On the Beat in Bluffton

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Bluffton Common Council gets lowdown on proposed housing plans

The representative of a company that wants to build single-family homes in Bluffton near the Willowbrook area for people with reduced income presented the project to members of Bluffton's Common Council Tuesday night, and some of the council members were a tad skeptical.

During the presentation, the representative shared photos of houses developed at Marion Meadows, a 39-unit, affordable single-family recently developed home in Marion, Ohio.

The representative said the company would design Bluffton's houses to match the area, but these photos gave council members an idea of what they could look like. 

Learn more in the Wednesday, Oct. 31, News-Banner.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Mike and Karen Todd to retire as hosts of Gospel Barn

Mike and Karen Todd, who have operated the Gospel Barn for eight seasons, retired at the end of the 2012 season. Starting in 2013, the Shane Brother Quartet members — Rick, Mike and Jeff Shane and Jim Loving — will serve as hosts. Learn more in the Tuesday, Oct. 30, News-Banner.

However, though the hosts are changing, the Todds and the Shane Brothers plan on featuring many of the same groups next year.

• 6 — Freedom
• 13 — Robb Mills Family
• 20 — Dixie Melody Boys Quartet
• 27 — Hoosier Harmony Quartet

• 4 — Blackwood Brothers Quartet
• 11 — Adam's Voice
• 18 — Soul'd Out Quartet
• 25 — Tribute Quartet

• 1 — Southern Sound Quartet
• 8 — Down East Boys Quartet
• 15 — The Whisnants
• 22 — Kingsmen Quartet
• 29 — Conquerers Quartet
• 6 — The Woodsmen Quartet
• 13 — The Calvarymen Quartet
• 20 — All Quartet Night
• 27 — The Brown Family
• Friday, Aug. 2 — The Pfiefers
• 10 — Penny Loafers Quartet
• 17 — The Allen Family
• 24 — The Taylors
• 7 — Chuck Wagon Gang
• 14 — Jeff & Sheri Easter
• 21 — Common Ground
• 28 — Hoosier Harmony Quartet
• 5 — The Crist Family
• 12 — The Browders
• 19 — Mark Trammell Quartet
• 26 — The Ball Brothers Quartet
• 2 — Dixie Echoes Quartet
• 9 — Palmetto State Quartet
• 16 — Heartland Harvest Quartet 

Monday, October 29, 2012

N-B Video: "Tomato Junk" wins annual chili cook-off

Bluffton resident Paul Reiff shares the secret to his winning chili recipe, which claimed the best chili prize at the annual Wells Community Boys and Girls Club chili cook-off fundraiser. Learn more in the Monday, Oct. 29, News-Banner. (Video by Dave Schultz)

Friday, October 26, 2012

N-B Video: 2012 Domestic Violence Candlelight Vigil

The Wells County Domestic Violence Task Force held its annual candlelight vigil Thursday, Oct. 25, to remember the Indiana residents who died because of domestic violence. City attorney Andrew Carnall welcomed the crowd, while the Bluffton High School show choir sang before local boy scouts helped light the candles. Learn more in the Friday, Oct. 26, News-Banner. (Videos and photos by Chet Baumgartner)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Covering up the water tower

Workers cover the Ossian water tower while sandblasting it.


Tequila Rose is a 1 1/2-year-old Chihuahua/Pom mix, female
Gotee is a 8-month-old black/white DSH, male
Scooter is a 5-month-old, black/white DSH, male  
• 50 percent off dog adoptions until Oct 31.
• Low cost spay/neuter clinic scheduled for Nov 27. Call the shelter to see how to sign up your cat. Coat is $50 per cat. Vaccinations optional for $35

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

City officials crunch budget numbers

City officials hope to approve the city's 2013 budget at their Tuesday, Oct. 30, meeting, and Mayor Ted Ellis presented the following proposed numbers and salaries to Common Council members beforehand. Learn more in the Wednesday, Oct. 24, News-Banner. 

• Mayor  $ 722.56 $1,608.28 bi-weekly
• Common Council (five) $3,338.22 $3,338.22 year
• Clerk Treasurer $1,008.77 $1,008.77 bi-weekly per year
• Judge of the City Court $10,225.75
• Member of Board of Public Works & Safety (two) $6,676.46 additional per year
City attorney's office
• City Attorney $396.37 bi-weekly
Clerk-treasurer's office
• Chief Deputy Clerk Treasurer $9.16 per hour
• Deputy Clerk Treasurer/Human Resource $8.89 per hour
• Deputy Clerk Treasurers $8.63 per hour
• Accounts Clerk $7.23 per hour
• Non-classified Part-time $4.76 per hour
• Temporary $9.50 per hour

Police department
• Chief of Police $2,005.03 bi-weekly
• Deputy Chief $1,934.16 bi-weekly
• Detective (Assignment Pay*) $61.31 bi-weekly
• Sergeant (Rank Pay*) $61.31 bi-weekly
• Patrol Officer $1,617.99 bi-weekly
• Patrol Officer on Introductory Status $1,422.28 bi-weekly
• Police Pension Secretary $516.47 per year

Fire department
• Fire Chief $2,005.03 bi-weekly
– Engineer:
• Probationary Engineer $1,477.81 bi-weekly
• Engineer after introductory period $1,505.84 bi-weekly
• Engineer after completing 2 years (w/Board of Works approval) $1,533.87 bi-weekly
• Engineer after completing 3 years (w/Board of Works approval) $1,561.92 bi-weekly
• Engineer after completing 4 years (w/Board of Works approval) $1,589.95 bi-weekly
• Engineer after completing 5 years (w/Board of Works approval) $1,617.99 bi-weekly
• Inspector (1) $61.31 bi-weekly
• Engineer captain - additional compensation $61.31 bi-weekly
• Training Officer $737.81 per year
• Safety Officer $442.67 per year
• Fire Pension Secretary $221.36 per year
• Volunteer Captain Fire Fighters (up to 5) $21.00 per hour plus an additional $58.07 per month
• Volunteer Lieutenant Fire Fighter (up to 4) no additional pay
– Volunteer Fire Fighters (33)
• Introductory Year $13.24 per hour
• After completing 1 year satisfactory evaluation** $15.01 per hour
• After completing 4 years satisfactory evaluations** $16.42 per hour
• After completing 7 years satisfactory evaluations** $17.62 per hour
• After completing 10 years satisfactory evaluation** $18.82 per hour
• Part-time Rate $10.76 per hour

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

"Boo in Bluffton" needs businesses

From the Mayor Ted Ellis' office:

On Wednesday, October 31st, the City of Bluffton will hold its annual Autumn Adventure, "Boo-In-Bluffton."

Flyers will be inserted in the Bluffton News-Banner and participating businesses will be listed on the City's website at www.ci.bluffton.in.us. All advertising costs will be absorbed by the city at no cost to you.

Boo-In-Bluffton is a great way to provide a safe environment for Trick-or-Treaters.

Trick-or-treaters are encouraged to visit downtown businesses on Halloween night and City Hall between 5:00 pm and 6:00 pm. Businesses outside the central business district can be visited between 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm. Outlying businesses that wish to set up downtown and be included in the 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm time frame please contact the Mayor's office for details.

We hope you can participate and look forward to hearing from you. Please contact Brenda in the Mayor's office BEFORE October 24th, so your business may be listed in the publicity.

Please call 824-1520 or email at mayorsoffice@ci.bluffton.in.us.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Habitat for Humanity holds inaugural car show

The Wells County Habitat for Humanity held its inaugural classic car fundraiser Saturday. More than 20 cars were entered, and show organizers distributed six awards.

Gathering together to ask the Lord's blessing

The Nottingham church celebrated Saturday, gathering together in the repaired and remodeled fellowship hall — five months after a driver ran his pick up truck and trailer through the building. No one was injured, but the accident left large holes on the south and north side.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Education officials discuss graduation waivers

Students who graduate from high school without meeting every requirement might need to further prove they are ready to leave, Bluffton High School Principal Steve Baker said Wednesday.

In anticipation of the 2013 General Assembly, officials with the Indiana Department of Education want to eliminate possible abuse of graduation waivers — passes given to students who pass their classes but do not pass end-of-course assessments, or ECAs.

Learn more about the discussion in the Thursday, Oct. 18, News-Banner. To learn more about graduation requirements for a general education diploma, click here. To learn more about other diplomas, click here.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Northern Wells postpones bid advertisements; still on schedule

Northern Wells school board members delayed advertising bids for the $14.9 high school renovation Tuesday to give administrators and architects time to resolve "really minor details," Superintendent Scott Mills said. The decision, however, should not delay the tentative construction schedule, provided all goes well. Click on the image for more details.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

BHMSD board approves 2013 schedule

Bluffton-Harrison school board members approved a schedule that basically mirrors the schedule they used this year. Learn more in the Tuesday, Oct. 16, News-Banner.
  • January 14th (Board reorganization prior to (1/15/13)
  • January 28th
  • February 18th
  • March 18th
  • April 8th
  • May 6th
  • May 20th
  • June 17th
  • July 15th
  • August 5th
  • August 26th
  • September 16th
  • October 14th
  • November 11th
  • November 25th (possible work session with administrators)
  • December 16th
  • Meeting times at 6 p.m.

N-B Video: iPads digitize curriculum at Bluffton High School

Bluffton High School English teacher Chad Grieser demonstrates to the members of the school board how he uses his iPad in his classroom. School board members also discussed a reduction-in-force policy, enrollment, the 2013 board schedule and more at their Monday, Oct. 15, meeting. Learn more in the Tuesday, Oct. 16, News-Banner. (Video by Chet Baumgartner)

Reduction-in-Force policy to change at Bluffton-Harrison district

Because of state law, public-school districts can no longer lay off the least-experienced teachers with a common license, such as elementary education. Now officials must base their decisions on merit.

To abide by the law, members of the Bluffton-Harrison school board discussed the following policy, though it is not necessarily final. Learn more in the Tuesday, Oct. 16, News-Banner.

Reduction in Force (RIF) Procedure and Recall Professional Staff

RIF Procedure

The following guidelines will replace and supersede all previous guidelines and past practices.

The cancellation of a teacher’s contract due to a decrease in the number of teaching positions shall be determined on the basis of performance on the teacher evaluation rubric.  In the teaching content area to be reduced, a teacher certificated in the area who is rated less effective will be subject to non-continuance or cancellation before a teacher rated more effective will be subject to the same.  The order of effectiveness from least to greatest is as follows:
    •    Ineffective
    •    Improvement Necessary
    •    Effective
    •    Highly Effective

Teacher effectiveness will be considered over a time frame of the past three consecutive years.  If three years of evaluative data is not available, two years or one year of data will be used.  All evaluation data will be data collected while a teacher at Bluffton-Harrison Metropolitan School District.

In cases where the teachers’ effectiveness categories are the same, the Administration will weigh the following factors before making a determination as to which teacher and/or teachers shall be subject to the non-continuance or cancellation, in order of importance:

    •    The academic needs of the students in the school corporation.
    •    Current instructional leadership roles.
    •    Service in extracurricular positions, both paid and voluntary.
    •    Other beneficial services provided to the school district.
    •    Additional certification and licensure.


Teachers whose contracts were non-continued and/or cancelled and who received a rating of Highly Effective or Effective will be considered for re-hire before new applicants are given consideration.  Teachers will remain on the recall list for a period of two years.  After this period, the teacher shall have no recall privileges.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Coming together for chili and community

The town of Ossian came together Saturday for the annual Ossian Fire Department open house and chili lunch. (Photos by Chet Baumgartner)

Saturday, October 13, 2012

N-B Video: American democracy — the elementary version

Fourth-grade students at Bluffton-Harrison Elementary School participate in a mock election Friday, Oct. 12, to help them learn more about the government before the 2012 presidential election. Learn more in the Saturday, Oct. 13, News-Banner. (Video by Chet Baumgartner)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

State delays release of grades for schools

Officials with the Indiana Department of Education recently announced they will publicly release statewide school grades on Oct. 31 — several weeks after they normally release them. 

However, Wells County’s three public-school districts have already received their marks, and while the Northern Wells school district is reviewing its grade, the Southern Wells and Bluffton-Harrison superintendents said they won’t appeal.

You can learn more in the Thursday, Oct. 11, News-Banner, but the DOE has provided the following guide to help teachers, parents and the public better understand the new variables that determine school grades. Click on the images for a better view.

The state also publishes a plethora of past data about school and student performance at http://compass.doe.in.gov/dashboard/overview.aspx.

Adopt a pet

These three kittens are litter mates. They are just 8 weeks old now. They were hand-raised kittens and can only be adopted for indoor housecats.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

City to sell house on Adams Street

As the city of Bluffton was acquiring the right of way for the Adams Street reconstruction, everyone involved in the process realized that the house at 1014 S. Adams St. was in foreclosure. Rather than waiting for the foreclosure process to address the city's need for the right of way, the city went ahead and bought the house.

Now, with the project set for construction, the city wants to sell the house at an auction during the Board of Works meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 13.

Those interested in learning more about the house can view its information through the Wells County GIS by clicking here. Learn more about the right of way in the Wednesday, Oct. 10, News-Banner.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Welcome to Ossian

The Ossian Revitalization Committee is proposing the above design and dimensions for "Welcome to Ossian" signs they want to put on the north and south entrances to the town. They are still designing them, but the committee distributed this initial drawing to the Ossian Town Council Monday to garner their opinions. Learn more in the Tuesday, Oct. 9, News-Banner.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Wells County resident travels to Japan

Wells County resident and traveling nurse Javon Steffen spent almost 90 days this summer traveling through Japan, not as a tourist, she said, but as a novice missionary preparing for the future, and serving God and Christ, she said, by serving people.

In July, she spent five days in the town of Odaka, one of the towns affected by the damage nuclear power plant, and posted the following pictures on her blog.

To learn more about Steffen's trip to Japan, see the May, June and July entries in her blog, www.onegreenbicycle.blogspot.com.

Read more about it in the Monday, Oct. 8, News-Banner.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Girls have a night out

Several local organizations sponsored the "Girls Night Out" event Friday, giving the women of Wells County a chance to walk, dance, and massage the evening hours away. Learn more in the Saturday, Oct. 6, News-Banner. (Photos by Barbara Barbieri)