On the Beat in Bluffton

Thursday, September 27, 2012

School officials contemplate changing senior year

Indiana's Education Roundtable, an advisory group who help form education policy and legislation, approved Wednesday a resolution that encourages educators to use a series of assessments to determine if college-bound students are ready for college.

Furthermore, if students don't pass the tests, they might need to alter their senior years to take remediation courses.

Learn more about the meeting in the Thursday, Sept. 27, News-Banner. Also, the Department of Education regularly tracks college and career readiness among graduates, including those in Wells County. To see the most recent reports, click on the links below.

Note that the most recent data is for 2010.

The Department of Education also released the following data in regards to SAT scores.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Head of public instruction gives annual "State of Education" address

Dr. Tony Bennett, superintendent of public instruction in Indiana, talked about past reform and offered a preview of possible future reform during his third-annual speech. To learn which ideas could most impact Wells County's public schools, see the Wednesday, Sept. 26, News-Banner. To view the entire speech, click here.

Roembke Manufacturing celebrates 35 years of business

John Roembke, CEO of Roembke Manufacturing and Design, shows off one of the molds in his business. The bodies of the prongs he is showing are usually heated up to 400 degrees to keep the plastic flowing, but the tips are insulated to keep them at 50 degrees so that the plastic can harden. Learn more about his business, and its 35th anniversary, in the Wednesday, Sept. 26, News-Banner. (Photo by Mark Miller)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

ADA compliance could cost Ossian

Recently, the Northeast Indiana Regional Coordinating Council, an economic development consortium, undertook a study of Ossian's sidewalks to see how many of them comply with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, after Town Manager Luann Martin received an e-mail state that the federal government would start cracking down on communities that don't comply.
At the Monday, Sept. 24, Ossian Town Council meeting, NIRCC presented the following map. According to the key, the red and pink sidewalks are the worst. For instance, according to the study, a pink sidewalk has "multiple major problems, possibly impassible for wheelchairs." However, it hasn't been determined which sidewalks will be replaced or when, and the red and purple sidewalks might not be the first to be replaced due to a number of variables.

Learn more in the Tuesday, Sept. 25, News-Banner.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Senate seeks interns for 2013 session

From the office of State Sen. Travis Holdman:

College students, graduate students or recent college grads who are interested in gaining valuable, hands-on experience in state government should consider applying for an internship with the Indiana Senate Republicans.
Benefits include:
  • Earn a $700 biweekly stipend.
  • Eligible to earn academic credit through their college or university.
  • Apply for academic scholarships.
  • Network in a professional environment.
  • Internships are full-time positions that begin in late December and conclude at the end of the legislative session in April.
Legislative interns are paired with state senators and directly assist in the law-making process while performing a variety of tasks. Communications interns work with press secretaries, policy analysts or multimedia specialists in the Senate Communications Office.

For more information about the legislative internship or to apply, click here.

Click here for additional information about internship opportunities in the Senate Communications Office.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


Ava is a 6-year-old German shepherd female. Very very sweet girl!

Spooky is a 8-year-old black tabby spayed female. She is declawed in all paws. Loves people! Bella does not do well with other cats.

Bella is a 2-year-old tiger DSH spayed and declawed female. She is super friendly and loves attention.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

N-B Video: Democratic candidate visits Street Fair

John Gregg, who is running for the Indiana governor's seat, visited the Bluffton Free Street Fair for its annual parade. Learn more in the Wednesday, Sept. 19, News-Banner. (Video by Dave Schultz)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Indiana State Police to partner with DEA in fifth drug take back day

From the Indiana State Police:

On Saturday, September 29th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Indiana State Police and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will give the public another opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. Bring your medications for disposal to the Indiana State Police Post located at 5811 Ellison Road. The service is free, anonymous and no questions will be asked.

According to DEA (Fort Wayne) Group Supervisor Stephen T. Ribolla, last April Americans turned in 552,161 pounds—276 tons—of prescription drugs at over 5,600 sites operated by the DEA and nearly 4,300 state and local law enforcement partners. In its four previous Take Back events, the DEA and its partners took in over 1.5 million pounds—nearly 775 tons—of pills.

This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines—flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash—both pose potential safety and health hazards.

Four days after the first event, Congress passed the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010, which amends the Controlled Substances Act to allow an “ultimate user” of controlled substance medications to dispose of them by delivering them to entities authorized by the Attorney General to accept them. The Act also allows the Attorney General to authorize long term care facilities to dispose of their residents’ controlled substances in certain instances. DEA is drafting regulations to implement the Act. “Until new regulations are in place, local law enforcement agencies like the Indiana State Police and the DEA will continue to hold prescription drug take-back events every few months” said Ribolla.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Synthetic pot believed cause of crash

An Ossian man was arrested Monday afternoon following a single-car accident on Ind. 1 between 300N and 350N, and officers charged him with driving while intoxicated and possession of a synthetic cannabinoid.

Though state legislators passed a law this past session that more comprehensively bans the drugs, commonly called bath salts or spice, recently the attorney general made the following announcement.

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana retailers can expect a formal notice and warning from state and local officials that continued synthetic drug sales could cost them their business.

Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry and Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller teamed up today to launch initiatives aimed at getting synthetic drugs like “bath salts” and “spice” off retailers’ shelves. According to a new state law, retail merchants – like smoke shops and convenience stores – caught selling the drugs will face penalties including the loss of their retail merchant certificate of business for one year.

“In joining forces with the Indiana Attorney General, we are sending a message that we will not tolerate the distribution of such obviously dangerous drugs in our community,” Curry said. “We are determined to put an end to the sale of synthetic drugs, and we will pursue all available remedies at our disposal including criminal prosecution.”

Curry said the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office is coordinating with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department to hand-deliver a warning letter to central Indiana retailers to put them on notice that his office will aggressively prosecute any person or business involved in the sale of these dangerous substances. Even if the chemical composition of such items does not match the current statutory definition of synthetic drugs, Curry will still pursue prosecution under laws that prohibit dealing in a substance represented to be a controlled substance or dealing in a look-a-like substance.

Synthetic drugs are made to mirror the highs associated with marijuana or cocaine, but sold openly under the guise of “plant food,” “bath salts,” “potpourri,” “incense” or “spice.” While the packaging is labeled not for human consumption the products are often taken orally, inhaled or injected. These drugs can cause dangerously high body temperatures, racing heart rates, high blood pressure, and permanent organ damage, and the psychotic effect of these substances can last for several days.

“This collaborative effort between state and local officials is intended to send a strong message to businesses who continue to sell synthetic drugs despite the law and the risks to the public,” Zoeller said. “Law enforcement and health officials agree that the danger of having these drugs in the open marketplace and available to the public is significant. It is our responsibility to use the resources available to prevent these unregulated and illegal drugs from being available on the shelves at the corner store.”

The Indiana Attorney General’s Office, Indiana State Police, Indiana State Department of Health, Indiana Department of Revenue, Indiana Board of Pharmacy and Indiana Sheriffs Association have also joined forces on the state level to issue a legal notice to all Indiana retailers.

Zoeller said this statewide notice details the penalties and consequences for legal violations in relation to synthetic drug production and distribution. The document also emphasizes that retailers’ reliance on packaging representations, supplier representations and lab reports are done at their own risk.

The Attorney General’s Office is also asking retailers to sign a “Synthetic Drug Community Protection Agreement” to stop selling the illegal products and relinquish related inventory to the Drug Enforcement Administration. If the agreement is violated, the document will be used to establish the owner’s knowledge of and intent to violate applicable Indiana and federal law.

State legislators added bath salts and more than 60 other substances this year to the list of banned synthetic drugs. Zoeller said criminals alter the chemical make-up of the drugs to include substances not on the list to skirt the law. To help combat this problem the Indiana Board of Pharmacy now has rulemaking authority to add any substances that have been listed by other states or the federal government.

In June, Zoeller hosted an inter-state summit in Evansville to tackle the growing threat of synthetic drugs and small-batch methamphetamine production. Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, law enforcement authorities, public health experts and prosecutors’ offices from both states participated in the meeting. Zoeller said this statewide initiative was developed during that meeting and he plans to continue building partnerships with other prosecutors’ offices and law enforcement groups across the state.

To learn more about the Monday crash, see the Tuesday, Sept. 11, News-Banner.

When legislators were debating the law, Bluffton High School Principal Steve Baker asked them to help him protect his students. Though it is now several months old, we're republishing the video here.

Monday, September 10, 2012

N-B Video: Let's play water ball

Local fire departments play water ball during the Ossian Days festival Saturday. (Video by Dave Schultz)

N-B Video: How to escape a straitjacket in "15 seconds"

Magician Jim Barron entertains during the National Neighborhood Day celebration at Kehoe Park Sunday.The act was preceded by a "Picnic and Pedal" event that drew about 60 cyclists. (Video by Dave Schultz)

Friday, September 7, 2012


Bluffton's creepy-crawly pet population made the news Friday, with bees swarming in the parking lot of Walmart and a case of West Nile confirmed in Wells County, though officials don't know if a mosquito bite caused it. Learn more in the Friday, Sept. 7, News-Banner.

However, if you want a more cuddly pet, see this week's pets for adoption.

Lucky is a 9-year-old DSH, neutered male. Lucky is declawed on all four paws. Housecat only!

Sebrina is a 4-year-old German short-haired pointer/lab mix, female.

Caramel is a 10-week-old DLH, mitten pawed, male.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

N-B Video: Fire heavily damages Vera Cruz home Thursday morning

Learn more in the Thursday, Sept. 6, News-Banner. (Video by Frank Shanly)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Architects reveal more depictions of future high school

Northern Wells school board members took another tour of a hypothetical high school Tuesday as they continued to discuss how to renovate Norwell High School.

Dana Wannemacher of the architectural firm Barton, Coe and Vilamaa presented the following options proposals to the board during their meeting. Learn more in the Wednesday, Sept. 5, News-Banner.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Colavita Time Trials Bike Race coming to Bluffton

From the Wells County Chamber of Commerce:

The Bluffton Parks Department is bringing the Colavita-Zipp Time Trial Series to town on September 16. The race series was founded on providing a professional race experience to anyone with a bicycle. It will bring many visitors to Wells County.

The Chamber of Commerce is putting together visitor bags with coupons, give-a-ways, etc. to be presented to the participants of the race.

If your business would like to include a coupon or item in the visitor bags, please deliver them to the Chamber office by September 7.

We will distribute approximately 250 bags.

These traveling bike races have attracted racers of all age groups, from the experienced to beginner. To register go to www.rocketshipsports.com.

Autocycles land in Bluffton

While Fort Wayne was enjoying an air show Sunday, Bluffton was treated to its own version of a fly-in when over a dozen airplane-shaped Pulse autocycles “flew” into town at noon.

The vehicles, about 16 feet in length and 6 feet wide in a fiberglass body, resemble small two-seater airplanes using a motorcycle engine for power.

Learn more about their visit in the Tuesday, Sept. 4, News-Banner, and to learn more about the vehicles, click here.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

NWCS board to further refine renovation ideas

Members of the Northern Wells school board will continue discussing the renovations to the Norwell High School during their Tuesday, Sept. 4, meeting. Learn more about the potential topics in the Saturday, Sept. 1, News-Banner.

The following illustrations depict the architects initial renderings of how the renovations could transform the high school.