On the Beat in Bluffton

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Police ID source of courthouse bomb threat

A warrant will be issued for the arrest of a Bluffton woman accused of threatening to detonate a bomb at the Wells County Courthouse last Tuesday.

Tina Snodgrass, 45, will face one count of false reporting, a Class D felony. Bond will be set at $5,000.

Learn more in the Tuesday, April 30, News-Banner, and stay up-to-date with the breaking news by liking us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/newsbanner.

ISTEP glitch affects some local students

As if the commonly called "high-stakes" tests weren't enough on their own, technical glitches interrupted Lancaster Central and Ossian Elementary students, as well as about 27,000 other students statewide, trying to take the ISTEP+ test Monday, and two fourth-grade classes at Ossian rescheduled their first day of testing for Tuesday.

Officials, though, say they've solved the technical problems, but they can't solve pre-test jitters. Perhaps, then, these test-taking tips will help.

Learn more about the technical issues and its impact in the Tuesday, April 30, News-Banner.

State grades Gov. Pence's first legislative session

Pundits, politicians and the public are reviewing Gov. Mike Pence's first legislative session as governor, and the Associated Press says his influence is tough to assess.

Learn more about the freshman governor's priorities in the Tuesday, April 30, News-Banner, but to see how Wells County's legislators' priorities fared, click on the links below. The bills and resolutions that survived are in black text; the ones that didn't are in gray.

And just because legislators finished the session doesn't mean they don't want to hear from you.
  • Representative Matt Lehman represents the majority of Wells County as part of the 79th House District: Nottingham, Harrison, Lancaster Townships and the portion of Jefferson Township east of Ind. 1, including all of incorporated Ossian.
    Home Address: 663 Lehman St., Berne 46711, home phone: 589-8597
    Statehouse Address: House of Representatives, 200 West Washington St., Statehouse, Indianapolis, Indiana 46204-2786. Office phone is (800) 382-9841, direct line: (317) 234-9499.
    Web page: www.IN.gov/H79
    E-mail: H79@in.gov
  • Representative Dan Leonard represents all of Liberty, Union and Rockcreek Townships and the portion of Jefferson Township west of Ind. 1, excluding incorporated portions of Ossian as part of House District 50.
    Home address: 6274 N. Goshen Rd., Huntington 46750, home phone: (260) 356-5122.
    Statehouse Address: House of Representatives, 200 West Washington St., Statehouse, Indianapolis, Indiana 46204-2786. Office phone is (800) 382-9841.
    Web page: www.IN.gov/H50
    E-mail: H50@in.gov
  • Representative Kevin Mahan represents Chester and Jackson townships in Wells County as part of District 31.
    Home address: 305 E. Fairlane Dr.. Hartford City, 47348; (765) 348-8936.
    Statehouse Address: House of Representatives, 200 West Washington St., Statehouse, Indianapolis, Indiana 46204-2786. Office phone is (800) 382-9841.
    Web page: www.IN.gov/H31
    E-mail: H31@in.gov
  • State Senator Travis Holdman serves all of Wells County as part of the 19th Senate District.
    Home Address: 2467 W 1000N, Markle 46770, home phone 638-4420.
    Statehouse Address: Senate, State of Indiana, 200 West Washington St., Indianapolis, Indiana 46204. Office phone (317) 232-9400. Toll-free phone number is (800) 382-9467. 
    Web page: www.in.gov/S19
    E-mail: S19@in.gov 
  • For all state legislators, TDD lines for hearing or speech impaired are (800) 548-9517 (toll-free) or 317-232-0404.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Ind. 1 at 850S closed

County officials have closed Ind. 1 at 850S for 45 days due to culvert work.

N-B Video: Read, aim, SPLAT

Bluffton resident David Williams explains the engineering behind a paintball gun he engineered and how hopes to market to the "hard-core" paintball enthusiasts. Learn more in the Monday, April 29, News-Banner. (Video by Chet Baumgartner)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

N-B Video: Diplomat visits Bluffton High School

Bluffton High School graduate Ryan Feeback spoke with students Wednesday about his duties as a diplomat in Nigeria. Learn more in the Thursday, April 25, News-Banner. (Video by Chet Baumgartner)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Stutzman Announces Wells County Mobile Office Hours in Bluffton Wednesday

Just a reminder, U.S. Congressman Marlin Stutzman’s mobile office will be open Wednesday, April 24 at the Art, Commerce and Visitors Centre in Bluffton. Congressman Stutzman’s staff will be available between 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 pm.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Superintendents’ pay not posted by many Indiana school districts

More than 25 percent of Indiana school superintendents do not comply with a year-old state law requiring them to post their employment contracts on their districts’ websites, a report Sunday said, but Wells County's superintendents do. Click on the links below to see them, and learn more in the Monday, April 22, News-Banner.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Time for spring singing

The Southern Wells, Lancaster and Ossian elementary schools held their annual spring musical programs Thursday, singing songs from "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" to "Ice, Ice Baby."

Lancaster Central Elementary School

Southern Wells Elementary School

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Severe weather overcomes county

It could be a very interesting day, weather-wise. A tornado watch, a chance for severe thunderstorms (separately, of course, from a potential tornado), a wind advisory, and a flood advisory are all in effect for Wells County.

First of all, a TORNADO WATCH is in effect through 5 p.m. Thursday for portions of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio — and Wells County is in the middle of that situation. The National Weather Service advisory, issued at 9:35 a.m. Thursday, calls it "a particularly dangerous situation."

The NWS also says there a MODERATE RISK OF SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS in place for today and tonight — with the most likely time frame being late afternoon through the evening. Widespread wind damage will be possible as the storms move through.

The WIND ADVISORY is in effect along and south of U.S. 30 in northern Indiana. Very windy conditions are expected again Friday. We're talking sustained winds of 20 to 25 mph with gusts up to 45 mph expected ahead of a strong cold front. Gusts in excess of 50 mph will be possible in thunderstorms.

Finally, we get to a FLOOD WATCH, which will be in effect through the weekend. Periods of heavy rainfall — 1 to 3 inches — can be expected this afternoon through Friday morning. The rainfall, combined with the already saturated soils and elevated river levels, will likely lead to significant river flooding throughout the upcoming weekend.

Let's be careful out there, and click here for safety tips from the National Weather Service.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Relay for Life announces schedule

Wells County Relay for Life officials have created the themes for this year's Relay for Life, scheduled for Saturday, June 22. The schedule has not been finalized. Learn more in the Tuesday, April 16, News-Banner.

7 a.m. - Set up facility
8 a.m. - Team Captain meeting
9 a.m. - All teams to DJ tent for a picture
10 a.m. - Opening ceremonies
   - Welcoming by:
   - Pledge of Allegiance
   - National Anthem
   - Survivor lap #1, Committee and Team captains lap
   - Theme lap - Dress as your team’s chosen theme
10:45 a.m. - Track opens to everyone!
11 a.m. - Theme lap - Clowning Around (Best clown attire)
   - Activity - Spaghetti eating contest
   - Song to start lap - Everyone loves a clown by Gary Lewis and the Playboys
11:30 a.m. - Mini Relay (kids get 15 minutes on the track alone)
Noon - Lunch
   - Theme lap - Dress for a sock hop (50’s & 60’s)
   - Activity - Hula hoop contest
   - Song to start lap - At the hop by Danny and the Juniors
1 p.m. - Theme lap -  Dress like cheerleader
   - Activity - Make and perform your own cheer
   - Song to start lap - Mickey by Toni Basil
•Sign up for Corn hole ends
2 p.m. - Theme lap - Dress for a beach party (keep it G)
   - Activity - Frozen T-shirt contest
   - Song to start lap - Surfin’ USA by Beach Boys
3 p.m. - Silent Auction Opens and Campsite Judging
   - Theme lap - Down on the farm (Best country look)
   - Activity - Sack race, wheel barrel race (human), tug of war
   - Song to start lap - Down on the Farm by Tim McGraw
   - Corn Hole Tournament Begins
4 p.m. - Announce Campsite winner
   - Theme lap - Dress like your favorite artist (keep it G)
   - Activity - Scavenger hunt (teams of 4, at least 1 adult per team)
   - Song to start lap - Rockstar by Nickelback
5 p.m. - Corn hole tournament ends
   - Theme lap - Dress like a hippie (70’s)
   - Activity - Name that tune
   - Song to start lap - Staying Alive by Bee Gees
6-8 p.m. - Survivor Reception opens
6 p.m. - Relay’s Got Talent Starts
   - Theme lap - Make your own rock band (include instruments)
   - Activity - Minute 2 Win It games
   - Song to start lap - I Wanna Rock by Twisted Sister
7 p.m. - Silent Auction Closes
   - Theme lap - American Pride
   - Activity - Pie eating contest
   - Song to start lap - Gonna Fly Now by Bill Conti
8 p.m. - Theme lap - Support our Survivors, Best/Most purple attire
   - Activity - Music trivia from all era’s
   - Song to start lap - I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor
8:15 p.m. - Survivor lap #2
   - Medals and picture taken of all Survivors
9 p.m. - LAST chance to buy Luminaries
   - No theme lap or activities
9:15 p.m. - Everyone to the grand stands
9:30 p.m. - Luminary Ceremony
10-11 p.m. - Dance Party
10 p.m. - Theme lap - Best formal outfits
   - Activity - Simon Says
   - Song to start lap - Love Story by Taylor Swift
11 p.m. - Theme lap - Craziest pajamas/sleepwear (keep it G)
   - Activity - Minute 2 Win It (if people want to play)
   - Song to start lap - Mr. Sandman by Chordettes
11:30 p.m. - Closing remarks
• Tear down and clean up

Monday, April 15, 2013

Ossian/Jefferson fire department hold annual pancake and sausage breakfast

You can purchase these and more photos online at our photo gallery at www.news-banner.com later this week.

high school art show returns

The Tri Kappa High School Art Show is now on exhibit at the Arts, Commerce and Visitors Centre in Bluffton. Along with the winners — whose names were published in the Monday, April 15, News-Banner — those students participating in this year's show are

Shelby Alley-Haiflich, Kaelin Brock, Natalie Chemey, Ashlyn DeHoff, Austin Haller, Jessica Louison, Hallie McMillan, Charles Miller, Elizabeth Moser, Chelsey Newman, Morgan Saurer, Madison Stinson, Seth Wilson, all Norwell students; and Kora Grossman, Amy Hogston, Amanda Price, Samantha Rhodes and Kendra Wilson, all Southern Wells students.

Oil/acrylic paintings:
Christian Ladig, BHS; Maggie Billman, Kaelin Brock, Austin Haller, Hallie McMillan, Arissa Moser, all NHS students; and Jacob Alexander, Kora Grossman, Amanda Price, Samantha Rhodes and Elijah Vance, all SWHS students.

Black and white drawings:
Brianna Blanchard, Blake Connelly, Sadey Ertman and Lareesa Ford, all BHS students; Maddy Bates, Alex Brownell, Natalie Chemey, Jamie Cupp, Megan Dailey, Ashlyn DeHoff, Kaylyn Delaney, Halley Edington, Nick Gordon, Austin Haller, Paige Markley, Morgan Saurer, Morgan Welbaum,  Jack Williams, all NHS students; Kara Mounsey, Samantha Rhodes, Ashley Townsend, Kendra Wilson and Aly Zoda, all SWHS students.
Color drawings:
Stevie, Cox, BHS; Natalie Chemey, Megan Dailey, Ashlyn DeHoff, Kaylyn Delaney, Jared Goodspeed, Maggie Billman, Kaelin Brock, Alex Brownell, Nick Gordon, Gabrielle Gould, Austin Haller, Matthew Harris, Paige Markley, Elizabeth Moser, Morgan Saurer, Karlie Thomas and Kieran Vieth, all NHS students; and Ashley Townsend and Kendra Wilson both SWHS students.

Maggie Billman, Austin Haller, Matthew Harris, Cara Looney and Patrick McRoden, NHS; and Emily Aker, Amy Hogston, Amanda Price and Ashley Townsend, all SWHS.

Digital photos:
Sadey Ertman, BHS.

Open mixed media:
Aline Gonzalez, BHS; Courtney DeRemer and Cassandra Heckber, NHS; and Samantha Rhodes, Kendra Wilson and Meghan Yencer, SWHS.

Ethan Kitt, Ashton Krider, Ciara Lovell, Madison Meyer, Ben Miller and Kaitlyn Schriver, all BHS; Courtney DeRemer, Cassandra Heckber, Chris Herman and Austin Haller, NHS; and Kyle Banks, Vincent Berry, Bryant Bradler, Megan Fiechter, Kora Grossman, Chloe Maddox, Amanda Price, Kara Mounsey, Megan Thompson, Will Westfall, Elijah Vance, Samantha Rhodes and Meghan Yencer, all SWHS.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

What will disappear in our lifetime?

This essay — author unknown — has been flying around cyberspace for more than a year, and is referenced in Saturday's Sub (page 4) of our April 13 edition.

9 Things That Will Disappear In Our Lifetime:

1. The Post Office — 
Get ready to imagine a world without the Post Office. They are so deeply in financial trouble that there is probably no way to sustain it long term. Email, Fed Ex, and UPS have just about wiped out the minimum revenue needed to keep the Post Office alive. Most of your mail every day is junk mail and bills.

2. The Check — 
Britain is already laying the groundwork to do away with check by 2018. It costs the financial system billions of dollars a year to process checks. Plastic cards and online transactions will lead to the eventual demise of the check. This plays right into the death of the Post Office. If you never paid your bills by mail and never received them by mail, the Post Office would absolutely go out of business.

3. The Newspaper
 — The younger generation simply doesn't read the newspaper. They certainly don't subscribe to a daily delivered print edition. That may go the way of the milkman and the laundry man. As for reading the paper online, get ready to pay for it. The rise in mobile Internet devices and e-readers has caused all the newspaper and magazine publishers to form an alliance. They have met with Apple, Amazon, and the major cell phone companies to develop a model for paid subscription services. 

4. The Book
 — You say you will never give up the physical book that you hold in your hand and turn the literal pages. I said the same thing about downloading music from iTunes. I wanted my hard copy CD. But I quickly changed my mind when I discovered that I could get albums for half the price without ever leaving home to get the latest music. The same thing will happen with books. You can browse a bookstore online and even read a preview chapter before you buy. And the price is less than half that of a real book. And think of the convenience! Once you start flicking your fingers on the screen instead of the book, you find that you are lost in the story, can't wait to see what happens next, and you forget that you're holding a gadget instead of a book.

5. The Land Line Telephone — 
Unless you have a large family and make a lot of local calls, you don't need it anymore. Most people keep it simply because they've always had it. But you are paying double charges for that extra service. All the cell phone companies will let you call customers using the same cell provider for no charge against your minutes.

6. Music
 — This is one of the saddest parts of the change story. The music industry is dying a slow death. Not just because of illegal downloading. It's the lack of innovative new music being given a chance to get to the people who would like to hear it. Greed and corruption are the problem. The record labels and the radio conglomerates are simply self-destructing. Over 40% of the music purchased today is "catalog items," meaning traditional music that the public is familiar with. Older established artists. This is also true on the live concert circuit. To explore this fascinating and disturbing topic further, check out the book, "Appetite for Self-Destruction" by Steve Knopper, and the video documentary, "Before the Music Dies."

7. Television
 — Revenues to the networks are down dramatically. Not just because of the economy. People are watching TV and movies streamed from their computers. And they're playing games and doing lots of other things that take up the time that used to be spent watching TV. Prime time shows have degenerated down to lower than the lowest common denominator. Cable rates are skyrocketing and commercials run about every 4 minutes and 30 seconds. I say good riddance to most of it. It's time for the cable companies to be put out of our misery. Let the people choose what they want to watch online and through Netflix.

8. The "Things" That You Own
 — Many of the very possessions that we used to own are still in our lives, but we may not actually own them in the future. They may simply reside in "the cloud." Today your computer has a hard drive and you store your pictures, music, movies, and documents. Your software is on a CD or DVD, and you can always re-install it if need be. But all of that is changing. Apple, Microsoft, and Google are all finishing up their latest "cloud services." That means that when you turn on a computer, the Internet will be built into the operating system. So, Windows, Google, and the Mac OS will be tied straight into the Internet. If you click an icon, it will open something in the Internet cloud. If you save something, it will be saved to the cloud. And you may pay a monthly subscription fee to the cloud provider. In this virtual world, you can access your music or your books, or your whatever from any laptop or handheld device. That's the good news. But, will you actually own any of this "stuff" or will it all be able to disappear at any moment in a big "Poof?" Will most of the things in our lives be disposable and whimsical? It makes you want to run to the closet and pull out that photo album, grab a book from the shelf, or open up a CD case and pull out the insert.

9. Privacy
 — If there ever was a concept that we can look back on nostalgically, it would be privacy. That's gone. It's been gone for a long time anyway. There are cameras on the street, in most of the buildings, and even built into your computer and cell phone. But you can be sure that 24/7, "They" know who you are and where you are, right down to the GPS coordinates, and the Google Street View. If you buy something, your habit is put into a zillion profiles, and your ads will change to reflect those habits. "They" will try to get you to buy something else. Again and again.

All we will have left that can't be changed are "Memories"...

 and then probably Alzheimer's will take that away

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Thunderstorms hit county

April showers might bring May flowers, but until then, you can use this previous blog entry to stay alert as severe weather hits the county.

Adopt a pet

Bandit is a 11-month-old orange tabby, female.
Murphey is a 10-month-old Tiger/White domestic short hair male
Bear is a 2-year-old German shepherd/Collie mix, male

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Who wants to play pickleball?

Apparently, the Bluffton Parks and Recreation Department might. City officials will resurface the Lions Park tennis court, and they might pay an additional $200 so people can play the sport on it. 

You can learn more about parks improvements in the Wednesday, April 10, News-Banner, and you can learn more about pickleball by clicking here

What unusual games do you play? Have you created any games? Leave a comment here or "like" us at www.facebook.com/newsbanner.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Storm brings hail to Bluffton

Thanks to News-Banner columnist Alan Daugherty for these photos.

Have your own photos? "Like" us on Facebook and share them on our page.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Trying to quit smoking?

The American Cancer Society has designated the third Thursday in November — this year, that would be Nov. 21 — as its annual “Great American Smokeout” day, when it beats the drums to let people know of the health benefits associated with quitting smoking.

That doesn’t mean the effort begins and ends with that one day.

A study released last week by Ball State University’s Global Health Institute said that more than half of all of Indiana’s smokers — and that’s a pretty good number — tried to quit smoking last year.

For those who still want to quit — and those who want to help them — the Centers for Disease Control offer a multitude of online resources to help.

Learn more in the Monday, April 8, News-Banner.

Friday, April 5, 2013

County board to research new voting system

Members of the Wells County Election Board want more people to vote or pay less to enable them, and they unanimously decided Friday to investigate voting centers, a system that some hope could do both.

Voting centers, said election board member and Wells County Clerk Yvette Runkle, essentially allow people to vote outside of their precincts.

During the election board meeting Friday, Runkle presented the following costs from the 2012 elections and how they might have differed if the county had used voting centers. These figures do not include all the expenses, she said, but could indicate possible savings.

Click on the image for a larger resolution

Runkle also distributed the 2012 election receipts and expenditures to show how much candidates, parties and other groups spent to get out the vote.

Click on the image for a larger resolution
Learn more in the Saturday, April 6, News-Banner.

Bluffton Fire Department has busy week

Bluffton firefighters responded to three structure fires, as well as two field fires, all since this Monday. 

You can read about the fires in the Tuesday, April 2, Thursday, April 4, and Friday, April 5, News-Banner.

And perhaps, for the future, these fire safety tips can help stop weeks like this before they start.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

N-B Video: Fire guts house at 627 S. Dougherty St. Wednesday

Learn more in the Thursday, April 4, News-Banner. (Videos by Chet Baumgartner and Dave Schultz)

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Bluffton preparing for paving

Bluffton Mayor Ted Ellis told members of the Common Council during their Tuesday meeting that he was accepting recommendations for summer street paving projects.

If members of the public have suggestions, though, they should contact the council members. 
  • Bette Erxleben (D) 1st District Common Council.  Home address: 1712 Sutton Circle, Bluffton, 824-1499.  E-mail: council1@ci.bluffton.in.us
  • Carl W. Perry (R) 2nd District Common Council. Home address: 42 Hi-Lo Drive, Bluffton, 824-2822. E-mail: council2@ci.bluffton.in.us
  • Michael Morrissey (D) District 3 Common Council. Home address: 426 W. Spring St., Bluffton, 824-4067. E-mail: council3@ci.bluffton.in.us
  • James Phillabaum (D) District 4 Common Council and Common Council president. Home address: 1125 Summit Ave., Bluffton, 824-4244. E-mail: council4@ci.bluffton.in.us
  • Melanie Durr (D) Common Council at-large, 421 E. Central Ave., Bluffton, 824-1525. E-mail: council5@ci.bluffton.in.us
Learn more about the Tuesday meeting in the Wednesday, April 3, News-Banner. Learn more about Wells County officials and other facts in the News-Banner's annual Factbook.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Chamber announces job fair

The Adams/Wells Human Resource Group is holding a spring job fair from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, May 6, at the Wells County Arts, Commerce and Visitors Centre, 211 Water St.

Registration is $2 per company. For more information, contact Alesha Alstoft at Snyder Tire at 824-4520 or 824-0510.

Also, learn more about the Wells County unemployment rate in the Tuesday, April 2, News-Banner.

Federally Extended Benefits reduced as unemployment drops

Wells County’s preliminary unemployment rate dropped from 8.6 percent in January to 8.3 percent in February, according to statistics released last week by the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.

However, the DWD also announced that federal officials will reduce weekly payments of Federally Extended Unemployment Insurance benefits starting Monday, April 8, due to federal budget cuts.

Learn more about county unemployment in the Tuesday, April 2, News-Banner. Learn more about federal benefits by clicking here.