Community News Archives for 2021-08

Road closure planned for S.R. 25 seal coating operation

The Indiana Department of Transportation announces a seal coating operation for State Road 25 between Chase Rd and State Road 16 beginning on or after Monday, August 30. 


There will be soft road closure of State Road 25 in this location, with local access maintained through traffic control. Motorists should expect delays in the area or seek an alternate route using other state roads. The official detour will follow State Road 16 and State Road 17. 


This work should take approximately four days, but the schedule is weather dependent and subject to change. INDOT urges drivers to stay alert near crews and follow traffic directions carefully. Motorists are encouraged to allow extra time when driving through this area and should slow down and drive distraction-free through all work zones.

Efforts underway to install Safe Haven Baby Box in Rochester

The Knights of Columbus Council 5584 of St. Joseph Church in Rochester is leading an initiative to have a Safe Haven Baby Box installed at the fire department located at 2006 East State Road 14 in Rochester.


The purpose of the box is to help prevent the illegal and potentially deadly abandonment of infants by raising awareness of the Indiana Safe Haven Law and resources for mothers in crisis. It will be the 74th box in Indiana and the first in Fulton County.


Since April 2016, when the first box was installed, there have not been any infant deaths due to abandonment in the state.


Per the website, “The Indiana Safe Haven Law enables a person to give up an unwanted infant anonymously without fear of arrest or prosecution.As long as there are no signs of intentional abuse on the baby, no information is required of the person leaving the baby. Any knowledge of the date of birth, race, parent medical history, child's health or anything that would be useful to the child's caregiver would be greatly appreciated.”


Safe Haven Baby Box founder, Monica Kelsey, was abandoned as an infant. It is her mission to raise awareness of Safe Haven Laws and provide baby boxes to enable the anonymous surrender of an infant. Kelsey currently lives in Indiana and is a retired firefighter and medic.


How a Baby Box Works

The Safe Haven Baby Box is a safety device that legally permits a motherto surrender her newborn safely, securely and anonymously. The box will be installed in an exterior wall of the fire department. Once a parent opens the exterior door to the baby box, a silent alarm is triggered, and a call goes to police dispatch. After the parent places the newborn into the bassinet inside of the box, a second silent alarm triggers a second alert to dispatch. The parent can push a button or simply close the door which will set off a third alarm and call to dispatch. The exterior door automatically locks, while an interior door allows a medical staff member to safely secure the surrendered newborn. The child is then evaluated and taken to the hospital. The Indiana Department of Child Services will take the baby into custody and Child Protective Services will place the infant with a caregiver.


Safe Haven Crisis Hotline

The Safe Haven Crisis Hotline, 1-866-99BABY1,will be prominently displayed on the Safe Haven Baby Box. The hotline provides 24-hour dedicated emergency counseling and support for parents in crisis. The hotline has received over 5,000 calls from every state in America, referred over 500 women to crisis pregnancy centers, assisted in seven adoption referrals, and saved 100 babies by enabling legal Safe Haven surrenders.


Fundraising Support Needed

The Knights of Columbus from St. Joseph Catholic Church in Rochester has applied for grants and is seeking the community’s assistance to raise the funds to cover the installation and ongoing expenses related to the baby box. The initial cost is $15,000 and includes the purchase of the Safe Haven Baby Box; labor to install the box, electricity and alarm; and training for emergency personnel. Ongoing expenses estimated at $500 a year include the annual recertification of the box, maintenance, and alarm monitoring service fee. To date, the Knights of Columbus has secured $5,000 in funding via a $2,500 grant from REMC and fundraising efforts. Businesses and individuals are invited to make a tax-deductible contribution to the cause online at or by mailing a check to 2296 Sycamore Drive, Rochester, IN 46975. Checks should be made payable to K of C Baby Box.


“The Safe Haven Baby Box is a way for our community to come together to prevent the dangerous abandonment of children. Working together, we can provide this important resource and access to the crisis hotline for local mothers in crisis,” said Andrew “Ike” Halaschak, who is leading the fundraising effort.

Crop report takeaway: 'Indiana crop production doing very well'

Purdue College of Agriculture and Extension and United States Department of Agriculture experts gathered at the Indiana State Fair on Thursday (Aug. 12) to discuss the results of the 2021 USDA crop report and the current status of Indiana’s major cash crops.

Jason Henderson, director of Purdue Extension and senior associate dean of the Purdue College of Agriculture, moderated the discussion among panelists. Panelists were Nathanial Warenski, state statistician of the USDA, NASS, Indiana field office; Dan Quinn, Purdue assistant professor of agronomy and new extension corn specialist; Shaun Casteel, Purdue associate professor of agronomy and extension soybean and small grains specialist; Beth Hall, Indiana State Climatologist; and Jim Mintert, Purdue professor of agricultural economics and director of the Purdue Center for Commercial Agriculture. 

Indiana corn production is forecasted to reach 1.02 billion bushels this year, which would be a 3.7 % increase from 2020 production. The expected yield is up 3.7% from 2020 at 194 bushels per acre. As of Aug. 1, corn condition was rated 76% good to excellent.

“Indiana corn looks good to great and we hope to keep this trend to finish strong. A few things that stood out to me include disease, specifically tar spot and corn rust, and past saturated conditions that could potentially impact the yield,” Quinn said.

Soybean yield is projected to reach 60 bushels per acre, compared to 58 bushels per acre in 2020. As of Aug. 1, soybean condition was rated 72% good to excellent.

“In terms of the soybeans, this season has been anything but normal. We’ve had wet and drought conditions, affecting the root systems and causing disease. The next 35 days are critical for yield development,” Casteel said.

The panel also discussed the crop market, trade and potential impacts from wildfires.

“We have started seeing some of the impacts of the wildfires, including traveling smoke, which is effective at blocking sunlight,” Hall said.

Mintert said, “Today’s report was a bit of surprise when looking at USDA estimates versus trade. This will be a very positive crop year in terms of income and does lead us to expect positive impacts on cash-rent.”

Henderson ended the discussion by observing: “The main takeaway from this report is that Indiana crop production is doing very well. Other areas of the nation weren’t so fortunate, which will potentially open up market opportunities for Indiana farmers.”

The USDA August Crop Report is available online.

Pierceton, Star City photographers among Indiana Agriculture photo contest winners

Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch and the Indiana State Department of Agriculture announced the winners of the 2021 Indiana Agriculture photo contest. The winning photographs will be displayed in the lieutenant governor’s Family of Business office in Indianapolis.


“As I travel across our state I am always awestruck by the beauty of our state’s agricultural landscape from round barns to wildlife and so much more,” Crouch said. “These photos are a wonderful addition to my business office’s walls and serve as a wonderful reminder of the strength and beauty of Indiana agriculture.”


The winning photos were chosen from hundreds of entries in the following four categories: Agritourism, Conservation, Faces of Agriculture and On the Farm. Two winners were selected from each category, along with two winners overall.


To be considered, the photo had to be taken in the state by an Indiana resident. The photos were evaluated by a panel of independent judges based on creativity, composition and category representation.


“I am so grateful for each of the photographers who submitted their photos in this year’s contest,” said Bruce Kettler, director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture. “Each of the submissions truly captured the essence of rural life and the important role agriculture plays in our state. Thank you for using your talent to showcase Indiana’s agriculture industry.”


The following list includes the photo contest winners for 2021:

Agritourism Category

  • “Pollination” by Amber Beams from Roachdale
  • “Magical Midway” by Jenise Stewart from Nabb

Conservation Category

  • “Last Light” by Sarah Greene from Loogootee
  • “The Coneflower Bee” by Sarah Sands from Pierceton

Faces of Agriculture Category

  • “4-H” by Andi Pollert from Seymour
  • “Farmer Frank” by Beth Legge from Moores Hill

On the Farm Category

  • “Among the Flowers” by Cecile Dreyer from Sellersburg
  • “Bushels of Fire” by Tom Jones from Star City

Overall Category

  • “Nature’s Unicorn” by Kyle Doles from Indianapolis
  • “Newborn” by Ross Waitt from Sheridan

Troopers focus on Back to School safety

As the summer break comes to an end, students across  Indiana are starting their return back to school next week.  With that return to school, the Indiana State Police would remind all motorists to be focused on traffic safety during morning and afternoon commutes.

Motorists should be prepared to experience an increased amount of school bus traffic and pedestrian children walking to and from their bus stops and schools during the early morning and mid-afternoon hours. Motorists should plan your commutes accordingly to allow for extended travel time during these periods. Special attention should be given to the posted reduced School Zone speed limits, and for school buses regularly stopping or standing to load or unload students. Children are often unpredictable and may dart out in front of vehicular traffic unexpectedly!

Indiana traffic law requires motorists to the operate in a safe and responsible manner when approaching a stopped or standing school bus according to the following rules:

  • When approaching a school bus from any direction, which is stopped and has its red lights flashing and stop arm extended, motorists are required to STOP, even on multiple lane highways where there is no barrier or median separating lanes of traffic.
  • Motorists on a highway that is divided by a barrier, such as cable barrier, concrete wall, or grassy median, are required to stop only if they are traveling in the same direction as the school bus.
  • Always be prepared to stop for a school bus and watch for children. Children are unpredictable. Not only is disregarding a school bus stop arm dangerous, it is a serious offense.

The Indiana State Police is committed to the safety of our children by keeping Indiana’s roadways safer through education and enforcement patrols.  Please join us by doing your part to make travel on our Indiana roadways safer for all Hoosier students throughout the school year.