Progress

Growth from within

Tim Ehlerding, Wells County’s economic development director, wants to help existing companies expand and grow By MARK MILLER The proverbial three-legged stool is a popular metaphor, used in a variety of...

County courthouse to mark 125 years

By JESSICA WILLIAMS She takes the Wells County courthouse elevator up and down countless times a week, sometimes pushing a trash can on wheels. From office to office, there are friendly hellos and talk of families....

Norwell renovation close to completion

By CHET BAUMGARTNER About a year and a half ago, Jeff Fiechter, Ethan Stoppenhagen and Kelly McAvoy started demolishing their school. When they graduated this May, contractors were nearing the end of the project the...

New YMCA taking shape

By KAYLEEN REUSSER “We’re excited about this great new tool and how it will contribute to the health of this community’s spirit, mind, body,” said Jon Jenkins, executive director of the Wells County Family...

Ossian TIF district should be in place yet this year

By GLEN WERLING Wells County Economic Development Director Tim Ehlerding believes the Ossian Industrial Park has a lot of good features to attract business, but he believes one more feature could be added that could...

Bluffton Regional adds new physicians, updates equipment

By JUSTIN PEEPER Two new physicians, expanded wound-care services, hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical equipment updates, and an ongoing focus on patient safety, quality of care and service tell just some of...

Award-winning Parks Department always open for new ideas

By KAYLEEN REUSSER With a surprisingly small staff but an enormous amount of energy, Pam Vanderkolk, superintendent of Bluffton’s Parks and Recreation Department, runs an array of public programs for the citizens of...

Ossian’s Revitalization draws statewide attention; leaders say more to come

By GLEN WERLING Ossian’s success in raising private cash for the public revitalization of the downtown has garnered a lot of attention from city and town officials statewide. Last October, officials from 16...

Digital pioneer

Angie Smith is leading Northern Wells’ digital initiative By CHET BAUMGARTNER After the renovations at Norwell High School, the median class size increased by 170 square feet. But Angie Smith is helping to expand...

A great foundation to build upon

Bonnie Valind’s 25 years of service guides Wells County Council on Aging By GLEN WERLING When Bonnie Valind interviewed for the position of executive director of the Wells County Council on Aging 25 years ago, she...

Friends of Ouabache honoring CCC workers

By CHET BAUMGARTNER More than 80 years ago, young men carved today’s Ouabache State Park out of the woods. This late summer, an organization will thank them with a carving of their own. Friends of the Ouabache,...

Out of his comfort zone

Chip Mann reflects on his year leading the nation’s largest snack food industry group By MARK MILLER When Chip Mann got the phone call sometime in 2010 asking if he would go through the progression to serve as...

Schaffer reflects on a groundbreaking career

By JESSICA WILLIAMS When Tammy Schaffer announced her retirement after a decade as the Bluffton police chief earlier this year, her gender was attached to the news. Her reaction was simple: So what? Isn’t society...

From the wrong side of the tracks to the right side of the law

By GLEN WERLING Like a scene right out of the old gangster film, “Angels With Dirty Faces,” retiring Wells County Prosecutor Mike Lautzenheiser recalled a chance encounter once with an old friend of his from the west...

He’s a man of peace

Fred Chiapetta, who heads up Moutain Storm Martial Arts, rejects the MMA trend in favor of judo’s traditional approach By DREW NEUENSCHWANDER “Judo is the peaceful way,” says Mountain Storm Martial Arts...

Who’s helping whom? Bi-County volunteers help the community

By MARK MILLER When you think of volunteers and Bi-County Services — the Bluffton-based non-profit that serves people with disabilities in Adams and Wells counties — you might assume the reference would be to people...

For BFD Chief Chris Broderick,  public safety is a way of life

By GLEN WERLING Bluffton Fire Chief Chris Broderick is not a Bluffton native, but Bluffton will always be home to him. Broderick was born in Morris, Ill., west of Joliet, and then moved to Mt. Carroll, over by...

Ginny Fenstermaker: ‘I didn’t retire from life’

By JESSICA WILLIAMS It was Ginny Fenstermaker’s first Christmas letter since retiring. The letters usually include a recap of the year to update family, but coming up with items for last year’s letter was...

A reading champion

Terry Burns found her passion in a second career By CHET BAUMGARTNER In 1950, four children discovered the magical land of Narnia after walking through a magical wardrobe. In 1997, Harry Potter enrolled in...

LiGHT encourages ladies to fund programs for women, children

By BARBARA BARBIERI LiGHT (Ladies initiating Giving—an Honored Tradition), under the wing of the Wells County Foundation, is entering its third year with nearly 200 members effectively assisting with improving the...

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