On the Beat in Bluffton

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Students take the lead

Lancaster Central Elementary first-grade teacher Abby Nagel this year invited her students' parents to student-led conferences, in which the students and parents discussed what they learned during the year.

Friday, April 29, 2011

How do you say ...

Northern Wells Superintendent Scott Mills reviews a little Mandarin after he spent 18 days in China learning about the country's culture and education system. You can read about his trip in the Friday, April 29, News-Banner.

Constructing a possible career

The Adams-Wells Special Services Cooperative held its first job fair on Thursday, April 29. The fair focused on jobs that didn't necessarily require extensive post-secondary education. During the fair, Expert Transmission brought a transmission for students to attempt to assemble. See the Friday, April 29, News-Banner for the story.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Rep. Mike Pence visits Bluffton High School

Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., encourages the students at Bluffton High School to tap into "American greatness" on Wednesday, April 27. See the whole story in the Thursday, April 28, News-Banner.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Going for broke with the Ossian water line

The town of Ossian, when replacing its water line, could not excavate an area where they needed to lay the line, so they literally pulled it through, deliberately shattering the old pipe in the process. See the whole story in the Wednesday, April 27, paper.

Bluffton-Harrison principal clarifies collaboration

Bluffton-Harrison School administrators are advocating a "one-route" bus system, in which bus drivers would pick up all grades in one trip. Proponents say the new system would help teachers collaborate more. Read the Wednesday, April 27, News-Banner for all the details.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Bluffton Harrison awards some — but not all — contracts

On Monday, April 25, the Bluffton-Harrison School Board awarded two contracts to build a transportation facility and renovate the football stadium, but they couldn't afford to lay a new football field or install new bleachers. See the Tuesday, April 26, News-Banner to learn why, but watch here as Superintendent Wayne Barker discusses how they might reduce costs and what that could mean for the projects.

Monday, April 25, 2011

An egg-cellent time

Wells County held several Easter egg hunts during Easter 2011. Liberty Center and Bluffton's First Church of the Nazarene held theirs on Saturday, April 23, and the Bluffton News-Banner was there to catch the fun and catch a few Easter egg hunting tips as well. To see more videos and to stay up to date on our local news, go to the Bluffton News-Banner's "On the Beat" blog at http://onthebeatinbluffton.blogspot.com/

Friday, April 22, 2011

How to make the county healthier

On Thursday, April 21, officials from health-related organizations met to discuss the results of a federal assessment designed to see how well the organizations operate and collaborate. Marlene Hoag, the Health Department's deputy administrator, discusses what's next. See the full story in the Friday, April 22, News-Banner.

To see the standards by which Wells County was assessed, go to

Helping to prevent child abuse

Students from Lancaster and Southern Wells Elementary schools have drawn signs for Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness month. Many of the signs are posted in downtown businesses and at the Wells County Courthouse.

Displayed at Ella's Attic

Displayed at the Bluffton Police-Fire Building

Displayed at the law office of Edris, Brown, Johnson & Brown-Stohler

Displayed at the Wells County Courthouse

Displayed at Ellenberger Brothers Realty

Displayed at Todd Shalley Company

Displayed at the Department of Child Services office

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Take a tour of Five Points School

Wells County Engineer Larry Owens hopes to help fund repairs to bridges in Chester Township by connecting them to the historic Five Points School. Read the story in the Thursday, April 21, News-Banner, and see the school here.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A severe thunderstorm attacked Wells County at about 11 p.m. Read the Wednesday, April 20, issue of the News-Banner for all the details.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Why teachers should collaborate

Bluffton Middle School Principal Tom Gibson discusses why teachers need to collaborate more today, thus justifying Bluffton-Harrison's proposed changes to the bus routes. Read the story in the Tuesday, April 19, edition of the News-Banner.

The Creative Arts Council and Friends of the Library held their annual Open Mic Poetry Reading on Monday, April 18. You can read the entire story in the Tuesday, April 19, News-Banner, and you can hear the poems here.

Monday, April 18, 2011

High School Students Show Their Art

Explore the Kappa Kappa Kappa Student Art Exhibit with the News-Banner's Barb Barbieri. See the Monday, April 18, News-Banner to learn more.

Egg-cellent Afternoon!

Bluffton held its annual Easter egg hunt at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at Roush Park. The Parks and Recreation Department laid more than 2,000 plastic eggs, loaded with candy and toys, for the children to snatch. The Department also held its first Easter egg hunt for dogs this year, planting treat-filled eggs in a separate part of the park.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Students at Bluffton Elementary held their own version of Minute to Win It to celebrate raising more than $2,000 for Riley Children's Hospital. See the story in the Saturday, April 16, edition of the News-Banner.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

More Crazy Hair

Tomorrow, Bluffton Elementary students will celebrate raising more than $1,000 for Riley Children's Hospital. Come back here tomorrow afternoon for photos and video of the celebration, but in the meantime, here are some more photos of crazy hair from Monday, when the students held the first of several days worth of fundraisers.

Logan Kinsey

Trinity Smuts

Andrea Vanden Top

Kara Reckard

Brady Ragg

James Murphy

Grace Krider

Gavin King

Destiny Howard

Ireland Greenway

Miss Lacy Bumgarner's fourth-grade class,
who helped organize the week-long fundraiser.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wells County's new representatives — perhaps

Under the proposed district map for Indiana, Wells County's state representation is now divided among three districts, possibly meaning that Jeff Espich, R-Uniondale, will no longer represent any of county. Instead, it could be divided among the following three representatives.

Dan Leonard, R-Huntington
He could possibly represent Union, Rockcreek and Liberty townships, plus the western half of Jefferson township.

Committees: Labor and Employment, Judiciary; Natural Resources

Telephone: (800) 382-9841 in Indianapolis. (260) 356-5122 in District

Education: Purdue University, B.S. / Industrial Management
Past Government Experience: President South Side Business Association in Huntington, President Huntington Chamber of Commerce, previous board member of the Salvation Army.
Professional Experience: C.E.O. of Southside Furniture

To review his voting record, go to his profile at www.votesmart.org.
*Because Jeff Espich lives in this new district, he would compete with Leonard in the primary if the two decided to compete.

Matt Lehman, R-Berne
He would represent Lancaster, Harrison and Nottingham townships and those portions of Jefferson not covered in the 50th distrct.

Committees: Insurance (Chairman),Courts and Criminal Code, Government and Regulatory Reform a Public Policy

Telephone: Direct: (317) 234-9499; Toll Free: (800) 382-9841

Occupation: Insurance agent. Partner - Bixler Insurance Inc.
Education: Associate Degree (aviation technology), Vincennes University, 1984; certified insurance counselor, 1995
Community Activities: Member, Rotary International; member, 35th Indiana Civil War Re-Enactors; board member, Swiss Village Retirement Community; board member, Junior Achievement of Adams County

To review his voting record, go to his profile at www.votesmart.org.

Kevin Mahan, R—Hartford City
He would represent Chester and Jackson townships.

Committees: Government and Regulatory Reform, Vice Chair Insurance, Veterans and Public Safety

Telephone: (800) 382-9841

Education: Blackford High School, Business Administration degree from Indiana Wesleyan University
on: State Farm Insurance Agent, since 2007
Community Activities: Hartford City Chamber of Commerce, 12 years, president, 2 years; member of the Board of Directors of the Hartford City T-Ball league, 7 years; member of the Board of Directors of the Blackford County Pee Wee Football League, 3 years; vice president of the Blackford Bruin Boosters to raise money and promote positive experiences for student athletes.

To view his voting record, go to his profile at at www.votesmart.org.

Under the new districts, Wells County would retain State Sen. Travis Holdman, R-Markle. To see his voting record, go to his profile at www.votesmart.org.


Really is a male 5-year-old chocolate lab mix. He is neutered.

Poppy is a male 1.5-year-old terrier mix.

Tyler is a male 6-month-old DSH.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Crazy for Riley

Bluffton-Harrison Elementary School is celebrating Riley Week. Throughout the week, kids can dress up if they donate to Riley Children's Hospital. Monday, the kids celebrated crazy hair day. Here are some of the pictures. We'll have more tomorrow morning.

Niclas Goodpaster

Jacob Geisman

Zachary Cummins

Austin Bowman

Levi Boots

Brea Ashman

Strike Up the Band

Bluffton High School Graduate Taylor Brinneman (who stands to the left at the start of the video), along with other members of the IPFW Percussion Ensemble, play "Afta-Stuba!" during a free performance at the Bluffton High School cafetorium Monday.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Breaking News: Wells' state representative's district seemingly disappears


Jeff Espich appears to be a state representative without a district.

The Republicans’ proposal for new districts for the Indiana House of Representatives divides what used to be the 82nd District — represented by Espich, R-Markle — between the new 50th and 79th districts. While the exact boundary lines are indistinct — there exists no county and township overlay for the proposed House districts — it appears that Wells County’s Union, Rockcreek, and Liberty townships are in the 50th District, Jefferson, Lancaster, Harrison, and Nottingham townships are in the 79th District, and Chester and Jackson townships will be placed in the 31st District.

There were few surprises in the redistricting for the Indiana Senate and Indiana’s nine U.S. representatives.

The 19th Indiana Senate District of Travis Holdman, R-Markle, is substantially unchanged.
Wells County will now be in the Indiana’s 3rd Congressional District, which is the northeastern corner of Indiana.

More on redistricting in Tuesday’s News-Banner.

Do you qualify for a voucher?

Click on the image for a higher resolution

The Indiana General Assembly is expected to pass a bill that might help families pay for private-school tuition, but you have to make no more than 150 percent of the income threshold to qualify for free or reduced lunches. See Saturday's News-Banner for more details.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Talking Taxes

Mayor Ted Ellis explains why Bluffton homeowners might be surprised when they see their tax bills in the mail.

For more information, go to www.blufftonindiana.net

Friday, April 8, 2011

Community Supports the Arts with Benefit Auction

Mayor Ted Ellis served as emcee while Jody Holloway took care of the auction as some 150 local business people showed their support for the arts in Wells County at Friday's benefit auction at the arts center.

The Beginning of the End

Ed Osborn begins to remove the limbs from the tree — a symbol of hope to some, an eyesore to others — at the Wells County Courthouse's plaza on Thursday, April 7. The County Commissioners voted to plant a new tree in its spot.

Have your own Math Night

Lancaster Elementary School held its annual math night on Tuesday, April 5. This year took a technological twist as students tackled math problems on the Wii, on the SmartBoard and online.

These are the Web sites Lancaster students used, if you would like to have your own math night.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Giving Away a Daughter

On Monday, April 4, Holocaust survivor Nesse Godin spoke at Bluffton High School. After her speech, she talked with the News-Banner's Chet Baumgartner about how her parents tried to convince a non-Jewish family to take her in and pretend she was their daughter.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Planning a Pick Up

At the Tuesday, April 5, Southern Wells School Board meeting, the superintendent and board discussed different ways to prevent people from parking on 300W. At the next meeting, the board intends to walk around the building to try and find a solution, but the News-Banner's Chet Baumgartner shows you some of the concerns now.

Drawing on your imagination

Tuesday afternoon, Southern Wells Elementary School invited illustrator Cyd Moore to talk to the school's kindergarten through sixth graders. Moore kept the kids giggling as she talked about using her imagination, making snowmen with pumpkins, drawing for a living and how her older brother once created a homemade zip line and rode it right into a tree.

Before she talked, Moore also created a custom illustration for Southern Wells, and your kids can color it if you want. Simply click on the image below, and then click on it again to zoom in. Then print it out and enjoy.

More reflections from Nesse Godin's speech

Nesse Godin, a Holocaust survivor, spoke at Bluffton High School Monday, April 4. After her speech, residents of A Friend's House, a home for women needing assistance, spoke with Godin about forgiveness, life and hope.

Students from area schools also attended the speech, and two of them particularly remembered Godin's stories about her mother.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Sharing — and saving — their stories

On Monday, April 4, Holocaust survivor Nesse Godin shared her story of living as Jew in German-occupied Europe. Bluffton High School English teacher Deb Johnson, a friend of Godin's who arranged for her to speak, shares her thoughts about the importance of Godin's message and how we can preserve it.

To see official video of Godin tell her story, go to her Web page within the United State's Holocaust Memorial Museum's Web site: http://www.ushmm.org/education/foreducators/nesse/.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Board Meeting Agendas for the Week

Below are highlights from several public meetings taking place this week.

Southern Wells Community Schools

Tuesday, April 5, at 6 p.m.

III. Action Items
1. Project Recommendations
  • Kindergarten room furnishings
  • Science room lighting
  • Science room flooring
  • Elementary entry flooring
  • Elementary cafeteria tables
  • Track resurface
  • Baseball outfield
  • Technology presentation
2. Field Trip Request: 6th Grade to McCormick's Creek, and volunteers, May 11-13

Northern Wells Community Schools
Tuesday, April 5, at 5:30 p.m.

IV. Consent Agenda
A. Personnel
1. Recommendations
  • Katy Moore, NMS, Track assistant coach
  • David Dahl, NMS, Track assistant coach
  • Bruce Barger, NHS, Volunteer assistant girl's tennis coach
  • Nicole Neuenschwander, NMS Secretary
  • Other
2. Maternity leave: Meghann Powers, LES, 5th grade

V. New Business
A. Consideration to use letter grades at OES and LES for the full year at grade 4.
B. Consideration to add Gateway to technology at NMS.
C. QSCB Project Update — Kari Vilamaa
D. Other

Evaluating Teacher Evaluation

State Sen. Travis Holdman, R-Markle, and Bluffton High School Principal Steve Baker discuss a bill in the Indiana Senate that would change how teachers are evaluated and how they are paid. See the Monday, April 4, edition of the Bluffton News-Banner for the complete story.

One More Time

The News-Banner's Dave Schultz talks with Dave Terhune, who has terminal lung cancer, about his last sermon in Bluffton and the most-important point he can make. About 800 people attended Terhune's sermon, titled "One More Time."

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Free Computer Classes at Wells County Public Library

The Wells County Public Library will be offering free basic and intermediate computer classes in April at the main library. Classes are free and open to the public. Space is limited, so make sure to sign up as soon as possible. Register for each class individually at the library, call 260-824-1612, or online at www.wellscolibrary.org.

Computer Basics:
Wednesday, April 6: 6:00-7:30 pm
This beginning class will cover a general overview of the computer, starting with how to turn it on, using the mouse and keyboard, working with Windows, and basic computer terminology. Great for seniors or those thinking about buying a computer. Also good for people who are self-taught and want to get a basic understanding of computer functions and how they work. Skill level: none/basic.

Internet Basics:
Wednesday, April 13: 6:00-7:30 pm
Learn about the World Wide Web, how to navigate a Web browser such as Google, and explore the library’s Web site. To get the most out of the class, participants should have Computer Basics training or familiarity with basic mouse, keyboard, and computer functions. Skill level: basic.

Intermediate Internet:
Wednesday, April 20: 6:00-7:30 pm
Provides hands-on exercises and goes into more depth about Internet searching. Must have Internet Basics training or good knowledge of the Internet. Skill level: basic/intermediate.

Email Basics:
Wednesday, April 27: 6:00-7:30 pm
Provides hands-on exercises and goes into more depth about Internet searching. Must have Internet Basics training or good knowledge of the Internet. Skill level: basics/intermediate.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Thanking a community

School Resource Officer Bruce Holland shares his appreciation for his hometown of more than 30 years, which supported him and his wife after he had quadruple bypass heart surgery on Valentine's Day.

Mmmm ... you can almost smell it

The Wells County Public Library indulged its sweet tooth when it held its "Cozy up with Chocolate" program, the first of its Adult Night Out series of programs. You can read more delectable details in Friday's News-Banner.

Drooling yet? Hershey's chocolate offers several recipes. Click on the image to learn more.