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Community News

FCPL to host Christmas Open House

The Fulton County Public Library will host a Christmas Open House with a snow village theme.


The Tom and Sue Bair snow village collection will highlight the open house to be held at the Rochester branch, 4:30 - 6:30 p.m. on Monday, December 12.


Tim Roe explains.



And what would a Christmas event be without Santa?



Roe also says they are doing a special collection to help people in the community.



Indiana DOR reminds nonprofits about upcoming tax changes

The Indiana Department of Revenue (DOR) wants to remind nonprofit organizations about changes to how they file their annual report with the agency and how they will access sales tax exemption certificates beginning next year. 


Earlier this year, Indiana General Assembly passed new legislation revising the filing frequency for Nonprofit Organization’s Annual Reports from annually to every five years.  


After 2022, the due date for the new Form NP-20R, Nonprofit Organization’s Report, is based on the last two digits of the organization’s federal employer identification number (FEIN). Form NP-20R will be due on: 


  • May 15, 2024, if the organization does not have a FEIN or if the organization’s FEIN ends in 00 through 24. 
  • May 15, 2025, if the organization’s FEIN ends in 25 through 49. 
  • May 15, 2026, if the organization’s FEIN ends in 50 through 74. 
  • May 15, 2027, if the organization’s FEIN ends in 75 through 99. 

After the date shown above, nonprofit organizations must file Form NP-20R by May 15 every fifth year.  


Organizations will need to file a Nonprofit Organization’s Annual Report for tax year 2021 in 2022 to qualify for the new filing frequency. This also applies to fiscal year filers whose tax years end before Aug. 1, 2022. 


Note: Organizations will not need to file Form NP-20 in 2023 for the 2022 calendar year. In addition, fiscal year filers who file Form NP-20 for a fiscal year ending after July 31, 2022, will not need to file an NP-20 during the 2023 calendar year.


Nonprofits will still need to file Form IT-20NPIndiana’s Nonprofit Organization Unrelated Business Income Tax Return, for each year in which the organization has unrelated business income (as defined under Internal Revenue Code Section 513) of $1,000 or more. 

Beginning Jan. 1, 2023, nonprofit organizations should no longer use Indiana General Sales Tax Exemption Certificate (Form ST-105). Nonprofits will be required to utilize Form NP-1, Nonprofit Sales Tax Exemption Certificates. These forms will be available only through DOR’s e-services portal, INTIME.

Nonprofit organizations not currently registered for the portal will need to register on INTIME to create and access their exemption certificates as of Jan. 1. Instructions on creating an INTIME logon are available in the INTIME User Guide, available at 


DOR also reminds nonprofit organizations about the repeal of the “30-day rule” for fundraisers. Until July 1, 2022, qualifying fundraisers lasting less than 30 days were exempt from sales tax. Effective July 1, 2022, this rule was repealed and replaced with a different threshold. Once sales by a nonprofit organization reaches $20,000, the organization is now required to collect state gross retail tax on sales for the remainder of the calendar year. The new rule applies to all units operating under the organization’s nonprofit registration with DOR. 


 For more information, see the Nonprofit Tax Forms page or Sales Tax Information Bulletin #10 on DOR’s website,  

Purdue Extension Master Gardener program to offer virtual basic training in spring

The spring 2023 Purdue Extension Master Gardener (EMG) basic training program will begin Feb. 7 as a weekly series of live virtual webinars.

Visit and contact a hosting Purdue Extension educator to obtain an application. The application deadline is Jan. 16, and the training wraps up May 9. An individual registration is $180 and includes a print version of the Purdue EMG manual. The fee for two people sharing a print version of the manual is $280.

Purdue Extension specialists and educators from across Indiana teach the course. Topics include soils, fertility, pest control, invasive species, pesticide safety and alternatives, trees, vegetables, flowers, lawns, and fruit. 

“The Purdue Extension Master Gardener program’s main purpose is to train volunteers to assist Purdue Extension with consumer horticulture education in Indiana communities,” said John Orick, Purdue EMG state coordinator.

Purdue Extension Master Gardener volunteers are required to give a minimum of 40 hours back to the community after completing initial training and passing an exam. Volunteers contributed more than 125,000 hours in 2022, Orick said.

To strengthen connections to county Purdue EMG programs, each hosting Extension educator will hold a required one-hour weekly meeting with participants to dig deeper into how the topic of the week applies to local gardeners.

“Indiana is a long, north-south state,” said Jeff Burbrink, Purdue Extension educator in Elkhart County and Purdue EMG spring program team member. “Our climate and soils vary greatly from Lake Michigan to the Ohio River. We want to be sure that our Extension Master Gardeners can see how these concepts work in their backyard.”

BBB advises you to be careful on Cyber Monday

The Monday following Black Friday, known as Cyber Monday, has become one of the top shopping days of the year. But like so much else in 2022, not all of the deals will be just on Cyber Monday. Retail experts predicted many of the online shopping activities and special holiday sales started as early as Halloween and may continue throughout the holiday season. 


But online shopping – even on Cyber Monday – has risks. Be wary of misleading advertisements, lookalike websites, and untrustworthy sellers. The following tips will help you shop online this holiday season, so you can achieve maximum savings while keeping your personal information and hard-earned money secure.


Beware of false advertising and phony websites. If a company is selling the hottest item of the year at a price that seems too good to be true, it probably is. Watch out for false advertising and keep a close eye on the web address in your browser. Scammers love to create lookalike websites that, at first glance, appear to belong to a trusted retailer. Make sure websites use the correct spelling of a business name and have legitimate contact information and customer service numbers. 


Shop with trustworthy sellers on secure sites only. Be wary of businesses you aren’t familiar with. Check their BBB Business Profile on, look at the rating, and read customer reviews. In addition, be sure any web page you purchase from is secure. Secure web addresses begin with "HTTPS" and not just "HTTP". Never put personal or credit card information in forms on non-secure web pages.


Keep your antivirus software up to date.  Make sure you have antivirus software installed on your computer or mobile device, and that it is up to date. This will help you to avoid non-secure websites and pop-up phishing scams and help keep your personal information safe.


Price check before you buy. Dozens of online retailers will claim they have the best price on an item, but their offers can be misleading. Do your homework by comparing prices. Remember that the best deal may not be the real deal.


Take advantage of rewards and loyalty programs. Check your credit card rewards program for special point offers that could add up on Cyber Monday and throughout the holidays. Make purchases using loyalty programs; many major retailers offer them.


Use your credit card. It’s always best to make online purchases with your credit card. If any shady charges turn up later, you will be able to contest them through your credit card company. Debit cards don’t offer this same protection. Never make purchases with online sellers by giving them prepaid debit cards or wiring them money.


Understand return policies. Online store policies may change for Cyber Monday offers. Read the fine print before you buy. Understand the return or exchange policy for the specific item you would like to purchase. Be aware that stores may not allow returns for “final sale” or “closeout” items. Make sure to get gift receipts, so the recipient can return or exchange the item if necessary.


Watch out for phishing scams. Busy schedules and increased purchases make it easier to miss – and fall victim to – a phishing scam. Look out for unsolicited emails, texts, calls, or letters. These messages may claim you have a free gift waiting for you or that there is a problem with a delivery – all you need to do is click on a link or give up your personal information. Avoid phishing scams by ignoring suspicious correspondence and calls from unfamiliar phone numbers.


For general information on how to avoid scams, visit  For more advice, read BBB’s tips on online shopping. If you’ve spotted an online scam, report it to BBB ScamTracker.



Celebrate Small Business Saturday on November 26

The 13th annual Small Business Saturday, proudly supported by American Express, is Saturday, November 26.


The Fulton County Chamber of Commerce is encouraging community members to support local businesses on Small Business Saturday and the week following by sponsoring a Shop Small campaign as a way to have fun and support the local economy.


To participate, get your Shopper’s Sheet in the November 23 issue of the Shopping Guide News or Rochester Sentinel, download from WROI’s website, or visit any of the participating businesses around Fulton County.


Participating businesses include:


  • Ann's Bargain Barn
  • Blue Dragon TKD
  • Brooch Boutique
  • Clays Flooring & Interiors
  • Craft Crossing & Antiques
  • Evergreen Eatery
  • Flirt Boutique
  • Fulton County Wellness Center
  • Grace & Jane Boutique
  • Green Oak Antiques
  • Kristy's Hometown Bar & Grill
  • Lilly Pad Boutique
  • Northern Traders
  • Nubiano's Pizza
  • Richie's Men's Wear
  • Rochester Bagel & Coffeehouse
  • Rochester Greenhouse
  • Rochester Meat & Deli
  • Rustique FOX
  • Schmack 'Em Bait & Tackle Shop
  • Smith Farm Stores
  • Smo'Que Break BBQ
  • The Dam Landing
  • The Winning Edge
  • Towne Home Furnishings
  • Webb's Family Pharmacy

When you stop by participating businesses between November 26 and December 4, have an employee put a sticker on your sheet. Each sticker is one entry, up to ten entries per sheet. Turn in your Shopper’s Sheet at the Chamber office by December 6 at 5:00 pm to be entered to win one of ten $25 Chamber Dollars or the grand prize, $250 in Chamber Dollars.


Let’s have fun and support local!


If you have any questions or would like to learn more about Small Business Saturday, please contact the Chamber at 574.224.2666 or


Delays and Cancellations for November 17, 2022

Delays and Cancellations for November 17, 2022



2 Hour Delay

Rochester Community Schools

Culver Community Schools

Tippecanoe Valley Schools

Maconaquah Schools

Argos Community Schools

Legacy Christian Academy

Hoosiers can expect higher prices this Thanksgiving

It’s no secret that prices for consumer goods are on the rise this year and ingredients for the traditional Thanksgiving dinner are not immune.


Indiana Farm Bureau’s annual Thanksgiving market basket survey shows that Hoosier shoppers can expect to spend approximately 14% more at the grocery store than in 2021. According to this year’s pricing survey, Hoosiers are paying an average of $61.00 for a Thanksgiving dinner for 10 people, or $6.10 per person. However, Indiana’s market basket price is approximately 5% lower,  or 31 cents less, than the U.S. average price of $6.41 per person.


According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, the main driver of the increase is inflation,  as well as other factors including supply chain disruptions and the war in Ukraine, with other countries pulling back on exports to protect domestic supplies.


The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states the food-at-home consumer price index for October 2022, a measure of price changes at the grocery store, increased 12.4% year-over-year. Additionally, the current rate of inflation for the average American was at 7.8% as of October 2022, according to the U.S. Labor Department. Many consumers have felt the weight of inflation this year, including farmers, who have been dealt a tough hand. While food prices have increased, so have input prices for the farmers growing that food.


“There is no question it’s been a difficult year for both consumers and farmers,” said Isabella Chism, INFB 2nd vice president. “Farmers are used to being nimble and agile in a job that can be very unpredictable when it comes to variables like the weather. But this year is different. Higher input costs presented a whole new set of challenges that are costing us more across the board and trickling down to consumers.”


According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s revised Food Dollar Series, farmers currently receive approximately 8% of every food marketing dollar. Using this figure, the farmer’s share of this market basket would be $4.88. The rest goes toward food processing, packaging, transportation, wholesale and retail distribution, food service preparation and other marketing costs.


“Just like consumers, farmers are price-takers, not price-setters,” Chism said. “While food prices are increasing, the amount farmers are being paid isn’t covering the sharp increase of their input expenses.”


The total market basket price of $61.00 includes a 16-pound turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls, peas, a carrot and celery veggie tray, whole milk, cranberries, whipping cream, ingredients for pumpkin pie and miscellaneous baking items.


This year, shoppers can expect to pay approximately $1.75 per pound for a whole turkey, or $28.02 for a 16-pound bird, which is an 11% increase from 2021.


Contributing to short-term price increases of turkey this year are depopulations of turkey flocks caused by highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). According to Rebecca Joniskan, president of the Indiana State Poultry Association, about 50 million birds have died or been euthanized so far in 2022 as a result of HPAI. Eight million turkeys nationwide were lost, with over 171,000 in Indiana specifically. However, in Indiana, turkey is typically produced year-round, whereas production in other states can be seasonal.


“This year has been difficult for Hoosier poultry farmers, both financially and emotionally,” said Joniskan. “But despite those losses, we are still a robust industry. There are still plenty of turkey products on the market.”

According to the survey, turkey is less expensive pound for pound than other meat options, such as ham, which is $2.72 per pound, or $10.88 for a 4-pound ham.


Hoosiers can expect most of the traditional Thanksgiving items to be more expensive this year; however, pie shells and cranberries are more affordable than they were in 2021. The largest percentage price increase was for cubed bread stuffing, up 64% for 14 ounces. According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, higher packaging and processing costs brought on by supply chain disruptions and ongoing volatility in the wheat market have been the major drivers behind this increase.


Only pumpkin pie filling is slightly more expensive in Indiana this year than it is nationally. All other items on the shopping list came in less than the national average, most notably peas, pie shells and whole milk. 


The INFB Thanksgiving market basket survey was conducted in late October by volunteer shoppers across the state who collected prices on specific food items from one of their local grocery stores. Volunteer shoppers were asked to look for the best possible prices, without taking advantage of special promotional coupons or purchase deals. Indiana’s survey was completed in conjunction with a national survey administered by the American Farm Bureau Federation. 


Thanksgiving Market Basket Items (INFB Survey)

2022 Indiana Costs

2021 Indiana Costs

% Change of Indiana Costs (2021 to 2022)

% Difference between 2022 Indiana Costs and 2022 U.S. Average

Turkey (16 lb.)





Stuffing (14 oz. package)





Pumpkin pie filling mix (30 oz. can)





Pie shells, 9 in. (2 per package)





Sweet potatoes (3 lb.)





Rolls (1 doz.)





Peas (16 oz. package, frozen)





Veggie tray (.5 oz. each fresh carrots and celery)





Whole milk (gal.)





Cranberries (fresh, 12 oz. package)





Whipping cream (½ pint)





Misc. ingredients
(such as coffee, butter, onions, eggs, sugar and flour)










*The total meal price listed above is for a group of 10 individuals.

















Flu season may impact Red Cross blood supply as healthy donors urged to give now

The American Red Cross urges blood and platelet donors to give now and help fight the potential impact of seasonal illnesses and a potentially severe flu season on the blood supply.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicts a serious spread of flu this year and is already reporting an early spike in cases in several states. When seasonal illnesses increase, the number of healthy donors tends to decrease, leaving the Red Cross blood supply vulnerable to a potential shortage over the holidays.


Paired with busy holiday schedules, seasonal illnesses may make it harder to collect the blood hospital patients require this winter. Donors −especially those with type O blood and those giving platelets − can help bolster the blood supply now by making an appointment to give in the coming weeks.


There is no waiting period to donate blood or platelets after receiving a flu shot.Schedule an appointment by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). 


Learn more about flu safety and prevention at


As a thank-you, the Red Cross is offering severalopportunities to donors this month:

  • All who come to give Nov. 1-22 will receive a $10 e-gift card to a merchant of choice. Details are available at
  • Those who come to give over the Thanksgiving holiday, Nov. 23-27, will get a Red Cross knit beanie, while supplies last.
  • All who come out to help Nov. 28-Dec. 15 will receive a $10 Gift Card by email, thanks to Amazon.Details are available at


How to donate blood

Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enable the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.


Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass® to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at or use the Blood Donor App.

Volunteers needed for Salvation Army bell ringing

Bell ringing season is approaching for the Salvation Army.


Volunteers are encouraged to sign up for bell ringing that begins on November 25 and runs through Christmas Eve, December 24.


Hours are 10am - 7pm, Monday - Saturday.  Locations include Kroger, Walmart, RP and Smith Farm Store.


To schedule to ring go online at . 


For questions or help scheduling, call 574-224-2151.


Ivy Tech to offer ServSafe Food Manager class in Kokomo

Ivy Tech Community College is offering a one-day instructor-led training course to prepare students to take the ServSafe Food Manager Certification exam.


The class will be offered Wednesday, Dec. 7, at Ivy Tech’s Kokomo campus at 1815 E. Morgan St. The deadline to register is Nov. 28.


Indiana Code 410-IAC7-22 requires mandatory certification of at least one person who oversees the food safety operation within each food establishment. The ServSafe program is developed by the National Restaurant Association with the help of foodservice industry experts. Years of experience and inside knowledge of the foodservice industry are at the core of the ServSafe courses, exams and materials that prepare students to handle food sanitation risks.


ServSafe certification is valid for five years. The course fee is $155 and includes the manual, all study materials and the certification exam. The class will start with check-in between 8 and 8:30 a.m. and will run until 3:30 p.m. The exam will start at the conclusion of the class and last about two hours.


The fee to take the exam without attending the class is $60. The book can be purchased separately for $65.


To register for the ServSafe Food Manager class and examination or for more information, please contact Bonnie Devers at or 765-252-5497. You can register online for the class at:



Wings Etc. locations offering free entrée on Nov. 11 to all those who served

In a show of support for all those who have served and to recognize veterans on Veterans Day, Wings Etc. Grill & Pub is offering all U.S. Armed Forces, active-duty personnel, and veterans a free entrée valued up to $13.99 on Nov. 11.


“Each and every day, we want to recognize and honor our service members who have given so much to our country,” said Wings Etc. CEO Rob Hensmann. “We deeply appreciate their sacrifice and are proud to honor our veterans not only on Veterans Day but throughout the year.”


During business hours at participating Wings Etc. locations on Friday, Nov. 11, 2022, service members will receive a free entrée valued up to $13.99, with proof of service or veteran status.


Participating locations include Angola, Avon, Brazil, Bluffton, Camby, Columbia City, Connersville, Decatur, Dunlap, Elkhart, Evansville, Fort Wayne (3 locations), Franklin, Goshen, Greenfield, Huntington, Indianapolis (2 locations), Jasper, Kendallville, La Porte, Lafayette (2 locations), Marion, Martinsville, Mishawaka, Muncie, Newburgh, Noblesville, Osceola, Peru, Plainfield, Plymouth, Princeton, Rochester, Shelbyville, South Bend (2 locations), Terre Haute (2 locations), Valparaiso, Wabash, Warsaw, West Lafayette, in Indiana.


The offer is good for dine-in only. Some restrictions may apply.

DNR offers free admission to veterans, active-duty military, November 11

On Veterans Day, Friday, November 11, all veterans and active-duty military personnel, and everyone in their vehicle, will be admitted free to Department of Natural Resource (DNR) state parks, reservoir properties, state forest recreation areas, and off-road state recreation areas.

“We appreciate the sacrifices and service of our veterans and active-duty military and look forward to recognizing them with a day to explore some of the best outdoor places in our state,” said Terry Coleman, director of Indiana State Parks.

Veterans and military personnel should simply let the gate attendant know at the property they visit that they are either a veteran or serving and on active duty.


For general information about state parks, reservoirs, forest properties, and off-road state recreation areas, or to locate a DNR property, visit

Indy man injured by falling tree limb into car on US 24

A falling tree branch critically injured a driver in Cass County.


On October 26, just before 2:30 pm, Kee Htoo, 23, of Indianapolis, was driving a 2016 Nissan Sentra on US 24 near Cass County Road 50 South when a large tree branch fell from a tree on the south side of the road.  The branch struck Htoo through the windshield.  The car then went into the guardrail and came to a stop.


Several Good Samaritans stopped and assisted the driver until emergency personnal arrived.


Htoo was flown by medical helicopter to Eskenazi Hospital in Indianapolis with life threatening injuries.

Hunters asked to donate deer for hungry

Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry is asking for hunters throughout the state to help feed Hoosiers in need this deer season.

Founded in 2011, Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry partners with various community members and organizations to get nutritious meat into hunger-relief agencies and into the hands of residents in need. Farmers, hunters, and 4-H members donate deer and livestock to their “Meat” The Need program. Donations are then processed at local
participating meat processors and the meat is distributed to hunger-relief agencies within the community it was donated in. Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry pays 100% of the processing fees so there is no charge to donors or agencies receiving meat.

According to Feeding America, an estimated 47% of the over 726,000 Indiana residents struggling with food insecurity make above the threshold to qualify for the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. To make ends meet, many are turning to local hunger-relief agencies such as food banks, food pantries, and soup kitchens.


“Due to the lasting effects of the pandemic and the continuing rise in inflation, families are struggling to buy groceries and many are turning to food pantries for help for the first time,” said Katie DeForest, Fund Development Director for Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry.


“Unfortunately, these agencies are experiencing the same diminished purchasing power that families are facing with their own grocery budgets. Meat is especially difficult to obtain.”

In fact, according to the most recent data from the Consumer Price Index, meat prices have risen over 13% since February 2021, making a noticeable impact on hunger-relief agencies throughout the state.
“More food pantries than ever have been reaching out for help from us this year. They simply can’t afford to purchase meat with the rising cost of groceries, and most of their donations are non-perishable items, ” said DeForest.


“Meat is hard to come by and there’s a great need for it. It’s a major source of protein, which is so important for a healthy diet.”

Last year, venison accounted for more than 37,000 pounds of the over 213,000 pounds of meat distributed by Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry—a number they hope to surpass this deer season.


“On average, each donated deer provides enough meat for about 200
high-protein meals to those reached through hunger-relief agencies. Every donation helps.”

Hunters who wish to contribute can take field-dressed deer to any one of several participating butchers in the area and inform the butcher of their intent to donate. Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry will pay the processing costs. After processing, local food banks, pantries, and soup kitchens are called to pick up the donation.


There is absolutely no charge to the livestock and deer donors.


For a list of participating meat processors, visit


Bane-Welker hosts community Toys For Tots drive

Bane-Welker Equipment is proudly supporting the 2022 toys for tots drive and will be collecting over toys at all Indiana and Ohio locations from now until December 9.


“We are proud to support this effort for a second consecutive year,” stated Jason Bane, president of Bane-Welker Equipment. “Last year, everyone really got into the spirit of it, and we had customers and employees who used their Red Zone Rewards points to buy more toys for the children.”


This type of project aligns well with the Bane-Welker mission of making a positive impact on the communities they serve.


This year, the Toys for Tots project was initiated by two Bane-Welker employee Justin Butler, a former Marine, who benefitted from the program himself as a child.


“My passion for helping came from when I was a child and once received toys from this same program,” stated Butler. “It meant a lot to me then, and I wanted to help make a difference in children’s lives now. I feel very proud to be a part of a company who makes time for such important community efforts.”


The toys will be distributed throughout the local communities.


Last year, Remington collected the most toys, with 550. Local FFA chapters helped with the effort. As a complex, Bane-Welker collected 1807 toys.


For more information, visit your nearest dealership. For more about the Toys for Tots program or to donate directly to Tots, visit

Delays and Cancellations Tuesday November 1, 2022



                                                    2  Hour Delay

Culver Community Schools

Rochester Community Schools

Tippecanoe Valley Schools

Caston Schools

Eastern Pulaski Schools


                                                        1 Hour Delay

Legacy Christian Academy

Delays and Cancellations Monday October 31, 2022

Delays and Cancellations Monday, October 31, 2022


Rochester Community Schools - Closed with an E-learning Day for middle and high school students

Tippecanoe Valley Schools - Closed

Culver Community Schools - 2-hour delay

Eastern Pulaski Community Schools - 2-hour delay

Caston School Corporation - 2-hour delay

North Miami Community Schools - 2-hour delay

Argos Community Schools - E-Learning Day


Lake Manitou Association kicks off 2022 endowment fundraising

The Lake Manitou Association (LMA) is working to raise $5,000 by Giving Tuesday, November 29, 2022.  If successful, the Fulton County Community Foundation (FCCF) will award a matching grant of $5,000.


The Lake Manitou Maintenance and Sustainability Fund was established through the foundation to assist the LMA in their mission of continued protection, preservation, and stewardship of Lake Manitou. Contributions to the fund remain invested to grow for years to come to help ensure a healthy future for the lake


Residents throughout Fulton County enjoy the nature, wildlife, boating, fishing, and sporting activities available at Lake Manitou.  This is an opportunity for individuals, families, and businesses to contribute to this cause. 


Contributions can be made online at or via check payable to Northern Indiana Community Foundation at PO Box 807 in Rochester, IN  46975.  In the memo portion of the check, note that it is for Lake Manitou.


For any questions, contact NICF at 574-223-2227 or


American Red Cross urges blood donations ahead of the holiday season

The American Red Cross urges blood donors of all types and those who have never given before to book a time to give blood or plateletsnow and help keep the blood supply from dropping ahead of the holidays.


People of all blood types are needed, especially platelet donors and those with type O blood – blood products that are critical to keeping hospitals ready to help patients depending on transfusions in the weeks ahead.


Book now by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). As a thank-you for taking the time to give this fall, all who come to give Nov.1-22 will receive a $10 e-gift card by email to a merchant of choice.


Details are available at

USDA launches loan assistance tool to enhance equity and customer service

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) launched a new online tool to help farmers and ranchers better navigate the farm loan application process. This uniform application process will help to ensure all farm loan applicants receive equal support and have a consistent customer experience with USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) regardless of their individual circumstances.  


 “USDA recognizes more must be done to ensure all customers have equal access to our programs and services,” said FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux. “The Loan Assistance Tool is another example of USDA taking accountability and ensuring we update our existing systems, processes, and policies to make them equitable for all customers. The tool will help loan applicants better understand the application process and gather the needed documents before the process even begins.”  


USDA experiences a high rate of incomplete or withdrawn applications, particularly among underserved customers, due in part to a challenging and lengthy paper-based application process. The Loan Assistance Tool is available 24/7 and gives customers an online step-by-step guide that supplements the support they receive when working in person with a USDA employee, providing materials that may help an applicant prepare their loan application in one tool. 


Farmers can access the?Loan Assistance Tool by visiting?  and clicking the ‘Get Started’ button. From here they can follow the prompts to complete the Eligibility Self-Assessment and start the farm loan journey. The tool is built to run on any modern browser like Chrome, Edge, Firefox, or the Safari browser, and is fully functional on mobile devices. It does not work in Internet Explorer.? 


The Loan Assistance Tool is the first of multiple farm loan process improvements that will be available to USDA customers on in the future. Other improvements and tools that are anticipated to launch in 2023 include: 


A streamlined and simplified direct loan application, reduced from 29 pages to 13 pages. 


An interactive online direct loan application that gives customers a paperless and electronic signature option, along with the ability to attach supporting documents such as tax returns.  


An online direct loan repayment feature that relieves borrowers from the necessity of calling, mailing, or visiting a local Service Center to pay a loan installment. 

ISP to host "Prescription Drug Take Back Day" on Saturday 

On Saturday, October 29,  the Indiana State Police will be participating in a nationwide initiative headed by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) on the 23rd “Prescription Drug Take Back Day.” 


The “Take Back” initiative seeks to prevent increased pill abuse and theft.  Collection sites will be set up nationwide for expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs for destruction.  This service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.


Citizens wishing to participate in this program may drop off their prescription drugs for disposal at the Indiana State Police Peru Post on Saturday, October 29, between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.


Liquid and pill medications will be accepted.  Syringes will not be accepted.

Indiana State Police safety tips for avoiding deer on the roadway

It’s that time of year again for drivers to be aware of deer darting into and crossing the roadways. 


Last year in the state of Indiana there were over 15,000 accidents involving deer.  Out of those accidents there were 366 with injuries and two fatalities.


The Indiana State Police  would like to pass along a few safety tips to help you avoid a possible collision with a deer this year.  


  • Be cautious while driving during dusk or dawn hours 

Deer are most active at dawn and dusk, but can appear at any time, especially during the mating season, which is in full swing from October through December. Please remember though that deer can appear at any time.  Ensure that you and your passengers are wearing seat belts at all times, in case you need to make a sudden stop. 

  • Pay attention to deer crossing signs

Be alert and observe your surroundings for any signs of deer while on the road. Deer are abundant in forested areas, so it’s important to drive cautiously even if you’re no longer in a deer-crossing zone.

  • Stay alert if you spot a deer

Deer tend to travel in packs so if you see one deer, slow down and proceed with caution, be prepared for more to follow.  If you see a deer, slow down, tap your brakes to warn others, or flash your lights and sound your horn to warn other motorists. It will give everyone an opportunity to slow down. 

  • Take precautions when driving at night

If there is no oncoming traffic, turn on your bright lights. You’ll not only be able to see clearer, but you’ll have a greater chance of spotting a deer from a distance and allow you to react accordingly. 

  • Don’t swerve to avoid hitting a deer

Do not swerve to avoid a deer collision. By swerving you put yourself at risk for a worse collision with another motorist or running off the roadway.  Brake firmly and stay in your lane.  

  • Report the deer-vehicle collision

If you happen to get involved in an accident, contact local authorities to report it so you can get an accident report for your insurance company.   

Remember deer are unpredictable and could dart into traffic at any time, so be alert at all times!  




Walsh recognized for Nickel Plate Music and Arts Festival efforts

The Fulton County Chamber of Commerce staff and board of directors presented Christine Walsh with the Shining Star award on October 6.


The Shining Star award is presented to an individual or business who has gone above and beyond to be a Shining Star in and for the community. Walsh was nominated for and received this award for organizing the 2nd Annual Nickel Plate Music and Arts Festival held on August 27.


A Rochester native, Walsh returned home to make a difference in her community. She envisioned hosting a festival to encourage children and families to engage in the arts and found that being the Chair of the Rochester Downtown Partnership (RDP) Promotions Committee would provide her the perfect opportunity. Along with the RDP, Walsh worked diligently with musicians and artists to organize and provide entertainment during the event, established an outstanding volunteer group to support the event, and worked with businesses and other donors to raise funds and cover the costs associated with the event. The Nickel Plate Music and Arts Festival was a very successful event, drawing hundreds to downtown Rochester.


Walsh and the Rochester Downtown Partnership are now planning Boo Fest and the 2022 Holiday Stroll.


RDP is a 501c3 nonprofit Indiana Main Street organization. If you would like to volunteer with or donate to the organization, please contact Harry Webb at 574-223-7373 or Your donation may be tax deductible.


Pictured left to right:

Tiffany Futrell, Chamber Board Member

Jillian Smith, Chamber Director

Kendra Chudzynski, Chamber Board Member

Christine Walsh

Taylor Showley, Chamber Board Member

Harry Webb, Chamber Board Member and RDP President



Fulton County Public Library awarded funds to host a 'World of Wonders' community read

Fulton County Public Library has been awarded a Community Read grant of $750 from Indiana Humanities to participate in a statewide read of Aimee Nezhukumatathil’s World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments.


A number of communities will be reading the book as part of One State / One Story: World of Wonders.


Fulton County Public Library will host three community programs tied to the book during 2022, including a book discussion. It will also receive up to 30 books and assorted materials like bookmarks and posters to promote the programs. The $750 project funds can be used for a variety of purposes, including to book speakers or host community events.


Nezhukumatathil’s collection of short essays explores the wonders of nature which defy easy depiction. She takes us through her past experiences and shares guidance she’s received from our world’s fierce and funny creatures. The axolotl teaches us to smile, even in the face of unkindness; the touch-me-not plant shows us how to shake off unwanted advances; the narwhal demonstrates how to survive in hostile environments. Even in the strange and the unlovely, Nezhukumatathil finds beauty and kinship. For it is this way with wonder: it requires that we are curious enough to look past the distractions in order to fully appreciate the world’s gifts. These lessons are further supplemented by beautiful illustrations by Fumi Mini Nakamura throughout the book.


“We are excited to have selected ‘World of Wonders’ for our third One State / One Story,” said Keira Amstutz, president and CEO of Indiana Humanities. “We think Nezhukumatathil’s beautiful and thought-provoking essays will spark conversations among Hoosiers about our natural world and our place in it.


“We love working with Indiana Humanities on projects like One State / One Story. One State / One Story gives us the opportunity to bring the community together to focus on and discuss the wonders of nature,” said Andrea Stineback, FCPL Director.


The following events are scheduled as part of the series:


Saturday, October 29, 9:00-1:00 at Snipes Tree Farm (311 W 375 N

Rochester, IN 46975)—A Walk in the Woods: Bird Watch/Nature Walk: Join us at the Snipes Tree Farm for a Bird Watch/Nature Walk with Indiana Advanced Master Naturalist Wayne Richard Pope. All ages are welcome to attend. This event will be outdoors, rain or shine, so please dress appropriately for the weather. This event is part of the library’s One State / One Story: World of Wonders series. One State / One Story: World of Wonders is presented by Indiana Humanities in partnership with the Indiana Center for the Book and the Indiana State Library.


Tuesday, November 1, 6:00 in Meeting Room B: Community Read book discussion. If you are interested in participating in the Community Read and would like to pick up a free copy of the book, stop by the Literacy Office.


Saturday, November 5, 12:00-2:00 in Meeting Rooms A & B: Nature Watercolor class with Erica Coffing: All materials provided, sign up at the library or call (574) 223-1008 for more information. No experience is necessary. Ages 16 and up.


One State / One Story: World of Wonders is an initiative designed by Indiana Humanities, in partnership with the Indiana State Library and Indiana Center for the Book, to encourage Hoosiers to read and engage deeply with a book as part of a statewide conversation tied to Indiana Humanities’ current theme. 

Fulton County Chamber of Commerce to host Women in Business


Register for this Women in Business event by November 1 by calling Kellie at 574-224-2666, emailing, or by visiting