On the Beat in Bluffton

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Regional Fireworks Displays


Here is a list of area fireworks displays in celebration of Independence Day:

Adams County

Decatur: Fireworks at dark Saturday downtown.

Allen County

Fort Wayne: Fireworks will begin at 10:15 p.m. Saturday at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne.

Leo-Cedarville: Fireworks begin at dusk Saturday at Riverside Gardens Park at Schwartz and Leo-Grabill roads.

DeKalb County

Auburn: Fireworks start at dusk July 5 at Kruse Auction Park, off Interstate 69 at exit 126.

Butler: Butler residents can enjoy a fireworks display July 11 at the conclusion of the Heartland Festival.

Garrett: Fireworks begin at 10 p.m. Saturday at Eastside Park.

Hamilton: A fireworks display will begin at dark on July 4 at Hog Hill.

Huntington County

Huntington: Fireworks start at dusk Saturday at Huntington North High School.

Roanoke: Fireworks start at dusk Saturday at Roanoke Park on Seminary Street.

Warren: Fireworks start at dusk Thursday at Tower Park on Grover Street.

Kosciusko County

North Webster: Fireworks begin at dusk Friday in the town’s park.

Syracuse: Fireworks begin at 10 p.m. Friday at Lake Syracuse. Fireworks begin at 10 p.m. Saturday at Lake Wawasee.

Warsaw/Winona Lake: Fireworks start at 10 p.m. Friday.

LaGrange County

Topeka: Fireworks begin at 10 p.m. Saturday at Topeka East Park.

Wolcottville: Fireworks begin at dusk Friday in Taylor Park.

Noble County

Albion: Fireworks start at dusk Thursday at Central Noble School campus.

Kendallville: Fireworks begin at dusk Saturday at Bixler Lake.

Rome City: Fireworks begin at dusk Saturday.

Steuben County

Angola: Fireworks at dark Saturday

Hamilton: Fireworks at dark Saturday

Lake James: Fireworks at dusk Friday

Wabash County

North Manchester: Fireworks begin at 10 p.m. Saturday

Wabash: Fireworks begin at dusk Saturday at Field of Dreams, a sports complex along Indiana 13/Manchester Avenue north of downtown.

Wells County

Bluffton: Fireworks begin at 10 p.m. Saturday at the school.

Whitley County

Columbia City: Fireworks will start at dusk Friday at Morsches Park.


Defiance County

Defiance: Fireworks begin at dusk Friday at Pontiac Park.

Van Wert County

Van Wert: Fireworks begin at dusk Friday at Van Wert County Regional Airport.

Entry deadline for 4-H Talent Show is July 13

Entry forms are available for the annual 4-H Talent Show which will be held at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 21, during the annual Wells County 4-H Fair in Bluffton. Forms are due Monday, July 13.
The contestants will be divided into three grade classifications: Class A, Grades 1 and 2; Class B, Grades 3 through 6; and Class C, Grades 7 through 12. The grade in school is based on Jan. 1 of this year.
Within each class, participants may enter in vocal, instrumental or other. All contestants must be present 4-H members.
Youth will be able to participate in a sound check between 5 and 6:30 p.m..
Awards will be presented to winners in each category and the Mack Shultz Award will be presented to the top talent winner. The award is presented in memory of Mack Shultz who was a 10-year 4-H member who loved music. His Air Force jet disappeared off the coast of Florida in the Bermuda Triangle. Mack was the son of the late Shirley and Galen Shultz and brother to Peggy (Norman) Schweikhardt of Warren.
Applications are available from 4-H leaders or from the Wells County Office of the Purdue Cooperative Extension Service at 1240 S. 4-H Road. The Extension office's phone number is 824-6412.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Wells County radio Hams on-air at 4-H Park

Radio hams from Wells County were out in force on Saturday at the 4-H Park, participating in the annual American Radio Relay League’s (ARRL) annual Field Day.
Club members contacted other amateur radio enthusiasts from all over the United States, and some overseas countries, as they tested their emergency communications equipment.

Amateur Radio Operators and the ARRL Field Organization have been effective in establishing emergency communications during floods, hurricanes, fires, earthquakes, and other major disasters.
Anyone wishing to learn more about the Wells County Amateur Radio Club may contact William Weinhardt 824-2986 or Carolyn Osborn 824-0877.

Fourth of July photos could mean prizes

Indiana DNR Release:

Shutter bugs who have a Facebook account and document their 4th of July weekend fun at an Indiana state park or reservoir can win a prize valued at up to $50 during a photo contest called "Shoot and Share."

Just take a picture and post it in the fan photos album on Indiana State Parks and Reservoir’s Facebook page for a chance to win a $50 CampIN gift card, good for camping at an Indiana state park or reservoir, or a 2009 annual pass. Prizes for first, second and third place will be awarded.

Photos will be accepted until midnight on July 16, but must have been taken at an Indiana state park or reservoir between July 3-5, 2009. Photos can be of scenery, wildlife or any legal activity at an Indiana state park or reservoir. Submissions are limited to three per person.

For more information, visit the Indiana State Parks and Reservoirs page at: http://www.facebook.com/INdnrstateparksandreservoirs and click on events on the left hand side of the page.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Wal-Mart Pig Kisser

Bluffton Wal-Mart employees had a recent fund raising drive for the Children's Miracle Network, and Riley Hospital, which generated more than $4,400.

In return, store assistant manager Dan McElhaney volunteered to kiss a pig.

"This is a great way to raise money for Children's Miracle Hospital," he said. "But it is the very last time I'm kissing a pig."

Thanks to everyone out there for doing what they can for a good cause!

Patriotic Pops at Ouabache

Here are a few extra pics from Thursday's performance of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic performance at Ouabache State Park

The crowd was smaller than previous years, but given the high temperatures it was impressive to see the few hundred people who did attend. Some had umbrellas and some did not, but everyone had a smile.

Fort Wayne Philharmonic Patriotic Pops!

I had the best time so far in Wells County at the 2009 Patriotic Pops performance by the Fort Wayne Philharmonic at Ouabache State Park on Thursday.
The sun was a little bright, and it was a tad warm (less than 100), but there was a cool breeze blowing and the music was so darn good I hardly noticed.
I shot some video and pictures then sat down upon the grassy hill and listened to a medley of songs from "My Fair Lady and "Star Trek."

I can hardly call it working, but I will. After all, News-Banner Publisher Mark Miller will be reading this blog...

My boss plays in the NBA

You may not know this but Assistant Editor Dave Schultz plays in the NBA.
That's the Noon Basketball Association.

I always assumed, given Dave's advanced age (94) it must be a simple pick-up game. Boy was I mistaken!

Watch as Dave gets roughed up on the court, but comes right back at 'em. (he's the big guy in the white t-shirt) I am very proud of him. It's much better than I could ever do.

And he didn't even break a hip!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Connor Whitesell Family Fundraiser Saturday

Life Community Church, 428 S. Oak St. (old Bluffton HS), will be the location of a fundraiser this weekend to raise money for Connor Whitesell, a Norwell honor student and athlete.

It will begin promptly at 10 a.m., Saturday, inside the gym at the church.

Whitesell was paralyzed from the chest down in a dirt bike accident last April. He has no movement in his fingers, hands or arms and only limited movement in his shoulders. For now he is confined to a powered wheel chair at Shepherd Center in Atlanta where he has been undergoing extensive rehabilitation treatment.

The family needs to sell their existing home in order to move into a handicap accessible home when Whitesell is released on July 9. They also need a new handicap accessible van for transportation.

The family has a CarePages site available for more information.

There will be numerous items available at auction for donations. Direct donations are also being accepted.

Contact Life Community Church for more information or see Thursday's News-Banner.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Miss Wells County Pageant Applications due

Interested in being Miss Wells County?

Applications are now being accepted for the 2009 Miss Wells County Pageant. The pageant is scheduled for Monday, July 20, in conjunction with the 4-H Fair. The pageant is open to females ages 16-20 (must be 16 by Aug. 15). The local contest resembles the Indiana State Fair Queen Contest to which the Miss Wells County Pageant is a preliminary.

There will be two workshops to help prepare the contestants for the contest.
The first workshop is slated for July 6 at 6 p.m. at the Wells County Community Center. Workshop #2 will be July 15 at 4 p.m.
Applications may be obtained from the Purdue Wells County Extension Office or by contacting the pageant director, Cathy Neu at 694-6522.

See today's News-Banner for more information.

Norwell Middle School gets new assistant principal

Popular Lancaster Central Elementary School first grade teacher Tim Wilson will be taking over as the new NMS assistant principal/athletic director.

Wilson had promised his students that if they perform academically, he'd perform acrobatics.

Baker takes the reins at LCES

Andrea Baker will be the new principal at Lancaster Central Elementary School beginning July 1. Read all about it in today's News-Banner.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Indiana Dairy Producers donate to local food banks

Indiana Dairy Producers are donating milk to Indiana food banks, including Community Harvest Food Bank in Fort Wayne which also provides for the Wells County food banks. Man on the scene, Dave Schultz, was at the Paul Mills Dairy Farm on 500N this morning. His story will be in tomorrow's News-Banner.

Vera Cruz buyouts begin

After six years buyouts of Vera Cruz homes damaged by the 2003 flood began this week. Check Frank Shanly's story in today's News-Banner.


More than 500 folks turned up for the Touch-A-Truck event last weekend. Dave Schultz was there and shot a few extra pics we didn't have room for in the News-Banner.

Maplewood Home residents say goodbye

Maplewood Home officially closed its doors this week. The final four residents at the home will now reside at the Jay County Home. For the complete story see today's News-Banner or subscribe to our online edition.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Decontamination at BRMC

Wells County cadet and senior Girl Scouts helped with the annual emergency preparedness drill at Bluffton Regional Medical Center on Thursday.
Dr. Carol Butler, who doubles as a scoutmaster in her free time, said the scouts were glad to help and needed a bath after a week of camping outside in Markle.

Rendezvous on the Ouabache, June 19 & 20

Don't miss this weekend's series of historical education programs at Ouabache State Park just east of downtown Bluffton, Indiana.
Tonight at 8 p.m., put your hands on an authentic covered wagon and learn how early American pioneers survived in one for months at a time.

More of The Whims

Wow! Columbia Street West was rockin' last night...or maybe the room was spinning. Whatever, it was a great time watching The Whims!

Bluffton's own: The Whims

I had a great time watching The Whims perform at the Battle of the Bands in downtown Fort Wayne on Thursday night.
They won the four-band competition and now advance to the quarter finals in early July.

Trent Hirschy (lead and bass guitar, vocals) told the News-Banner the group is still working hard to flesh out a full hour's worth of original music for a forthcoming album.
"This summer we're just going to be practicing songs a lot," he said.

Watch this space for more information on The Whims upcoming competitions.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Summer Gymnastics at B-H Elementary

Bluffton Parks Department Summer Gymnastics program is in full swing in the Bluffton Elementary School gymnasium. Brandy Fiechter and several instructors helped more than a dozen kids stretch, bounce, roll and balance their way to better health through exercie.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Check out the Life Trail

Don't forget to visit the new Life Trail system at Pickett's Run Park. The Bluffton City Parks and Recreation Department recently finished landscaping around the new paths and stations at the park.

Paid for partially with a grant from Aging and In-Home Services, the new exercise path will create an uninterrupted green space stretching nearly from the River Greenway to downtown Bluffton.

Southern Wells D.A.R.E. Graduates

Southern Wells honored an entire class of D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) graduates before the end of the school year.

Principal Brett Garrett welcomed students and guests. He spoke on the importance of the D.A.R.E. Program that has such an impact on our children today.
Garrett gave a special thank you to Officer Jeff McClish of the Wells County Sheriff’s Department for doing an outstanding job instructing and giving of himself to make this a successful program.
Special guests for the ceremony from the Sheriff’s Department were Bob Frantz along with Bruce Holland. Several fifth grade students led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance. Deputy McClish spoke to participants and guests giving praise to this year’s class and explaining the significance of the D.A.R.E. Program.
As a requirement for graduation from the D.A.R.E. Program, the students were to write a 100-word essay on what they learned during the program and what leading a drug-free and violence-free life means to them. (Submitted Photo)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Outdoor cooking classes June 20

The 2009 Cooking Classes and Cook-off will be held on each of the Wabash Reservoirs. Sign up for the property of your choice: J. Edward Roush, June 20; Mississinewa Lake July 11; Salamonie Lake, Aug. 1.
First place winners of each property will compete in the Oct. 24 Champion Cook-Off at J. Edward Roush Lake. The event is open to campers and one-day visitors.
The Cook-Off will be held in the same program area from 2 to 5:30 p.m. All participants/teams need to pay a $10 entrant fee per property; supply all food ingredients, cooking utensils, charcoal and start and use Dutch ovens. All foods are to be prepared on program site. Judging will take place at 6 p.m. with prizes awarded afterwards. Each property's first place team will earn a Dutch oven. Call 260-468-2127 or log onto: www.dnr.IN.gov/uwis.

If you go...

“The Sound of Music” will be performed during the 2009 Swiss Days festival. Those sponsoring the event are looking for instrumentalists to participate in the event.
Residents of Berne and the surrounding area compose the cast that will be performing “The Sound of Music.” Accompanying the very talented cast will be an orchestra under the direction of Dan Jones from Celina, Ohio.
Enjoy playing an instrument and want to take part in “The Sound of Music?” Contact the Berne Chamber of Commerce at 260-589-8080. Brass, woodwind, and percussion players are needed for the orchestra of this musical production.
To participate call the Berne Chamber of Commerce by Friday, June 19 to sign-up to participate.
Performances will take place Friday, July 24 at 7 p.m., Saturday, July 25 at 7 p.m., and Sunday, July 26 at 3 p.m.

(Note: If you go, don't forget to mention it to me. I'd love to do a story on you!)

Monday, June 15, 2009

More Relay for Life pictures

Thanks to everyone who participated in this year's Relay for Life at Bluffton Middle School, celebrating 25 years worth of fundraising relays.

According to the American Cancer Society web site:
Visit www.relayforlife.org for up-to-date information about Relay For Life and to access training tools and planning resources that will help make your event a success!

Relay For Life is a fun-filled overnight event designed to celebrate survivorship and raise money for research and programs of your American Cancer Society. During the event, teams of people gather at schools, fairgrounds, or parks and take turns walking or running laps. Each team tries to keep at least one team member on the track at all times.

Friday, June 12, 2009

25th Anniversary Relay for Life at B-H Elementary

Visited the 25th Anniversary Relay for Life at Bluffton-Harrison Elementary School this evening. Watch for June Grove's special story and photos on the Corey Betts Award winner in tomorrow's News-Banner.

Local resident Brenda Prater has book published

PublishAmerica has announced that “Rantings of a Divorced Woman,” written by Bluffton resident Brenda (Wireman) Prater, is now available for purchase. According to Prater “These poems were written with inspiration from the Lord.”
After thirty-three years of marriage, the author was thrust into a devastating situation, divorce. Life as she knew it was over, but a new, brighter path lay ahead. These poems came out of her growth in God from one stage of life to another.
Brenda (Wireman) Prater was born and raised in Indiana on a farm. She is the sixth child of eight. She married when she was 17 and had three children. She has been a born-again Christian for thirty years.

'Godspell' tonight!

The cast of “Godspell” is in its final few days of rehearsals for this weekend’s Wells Community Theater production.
Senior Editor Dave Schultz shot some excellent rehearsal video. Check it out!

The show will be presented at the Life Center at 8 p.m. Friday, June 12; at 3 and 8 p.m. Saturday, June 13; and at 3 p.m. Sunday, June 14.
Loosely based on the Gospels of Matthew and the parables of Jesus, “Godspell” was created by John-Michael Tebelak as a college project in 1970. It was an immediate sensation. It was rescored by Stephen Schwartz (who also wrote the Broadway shows “Pippin” and “Wicked”), the musical moved to off-Broadway in 1971 and hit Broadway in 1976.
“Godspell” remains one of the most popular rock musicals of all time.”
The cast of about 40 includes area actors, singers and dancers of all ages.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Golf Ball Droppings

RD Jones, of Franklin Electric, won the $500 prize at the United Way of Wells County Charity Golf Tournament and Golf Ball Drop at Timber Ridge Golf Course on Thursday.
(That didn't require any particular skill, however, just a lucky bounce.)

United Way Charity Golf Outing

Today's United Way of Wells County Charity Golf Tournament at Timber Ridge Golf Course was slightly soggy, but enough to keep anyone off the links.

News-Banner Publisher Mark Miller, also on the United Way Golf Tourney committee, volunteered his time to sell "string" and played in the tournament.

And since the course was open play they did. Nineteen teams, 75 golfers, set out to beat the greens and score the lowest (or lie the best.)

United Way of Wells County Golf Tourney Today

I'll be heading out to the 2009 United Way of Wells County Charity Golf Tournament today. The Golf Ball Drop is at 12:15 followed immediately by the shotgun start of the tournament.

News-Banner Publisher Mark Miller will be out there competing as will various corporate and public officials. All the proceeds go to benefit United Way of Wells County.

Watch this space for pictures and maybe some video...stay tuned.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Best Dad Ever?

Hey kids:

Do you draw? Do you draw pictures of your dad?
Do you draw pictures of your dad you'd like to share with the News-Banner?

All children between the ages of 4 and 11 are welcome to enter our "Draw Your Dad Contest."
We'll publish some of the entries on June 19. All entries received by June 16 will be eligible to win McDonald's gift certificates! Look for the entry form in Wednesday's News-Banner.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Southern Wells Grads walk the stage

Southern Wells graduated 70 seniors during Commencement on Sunday.

Each one received a hug and a white rose from Senior Meghan Prible...

Monday, June 8, 2009

Lowe's Safety Day

Hundreds of Bluffton residents turned out for the fourth annual Lowe's Safety Day.
Dave Schultz brought the video camera and caught some kids bouncing in the rescue boat while others were blowing the horn on the firetruck....good times for all!

Southern Wells Graduation 2009 (pt.2)

Southern Wells Principal Chad Yencer, himself a Raider alum, told the graduates they represented "everything that is right about small school education."
And he credited the entire community for keeping the school vibrant and alive.

Southern Wells Commencement 2009

It was warm, but not oppressively so, inside the Raiderdome on Sunday for the 2009 Southern Wells Baccalaureate and Commencement ceremonies.
Family and friends, teachers and administrators, crowded together to wish good luck and bon voyage to 70 seniors.

Friday, June 5, 2009

INDOT in downtown Bluffton

An Indiana Department of Transportation crew has been working at the corner of Washington and Main streets this morning. Watch for them, and other cars, please.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Colts come to Bluffton

Dakota Flowers, 11, didn't mind coming back to school days into his summer vacation. After all, the Indianapolis Colts were in town!

BFD Firetruck Simulator

Bluffton Firefighter Chris Wolf performed admirably behind the wheel of the IPEP firetruck simulator this week. You can read the story in today's News-Banner and watch his performance (and listen to him critique mine) right here.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

I Drove a Firetruck (Virtually)

I had an opportunity to drive a virtual firetruck this week. The Bluffton Fire Department had access to a simulator for training purposes this week and were gracious enough to let me take it for a spin.
It was scary, despite the fact I couldn't actually damage a truck or kill any pedestrians. But I knuckled down and did alright.
As a matter of fact, I didn't do half bad.
Bluffton Firefighter Chris Wolf was there too so I recruited him to shoot this video. (Thanks Chris!)
Check it out.

B-H student with perfect attendance earns new bike

The Bluffton-Harrison Elementary School has awarded bicycles to two students who have had perfect attendance. This semester, there were 56 students eligible for the drawing of the two bicycles that were given away as an incentive for perfect attendance. The two names drawn were Kaylee Claghorn, middle, and Marissa Hofstetter, pictured left with Mr. Doug Thiemet, principal. The two bicycles were donated by Horace Mann Insurance Company. The Wells Community Health Services Foundation Auxiliary in conjunction with the Bluffton Police Department funded helmets for these two students. (Photo provided)

Charity Golf Ball Drop

Don't miss the annual United Way of Wells County Charity Golf Ball Drop.

Thursday, June 11, at 12:15 p.m., numbered balls will be dropped from a bucket truck. First ball in the hole wins $500. Balls cost $10 each of 6 for $50.

Immediately after the golf ball drop is the shotgun start of the Wells County Charity Golf Tournament.

For more information visit the web site, Twitter or Facebook account for United Way of Wells County.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Ossian Conservation Club weekend

The Ouabache Archers played host to a special guest over the weekend, as they sponsored a special bow shoot to help raise funds to send an 11-year-old cancer patient on the hunt of a lifetime, in the rugged countryside of New Zealand’s South Island. (Photo by Frank Shanly)
Read the complete story in today's News-Banner, page 3.

Tax Bills Coming

Wells County tax bills are in the mail. If you haven't received yours yet, you will.

Due date is June 15, making it the 13th county in the state to complete the spring tax collection.

You can visit the 2008 Pay 2009 Budget Certification Status Map for more information. (Photo by Frank Shanly)