Fire chief announces retirement

Bluffton fire chief, Dan Bowden, announced his resignation at the November 23rd town council meeting. Bowden will step down January 1, 2010.

Mayor Rodabaugh read Bowden's letter of resignation to the town council for approval and praised Bowden for twenty great years of service as fire chief.

John Kinn will replace Bowden as fire chief. He will be sworn in at the last town council meeting of 2009.

Kickoff to 2009 Blaze of Lights Nov. 20

The Blaze of Lights celebrations will begin this weekend with the auction, art contest, and gingerbread house contest being held Friday, November 20th at The Centre.

Auction items may be delivered to the Bluffton Senior Citizens Center until noon on Friday.
All donations are appreciated. Ideas for what to donate are listed:
- Gift baskets including items from your business or items of your choice
- Gift certificates from your business
- Gift certificates from Ohio tourist attractions
- Hand-crafted items made by your employees or organization members
- Saving bonds
- Thanksgiving or Christmas-related decorations
- Any Bluffton-made product, sweatshirts, jackets, athletic wear, mugs
- Holiday collectible items
The doors for the auction will open at 5 p.m. There is no admission charge and no presale tickets are required. There will be musical entertainment by the Lima Trinity United Methodist Church bell choir at 5:30 p.m. and the auction will begin at 6 p.m.
Auction-type food will be available (barbeque beef sandwiches, shredded chicken sandwiches, soft drinks, potato chips and cookies). Food will be sold as the auction proceeds.
In addition, the popular art contest, started last year, will feature works by Bluffton Middle School art students. Students will enter one work based on the Blaze theme “Home for Christmas.” Entries will be judged during the auction. Winners will be announced at the auction conclusion. Trophies will be awarded to the first, second and third place winners. All artists who enter works will receive ribbons.
The gingerbread house contest will also be held Friday evening. All community members are invited to enter the contest. An entry of $5 per gingerbread house is being asked. This fee will be waved if the entrant agrees to allow the gingerbread house to auctioned. Gingerbread entries may be taken to the chamber from Wednesday until Friday evening.
All of these events are free and open to the public. For more information, visit

Library to go digital

In cooperation with the Ohio Historical Society in Columbus, 12 public libraries across nine northwest Ohio counties, including the Bluffton Public Library, are partnering to implement a regional document digitization project.

The purpose of the project is to make an array of important and deteriorating local history resources more available to state residents and a worldwide audience of researchers through the Ohio Historical Society’s Ohio Memory Project.
Materials to be scanned include books, photographs, postcards, newsletters, pamphlets, atlases, slides, flyers and yearbooks. Subject matter may potentially include community histories, area businesses, community celebrations and festivals, local personalities, school records, family genealogies, and area homes. Participating libraries will determine their own priorities for scanning based on condition and use of their materials.
“This grant will enable the Bluffton Public Library to preserve many items of local historical/genealogical significance, and make those items more easily-accessible via the Internet," said library staff member Justin Crawfis.
Once the equipment for the project is installed in November and training is completed, participating libraries will begin submitting their files to OHS. The images subsequently will be made available to the public through the web sites of the OHS and the libraries involved in the project.
Funding for this grant is being provided by the State Library of Ohio, Columbus, through the Library Services and Technology Act; the Northwest Regional Library System (NORWELD), Bowling Green; and the 12 participating libraries.

DTR official speaks at Chamber meeting

Bill Yokas, senior vice president of manufacturing at DTR spoke at the Bluffton Area Chamber of Commerce meeting on Friday, November 13th.

Yokas discussed the status of the Bluffton facility and the move of its rubber hose line to a plant out of the country. DTR has offered their employees five options, early retirement, indefinite voluntary layoff, 6 month voluntary layoff, involuntary layoff, or a $10,000 buyout. Yokas maintains that all of their employees have been fully informed, and will continue to be, on the status of their employment with the company. He added that all laid off permanent employees have been rehired.

DTR Industries Inc. is owned by Tokai Rubber, a Japanese company. The automobile industry has been severely affected by the economic downturn. DTR reported their highest payroll ever in 2007 and has experienced declining numbers in 2008 and 2009.

The company expects that DTR will return to 2007 numbers by 2012. The AV portion of the industry is profitable and growing; the Bluffton plant will function as an AV production facility only.

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