On the Beat in Bluffton

Monday, September 30, 2013

N-B Video: Father surprises daughter in maze after six-month deployment

An Ossian father surprises his 10-year-old daughter Monday at the KOA corn maze after he was deployed to the island of Diego Garcia for six months. The girl thought she was just going through the maze when she spotted her father, holding flowers. Learn more in the Tuesday, Oct. 1, News-Banner. (Video by Chet Baumgartner)

N-B Links: Drugs in Wells — an epidemic?

Throughout the week, the News-Banner will publish a special series of articles looking at the impact of drugs — particularly methamphetamine — on the county. The stories chronicle the impact on children, the environment, buildings and more.

“People talk about drugs being a victimless crime. Well, that’s crap,” Prosecutor Michael Lautzenheiser Sr. said. “If you took drugs and alcohol out of the equation, crime would plummet. We would have less than half of the crime that we have now.”

The state of Indiana has also published information online to learn more. For instance, 
Find out more by clicking here. To read the first in this series, see the Monday, Sept. 30, News-Banner.

Friday, September 27, 2013

N-B Video: Bluffton High School coronates Fall Festival king and queen

See video from after the game at our "Sports and Outdoors" blog. Browse our blogs at www.news-banner.com. (Video by Chet Baumgartner)

N-B Sound off: Wells County looking for good jobs

Wells County Economic Development Director Tim Ehlerding is all ears during the final stages of developing an economic strategic plan.

“We’re looking for comments from the community,” he said. “Is there anything we’re missing?”

The Wells County Economic Development Council has spent 2013 focused on a plan for improving the business climate, creating new jobs and improving the quality of life in the county, and after nine months of review, the council has released its action plan for 2014 and beyond. Click here to review the plan; learn more in the Friday, Sept. 27, News-Banner, and share your opinions in the comments section.

N-B Links: Stay alert of new scams

Wells County law enforcement officials are asking alleged victims of two men arrested for theft to contact the sheriff’s department or their police departments to help officials file addition charges.

The men — Billy R. Craft, 29, and Christopher R. Smith, 34, both of Huntington — reportedly targeted older residents. They offered to seal driveways or perform other outdoor tasks, but they asked for payment up front, Ossian Police Chief Dave Rigney said.
The two, however, never did any of the work.

Along with local law enforcement, though, the Indiana Attorney General's office offers online resources to avoid scams, including a section specifically for older residents. Click here for more online resources, and learn more in the Friday, Sept. 27, News-Banner.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

IDOE announces ISTEP results

Once again, Wells County’s public elementary and middle schools surpassed the state average on the English and math portions of the ISTEP test, according to data released Wednesday.

To learn more about the county's performance, see the Thursday, Sept. 19, News-Banner. To see a complete list of scores by grade and subject for each public school, click here.

N-B Video: County gets $50,000 USDA grant

Wells County is the recipient of a $50,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development program to establish a revolving loan fund. Learn more in the Thursday, Sept. 19, News-Banner. (Video by Dave Schultz)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Students become teachers for Constitution Day

Almost 230 years after a group of men in Philadelphia signed the U.S. Constitution, about 40 Southern Wells high school students visited the elementary school Tuesday to celebrate — and teach — the document.

The students, enrolled in Brody Tarter’s senior government class, visited the school on Constitution Day after studying the supreme law of the land for about two weeks in their own classes.

As part of their assignment, students used their Chromebooks to scour the Internet for online resources, such as the National Constitution Center's website. Click here to peruse its resources for yourself, and learn more about the Southern Wells students in the Wednesday, Sept. 18, News-Banner.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Bluffton-Harrison school board sets 2014 meetings

Bluffton-Harrison school board members scheduled next year's meetings, and though the schedule basically reflects this year's, Superintendent Wayne Barker changed it slightly. All meetings start at 6  p.m. Learn more about the Monday, Sept. 16, meeting in the Tuesday, Sept. 17, News-Banner.
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  • Feb. 24
  • March 17
  • April 14
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  • May 19
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  • July 14
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N-B Video: Bluffton-Harrison considers faculty "panic buttons"

A Virginia-based company has created a portable badge of “panic buttons” that school personnel can wear and activate during emergencies, and the Bluffton-Harrison school district hopes to purchase 150 — enough for each staff member working when students are present. Learn more in the Tuesday, Sept. 17, News-Banner. (Video by Chet Baumgartner)

Monday, September 16, 2013

Need homework help?

From the office of State Senator Travis Holdman:

Hoosier students in grades 6 through 12 who are having trouble with math or science school work can get help by contacting Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology’s Homework Hotline.

 Tutoring is provided over the phone by college students who were recommended by their professors.  These tutors are trained on how to best answer questions and explain difficult concepts to younger students.

The Homework Hotline can be accessed:

September through May
Sunday to Thursday
7 to 10 p.m.
Toll free at 1-877-ASK-ROSE (275-7673)
Rose-Hulman also provides ISTEP+, GQE and SAT resources, such as study tips and practice tests, to prepare students for these standardized tests.  

More information about the Homework Hotline can be found by clicking here.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

N-B Video: KOA corn maze opens for season

News-Banner reporter Jessica Williams didn't stray too far from the corn maze's entrance Friday, but she gives you a taste of what the maze is like. It's located adjacent to the KOA campground on Bluffton's west side. For more information, including hours of operation, check out the Saturday, Sept. 14, News-Banner. (Video by Jessica Williams)

Friday, September 13, 2013

Wells County Health Department provides advice on West Nile protection

The Wells County Health Department offers some advice in protecting from West Nile.

Questions about West Nile may be directed to the Wells County Health Department at 824-6489. The Health Department is located at 223 W. Washington St., Bluffton, and office hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
West Nile information and brochures are available to the public during office hours.

Mosquitoes will remain active as warm weather persists, but there are several things you can do to protect your family and to reduce your risk of becoming infected.

If possible avoid outdoor activities from dusk until dawn, when mosquitoes are most active. If you will be outdoors during this time, wear long sleeves and pants, and be sure to use an insect repellant containing DEET.

Continue to protect yourself until after the first hard freeze of the year. Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water and will develop in as little as four days. Eliminate areas of standing water on or near your property by disposing of old tires, cans, and containers that hold water. Clean out clogged gutters and stagnant water in bird baths or wheel barrows.

Cover unused swimming pools, but be aware that water that collects on top of swimming pool covers can also serve as breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Even a small container with water in it can be a breeding site, allowing up to 1,000 mosquitoes to develop in one week.

West Nile virus is transmitted to humans when they are bitten by an infected mosquito. Most people infected with West Nile virus show few or no symptoms, but those over the age of 50 or who have compromised immune systems are more at risk for severe illness.

Symptoms include fever, headache, neck stiffness, nausea, vomiting, and sore joints, and usually occur 3-15 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. More severe infections are marked by rapid onset of a high fever with head and body aches, stiff neck, muscle weakness, disorientation, tremors, encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the tissues that cover the brain and spinal cord), convulsions and, in the most severe cases, coma or paralysis.

In some individuals, West Nile virus can cause permanent neurological damage or death. See your doctor immediately if you have symptoms of the disease.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

N-B Video: BHS recognizes Patriots' Day with program

Bluffton High School held a Patriots' Day program Wednesday, in honor of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The program featured a student-made video. Prior to the program, local law enforcement and emergency personnel were invited to a breakfast, sponsored by the student council. Learn more in the Sept. 12, News-Banner. (Video by Jessica Williams)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

N-B Video: K-9 Egon sniffs out drugs

Wells County Sheriff's Deputy Randy Steele and his brother, Bluffton Police Department Officer Greg Steele, both brought their K-9s out Tuesday evening at the Ossian branch of the Wells County Library. Deputy Steele's Egon demonstrated how he uses his nose to find drugs – in this case, a planted container of marijuana. (Video and photos by Jessica Williams)

Friday, September 6, 2013

N-B Video: Ossian Days declares its royalty

Seven children participated in the Ossian Days annual prince and princess contest, but Lincoln Rodgers and Jaycie Grzych received the crowns. Learn more in the Saturday, Sept. 7, News-Banner. (Video and photo by Chet Baumgartner)

Ossian Days prince and princess candidates were, front row, left to right, Austin Parteko and Lincoln Rodgers; middle row, Samantha Evans, Maggie McClain and Jaycie Grzych; back row, Jensen Miller and Adriana Gehring. This year's theme was "The Great Outdoors."

Melissa Redick accepts FCS Duck Race check

Melissa Redick was the Grand Prize winner of the eighth annual “Duck Race on the Wabash," Aug. 10. Her speedy duck out swam the other 3,002 ducks to the finish line to win the $1,000 prize.
More than $26,500 was raised for Family Centered Services from the “Duck Race on the Wabash,” due to the generosity of many individuals and 59 corporate sponsors, FCS officials said.
These funds will help Family Centered Services to continue to provide programs that support youth and families in Wells, Huntington, and Adams Counties.
Sherri Godschalk won the second prize of a set of 4 BFG Tires, donated by BF Goodrich Tire Mfg.

Melissa Redick, left, accepts her winnings from Family Centered Services Executive Director Amy George.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Wells students read well

Third-grade reading test scores at three of Wells County’s four public elementary schools exceeded the state’s standard, according to data released Wednesday from the Indiana Department of Education, and the fourth just needed on more student to reach it.

To learn more about the county's schools' performances, see the Thursday, Sept. 5, News-Banner, and to see how schools performed statewide — as well as study a school year's worth of information — click here.

Sheriff warns of FBI scam

The Wells County Sheriff's Department cautions that a man is fraudulently posing as an FBI agent to obtain residents' financial information. A Rockcreek township woman contacted the sheriff's department when the man visited her house, but along with Bluffton and county law enforcement, the FBI offers the following website to lodge complaints.

The FBI has also published a list of tips to prevent Internet crime.

Learn more in the Thursday, Sept. 5, News-Banner.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Bluffton council takes a look at a possible new park

Tuesday night’s meeting of the Bluffton Common Council started a little early as Mayor Ted Ellis invited council members on a field trip to what could be a new city park.

The area at the end of Hale Street, behind Almco Steel, is home to the Old Bluffton Cemetery and a grassy field near the Wabash River. Ellis handed council members a map of the area, telling them that some lots across from the cemetery could be purchased and the area could be used as a park.

“This is some of the most scenic areas in Bluffton,” he said.

Council members left the scene to conduct their regular meeting, but you can see the area here due to Google Maps. Do you think a park would go well here. Leave a comment to let us know.

Click on the images for a larger resolution

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

N-B Video: Going barefoot to help the world

Lindsey Fiscus talks about her efforts to encourage others to donate shoes for Third World nations. Learn more in the Tuesday, Sept. 3, News-Banner. (Video by Dave Schultz)