On the Beat in Bluffton

Friday, October 31, 2014

N-B Slideshow: Halloween 2014

Dozens of trick-or-treaters hit the streets for Boo in Bluffton Oct. 31. (Photos by Dave Schultz, Matthew LeBlanc and Jessica Williams)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

N-B Links: 'The Problem: Sugary Drinks Are a Major Contributor to the Obesity Epidemic'

At Bluffton High School, students are unable to use the soda vending machines or bring soft drinks into classrooms during school hours.

Bluffton is just one of many high schools across the country that has restrictions on soft drinks. This is due to the effort to provide a healthier environment for students by reducing the consumption of sugary beverages.

“As an educator, it is important to help our students not only learn inside the classroom but also become well-rounded adults and healthy citizens,” BHS Principal Steve Baker said.

Two out of three adults and one out of three children in the United States are overweight. According to an online article, “Sugary Drinks and Obesity Fact Sheet” from the Harvard University School of Public Health, “Rising consumption of sugary drinks is a major contributor to the obesity epidemic.”

For more on the fact sheet, click here, and check out, "You like soft drinks, but do they like you?" on Page 8 of the Wednesday, Oct. 29, News-Banner.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Annual Boo in Bluffton is Friday

We have more trick-or-treat information in the Tuesday, Oct. 28, News-Banner, but here is the list of Boo in Bluffton participants:

(Click to enlarge)

Monday, October 27, 2014

N-B Video, Photos: City hosts second Block Party of the year – and a glow-in-the-dark 5K

Following the city's block party Saturday (scroll below for pictures), the Parks Department held a fun run/walk Go Greenway Glow 5K, with proceeds going to the repairs to the Rivergreenway. Here are some highlights of the go-in-the-dark event. (Video and photos by Jessica Williams)

Friday, October 24, 2014

N-B Flashback: Officials discuss Roush Park makeover in May 2013

City officials announced Friday that the grant for Roush Park's renovations have come through. Learn more in the Saturday, Oct. 25, News-Banner.

Among the original project plans, circa May 2013:

• A paved parking lot

• A splash pad

• A quiet area to the west

• Buried utilities and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities At

• Renovated restrooms

Thursday, October 23, 2014

N-B Photos: One in critical condition after semi, car accident on 700S

A 24-year-old Poneto man is in critical condition today after a two-vehicle accident on 700S and 200E early Wednesday evening. Learn more in the Thursday, Oct. 23, News-Banner. (Photos by Jessica Williams)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

N-B Numbers: BPD to replace five computers

The Bluffton Board of Public Works and Safety approved the purchase of five computers Tuesday for the Bluffton Police Department. Learn more in the Wednesday, Oct. 22, News-Banner.

Here are some of the computer details:

• One HP ProDesk Desktop PC

• Three Lenovo ThinkStation P300 Workstation PC

• One Panasonic Toughbook

The other bid came from Northwood, of Bluffton, and CCB Technology. Including the latter's quote for the Toughbook, that total was $656.60 higher than the Global Gov Ed Solutions quote for the five computers.

N-B Numbers: Bluffton Board of Public Works and Safety approves '15 salary ordinances

The Bluffton Board of Public Works and Safety approved the 2015 salary ordinance for municipal utilities Tuesday afternoon. Learn more about the meeting in the Wednesday, Oct. 22, News-Banner.

Scroll below for the ordinances that establish the pay of other city employees, including police and fire, which were approved previously by the Bluffton Common Council.

(Click images to enlarge.)

Previously approved by the Bluffton Common Council:

Information provided by the City of Bluffton. Other variables are factored in some pay, including longevity.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

N-B Videos: BHMSD school board member, superintendent discuss evaluation concerns and public offers comments

Monday night the Bluffton-Harrison Metropolitan School District board met in a special meeting. The topic: Superintendent Wayne Barker's evaluation. Here are some excerpts from the meeting, including public comment. Learn more in the Tuesday, Oct. 21, News-Banner. (Videos by Jessica Williams)

Bluffton Fire has made between 53 and 72 rescue runs in the last five years

Learn more in the Tuesday, Oct. 21, News-Banner.

Nine sections of county roads to be paved in the spring

The following areas will be paved in the spring by Brooks 1st, as approved by the Wells County Commissioners Monday.

Learn more about the meeting, including alternate bids, in the Tuesday, Oct. 21, News-Banner.

1.) 1000 feet south of 500W and Ind. 124.

2.) 500S at 220W.

3.) 100W at 535S.

4.) Meridian Road at 325S.

5.) 1100S at 370E.

6.) Hoosier Highway at 240S.

7.) Hoosier Highway at 210S.

8.) Hoosier Highway between 250S and 300S.

9.) 300W at 770N.

Wells Co. Economic Development director prepares statement for commissioners

The Wells County Commissioners approved by the vote of 2-1 the use of $36,000 in County Economic Development Income Tax money for the location to Ossian of German manufacturer Haldrup.

Learn more about the meeting in the Tuesday, Oct. 21, News-Banner.

Following is Wells County Economic Development Director Tim Ehlerding's prepared statement for the commissioners Monday:


There is no doubt the relationship between the Wells County Commissioners and the Wells County Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development is as strong as it has been for quite some time.  Your willingness to support economic development and the efforts to find and attract good paying jobs for our Wells County families is appreciated.  Thank you as always for your efforts.

We now have the opportunity to bring to Wells County a company that will provide jobs that far exceed the average Wells County wage.  This is Wells County’s chance to partner with a firm that will create jobs that tells our children, “Wells County is a great place to stay, and a great place to return to if you’ve left.”  This project is exactly why you as Commissioners signed a contract with the Wells Chamber of Commerce and Economic development…to retain and assist those industries already calling Wells County home, and to find the next new community partner that will provide high paying jobs for Wells County residents.

Haldrup USA has announced they will be locating in Wells County, investing $13 million dollars over several year and employing 65 friends and neighbors at an average wage of $23.80 per hour.  This is $6.12 more than the average wage of $17.68 currently found in Wells County.  They are agriculture related, which provides even more support for one of the largest industries already located in our county.  They will invest $13 million of their own dollars on a facility that will be the first foreign direct investment in Wells County in quite some time.  This project opens up door to future foreign direct investment not previously accessible by our county.

To assure this company called Wells County home to their North and South American operations, incentives were necessary.  The Ossian Redevelopment Commission will be working with Halrup to develop a package that utilizes the newest Tax Increment Finance district in Wells County and the funds generated through this program developed through a partnership with the Commissioners.  Personal property and real estate property tax abatements will also be part of the incentive package.  Finally, in order to be competitive with other communities whose incentives packages far exceeded that offered by Wells County, we offered to purchase six acres at a total cost of $72,000 for Haldrup.  To date, the Town of Ossian, the Ossian Development Corporation, and Wells County Chamber and Economic Development have each agreed to be partners in purchasing this property to assure Haldrup’s investment and creation of jobs.

Please understand, our offer was in no way the strongest from those that submitted an offer in Northeast Indiana.  Having two local contacts became a necessary key to the chance of landing this significant employer.  We would not be here today if it weren’t for those contacts.

I am here today to request the Wells County Commissioners to utilize $36,000 from the CEDIT revenues you have earmarked for economic development.  This is half of the overall land acquisition cost. 

By approving this request, you will join forces with the Town of Ossian, the Ossian Development Corporation, and Wells County Chamber and Economic Development to bring a $13 million dollar investment, and 65 new high paying jobs which will generate over $3 million in salaries annually.  Your approving this is in every way a justifiable expenditure of County Economic Development Income Tax revenues.  It falls within the guidelines you offered me as the Economic Development Director when you earmarked the annual $200,000 allowance.  It says openly as Commissioners that you support bringing in high paying jobs for Wells County residents. 

There are issues to be solved and details to be worked out, all of which will be presented to you in open forums for your review.  You as Commissioners alone control the CEDIT funds, without input or outside control from other legislative or funding bodies. 

There may be discussions regarding a conflict of interest with Councilmen Stoller and Mossburg.  I believe upon reviewing the state code regarding conflict of interest, no violation of the conflict of interest legislation will take place.  There is no doubt there is a monetary gain to be realized by Councilmen Stoller and Mossburg in having Haldrup land in Wells County or at least Indiana.  Councilman Stoller will at some time become an employee of Haldrup as their Managing Director, and Councilman Mossburg by leasing them space on a temporary basis for their operations while they construct their new facility in the Ossian Industrial Park.  The law is very clear that both most likely will gain from this new industry.  But this in and of itself doesn’t violate the code.  The Indiana code states:

            It is not an offense under this section if any of the following apply:
            …A public servant makes a disclosure that meets the requirements of subsection (d) or (e) and is:  not a member or on the staff of the governing body (Commissioners) empowered to contract or purchase on behalf of the governmental entity (Wells County), and functions and performs duties for the governmental entity (Commissioners) unrelated to the contract or purchase…(35-44.1-1-4)

I have requested both Councilman Stoller and Mossburg to complete Indiana form 236, “Uniform Conflict of Interest Disclosure Statement,” at their earliest possible convenience.  This is the standard form anyone in public service completes to disclose potential issues. 

I believe this shows, with the proper disclosure, that no violation of the conflict code exists. 

Not only all of these items: 65 new high paying jobs, a $13 million investment, our first direct foreign investment in years, $3 million in annual payroll, and an economic win for Wells County…not only are these the reason to approve this $36,000 request… but it comes down to this…saying yes to this proposal makes smart business sense, it continues to move Wells County forward, it shows your support for the largest economic development news to come to Wells County in the past five years, and all in all…it’s the right thing to do.

I thank you for your consideration in growing the Wells County economy. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Public invited to upcoming NE Regional Advisory Board of Community Anti-Drug Coalitions meeting

The Northeast Regional Advisory Board of Community Anti-Drug Coalitions invites the public to its annual meeting Nov. 10. Scroll down for the registration form, and learn more about the event in the Friday, Oct. 17, News-Banner.

The event will be held in Indiana Tech's Andorfer Commons Building, at the corner of Washington and Schick streets in Fort Wayne. Parking is available along Washington Blvd. on the north side of the building or on the north side of the soccer field.  It will be on the second floor, Seitz conference rooms 205 and 206.

Here is the program of events:

Preliminary Agenda

Presentation by David Parnell: “Facing the Dragon”
Program of the Year
Volunteer of the Year
Youth Advocate Award
Regional Impact Awards
County Recognition
Concluding Remarks
Make checks payable to: Drug & Alcohol Consortium
              Memo: Regional Annual Meeting
Questions: Please contact Kelly at kelly.sickafoose@comcast.net.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

N-B Photo: Local victim's assistance coordinator awarded for her efforts

Above: Members of the Wells County Domestic Violence Task Force and a representative of YWCA of Northeast Indiana present Cindy Uptgraft, fourth from left, with a Hope Award Wednesday in the Wells County Prosecutor's Office. Learn more in the Thursday, Oct. 16, News-Banner. (Photo by Jessica Williams)

Here is a press release regarding the award:

YWCA Week Without Violence and Presentation of 2014 Hope Awards

Week Without Violence, held annually during the third week in October, is a global YWCA campaign created nearly 20 years ago to mobilize people in communities across the United States and the World to take action against all forms of violence, wherever it occurs. Each year, YWCAs around the globe host local events and create public dialogue about recognizing, addressing, and ending violence in all its forms.

In recognition of YWCA USA Week Without Violence, YWCA Northeast Indiana is presenting their 2014 Hope Awards throughout the week. Every year during Domestic Violence Awareness Month, YWCA Northeast Indiana recognizes those who exhibit excellence in advocacy that reflects our mission of eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. A winner is selected in each of five categories: Racial Justice, Domestic Violence Prevention and Intervention, Women's Economic Empowerment, Child Advocacy, and Junior Hope (which recognizes an advocate under the age of 25). Winners are surprised with their awards throughout the YWCA USA Week Without Violence to celebrate the ways in which these amazing individuals are working to end violence.

This year, the prestigious Domestic Violence Prevention and Intervention Hope Award was awarded to Cynthia Uptgraft, Victim’s Assistance Coordinator of Wells County. According to her nomination, “Cindy provides support to individuals in crisis of domestic violence in the Wells County community with a great passion for her work in the community. She has been an active part of the Wells County Domestic Violence Task Force, and makes sure clients are connected to resources for legal advocacy and domestic violence education and support. She continues to work hard in raising awareness of domestic violence issues in the Wells County community.”

Wells County is one of 6 counties served by YWCA Northeast Indiana’s Domestic Violence Services and Community Programs, such as community-wide prevention and education and emergency shelter for victims of domestic violence. “These services would not be possible without the support of Cindy and the Wells County Domestic Violence Task Force”, Arika App, Director of Community Programs, said after presenting the Hope Award.

If you are experiencing domestic violence in your relationship, call YWCA Northeast Indiana at 260-447-7233.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Sheriff's candidates discuss wages, use of department cars off duty

Incumbent Sheriff Monte Fisher, Republican, and his challenger and the position's previous holder Bob Frantz, Democrat, were asked 20 questions Monday evening at the Wells County Constitutional Patriots forum.

 While a more detailed summary of other issues – including the legalization of marijuana, how to handle the county's drug problem and inmates' access to religious materials at the jail – appears in the Tuesday, Oct. 14, News-Banner, here are their thoughts on department wages and use of vehicles off duty.

 When asked if they believe the salary for sheriff is appropriate, and on what basis should it be increased, Frantz said he wants the deputies paid, and paid well, because they are the ones out on the road and then raising families on those salaries.

"If that means docking me, then do it," Frantz said. "But give them more money."
Frantz said his salary was based on the revenue he brought in.

Fisher said the Department of Correction isn't holding prisoners as long in the county jail. He said $240,000 was brought in last year from these inmates, but as of the end of September this year only $206,000 has been brought in. He said he also contracts for federal inmates, which brought in $18,000.

Fisher said he also believes the deputies need to be compensated for being the department's workforce.
When asked if they support deputies taking home department vehicles, both Fisher and Frantz said they support it as it increases the department's presence around the county.

Frantz said limits could be put in place, but it's necessary for the cars to be seen.
"I don't encourage them hauling around their wives and kids in it," Frantz said, noting it could be dangerous.
He said as sheriff, people expressed displeasure with him not getting unmarked cars. Frantz said unmarked cars don't deter crime.

Fisher said officers do work when they are are off duty.
"If they see something, they're going to handle it," Fisher said.

Monday, October 13, 2014

N-B Video: SW grad does PA for Cardinal football

Michael Towne is in his 10th season as the PA guy for Ball State football. The Southern Wells graduate takes us behind the scenes in the Monday, Oct. 13, News-Banner, and get a sense of what it's like during the game next to Towne in the video. (Video by Jessica Williams)

Sunday, October 12, 2014

N-B Slideshow and Video: Fire on 500E

Crews battled a blaze Sunday, Oct. 12, on 500E south of Ind. 124. Learn more in the Monday, Oct. 13, News-Banner. (Photos and video by Jessica Williams)

Scroll down for the video.

Friday, October 10, 2014

N-B Video: Annual domestic violence vigil honors Hoosier victims

Thursday's annual domestic violence awareness vigil featured reading of the names of victims from across Indiana in the last year. Numerous names were read, and their stories shared, by the Wells County Domestic Violence Task Force. Here is an excerpt. Learn more in the Friday, Oct. 10, News-Banner. (Video by Jessica Williams)

Click the proclamation below to enlarge.

N-B Video: Friends of Ouabache State Park unveil statue

Sunday, Oct. 5, was a special day for the Civilian Conservation Corps and the Friends of Ouabache State Park, as the groups unveiled a CCC statue to commemorate the group's efforts in starting the state park. Learn more in the Monday, Oct. 6, News-Banner. (Video by Dave Schultz and Susan Schultz for the News-Banner; edited by Jessica Williams)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Wells County chief probation officer presents job description for field officer

The job description of a new Wells County Probation position was minimally tweaked Tuesday, but getting there was a bit contentious.
Chief Probation Officer Greg Werich brought to the Wells County Council the description for a field officer, a position that was approved in 2013 for the 2014 funding year. The description, he said, was borrowed from Indianapolis and modified for local needs.
Now Werich is ready to fill that position, and has applications on hand for the job that would provide security for probation officers as they go out and visit probationers in their homes.

Learn more about the meeting – and what the council members discussed and decided – in the Wednesday, Oct. 8, News-Banner.

Here is the job description for the field officer, provided by Werich:

Incumbent serves as protective officer for probation officers while making field contacts. Incumbent's work involves maintaining order in the environment situated by probation officer(s) for compliance checks and search and seizure operations, identification of illegal activity and contraband, and documentation of activities performed.
  • Accompanies probation officer(s) to ensure security during field contacts;
  • Conducts probation compliance investigations;
  • Controls any people remaining in or entering the residence or other structures of
    here probationers during field contacts by probation officers;
  • Appears in court in accordance with Indiana law pertaining to probation violations;
  • Prepares and submits written reports of activity to supervisor in probation case
    management system;
  • Participates in searches of probationers home or property when requested by the
    probation officer;
  • Secures any property seized during field visits in a manner approved by local court
  • Performs related duties as assigned.

    • Specialized knowledge of law enforcement, security, and probation procedures;
    • Extensive knowledge oflndiana criminal law, and probation rules and regulations;
    • Knowledge o f radio communication procedures;
    • Ability to make critical decisions under adverse or emergency conditions;
    • Ability to administer advanced first aid;
    • Ability to physically defend oneself;
    • Graduation from the Law Enforcement Training Board's training course or its equivalent;
    • Possess a valid Indiana Driver's License
    Work involves exercising the full gamut of security and law enforcement duties to preserve the
    peace, maintain order, prevent the unlawful use of force or violence or other unlawful conduct
    while in the course of monitoring probationers activities in the community, and to protect all
    persons and property located thereon from injury, harm and damage.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

N-B Video: Church knitting group prepares 440 hats to give out

The Murray Missionary Church Nifty Knitters held their annual handmade hat and headband give away Saturday, Oct. 4. Learn more in the Monday, Oct. 6, News-Banner. (Video by Jessica Williams)

Friday, October 3, 2014

N-B Links: October is national Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October is national Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Learn more about local awareness efforts in the Saturday, Oct. 4, News-Banner.

Domestic violence statistics, from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence:

• One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.
• An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year.
• Boys who witness domestic violence are twice as likely to abuse their own partners and children
when they become adults.
• 30% to 60% of perpetrators of intimate partner violence also abuse children in the household.
• One in 6 women and 1 in 33 men have experienced an attempted or completed rape.
• Sexual assault or forced sex occurs in approximately 40-45% of battering relationships.
• 1 in 12 women and 1 in 45 men have been stalked in their lifetime.
• 81% of women stalked by a current or former intimate partner are also physically assaulted by
that partner; 31% are also sexually assaulted by that partner.
•Almost one-third of female homicide victims that are reported in police records are killed by an
intimate partner.
• In 70-80% of intimate partner homicides, no matter which partner was killed, the man physically
abused the woman before the murder.
• Less than one-fifth of victims reporting an injury from intimate partner violence sought medical
treatment following the injury.
• The cost of intimate partner violence exceeds $5.8 billion each year, $4.1 billion of which is for
direct medical and mental health services.
• Victims of intimate partner violence lost almost 8 million days of paid work because of the
violence perpetrated against them by current or former partners. This loss is the equivalent
of more than 32,000 full-time jobs and almost 5.6 million days of household productivity as
a result of violence.
•There are 16,800 homicides and $2.2 million (medically treated) injuries due to intimate partner
violence annually, which costs $37 billion.
• 5.4 million incidents of intimate partner violence occur each year in the United States (CDC)
• 1,300 domestic violence deaths annually- more than 3 deaths every day(CDC)
• 65,321 Victims Served in U.S. in One Day (NNEDV survey, 2008)
• 1,795 Victims Served in Indiana in One Day (NNEDV survey, 2008)

Learn more about Domestic Violence Awareness Month by clicking here.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

N-B Links: MS education session slated for Oct. 9

New research on multiple sclerosis will be the topic of an education session and networking event Oct. 9 at Bluffton Regional Medical Center.

The event features the work of Dr. Jui-Hung “Jimmy” Yen of the Indiana University School of Medicine – Fort Wayne. The free session is from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the cafe of the hospital’s first floor.

At the Indiana University School of Medicine-Fort Wayne, research is ongoing on the effectiveness of DHA (which is form of omega-3 fatty acids – found in fish oil – on reducing the inflammatory response that is caused by this auto-immune disease), according to Jennifer Boen, director of the Anna Yoder MS Fund at the school.

"Our mission is to support research, education and outreach services for individuals and their families/caregivers who are impacted by MS," Boen said. "All the funds, which were given through an estate gift from (the Yoders), must be used right here in northeast Indiana."

"Few people are aware that basic science and clinical MS research are taking place in northeast Indiana," said Dr. Jui-Hung (Jimmy) Yen, assistant professor of microbiology and immunology at the IU School of Medicine-Fort Wayne. The med school is on the campus of IPFW in Fort Wayne. Yen is studying the therapeutic effects of Resolvin D1, a derivative of DHA, in reducing the inflammatory process in MS.

His research has shown a significant reduction in MS disease severity in animal models when no other therapeutic agent but Resolvin D1 is administered, Boen said.

Dr. Ajay Gupta and his colleagues at Fort Wayne Neurological Center in Fort Wayne are conducting MS clinical drug trials through the center’s research department, she added. In the near future, Gupta and Yen hope to collaborate on research of another MS drug in human clinical trials.

Learn more about the event and why it's coming to Bluffton in the Thursday, Oct. 2, News-Banner. Click here to learn more about MS, and take the quiz below for more information on the disease.

(Keep scrolling past questions for the answers.)

1. Multiple sclerosis is a chronic disease that affects the protective covering of the…
A. Muscles
B. Nerves
C. Fingernails and toenails

2. The number of individuals in the 10-county NE Indiana region living with MS is around…
A. 1,500
B. 3,500
C. 7,000

3. What causes MS is still not fully understood, but research shows the following likely plays some role:
A. Genetics
B. Environment
C. Immune response in the body
D. All of the above

4. MS symptoms vary widely. Among the more common symptoms are (note all that apply):
A. Double or blurred vision or vision loss.
B. Weight gain
C. Numbness or tingling
D. Balance problems
E. Difficulty walking
F. Hair loss

5. The incidence MS is greater in regions further away from the equator.
A. True B. False

6. One of the most common tests used today to help diagnosis MS is…
A. MRI of the brain
B. X-ray of the spine
C. White cell count of the blood

7. MS affects more men than women.
 A. True B. False

8. The majority of people with MS can expect to have a shortened lifespan.
A. True B. False

9. MS research is taking place in Fort Wayne, IN.
A. True B. False

1. Multiple sclerosis is a neurological condition that affects the myelin, or protective covering of the nerves in the brain and/or spinal cord.

2. 7,000 people in the 10-county NE Indiana region are living with MS.

3. D: All of the above – Scientists believe at least some MS cases have a genetic link. First, second and third degree relatives of people with MS are at increased risk of developing the disease; siblings of an affected person have a 2 percent to 5 percent increased risk of MS. Researchers theorize there is more than one gene involved and that some people may be born with a genetic predisposition to react to an environmental agent. There is consensus that something triggers an autoimmune response in the body that causes the deterioration of the myelin (the protective covering of the nerves) and the formation of scar tissue (sclerosis) along the nerves. Without the myelin, electrical signals transmitted throughout the brain and spinal cord are disrupted or halted. This affects the brain’s ability to send and receive messages. The communication breakdown causes the symptoms of MS.

4. A; C; D; E – Symptoms can vary widely from person to person and most people have the remitting-relapsing form of MS, meaning symptoms may flare up for a time, then improve, even disappear. With progressive forms of MS, the symptoms usually gradually worsen with decreasing or shortened symptom-free periods. Some people with MS may have few visible signs, which is why it is sometimes labeled as an “invisible disability.” MS can also affect speech, cognition and memory, and depression may result.

5. True – The disease is more common in regions further away from the equator. Scandinavian countries, Scotland, and countries in northern Europe have the highest rates. In the United States, there are 110-140 cases of MS per 100,000 people in the northern half of the nation compared to 57-78 cases per 100,000 population in the southern half of the country. Overall, in the U.S, 200 new cases of MS are diagnosed each week. Sunlight helps the body produce vitamin D, and some research has shown vitamin D can protect against MS symptom flare-ups. Thus, MS patients today are often prescribed high doses of vitamin D.

6. A; MRI of the brain – An MRI of the brain can detect lesions, or areas where plaque has formed due to scarring of the myelin. Though MRI is the gold standard for diagnosis, about 5 percent of patients with MS symptoms do not have brain lesions detected by MRI. Neurologists also complete a thorough history and physical exam. Onset of symptoms usually occurs between ages 20 and 40, but children can develop MS, though it is uncommon, and older adults may go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed for several years before getting an accurate diagnosis. Before MRI scans became available, testing of the cerebrospinal fluid was usually done, but if lesions are seen on the MRI, a spinal tap may not be done. MS cannot be detected in the blood, but blood tests may be done to rule out other conditions. Doctors may also order electrical tests of the brain to see if MS has affected the visual, auditory or sensory pathways.

7. More women are affected by MS than men. For every one man who is diagnosed with MS, 2 to 3 woman are diagnosed. Exactly why is uncertain, but researchers think hormones may play a part. Testosterone may act as an immune response suppressor.

8. False – Most of the 2.5 million people worldwide with MS will have a normal life expectancy. However, those with progressive forms that cause significant disability may develop certain health conditions such as serious respiratory infections. Newer MS drugs are helping people live productive lives with better symptom control and fewer relapses. Still, as of now, there is no cure for MS.

9. True – MS research is ongoing at IU School of Medicine-Fort Wayne, on the campus of IPFW, thanks, in part, to funding from the Anna Yoder MS Fund. Dr. Jimmy Yen is studying the anti-inflammatory effects of DHA as well as examining anti-inflammatory response of other compounds

Sources: NIH; WebMD; National MS Society; and Dr. Ajay Gupta, Fort Wayne Neurological Center

Quiz provided by the Anna Yoder Fund.