On the Beat in Bluffton

Thursday, June 30, 2011

A year of progress — in video

To celebrate the News-Banner's annual Progress edition, "Who We Are," we've pulled from the News-Banner archive a year's worth of videos that help further tell the stories found in today's special section.

To read the online edition of "Who We Are," click here.

New facilities for B-H schools — News-Banner front page
Ossian water main replacement project nears completion — Page 7
Tackling technology — Page 10
The gift of a tree, again — Page 18
Boys' golf or girls' golf, Norwell's Jody Ault is the woman in charge — Page 18
Harvesting Hope — Page 22
"BHS principal doesn't want his students' parents to 'drop out' — Page 28
Tom Elliott will 'stay the course' for Street Fair's second century— Page 39
Working better at Almco — Page 62




Wednesday, June 29, 2011

And the rockets' red (and legal) glare

Before celebrating the Fourth of July with booby traps, ground spinners, glow worms and cigarette loads, study up on the state's and city's fireworks laws.

In Bluffton:
It shall be unlawful to use, ignite or discharge consumer fireworks within the corporate limits of the City of Bluffton except as follows:
  • Between the hours of 5 p.m. and two (2) hours after sunset on June 29, June 30, July 1, July 2, July 3, July 4, July 5, July 6, July 7, July 8 and July 9
  • Between hours of 10:00 a.m. and midnight on July 4; and
  • Between the hours of 10:00 a.m. on December 31, and 1:00 a.m. on January 1.
Statewide:
The Bluffton Police says to contact the office at 824-3320 with any complaints.

And now that we've discussed the legalities, enjoy News-Banner video from last year's fireworks to help you celebrate the weekend.

video video video

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

N-B Archive: Student-led conferences

Almost 70 Northern Wells teachers — along with teachers from other Indiana districts, Illinois and Tennessee — are participating in a four-day conference, the district's biggest, to learn about learning.

Part of this conference is designed to help teachers create ways to include students in classroom decisions and their own evaluation. Inspired by Langford's ideas, several teachers in Northern Wells in the past year have held student-led conferences. To learn more, watch this video from our April 30 blog. To read learn more about student-led conferences, see the Saturday, April 30, News-Banner. Subscribers can access our paper's archives on our website.

To learn more about the four-day conference this week, see our Tuesday, June 28, News-Banner.


Monday, June 27, 2011

N-B Video: Bluffton parties around the block

Members of the First Church of Christ played games, fed guests and more during a block party from 4 to 9 p.m. Saturday on South Street between Beth Avenue and Walmer Street. (Video by Frank Shanly).

Friday, June 24, 2011

Business news from the Wells County Chamber of Commerce

  • Ossian State Bank is holding a Community Shred Day from 1 p.m to 3 p.m. Saturday, June 25, at the main branch's parking lot. During the day, people can have their confidential papers shredded. Organizers are suggesting a $5 donation per box, with all proceeds going to the Ossian Fire Department.
  • The Wells County Leadership Academy is taking applications for the 2011-2012 Academy. The deadline is July 29. You can download an application at the Chamber's website.
  • The Chamber will hold a chicken barbecue from 4 p.m to 7 p.m. Saturday, July 18, at the 4-H Fairground.


Donate to Relay for Life

You can learn more about the event in the Friday, June 24, News-Banner, but to contribute, click here.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Check out our 4-H Fair blog

With the Wells County 4-H Fair coming, don't forget to view our Fair blog in our blog bank.

N-B Video: Norwell renovation uncovers unexpected problems

As workers renovated the 1968 "A" section of Norwell High School, they found some issues that the district will have to correct before finishing the renovation. Learn more in the Wednesday, June 22, News-Banner. (Video by Chet Baumgartner)

N-B Video: Rainbow leaves "striking" impression after fire

Learn more in the Wednesday, June 22, News-Banner

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Bluffton-Harrison teachers' pay increase with new contract


N-B Video: Snakes, hedgehogs and more at the Wells County Public Library

Five critters from the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo visited Wells County Monday. See the Tuesday, June 21, News-Banner for more information. (Video by Barbara Barbieri)

N-B Video: Making more time for learning (and fun)

At its Monday, June 20, meeting, the Bluffton-Harrison school board approved full-day kindergarten for its students for the 2011-2012 school year. With the extra time, teachers hope to use more hands-on lessons to further explore math, language arts and writing. See the Tuesday, June 21, News-Banner for more information. (Video by Chet Baumgartner)




Monday, June 20, 2011

N-B Video: Bluffton's 2011 Touch a Truck

Friday, June 17, 2011

N-B Video: U.S. Rep. Marlin Stutzman rallies republicans in Wells County

Stutzman spoke at Wells County republicans' annual Lincoln Day dinner. See the Saturday, June 18, News-Banner for more information. For parts 2 and 3, go to http://www.youtube.com/user/NewsBanner. (Video by Frank Shanly)





Running for a reason

Southern Wells graduate and Huntington resident Joe McFarren is running 200 miles to raise money for clean water in Africa. To learn more, read the Friday, June 17, News-Banner. To contribute, go to McFarren's website.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Bake sale through Saturday for Xander Powers

Family members and friends of Zach and Meghan Powers of Ossian are having a bake sale in Bluffton Thursday, Friday and Saturday to raise money for the couple's son, Xander. The 2-month-old infant was diagnosed with Type 1 SMA (spinal muscular atrophy) and is hospitalized in Fort Wayne. Proceeds from the bake sale will help the family cover medical expenses. The sale is at 918 S. Mulberry St., across from Jefferson Park.

Register for the 11th Annual Outdoor Art Showcase

Click here to sign up to decorate a beach umbrella for the show case. See the Thursday, June 16, News-Banner for more details.

N-B Video: Indianapolis Colts tour comes to Bluffton

Former Colts players and current Colts cheerleaders, as well as a 42-foot mobile museum, came to Bluffton Wednesday during the Colts "Make It Personal" Tour. See the Thursday, June 16, News-Banner for more information.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Adopt-A-Pet

Seven-month-old Kitty is a black and white dsh and is spayed

Seven-month-old Honey is a female dsh and is spayed

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

N-B Video: Bringing a book to life

Wells County author John Baumgartner describes how he took an idea and turned it into a book. Learn more in the Tuesday, June 14, News-Banner.

N-B Video: Parents examine full-day kindergarten

Bluffton Elementary School staff discussed the merits of full-day kindergarten during a public meeting Monday, June 13.



During Monday's meeting, teachers also showed the difference between what a student could learn during a full day as opposed to a half day.

(Click on the image for a larger view)

To learn more, see the Tuesday, June 14, News-Banner.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Vote for a Bluffton skate park

To vote for Pepsi to support a community skate park, either

1. Go to http://www.refresheverything.com/blufftonskatepark.
2 Text "107058" to Pepsi at 73774 to vote from your mobile phone.

To learn more about the project, see the Monday, June 13, News-Banner.

Free computer classes at the Wells County Public Library

The Wells County Public Library will be offering free intermediate computer classes in June and July at the main library. Classes are free and open to the public. Space is limited. Register for each class individually at the library, by calling 260-824-1612, or going online at www.wellscolibrary.org.

Planning a Vacation using the Internet:
Thursday, June 16: 1-3 pm or 6-8 pm
Get tips for planning a vacation using the Internet. How to book a plane ticket, websites to use to find cheap travel packages, and how to search for travel locations. Must be familiar with basic Internet Explorer functions to take the class.

Creating a Travel Photo Book Online:
Thursday, July 14: 1-3 pm or 6-8 pm
Learn how to create a keepsake book of travel pictures using the online Internet website Shutterfly. The library will have sample pictures for you to use or you can bring some vacation pictures on a CD or flash drive. Must be familiar with basic Internet Explorer functions to take the class.

These computer classes are held in conjunction with the Wells County Public Library’s adult summer reading program, “Novel Destinations.” Adults can sign up for summer reading anytime during the month of June at the Ossian or main branches or online at www.wellscolibrary.org.

Jazzing up for the Keho Park Summer Concert series

Normally, when the News-Banner photographs a business or individual who sponsors an event, the sponsors pose in a formal, straight line. However, Maureen Butler, the director of the Creative Arts Center of Wells County, decided to ... jazz up the normal photo honoring sponsors for the Kehoe Park Summer Concert Series.

For instance ...

MarkleBank — represented by, left to right, Nathan Liechty, Sid Schwartz, Heather Morgan and Ray Paxton — is sponsoring the Gospelfest. Arlene Stoller, far right, will serve as emcee.

National Oil & Gas, represented by Tim Drayer, left, and Meadowvale Health and Rehabilitation Center, represented by Nicole McClish, right, are sponsoring Johnny Cash 'n Friends. Bill Hambrick, center, is one of the concert planners.

Other sponsors are funding other concerts. The News-Banner will run more individual photos of these sponsors as the concerts approach. To see a complete list of sponsors and concerts, see the Monday, June 13, News-Banner.

To learn more about some of the groups coming this year, check out their websites:

Thursday, June 9, 2011

N-B Video: "Behind the streams" at Bluffton's Splash Pad

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Meet Ossian Elementary's new principal, Susanne Tieman

The Northern Wells School Board members hired her at their Tuesday, June 7, meeting. Learn more in the Wednesday, June 8, News-Banner.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

John Baumgartner speaking about his new book at the library on June 13

Local author John Baumgartner will be discussing his teen mystery novel "Like Losing Your Left Hand," his writing process, and the importance of following your dreams at any age on Monday, June 13, from 6:30-7:30 pm at the Wells County Public Library’s main branch in Bluffton. His talk, "Daring to Dream — Never Giving Up On What You Really Want to Do" and book signing is free and open to anyone in the community but would be most suited for teens and adults.

At the event he’ll discuss how long it took to write the book and how he followed his dream to become a published author, including the more than fifty failed attempts along the way. Baumgartner will also discuss the book at length, including where the title came about and some of its themes of faith, courage, and the old adage of not judging a book by its cover. A long question and answer portion will follow the talk. Books can be purchased at the event, and Baumgartner will be autographing them. Profits from any book sold will benefit the Friends of the Library.

Registration is appreciated but not required. To register or learn more, call the library at 260-824-1612 or sign up online at www.wellscolibrary.org.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Graduation speech: Northern Wells class representative Robert Connett

GGOOOOOOOOODD AFTERNOON, NORWELL HIGH SCHOOL!

Here we are on a Sunday Afternoon, all gathered to­gether as one class, for the fi­nal time.

Some of us have been adults for a couple years al­ready. And some of us are graduating a bit younger than others.

But every single one of us stands out, in one way or an­other.

Through our voices, our music, our art, our jobs, our dance moves, our intelligence in the classrooms, and our athletic excellence, we have bonded, and created friend­ships through our years in the classroom. Now we go our separate ways. Some of us will still see each other at the same college. But for some of us, now, the only way we will communicate is poking each other on Face­book!

But each and every one of us, and our personalities will be a part of our High School Memories.
  • Paige Meyer and Melissa Nolan can blow our minds with their fantastic singing voices.
  • Michael Brown will never stop drumming.
  • Amanda McAfee, Lauren Klansek, and Abby Pfaff. I wonder what they would be like with energy drinks.
  • Jake Price, Paul Grote, and Mike Sorg... their names say it all by itself. Wouldn’t they be the perfect Law attor­ney group?
  • Dillon Kelly doing cart­wheels down the hallway.
  • Brandon Johnson. Wheth­er he’s putting glue in his belly button, asking the most random and distraught ques­tions, or doing his chant at Basketball games.
It’s not that some of us aren’t worthy of mentioning, but let’s face it guys, when you’re running across High­way 224 during a fire drill, you’re going to be remem­bered.

  • Some teachers have taught us important things to remember as well...
  • Mrs. Aschliman, for exam­ple, helped us remember nev­er to sneak up on someone, especially when their 1st re­action is loud enough for the entire school to hear.
  • Mr. Thornton and Mr. Platt taught us the conse­quences of sleeping in class.
  • Mrs. Bower taught us that small people can have a big voice.
  • Mr. Gerber showed us why we should never get in his way when he plays Dodgeball.
  • And we will certainly never forget that 1959 was a good year, because that’s when Mr. Ballinger was born... or was it 1859?
There are some students who have taught us life les­sons as well...
  • Like, never hang on a bas­ketball rim in the middle school when other guys are around you.
  • Never anger a girl who has a tray full of food.
  • “Stand up for what you be­lieve in.”
  • “Be fun and confident in the decisions you choose.”
  • “Always have a smile on your face, because people will wonder ‘What’s up with him?’”
We can take these lessons and use them to our advan­tage when we enter the next part of our life.

Ok, yes, I doubt most of us will randomly hang from a basketball rim and “look like a fool with your pants on the ground,” but on a serious note... Smile. Stand up for what you believe in.

Be confident in yourself. God has a plan for each and every one of us! Stay on the right road... even if you have to ask for directions.

As Lou Erickso said “Life is like a taxi. The meter just keeps ticking, whether you are getting somewhere or just standing still.” But we will not stand still. We will get somewhere... and then continue from there. Even though we are going our separate ways, we’re still together as one. The world will always re­member us as Norwell’s Class of 2011.

If you take a look around the gym, you will see the people surrounding us at this moment that have helped us come to this point. Without the person to your left or to your right, we wouldn’t be here together; we wouldn’t be sharing moments togeth­er. We’ve gone through some hard times, losing a close classmate who won’t be for­gotten. We came together as a community, once again, proving that Northern Wells is a great place to live and learn.

We’ve gone through some fun times as well! The march­ing band taught us how to change the world, one per­son at a time. The show choir continues to put Norwell on the National Map. We led our athletic programs to feats that have never been accom­plished before in school his­tory. THIS Senior Class, the Class of 2011, IS the best class to graduate NHS.

Just look at our class rank! On a 12 Point Scale, The top 10 students have an 11.5 GPA or better. The Top 28 students all have an 11 GPA or higher, with the average gap from each person being 3/10 of a point! ...not only are we the best class to grad­uate NHS, (any class can say that just to make themselves feel better), but we are the smartest to graduate NHS as well.

Former US Senator Or­rin Hatch once said, “There is a good reason why they call these ceremonies ‘com­mencement exercises.’ Grad­uation is not the end... it’s the beginning.” It’s the be­ginning of the next chapter in our lives. I have no doubt in my mind, that when we step out of those high school doors, and enter the real world, we will make a differ­ence in society.

Whether we’re going to be an artist, an actor, or a work­er on Dad’s farm. Whether we go into the Telecommunications field, the engineer­ing field, the nursing field, or enter the military, we will take the skills and knowl­edge that we have received from friends, family, and oth­er adults, to choose our own paths. We will fight through more encounters in the next chapter in our lives, and, guys, I promise you, it will be a little more challenging than a new principal, and a new 7-period day. But we are a strong bunch of young adults, who will battle through the tests that life continues to send our way. After all, we are knights... Knights in shining armor, changing the look of our future.

Coach Lou Holtz once stat­ed, “If what you did yesterday seems big, you haven’t done anything today.” I ask you, Class of 2011, will you do something today, to make a difference for tomor­row? This is what Mr. Mohler would always mean when he said “Make it a great day or not, the choice is yours.” Make today a good day, and it will have an emphasis on tomorrow.

And forget about those who say our generation is lazy, because of all this tech­nology. Yeah, sure, we’re “LOLing” all over the place, but the two hands that each of us have, can do way more than type letters on our cell phone’s keyboard... to chat with someone sitting right next to us.

Our hands will be grabbing a microphone that helps us sing to stardom. Our hands will be building the next invention that everyone will want to have. Our hands will be making game-winning plays, teaching kids, finding cures, creating pictures, and saving lives. Our hands will be helping someone, motivating someone, Inspiring someone, and changing this planet altogether, giving it a bright future.

All we have to do is take a deep breath, look at God’s creation that reflects in the sunlight, have faith and courage, and believe in ourselves, and each other.

An unknown author wrote: “Light is good, from whatever lamp it shines.” So let’s turn on our lamps, and shine across the globe, because according to Aaron Rose, “In the right light, at the right time, everything is extraordinary.” Wherever we go, whatever we do, we will change this world, by taking Norman Rice’s advice, and “daring to reach out our hands into the darkness, to pull another hand into the light.”

Class of 2011... our future is bright... it’s time to put on the shades.

Graduation speech: Southern Wells class representative Amanda Stoffer

Principal Yencer, members of the school board, parents, and the class of 2011: it is an honor to be able to speak in front of you today.

Twelve years ago I can remember holding my Barbie backpack and stepping onto the massive yellow bus I had seen swallowing my brothers and then somehow regurgitating them again at three o’clock every day without fail. I was terrified. Watching me slowly but surely climb up the bus stairs, my parents had bright smiles on their faces. I had taken those first steps that began my education as a student.

Today is really not much different. Our parents are smiling and taking pictures just as they had our first day of school many years ago. Granted, the Barbie backpack is not with me, but just as I had to take a chance and trust that I was going to live through that bus ride, once we embark on our endeavors as adults, we will all be faced with risky decisions.

Being an avid reader, I take this quote from Mark Twain to heart: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor, and catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

Twenty years from now? I can’t even fathom being 25 yet! But really... doesn’t it seem like just yesterday when we were all sitting in the elementary gym for our own 6th grade graduation? Time flies, so don’t waste your chances to be risk takers. Looking back on my life, I don’t want to have regrets because I took the easy way out. I want to look back and think how my life had changed for the better because I decided to step out of my comfort zone.

So, my fellow classmates, my challenge for you is this: During your lifetime, don’t be afraid to take a risk! Branch out and see where life takes you. And always remember; a ship in a harbor is safe, but that is not what ships were built for. Leave the safe harbor and sail into unknown waters. Thank you.

Graduation Speech: Southern Wells Salutatorian Acacia Herr

Class of 2011, faculty, board members, staff, and family, I am honored to have the opportunity to speak to you today.

When we were asked in elementary school what we wanted to be when we grew up, almost every girl, including me, said veterinarian. And at that point in time that was true; we all loved the cute, little animals. That dream would help teach many of us the reality of life; things may change but we must keep dreaming.

Louisa May Alcott once said, “Far away in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.” Alcott’s statement is very relevant not only to us as graduating seniors, but also to all the underclassmen and adults here today. Dreams serve as our motivation and inspiration in life. They give us direction.

Perhaps though, the dreams themselves are not the important thing at all. The process of developing a dream, pursuing it, and dreaming another dream when one doesn’t come true is what is important after it is all said and done. At some point in our lives we’ve all had a dream that did not become reality, whether it be a basketball game lost, a poor test grade, or, for many girls, giving up on becoming a vet. The fact is that we will all find our niche in life; we were not all meant to be vets, the world needs a mix of everything, teachers, mechanics, farmers, etcetera. It is through chasing dreams, which may eventually disintegrate; that many will stumble upon their true passion in life.

No matter what we have done or failed to do we must always trust that there is something out there for us. Therefore, we must chase at every dream without fear of failing or falling short. You only live one life. There is no excuse for not pursuing all of your dreams no matter how outrageous they may seem today.

And so for everyone here today, I offer a challenge in conclusion

...care more than others think is wise;
...risk more than others think is safe;
...dream more than others think is practical;
...expect more than others think is possible.”

Graduation Speech: Bluffton Valedictorian Jordan Leising

So, we’re here. The day we have been counting down to. For a year, we have been anticipating this day — where we walk across this stage in our last act as high school students and we head into the next phase of our lives. Throughout high school we have learned a plethora of lessons. Not only lessons of 1+1=2 or, “Ain’t ain’t appropriate,” but life lessons not taught in books.

  • We have learned how to jump in our jeeps and climb to the top of history mountain and all the answers are in the “book.”
  • We have learned that together we accomplish more, especially when collaborating in the early morning to finish that last problem or few of a packet due during first period.
  • We learned the hard way that Mr. Baker and Mrs. Morrison’s math skill are not as bad as we always thought and seniors can actually lose Fall Festival.
  • We know that nothing is more painful than losing a friend or family member — and in our times of sorrow we come together for support.
  • We have learned that there is nothing sweeter than a return trip on the bus ride home after a big win.
  • We know (but maybe others don’t) that there should be a permanent ban on all homework, tests and quizzes during Street Fair Week. You know ... this is Bluffton.
  • We know we are taking three of the most iconic teachers (Mr. Brown, Mr. Gilbert, and Mr. Kracium) out with us along with Mrs. Anderson. Bluffton High School will never be the same.
  • We have learned that with enough tries, confidence and support, our big sectional victory was ever so sweet.
  • We (I) know that nothing is quite as shocking as walking out of class to half of the school and a video camera to see a “decorated” senior hallway of pictures.
  • We have seen the impact that the bombings of 9/11 have had on our country, and just how proud we are of all the men and women that protect us today and always.
  • We have learned just how many ways it is possible to decorate our bodies in black, red, blue or the despised green during fall festival.
  • We realize that the anxiety that came with change during our high school years was actually good for us.
  • And now, we know that there is nothing as bitter-sweet as saying goodbye and graduating tonight.
We have learned a lot in four years, but there is much more to come. For me, during my high school career I learned to embrace what “I couldn’t do” and turn it into a challenge. You see, on my way home from our middle school graduation, my dad told me that I was too unorganized to be named valedictorian. I know that my dad will take the credit, but as I stand here on stage, I know that I am the determined person. When we accept our challenges, no matter how big, we can achieve greatness.

The Class of 2011, as we take the step into the “real world,” do it with confidence and knowing that what we learned from our years here will provide us with what we need. Good Luck.

Graduation Speech: Bluffton Salutatorian Robert Wittbrodt

The statement that the four years of high school are the best years of our lives is, I think, an unnecessarily restrictive and somewhat gloomy view to take. I think that we have come to the completion of only the first stage of our individual journeys. While we certainly have had a great a time and achieved a great deal, I think that the best is yet to come. Our class values and embodies the characteristics of independence and individuality, and at the same time embraces the concepts of open-mindedness and tolerance. We will do well to continue to uphold these qualities through the next phase of our lives, wherever it may lead us.

Our class is unique. Instead of accepting without reservation and striving to achieve the goals that others have told us are important, we have evaluated from our own perspectives the tasks set before us and have worked to achieve those goals that we deem most advantageous to ourselves and those we care about. As independent individuals we are free to make decisions different from those who came before us, and to step out from under the shadow of those who would dictate our thoughts and actions. This not to say that we do not value the guidance and education that we have received thus far, but only that we have the ability to use that which we have learned to create new and different opportunities for ourselves.

With these exciting new opportunities comes the intimidating possibility of failure. However, I hope that we will adopt the views that one must risk great failure in order to achieve great success and that those who fail in ambitious endeavors are not failures but instead the ones who will push us all out of our respective comfort zones and inspire us to new heights of achievement and understanding. With the open-mindedness and independence of thought brought to us by those willing to think and act with little regard for societal expectations and restrictions, we can hope to advance and better the views and behaviors of our society.

The value of an open, tolerant mind cannot be underestimated. Without those who have the courage to objectively analyze, evaluate, and act upon new and different thoughts and ideas, we would not have the benefit of those aforementioned individuals who contribute so much to the advancement of our society. An open mind is a necessary component of any individual who wishes put to trial risky and adventurous new ideas for the betterment of all. Where would we be as a society without the constant analysis and acceptance of new ideas and technology? Hand in hand with the analysis of new ideas comes the realization that others may come to different conclusions on the same issues based on similar information.

When we learn to respect the thoughts, opinions, and beliefs of others as wholly theirs, we can come to more fully respect our own convictions and act upon them in the manner we see fit with an attitude of cooperation, even with those whom we may disagree with.

I thank you for your attention and for the experiences that we have shared together, and I hope that we can enter this coming phase of our lives with great hopes for the achievements of our generation.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Presenting the 2011 Bluffton High School graduating seniors



Get access to public access

To learn more about Indiana's public access laws — discussed in the Friday, June 3, News-Banner — click on the following links.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The world comes to Wells

The Wells County Public Library's summer-reading program for children and adults kicked off with a "World's Fair" at the main branch Wednesday. To learn more about the activities, see the Thursday, June 2, News-Banner.






Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Summer driving safety tips from the Indiana State Police

From the Indiana State Police:

With hot summer temperatures here and summer vacations coming up, the Indiana State Police would like to remind motorists of the following safety tips.

On hot days, the temperature inside vehicles can climb rapidly and may exceed 100 degrees. Be very careful with children and pets--even when you're at home and the car is parked.

  • Never leave your child unattended in a vehicle, even with the windows down.
  • Teach children not to play in, on, or around cars.
  • Always lock car doors and trunks--even at home--and keep keys out of children's reach.
  • Always make sure all child passengers have left the car when you reach your destination. Don't overlook sleeping infants.
  • When securing your child in a safety restraint system in a car that has been parked in the heat, check to make sure seating surfaces and equipment (child safety seat and safety belt buckles) aren't too hot.
  • Use a light covering to shade the seat of your parked car. Consider using shades on windows.

Proper vehicle maintenance in warm weather will allow you to make it to your destinations. Remember the following:

  • Your cooling system should be completely flushed and refilled as recommended in your owner's manual. The level, condition, and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically. (A 50/50 mix of anti-freeze and water is usually recommended.)
  • If your car overheats - or if you are doing regular maintenance at home - never remove the radiator cap until the engine has thoroughly cooled.
  • A professional should check the tightness and condition of drive belts, clamps, and hoses.

Tire care, while important throughout the year, is especially critical in warm weather because long trips, heavy loads, high speeds and higher temperatures all put additional stress on your tires.

  • Check your tires regularlyto be sure there are no visible signs of wear or damage.
  • Be sure your tires are properly inflated.Check your tire pressure often with a gauge, especially on long trips. Measure when the tires are cold, before you drive on them. You can find the recommended inflation pressure in your owner's manual, on a label frequently found in the glove box, near the door latch on the driver's side, or other locations on your vehicle. The recommended inflation pressure is not to be confused with the maximum inflation pressure shown on the side of the tire. At the recommended inflation pressure, tires will last longer and be less likely to fail, and the car will use less fuel. Serious injury can result from tire failure because of under inflation or overloading.
  • Never overload your vehicle. Your car and tires are designed to operate safely only up to their load limits. These limits are shown in your owner's manual and on the certification plate on the edge of the driver's door.
  • Make sure there is enough tread on the tireto operate safely, and make sure the tires are wearing normally. All grooves should be visible and deep enough to at least touch the top of Lincoln's head on a penny inserted head first in the tread. Low tread or bald tires are unsafe and need to be replaced.
  • If some spots on the tire seem to be wearing faster than others, see your service station or mechanic. You could have misaligned wheels, worn shock absorbers, or other potential problems. Make sure your tires are aligned and balanced properly.
  • Don't drive at a high rate of speed for a long time, particularly in hot weather. Obey posted speed limits. Lower speeds also mean better gas mileage.

(Sources: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Weather Service, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Federal Citizen Information Center, Washington State SAFE KIDS Coalition)

Also make sure you carry a roadside emergency kit to include:

  • Water
  • Food
  • A Charged Cell Phone
  • Flash Light
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • A First Aid Kit

As with any travels you are planning please let someone know your route of travel and itinerary. Following these tips will allow you and your family to have a fun and safe summer.

Speaking of traveling, we're having a hearty discussion about motorcycle safety on the News-Banner's Facebook page. To join in, look for the News-Banner fan page (the News-Banner page with the red newspaper box) and "like" us. Then, join in on the discussion.

Sign up for the library's summer reading program