campgrounds!
7:30 p.m. - Life in a Box. This little critter spends his whole life living in a box he carries on his back. Come to Rustic Oak Shelter to find out more about the eastern box turtle and the conservation efforts being made to prevent the further decline of this population.

1:30 p.m. - Howl at the Moon. Have you heard yipping and howling late at night and wondered what animal was making all that noise? Join Naturalist Kate at the Campview Shelter to find out more about the coyote!
7:30 p.m. - Happenin' Herons. These majestic birds grace the shores of Ouabache's Kunkle Lake. Come to Lakeside Shelter to learn more about the herons found here.

1:30 p.m. - Plant's Anatomy. Join the drama at Trails End Shelter as we learn what makes a plant tick.
7:30 p.m. - Fish of Kunkel Lake. Indiana's Free Fishing weekend starts tomorrow. Get ready by learning about some of the fish you might catch this weekend. Meet at Lakeside Shelter.

9:00 a.m. - Youth Fishing Derby Registration Begins. Kids ages 2-15 get in line at the Boat House early to register to be a part of the Youth Fishing Derby. Please bring your own pole. All children must be accompanied by an adult.
9:15-10:30 a.m. - Youth Fishing Derby. Grab your pole and start fishing for the big one! Prizes will be awarded for the biggest, smallest, and most fish caught in each of the three age classes! This event was co-sponsored by the Bluffton Optimist Club. Bug spray and sunscreen are recommended.
11-11:30 a.m. - Hoosier Quest. Connect! Discover! Explore! Learn more about the patch program at the Boat House. After a brief introduction, we'll break up into groups to start working on the requirements. Scouts and other groups are you interested in earning a patch? See the Naturalist to learn about the Hoosier Pathfinder program.
1:45 - Pool Break Creature Feature. Join Naturalist Kate on the pool lawn to try your hand at fish printing during the pool's safety check. Bring a light colored T-shirt or you can make one on paper. Swimmers, make sure to get your hand stamped before you leave the bath house, so you may re-enter the pool!
7:30 p.m. - Fabulous Frogs. Meet at the Boat House for a stroll around the lake to learn about the fab frogs we have at Ouabache State Park.

9:30 a.m. - Worship Services. Join us at Campview Shelter for an inspirational service in the beauty of nature.
11-11:30 a.m. - Hoosier Quest. See Saturday for details.
1:45 a.m. - Pool Break Quickie Craft. Come out to the pool lawn to decorate a fish to take home during today's pool safety check. Swimmers, make sure to get your hand stamped before you leave the bath house, so you may re-enter the pool!

June 20-21: Rendezvous on the Ouabache.
July 4: Natural Beauty Art Show. Artists, if you are interested in showing or selling your artwork during the show, contact the Interpretive Naturalist.

Call 824-0926 or e-mail ouabacheinterp@dnr.in.gov

Yencer defends small schools

"Small schools are under attack!" said Southern Wells Principal Chad Yencer at Friday's Academic Awards program. He had a few choice words for those who are doing the attacking and he let the 2009 graduates know their alma mater was not going anywhere.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

International Exchange Program visits Bluffton

Sixteen students and 10 adults from Poland visited Wells County 4-H Park for the International Exchange Program on Thursday. The visitors will be in northeast Indiana for approximately two weeks.

LCES kindergarten graduates

I happened to be at Lancaster Central Elementary School this afternoon to watch the kindergarten graduate.
The kids sang a few songs, then took the stage one class (and one student) at a time to collect their diplomas from Principal Steve Darnell.

Disclaimer: Yes, my daughter is up on that stage, but really, they were so darn cute I had to post this video. If you shot something cool at your kids graduation, feel free to send it to me and I'll gladly post it here too.

Ron DeWitt Memorial Scholarship Winners

Noticed this photo wasn't in the spread yesterday so I've added it here.

Bluffton Seniors Caylynne Johnson and Matt Gerber were the recipients of the 2009 Ron DeWitt Memorial Scholarship.

Ron DeWitt spent 39 years with the Bluffton-Harrison school system as a teacher, coach and athletic director. He died in a traffic accident in Huntington County in 2006.

You can read Joe Smekens original article about the tragic loss of DeWitt and his impact on the community here.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Bluffton Grads Celebrate Early

It was Class Day at Bluffton High School on Tuesday, as academic awards were handed out and students posed for a multitude of photographs from family, friends and of course, the local newspaper reporter.
Publisher Mark Miller made certain we had the Grads on page 1 of today's paper. You can also check out our new color graduation tab at News-Banner.com

Memorial Day Ceremony

Bluffton Police Department controlled traffic for visitors to Veteran's Park for the Memorial Day service and for members of the American Legion Honor Guard.

Bluffton Memorial Day

Veteran's Park was the site of the Bluffton Memorial Day service honoring those in the community who gave their lives in service to the nation.
See today's News-Banner for more.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Master Gardener's Visit Ossian Elementary School

Ossian Elementary School Outdoor Laboratory received its annual face lift on Friday as Master Gardeners, volunteer parents; students and teachers descended on the grounds to add mulch, plant flowers and tend the beautiful garden.

Join the Community garden

The Community Garden at Ind. 124 and Ferguson Park still has space available for corn, beans or whatever vegetable (or fruit) your heart desires. Check it out. Play the video for more information. (Video by Dave Schultz)

Ouabache State Park star party, May 29

The Fort Wayne Astronomical Society and the Warsaw County Astronomical Society are co-hosting a star-gazing party at Ouabache State Park, May 29.

Guests are invited to view the night sky using the societies’ telescopes. Members will be on hand to answer questions about the stars and telescopes, and to direct gazers towards points of interest.
The event starts at 10 p.m. and is open to all. Participants should park at the pool and meet on the large hill next to the pool.

There is no fee for the event. Park entrance fees of $5 per vehicle for Indiana residents and $7 per vehicle for non-residents will apply.

Frank Shanly visits EMS Week

Wells County EMS Director Tina Dudgeon presented veteran EMT Tony Beck with a special retirement watch commemorating his years of service Wednesday afternoon as part of "EMS Week" celebrations in Wells County.
Nick Nudell, Senior Field Clinical Engineer from AngelMed introduced new EMD and IMDs currently being developed to help detect the early signs of a heart attack to Wells County EMS personnel Wednesday evening. Also in attendance, and seated at the far right of the picture, are Markle residents Joe Clancy, who has been fitted with an IMD, and his wife Pat.
(Photos by Frank Shanly)

Eat in or take out?

One customer apparently had some trouble making up his mind this morning. Taking his foot off the brake at the wrong moment, Dale Maller, 81, of Bluffton propelled forward into the north side of the building at 7:39 a.m. impacting with enough force to knock a hole in the side of the building, and push shelves full of supplies back on the interior of the building. An investigator is expected to visit Hardee's this afternoon in an attempt to evaluate the dollar amount of damage caused by the accident. (Photos by Frank Shanly)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Respect for Law Day

Mayor Ted Ellis (pictured alongside Bluffton Optimist Club President Mark Daughterman) declared Tuesday Respect for Law Day at the annual breakfast to show appreciation for all branches of law enforcement.
Sheriff Bob Frantz, Bluffton Police Chief Tammy Schaffer and more than a dozen other law enforcement officers gathered at the Corner Depot before sunrise to swap stories over coffee and breakfast.
Read the story in today's News-Banner.

Memorial Day Weekend Looms

This string of glorious days is hopefully leading us all to a wonderful holiday weekend.
Tuesday morning Bluffton city workers were mounting flags around downtown in anticipation of Memorial Day.

Monday, May 18, 2009

NHS site of Whitesell Family Fundraiser

Bluffton Police Department Deputy Chief Nathan Huss takes the ball down court but finds himself up against two defenders during the charity basketball game to raise funds for Connor Whitesell Sunday afternoon. Members of the Northern Wells Schools community were joined by emergency personnel from throughout the county for the charity event. (Photo by Frank Shanly)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Ballet video

Here's some video from the Creative Arts Council School of Ballet rehearsal Saturday at Life Auditorium.

Today at 3:30 p.m. is the student production of "Gala Performance" onstage at Life Auditorium. Admission is free.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Saturday ballet rehearsal (pt 2)

Here are more photos of Saturday's rehearsal. Don't miss the show on Sunday!
Check the web site for more info:

"Since 1976, the Creative Arts Council School of Ballet has taught the fundamentals of classical ballet to children and adults of Wells County. More than 950 students have benefited from the confidence, grace and poise that the study of ballet instills for a lifetime."

Saturday ballet rehearsal

It was a privilege to get backstage at the Creative Arts Council School of Ballet rehearsal Saturday at Life Auditorium.

The performers endured hours of practice long before Saturday's dress rehearsal. Tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. is the student production of "Gala Performance" onstage at Life Auditorium.

Check it out. It's FREE!!! So drop by and enjoy the show.

Friday, May 15, 2009

DARE Officers Honored

Wells County DARE officers were honored by Citizens Against Drug Abuse (CADA) on Thursday for their ongoing efforts to educate students about the dangers of substance abuse.
Bluffton Police Department Student Resource Officer Bruce Holland has been teaching the DARE program to students, and helping instruct other officers in the program for more than 20 years.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Boot Camp for kids (and it's fun!!)

Bluffton’s annual Kids’ Boot Camp has been scheduled for July 27-31.
This year will be the fourth such camp, which is open to all fifth and sixth graders. It will be held at the 4-H Community Center, and is a joint venture involving the Bluffton Police Department, Bluffton Parks Department, and the YMCA.

Cross Cut, Cross Ways (By Dave Schultz)

There was something inside the tree, Sid King said, and he found it.

Alongside the east entrance to Six Mile Church on Ind. 116, there stands a small wooden cross. That’s what King found inside the tree, and that’s his gift to the church.

Read the entire story in Thursday's News-Banner.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A few words from Principal Misch

Mark Misch was overwhelmed with joy after the Northern Wells School Board accepted the recommendation from Superintendent Dr. Scott Mills that Misch become the new principal at Norwell High School.
In his own words Misch expresses his pride in taking the reins at Norwell, and introduces the many friends and family who came to support him.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Ossian Elementary School Musical Treasure Island

Ossian Elementary School musical Treasure Island on Tuesday was a hit with students, teachers and guests.
An homage to the school-age classic, the OES version was chock full of flavor; part comedy, part drama, it was all heart.

And the songs were terrific!!

Indianapolis 500 Princess Claire Petersen (pt 2)

Before she was Miss Wells County, and before she was an Indy 500 Princess, Petersen was just another third-grader at Bluffton Elementary School.

Indianapolis 500 Princess Claire Petersen

Bluffton's own Claire Petersen was in town Monday afternoon, visiting with the Bluffton Elementary School third grade.

A full-time Butler University student, majoring in broadcast journalism and public relations, Petersen has been visiting far-flung communities across Indiana, bringing a touch of the Indy 500 with her.

Don't Miss The Bus Tour!!

Bluffton Parks Department in cooperation with Life Church will be hosting a
Bus Tour on May 21st from 7am-5pm. Tour includes a stop at Wick’s Pie
Factory, Silver Towne and Ghyslain’s Chocolate Factory. Cost is $15 and
lunch is on your own at Mrs. Wicks Restaurant. To purchase a ticket stop by
the Clerk Treasurer’s office in City Hall. For more information please call

OES students prep for Treasure Island

Ossian Elementary School students will be performing a musical version of Treasure Island this afternoon for fellow students and faculty. Last night during rehearsal I tried to hang around and get some photos, but I ran out of time and had to rush to the Bluffton-Harrison School Board meeting at 6 p.m.
Fortunately they were nice enough to send some pictures. I'll be shooting more this afternoon at the actual performance.

Intersection of Washington and Bennett streets closed

City workers are replacing Bluffton's oldest fire hydrant this morning. Located at the corner of Washington and Bennett streets, this 1886 original started leaking over the weekend. Since no replacement parts are available crews will fully replace the unit today.
I'll have a complete story on the life of the hydrant and its future, later this week.

Monday, May 11, 2009

News-Banner sidewalks gets makeover

The sidewalk out front the News-Banner building has been leveled off and is now much more pedestrian friendly. N-B Publisher Mark Miller also recently added a flowering crab apple tree to the newspaper grounds.

Look out--we're getting prettier every day!

SR 1 temporary runaround is open with a 16-foot restriction

From Indiana Department of Transportation:

Indiana 1, over Dowty Ditch in the vicinity of CR 500 north, is closed due to a small structure replacement. Northbound and southbound Ind. 1 will utilize the temporary runaround for 60 days. Vehicle width that will safely fit within the temporary runaround is a 16-foot maximum.
This project is expected to be complete by mid summer, weather permitting. Motorist should drive with caution in this new traffic configuration.

Friday, May 8, 2009

'Safe Place' art on display at BHS

Visitors to Bluffton High School over the coming week may see a special display on show in the hallway opposite the auditorium.
Vicki Van Matre’s art class has combined with Family Centered Services Safe Place program to produce a display illustration issues teenagers face today, and the ways in which the Safe Place program can help.
(Photos by Frank Shanly)

Senior Expo 2009

Thursday's Senior Expo at the Community Center at the 4-H Park was a rousing success. Several vendors were on hand and a large crowd came to the event; Bonnie Valind, director of the Wells County Senior Center, said she thought the attendance may have set a record. (Video by Dave Schultz)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Southern Wells 5th-graders get landscape crazy at school (pt 2)

Southern Wells 5th grade teacher Joan Nusbaumer talks with students Jack Bartlett, Tom Stepp and Brant Couch about the work they were doing at the school on Wednesday.

Southern Wells 5th-graders get landscape crazy at school

Wednesday was not the best day to be working outside, but the rain did little to stop the Southern Wells fifth-graders who spent their day landscaping the school grounds.
Southern Wells Environment Day has been an annual event for the last dozen years.
Each spring the fifth grade class — this year there were just 48 students - gather outside for a full day of weeding, mulching, planting and general cleaning of the area.

See the story in today's News-Banner. And check out our video.

Our new tree

We have a new addition to our grounds here at the News-Banner. Bub and Eric planted this new flowering crab apple tree this week. It took a few hours to remove the stump left from the old tree, but eventually they cleared a space and got the new one in.
How nice!

Please visit our sponsor, Bluffton Regional Medical Center!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

More Beach Jam '09

Sixth grade students sing “Soak Up The Sun” during SWES annual Spring Fling performance.

(Beach Jam ’09 was performed, April 28, by students in grades 4 through 6 at Southern Wells Elementary.)

Southern Wells Elementary students perform “Shake Your Groove Thing” at Beach Jam ’09.

On April 28th at 7:00pm, Beach Jam ’09 was performed by students in grades 4 through 6 at Southern Wells Elementary. Each year the 6th grade students write a play with several musical numbers that feature the 4th and 5th grade students as background vocalists. All the children work very hard to get ready for this big night and always have a lot of fun performing for their family and friends in the audience. Some of the songs included, “Soak Up The Sun”, “Bubbly”, Pocketful Of Sunshine”, and “Cupid Shuffle”. A special thank you to Mrs. Hughes, for her gently guidance, Mr. Carter and Mrs. Burgan for their help with the props and set, and Mr. Haigh for running the sound system for the evening. Great job students! (Submitted)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Ossian Neighborhood Watch program meeting

Rose Ann Heights Neighborhood watch program meets Wednesday, 7 p.m. at Ossian Town Hall.

Get involved!

Ossian Elementary School kids make it work for Lutheran

Despite the gloomy economy a group of Ossian Elementary School fourth-graders have built a successful not-for-profit business selling handmade goods to fellow students.
All the proceeds from business, so far more than $90 are going directly to Lutheran Hospital. The group’s goal is to raise $100 and they have through today to reach it.

Bluffton Middle School Community Service

On Thursday, April 30, a small group of Bluffton Middle School 8th graders went to Roush Park to do community service. Teacher Jacque Pierce organized the outing by volunteering to help clean up one of the city parks for the Parks Department. Pam Vanderkolk had one of the maintenance men meet the students at the park with rakes, brooms, and trash bags and the kids got busy. They swept the sidewalks and raked 10 bags of wet leaves from the inside and outside of the fences surrounding two ball fields.
Front row (on the ground): Teacher Jacque Pierce, Nathan Mulkey, Nicole Lykins, Erin Meekin, Staci Miller
Back row: Quaide Pryor, Sharika Moss, Adam Schmidt, Jessyca, Beasley, Kristina Barkman, Steven Perry, and Trent Herman.
Not pictured: Bev Balash (Submitted Photo)

Southern Wells Muffins with Mom

Southern Wells students had muffins with mom recently and sent us this cool picture. Thanks!
All the students enjoy spending quality time with mom and showing off their school (and their friends.)

Monday, May 4, 2009

Giggles with Grandmom

Bluffton Parks Department does it again with another family-themed day of frolicking fun. Giggles and Games with Grandmom last Sunday was a big hit with kids and grandmoms alike.

Thanks to the Bluffton Parks Department for all the hard work--seems as if everyone had a great time!