On the Beat in Bluffton

Saturday, October 31, 2009

BSU students survey 'Aging in Place'

Ball State University students are conducting a survey in and around Bluffton to determine how best to ensure its citizens can remain in their homes comfortably, regardless of their age or condition.
You can read Dave Schultz story in today's News-Banner, and check ut the following video interveiws.

BSO professor Scott Truex explains the survey and Carol Ellinger, director of planning and development for Aging and In-Home Services of Northeast Indiana, explains the concept behind 'Aging in Place.'

Check it out:

Friday, October 30, 2009

Just Jerry Visits Bluffton 4th graders

News-Banner Reporter Jerry Battiste (that's me) visited Bluffton Elementary School 4th graders on Friday. They are in the midst of studying newspaper production, writing and the aspects of being a part of the media...fun!

Boo! in Bluffton

Rain did little to keep the crowds away during tonight's Boo! in Bluffton.

Sheriff’s surprize!

It's been a long hard week for Wells County Sheriff Bob Frantz, but Thursday morning brought a pleasant surprise to his office, as he was presented with the YWCA's Hope Award for his work in attempting to reduce incidents of domestic violence in the community. Pictured from left, are Sheriff Frantz, Hilary Anderson, Molly Kripe, Cindy Uptgraft and Jo Ziko. (Photo by Frank Shanly)

SWES supports our troops

Students in the third grade at Southern Wells Elementary recently completed a project of writing letters to service men and women serving in Iraq. One of the students, Jay Garrett, had a special interest in the project because his dad, Brent Garrett, is serving with a group. Brent Garrett is the service man who has been sharing some of his experiences in Iraq through a column in the Bluffton News Banner each month. The students also collected items for the soldiers to enjoy while they are away from home. Garrett’s group is anticipating returning to the United States in January.

Caption: SWES third grade students collected items to send to Iraq as a class project. Pictured left to right are Jayla Hampton, Shelby Thompson, Katie Grover, Braden Schreiber, Alyssa Garrison, Jared Neireiter, and Jay Garrett, son of service man Brent Garrett.

(Submitted photo)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Why Gibson got pied

In his own words, Bluffton-Harrison Principal Tom Gibson explains why he is taking a pie to the face...and no, it has nothing to do with his love for the Three Stooges.

Jericho Field trip

On Sept 11th the Kindergarten class had the opportunity to visit both the fire and police stations. The students had a great time learning about how dispatch works, what equipment a firefighter or police officer use and what a squad car and a fire truck look like from the inside.

Attached photo in front of the police building with the fire hats are from left to right: Emily Taylor, Elsa Corkwell, Adin Stoller, Simon Fry, Caleb Geimer, Nichole Hiday

Attached photo in front of the firetruck from left to right: Nichole Hiday, Caleb Geimer, Adin Stoller, Simon Fry, Elsa Corkwell, Emily Taylor

(Submitted Photo)

Two homicides in 48 hours

Wells County suffered its second fatal shooting Wednesday night when Justin Sprow, 19, of Uniondale was gunned down in his vehicle near the intersection of 800N and 100W.
Investigators have four suspects in custody and the possible murder weapon(s).

Wednesday night investigators had the intersection shut down. Thursday morning few signs of the incident remained.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Wisdom wins against e-mail scammers

Mr. Fred L. Sprunger has kept every e-mail scam he received so far this year. He has already filled two black plastic binders and the year is still not over.
Sprunger and other area seniors attended the "Scams Targeting Seniors" seminar held Saturday morning at River Terrace.
In his own words...

Friday, October 23, 2009

Zanesville Co. builds an electric car

They call themselves Midwest Alternatives and they will gladly convert your gasoline powered vehicle into an electric one. You can read my story in today's News-Banner and/or check out these videos of me going for a ride.

I have to be honest, this converted 1993 Eagle Summit, all electric had more get-up-and-go than my six-cylinder Pontiac Grand Am. The driver Josh Sheley is also one of the builders of the vehicle. Nice guy. And smart, too.

REGAL Knights

Norwell High School Honors REGAL Knight Award Recipients for the first quarter of the 2009-2010 school year.

Each quarter teachers from each department nominate students for the REGAL Knight Award.

Awards are given to the most outstanding and most improved students for the 1st quarter. Students were treated to a pizza luncheon and were awarded certificates.

Top: Mariah Hogar, Katie Runyon, Austin Haller, Beckah Coolman; Sydney Geiser, Harley Link, Danielle Schmidt, Emily Elder, Alex Ayers, Aaron Anstett; aarika Miller, Nick Anstett, Dustin Quintana, Taylor Morris, Austin Cooley, Erick Patton.

Jake Fryback, Garrett Bucher, Samuel Tomten; Autumn Adams, Brandon Long, Sophie Gerber, Tiffany Hogsett, Hannah Tomten, Emily Ackerman; Brett Bennett, Stephanie Meyer, Riley Smitley, Katherine Gordon, Damon Gerber, Derek Shady; Zac Berkey, Heath Bumgartner, Ashley Bowling, Jasson Werling, Tyler Smith, Brandon Springer.

(Submitted Photos)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Jericho visits Ouabache State Park

Joy Martz, Mrs. Dana, Kirk Roberts, Suzy Roberts, “Joyful Jill” Frauhiger and Kristi Gerber
brought Jericho students Katie Martz, Skylyn Reese, Samuel Baumgartner, Isabelle Aschliman, Ashton Chamness, Emily Turmail, Peri Bussel, RieAnn Krinn, Avia Stoller and Annika Linderwell to check out the bison at Ouabache State Park for a recent outting. The children had a great time.

Hunt the 'great pumpkin' on Saturday

Bring the kids and a flashlight to Lancaster Park to hunt the 2,000 orange and black Halloween eggs in the dark this Saturday Oct 24th . Following the hunt enjoy a hayride and smore's provided by Goodwin's Memorial Chapel. Hunt starts at 7:30 p.m. SHARP!

There is a “great pumpkin” hidden for a special prize in each of the 3 age categories!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Southern Wells to hold town meeting

The Southern Wells School Board and patrons will meet in a “referendum town meeting” on Tuesday, Oct. 27 at 7 p.m. in the Southern Wells Elementary School library.

Bring your questions, opinions and an open mind...News-Banner will be present at the meeting.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

NWCS Steering Committee & 'Big Rocks'

The Northern Wells Community School Steering Committee has been meeting for several months to plot a course for the future of the school district.

Last night the group was reviewing data collected at the school level. How it's used and what more data might be needed.

At the end of the meeting NWCS Supt. Dr. Scott Mills shared a story he heard from Bluffton Mayor Ted Ellis, who picked it up at a Rotary meeting.

What's most important, however, is the meaning of the story and the way it applies to the work they are doing. 'Big rocks' need to go in first...

Monday, October 19, 2009

Norwell News Blog

Have you seen the new Norwell News Blog? We'll have a link posted at www.news-banner.com very soon.
All the work is being done by Norwell High School students, just as the Bluffton High School students do with the BHS Bloggers site.

Here's the latest post from Norwell News:

We have an ODL?

Mr. Bailey's Earth Space science class has worked on the "ODL" or Out Door Lab for several weeks now. However, I'm willing to bet many Norwell students or even teachers aren't aware we even have an ODL.

House of Hope Banquet

The annual "For the Boys" Banquet to support House of Hope of Northeast Indiana was Saturday. Dozens gathered to show their support for the Wells County group and the work that it does for the community....

First H1N1 public clinic

News-Banner Publisher Mark Miller was at Bluffton High School on Saturday for the first Wells County Health Department H1N1 flu vaccine clinic. In all, 300 doses of vaccine were distributed in a very orderly fashion...

Friday, October 16, 2009

BHS Culinary Arts program

Talk about a school program with fringe benefits. The Bluffton High School culinary arts program is partnering with the Bluffton Parks Department, catering wedding rehearsals; they are definitely getting their money's worth out of the new commercial kitchen--which by the way is composed of mostly second-hand equipment.

Professional Federal Credit Union and First Bank of Berne recently provided some funds for several specialty cakes...I know the students appreciated it. Let's not forget to tell them both "thank you!"

And check out my story in today's News-Banner...

Ossian Walk-A-Thon

Visited the Ossian Elementary School Bear Crawl Walk-a-Thon today. Kids didn't seem to mind the chilly air outside the school. Inside the school they had some public safety lessons from Wells County Deputy Steve Wendling; some lessons on ecology and good health practices.

Check it out:



A H1N1 flu clinic is scheduled for Saturday October 17 at Bluffton High School from 8:00 – 11:00AM. The vaccine will be administered to the following groups and on a first come first serve basis.


Important information for parents regarding the H1N1 vaccine:

Bluffton Middle School Choir Rehearsal

I was visiting the BHS Culinary Arts program, housed at Bluffton Middle School, when I happened past Principal Tom Gibson, bobbing to the music as the Middle School Choir practiced for an upcoming show.
Check it out:

Battle of the Banks

News-Banner Publisher Mark Miller attended the Wells County United Way annual Battle of the Banks fund drive Thursday evening at the Bluffton City Gym. Last year's event raised more than $2,000.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

BHS Newspaper class in need of staff members!

Next semester's Newspaper's class is in need of a few good young men/women to contribute to the paper. The opportunities are endless for experience in writing, layout, photography, team work, Photoshop, and much more. Come check us out! (The class is offered 1st period.)

Visit the BHS Bloggers site for more info. Here.

Four departments fight Wednesday house fire

Bluffton, Ossian, Preble and Uniondale firefighters responded to the scene of a two-story home in flames on Wednesday. Investigators believe the fire started with an explosion caused by a natural gas leak at 5659 Ind. 1 around 2:40 p.m.
Firefighters were on scene until after 6 p.m. Traffic on Indiana 1 north and southbound was diverted while crews battled the flames.
There were no reported injuries.

Here is some video shot at the scene...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Public H1N1 vaccine expected soon

Wells County Health Department:

At this time, the Wells County Health Department is administering H1N1 vaccine to EMS, healthcare workers, and first responders only. Vaccine will be arriving in limited quantities throughout upcoming weeks.

As vaccine becomes available, groups with priority will be:

  • Household contacts and caregivers for children younger than 6 months of age
  • Pregnant women
  • People from 6 months to 24 years of age
  • Persons 25 years to 64 years who have health conditions associated with higher risk of complications from influenza.

When the vaccine becomes available to the public, the Wells County Health Department will hold H1N1 flu shot clinics.

Information regarding date, time and location of the clinics will be released to the public as soon as the information becomes available. The H1N1 vaccine is not a replacement for the seasonal flu vaccine.

A tree grew in Bluffton

City utility workers removed a single tree from the front of City Hall on Tuesday. For the complete story on why read today's News-Banner.

In the meantime, check out these cool little videos I shot while they munched the tree to mulch...

Loud. Very loud...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Bluffton Bengal Brigade

Members of the Bluffton Bengal Brigade make winning competitions look easy, but in reality it takes practice, practice, practice...

Bluffton-Harrison Tailgating Party

Jackie Daily was nice enough to send us these pictures of the Bluffton-Harrison Fall Festival Tailgating Party from Friday night.
The rainy weather forced the event inside the middle school cafeteria, but did little to dampen the spirits of the nearly 350 B-H employees and their families who attended.

B-H Superintendent Wayne Barker told the school board on Monday he hoped to make the Tailgating Party an annual event....

Monday, October 12, 2009

2009 United Way campaign

The 2009 United Way campaign for Wells County is underway. This year the group is trying to raise $315,000. That's about $4,000 more than was raised last year, but well within the realm of possibility for our giving community...check out the video:

Barb Barbieri shot these videos for us. Don't be fooled. She is very tech savvy...

BFD pushes Fire safety and Prevention

Bluffton Fire Safety Inspector Chris Broderick has been visiting local students, teaching fire safety and demonstrating "Stop, Drop and Roll" among other things.

Monday morning he was at New Life Christian School in Bluffton...check it out:

Friday, October 9, 2009

Norwell Annual Elementary Cross-Country run

I was at the Annual Northern Wells Elementary Cross-Country race on Thursday with my daughter, Annabelle, so I thought I should shoot some video.

There were well over 100 students there ready to run, and even more student-supporters ready to cheer them on...

p.s.--guess which child is mine...

Preschool to the Pumpkin Patch

I had a chance to visit the Pumpkin Kingdom with Ossian and Lancaster preschool students on Wednesday.

It was a little chilly, but Vivian Drennen did an awesome job of making the kids (and their adults) feel comfortable. There was some straw-tussling but otherwise everyone seemed to have a good time...at least, I know I did.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Norwell Cross-Country Race

I had an opportunity to visit the Annual Northern Wells Elementary Cross-Country Race on Wednesday. Hundreds of elementary students were on-hand to race around the grounds at break-neck speeds.

Norwell High School Girls Track/Cross Country Coach Bob Dahl said even after 30 years as a coach he never tires of watching the young students putting their hearts into the sport.

Frantic Fall Festival

News-Banner Ace Reporter Frank Shanly was on-hand to witness the frolicking fun of the Frantic Fall Festival at Hope Church on Wednesday.

Hundreds of folks gathered for the annual event which ran from 6 to 8 p.m. The weather was dry and just a little chilly, but there was plenty to do so nobody felt the cold...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Veteran's Day program at BHS

This message is from the Bluffton High School Student Council:

"Bluffton High School is presenting a Veterans Day program to recognize and honor the services of veterans to our country. This is our way of thanking them for their commitment and courage they put forth to keep the United States free.

This program will be held on November 11, 2009 in the Bluffton High School cafetorium and will begin promptly at 9:00 am. This program will last about 25 minutes. In appreciation of their service to this nation, we would like to extend an invitation to veterans of all wars. We hope to see you there."

Boy Scout Troop 149

Boy Scout Troop 149 Bluffton will be having Popcorn Show and Sell, Saturday at wal-Mart from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Troop 149 has been very active in the community. During the Bluffton Parks Department Iron Man competition a few months back, troop members were there to pass out juice and snacks to famished competitors.

If you want to learn more about Troop 149 visit their web site here or go straight to their blog, here.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Bluffton readers going to the dogs

Greta, the golden retriever, comforts Jacob Wenger, Justin Park, Gabe Martinez, Emma Thompson and Emily Gentis during the reading of the final sad chapters of Marley and Me in Rosemary Henderson's Reading Plus class at the Bluffton Harrison Middle School.

These hard-working readers deserve some credit for putting their minds to the grindstone...so to speak. Look for my story on this new reading program coming soon to the News-Banner.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Fireman's Fundraiser

Bluffton Fire Department hosted its annual Bobby Heckman Memorial Scholarship fundraising breakfast this past weekend. The tables were full and there was still a line of people waiting for service when Frank Shanly showed up to capture these photos...

Friday, October 2, 2009

Science Central at Wells Public Library

The Fort Wayne Science Central “Outreach to Space” interactive exhibit will be at the Wells County Public Library Oct. 5 – 9 during normal library hours. Set up in the main library, these hands-on displays are fun and educational for the young and young-at-heart.

Best of all: THEY ARE FREE.

The event is part of the One Book, One County community read programming featuring the book, Rocket Boys by Homer Hickam. A complete list of upcoming rocket-related activities can be seen at www.wellscolibrary.org.

For more information, call the library at 260-824-1612.

Domestic Violence Vigil in Bluffton

Thursday night at City Gym, members of the Wells County Domestic Violence Task Force gathered with local leaders and residents to commemorate the 49 Indiana lives lost to acts of domestic violence.

Mayor Ted Ellis declared October Domestic Violence Awareness Month...

Lancaster Central Walk-A-Thon

It worked out better than anyone could have predicted. The inaugural Walk-A-Thon fundraiser, sponsored by the LCES PTO was Thursday. Students raised nearly $19,000 in donations and had a chance to get some exercise outside doing a little walking.
Dozens of volunteers helped make the event a success and likely, will make it a returning feature of future school years...

Don't forget SWCS Silent Auction: Today!

Southern Wells Community Schools is holding a silent auction of surplus materials Thursday and Friday, Oct. 1 and 2. The auction items are located in the storage building behind the main facility and may be viewed from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday.

Items to be sold include science and art tables, roofing pitch and aluminum paint, Powermatic band saw, Rockwell joiner planer, Amaco kiln, metal file cabinet, and camera equipment.

Bid sheets may be picked up in the Central Office or at the storage site. Silent bids will be taken from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, with the bids to be awarded at 9 a.m. Monday, Oct. 5. Winning bidders will be notified at that time.

Items must be paid for and removed from the SWCS grounds by 3 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 7. Any remaining items will be discarded after that time.

For additional information, contact the Central Office at 765/728-5537, between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Southern Wells Referendum

In November, Southern Wells voters will decide whether to approve a new tax levy that will provide an extra $300,000 in annual revenue for the school for the next seven years.

Last night Supt. James Craig discussed the proposal and what it would mean for the school at a brief presentation during the first Southern Wells Open House on Wednesday.

You can find complete information about the Southern Wells Referendum posted at their web site, here.