WROI News Archives for 2020-05

Local protest on Fulton County Courthouse square

There are dozens of protests going on in major cities across the nation regarding the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.  Rochester saw up close evidence of that on the courthouse square Saturday.

 

Protester Jacob Covington on why he was there.

 

 

Another protester Xaiver Smith on why he wanted to participate in the protest.

 

 

Nursing homes in Rochester and surrounding area receive PPE from FEMA

On April 30, Vice President Mike Pence, leader of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to coordinate shipments of personal protective equipment (PPE) to more than 15,000 nursing homes across America. These shipments will provide a 14-day supply of PPE to staff working in the nursing homes.

 

FEMA sent first shipments with a seven-day supply starting in May, and a second wave in early June.   Several area funeral homes are included:

 

HICKORY CREEK

 

ROCHESTER

 

LIFE CARE CENTER

 

ROCHESTER

 

WINTERSONG VILLAGE

 

KNOX

 

GOLDEN LIVING CENTER

 

KNOX

 

HICKORY CREEK

 

PERU

 

HICKORY CREEK

 

WINAMAC

 

MILLER'S MERRY MANOR

 

WABASH

 

 

In total, FEMA will distribute 608,000 pieces of eye protection, 6.9 million masks, 6.4 million gowns, and 31.4 million pairs of gloves.

Deadline Monday, June 1 to apply for Fulton Co. COVID-19 Immediate Response Grant Funding

An important deadline is approaching for local businesses to seek grant help.

 

Fulton County Officials, in cooperation with Fulton Economic Development Corporation (FEDCO), successfully applied for Indiana’s Office of Community and Rural Affair’s COVID-19 Immediate Response Grant Funding in the amount of $250,000. 

 

Fulton County may now offer grants to Fulton County businesses including businesses in high risk categories such as hospitality/tourism, food and beverage, personal care, professional services, and retail sectors. The goal of this program is to retain jobs and 51% of the jobs retained must be held by LMI (Low to Moderate Income) persons. LMI is defined as total household income equal to or less than 80% of the median family income for Fulton County.

 

Rochester City Councilman Brian Goodman.

 

Applications and all forms are due by Monday, June 1, 12:00 noon.  Applications will not be accepted after this time. The approximate date for funds release is the end of June.

 

For questions, contact: Amy Beechy, Manager of Small Business Initiatives for FEDCO at amy@projectmattersllc.com or 574-709-7955

 

Fireworks in Rochester fighting coronavirus economic impact

It’s a rough season for keeping fairs, festivals and the like on the calendar due to COVID-19. Even when the state reaches the final stage of Back on Track, the virus impact could still be destructive to schedules.

 

The American Legion's fireworks display at the Fulton County Airport is still on.  Whether it stays that way or not may be more of an economic decision impacted by COVID-19 than the virus itself.

 

Rochester Mayor Ted Denton says the city has decided to go ahead with its annual donation to fund the event.

 

 

The mayor says the concern becomes the impact of COVID-19 on the donors who typically share in the costs.

 

 

It’s not entirely clear yet whether the fireworks would be on July 3rd or on July 4th since Akron isn’t having its celebration this year.

Don't drive around closed flooded roads

With the amount of rainfall we have had this spring, ISP Sergeant Tony Slocum reminds us not to drive around closed roads due to flooding.

 

 

 

Manchester Univ. free tuition offer

Free tuition, being offered by Manchester University because of the coronavirus pandemic. Granted, it is for students who qualify.

 

The school announced its "2020 Spartan Response" for incoming students for the upcoming school year. It's to help give prospective college students an option to go to college and not worry about the financial uncertainly caused by the pandemic. Students eligible for free tuition at Manchester be from families that make $65, 000 / year or less, are eligible for a federal Pell Grant, must complete the FAFSA and must live on campus and pay room and board.

No decisions on what next school year will look like yet

As the school year comes to a close for Rochester Community Schools there are lots of questions to what next school year will look like.  As of now there are not any decisions made. 

 

Jana Vance Rochester Schools Superintendent.

 

 

With a meeting this week with IDOE and superintendents across the state Vance hopes to get some guidance so they can get plans started for the fall.

 

 

Starke County man killed in I-94 semi - truck crash

Just before 3:00 am Friday Indiana State Police troopers were dispatched to a crash involving a semi and another truck on I-94 eastbound, about one mile east of the Burns Harbor / Porter exit ramp.  The initial officer on-scene was a Burns Harbor officer who located a male subject lying in the roadway.  A semi was fully engulfed and another truck with orange traffic barrels was located in the south ditch in the trees.  A helicopter was originally contacted for the injured, but it was cancelled when it was determined that the victim, Ryan Greer, 38, of Knox, was deceased. 

 

Preliminary investigation shows that a 2019 Volvo tractor/trailer was eastbound when for unknown reasons it drove onto the right shoulder.  Parked on the right shoulder, with its amber warning lights activated, was a 2017 Dodge Ram straight truck owned by Traffic Control Specialists, Inc.  The vehicle was stopped on the shoulder due to the occupants being construction workers and they were actively performing maintenance to the orange construction zone signs along I-94.  The driver of the Dodge stepped out of the left side of the truck at approximately the same time it was rear-ended by the Volvo semi.  This impact resulted in the driver sustaining fatal injuries. 

 

The impact caused the Dodge to travel down the right ditch and into the trees.  A male passenger in the Dodge was not injured.  Following the initial impact, the Volvo continued east, crossed all lanes of travel and struck the concrete median wall where it burst into flames.  The driver of the Volvo, Kuldeep Singh Palak, 54, of Alberta, Canada, was able to escape injury. 

 

The truck is owned/operated by Tri-Star Carriers Ltd., located in Ontario Canada.  The trailer was loaded with 37,000 lbs. of frozen pork and was en route to Ottawa, Ontario from Oakland, Iowa.  The contents of the trailer were lost due to the fire.

 

This is an ongoing investigation.  The Indiana State Police Crash Reconstruction Team was notified for scene investigation.  The Indiana State Police Commercial Motor Vehicle Division (CVED) is assisting with a Commercial Motor Vehicle Inspection.  Formal charges or citations are pending the outcome of the investigation and will be determined by the Porter County Prosecutor’s Office.  

 

 

 

 

Fulton woman thrown from vehicle in Friday morning accident

A Fulton woman was ejected from her vehicle after clipping another vehicle on State Road 25.

 

The Fulton County Sheriff’s Department responded with Liberty Township Volunteer Fire Department and Lutheran EMS to SR 25 just north of 950 South about 9:30 am Friday.  The initial report indicates an SUV driven by Erin Evers of Fulton was traveling northbound when her vehicle went left of center and clipped a vehicle driven by Pamela Judy of Rochester.

 

Evers’ SUV rolled and she was ejected.  She was transported to South Bend for medical treatment.

Walorski introduced Medical Supplies for Pandemics Act of 2020

America should make and stockpile its own personal protective equipment, says Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.). She says a bill that she's introduced will help ensure that China doesn't have the drop on us the next time a pandemic or medical crisis hits.

 

"One clear lesson of this pandemic, I think, is the importance of an adequate, domestically-produced supply of PPE," Walorski told the House Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis.

“It’s so critical to focus on domestic manufacturing because, quite simply, we can’t trust China. It’s becoming clear that China manipulated the basic economic laws of supply and demand by hoarding supplies and downplaying the true scale and danger of the virus, allowing it to spread even farther and wider," she said.

 

Walorski said she was upset that hospitals in her district and across Indiana were forced to pay higher prices for PPE than normal, and believes it was because of hoarding by China.

 

Walorski said she introduced the Medical Supplies for Pandemics Act of 2020 to "strengthen the strategic national stockpile, to improve the federal response to future disasters and pandemics by enhancing medical supply chain elasticity, improving the domestic production of personal protective equipment, and partnering with industry to refresh and replenish existing stocks of medical supplies".

 

“I keep hearing this notion that holding China accountable is nothing more than a distraction. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Getting to the bottom of China’s role in PPE shortages is at the very core of ensuring adequate supplies to protect frontline workers," she said.

 

Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), has been calling for action to hold China accountable. The Chinese government has promised retaliation, and that Banks would feel political pain from China's manipulation of the economy.

Beware of scammers who use ISDH contact tracing

The state’s efforts at contact tracing are being hampered by some who would like to take advantage of the situation.           

 

State Health Commissioner Kris Box explains.

 

 

Box notes that if you receive a contact from ISDH you should respond.

 

 

Box says contact the ISDH if you’re suspicious of a call or message you have received.

Governor Eric Holcomb directs flags to be flown at half-staff

Governor Eric J. Holcomb is directing flags statewide to be flown at half-staff on Sunday to honor the victims of the Novel Coronavirus Pandemic.

 

Flags should be flown at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Sunday, May 24.

 

Gov. Holcomb also asks businesses and residents across the state to lower their flags to half-staff on Sunday to commemorate the victims of the Novel Coronavirus Pandemic.

Stage 3 of Back on Track underway; starts June 1 in Cass Co.

Governor Eric J. Holcomb announced that because health indicators remain positive, most of the state will advance to stage 3 of the Back On Track Indiana plan on Friday, May 22.

 

Indiana Back On Track has five stages. For Cass, Lake and Marion counties – which started Stage 2 after other counties, stage 3 may begin on June 1. Local governments may impose more restrictive guidelines.

 

“We continue to remain vigilant about protecting Hoosiers’ health while taking responsible steps to further open our state’s economy,” Gov. Holcomb said. “Moving to stage 3 is possible because Hoosiers across the state have worked together and made sacrifices to slow the spread.”

 

Gov. Holcomb has used data to drive decisions since the state’s first case of the novel coronavirus in early March and he will continue to do so as the state contemplates a sector-by-sector reset. The state will move to reopen while continuing to monitor and respond to these four guiding principles:

 

  • The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients statewide has decreased for 14 days
  • The state retains its surge capacity for critical care beds and ventilators
  • The state retains its ability to test all Hoosiers who are COVID-19 symptomatic as well as health care workers, first responders, and frontline employees
  • Health officials have systems in place to contact all individuals who test positive for COVID-19 and expand contact tracing

 

As the state lifts restrictions and more people return to work, visit a store or restaurant, and participate in more activities, the number of COVID-19 cases will increase. If these principles cannot be met, all or portions of the state may need to pause on moving forward or may need to return to an earlier phase of the governor’s stay-at-home order.

 

In Stage 3, Hoosiers 65 and over and those with high-risk health conditions – who are the most vulnerable to the coronavirus – should remain at home as much as possible. Face coverings in public places are recommended. Hoosiers who can work from home are encouraged to continue to do so.

 

Social gatherings of up to 100 people will be permitted following the CDC’s social distancing guidelines.

 

Retail and commercial businesses may open at 75% capacity. Shopping malls can open at 75% capacity with indoor common areas restricted to 50% capacity.

 

Gyms, fitness centers, yoga studios, martial arts studios, and similar facilities may open with restrictions. Class sizes should be limited. Equipment must be spaced to accommodate social distancing and cleaned after each use. No contact activities are permitted.

 

Community pools may open according to CDC guidance. Community tennis and basketball courts, soccer and baseball fields, YMCA programs, and similar facilities may open with social gathering and social distancing guidelines in place.

 

Community recreational youth and adult sports leagues may resume practices and conditioning while adhering to social gathering and social distancing guidelines. Contact sports, such as lacrosse and football, are prohibited, but conditioning and non-contact drills may take place.

 

Youth summer day camps may open on June 1.

 

Raceways may open with restrictions and no spectators.

 

Campgrounds may open restrictions, including social distancing and sanitation precautions. State park inns will reopen.

 

Restaurants and bars with restaurant services may continue to operate at 50% capacity, but bar seating must remain closed. Personal services such as hair salons, barber shops, nail salons, spas and tattoo parlors may continue to be open by appointment only and must follow social distancing guidelines.

 

Movie theaters and playgrounds, which had been projected to open in stage 3, will remain closed. Movie theaters are now projected to open along with other entertainment facilities and venues during stage 4. Playgrounds are to be determined.

 

If health indicators remain positive, the state will move to stage 4 in mid-June. To learn more about the different stages and the associated dates to get a better understanding about where we’re going as a state, click here to see the full plan: BackOnTrack.in.gov

 

The Governor has signed an executive order implementing stage 3 of the Back on Track Indiana roadmap. The executive order can be found here: https://www.in.gov/gov/2384.htm

 

The Critical Industries Hotline continues to be available from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET Monday through Friday to respond to business and industry questions about whether a business is considered essential. The center may be reached by calling 877-820-0890 or by emailing covidresponse@iedc.in.gov

 

Answers to frequently asked questions and instructions to file for COVID-19-related unemployment are available at Unemployment.IN.gov.

Fulton Co. using Community Crossing grants to pay for road projects

Three Fulton County roads were the focus of bid opening this week.

 

Fulton County Commissioner Rick Ranstead says three projects were awarded.

 

 

All three projects will be funded through money received from Community Crossing grants.

 

 

 

Additional assistance for children who receive free and reduced-cost meals at school

The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration announced today that families whose children receive free or reduced-cost meals at school will receive “Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer” benefits beginning this week. These benefits are intended to reimburse the families of about 600,000 Hoosier children for the cost of meals that their children were unable to receive due to COVID-19-related school closures.

 

Families who do not currently receive SNAP will receive an electronic benefits transfer card in the mail by the end of May, along with instructions on how to activate and use their card. Families do not have to apply for Pandemic EBT, also called “P-EBT.” The P-EBT card works like a bank debit card and can be used at any store in the United States that accepts SNAP, but cannot be used for cash withdrawals at ATM machines. FSSA worked with the Indiana Department of Education to identify these families based upon their child already receiving free and reduced-cost meals at school.

 

Families who already receive SNAP benefits will have the additional benefits applied to their SNAP accounts on their Hoosier Works EBT card by the end of May.

 

For P-EBT, each household will receive an amount equal to the value of the daily allotment for breakfast and lunch multiplied by the average number of school days missed since school was cancelled. Families will receive this amount for each eligible child in the household for the number of days the child was eligible for free and reduced lunch. The value of the school meals per day is equal to the federal reimbursement rate for breakfast and lunch at the free rate, which is $5.70, as specified by the United States Department of Agriculture.

 

The Indiana Department of Education calculated an average of 56 missed days of school through the end of the school year (including spring break) for Indiana students, counting all weekdays from March 13, 2020, through May 29, 2020. The first date was the day following Governor Eric Holcomb’s executive order closing schools for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. The second date represents the average last day of school for schools in this school year.

Fulton County and FEDCO officials announce Small Business Relief Funding applications now available

Fulton County may now offer grants to Fulton County businesses, including businesses in high-risk categories such as hospitality/tourism, food and beverage, personal care, professional services, and retail sectors. After meeting with OCRA (Indiana’s Office of Community and Rural Affairs) officials last week, final grant application details were approved by OCRA for the COVID-19 Immediate Response Grant Funding. The goal of this program, per federal requirements, is to retain jobs and 51% of the jobs retained must be held by LMI (Low to Moderate Income) persons. FEDCO is managing the grant application process for Fulton County, and OCRA staff will also review all applications.  The eligibility requirements include the following:

 

  • Nonprofits are not eligible per HUD Rules
  • Businesses with less than $1 million in gross annual sales and fewer than 20 employees. Reminder: There is a requirement that 51% of jobs retained must meet the LMI (Low-to-Moderate Income) federal guidelines. 
  • Businesses who have been denied benefits from other federal or state programs or have been declared ineligible may receive priority
  • Businesses must have incurred a business/financial loss due to COVID-19
  • Businesses must be based in Fulton County

 

Applications are available online through this link and include the LMI forms for employee income verification:  http://fultondevelopment.org/covid19-immediate-response-grant-application

 

All forms are due by Monday, June 1st, 2020, 12:00 noon. Applications will not be accepted after this time. The approximate date for funds release is the end of June. Each business may apply for a maximum of $10,000. As the county tries to assist as many businesses as possible, funds may be limited, and awards could be less than your request.  

 

Businesses who wish to apply will need to include their Profit/Loss Statement for the period January 1, 2019 through December 31, 2019 OR Schedule C from their 2019 income tax return. Also, within one week of the day the completed application and Profit/Loss statement are submitted, EACH employee (and owners) must complete the Income Verification Form that is included in the application link, so that LMI income status can be verified.  

 

For more information related to the application process, please contact Amy Beechy, Manager of Small Business Initiatives for FEDCO at amy@projectmatttersllc.com or telephone 574.709.7955.  

 

Road closure

Beginning Monday, May 18,  Sweetgum Road from Indiana 14 to Parkway Lane will be closed until further notice for installation of underground utilities for the new Fulton County Sheriff’s Office and Detention Center. 

 

Residents of Country Meadows will need to use U.S. 31 for entry. 

Fulton Co. readying for use of OCRA COVID-19 funds

Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch and the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs announced in April that Fulton County was awarded $250,000 to provide grants to small businesses in order to retain employees. 

 

The hope is businesses may start to apply for those funds, maybe, as early as today.

 

The funds are from the Federal Community Development Block Grant resources and have many criteria to which the county must adhere when developing the application process and throughout the receipt and dispersal of those funds. 

 

FEDCO Executive Director Terry Lee.

 

 

Lee says a meeting proved key in efforts to make sure that the funds could be used as local officials intended.

 

 

From there, Lee says a series of phone calls, including one still to come today, will lead to making applications available to local businesses.

 

 

For questions, please contact FEDCO at 574-223-3326.

Two day road closure scheduled for SR 143

The Indiana Department of Transportation announces a road closure for State Road 143 between U.S. 421 and C.R. 1650 W.

 

The road is expected to be closed on Tuesday, May 19 and Wednesday, May 20. 

 

 

The Rensselaer Sub-District will be completing a chip and fog seal project. Drivers should seek an alternate route. Local traffic may utilize C.R. 1650 W. for a detour. 

Silver Alert - James Slough, Warsaw

A Statewide Silver Alert has been declared, repeating, a Statewide Silver Alert has been declared.

 

The Kosciusko County Sheriff's Office is investigating the disappearance of James D. Slough, a 30 year old white male, 5 feet 7 inches tall, 180 pounds, brown hair with brown eyes. He was last seen wearing a white t-shirt with "racer parts wholesaler" on the left front and back of shirt, silver athletic shorts, tall brown hiking socks, and brown over the ankle hiking boots. 

 

James is missing from Warsaw  and was last seen on Saturday, May 2, 2020 at 6:00 pm. He is believed to be in danger and may require medical assistance. 

 

If you have any information on James D. Slough, contact the Kosciusko County Sheriff's Office at 574-267-5667 or 911.

Severe weather in the Thursday forecast

Heavy rain, high winds, and large hail are all things you could see beginning Thursday afternoon.

 

The National Weather Service in Indianapolis says severe weather is a possibility for much of the state.

 

Chad Swain, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Indianapolis, says the best chance for severe weather is after 2 pm and could last through much of the evening.

 

“From areas to north and west of Indianapolis, it’s a slight risk. In areas south of Indianapolis, it’s a marginal risk. Along with those other threats, an isolated tornado cannot be ruled out,” says Swain.

When a “slight risk” is active it means scattered severe storms are possible. The National Weather Service says storms under a “slight risk” are typically short-lived, not widespread, isolated, and can be intense.

 

“Marginal risk” is a designation below slight risk. That means isolated severe storms are possible, but they are limited in duration, coverage, and intensity.

 

“This system is coming from the west. We have a warm front coming through from the southwest Thursday morning. The cold front will come in from the northwest later on and it’s just going to meander up and down north and south across the state,” says Swain.

 

Swain says showers and thunderstorms will be moving through the state periodically through the weekend.

 

“We’re also going to have near-normal or even above-normal (temperatures), which means 70s to even lower 80s. There might be a brief cool down around Monday and Tuesday with temperatures back into the 60s, but then it should warm right back up,” says Swain.

 

He urges you to monitor the forecast as closely as possible because it can always change.

Nikki's Creative Hair Design operating under COVID-19 guidelines

It’s back to work at Nikki's Creative Hair Design in Rochester.  But it’s a much different world for owner and beautician Nikki Sheppard.

 

Nikki says it’s an up-close job so there is concern to be prepared and follow COVID-19 guidelines.

 

 

Fortunately, Nikki’s location is well-spaced for their clients.

 

 

She says the COVID-19 situation has placed an added emphasis on cleaning.

 

 

Being back to work is one thing.  Nikki says there was plenty to do during the time away from the shop.

 

 

You can schedule your appointment by calling or texting 574-223-5132 or by visiting our website at www.rochesterhair.com.

Alyssa Shepherd files appeal, seeks new trial

The woman convicted of killing three kids at a bus stop in northern Indiana has filed a formal appeal.

 

Alyssa Shepherd wants an appeals court to dismiss her convictions and order a new trial.   In the appeal, Shepherd says she thought the flashing lights of the school bus were actually from an oversize load vehicle.  She claims she didn’t think she was passing a school bus until it was too late. She says she made an error in judgment.

 

She hit four children who were crossing the street to get on their school bus in Rochester in October 2018. Six-year-old twin brothers Xzavier and Mason Ingle and their 9-year-old sister, Alivia Stahl, were killed in the crash.

 

One boy survived.

 

Shepherd was sentenced to four years in prison last December.

FEDCO update on OCRA funding for Small Business Relief in Fulton County

As our nation, state and county all deal with the uncertainties and ever-changing dynamics of the COVID-19 pandemic, FEDCO, in cooperation with the Fulton County officials, the Chamber of Commerce and State officials, is working extremely hard to address the needs of our Fulton County businesses.  Through surveys, phone calls,and emails, we understand the severity of the impact to our localcommunity.

 

We want to assure you that as agents of the county, we are diligently working through mandated processes toward being able to receive, and award, grant relief funds to our local businesses.  We would like our community to understand the processes that are in place regarding the Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) COVID-19 Immediate Response Grant Funding Program.
 

We first want to publicly thank Governor Holcomb, Lt. Governor Crouch, and the OCRA team for their quick action in making a funding program available to our business community.  On April 17, Fulton County applied for $250,000 in OCRA’s COVID-19 Immediate Response Grant Funds, and they were notified on April 22 that they would be awarded those federal funds.Those funds are from the Federal Community Development Block Grant resources and have many criteria to which the countymust adhere when developing the application processand throughout the receipt and dispersal of those funds.  As with any program launched that quickly during a volatile national crisis, many details were still to be dealt with by the State of Indiana before any release of the grant funds could occur.

 

The Oversight and Planning Committee for the Fulton County grant process includes experienced professionals such as the county commissioners, county council members, FEDCO and Chamber of Commerce Executives and staff, a State Grant administrator, and seasoned project manager along with necessary support personnel.

 

The above Grant Oversight Team has been developing a business grant application to comply with the state and federal guidelines and mandates.  Several working meetings have occurred as new information is released from the state.  On Tuesday, May 12, Fulton County officials will join a meeting called by OCRA to discuss, and hopefully, finalize details.  The grant agreement should then be ready for signature by the county.  Once that is completed, the grant application should then be able to be finalized and released to our county small businesses.  We are aiming for May 15.  Release date of funds by the state is as yet unknown but is projected to be by June 1. 

 

As noted in an earlier release, a legal notice ran in The Rochester Sentinel announcing details of the public hearing held on May 11, 2020, at 9:30 a.m.  Publishing notice 10 days ahead of the Public Hearing is required for a community to receive CDBG funds.  A second public hearing will be required when approximately 30% of the funds have been expended.

 

FEDCO and the Grant Oversight Team thank you for your patience as we diligently continue working with the County, OCRA and other officials to be able to complete this process and be ready to receive and disperse the COVID-19 Grant Funding. To-date, 87 Fulton County businesses have expressed an interest in these funds.For questions, please contact FEDCO at 574-223-3326.

Restaurants and hair salons open today in the Back on Track plan

It's another level of Stage 2 of Governor Holcomb's Back on Track Indiana Plan as restaurants and hair salons are among the businesses that can once again open for customers starting May 11.

 

WHAT OPENS

These business sectors may open a week after the start of Stage 2 (May 11)

 

• Personal services, such as hair salons, barber shops, nail salons, spas, and tattoo

parlors. By appointment only with operational limitations. Employees must wear face

coverings, work stations must be spaced to meet social distancing guidelines,

and other requirements must be met.

Customers should wear face coverings to the extent possible

 

• Restaurants and bars that serve food may open at 50% capacity with operational

limitations. Bar seating will be closed with no live entertainment. Servers and kitchen

staff must wear face coverings

 

• State government executive branch offices will begin limited public services, and

employees will begin to return to offices in small waves

 

• Boating is permitted, but boaters must follow social distancing guidelines

 

• Visitors to beaches and shorelines must adhere to the social gathering policy and social

distancing guidelines

 

WHAT REMAINS CLOSED

• Individuals are not allowed to visit patients in assisted living/nursing home facilities

• Bars and nightclubs

• Gyms, fitness centers, community centers, and like facilities

• Cultural, entertainment, sports venues, and tourism.  This includes museums, zoos, festivals,

parades, concerts, fairs, sports arenas, movie theaters, bowling alleys, aquariums, theme parks, recreational sports leagues and tournaments, and like facilities

 

• Playgrounds, tennis courts, basketball courts, amusement parks whether indoors or outside,

tourist sites, water parks, and social clubs

 

• Congregate settings for seniors, adult day cares remain closed through at least May 31

• Casino operations

• Community swimming pools, public and private

• Residential and day camps

• Campgrounds, except for those living permanently in RVs or cabins

Economist: Expect huge spike in unemployment rate in Friday's jobs report

When the U.S Labor Department releases its jobs report for the month of April at 8:30 a.m. (EST), the nation’s unemployment should jump to about 17.4 percent. It will show how COVID-19 has been the largest economic shock in U.S. history, says Michael Hicks, an economist at Ball State University.

 

But, the public should brace itself for worse news in the coming weeks when the numbers echo the depths of the Great Depression, he said.

 

Friday’s jobs report will measure a broad set of employment data through early April, using two surveys.  It will also update previous months surveys using administrative data, including the weekly initial jobless claims that have smashed previous records over the past several weeks.

 

“Since the March deadline, we’ve had a full 30.6 million additional workers added to jobless rolls, but only 22.3 million of them were reported between the March and April survey dates,” said Hicks, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER in the Miller College of Business. “Lags in the jobs report mean we are missing some 10 million unemployed workers in the April jobs report.

 

“So, on Friday, we will likely see the largest one month adjustment to a jobs report on record,” he said. “We should anticipate the March unemployment rate to be revised upwards to 10.4%, an increase of just over 6%. The April jobs report should see the unemployment rate rise to roughly 17.4%.”

 

Hicks points out that shocking number understates the April unemployment rate, which will likely be revised next month to roughly 21.5% as the new weekly jobless claims data are included in the revisions made on June 5, when May’s Employment Situation Summary is published.

 

Those record-breaking job losses would be so severe, they would wipe out nearly 10 years of job gains in just a single month, the economist pointed out.

 

“Unless there is an unimaginably high level of recalled workers in the next week, May’s unemployment rate will be the highest on record, beating our record set in the summer of 1933 when we flirted with 25% unemployment.”

Bremen boy injured in car-bike crash

Thursday afternoon a crash between a bicyclist and a car sent a ten year old boy to the hospital.

 

Around 3:00 p.m. Marshall County Dispatch received a call of a crash between a bicyclist and a van at SR 331 and 3rd Road near Bremen.

 

Preliminary investigation by Trooper Dave Caswell shows that Caythan Cullen, 10, of Bremen, was riding his bicycle eastbound on 3rd Road when he didn’t stop at the stop sign at the intersection of 3rd Road and SR 331. Cullen rode his bicycle into the path of an orange Chrysler that was traveling southbound on SR 331 driven by Melanie Juarez, 37 of Bremen.

 

Cullen was struck by the Chrysler and thrown from his bicycle. He was transported from the scene to Memorial Hospital in South Bend with injuries that are believed to be serious but not life-threatening. 

 

Juarez was not injured in the crash.

 

Alcohol and drugs are not suspected in this crash.

Rumor's teaming up with local farms for new lunch offering

The rumor is a new look and new menu are on the way for a popular Rochester nightclub.

 

Owner Lance Young says Rumor’s Nite Club has used the shutdown caused by COVID-19 to remodel.

 

 

Young says the local partnerships have sparked some exciting changes.

 

 

With the hogs coming from a local source Young says you’re helping at a time when industry processing of animals has been hampered by COVID-19.

 

 

Starting Monday, Young says they’re ready to meet the state guidelines and serve customers.

 

 

This daytime lunch service is something new for an establishment with a long history.

 

 

Young says they’ll get started at noon on Monday. 

Grim Reaper sent to "haunt" the Tyson plant in Logansport

The grim reaper, at least two of them, were sent to "haunt" the Tyson plant in Logansport by PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Their message to Tyson: Go vegan. Leave the animals alone and you'll protect them and the workers at the plant who could get coronavirus.

 

"The Tyson slaughterhouse in Logansport poses a threat not only to the animals they kill, but also to their own workers by reopening, despite having 900 workers test positive for COVID-19," said spokesperson Jonathan Horn.

 

Horn said working in the tight space of a meat plant means the disease could be easily spread again, despite the promise of a deep cleaning.

 

"PETA is encouraging them to stop slaughtering animals entirely and to focus instead on making those vegan meats which they're already producing," he said. "By switching to vegan meat products Tyson would not only improve the working conditions, but they would be saving animals lives, they'd be protecting our environment and helping to prevent the next pandemic."

Horn cited the CDC in saying over 75 percent of disease originate from animals.

 

When asked if having grim reapers out to get a message across during a pandemic where over 1,000 Hoosiers have died, Horn said he believes it's actually the perfect time to get their message out.

 

He also said that eliminating meat as a food source helps the environment. He said people should eat grains and plants directly, rather than eating the animals that eat the plants and grains.

 

"You've probably heard about cow farts before, on the release of methane gas, which is terrible for the environment. All the animals have excrement, which gets sent into our water and is a horrible pollution," he said.

 

Fulton County Chamber of Commerce revamping schedule, dues payments

COVID-19 has been stressful for business.  How about an organization that aids business while trying to take care of its own business?

 

Fulton County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jillian Smith says the calendar is a challenge and will continue to be so for awhile.

 

 

Smith says trying to promote business for places that are closed or changed during COVID-19 is a learning experience.

 

 

And Smith notes that COVID has had a direct impact as the chamber didn’t qualify for PPP aid.  That makes members dues even more important.  And she knows those dues are coming from others that have been severely impacted

 

 

Smith says they have extended their chamber dues date to June 30 and added various payment options.

 

Fulton Co. not looking to enact stricter COVID guidelines, follow Gov. Holcomb's Back on Track

When Governor Holcomb unveiled the stages for re-opening Indiana he left the door open for local governments to install stricter guidelines if they felt the need.  It doesn’t look as if Fulton County will be looking to do so.

 

County Commissioner Brian Lewis.

 

 

The commissioner did note that you may find different rules in different places and businesses.  That’s why he asks for patience and understanding.

 

 

Lewis  says they will continue to meet every morning on the COVID topic and will be open to changes if the situation calls for it.

 

 

 

Rochester Glass finds new clients due to COVID-19

A high percentage of stories during this stretch of COVID-19 related events has dealt with losses incurred by business.  One local business has found a new market to help with the coronavirus.

 

Chris Brown with Rochester Glass says the post office got them started.

 

 

From there, more and more clients have been found for similar projects.

 

 

Brown says he thinks much of this is temporary.  If not, he thinks it may mean putting in tempered safety glass down the road.

 

 

As for regular business Brown says construction projects were the hardest hit by COVID-19.  He says they have over 20 construction jobs waiting to go-ahead.

 

 

Rochester man killed in Friday two-vehicle crash

A Rochester man was killed and a Rochester woman injured in a Friday two-vehicle accident.
It happened in Argos at State Road 10 and US 31 just before 7:00 pm.

 

The Marshall County Sheriff’s Department stated in its press releases that a juvenile from Bourbon drove westbound on SR 10 in a 2016 Chevrolet Tahoe into the intersection to US 31.  It went thru the US 31 northbound lanes into the southbound lanes. 

 

An ’01 Dodge Dakota pickup, driven by Fritz Risner, 54, was southbound on US 31.  The juvenile’s vehicle hit Risner’s in the driver’s side.  It rolled several times before it came to rest in the median.

Fritz Risner and a passenger, Tracy Risner, 48, were trapped inside the vehicle and had to be extricated by emergency crews.  Tracy Risner was transported from the scene by helicopter for medical treatment.  Fritz Risner was declared dead at the scene.

 

The juvenile was not injured.

 

Funeral services for Fritz Risner are pending at Zimmerman Bros. Funeral Home in Rochester.

Joint statement on Tyson Fresh Meats resuming operations in Logansport

Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc., the beef and pork subsidiary of Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE: TSN), announced its plans to resume limited production at its Logansport, Indiana, facility next week, following a plant tour with local health and government officials, a union representative, and medical professionals. The pork processing facility temporarily halted operations on April 25 to test its team members for COVID-19. 

 

Team members were asked to self-isolate until their results returned. The company is working with local health officials on verification of test results and will communicate with team members prior to the restart date, while following CDC guidance on safely returning employees back to work. Workers who test positive or have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 will be directed to reach out to their health care provider, continue to self-isolate, and encouraged to take protective steps to care for themselves. Workers who test negative will be asked to return to work, provided they remain asymptomatic. 

 

“We’ve taken additional precautions to reassure team members that they are returning to a safe work environment and have made additional changes to continue supporting them during this global health crisis,” said Todd Neff, senior vice president pork. 

 

“While the facility was idled, we added more workstation barriers, installed more hand sanitizer dispensers, and did additional deep cleaning and sanitation. We’re also now screening employees for additional symptoms and designating monitors to help enforce social distancing, while following the CDC and OSHA’s guidance for Meat and Poultry Processing Workers and Employers.”  

 

In addition, the Logansport facility is the first of several TYSON PLANTS TO RECEIVE A MOBILE HEALTH CLINIC, OPERATED BY MATRIX MEDICAL NETWORK, to provide community-based services ranging from diagnostic (PCR) testing for COVID-19, assist with the environmental design of the facility to mitigate the risk of the virus spread, as well as conduct daily on-site clinical screening. 

 

The company has DOUBLED ITS BONUS FOR EMPLOYEES. Team members who cannot come to work due to illness or childcare will continue to qualify, but bonus eligibility will depend on attendance. Tyson Foods also increased short-term disability coverage to 90% of normal pay until June 30 to encourage team members to stay home when they are sick. 

 

“Tyson Fresh Meats has worked well with local community leaders to make sure its re-opening plan is safe,” said Dr. Dori Ditty, health officer of Cass County Health Department. “We toured the plant and feel the additional measures implemented will allow employees to work safely, while continuing to follow CDC guidelines and recommendations. We’ll continue to closely monitor the situation to ensure the safety of employees.” 

 

“Tyson has taken strides to help keep their employees safe during this trying time, while employees received paid time to get tested,” said Cass County Commissioner, Ryan Browning. “We recognize Tyson as being a vital partner in the food chain and the livelihood of our agricultural community and are pleased with all the measures they continue to implement, including the mobile medical clinic.” 

 

“The decision to reopen the Logansport plant has my full support,” said Logansport Mayor, Chris Martin. “We’ve all taken actions to do more to stop the spread of COVID-19. Tyson is taking more precautions with the extra measures seen during the plant tour. The company is doing the right thing and going above and beyond to make their team and community safe. Our Cass County health officials have worked endlessly to protect the community and we’re doing our part by recently signing an executive order to help prevent the spread of the virus in the city.” 

 

Tyson Fresh Meats’ recently announced its plans to temporarily halt operations at its Dakota City, Nebraska, beef plant for additional deep cleaning and sanitation. The group also voluntarily idled its locations in Waterloo and Perry, Iowa, and Pasco, Washington, while team members undergo testing and plants complete deep cleaning of the facilities. 

 

While this is an incredibly challenging time for the food industry, as it is for all Americans, Tyson is proud of our team members and their commitment toward our mission to put food on the tables of millions of homes around the country. 

 

About Tyson Foods

Tyson Foods, Inc. is one of the world’s largest food companies and a recognized leader in protein. Founded in 1935 by John W. Tyson and grown under three generations of family leadership, the company has a broad portfolio of products and brands like Tyson®, Jimmy Dean®, Hillshire Farm®, Ball Park®, Wright®, Aidells®, ibp® and State Fair®. Tyson Foods innovates continually to make protein more sustainable, tailor food for everywhere it’s available and raise the world’s expectations for how much good food can do. Headquartered in Springdale, Arkansas, the company has 141,000 team members. Through its Core Values, Tyson Foods strives to operate with integrity, create value for its shareholders, customers, communities and team members and serve as a steward of the animals, land and environment entrusted to it. Visit TYSONFOODS.COM

 

About Cass County Health Department 

Cass County Health Department is in Logansport, Indiana. It serves approximately 38,000 residents in the rural community. The Cass County Health Department works closely with the local hospital, law enforcement and government to promote health and safety throughout the community.   

 

About Cass County Government  

Founded in 1829, Cass County is home to 37,689 people as of 2019 with its county seat in Logansport. Cass County government protects and serves citizens of the county. 

 

About the City of Logansport

Located in northern Indiana, Logansport is a city in and the county seat of Cass County. Logansport ranks as one of the 10 safest cities in Indiana according to BACKGROUNDCHECKS.ORG, and is situated within a half day drive to Chicago, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Louisville and Detroit. 

2:30 pm on 92.1 WROI - Gov. Holcomb to provide updates on COVID-19

Gov. Eric J. Holcomb, the Indiana State Department of Health and other state leaders will host a virtual media briefing to provide updates on COVID-19 and its impact on Indiana.

                         

2:30 p.m. ET, Friday, May 1

 

92.1 FM,  www.wroifm.com

Governor's Friday presser expected to touch on "re-opening", Fulton Co. to assess situation

Many are anxious to hear what the governor unveils at his Friday press conference related to the “opening” of Indiana from the Stay-at-Home executive order.

 

Fulton County Health Nurse Rhonda Barnett says what exactly that means for the state, and for Fulton County, remains to be seen.

 

 

Barnett says she doesn’t anticipate a rapid or sudden change in the process at this point.

 

She notes the Logansport Tyson impact on the area with hundreds of confirmed COVID cases is an example of why they continue to work with area business and industry.

 

 

The Cass County Health Department said it has seen just under 1,200 positive COVID-19 cases. Almost 900 employees at the Tyson Food plant in Cass County’s Logansport have tested positive.

 

The county had been working with Tyson on a plan to reopen the plant after the pork processing plant voluntarily closed for 14 days in an effort to contain an outbreak.

 

Cass County Commissioner Ryan Browning has been working with Tyson and the health department to develop a workable reopening plan that has been thrown into high gear by President Donald Trump’s executive order to reopen meat processing plants shuttered by the virus.

 

 

Serenity Alter is the Cass County Health Department administrator and she is expecting the numbers of positive cases to continue to climb.

Lt. Gov. Crouch announces additional COVID-19 Response Recipients

Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch and the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs announced that an additional 49 rural Hoosier communities will receive more than $8.8 million in federal grant funding through the new COVID-19 Response Program.

 

“With today’s announcement, Indiana has awarded more than $10.7 million to our rural communities,” said Crouch. “From increasing access to necessary testing and medical supplies to providing businesses and their workers with much needed relief, these funds are directly assisting in the fight against COVID-19.”

 

On April 22, Lt. Governor Crouch announced the first 13 recipients of the COVID-19 Response Program who received more than $1.96 million in funding.

 

“Public-private collaboration and intergovernmental coordination are critically important in ensuring funding is distributed to our rural communities,” said Jodi Golden, Executive Director of OCRA. “The creativity and local partnerships OCRA has seen in these applications is inspiring and the Hoosier spirit of collaboration continues to thrive even through this crisis.”

 

The Office of Community and Rural Affairs is continuing to develop a long term response program. More information will be available in the coming weeks.

 

For more information on the program, visit www.in.gov/ocra/3010.htm.

Provide testing, diagnosis or other services

  • Marshall County is awarded $150,000 to install electronic billboards to help communicate information about the county’s response and resources available to residents.

Establish delivery service

  • Starke County is awarded $75,000 to establish service through a local non-profit to deliver needed supplies to quarantined individuals or those who are medically vulnerable.

Grants to businesses to retain jobs

  • The City of Wabash is awarded $250,000 to provide grants to hospitality, food and beverage, tourism, manufacturing and retail sectors. Grant amounts would range from $2,000 to $15,000 and would be available on a first come, first serve basis for applicants meeting the low-to-moderate (LMI) criteria that are confirmed by a review committee.
  • Knox County is awarded $250,000 to assist area businesses with operational and retention costs.

Loans to businesses to retain jobs

  • Kosciusko County is awarded $245,000 to offer zero interest, forgivable loans to businesses for the purpose of business retention within the County.
  • Miami County is awarded $250,000 to assist small businesses in retaining employees and paying for operational expenses.

 

Pulaski Co. calls for masks to be worn in public

Face masks are now required if you are out in public in Pulaski County. Commissioners approved the temporary order in an emergency meeting Thursday.

 

The order states that Hoosiers visiting businesses or public buildings in Pulaski County must cover the nose and mouth. According to WKVI, the requirements do not apply to visiting private homes. It's a Class B misdemeanor if you are seen not wearing a mask while in public, but police officers have been given some discretion on how they enforce it. 

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