On the Beat in Bluffton

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Adopt a pet

Lilly is a 2 year old Gray/white DSH, female.

Beaney is a 7 month old white DSH, female.

Snickers is a 6 month old Black DSH, male.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

N-B Video: Wells Chamber of Commerce honors business, citizen and educator of the year

The Wells County Chamber of Commerce honored the citizen, business and educator of the year during its annual banquet and awards program Monday, Jan. 28. Learn more in the Tuesday, Jan. 29, News-Banner. The educator of the year, Southern Wells science teacher Peter Oleson, left before the News-Banner could speak with him. (Videos by Dave Schultz)

Friday, January 25, 2013

USPS is hiring in Indiana

The U.S. Postal Service says it’s hiring 400 new employees across Indiana — including one position in Bluffton.

Potential applicants, however, have until Saturday to apply for the local job, officials say.

To search for jobs, click here.

To learn more about the Bluffton position, click here.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Burglars targeting county, area churches

Huntington County Sheriff Terry Stoffel is seeking the public’s assistance in solving a string of church burglaries.

Stoffel says that 14 churches in Huntington, Wells, Blackford and Grant counties have been burglarized over the past two months.

Most of the victimized churches have been in rural areas, and the crimes have occurred during the evenings, Stoffel says. The thieves have taken musical instruments and electronics from the buildings. Detectives have no leads on either the identity of the thieves or the whereabouts of the stolen items, he added.

Stoffel is asking community members to report any abnormal activity at rural churches, including people loading up items from a church or unknown people at the church.

Anyone noticing any suspicious activity is asked to call the Huntington County Sheriff’s Department at 356-8316.

“We would certainly appreciate their help in this matter,” Stoffel says.

Two churches in Wells County were broken into recently, and items were reportedly taken in one. Learn more about the county burglaries in the Monday, Jan. 21, News-Banner.

Appeal of lagoon citation delayed

The Wells County Board of Zoning Appeals allowed Almco Steel to build a new storage building and Bluffton’s First Church of the Nazarene to erect a new sign Tuesday.

But they didn’t discuss the most controversial topic on the agenda — an alleged zoning violation brewing in a lagoon at 600W and 1100S.

Bruce Leas of Leas Farms, who built and modified the lagoon, was scheduled to appeal the violation at Tuesday’s regular meeting, but he asked the BZA to wait until later.

Since Leas first built the pond that he now wants to transform into a lagoon, his attorneys and county officials have debated if he actually violated ordinances. In particular, Leas contends that, essentially, his lagoon should be grandfathered in, while the county says it shouldn't.

You can read more about the debate in the Wednesday, Jan. 23, News-Banner, as well as two variances the BZA did approve, but for an in-depth look, you can read the attorneys' first and third letter to the county disputing the violation notice and the response of the county, which Area Plan Director Michael Lautzenheiser prepared for Tuesday's meeting.

Monday, January 21, 2013

BHS dances for Riley

Bluffton High School student council members display the grand total raised at the Riley Dance Marathon on Friday, Jan.18. With the help of community and student donations, the BHS student council surpassed their goal and raised $6,269.39 for the patients at Riley Children's Hospital. (Photo provided)

Friday, January 18, 2013

January floods leave distinctive landscape

The twin hydrologic factors of a mid-winter warm spell — rain and melting snow —  combined to raise the Wabash River at Bluffton more than 5 feet over its flood stage this week.

By Thursday, though, Bluffton’s aptly-named River Road was the only thoroughfare that remained closed due to high waters.

However, before the water recedes completely, enjoy these photos from our readers and Facebook friends.

Photo by Sheila Ramseyer

Photos by Peggy Hogsett

New service has replaced the former ‘Lifeline’ alert coverage

Since 1984, Wells County’s senior citizens — and those who love them — have been able to rely on a medical alert system called “Lifeline.”

Not anymore.

Now they have something its operators say is even better.

The county is now using the Wells County Medical Alert System, and though it is similar to  Lifeline, it allows the county to maintain local operation while being more flexible, operators say.

Those looking for extra protection, though, might want to consider the AARP's 22 tips to help avoid a medical emergency.

Also, the website medical-alert-systems-review.toptenreviews.com compares different alert systems for those interested in purchasing their own. The News-Banner cannot verify the reviews, but they provide food for thought.

Learn more about the county's new system in the Friday, Jan. 18, News-Banner.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Wells legislators to hold area town hall meetings

From the office of State Rep. Kevin Mahan:

State Rep. Kevin Mahan (R-Hartford City) and State Sen. Travis Holdman (R-Markle) will be hosting town hall meetings on Saturday, Jan. 19 in Blackford and Grant counties.

What: Town hall with Rep. Mahan and Sen. Holdman
When: Saturday, Jan. 19, 8-9 a.m.
Where: Hartford City Hall, 700 North Walnut Street, Hartford City

What: Town hall with Rep. Mahan and Sen. Holdman
When: Saturday, Jan. 19, 9:30-10:30 a.m.
Where: Montpelier City Hall, 300 West Huntington Street, Montpelier

What: Town hall with Rep. Mahan and Sen. Holdman
When: Saturday, Jan. 19, 11 a.m.-12 p.m.
Where: Gas City Hall, 211 East Main Street, Gas City

Rep. Mahan and Sen. Holdman will be available to listen to constituents, discuss concerns and provide further information on the legislative session. They encourage all members of the community to come out and participate in the discussion.

If you have any questions regarding the locations of the town halls, please contact Shane Springer, Rep. Mahan’s legislative assistant, at (317) 232-9509.  For any media inquiries, please contact Kim Heffner, Rep. Mahan’s press secretary, at (317) 234-9016.

Adopt a pet

Sadie is a female 1-year-old German shepherd/husky mix. Loves to take walks and play.
Beaney is a female 7-month-old white domestic short hair. Very playful!

Tesh is a female 6-month-old tiger-striped domestic short hair. Very affectionate.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Southern Wells sets dates for next school year

Members of the Southern Wells school board approved the following 2013-2014 school calendar during their regular meeting. For more about the meeting, see the Wednesday, Jan. 16, News-Banner.

Click on the image for a larger resolution

N-B Video: City holds live auction to sell real estate

After the city of Bluffton purchased the house at 1014 S. Adams St. to acquire right of way space, members of the Board of Public Works and Safety had BKM Real Estate sell it during their regular meeting. Mayor Ted Ellis said he knows of no other such auction during his tenure. Learn more in the Wednesday, Jan. 16, News-Banner. (Video by Chet Baumgartner)

N-B Video: Norwell High School students help tear down library

During a ceremony Tuesday to celebrate the Norwell High School renovations, school officials let students — and anyone interested — destroy bookshelves still lingering in the soon-to-be renovated library. Construction should start in earnest this month. Learn more in the Wednesday, Jan. 16, News-Banner. (Video by Chet Baumgartner)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Pray ING for the Barkers

Bluffton-Harrison school board members unanimously approved a Family Medical Leave Act for Superintendent Wayne Barker through June 26, after Barker’s wife, Ingrid, was diagnosed with an apparent brain tumor.

Barker has kept the community informed through his Facebook post, and his friends have started using the phrase "pray ING," derived from the first three letters of his wife's name, to encourage him. Even Ingrid and daughter Taylor have purchased bands with the word.

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

Monday, January 14, 2013

State puts B-H on list for teacher pay grants

The Bluffton-Harrison school district could receive an additional $125,000 in state revenue for teacher compensation after Indiana Department of Education officials nominated it to receive part of a new state grant.

According to a release from the DOE, 124 schools applied to receive a portion of the $10 million Excellence in Performance for Teachers Grant. DOE officials selected the 40 winners based on their teacher evaluation systems and compensation plans.

According to the release, the winners were:

Click on the image for a larger resolution

Saving for a little girl’s transplant

The Bluffton Lions Club has announced that two-year-old Lana Singleton of Bluffton will be the 2013 recipient of the money raised during the Little Sweetheart Contest set for Feb. 4 through Feb. 15.

She was diagnosed with Nephrotic Syndrome, which included a strand called Diffuse Mesangial Hypercellularity. Translation: her kidneys were filtering too much and she was urinating out needed protein and blood cells.

The following illustration, provided by the Nephcure Foundation, further explains what happens.

Learn more in the Monday, Jan. 14, News-Banner.

Click on the image for a larger resolution

Friday, January 11, 2013

Bluffton couple leaving for Haiti

Bluffton residents Bruce and Lisa Aschliman have resigned from their full-time jobs to work as missionaries in Haiti with the Bluffton-based organization Loving Shepherd Ministries.

You can learn more about their plans in the Friday, Jan. 11, News-Banner, but during another trip there, the couple took the following photographs. 

Senate update from Travis Holdman

Sen. Travis Holdman recently sent out the following legislative update from his office:
Indiana lawmakers returned to the Statehouse this week to begin the 2013 legislative session.

The next four months will be busy and productive as members of the General Assembly carefully craft a two-year state budget to fund essential services while continuing to live within our means. By law, the 2013 legislative session must be completed no later than April 29.

In addition to voting on a state budget, I am authoring several legislative proposals that may be heard by the General Assembly, including:
  • Senate Bill 114 - Requires child care provider applicants to undergo a national criminal history background check.
  • Senate Bill 125 - Establishes the Committee on Child Services Oversight.
  • Senate Bill 164 - Allows a prosecuting attorney to request a juvenile court to authorize a petition that a child is in need of services.
To learn more about the legislative process and how a bill becomes a law, click here.

I also look forward to serving on five standing committees, where I will examine a wide range of important issues facing Hoosiers:
I am excited to get back to work for you. Please contact me any time:

Email: Senator.Holdman@iga.in.gov
Phone: 1-800-382-9467
Mail: Sen. Travis Holdman, Indiana State Senate, 200 W. Washington St., Indianapolis, IN 46204.

Arrests quell 4-county burglary ring

Alert citizenry and smart detective work have landed three people in jail and will face Class B felony charges in connection with the burglary of a Jackson Township residence.

However, Det. Lt. Diane Betz of the Wells County Sheriff's Department said while the arrest of the three suspects in the burglaries in Jackson Township should put an end to their activities, it hasn’t put an end to burglaries in the county.

For tips on how to better prevent burglaries, see our blog entry from September 2011. Learn more about the recent burglaries in the Friday, Jan. 11, News-Banner.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Adopt a pet

Jewels is an 11-week-old female tiger striped domestic short hair.
Bandit is a 3-year-old male black Lab mix.
Oreo is a 9-week-old female black/white domestic short hair.  
Low cost spay/neuter clinic dates are set for Feb. 5 and Feb. 26. half-off cost on both February dates. Cost is $25 a cat. Call the animal shelter at 824-6063 for information on how to schedule an appointment.

N-B Video: Economics professor warns of fiscal iceberg

Jim O'Donnell of Huntington University warns Wells County residents to better understand economic principles to help the nation avoid a fiscal iceberg this year. O'Donnell spoke during the annual economic forecast speech, an annual event sponsored by the Wells County Chamber of Commerce. (Video by Dave Schultz)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Bluffton Common Council looks at redistricting

Mayor Ted Ellis handed out copies of the map above to members of the Bluffton Common Council during Tuesday night’s council meeting. Currently, the Bluffton Lancaster West precinct is divided among three different council districts — District 2 on the west side, District 3 in the triangle-shaped area in the middle, and District 1 on the east side. Under the redistricting proposal Ellis brought to the council, the entire precinct will be placed in District 2.

Sheriff presents yearly report

Wells County Sheriff Monte Fisher presented the department's yearly report of officer activity during Tuesday's County Council meeting. Click here to see how the numbers compare between 2012 and 2011. Learn more about the council meeting in the Wednesday, Jan. 9, News-Banner.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Rep. Lehman to host town hall in Fort Wayne

STATEHOUSE — State Rep. Matt Lehman (R-Berne) will be hosting a town hall meeting on Saturday, Jan. 19 at the Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce.

What: Town Hall with Rep. Lehman
When: Saturday, Jan. 19, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.  
Where: Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce, 826 Ewing Street

Rep. Lehman will be available to listen to constituents, discuss concerns and provide further information on the legislative session. Rep. Lehman encourages all members of the community to come out and participate in the discussion.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Tell Indianapolis what you think

State Sen. Travis Holdman, R-Markle, is asking his constituents to take a legislative survey to "weigh in on the issues," he states in a release. Click here to take the survey.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Stay safe on the ice this winter

The cold and snow has given Indiana a white — and inviting — winter season so far, but it can also be deceiving. On Thursday, A Huntington man almost died after he fell through the frozen surface of a small pond south of Roush Lake in Huntington County.

Emergency personnel rescued him before he drowned, but the best rescue is prevention, and various hospitals, governmental bodies and other organizations have offered a plethora of tips to enjoy the beautiful weather without the danger. 

• Click here and here to learn more about ice thickness and weight, as well as general safety tips.
• Click here to learn how to help rescue someone who has fallen through the ice. Of course, don't forget to cal 911.
• Click here to learn how to survive falling through the ice.

Learn more in the Friday, Jan. 4, News-Banner.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Adopt a pet

Bandit is a 3-year-ld black lab male
Callie is a 6-month-old female domestic short-hair calico kitten.
Lexi is an 8-month-old female Doberman mix.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

House page program now accepting pages for 2013 session

From the office of State Rep. Matt Lehman:

State Rep. Matt Lehman (R-Berne) is encouraging local students to apply for the Indiana House Page Program. The program offers students 13 to 18 years old the chance to visit the Statehouse and see a full day of legislative activity.

“It is a privilege to have our young Hoosiers join me at the Statehouse,” said Rep. Lehman. “The House Page Program gives students the opportunity to see firsthand how our state legislature works and serves as a great opportunity to learn more about Indiana.”

Along with visiting the capitol building and touring such locations as the governor's office, the chambers of the Indiana House and Senate and the Indiana Supreme Court, pages get the chance to witness floor sessions and committee meetings and help staff members.

Students who serve as pages are excused from school for the day. Pages are responsible for their own transportation to and from the Statehouse.

Interested students are encouraged to schedule their visit quickly, as spots fill up fast. Pages are asked to include two different dates when they can come to the Statehouse between the first week in January through April. Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays are the best days to serve. There are no pages on Fridays. To sign up, visit www.in.gov/legislative/house_republicans/off_cms/page or call 1-800-382-9841.

Also, learn more about the upcoming session in the Wednesday, Jan. 2, News-Banner.

Santa comes to Markle

Family Centered Services sponsored its 12th annual Breakfast with Santa Dec. 8 at the Markle United Methodist Church for parents and children who participate in the Wells County Healthy Families program. 

This year 78 people from 21 families attended Breakfast with Santa, which included refreshments, gifts for each child and family and, of course, pictures on Santa’s lap. Donors and volunteers who made this event possible were Markle United Methodist Church, the Huntington North High School family and consumer science class, and Dave Schwartz and Kristi Reinhard.