Town news

Council approves construction of Garau Street garage

Bluffton town council voted to approve a request from the Board of Zoning and Appeals that will allow for the construction of a garage on Garau Street.
The measure was needed to rezone the land where the garage will be built to commercial from residential.
Village council members also approved the first readings of two resolutions for 2010 town projects.
The first was a resolution accepting a bid and authorizing the village to enter into a contract with the Bluffton Stone Company/Bluffton Paving, Inc. to acquire aggregate and asphalt material, asphalt application and equipment rental.
The second was a resolution accepting a bid and authorizing the village to enter into agreements with Don Snyder Excavating Unlimited Inc., J & D Snyder Excavating, LLC. And Hume Supply, Inc. for installation and excavating for water, sewer and storm pipe, manholes, catch basins, service tees and laterals, aggregate and earth backfill.
In other news, the village’s Web site will be up and running by March 31, 2010.
Separately, village council voted to become a partner with the U.S. Census Bureau in order to collect accurate data in the 2010 census. The goal of the U.S Census Bureau’s partnership program is to combine the strengths of state, local, and tribal governments, community-based organizations, faith-based organizations, schools, media, businesses and others to ensure an accurate 2010 census.
Police news from chief Rick Skilliter included information about the repair of a Dodge police cruiser and the arrival of a new 2010 cruiser expected in mid to late February. Chief Skilliter also touched on the number of traffic accidents on the corner of Main and College Streets and said that it is still too early to tell if the removal of the stoplight has had an impact. There have been three accidents at that intersection so far.
Separately, fire chief, Jon Kinn, reported that the amount of fire runs in 2009 were average as compared to year’s past.
Lastly, Mayor Rodabaugh has released the council committees for 2010. A full listing is provided.
Council will meet again Monday, February 8, 2010 on the third floor of town hall. All council meetings are open to public.

Community members to appear on WTLW TV 44

Phil and Sharon Zimmerly will be featured on their reopening of Common Grounds Coffeehouse and Café after it was closed last summer. Bluffton Pastor Jim King, of Ebenezer Mennonite, will be discussing reaching youth in today’s post-modern world. Finally, certified financial counselor, Beth Boehr-Miller will talk about her recently launched new business, Beyond Budgeting after more than 20 years of working in the financial industry.
If you would like to see these exciting stories, then tune in to WTLW TV 44’s, Grace for Today program during the week of February 1st through February 3rd at 9 a.m. each morning. Starting on Monday, February 1st Pastor Jim King of Ebenezer Mennonite Church will discuss the insight he gleaned from serving with Youth for Christ for over three decades.
On Tuesday, February 2nd, Pastor King will be joined by Common Grounds Coffeehouse and Café, co-owner, Phil Zimmerly to share how the reopening of the Bluffton coffee shop occurred. Finally, on Wednesday, February 3, 2010, Beth Boehr-Miller will share wisdom that she has gleaned throughout her years as a financial counselor and planner.
Guest producer and host for these Grace for Today programs is Christina Ryan Claypool, a Bluffton University graduate. The shows will air one time only at 9 a.m. each morning.
Check your local TV guide for WTLW TV 44 channel information.

Plaughers return from Haiti

A Bluffton couple has returned from Haiti after an earthquake early last week left the country in a state of devastation.
Arliss and Barbara Plaugher, of Bluffton, left for Haiti on January 10 to participate in a VOSH-Ohio mission. VOSH is an acronym for Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity and is comprised of optometrists and others who volunteer their time and services to provide eye care for people in underdeveloped countries all over the world.
While in Haiti, 2,256 patients were cared for by the Plaughers and their team of VOSH volunteers.
Dr. Darrell Groman, of Bluffton, co-founded VOSH-Ohio in 1987. The basement of Pandora United Methodist Church is the headquarters of the local VOSH movement.
Many of the eyeglasses donated come from Lions Clubs. Barbara Plaugher is a former president of the Bluffton Lions Club and she and her husband, Arliss, are both current members.
The couple was safe during their time spent in the torn country, but had difficulty finding a way to get home after they completed their mission in Haiti. They were located more than 100 miles away from the capital city of Port-au-Prince and had trouble getting to Port-au-Prince due to blocked roads.
Barbara reported that she and Arliss, along with other Americans waiting to get back to the states, stood in various lines for hours at a time. The Bluffton couple took a cargo plane from Haiti that carried news anchors Ann Curry, Brian Williams and Katie Couric.  
After being evacuated by the U.S. Air Force cargo plane, the couple returned home late Saturday night, January 16.
*Photo above is courtesy of Barbara Plaugher.

Local residents in Haiti

President of the Bluffton Lions Club, Dick Ramseyer, relayed a message to the Bluffton News from DG Jay Deutschman,
District Governor, Lions District 13-A: 

With the recent news of the devastating earthquake in Haiti I wanted to alert everyone that we have several Lions from our district there on a VOSH trip and all are safe. Those on the trip are 2VDG Barbara Plaugher, of Bluffton, and PDG Larry Swords, of Lima. Again all are safe. 
From where they are working, high in the mountains, they have only felt slight tremors, and they were unaware of the devastation that hit Port au Prince until they were contacted. At this time they have confirmed that the airport is still operational and the plan is to continue to do the work they set out to do and then fly out this Saturday as scheduled. 
Please keep them and their families in your prayers along with the people of Haiti.
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