October 23, 2014



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Iconoclast View

Bluffton's official bird?

It appears that the official Bluffton bird may be some type of sea gull. On Aug. 4, while strolling down Main Street, the Icon checked the town hall clock for the time. We checked at 8 o'clock, to be exact.

That's when the we noticed this regal creature perched atop Bluffton's iconic clock tower. We'll watch again today, but probably won't see this guy. Perhaps he was searching for larger water than the Buckeye.

For a closer look check the photo below.


Ralf: an electrical engineer at heart, a CEO by profession, but his high school wrestler’s boyish grin made him one of us

In May the Bluffton Area Chamber of Commerce invited Ralf Bronnenmeier as a guest breakfast speaker.

Our experience inviting speakers falls in one of three categories:
1  the invitee needs to think about it and get back to us later,
2  the invitee needs to check his calendar and get back to us later,
  (Categories 1 and 2 require a second phone call to the invitee for a definite yes or no)
3 the invitee asks, “Why do you want me as your speaker?”

We invited Ralf and his response was none of the above. It was immediate.


Next time you see Gary Kirtland, ask him about the 1954 Ford he bought from Conner Stewart

Gary Kirtland says he bought his first car at age 15. Conner Stewart sold him the car. At the time Stewart owned a Sohio gas station at the corner of Main and Jefferson Streets (now owned by Kirtland).

“I told my dad that I wanted this car – a 1954 Ford – and I bought it,” said Gary. Stewart let Gary park the car on his Sohio lot.

Since he wasn’t old enough to drive, after school he’d go start it, rev up the engine and mess around with it. He eventually blew the engine simply by revving it up too much.


It's mid-July in Bluffton; that means Marlin Gerber has arrived with this season's blueberries

Maybe Marlin Gerber is the Johnny Appleseed of blueberries. Leduc, Michigan, blueberries to be specific.

Bluffton likes blueberries and Marlin Gerber feeds our appetites for the tiny summer berry.

Who is Marlin anyway and why does he come to Bluffton with blueberries?

Originally from Sugarcreek, he enrolled at Bluffton College in 1953. He took off a couple years to volunteer in PAX. Then he returned to graduate in 1960.


A chat with Henry Huber in his corn field on July 4, 1972

Todd Gratz, formerly of Bluffton, - brother of Kevin Gratz - and former editor of the Bluffton News read our story about Henry Huber and "knee high by the Fourth of July." (Click here to read that story.)

He took one of the iconic photos of Farmer Huber in 1972 and sent us a copy from his personal collection.

Thanks Todd.




A photo series three-years+ in the making

The Icon offers viewers a three-part photo series that took three years to complete. We intend to continue this series. Here’s the story about it.

A long time ago in a galaxy far away there was a newspaper editor in a small town called Bluffton, Ohio.

The editor’s name was Charles Hilty. He created a tradition that The Icon has adopted. Every year on or very close to July 4, he’d take a photo of an old farmer, Henry Huber, standing in Henry’s cornfield.


Allow me to show you the oldest flower in my garden; what's in your's?

Tell us about the “oldest” flower in your garden.

Here’s mine, and while it’s a vintage plant, the details are hazy. I don’t even know its official name.

In my back yard is blooming a white iris that is very fickle. It blooms once every three years or so. There are also some blue irises in the mix. I’ve never seen the blue and the white bloom the same year. Perhaps they don’t like each other.


33.07 tons of refuse in the dumpsters

News flash:

During the May clean up the village reports 33.07 tons of refuse was collected over a two-week period at the Spring Street recycling center.

Using an estimated figure of 4,000 residents in Bluffton, how many pounds of crap was dumped per resident during spring clean up? First off, 33.07 tons is 72,906 pounds. The answer is 18.2 pounds.

This fact begs the question: Is every person in Bluffton – babe in arms to elder at Maple Crest –  collecting 18.2 pounds of junk each year, or slightly over 1.5 pounds per month?


Bluffton's vehicle ghosts - I remember the cars from the 1940s and '50s

Rudi Steiner, a 1961 Bluffton High School graduate, may well deserve a master’s degree in Bluffton automotive science 1945-1961. During this period he watched who drove what and sometimes, why. Here’s a summary of the Bluffton’s chrome and fin vehicle age from one who observed it first hand. This column is reprinted from "Bluffton, A Good Place to Miss."

By Rudi Steiner