Sports and Outdoors

Friday, December 5, 2014

N-B Video: Bluffton loses on the chin on the mat to Woodlan

The Bluffton Tigers hosted the Woodlan Warriors Thursday evening. Watch BHS senior Noah Studebaker compete with Woodlan sophomore Mason Berry in the 182-pound class. Bluffton lost the Allen County Athletic Conference dual meet, 47-33. Learn more in the Friday, Dec. 5, News-Banner. (Video by Paul Beitler)

Monday, December 1, 2014

N-B Photos: Raider girls top Jets in ACAC opener

Saturday, the Southern Wells' girls topped Adams Central in Monroe, 49-43. Learn more in the Monday, Dec. 1, News-Banner. (Photos by Paul Beitler)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Wisconsin, UNC, Florida, UCLA lead Atlantis field

Wisconsin, UNC, Florida, UCLA lead Atlantis field
Tar Heels to start against Butler

AP Basketball Writer
PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas (AP) — North Carolina coach Roy Williams knows a trip to the Bahamas will not in any way resemble a Thanksgiving vacation for his Tar Heels.
He’s not complaining.
And neither are plenty of other teams that are spending the next few days in paradise.
No. 2 Wisconsin (4-0), No. 5 North Carolina (3-0), No. 18 Florida (2-1) and No. 22 UCLA (4-0) headline the eight-team bracket at the Battle 4 Atlantis, which gets underway inside a ballroom-turned-temporary-arena on Wednesday and boasts arguably the most loaded field of any of the early season college basketball tournaments.
Butler (3-0), Oklahoma (2-1), Georgetown (3-0) and Alabama-Birmingham (2-2) are also in the field. Combined record of the eight teams: 23-4.
“It’s a wonderful tournament,” Williams said. “Looking at all the tournament fields, I think it’s the best field of any of the preseason tournaments. It’s a big-time challenge for us.”
For everyone else, too.
“Now we are going to be thrown into the proverbial fire,” Georgetown coach John Thompson III said.
That’s exactly the selling point tournament organizers have made to schools, trying to lure them to the Atlantis for a few days of sun, fun, turkey — and no easy games. Connecticut, Duke, Kansas, Louisville, Villanova and Iowa have all been part of the field in recent years, with Syracuse, UConn and Gonzaga among those scheduled to be there next year.
There could be plenty of other intrigue as well, such as the potential of a Butler-Georgetown game — a non-conference matchup against Big East members. Or maybe a Georgetown-UCLA matchup, which would pit Hoyas center Joshua Smith against his former school.
Smith and the Hoyas open against Florida in the last of Wednesday’s four quarterfinal matchups.
“He will probably be the biggest, most physical frontcourt player we’ll play all year long,” Florida coach Billy Donovan said of facing the 6-foot-10, 340-pound Smith. “I don’t think there’s anybody in college basketball like him, so he’s certainly a handful and that will be a challenge for us.”
Butler and North Carolina open things on Wednesday, a rematch of their meeting at the Maui Invitational two years ago.
“Getting ready to play, it’s a different team and I’ve got a different team, but there’s some guys that were around and they beat us by 88 points or something like that the last time we played them,” Williams said. “And I remember that.”
He’s off on one key detail: Butler beat North Carolina 82-71 in that meeting, but the Tar Heels will surely be reminded that beach time isn’t exactly as much fun after losses.
“We’re 3-0 and we’ve done some good things,” Williams said. “We know we’ve got to get a heck of a lot better.”
The Badgers, who open against UAB, have only been ranked as high as No. 2 in one other season, the 2006-07 campaign in which they climbed briefly to No. 1.
Through four games, no opponent has scored more than 60 on Wisconsin, which is holding teams to 34 percent shooting.
“It’s getting better every game,” Wisconsin star Frank Kaminsky said of the team’s defense. “We are learning things from previous games that we can take going forward and hopefully we keep building on it.”
Wisconsin has gotten to 4-0 with defense; UCLA, which opens against Oklahoma, has gotten there with offense, scoring 95.3 points per game.
“They looked like the Harlem Globetrotters out there, just toying with us,” Nicholls State coach J.P. Piper said after the Bruins dropped 107 points and 11 3-pointers on his team last week.
If nothing else, the three games everyone gets in the Bahamas this week will be a learning experience, Donovan said.
“Before December 1st, we’re going to know a lot about our team,” Donovan said.
AP Sports Writers Mark Long in Gainesville, Florida, and Joseph White in Washington contributed to this report.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

N-B Slideshow: Wells runners compete in regional races

In our latest slideshow, Wells high school cross country teams compete in regional races. (Photos by Paul Beitler)

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Chandler on active roster

With Teddy Bridgewater’s status still up in the air for tonight’s game vs. the Packers and only two quarterbacks on the roster (Bridgewater and Christian Ponder), the Vikings signed QB Chandler Harnish, who was signed to the practice squad earlier this week, to the active roster.
To make room for Harnish, the Vikings waived WR Rodney Smith.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

33rd Annual Eldora Speedway Event Showcases Variety of Open Wheeled Cars, Winged & Non-Winged


33rd Annual Eldora Speedway Event Showcases Variety of Open Wheeled Cars, Winged & Non-Winged

ROSSBURG, Ohio — A smorgasbord of racing may well be the best description for the 33rd Four Crown Nationals scheduled for Sept. 19, 20 at Eldora Speedway.
Over the course of two days, the historic one-half mile clay oval will host multiple open-wheeled divisions, beginning with the winged World of Outlaws (WoO) STP Sprint Car Series and the DIRTcar UMP Modifieds on Friday.
Saturday will see the three national non-winged series of the United States Auto Club (USAC) — Midget, Sprint Car and Silver Crown divisions in their only same-day appearance together on the 2014 schedule.
As if all that isn’t enough, members of the Vintage Auto Racing Club (VARC) will host a display and on-track exhibition, while the USAC Quarter Midgets will be competing on Little Eldora Speedway.

Coming into Friday’s chase, four different WoO winners have found their way to Eldora’s victory lane in as many contests this year. With this being the final 2014 WoO showing at Eldora, the balance of the field is hoping to keep that streak going and make it five different winners.

Among the hopefuls is 20-time WoO champion Steve Kinser. The Bloomington, Ind., veteran is making his final Eldora appearance as a full-time WoO point follower and would like nothing better than to close out that campaign with his 36th WoO win at Eldora. The traveling Outlaws have completed 149 races at Eldora and Kinser’s 35 victories sets him high atop the all-time win list.

Shane Stewart (Tulsa, Okla.) and David Gravel (Watertown, Conn.) captured their first-ever Eldora WoO wins when the tour invaded in May, while the recently retired Sammy Swindell (Germantown, Tenn.) captured the final checkered flag of his storied career on July 11. The next night saw Australian driver Kerry Madsen increasing his Eldora win total to three with a convincing $50,000 Kings Royal victory.

For the Modifieds, it will be their final tune-up before the three-day UMP Fall Nationals (October 2, 3, 4). Earlier in the season, teammates Jeff Babcock (Wayne, Ohio) and Matt Westfall (Ludlow Falls, Ohio) traded wins with three apiece before Jacob Hawkins (Fairmont, W.Va.) and Jonathan Taylor (Saltsburg, Penn.) moved in to end that streak with their recent ventures into victory lane.

When Dave Darland (Lincoln, Ind.) captured April’s USAC Sprint Car main event at Eldora, it inched him closer to August’s historic moment when he moved past veteran Tom Bigelow (Whitewater, Wis.) to become USAC’s all-time leading feature winner with 53 checkered flags. Darland is hoping to retain that momentum Saturday night as he comes into the event only three points behind Brady Bacon (Broken Arrow, Okla.) in the cumulative 2014 USAC National Sprint Car Series point chase. Bacon has yet to score an Eldora USAC Sprint win while Darland has amassed five.

Rico Abreu (Rutherford, Calif.) turned the trick in the USAC Midget portion of the Four Crown last year and rides into Saturday as the current point leader with a comfortable margin over veteran charger Tracy Hines (New Castle, Ind.) and young upstart Christopher Bell (Norman, Okla.).

Closing out Saturday’s tripleheader will be the time-honored Silver Crown division. Kody Swanson (Kingsburg, Calif.), winless in Eldora action thus far, leads the point chase over Hines, Bobby East (Brownsburg, Ind.) and last year’s Four Crown winner Chris Windom (Canton, Ill.).

Each night’s card will include full racing programs of Heat Races, B-Features as needed and the concluding A-Features.

During the daytime, the future stars of racing will be honing their Quarter Midget racing skills on the adjoining Little Eldora Speedway and the VARC members will be on hand with their biggest display of the year to bench race and retell the history of their restored race cars.

Autumn Owls at Ouabache State Park

Autumn Owls – Sept. 27, 2014 at Ouabache State Park

All programs for this event will be held at the Campview Shelter in the middle of Campground A.

2:00 pm What a “Hoot!” – LIVE Owls – Part 1
Discover fascinating facts about two of Indiana’s common owls and meet some up close! Join interpretive naturalist, Jennifer, as she sheds some light on these nocturnal wonders.

3:00 pm Owl Make- it/Take-it
Use your craftiness to create an owl masterpiece as a souvenir.

4:30 pm What a “Hoot!” – LIVE Owls – Part 2
Meet another resident owl of Indiana. Join interpretive naturalist, Teresa Rody, as she unveils the mysteries of this silent flyer.

7:00 pm Movie
Enjoy a family-friendly movie about owls. Feel free to bring your own chair and/or a blanket.
Following the Movie Owl Prowl**
Step outside for a short hike as we attempt to call-in some owls.
** weather permitting

Parents and children are encouraged to attend Ouabache’s interpretive programs together. Children under age 10 must bring an adult.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Eldora Announces 2015 Date for 1-800-CAR-CASH Mud Summer Classic

Marquee NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Event Remains One-Of-A-Kind
As Only Dirt Race on NASCAR National Series Schedules

ROSSBURG, Ohio (Aug. 26, 2014) — The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will return to Eldora Speedway in 2015. Officials from Eldora and NASCAR announced that Wednesday, July 22 will be the third annual 1-800-CAR-CASH Mud Summer Classic at the legendary high-banked, half-mile dirt oval in rural Ohio.

Eldora maintains its position as the only dirt track on any of the 2015 NASCAR National Series calendars. Pricing for tickets and campsites will remain consistent with previous years.

The announcement, which coincided with the release of the 2015 schedules for all three of the NASCAR National Series – NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series –was broadcast live on FOX Sports 1’s NASCAR RaceHub and NBC Sports Network’s NASCAR America.

With confirmation of 1-800-CAR-CASH Mud Summer Classic, scheduling of Eldora’s traditional Major Events is now complete:
· Thursday-Friday-Saturday, June 4-5-6: $100,000-to-win Dirt Late Model Dream® (21st annual)
· Friday and Saturday, July 17-18: $50,000-to-win Kings Royal® Weekend (32nd annual)
· Wednesday, July 22: 1-800-CAR-CASH Mud Summer Classic (third annual)
· Thursday-Friday-Saturday, Sept. 10-12: World 100® Weekend (45th annual)
· Friday and Saturday, Sept. 25-26: Four Crown Nationals® (34th annual)

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Send a card or letter to Paul George

From the Indiana Pacers:

Starting today at noon, a banner will be placed in the Entry Pavilion of Bankers Life Fieldhouse for fans to sign and send their well wishes to Paul.

The banner will be in the Entry Pavilion until after the Indiana Fever game on Friday, Aug. 8.

After that, the banner will be hung at the Fieldhouse.

Cards and Letters:

Fans wishing to send cards or letters to Paul to wish him well in his recovery may send them to:

Get Well PG
125 S. Pennsylvania St.
Indianapolis, IN 46204

Friday, July 18, 2014

Dillon to defend, Benning to grab attention, Larson to return to dirt

From Eldora Speedway:

ROSSBURG, OH (July 17) – Austin Dillon will be returning to defend his title, Norm Benning will try to capture the attention of the racing world one more time and Kyle Larson is returning to the dirt.   These are just some of the highlights from the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series entry list released this week for Eldora Speedway’s 1-800 CarCash Mudsummer Classic.   The Tuesday and Wednesday (July 22 and 23) event remains as NASCAR’s only dirt-track race in any of the sanctioning body’s three national series.

NASCAR’s return to the dirt last year came after a 43 year absence and was a huge hit; the Eldora grandstands overflowed and live television coverage produced near-record ratings.

When the checkered flag flew after the 150-lap chase around Eldora, it was an excited Austin Dillon leading the way.   Dillon, now chasing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year honors, cultivated last year’s Mudsummer Classic win through several years of Eldora track time as he nurtured his racing career.   That track time included UMP DIRTcar Modifieds and Late Models filtered in between his NASCAR venture that has  included the Camping World Truck Series, Nationwide Series and now the Sprint Cup Series.

The grandson of Richard Childress will be joining his brother, Ty Dillon, in his pursuit of a repeat win.

While Austin Dillon and 24 other drivers were locked into the 150-lap Mudsummer Classic last year  by virtue of their qualifying laps and heat race finishes, five positions remained open through a 15-lap ‘Last Chance Race’.

It was in this race that the crowd riveted and the social media world lit up.   The final laps produced a gritty, fender rubbing, battle between veterans Norm Benning and Clay Greenfield for the fifth and final starting spot in the epic Mudsummer Classic.   The under-funded Benning was relentless in his fight, and after trading paint coming off the fourth turn, inched his way into the finale and the spotlight.   Pit road erupted in delight of Benning’s tenacity and fellow competitors greeted him with high-fives all the way to his pit stall.   Within minutes Benning’s moves rocketed him to a spot within the top 10 trends on social media giant Twitter.

While he relished that moment, Benning is hoping that this year his attention can be centered around an earned spot via qualifying or one of the heat races.

Kyle Larson, who joins Austin Dillon in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year chase, came upon the Eldora scene full force in 2011 when he captured all three legs of the USAC (United States Auto Club) portion of the Four Crown Nationals.   His well-chronicled dirt track exploits caught the eye of the NASCAR world; leading into his current high-profile Sprint Cup ride.    Larson savors every opportunity he has to return to the dirt, and will be aiming to improve one-position from his Mudsummer Classic runner-up finish of 2013.

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series teams will move into the pits on Tuesday (July 22) and undergo technical inspection at 1:00 p.m.  After the NASCAR garage closes at 6:00 p.m., the Sunoco American Late Model Series will take to the Eldora high banks for a complete racing program.

NASCAR competitors will begin their practice session at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, with the qualifying laps taking place at 5:10 p.m. and the preliminary racing getting underway at 7:00 p.m.   A special Late Model program will also be included on Wednesday.

Remaining race tickets and campsites for the Mudsummer Classic or any other exciting Eldora event, are available by going online to Additionally, tickets and campsites may be purchased through the Eldora offices during normal business hours by calling (937) 338-3815 or on race day.

Race fans and race teams can get behind-the-scenes access by following @EldoraSpeedway on Twitter, hitting ‘Like’ at and view video highlights at Mobile device users can access the Eldora Speedway app for the iPhone, iPad and Android which are available for download via iTunes and Google Play.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Hark! It’s “Christmas in July” at Salamonie Lake, July 19-20

From the Indiana Department of Natural Resources:

Get a jump start on the holiday season by celebrating Christmas in July at Salamonie Lake, July 19 and 20.

The weekend involves Christmas activities and festive competitions with prize awards.

Bring your Christmas lights and lawn decorations for the Christmas campsite decorating contest on July 19 and a chance to win free camping at Salamonie campgrounds. Participants need to register in person at the Salamonie Interpretive Center before 5 p.m. the day of the contest. Judging starts at 8 p.m.

Other events on July 19 include sand sculpting at the beach at 10:30 a.m., water activities from 2-4 p.m., an “Over the River and Through the Salamonie Woods” sensory night hike at 9:15 p.m., and more.

Campsite decorating contest winners will be announced at 9:45 a.m. on July 20. Winners should be present to receive their prize.

The standard entrance fee of $5 per in-state vehicle or $7 per out-of-state vehicle will be in effect.

For more information, call (260) 468-2127.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Ouabache announces July events

Click here to learn more about the July Upper Wabash Interpretive Services programs.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

N-B Video: Chandler Harnish returns to NHS for football camp

Norwell graduate Chandler Harnish to lead students at the Chandler Harnish/USA Football Youth Camp. The camp runs through Wednesday. (Video by Paul Beitler)

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

N-B Video: Norwell baseball team wins 2014 sectional championship

Winning pitcher Alex Hunter discusses the five-inning game that clenched the Knights' sectional victory. Learn more in the Tuesday, June 3, News-Banner. (Video by Paul Beitler)

Monday, June 2, 2014

N-B Video: Norwell advances to baseball sectional finals

Learn more in the Monday, June 2, News-Banner. (Video by Paul Beitler)

Friday, May 30, 2014

N-B Video: Norwell baseball wins first sectional game with nail-biting victory

Learn more in the Saturday, May 31, News-Banner. (Video by Paul Beitler)

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Find out what fish are biting in your area lakes

From the Indiana Department of Natural Resources:

Anglers can find out what fish are biting in a certain lake on what bait by looking online at the updated DNR fishing reports.

The DNR has improved this Web page,, to allow for more information to be easily shared about lakes across the state.

The new look splits the state into three zones, North, Central, and South. Each zone can be clicked on an interactive map to see all lake reports in that region. A dropdown list of lakes in the system is also available to allow quick specific searches.

“The new fishing reports system allows DNR staff to provide updates throughout the state,” said Bill James, DNR fisheries chief. “This allows us to get more information to the public on lakes we are surveying in real time, and for anglers to know what is biting throughout the year.”

The information will be updated toward the end of every week, so anglers will have current information for each weekend.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Campers at DNR properties should remember the firewood rule

From the Indiana Department of Natural Resources:

With the arrival of camping season, visitors to DNR properties should brush up on the DNR firewood rule.

The rule helps protect Indiana’s trees from the 140 known pests and pathogens that currently affect forests. The pests and pathogens are transported from primarily through the movement of firewood.

Under the rule, in-state visitors to state parks, reservoirs, state forests and state fish & wildlife areas can bring firewood from home — as long as the bark has been removed. The reason for bark removal is insect larvae live in the sapwood under the bark. Visitors from outside Indiana cannot bring firewood from out of state because of federal emerald ash borer quarantines.

Guests may also bring firewood into DNR properties, if it's:

— Kiln-dried scrap lumber.
— Purchased outside the property and bears either a USDA compliance stamp or a state compliance stamp.
— Purchased from the property campstore or on-site firewood vendor and has a state compliance stamp.
Regardless of where visitors get their firewood, they should burn it all at the campsite before they leave.

In short, the firewood rule means: “Buy it with a stamp, bring it debarked, burn it all.”

For more about the rule see Vendors who want to sell firewood for use in DNR properties should get or renew their compliance agreements. For details, see

Friday, May 2, 2014

N-B Photos: Raiders, Tigers compete at Adams Central Invitational

All photos by Paul Beitler

Knights ambush Braves, 13-3, in NHC victory

The Knights ambushed the Braves, 13-3, in a five-inning game called by the 10-run rule at Norwell Thursday evening. Norwell scored nine runs in the first inning and went on to claim the Northeast Hoosier Conference victory.

Learn more in the Friday, May 2, News-Banner. (Photos by Paul Beitler)

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Civilian Conservation Corps tour at Ouabache State Park May 3

From the Indiana Department of Natural Resources:

Visitors to Ouabache State Park can learn how the Civilian Conservation Corps helped develop the park during the Great Depression at a presentation and park tour, May 3.

The presentation is at 3:30 p.m. at the park lodge, which was built by the CCC. The event is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by the Friends of Ouabache State Park group and Ouabache State Park.

The CCC was a government work program that provided jobs to young, unemployed men during the Great Depression. The workers developed parks; built roads, trails and fire towers; planted trees and more.

The Friends group will show the audience historic photos and CCC memorabilia, including an original CCC uniform. After the presentation, participants can tour the park to view structures built by the CCC at designated stops. Those that visit all stops will receive a prize.

The Friends of Ouabache State Park group is raising funds to install a CCC statue at the park. There is currently only one statue located in Indiana, at Versailles State Park. Bluffton resident Wayne Lydy, 91, and his daughter, Myra Myrtle, Friends group president, are the driving force to get the statue. Lydy is one of the oldest surviving CCC veterans in Indiana.

The May 3 event is the first of a series of CCC programs presented by the Friends group in anticipation of the statue.

Admission on May 3 to all state parks and reservoirs is free for veterans and military personnel. For all other visitors the standard admission fee of $5 per in-state vehicle and $7 per out-of-state vehicle applies.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

N-B Photos: Bluffton, Raiders face off in softball, baseball

The girls and boys from Bluffton and Southern Wells faced each other Tuesday on the softball and baseball diamonds. Learn more in the Wednesday, April 30, News-Banner. (Photos by Paul Beitler)

Monday, April 28, 2014

N-B Video: Norwell player helps Indiana win Border Wars basketball game

Norwell senior David Vogel speaks with Paul Beitler, News-Banner sports editor, after the 22nd annual Nancy Rehm Border Wars Classic boys' basketball all-star game at the Hutzell Athletic Center at the University of Saint Francis Sunday. Learn more in the Monday, April 28, News-Banner. (Video and photos by Paul Beitler)

Ted Williams — a representative of McDonald's, a sponsor of the games — presents
a victor's medallion to Vogel after the game.

Friday, April 25, 2014

N-B Photos: Norwell rolls past Bluffton in track and field activities

Learn more in the Friday, April 25, News-Banner. (Photos by Paul Beitler)

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Welcome Back Weekend at state parks and reservoirs, May 2-4

From the Indiana Department of Natural Resources:

Celebrate spring at Indiana’s 24 state parks and eight reservoirs during Welcome Back Weekend, May 2-4.

The weekend features outdoor programs, free admission for veterans and active duty military personnel on Saturday, May 3, free admission for everyone on Sunday, May 4, and an invitation to share pictures and tweet about your state park visit.

The free admission also applies to state forest recreation areas.

“Our properties are inexpensive places to relax, play, exercise and enjoy the outdoors,” said Dan Bortner, DNR State Parks & Reservoirs director. "This weekend is an invitation to shake out the tent or set up the camper and enjoy all that our state parks have to offer.”

Welcome Back Weekend events include:

— Morel Mushroom Festival at Brown County State Park
— A “Hound Hike” at Shakamak State Park
— World War I Weekend at Fort Harrison State Park
— Geocaching at Harmonie State Park
— Wildflower/fern program with DNR botanist Mike Homoya at Ouabache State Park
— Walking-stick workshop at Patoka Lake.

For a complete list and details, see
Visitors are encouraged to share their Welcome Back Weekend experiences via social media. They can:
— Use the hashtag #welcomebackIN and give us a shout-out on Twitter (@INdnrstateparks), Facebook (INdnrstateparksandreservoirs) and Instagram (@indianadnr).
— Take a selfie at their favorite state park and share it on social media with hashtag #welcomebackIN.
— Submit photos to the DNR Flickr page and photo contest. More information is at

Visitors will notice changes and improvements around the state. Caves at Spring Mill State Park are reopening to groups with permits this summer, and Wolf Cave at McCormick’s Creek State Park is reopening to everyone. See a list of updates for all properties at

Sunday, May 4, also kicks off Travel Indiana Week, sponsored by the Indiana Office of Tourism Development.

Most entrance gates will still be staffed Sunday, so visitors can purchase their annual pass, lake permit or horse tags for the season. An Annual Entrance Pass costs $40 for a state resident and $20 for state residents ages 65 and older. An out-of-state pass costs $60. Special SPR Go! Value Packages that include Annual Entrance Passes can be purchased at

Admission at most properties for non-veterans or non-military personnel on Saturday will be $5 per in-state vehicle and $7 per out-of-state vehicle.

On Saturday, veterans should show military ID, a V.A. card or Disabled Hoosier Veteran license plate, an Indiana veteran's driver's license or discharge papers with accompanying state photo ID. Free admission extends to anyone in the same vehicle.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Purdue Extension calendar

April 21: Wells County 4-H Association, 4-H Park, 7 p.m.
April 21: 4-H Dog Obedience Club, 4-H Park 6:30-8 p.m.
April 21: 4-H Archery (beginner members), Quonset Building, 4-H Park, Bluffton, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
April 22: 4-H Archery (advanced members), Quonset Building, 4-H Park, Bluffton, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
April 22: Wells County 4-H Foundation, 4-H Park, 6:30 p.m.
April 23: Wells Co. 4-H Junior Leader Club, Community Center, 4-H Park, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
April 24: Pond Management Workshop, Community Center, 4-H Park, Bluffton, 7 p.m.
April 24: Wells County Youth Leadership Forum, Bluffton Library, 8 a.m.-3 p.m.
April 24: Northeast Indiana Purdue Council on Agriculture, Research Extension and Teaching, Noble Co. Extension Office, Albion, 7 p.m.
April 25: Northeast Indiana 4-H & FFA Dairy & Livestock Judging Contest, Whitley Co. 4-H Fairgrounds, Columbia City, 8 a.m.-3 p.m.
May 5: Extension Homemakers Executive Council 12:30 p.m.
May 5: Extension Homemakers President's Council 1:30 p.m.
May 8: Final day for Wells Weighs In
May 15: ServSafe Recert Class, 8 a.m.-12:30. Exam at 1:00 p.m.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

DNR asks public help in finding Indiana’s largest trees

From the Indiana Department of Natural Resources:

Do you know of an extraordinarily large tree?

The DNR is accepting nominations for the 2015 Big Tree Register, a list of the largest known specimen of each native tree species in the state. The register is published every five years.

Nominations will be accepted through October.

The 2015 Big Tree Register nomination form is at . The form includes additional information on finding and measuring big trees.

The 2010 register is at

The biggest big tree in the 2010 Register is a 136-foot tall sycamore tree in Johnson County with a trunk more than 25 feet around.

The smallest big tree in the 2010 Register is an American hophornbeam (aka ironwood) in Vanderburgh County that is 12 feet tall and 3 inches around.

The register requires three measurements: trunk circumference, in inches, at 4 1/2 feet above the ground; total height, in feet; and average crown spread, in feet.

The total size of a tree is calculated using the formula: circumference + height + 1/4 average crown spread. The tree of each species with the highest total is Indiana's largest.

Each tree nominated is verified for species and size before acceptance in the register.

For more information about nominating a tree for the register or to receive a nomination form, contact district forester Janet Eger at (812) 247-2479 or email

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Extension Calendar released

April 4-6: Hoosier Horse Fair, State Fairgrounds, Indianapolis
April 6-12: National Volunteer Week
April 7: 4-H Rabbit Workshop, Community Center 7 p.m.
April 8-9: First grade Kids Health and Safety Fair, Bluffton-Harrison Elementary School
April 10: Wells Co. 4-H Council, Community Center, 4-H Park, Bluffton, 7 p.m.
April 12-13: Purdue Spring Fest, Purdue University
April 12: 4-H Dairy Feeder ID Day, 4-H Park, Bluffton, 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., Bluffton Elks Lodge
April 12: 4-H Park Work Day, 9 a.m. to noon
April 12: 4-H Horse & Pony Port-A-Pit Chicken BBQ, Walmart, 11a.m. to 2 p.m.
April 12: Northeast IN 4-H & FFA Horse & Pony Judging Contest, Huntington Co., 9 a.m.
April 13: 4-H Alpaca/Llama Club, Zook Farm, 4 p.m.
April 14: 4-H Archery Club Sign-up, 4-H Park, 7 p.m.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Opportunities for National Volunteer Week at Indiana’s State Parks & Reservoirs

From the Indiana Department of Natural Resources:

From maintaining trails to entering computer data, Hoosiers can celebrate National Volunteer Week, April 6-12, by donating their time and talent to Indiana’s state parks and reservoirs.

"Volunteering gives you a great sense of accomplishment,” said Jody Heaston, volunteer coordinator for DNR Division of State Parks & Reservoirs. “You know you are helping manage and conserve our natural and cultural resources for future generations to enjoy.”

Heaston said she hopes many volunteers from National Volunteer week will “catch the giving-back spirit” and continue to volunteer with Indiana’s state parks and reservoirs.

Information about volunteer events and opportunities at specific properties is available at or by calling the offices at those properties.

Some examples of upcoming volunteer opportunities are:

— Mounds State Park: Prepare the wildlife viewing area for the recreation season, April 6, 10 a.m. to noon. For more information, call (765) 649-8128.

— Brookville Lake: Picking up litter, April 6-12. For more information, call (765) 647-2657

— Tippecanoe River State Park: Helping in the horse camp, April 12 at 9 a.m. For more information, call (574) 946-3213.

— O’Bannon Woods State Park: Cleaning up, April 6-11. For more information, call (812) 738-8234.

— Pokagon State Park: Removing invasive plants, April 6 and 12, at 2 p.m. For more information, call (260) 833-2012.

— Summit Lake State Park: Paint trail signs and markers, April 11 and 12, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, call (765) 766-5873.

— Harmonie State Park: Spring cleanup, April 12 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information, call (812) 682-4821.

— Indiana Dunes State Park: Help with the 18th Annual Friends of Indiana Dunes Plant Sale, April 12 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information, call (219) 926-1390.

— Ouabache State Parks: Trail maintenance day, April 12 at 10 a.m. For more information, call (260) 824-0926.

— Versailles State Park: Trail maintenance day, April 12 at 10 a.m. For more information, call (812) 689-6424.

— Salamonie Lake: Spruce-Up Salamonie Day, April 12 at 10 a.m. For more information, call (260) 468-2127.

— Turkey Run State Park: Trails spring cleaning, April 12. For more information, call (765) 597-2654.

Friday, March 21, 2014

N-B Feedback: Still hysterical after all these years

MUNCIE, Ind. (AP) — Sometimes a team finds itself on the wrong side of history. Call them Goliath, call them a team from South Bend in the film “Hoosiers,” or call them what they were: the Muncie Central Bearcats, immortalized in arguably the greatest sports story to come out of Indiana.

It’s been 60 years since the Bearcats took the court at what was then Butler Fieldhouse to face Milan, the team from a 161-student school that made an improbable run to the single-class state title game. Central played the foil, the heavy favorite that couldn’t stop the magical season as Bobby Plump’s 14-footer in the waning seconds pushed those teams and that 32-30 game into the realm of lore.

Read more about reflections of the miracle moment in the Friday, March 21, News-Banner, and share your own sports memories in the comments section.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

N-B Video: Conquering Cougars come home to celebration

Norwell graduate Jenelle Wilson and her University of Saint Francis teammates returned to Fort Wayne Wednesday evening after going 38-0 in the season and winning the NAIA Division II Women's Tournament Tuesday night at Sioux City, Iowa. Norwell graduates Taylor Wilson and Paige Frisch didn't return with the team. Learn more in the Thursday, March 20, News-Banner. (Video by Paul Beitler)

Jenelle Wilson's family — father Jim, mother Debbie, sister Jordan, brother Bray and nephew Easton Wilson — wait for the team to file through the entrance of the Hutzell Athletic Center at the University of Saint Francis Wednesday night.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

State Parks & Reservoirs seeking lifeguards; testing now online

From the Indiana Department of Natural Resources:

Lifeguarding tests are now offered online for applicants seeking such positions at Indiana State Parks & Reservoirs facilities.

The test is for first-year applicants only. First-year applicants must pass the test as part of the job application. Candidates who have already worked at a state park or reservoir facility need not take the test again.

The test is 50 questions. Half of the test is about CPR and first aid, and half is about lifeguard training knowledge. The applicant must score at least 70 percent.

A link to the test and information for both first-year and returning candidates on how to apply are available at

Applicants must already be certified in lifeguarding and CPR for the professional rescuer before taking the test. If an applicant is in a certification class but has yet to finish, he or she may take the test but must complete certification before being hired.

The test serves as a hiring tool and is not a recertification of any type. Guards must recertify on their own through their local Red Cross and YMCAs prior to the swim season.

The swim season generally runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Hiring will begin immediately and last until all positions are filled.

Lifeguard positions are available at Brown County, Clifty Falls, Versailles, Spring Mill, Harmonie, O’Bannon Woods, McCormick’s Creek, Ouabache, Mounds, Indiana Dunes, Shakamak and Prophetstown state parks.

Monday, March 10, 2014

N-B Video: Norwell boys win 2014 basketball sectional championship

The News-Banner's Paul Beitler speaks with Norwell player Brent Bales after the Knights defeated Mississinewa 69-44 Saturday, March 8. Learn more in the Monday, March 10, News-Banner. (Video by Paul Beitler)

Friday, March 7, 2014

N-B Video: Norwell earns "ugly" win to advance to sectional finals

The News-Banner's Paul Beitler talks with Norwell High School senior Drew Shively after the Knights beat Eastbrook by 11 points. Learn more in the Saturday, March 8, News-Banner. (Video by Paul Beitler)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

N-B Video: "Good Norwell basketball" wins first round of 2014 sectional

Norwell High School junior Piercen Harnish talks about Norwell's strategy that defeated the Heritage Patriots Tuesday, March 4, in the first round of the 2014 boys' basketball sectional. Learn more in the Wednesday, March 5, News-Banner. (Video by Paul Beitler)

Monday, March 3, 2014

Register for “Becoming an Outdoors-Woman”

From the Indiana Department of Natural Resources:

Women can choose their own adventure at an outdoor sports workshop with courses ranging from shotgun shooting to canoeing.

The 20th annual Becoming an Outdoors-Woman is May 2-4 at Ross Camp in West Lafayette. The workshop is open to women ages 18 and older and limited to around 100 participants.

Registration begins March 1 at The cost for the workshop is $185 and includes all equipment, meals and lodging.

The program is designed for women to learn outdoor skills in a relaxed, low-pressure environment. Participants will choose four activities from more than two dozen offerings, including fishing, kayaking, archery, outdoor photography, wild edibles, wildlife tracking, shooting muzzleloader guns and outdoor cooking.

The workshop is for women who have never tried these activities, but have hoped for an opportunity to learn; who have tried them but are beginners hoping to improve; or who know how to do some of the activities, but would like to try new ones.

Women who enjoy the camaraderie of like-minded individuals and who seek time away to reconnect with nature are also prime candidates for BOW.

Friday, February 28, 2014

N-B Video: Norwell baton twirler entertains between hoops

Norwell High School student Brianna Bolinger performs between two boys' basketball games Tuesday, Feb. 25. For other stories and videos, go to (Video by Paul Beitler)

Monday, February 24, 2014

N-B Video: Norwell girls win first regional championship in 37 years

Norwell girls' basketball players Kaycee Strunk, Kelsey Beer and Laken Chaney talk to the News-Banner's Paul Beitler after defeating Muncie Central and NorthWood Saturday, Feb. 22, to move on to semi-state. Learn more in the Monday, Feb. 24, News-Banner. (Video by Paul Beitler)

Friday, February 21, 2014

N-B Slideshows: Norwell, Southern Wells win sectional championships

The Lady Knights and Lady Raiders will compete for their regional titles Saturday after winning sectional championships last week. Learn more about the upcoming matches in the Thursday, Feb. 20, News-Banner, and Friday, Feb. 21, News-Banner, and relive the sectional victory with the slideshows below.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Indiana Dunes State Park hosts annual snowmelt contest

From the Indiana Department of Natural Resources:

Visitors to Indiana Dunes State Park can participate in a contest by guessing when a large snow pile will melt, with the closest entry winning a 2014 DNR Annual Entrance Permit.

This is the third consecutive year the park has hosted its snowmelt contest.

The snow pile is in the beach auxiliary parking lot, next to the park’s main gate.

“The cold and snowy winter has created a sizeable pile,” said interpretive naturalist Brad Bumgardner. “The park will maintain the pile should Mother Nature bring us more snow, but no other alterations will be done.”

Submit predictions at the park office and nature center, or by emailing your name, address, and date and time you think the snow pile will melt to The park also allows entries via Facebook page at

Incomplete submissions are not eligible.

The submission deadline is March 14. Hints and updates on expected melt dates will be offered on the Indiana Dunes State Park Facebook page.

For more information, call (219) 926-1390.

Indiana Dunes State Park is at 1600 North 25 E. Chesterton, 46304.

Monday, February 17, 2014

N-B Video: Southern Wells girls capture ninth b-ball sectional championship

Learn more in the Monday, Feb. 17, News-Banner. (Video by Paul Beitler)

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

N-B Photos: Knights whip Squaws to advance

Stephanie Conrad scored 16 points and Mackenzie Sawyer 15 to lead the Norwell Knights to an 81-28 romp over the Bellmont Squaws Tuesday night in the first game of the Class 3A Sectional 23 girls’ basketball tournament.

Learn more in the Wednesday, Feb. 12, News-Banner.

(Photos by Glen Werling)

Indiana’s wild game cooking videos now feature field-to-table format

From the Indiana Department of Natural Resources:

Indiana’s “CookIN Gone Wild” video series now teaches viewers not only how to prepare their wild game, but also how to harvest it.

The video series launched last year on Indiana DNR’s YouTube channel and initially focused only on cooking. Now it also includes everything viewers need to know to harvest the featured fish or game animal, a format called field-to-table.

The first episode in the new format highlights steelhead trout and coho salmon fishing on Trail Creek in Michigan City. Viewers will learn some steelhead and salmon biology, equipment requirements and fishing techniques, including some insider secrets.

Each video ends with a recipe for the harvested game. The steelhead episode offers a healthy, open-faced steelhead salad sandwich.

“We really wanted to offer viewers the entire experience,” said Michelle Cain, DNR wildlife information specialist and host of CookIN Gone Wild. “Showing that anyone can try new outdoor adventures is important to the future of hunting and fishing. These videos give you everything you need to know to try it yourself.”

“CookIN Gone Wild” episodes are at New episodes come out every other month.

A downloadable cookbook and recipes are at A selected recipe also appears in each issue of Outdoor Indiana magazine.

Next in the series is ice fishing at Trine State Recreation Area in Angola.

Future episodes will feature dove hunting, squirrel hunting, wild edibles and urban fishing for catfish.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Eldora selling tickets for upcoming season

From Eldora Speedway:

ROSSBURG, Ohio – Starting today, Eldora Speedway fans will be able to purchase tickets and campsites for every race meet on the aggressive 2014 schedule. Since early December, the ticketing department has been filling orders for the time-honored major events, 20thannual Dirt Late Model Dream (June 5-6-7), 31st annual Kings Royal (July 11 & 12), 2nd Annual 1-800 CarCash Mudsummer Classic for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (July 23) and 44thannual World 100 (September 4-5-6) at a record pace.   That tempo will pick up starting 9 a.m. Monday as tickets for the balance of the highly-anticipated season become available, with no increase in pricing, for purchase.

Ticketing manager Tess Thwaits encourages fans to use as the fastest way to get their choice of seats and to complete their purchase.

“We always want fans to take advantage of the proven TicketForce-prepared design for easy and quick purchasing.  The TicketForce system has been in place for several years and has demonstrated its ability to process a huge volume of orders simultaneously while being extremely user-friendly,” commented Thwaits, the granddaughter of Eldora founders Earl and Berniece.  “We know that some fans prefer to call in, so we will have a full staff of agents in-house and ready to answer the box office hotline of (937) 338-3815 during normal business hours, and the speedway box office will be open for walk-in orders.”

Parity of competition, regardless of division or sanctioning body, became the buzz word in 2013 and that has prompted an unprecedented interest among race fans coming into 2014.

“Without a doubt, Steve Kinser’s announcement that 2014 will be his final year chasing the World of Outlaws (WoO) STP Sprint Car Series championship has created a stir and Kings Royal tickets are selling at a record pace,” stated Eldora General Manager Roger Slack.   “But it doesn’t stop there.  Whether it’s the Johnny Appleseed Classic (May 25) prior to the Dirt Late Model Dream weekend or the Ohio Sprint Speedweek (June 21) prior to the Kings Royal, every race on Eldora’s unique schedule leads into a major event and the fans have come to realize that drivers value the track time that can be gathered.”

Special events hosting the premier series in dirt racing make up the 28 race schedule.  Fans will witness the stars of the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Cars, UMP DIRTcar Super Late Models and Modifieds, the United States Auto Club’s (USAC) Silver Crown, National Sprint Car Series and National Midget Car Series, the UNOH All Star Circuit of Champions and the United States Hot Rod Association’s (US Hot Rod) Monster Jam series.  The regional BOSS non-wing Sprints will join May’s Mobil 1 $8 Family Fun Night and Fireworks Spectacular plus Eldora’s Modified and Stock divisions will be contesting their season championship from April through October.

N-B Photos: Tiger Sharks, Knights close out their seasons

The Bluffton Tiger Sharks finished their girls’ swimming season Saturday by placing above their Wells County rivals, the Norwell Knights, in the Indiana High School Athletic Association sectional at Jay County High School.

Learn more in the Monday, Feb. 10, News-Banner.

Before finishing their season Saturday, however, they competed in preliminary round of the Jay County High School girls’ Indiana High School Athletic Association sectional, pictured below. (Photos by Paul Beitler)