WROI News Archives for 2020-06

Warsaw mayor tests positive for coronavirus

The mayor of Warsaw has tested positive for the coronavirus.

 

In an e-mail from the city on Tuesday, Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer sought testing when he first noticed a slight fever.  He has been working from home since last Wednesday, June 24. He said in the press release he is relieved that he feels good and is able to work from home remotely.

 

The mayor is strongly recommending that anyone with symptoms or who feels like they have come in close contact with someone who has tested positive to get tested immediately.

 

As of Monday, Kosciusko County had 501 COVID cases with three deaths.

Man arrested for murder, arson in Plymouth

In Plymouth, a man is accused of killing a woman and setting a house on fire over the weekend.

 

Duane Longacre, 35, of Plymouth, is charged with murder, arson, and resisting arrest.  Police say he killed Jill McCarty with a machete, put her body in a bathtub, and then set several fires.

 

McCarty's body was found by firefighters.

 

Longacre was arrested and taken to the Marshall County Jail.

Rochester man killed in car - motorcycle crash

Deputies with the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office Fatal Team were requested at a crash that occurred early Monday evening in Scott Township. The preliminary results of the investigation indicate that Bryce Hershberger, 26, of Rochester, and Kathryn Miller, 69, of Osceola, were traveling on CR 1100 W just south of 1200 N. Miller crossed Hershberger’s path of travel, as she began to make a left-hand turn onto a private driveway.

 

Hershberger’s Yamaha motorcycle struck the passenger side of Miller’s Chrysler Town and Country minivan. Hershberger, who was wearing a helmet, was pronounced deceased at the scene by the Kosciusko County Coroner’s Office. Miller was not injured.

 

This collision remains under investigation.

 

The Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office, Nappanee Police Department, Nappanee Fire Department, Nappanee Emergency Medical Service, Kosciusko County Coroner’s Office and the Parkview Samaritan Air Ambulance responded to the crash scene.

Fire run turns to stabbing investigation, arrest in Plymouth

Police say a Plymouth man was arrested after a deceased victim was discovered following a fire at a Plymouth residence.

 

The Plymouth Fire Department put out a fire in the 900 block of North Plum Street on Sunday morning.  Plymouth Police say they were called to the scene with a report of a possible stabbing and were on contact with a man in the home.  Duane Longacre was apprehended as he tried to escape out the home’s back door.

 

Plymouth Police were assisted at the scene by the Marshall County Sheriff’s Department, Marshall County coroner, Marshall County Prosecutor’s Office and Indiana State Fire Marshal.

 

South Bend man arrested after pursuit, crash

A South Bend man will face several charges following his arrest after a pursuit in Fulton County.

 

The Fulton County Sheriff’s Department says a vehicle pursuit led to the arrest of Maurice R. Jackson, 29.  Jackson was incarcerated in the Fulton County Jail to face criminal charges for resisting law enforcement with a vehicle, possession of marijuana, possession of a Scheduled narcotic and dealing a scheduled narcotic. 

 

At approximately 9:00 pm, Thursday, a Fulton County Sheriff’s Deputy initiated a traffic stop of a speeding motorist on SR 25 near 600 South for allegedly traveling 85 mph in a posted 55 mph zone. While conducting the traffic stop the driver, Jackson, took off and fled.  This led the deputy on an approximate 10 minute pursuit into Cass County and the City of Logansport.  The chase ended when Jackson struck a retaining wall at the curve on Michigan Ave. (SR 25) and Miami Ave. The wall separates Michigan Ave. and the Eel River. 

 

Jackson was taken to Logansport Memorial Hospital and observed overnight.  He was cleared by the hospital on Friday and transported to the Fulton County Jail.

 

Assisting the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office was the Cass County Sheriff’s Office and the Logansport Police Department.

Thunderstorms in the Friday evening forecast

Most of Indiana could see thunderstorms Friday afternoon and Friday night, but the threat of severe weather gets stronger the more north you go.

 

Indianapolis and other parts of central Indiana are under a "marginal" risk of severe weather, which is the lowest level on the National Weather Service's scale. Areas like Lafayette, Kokomo and Fort Wayne under a "slight" chance, which is Level 2 of 5. The far northern part of Indiana, like Valparaiso and South Bend, are in an "enhanced" risk of severe weather, which is Level 3.

 

"Only general thunderstorms are expected for the southern half of the state, and once you go more north, the more severe threat there is," says Michael Skipper, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Northern Indiana.

 

He says that means heavy rain, strong winds, hail, and even a tornado are possible.

 

"We're thinking about, probably, between 6-8 p.m., starting in northwest Indiana," Skipper said.

 

Areas north of U.S. 30 have the strongest chance of severe weather, including Valparaiso, South Bend and Angola.

 

Skipper added that another round of rain and thunderstorms are expected for the entire state on Saturday and into Sunday.

Fulton Co. United Way approved to receive a $125,000 COVID-19 Economic Relief Initiative Grant

The Fulton County United Way released the following information:

 

Fulton County United Way is pleased to announce that it has been approved to receive a $125,000 COVID-19 Economic Relief Initiative Grant, made possible through a partnership between Lilly Endowment, Inc. and Indiana United Ways, the state professional association of which Fulton County United Way is a member.  These special funds will be used to boost the efforts of selected area human and social service nonprofits on the frontlines of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

 

Fulton County United Way has been a key convener and coordinator of our community’s response to meet human needs for decades. Even before this crisis, we knew that over 13% of families in Fulton County were not able to make ends meet - despite working. Without a robust local nonprofit safety net, those needs are bound to become even more dire. Thanks to generous support from the Lilly Endowment, Inc., we are now more strongly positioned to help our community’s nonprofits deal with the immediate impacts of Covid-19,” said Kim Hunter Board Chair for Fulton County United Way.

 

The COVID-19 Economic Relief Initiative Grant calls for United Ways that receive funding to leverage partnerships and relationships to better meet Covid-related essential and basic needs, which could include safe, emergency childcare, and to address other Covid-19 critical issues as they emerge. Specifically, Fulton County United Way plans to use the ERI funds that will directly impact families and/or individuals from Fulton County that meet the ALICE guidelines, as well as those on low fixed income. These clients will be vetted by our service providers to ensure they meet these guidelines. Funds distributed will be utilized to support clients most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic with rent, mortgage, utilities, food access and critical transportation. Fulton County United Way will begin accepting funding requests from area human and social service nonprofits in good standing beginning June 29, 2020.  Interested organizations should consult Northern Indiana Community Foundation’s website for guidance on funding intent and application instructions.

 

Andrews, IN, population 1149, without drinking water

A disagreement has left Hoosiers in Andrews in an "impossible situation."

 

The town has been under a Do Not Drink order after a water well tested positive for fifteen times the safe level of vinyl chloride. The Journal Gazette reports that the Department of Environmental Management says Andrews can drop the order once the well is shut down and flushed out. But the town says they can't do that because they wouldn't have enough water pressure to fight fires.

 

The Do Not Drink order is still in effect and it's unknown when residents will be able to use the town water again.

Fulton Co. Sheriff's Dept among agencies aiding ISP in pursuit investigation

Recently a vehicle pursuit led to the arrests of Shacarla M. Williams, 19, Virginia Beach, VA and Dante Bishop, 22, South Bend, IN.  Williams was incarcerated in the Miami County Jail to face criminal charges for resisting law enforcement with a vehicle and reckless driving. Bishop was transported to the LaPorte County Jail. He had an active arrest warrant for failure to appear on a larceny charge. 

 

Just after 10 pm TuesdayIndiana State Police Trooper Dakota Anderson was monitoring traffic, on U.S. 31, when he initiated a traffic stop on a 2020 Toyota near Miami County Road 1050 South. The Toyota was allegedly traveling 95 miles per hour in a posted 60 miles per hour zone. The driver of the Toyota, later identified as Williams, failed to stop and led the trooper on an approximately 23 minute pursuit. The chase ended when Williams stopped, after hitting two sets of stop sticks, on U.S. 31 near U.S. 30 in Marshall County.

 

Further investigation revealed that Bishop, a passenger in the Toyota, was wanted on an active warrant from LaPorte County. Williams, who is pregnant, complained of pain. She was checked and cleared by a local hospital prior to being transported to the Miami County Jail.

 

Trooper Anderson was assisted in the investigation by Trooper Kyle Miller, Trooper Derek Rine, the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department, and the Plymouth Police Department. 

Saharan dust on the way

Dust from the Sahara Desert in Africa will be impacting the air here in North America in several ways this weekend.

 

WISH-TV Meteorologist Tara Hastings says the U.S. is regularly impacted by clouds of dust from the Sahara once or twice a year. But, she says the cloud of dust that is heading this way this year is a little more intense than in year's past.

 

"We're tracking the Saharan dust that is traveling across the Atlantic," Hastings said. "Right now it's in the Gulf (of Mexico) and we expect it to travel a little further north into this weekend."

Far enough north to reach Indiana where Hastings expects poor air quality and advises anyone with respiratory problems or issues to be advised and plan accordingly.

 

We're going to be seeing a milky looking sky," said Hastings. "It's going to look a little hazy at times. Similar to what you might see when there is a lot of smoke or haze in the atmosphere."

Though that is a negative impact of the dust, Hastings says there are several positives.

 

"One cool thing we are going to be seeing are vibrant sunsets and sunrises," she added. "The dust particles in the atmosphere, they're going to scatter that light and we should be seeing some cool sunrises and sunsets."

 

Hastings also said the dust is a welcome sign for those living on the eastern seaboard and in the Gulf of Mexico. She said the dry air from the dust "inhibits tropical development", meaning the dust stalls the atmosphere's ability to produce thunderstorms, tropical storms, and hurricanes.

 

As long as the dust is in the atmosphere around North America that means there is less of a chance for powerful storms such as these to hit the U.S.

Bagged salad mix recall at Aldi

Aldi is recalling bagged salad mix because it might make people sick.

 

Aldi said its Little Salad Bar Garden Salad could be contaminated with Cyclospora, a parasite that causes nausea, diarrhea, stomach cramps, and fatigue.

 

The salad mix was sold in 12-ounce bags and the bags have Best If Used By Dates of May 1 through June 29.  The salad was distributed throughout the Midwest by Aldi, Hy-Vee, and Jewel-Osco stores.

As of June 22, the salad mix has sickened 122 people in seven states, according to the CDC.

 

If you own any of the recalled salad, you should not eat it. You should throw it away or return it to the store for a refund.

School board approves Rochester re-opening plans

The Rochester School Board approved several measures leading to the planned reopening of school buildings for the upcoming school year.

 

Superintendent Jana Vance says you can read the school’s reopening policy documents and more on the school corporation’s website.  Vance says interaction with the public, local health leaders and more helped form the plan which will remain fluid understanding that change may be needed.

 

 

There are several layers to the protocol.  Use of masks, transportation, athletics, just to name a few.

 

First, who wears masks and when.

 

 

How transportation will be handled.

 

 

Lunchroom seating will be assigned.

 

 

As for the classroom, social distancing will be recognized.

 

 

For those who are not yet comfortable attending class in the school building Vance says there will be virtual learning available.


 

 

To athletics, the IHSAA has already outlined its plan for a return to sports this fall.

 

 

As for games, we’ve already heard talk of pro sports returning to no spectators.  Spectators at high school events remain a talking point at this time.

 

 

The superintendent notes that information is available on the school’s website.  They also plan to create a type of alert system for constant monitoring of the situation as the year goes on.

 

 

Packed crowd at Friday's Cass County Council meeting on WSP

More than 45 demonstrators lined Logansport's Broadway and Third Street near the Cass County Government Building Friday morning, during the Cass County Council meeting. 

 

"Honk if you don't want to be poisoned," chanted 11 year old Ashira Guiterrez. Between holding signs and chanting her objections among the rest of the protestors, Guiterrez was also strapped with a ukulele, singing and playing a song she wrote with her cousin about her views on WSP. Her family home is located just 20 feet from the proposed plant causing privacy concerns.

 

 

Patricia Rozzi, an organizer who made the 'No to WSP' signs, petitions and website dontpoisenus.com, was also among the demonstrators Friday.  Rozzi says the next step will be Monday, when she'll be unrolling new ideas and recruiting people for a door-to-door grass-root movement, in both Spanish and English. 

 

She hopes the grass-root movement will last long after the proposed Waelz Sustainable Products concerns are over and will help bring together the community, despite any language barriers or differences. 

 

Ongoing honks were heard for the entire County Council meeting, which lasted two hours and met its maximum capacity  for public attendance.

 

Those attending inside the meeting say they felt satisfied that their voices were being heard and respected by council members, who took notes and shook their heads in acknowledgement with speakers during the public comments at the end of the meeting. 

Among those attending the meeting was Cindy White, a Logansport resident who's lived in the area for the past 15 years. "Emotions are running high right now because we are worried about our families," said White. 

 

Construction at the proposed plant still remains ongoing. 

Governor announces $61 million Education Relief Fund for remote learning

Governor Eric J. Holcomb today announced Indiana PK-12 schools and higher education institutions can now apply for a needs-based, competitive $61.6 million grant program providing funding to improve remote learning.

 

“Teachers, administrators and superintendents have faced this pandemic with innovative solutions to ensure our students continue to receive the best education possible,” Gov. Holcomb said. “Our Governor’s Emergency Education Relief funds will help meet technology needs and grow educator development while working to reduce the disparities between districts.”

 

The $61.6 million Indiana received in Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) funding, provided though the federal CARES Act, will be focused on three areas:

  • Device Availability – Address the need for access to digital learning devices to support remote learning for students in PK-12.
  • Connectivity – Develop comprehensive community-level and regional-level solutions to address gaps in internet connectivity for remote learning.
  • Educator Capacity – Support partnerships between higher education and PK-12 to develop professional development and curriculum opportunities as educators throughout Indiana continue to build expertise in remote learning.

 

In a collaboration among the Governor’s Office, the Indiana Department of Education, the Commission for Higher Education and the Indiana State Board of Education, the state expects to award dozens of grants. There is no minimum or maximum threshold, however grants may not be funded at the full amount requested. Traditional public school corporations, public charter schools, accredited non-public schools, higher education institutions, and other education-related entities are eligible to apply.

 

The deadline is Friday, July 17. To apply, click here.

Fulton County Community Foundation Radiothon

The Fulton County Community Foundation's first ever Radiothon will be this week. 

 

Brian Johnson provides details.

 

 

 

Johnson explains why the radiothon is important at this time.

 

 

 

Rochester Metal Products address COVID -19 rumors

Rochester Metal Products addressed COVID-19 impact at its facility in an e-mail to WROI News:

 

RMP would like to address rumors related to COVID 19 at our plant.                

 

Rochester Metal Products Corp. suspended production on June 18 and 19 to address employee safety and health.  Over the prior two week period, four employees, less than 2% of RMP's workforce, tested positive for COVID 19. 

 

To ensure the health and safety of our employees, RMP elected to suspend production and have all employees tested.  Testing is in process and test results received to date have indicated no new positive cases.  RMP will continue to focus on the health and safety of our employees through ongoing cleaning, sanitizing and social distancing practices.

 

In a Facebook post Rochester Metal Products announced its intent to resume limited operations Monday:

 


 

OCRA approves selection of local businesses to receive funds

The Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) has approved the selection of twenty-nine local businesses to receive funding from COVID-19 Immediate Response Grant.
 

Based on criteria presented in the grant application, FEDCO and the Grant Oversight Team selected twenty-nine businesses to receive grant funding, with awards ranging from $4,000 - $10,000.

 

Thirty-eight businesses applied for the funds; of that number, three were over the income limit per grant guidelines, and six did not meet HUD low to moderate income requirements.  Six businesses submitted incomplete applications and could not be considered. 

 

All awardees for the COVID-19 Immediate Response Grant funding have been contacted.  The funds have been requested from the state (OCRA) and will hopefully be in Fulton County within two weeks. At that time, agreements with awardees will be signed and checks will be distributed.

 

FEDCO will release the names of the recipients after agreements are signed and checks have been distributed. 

 

FEDCO and the Grant Oversight Team thank you for your patience as we continue working with the County, OCRA and other officials to complete this process and be ready to receive and disperse the COVID-19 Grant Funding.For questions, please contact FEDCO at 574-223-3326.

Warsaw PD looking for theft suspects

The Warsaw Police Department is seeking the public’s help in identifying suspects in a theft that occurred at a local business on June 11. If you recognize the subjects, you’re asked to contact Warsaw Police.
 

Anyone with information is asked to send a private message to the department’s Facebook page or call the Warsaw Police Detective Division at (574) 385-2210.

 

Rochester pool bathrooms, showers get revamp during coronavirus shutdown

Granted, it’s not the summertime fun normally attached to a city pool.  But something good is coming from the time off with the Rochester pool closure due to the coronavirus pandemic.

 

Rochester Mayor Ted Denton says attention is being given to the pool’s bathrooms and showers that haven’t seen it in decades.

 

 

The mayor says there are examples all over town where business owners have stayed aggressive and not let shutdowns mean a total stop.

 

 

Fulton Co. Public Library branches open by appointment

The Fulton County Public Library is offering in-person library services by appointment tentatively beginning Wednesday. 

 

Patrons may call any one of our branch libraries to schedule an appointment time.

 

Rochester: 574-223-2713

Aubbee: 574-542-4859

Fulton: 574-857-3895

 

Appointments will be available at the Rochester and Aubbee branches:

Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday 10:00-2:00

Tuesday and Thursday 1:00-5:00

 

Appointments at the Fulton branch will be available:

Monday, Wednesday, Friday 9:00-2:00

Tuesday and Thursday 1:00-5:00

Saturday: 9:00-11:00

 

Access to the Rochester Branch is through the Fulton Avenue entrance near the Children’s Department. A library employee will be in the foyer to let patrons in for their scheduled appointments. Upon entering the library, we ask that everyone sanitizes their hands with the hand sanitizer available at the entry.

 

Library employees will be wearing face coverings. Patrons are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings as well. Six foot social distancing is required.

 

High-touch surfaces and circulation desks will be sanitized frequently during the day.

 

If you are not feeling well and / or have a fever you're asked to not enter the library.

 

Appointments are 45 minutes. If patrons are late for their scheduled appointments, they will be allowed to use the remaining time—additional time will not be granted. Patrons will be limited to one 45-minute appointment per day.

 

A limited number of computers will be available at each branch. Computers will be cleaned after each use.

 

Patrons who need document services (copying, faxing, and scanning) will need to talk to an employee at the Adult Circulation Desk.

 

All toys, board games, video games, and VR systems will be unavailable.

 

The water fountains will be unavailable.

 

The meeting rooms will remain unavailable until further notice.

 

Curbside pickup will continue.

 

The library will continue to take returned library materials in the outdoor drop boxes. Please do not return items inside the building. They will be quarantining returned materials for 72 hours. 

Fulton Co. Community Foundation, WROI team up for Relief Radiothon

The Fulton County Community Foundation (FCCF) is hosting its first ever Radiothon with WROI.

 

The Fulton County Relief Radiothon will be a 12-hour event that will be fighting the effects of COVID-19 within the community. The goal is to raise funds for the Fulton County Emergency Relief Fund. During this program, there will be a $1 for $1 match, up to $5,000!

 

The event will kick off at 6 A.M. on Thursday, June 25 and will conclude at 6 P.M., allowing supporters to donate throughout the day. The program will provide information about how FCCF is helping within the community during this pandemic as well as hearing from agencies within the community that are providing services for individuals in need during this unprecedented time. 100% of the donations will go towards addressing the community needs related to the Coronavirus pandemic.

 

Individuals can contribute by going online to the Northern Indiana Community Foundation Website at www.nicf.org and selecting to donate to the Fulton County Emergency Relief Fund to or mail a check.  Just add “FC Relief Fund” to the subject line.

 

For more information, contact Brian Johnson at the Fulton County Community Foundation at 574-224-3223.

Woman charged in death of Rochester man

A Fulton County woman has been charged with Level 1 – Felony dealing in a controlled substance resulting in death.

 

Abagaile Robinson, 21, of Rochester, was arrested Monday and held initially on a $75, 000 surety bond.

 

On May 31, Fulton County Dispatch sent authorities to 151 W 550 N, Rochester.  Lifesaving measures were performed on Elijah Miller, 35, at the scene.  Fulton County deputies administered three doses of Nalaxone.  Miller would later be pronounced dead at Woodlawn Hospital.

 

Robinson explained in an interview on June 3 that she and Miller were in a relationship and that both had a substance abuse history.

 

The probable cause affidavit states that Robinson told deputies that they had been out that afternoon on a drive to South Bend for ice cream and stopped on the way back at Casey’s Gas in Argos.  Robinson said Miller was inside the gas station for several minutes and then she had to pull over the car on the way home as Miller became sick.  Surveillance video shows Miller was in the store approximately seven minutes.

 

The detective states in the affidavit that Robinson denied knowledge of purchasing anything while at the gas station.

 

During a search of data extracted from Miller’s cell phone, specifically in the SMS messages, the affidavit it shows messages that identify the user as "Abby".  The investigating detective states in the affidavit that throughout the entire conversation it is apparent Abby is traveling to South Bend to purchase narcotics. Whoever Abby purchased the narcotics with descriptions of  wanting to purchase "50 worth", "Half" and further stating "Something good". It shows the transaction was completed at about 7:38 pm when the source tells Abby to go to the side door.

Miller’s family says he had been sweaty and not felt well that day but otherwise was normal.  The affidavit states deputies didn’t uncover anything illegal or suspicious at the home when they searched after the medical run.

Miller was also charged with Level 6 – Felony of possession of cocaine or a narcotic drug.

Cass County citizen's continue their fight against proposed zinc recycling plant

Concerned Cass County citizens continued to voice their opposition to the proposed zinc plant WSP, Monday morning, at the Cass County Government Building in Logansport.

 

Waelz Sustainable Products, better known as WSP,  is a new, state of the art kiln facility set to produce zinc oxide from steel mill byproducts. A joint venture between the Indianapolis- based company Heritage Environmental and the Monterrey, Mexico based company Zin Nacional, it's said to be a pioneer in Waelz Kiln technology. 

 

It's arrival to Cass County was proposed in March, 2020. Despite its promise of bringing between 60 to 90 jobs to the community, many locals are anything but happy and want to put a stop to its current construction west of Logansport. 

 

Citizens argued that the facility, if built, would be one of the top mercury and lead polluters in the US.

 

 

The two extremely toxic chemicals are known to affect the human nervous system, especially in children and could potentially contaminate the air, water and soil. Along with the thousands of 'No WSP' signs in front of homes and businesses throughout Cass County, there have been multiple protests as well. 

 

Two months earlier on April 15, while still obeying social distancing amid lockdown during the pandemic, dozens of vehicles participated in a drive-by protest from their cars.  Protestors circled the Cass County Government Building, honking and holding signs opposing WSP's proposal. 

 

The most recent protest last Saturday in Logansport continued practicing social distancing by remaining six feet apart, with protesters holding signs from the corner of 24th and Market Street to east point Muffler. 

  

This is not the first time WSP has been rejected from a community. The citizen's of Muncie, Indiana and Delaware County stood together to reject the steel-dusting recycling plant, after it was proposed in January 2019. 

 

Their concerns too, were over the health and environmental factors the facility would put out in the area. WSP denied and still continues to deny, any harmful effects the facility would bring to the community. 

 

The Muncie activists won their fight in August of 2019, after the Muncie Redevelopment Commission chose for the city to pull out of the project because of the company not being able to provide scientific factual information that could prove their recycling processes were safe. 

 

Logansport residents hope for the same results for Cass County, vowing to not let up until the commissioners ban WSP from the community. 

 

Cass County Commissioner Ryan Browning's temper flared after he snapped at those standing against WSP during the public comments portion after the commissioners formal meeting.  He ended the comment portion with a comment of his own, stating that he favored tabling action on the proposed zinc reclamation plant until an independent report on the effects Waelz Sustainable Products plant could have for the community.

 

Commissioners did not formalize the action and no votes or actions were taken at the meeting. 

Silver Alert: Monte Wilson - Kosciusko County

The Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the disappearance of Monte Wilson, a 76 year old white male, 5 feet 6 inches, 200 pounds, brown hair with brown eyes. 

 

Monte was last seen wearing a green or blue shirt, unknown color shoes, and an unknown color hat. Monte may also be driving a black 2020 Ford Escape with an Indiana temporary plate, numbers/letters unknown.

 

Monte is missing from Sidney, Indiana and was last seen on Sunday, June 14, 2020 at 7:00 pm.  Monte is believed to be in danger and may require medical assistance.

 

If you have any information on Monte Wilson, contact the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department at 574-267-5667 option 5 or 911.

Antibody tests for Rochester city employees

Employees of the city of Rochester will have antibody testing available to them. 

 

Mayor Ted Denton says it is information that will help their decision making coming out of the shutdown.  The mayor says he’ll get general information on the results.

 

 

Mayor Denton says that knowledge will be valuable, hopefully, as a further go-ahead for advancing past the pandemic.

 

Stage 4 opens across much of Indiana Friday

As health indicators remain positive, Governor Eric J. Holcomb announced all 92 counties in the state can advance to Stage 4 of the Back On Track Indiana plan on Friday, June 12.

 

Indiana Back On Track has five stages. Local governments may impose more restrictive guidelines.

 

“I’m grateful to Hoosiers who have helped maintain our momentum and slow the spread of COVID-19 by exercising caution and following health guidance,” Gov. Holcomb said. “As we advance to Stage 4 and further reopen Indiana for business, we’ll continue to monitor our progress and make data-informed decisions.”

 

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 continues 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 Back On Track roadmap.

 

In Stage 4, 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.

 

Social gatherings of up to 250 people will be permitted following the CDC’s social distancing guidelines.

 

Outdoor visitation may take place at assisted living facilities and nursing homes. Hospital visitations with precautions are encouraged.

 

Retail, commercial businesses and malls may open at full capacity.

 

Dining room food service may open at up to 75 percent capacity as long as social distancing is observed. Bar seating in restaurants may open at 50 percent capacity. Bars and nightclubs may open at 50 percent capacity as long as they adhere to social distancing guidelines.

 

Cultural, entertainment and tourism sites may open at 50 percent capacity.

 

Movie theaters, bowling alleys and similar facilities may open at 50 percent capacity.

 

Amusement parks, water parks and similar facilities may open at 50 percent capacity. Reservations are encouraged to limit the number of customers at any one time. Playgrounds may reopen.

 

Community recreational non-contact sports practices, games and tournaments may resume. Contact sports, such as football, basketball, rugby or wrestling, can conduct conditioning and non-contact drills. Contact sports may resume games or tournaments beginning Friday, June 19. Before any games or tournaments, the host must make publicly available a COVID response plan outlining the steps being taken to ensure social distancing, increased sanitation and overall protection of competitors, coaches, staff, and spectators.

 

Raceways may open at 50 percent grandstand capacity.

 

Pari-mutuel horse racing may begin with no spectators at Hoosier Park and Indiana Grand facilities. Charity gaming and casinos may open Monday, June 15 with the approval of the Indiana Gaming Commission.

 

Conventions, fairs, festivals, parades and similar events remain closed.

 

If health indicators remain positive, the state will move to Stage 5 in early July. 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 4 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

Indiana Storm Chasers talk storm preparedness

It's severe weather season.  Tia Justice is with Indiana Storm Chasers.  She says her first recommendation is to go buy a NOAA weather radio.

 

 

 

 

Indiana Storm Chasers Zach Walters says they are asked all the time what people should have prepared to take with them if you have to seek shelter quickly. 

 

 

 

 

Justice details some things you may not have thought of having ready.

 

 

 

Woodlawn Hospital did receive stimulus money

Woodlawn Hospital says they did receive some stimulus money during this COVID-19 pandemic. But it is not all free money.

 

John Alley President and CEO of Woodlawn.

 

 

 

 

Alley says that the hospital is still following all CDC guidelines.

 

 

 

 

There was a statewide study a few weeks ago in regards to COVID-19.  Alley goes into what they found out.

 

 

 

2020 Red Hot Car Show and Chili Cook-Off canceled

The Blacktop Cruisers and  Fulton County Chamber of Commerce with a disappointing announcement.

 

In a written release the organizations stated:  It is with heavy hearts that the Blacktop Cruisers Car Club and the Fulton County Chamber of Commerce announce that the 2020 Red Hot Car Show and Chili Cook-Off has been cancelled due to the uncertain future impact of the coronavirus crisis.

Fulton Co. Solid Waste asks public's help with sorting, proper drop-off

The Fulton County Solid Waste District is asking the public to better sort and police itself when dropping off.

 

Executive Director Stacy Hart says with the COVID-19 situation they need recycling sorted.

 

Hart implores the public to get recycling sorted properly and have patience as they try to work vehicles through smoothly.

 

 

Hart notes they have asked people to go and sort items when they weren’t initially presented properly.

 

 

A full list of items that are accepted at drop off sites and items accepted at the facility has recently been posted to the district’s Facebook page.

 

 

Hart says she doesn’t want to pull bins at drop-off sites but will if necessary.

 

 

Hart noted in a recent social media post that the two trailers that seem to have the most problems are at Smith Farm Store parking lot and on Wabash Ave.

The Fulton County Fair is still on but with a different look

This year’s Fulton County Fair will have a totaly different look than it has in the past. 

 

Mark Keppler with the Purdue Extension office explains how this year fair will take place.

 

 

 

Why have the fair at all you ask?   Keppler explains it’s about the hard work the kids have put in to prepare for the fair.

 

 

 

Tropical Depression Cristobal could push severe weather into Indiana Tuesday

Torrential rain, strong winds, and isolated tornadoes are all severe weather threats that could reach Indiana Tuesday because of Tropical Depression Cristobal, says the National Weather Service in Indianapolis.

 

"Basically anywhere from noon until 10 pm would be our most likely threat. We're going to be keeping a close eye on things during the afternoon and evening hours Tuesday," says Joe Nield, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Indianapolis.

 

Nield says every part of Indiana needs to be ready.

 

"Pretty much all of central Indiana will be affected. The western half of Indiana will be in the highest threat area, but eastern Indiana is still going to have a threat as well. You're going to want to have your plan in place to take action in case a warning is issued on Tuesday," says Nield.

 

All of western Indiana is under a slight risk for severe weather. Cities and towns east of Indianapolis are under a marginal risk.

 

A slight risk means scattered powerful thunderstorms are expected. While storms may be short-lived, they can be intense. A marginal risk means isolated thunderstorms are possible.

 

Cristobal was a Tropical Storm before dropping to a Depression. A tropical depression is a tropical cyclone that has maximum sustained surface winds (one-minute average) of 38 mph or less. Nield says the ever-changing nature of Cristobal has him concerned.

 

"What has been changing is the degree of expected instability as we get into Tuesday. That has increased our threat. The low-level shear that is already in place is kind of setting the stage for what could be a severe weather outbreak across the area," says Nield.

 

Nield says the thunderstorm threat decreases overnight Tuesday into Wednesday morning.

 

"We're not expecting a severe weather threat on Wednesday, just some continued breezy conditions and precipitation exiting the area," says Nield.

WorkOne in Rochester open, taking appointments

WorkOne offices across northern Indiana are scheduled to re-open today.

 

The Rochester office will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

 

The capacity for each office will be limited to 25 people at a time to maintain social distancing requirements.

 

You are required to schedule an appointment ahead of time.

Indiana BMV to allow walk-ins starting June 15

The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles will resume walk-in service beginning Monday, June 15.

 

Hoosiers will be able to complete all transactions needed in a branch with the exception of driving skills exams. The BMV said it is working on a timeline to resume those tests.

 

The BMV will continue to accept a limited number of appointments.

 

The majority of branches will return to a five-day-per-week schedule, serving Hoosiers Tuesday through Saturday. Branch hours are available at the BMV website.

 

The BMV will continue to limit the number of people permitted in a branch at one time and follow social distancing procedures.

 

BMV employees who work with the public are required to wear masks and customers visiting a branch are encouraged to do the same.

 

The Indiana BMV encourages Hoosiers to complete transactions online whenever possible.

Peru site of BLM protest Saturday

Over 200 peaceful protesters came together Saturday at the Miami County Courthouse in Peru to join in the worldwide Black Lives Matter movement. 

 

More than half met at Peru High School at 1 pm, chanting for change during the one eighth of a mile walk to the courthouse. 

 

The four-hour planned event had its time cut in half due to the intense heat, but not everyone in the crowd left immediately. Dozens stayed hours after the large crowd had dispersed, pleading for change and justice. Demonstrations by the protesters ranged from chanting, waving signs, kneeling, and lying face down on the courthouse lawn. 

 

 

The entire protest concluded to be a peaceful one, despite having one oppressor of the movement being arrested after his objection to the protest was met with a breathalyzer by the Peru Police Department. 

 

Angela Simons explains why she joined the protest effort in Peru.

 

 

Myanna Murray, 18, led the last few hours of the protest using her strong voice, passion and fist in the air. 

 

 

 

Rochester Superintendent Vance responds to schools receiving DOE document for re-opening schools

On June 5, 2020, the Department of Education in conjunction with our Governor and the State Board of Health, released a document outlining how public schools can plan for a safe re-opening this fall. 

 

I have greatly appreciated everyone's patience and support as we have navigated through the trials the Covid virus has presented.  I am again asking for the same patience and support as we delve into this guidance and formulate the best, safest plan for Rochester’s schools. 

 

On June 12, 2020, I will be releasing to the community a framework for the reopening of our schools this fall.  A more comprehensive and robust plan will then be presented to the board on June 22, 2020 for final approval. 

 

 

Jana K. Vance, Ed.S

Superintendent

Rochester Community School Corporation

J.C. Penney in Plymouth one of more than 150 stores to close

First, came the filing for bankruptcy by J.C. Penney. Now J.C. Penney executives say 154 of their stores will close soon, 9 of which are in Indiana.

 

That will include the store at Pilgrim Place Mall, Plymouth.

 

 “While closing stores is always an extremely difficult decision, our store optimization strategy is vital to ensuring we emerge from both Chapter 11 and the COVID-19 pandemic as a stronger retailer with greater financial flexibility to allow us to continue serving our loyal customers for decades to come,” said J.C. Penney CEO Jill Soltau in a statement.

 

Store closing sales are expected to take anywhere from 10-16 weeks. Last month, Soltau said they will close 192 stores by February 2021 and then 50 additional stores the year after that.

J.C. Penney is the biggest retailer to file for bankruptcy reorganization since the pandemic. They filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last month.

Missing body recovered from Bass Lake

Recovery of the body of Anthony Cohn, a swimmer who went missing at Bass Lake on June 2, has been made. 

 

At approximately 6 a.m. Friday, members of the Bass Lake Fire Department located Cohn’s body while searching near the area where he was last seen.   Indiana Conservation Officers responded to the scene and were assisted by the Starke County Sheriff’s Department and the Starke County Coroner’s Office. 

 

Cohn went under the water at Bass Lake after attempting to reach his boat that had pulled free from a sandbar. His family has been notified.

 

First Release as June 3, 2020 at 7:48 a.m. 

Bass Lake, Indiana – Indiana Conservation Officers are searching Bass Lake for a missing Bass Lake resident.

 

Anthony Cohn, 37, was standing on a sandbar yesterday when the wind released the anchor of the boat he was with from the sand. The boat began to rapidly float away, and Cohn swam after it. He entered deeper water and went under the surface. He did not return to the surface, and 911 was called.

 

Conservation Officers were notified at approximately 2:45 p.m. yesterday. Conservation officers and other emergency personnel immediately responded to the area and began a search.

Conservation Officers conducted searches with sonar equipment and dive personnel from multiple agencies until sunset last night. The search will resume this morning as weather allows. The public is asked to avoid the area while the search continues.

 

Indiana Conservation Officers were assisted by the Starke County Sheriff’s Office, Bass Lake Fire Department, Koontz Lake Fire Department, Starke County EMS, Starke County Dispatch Center and Indiana Conservation Officers Central Dispatch Center.

Upcoming Weekend Closure of Northbound U.S. 31 over Wabash River in Miami County

Contractors for the Indiana Department of Transportation will close northbound U.S. 31 over the Wabash River from the evening of Friday, June 12 through early Monday, June 15, weather depending.

 

The closure is needed to replace a steel splice plate on a bridge beam as part of a $7.1 million project to rehabilitate the U.S. 31 bridges over the Wabash River and improve concrete and asphalt pavement along the route.

 

The official state highway detour for northbound U.S. 31 during the closure will follow westbound State Road 18, northbound U.S. 35 and eastbound U.S. 24 to return to northbound U.S. 31.

 

Motorists using northbound U.S. 31 during the closure should prepare for delays, slow or stopped traffic and increased travel times to destinations resulting from the detour.

Traffic on southbound U.S. 31 will not be impacted.

 

 

Indiana State Fair canceled

The Indiana State Fair has been canceled for 2020.  

 

The following announcement was placed on the Indiana State Fairgrounds & Event Center Facebook page.

 

Today the Indiana State Fair Commission and the Indiana State Fair Board announced a modified State Fair 4-H Livestock Show with additional activities that will be held on the State Fairgrounds in August. This year’s traditional Indiana State Fair will not take place. Ultimately, the difficult decision was driven by the impact of COVID-19.


“Unfortunately, key elements including vendors and partners of the Fair began falling off and so we pivoted, and found a way to still serve our communities,” said Brad Chambers, Indiana State Fair Commission Chairman.


“Safety is our number one priority. We’ve spent months working through options that would allow us to host the Fair,’ said Cindy Hoye, Executive Director of the Indiana State Fair Commission. “Agriculture and youth are the foundation of our mission and the heartbeat of the Indiana State Fair, so we are determined and proud to honor our 4-H members with a version of that State Fair experience that allows Indiana’s youth to be recognized for their dedication and hard work.”


The Indiana State Fair is an annual celebration of all things Indiana, showcasing youth and agriculture along with great food, animals, entertainment, and exhibits. It is a complex event that requires years of planning by the staff, partners and vendors. In 2019, nearly 879,000 people attended the Indiana State Fair.


Hoye said “We are grateful for the support of our State Fair Family; each one of you who makes the iconic event possible every summer. To our beloved fans, staff, sponsors, exhibitors, 4-H & FFA members, vendors, volunteers and entertainers – we look forward to being back at full strength in August 2021.”


This is not the first time the Indiana State Fair was modified or did not take place. During the Civil War and WWII the Fairgrounds was needed to support the war effort.
For more information on the State Fair 4-H Livestock Show, 4-H projects, and an updated FAQ resource, visit IndianaStateFair.com

More storms possible Thursday evening

Flooding is a concern across Indiana because of the recent rainfall and more rain is on the way, says the National Weather Service in Indianapolis.  Rain and storms will likely arrive around 4 pm.

 

“We’re mainly concerned about areas of Linton to the Noblesville line. There’s a marginal risk of severe weather where they could see isolated damaging winds and isolated large hail. We could see localized flooding as well,” says Mike Koch, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Indianapolis. “But whatever area gets under the heaviest thunderstorms could see some localized flooding.”

 

The Storm Prediction Center says a marginal risk means isolated severe storms are possible, with the threat of isolated damaging winds, small hail, and maybe a tornado. Storms in a marginal risk are typically limited in organization, longevity, coverage and/or intensity.

 

“It’s a marginal risk, so yes it’s a small risk, but it’s still possible,” says Koch.

 

 

ndianapolis or south of there, Koch says you need to be keeping an eye on the weather tonight.

 

“They’ll start seeing storms develop after 4 pm. They could see damaging winds and large hail, but it’s only a marginal risk. They could see flooding. In the northern part of the state, there is a little bit less of a chance of severe storms. But they could still see some localized flooding as well,” says Koch.

 

He also advises you to be on the lookout for lightning.

 

“The warmer it gets, the more you tend to get the cloud to ground lightning. We certainly saw a lot of that Wednesday night and we could see more of that today,” says Koch.

 

Storms clear out by the weekend, but then by early next week, Koch says Indiana will be seeing some rain from Tropical Storm Cristobal. Forecasters are predicting Cristobal could turn north and start heading for Louisiana as soon as tomorrow.

Votes still being counted in St. Joseph Co.; Bauer family's 56-year hold on the seat

Most of Indiana's primary winners are clear, despite a record half-million absentee ballots. But counting those mail-in ballots is delaying some results.

 

At least seven counties are still counting thousands of ballots. Marion County has up to 78, 000 ballots left to count -- clerk's spokesman Russell Hollis says it's still unclear exactly how many. Just because someone requested a ballot doesn't mean it was filled out, and Hollis says thousands of ballots were hand-delivered Tuesday before the noon deadline.

 

Holllis says Marion County may not finish counting until Thursday.

 

Two counties declined to release any results until they could announce complete tallies.

 

Monroe County's results, a day after the election, showed a landslide victory for former Miss Indiana and two-time congressional nominee Shelli Yoder. The former Monroe County councilwoman crushed state Democratic chairman John Zody nearly five-to-one for the open state Senate seat of Bloomington Democrat Mark Stoops.

 

The delays in Marion, Allen and Saint Joseph, and the large number of mail-in ballots, leave one congressional race and a handful of Indiana House contests in doubt. Science teacher Chip Coldiron leads small-business owner Carlos Marcano by less than 200 votes for the Democratic nomination against Congressman Jim Banks (R-3rd). In Indianapolis, Republican Representative Dollyne Sherman was the lone incumbent legislator trailing in her bid for another term, with conservative challenger John Jacob leading by 159 votes on election night.

 

Two high-ranking House Republicans in northeast Indiana were awaiting Allen County results to clinch victory. Huntington Representative Dan Leonard led John Stoffel by 337 votes, while House Majority Leader Matthew Lehman (R-Berne) held a 975-vote edge on Taylor Isch.

 

And Maureen Bauer, the daughter of former House Speaker Patrick Bauer (D-South Bend), was clinging to a 234-vote lead over community activist Garrett Blad for her father's seat. A win would extend the Bauer family's 56-year hold on the seat. Burnett Bauer served three terms before yielding to Patrick, whose 50-year tenure is a General Assembly record.

Authorities continue search for missing man at Bass Lake

Indiana Conservation Officers are searching Bass Lake for a missing Bass Lake resident.

 

Anthony Cohn, 37, was standing on a sandbar yesterday when the wind released the anchor of the boat he was with from the sand. The boat began to rapidly float away, and Cohn swam after it. He entered deeper water and went under the surface. He did not return to the surface, and 911 was called.

 

Conservation Officers were notified at approximately 2:45 p.m. yesterday. Conservation officers and other emergency personnel immediately responded to the area and began a search.

 

Conservation Officers conducted searches with sonar equipment and dive personnel from multiple agencies until sunset last night. The search will resume this morning as weather allows. The public is asked to avoid the area while the search continues.

 

Indiana Conservation Officers were assisted by the Starke County Sheriff’s Office, Bass Lake Fire Department, Koontz Lake Fire Department, Starke County EMS, Starke County Dispatch Center and Indiana Conservation Officers Central Dispatch Center.

Motorcycle season is upon us

Warmer weather means more motorcycles on the road.  ISP Sergeant Tony Slocum says to take a second look at intersections. 

 

 

 

Sgt. Slocum reminds motorists as you're traveling with motorcycles on the roadway to give them plenty of room.

 

 

 

If you ride a motorcycle Sgt. Slocum suggest wearing visible clothing.

 

 

 

 

Nappanee man and woman injured in Saturday car - motorcycle crash

Multiple injuries in a Saturday car – motorcycle accident in Fulton County.

 

The Fulton County Sheriff’s Department says emergency personnel were called to U.S. 31 and State Road 110 just after 4:30 pm Saturday.  A 2008 Chevrolet Malibu driven by Scott Bryant, 31, of rural Rochester, was eastbound on SR 110 and stopped in the media to await traffic before proceeding east across the northbound lane of traffic.  Bryant pulled into the path of a motorcycle driven by Mark Blessing, 47, of Nappanee.  Blessing’s motorcycle was struck on the front and then went into the ditch.

 

Blessing and his passenger, 54, Marri Hacker, also of Nappanee, were thrown from the motorcycle.  Both were flown from the scene via helicopter to South Bend Memorial.

 

Assisting the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department at the scene were the Rochester Police Department, Rochester Fire Department, Lutheran EMS, Samaritan, Lutheran Air, Marshall County Sheriff, Argos Fire and Fulton County 911. 

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