Community News Archives for 2020-07

2020 Women's Giving Circle Grant Application due August 28

New this year, the Fulton County Community Foundation is accepting video grant applications for the Women’s Giving Circle grants. Videos applications should be 3-5 minutes in length and provide information about the organization and project.


For ideas on how to conduct your video application, there is a tips video at


The video application and budget page must be submitted by August 28, 2020 deadline. Grant finalist videos will be shown during the Women’s Giving Circle Virtual Grant Event on September 15 with awards announced on September 22.


To submit the application, head to If you need assistance, contact Brian Johnson at 574-224-3223 or

Section of SR 218 in Cass County Thursday

State Road 218 in Cass County will be closed between E C.R. 600 S and Miami County Line Rd beginning Thursday, July 30.


The road will be closed for a bridge replacement.


The closure is expected to continue through mid-September, 2020.

Governor Holcomb directs flags to be flown at half-staff for Joe Kernan

Governor Eric J. Holcomb is directing flags statewide to be flown at half-staff to honor former Governor Joe Kernan.


Flags should be flown at half-staff from now until sunset on Wednesday, August 5.


Gov. Holcomb also asks businesses and residents across the state to lower their flags to half-staff to honor former Gov. Kernan and his service.

Counterfeit money being used around Rochester

Anyone coming into contact with $100's, $50's or $20's containing Chinese letters or symbols should beware, it's not real currency. 


The money is said to pass all tests and is only identified at the bank. The bills have been seen in multiple locations throughout the area, including the Rochester McDonald's. 


The Rochester Police Department advised if you come across a suspicious bill you should contact your local law enforcement. 

One Eyed Jack's closed after employee tests positive for Covid

With guidance from the Pulaski County Health Department, One Eyed Jack's in Winamac will be closed until July 31, after an employee's COVID-19 test results came back postive on Tuesday, July 21. 


The business owners say they just want to do what's right for their staff, customers and families. 


It was noted that the employee that had tested postive had not worked since Friday, July 17. One Eyed Jack's will ensure all employees are healthy before reopening. 




INDOT project on SR 8 in Starke County this week

State Road 8 in LaPorte/Starke Counties will be closed for seal coating between U.S. 421 and State Road 39 starting today ((Monday, July 13.))


Seal coating is expected to be finished in about three days, depending upon weather conditions.


During the operation only local traffic will have access.

Bremen trooper reaches career milestone

The career of an Indiana State Trooper is a journey that can span decades serving the citizens of Indiana. Master Trooper Brooks Shirk has hit a career milestone of serving for twenty-five years. 


Shirk is a graduate of the 52nd Indiana State Police Recruit Academy that graduated June 4, 1995.


Master Trooper Brooks Shirk has spent his entire career serving at the Indiana State Bremen Post.  Shirk has also spent his entire career serving the citizens in Kosciusko County.  He has served on the Tactical Intervention Platoon (TIP) and sent time in investigations as well as assisting the Bremen District in Marijuana Eradication efforts.

USDA reminds Indiana producers to complete crop acreage reports

USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) reminds Indiana producers to complete crop acreage reports by the applicable deadline for their county. Acreage reporting dates vary by crop and by county. Contact your FSA county office for a list of acreage reporting deadlines by crop.


“To make sure you’re eligible for many USDA programs, you need to file an accurate crop acreage report by the applicable deadline,” said Steven Brown, State Executive Director in Indiana. “Our FSA staff is standing by to help you with your acreage reports, including providing maps.”


The following acreage reporting dates are applicable in Indiana:


July 15, 2020     

All other crops, Perennial Forage and Cucumbers (Planted 5/10 to 6/15 in all Indiana counties)                     


August 15, 2020                    

Cucumbers (Planted 6/16 to 8/5 in Fulton, LaPorte, Porter and St Joseph counties)


September 15, 2020               

Cucumbers (Planted 6/16 to 8/15) in Knox County)


Due to the pandemic, FSA has implemented acreage reporting flexibilities. FSA can work with producers to file timely acreage reports by phone, email, online tools and virtual meetings. Some FSA offices are open for in-person appointments, but you must call first to make an appointment. [BC-FST1] 


FSA county offices in Indiana provided maps to producers along with instructions for completing and returning the maps through either mail, email or through commercially available free and secure online tools such as Box for file sharing and OneSpan for eSignature solutions. After planting is complete, producers must return the signed form certifying their acreage report to the FSA office through mail, email or the Box and OneSpan tools bythe applicable acreage reporting date.


After completed maps and all acreage reporting information is received, FSA will make software updates andsend producers the completed Report of Acreage form (FSA-578) to sign. Producers must return the signed form certifying their acreage report to the FSA office through mail, email, or Box by the applicable acreage reporting date.


The following exceptions apply to acreage reporting dates:


  • If the crop has not been planted by the acreage reporting date, the acreage must be reported no later than 15 calendar days after planting is completed.


  • If a producer has not timely filed an acreage report, the producer may file the acreage report within 30 days of the acreage reporting date. Because of the pandemic, late fees will be waived if filed within the 30 days.


FSA is also providing additional flexibilities for producers to file on acres with failed crops or crops that were prevented from planting because of extreme weather events. For insured crops, producers who timely filed a prevented planted claim with the reinsurance company but filed a Notice of Loss (CCC-576) form after the deadline will be considered timely filed for FSA purposes. For uninsured crops, producers may start a Notice of Loss by calling their FSA county office.


Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) policy holders should note that the acreage reporting date for NAP-covered crops is the earlier of the dates listed above or 15 calendar days before grazing or harvesting of the crop begins.


When producers are working with FSA staff – either in-person or virtually – they can also take care of applications for other FSA programs, including the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. A CFAP Call Center is available for producers who would like additional one-on-one support with the CFAP application process. Please call 877-508-8364 to speak directly with a USDA employee ready to offer assistance. The CFAP Call Center can provide service to non-English speaking customers. Customers will select 1 for English and 2 to speak with a Spanish speaking employee. For other languages, customers select 1 and indicate their language to the Call Center staff.


Applications can also be submitted for the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus for 2018 and 2019 as well as other disaster assistance programs that may be able to assist producers at this time.


For questions, please callyour FSA county office. To locate your local FSA office visit


All USDA Service Centers are open for business, including some that are open to visitors to conduct business in person by appointment only. All Service Center visitors wishing to conduct business with FSA, Natural Resources Conservation Service or any other Service Center agency should call ahead and schedule an appointment. Service Centers that are open for appointments will pre-screen visitors based on health concerns or recent travel and visitors must adhere to social distancing guidelines. Visitors may also be required to wear a face covering during their appointment. Field work will continue with appropriate social distancing. Our program delivery staff will be in the office, and they will be working with our producers in office, by phone and using online tools. More information can be found at



Fulton County Relief Radiothon raised $13,500

The Fulton County Community Foundation (FCCF) hosted its first ever Radiothon with WROI Giant FM. The Fulton County Relief Radiothon was a 12-hour event that raised funds to help those affected by COVID-19.


The radio program partnered with local agencies within the community to talk about the services they are providing during this unprecedented time. 100% of these donations will address the community needs related to the Coronavirus pandemic.


Generous donors raised $8,500 for the Fulton County Emergency Relief Fund. $5,000 in matching funds were provided by the Community Foundation bringing the event total to $13,500. Thank you to all who donated their time and efforts.


There is still time to donate to the Emergency Relief Fund, individuals can contribute by going online to the Northern Indiana Community Foundation Website at and selecting to donate to the Fulton County Emergency Relief Fund to or mail a check to NICF P.O. Box 807 227 East 9th St. Rochester, IN 46975. Just add “FC Relief Fund” to the subject line.


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

Fireworks to be displayed at state parks

The public can watch fireworks at several Indiana State Park properties in recognition of Independence Day. Standard gate fees of $7 for in-state vehicles and $9 for out-of-state vehicles will apply for admission throughout the day at each site.


Social distancing is expected when visiting state park properties, and masks are recommended. Please enjoy your visit responsibly for the safety of other guests and DNR staff. Personal fireworks are prohibited at Indiana State Parks.


In the days before each event, watch individual state park Facebook pages for any updates or changes based on weather.


Sites currently scheduled to host fireworks shows and viewing are:


Clifty Falls State Park

The City of Madison’s fireworks, scheduled for July 4 at 10 p.m., can be viewed from Clifty Falls State Park. Additionally, Clifty Inn will host a viewing area for inn guests.


Patoka Lake

Enjoy the 15th annual “Thunder Over Patoka” fireworks display at Patoka Lake Beach on July 4. Fireworks will start around 10 p.m. Bring family and friends, lawn chairs, and blankets. The beach will be the primary viewing area.

Expect increased traffic. Anyone planning to attend the fireworks should plan to arrive early to the property and beach area. The staff recommends spending the entire day at Patoka Lake to ensure getting in for the show. While there, visit the Nature Center, have a family picnic, play a round of disc golf and enjoy the beach. Parking spots will be limited, and staff expects to meet parking capacity. Once that happens, vehicles will be let into Newtown-Stewart State Recreation Area, one by one, only as another vehicle leaves.

Campers who leave through the entrance gate anytime on July 4 should expect that they may not be able to re-enter the property very quickly. A special viewing section has been set up for fireworks viewing in the modern campground’s section C. If viewing fireworks from the beach, campers should follow the path past the camp store to the beach instead of driving. This will allow vehicle traffic at the beach for those entering the property on the day of the fireworks.


Pokagon State Park

The July 4 fireworks display presented on Lake James by the Lake James Association is currently continuing as planned; however, the traditional guest shuttle service will not be offered this year due to social distancing requirements. Fireworks will begin at approximately 9:30 p.m.

Guests may park in designated paved lots throughout the park. Pokagon will provide a drop off only lane at the inn, but vehicles cannot be left at that location, and shuttles will not run to the parking lots. Guests are asked to please plan accordingly.


Raccoon SRA (Cecil M. Harden Lake)

Raccoon SRA’s fireworks show is scheduled for July 4 at 10 p.m., sponsored and provided by the Raccoon Lake Homeowners Association. The Bellmore Fire Department contracts the pyrotechnics company, and they will be collecting free-will donations in lieu of gate entrance fees from 4 to 10 p.m. The beach will serve as the primary viewing venue.


Postponed and canceled events

  • Versailles State Park’s fireworks show is scheduled for July 11 at 9:30 p.m
  • Monroe Lake’s will host its fireworks on Sept. 6, the Sunday of Labor Day weekend.
  • Fireworks at Indiana Dunes State Park and Mississinewa Lake have been canceled for this year.

Adding light to the darkness during the pandemic

Rochester's North Main St is adding art to the community with help from local artists, volunteers and donations. 


Located between the Record Farm and former Thread Shed, the brightly painted platform is already turning heads. Started spontaneously by Christine Walsh and self-funded during the Covid-19 shutdown, Walsh approached property owner Ruth Gunter about cleaning up the platform and giving it some color. The idea expanded into creating a tropical mural on the south side of the building, expanding horizons for Gunter's love of the arts. 



The mural will feature flowers, vines, endangered animals that they can be used for interactive photos and more. Local painter Erica Coffing is among the many other volunteers helping. 


Although the art piece is an independent project, Walsh is also the Rochester Downtown Partnership's Director of Promotions and is very passionate about bringing more art to Rochester. 


She says adding more public art to the community will not only beautify the town but also help with economic vitality. 


Anyone interested in getting involved in volunteering, ideas, donations or support can contact Christine at