Community News Archives for 2021-04

Periodical cicada: Be ready but fear not

Brood X cicadas will begin to emerge within the next few weeks.

Remain calm. This fascinating phenomenon is normal. And even though cicadas look gruesome, will be loud and plentiful, and can damage some young trees, they are essentially harmless.

Currently, there are 12 different broods of 17-year periodical cicadas consisting of three different species. Each brood is designated by a Roman numeral. This is the year of Brood X. Brood X covers 15 states. Indiana is also home to two annual cicada species that emerge May through August and peak in July.

Brood X nymphs will emerge when the soil temperatures about 8 inches underground reach 65 degrees. A warm rain will often proceed large-scale emergence.

“It’s thought that by emerging in such large numbers, they overwhelm would-be predators to ensure that enough of them will live long enough to reproduce and perpetuate the brood,” said Megan Abraham, director of the DNR Division of Entomology & Plant Pathology.

Male cicadas make the noise most often associated with cicadas by using a special organ called a tymbal. The purpose of the large choruses you hear is to attract females.

While cicadas can damage smaller-diameter branches of many species of trees and shrubs, treatment is not warranted in most cases. If you have a small number of newly planted trees, they can be protected by covering them with netting. More information is at

You can be a citizen scientist and report cicada emergence by downloading “Cicada Safari” on your mobile device.

With the Brood X emergence, you will eventually cicada killer wasps, which are 2-inch-long predators of cicadas. Like their scary-looking and loud prey, these beastly looking winged creatures are nothing to be alarmed about, despite their horror-movie looks.

Some people may warn you, particularly via social media, that these large wasps are murder hornets, the large insects that showed up on the northwest coast last summer. They’re not. Because of climate differences, there is little chance of murder hornets surviving in Indiana or anywhere near the Hoosier state. 

“They also don’t have the ability to get here, to our knowledge,” Abraham said.

Cicada killers attack cicadas in mid-air and use their massive, strong stingers to penetrate their shell. Once stung, their prey is paralyzed, jetted back to the nest, and eaten by the cicada killer’s offspring grub. Sometimes called cicada hawks, cicada killers are here every year.

“Once their prey disappear, so will the cicada killers,” Abraham said. “That will likely be early fall.”

Cicada killers nest in the ground by burrowing up to 20 inches below the surface. As they dig their nests, they kick up dirt, which you may see at their nest openings.

Because cicada killers live in the ground, watch where you step. Avoid signs of nests. If you step on a cicada killer, if you are not wearing shoes, you will likely get stung on the foot. And if you step near a nest and disturb its resident, you could get stung elsewhere.

Avoiding cicada killers should be relatively easy because of their size and the tell-tale clues of nest location. If you get stung, treat it as you would any other sting from a bee or wasp.

More information on cicadas is at

Lyme and Mice

April 30, 2021

Have you protected your mice from ticks yet? You may think you did not read that correctly but, yes there is a new product on the market designed to rid your local field mice of ticks without harming the furry creatures. Why would you want to do that?

Lyme disease is transmitted by the deer tick also known as the black-legged tick. Unfortunately, the name deer tick gives us the impression it hops from a deer to us. The reality is that deer are end hosts. Theoretically, if there were no deer then there would be more ticks attacking humans. The real spreaders of Lyme are the small mammals like the white-footed mouse, voles, and chipmunks. In the spring, eggs hatch out and the larva attach to these animals for the rest of the summer. The next spring is when they molt and turn into nymphs that start feeding on small mammals like dogs, mice, squirrels, and humans. They then molt again and the adult ticks go looking for deer. Adult black-legged ticks are rarely found on humans, but they do feed on dogs and cats.

Because the white-footed mouse is the preferred host, a company has developed a box that mice enter, and while in there they rub against a pad that contains the insecticide fipronil. This same chemical is used for flea and tick control on pets. The company says this new control method when used by trained applicators will control up to 97% of the ticks by the second year. This chemical is very effective as a single dose protects mice for up to 40 days.

I do not know the cost and I see only one company in Indiana that currently sells the product.

The Center for Disease Control estimates that approximately 476,000 people may get Lyme disease each year in the United States.

If using insecticides is not your thing then how about some of the other research going on where mice are genetically modified to be resistant to the disease. Before the COVID slowdown, a research collaboration between the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab started a project called, Mice Against Ticks. They proposed an experiment to release modified white-footed mice immune to Lyme disease on the islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, areas with some of the highest per capita rates of confirmed and probable Lyme disease cases in the USA. If successful, this would be a long-term solution to the disease unlike repeatedly treating mice with insecticides.

In the meantime, Purdue's recommendation is to prevent outdoor tick exposure by avoid tick-infested areas and wear protective clothing. Stay on established trails, and avoid brushing against vegetation. Wear light-colored clothing, long pants, and long-sleeved shirts so that ticks can be more easily seen. Tuck in your shirt, and pull your socks over the pant cuffs. Apply insect repellent to your shoes, socks, and pants. Effective tick repellents are those containing DEET or permethrin. Occasionally check yourself and your children for ticks, especially on the head, groin, and underarm area. Showering after coming indoors may help remove ticks that have not yet been attached to the skin.

Remember to protect your pets also. Lyme disease is worse in dogs in the Northeast US (13%) and lowest in the West (1.4%). Our area falls in between those numbers.


Mark Kepler, Extension Educator- Agriculture and Natural Resources

Purdue Cooperative Extension Service-Fulton County 1009 West Third Street, Rochester IN 46975

574 223 3397

33 year old Rochester father of two battles esophagael cancer

The community continues to show support for Rochester native Scott Davis, a 33-year-old father of two, that was diagnosed with esophagael cancer in February.


After his diagnosis, Scott, who weighed just under 100 pounds, was told surgery would not be an option. He has since been on a treatment plan of chemo and radiation and has been unable to work. 


Ensuring the Davis family is financially taken care of during their battle, the community has since come together with benefit suppers, bake sales and shirt sales.  Cash donations are always accepted. 


Donations for the Davis family can be mailed to The Cross at 100 W 3rd St, Rochester, IN 46975. Please make check or money orders payable to Scott Davis. 


Those wanting to donate directly to the family can also send money through their Venmo account which is SDavis519. 

Jurassic Quest Drive Thru Dinosaur Experience to migrate through Indianapolis

More than 70 photorealistic dinosaurs are ready to return from extinction to delight families and dino fans everywhere, as Jurassic Quest Drive Thru, the nation’s largest and most realistic dinosaur experience, will be at the Indiana State Fairgrounds and Event Center April 30-May 9.


After welcoming millions of guests to sold-out events across the country, Jurassic Quest Drive Thru will transform South Lots of the Indiana State Fairgrounds and Event Center into a fun-filled drive-thru experience complete with baby dino and trainer meet and greets, photo opportunities, a choose-your-own-audio-adventure tour and memories of epic proportions.


Jurassic Quest's herd of animatronic dinos – from the largest predators to playful baby dinos – are displayed in realistic scenes that allow guests to experience them roaring and moving as they drive through the tour.Jurassic Quest worked in collaboration with leading paleontologists to ensure each dinosaur was painstakingly replicated in every detail, from coloration to teeth size(!) to textured skin, fur or feathers, drawing on the latest research about how we understand dinosaurs and ancient giants of the sea looked and moved.Although the drive-thru experience means visitors will stay safe inside their vehicles, they’ll still need to avoid the swinging tail of the 50-foot Spinosaurus and the gigantic grinning Megalodon!  


Tickets for Jurassic Quest are just $49 per vehicle (8 people or less) and available only at An audio tour comes standard with every purchase (choose from two; special accommodations can be made for the hearing impaired) as well as a safari-style digital souvenir photo of your vehicle and family transported back in time via a Jurassic setting. Special souvenir packages and other add-ons can be purchased at check out.


Jurassic Quest Drive Thru guests now get to choose their own audio adventure! Jurassic Quest’s own Safari Sarah, Dino Dustin, Captain Caleb, Prehistoric Nick and Park Ranger Marty provide a fun-filled soundtrack for the hour-long trip back in time to help visitors navigate the dino herd and learn little-known dino facts – packed with plenty of lighthearted humor to tickle funnybones of every age (“get ready to Tricera-STOP here…”)! Visitors can opt for the original audio tour in English and Spanish or a brand-new audio adventure led by Safari Sarah with the rest of the crew serving up A BIG surprise for everyone at the end!


In addition to the life-like dinosaur exhibits, there will be opportunities to visit with one-of-a-kind baby dinosaurs and the Jurassic Quest team of dino trainers. Though no two visits are ever the same, all attendees will leave with the same bragging rights, “We Survived Jurassic Quest 2021!”


More than 2 million people have attended the Jurassic Quest Drive Thru since the national tour launched in June with stops in New York, Los Angeles, San Diego, Boston, Philadelphia, Dallas, Oklahoma City, Detroit, Atlanta, Orlando, Cincinnati, Houston and more.


Designed to be thrilling but not scary for our littlest adventurers, big or small, young or old, Jurassic Quest Drive Thru guests have a dino-mite time!



Jurassic Quest Drive Thru adventurers will need to buy tickets in advance online at Tickets are $49 per vehicle and include a 100% ticket guarantee that in the event of a show cancellation or postponement for any reason, ticket purchases will be automatically refunded for the full purchase amount. Guests must travel through the drive-thru in the comfort of their own vehicle – no rentals or golf carts will be provided, and walkers are not allowed. To ensure participant safety, all guests must ride inside their vehicles (yes, pets inside vehicles are allowed), no riders in truck beds, however. Trailers are also not allowed – we’re worried they might tempt the hungry dinos too much! Oversized vehicles and vehicles with 9 or more riders are permitted but must contact Customer Service,, for pricing and scheduling. A full list of Frequently Asked Questions can be found online at

Rochester Realty celebrates recent opening, newly remodeled office

The Fulton County Chamber of Commerce staff and board of directors celebrated the opening of Rochester Realty with a ribbon cutting on April 21.


Co-owners Susan Goble Morris, Lori Roberts, and Gwen Hornstein, with a combined 50+ years’ experience, launched Rochester Realty on January 1 and are pleased to welcome the public to their newly remodeled office located at 423 East 9th Street in Rochester.


“With their knowledge of the Fulton County area and their real estate expertise,” Chamber Executive Director Jillian Smith states, “Rochester is privileged to have Susan, Lori, and Gwen serving in our community.”


Rochester Realty is currently accepting new clients looking to buy or sell real estate property. Interested individuals may stop by the office located at 423 East 9th Street Monday thru Friday 10:00 am-4:00pm or call 574-223-7325 to schedule an appointment.

Virtual public hearing tonight hosted by Indiana Citizens Redistricting Commission

Tonight, Indiana residents are invited to attend and testify on what they think of their current voting districts and what they would like to see in new districts. The testimony will be collected in the first statewide public hearing of the Indiana Citizens Redistricting Commission (ICRC), a diverse and multi-partisan group of Indiana voters that the redistricting coalition, All IN for Democracy, has assembled to serve as a model for how redistricting should be conducted. 


The statewide virtual public hearing comes after the ICRC held hearings in every congressional district in the state. This is an opportunity for Hoosiers who were not able to make the congressional district hearings to make their voice heard. Commission members will discuss their preliminary findings and give voters another opportunity to weigh in on this important issue.


The public testimony will be included in a report to the Indiana General Assembly and will set the parameters for a public mapping competition for a statewide map of community-focused districts. The ICRC’s goal is to show the state legislators who are in charge of redistricting how a transparent and nonpartisan process results in maps that better reflect community interests.


“From Gary to Evansville, we’ve heard from voters who are frustrated by districts that were drawn in 2011 to serve the interests of politicians, not voters” said Julia Vaughn, policy director of Common Cause Indiana and leader of All IN for Democracy. “We’re getting a loud and clear message from the grassroots that people want the public interest to drive redistricting this time around.”


“The ICRC will show that a politically balanced group of citizens working transparently and in cooperation with citizens can devise districts that will serve the public interest, not the interests of politicians,” Vaughn continued. “We need more people involved in the conversation. If the legislature won’t draw fair maps, we will.”


Like most states, Indiana puts the state legislature in charge of redistricting. Since legislators draw the statehouse and Congressional district maps, they gerrymander districts to choose voters they already know will vote for them and exclude those who will vote against them. After the 2020 census data is released this fall, legislators will draw and adopt new districts that will be used for the next decade. 


“Gerrymandering is the reason so many Indiana elected officials run unopposed, and why so many Indiana voters never cast a ballot,” Vaughn said. “Community members feel ignored and underserved. This is our once-in-a-decade opportunity for citizens to act. We want more competitive districts where every vote counts and every voice is heard.”


Indiana Citizens Redistricting Commission Statewide Virtual Public Hearing

WHO: Indiana Citizens Redistricting Commission


WHAT: A virtual statewide meeting to take public testimony about what Hoosier voters want from their new Congressional and state legislative districts.  


WHEN: Thursday April 22, 2021 at 7:30pm ET

HOW: Register for the Zoom webinar here,


USDA issues pandemic flexibilities for schools and day care facilities through June 2022

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued a broad range of flexibilities to allow school meal programs and childcare institutions across the country to return to serving healthy meals in fall 2021 as part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to reopen schools safely.


Several meal service flexibilities that enable social distancing are now extended through June 30, 2022. The waivers continue the Administration’s commitment to provide safe, healthy meals free of charge to children as the pandemic continues to threaten the food and nutrition security of our most vulnerable.


“USDA will remain relentless in ensuring our nation’s children get the critical nutrition they need,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “States and districts wanted waivers extended to plan for safe reopening in the fall. USDA answered the call to help America’s schools and childcare institutions serve high quality meals while being responsive to their local needs as children safely return to their regular routines. This action also increases the reimbursement rate to school meal operators so they can serve healthy foods to our kids. It’s a win-win for kids, parents and schools.”

A recent study from Tufts University found that in 2018, schools were the single healthiest source of U.S. food consumed across a sample of children and adults. The 2018 study found that diet quality for foods from schools improved significantly from a similar study conducted in 2003-2004.


Schools nationwide will be allowed to serve meals through USDA’s National School Lunch Program Seamless Summer Option (SSO), which is typically only available during the summer months. This option maintains the nutrition standards of the standard school meal programs – including a strong emphasis on providing fruits and vegetables, fluid milk, whole grains, and sensible calorie levels, while allowing schools to serve free meals to all children. In addition, schools that choose this option will receive higher-than-normal meal reimbursements for every meal they serve, which will support them in serving the most nutritious meals possible while managing increased costs associated with pandemic-related operational and supply chain challenges. This option also affords schools the financial flexibility to further customize their meal service design to fit their local needs.


“Students’ success in the classroom goes hand in hand with their ability to access basic needs like healthy and nutritious meals,” said Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “It’s critical that our efforts to reopen schools quickly and safely include programs that provide access to free, healthy meals for our most vulnerable students, particularly those whose communities have been hardest hit by the pandemic. This program will ensure more students, regardless of their educational setting, can access free, healthy meals as more schools reopen their doors for in-person learning.”


USDA will continue to offer targeted meal pattern flexibility and technical assistance as needed. In addition, schools and both child and adult care institutions can continue providing breakfasts, lunches, and after school snacks in non-group settings at flexible meal times. Parents or guardians can also pick up meals for their children when programs are not operating normally, all while maintaining social distancing consistent with federal recommendations.


Up to 12 million children are currently living in households where they may not always have enough to eat during the pandemic. During the past year, America’s schools and childcare centers have provided a nutrition lifeline for children across the country, many of whom depend on USDA’s child nutrition programs for the nourishment they need to grow and thrive. Some kids rely on these programs for as many as three?meals a day, underscoring how essential it is for USDA to empower schools and childcare centers to continue their dedicated efforts to serve healthy meals, safely.

U.S. 30 to be resurfaced from Donaldson to Plymouth

The Indiana Department of Transportation announces lane closures for U.S. 30 between Union Rd and Oak Dr beginning Friday, April 23 for a resurfacing project. 


Work will begin with pipe and inlet structure clean-out and asphalt and concrete patching. The right driving lanes will be closed in both directions during phase one of the project. Lane closures will alternate through the life of the project so motorists should be prepared for changing traffic patterns in the area. 


The project is expected to be completed in late-October, 2021.

Habitat for Humanity receives FCCF grant

Fulton County Habitat for Humanity received a $9,500 grant from the Fulton County Community Foundation to remove a fire damaged home in Rochester. The home, located at 1016 Monroe Street, was recently donated to Habitat for Humanity to be used in a future home build. With the grant, Habitat for Humanity will remove the home and prepare the lot to be used for a future Habitat home.


Fulton County Habitat for Humanity was established in 1998. Since that time, they have constructed homes for 16 familiesin Fulton County. They are currently working with their 17th family.


Habitat works to build strength, stability, and self-reliance in partnership with families in need of decent and affordable housing. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage.

Indiana General Assembly approves funding to extend relief for entrepreneurs & small businesses

Governor Eric J. Holcomb announced a significant expansion of the Indiana Small Business Restart Grant that will add $60 million to the program, tripling the total allocation, and allow small businesses to seek reimbursement for eligible expenses incurred between March 1, 2020, and May 1, 2021. 

The program, which was first announced in May 2020, is designed to accelerate the speed of economic recovery by providing working capital to Indiana's entrepreneurs and small business owners. The state issued $34.5 million in grants through the first iteration of the program and is now adding another $60 million in federal dollars made available through the CARES Act and approved for allocation by the Indiana General Assembly. 

“I’m grateful to the Indiana General Assembly for their supportive collaboration that made it possible to extend this program for Hoosier entrepreneurs," said Gov. Holcomb. "The Small Business Restart Grant program has already done a tremendous amount to get small businesses back on track, and this extended relief funding will continue accelerating our economy’s recovery.”

Small businesses that meet the eligibility requirements can apply for reimbursement of qualified business expenses incurred at their Indiana operations between March 1, 2020, and May 1, 2021. These qualified expenses include payroll – which may be reimbursed up to 100% – and non-payroll expenses, such as insurance premiums, rent or mortgage payments, utilities, lease payments, food delivery software service payments, and safety investments – which may be reimbursed up to 80%. 

Reimbursements may be awarded up to $10,000 for each month, but may not exceed $50,000 over a 12-month period. Businesses that have already received Small Business Restart Grants, but have not reached the maximum reimbursements, may re-apply and submit new expenses (that have not already been reimbursed through the program) for reimbursement. 

Registered Indiana businesses must: 

  • Have been established prior to Oct. 1, 2019;
  • Be registered to operate in Indiana, except sole proprietors, and must be seeking reimbursement for expenses related to their Indiana operations;
  • Be in good standing with the Indiana Department of Revenue (DOR) or have a DOR-approved payment plan;  
  • Have had fewer than 100 full-time employees as of Dec. 31, 2019;
  • Have been profitable in 2019 (determined by EBITDA) and have had less than $10 million (Gross Receipts or Sales) in revenue in 2019; and
  • Demonstrate a monthly gross revenue loss of at least 30% compared to pre-COVID-19 revenues (average monthly revenue in 2019).

The application, along with additional details and instruction, is available at Eligible small businesses may apply until Dec. 31, 2021, but are encouraged to apply and submit expenses for reimbursement as soon as possible, as grants will be issued in the order they are received until funding is exhausted. 

About the Indiana Small Business Restart Grant
The Indiana Small Business Restart Grant was initially announced in May 2020. The program, which, until now, reimbursed expenses incurred before Dec. 31, 2020, has already provided $34.5 million in grants to 1,644 small businesses in 85 counties across Indiana. Of the 1,644 small businesses that were issued grants, 190 are certified minority-owned and women-owned businesses (11.5%). 

For more information on support, resources and funding available to Hoosier entrepreneurs and small businesses, visit