by Paula McKibben Seven years ago, Phil and Sharon Zimmerly bought Common Grounds “on a whim” when they saw the sign in the window. Running a coffee shop was not exactly included in the degree in transportation that Phil earned at The Ohio State University, but he certainly has demonstrated a talent for it. The main goal has been to “keep making everything better.” The first goal was to buy the building. Done. Then the goal was to increase the number of available appliances – grill, fryer, waffle maker. Done. Now, the Zimmerlys just want to keep “growing to where it is more profitable.”
Crystal blue skies (an anomaly this summer) met the “Ride to Remember” bicyclists last Saturday morning in Bluffton. The 8 a.m. “mass start” at the BFR was a rainbow of bright spandex and bicycle colors, with Lima’s WLIO TV filming. It was an event sponsored by Bluffton’s Lions Foundation. One of the event coordinators, Fred Steiner, said more than 50 cyclists registered. And there were clusters of riders from such bicycle clubs as the Hancock (County) Handlebars, Lima’s Team Road Runners … as well as many, at large, “Bluffton bicyclists.”
The July 6 Bluffton Town Council meeting was held on the third floor of the Town Hall beginning promptly at 8. Members present were Judy Augsburger, Dave Steiner, Phill Talavinia, Roger Warren, Sean Burrell, Joe Sehlhorst, and Richard Johnson. The Pledge of Allegiance was the only action that everyone seemed to agree with. From this point on, people were cordial, but either disagreed with the actions to be taken or demanded more information before being able to respond to a vote. Additionally, several children got their first taste of local government by speaking before council.
One of Bluffton’s new arrivals, and holding true to that Mennonite international cross-cultural ethos, is a woman from Bolivia -- a country that is exceedingly strong on family, not long ago awash in drug cartel violence, beset with a good deal of poverty, and long on faith and churrasco (more on that later). Raquel Bruno, 25, arrived in Bluffton a month ago. She is staying at Ben and Becky Gambrell’s Lawn Ave. residence. And she will be attending Bluffton University in the fall as a junior majoring in business and receiving some financial aid help from the university.