WROI News Archives for 2020-12

Kosciusko Co. residents complain of scam that uses sheriff's department's name

Residents within Kosciusko County have been receiving telephone calls from individuals representing themselves as one of the county's deputies.

 

The telephone number that was used was 574-549-5146 and actually had a generic "county sheriff" extension menu, when called back.

 

The suspects are seeking restitution for a missed court date or subpoena and want gift cards for payment.

 

Although a sheriff's office does serve civil process (court papers), we are not responsible for collecting fees; which are generally paid at the county clerk's office.

 

Personal information such as an operator's license number, Social Security number or banking information should never be given to an unknown party. 

Fulton, Cass and Wabash ORANGE in COVID update

Fulton County remains in the ORANGE after the most recent state Covid update.

Cass and Wabash are also listed as ORANGE with this update.

 

Surrounding counties not as fortunate. Kosciusko County’s COVID-19 positivity rate is now in the RED category.  The baseline for red is 15%.

 

Marshall, Miami, Starke and Pulaski counties are also in the RED category.

 

social gatherings of any kind in RED counties are limited to 25 people.

Area communities receive Indiana Landmarks grants

More than $200, 000 has been awarded by Indiana Landmarks to support historical efforts.

 

 

“Indiana Landmarks offers grants to help get the ball rolling on preservation projects and help spark community revitalization around the state,” says Marsh Davis, president of Indiana Landmarks. “We’re extremely grateful, especially in these challenging times, that we’re able to continue to offer this crucial support to local preservation groups.”

 

Among area communities and organizations receiving funds:

 

City of Knox - $2,500 for a feasibility study and rehabilitation plan for the nineteenth-century commercial building at 8 South Main.

 

Wagon Wheel Center for the Arts, Warsaw - $2,500 for a feasibility study for rehabilitation of the 1934 Zimmer House, a Tudor Revival landmark used for housing staff and/or performers.

 

Pulaski County Historical Society, Winamac - $2,500 for workshops teaching participants how to research the history of their historic houses.

 

Wabash County Historical Museum, Wabash - $2,249 to update and digitize printed historic walking guides by the Wabash County Historical Society.

Some stores set up returns via delivery services

Returning Christmas presents is just another part of the holiday tradition. Superstores in Indiana are ready for the inevitable gift returns that happen each year.

 

National Retail Federation says more than 1 in 10 gifts will make their way back to store shelves. But this year, there are options for Hoosiers who want to avoid going to the stores. Target says customers can return gifts through UPS or FedEx, while Walmart says customers can use the new Carrier Pickup by FedEx service. 

Gov. Holcomb signs executive order to help with COVID-19 response

Governor Eric J. Holcomb has signed Executive Order 20-51 to renew certain directives issued in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

 

EO 20-51 extends temporary licensing of healthcare workers for 90 days, allowing individuals who are not currently licensed to practice in Indiana to have a temporary license. This order applies to retired healthcare professionals, certain healthcare students and out-of-state healthcare professionals.

 

Professionals who are granted a temporary license to provide healthcare services in the state in response to this public health emergency must register with the Professional Licensing Agency via their website at www.in.gov/pla

 

The order also allows properly trained individuals, such as certain paramedics and EMTs and members of the National Guard, to administer the COVID-19 vaccine. Medical assistants can also administer the vaccine under the supervision of a physician, physician assistant, advanced practice registered nurse or registered nurse.

 

In response to the high volume of unemployment claims, the order continues the suspension of certain requirements to expedite the hiring and training of temporary workers to more quickly resolve unemployment issues.

 

Click here to see the executive order: https://www.in.gov/gov/2384.htm 

 

Separate from the executive order, the Governor also announced that he will be extending the mission of the Indiana National Guard at long-term care facilities through the end of February. In November, the Governor deployed 1,350 Guardsmen to help in the state’s 534 long-term care facilities. 

Indiana Supreme Court will not hear Shepherd appeal

Alyssa Shepherd stays in prison for now. The Indiana Supreme Court will not hear her appeal.

 

Shepherd, 26, is serving four years in prison for hitting four children and killing three of them when she drove past a school bus with its stop arm extended on Oct. 30, 2018, in Fulton County. 

Shepherd's lawyers argued that the state did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that she was driving recklessly when she hit and killed Aliva Stahl, 9, and twin brothers Xavier and Mason Ingle. Her truck also hit a fourth child who survived, but with severe injuries.

 

The court left the felony convictions of reckless homicide and criminal recklessness intact, but threw out the misdemeanor conviction of reckless driving.

 

Shepherd's lawyers attempted to get her felony convictions thrown out on technicalities related to instructions to the jury. That argument was rejected.

Forbes says Indiana among most risky states to visit

Indiana has landed in the top 5 of a list it probably doesn't want to be on.

 

Indiana has been ranked the 4th most-risky state to visit, according to Forbes. That's due to the state's continuous rise in coronavirus cases, averaging around 90 new cases a day per 100,000 people.

 

Indiana recently crossed a record 7,000 deaths due to the virus. 

Robotics used to enhance surgical efforts at Woodlawn Hospital

Robotics enabling surgeons.  It’s a technology expanding at Woodlawn Hospital in Rochester.

 

CEO John Alley explains.

 

 

Alley says the robots bring precision to the operation.

 

 

He says the robotic use is more than he imagined years ago.

 

 

Law enforcement in Miami County, Claypool using new tool to combat drug-impaired driving

The Indiana Criminal Justice Institute is providing 52 Indiana law enforcement agencies with a new roadside tool to identify and keep drug-impaired drivers off the road.

 

The device, called the SoToxa Mobile Test System, is a handheld analyzer that uses an oral fluid swab to detect the presence of six kinds of drugs: cocaine, methamphetamine, opiates, cannabis (THC), amphetamine and benzodiazepines.

 

Officers will begin using the devices in the field this month in response to the emergence of drugged driving taking place in the state and nationwide.

 

According to a 2018 Governors Highway Safety Association report, 44 percent of fatally injured drivers with known results tested positive for drugs in 2016, up from 28 percent a decade ago. Of those drivers, 38 percent tested positive for some form of marijuana, 16 percent tested positive for opioids and 4 percent tested positive for both marijuana and opioids.

 

To use SoToxa, the officer must have both a reason to stop a motorist, whether it’s for driving erratically, speeding or another infraction, and suspect impairment. During the traffic stop, officers will use standard detection techniques such as field sobriety tests, portable breathalyzers and suspect interviews to evaluate the driver. SoToxa would not replace those techniques but would instead function as an additional roadside tool officers could use.

If drug-impaired driving is suspected, the officer can ask the driver to take the SoToxa test. This is done by collecting an oral fluid sample, which is then inserted into the handheld analyzer. Results are available roadside within five minutes and indicate positive or negative for each of the six drug categories.

 

Much like a portable breathalyzer, the SoToxa test can be refused, and the results cannot be used as evidence in court to determine if the driver was impaired. The purpose of the test is to further establish probable cause, which can be used by the officer to make an arrest,

administer a certified breath test, take the suspect for medical treatment or apply for a warrant to administer a blood draw.

 

In total, ICJI will distribute 66 devices to 52 departments around the state. The units cost $4,500 each, are reusable and were paid for with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration funds.

 

Duckworth said that while departments can purchase SoToxa directly at any time, Indiana is one of the first states in the nation, along with Michigan, to have distributed the devices statewide.

 

Among area departments receiving the equipment:

Miami County Sheriff's Department

Claypool Police Department

 

It'll be cold but odds not in favor of a white Christmas

The weather forecast in Indiana for the week of Christmas looks to be more up-and-down than Santa's sleigh ride. 

 

WISH-TV Meteorologist Marcus Bailey says temperatures will be much warmer than normal to start the week. 

 

"Keep in mind, the average for this time of the year is in the mid-30s," Bailey said. "We'll at least be in the low 40s, but I think we have a good shot, especially Tuesday and even into Wednesday, that we could see numbers in the upper 40s, and maybe, in southern parts of the state, we could be in the 50s."

 

However, the warmth won't last long at all.

 

"Pretty significant blast of arctic, Canadian air," Bailey said. "We may see highs only in the upper teens and low 20s for Christmas Day, and overnight lows in the single digits."

 

So, what about the chances of having a "white Christmas"? Bailey says it's still too early to give a final answer, but he's not giving it a big chance. That's actually normal, though.

 

"White Christmas is defined as one inch of snow on the ground on Christmas Day," he said. "The probability of having a white Christmas in Indiana is about 25-30 percent."

 

He explained why it's so hard to predict chances of precipitation, especially in the winter, a week in advance is because of the technology. 

 

"Once you get past the 4-5 day range, in terms of the timing of the precipitation, and what type of precipitation, is extremely difficult," Bailey said. "We usually get a better handle of temperatures, but in terms of precip and timing, you have to keep in mind that when you're talking about something that is a week away, that particular storm complex probably hasn't even formed in real life yet. These models do a better job on situations when that particular system is already over land."

Charges in Warsaw stabbing case

A Nappanee woman faces multiple charges after two people were stabbed, one fatally, on Tuesday in Kosciusko County.

 

Vickie Wooldridge, 44, is charged with murder, attempted murder, aggravated battery, attempted criminal confinement, and battery while armed with a deadly weapon.

 

Wooldridge is accused of killing Matthew Lucas, 42, to death and injuring William Burr in a home in Warsaw.

 

Wooldridge ran from the home was found after a two-hour police search.

Identity released of Warsaw man who was stabbed to death Tuesday

The name of the man that was stabbed to death yesterday in a home near Warsaw has been released. 

 

Matthew Lucas, 42, of Warsaw died from multiple stab wounds, said the Kosciusko County Sheriff's Office.

 

Lucas was pronounced dead at the scene, and the two others were taken to the hospital. One was released, and the other is still hospitalized.

 

Vickie Wooldridge, 44, of Warsaw, is accused of stabbing Lucas, and two others.  She was arrested on Tuesday, around noon, when she stumbled out of a field. 

 

Police have not said what Wooldridge is being charged with. 

Rochester's Calen Campbell receives Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship

Calen Campbell, a Rochester High School graduating senior, has been named the 2021FultonCounty Community Foundation Lilly Endowment Community Scholar.

 

Calen will receive a four-year, full-tuition scholarship to an Indiana college or university of his choice and a $900 yearly stipend for required books and equipment.

 

Calen is the son of Shawn and Alyssa Campbell and plans to attend the University of Evansville, where he wants to study Mechanical Engineering or Architecture.  He has been involved in Key Club, NHS, FCA, Spanish Club, Tri-Epsilon, Peers Educating Peers, Manitous, First Robotics, Sources of Strength and a New Tech Ambassador.  He also participated in Men’s Soccer, Track and Field and Tennis.  He has been active in mission trips, worship team, and Camp-We-Can.

 

Calen was nominated for the prestigious Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship from a field of 23 applicants by the Fulton County Community Foundation Scholarship Committee.

 

During the selection process, the applications are ‘blinded,’ meaning that the identities of the applicants are removed. The Committee scores applicants on academic performance, volunteer and paid work, school activities and honors, as well as essays. Of the all the applicants, five finalists were selected for a final review. These finalists were asked to write an impromptu essay and had a personal interview with the Scholarship Committee. The Committee narrowed the field and finalists’ applications were submitted to Independent Colleges of Indiana, Inc. (ICI) for the final selection of the recipient.  Lilly Endowment Inc. has provided over $424M in grant support for the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program, since its inception in 1998. 

 

ICI is a nonprofit corporation that represents 30 regionally accredited degree granting, nonprofit, private colleges and universities in the state.

 

The scholarships are the result of a statewide Lilly Endowment initiative to help Hoosier students reach higher levels of education. Indiana ranks among the lowest states in the percentage of residents over the age of 25 with a bachelor’s degree.

 

The primary purposes of the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program are 1) to help raise the level of educational attainment in Indiana; 2) to increase awareness of the beneficial roles Indiana community foundations can play in their communities; and 3) to encourage and support the efforts of current and past Lilly Endowment Community Scholars to engage with each other and with Indiana business, governmental, educational, nonprofit and civic leaders to improve the quality of life in Indiana generally and in local communities throughout the state.

 

The 2021 Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Finalists included Kimberly Batten, Carlee Blackburn, Grant McCarter, and Olivia Boldry.

 

Snow could impact Wednesday morning commute

Snow will arrive in central Indiana beginning at about 1 am Wednesday and affect the morning commute, says the National Weather Service in Indianapolis.

 

"It will be kind of the 1-4 am hours south of I-70. As we get into areas north of I-70, it will be more like 4-7 am for snow onsets," said Aaron Updike, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Indianapolis.

 

Updike expects anywhere between one to two inches will fall all across central Indiana.

 

"It will start transitioning over into rain as we get into mid-day on Wednesday. Precipitation will end in the late afternoon/early evening time period on Wednesday," said Updike.

 

Updike advises you to take it slow if you're planning on driving Wednesday morning.

 

"Make sure that you're prepared just in case there are slowdowns on the roads. Make sure you keep a couple of car lengths away from people. Give yourself a little extra room if you need to stop," said Updike.

 

 

Fulton County among those to receive Community Crossings funds

Governor Eric J. Holcomb and Indiana Department of Transportation Commissioner Joe McGuinness announced 241 Indiana cities, towns, and counties received a combined $101 million in state matching funds for local road projects through Community Crossings, a component of the Governor’s Next Level Roads program.

 

“As we navigate through the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re as committed as ever to improving and building our state’s infrastructure. I’m incredibly pleased that we’re able to fund all of the high-priority local road projects submitted in this round. Taking care of our local roads is key to making sure our communities remain attractive places to grow businesses and create careers.”

 

Among area communities receiving funds in this round:

Fulton County $198,900.00       

Argos $432,646.68        

Bourbon $209,898.62                        

Bremen $472,065.00

Culver $221,019.24                              

Knox $302,123.42

Kosciusko County $496,802.25                     

Logansport $132,213.47

Marshall County $20,250.00                          

Milford (Kosciusko Co) $232,875.18

Pulaski County $388,912.50                          

Starke County $33,750.00

Wabash $337,525.00                                     

Wabash County $137,263.20

 

The Community Crossings Initiative has provided more than $830 million in state matching funds for construction projects. In response to revenue uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, INDOT moved this call for projects, originally scheduled for July, to September. The $101 million award is funded by the balance available in the state’s local road and bridge matching grant fund at the end of the 2020 fiscal year as well as revenue collected so far in the 2021 fiscal year.

 

“This is a tremendous win for our local partners,” INDOT Commissioner Joe McGuinness said. “Our continued partnership with Hoosier communities will deliver more high priority local road projects in the coming year, many of which have been in planning for months or even years and wouldn’t be able to move forward now without the state’s funding commitment.”

To qualify for funding, local governments must provide local matching funds, 50 percent for larger communities or 25 percent for smaller communities, from a funding source approved for road and bridge construction. They must also submit an INDOT-approved asset management plan for maintaining existing roads and bridges. State law requires annually that 50 percent of the available matching funds be awarded to communities within counties with a population of 50,000 or fewer. State lawmakers identified long-term funding for Community Crossings as part of House Enrolled Act 1002, passed by the legislature and signed into law by Gov. Holcomb in April 2017.

Peru man killed in Monday night one-car crash

Monday night at approximately 9:30 p.m. officers from the Indiana State Police and the Miami County Sheriff’s Department responded to a single vehicle crash on Miami County Road 190 West near Mexico Road., in which a Peru man died.

 

The preliminary crash investigation by Trooper Dustin Rutledge revealed that Patrick “Blake” Sadowsky, 20, of Peru,

was driving a 2015 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck southbound on County Road 190 West near Mexico Road. For an undetermined reason, the Chevrolet failed to negotiate a slight curve and traveled off the east side of the road. The pickup truck then struck multiple trees and a telephone pole. Sadowsky had to be extricated from the pickup truck by responding firefighters.

 

Sadowsky was transported by ambulance to Dukes Memorial Hospital. He succumbed to injuries sustained in the crash.

 

The crash is still under investigation. Evidence indicates Sadowsky was not wearing a seat belt.

 

Rutledge was assisted at the crash scene by ISP Sergeant Andrew Smith, Trooper Chad Babbs, the Peru Fire Department, Duke’s Hospital EMS, the Mexico Fire Department, and Miami County EMA.

Warsaw woman arrested; three victims in Kosciusko Co. stabbing case

The Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office 911 Communications Center received a report of multiple stabbing victims at an address on Westside Drive, near Warsaw in Wayne Township. The initial arriving officers located three victims at the scene and potential suspect information was promptly gathered.

 

Multiple agencies, including a helicopter from the Indiana State Police immediately converged on the vicinity and began a search pattern. At noon, Vickie Wooldridge. 44, of Warsaw, was located southwest of the scene and taken into custody without further incident.

 

Additional information in reference to victim identification and injury extent will be released as it becomes available. This apprehension and investigation were made possible by the cooperation of the public and area emergency personnel.

 

The Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office, Warsaw Police Department, Winona Lake Police Department, Pierceton Police Department, Mentone Police Department, Indiana State Police, Lutheran EMS, Lutheran Air Ambulance, Warsaw-Wayne Fire Territory and Kosciusko County Coroner’s Office were involved in the search and investigation.

Total Body Works Day Spa moving locations

Total Body Works Day Spa is making a big move... across the street.

 

Owner Kimberly Green talks about the changes. 

 

 

The move is not all that's changing. 

 

 

Kimberly says she's hoping for the spa to be completely moved to its new location by January 4. 

Gov. Holcomb signs order to curb non-emergency procedures, tighten COVID-19 county requirements

Governor Eric J. Holcomb signed Executive Order 20-50 to curtail elective in-patient surgeries and implement targeted restrictions for counties that have high levels of COVID-19.

 

Local governments may impose more restrictive guidelines.

 

In an effort to preserve hospital intensive care unit capacity and try to lessen the strain on our overwhelmed health care workers on the front lines, hospitals are required to postpone or reschedule non-emergent procedures done in the in-patient hospital setting beginning Wednesday, Dec. 16 through Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021. Postponed procedures include those that are unlikely to cause risk to a patient’s prognosis. Hoosiers who need medical assistance should continue to see their doctor or go to a hospital.

 

The size of social gatherings is limited by the color metric of the county. Beginning Sunday, Dec. 13, local health departments are no longer allowed to grant permission for larger events.

 

The Indiana Department of Health has established a color-coded county map that measures weekly cases per 100,000 residents and the seven-day positivity rate for all tests completed. Each county is assigned a color based on the average scores for the two metrics. Restrictions are assigned based on the map, which is updated each Wednesday at www.coronavirus.in.gov.

 

Click here for an in-depth description of the requirements for all Hoosiers and targeted restrictions for counties: https://www.in.gov/gov/files/12-13-1-3-Coronavirus-Response-Requirements.pdf

 

Among the new requirements are:

 

Red: The county has very high positivity and community spread. When a county is in the Red metric, these requirements remain in effect until the metric has returned to Orange or lower for two weeks.

  • Social gatherings of any kind, indoor or outdoor, are limited to 25 people.
  • K-12 extracurricular and co-curricular activities may continue with attendance limited to participants, support personnel, and parents/guardians plus their minor children.

Orange: The county’s community spread is approaching high levels. These requirements are in effect when a county reaches the Orange metric and remain until a county moves to Yellow or Blue for two straight weeks.

  • Social gatherings of any kind, indoor or outdoor, are limited to 50 people.
  • K-12 extracurricular and co-curricular activities may continue with attendance limited to 25 percent capacity in consultation with local health departments.

Yellow: The county has moderate community spread.

  • Social gatherings of any kind, indoor or outdoor, are limited to 100 people.
  • K-12 extracurricular and co-curricular activities may continue with attendance limited to 25 percent capacity in consultation with local health departments.

Blue: The county has low community spread.

  • Social gatherings of any kind, indoor or outdoor, are limited to 250 people.
  • K-12 extracurricular and co-curricular activities may continue with attendance limited to 25 percent capacity in consultation with local health departments.

Regardless of a county’s color code, community recreational sports leagues and tournaments may continue but are limited to participants, support personnel, and parents/guardians and their minor children.

 

College and professional sports may continue with participants, support personnel and family members. A local health department may approve a plan for up to 25 percent capacity.

 

Face coverings are required for all Hoosiers. Businesses of all types are required to place clearly visible signs at their public and employee entrances notifying all that face coverings are required.

All customers in restaurants and bars are required to be seated. Tables, counters, or other seating arrangements must be spaced six feet apart.

 

The executive order is effective through Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021.

Indiana Supreme Court hears case on insurance coverage of ransomware attacks

The Indiana Supreme Court is deciding whether ransomware attacks are covered by insurance.

 

Two lower courts have ruled a Muncie fuel distributor can't collect on its "computer fraud" coverage. G-and-G Oil's policy included coverage for the loss of money "directly resulting from the use of any computer to fraudulently cause a transfer of money." Continental Western Insurance says G-and-G's losses weren't the result of fraud, but the company's decision to pay the ransom. 


G-and-G argues past cases make clear a "direct" loss encompasses the entire chain of events. 
Continental Western attorney Dana Rice told the justices the coverage would apply if hackers got access to the company's bank account and siphoned money out. In this case, he says, the fraud isn't what caused the loss -- if there was fraud at all. G-and-G believes but isn't certain that the hackers gained access to the computers through a phishing attack. Rice says that's beside the point. He says if a burglar had broken in and manually uploaded ransomware, there'd be no "fraud" at all.

 

Continental Western also argues it offered coverage specifically addressing the loss of computer access, and G-and-G opted not to purchase it. G-and-G attorney George Plews says that's an unrelated section of a bundle of six different policies. He says the relevant section is the property-loss policy, and says the company didn't purchase additional cybercrime coverage because it already had it.

 

As always, there's no indication when the justices will rule.

Judge David Cates dies unexpectedly

Kosciusko County’s Honorable Superior Court 1 Judge David C. Cates unexpectedly passed away Wednesday evening.

 

A notice from the Kosciusko County Sheriff's Office says, as to be expected, Judge Cates' coworkers are grieving and processing the loss. Please respect the wishes of the staff, who are asking for privacy at this time.

 

On behalf of Kosciusko County, the following statement was issued  by the Sheriff's Office:

 

"We are deeply saddened by the passing of Judge David C. Cates. Out of respect for Judge Cates' family, a public statement will not be made at this time."

 

Cates was re-elect6ed to a six year term in the November general election.  He was elected in 2014.

 

A replacement would be made by an appointment by the governor.

Non-emergency procedures put on hold at Indiana hospitals

Indiana's latest coronavirus restrictions are putting a hold on non-emergency procedures at hospitals across the state and take away the power of local public health managers to handle local crowds.

 

Governor Eric Holcomb has ordered hospitals to postpone or reschedule all non-emergency procedures until after January 3.

 

 

The governor also imposed a crowd limit of 25 for the hardest hit counties, and 50 for most other counties in the state.

 

State health commissioners Dr. Kris Box.

 

 

That order also takes away the option for local health managers to issue exemptions.

 

House passes Walorski bill to protect seniors from Medicare penalties, coverage gaps

U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today applauded House passage of her bipartisan legislation to simplify the Medicare enrollment process and protect seniors from lifetime late-enrollment penalties and coverage gaps.

 

“As more and more Americans reach Medicare age, it’s clear the enrollment process is overly complex, with simple mistakes resulting in costly penalties,” Congresswoman Walorski said.

 

“We need to simplify the process and improve education to ensure seniors have access to the quality, affordable health care they deserve. These commonsense reforms will protect Medicare beneficiaries from unnecessary late-enrollment penalties, gaps in coverage, and unexpected health care bills. I’m grateful to have worked across the aisle to pass this bipartisan bill, and I hope it reaches the president’s desk soon.”

 

Video of Walorski speaking on the House floor in support of the legislation is available here.

 

Last year, Walorski introduced the bipartisan, bicameral Beneficiary Enrollment Notification and Eligibility Simplification (BENES) Act (H.R. 2477) with U.S. Rep. Raul Ruiz, M.D. (D-Calif.), and U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.). The BENES Act passed the House on Tuesday by unanimous voice vote.

 

BACKGROUND

Seniors who miss deadlines to enroll in Medicare face lifetime late-enrollment penalties of 10 percent for every year they are not enrolled in Part B. According to the Congressional Research Service, approximately 764,000 Americans are currently paying these late-enrollment penalties, increasing their Medicare Part B premiums by an average of nearly 30 percent.

 

The BENES Act would ensure Americans approaching Medicare eligibility receive advance notice about basic Medicare enrollment rules. It would also eliminate needless multi-month coverage gaps in Medicare enrollment periods by requiring that Part B coverage begin during the first month after an individual enrolls, through either the initial enrollment period or general enrollment period.

 

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

Winamac High School goes to virtual learning until after Christmas break

Superintendent of Eastern Pulaski School Corporation Dara Chezum announced to parents that Winamac High School students remote learning will be through Christmas break.

 

The changes come after the school was notified of six additional postive cases, bringing their number to 12 total cases. 

 

Extracurricular activities, including highschool practices and athletic events, are also cancelled through December 18. 

 

Winamac Middle School and Eastern Pulaski Elementary School will continue in person learning. 

 

Big lottery jackpots this week

Feeling lucky?  This week's lottery jackpots have big prizes.

 

Tuesday's Mega Millions jackpot is worth an estimated $264 million.  Wednesday's Powerball jackpot is worth an estimated $262 million.

 

The cash options for both jackpots are in the $200 million dollar range before taxes.

 

Drawings are held at 11 p.m. Eastern time. Players have one hour until then to purchase a ticket.

Five Winamac High School students test Covid positive in a week

Eastern Pulaski School Corporation was notified that a total of five students in Winamac Community High School that tested Covid postive between November 30 to December 4. 

 

While it's the highest number the school corporation has had, only two cases resulted in staff and students who were non-family members having to quaratine as 'close contacts.' Those who are considered to have been in close contact have been notified.

 

The Pulaski County Health Department commended the staff and students on following recommended protocols during this weeks meeting and did not recommend or require EPCS move to virtual status but EPSC Superintendent Dara Chezem made clear they are monitoring several factors that impact this decision including availability of substitute staff, number of cases by building, and number of cases in Pulaski County. 

Logansport man charged with two felonies after admitting to stabbing his mother

A 20 year old Logansport man has been charged with two felonies in the stabbing of his own mother. 

 

Jesse James Baumgardner was charged by the State of Indiana with two felonies at his initial hearing Thursday in the Cass Circuit Court for the November stabbing of his mother. The initial hearing is set to continue December 10. He faces aggravated battery, a Level 3 felony and battery by means of a deadly weapon, a Level 5 felony. 

 

Baumgardner, who has already admitted to the crime, is being held at the Cass County jail without bond. 

 

On November 29, around 11:30 am, the Logansport Police Department was called to 928 Erie Avenue with a report of a stabbing.  According to the probable cause affidavit, the female victim was found lying on a bedroom floor with a large chest laceration and a cut above her left eye. She was treated at the scene and later taken to Logansport Memorial Hospital. 

 

The witness at the scene advised officers Baumgardner was not in his right mind. 

 

It was reported that during his interrogation the suspect admitted to wanting to kill his mother, stating he'd try to do it again if he ever saw her. He also gave details on the stabbing, claiming to have pushed her on the kitchen floor, intentionally stabbing her twice. 

Rochester Superintendent addresses approved quarantine rules

Rochester Community School Corporation Superintendent Jana Vance released the following informatioon regarding the Fulton County Health Department's approval of CDC recommendations for quarantine as it relates to close contact to a person who is positive for Covid:
 
 

As of 12/3/20, the Fulton County Health Department has approved the new CDC recommendations for quarantine as they pertain to close contact to an individual who is positive for Covid.  

 

If a student or staff member of Rochester Schools is identified as a close contact to a positive person, they have 2 options for quarantine time:

 

1. They may quarantine for 10 days from their exposure date to a positive person and come back to school/work without being tested.

                OR

2. They may quarantine for 7 days from their exposure date to a positive person and come back to school with a negative test result. The test cannot be taken before day 5 of quarantine and the individual must remain in quarantine through the 7 days.

 

Please note that the school does have to have verification of a negative test for the student or staff to return to school. 

 

Per the Fulton County Health Department, members living in the same household as a person positive for COVID-19 cannot properly isolate.  Therefore, students or staff in the same household as a person positive for COVID-19 OR a person quarantining with symptoms but not tested will need to quarantine at home for 20 days.

 

Jana K. Vance, Ed.S

Superintendent

Rochester Community School Corporation

Pet scams on the rise

Thinking about getting a pet? Be careful if you're looking to buy one online, say Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill and Indiana State Veterinarian Bret D. Marsh, DVM.

 

Both offices have received complaints from Hoosiers who have made down payments on animals they found online -- only to find out the pet didn't actually exist and they were being ripped off. 

 

“These scammers know that increased numbers of people are shopping online during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Attorney General Hill said. “They’re banking on consumers’ willingness to arrange delivery of pets sight unseen — other than the cute pictures consumers may have seen on the internet.”

 

The scammers will sometimes create websites to make it look like they are operated by legitimate organizations, either selling or adopting out pets. They may even advertise the websites on social media or via email.

 

The fraudulent ads often feature photos of puppies or kittens, said Dr. Marsh, who leads the Indiana State Board of Animal Health.

 

“Most times the pet does not actually exist at all,” he said. “And scammers try to milk their victims for as much money as possible.”

 

After a pet is ordered and payment is made for the pet and shipping charges, would-be buyers often learn the other fees are required -- often for vaccinations or other veterinary care. Scammers also make up stories about additional shipping expenses, sometimes claiming that an animal has landed in another state and requires payment for some kind of permit.

 

According to the Better Business Bureau, nearly 10,000 scam reports and complaints have been filed over the last three years about businesses selling puppies and dogs.

 

Tips if you are interested in purchasing a dog online:

 

Meet the pet in person if at all possible.

 

Never pay any fee to obtain an animal that you have not seen with your own eyes (as opposed to via pictures or videos online).

 

Don’t pay to ship a pet if you can’t verify the seller is a reputable breeder or rescue organization.

 

Do your homework on the seller before sending any form of payment. Look for contact information, check credentials, and confirm reviews from previous clients.

 

If you virtually chat with the seller, watch for odd phrasing or typos.

 

If the seller asks you to pay via wire transfer or gift card, don’t. There’s a huge chance it’s a scam.

 

If anyone asks you to send money overseas, particularly to pet adoption scam hotspots such as Cameroon or India, it is a scam.

 

 Beware of “free” pet offers online. These are often simply ruses to get you to pay shipping or other fees for non-existent animals.

 

The American Kennel Club is a good source of information for consumers looking for reputable, ethical breeders. Often your local veterinarian can be a resource for identifying reputable sources of pets, such as rescue groups.

 

If you believe you're a victim of a scam, you should file a complaint with the Office of the Attorney General at indianaconsumer.com or by calling 1-800-382-5516.

Michigan woman arrested for driving over 100 mph with one-year old asleep in passenger seat

An off-duty Indiana State Police trooper arrested a Michigan woman who was allegedly driving a Nissan passenger car at a 116 miles per hour in a posted 60 miles per hour zone on U.S. 31 near Miami County Road 1200 North.

 

The woman’s unrestrained one-year-old daughter was in the front seat of the Nissan.

 

Wednesday at approximately 5:00 p.m., off duty Indiana State Police Senior Trooper Mike Meiser was driving northbound on U.S. 31 near Miami County Road 1200 North. Meiser observed a southbound Nissan passenger car traveling at a high rate of speed. He activated his in-car radar and clocked the Nissan at a 116 miles per hour in a posted 60 miles per hour zone.

Meiser initiated a traffic stop on the Nissan. When he approached the vehicle, Meiser observed a one-year-old girl sleeping in the front passenger seat. The child was allegedly not restrained in a child safety seat nor with a seat belt. Further investigation revealed that the child’s mother, Destanie Maree-Daryell Washington, 24, Benton Harbor, MI was the driver of the Nissan.

 

Evidence also purportedly showed that Washington was driving with a suspended operator’s license.

 

Washington was incarcerated in the Miami County Jail to face criminal charges for neglect of a dependent while placing a dependent in a situation that endangers the dependent’s safety and reckless driving at an unreasonable high speed so to endanger the safety of others.  She was also issued citations for not having a valid operator’s license and child restraint violation.

The child was released into the care of a family member.

 

Indiana laws requires all children under the age of eight to be in a child safety or booster seat and the seat be used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

Teen taken into custody after Miami County vehicle pursuit

aA South Bend teen was arrested after leading police on a pursuit in Miami County.

 

The vehicle pursuit Tuesday led to a 17-year-old South Bend boy being taken into custody to face charges for resisting law enforcement with a vehicle and operating a vehicle without ever having been licensed. Further investigation revealed the boy had also been reported as a runaway from Saint Joseph’s County.

 

At approximately 8:30 p.m., Indiana State Police Sergeant Adam Moor initiated a traffic stop on a 2002 Dodge Caravan which was traveling southbound on U.S. 31 near Miami County Road 500 South. The van did not have a license plate and allegedly had a broken taillight. The driver, later identified as the 17-year old South Bend boy, did not stop, and led Moor on a short vehicle pursuit. The chase ended when the 17-year-old crashed the van in a field near State Road 218 and Cass County Road 500 West.

 

The 17-year-old initially escaped on foot, leaving behind three teen passengers in the vehicle. A 13-year-old boy, a 15-year-old girl, and a17-year-old girl were found in the car. The trio was treated for injuries ranging from a complaint of pain, to having teeth knocked loose, and a concussion. All three were from South Bend and were released to their parents. At this time, they do not face any criminal charges.

 

Approximately four hours after the initial vehicle pursuit, there was a report of a stolen vehicle from a business near where the Dodge Caravan had crashed. Officers from the Miami County Sheriff’s Department located the vehicle and were able to take the driver into custody. Evidence indicates the driver of the stolen vehicle was the 17-year-old boy who had fled from Sergeant Moor. Further investigation revealed he was a reported runaway from Saint Joseph’s County.

 

Moor will submit a report to the Miami County Prosecutor’s Office requesting the 17-year-old boy be charged with resisting law enforcement with a vehicle and operating a vehicle without ever having been licensed.

Small Business Saturday not over yet - get stamped passport to Fulton County Chamber

The 11th anniversary of Small Business Saturday, proudly supported by American Express, began this Saturday, November 28. The Fulton County Chamber of Commerce says they have already received many passports back in the office and the digital passports via email.

 

The Fulton County Chamber of Commerce wants to remind everyone that the Passport Program throughout all of Fulton County continues until December 6.

 

Remember when you stop by participating businesses now until December 6 to get your passport stamped. Alternatively, you can visit a participating business’s webpage and send a screenshot of the webpage to chamberassist@rtcol.com for a virtual stamp.

 

Once you receive ten stamps, turn your completed passport in for a chance to win a variety of prizes!

 

Let’s have fun and support local! #ShopSmall #FCSmallBizSaturday .

 

If you have any questions or would like learn more about Small Business Saturday, please contact the Chamber at 574.224.2666 or chamberassist@rtcol.com.

Peru woman dies in Cass County crash

A fatal accident Tuesday morning claimed life of a Peru woman.

 

At about 9:44 a.m. officers from the Indiana State Police, the Miami County Sheriff’s Department, and the Cass County Sheriff’s Department responded to a two vehicle crash at the intersection of U.S.24 and Logansport Road, in which a Peru woman died.

 

The preliminary crash investigation by Trooper Steven Glass revealed that B. Scott McCoy Sr., 52, Peru, IN, was driving a 1997 Mercury Mountaineer on Logansport Road crossing U.S. 24. The Mercury, for an undetermined reason, pulled into the path of a westbound 2015 Volvo semi-tractor that was pulling an empty box trailer. The Volvo, driven by Harold Clinch, 55, Milan, MO, hit the Mercury in the passenger’s side.

 

Shownelle McCoy, 44, Peru, a passenger in the Mercury, was pronounced deceased at the crash scene. B. Scott McCoy Sr. was flown from the crash scene with unknown injuries to a Fort Wayne hospital. Clinch was not injured.

 

This is an ongoing investigation. At this time neither the consumption of alcoholic beverages nor narcotics is suspected as having contributed to this crash.

 

Glass was assisted at the crash scene by Lutheran Medical Helicopter, the New Waverly Fire Department, the Peru Fire Department, Cass County EMS.

USDA temporarily restricting in-person appointments in service centers

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is temporarily restricting in-person visits for numerous Service Centers in INDIANA because of elevated rates of coronavirus community spread, but USDA employees will continue to assist agricultural producers with programs and services.

 

USDA is using a phased, data-driven approach to determine which Service Centers are open for in-person appointments. Field work, including conservation planning assistance, will continue with appropriate social distancing.

 

“While many of our Service Centers across Indiana will be physically closed to visitors, we remain open for business,” said Steven Brown, State Executive Director for USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) in Indiana.

 

Added Jerry Raynor, State Conservationist for USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Indiana: “Throughout the pandemic, our work with producers has continued and we remain committed to serving our customers.”

 

All USDA Service Centers are for open for business, and Service Center staff members from FSA and NRCS will continue to work with producers by phone, email, and digital tools like Microsoft Teams, Box, and OneSpan. Producers can learn more about how to leverage these digital offerings by visiting https://www.farmers.gov/mydocs .

 

Producers wishing to conduct business with the FSA, NRCS, or any other Service Center agency should call ahead to confirm and schedule appointments. More information on Service Center status can be found at https://www.farmers.gov/coronavirus/service-center-status, and contact information for local Service Centers is available at https://www.farmers.gov/service-center-locator.

 

Holiday Stroll cancelled by Covid-19

The Rochester Downtown Partnership has released the following information regarding cancellation the Holiday Stroll:

 

It is with heavy hearts that the Rochester Downtown Partnership announce that this year’s Holiday Stroll has been canceled due to the uncertain future impact of Covid-19.

 

As an alternative, kids who would like to send a letter to Santa are welcome
to drop off the letter at the Chamber office from December 1 through December 17, Monday -Friday 8 to 5 and the letters will be mailed to Santa.

 

We hope everyone has a safe, healthy, and happy Christmas. We look forward to returning to normal in 2021!

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