On the Beat in Bluffton

Thursday, May 31, 2012

County provides assistance for veterans

Claude McMillan, Wells County's veterans service officer, says these are now the presumptive symptoms for exposure to Agent Orange. Vietnam veterans who suffer from any of these diseases may want to contact him at 824-6403.

Learn more in the Thursday, May 31, News-Banner.

1. Acute and sub-acute peripheral neuropathy
2. Angiosarcoma
3. Alveolar soft part sarcoma
4. Adult fibrosarcoma
5. B-cell leukemias
6. Bone pain
6. Chlroacne
8. Clear cell sarcoma of aponeuroses
9. Clear cell sarcoma of tendons and apolneuroses
10. Congenital fibrosarcoma
11. Dermatobibrosarcoma protuberans
12. Ectomesenchymoma
13. Epithelioid malignant leiomyosarcoma
14. Epithelioid and grandular malignant schwannomas
15. Epithelioid sarcoma
16. Extraskeletal Ewing's sarcoma
17. Hemangiosarcoma
18. Hodgkin's disease
19. Infantile fibrosarcoma
20. Ischemic heart disease (IHD)
21. Leiomyosarcoma
22. Liposarcoma
23. Lymphangiosarcoma
24. Malignant fibrous histiocytoma
25. Malignant ganglioneuroma
26. Malignant giant cell tumor of the tendon sheath
27. Malignant glandular schwannoma
28. Malignant granular cell tumor
29. Malignant hemangiopericytoma
30. Malignant leiomyoblastoma
31. Malignant mesenchymoma
32. Malignant schwannoma with rhabdomyoblastic differentiation
33. Malignant synovioma
34. Multiple myeloma
35. Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
36. Parkinson's disease
37. Porphyria cuteanea tarda
38. Proliferating (systemic) angiendotheliomatosis
39. Prostate cancer
40. Respiratory cancer
41. Rhabdomyosarcoma
42. Synovial sarcoma
43. Type II diabetes

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

N-B Video: Wells County honors the fallen on Memorial Day 2012

Video by Barbara Barbieri

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Under the big top in Bluffton

The Culpepper and Merriweather Circus came to Bluffton Monday to unleash its clown, juggler, acrobatics and more. The circus, sponsored by the Wells County Chamber of Commerce and the Wells County 4-H Association, performed two shows. (Photos by Chet Baumgartner)

Saturday, May 26, 2012

N-B Video: BHS 2012 graduation

The 130th graduating class of Bluffton High School turned their tassels during Friday's ceremony. Over 115 graduated. See the Saturday, May 26, News-Banner for more graduation coverage. (Videos by Jessica Williams)

Friday, May 25, 2012

Bridging the financial gap

The Wells County Council held a special meeting Thursday, May 24, to try to find $7 million to pay for bridge repairs.

During the meeting, Commissioner Scott Mossburg presented the following five-year plan, prepared by USI Consultants, the engineering firm that earlier conducted bridge inspections.

USI also estimated the following costs to complete the five-year plan
  • Bridge replacements: $4,715,100
  • Bridge rehabilitations: $4,036,800
  • Small structure replacements: $584,100
  • Bridge inventory and inspection: 142,000
Learn more in the Friday, May 25, News-Banner.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Bluffton-Harrison school board votes to drop fees

Members of the Bluffton-Harrison school board unanimously voted on Monday, May 21, to eliminate the following school fees starting in the 2012-2013 school year. Board members are trying to eliminate the fees in preparation for the new technology fee, which the district will charge to distribute iPads to every student.

Middle school students will need to pay for a gym uniform one more year, as school officials already purchased them.

Also, the above amounts represent average costs.

Learn more in the Tuesday, May 22, News-Banner.

Monday, May 21, 2012

N-B Video: Dollars for Scholars aims for the $1 million mark

Marilyn Lavanchy of the Bluffton-Southern Wells chapter of Dollars for Scholars explains how much it will take for the organization to reach the $1 million level next year. Learn more about this year's awards in the Monday, May 21, News-Banner. (Video by Dave Schultz)

Friday, May 18, 2012

Driver drives through fellowship hall

An Ohio man drove a truck and trailer into the Nottingham Church fellowship hall at about 6:45 a.m. Friday after he momentarily fell asleep while driving, a sheriff's deputy said.

Learn more in the Friday, May 18, News-Banner.


Sammy and Simon are 9-week-old Tiger, DSH, males. Very playful and loving.

Sam is a 2-year-old Wired Haired Terrier mix male. Friendly guy.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Turning their alives around

The Wells County Chamber of Commerce presented the annual Turnaround Awards during its quarterly luncheon Wednesday, May 16. The award is given to students in Wells County's public schools, as well as the alternative school, who turned their lives or behaviors around.

School administrators, guidance counselors and teachers determined who received the award, and they also explained why in the following paragraphs.

Dalton Heron, eighth grade, Bluffton Middle School — According to an unknown author: “It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” Heron has made many changes during her eighth grade year and deserves to receive the Turnaround Award.

After meeting Heron it didn’t take her long to demonstrate that she was strong, intelligent and responsive to change. Anyone who listened to her would soon learn that she had encountered some bumps in the road in the past, but that she intended to change that path this year. Not only did she work toward keeping herself out of trouble but she worked to keep those around her from making bad choices too. She is a diligent student who asks questions, does everything asked of her and gladly helps others. She has control over her temper and is probably one of the happiest students in the entire grade as demonstrated by her constant smile and positive words.

Sam Grace, eighth grade, Norwell Middle School — Grace is receiving the Turnaround Award because of his hard work during this school year. He has committed himself to doing well with his academics this year and he has positive results to show for it. He has passed all of his classes and continues to try to improve on the success he has had this year. He has a positive attitude, is well-liked by his peers, and will be missed when he moves on to the high school next year. Norwell Middle School is proud to honor him with this award in recognition of his hard work and dedication. Congratulations to him on behalf of all the students and staff of Norwell Middle School.

Joshua Winters, junior, Norwell High School — Winters’ behavior and grades struggled during his freshman year. As a sophomore, the difficulties seemed to increase. However, this year, he has shown dramatic improvement in both areas. He has developed into a responsible and mature young man with a promising future. When asked about his turn around, he said that he “wanted to make his father proud of him.” As a result, he said that he now feels much better about himself as well.

Steve Miller, senior, Bluffton High School — Miller is an excellent example of a student who can turn things around when he puts his mind to it. He is a student who has the ability to achieve but hasn’t always made academics a priority. During his freshman year, he struggled with attendance, getting his work completed, and office referrals. He was in trouble inside and outside of school, and got behind in credits. Concerned about the direction that his life was headed, he made a deliberate decision to change paths. During his sophomore year he worked hard to get himself caught up and back on track. He stayed focused and made a conscious decision to stay out of trouble. His favorite classes in high school have been math and industrial tech courses because he believes they will help him most with his future plans.

Miller has also worked as a peer tutor in a special needs classroom this year. The challenges and limitations that the special needs students face have made an impact on him.

This May, Miller will graduate with his classmates knowing that his perseverance and determination have paid off. He has been accepted at the University of Northwest Ohio and plans to earn an associate’s degree in diesel mechanics. Becoming a diesel mechanic has been a long time goal for him.

Olivia Miller, senior, Southern Wells Junior-Senior High School — In my years of teaching (some 35+), rarely have I come across a young person who has had so many challenges. Inconsistent home life issues have predominated Miller’s life. There have been a number of changes in guardianship (beginning in early childhood), and then different relatives, and then different cities and states. Ultimately, she was at the edge of homelessness when taken in by a caring person in our school district.

Despite these challenges, Miller is going to graduate from our place with the Indiana Core 40 diploma, in only three years. Both are accomplishments, all the greater when considered against her personal history. She is enrolled at IBC in Fort Wayne.

Miller has already enrolled at IBC in Fort Wayne, looking at vet technology. I have told her repeatedly that she has the goods to be the vet, and not the tech. She has not excluded this thought from her plans yet. Only time will tell.

Miller is a survivor. She has done well despite great odds. She is an extremely charming young lady. The Turnaround was designed with this kind of person in mind. She brings honor to the award, and those who sponsor it. Well done.

Al Albers, senior, Wells County Alternative School — Albers dropped out of Norwell High School in May of 2010 when he turned 18. Nearly a year later, when Norwell guidance counselor John Reinhard saw him at work, he approached him about returning to school. Reinhard asked him to consider enrolling at the Alternative School where he could attend school half days and still continue to work. He did enroll at the Alternative School in March 2011 and earned his high school diploma in December 2011. He was also a member of the 2011-2012 Norwell High School football team. Before quitting school, his grades had been mostly C’s or below; after returning to school, he earned all A’s and B’s. He had a very positive attitude, was pleasant to work with, and had a tremendous work ethic. He set a personal goal of being finished with his course work by December and worked diligently to attain that goal.

Kaylie Vaughn, ninth grade, Southern Wells Junior-Senior High School — Vaughn has shown the ability to be not only a turn-around student but a commendable student in my biology classroom. Course work that she has taken with me simply includes general biology. For the number of weeks that I have known her, I can elaborate on several wonderful attributes and characteristics:

*In the beginning of the year, Vaughn seemed withdrawn and inattentive; however as the weeks progressed, especially into the second semester, she has opened up more in class with not only her fellow students but with myself.

*The start of year was difficult with Vaughn academically. Many of her grades were below average; however, as the year continued, she has now established average to above average work.
*Vaughn’s sense of responsible has also grown throughout the year. She makes an effort to get all her work in and participates in class discussions and labs without hesitation or resistance.

I would not say that Vaughn would be a “complete” turn-around student, but in the months that I have known her, I feel that she is on her way. She is a student that needs attention, but also a student that needs recognition.

Learn more in the Thursday, May 17, News-Banner.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A puzzle on the Rivergreenway

Norwell High School and Middle School students recently designed, constructed and built 24 birdhouses — and two 32-square-foot paintings — to hang at the pedestrian bridge, Ouabache State Park and along the Rivergreenway. The birdhouses depict scenes taken from the painting — like a puzzle, and school and park officials are encouraging the public to try to identify which scenes on the birdhouses correspond with the larger pictures.

To learn more, see the Wednesday, May 16, News-Banner.

N-B Video: 61 students Southern Wells students graduate from kindergarten

Meet the class of 2024 — after they graduated from Southern Wells kindergarten on Tuesday, May 15. More than 60 students took part in the ceremony. (Video by Chet Baumgartner)

After the students walked in, but before they sang, all 61 revealed their future occupations, and some had more than one.
  • President
  • "Police cop"
  • Inventor and trainer of robots
  • Mom
  • Princess
  • Cheerleader
  • Dad, artist, teacher and president
  • Farmer
  • Truck Driver
  • Combine Driver
  • Race car driver and taste tester
  • basketball player
  • Fire fighter
  • Princess and a rock star
  • Hunter
  • Astronaut
  • Work at McDonald's
  • Movie star

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

How to build a park

Members of the Ossian Town Council approved on Monday an ordinance last night that grants the Ossian/Jefferson Township Park Board official authority to make the decisions regarding the use of a portion of the Archbold-Wilson Memorial Park.

Now that the board has authority, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources can pay out a $137,058 grant to develop that portion.

The grant allows the following:

The proposed project is to develop Archbold Wilson Memorial Park Project in the Town of Ossian, IN which will encompass 33 acres of a 64.5 acre site. The Wells County Revitalization, Inc. whose primary purpose is to strengthen, unify and build community spirit and increase the capacity of various community organizations to improve the quality of life for all, will be donating the 33 acres to the Ossian Parks & Recreation Board. Anticipated project timeline is to begin in the summer of 2012 and be completed in the spring of 2013.

The development will include:
1. The skate park will consist of a 50’x100’ concrete pad and eleven (11) skate obstacles.
2. A wildlife habitat buffers a pond adjacent to the walking trail allowing sightseers the opportunity to observe and photograph plants & living creatures that reside or visit there.
3. The new parking area will serve as an entrance to the park. All visitors will have the opportunity to safely move from one activity to another via the walking trails.
4. Our vision for the picnic areas is to have them look as though someone has selected that perfect shady area just right for that special picnic. Each is to be unique; some may include a shade tree where others could be just quiet and grassy.

The costs break down as follow:
Acquisition of land for park development — $137,058
Construction of 8’ walking path HMA pavement installation — $14,400
Skate Park concrete & obstacles — $27,000
Parking area HMA pavement & ADA signage — $700
Pond & swale Common excavation — $70,000
Fine grading — $13,708
Accessible picnic area — $1,250
Mobilization & Demobilization — $10,000
Development Total — $137,058
GRAND TOTAL $274,116

Learn more in the Tuesday, May 15, News-Banner.

Monday, May 14, 2012

N-B Video: Indiana House candidate shares legislative priorities

Mike Snyder, who is running to represent the 79th District, shares how his legislative initiatives differ from his opponent, Rep. Matt Lehman, R-Berne. Snyder visited Bluffton on Saturday, May 12, to speak at the county Democrats' monthly breakfast. Learn more in the Monday, May 14, News-Banner. (Video by Chet Baumgartner)

Learn more about the candidates at their respective websites: Matt Lehman and Mike Snyder.

Friday, May 11, 2012

A carnival at the hospital

Bluffton Regional Medical Center held a carnival on its southern parking lot Thursday as part of National Hospital Week, playing "ladder golf," "urinal bowling," and more during the day. Hospital staff also could dunk CEO Brandon Haushalter. On Friday, Bluffton Regional held its service awards breakfast. (Photos by Chet Baumgartner)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

N-B Video: Leadership Academy unleashes new leaders

Megan Morrison, the Wells County Leadership Academy coordinator, talks about the academy's most recent year and the future of the academy as well. Learn more in Thursday, May 10, News-Banner. (Video by Dave Schultz)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

N-B Video: 2012 election brings new, familiar faces

Blake Gerber and Kevin Woodward thank those who supported them in the 2012 primary election after winning their races Tuesday. Gerber and Woodward will now compete for the County Commissioner District 2 and District 3 seats respectively in November. Learn more in the Wednesday, May 9, News-Banner.

Jim Van Winkle, Kathie Mounsey, on behalf of Vicki Andrews, and Michael Mossburg thank those who supported them in the 2012 primary race after winning Tuesday. Van Winkle, Andrews and Mossburg will now compete for the County Council At-Large seat in November. Learn more in the Wednesday, May 9, News-Banner.

Wells County Commissioner Paul Bonham on Tuesday thanks those who supported him in the 2012 primary election after losing to challenger Blake Gerber to compete for the District 2 seat. Learn more in the Wednesday, May 9, News-Banner.

For photos from Tuesday's primary races, see our latest slideshow at www-news.banner.com.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Grades for the graders

Less than a month before Bluffton-Harrison students receive their final grades for the 2011-2012 school year, members of the district’s school board started discussing how teachers will receive their first grades in the 2013-2014 school year.

Through observation, documentation and student test scores, school administrators will assign scores to teachers, and through those scores, assign teachers into four categories: highly effective, effective, improvement needed or ineffective.

Though these categories will impact salaries, they can also impact hiring and dismissal decisions:

Tenure Categories – New Teacher Tenure Categories begin July 1, 2012
A. Probationary Teacher (IC 20-28-6-7.5) – A teacher who has not received a rating (newly hired) or an established/professional teacher who receives a rating of ineffective or an established/professional teacher who receives two consecutive ratings of improvement necessary.
B. Established Teacher (IC 20-28-6-8) – A teacher who serves under contract before July 1, 2012, and enters into another contract before July 1, 2012. All current teachers become established teachers on July 1, 2012.
C. Professional Teacher (IC 20-28-6-7.5) – A teacher who receives a rating of effective or highly effective for at least 3 years in a 5-year (or shorter) period. A professional teacher becomes probationary if he/she receives a rating of ineffective or 2 consecutive ratings of improvement necessary.

Contract Cancellation Grounds (IC 20-28-7.5-1)
A. Probationary Teacher
1. One (1) ineffective rating
2. Two (2) consecutive years of improvement necessary
3. Justifiable decrease in teaching positions – After June 20, 2012, RIF’s in positions must be based on performance and not seniority Bluffton-Harrison Metropolitan School District
4. Any reason considered relevant to the school’s interest

B. Established/Professional Teacher
1. Justifiable decrease in positions – After June 30, 2012, RIF’s in positions must be based on performance and not seniority
2. Immorality
3. Insubordination
4. Incompetence
a. Two (2) consecutive years of ineffective ratings; or
b. Ineffective or improvement necessary in three (3) years of any 5-year period
5. Neglect of duty
6. Certain felony convictions
7. Other good and just cause

Monday, May 7, 2012

N-B Video: It's never too late to learn

Amy Chaplin visited the Wells County Senior Expo this year to promote a new business — teaching piano to those who think they're "too old to learn." (Video by Dave Schultz)

N-B Video: Remembering the forgotten

Matt Hartsell, founder and executive director of Forgotten Children Worldwide, takes Bluffton on a tour of the facility's new headquarters at 650 N. Main St. Saturday. Learn more in the Monday, May 7, News-Banner. (Video by Chet Baumgartner)

Friday, May 4, 2012

All creatures great and small

Smokey is a 3-year-old gray tabby spayed female. She is declawed on all four paws. She is a real lover. Housecat only.

Daisey is a 3-year-old female Beagle. She is a very nice girl.

Scotch is a 1-year-old black/white DSH neutered male. He is current on vaccines and microchipped. Scotch is a sweetheart!

And while were discussing animals, enjoy this little taste of spring, captured by Glen Werling, outside our office.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

N-B Video: "Yankee Doodle" comes to River Terrace

Students from Bluffton-Harrison Elementary School visit River Terrace and later Christian Care to sing to the residents on Wednesday, May 2. (Video by Glen Werling)

Bridging the generation gap

Bluffton High School students traveled to River Terrace Wednesday to meet with residents after the students helped transcribed their one-page biographies into a digital format. Learn more in the Thursday, May 3, News-Banner.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Wells County gets new flood plains maps

Homeowners might themselves in a new flood plain, after state officials unveiled to the public Tuesday preliminary flood plain maps created using new technology. Learn more in the Wednesday, May 2, News-Banner, but to see the maps, click on the following links.
For a written summary of changes, click here. (Source: Indiana Department of Natural Resources). To learn more about flood insurance, click here.

State award Northern Wells school district $70,000

Through a $70,000 state grant, Northern Wells school officials hope to make its special-education curriculum a little less special — giving iPads to students with physical and cognitive disabilities to keep them in the classrooms learning the same lessons as their peers.

To earn the grant, though, school staff had to submit a proposal to the State's Department of Education, containing the following goals:

Goal #1:
To create a highly effective differentiated learning environment that increases the number of students with special needs who score within the average range in literacy and math assessments, by implementing the personal digital assistant concept using iPad tablet technology.

  • Research and develop a drop-down search database of apps for each ability level and need of student and distribute to classroom and special education teachers for collaboratively designing their instruction.
  • Provide classroom sets of 30 iPads to each elementary special education program.
  • Identify the individual student ability levels and customize the iPad accordingly by carefully selecting apps to support general; education and remediation activities.
  • Customize activities using the designated curricular app database to personalize learning for each student.
  • Develop individualized assistive technology profiles for each student to assist with the transition to secondary education and beyond.
  • 80% of our special education students will score within the average range of grade level, district and state assessments.
  • 80% of our special education students will receive 90% of their instruction within the general education setting.

Goal #2:
To create a highly engaging 21st century instructional program that supports diverse learners by, increasing student access to curriculum through digital content.

  • Research, identify, and purchase/borrow a “high interest” collection of e-texts that will help meet the needs of students in kindergarten through fifth grade.
  • Research, identify, and subscribe to online digital content that increases the modalities in which our students receive instruction.
  • Train to teachers to create digital content that is aligned to Common Core Standards and used to meet the needs students with special needs within all learning environments.
  • 90% of all classrooms will provide digital content and e-texts to students with special needs within daily instructional frameworks.
  • 90% of students with special needs will demonstrate independence within learning environments as evidenced by student perception (student survey) and decreased direct support (staff survey.)

Goal #3:
To develop universal design for learning frameworks aligned to Common Core Standards in which students with special needs demonstrate increased independence and self-advocacy within the learning environments.

  • Train teachers in the principles of Universal Design Learning and the use of assistive technology solutions in the development of Common Core Standards based learning.
  • Provide teachers (general and special) collaboration/planning time to design frameworks for learning aligned to the Common Core Standards that overcome the learning barriers of students with special needs.
  • 100% of curriculum frameworks designed will included identification of barriers to learning and identify resources/solutions for overcoming those barriers.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Vandals strike cars in Bluffton

At least a dozen vehicles were spray painted either Sunday night or early Monday morning, and police are searching for the person or people who did it.

To learn more about the vandalism, see the Tuesday, May 1, News-Banner, but if your vehicle is ever vandalized, wikiHow offers advice as to how to get it off. We can't verify that these tricks work, but it provides food for thought.

More photos from the mink farm fire

Photos by Glen Werling. Learn more in the Tuesday, May 1, News-Banner.