WROI News

Miami Co. man to prison for kidnapping, rape

A Peru man will spend 25 years in prison for his part in a kidnapping and rape.

 

Prosecutors said in August 2018 Dustin Day and Michael Pugh went up to a woman when she was outside her Lafayette apartment, and forced her at knifepoint to drive to a Walmart.

 

Pugh left, but the woman said Day pulled out a gun and made her drive to multiple locations. She was forced to drive to a rural Cass County road where Day raped her.

 

The woman said she was held against her will for 17 hours.

 

WLFI said that Day was arrested two months later in North Carolina.

 

Day was sentenced yesterday, Pugh is currently in the Tippecanoe County Jail accused of kidnapping, criminal confinement and intimidation.

Ace Fitness

A new business in Rochester is ready to help you get into better shape as Ace Fitness had their grand opening on Tuesday. Owner Ryan Adams was pleased with the turnout for the opening and is excited to be in Rochester.


 


Adams explains what it is that separates Ace Fitness from its competitors and makes it not your typical gym.


 


Ace Fitness is the only 24/7 gym in Rochester.

 

Thousands take teachers message to Statehouse

About 16,000 teachers swarmed the statehouse Tuesday to turn up the heat for higher pay and higher school funding.

 

Teachers lined all four entrances to the statehouse on the ceremonial opening day of the 2020 legislative session, then rallied on the building's south lawn. Dozens of school systems across Indiana canceled classes for the day to accommodate teachers descending on the statehouse for "Go Red for Ed Day," calling for more school funding, including higher teacher pay.

 

The Indiana State Teachers Association argues Republican boasts of record education funding in the current budget still leave schools underfunded. ISTA president Keith Gambill says with funding for each district linked to enrollment, 60 school systems saw spending cuts in the new budget, while 96 more received increases of less than two-percent.

 

Governor Holcomb has asked legislators to approve 300-million dollars in one-time expenditures from a larger than expected state surplus. Teachers are calling on legislators to give schools a slice of the extra money too.

 

Legislators have already committed to one of the teachers' agenda items: granting a mulligan for scores on the first year of the new ILEARN test. But Gambill says test scores shouldn't be linked to teacher pay at all. And the union wants legislators to repeal a new requirement for teachers to spend an average of three hours a year working with businesses in their communities, to familiarize themselves with opportunities best suited to their students' skill sets. Gambill says there are better ways to connect business and schools, and argues the externship requirement will detract from teachers' focus on their classrooms.

 

A commission created by Holcomb is scheduled to offer recommendations next year on long-term ways to raise teacher pay, with an eye to putting those changes in place in the 2021 budget session. House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) says he doesn't want to reopen the two-year budget in 2020, but acknowledges Holcomb's request opens the door for legislators to propose other additional spending. The difference, Bosma argues, is that Holcomb's requests wouldn't create an ongoing spending commitment for future budgets -- in fact, he says they'd actually free up money by paying off debt on projects legislators have already approved.

 

And while Bosma says he's glad to see teachers making their voices heard, he says they should look closer to home for an explanation of why salaries haven't risen more. Over the last decade, he says enrollment and teacher staffs have declined, while administrative jobs have grown by more than 30-percent.

 

Gambill accuses Bosma of trying to turn educators against each other. He says the real problem is that state funding has been inadequate.

Two boys killed in farm truck accident

Two young boys were hit and killed in a farming accident in Kosciusko County.

 

Investigators say the Amish boys, just three and five years old, were playing in a field next to another field that had semi-trucks and combines bringing in the harvest. They say the boys had climbed through the fence separating the properties and wandered under a trailer attached to a semi that was full of 90-thousand pounds of corn.

 

The driver, Benjamin Sheets, started the truck up and started off when police say the trailer ran over the boys. The coroner says they died instantly.

Off-duty trooper and two Winona Lake officers rescue child from retention pond

On the evening of November 15, around 5:50 p.m., the day took an unexpected turn for off-duty Indiana State Trooper Jacob Bill.

 

Bill was just outside of Winona Lake, near the intersection of County Road 325 East and Wooster Road when he saw an officer with the Winona Lake Police Department drive through the intersection with his lights and siren on. Bill was off-duty but in his marked Indiana State Police car so he went to see if he could help the Winona Lake officer.

 

Bill and the responding Winona Lake officer stopped just past the intersection and ran to a retention pond where several adults were yelling, “Over here.” A child was seen approximately 25 yards out in the water that had apparently fallen through the thin ice.

 

Bill ran into the water and swam out to the child. Bill was able to grab him by the collar and attempted to get him to shore. As Bill got closer to shore he got caught up in the broken ice so Winona Lake Officer Dave Swain entered the water to help Bill and the child. Winona Lake Police Officer Sgt. Joe Bumbaugh was then able to help from shore and get all three out of the water.

 

Once out of the water, the child was taken to Sgt. Bumbaugh’s truck to warm up and was then transferred to an ambulance and transported to a local hospital.

 

The boy, determined to be 11 years old, was treated and released from the hospital. Another child that had also been playing on the ice was able to get out of the water on his own prior to officers arriving.

 

Trooper Jacob Bill said, “I was just glad that I was in the right place at the right time.”

New Jail for Fulton County Update

A new jail is on its way to Rochester, as of now meetings are still being had for potential designs. Fulton County Sheriff Chris Sailor says a pre-bid meeting is on the horizon and soon a bid should be accepted.


 


As for what will be made of the old jail Sailor says they are still up in the air about it as there have been multiple options that have been brought to the committee’s attention.


 

 

The Marvel-Us Optimist Club

The Rochester Optimists Club has formed the new Marvel-Us Optimist Club which is an optimist club for people with special needs.


 


That’s Past-President of the Rochester Optimists Club Becky Mahoney she says they still have a few more spots available for the public to sign up. 


 


The Marvel-Us Optimist Club will host meetings on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday each month at 6pm in meeting room A of the Rochester Library.

 

Warsaw Police looking for bank robber

The Warsaw Police Department needs your help in finding a suspect involved with a bank robbery Tuesday afternoon near downtown Warsaw.

 

Police were alerted to the robbery at the First Federal Savings Bank on East Center Street at 12:42 pm. Officers quickly arrived in the area and began to search for a male suspect reportedly wearing a black hoodie with the hood pulled up, and something covering the suspect’s face that was black and red in color.

 

Police say the suspect displayed a note that spelled out his intentions and no weapon was displayed. The male subject escaped with an unknown amount of cash and fled in an unknown direction.

Former Starke Co. deputy prosecutor appointed judge by governor

Gov. Eric J. Holcomb Wednesday announced Mary DeBoer as his appointment to the Porter County Circuit Court.

 

DeBoer will succeed Judge Mary Harper, who will retire on Dec. 31. Judge Harper holds the distinction of being the longest serving woman in the Indiana judiciary.

 

Following her graduation from law school, DeBoer served as a deputy prosecutor in Starke and Porter counties. DeBoer has also been in private practice. Since 2011, she has served as a magistrate for the Porter County Superior Courts in Valparaiso. 

 

DeBoer earned her undergraduate degree from Western Michigan University and her law degree from Valparaiso University School of Law.

 

She will be sworn into office on a date to be determined.

REMC Changing Meters

REMC is still working on installing the new meter system and will continue to do so for the next couple of weeks.  The reason for the delay comes from the company wanting to work out the bugs before installation to ensure maximum efficiency once installed according to TJ Garner.


 

 

Kosciusko County first day of snow accident report

Since the beginning of the snowfall yesterday, emergency personnel countywide have responded to the following:

 

Property Damage Crashes: 48

Personal Injury Crashes: 10

Unknown Injury Crashes: 10

Hit and Run Property Damage Crashes: 4

Slide-Offs: 39

Total: 111

 

Of those responses, the Kosciusko County Sheriff's Office handled:

 

Property Damage Crashes: 18

Personal Injury Crashes: 3

Unknown Injury Crashes: 2

Hit and Run Property Damage Crashes: 1

Slide-Offs: 17

Total: 41

 

Sheriff Dukes would like to thank the agencies who have assisted the Kosciusko County Sheriff's Office during the inclement weather.

Veterans Day Remembrance

Monday on the west side of the Fulton County Courthouse residents huddled together for warmth as they were attending the Veterans Day Remembrance. Rochester Mayor Ted Denton spoke on the importance of Veterans Day, specifically at Columbia Elementary School where the students clearly know that the day is all about.


 


Denton says it is kids like these that make him proud to be a Rochester resident.

 

Snow, icy temperatures in forecast

For some, the first significant snowfall of the season will start falling late tonight and stick around well in to Tuesday.

 

The National Weather Service in Indianapolis is predicting various amount of accumulating snow depending on where you live throughout the state.

 

In northern Indiana, Meteorologist Mike Ryan says you could see as much as six inches in place such as South Bend, Gary, and Fort Wayne.

 

Central Indiana won't see as much, around one-to-two-inches, with rain changing over to snow during rush hour.

 

Southern Indiana will see some snow as well, but not until closer to sunset.

Warsaw elementary school discovers, ends fight club

The long-running quote from the 1999 Brad Pitt, Ed Norton movie Fight Club is about how you don’t talk about Fight Club.  An area school not only had to talk about it, the school had to shut one down at the elementary level.

 

Warsaw school officials reported stopping a fight club at an elementary school.  Fights were being held in the bathroom and videos were posted on social media.

 

The school system issued the following statement:

 

On Tuesday, November 5, a teacher at Lincoln Elementary contacted administration and the school resource about students fighting in the restroom. It was later determined that the students had created a “fight club: that they were posting on social media.  Immediately, local law enforcement partnered with school administrators to contact families and put an end to the inappropriate behavior.

 

Students were disciplined in accordance with the student handbook and parents were involved.  Ongoing efforts will ensure that this type of inappropriate behavior does not continue.  This will be a priority of school administration and local authorities.

 

A law enforcement investigation is ongoing.  Although social media posts are ongoing regarding the incident we would like to assure the public that the matter was handled as soon as the behavior was brought to light.

State says it's improving access to veterans career, financial programs

Veterans Day is an important time to honor our brave men and women - past and present - who have served in our military to protect our freedoms and country.

 

Doug Gutwein (R-Francesville) is an Army veteran who served in Vietnam.

 

 

State officials say they will continue with efforts to help veterans transition from military service to civilian life.  Through Indiana’s Next Level Veterans Program, service men and women are matched with civilian careers.

 

To connect with career training and a home buyer program designed for active duty veterans and returned military personnel, visit in.gov/veterans.

 

To decrease the financial burden on thousands of veterans, a new law phases in a full income tax exemption for military retirement pensions over four years.  The Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs also launched a new online portal that streamlines to process for service members to access their benefits without having to make an appointment or call.  That portal is available at in.gov/dva.

DNR opening to veterans on Veterans Day

All veterans and active-duty military personnel are allowed in free to state parks, reservoir properties, state forest recreation areas, and state off-road vehicle riding areas on Veterans Day, November 11.

 

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources says veterans need to present their ID or evidence of military service to be allowed in.

 

Attendants at entrance gates will accept:

 

-Discharge papers (veteran's DD Form 214)

-Veteran license plates: Ex-POW, Purple Heart, Disabled Hoosier Veteran, Pearl Harbor Survivor.

 

-Veteran license plates also include:

-Air Force Veteran                             

-Army Veteran

-Coast Guard Veteran                                   

-Marine Corps Veteran

-Merchant Marine Veteran                

-Navy Veteran

 

-U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Disability Award Letter

-Veterans hunting and fishing license

-Documents showing veteran benefits with veteran's name on document

-Any other certificate or verification letter or form that establishes past or present military service

 

For more information about the state park, reservoir, and forest properties, see dnr.IN.gov.

Fulton County Soil and Water Conservation District awarded funding

The State Soil Conservation Board has awarded more than $1 million to the Clean Water Indiana Program. The funding will support 14 proposals representing 39 Soil and Water Conservation Districts and 2 conservation groups.

 

The award is a conservation match funding program aimed at reducing pollutants in Indiana’s waterways through Indiana Soil and Water Conservation Districts and other conservation groups.

The Fulton County Soil and Water Conservation District received just over $106, 000.

 

Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch, Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development said the funds will benefit local farmers in a multitude of ways by providing technical assistance to support farmers in improving water quality and, in some cases, create jobs for rural Hoosiers.

Candy dispenser stolen from Pulaski Co. restaurant

The Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a theft from a Star City restaurant.

 

On November 7, 2019 at approximately 7:30 p.m., the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office was called to the Oak Grove Restaurant in Star City, in reference to a theft.

 

The owner of the Oak Grove Restaurant reported someone had stolen a red triple coin operated candy dispenser from the restaurant. The candy dispenser was located inside of the front entrance of the restaurant and is believed to have been stolen sometime during the day on November 7.

 

At this time there are no suspects in this investigation.

 

Anyone with information is asked to contact the department at (574) 946-6655 or message the Facebook page of the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office.

 

Lunch and Learn

At Mikey’s Pizza Pit Stop in Rochester on Thursday residents have the opportunity to attend the Lunch and Learn brought to you by the Fulton County Chamber of Commerce. This is your opportunity to learn about some of the services clubs in the community. 

 


Price is $20 per person or $10 for Chamber members. To RSVP call Monica at 224-2666.

 

The term wind chill becoming a part of the forecast

The calendar might say early November, but it's about to feel much more like winter time.

 

The entire state of Indiana is about to experience cold temperatures on Thursday night and Friday morning. Temperatures that we're not used to for this time of the year, says WISH - TV Meteorologist Marcus Bailey.

 

 

The type of precipitation you'll see will depend on where you live -- more snow in northern Indiana, a rain/snow mix in central Indiana, and more rain in southern Indiana.

 

he cold air on Thursday night and Friday morning will be just the first wave of up-and-down temperatures.

 

Bailey says it will warm back up this weekend, with highs back to normal in the mid-to-upper 40s.  But we'll see another blast of arctic air to start next week with near-record low temperatures for Monday and Tuesday.

Incumbents retain seats in Rochester races; Republicans dominate the state

The Republican incumbents retained their seats on the Rochester City Council in Tuesday’s municipal general election.

 

In District 3, Brian Fitzwater defeated Democrat Bryan Holcomb for a second time in a city council race.  This time, by a 72-39 margin.

 

In District 5, John Garrett took 58% of the vote in a 125-90 win over Democrat Joshua Zehner.

 

In Warsaw, Republicans swept the contested city council races.  Josh Finch, Jeff Gross, Michael Klondaris, Jerry Frush and Diane Quance were all victorius.

The offices of mayor and clerk-treasurer in Warsaw were uncontested.

 

Republicans controlled elections in Plymouth, as well.  Mark Senter defeated Josh Walker for mayor 809-724.  Meanwhile, Republican Jeanine Xaver defeated Cathy Wraight 892-616 to win Plymouth clerk-treasurer.

 

In Logansport, Republican Chris Martin narrowly defeated Democrat Dave Kitchell 1042 – 985 to win the mayor’s race.

 

A Democrat incumbent was ousted in the Peru mayoral race where Republican challenger Miles Hewitt was a winner over Gabe Greer 841-691.  Independent Chris Wolfe was a distant third.

Hewitt is a 38-year veteran of the Peru Police Department and defeated two challengers back in the primary.  This was his first election.

 

The Indiana Republican Party achieved a new record in this year’s municipal elections, ending the 2019 cycle with 70 Republican mayors throughout Indiana. This involved flipping 19 mayoral offices, including those in traditional Democrat strongholds Kokomo, Muncie, Logansport and Michigan City.

Republicans now hold 23 more mayoral offices than Democrats, another record.

Independents' total of four mayor's seats is down one. Republicans had a net gain of six, while Democrats lost seven. 

BMV says it's ready to issue Election Day ID's after Monday technical problems

The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles has announced that branches will open today and are ready to process transactions following a technical failure on Monday.

 

All branches scheduled to be open for Election Day will open at 6:00 a.m. and will be able to process transactions. BMV Connect kiosks and myBMV are also restored and processing transactions.

 

Branches with elections in their counties will be open from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. today. As a reminder, by law, branches can offer only limited transactions, specifically driver's licenses and identification cards, in support of the election.

 

Customers who visited during the outage on Monday and provided their contact information will be notified the branch is open and operational today.

 

“We apologize to anyone inconvenienced by this outage. Serving Hoosiers and providing ample opportunity to obtain identification for any purpose they need is a core part of our mission,” BMV Commissioner Peter Lacy said. “Ensuring technical failures do not occur is of utmost importance to our team and we will continue working with our vendor partner until all parties are confident in our future planning.”

Time to sign up for Fulton County 4-H

It is time to sign up to be a part of 4-H in Fulton County. It costs $15 per person for families that sign up three the price will be capped at $45. Amber Barks the Purdue Extension Program heads up their 4-H initiative, she explains how you can go about signing up.


 


Barks says the mopre the merrier there is no cap on total participants in the program they would love to see as many sign up as possible.

 

Nestle announces recall

Another reason you shouldn't eat raw cookie dough -- it might contain pieces of rubber.

 

Nestlé is recalling 26 different ready-to-bake, refrigerated cookie dough products because they might be contaminated with "food-grade rubber," the company announced Thursday.

 

The recall covers tubes, tubs, and bars of cookie dough that include batch codes that begin with 9189 and run through 9295.

 

To find the batch code, flip the package over and look for the "Use By" date. The batch code will be the first set of numbers to the right of the date.

 

The back of a package of Nestle-brand cookie dough with the Batch Code circle in red ink.

 

If you own any of the recalled cookie dough, you can return it to the store for a refund.

Problem-solving courts growing in Indiana

Indiana’s courts are ramping up their response to the opioid epidemic.

 

By year's end, Chief Justice Loretta Rush says 53 counties will have special problem-solving courts to help families address drug issues at the root of whatever landed them in a courtroom in the first place,. That's 11 new counties, and 31 new courts, in a span of three years.

In Fulton County, an adult drug court is currently in the planning stages.

 

Rush says some counties have honed the concept to create "family recovery courts." Indiana will end the year with 18 such courts, triple the number in 2016.

 

Miami County has an adult drug court.  In Pulaski County, a family recovery court is in the planning stages.  Wabash County has three with an adult drug, re-entry and family recovery courts.  Kosciusko also has an adult drug court.

 

Rush told Indiana's annual drug abuse symposium judges need to take the lead in fighting the opioid epidemic, bringing together treatment professionals and government and community agencies to get people the help they need.

 

 

Rush says judges see the wide-ranging effects of drug abuse in their courtrooms every day -- not just in criminal drug cases, but in cases from child custody cases to bankruptcies.

 

 

Rush says the pervasive influence of drugs across the docket makes it important to train judges in the effectiveness of different types of treatment and how to recognize the signs of drug abuse.

 

Rush chairs a national judicial task force on the opioid epidemic, which has produced a series of informational cards for judges covering topics from signs of fetal alcohol syndrome to how to administer the anti-overdose drug naloxone.

 

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