On the Beat in Bluffton

Friday, January 29, 2010

Jericho kids sign their ABC's

The kindergaten students of Jericho ATCFMI took a field trip to the Wells County Public Library on Friday. The children learned about how to sign the ABCs in sign language. The session focused around reviewing the ABCs and the students really enjoyed themselves.

From left to right in the photos: Nichole Hiday, Simon Fry, Caleb Geimer, Adin Stoller, Elsa Corkwell, Emily Taylor

Author's Book Party at LCEs

I dropped by Lancaster central Elementary School today and just happened to catch Lynette Frauhiger's 1st grade Author's Book Party. The students read excerpts from their own, handwritten and self-published books.

Great program, and a nice event!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Southern Wells Walking Club

Wednesday afternoon, Southern Wells Intern Brandon Gephart shot these cool pictures of the SW Walking Club, hosted by the Wells County YMCA.
These are his first official contributions as an Intern, but we look forward to even more great work from him in the weeks to come!

Jeni Hasinbiller marks another lap on Ellie Leas's walking club card. Southern Wells School's walking club meets every Monday and Wednesday.

Cameron Cook, a member of the walking club, holds up his walking club card. Cook has walked over 100 miles with the Southern Wells walking club this year.

Nineteen of the 38 enrolled members, and two of the adult helpers for the Southern Wells Walking Club, hosted by the Wells County YMCA, posed for a picture Wednesday afternoon.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wells County: Where Eagles Fly!

Yes, folks, there is indeed a bald eagle flying around 200N near the quarry. Intern Devan and I traipsed through the mud and muck to confirm it was there, tried to shoot some video, then decided it was best to send Managing Editor Glen Werling out with his telephoto lens to get a good picture. Check it out in tomorrow's News-Banner.

In our first video you can catch a glimpse of the big bird as he takes fight from the tree on which he had been sitting, just moments before we could snap his picture. In the second you can see him circling, way off in the distance. We got mud on our shoes and nearly froze to death, but we confirmed the sighting and Glen got the photo. Teamwork, gotta love it!

BHS Senior Pictures Due

Senior Pictures
Due March 19
Shot must:
-be vertical.
-include head and shoulders only.
-exclude any props, including hats.
-not be too revealing.
-be crisp and clear.

Digital images represent the best quality. E-mail them to Mrs. Schantz in a jpeg or tiff format. Most often, your photographer will do this for you if you ask. If you cannot e-mail the image, submit a hard copy (that will be returned) to be scanned. (We can scan proofs -- before you even order!)

If you do not submit a photo (or submit one that doesn't meet the requirements listed above), the yearbook staff will use your school photo. If you did not have a school photo taken, you will be listed as "not pictured" in the yearbook.

Mrs. Schantz's E-Mail:

Senior Baby Ads
Due February 5
Parents of seniors can order a senior baby ad for $30 (1/8 page) or $45 (1/4 page).

Ads include a baby picture and a message from the parent(s). Forms are available in the senior hallway or from Mrs. Schantz.

Pay by cash or check (made payable to BHS).

Turn into Mrs. Anderson or Mrs. Schantz.

Don't Forget to Order a Yearbook!
Yearbooks are still on sale, and many seniors have not yet ordered one.

The 2010 yearbook is in FULL COLOR!

Cost: $50

How to Buy:
Pay by cash or check (payable to BHS) to Mrs. Anderson in the main office or Mrs. Schantz.

Pay by credit card by visiting the district website and clicking on "High School Yearbook: Order Here."

Choose the "Bill Me" option on the order form to pay by April 30th. (All students received an order form. If you need another one, go to Room C03 -- next to Art Room.)

When to Buy: NOW! We will accept orders through April 30th, but the sooner, the better. We will have a limited number available in the fall for purchase, so ordering now is the only way to secure a copy of the 2010 book.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Annual Chamber Awards Dinner

Wells County Chamber of Commerce annual dinner and awards show was last night. Citizen, teacher and business of the year were honored for their service to the Wells County community.

The theme this year was the Bluffton Street Fair which will celebrate its 100th anniversary in September.

News-Banner Publisher Mark Miller was there to applaud the honorees and shoot some video.

Funny story: As news photographers we are trained to shoot both vertical and horizontal photos whenever possible. You never know what will fit best in the paper when you're designing a page. However, Mark didn't realize when he turned the video camera sideways to shoot something horizontal, it would stay that way when viewed. With this in mind I present our Chamber videos...

Monday, January 25, 2010


Sandy is a 9 month old Lab mix, female. She would make a great family pet!

Calie is a 5 month old Calico, DSH. Alot of black markings. Very cute!

Call now: 824-6063

StarLab comes to Bluffton

The stars were out in the Bluffton gym on Sunday as the parks department presented the Science Central StarLab.

This is the first time the parks department has partnered with Science Central, but will likely not be the last. In fact, they are having a liquid nitrogen ice cream demonstration for the Cinco de Mayo luncheon on May 3. Don't miss it!
Tickets can be purchased at the Clerk Treasurer’s office for $7 and the lunch is prepared by the BHS culinary students.

I shot a couple videos of the StarLab. Since it is pitch-dark inside the StarLab the second is utterly devoid of images. But I posted it here so you could get an idea of what the darkness looked like...(ha ha)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Kingdom Academy spellers

The annual spelling bee was recently held at Kingdom Academy. Crystal Reinhard (shown right in picture), daughter of Jerry and Jodi Reinhard, was the winner for correctly spelling the word “hurricane”. Reesa Grube (left in picture), daughter of Jay and Ronda Grube, was the runner-up. They will represent Kingdom Academy at the Wells County Spelling Bee on Feb. 12.

Wacky Hair and 100 Days at OES

Ossian Elementary School students celebrated Wacky Hair Day and the 100th day of school on Wednesday. Students donated 25 cents to charity for the right to wear their hair in any manner they saw fit.
OES 1st graders, brought collections of 100 items to signify their 100th day of classes. Just 80 more days of school left in the year.

SW students engineer their own program

Doug Hunt, Engineering & Technology Education teacher at Southern Wells, has been teaching his students the fine art of securing sponsors for their class, and how to thank those sponsors. Last week they worked to complete t-shirts promoting their sponsors through the donorschoose.org program.

SWES Spelling Bee

On January 20th, Southern Wells Elementary held their annual Spelling Bee for students who made it through their 5th and 6th grade Bee. Twenty students competed for top honors at the Spelling Bee
with Kyra Casterline winning the top prize and Matthew Morales coming in runner-up. The winning word was luggage. Kyra will represent Southern Wells in the Wells County Bee on February 12th.
The other students who participated in our Bee were Chloe Maddox, Camryn Marcus, Nick Gatto, Chloe Elam, Ben Shaffer, Mikayla Oswalt, John Hadley, Vince Drennen, Jacey Dunnuck,
Mickayla Culbertson, Damion Watters, Brooke Zoda, Rease Minniear, Braxton Gerber, Uriah DeWeese, Nick Childers, Tom Stepp, and Logan Norman. The alternates were Blake Dollier,
Brianna Pettibone, T.C.Perry and Dakota Clark. Great job students and good luck Kyra!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Earn cash for your school!

Looking for a way to raise hundreds of dollars for your school? Look no further than the News-Banner!

With our subscription program, schools can earn cash.

Here's how it works:

Your fundraising team sells subscriptions to the News-Banner and your school gets paid, per sale, depending on the length of the subscription.

6-month subscription earns $10
12-month subscription earns $20.

Just think, only five 12-month subscriptions could earn your school $100! That's a lot of dough.

Don't miss out on this simple opportunity to earn cash for your school. Contact the News-Banner Circulation Manager for more information. Call 824-0224 and ask for Mary.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Buffton ACAC Champions

Bluffton Tigers defeated Garrett on Saturday at the ACAC Championship in Fort Wayne. We have game video at our Sports and Outdoors blog and some assorted band and cheerleader video here. Check 'em all out!


Spice is a 4 month old Domestic Medium Hair, female. She is really sweet!

Scooter is a 5 month old Pug/Terrier mix, male. he is very playful!

Call now: 824-6063

Friday, January 15, 2010

Brent Garrett visits Southern Wells

Last year, third grade students at Southern Wells sent a special package to soldiers serving in Iraq, and at Friday’s second quarter awards ceremony, one of those soldiers presented a gift of his own.
Brent Garrett, himself a Raider alumni and parent presented a flag that he had carried with him on a combat mission in Iraq, conducted by troops from Company C, 1137th Aviation on Nov, 10, 2009, to the students.
Garrett told the students about how, after graduating from Southern Wells, he had served in both the U.S. Marines and the National Guard, most recently in Iraq.
He thanked the students for the package they had sent, which had included candy, crackers and cheese, and encouraged them to work hard at school.

LCES Spelling Bee

Lancaster Central Elementary School Principal Andrea Baker:
On Tuesday, January 12th Lancaster held the 2009-2010 Spelling Bee. We would like to congratulate Taylor Byerly as she is the 2009-2010 “Spelling Bee” champion at Lancaster. Coming in as our runner-up was Izayah Mason. We wish Taylor the best of luck at the County Spelling Bee! The County Spelling Bee will be held on Friday, February 12th at 9:00 A.M. in the Bi-County Building.

We would also like to celebrate all participants in this year’s Spelling Bee. Those participants include:

Candace Eckert
Dalton Southard
Taylor Liechty
Micah Wicker
Elisse Huss
Saddie Dunnuck
Austin Roberts
Skylar Carr
Izayah Mason
Zach Stein
Taylor Byerly
Michael Skiles
Bryant Barger

Bluffton takes Leo at ACAC

Bluffton Tigers defeated the Leo Lions Thursday night at the Fort Wayne Coliseum and the fans went wild...

Way to go Bluffton! We'll be cheering you on Saturday when you face-off against Garrett.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

NMS Spelling Bee

The Norwell Middle School 2010 Spelling Bee took place on January 12 and 13, 2010. Twenty-nine spellers (grades six through eight) tackled words from several different languages of origin. The champion of the spelling bee (for the third year in a row) was Bailey Gerber, an eighth grader. The spelling bee lasted for 167 total rounds, which made it go into a second day. This was the longest spelling bee in NMS history! The three remaining spellers on the second day were Bailey Gerber, Tessa Horan (who took the runner-up spot, missing the word “belligerent”), and Monica Frauhiger (who took third place.) Bailey’s winning word was “aggregate.” Bailey will now advance to the Wells County Spelling Bee, which will take place on February 12th.

Girl Scouts Cookie Time!!

Girl Scouts are ready to provide the community with it’s favorite treat as they learn valuable life lessons. This year, Girl Scout cookies will be on sale beginning Friday, Jan. 15. The sale will continue through March 9. In addition to order taking, Cookies-In-Hand will provide these annual taste treats without the wait!
For $3.50 per box, customers can help girls build business skills and financial knowledge as they sell these Girl Scout Cookie varieties, which include: Thin Mints Shortbread Peanut Butter Patties, Peanut Butter Sandwiches, Caramel deLites, Thanks-A-Lot, Lemonades, Daisy Go Rounds.
The Girl Scout Cookie Program helps girls build important leadership skills. Through cookie activities, girls learn how to plan, build teams, speak up, make decisions, solve problems and manage resources. These skills add up so that ultimately, girls learn to be leaders, in their own lives and in our communities.
Girls are the ultimate beneficiaries of all Girl Scout cookie activities, directly and indirectly. They benefit by learning valuable life skills, earning money for their troops and planning how to spend that money to achieve their troop goals.
“Girls also decide what to do with the money they earn for their troop projects. We don’t know of any other youth-oriented activity where the girls themselves decide what to do with the money they earn,” said Connie Frederick, product manager.
If you don’t know a Girl Scout, you can visit www.gsnim.org to find a Cookie Booth near you!

Monday, January 11, 2010

More Fire Pics

Bluffton High School journalists and photographers were out in force Sunday to cover the downtown fire. Here are a few photos submitted by BHS Photographer Marci Mettler. She also had a photo published in today's News-Banner. We look forward to publishing more of her work in the future.

Streets remain closed, clean-up begins

Johnson Street from Market to Walnut will remain closed indefinitely as clean-up begins at the site of the 8-alarm fire which ravaged a downtown building in the 100 block of Johnson.

Bluffton Mayor Tedd Ellis said it seems likely the building will need to be demolished after sustaining heavy damage from the fire.

Downtown Bluffton Fire: The Aftermath

Ice covered trees, sidewalks and streets create a nearly magical appearance around the sight of the massive blaze which consumed the building at the southwest corner of Market and Johnson on Sunday.
Monday morning Mayor Ted Ellis told the News-Banner it was likely the fire-damaged building would need to be demolished.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Fire destroys building

This historic building at the southwest corner of Market and Johnson streets was nearly fully consumed by fire Sunday morning.
The fire was first reported around 11 a.m. Firefighters were still unsure of a cause by late afternoon Sunday. An upstairs tenant escaped without harm but the family dog was killed in the blaze. All their belongings were destroyed in the blaze.

We will have more on this story in tomorrow's News-Banner.

Fire in downtown Bluffton

Just after 11 a.m., Sunday, Bluffton Fire Department responded to a fire at the south corner of Market and Johnson streets in downtown. As of this posting the cause of the fire is unknown. Firefighters from several departments have responded. Power shut to downtown around 1 p.m. as crews continued to battle the blaze. There were no immediate reports of injury, but that status could change as details emerge.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Frank Shanly Naturalization Ceremony

News-Banner reporter (and my friend) Frank Shanly, became a U.S. Citizen today. I am proud to report this news...

News-Banner Publisher Mark Miller shot this video of the ceremony.

Shanly takes the oath

Frank Shanly, formerly a citizen of New Zealand took the oath of citizenship in Fort Wayne this morning, becoming a full-fledged citizen of the United States.
Congratulations to you, Frank Shanly!

In the picture:
News-Banner reporter Frank Shanly, right, is greeted by several friends who traveled to the Federal Courthouse in Fort Wayne Friday morning for his Naturalization Ceremony. The New Zealand native was one of 52 people from 24 countries to be sworn in as American citizens. Witnessing the event were, from left, Charles "Skeet" Decker, Kevin Woodward, Jerry Garrett and Joe Smekens. As part of the ceremony, Shanly was given the proper documentation as well as a small flag, courtesy of the local D.A.R. organization. (Photo by Mark Miller)

Frank Shanly: U.S. Citizen

News-Banner reporter Frank Shanly became a U.S. Citizen this morning following a swearing-in ceremony in Fort Wayne.

Shanly, born in New Zealand, emigrated to the U.S. about six years ago and has been working toward full citizenship ever since.

Shanly said he left New Zealand because he couldn't stand the dirty orcs and goblins that rampaged the countryside and "the Hobbits next door were always having such loud parties. I couldn't get any rest."

This morning at 8 a.m. Mayor Ted Ellis visited the News-Banner to proclaim January 8, 2010 Frank Shanly Day in Bluffton, Indiana.

Congratulations to Frank Shanly. Welcome to America!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Snowfall comes to Bluffton

Streets are being cleared as fast as they are being snow-covered, but crews are waiting to do side-streets until the worst snow-falling is complete.

Here's the view along River Road. The snow covered Wabash River is a beautiful sight to behold.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Wells County Bird Count

Bird watchers in Wells County counted 41 different species and 4,706 individual birds during the Christmas Bird Count taken Dec. 21, 2009.
Bird counters included: Ken and Justin Dubach, Freida Debolt, Bill and Kathy Fuller, Gayle Gibson, Carolyn Graham, Rita Knowles, Bob and Marilyn Lewandowski, Dorothy and Earlene Moser, Jerry D. and Michael E. Moser, Charles and Ruth Oswalt, Larry and Jerry Parker, Linda Reiff, Mick Ulmer and Robert and Cindy Williams.
Birds counted were:
Canada Goose: 465; Mallard: 37; Great Blue Heron: 2; Turkey Vulture: 1; Sharp-shinned Hawk: 2; Cooper’s Hawk: 6; Red-tailed Hawk: 20; Kestrel: 24; Killdeer: 2; Rock Pigeon; 95; Mourning Dove: 254; Great Horned Owl: 2; Barred Owl: 1; Red-headed Woodpecker: 3; Red-bellied Woodpecker: 33; Downy Woodpecker: 37; Hairy Woodpecker: 3; Flicker: 16; Pileated Woodpecker: 2; Bluejay: 155; Crow: 23; Horned Lark: 740; Carolina Chickadee: 29; Black capped Chickadee: 3; Tufted Titmouse: 16; White-breasted Nuthatch; 41; Brown Creeper: 1; Robin: 2; Starling: 2,112; Cedar Waxwing: 18; Tree Sparrow: 43; Song Sparrow: 2; Dark-eyed Junco: 50; Cardinal: 52; Red-winged Blackbird: 1; Eastern Meadowlark: 1; Common Grarkle: 1; Brown-headed Cowbird: 11; House finch: 12; Goldfinch: 21; House Sparrow: 367.
One Hooded Merganser was seen during the count period.

In the money!

Bluffton Wal-Mart Store Manager, Brian Barger (far left) presents a check for $1,900.00 to Rhonda and Tim O’Reilly, President and Vice President of Karing for Kids, Inc. as Jenni Millholland, HR and Outreach Manager for the Bluffton Wal-Mart looks on. (Photo by Frank Shanly)

BFD live-fire training

Bluffton Fire Department made good use of a Mobile Live Fire Training trailer on loan from the Indiana Department of Homeland Security this week.
Firefighters practiced techniques for fighting fires in basements, kitchens and bedrooms. The exercise included ceiling-high flames, 625 degree temperatures and flash-over conditions.
Check it out:

Monday, January 4, 2010


Tux & Tex are 4 months old, DSH, Black/White. 1 Male and 1 female. Very cute and sweet!

Cole is a 2 year old Black Lab, male. Very sweet boy!

Call now: 824-6063

Friday, January 1, 2010

Tradition continues at Green Valley

Jim Calvisky and several die-hard winter golf fans gathered at Green Valley Golf Club Friday for the annual 9-hole New year's Day Golf Scramble.
They don't need a reason, they do it just because, folks.

Temperatures were well below freezing and there were gusty winds, but that did little to keep these guys off the course. Check it out: