On the Beat in Bluffton

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

N-B Photos: Eight city officials take oaths of office for terms beginning Jan. 1

Eight city officials took their oaths of office Wednesday. Learn more in the Thursday, Dec. 31, News-Banner. Wells Circuit Court Judge Kent Kiracofe administered the oaths. (Photos by Dave Schultz)

N-B Slideshow: A year in review--2015

A panel of current and former News-Banner reporters and editors voted on the community's top 10 stories of 2015. Learn more in the Thursday, Dec. 31, News-Banner. (News-Banner staff photos; video compiled by Jessica Williams)

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

N-B Video: Library hosts piano players

Leading up to Christmas, the library hosts piano players at various times throughout the day. They've done this for a few years now. Ed Higgins of Bluffton played the piano Tuesday at the Wells County Public Library. Listen to a portion of his selection below. Players are scheduled today, Wednesday, Dec. 23, as well. (Photos and video by Jessica Williams)

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

What can be recycled and what can't at local facility

The Wells County Solid Waste District learned this week that the local recycling center will again accept certain glasses as recyclable materials. Below is a list of the materials the facility accepts, provided by the district's controller, and learn more in the Tuesday, Dec. 22, News-Banner.


• Paper – newspaper, paper sacks, magazines, office/computer paper, junk mail, paper board (cereal boxes, soda boxes, shoe boxes, and old/corrugated containers and books

• Glass – beer, wine and food jars

• Metal – aluminum and bi-metal beverage cans, aluminum foil wrapping baking ware, food cans, canning lids, metal baking dishes (without non-stick coating), metal food or drink lids, coat hangers

• Plastic #1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 – Soda bottles, naturals (milk, juice, distilled or drinking water jugs), dishwashing detergent bottles, vinegar bottles, mixed colored containers (laundry detergent or fabric softener containers, bleach jugs, household cleaner bottles), cottage cheese containers, margarine/topping containers

Not acceptable:

• Paper – waxed or carbon paper, waxed paperboard, milk, juice, fabric softener refill containers

• Metals – folding outdoor chairs with webbing still attached, water pumps, engine parts, etc.

• Plastic – plastic wrap, freezer/food bags, tableware (forks/spoons), dishes or plates, flower pots, bakery containers, no food grade plates, "clam shells," egg cartons, meat/vegetbal trays, cups made from polystyrene, packing "peanuts," toys or plastic bags

Friday, December 11, 2015

Bluffton Fire Department is selling reflective address signs

The Bluffton Fire Department is selling reflective address signs. Learn more in the Monday, Dec. 14, News-Banner. Print out the form below:

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Panel studying teacher shortage meets for the last time

A committee chaired by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz met for the last time Monday, making recommendations to stem the loss of teachers in Indiana.

Among the proposals from the Blue Ribbon Commission on the Recruitment and Retention of Excellent Educators:

• Establish a mentor program for beginning teachers. (NOTE: The state once had a mentor program, but it was dropped after funding dried up. Some school districts, including the Bluffton-Harrison Metropolitan School District, operate their own mentor programs for beginning teachers).

• Identify and fund professional development for educators and administrators.

• Recruit and retain a diverse teacher workforce.

"Great teaching and great learning go hand in hand," Ritz said in a statement. "I look forward to continuing the work of the commission and to the support of the Indiana General Assembly and the State Board of Education for these strategies developed by educators to address Indiana's teacher shortage."

Only Bluffton-Harrison in Wells County has a vacant teaching position, according to the school districts' websites. Bluffton-Harrison is seeking a seventh-grade English/language arts teacher.

Neither Northern Wells Community Schools nor Southern Wells Community Schools have open teaching positions, according to their websites.

Friday, December 4, 2015

N-B Slideshow: 2015 Festival of Trees

Here are some entries in this year's Festival of Trees. (Photos by Barb Barbieri)

N-B Slideshow: 2015 Ossian Hometown Christmas

The 2015 Ossian Hometown Christmas celebration was held Thursday evening in Ossian. (Photos by Glen Werling)

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Proposal would remove schools info from newspaper publication

UPDATE: State Board of Education members voted this morning to accept the recommendation from a committee to make changes to the way schools publish Annual Performance Reports.

Original post:

A proposal from state officials calls for an end to publication in newspapers of some data on Indiana schools.

Publishing Annual Performance Report data in newspapers is burdensome, according to a memo State Board of Education members will review at their meeting today in Indianapolis, and data included in the reports could instead by published on the Indiana Department of Education's website and on websites run by schools.

The recommendation would require approval by state lawmakers. If the General Assembly voted to approve the proposal, the portion of the law requiring publication in newspapers could be removed as soon as next year.

Data in the APR, which schools are required to publish in mid-March each year, includes information on student enrollment, graduation rates, attendance rates, average class size, remediation, and the percentage of graduates going on to college.

The proposal from the state also calls for removing items on class size, remediation, and the percentage of graduates seeking a college education from the APRs.