On the Beat in Bluffton

Saturday, June 30, 2012

N-B Video: Surprise storm plows through county

Learn more in the Saturday, June 30, News-Banner. (Video by Dave Schultz)

See photos of the damage in our latest photo slideshow at www.news-banner.com.

Thursday, June 28, 2012


Scooter is a 3-year-old orange DSH, female.

Lucky is an 11 year old Chihuahua, male. He is very fiendly and happy to meet everyone!

Roggin is a 8-month-old Black DSH, male. Both he and Scooter are very loving.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

N-B Video: Gubernatorial candidate unveils new policy in Ossian

U.S. Rep. Mike Pence, who is the Republican candidate for governor, discusses business regulations while visiting Ossian Tuesday, June 26. Learn more in the Wednesday, June 27, News-Banner. (Video by Chet Baumgartner)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Ossian passes park regulations

The Ossian Town Council passed Ordinance 12-6-3 Monday night, establishing rules and regulations for parks in Ossian. The ordinance regulates those areas are defined as, but not limited to, "any lands, buildings, structures, waters, parks, walking trails, drives and roadways within all designated parks in the Town of Ossian ..."

Learn more in the Tuesday, June 26, News-Banner.

The rules that follow have been summarized from the ordinance:
  • When they are closed to the public, no one is allowed in these parks and no vehicles can be parked in these areas.
  • Trash should be disposed of in provided receptacles.
  • The defined areas, including signs and other fixtures, may not be altered, removed or defaced.
  • Wildlife found in these areas cannot be disturbed or removed.
  • No swimming is allowed in any waters located in any park.
  • Continuous supervision is required of pets, including "preventing or promptly repairing any damages caused by the pet and picking-up and disposing of any excrement dropped by the pet."
  • Camping is not permitted in any town park property.
  • No fires can be built or maintained in a park, with the exception of the use of a grill, which must be monitored.
  • No one is allowed to "solicit, advertise, sell, photograph or promote for sale any commercial product or event within an park or other recreational area" in Ossian without written consent from the town manager. This includes distribution and posting of flyers and other written material.
  • The speed limit for vehicles and bicycles is 15 mph, unless posted otherwise.
  • No motorized vehicle, bicycle, skateboard or likewise device is allowed on trails designated for pedestrians.
  • Prohibited activities include: littering, using park equipment or structures for anything other than their intended purpose, entering areas posted as closed to the public, and engaging in threatening or indecent language intended to disrupt the public peace. Children under 10 must be accompanied by an adult.
  • The possession, consumption, selling or exchanging of alcoholic beverages on park property is not permitted.
  • The possession or use of a weapon on park property is not permitted. This is defined as an object that is or is ordinarily used to cause serious bodily injury. ("This prohibition excludes duly sworn Ossian Police Officers or duly sworn police officer located in the State of Indiana.")
  • No registered sex offender is permitted on park property.
  • Violations of the above rules, with two exceptions, will result in a $25 fine on first offense and $50 for each following offense. The exceptions are violating the rules regarding the possession or use of alcohol or a weapon, which will result in a fine of $100 for the first offense and $200 for each following offense.
  • In addition to these fines, "any person who damages park property is subject to payment of restitution in an amount equal to the Town of Ossian's cost to repair said damage."
  • The Ossian Department of Park and Recreation and its agent ("specifically including but not necessarily limited to any member of the Ossian Police Department") can remove or exclude from park property anyone whom said representative believes is "acting in such a way as to endanger the health or safety of any other park user or to be acting in such a way as to prevent the use and enjoyment of the park by another park user," according to the ordinance. "No person who is removed or excluded from the park shall reenter the park within 24 hours after the original removal or exclusion."

Bluffton Honor Guard presents colors in Washington, D.C.

The Bluffton Police Department Honor Guard presented the colors in Washington, D.C., in March during the National League of Cities' annual meeting. Mayor Ted Ellis, president of the league, arranged for the Honor Guard to present. Learn more in the Tuesday, June 23, News-Banner. (Photos provided)

The menace is coming

Learn how Wells County residents Dennis Kammerer Sr. and Ronald McDonald turned this retired police motorcycle into the "Red Menace." See the Tuesday, June 26, News-Banner. (Photo provided)

Monday, June 25, 2012

N-B Video: Shall we gather at the (Wabash) River

Neil Ainslie, the acting water quality manager for the Upper Wabash River Basin Commission, discusses the sanitary conditions of the Wabash River after a program Saturday, June 23, to educate the community about the river. Learn more in the Monday, June 25, News-Banner. (Video by Dave Schultz)

N-B Video: BHS grad creates rosary path

Robin Butler, a 2012 Bluffton High School graduate, is earning her Girl Scouts Gold Award – the highest award a Girl Scout can get – by creating a rosary path at St. Joseph Catholic Church. She hopes the project will be completed by the end of July. Watch as Robin and her family construct the path, and then take a online stroll down the path. Learn more in the Monday, June 25, News-Banner. (Video by Jessica Williams)

Friday, June 22, 2012


Love is a 2-year-old gray DLH, spayed female. She is current on vaccines and is very loving.

Charcoal is an 8-month-old black DSH, male. He is very friendly and loves attention.

Vera is a 4-month-old Shepherd/Chow mix, female. She is a very friendly girl.

Think you know Ouabache State Park? Trivia answers

In honor of Ouabache State Park's 50 years of state park designation, we presented several trivia questions yesterday, provided by Scott Crossley, park manager.

Here are the questions (in case you forgot) and the answers:

Q. How large is the park (in acres)?
A. 1,104

Q. How large is Kunkle Lake (in acres)?
A. 25

Q. How many bison does the park have?
A. 10

Q. Around what year did the park get the bison and from where?
A. About 1935, Yellowstone National Park

Q. Which group built the state park? (Hint: It's not the DNR.)
A. Civilian Conservation Corps

Thanks for taking our trivia quiz.

For more information about the park's celebration, see the Thursday, June 21, News-Banner.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Think you know Ouabache State Park?

Ouabache State Park is celebrating 50 years of state park designation with 10 days of events for the community.

Perhaps, though, you already knew that. Perhaps you think you know the park? Well then, take a crack at the following trivia questions – provided by Scott Crossley, park manager – and check back here tomorrow for the answers.

Q. How large is the park (in acres)?

Q. How large is Kunkle Lake (in acres)?

Q. How many bison does the park have?

Q. Around what year did the park get the bison and from where?

Q. Which group built the state park? (Hint: It's not the DNR.)

For more information about the park's celebration, see the Thursday, June 21, News-Banner.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

B-H schools create compensation plan for teachers

Under a new compensation model the Bluffton-Harrison school board approved Monday, June 18, teachers will now essentially have to earn 50 percent of any prospective pay raises by how they teach in the classroom, not just how long they've taught in it.

Specifically, teachers can earn up to eight points, or "units," in certain categories, and each unit will garner them a set amount of cash, based on how much revenue the district has to dedicate to pay raises after paying for other expenses.

Learn more in the Tuesday, June 19, News-Banner.

1. Teacher Evaluation (added to base)
• Teachers rated Highly Effective on the evaluation instrument = 4 units
• Teachers rated Effective on the evaluationinstrument = 3 units
• Teachers rated Improvement Necessary or Ineffective = 0 units for all categories
• For more about the evaluations, see the Tuesday, May 8, News-Banner and click here.

2. Experience (added to base)
• Minimum 120 paid days in the previous school year = 1 unit

3. Education (added to base)
• Earn a minimum of 18 Professional Growth Points (PGPs) during the previous school year = 1 unit
Where “previous school year” is defined as the time period between June 1, 2012 and June 30, 2013 for compensation attributable to the 2013-2014 school year. For compensation attributable to each school year following the 2013-2014 school year, the term “previous school year” is defined as the time period between July 1 through June 30.

4. Exemplary Teacher Attendance (stipend)
• 97% (no more than 5.5 absences on a 185 day contract) = 1 unit
• Excludes FMLA qualified leave, bereavement leave, and professional development leave

5. Extraordinary Service (stipend)
• Teachers who are recognized in the current contract year by state or nationally recognized education organizations = 1 unit
• Teachers serving in voluntary building or district leadership positions who exhibit extraordinary efforts above and beyond normal expectations as agreed upon with the prior approval of building or district administrators = 1 unit

Bluffton-Harrison Business Manager and Transportation Director Brad Yates proposed the following hypothetical payment plan, based on each unit being worth $175.67.

Big wheel keeps on turnin'

More Touch a Truck photos from Saturday, June 16. (Photos by Chet Baumgartner)

This year's participants were:
  • Bluffton Animal Shelter
  • Wells County EMS
  • Nesco
  • Minnich
  • Bluffton Street Department
  • Noble
  • Jim Sturgin
  • Brickley
  • S.R. Schaefor
  • Carl Thompson brought a tractor
  • B. Osborn brought a trailer
  • Habig
  • Bluffton Electric Department
  • Outdoor Concepts
  • Bluffton Fire Department
  • L.A. Brown
  • B. Hanson brought a school bus
  • Hiday
  • Bluffton Water Department
  • Bluffton Police Department
  • Erie Haven Cement Mixer
  • Drags not Drugs (they gave away a bike)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Aloha from the BHS band

Here are some photos from the Bluffton High School band's trip to Hawaii.

Oh we've got a lovely convoy

The Bluffton Parks and Recreation Department held its annual Touch a Truck event at the Washington Commons Saturday, June 16. We'll have more photos on tomorrow's blog. (Photos by Chet Baumgartner)

Friday, June 15, 2012

N-B Video: Bringing the Music Man to life

"Music Man Junior" director Linda Baller congratulates her actors and actresses after the successful dress rehearsal of the production. The show will be presented on the stage of the Life Church, 428 S. Oak St., at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at 4 p.m. Sunday. (Video by Dave Schultz)

Racing to Bluffton

The Bluffton Department of Parks and Recreation are introducing two new races to Bluffton this year: a 5K run and a 20K bicycle run. The bike race begins and end at the Bluffton Middle School tennis court. The run will start on Washington Street and finish on the Rivergreenway.

Learn more in the Friday, June 15, News-Banner.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

BHS students say "aloha" to Hawaii

About 50 members of the Bluffton High School band, as well as about 21 adult chaperones, are traveling to Hawaii for seven days. The following activities come from their travel agency's itinerary. Learn more in the Wednesday, June 13, News-Banner.

Thursday, June 14
  • 8 a.m. — Start our adventure with the Grand Alii Tour, a narrated drive across the Koolau Mountains to the tropical Windward side of O’ahu. Includes brief stop at the Nuuanu Pali Lookout.
  • 9 a.m. — We are met by our guide, a Polynesian Chief, who will share some of the customs and cultures of the native islanders. We’ll enjoy an educational stroll through botanical gardens and learn to make fire from sticks, husk and open a coconut and much, much more.
  • 10:30 a.m. — It’s not over…. Imagine boarding a raft to access our secluded getaway to Secret Island. Watch out for the live barracuda! The tour includes “fun in the sun” at a private island for the day to include volleyball, canoeing, kayaking, horseshoes, badminton, sunbathing, lazin’ in hammock and more! Also included is a delicious catered lunch!
Friday, June 15
  • 8:30 a.m. — Board buses for transfer to Pearl Harbor to see where history was made. On the way we’ll drive pass the Iolani Palace—the only royal palace on American soil, the King Kamehameha Statue, Hawaii State Capitol, and through China Town.
  • 10:30 a.m. — Pearl Harbor Remember the Heroes Performance Time: You are now officially a part of history! Fort Smith Southside Spotlight Performance is followed by a Wreath Ceremony, and a Flag and Trophy Presentation. After our performance we will have lunch and tour the Bowfin Visitor Center. At the Pearl Harbor’s U.S.S. Bowfin, we’ll go below deck to wind our way through the narrow compartments where the Bowfin’s crew worked, ate and slept though nine harrowing war patrols. You will learn about the Bowfin, which served with great distinction in WWII and earned her nickname “The Pearl Avenger.”
  • Next we head over to the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial Visitor Center and experience the film “Pearl Harbor Story”, the visitor center museum, boarding a Navy launch and entering the memorial. We will witness the actual sunken hull where over 1000 servicemen were entombed during the December 7, 1941 sneak attack on Pearl Harbor. Tour times will be as follows:
  • 1 p.m. — Enter theater for start of Arizona Tour
  • 2:30 p.m. — We’ll board our bus to take the Honolulu City Tour. We’ll drive pass the Iolani Palace—the only royal palace on American soil, the King Kamehameha Statue, Hawaii State Capitol, and through China Town.

Sunday, June 17
4:30 p.m. — Group will meet at the lobby to board bus for a dinner cruise aboard the Alii Kai Catamaran, the largest Hawaiian catamaran in the world. Enjoy one of the best local buffets. Witness the most beautiful shoreline in the world as well as the sunset along Waikiki. The cruise turns into a giant dance party until we hit the dock.

Monday, June 18
8:30 a.m. — Start stretching as we prepare to hike about 3/4 of a mile to the 760 foot summit of the most recognized mountain in the world - Diamond Head Crater! Bring your camera for a fantastic 360 degree view of the southeast coast! Below, we'll see the lighthouse, coral reefs, sailboats, and even surfers on the waves at Diamond Head Beach! Return to hotel approx 11am. 4:30 p.m. — Go Native! Become a part of “America’s Best Luau” as filmed by ABC’s Good Morning America. Feel like “one of the family” at Germaine’s Luau as you learn to dance the popular Hukilau hula. Help yourself to a 16-course, ALL YOU CAN EAT buffet of traditional Island dishes and continental cuisine (for you less adventurous eaters).

N-B Video: Sing along with silly songs at the library

Children's entertainer Tom Sieling performs several childrens songs Tuesday, June 12, to help the Wells County Public Library celebrate its "Dream Big" summer reading program. (Video by Barbara Barbieri)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Fundraiser planned for 19-month-old girl

Friends and family of 19-month-old Lana Singleton are holding a fundraiser at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 16, to help the Singletons cover the medical costs associated with nephrotic syndrome.

According to the American Kidney Fund:

Nephrotic syndrome is a condition in which your kidneys “leak” protein from your blood into your urine. In children, nephrotic syndrome may only be temporary, or it may be an early sign of kidney damage.

Learn about Nephrotic Syndrome in Adults

What is nephrotic syndrome?

Healthy kidneys filter waste and extra fluid from your blood. Your body gets rid of the waste and extra fluid as urine. In nephrotic syndrome, some protein, which normally stays in your blood, gets removed along with the waste. This is a problem, because your body needs protein.

Protein acts like a sponge in your blood. It holds fluid that your body needs inside your arteries and veins. If there is not enough protein, the fluid can leak into other tissues in your body. This can cause edema (swelling). This usually happens around your eyes, face, belly, ankles and feet.

Are there different types of nephrotic syndrome?

Yes. The most common type of nephrotic syndrome in children is called minimal change disease. With minimal change disease, there are very tiny physical changes in the tiny filters (called glomeruli) in the kidneys. These tiny changes can affect how the kidneys work.

Minimal change disease can usually be treated with a medicine called prednisone, but this type of nephrotic syndrome can come back. This called a “relapse.” Most children will grow out of minimal change disease in their teen years.

Other types of nephrotic syndrome can be harder to treat and may cause more serious, long-term problems.

How can I keep my child from getting nephrotic syndrome?

We do not know what causes nephrotic syndrome in children, so we cannot prevent it.

What are the symptoms?

If your child has nephrotic syndrome, you may notice swelling around his or her eyes, face, ankles or feet.

How will I know if my child has nephrotic syndrome?

Your child’s doctor may need to do a few tests to find out if your child has nephrotic syndrome.

  • Urine test: The doctor may test a sample of your child’s urine for protein. If the first test shows a high level of protein, the doctor may want to test the urine again. You may also be asked to check your child’s urine for protein over a couple of days at home. In this case, your child’s doctor will give you directions for how to get and check the urine sample.
  • Blood test: The doctor may also suggest a blood test to look at the levels of electrolytes, protein, creatinine and blood urea nitrogen (BUN) in your child’s blood. These tests can help the doctor learn whether your child has nephrotic syndrome or whether there is another cause for the protein in his or her urine.
  • In some cases, your child’s doctor may suggest a kidney biopsy. This means that a tiny piece of your child’s kidney will be removed and viewed under a microscope. A kidney biopsy can usually be done with a needle and does not require surgery. The kidney biopsy can help show what type of nephrotic syndrome your child has and whether there are any other problems that need to be treated.

Is there a cure for nephrotic syndrome?

There is no cure for nephrotic syndrome, but many children grow out of the disease.

What are the treatments for nephrotic syndrome?

The type of treatment your child will need depends on the type of nephrotic syndrome he or she has. For minimal change disease, the most common treatment is prednisone, a type of steroid. Prednisone helps to keep protein from leaking into your child’s urine. If prednisone does not work, or if its side effects are too much, your child’s doctor may prescribe other medicines.

Other treatments may help control the swelling caused by nephrotic syndrome. A diuretic (“water pill”) can help to get rid of the extra fluid. Low-sodium (low salt) diets can help keep fluid from building up, too. In extreme cases, albumin (a kind of protein), given through an IV can help replace some of the protein in your child’s blood.

If your child’s doctor finds any other problems while testing, those may need to be treated too.

Learn more about the fundraiser in the Tuesday, June 12, News-Banner.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

N-B Video: Readers "Dream Big" at Wells County library

Take a video tour of the "Dream Big" carnival on Wednesday, June 6, to celebrate the Wells County Public Library's summer reading program. Learn more in the Thursday, June 7, News-Banner. (Video by Barbara Barbieri)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Architect presents timeline to renovate Norwell High School

During the Tuesday, June 5, Northern Wells school board meeting, Kari Vilamaa of the architectural firm Barton-Coe-Vilamaa presented the following timeline to complete the $14.9 million high school renovation.

Already done:
  • Group visit May 15 to Carroll High School, Whitko High School, Adams Central
  • Meeting on May 21 with architects, bond counsel and financial adviser.
  • Listening session on May 29 with staff.
  • Meeting on May 30 to discuss food service.
  • Meeting on May 31 to discuss HVAC system options.
  • Meeting on June 4 with leadership group to begin design process.
  • Meeting on June 5 with electric utility to discuss transformer.

Activities in June

  • Develop organization concepts for remodel.
  • Continue weekly design meetings with leadership group.
  • Compile data and begin basic analysis/design of HVAC system.
  • Develop preliminary design for kitchen.
  • Begin discussion about technology.
  • Review construction budget.

Design work will continue through July, August, September and October, Vilamaa said. Learn more in the Wednesday, June 6, News-Banner.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

To tax or not to tax

The Wells County Commissioners are trying to determine how to fund economic development and bridge repair, and on Monday, June 4, they discussed the impact of a cumulative capital development tax, which officials could use for infrastructure and to free up economic development money.

Wells and Huntington counties are currently the only counties in the surrounding area to not have a CCD tax, according to figures from the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance.

To compare nearby counties' taxes to Wells', click on the images below. Note that this does not include other financial bodies, such as towns and school corporations, in the counties.

Learn more in the Tuesday, June 5, News-Banner.

Monday, June 4, 2012

N-B Video: 182 students graduate from Norwell High School

Congratulations to the Norwell High School class of 2012. Learn more in the Monday, June 4, News-Banner. (Video by Glen Werling)

N-B Video: A candle for the Southern Wells graduates

The 63 graduating students of Southern Wells light a candle to end the 2011-2012 school year and their careers at Southern Wells. Learn more in the Monday, June 4, News-Banner. (Video by Dave Schultz)

Friday, June 1, 2012

"Party Like a Princess" during the 2012 Wells County 4-H Fair

"Party Like a Princess" is a new event for girls ages 4 through 8 during this year's Wells County 4-H Fair.

Participants will be able to mingle with Miss Wells County Pageant contestants and make sashes. The girls can then sing and dance with "Cinderella" and walk across the stage for introductions.

Only the first 25 registrants will be accepted.
  • To download the form, click here.
  • To apply to be Miss Wells County, click here.
For more information, see the Friday, June 1, News-Banner.


Evans Tree Work relocates a sculpted tree on the Chuck Frauhiger property Thursday, May 31. The Panhandle Eastern Pipe Line Co. paid to have the tree removed as the the company is clearing its right of way in Wells County. Learn more in the Friday, June 1, News-Banner. (Photos by Jessica Williams)

Fire up the barbecue and not the house

From the National Fire Protection Association, just in time for summer:

U.S. fire departments responded to an average 8,200 home fires (2005-2009) involving grills, hibachis, or barbeques per year, including an average of 3,400 structure fires and 4,800 outside fires. These fire incidents have resulted in an annual average of 15 civilian deaths, 120 reported civilian injuries, and $75 million in direct property damage, according to the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) Home Fires involving Cooking Equipment Report.

“As summer approaches, the threat of grilling fires is becoming more prevalent,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of Communications. “Although grilling fires are more common in warmer months, it is important to remember that grilling fires do occur throughout the entire year and simple steps can be taken to avoid them.”

July is the peak month for grills fires, accounting for 18 percent of all home fires involving grills, including both structure and outside fires. June and May follow closely with 14 percent and 13 percent respectively.

The NPD group reports that more people are grilling all year round, showing that nearly one-third (38 percent) of American households had at least one meal cooked on an outdoor grill in an average two-week period during the year. Even in the winter months of December, January and February, one-quarter (27 percent) had eaten at least one grilled item in a 14-day period.

“Grilling during the warmer months, or throughout the year, is a welcome sight at cookouts,” Carli said. “But fire anywhere else can make your barbeque memorable for all the wrong reasons. By reviewing grilling safety tips this season and taking precautions, you can prevent home grilling fires.”

Other key findings in this report include:
  • Five out of every six grills involved in home fires (84 percent) were fueled by gas while 13 percent used charcoal or other solid fuel.
  • More than one quarter (29 percent) of the home structure fires involving grills started on a courtyard, terrace or patio.
  • In 2009, 17,700 patients went to the emergency room because of injuries involving grills.
  • Children under the age of five account for almost one-quarter (22 percent) of all thermal grill burns.
NFPA is offers the following safety tips:
  • Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors.
  • The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
  • Keep children and pets away from the grilling area.
  • Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill.
  • Never leave your grill unattended.

For more information, visit www.nfpa.org/grilling.