On the Beat in Bluffton

Monday, October 31, 2011

A healthy appetite

During the Wells County Health Fair at Lancaster Central Elementary School, Robin Lipp from River Terrace shared two healthy recipes:

Pumpkin Mousse:
  • 1 (15 oz.) can of pumpkin
  • 1 small sugar-free instant vanilla pudding, dry
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 cup Cool Whip Lite
  • Mix all ingredients well, except Cool Whip. Fold Cool Whip in last. Chill at least two hours before serving.
Taco Soup
  • 1 (48 oz) jar Great Northern Bean
  • 1 can corn or Mexican corn (spicy)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 large can (quart) diced tomatoes
  • 1 pkg. Hidden Valley ranch dressing, dry
  • 1 pkg. taco seasoning
  • Mix all ingredients well. Simmer for one hour or place in slow cooker for two hours. To make a complete meal, add chicken or ground beef.
Do you have healthy recipes? Let us know in the comments.

Friday, October 28, 2011

‪N-B Video: Jumping, racing and crashing at the library‬

Children raced to the main branch of the Wells County Library Thursday for a remote control car challenge. Library staff offered the challenge in connection with the county's "One Book, One County" program. (Video by Barbara Barbieri)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

N-B Video: Bobbing for pumpkins

The Bluffton Parks & Recreation Department held its first Pumpkin Dunkin' on Wednesday, Oct. 26. Community members could swim in the Bluffton Middle School pool for 30 minutes while playing with pumpkins floating in the water. They could also keep the pumpkins, supplied by the Pumpkin Kingdom. (Video by Chet Baumgartner)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Dressing up at Bluffton-Harrison Elementary School

Bluffton-Harrison Elementary students can dress up throughout the week for Red Ribbon Week, a nationwide alcohol, tobacco and drug prevention and awareness campaign, and Tuesday, they could dress up in their Halloween costumes. (Photos by Chet Baumgartner)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Indiana State Police Offers Halloween Safety Reminders

From the Indiana Sate Police:

Halloween may be a fun holiday for children, but for parents the holiday can be a little tricky. To help parents and children have a safe and enjoyable Halloween, the Indiana State Police offers the following safety tips.

The Costume
  • Keep costumes short to prevent trips and falls.
  • Try make-up instead of a mask. Masks often obstruct a child's vision, which makes tasks like crossing the street and going up and down stairs dangerous.
  • Make sure children wear light colors or put reflective tape on their costumes.

Trick or Treating
  • Make sure older children trick-or-treat with friends. Together, map out a safe route so parents know where they will be.
  • Instruct children to stop only at familiar homes where the outside lights are on.
  • Encourage children to trick-or-treat while it is still light out. If children are out after dark, make sure they have flashlights and travel on well-lighted streets.
  • Remind children not to enter the homes or cars of strangers.
  • Follow your communities trick-or-treating hours.

  • Remind children not to eat any of their treats until they get home.
  • Check all treats at home in a well-lighted place.
  • Only eat unopened candies and other treats that are in original wrappers. Remember to inspect fruits for anything suspicious.

Additionally, many communities, schools and churches offer children safe alternatives to trick-or-treating designed to keep children safely within parents' view. Some hospitals and schools allow children to trick-or-treat by going from room to room virtually eliminating the dangers associated with being out walking on the street after dark.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

N-B Video: Bringing Bluffton to Washington, D.C.

Bluffton Mayor Ted Ellis is meeting with President Barack Obama next week. Learn more in the Saturday, Oct. 22, News-Banner. (Video by Dave Schultz)

Friday, October 21, 2011

N-B Video: Considering the future of downtown Bluffton

Doyle Hyett of the consulting firm HyettPalma discusses the next step to revitalize Bluffton's downtown. Learn more in the Friday, Oct. 21, News-Banner. (Video by Dave Schultz)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

N-B Video: Local fire departments practice grain rescue

What do you do if someone is buried in a grain elevator? Local fire departments recently found out. Learn more in the Thursday, Oct. 20, News-Banner. (Video by Glen Werling)

N-B Video: Thinking outside — and inside — the box at Norwell High School

Norwell High School and Middle School teacher Tom White explains the district's Project Lead the Way classes, a follow up to a presentation he and other teachers gave at a recent school board meeting. (Video by Chet Baumgartner)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Bluffton-Harrison Middle School closed Thursday, Oct. 20

Parent-teacher conferences at Bluffton-Harrison Middle School will be held on Thursday, Oct. 20, from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Parents may pick up report cards during this time and meet with teachers on a first come, first serve basis. All parents and guardians are welcome to attend. There will be no school for students on Thursday, Oct. 20.

Bluffton Common Council passes 2012 budget

Learn more in the Wednesday, Oct. 19, News-Banner. Click on the images to enlarge them.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A downtown to remember

Representatives from a consulting firm specializing in revitalizing downtowns met with the public last night to discuss how to revitalize downtown Bluffton — again. You can learn more about the discussion in the Tuesday, Oct. 18, News-Banner. However, the following are highlights from the firm's study of downtown Bluffton from 2002. An entire copy of the plan is available for review through the mayor's office.

"During the course of developing the Downtown Action Agenda contained in this document, the public expressed a strong desire to build on (the current downtown's strengths) in order to create the following type of Downtown."
  • One that has products and attractions not found elsewhere, as well as specialty businesses and more retail — making it a destination.
  • A unique Downtown that is family-oriented, can attract more customers, and "has our own niche."
  • A Downtown that builds on its existing businesses and attractions to reclaim its image as the Parlor City — meaning that it is beautiful, comfortable, and friendly.

"Residents and business owners were asked to rate a list of possible Downtown improvements as being "very important," "somewhat important," or "not important" at this time. Seven improvements were rated "very important."
  • Increase the variety of retail goods
  • Recruit additional retail businesses
  • Improve the variety of restaurants
  • Improve parking availability
  • Improve parking convenience
  • Improve the quality of restaurants
  • Improve the quality of retail goods

"By the year 2007, Downtown Bluffton would contain the following uses:"
  • Evening restaurant
  • New businesses (bookstore, 24 hour/day drug store, full service bakery, grocery store, shoe stoe, entertainment, movie theater, things for families, women's clothing, fabric store)
  • existing strong businesses
  • art and entertainment
  • professional offices
  • residential uses
  • Medical and health care uses
  • Government offices and facilities
  • "Activities for kids"
  • Education — university classes, adult education, etc.
  • Public transportation
  • A visitor center

Monday, October 17, 2011

More photos from local fire department events

Learn more in the Monday, Oct. 17, News-Banner.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Freedom through words

Two students from Kingdom Academy recently earned tickets to hear Laura Bush's speech in Indiana on Thursday, Oct. 6. To receive the tickets, they had to write essays detailing the connection between literacy and freedom. You can learn more in Saturday, Oct. 15, News-Banner, and you can read their essays here.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines literacy as the quality of being literate, or able to read and write. Literacy, however, is much more than that. It opens to you the door to the world, a world full of opportunities all at your fingertips, waiting only for you to reach out and seize them. It commandeers your ship on the journey to achievement and success. It opens your eyes to everything around you and causes you to develop awareness. And, ultimately, it leads to freedom — a freedom from the bonds of ignorance and a freedom that allows you to stretch yourself to the farthest reaches that you once thought never possible.

Literacy is driving down the road and subconsciously reading the road signs as they speed by simply because your brain possesses the ability to do so. It is opening the newspaper and spotting a job opportunity which becomes the career of your dreams. It is opening a book and unlocking the swirling and mesmerizing array that is a character's actions, thoughts, dreams, motivations, hopes, sorrows, and victories. It is looking at a page of writing and seeing, not a muddled display of scratches and dots that seem to make no rational sense, but a sensible organized group of words and symbols that collaborate together to form balanced thoughts and ideas. It is, in a sense, being able to realize and unlock your true potential, giving you the power to utilize it to the full extent of your capacity. It is freedom.

Yet, sadly, there is an innumerable amount of people who do not hold the simple yet remarkable capability which you and I so often take for granted. So much potential is being wasted, owning to the simple fact that illiteracy is present. It rears its ugly head, distinguishing the light in so many eager and awaiting eyes, imprisoning countless in the shackles of helpless ignorance, and stealing away from them forever an untold amount of opportunities which could otherwise transform their lives.

The lack of knowledge and opportunity caused by illiteracy is a heavy chain holding down potential that is bursting at the seams, and literacy is the key to unlocking that chain. Laura Bush once said, "The power of a book lies in its power to turn a solitary act into a shared vision. As long as we have books, we are not alone." To unlock that power, however, we must first be able to read that book. Those who possess the ability to read and write many times do not know the immense gift they hold in their hand. We must realize and be grateful for the precious endowment that has been bestowed on us, and we must also do our part to endeavor to pass on this gift to others who are in want of it and to help set them free.
~ Anna Gerber, 17

Everyone has a dream. From the little child playing make-believe, to the elderly man sitting on his rocking chair. How do people live there dream? I think most people would agree that it takes determination, courage, and a strong will. However, you also need to have the capability to do it. You can't become an Olympic swimmer if you can't swim; and you can't become a famous singer if you've never had a voice lesson. You need education. Education gives you freedom to live your dream, and future dreams to come. Without education, your dreams stay just dreams, and may never be fulfilled.

Thomas Edison once said, "If we did the things we are capable of, we would astound ourselves." Everyone is capable of some sort of education. And with that capacity, people would truly "astound" themselves on what all they could accomplish. With education, people can meet their full potential; they can have a high assurance of their abilities. Suddenly, they may not only see what they have to do, but what they can do. They can dream to be anything they want to be. True, they need to have the will power to complete their dream, but with education, they can have the capability. A dream can become more than a dream, it can become real.

Imagine wanting to become a famous soccer player. You can be determined to become a soccer player. You can have courage to try out for the team. However, if you never learn the rules of the game, and never practiced; you would never become a famous soccer player. You have to learn at some point, you have to educate yourself, in this case in soccer. Now think of any other dream. There is something you have to learn in it. Education is important, because it is needed in life. Without a basic education, for example being able to read, it is next to impossible to be able to learn about your dream. So it is impossible to complete that dream. Education is not needed to dream a dream, but it is needed to live it.

Being educated does not only allow you to fulfill your dream, but the dream of future generations. A child's biggest role model in their life is their parent. In fact, when asked 100 teens, aging from 12 to 18, who their greatest role model was; 67.7 percent believe parents are the most important role models. (familybasedyouthministry.org) So if there is a parent who is uneducated, their kids might not think education is important, so they might not become educated. This could lead to them not following their dreams either, simply because they don't have the capability to. However, if a parent is educated and is following their dreams, a child will see this, and may follow their example. So, being educated effects more than just this current generation, but generations to come.

Everyone has a dream, but not everyone can complete it. It takes more than determination and courage; it takes capability. Being educated can help people live their dream, and can help future generations live their dreams by them seeing good role models. Dreams don't have to be something people just fantasize about. With education, they can become reality.
~ Rachel Towle, 17

Friday, October 14, 2011

N-B Video — 2011 Domestic Violation Vigil

On Thursday, Oct. 13, the City of Bluffton held its annual 2011 Domestic Violation Vigil in recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Learn more in the Friday, Oct. 14, News-Banner.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Beyond recycling

The Bluffton Middle School is accepting certain trash for its upcycle program, a recycling-like initiative and fundraiser that earned the school more than $1,750 last year and about $700 so far this year.

Unlike traditional recycling, upcycling, a term first created in 1994, does not break down products to incorporate them into other materials.

Instead, upcycling is designed to essentially change the used product into a new product without breaking it down. Consider these examples from the TerraCycle website.

homework folder
lunch box

clip board

The middle school is accepting the following products for its own upcycling initiative.

Personal care/beauty products
● Lipstick Cases
●Mascara Tubes
●Eye Shadow Cases
●Shampoo Bottles
● Conditioner Bottles
●Bronzer Cases
●Foundation Packaging
●Body Wash Containers
●Soap Tubes
●Liquid Soap Dispensers
●Hand Sanitizer Dispensers
●Lotion Dispensers
●Shaving Foam Tubes
●Powder Cases
●Lotion Bottles
●Chapstick Tubes
●Eyeshadow Tubes
●Lipliner Pencils
●Hair Gel Tubes

Plastic yogurt cups, containers or lids (no Activia or Yoplait brands accepted)
● Stonyfield
● Dannon
● Kroger
● Walmart
● Meijer

Any size or brand chip or snack bag
● Lays Chip Bag
● Doritos
● Cheetos
● Fritos
● Pretzels
● Chex-Mix

Any size or brand of candy wrapper
● Skittles
● Candy Bars
● Starburst
● M&M’s

Any size or brand of cookie wrapper and tray insert
● Chips Ahoy
● Oreo
● Keebler
● Store Brand Cookies
● Rice Krispies Treats
● Pop Tart Wrapper

Any size or brand of drink pouch
● Capri-Sun
● Honest-Kids
● Nestea Pouch

The school will also take Ziploc bags until Friday, Oct. 21. Learn more in the Thursday, Oct. 13, News-Banner.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

N-B Video: Bringing Alaska to Bluffton

Donna Deschaine — co-owner of Bluffton's new business Leisure Time — discusses how she is bringing more than new food to the city. (Video by Dave Schultz)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

2012 Bluffton-Harrison school board meeting schedule

During their regular board meeting on Monday, Oct. 10, members of the Bluffton-Harrison school board approved a schedule for their 2012 board meetings.
  • January 9th (board reorganization prior to 1/15/12)
  • January 23rd
  • February 13th
  • February 27th
  • March 19th
  • April 16th
  • May 7th
  • May 21st
  • June 18th
  • July 16th
  • August 6th
  • August 27th
  • September 17th
  • October 15th
  • November 12th
  • November 26th (possible work session with administrators)
  • December 17th

New coaches coming to Bluffton-Harrison

During their regular board meeting on Monday, Oct. 10, members of the Bluffton-Harrison school board approved multiple coaching positions.

Mark Prible — HS asst. boys basketball
Bill Leising — HS asst. boys basketball
Kyle Bricker — HS asst. boys basketball
Diane Johnson — MS girls basketball
Kayla Dudley — HS head diving
Kevin Leising — future Tigers coordinator
Eric Mounsey — future Tigers coach/custodian
Bill Leising — future Tigers
Mark Prible — future Tigers
Kyle Bricker — future Tigers
Steve Thompson — future Tigers
Steve Baker — future Tigers
Steve Surbaugh — future Tigers
Spencer Okey — future Tigers
Robert Vanderkolk — future Tigers
Karl Grau — future Tigers
Bryan Bowman — future Tigers
Drew Okey — volunteer future Tigers
Diane Johnson — MS girls basketball and lady future Tigers coordinator
Jennifer Johnson — volunteer MS girls basketball coach and lady future Tigers
Mike Moriarity — lady future Tigers
Erin Roush — lady future Tigers
Jennifer Borror — volunteer HS assistant girls basketball lady future Tigers

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Bluffton High School flash mob

Bluffton High School has often found creative ways to celebrate Fall Festival week, but this might be the most unique: The teachers formed a surprise "flash mob." To see the mob form, go to the 3:40 mark. Video provided by Bluffton High School.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

N-B Video: Crowning a tiger

Meet the Bluffton High School 2011 homecoming court, including the 2011 homecoming king and queen. To learn about the game, see the Saturday, Oct. 8, News-Banner. (Video by Chet Baumgartner)

N-B Video: Tigers go green — on the green

The Bluffton High School Bengal Brigade perform its signature song — Go Green — during the homecoming game Friday, Oct. 7. To learn about the game, see the Saturday, Oct. 8, News-Banner. (Video by Chet Baumgartner)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Rocking a cigar box

Southern Wells technology teacher Doug Hunt was recently awarded the highest honor he could receive as a high school technology teacher. Learn more about it in the Friday, Oct. 7, News-Banner.

As part of his technology curriculum, Hunt has taught his students how to design guitars, and he even showed his students how to play one.

Senate internship opportunities available

From the office of State Sen. Travis Holdman:

College upperclassmen and recent graduates can set their resumes apart by gaining Statehouse experiences offered through internships with the Indiana Senate Republicans.

Applications for the full-time, spring semester, Senate internships - including legislative and communications opportunities - are available at www.senaterepublicans.in.gov/internship.htm. A resume, two reference letters, college transcripts and a writing sample are required submissions. All complete applications are due Oct. 31.

Senate internships give college students and recent graduates a wide range of experiences they can find few other places. From actually participating in the legislative process to teaming with a public affairs expert or helping solve constituent issues, interns play integral roles in effective state government.

Legislative interns work alongside senators and legislative assistants, responding to constituent calls, letters and e-mails, as well as staffing Senate committees and assisting with floor proceedings. Communications interns gain practical experience, helping press secretaries prepare and distribute news releases, guest columns, letters to the editor, direct mail, e-newsletters, e-invitations, web updates, radio feeds, podcasts and video productions.

Senate interns should plan to live in or near Indianapolis during the internship due to the varied work schedule during the legislative session. Interns earn a $700 bi-weekly stipend to assist with living expenses.

Selected applicants are invited to attend the General Assembly's ceremonial Organization Day on Nov. 22 and officially begin their internships with a mandatory orientation on Dec. 27. Senate internships last the duration of the legislative session, which by law is scheduled to end on or before March 14, 2012.

College Credit:
College credit for the internship varies, depending on individual schools' internship policies. Interested students should meet with school academic advisors to determine academic credits available. To maintain full-time student status, interns frequently arrange correspondence or independent courses. A three-credit-hour state government course, conducted at the Statehouse throughout the internship, is also available.

Scholarship Opportunities:
At the end of each year's legislative session, Verizon Communications offers a $3,000 scholarship to the top intern from each caucus - Republican and Democrat. Additionally, each caucus awards a $1,000 scholarship in memory of longtime Senate staffer Rick Gudal.

More Information:
Interested college students should contact Jennifer Carlton, Senate Majority Intern Director, by email at jcarlton@iga.in.gov, for more information about internships with the Indiana Senate Republicans.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

More pictures from Hope Missionary Church's Frantic Fall Festival

School enrollment — by the numbers

Wells County's three public-school districts had to report their official enrollments to the state on Wednesday, Oct. 5. The state will use this to help determine how much funding the schools receive. To learn more about the process — and the story behind the numbers — see the Thursday, Oct. 6, News-Banner.

Northern Wells Community Schools:
2000-2001: 2,598.88
2001-2002: 2,588.48
2002-2003: 2,555.39
2003-2004: 2,501.59
2004-2005: 2,538.68
2005-2006: 2,510.42
2006-2007: 2,469.32
2007-2008: 2,458.7
2008-2009: 2,431.39
2009-2010: 2,428.78
2010-2011: 2,455.49
2011-2012: 2,385.1

Bluffton-Harrison Metropolitan School District:
2005-2006: 1,482.5
2006-2007: 1,441.13
2007-2008: 1,429.25
2008-2009: 1,331.5
2009-2010: 1,371.5
2010-2011: 1,377.65
2011-2012: 1,360.23

Southern Wells Community Schools:
2000-2001: 847.5
2001-2002: 863
2002-2003: 846
2003-2004: 833
2004-2005: 807.5
2005-2006: 798
2006-2007: 780.5
2007-2008: 768
2008-2009: 767.5
2009-2010: 759.5
2010-2011: 824.5
2011-2012: 817.5

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Talking taxes

Tis budget season in Indiana, and in Wells County, government officials are celebrating by passing and introducing budgets. The Northern Wells school board and Wells County Council passed their budgets Tuesday, Oct. 4, and the Bluffton Common Council passed the city budget on the first reading. To learn more about the budgets, see the Wednesday, Oct. 5, News-Banner.

The state's Department of Local Government Finance will ultimately approve these budgets, and because of this the DLGF has a wealth of tax-related information for taxpayers wanting to learn more.

For a profile of Wells County's income tax and property tax profile, click here.
For a summary of who pays and who spends taxes in Wells County, click here.
To learn more about income taxes in the state, click here.
For more information about property taxes, click here.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Sentencing for murder

Now that a jury has found Tyler White, 29, of Bluffton, guilty of murdering his estranged wife, Amy, the judge will sentence him at 9 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 14.

Because he killed his wife while she was pregnant, he could also receive "enhanced sentencing" for the termination of a pregnancy.

In making his decision, the judge will follow Indiana code 35-50-2-3.

Sec. 3. (a) A person who commits murder shall be imprisoned for a fixed term of between forty-five (45) and sixty-five (65) years, with the advisory sentence being fifty-five (55) years. In addition, the person may be fined not more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000).
(b) Notwithstanding subsection (a), a person who was:
(1) at least eighteen (18) years of age at the time the murder was committed may be sentenced to:
(A) death; or
(B) life imprisonment without parole; and
(2) at least sixteen (16) years of age but less than eighteen (18) years of age at the time the murder was committed may be sentenced to life imprisonment without parole;
under section 9 of this chapter unless a court determines under IC 35-36-9 that the person is an individual with mental retardation.

According to the prosecutor's office, there is no possibility that Tyler White will get life without parole because his case didn't meet the circumstances that would make him eligible. Also prosecutors must make it known before the trial that they are pursuing such a sentence. The Indiana code explaining the circumstances behind that can be found
here. Scroll down to the section titled "Death penalty sentencing procedure."

Monday, October 3, 2011

Fire Prevention starts Sunday, Oct. 9

Within about a week, two house fires ignited in Bluffton, one in which a 12-year-old girl was by herself. In both cases, no one was hurt.

Starting next week, then, the National Fire Protection Association is holding Fire Prevention Week. To learn more, go to Fire Prevention Week's website.