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Letter: BVHS President-CEO asks community members to write to legislators

We at Blanchard Valley Health System are grateful to each and every one of you who showed your support for us during National Healthcare Week. We are honored to be entrusted with your care and to be so deeply woven into this community, which means so much to all of us. 

Moving forward, we continue to ask for your support. As we emerge out of the COVID-19 pandemic, and as health care nationwide faces significant challenges, we urge community members to support local hospitals – and to let their legislators know that they offer that support. 


Letter: S.H.A.N.N.O.N. Service Club thank you to donors

From the S.H.A.N.N.O.N. Service Club of Bluffton

As you have seen, the American Flags are again flying in the breeze on the Main Street of Bluffton. For the past 16 years, the S.H.A.N.N.O.N. Service Club of Bluffton has solicited sponsorship of those flags, and the Bluffton American Legion has installed and maintained them. 

This year 2023 the American Legion has again installed those flags.  The S.H.A.N.N.O.N. Service Club thanks Jerry Cupples and the American Legion for all their wonderful help throughout the years. 

The S.H.A.N.N.O.N. Service Club (Sharing Hopes And Nourishing Needs Of Neighbors) also wishes to gratefully thank all the many, many wonderful sponsors of the flags throughout these 16 years. Your donations have been received each summer by the SHANNON CLUB and also by the community of Bluffton with great gratitude. 

To show our sincere thankfulness to all of you, the S.H.A.N.N.O.N. Service Club wishes to give back to the community by donating the flags this summer and will NOT be soliciting sponsorship of the flags.  We have truly valued your wonderful support.

Duane Bollenbacher


Letter: National Healthcare Week, May 7-13

Letter from William Kose, MD, JD, Vice President of Special Projects, Blanchard Valley Health System

The week of May 7-13 has been designated as National Healthcare Week. Blanchard Valley Health System (BVHS) is partnering with the American Hospital Association to celebrate the recognition of the healthcare workforce and encourage community members to do the same.


Letter: Searching for Bluffton's basement barbers

A letter to Icon readers from Liz Gordon-Hancock:

I’ve been told that the basement barber shop at 125 N. Main St. Lower (currently Stoney’s Barber Shop) has been a barber shop in continuous operation for over 100 years. I’ve also heard rumors that this is one of the few remaining basement barber shops in the state of Ohio. 

Ever since I purchased this building (125 N. Main St and down the right side of Vine St.) from Richard Boehr in 2020, I’ve been trying to piece together all the different barbers which have used the basement premises, as a way of confirming its 100-year tenure and preserving the history of the place.

But I’ve found a lot of holes in my information, and wondered whether the community could help me fill in the gaps in my knowledge.  

According to the inimitable fount of knowledge Richard Boehr, the first barber at this location was "Curly" Basinger's great-grandfather. According to a quote in the Bluffton Icon, “The shop was later headquarters for a Mr. Day, Bob Lewis, Dick Smith and later Jerry Marshall.” I’ve been able to confirm some, but not all, of this. My research doesn’t seem to stretch much before 1921, and I still have a few gaps between then and 2011. 


Letter: Methods of Scouting

Letter to the Icon by Marc D. Kogan

Scouting is approaching its 116th anniversary since our founding in England in 1907 and this past February 8 was the 113th birthday of the Boy Scouts of America. The founder of Scouting, Lord Baden Powell, called Scouting a game with a purpose.   


Letter: Thank you to coach Eric Garmatter

On Wednesday, February 15, 2023 Bluffton’s Girls Basketball coach Eric Garmatter coached his final  game as a Pirate. He is stepping down after 28 years of coaching basketball and serving the Bluffton community.

He started his career as the JV Boys basketball coach during the 1995-96 season and  took over as Varsity Head Girls Basketball coach in 2011-12. Coach Garmatter finished his head  coaching career with a record of 164-114. Coach Garmatter earned NWC Coach of the Year Honors  for the 2018-19 season, and won a Northwest Conference Title the same year.

Coach Garmatter is  an invaluable member of the Bluffton Athletic Department who conducted himself with dignity and class.

It is with heartfelt gratitude that we say thank you to “Garmey” for the countless lives touched and years of service to Bluffton. We wish him and his family all the best.

Alex Hanna, Athletic Director

Mary Hoffer, Athletic Secretary

Bluffton Exempted Village School District