WROI News Archives for 2021-01

Advice from Tidewater's Jackie Johnson on the delayed tax season

Tidewater Inc. owner Jackie Johnson continues to update Facebook about the changes to this tax season.

 

She also wanted to give advice on what you need to know before you do your taxes this year. 

 

Johnson says when the pandemic began in March, the IRS shut down completely. 

 

 

Due to the many changes this year, the tax season has been delayed. 

 

 

Johnson says many clients don't realize the struggles tax preparers are currently having. Right now, tax professionals are being put on hold with the IRS from anywhere between two to four hours. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, calls to the IRS took about 15 to 20 minutes. 

 

 

 

Many people are wondering if their stimulus checks will affect their taxes. 

 

 

The pandemic also brings changes to Tidewater.  They have new regulations for keeping them and their clients safe this year. 

 

 

'The Show Must Go On' fundraiser started for Peru festival

John Kirk, Publicity Vice President for the Circus City Festival Board of Directors, says ,like everything else, the pandemic has been hard for the annual program, making the board concerned for the festivals future and potentially even the economy of Peru.

 

Circus City Festival Inc has started a fundraiser to shrink any fears of COVID impacting future festivals. 

 

 

The festival has been a tradition in Peru for over six decades. 

 

 

 

When we spoke to Kirk Saturday, he said the community has banned together for the program and meeting their goal isn't looking to be impossible. 

 

 

Kirk says anyone can donate to the program by checking out their Facebook page. 

 

 

Autopsy inconclusive, toxicology pending in Johnson Co. inmate death

Autopsy results are inconclusive in death of Johnson County inmate.

 

Johnson County Sheriff Duane Burgess says notification has been made to family members reference the death of inmate Aneesa Lynn Robbins, 31, of Indianapolis.

 

An autopsy was performed by the Johnson County Coroner’s Office. The initial exam was inconclusive but toxicology information will take six to eight weeks.

 

Members of the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office Investigations Division interviewed all inmates who were housed with Robbins. Jail video is also being reviewed. At this time no foul play is suspected in the death and no physical harm has been uncovered or is suspected.

 

The investigation is continuing and further review will be conducted upon receipt of the toxicology results.

Woman killed in Wabash County car crash

A Miami County woman was killed in a Friday afternoon car crash.

 

Officers from the Indiana State Police responded to a single vehicle crash at 6428 West Wabash County Road 1100 South, in which an Amboy woman died.

 

The preliminary crash investigation revealed that Kaitlyn Byrum, 21, was driving a 2008 Chevrolet Malibu eastbound on County Road 1100 South near 6428 West. For an undetermined reason, the Malibu traveled off the northside of the road and down into a ditch. The Malibu flipped, coming to rest on its top.

 

Byrum was pronounced deceased at the scene.

 

The crash is still under investigation. Preliminary evidence indicates neither speed nor use of intoxicants was a contributing factor.  Byrum was wearing a seat belt, but the crash impact was too severe to prevent her fatal injury.

Jonesy Junction burglarized, investigation continues

Akron's Jonesy's Junction reported to Facebook as well as the Akron Police Department that burglars had broken into the restaraunt Thursday and stolen at least $3,500. 

 

Police are investigating the incident at Jonesy's, 906 East Rochester Street, other possible leads and connections to it.

 

In an additional Facebook post, Jonesy's explained that they found out as they attempted to open that their phone box was also stolen. That made it impossible to get calls or process credit cards. They were aksing the public to please place orders in person and pay with cash for the time being.

 

Anyone with more information is encouraged to contact the Akron Police Department by calling 574-893-4567. 

Snowy weekend forecast

Heavy, wet snow is supposed to fall across Indiana throughout the weekend, says the National Weather Service.

 

“What we are looking at is a strong system moving in during the day on Saturday. We’re looking at snow Saturday night and maybe some rain Sunday then back to snow Sunday night,” said Crystal Petit, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Indianapolis. “For Indianapolis, we’re looking at anywhere between two and four inches of snow. Right now, we’re anticipating the heaviest snow falling north of Indianapolis.”

 

The heaviest snow is expected to fall in the northern parts of the state.

 

“By the time it’s all said and done, probably a large part of northern Indiana will see anywhere between 5 and 9 inches,” said Patrick Murphy, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Northern Indiana. “It’ll be pretty widespread. The primary access of heaviest snow is expected to be probably on either side of U.S. 30.”

 

Both meteorologists say the storm should completely move out by Monday morning. They say heavy and wet snow can bring hazards.

 

“If that snow collects on the trees and doesn’t fall off in rather short order, you could be looking at some tree damage which could also cause some power outages. You’d also be looking at travel difficulties. There will be slick roads that people need to watch out for,” said Petit.

 

Murphy agreed with both of those points and added something else.

 

“This heavy wet snow also means snow removal won’t be easy,” said Murphy.

 

The American Heart Association encourages Hoosiers to protect their hearts while shoveling snow and to seek immediate treatment if they experience any signs or symptoms of a heart attack.

 

Murphy said skies will begin to clear Monday.

 

“It will be fairly quiet for a few days then there will be a system moving in later in the week. That system won’t be as strong,” said Murphy.

 

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch for Saturday evening through Sunday evening for much of central and all of northern Indiana. 

Wabash man shot and killed by officers as SWAT team served warrant

 The Indiana State Police, at the request of the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department, is investigating a police officer involved shooting in which a Wabash man died.

 

The preliminary investigation by Indiana State Police detectives revealed that Thursday, at approximately 5:45 pm, officers from the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT) served a search warrant at 63 East Main Street, Apt. 3, Wabash.  After officers made entry into the residence, there was an exchange of gunfire between law enforcement and the occupant(s) inside.

 

Two people inside the home appeared to have suffered gunshot wounds. Roger D. Hipskind, 37, was pronounced deceased at the scene. A 35-year-old women was transported to a Fort Wayne hospital.  

 

No officers were injured.

  

The Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department served the warrant as part of a criminal investigation conducted by the Wabash County Sheriff’s Department Police.  

 

This is an ongoing investigation. Upon completion of the investigation, information will be forwarded to the Wabash County Prosecutor’s Office for review. 

Plymouth man arrested on child pornography charges

Detectives with the Indiana State Police Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICACTF) arrested a Marshall County man on alleged charges of possession of child pornography.

 

The Indiana State Police ICACTF received a Cyber Tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). The tip ultimately led to a search warrant being served on a residence in the 8100 block of 9B Road, Plymouth, by the Indiana State Police with assistance from the Marshall County Sheriff’s Department.

 

As a result of the investigation, Tyler Southwell, 28, was arrested and transported to the Marshall County Jail on the following preliminary charges:

 

Five Counts:  Possession of Child Pornography, Level 5 Felony

USDA temporarily suspends debt collections, foreclosures and other activities on farm loans due to coronavirus

Due to the national public health emergency caused by coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced the temporary suspension of past-due debt collections and foreclosures for distressed borrowers under the Farm Storage Facility Loan and the Direct Farm Loan programs administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA). USDA will temporarily suspend non-judicial foreclosures, debt offsets or wage garnishments, and referring foreclosures to the Department of Justice. USDA will work with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to stop judicial foreclosures and evictions on accounts that were previously referred to the Department of Justice. Additionally, USDA has extended deadlines for producers to respond to loan servicing actions, including loan deferral consideration for financially distressed and delinquent borrowers. In addition, for the Guaranteed Loan program, flexibilities have been made available to lenders to assist in servicing their customers.

 

Today’s announcement by USDA expands previous actions undertaken by the Department to lessen financial hardship. According to USDA data, more than 12,000 borrowers—approximately 10% of all borrowers—are eligible for the relief announced today. Overall, FSA lends to more than 129,000 farmers, ranchers and producers.

 

“USDA and the Biden Administration are committed to bringing relief and support to farmers, ranchers and producers of all backgrounds and financial status, including by ensuring producers have access to temporary debt relief,” said Robert Bonnie, Deputy Chief of Staff, Office of the Secretary. “Not only is USDA suspending the pipeline of adverse actions that can lead to foreclosure and debt collection, we are also working with the Departments of Justice and Treasury to suspend any actions already referred to the applicable Agency. Additionally, we are evaluating ways to improve and address farm related debt with the intent to keep farmers on their farms earning living expenses, providing for emergency needs, and maintaining cash flow.” 

 

The temporary suspension is in place until further notice and is expected to continue while the national COVID-19 disaster declaration is in place.

 

USDA’s Farm Service Agency provides several different loans for producers, which fall under two main categories:

 

  • Guaranteed loans are made and serviced by commercial lenders, such as banks, the Farm Credit System, credit unions and other non-traditional lenders. FSA guarantees the lender’s loan against loss, up to 95%.
  • Direct loans are made and serviced by FSA using funds from the federal government.

 

The most common loan types are Farm Ownership, Farm Operating and Farm Storage Facility Loans, with Microloans for each: 

 

  • Farm Ownership: Helps producers purchase or enlarge a farm or ranch, construct a new or improve an existing farm or ranch building, pay closing costs and pay for soil and water conservation and protection.
  • Farm Operating: Helps producers purchase livestock and equipment and pay for minor real estate repairs and annual operating expenses.
  • Farm Storage Facility Loans are made directly to producers for the construction of cold or dry storage and includes handling equipment and mobile storage such as refrigerated trucks.
  • Microloans: Direct Farm Ownership, Operating Loans and Farm Storage Facility Loans have a shortened application process and reduced paperwork designed to meet the needs of smaller, non-traditional and niche-type operations.

 

Contact FSA

FSA encourages producers to contact their county office to discuss these programs and temporary changes to farm loan deadlines and the loan servicing options available. For Service Center contact information, visit farmers.gov/coronavirus. For servicing information, access farmers.gov.

Operation Groundhog leads to 21 arrests

Following several months of covert surveillance and undercover operations conducted by NET43, multiple suspects were incarcerated in an overnight campaign.

 

Under the direction of the Kosciusko County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, law enforcement agencies partnered to serve high-priority arrest warrants. Operation Groundhog resulted in the incarceration of 21 suspects; in addition to the seizure of narcotics and firearms.

 

Participating agencies include the Kosciusko County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, NET43, Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office, Indiana State Police, Indiana State Parole; Claypool, Mentone, Milford, North Webster, Pierceton,Silver Lake, Syracuse, Warsaw and Winona Lake Police Departments.

 

Arrests included:

 

Michael Andres Catalan, 22, of Warsaw

Charge: Dealing Marijuana $5,250 surety and cash bond

 

William Paul Clutter, 41, of North Webster

Charges: Two Counts Possession of Methamphetamine, Possession of Paraphernalia $10,500 surety and cash bond

 

Lowell Kenneth Collins, 54, of Warsaw

Charge: Visiting a Common Nuisance $400 cash bond

 

Joshua Brant Hawthorne, 40, of Winona Lake

Charge: Visiting a Common Nuisance $400 cash bond

 

Joshua Lee Herr, 40, of Nappanee

Charge: Visiting a Common Nuisance $400 cash bond

 

Nicholas Andrew Irvine, 28, of Warsaw

Charge: Possession of Methamphetamine $10,250 surety and cash bond

 

Ashly Danielle Johnson, 30, of Warsaw

Charge: Visiting a Common Nuisance $400 cash bond

 

Haleigh Renae Johnson, 28, of Pierceton

Charges: Maintaining a Common Nuisance, Possession of Methamphetamine, Possession of Paraphernalia $5,250 surety and cash bond

 

Amanda Joy Justice, 37, of Claypool

Charge: Visiting a Common Nuisance $400 cash bond

 

Larry Ellis Konkle, 53, of Warsaw

Charge: Possession of Methamphetamine $5,250 surety and cash bond

 

Derek Charles Krichbaum, 36, of Warsaw

Charge: Probation Violation $5,250 surety and cash bond

 

Nicole Rae Pearson, 31, of Warsaw

Charge: Visiting a Common Nuisance $400 cash bond

 

Robert Keith Powell, 30, of Warsaw

Charge: Possession of Methamphetamine $5,250 surety and cash

 

Cassandra Kay Secor, 31, of Warsaw

Charges: Dealing Methamphetamine, Possession of Methamphetamine and Obstruction of Justice $30,500 surety and cash bond

 

Daniel Byron Slone, Junior, 34, of Warsaw

Charge: Possession of Methamphetamine $5,250 surety and cash bond

 

Christopher Dwight Spangle, 35, of Warsaw

Charge: Visiting a Common Nuisance $400 cash bond

 

Nicholas Scott Stahl, 30, of Etna Green

Charge: Visiting a Common Nuisance $400 cash bond

 

Andrew Taylor, 31, of Syracuse

Charge: Visiting a Common Nuisance $400 cash bond

 

Bryan David Trager, 57, of Warsaw

Charge: Maintaining a Common Nuisance $5,250 surety and cash bond

 

Kira Margaret Tuttle, 38, of Columbia, IN

Charges: Two counts Possession of Methamphetamine, Manufacturing Paraphernalia $15,500 surety and cash bond

 

Brandon Lee Warren, 42, of Warsaw

Charges: Two Counts Dealing Methamphetamine, Failure to Appear $41,200 surety and cash bond

 

Warsaw Walmart one of ten in state to administer vaccine

Ten Walmart stores in Indiana are now offering the COVID-19 vaccine to Hoosiers age 70 and older.

 

Other states with Walmart stores offering the vaccine include Georgia, South Carolina, New Jersey, and Louisiana.

 

The coronavirus shot is now available at the following Walmart locations:

 

- Columbus: 735 Whitfield Drive
- Greenwood: 1133 N. Emerson Rd.
- Lafayette: 2347 Veterans Memorial Parkway South
- Michigan City: 5780 Franklin St.
- Mishawaka: 316 Indian Ridge Blvd.
- Muncie: 1501 E. 29th Street
- New Castle: 3167 S. State Road 3
- Noblesville: 16865 Clover Rd.
- Terre Haute: 2399 S. State Rd. 46
- Warsaw: 2501 Walton Blvd.

 

Appointments can be scheduled online through ourshot.in.gov.

Marshall County yellow; only five counties in RED

The state of Indiana continues to see a downward trend with coronavirus. 

 

On Wednesday, the Indiana Department of Health updated its color-coded map, which shows where the risk of COVID spread is the worst in the state. Only five counties -- Whitley, Franklin, Ohio, Gibson and Spencer -- remain in the "red." Last week, that number was 34.

 

Most of the state is now in the "orange." Eight counties -- Elkhart, Marshall, Wells, Adams, Tippecanoe, Parke, Sullivan, and Monroe -- have dropped down to the "yellow."

 

The health department reported 2,260 new COVID cases and 40 new COVID deaths in the state. Overall, at least 9,470 Hoosiers have died from the virus. 

 

In addition, nearly 113,000 Hoosiers have been fully vaccinated. More than 477,000 people in Indiana have received at least their first COVID shot. 
 

 

 

 

Child porn charge sends Kosciusko Co. man to prison

A Kosciusko County man was sentenced on Tuesday to just over 24 years in prison after pleading guilty to receipt of child pornography.


53-year old Kenneth Hyatt of Claypool received his sentence at the US District Courthouse in South Bend. Hyatt was sentenced to 293 months in prison, followed by ten years of supervised release and was ordered to pay $14,930 in restitution.


According to court documents, Hyatt uploaded 65 images of child pornography to his Dropbox account.  These images along with others depicted children under the age of 12 participating in bondage or sadistic conduct.  


In addition, Hyatt possessed at least 143 total images of child pornography

Four County and IHC ribbon cutting to celebrate healthcare partnership

A ribbon cutting Wednesday will celebrate the efforts of two medical establishments.

 

On January 12, Indiana Health Centers launched a primary care site within the Four County Rochester location. This allows Four County consumers to receive needed primary care services and behavioral health services all in one place.

 

It is Rochester’s first integrated care clinic, and the fifth partnership site between IHC and Four County to support a comprehensive healthcare experience.

 

Four County’s Dr. Carrie Cadwell.

 

 

According to the National Council on Behavioral Health, individuals diagnosed with serious and persistent mental illness die anywhere from 15-30 years younger than those without due to physical health issues. It is considered the largest health disparity in the United States. One way to start to address this gap in care is to begin to integrate behavioral healthcare and primary care and that is what Indiana Health Centers, Inc. (IHC) and Four County are doing in our local communities.

 

Cadwell says the partnership is a logical one.

 



President and CEO of IHC, Elvin Plank.

 



Indiana Health Centers, Inc. (IHC) is a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) that has provided high-quality, affordable, patient-centered health care to underserved areas of Indiana since 1977. IHC operates ten health centers in seven different Indiana counties, and provides care to the migrant population with a mobile unit during the harvest season.

IHC provides medical, dental, and behavioral health care to all who seek care, regardless of their ability to pay. IHC health centers serve people who have Medicaid, Medicare, HIP, most commercial insurance companies, and provides a sliding fee scale for those without insurance.

Four County and IHC currently collaborate to provide integrated care units at

 

Kokomo

Logansport, IN (2 sites)

Peru

 

Dr. Cadwell says Four County is always a phone call away.

 

 

If you or someone you know is in need of behavioral healthcare, make an appointment by calling (800) 552-3106 or visit www.fourcounty.org to learn more.

Rochester restaurant ever-green closed to address positive Covid-19 test

A Rochester restaurant chose to close in the aftermath of a positive Covid-19 test.

 

ever-green reported on its Facebook page that due to a positive Covid-19 test amongst its staff, that they will remain closed until at least Friday morning to allow time to test the remainder of their employees and ensure the ongoing welfare of our valued patrons and guests.

 

The post goes on to state that they will endeavor to provide the highest possible standards of cleanliness and safety and will re-open ONLY when this can be achieved.

Snow chances back in the forecast for Wednesday

Snow is expected to continue to fall periodically across Indiana throughout the week, according to the National Weather Service in Indianapolis.

 

Most of the state will be dry on Tuesday. Then another system brings winter weather Wednesday.

 

“On Wednesday, we’re going to see an area of low pressure move through the region (central Indiana) and that’s going to bring chances for some snow mainly on Wednesday afternoon.

 

Chances of snow are around 30-40%,” said Jason Puma, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Indianapolis. “The far southern parts of Indiana will be affected as well, but as you go further north, you have lesser and lesser chances for snow with this system on Wednesday.”

 

Puma expects around an inch of snow for many places in central Indiana. Things change for Thursday and Friday.

 

“We got some dry weather and some sunshine for Thursday into Friday, but then we’ll get another round of mixed precipitation possible for Saturday and Sunday,” said Puma.

 

He said it’s too early to tell the exact amount of snowfall Indiana will get this weekend.

 

“But regardless of where you are, make sure you drive carefully because most roads across the state are slick with leftover snow and ice,” said Puma. 

Wintry precipitation expected to carry into Tuesday

Snow, freezing rain, and sleet are all winter weather elements that will be moving across much of Indiana over the next few days.

 

The National Weather Service in Northern Indiana is expecting that weather to affect the commute Monday afternoon and evening, which will linger into Tuesday morning.

 

“We’ll have a period of snow and freezing drizzle moving into the area tonight. Snowfall amounts in the Fort Wayne area are not going to be very much, probably less than an inch. In South Bend, there will be a little bit more snow. We’re looking at about 2-4 inches in that area with some brief, freezing rain,” said Amos Dodson, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Northern Indiana.

 

A winter weather advisory will go into effect Monday night and last through Tuesday for the northern part of the state. The situation will look a lot different in central and southern Indiana.

 

“In Indianapolis, we’re looking at today (Monday) and this afternoon as our times for freezing precipitation eventually changing over to rain. The southern half of the state shouldn’t get too much,” said Jason Puma, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Indianapolis.

 

Puma said most of the precipitation in central and southern Indiana will be rain. Like northern Indiana, Puma said snow chances to return later in the week for the central portion of the state.

“Snow chances return for Wednesday and Wednesday night, but then we’ll have dry weather for the rest of the workweek,” said Puma.

 

Puma believes one of the biggest concerns in central and southern Indiana is the accumulation of ice, which will make roadways slick.

Warsaw man injured in one-car crash

A driver was airlifted following a single vehicle crash early Friday.

 

Just before 5:30 am Friday on County Farm Road at County Road 550 South in Kosciusko County Douglas Spangle, 28, of Warsaw was driving a 2005 Saturn Vue.  According to the preliminary results of the crash investigation,  Spangle was southbound when the car left the west side of the roadway, struck the ditch and rolled several times. Spangle was ejected from the vehicle and sustained head and facial injuries.

 

Lutheran Air Ambulance transported Spangle to Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne.

 

This crash remains under investigation by the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office Fatal Team.

 

Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office, Warsaw-Wayne Fire Territory, Lutheran EMS, Winona Lake Police Department, Claypool Fire Department, Lutheran Air Ambulance

Four County and IHC bringing together primary care and behavioral health

According to the National Council on Behavioral Health, individuals diagnosed with serious and persistent mental illness die anywhere from 15-30 years younger than those without due to physical health issues. It is considered the largest health disparity in the United States. One way to start to address this gap in care is to begin to integrate behavioral healthcare and primary care and that is exactly what Indiana Health Centers, Inc. (IHC) and Four County are doing in our local communities.

On January 12, IHC launched a primary care site within the Four County Rochester location. This will allow Four County consumers to receive needed primary care services and behavioral health services all in one place. It is Rochester’s first integrated care clinic, and the fifth partnership site between IHC and Four County to support a comprehensive healthcare experience.

As the dedicated Community Mental Health Center for Rochester and the Fulton County community, Four County is deeply committed to increasing access to a continuum of care while integrating physical and behavioral health well-being.

 

Indiana Health Centers, Inc. (IHC) is a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) that has provided high-quality, affordable, patient-centered health care to underserved areas of Indiana since 1977. IHC operates ten health centers in seven different Indiana counties, and provides care to the migrant population with a mobile unit during the harvest season. IHC provides medical, dental, and behavioral health care to all who seek care, regardless of their ability to pay. IHC health centers serve people who have Medicaid, Medicare, HIP, most commercial insurance companies, and provides a sliding fee scale for those without insurance.

Four County and IHC currently collaborate to provide integrated care units at

  • Kokomo, IN                  Logansport, IN (2 sites)             Peru, IN

If you or someone you know is in need of behavioral healthcare, make an appointment today by calling (800) 552-3106 or visit www.fourcounty.org to learn more.

Indiana BMV to close for two hours on Feb 4

All Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicle branches will be closed for two hours Thursday, February 4.

 

The closure runs from 8:30-10:30 am to engage in planned programing intended to foster a diverse, highly skilled, and professional workforce.

 

Normal hours resume at 10:30.

 

You can find more information at in.gov/bmv. 

Belchers donate $3.1 million to Fulton County

Richard “Dick” and Suzanne Belcher each grew up in small Indiana towns. They each believed that to whom much is given, much is expected. After Dick opened The First Federal Savings Bank in the back room of a grocery store in Rochester, the couple had great success. Dick remains humble and generous, as he still carries the mentality of giving back to the community that has done so much for him.

 

First Federal Savings Bank is fondly referred to as “Dick’s Bank” by Rochester locals, and he in turn calls his employees and customers “the First Federal Family.”

 

Dick and Suzanne were married 57 years before she passed of colon cancer in 2014. She is lovingly remembered for her kind and generous spirit by Dick, her three children, and seven grandchildren.

 

In the Summer of 2020, Dick was diagnosed with ALS. He decided then that it was time he looked at the will he and Suzanne created years ago. After collaborating with his children, Dick enacted his will early to see some of the good it could bring to their beloved community.

 

He says, “This community, for the past 55 years, has been really great to our family.”

 

In turn, Dick and Suzanne Belcher donated over $3.1 million to support organizations in Fulton County.

 

 

 A donation was made to the First Federal Savings Bank Endowment Fund held at the Community Foundation. Dick believes that First Federal is more than just a bank. He sees it as a crucial community piece that serves its people. The bank will always hold Dick’s legacy.

     

Some of Dick and Suzanne’s donation was also given to Matthew’s Market, a local food pantry. Matthew’s Market has never received such a large gift and their volunteers are extremely grateful to be able to put some of it towards providing more food assistance due to low food donation rates. The pantry actively feeds 25-35 families a day in Fulton County and this gift will help keep families fed. Mathew’s Market says, “We cannot tell you how much this means to us.”

     

Dick, Suzanne, and his family also chose to give funding to the Fulton County Animal Center. The Animal Center will use the funds to begin a vaccine clinic that will help bridge the gap to accessible pet healthcare. The vaccine clinic will help fulfill a community need that can be often be overlooked. Suzanne loved and appreciated the Animal Center and encouraged supporting their efforts.

  

The Grace United Methodist Church also received a donation from Dick and Suzanne. The Belchers have been Grace United Methodist Church members for over 50 years. It is no doubt the church holds a soft spot in their hearts. The donation was made to help fund immediate needs at the church. One of which, is lighting the pulpit. Dick highlighted that he and the preacher joke about how he preaches in the dark. The church is ecstatic to make updates with the help of this donation. Dick says, “Grace Church has been so important to us over the years.” He knew he wanted to give back to them.

     

The Belcher Family also donated a portion of their gift to Fountain Park. Suzanne’s grandfather built their family cottage there long ago and the family has been visiting the park for 120 years. Their donation will truly be able to make a difference at a living family heirloom.

     

The Historical Society will also be receiving a donation from the Belcher family. When originally creating the will, Suzanne said, “Be sure to put them on the list!” Dick laughed when he told the Society, “We’ve had a love affair with your organization over the years.” The Historical Society will be able to be use these funds for many years to come.

     

Another organization that will be support through the Belcher’s donation is Habitat for Humanity. This organization builds homes for low income families. This year, Habitat for Humanity will began building their 17th house in Fulton County. The Belchers and a lot of the First Federal family have been involved with Habitat for Humanity for several years. It was an easy decision for the Belchers to support Habitat for Humanity and the families who receive their support.

     The Belchers also decided to give to the Fulton County Parks Department. Suzanne was a board member for the Parks Department and even when she was sick, she still enjoyed visiting and attending park meetings. The Parks Department plans on using the funds for a newly paved parking lot at Prairie Edge. The rest of the gift will be endowed in the Fulton County Park and Recreation Department Sustainability Fund held at the Community Foundation to help with annual maintenance funding.

     

Woodlawn Hospital Foundation was another organization supported by Dick and Suzanne’s donation. Dick believes the Woodlawn Hospital is vital to the community and gives an abundant of services Fulton County residents. Dick served on the Woodlawn Hospital board for many years and understands how rural hospitals can struggle financially. The Belchers knew that they could give back and alleviate some of that struggle. The Woodlawn Hospital Foundation Board told Dick, “this will go a long way to continue supporting this hospital, so thank you very much.”

     

Dick’s is a firm believer that, “Timing is everything. Whether it’s in business. Whether it’s in life.” He learned this throughout the years, but it started when his father gave him and his brother a financial gift to help support their life goals. His father told him, “I’d rather give it to you now and see you enjoy it and use it rather than wait ‘til I’m dead.” That memory has stuck with Dick. Now he is using that ideology today by enacting his will early.

     

The Belcher family will always be remembered and cherished for the support, generosity, and love they have given to Fulton County. Everyone person in this community will benefit from the donation given by Dick and Suzanne Belcher.

Push on to increase state cigarette tax by $2

Lobbyists with the American Cancer Society and other health organizations are pushing hard this year for your lawmakers in Indianapolis to pass a $2 increase in the state's cigarette tax.

 

The state's cigarette tax is an issue discussed in nearly every legislative session in recent years. The last time the state successfully passed a cigarette tax increase was in 2007 when they passed a 44 cent increase, making the cigarette tax the current rate it is today at 99 cents per pack.

 

Bryan Hannon, government relations director for the American Cancer Society, told Indy Politics that Indiana's smoking rates are alarmingly high and something needs to be done to curb that trend.

 

"Indiana has high smoking rates which lead to a number of other health conditions, whether that be higher cancer rates, heart disease, infant mortality," he said. "We need to start tackling our high tobacco use rates and the best way to do that is to raise the price of tobacco products via an excise tax on cigarettes."

 

One of the main arguments against raising the cigarette tax, especially by a whopping $2.00, has been that the state may see lower revenues despite the increase because it would force fewer people to buy cigarettes.

 

"We have decades of evidence when anytime a state has raised their cigarette tax, they have always produced new revenues," Hannon responded. "Unfortunately, they (Indiana lawmakers) only did it by 44 cents in 2007, but even then we saw a 40-percent increase in revenue in that first year."

 

Hannon said though revenues would gradually decline from cigarette taxes over time, the state would still bring in around $350 million in the first year of a $2.00 tax increase.

 

Hannon said the state is still bringing in more revenue from the 44-cent tax this year than it did in 2007. He said a $2.00 increase would likely force roughly 40,000 Hoosier tobacco users in Indiana to "kick their addiction."

 

Hannon hopes that a good portion of the revenue from a cigarette tax increase if passed goes back into public health initiatives.

 

"There's a reason we are 48th in the nation in public health funding," Hannon said. "That's because we've ignored it for too many years. We failed to adequately fund programs for too many years."

 

If a $2.00 increase to the cigarette tax is successfully passed, it would increase the tax per pack of smokes to $2.99. That is on top of the federal cigarette tax rate of $1.01 per pack and the state's sales tax of 7-percent.

First Farmers Bank & Trust to make annual Ag Summit available to public in virtual format

First Farmers Bank & Trust (FFMR) will host their annual Agricultural Summit virtually this year on January 26, 2021 from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm. The event will be streamed live from Purdue University and will feature a nationally recognized panel of speakers including “Goddess of Grain, Angie Setzer, Purdue professor emeritus, Dr. Freddie Barnard, and Virginia Tech professor emeritus Dr David Kohl.

 

The event, traditionally available by invitation only, will be produced by Hall of Music Productions and streamed live by Walton Webcasting. Topics to be discussed include market planning in dynamic environments, financial strategy, and possible PPP loan availability. Those interested in attending the event should contact bank lending personnel or register at www.ffbt.com/ag-summit

 

Online interactive Q&A with all presenters will be available for those registered.

 

First Farmers Financial Corp is a $2.2 billion financial holding company headquartered in Converse, Indiana and is traded on the OTC Markets Group, Inc. "OTCQX" exchange under the ticker symbol: FFMR.  First Farmers Bank & Trust has offices throughout Carroll, Cass, Clay, Grant, Hamilton, Howard, Huntington, Madison, Marshall, Miami, Starke, Sullivan, Tippecanoe, Tipton, Vigo and Wabash counties in Indiana and offices in Coles, Edgar and Vermilion counties in Illinois.

Record Farm in Rochester closing its doors

The Record Farm is closing its doors in Rochester.

 

Located at 616 N Main Street in Rochester, The Record Farm is having its last day Saturday, January 23 after a year of being open. The Record Farm also has a second location at 317 E Market St in Logansport. 

 

Co-owner Matt Swisher says they had a great time in Rochester and sales were great, however they really liked the idea of having one larger store where they can combine instead of two smaller stores. 

 

Swisher says the new, larger location at 403 East Broadway in Logansport should be open by April. 

Millions upon millions available in Powerball, Mega Millions

The Mega Millions jackpot just keeps growing.

 

No one won Tuesday night's drawing, which means the jackpot for the next drawing is worth $970 million, the biggest jackpot in more than two years. 

 

Tuesday night's winning numbers were: 10-19-26-28-50 and a Mega Ball of 16.

 

Also worth more than $700 million dollars is tonight's Powerball drawing, which has a jackpot of $730 million.

 

It's the first time both lottery jackpots have topped $700 million

 

 

Mary Conner to serve as Pulaski Co. Historian

Pulaski County has a new county historian.  Appointments begin here in january.

 
New Pulaski County Historian Mary Conner is a docent at the Pulaski County Historical Society, where she has been a member since 1995, and has served on the board and committees.

 

Conner is a civilian reenactor representing the home front during WWII, and she has been working on family research for more than 25 years.

 

In 1997, her family’s farm was awarded the Hoosier Homestead Award. Conner also serves as a board member and fundraising co-chair for Special Olympics Pulaski County.
 
In addition, a number of other Indiana county historians have been reappointed to new three-year terms, beginning January 1, 2021. Those county historians include:
 
Miami County - Kreig Adkins
Starke County - Venita Cunningham

The Indiana Historical Society and the Indiana Historical Bureau thank all Indiana county historians for their service and dedication to local history.
 
In 1981, through an effort to improve the historical communication network in the state, the Indiana Historical Society and the Indiana Historical Bureau established the Indiana County Historian Program.
 
County historians serve as volunteers appointed by the Indiana Historical Society and Indiana Historical Bureau to promote local history in their counties, connect individuals and groups with history resources, promote collaboration between local history organizations and maintain connections with the Indiana Historical Society and Indiana Historical Bureau.

Woman at Mishawaka Wendy's threw food at employee, hit another employee with car

Police in Mishawaka are searching for a woman who hurt two employees at a Wendy's on Grape Road on Monday afternoon.

 

According to Mishawaka Police, a woman driving a maroon Pontiac ordered food at around 1:45 p.m. and then left the restaurant. She returned a short time later, demanding a refund.

 

When a Wendy's worker denied her a refund, the woman threw her food at the employee and slammed a Plexiglas barrier into the worker's face, reports The South Bend Tribune.

 

As she was leaving the restaurant, police say the woman hit a second Wendy's employee with her car. 

 

Both employees were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

 

Mishawaka police ask that anyone with information about the incident call them at at 574-258-1684 or contact Michiana Crime Stoppers at 574-288-STOP.

Hot Pocket recall

More than 762,000 pounds of pepperoni Hot Pockets are being recalled by Nestlé Prepared Foods, according to the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service.

 

The frozen stuffed sandwiches are being recalled because they may be contaminated with pieces of glass and hard plastic. 

 

At least four people have complained about the product, including one person who reported a "minor oral injury", the USDA said.

 

The recall is for 54-ounce packages of 12 “Nestlé Hot Pockets Brand Sandwiches: Premium Pepperoni". Recalled boxes have a best-before date of Feb. 2022 and lot codes of 0318544624, 0319544614, 0320544614 and 0321544614.

 

The boxes also have the establishment number "EST. 7721A" inside the USDA mark of inspection.

Anyone who has the recalled Hot Pockets should not eat them and should throw them away or return them to the store.

 

New study to set future for U.S. 31; J-turns put on hold by INDOT

The future of J-turns and other aspects of travel on U.S. 31 is going to be re-evaluated by the Indiana Department of Transportation.

 

Following a petition signed by over 1500 individuals and groups and continued resistance to the implementation of J-turns on U.S. 31, INDOT says it will put those plans on hold.

 

Now, the state will look to a new study to reevaluate how to alter the intersections and restructure  U.S. 31.

 

Representative Ethan Manning.

 

 

Manning says there continues to be friction when INDOT looks to alter U.S. 31.

 

 

Walsh continues to bring art to Rochester

The executive director of the nonprofit organization Full Tilt Arts is Christine Walsh.  She says she has big plans for Rochester. 

 

 

Walsh wants not only murals but also more public music and theatre performances. 

 

 

 

Her emphasis is to create original public art that showcases local artists, develops public interest in the arts and also boosts the local economy.

 

 

Anyone interested in being involved can visit Full Tilt Arts on their Facebook page, email to info@fulltiltarts.org or reach out to Walsh. 

 

 

 

 

Citizens Against J-turns oppose INDOT's plan to install J-turns along U.S. 31

A petition with over 1,500 signatures from citizens who oppose INDOT’s plan to install J-turns along U.S. 31 was submitted to INDOT Thursday. 

 

Bill Friend, former Indiana State legislator and property owner who lives and farms in Miami County said residents between Plymouth and Tipton have been telling INDOT to forget installing J-turns on U.S. 31 for years now.  J-turns were designed for low speed, low volume traffic areas.

 

 

The petition, which is available at www.CitizensAgainstJturns.com, gained momentum this past December as more citizens up and down the corridor were given an opportunity to sign it. Citizens Against J-turns has also been sharing videos from actual residents along the corridor who oppose INDOT’s plans.

 

Debbie Barts with Barts and Showley Farms in Fulton County.

 

 

Bradley McClain with the McClain Funeral Homes.

 

 

According to the organization, nearly 70% of citizens who live along the corridor between Plymouth and Tipton oppose INDOT’s plan according to a poll conducted in 2020. The poll, which features a 3 percent (plus or minus) margin of error was conducted by DatAttic, a polling and research company based out of Mishawaka.

Round Barn Lab's upcoming art class on January 24

The Round Barn Lab will be having a four hour painting class with local artist Erica Coffing Sunday, January 24 at Chameleon's Closet from 1-5 pm. 

 

The class is open to anyone with or without painting experience. Social distancing and masks will be required. The painting style will be portrait oil painting, 

 

Space is running out!  

 

RSVP online for your tickets at https://www.roundbarnlab.com/events/oil-painting-with-erica?fbclid=IwAR0sVvRu9x1sCgg8eJYUKZEIbt9oOW_xFcs-YsdYAcO6H2lFWCQss2mL02k. 

 

The cost is $15 and materials will be provided.

 

All proceeds will go to the Round Barn Lab, a nonprofit organization makerspace for locals started by Josh Zehner. 

 

 

A makerspace is a collaberative workspace with a variety of tools and resources for individuals who are looking to make, learn, explore and skills and trades with high tech to no tech tools. 

 

 

 

State government complex to close to the public Tuesday, Wednesday

In consultation with security officials and the leadership of the General Assembly, Governor Eric J. Holcomb today announced out of an abundance of caution the state government complex will be closed to the public Tuesday and Wednesday in light of recent national events, threats to other state capitols and COVID-19 restrictions.

 

There have been no credible threats against the Statehouse.

 

Per the typical schedule, the Statehouse will be closed for the weekend and Monday in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

 

Additionally, the Governor will virtually deliver his 2021 State of the State address on Tuesday, Jan. 19 at 7 p.m. Details, including broadcast information and access to pool coverage, will be shared at a later date.

 

The Governor’s weekly COVID-19 briefing will be held Thursday, Jan. 21 at 2:30 p.m.

 

“The safety and security of our state employees and the Hoosiers who use our state services are always top of mind,” Gov. Holcomb said. “After an evaluation with public safety leaders, we have decided to err on the side of caution and close the state government complex to the public. Hoosiers will still be able to access essential state services online, on the phone, or in-person at branches around the state.”

 

Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray and House Speaker Todd Huston have canceled legislative activity for the week of Jan. 18. Bray and Huston said no committee or session meetings will be held next week, and staff will work remotely until instructed to return to the building.

 

“This decision was made out of caution and in the best interest of everyone involved in the legislative process,” Huston said. “Public gatherings are a critical component of our democracy, and I pray that any demonstrations are peaceful and respectful of the incredible privilege we all have as Americans to make our voices heard.”

 

“We have a lot of work to do this session on behalf of Hoosiers, but the safety of every person in the Statehouse is always our number one priority," Bray said. "We trust Superintendent Doug Carter and his team, and at his urging, made the decision to cancel our activities out of an abundance of caution.:

Eastern Pulaski Elementary fourth grade class quarantined

Eastern Pulaski Community School Coorporation Superintendent Dara Chezum announced Friday two new confirmed positive COVID-19 diagnoses at Eastern Pulaski Elementary School. 

 

Based on the situation, it was recommended that a majority of students in one of the fourth grade classrooms will need quaratined. Therefore, EPES has one fourth grade classroom that will be participating in virtual learning next week and will return to in person learning January 25. 

 

Parents of students who were considered close contact have been notified and advised to quarantine. 

No major injuries in Wednesday accident at Kewanna intersection

An accident involving two vehicles at the intersection of State Road 14 and 17 near Kewanna Wednesday, left two drivers without vehicles but also without any major injures.

 

The Fulton County Sheriff's Department reported that the accident happened a little before 7:00 pm.  Jay Chamness, 77, failed to stop at intersection while traveling west on State Road 14, hitting the passenger side door of a vehicle driven by Troy Collins, 48, who was south from the stop sign. 

 

Chamness's vehicle came to rest in a field northwest of the intersection.

 

Collins was transported to Woodlawn Hospital with a complaint of pain in his neck. Chamness was checked out by Lutheran EMS and released from the scene. 

 

A 2011 Chevy Impala and 2018 Ford F150 were towed from the scene. 

Rochester's LED upgrades bring light and sound to the city

You're supposed to see the difference with Rochester's LED upgrades.  Soon, you'll be able to hear a difference, too.

 

Rochester Mayor Ted Denton says they’ve been busy installing a system that is already bringing savings to Rochester.

 

 

The mayor details the next step expected to start next month.

 

 

And, the added attraction, will be a sound system with the lights.

 

 

 

 

 

 

ISP Trooper Sgt. Mitchell "Mitch" A. Blocher passed away after battle with brain cancer

An Indiana State Police Sergeant who was born in Wabash has passed away following a battle with brain cancer.

 

The Indiana State Police is saddened to announce the passing of 25 year Indiana State Police Veteran Sergeant Mitchel "Mitch" Blocher. 

 

During his career with the Indiana State Police, Sgt. Blocher was a member of the SCUBA team, a SWAT sniper, an investigator and most recently a supervisor for the Electronic Surveillance Unit. More information about his ISP career can be found in the obituary below.

 

Captain Tony Delello, Indiana State Police Area Five Commander, and longtime friend to Sgt. Blocher said, "Mitch stood strong on his values, to include his family, his faith and his community. His passion for his career and public safety was apparent in every aspect of his life. He worked tirelessly for twenty-five years to ensure safety in his community and beyond. Mitch will be remembered as a loyal leader who was a mentor to many."

 

The funeral will be available to view  on a live stream Saturday January 16  at 12 p.m. on Nine Star Connect.  www.vimeo.com/ninestar

 

Obituary for Sgt. Mitchell "Mitch" A. Blocher, provided by Hinsey-Brown Funeral Home

Sgt. Mitchell “Mitch” Alan Blocher, 49, fought the good fight against brain cancer and victoriously finished the race to meet his Savior on January 2, 2021. Mitch was born on June 26, 1971 in Wabash, Indiana to Alan Leroy and Carol Ann (Barton) Blocher.

Immediately after graduating from Ball State University in 1994, Mitch was accepted by the Indiana State Police and attended the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy. He graduated on December 22, 1995 and was sworn in as an Indiana State Trooper on December 24, 1995.

 

During his 25 years of active service with the Indiana State Police, Mitch served on the Emergency Response Team as a Sniper from 2004-2008 and the Underwater Search & Rescue Team from 1998-2004 and 2009-2013 where he was a Dive Master. In 2012, he was promoted to Sergeant and in 2013 was assigned to the Electronic Surveillance Team where he served as Sergeant until his passing.

 

For his heroic achievements during his career, Mitch also received many awards and recognitions, including numerous honors from the Mothers Against Drunk Driving organization, the International Association of Auto Theft Investigators Award in 2010, the Sherlock Award for Fraud Investigation, the US Secret Service Certificate of Appreciation, the US Attorney’s Award for Outstanding Contribution to a Prosecution, and the 2010 Indiana State Police Outstanding Investigator of the Year Award.

The brightest part of Mitch’s life began on December 5, 1998 when he married fellow BSU Cardinal, Angeline Sunier. Mitch and Angeline settled in Hancock County and began a family with the birth of their oldest son Samuel “Sam” Ray in 2002. Their youngest son, Joseph “Joey” Henry followed in 2004. Mitch enjoyed spending time camping with his family, having backyard bonfires, grilling out and was a favorite fan at his sons’ athletic & academic events.

 

An avid runner, Mitch completed the Indianapolis 500 Festival Mini-Marathon many times and in 2014 was awarded the prestigious 500 Club Award, finishing 267th place overall.

Mitch unreservedly loved people and gave special attention to Eastern Hancock Schools and Wilkinson Church of Christ. He was a founding member of the EH Education Foundation, was invited to the EH Leadership Team and received the Loyal Royal award in 2020 from the EH Athletic Boosters. At WCC, Mitch helped with any and every Men’s Ministry function and was an ever-present welcoming face to each person coming in the door, even during his cancer battle. In 2018, Mitch ran a full marathon with Team World Vision at the Indy Monumental Marathon, raising money for clean water around the globe.

Everything about Mitch, from his life, throughout his sickness, and to his death was ultimately to fulfill his greatest purpose on this earth - to point others to his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. There is nothing that would bring more fulfillment to Mitch’s legacy than for people to meet Jesus through his story. He lived the words of Paul, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1 NIV)

Mitch is survived by his wife of 22 years, Angeline Blocher; sons, Sam and Joey; mother, Carol Blocher; father, Alan Blocher; sister, Tina (Eric) Menze; brother-in-law, Dane Dawson; and mother-in-law and father-in-law, Chip and Tina Sunier.

He was preceded in death by his maternal and paternal grandparents, sister, Tamara Dawson and niece, Emma Menze.

A “File by” visitation will be held on Friday, January 15, 2021 from 4-8 p.m. at Wilkinson Church of Christ, 7293 IN-109, Wilkinson. Please be patient as the church is limited to 50 guests at a time.

Funeral services will be private and by invitation only. Those wishing to view the service via Live Webcast will be able to Saturday, January 16, at 12:00 p.m. that will be broadcast through NineStar (a link will be posted when available). To show love and support to the Blocher family, you may meet at Eastern Hancock Schools parking lot on Saturday at approximately 1:30 p.m. to see the family and funeral procession. (More information to follow.) In addition, there will be a Celebration of Life service at Wilkinson Church of Christ on Saturday, June 26, 2021.

In lieu of flowers, monetary contributions can be made in Mitch’s memory to the Eastern Hancock Education Foundation or Cops for Kids of Indiana, Inc. Edible arrangements will also be accepted.

Arrangements have been entrusted to Hinsey-Brown Funeral Service Knightstown Chapel. You may express condolences or share a memory of Mitch at www.hinsey-brown.com.


To send flowers or a memorial gift to the family of Sgt. Mitchell "Mitch" A. Blocher please visit our Sympathy Store.

 

FBI seeking tips on Hoosiers involved in Capitol riot

Several Hoosiers could have been involved in the riot that happened at the Capitol building in Washington, DC January 6.

 

So far, no one from Indiana has been charged, but that could change.

 

"Like FBI field offices across the country, FBI Indianapolis is receiving tips regarding Hoosiers who may have been at the Capitol building in Washington, DC Jan. 6. Any subjects that are arrested/indicted will be prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office in Washington, DC," said Christine Bavender, Public Affairs Officer at FBI Indianapolis.

 

The FBI has shared numerous photos of pictures taken from social media posts of people that breached security at the Capitol. On Tuesday afternoon, Steven D'Antuono, the acting director in charge of the Washington D.C. FBI field office, said they have already received more than 100,000 pieces of digital media.

 

“I want to stress that the FBI has a long memory and a broad reach, agents and our partners are on the streets investigating leads, not only here in the D.C. area but also across the country in FBI’s 56 field offices,” said D’Antuono. "We are scouring everyone for investigative and intelligence leads, and we continue to ask for more."

 

To report tips to the FBI, call 1-800-CALL-FBI or send tips to tips.fbi.gov.

 

 

Two arrests, including Rochester woman, following a Tuesday multi-county pursuit

Two people arrested including a Rochester woman wanted on a felony warrant after a multi-county pursuit.

 

Troopers from the Indiana State Bremen Post became involved in what would turn into an hour long vehicle pursuit, running across four different counties, and involving numerous assisting police agencies.  The incident began after ISP Bremen troopers attempted to stop a black Toyota Camry passenger vehicle occupied be a fugitive wanted out of Fulton County on a felony warrant, and another occupant being in possession of a handgun and assault rifle as a serious violent felon.

 

The suspect vehicle first fled from troopers in the area of SR 13 near Syracuse in Kosciusko County.  Initially running north towards Elkhart County, then traversing several county roads back down to the Lake Wawasee area, and then over into Noble County. Once in Noble, the suspects led police down US33 towards Churubusco at speeds of up to 100mph, throwing bags of items out the windows along the way, and also tossing out a handgun (which was recovered by one of the troopers). 

 

Turning east onto SR 205 the pursuit ran over into DeKalb County towards Auburn.  A deputy with the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department was able to successfully deploy stop sticks on SR205 at CR60, deflating at least one tire, damage that would eventually end the chase. While in Auburn the suspect vehicle ran off road through a fence behind the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Museum property, then came back on road and headed southbound on CR 427 (Tonkel Road) into Allen County.  On Tonkel Road, just south of Hollopeter Road, after running off road and into the side ditch, the suspect lost control of his vehicle and overturned onto its side.

 

Pursuing officers quickly took the driver, Ricky Johnson, 40, of Warsaw, and a passenger, Angela Rogers, 37, of Rochester, into custody.  Officers realized there was third occupant still trapped in the overturned wreckage.  Officers gathered up, and together were able to flip the car back over onto its wheels, at which time the third occupant was also taken into custody. 

 

All three suspects were transported from the scene by ambulance to the Parkview Regional Medical Center for medical evaluation.  After further investigation, the male passenger was released from custody without charges. 

 

Both Johnson and Rogers, after release from the hospital, were transported back to Kosciusko County where they were incarcerated on numerous related charges.

 

There were no other persons injured nor vehicles damaged during this incident, and the only property damage noted was the fence at Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Museum.

 

Arrested:            Ricky A. Johnson, 40, Warsaw, IN

 

Charges:           1) Resisting Law Enforcement, Lev 6 Felony

                           2) Possession of Hypodermic Syringe, Lev 6 Felony

                           3) Possession of Handgun by Serious Violent Felon, Level 4 Felony

                           4) Reckless Driving, Misdemeanor

 

Arrested:            Angela C. Rogers, 37, Rochester, IN

 

Charges:             1) Possession of Hypodermic Syringe, Level 6 Felony

                             2) Warrant hold for Fulton County, Assault Charge, Felony

 

Troopers from the ISP Bremen Post are handling the arrest and charging of Johnson and Rogers, while troopers from ISP Fort Wayne Post are handling the crash investigation. 

 

This was a cooperative multi-agency effort involving officers from both ISP Districts, assisted by numerous officers from county and local law enforcement agencies in Kosciusko, Noble, DeKalb, and Allen County(s).  Also, assisting at the crash site was the Fort Wayne Fire Department, Three Rivers Ambulance Authority, and the Avilla Motor Works tow service.

Stock+Field closing its doors

Stock+Field has announced the closing of its stores.

 

Information from the Chairman and CEO can be seen in the letter below.

 

Closing sales will begin in the coming weeks.

 

Stock+Field has locations in Rochester and Warsaw along with others in Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Wisconsin and Michigan.

 

For more information please visit this website: www.donlinrecano.com/sf

 

 

Governor Eric Holcomb directs flags to be flown at half-staff for US Capitol police officers

Governor Holcomb is directing flags in the State of Indiana to be flown at half-staff to honor United States Capitol Police Officers Brian Sicknick and Howard Liebengood, and all Capitol Police Officers and law enforcement.

 

Flags should be flown at half-staff immediately until sunset on January 13, 2021.

 

Gov. Holcomb also asks businesses and residents in Indiana to lower their flags to half-staff.

Names released of Marshall Co. officers involved in New Year's Eve suspect shooting

The Marshall County Sheriff's Department has released the names of the two officers that were involved in a shooting on New Year's Eve that killed a man.

 

Richard Prater and Blake Bennett are the names of the officers. Jeffery Marvin was the man who was shot and killed as he drove his pickup truck towards the officers after leading them on a chase.

 

Prater and Bennett were placed on administrative leave said WNDU, but are now back at work while Indiana State Police investigate. 

2014 Peru grad, US Air Force vet now probationary trooper assigned to the ISP Peru Post

Recently, 36 probationary troopers from the 80th Indiana State Police Recruit Academy graduated. One of those officers, Kegan Kern, was assigned to the Indiana State Police Peru Post and has started three months of field training with veteran officers.

 

Kern graduated from the 80th Indiana State Police Recruit Academy on December 19, 2021. During his 25 weeks of training, Kern received over 600 hours of classroom instruction as well as nearly 400 hours of hands-on practical scenario-based training. Some areas of training included criminal and traffic law, crash investigations, emergency vehicle operations, defensive tactics, firearms, and a host of other subjects related to modern policing. Kern is now assigned to train with veteran troopers for the next 13 weeks before being released on solo patrol.

 

Kern is a veteran of the United States Air Force. He served four years obtaining the rank of senior airman. He is a 2014 graduate of Peru High School and holds an associate degree in criminal justice.

 

Kern and his wife currently reside in Miami County.

Senate bill calls for appeal for businesses for violating pandemic restrictions

Businesses fined or closed for violating local pandemic restrictions would get a second avenue for appeal under a bill backed by Senate Republicans.

 

Charlestown Senator Chris Garten's bill would let businesses appeal a health department violation notice to the county commissioners. The penalty would be on hold until the appeal is resolved. 
President Pro Tem Rod Bray says the bill is one of Senate Republicans' top priorities. He says people affected by the decisions of an unelected health department should be able to turn to officials who are directly answerable to voters.

 

Garten's bill would give a business two weeks to file an appeal. The commissioners would then have a month to decide whether to hear it. If they don't grant a hearing in that time, the citation stands.

While the commissioners would handle appeals in most counties, there are three exceptions. Indy's UniGov structure would send appeals to the City-County Council. Fishers, Gary and East Chicago have their own health departments, so the city council would hear appeals there. And in the rest of Lake County besides Gary and East Chicago, appeals would go not to the commissioners but the county council.

 

Businesses can already challenge citations in court -- they could still do that if the council or commissioners rule against them. 

 

35 of the 39 Republican senators are co-authoring the bill, so it's already got the votes to pass the Senate. The House would consider it in March.

 

 

Pulaski County Coroner Jon Frain fights for equality in benefits

Despite the Pulaski County Council deciding the coroner position is still ineligible for health insurance and retirement benefits, Pulaski County Coroner Jon Frain's search for equality for him and future coroners is far from over.

 

Frain explains what inspired the changes. 

 

 

He says the entire experience wasn't all negative and some changes did get approved. 

 

 

Pulaski County Councilman Brian Young made a notion to pay the coroner full benefits and says he's hoping to bring it up again soon. Frain remains hopeful for the future.

 

 

Scammer pretends to be Indiana State Police

A scammer that has called at least one person in southern Indiana, is going through some trouble to seem like a state police detective, to try and get peoples personal info.

 

The victim told police they got a phone call from someone claiming to be from the Social Security Administration. The caller said they were alerting them that their Social Security was being suspended due to fraudulent activity in Texas and that they would soon get a phone call from the Indiana State Police. 

 

The would-be scammer also provided the number that would call, with the proper 765 area code.  When that phone call came it actually showed up as Indiana State Police.

 

The state police say neither the Social Security Administration, the IRS, nor the Indiana State Police will ever call requesting personal information over the phone, text, or email. If you get a call from someone claiming to be from Social Security, or any federal or state agency who asks for personal or financial information, hang-up. 

 

The Social Security Administration advises reporting suspected fraudulent calls to the Office of the Inspector General at OIG.SSA.GOV. 

 

State Police say never provide information over the phone about your personal identity, social security number, bank account(s), or credit card number(s) to an unknown caller.

Legislative Breakfast Series goes virtual starting January 16

The Fulton County Chamber of Commerce and Fulton County Farm Bureau present the 2021 Virtual Legislative Breakfast Series in a virtual format this month. The public is invited to virtually attend this rare opportunity to communicate one-on-one with Indiana State legislators on Saturday, January 16 at 8:00 AM.

 

 

Grab a cup of coffee and tune in to facebook.com/FultonCountyChamberOfCommerce or WROI 92.1 to listen to our State Legislators’ preview of the 2021 Session.

 

There will be a Q&A period following the legislative preview. Constituents may submit questions prior to the event by calling 574.224.2666 emailing chamber@rtcol.com. Otherwise, questions may be submitted during the event by posting on the Facebook Live video or by calling WROI at 574.223.6059.

 

Other breakfasts are scheduled for Saturday, February 13 and Saturday, March 20.

 

Questions may be directed to Jillian Smith at the Chamber office at 574.224.2666 or chamber@rtcol.com.

Walorski statement on Electoral College certification

U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) released the following statement after Congress certified the Electoral College vote:

 

“Yesterday was a dark day in our nation’s history, but we are not ruled by violent mobs, and America is strong enough to endure attacks aimed at the heart of our democracy. Every American has the right to exercise their First Amendment rights, but violence and destruction are never the answer. Those who invaded the Capitol and assaulted law enforcement officers must be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.

 

“I believe the integrity of our elections – and the faith the American people have that their votes are fully and fairly counted – is a cornerstone of our democracy. I share the concerns of many Hoosiers about irregularities in how some states conducted the 2020 presidential election. That is why I have strongly supported the creation of an Electoral Commission to conduct a thorough and transparent emergency audit to help restore the American people’s confidence in our electoral system. Because Congress was unable to reach a bipartisan agreement to take such a commonsense step, I voted to formally object to certain electors from contested states in order to shine a light on these concerns.

 

“Another cornerstone of our democracy is the peaceful transfer of power. Like the more than 1.7 million of my fellow Hoosiers who voted for President Trump in November, I am disappointed in the outcome of the election. But Congress has formally certified the Electoral College vote, and we as Americans must follow the Constitution and support a peaceful, orderly transition to the next administration.

 

“I have always stood with President Trump in fighting to keep America safe and secure and to keep the American Dream alive for hardworking Hoosiers. I remain committed to fighting for workers, families, farmers, and small businesses and building on President Trump’s incredible achievements, which have made America stronger, safer, and more prosperous. I urge President-elect Biden to choose the path of bipartisan cooperation over the radical agenda of the far-left wing of his party.”

 

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

Hoosiers age 80 and older can register for Covid-19 vaccine

Gov. Eric J. Holcomb and the Indiana Department of Health today announced that Hoosiers age 80 and older will be eligible to register for a free COVID-19 vaccine beginning Friday, Jan. 8.

 

Individuals age 80 and older account for less than 4 percent of the state’s population but represent more than 19 percent of the hospitalizations and more than half of the COVID-19 deaths in the state, according to the Indiana Department of Health.

 

State Health Commissioner Kris Box, M.D., FACOG, said vaccine supplies are still limited. Indiana has received just over 350,000 doses of vaccine to date and is scheduled to receive about 78,000 vaccines per week at this time.

 

“By opening vaccine to those who are 80 or older, then adding people in their 70s and 60s when vaccine supplies allow us to expand, we can best protect the populations that account for 93 percent of our COVID-19 deaths,” Box said.

 

Hoosiers age 80 and older can register beginning at 9 a.m. Friday by going to ourshot.in.gov, searching for a nearby vaccine clinic and selecting an appointment time. Appointments may also be made by calling 211. A caregiver or loved one may make an appointment on behalf of an eligible senior.

 

At least one vaccine clinic will be located in each Indiana county.

 

Appointments for the second dose will be made at the clinic when the first dose is administered.

 

Additional groups, such as those based on underlying health conditions, will be added as vaccine becomes available. Updates will be posted at ourshot.in.gov.

Up to 200 workers needed at Warsaw fiber optics plant

A Minnesota-based telecommunications company is growing in Kosciusko County and needs to fill hundreds of positions.

 

KGPCo is expanding its fiber optics plant in Warsaw and needs to hire up to 200 workers right away.

 

The company needs people to assemble and test fiber optics cable. No experience is needed.

"KGPCo is a family-oriented and safe environment to work in. This is an exciting employment opportunity for residents of Warsaw and surrounding areas that offers a viable career opportunity in the field of fiber optics," Dave Russell, Director of Fiber Optics Manufacturing at KGPCo, tells Inside Indiana Business.

 

KGPCo employees work 10-hour days, four days a week.

Fulton County Commissioners discuss courthouse upkeep

The Fulton County Courthouse has seen recent improvements.  Now maintaining while planning for future fixes, repairs and upgrades is also on the schedule.


County commissioners talked about the courthouse during their meeting Monday.  Windows and trees on the property are being targeted now.


 


Bond placement and use remains a point of conversation related to continued upgrades.


 


Commissioners say they’re pleased the community cares about the centerpiece to the Rochester community.


 

 

Family Video closing its doors

It's the end of an era.

 

Over the last half-decade, Family Video has held on as the last big brick and mortar movie and video game rental store throughout the United States, outlasting stores like Blockbuster and Hollywood Video.

 

On Tuesday, the dreadful news was sent to all remaining 200 stores that they would have to sell off their inventory and close for good by late February.

 

Family Video business went down 50-to-75-percent since reopening from pandemic shutdowns over the summer. Company leaders have come to the conclusion that there was just no financial way forward.

 

Another reason for Family Video's planned closure was the fact that Hollywood was, and in some cases still is, on lockdown. With the movie industry at a crawl or standstill, there are not many new movies for the company to push out there in order to draw in customers.

 

Now, when you walk into one of the 20 remaining Family Video stores in Indiana, nothing will be available for rent, but everything will be up for sale. The plan is to close all stores by Feb. 28, but some stores may close sooner if they can sell off all their movies and games before then.

Peru man found dead at scene of truck accident

A man from Peru was reported missing Monday. HIs body was found Tuesday, still at the wheel of a pickup truck--at the bottom of a steep ravine near a county road intersection. 


Anthony Benedict, 26, was pronounced dead at the scene Tuesday morning.  Investigators from the Howard County Sheriff's office believe he drove through a curve, with the truck striking a tree as it left the roadway and coming to rest out of view from the road. 


An autopsy will be conducted Wednesday at Community Howard Regional Health in Kokomo under the direction of the coroner's office.

Big money in state's lottery games this week

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

 

Tuesday's Mega Millions jackpot is worth an estimated $432 million dollars.  Wednesday's Powerball jackpot is worth $384 million.

 

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

Fulton Co. Commissioners continue wellness program, want earlier notices of availability

Fulton County Commissioners approved a wellness agreement with Logansport Memorial with a rate increase.

 

The wellness program does have an impact on the county’s insurance plans.  The number of employees taking part has, however, decreased.

 

 

Conversation during Monday’s commissioners meeting revealed that participation may be down, in part, due to late notices about the program’s availability. 

 

 

The increase will be from $12 to $14 per month for county employees.

Sportmix dog and cat food recall due to potentially fatal level of a toxin called aflatoxin

Your cat or dog food may be part of a new recall.

 

Midwestern Pet Foods is recalling certain varieties of Sportmix dog and cat food because it may contain a potentially fatal level of a toxin called aflatoxin.

 

The FDA says Sportmix High Energy Dog Food is linked to at least 28 dog deaths and 8 illnesses.

Aflatoxin is a toxin produced by the mold Aspergillus flavus, which can grow on grains like corn used as ingredients in pet food. At high levels, it can cause illness and death in animals.

 

Symptoms of aflatoxin poisoning include sluggishness, loss of appetite, vomiting, jaundice, and/or diarrhea.

 

The list of recalled dry pet food products announced by Midwestern Pet Food, Inc. on December 30, 2020 is:

 

Sportmix Energy Plus, 50 lb. bag
 - Exp 03/02/22/05/L2
 - Exp 03/02/22/05/L3
 - Exp 03/03/22/05/L2

 

Sportmix Energy Plus, 44 lb. bag
 - Exp 03/02/22/05/L3

 

Sportmix Premium High Energy, 50 lb. bag
 - Exp 03/03/22/05/L3

 

Sportmix Premium High Energy, 44 lb. bag
 - Exp 03/03/22/05/L3

 

Sportmix Original Cat, 31 lb. bag 
 - Exp 03/03/22/05/L3

 

Sportmix Original Cat, 15 lb. bag
 - Exp 03/03/22/05/L2
 - Exp 03/03/22/05/L3

 

Pet owners should throw the recalled products out immediately.

Kosciusko County Sheriff's Office asks for community's assistance in theft from the Clunette area. 

The Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office would like the community’s assistance in locating individuals responsible for the theft from the Clunette area.  

     

On December 31, 2020, the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office was notified of a theft that had occurred in the Clunette area at about 10:15am.  Security video captured a white minivan that was used in the theft.  Footage captured both sides of the van.  The van appears to be a Chrysler/Dodge product with black trim.  The Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office would like the community’s assistance in locating the van and/or it’s owner.  

 

If you have any information concerning this crime call Crime Stoppers toll free at  1-800-342-STOP. Crime Stoppers will pay if your information leads to an arrest or indictment. Crime Stoppers also pays cash rewards on other felony crimes and the capture of fugitives.

 

 

When you call, you will be assigned a code number and we will not ask your name. Get involved, Crime Stoppers it works.

New Year's Eve pursuit with law enforcement ends with suspect shot, dead

The Indiana State Police have been requested to investigate an officer-involved shooting involving deputies with the Marshall County Sheriff’s Department.

 

Just before midnight on December 31, a deputy with the Marshall County Sheriff’s Department saw a red Chevrolet pickup truck commit a moving violation on US 30 at Pioneer Road. When the deputy attempted to stop the Chevrolet, the driver fled from the deputy, who was in his fully marked police vehicle.

 

Two officers with the Plymouth Police Department assisted with the pursuit as it went through Plymouth. The driver of the Chevrolet is alleged to have swerved at several police vehicles during the pursuit.

 

The driver of the Chevrolet led pursuing officers into Starke County ultimately hitting a tire deflation device (stop sticks) at the intersection of East CR 750 North and East South Avenue. The driver of the Chevrolet continued down a dead-end section of East South Avenue and turned around, driving towards the pursuing officers, and colliding with two Plymouth Police Department vehicles and a Marshall County Sheriff’s Department vehicle. As the officers exited their vehicles the driver of the Chevrolet is alleged to have driven towards the officers who were now outside of their vehicles. Two deputies then fired at the driver of the Chevrolet hitting him at least once.

 

The driver of the Chevrolet was taken to Memorial Hospital in South Bend, where he was later pronounced deceased.

 

The identity of the involved deputies will be made at a later date. At the conclusion of this investigation, all information will be turned over to the Starke County Prosecutor’s Office for review.

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