Community News Archives for 2023-04

Fulton County Sheriff's Office collects dozens of pounds of drugs on Take Back Day

The Fulton County Sheriff’s Office collected approximately 160 pounds of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs for destruction during the nationwide prescription “Take-Back” on April 22.


The Fulton County Sheriff’s Office partnered with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in the initiative to help prevent increased pill abuse and theft.


As a reminder, prescription drugs are collected all year long at the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office in the Drug Free Fulton County collection box. The box provides residents with a safe and environmentally responsible way to dispose of unwanted, unused, or expired medication.

Student artwork for Banner Competition finalists for Rochester Community Schools at the Fulton County Public Library

Student artwork is now on display for Banner Competition Finalists for Rochester Community Schools at the Fulton County Public Library - Rochester Branch


The display runs through May 23.


Psi Iota Xi (Eta Mu Chapter) and Honeywell Arts and Entertainment sponsored the annual Banner Competition again this year in Fulton County. The theme was "It's Movie Night" in honor of the reopening of the Times Theater.


Students of all ages were tasked with creating a banner to visually communicate this theme and then the finalists were chosen.


The folowing are students whose work is on display.


Amelia Bahney

Audrey Guard

Ava Thomas

Brock Bowers

Camden Zink

Chris Rohr

Elijah Kroledge

Ella Roe

Everett Horvath

Grace Hiroms

Hailey Howell

Hank Hardesty

Harper Heyde

Jacob Schlosser

Jasmine Thiry

Katelyn Conliff

Kaylee Owens

Kellen House

Kylah Towell

Leah Rensberger

Liberty Fox

Lillian Straeter

Mackenzie Widman

MadiLynn (Easton) Coble

Madison G. Miller

Madyson Miller

Mitchell Clark

Norah Bailey

Phoenix Gunter

Raelynn Gibbs

Selena Stahl

Simranpreet Kaur

Stephanie Ann Miller

Sydney Bauman

Trinity Baine Howdeshell

Una Stojanovic

The Indiana Destination Development Corporation launches Home Again Campaign

The Indiana Destination Development Corporation (IDDC) in partnership with the Indiana Association of Realtors, is excited to announce the launch of their new "Home Again IN Indiana" campaign.


The campaign seeks to celebrate Hoosier pride by sharing the stories of those who were born and raised in Indiana and, after moving away, chose to return.


"Indiana has a strong sense of community, and many Hoosiers have a deep connection to the state that brings them back home," said Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch. “We want to showcase those stories and inspire others to see all that Indiana has to offer."


Home Again Hoosiers credit Indiana's deep community values, the lively downtowns, locally owned businesses and so much more for drawing them back to Indiana. After moving back to Indiana, Home Again Hoosiers found the impact they can make in their communities to be overwhelmingly fulfilling. From business to civic, to culinary arts and hospitality, Home Again Hoosiers draw on their passions to become a part of their communities and improve them while doing so. "We believe that Indiana is a wonderful place to call home, and we're thrilled to showcase people who have returned to Indiana and the reasons why they love it here," said IDDC Secretary and CEO Elaine Bedel. "We want to hear from Hoosiers who have experienced life in other states or countries and have returned to Indiana."


To learn more about the "Home Again IN Indiana" campaign and to share your story, click here.


Follow Visit Indiana on social media at @VisitIndiana on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

Spring primary early voting starts Saturday

Early voting for the spring primary in Fulton County starts Saturday.


Hours on Saturday, April 22, and the following Saturday, April 29, will be 8 a.m. - 3 p.m. here at the Fulton County Courthouse and at the Rochester Community Center. 


Early voting at the Courthouse will be Monday - Friday,  8 a.m. - 4 p.m. Also, Monday May 1, 8 a.m. - noon.


Election Day voting will be 6 a.m. - 6 p.m. It will only take place at the Rochester Community Center.

Fulton County Animal Center to take part in Empty the Shelter event in May

The Fulton County Animal Center will join a number of animal shelters across Indiana participating in the national 'Empty the Shelter" event.


The event encourages pet adoptions by reducing fees.


The BISSELL Pet Foundation will sponsor reduced adoption fees or $50 or less

May 1 - 15.


You should contact individual sites for their adoption requirements.

National Lineworker Appreciation Day illuminates the people behind the power

For lineworkers, weathering the storm is just another day on the job. On Tuesday, Duke Energy celebrates National Lineworker Appreciation Day – an acknowledgement of the challenging work of utility lineworkers nationwide who are committed to keeping the lights on and readying the grid for a low-carbon future.

Line teams support daily customer needs as well as projects that will help modernize and strengthen the grid to improve reliability and resiliency, enable the connection of more renewables and help protect it from cybersecurity and physical threats.

Lineworkers also perform the work that they’ve become known for – ensuring power flows to vital infrastructure such as hospitals and water treatment facilities and to everyday home conveniences – always keeping safety top of mind. Through lightning, wind, ice, and even extreme heat and cold, they diligently perform hands-on work through high-stress situations and the aftermath to serve customers.

“Our line teams are the calm before, during and after a storm. They maintain our systems and serve our communities in their greatest time of need – going head-to-head with storms and emergencies to deliver safe and reliable service,” said Scott Batson, senior vice president and chief distribution officer at Duke Energy. “Being a lineworker isn’t for everyone, but it’s certainly a job that impacts everyone.”

Ten years after the U.S. Senate passed a resolution in 2013 designating April 18 as National Lineworker Appreciation Day, the role of lineworkers is more important than ever before – in maintaining and growing energy infrastructure, protecting public safety and making sure communities have power.

“Our lineworkers continue to do the important work of ‘keeping the lights on’ – whether it’s our transmission techs working on high-voltage transmission lines that carry electricity from power plants or our distribution techs working on the lines that carry power to homes and businesses,” said Harry Sideris, executive vice president of customer experience, solutions and services for Duke Energy. “I’m proud that our line teams prioritize safety and taking care of our customers and of each other.”

The more than 7,700 Duke Energy and contract lineworkers who make up the Duke Energy line team are responsible for constructing, operating and maintaining equipment and more than 300,000 miles of power lines in Duke Energy’s service territories – enough to circle the Earth 12 times.

As Duke Energy continues to launch new grid and infrastructure improvement projects to modernize, harden and technologically advance the power grid, the need for skilled workers – especially entry-level lineworkers – is also on the upswing. Lineworkers play an integral role in a more efficient, more reliable digital grid.

The company’s lineworker hiring strategy is transforming to fast-track and hire more aggressively, collaborate with community colleges to identify lineworker talent, shorten new hire onboarding process and deploy new hires more rapidly.

“It’s a great time to be working in energy – and we’re fortunate to be able to source great talent through community colleges,” said Batson. “Individuals who fill these roles join our other lineworkers as ambassadors for the company when they’re in the field.”

Over the past six years, Duke Energy and its Foundation have provided more than $2.8 million in funding to support lineworker programs in states where the company operates.

Fulton County Chamber of Commerce receives NCI-AHEC Partnership Matters Award

The North Central Indiana Area Health Education Center (NCI-AHEC) recognized the Fulton County Chamber of Commerce (Chamber) with the NCI-AHEC 2023 Partnership Matters Award at the Indiana AHEC Network 2023 Conference in Indiana.


NCI-AHEC has been based at 822 Main Street in Rochester with other non-profit organizations, including the Chamber, since its inception in 2010.


“Every year we rely on our partners to be successful in our mission,” says Janiece Stover, NCI-AHEC Executive Director. “This year, when we think about what provided us the opportunity to create and achieve successful programs, it had little to do with the programs themselves and everything to do with the support that we were receiving that encouraged us to keep going.”


Chamber Staff have provided encouragement and support as well as connections and resources to aide in the successful execution of projects and events.


“We are honored to receive recognition for our efforts,” acknowledges Chamber Executive Director Jillian Smith. “This was certainly unexpected. Our goal every day is to support area partners and ensure organizations have the tools they need to succeed. We are fortunate that NCI-AHEC has found its home in Fulton County and that they continue to focus on the future workforce of health care in rural communities.” 


About North Central Indiana Area Health Education Center

The Area Health Education Center (AHEC) was first funded by Congress in 1971 to recruit, train and retain a health professions workforce committed to underserved populations. AHECs strive to meet the needs of the communities they serve through robust community-academic partnerships, with a focus on exposure, education, and training of the current and future health care workforce.  Today, 46 AHEC programs with more than 261 centers operate in almost every state and the District of Columbia. Approximately 120 medical schools and 600 nursing and allied health schools work collaboratively with AHECs to improve health for underserved and underrepresented populations. NCI AHEC's region includes the 11 counties of Benton, Carroll, Cass, Clinton, Fulton, Howard, Miami, Pulaski, Tippecanoe, Tipton and White.


About Fulton County Chamber of Commerce

The Fulton County Chamber of Commerce is a well-established, reputable organization that partners with its members to be the center of commerce and connection for Fulton County. The Chamber works closely with economic development and government partners to ensure that benefits, events, and programs supported are pertinent to the Fulton County business climate and community.

Miami - Cass REMC to receive broadband grant

Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch and the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs today announced more Hoosiers will gain access to high-speed broadband as a result of $842,865 awarded in the fifth round of the Indiana Connectivity Program.


ICP helps Hoosier residents and business owners, often in rural areas, obtain access to reliable broadband by assisting internet providers with the expense of extending its services to underserved locations of Indiana.


Of the 216 addresses funded in ICP’s round five, 206 are households and 10 are businesses. Internet providers carrying out the projects are matching over $1.4 million for a total investment of more than $2.2 million. 


$244, 800 in grant money goes to Miami-Cass REMC to benefit 51 addresses.


“The Indiana Connectivity Program continues to bridge the gap for Hoosiers lacking reliable broadband access,” said OCRA Executive Director Denny Spinner. “It is encouraging to see 216 more homes and businesses will soon have quality internet access, providing numerous resources they did not previously have.”


The program accepts addresses on a rolling basis. Hoosiers and business owners lacking internet connectivity can communicate their interest by entering their address and information into the Next Level Connections portal at Submitting location information into the Next Level Connections Broadband portal does not guarantee extension of service.


Broadband providers must complete their projects within nine months of the contract date. For more information, visit

Early filers who reported certain state tax refunds as taxable should consider filing amended returns

The Internal Revenue Service said that taxpayers who filed their federal income taxes early in this year’s filing season and reported certain state 2022 tax refunds as taxable income should consider filing an amended return.


On Feb. 10, 2023, the IRS provided details clarifying the federal tax status involving special payments made to taxpayers by 21 states in 2022. During a review, the IRS determined that in the interest of sound tax administration and other factors, taxpayers in many states did not need to report these payments on their 2022 tax returns. Consequently, the IRS will not challenge the taxability of state payments related to general welfare and disaster relief.


This means people in the following states don’t need to report these state payments on their 2022 tax return: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. Alaska is in this group as well, but the determination applies only to the special supplemental Energy Relief Payment received.


Taxpayers can see a listing of individual states and the federal tax treatment of their special state refunds or rebates listed on this online chart.


In addition, many people in Georgia, Massachusetts, South Carolina, and Virginia will not include special state 2022 tax refunds as income for federal tax purposes if they meet certain requirements. For these individuals, state payments will not be included for federal tax purposes if the payment is a refund of state taxes paid and the recipient either claimed the standard deduction for tax year 2022 or itemized their tax year 2022 deductions but did not receive a tax benefit.


Taxpayers who filed before Feb. 10 in these areas and meet these requirements should check their tax return to make sure they paid tax on a state refund before filing an amended return. In addition, taxpayers in this situation who used a tax professional can consult with them to determine whether an amended return is necessary.


If an amended return is needed, taxpayers who submitted their original 2022 tax return electronically can also file their amended return electronically and may select direct deposit for any resulting refund. Filing electronically cuts out the mail time and including direct deposit information on an electronically submitted form provides a convenient and secure way to receive refunds faster.


Taxpayers also have the option to submit a paper version of the Form 1040-X, Amended U.S Individual Income Tax Return, and receive a paper check. They should follow the instructions for preparing the paper form, but they should mail it to:

Department of the Treasury

Internal Revenue Service

Austin, TX 73301-0052


Direct deposit is not available on amended returns submitted on paper.

No matter how a taxpayer files the amended return, they can still use the "Where's My Amended Return?" online tool to check its status.


Fulton County Community Foundation provides grant to Emergency Management

The Fulton County Community Foundation granted $3,600 to the Fulton County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Volunteer Group, who are trained to assist EMA staff during community events or in the case of an emergency.


The funds will help the group purchase safety vests, LED road flares, and traffic control safety lights. 


Visit the Fulton County Emergency Management Agency Facebook page to learn more about the group and keep up to date on local events and safety alerts.


If you’re interested in volunteering, contact or call 574-223-6611.

Grant opportunities for Kewanna-Union Township and / or Liberty Township

The Fulton County Community Foundation has grants available for charitable organizations seeking funding for projects or programs that benefit Kewanna-Union Township and / or Liberty Township.


Applications are due May 8 and can be found at

Motorists should remain cautious on rural roads this Spring as they share the road with farm equipment

Planting season is quickly approaching for Indiana’s 94,000 farmers.


With the warm weather and sunshine, Hoosier motorists will also see more large slow-moving farm equipment traveling Indiana’s rural roads and highways.


The Indiana State Department of Agriculture, Indiana Department of Homeland Security, Indiana Department of Transportation, Indiana State Police want to encourage motorists to slow down, be alert and be patient on roadways this spring.


“Indiana is the eighth largest farming state in the country and a national leader in the production of traditional row crops like corn and soybeans,” said Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development. “Whether you live in rural, urban or suburban Indiana, remain alert on the road this spring as you may encounter large farm equipment moving between fields.”


In 2020 three vehicles were involved in crashes with farm equipment in Indiana which resulted in two deaths, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration*.


“During the spring, Indiana sees a drastic increase of large farm equipment on our rural roads and highways, and it is important for Hoosiers to know how to safely navigate around them,” said Doug Carter, Indiana State Police Superintendent. “Patience, courtesy and understanding, along with the undivided attention of motorists and farmers will help ensure a safe 2023 planting season.


While the term “farm equipment” encompasses a wide range of vehicles, the most common types motorists will encounter during planting season include sprayers, tractors pulling planters or tillage equipment, and large trucks hauling agricultural products. These vehicles are wide, sometimes taking up most of the road, and often travel at speeds no greater than 25 mph.


The following list includes several safety tips for motorists approaching large farm equipment:


Farmers will pull over when they are able to let motorists pass, but it may take time for them to get to a safe place to do so.


Be patient. Farm equipment is wide, sometimes taking up most of the road.


Be careful when passing. Do not pass in a designated “No Passing Zone” or within 100 feet of any intersection, railroad grade crossing, bridge, elevation structure or tunnel.


Do not try to pass slow-moving farm equipment on the left without ensuring that the farmer driving is not planning a left turn. It may appear that the driver is pulling over to allow a pass when the farmer is actually preparing to turn. You will drive right into its path, endangering yourself and the farmer.


Avoid tailgating, as some farm equipment might have to make sudden stops along the road.


Allow plenty of time to get to a destination, be aware of alternate routes and avoid distractions.


Indiana State Department of Agriculture Director Don Lamb wants to remind motorists that farmers work hard to ensure they are being as safe as possible.


“Indiana’s corn and soybeans are utilized for a magnitude of products we depend on every day, such as food products like corn chips and sweeteners, livestock feeds so we can enjoy our favorite meats, fuel for our cars and more,” said Don Lamb, director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture. “It is critical that farmers get their crops planted in a timely manner to ensure a successful crop. If you encounter farm equipment on the roads, be patient and courteous so everyone can make it home safely to their families.”

VFW 2022 speech contests winners

Each year, the VFW holds its Patriot Pen contest for students in grades 6-8 and its Voice of Democracy contest for students in grades 9-12. 


Students compete for monetary prizes at the local level and then a chance at the district, state, and national levels. All winners from the local VFW Manitou Post #1343 were from Rochester Community Schools this year.  


The topic for the Patriots Pen contest this year was "How are you inspired by America?"  Local winners were 8th grader Emma Murphy - 1st place; 7th grader Molly Moore -  2nd place; 8th grader Audrey Tobin - 3rd place.


The Voice of Democracy theme was "Why is the veteran important?".  Local winners were juniors Payton Moore - 1st place; Kaedra Shook - 2nd place; Katea Andrianova - 3rd place. 

DNR to host Free Fishing Days in 2023

Indiana DNR offers Hoosiers four opportunities to fish for free.


This year’s Free Fishing Days are May 7, June 3-4, and September 23. 


On Free Fishing Days, Indiana residents do not need a fishing license or a trout/salmon stamp to fish in the state's public waters. All other rules such as seasons, bag, and size limits apply.


To see what properties are hosting events, go to the DNR Calendar



Indiana Destination Development Corporation awards Public Art and Placemaking Grants

Indiana Destination Development Corporation (IDDC)  announced more than $414,000 of grant funding for 38 IN Indiana Public Art Activation and IN Indiana Placemaking projects in 26 counties across Indiana.


"It is wonderful to see each corner of the Hoosier state driven and motivated to create spaces and works of art that will help tell Indiana's story," said Lt. Gov. Crouch, Indiana’s Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development. "As each individual project is completed, Indiana's character and culture will be put on display for Hoosiers and visitors to appreciate."


The IN Indiana Public Art Grant is a matching grant of up to $10,000 to fund public art projects. The IN Indiana Placemaking Grant is a non-matching grant of up to $25,000 to fund signage and placemaking efforts.


Among the organizations awarded the IN Indiana Public Art Activation Grant:


Kosciusko County Convention and Visitors Bureau

Lake Maxinkuckee Environmental Fund

Owen County Community Foundation


"We are thrilled to continue creating spaces throughout Indiana that link each of our communities together in a way that shows there is something truly unique to find wherever you are IN Indiana," said IDDC Secretary and CEO Elaine Bedel. "These projects not only give us the opportunity to illustrate Indiana's authentic story, but they also enable us to add to the beauty of Indiana's landscapes."


Projects were selected based on quality of the submitted design, with preference given to high-view locations. IDDC has included a diverse group of locations and projects from urban to rural settings, in both large and small communities, in different regions of the state.


Hoosiers encouraged to call 211 with storm damage reports

Hoosiers impacted by the severe storms that occurred overnight on March 31-April 1, 2023, are asked to contact Indiana 211 to report damages and help with a damage assessment. 


To help establish a comprehensive assessment of damages, residents can call 211 or visit the Indiana 211 website.


Agricultural damage should be reported to the Purdue Extension. 


Road closure to begin on State Road 143 in Pulaski County

State Road 143 will be closed for approximately three weeks starting on or after Monday, April 3 between C.R. 1650 W and U.S. 421 for a culvert replacement.


Official detour will follow C.R. 1650 W, C.R. 600 N and U.S. 421.