Community News Archives for 2023-05

Extra troopers will be patrolling this Memorial Day weekend

Indiana State Police and area law enforcement agencies are participating in the “Click it or Ticket” enforcement campaign through the Memorial Day weekend and would like to remind all motorists the importance of doing their part to help ensure everyone’s safety.

Troopers will be watching for unrestrained passengers in cars and trucks and for dangerous and impaired drivers. Overtime enforcement is made available with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration funds administered by the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI).

Troopers are offering the following safety tips:

Ensure you are well rested, especially if you have plans to travel a long distance. A fatigued driver is a dangerous driver and often mimics the driving behavior of an impaired driver.

Follow other motorists at a safe distance.

Obey all speed limits and use your turn signal.

Always utilize your turn signals when changing lanes and when turning.

Avoid “hanging out” in the left lane unless you are actively passing or preparing to make a nearby left turn.

Avoid driving while distracted. Please don’t use your cellphone while driving.

Ensure everyone is properly buckled up.

Don’t drink and drive.

If you have plans to consume alcohol, please ensure you have a plan to get you and your family home safely.

Motorists that observe a possible impaired driver are encouraged to contact 911 immediately. Please be prepared to give a description of the vehicle, license plate number and route of travel.

Governor Eric Holcomb directs flags to be flown at half-staff on Memorial Day

Governor Eric J. Holcomb is directing flags statewide to be flown at half-staff on Memorial Day.


Flags should be flown at half-staff from sunrise to noon on Monday, May 29.


Gov. Holcomb also asks businesses and residents across the state to lower their flags to half-staff on Monday to commemorate Memorial Day.

IRS warns of ERC scams

As aggressive marketing continues, the Internal Revenue Service renewed an alert for businesses to watch out for tell-tale signs of misleading claims involving the Employee Retention Credit.


The IRS and tax professionals continue to see a barrage of aggressive broadcast advertising, direct mail solicitations and online promotions involving the Employee Retention Credit. While the credit is real, aggressive promoters are wildly misrepresenting and exaggerating who can qualify for the credits.


The IRS has stepped up audit and criminal investigation work involving these claims. Businesses, tax-exempt organizations and others considering applying for this credit need to carefully review the official requirements for this limited program before applying. Those who improperly claim the credit face follow-up action from the IRS.


“The aggressive marketing of the Employee Retention Credit continues preying on innocent businesses and others,” said IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel. “Aggressive promoters present wildly misleading claims about this credit. They can pocket handsome fees while leaving those claiming the credit at risk of having the claims denied or facing scenarios where they need to repay the credit.”


The Employee Retention Credit (ERC), also sometimes called the Employee Retention Tax Credit or ERTC, is a legitimate tax credit. Many businesses legitimately apply for the pandemic-era credit. The IRS has added staff to handle ERC claims, which are time-consuming to process because they involve amended tax returns.


“This continual barrage of marketing by advertisers means many invalid claims are coming into the IRS, which also means it takes our hard-working employees longer to get to the legitimate Employee Retention Credits,” Werfel said. “The IRS understands the importance of these credits, and we appreciate the patience of businesses and tax professionals as we continue to work hard to get valid claims processed as quickly as possible while also protecting against fraud.”


The IRS has been issuing warnings about aggressive ERC scams since last year, and it made the agency’s list this year of the “Dirty Dozen” tax scams that people should watch out for.


This is an ongoing priority area in many ways, and the IRS continues to increase compliance work involving ERC. The IRS has trained auditors examining ERC claims posing the greatest risk, and the IRS Criminal Investigation division is working to identify fraud and promoters of fraudulent claims.


The IRS reminds anyone who improperly claims the ERC that they must pay it back, possibly with penalties and interest. A business or tax-exempt group could find itself in a much worse cash position if it has to pay back the credit than if the credit was never claimed in the first place. So, it’s important to avoid getting scammed.


When properly claimed, the ERC is a refundable tax credit designed for businesses that continued paying employees while shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic or that had a significant decline in gross receipts during the eligibility periods. The credit is not available to individuals.

Dairy Knowledge

The Purdue Cooperative Extension Service works with local schools and their Vocational Agriculture programs to host many career development programs. In the old days, we just referred to them as judging contests. In reality, career development is better terminology as students receive ample training on evaluating various agriculture subjects including livestock, soils, crops, forestry, meats, dairy products, environment, and entomology.

This past week on a dairy farm near Royal Center, 82 students from 11 schools congregated to look at four classes of dairy cows and heifers that would be potential milkers in about a year. Their objective was to rank the four animals in each class in order of superiority. Then in two of the classes, they would stand before a judge and verbally justify their ranking.

In these “reasons” classes, participants would explain by recalling from visual memory which animals had superior mammary development, structural soundness, and many other positive or negative body traits. No notes. It is just them thinking on their two feet before the judge. It is an excellent confidence builder.Winners of these contests can go on to participate in state and potentially national competitions.

It is interesting that we held this competitiona little after the annual USDA Milk Production Report was published. Twenty years ago, there were 70,375 dairy herds in the U.S. In 2022, there were 27,932 herds. In the last year, there was a loss of 6% of the dairy herds.

The average US herd size reached a record-high of 337 head in 2022. It was 129 cows in 2003. During that same time, total dairy cows have declined slightly but the production per cow has increased so total production is at the highest level in history.In the past year, the number of milk cows in Indiana has fallen from 193,000 to 187,000.

Even though the statics are showing fewer producers, there are still many interested in Dairy Judging. Many of those dairy contestants do not have a dairy background but that has not stopped them from being acquainted with dairy cattle. They are still consumers of dairy products. Beyond that, the jobs available in the dairy industry are just like many others in the agriculture sector and they are still in demand.

These dairy judgers' future might not be milking cows, but they may be well-vested and skilled to obtain other related jobs in agriculture.

Make water safety a priority

With Memorial Day weekend around the corner, Indiana Conservation Officers remind Hoosiers to make water safety a priority now and throughout the summer.

“We urge all Hoosiers to recognize the danger water poses when on or around our waterways,” said Capt. Jet Quillen of the Department of Natural Resources Division of  Law Enforcement. 

Follow these basic safety tips:

  • Discuss the dangers of water with your family and loved ones before going out.
  • Tell someone where you are going and when you will return.
  • Go with a buddy.
  • Do not venture around flooded or fast-moving waterways.
  • Wear a life jacket.
  • Keep an extra watchful eye on children.
  • Avoid alcohol.

If you go boating, make sure you know the rules and boat safely. Reduce speed in unfamiliar areas and be aware of unusual water conditions respective to your size and type of boat. These are not only safety tips, but also important environmental considerations, such as preventing beach erosion. Regardless of your boat type, assess water levels before going out and monitor your speed while underway.

Designate a sober boat operator. Alcohol causes impaired balance, blurred vision, poor coordination, impaired judgment, and slower reaction time. Wave action, sun exposure, and wind can magnify these effects. It is illegal to operate a motorboat or personal watercraft in Indiana while intoxicated due to alcohol or drugs. Indiana law defines intoxication as having a blood alcohol level of 0.08% or greater.

Each life jacket should be United States Coast Guard approved, in good working condition, and size appropriate for the wearer. New life jackets are designed to be lighter, less obtrusive, and more comfortable than those of the past. Inflatable life jackets allow mobility and flexibility for activities like boating, fishing, or paddling, and can be much cooler in warmer weather than older-style life jackets.

To learn more about boating education and safety, see

Churches and nonprofits advised to be on lookout for cyberattacks

Attorney General Todd Rokita is warning to be on the alert to the possible rising incidence of cyberattacks on churches and other nonprofit organizations.


“Hackers regularly carry out attacks on companies and governmental offices,” Attorney General Rokita said. “Now, though, we’re seeing signs that cybercriminals are expanding their lists of targets.”


On April 30, data extortioners struck a national Catholic publishing house based in Huntington, Indiana — one day after a ransomware group attacked an evangelical megachurch in South Carolina.


“Nothing is sacred to these high-tech outlaws,” Attorney General Rokita said. “Our own office and law enforcement agencies nationwide are working to bring offenders to justice. At the same time, we encourage all Indiana institutions, as well as everyday Hoosiers, to take proactive steps to implement cybersecurity measures.”


Attorney General Rokita offered the following tips:

  • Be on alert for communications with dangerous attachments or fraudulent links.
  • Always verify the email addresses of those who send you emails.
  • Don’t reveal personal or financial information via email or text message.
  • Encourage regular and updated cyberattack training for organizations’ employees, members and volunteers.
  • Ensure that your organization has updated appropriate software patches and that it monitors current schemes and scams by hackers.
  • Avoid using gift cards, money orders or cryptocurrency to conduct transactions or regular organization business.

Jordan welcomes local student pages to the Statehouse

State Rep. Jack Jordan (R-Bremen) recently welcomed Fulton County students to the Statehouse where they participated in the Indiana House Page Program during the 2023 legislative session.


As pages, the students assisted lawmakers and staff with daily duties, toured offices of all branches of government in the Statehouse, and joined Jordan on the House floor to witness and learn about the legislative process.

"Paging with the Indiana House of Representatives is a great opportunity for young Hoosiers to learn more about their state government and see democracy in action," Jordan said. "I enjoyed meeting these bright students and encourage others to join me at the Statehouse next session."


These area students served as pages during the 2023 legislative session:


Alan Dague, from Kewanna, attends Caston Jr.-Sr. High School;



Kseniia Shyp, from Rochester, attends Culver Academies; and

Una Stojanovic, from Rochester, attends Rochester Community High School.


Jordan said students ages 13 to 18 should consider participating during the 2024 legislative session.

Winamac Police Department to host bicycle rodeo

The Winamac Police Department is hosting its second annual bicycle rodeo on Saturday.


Children are invited to bring their own bicycles but wthe department will have helmets for those that need them and the kids can keep them.


There will be a course set up to teach bicycle maneuvers, maintenance provided by Friends of the Panhandle Pathway, a raffle, and lunch - all at no cost.


The public is welcome to come anytime during the posted hours of 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Culpepper & Merriweather Circus coming to Argos

The Town of Argos is sponsoring the Culpepper & Merriweather Circus on Friday, June 9, in the Argos Community Park.


Show times are at 5:00 pm and 7:30 pm.


The 90-minute family-friendly show will support the Argos FFA.


Tickets for the circus are available at the Argos Town Hall, Log House Restaurant, or from any FFA Member. They may also be purchased online at


All credit card sales must be completed online.


Presale tickets are $13 for adults and $8 for children. Show-day tickets are $16 for adults and $10 for children.

"Click it or Ticket" ushers in Memorial Day Weekend

The Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI) is urging people to buckle up ahead of the summer holidays.

Starting May 22, state and local law enforcement agencies are teaming together to increase patrols as part of the national “Click it or Ticket” high-visibility enforcement event. The overtime patrols are funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) with grants administered by ICJI.

Officers will be out in full force leading up to the Memorial Day holiday to make sure drivers and passengers are buckled up and children are properly secure. Their goal is to reduce the number of traffic injuries and fatalities from lack of seat belt use.

Data from the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI) shows that unbuckled motorists make up almost 40% of all passenger vehicle deaths in the state. Since the “Click It or Ticket” initiative began more than 20 years ago, seat belt use has gone up over 30% in Indiana to 93%, which remains higher than the national average of 91.6%.

Despite making progress and advances in vehicle safety, in 2022, 236 unbuckled vehicle occupants lost their lives on Indiana roads – the third highest in the past decade. Young drivers, especially males, were the most likely to speed and the least likely to be buckled during a crash.

Nationally, there were 11,813 unbuckled vehicle occupants killed in crashes.

“These numbers are not just statistics, they represent real people and families that have been forever changed by the tragedy of a traffic crash,” said Devon McDonald, ICJI Executive Director. “Many of the people we lost would still be alive today had they made the decision to buckle up. Seat belts make a difference. They save lives.”

Research has repeatedly demonstrated the safety benefits of seat belts and the dangerous consequences when people choose not to use them. Buckling up can reduce the risk of injury or death in a crash by up to 65%. Without a seat belt fastened, people can be ejected from a vehicle and killed, and that risk increases if the driver is speeding or impaired.

Tragically, vehicle collisions continue to be a leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 13, and NHTSA data shows that approximately 46% of all car seats are being used incorrectly. Parents and caregivers who do not buckle up are more likely to have kids who are improperly restrained.

"The loss of a child due to inadequate vehicle safety measures is a tragedy. However, it is also preventable," said Jim Bryan, ICJI Traffic Safety Director. "We owe it to our children to prioritize their safety and take every necessary precaution when it comes to their well-being.”

Indiana law requires the driver and all passengers to buckle up. Children under age eight must be properly restrained in a child car seat or booster seat according to the child restraint system manufacturer’s instructions.

During the campaign, participating law enforcement agencies will be taking a no-excuses approach to seat belt law enforcement, writing citations day and night. Drivers can be cited for lack of seat belt use, as well as for each unbuckled passenger under the age of 16.

The NHTSA reports that in 2021, 57% of passenger vehicle occupants killed at night (6 p.m. - 5:59 a.m.) were not wearing a seatbelt. That’s why one focus of the campaign is nighttime enforcement.

“It doesn’t matter what time of day it is, what type of vehicle you’re driving or the type of road you’re driving on, the best way to stay safe in case of a vehicle crash is to wear your seat belt,” said McDonald.

Parents and caregivers are encouraged to make sure children are in the right car seat and that it’s used correctly and properly installed. Resources can be found at To schedule an appointment with a certified car seat safety technician at one of Indiana’s 100 fitting stations, visit


Foundation awards AED grant to Manitou Moose Lodge 1107

The Fulton County Community Foundation granted $1,000 to Rochester's Manitou Moose Lodge 1107.


The funds will aid the lodge in the purchasing of an AED, or an automated external defibrillator, a portable life-saving device used to assist those experiencing sudden cardiac arrest.


Funding was made possible by the foundation's Hope Hospice Legacy Fund and the Brent Blacketor Memorial Fund.

Paving project focus of breakfast at Twelve Mile Saturday

Twelve Mile Community Building Board will host breakfast on Saturday.


It runs 7-10 a.m. with a full menu for free will donation.


Proceeds to go toward paving the parking lot of the Community Building.

Cody Clark brought magic in more ways than one to Argos schools

A magic show allows viewers to see what feels like the impossible becomes possible. It allows the audience to see the world through a different lens and to celebrate that unique view together.


That is the message Argos Community Schools hoped for when they asked Cody Clark, the magician, to perform at school.


“The Cody Clark Magic Show was a great message that I think all students need to hear” states Ned Speicher, Superintendent of Argos Community Schools. “Cody combines magic with a motivational message to be yourself and embrace our differences as that is what makes us unique.”


Cody Clark was diagnosed with autism at an early age and was told he would never walk, talk, or have a job. Cody overcame those barriers and now performs his magic show, a blend of comedy, country music, storytelling, and autism advocacy, for various audiences.


Carter Coleman, Argos 8th grade student thought the magic show was amazing. “He taught me that it’s okay to be different and encouraged us to be ourselves. My favorite part was the ring trick that he did.”


Sixth-grade student, Dillon Norris, also shared the positive impact the show had on him. “The magic show was funny and very cool. After the show, I was able to talk with him about what makes him unique and how he incorporates that into his magic.”


Cody uses his own personal story in his show to demonstrate what it is like to live with autism and the importance of embracing differences.


The message did not stay in the Argos Auditorium. The conversation carried on into the hallways and classrooms. Kate Jarosinski, Argos First Grade Teacher, shared “We had a great discussion after the magic show. We discussed how dull our classroom would be if we were all the same and how we can celebrate our differences. We each shared something about ourselves that made us unique and special.”


 To learn more about the Cody Clark Magic Show, you can visit

421 closure coming up next week in Starke County

U.S. 421 will close between State Road 10 and C.R. W 900 S/C.R. W 800 N on or after Monday, May 15 through late May for a small structure replacement over West Arm Scholtz Ditch.


Motorists should seek an alternate route.


The official detour will follow State Road 14, State Road 49 and State Road 10.


The start date for this closure is dependent on the reopening of a current close on State Road 49 between State Road 14 and State Road 10.

Gov. Holcomb directs flags to be flown at half staff

Governor Eric J. Holcomb is directing flags to be flown at half-staff in honor and remembrance of the victims of the horrific tragedy in Allen, Texas.


Flags should be flown at half-staff immediately until sunset on Thursday, May 11, 2023.

Fulton County Department of Parks and Recreation public hearing is Tuesday

The Fulton County Department of Parks and Recreation is in the process of updating their 5-year Master Plan and will be holding a public hearing for public comments and suggestions.


The public hearing will be held Tuesday, May 9, at 5 p.m. It will be at the Germany Bridge Meeting Center, 4137 North 375 West, Rochester.


The regular monthly meeting of the board will immediately follow.

INDOT resurfacing starts next week on SR 18 near Galveston

A resurfacing project will begin on State Road 18 between Cornwell St and Lincoln St in Galveston on or after Monday, May 8, and be ongoing through late October.


Restrictions will begin with shoulder closures for curb ramp and sidewalk work.


State Road 18 will be reduced to one lane with flaggers directing traffic in the area where work is occurring for resurfacing.

INDOT to close State Road 16 in Cass County next week

State Road 16 will close between C.R. N 1000 E and C.R. N 500 W on or after Tuesday, May 9 through mid-June.


Motorists should seek an alternate route. The official detour will follow U.S. 31 and State Road 25.


State Road 16 will be closed first between C.R. N 1000 E and C.R. N 1050 E for bridge repairs on the structure over Ulerich Ditch for approximately two weeks. When that is complete, the closure will be between C.R. N 1050 E and C.R. N 500 W for repairs on the structure over the East Branch of Twelve Mile Creek.

Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum opens train excursions this weekend

The Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum begins its 2023 Train Excursion Season on Saturday, May 6, in North Judson. 


Diesel excursion trains will depart from the depot every Saturday, and some select Sundays, until the end of September.  Passengers have their choice of riding in open-air sightseeing cars or vintage cars while rolling down the tracks through the Northwest Indiana countryside.  Train excursions are round-trip from the depot and travel about five miles to the Kankakee River at English Lake, before returning to North Judson. 


Trains depart at 10:00 AM, 12:00 Noon, and 2:00 PM (central time).  The total length of each trip will be approximately 45 minutes.  Ticket prices are $14.00 (adult, age 16 and above), $10.00 (child, ages 3 – 15), and children aged 2 and under are free.  Groups of 6 or more get $2 off each ticket.  Purchasing tickets at is recommended, as seating is limited. 


Steam excursion trains may be available during this season on Saturdays and/or Sundays.  Please check the HVRM website ( or call the depot (574-896-3950) for the schedule and availability.


Be sure to visit the museum and grounds where admission is always free.  The Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum has one of the largest museum collections of working railroad signals and a restored WWII Pullman Troop Car.  Stroll around the grounds to see all types of rolling stock, engines, and memorabilia of a bygone era.


The Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum has an exciting schedule of events planned for this season.  Civilians & Soldiers in History displays, reenactors, and events will be on Saturday, July 22nd.  Fall brings Pumpkin & Halloween Trains and Santa Trains run in late November & December.  Times and prices for special events will vary from regular train excursions.  Remember that seating is limited, and it is recommended to purchase tickets, in advance, before the excursions sell out.


HVRM is an all-volunteer, not-for-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and education of railroading history.  Special group events (including school groups) can be arranged by contacting the depot.


Visit the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum website ( for a complete schedule of events. Order tickets at or call the depot (574-896-3950) on Saturdays or days when train excursions are scheduled.

The first DNR Free Fishing Day is this weekend

Every year, Indiana DNR offers Hoosiers four opportunities to fish for free. The first Free Fishing Days is this Sunday, May 7. 


The other dates this year are June 3-4, and Sept. 23. Whether you’re fishing for dinner or a new thrill, a free fishing day is your chance to get on the water.


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.  For public places to fish near you, see


Free Fishing Days are an excellent opportunity to learn how to fish, take your family fishing, or introduce a friend to fishing. To see what properties are hosting events, go to the DNR Calendar. Prefer to learn on your own? See Fishing Tips and Videos.


2023 Indiana Free Fishing Days are Sunday, May 7, Saturday and Sunday June 3 and 4, and Saturday, Sept. 23. 

Free admission provides a great opportunity to enjoy your favorite DNR property or visit a new site. Find DNR properties across the state and the facilities they offer.