On the Beat in Bluffton

Thursday, April 26, 2012


Scotch is a 1-year-old black and white DSH, neutered male. Current on vaccines. Very loveable.

Goldie is a 1-year-old golden retriever mix, female. Sweet and friendly.

Lynxi is a 1-year-old Lynx Point Siamese, female. Very affectionate.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

God's canvas

With all due respect to the News-Banner's Justin Peeper, who travels more often than a $1 bill, it's hard to beat the sunsets right here in Indiana. (Photos by Chet Baumgartner)

How to keep your car from rolling over

A Bluffton teenager accidentally rolled her vehicle at about 6:55 a.m. Wednesday, April 25. To learn more about the accident, see the Wednesday, April 25, News-Banner.

The teen rolled her car after overcorrecting, but other factors can contribute to such accidents. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety offers the following advice to mitigate those factors.

• Keep your vehicle in good condition and drive carefully. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, four of every five rollovers involve no other vehicle besides the one that rolls over, so in this regard, you as a driver are largely in control. Here are some important and simple steps to take to keep yourself safe:
• Don't Drive Too Fast - The posted speed limit is an upper limit, not a lower limit. The faster you drive, the less time you have to react to any emergency that suddenly arises in the road ahead of you, which means you will probably end up steering more sharply and/or braking harder, both of which compromise your ability to safely control your vehicle.
• Steering - Many rollovers occur when drivers overcorrect their steering in response to unexpected situations, such as encountering a stopped vehicle in their lane or accidentally driving off of the pavement. Sudden steering maneuvers at high speeds or on soft surfaces can lead to rollovers.
• Know proper maneuvering - If your vehicle leaves the paved road surface, slow down gradually , don't stomp on the brakes. Then, when it's safe to do so, ease the vehicle back onto the roadway. Don't suddenly jerk the steering wheel to get the vehicle back on the pavement.
• Be extra careful on rural roads - Rollovers are more likely to occur on rural roads and highways, particularly undivided, two-way roads or divided roads with no barriers. When a vehicle leaves the pavement, it can be tripped by roadside objects or soft surfaces or it can roll down a slope. Nearly 75 percent of all rollover crashes occur in rural areas, so be extra careful when driving on rural roads.
• Tires - Improperly inflated and/or worn tires can be especially dangerous, because they inhibit your ability to maintain vehicle control. Worn tires increase the likelihood that the vehicle may slide sideways on wet or slippery pavement, increasing its risk of sliding off of the pavement and rolling over. Improper inflation can accelerate tire wear, and can even lead to tire failure. It is important to maintain your tires properly, and replace them when necessary. Monitor your tire pressure regularly, keeping it within the manufacturer-recommended range for the tire and the vehicle.
• Vehicle loading - Consult your vehicle's owner's manual to determine the maximum safe load for your vehicle, as well as proper load distribution. If you're using a roof rack, pay special attention to the manufacturer's instructions and weight limits. Realize that any load placed on the roof will raise the vehicle's center of gravity, increasing the vehicle's likelihood of rolling over.
• Select your vehicle carefully - Think carefully about what type of vehicle you want to buy, and why. Will you be driving off road a lot? Will you be hauling cargo? Will you be carrying a large number of passengers? Have you ever driven a truck or van before? If you didn't answer “yes” to any of these, an ordinary passenger car will probably be a sensible choice, and most ordinary passenger cars are considerably less likely to roll over than most pickup trucks, vans, or SUVs during the same driving manuevers. If you find yourself driving a van, pickup truck, or SUV for the first time, it is extremely important to realize that its ride and handling characteristics are different from those of ordinary passenger cars, and driving one of these vehicles requires extreme care, especially if you are unaccustomed to it.
• Also, consider buying a vehicle with Electronic Stability Control (ESC). Studies fom the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety have found ESC to dramatically reduce the involvement of equipped vehicles in single vehicle crashes involving injury or death. ESC is designed to keep the vehicle “on track,” preventing it from understeering (i.e, the front tires lose traction and the vehicle turns less than you intend) or oversteering (i.e., the rear tires lose traction and the vehicle turns further than you intend). Although study was not able to determine conclusively how ESC impacted rollover risk, the results suggested that it might be beneficial in this regard.
• If you are concerned about the rollover risk of the car that you own, or would like to consider rollover risk when buying a new car, consider the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Rollover Ratings, available at http://www.safercar.gov.

Click here to learn more from the AAA website.
Also, click here to read Indiana's "Good Samaritan" law to learn how you're protected if you assist at an accident.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

N-B Video: Southern Wells names new elementary principal

John Purcell, principal at Lancaster Elementary School in Huntington County, talks about the "blessing" of being named the new principal at Southern Wells Elementary School. School board members unanimously offered him the job Monday, April 23. Learn more in the Tuesday, April 24, News-Banner. (Video by Chet Baumgartner)

N-B Video: BHS students purchase $1,500 pie

Bluffton High School teachers Josh Clark and Brent Kunkel prepare for pupils to plaster pies on their faces Tuesday, April 24, in the school's cafetorium. Students also duct taped Kunkel to the wall after he "won" a fund-raising contest that raised more than $1,500 to help Henryville schools destroyed or damaged by tornados. Students determined who received the pie by donating money. (Video by Chet Baumgartner)

Monday, April 23, 2012

N-B Video: Senate candidate visits Wells County

Senate candidate Richard Mourdock visits Bluffton to contrast his opinions against his opponent, incumbent Sen. Richard Lugar. Mourdock visited Bluffton Saturday, April 21, and spoke for about 90 minutes about the economy, energy, health care and more. To learn more about Mourdock's speech, see the Monday, April 23, News-Banner. For more videos from his visit, go to the News-Banner's "On the Beat" blog by browsing our blogs at www.news-banner.com. (Video by Chet Baumgartner)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Parade of children

As part of "Month of the Young Child" and "Week of the Young Child," the Wells County Child Care Provider Network has erected 15 cutouts of children at Pickett's Run Park. The cutouts feature the names of preschool and day care organizations. Learn more in the Friday, April 20, News-Banner. (Photos by Chet Baumgartner)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

N-B Video: David Fillers to fill vacant seat on County Council

Wells County republicans selected David Fillers Wednesday, April 18, to serve on the County Council seat once held by former councilman Pete Cole, who died March 30. Learn more in the Thursday, April 19, News-Banner. (Video by Dave Schultz)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

To pledge or not to pledge

During their Tuesday meeting, Northern Wells Superintendent Scott Mills brought to members of the Northern Wells school board a motion pledging to abstain from raising taxes to pay for major renovations or building projects until at least 2022.

The board members agreed that they have no intentions of raising taxes for more construction, but they hesitated to make a pledge that could bind future school boards.

Learn more in the Wednesday, April 18, News-Banner. Read the pledge here.

WHEREAS taxpayers and community members have raised questions about Northern Wells Community Schools Corporation (the “School Corporation”) future plans in regards to facility improvements and tax rate increases; and
WHEREAS, the Board of Trustees of the School Corporation voted on January 24, 2012 to pursue a public referendum to allow the voters of the School Corporation to determine if a Project at Norwell High School to provide an improved educational program and environment for students at an estimated Debt Service tax rate of $0.1772 per $100 of assessed value could proceed (the “Norwell Project”); and
WHEREAS, the bonds related to the Lancaster Central Elementary project is currently being repaid from the Debt Service fund is set to partially retire in 2022 and retire in full in 2023; and
WHEREAS, the Qualified School Construction Bonds previously issued are currently being repaid from the Debt Service fund and are scheduled to retire in 2025; and
WHEREAS, in the future, the buildings and facilities of the School Corporation will continue to require maintenance, renovation and improvements which will be funded by the Capital Projects Fund and the Debt Service Fund; and
WHEREAS, the Board of Trustees of the School Corporation desires to provide a high quality education at the lowest tax rate reasonably possible; and
WHEREAS, to provide a factual and public response to questions raised by taxpayers and the community in regards to the intent of the Board of Trustees of the School Corporation to pursue future projects and tax rate increases; now therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED, if the public referendum on May 8, 2012 enables a tax rate increase for the Norwell Project, barring an emergency, the Board of Trustees of the School Corporation pledges to not seek any additional projects that would require a Debt Service fund increase at least until the bonds associated with the Lancaster Central Elementary project begins to retire from the Debt Service Fund in 2022.
Passed and adopted this 17th day of April, 2012

More looks at books

More photos from the Bluffton-Harrison PTO book fair. (Photos by Chet Baumgartner)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Bluffton-Harrison answers more questions about iPads

Scott Ribich, the director of the technology department for the Bluffton-Harrison school district, has answered more questions about the district's recently approved initiative to distribute iPads to all its students.

In particular, Ribich has outlined what would happen if students break their iPads. According to Ribich's presentation:
  • Normal maintenance and repair issues will be covered by BHMSD. However, when damages are determined to have been caused intentionally or unintentionally due to not following safety procedures, the student will be responsible for all charges associated with the repair of the iPad.
  • Damage done to the iPad that is considered accidental will be subject to the $50 deductible. The final determination will be made by the school administrators.
To learn more about the initiative, see the Tuesday, April 17, News-Banner.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Solve the mystery of the unknown title

The Wells County Public Library is keeping the title of the next book for the "One Book One County" initiative a mystery — a mystery the library wants you to solve.

As part of the "Think You Know?" contest, which began last week, the library is inviting patrons to guess the name of the book selected for the annual program designed to unite residents around one story.

Clues to the 2012 One Book One County selection will be announced on the One Book One County – Wells County Public Library Facebook fan page at http://www.facebook.com/OneBookOneCountyWellsCountyPublicLibrary.

Those who think they've deduced the name of the book can fill out an entry form at the main library or Ossian branch. Correct guesses will be entered into a drawing for a copy of the book and a "special treat."

Become a fan to receive new clues on your Facebook wall as well as information about the library’s One Book One County program. However, you do not need a Facebook account to view the clues.

Entries need to be received by May 31. The winner and book title will be announced Friday, June 1. One entry per person. Contact the Wells County Public Library at 824-1612 if you have any questions.

Register for the "Do Not Call" list

The "Do Not Call List" is for residential, wireless or VOIP telephone numbers or prepaid wireless numbers used primarily in Indiana. Registration is provided FREE of charge to Indiana residents.

Registrations on the Indiana Do Not Call list do not expire. It is not necessary to re-register or update your registration unless you have moved or your information has changed.

Being placed on the Telephone Privacy List will eliminate most telemarketing calls, but it will not eliminate all telemarketing calls. Under Indiana law, certain groups may still contact you. They include: insurance agents, realtors, newspapers, and most charities. If you receive a call which does not meet this criteria, you may file a complaint online or by calling 1-888-834-9969.

To fill out the form, click here.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Let's go fly a kite

Children of all ages maneuver their kites through the sky at New Life Christian School during kite-flying day Friday. (Photos provided)

N-B Video: How to pet a pig

Ossian Elementary students pet a pig during the annual Wells County fourth-grade ag tour Friday at the Wells County 4-H Park. (Video by Glen Werling)

N-B Video: Coming in for a landing

A helicopter lands after removing a air handling unit from the roof of the Inventure Group on the north side of Bluffton Friday. (Video by Frank Shanly)

Friday, April 13, 2012

N-B Video: Fire destroys shed on 300N

Learn more in the Saturday, April 14, News-Banner. (Video by Chet Baumgartner)

Unleash your "geek"

The library is celebrating National Library Week, which ends tomorrow, by unleashing its inner geek, a word that has transformed into a verb meaning to enjoy or celebrate something.

As part of the week-long celebration, library staff members were asked what they "geeked."

N-B Video: United Way announces new campaign chairman

The News-Banner's Dave Schultz speaks with Thomas Strupp of Franklin Electric after he was announced as the chairman of the United Way 2012 campaign. Learn more in the Friday, April 13, News-Banner. (Video by Dave Schultz)

Southern Wells flings into spring

Sixth-grade students at Southern Wells Elementary dance to the music and unleash acrobatics during the last song of the school's annual Spring Fling music program. Fourth- and fifth-grade students also sang in the background during the program. (Photos by Glen Werling. Video by Chet Baumgartner)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Library looking for business

Stephanie Davis, director of the Wells County Public Library, is looking for cafes or similar businesses to rent the space previously occupied by the Bohemian Bean. Anybody interested should contact Davis at 824-1612 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

The library's board will ultimately approve the business, David said.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Abduction reports cause concern in the county

Reports of one — if not several — child abduction attempts started spreading in the county Saturday, but the Wells County Sheriff's Department activity log, which parents have reportedly cited when spreading the news, does not mention any abduction attempts.

Instead, the reports seemingly stem from an incident that occurred Saturday. To learn more about the incident and the subsequent rumors, see the Wednesday, April 11, News-Banner.

However, The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children does offer the following tips to better ensure that there won't be any actual cases of abduction.


  • Be sure to go over the rules with your children about whose homes they can visit when you’re not there and discuss the boundaries of where they can and can’t go in the neighborhood.
  • Always listen to your children and keep the lines of communication open. Teach your children to get out of dangerous or uncomfortable situations right away, and practice role-playing and basic safety skills with them.
  • Teach your children in whose car they may ride. Children should be cautioned never to approach any vehicle, occupied or not, unless accompanied by a parent or trusted adult.
  • Make sure children know their names, address, telephone numbers and how to use the telephone.
  • Choose babysitters with care. Obtain references from family, friends and neighbors.


  • Always check first with your parents or the person in charge before you go anywhere or do anything.
  • Always take a friend when you play or go somewhere.
  • Don’t be tricked by adults who offer you special treats or gifts or ask you for help.
  • Don’t be afraid to say no and get away from any situation that makes you feel uncomfortable or confused. Trust your feelings.
  • Don’t get into a car or go near a car with someone in it unless you are with your parents or a trusted adult.
  • Never take a ride from someone without checking first with your parents.
  • Never go into a public restroom by yourself.
  • Never go alone to the mall, movies, video arcades or parks.
  • Stay safe when you’re home alone by keeping the door locked. Do not open the door for or talk to anyone who stops by unless the person is a trusted family friend or relative.

The organization also offers the following tips:

  • Parental abductions and runaway cases make up the majority of missing children in the United States. In 2002 there were about 797,500 children reported missing, or nearly 2,185 per day. The vast majority of these cases were recovered quickly; however, the parent or guardian was concerned enough to contact law enforcement and they placed the child into the FBI’s National Crime Information Center – a computerized national database of criminal justice information. It is available to Federal, state and local law enforcement and other criminal justice agencies.
  • Each year there are about 3,000 to 5,000 non-family abductions reported to police, most of which are short term sexually-motivated cases. About 200 to 300 of these cases, or 6%, make up the most serious cases where the child was murdered, ransomed or taken with the intent to keep.
  • The NCMEC analyzed more than 4200 attempted abductions from February 2005 to March 2010 and found that 38% of attempted abductions occur while a child is walking alone to or from school, riding the school bus or riding a bicycle; 37% of attempted abductions occur between the hours of 2:00pm through 7:00pm on a weekday; 43% of attempted abductions involve children between the ages of 10 and 14; 72% of attempted abduction victims are female; 68% of attempted abductions involve the suspect driving a vehicle.
  • Research shows that of the 58,000 non-family abductions each year 63% involved a friend, long-term acquaintaince, neighbor, caretaker, baby sitter or person of authority; only 37% involved a stranger.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

N-B Video: Bringing the Titanic to Bluffton

Who needs Hollywood when the true story is just as interesting. Presenter Stan Wilson dives into tidbits of Titanic history for the Wells County Historical Society Monday, April 9. Learn more in the Tuesday, April 10, News-Banner. (Video by Barbara Barbieri)

N-B Video: Going beyond a candidate's resume

Steve Huffman of the Wells County Constitutional Patriots explains why his group held a "candidate's forum" to introduce several candidates for county offices to constituents. Learn more in the Tuesday, April 10, News-Banner. (Video by Mark Miller)

Monday, April 9, 2012

An egg-cellent weekend in Wells County

There were Easter eggs (and children) a'plenty in Wells County this weekend.

Liberty Center Easter egg hunt

Bluffton Easter egg hunt

Southern Wells Easter egg hunt