Bluffton Hospital groundbreaking April 8

A groundbreaking ceremony for the planned expansion and renovation project will be held April 8 at 1:30 on the Bluffton Hospital campus. The event is open to the public.

A general contractor, Charles Construction Services of Findlay, has been chosen for the $12 million project.
The project will create new, much needed space for Bluffton Hospital’s emergency and surgery departments, as well as add professional/medical office space.
“This is one of the most significant investments Blanchard Valley Health System and the community are making in Bluffton Hospital to ensure continued local access to quality health services. This reinvestment of funds in the community is significant to BVHS’ mission: to provide a broad continuum of exceptional health related services in Northwest Ohio,” said Bill Watkins, Bluffton Hospital Chief Administrative Officer. 
The current emergency and surgery departments were built in 1988. The ER was constructed to be able to accommodate 3,600 patients each year; in 2009 the ER cared for more than 5,500 patients. The surgery department was built to accommodate 750 patients per year; more than 2,000 surgeries took place in 2009. In addition, there is a shortage of professional office space, especially for physicians’ offices, and cannot accommodate the growing number of medical specialties in the village.
The expansion/renovation will create an emergency department that will be able to care for more than 7,000 patients per year, focusing on more private treatment areas. An expanded surgery department will be able to accommodate more than 2,500 surgeries per year. Also, a new emergency and surgery registration and support area to accommodate patient identification and privacy.
“We are particularly grateful to the James and Isabelle West family for their lead gift, to Ropp and Mary Emma Triplett for being the capital campaign co-chairs, to those who’ve generously given to support this effort, and to our hospital associates, medical staff, and auxiliary who not only provide time and talent to the hospital, but continue to support the project with their gifts as well,” said Watkins. “It has been a successful campaign and I am sure others will want to be part of this project by helping complete our goal.”
More than $916,000 has been donated by Bluffton Hospital associates, physicians and community members toward the $1 million goal set by the Blanchard Valley Health Foundation.
“At nearly 92 percent of the goal, we are on the home stretch. Now is the perfect time to make a contribution to the campaign,” said Linda DeArment, Blanchard Valley Health Foundation Chief Development Officer. “How exciting to think that we may reach the $1,000,000 goal at the same time we turn that first shovelful of dirt!”
The Isabelle West Family pledged the lead gift to the project in honor of Mrs. West and her late husband, Mr. James F. West, and their longstanding commitment to Bluffton Hospital and the community.
Bluffton Hospital is a 2009 Ganey Summit Award-winning hospital, one of only 32 hospitals in the United States to receive the national award for sustaining the highest level of customer satisfaction for three or more consecutive years.

Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week

Wednesday, March 10, Mayor Fred Rodabaugh announced a proclamation naming March 8-14 Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week in Bluffton. March is MS Awareness Month in Ohio.
For its population, Bluffton has an unusually high number of residents with Multiple Sclerosis.
“For how big Bluffton is, statistically there should only be one person with MS,” said Tracy Steele. “There are about 30 or 40 that I know of; there could be more.”
Steele went on to explain that people often keep their MS a secret, fearing job loss or insurance repercussions.
Multiple Sclerosis interrupts the flow of information between the brain and the body. MS is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system. Symptoms range from numbness to tingling to blindness and paralysis. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with more than twice as many women as men being diagnosed. MS affects more than 3,400 in Northwest Ohio, 400,000 people in the United States and 2.5 million worldwide.
Local public libraries will be combining their efforts with the area MS Chapter by placing displays offering further awareness and education.

Plaughers recipients of Jefferson Award

Arliss and Barbara Plaugher, of Bluffton, are one of eight recipients of the 2010 Jefferson Award.

The Jefferson Awards are a prestigious national recognition system honoring community and public service in America. The Jefferson Awards are presented on two levels: national and local. Today, their primary purpose is to serve as a "Call to Action for Volunteers" in local communities. 

"We certainly appreciate the recognition that the Jefferson Award presents, in that it may bring added attention to the sponsoring organization, Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity, and to the service that VOSH provides to the underserved peoples around the world," said Barbara Plaugher.

The Plaughers have spent much of the past sixteen years, since 1994, volunteering their time and talents to people in need all over the world.

Arliss and Barbara are especially involved with Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity. VOSH is comprised of those who work to provide eye care for people in the underdeveloped countries of the world. Glasses are collected from a variety of sources. The major sources are Lions Clubs and churches; Arliss and Barbara are Bluffton Lions Club members.

Barbara plans mission trips for VOSH-Ohio and has four missions in progress right now. Each mission takes about a year to plan and involves many different people.

"There are almost always waiting lists to go on the trips," said Barbara. "We arrange for the optometrists to go first and then fill in with others who are interested in going along."

To begin the planning process, Barbara will have to make contact with a nonprofit organization. When a need for eye care has been established, she begins the long process of preparing documentation for the trip. While time consuming, Barbara says the process is very worthwhile.

"We volunteer for many reasons, the joy of giving to others, making friends with those who are receiving the benefits, the feeling of providing a needed service to those unable to provide for themselves, and the associations with others who are volunteering," said Barbara.

Locally, a 10-person judging committee chose eight winners from the 26 nominations received this year. A banquet will be held March 23 in honor of the winners. Each winner will receive a bronze medal and $350 for the charity of their choice.

The Lima News, WLIO and the United Way of Greater Lima sponsor the Jefferson Award.

Bluffton Library featuring student art

March is student art month at the library.

Bluffton Public Library shelves will be showcasing more than just books during the month of March.

In honor of "Student Art Month," various art projects created by Bluffton and Cory-Rawson students will be displayed througout the library.

Artwork may be viewed during regular library hours. For more information, visit the library or call 419-358-5016.

The Bluffton News will feature different student art pieces throughout the month of March.

Left: Elephant sketch by Cory-Rawson 8th grader, Taylor Marker.


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