Sports and Outdoors

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Youth football registration day set

Registration for the 2011-2012 Bluffton Youth Football leagues and camps will be Saturday, June 4, at the Bluffton Middle School from 8 a.m. to noon. For more information about the flag league (grades 2-4), contact Eric Funk at 260-273-2484. For more information on the peewee league (grades 5-6), contact Darin Johnson at 260-249-4446.


ANDERSON, Ind. (May 27, 2011) – Lonny Burton led the entire distance to capture the WMDH ThunderCar feature, but he was pressed most of the way by Ronnie Rose during Families Forever Night at Anderson Speedway on Friday.

Burton took the lead at the start and survived a restart, but veteran Rose stayed glued to his back bumper. As the two were making their way through lapped traffic, Rod Phipps closed on the duo and pressed Rose to the checkers.

The front six cars raced side by side during the early portion of the race, with the low groove holding a slight advantage.

Rob Allman finished fourth, followed by fast qualifier Hannah Lundy and Jameson Owens.

Burton said he concentrated on running his line.

“I’m still learning a little bit,” Burton said. “I’ve been out for two years ,and the cars are different and everyone got better. I’m back in the groove a little bit.”

Alexandria’s Hannah Lundy recovered from a first-lap spin on the back straight and then got the jump on the restart over veteran Rod Phipps to record the win in the rained-out feature event from the Spring Championship last Wednesday.


ANDERSON, Ind. (May 29, 2011) – Illinois driver Chris Windom passed Eric Gordon with five laps remaining to capture the rain-delayed 63rd running of the Pay Less Little 500 at Anderson Speedway on Sunday.

Windom wins the Pay Less Little 500 for the first time in only his third career start.

It appeared that Gordon was on his way to a record tenth victory when the caution flag waved on lap 486 for debris on the track.

On the restart Windom with an obviously faster car than Gordon made the crucial pass on lap 495 by diving inside entering turn three.

Windom had to overcome a penalty for passing the pace car late in the race, but things fell his way over the final 50 laps.

“This is unreal,” Windom said. “This is the biggest accomplishment of my career. I don’t have that much experience here, to beat a driver like Eric Gordon is unbelievable.”

Windom said he knew he had to go as fast as he could on the final restart.

“His (Gordon) car was going away and mine was getting better,” he said.

In the chess match that has become the Pay Less Little 500, it appeared pole sitter Aaron Pierce used the right strategy to record his first ever win, but it all went haywire with 68 laps remaining.

At the time Pierce had Gordon and Chris Windom down a lap when the caution flag waved on lap 432 when Kyle Wiegand spun on the back straight after a green flag run of 153 laps.

On the restart Pierce had a noticeable mechanical problem, and after getting loose once on the front straight, Gordon and Windom to return to the lead serial.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Boys' Baseball updates

  • The Norwell Knights advanced in Class 3A baseball sectional action with a 6-4 victory over the Fort Wayne Wayne Generals on Friday night at Decatur.
  • Southern Wells downed the Daleville Broncos 7-5 in the Class A sectional at Cowan. The Raiders will play the Cowan Blackhawks on Monday at about 12:30 p.m. in semifinal action.
  • Bluffton lost a 6-5 heartbreaker to the Adams Central Jets in the Class 2A sectional at Fort Wayne.
Read the Saturday, May 28, News-Banner for more details about the Bluffton and Norwell games. Southern Wells results were not available.

Science Central to hold golf benefit

Science Central Golf Classic June 2:

Science Central will hold its eighth-annual golf classic Thursday, June 2, at Pine Valley Country Club.

The Florida Scramble will begin at 1 p.m. All proceeds will benefit the programs of Science Central.

Hole sponsors and golfers are currently being sought. Call Julie at 260-424-2400, ext. 423.

Preparing for race day

Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials are encouraging fans to plan ahead for their trip to the Brickyard for the 100th Anniversary Indianapolis 500 on Sunday.

IMS officials offer two important recommendations to fans: plan to leave early for the track and do not use 16th Street westbound in an attempt to enter via Gate 2, as 16th Street quickly backs up due to the volume of cars attempting to park in the infield.

Fans also are encouraged to leave early and plan routes accordingly during the entire race weekend due to the major construction project on the west corridor of Interstate 465 in Indianapolis.

Due to construction on I-465 southbound, the eastbound Crawfordsville Road ramp is closed (northbound is still open). Also due to construction, 38th Street is restricted to two lanes. Motorists are encouraged to use the eastbound 10th Street ramp from I-465 as the main route to the track.

The Indiana State Police is advising spectators to visit to receive information on the most direct routes to take when arriving and leaving the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. A PDF file entitled “Traveling Tips to the 500 Mile Race” is available on the front page of the ISP’s Web site, and road conditions and construction updates also can be found at the main ISP site,

Fans also can avoid traffic and parking issues by using shuttle bus service provided by the Free Enterprise System, Inc. Information and registration for bus service from downtown and the Indianapolis International Airport is available at

On Race Day, public gates open at 6 a.m., and the 100th Anniversary Indianapolis 500 begins at noon. For additional information, and a complete schedule of the events surrounding the 100th Anniversary Indianapolis 500, visit

Thursday, May 26, 2011

4-H Extension Calendar for May

  • May 28: 4-H Shot Gun Safety, Wells County Gun Club, 9 - 11 AM
  • May 30: Memorial Day. County offices closed
  • May 31: 4-H Dog Obedience Club, Livestock Arena, 4-H Park, 6:30 - 8 PM
  • May 31: 4-H Swine PQA Workshop, Community Center, 4-H Park, Bluffton, 7 PM
  • June 1: State Fair Entries due at State Fair for Beef, Sheep, Swine, and Dairy
  • June 1: 4-H Pistol Safety, 4-H Park, 6:30 - 8 PM
  • June 2 - 16: Indiana & Wells County hosting Polish members and adults
  • June 4: Go Fishing Day, Oubache State Park, 8:30 - 10:30 AM
  • June 5: 4-H Horse & Pony Advisory Board, Community Center, 4-H Park, 5 PM
  • June 6: Wells County 4-H Junior Leaders, Community Center, 4-H Park, 7 - 8:30 PM
  • June 8 - 10: Home & Family Conference, Purdue University
  • June 8 - 10: 4-H Science Workshops, Purdue University
  • June 9: 4-H Sewing Workshop, Community Center, 4-H Park, 7 PM
  • June 10: 4-H Camp Registration due at County Extension Office
  • June 13: 4-H Leaders Meeting, Community Center, 4-H Park, 7 PM
  • June 27 - July 1: Pressure Canner Testing - $3 for gauge and lid; $5 for full canner inspection. Bring canner to County Extension Office

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Tennis in Bluffton

FREE Adult Tennis League starts June 6:
Join a free Round Robin Tennis League for adults. Matches will be played at Washington Park on Monday nights from June 6 to July 18 starting at 6 p.m. Register by calling the Parks and Recreation Department office at 824-6069. Bring a new can of tennis balls each Monday. (Winner keeps the unopened can.)

Free Tennis Lessons begin June 6:
The Bluffton Parks and Recreation Department Free Summer Tennis Lessons will begin June 6.

A parent needs to go to Washington Park on the first day the child registers to fill out a form.

Times are as follows for students finishing grades:
Third-fifth: 10-11 a.m.
Sixth and seventh: 11 a.m.-noon.
Eighth-11th girls: Noon – 1 p.m.
Eighth-11th boys 12:30-2 p.m.

Call 824-6069 for more information.

Outdoorsman’s swap meet & garage sale June 4:

The inaugural outdoorsman’s swap meet and garage sale will be held at the Ossian Conservation Club, 9950 N 100 E, Ossian, June 4 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free.

The event will feature old and new fishing tackle, archery equipment, fire arms, ammo, knives, antiques, and general garage sale items.

All venders welcome. Cost is $10 per space. Space availability on first-come basis. Food and drinks will also be available. Vendor setup is 6 a.m. day of event.

For more information and space reservations contact David Saalfrank at 622-7107.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Smokey Bear’s birthday bash at Ouabache State Park Saturday

Smokey Bear’s birthday bash will be held Saturday, May 28, at Ouabache State Park. Festivities begin at 4:30 p.m. with decorating the Campview Shelter for Smokey’s party.

At 6 p.m., children can stop by the playground across from the campground to decorate their bike or belt for the parade to be held in Loop A of the campground. Children should wear a bike helmet and shoes.

At 6:45 p.m., children can follow Smokey in the parade to the birthday party, meet Smokey and enjoy cookies, punch and ice cream. There will also be a prize drawing.

The party is free, but the $5 per-car entrance fee for Indiana residents and $7 for out-of-state vehicles to get into the park will be in effect.

For more information, call (260) 468-2127 or visit the Upper Wabash Interpretive Services website at

Monday, May 23, 2011

Remember new DNR firewood policy this weekend

From the Indiana DNR:

Enjoy campfires on DNR properties this Memorial Day weekend and throughout the year in a way that will protect forests from the spread of invasive insects.

The 140 known pests and pathogens that affect forests are moved from place to place primarily through the movement of firewood. As a result, DNR has a new firewood management policy. In short, the policy means: "Buy it with a stamp, bring it debarked, burn it all."

That means you can still bring firewood into a state park, reservoir, state forest or state fish & wildlife area from home if you live in Indiana, as long as you have previously removed the bark from it. Insect larvae live in the sapwood under the bark. (People from surrounding states cannot bring their own firewood because of the federal EAB quarantines.)

You may also bring firewood into DNR properties if:
  • It is kiln-dried scrap lumber.
  • It is purchased from a department store, grocery store, gas station, etc. and bears a USDA compliance stamp.
  • It is purchased from a local firewood vendor outside the property and has a state compliance stamp with it.
  • It is purchased from the property campstore or on-site firewood vendor and has a state compliance stamp.

Regardless of where you get your firewood, burn it all at the campsite. Do not leave it for the next camper.

Salamonie Lake and Spring Mill State Park have already lost shade trees because of the
emerald ash borer insect. The DNR wants to stay ahead of this and other pests elsewhere.

For more about this policy, see Vendors who want to sell firewood for use in DNR properties should see:

Friday, May 20, 2011

4-H CAMP JUNE 27 through 30

Youth in grades 3 through 6 are invited to participate in this year's 4-H Camp, June 27 - 30, at Camp Palmer, near Fayette, Ohio.

Youth can participate in archery, canoeing, crafts, dance, nature study, outdoor sports, a challenge course, team building, photography skills, and water sports.

Youth from Wells, Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Noble, and Steuben counties will be participating in the campo.

Four Wells County 4-H members will serve as camp counselors for the event. They are Jessie Mc Clure, Dustin Dixon and Brandon Gephart.

Cost of the camp is $65 for Wells County youth. The Wells County 4-H Association assists by sponsoring $66 per camper.

Car pooling will be coordinated to assist families in traveling to and from camp.

For more information and a camp enrollment packet, contact the Wells County Office of the Purdue Extension Service at 824-6412 or Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 4:30 PM, at the 4-H Park in Bluffton. Camp registration forms are due Friday, June 10.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


The Wells County 4-H Pellet Pistol Club will hold its first meeting on Wednesday, June 1, at 6:30 p.m. at the 4-H Park Poultry & Rabbit Building.

Meetings will be held each Wednesday in the month of June.

The cost of the program is $10, which includes equipment, supplies, insurance, awards and refreshments at the awards event. Scholarships are available by checking with the leaders.

Equipment is provided by the club, and members do not need to bring anything.

Youth may become members when they enter third grade and may continue their membership through the completion of grade 12. A member may continue membership for a maximum of 10 years.

The program is taught by 4-H certified instructors. Safety is the main focus of the program.

For more information about the club, contact Tex Mauger, 260-827-0266; Don Kiefer, 824-1585; or the Wells County Office of the Purdue Extension Service, 824-6412.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

N-B Video: Awaiting a championship — Norwell girls' track at New Haven

Members of the Norwell girls' track team listen as the announcer reveals the final sectional scoring at the IHSAA girls track meet at New Haven. Learn more about how well the girls did in the Wednesday, May 18, News-Banner.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

4-H Extension Calendar for May

  • May 21: Northeast IN Beekeeper Field Day, Classic Cafe, 4832 Hillegas Rd., Fort Wayne, 11:30 AM
  • May 21: State 4-H & FFA Livestock Dairy & Poultry Judging, Purdue University
  • May 21: 4-H Shot Gun Safety, Wells County Gun Club, 9 to 11 AM
  • May 22: Groundbreaking Ceremony for 4-H Jr. Leader Food Booth, 4-H Park, Bluffton, 3 PM
  • May 23: 4-H Dog Obedience Club, Livestock Arena, 4-H Park, 6:30 to 8 PM
  • May 24: 4-H Archery Club, Wells County 4-H Park, Quonset Building, 6:30 to 8:30 PM
  • May 25: 4-H Livestock Committee Superintendents, Community Center, 4-H Park, Bluffton, 6:30 PM
  • May 26: Wells County Extension Advisory Board, Corner Depot Restaurant, 7 AM
  • May 26: 4-H Swine PQA Workshop, 4-H Fairgrounds, Monroe, 6:30 PM
  • May 28: 4-H Shot Gun Safety, Wells County Gun Club, 9 to 11 AM
  • May 30: Memorial Day to County Offices Closed
  • May 31: 4-H Dog Obedience Club, Livestock Arena, 4-H Park, 6:30 to 8 PM
  • May 31: 4-H Swine PQA Workshop, Community Center, 4-H Park, Bluffton, 7 PM

Monday, May 16, 2011

Ouabache State Park offers day camp

Ouabache State Park kicks off the summer with a “Wetland Wanderings” day camp from June 14-16. Campers will study wetland plants and animals with hands-on activities. Activities include arts and crafts, a canoeing session, and daily hikes.

The camp will run from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. each day and are geared for kids ages 7-11. All of the camps will be led by experienced interpretive naturalists.

Each camp is $45 per child with a discount for additional siblings. Registration and a completed health/media release forms are required for each camp.

Advance registration is required and space is limited. A snack will be provided, but children should bring a sack lunch with drink each day.

Visit for more information about the programs.

To register for any summer day camp, call the Upper Wabash Interpretive Services at (260) 468-2127.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Kids fishing derbies at Upper Wabash properties, June 4

From the Indiana DNR:

Children ages 2 to 14 are invited to participate in one of the Upper Wabash Interpretive Services’ fishing derbies at Mississinewa Lake, Oubache State Park, J. E. Roush Fish & Wildlife Area, or Salamonie Lake on June 4 during the statewide Free Fishing Weekend.

Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. with fishing from 9-10:30 a.m. A casting contest and information seminar are included. An awards ceremony will follow the program.

“Each participating child goes home with a prize. There are grand prizes for the largest fish caught and prizes for each of the three age categories. Each child can win only one of these large prize packages, and all will receive other prizes for participating,” said Marvin McNew, director of UWIS.

Children will be divided into age categories: 2 to 5, 6 to 10, and 11 to 14. Prizes include fishing tackle, tackle boxes, fishing rods and reels, and more.

Call (260) 468-2127 to register your child for the derby of your choice. Salamonie’s derby will be in the Lost Bridge West Recreation Area; Mississinewa’s will be in the Miami Recreation Area; Ouabache’s will be at Kunkle Lake, and Roush’s will be in the Little Turtle Area.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Rare gibbon born at Fort Wayne Children's Zoo

A rare baby Javan gibbon born at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo on March 14 is making its public debut this week. The baby’s parents are the only pair of Javan gibbons to be exhibited in an accredited United States zoo. The baby, a male, is named Jaka, which means “young man” in an Indonesian language.

Javan gibbons are small, gray-furred apes found only on the island of Java in Indonesia, where they are critically endangered.

“This birth is significant for the future of Javan gibbons,” says zoo animal curator Mark Weldon. “Only two Javan gibbons were born in captivity worldwide in the last year.”

The Fort Wayne Children's Zoo was chosen to be part of an international consortium working to establish Javan gibbons in captivity. Because of the gibbons’ precarious status in the wild, conservation groups and zoos are establishing a captive population in case the wild population would collapse.

“By studying the reproductive behavior and genetics of captive Javan gibbons, we can learn things that will help the wild population as well,” Weldon says.

The baby’s parents, Lionel (male) and Dieng (female) arrived at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo in August 2010. Lionel came to Fort Wayne from the Gibbon Conservation Center in California, while Dieng came from the Belfast Zoo in Northern Ireland.

“So far, Dieng is being a good mother,” says Weldon. Young gibbons stay with their parents for up to seven years.

The Javan gibbons are exhibited along the Tree Tops Trail Boardwalk in the zoo’s Indonesian Rain Forest.

Found only on the island of Java in Indonesia, the endangered Javan gibbon is under intense pressure from the island’s burgeoning human population. Java is home to more than 130 million people – that’s about half the population of the entire United States – jammed onto an island roughly the size of North Carolina. Only about 4,000 Javan gibbons remain in tiny patches of rain forest on the island.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Indiana DNR offers new fishing program for children.

Fishing Fun program for preschoolers at Salamonie, May 11:
“Fishing Fun,” a program designed for ages 2 to 5, is Wednesday, May 11, at the Salamonie Interpretive Center.

The program runs from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Children and their parents will learn about fish, pretend to catch them and participate in a craft.

Participants can choose to bring their lunch to eat together after the event.

There is a $2 fee per child for the program. The standard property entrance fee will be waived for program attendees. Advance registration by calling (260) 468-2127 or visiting the Interpretive Center at 3691 S. New Holland Road in Andrews is requested. Caregivers are expected to stay with their children throughout the program.

Monday, May 9, 2011

DNR offers iPhone app

From the Indiana Department of Natural Resources:

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources and Indiana Interactive now offer an iPhone application. The free app is available in Apple’s App Store, which is accessible using iTunes. The application includes information and a mapping feature for those wanting to visit DNR properties.

Click here to download the app.

You can use the app to view:
  • Locations of DNR properties and public hunting and fishing spots
  • Fishing and hunting guides
  • Nature brochures
  • Property maps
  • DNR events and news releases

In addition, the application links to DNR’s camping and inns reservation system and the hunting/fishing licensing system. The application requires Internet access through wifi or wireless connection. This is DNR’s first mobile application. Feedback and suggestions are welcome at A version for Android and Blackberry is under development.

4-H Extension Calendar

  • May 14: 4-H Shot Gun Safety, Wells County Gun Club, 9-11 a.m.
  • May 15: Miss Wells County Queen Pageant Open House, Community Center, 4-H Park, 2:30-3:30 p.m.
  • May 16: 4-H Livestock Enrollment Forms due at the Wells County Extension Office
  • May 17: 4-H Archery Club, Wells County 4-H Park, Quonset Building 6:30-8:30 p.m.
  • May 21: 4-H Shot Gun Safety, Wells County Gun Club, 9-11 a.m.

Friday, May 6, 2011

500 Highlights with Howdy Bell

Indianapolis 500 commentator Howdy Bell visited the Wells County Public Library Thursday, May 5, to share stories from his more than 35 years covering the "greatest spectacle in racing." You can read about his presentation in the Friday, May 6, News-Banner.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

4-H calendar and more

  • May 7: Bluffton Farmer’s Market opens – Dutch Mill Plaza, 8 a.m. – Noon
  • May 7: 4-H Pizza pick up at the Wells County Community Center, 4-H Park, 10 a.m. – Noon
  • May 7: 4-H Shot Gun Safety, Wells County Gun Club, 9 a.m. – 11 a.m.
  • May 7: 4-H Sheep Identification Day, 4-H Park Multi-Purpose Building, 8 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.
  • May 7: 4-H Horse & Pony Identification Day, 4-H Park, Noon – 3:00 p.m.
  • May 7: 4-H Horse & Pony Advisory Board, Community Center, 3:00-4:00 p.m.
  • May 10: 4-H Archery Club, Wells County 4-H Park, Quonset Building, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
  • May 12: 4-H Rabbit Workshop, Community Center, 7:00-8:00 p.m.
  • May 13-14: Master Gardeners Plant Sale & Garage Sale, 4-H Park, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 2 p.m. Saturday

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Norwell vs. Homestead and New Haven — Girls' track and field

Norwell's Emily Gresley clears the crossbar at 10 feet 6 inches to tie her personal record and the school record. Read the story in the Wednesday, May 4, News-Banner. Go to

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Welcome back to the outdoors

May 6 - May 8 is Welcome Back Weekend, in which state parks offer different activities to celebrate the warmer weather. Several parks within 90 minutes of Wells County are offering different activities for Welcome Back Weekend. To learn more about each event, go to the DNR's program schedule page.

Saturday, May 7th:
10 a.m. — Park Perimeter Hike
1-4 p.m. — The Historic Bronnenbergs Open House
2-3 p.m. — Archives & Artifacts
7 p.m. — Campfire Fun: The Liar’s Club
Sunday, May 8th:
11 .am. — Lunchtime for Critters
1-4 p.m. — Bronnenberg House Open
2 p.m. — Spring Bloomers

Salamonie Reservoir
Saturday, May 7:
1 p.m. — Little Bug, Big Problems
1:45p.m. — Oh, The Campfires They Are a Changin’
2 p.m. — There’s Something Shady Goin’ On!
3 p.m. — Seasonal Color: Flowergardens and Bugs
Where colorful bugs and flowers meet

Indiana Dunes State Park:
Saturday May 7:
10 a.m. Another "Dam" Hike!
11 a.m. Hoosier Quest Patch Program
2 p.m. Radar Ornithology
8 p.m. Whooo Goes There…!
Sunday May 8:
9:30 a.m. Wonderful Warblers with Mom!
2 p.m. 100 Years of Indiana State Parks

Monday, May 2, 2011

Bluffton vs. Bishop Luers — taking the lead ... and the game

Bluffton's Maggie Garrett hits a three-run home run to put the Bluffton Tigers ahead and win the game. See the Monday, May 2, News-Banner for the story.