A Bluffton couple's account of oil on beaches

Denise and Ed Fett, Bluffton, were in southwest Louisiana and Florida visiting family the last week of May. While visiting the normally sandy white beaches of Navarre, Florida, to attend a nephew's wedding, the Fetts saw firsthand the effects of the devastating oil spill making national news daily.

"We did not see any birds on the beach at all," said Denise Fett. "No sandpipers. No shorebirds."

Navarre is located between Destin and Pensacola Beach on U.S. 98. The Fetts saw cleanup crews on the beach in Navarre, shoveling balls of tar into plastic bags.

"The oil looked like piles of chocolate pudding washed up on the shore," said Fett. "Some of the seaweed was entangled with tar balls."

While the Fetts were visiting the shore, President Obama made two visits to the gulf. The morning of May 28, the President arrived at Louis Armstrong New Orleans Airport.

"His (President Obama) motorcade passed in front of my brother's house as he headed to a briefing in Grand Isle, Louisiana," said Fett.

Oil has been spilling into the Gulf of Mexico, 130 miles southeast of New Orleans, since late April 2010 when a fire caused the sinking of a British Petroleum (BP) drilling rig.

An official update on the disaster from BP on June 7, stated that a cap was installed on June 3 to help slow the leak of oil into the ocean. Also, more than 2,600 vessels are involved in the relief effort launched by BP. The cost of the disaster relief effort to date is $1.25 billion.



Bluffton student trades gifts for donations to local food bank

Birthday parties and gifts go together like peanut butter and jelly for most elementary school students.

Bluffton second grader Tucker Neff decided to ask for peanut butter and jelly instead of traditional gifts for his eighth birthday on May 20. He asked his friends to bring canned and boxed food items to his birthday party to be donated to the local Bluffton food bank.

"I asked him what he wanted for his birthday and he said he didn't really know," said Rhonda Moor, Tucker's mom. "He asked me if there were other people who needed anything, like food." 

Once Tucker learned that there are people around him who need food, especially kids his age, he made up his mind to trade his birthday gifts for food. He sent invitations to eight of his friends and asked for food donations only. Tucker says that he would like to do something like this again in the future.

"I think it would be cool if other kids did the same thing for their birthdays," said Tucker.

Tucker Neff is the son of Neil Neff and Rhonda Moor, of Bluffon.

Memorial Day parade May 31

The annual Memorial Day parade and ceremony, coordinated by the Bluffton American Legion Post 382, was this past Monday, May 31.

In addition to the traditional downtown parade, a ceremony was held at Maple Grove Cemetery, Bluffton. The guest speaker was A. Ray Campbell, Master Chief U.S. Coast Guard retired.

Campbell was born in Kenton, Ohio in 1960 to Edward Arlen and Janett Campbell. He moved to Bluffton in 1966 and graduated from Bluffton High School in 1978. He joined the U.S. Coast Guard in April 1979.


American flags have been placed on the graves of 631 veterans in the Bluffton, Beaverdam, and Richland Township cemeteries.

Cemeteries and number of flags:
Maple Grove – 418
Beaverdam – 35
Pleasant Hill – 15
Ebenezer – 58
Jefferson Street – 3
Reformed Mennonite – 9
Zion – 9
Gratz (Emmanuel) – 15
Hubbell – 1
Woodlawn – 62
Defenseless Mennonite (Evangelical) – 6
Contact John Wagner if a veteran’s grave was inadvertently missed.
Local veterans who have died since last Memorial Day are: J. Richard Basinger, World War II; Joseph Birchnaugh, World War II; Martin Burkholder, World War II; Howard Eckenwiler, Vietnam; Maurice Fett, World War II; Glen Hanlin, Korea; Homer Henderson, Korea; Wade Huber, Word War II; E. Wayne Kidd, World War II; Kenneth Krautter, World War II; Leland Lehman, World War II; John Romey, World War II; Wesley Sommers, World War II; Edwin Suter, World War II; and Charles Swank, Korea.

Having a field day



Erin Murray and Landon Luginbuhl, both second graders, enjoy their day off from regular classes with an outdoor game during last Wednesday's field day.

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