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WROI News

Indiana State Police report scams targeting local restaurants

Detectives working from the Indiana State Police Peru District have recently received complaints about a potential scam targeting local restaurants.

 

The restaurant receives a phone call. The caller tells the answering employee they are from a local law enforcement agency and conducting a counterfeit money investigation. The caller tells the employee that the restaurant possibly has counterfeit money. The employee is then instructed to gather all the restaurant’s money and meet the caller at a location away from the restaurant, purportedly to check for counterfeit money. This is an attempt to steal the restaurant’s money. 

 

Scammers are constantly coming up with new tricks and have recently been impersonating members of law enforcement. Sometimes they will use software that shows the incoming call is from a police department. Their sole purpose is to attempt to steal from individuals and businesses. 

 

Law enforcement officers will not call you and request you bring them money.

 

If you happen to receive unsolicited phone calls similar in nature:

 

Don’t give in to the pressure to act.

Don’t engage in conversation with suspected scammers.

Don’t send or take money to a caller. Also, don’t wire money or pay a scammer with a prepaid debit card or gift card.

Don’t travel to any location the caller asks you to go.

Hang up and call the police.

 

 

FEDCO's new executive director, Michael Ladd, introduced to community at public reception Thursday

Lacing up his shoes as FEDCO's newest executive director, Michael Ladd was introduced to Rochester during a reception at Arlington Public House Thursday evening.

 

Community leaders and business owners welcomed Ladd, who plans on bringing in his expertise of revitalizing downtowns, creating public art projects, recognized workforce development programs, educational seminars, and other value-added projects, to Fulton County. 

 

 

Fulton County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, Jillian Smith, was among those to welcome Ladd Thursday.  She's excited to see what FEDCO's new executive director will bring to the table. 

 

 

 


Rochester opening new Fastpace Health Walk-In clinic

Fastpace Health will open a new Walk-In Urgent Care Clinic at 392 Rochester Crossing Drive, Rochester, on Wednesday.

 

This convenient Fastpace Health location will be open seven days a week with extended weekday and weekend hours for current residents and surrounding Fulton County communities.

 

The clinic will feature multiple exam rooms, an on-site lab, COVID-19 testing, and X-ray capabilities. Patients can also take advantage of virtual telehealth for urgent care common ailments as well as medication prescriptions and refills.

 

“Our mission to improve the health of those we serve remains true, and we aim to bring that commitment of providing a comfortable, stress-free, and professional health care experience to Rochester. Our staff of experienced clinicians will provide comprehensive health services that meet the needs of the community. We have built our name and reputation on our compassionate, reliable, and affordable approach to health care with services that can be scarce in smaller communities,” said Fastpace Health CEO Greg Steil.

 

"Patients need immediate solutions with our safe and convenient Rochester location.  The clinic will offer treatment for a wide range of illnesses with walk-in urgent, primary,and preventative health care services. We also offer scheduled services for behavioral, telehealth, and occupational health care needs.”

 

The location is part of an expanding Fastpace network of clinics established in over 200+ communities across Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, Indiana, Alabama and Louisiana.

 

More information about Fastpace Health is available at www.fastpacehealth.com/location/rochester

A letter to state lawmakers: Pass bills that would aid rather than hinder our rural hospitals

The following was submitted to the Fulton County Post by Woodlawn Hospital's Alan Fisher:

 

While the Indiana General Assembly debates health care legislation, there is a looming crisis that is going unnoticed.

 

The Center for Healthcare Quality and Payment Reform recently noted that, just in
Indiana, “11 hospitals are at risk of closing, and seven of those hospitals are at immediate risk of closing.” Specific hospitals weren’t identified, but a sense of urgency compels me to speak out as the leader of Woodlawn Hospital in Rochester. Unfortunately, my facility is likely one of these at greatest risk.

 

Woodlawn is an independent, critical access hospital (CAH) with clinics in Akron, Argos, and Fulton. Our operational loss for 2021 was $755,000, but the financial headwinds for us and other hospitals picked up speed last year, leaving us with an estimated loss for 2022 of $6.3 million. Our goal for 2023 is to lose just $1.5 million, even after our implementation of more than $3 million in cost reductions.


There are three main reasons for the current predicament, and they are not unique to Woodlawn. First, with slow population gains in Fulton County and our region, our opportunity for growth is limited. Community leaders are working hard to attract new businesses, but these efforts will take time. Of course, without a local hospital, economic development would be even more difficult.


The second reason is that major insurance companies pay rural hospitals low reimbursement rates and often force patients to seek care far outside our community. These “care redirection” policies seem to be designed for urban areas with many health care and transportation options, but in my community,
they often lead to patients delaying needed care. This harms their health and makes it more difficult to keep our doors open.


The third reason is that as many more Hoosiers gained health care coverage through Medicaid and the Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP) during the pandemic, hospitals have increasingly had to pick up the bill. Indiana hospitals will pay a total of $1.5 billion in 2023 into the Hospital Assessment Fee (HAF) to fund these programs, and Woodlawn’s portion is growing quickly, rising from just over $2 million in 2020 to $3.2 million this year. It is good that we have HIP for so many without other insurance options, but these HAF increases are not sustainable.

 

Without state help on these two latter issues soon, Woodlawn will face difficult decisions about which services it can still provide to stay afloat. Many hospitals across the country, including some in Indiana, have closed their obstetric units due to low birth rates and inadequate reimbursement. More than 60% of all births at Woodlawn are paid through Medicaid, which only covers 53% of the cost of providing care. We do not want to the “maternity deserts” that are growing in our region to become larger, but we must also evaluate closing our own unit which loses almost $2 million annually.

 

Currently, there are several bills introduced regarding health care costs that exempt county-owned and rural hospitals like mine. While this is better than being hammered by some of these proposals, simply being left out of that legislation doesn’t help us remain open for the citizens of Fulton County. But with
state financial support for hospitals, similar to what is being proposed in states from Michigan toMississippi, we can keep Woodlawn open as a “maternity oasis” and a cornerstone of the local economy.

 

CAHs face a double-edged sword—on one side, our costs are fixed due to minimum staffing requirements for all departments, and on the other side are governmental regulations which limit our ability to manage expenses. For this reason, legislation for CAHs like ours must be developed in such a way to ensure the continued viability of the organization into the future.


We implore legislators to pass bills that would aid rather than hinder our rural facilities and the communities we serve.


Scholarship available for Purdue University students

The Phillips-Braman Scholarship application will be available at the Fulton County Community Foundation starting February 6 with a deadline of February 28.

 

Rochester High School graduates who have completed one year of coursework at Purdue University Lafayette are eligible to apply if they are enrolled full-time at Purdue and are in good academic standing.

 

This scholarship provides a substantial contribution towards recipient(s)’ educational expenses and can be renewed each year of undergraduate study.

 

The application can be found at www.nicf.org under the Fulton County scholarship tab.

Area counties benefit from nearly $8.5 million in grants to help improve Hoosier health outcomes

The Indiana Department of Health has awarded nearly $8.5 million in grants to organizations working to improve Hoosiers’ health as part of the Health Issues and Challenges program, which was established by the Indiana General Assembly in 2021 with funding from the American Rescue Plan Act.

 

This is the second round of grants through the program and follows $35 million that was announced last June. 

 

“Public health is built on a foundation of prevention and accessibility, and we are grateful to be able to use the remaining funds that our legislators allocated to support programs that will help improve Hoosiers’ health and well-being,” said State Health Commissioner Kris Box, M.D., FACOG. “These programs are locally delivered and reach Hoosiers where they live.”

 

Entities were invited to apply for funding for programs to help improve health outcomes related to one or more of the following priority areas: tobacco use, food insecurity/obesity, lead exposure, chronic disease and disease prevention programs, including community paramedicine and community health workers. A total of 117 organizations submitted applications, and a total of 27 awards were issued. 

 

Priority was given to applicants that demonstrated high need and high impact in their grant proposals.

 

Funding includes $300,000 for grant programs for Community Health Workers through Trustees of Indiana University.  Fulton County is included in this segment with nine other counties around the state.

 

Also, $454,551 to benefit Northwest Health LaPorte impacting LaPorte and Starke counties.

 

The Wabash Township Fire Department received $315,000 for Communnity Paramedicine.

 

Other funding includes:

  • More than $2.2 million to address chronic disease, including asthma, diabetes and cancer
  • $3.5 million for community health workers
  • $1 million to support community paramedicine programs in Clark, Posey and Wabash counties
  • Nearly $1.6 million to address food insecurity and obesity in Marion, Lake, Jennings and Vanderburgh counties, as well as Northwest Indiana
  • Nearly $91,000 for lead prevention programs in local health departments in Kosciusko, Clark, Franklin and Orange counties
  • Nearly $32,000 to the Porter County Health Department for tobacco prevention and cessation programming

The funding must be spent by Dec. 31, 2026.


Indiana State Police warn of phone scam

The Indiana State Police Indianapolis Post recently received several complaints from of a phone scam. 

 

In this case, scammers have called with the Caller ID showing “Indiana State Police Post 52.” The phone number displayed is 317-899-8577, which is the phone number to the post. The scammers identify themselves as police officers and indicate to the caller there is a warrant for their arrest. The scammer then tries to obtain personal information and request financial restitution to take care of the warrant. 

 

Scams like this with “spoofed” Indiana State Police phone numbers have happened across Indiana with scams ranging from telling the victim their identity has been stolen, selling insurance or attempts to raise money for false charities.

 

The Indiana State Police would remind all Hoosiers that these types of phone scammers are pervasive and technically savvy. Scammers will often play on your emotions and fears to get to your money. 

 

The easiest way to protect yourself from being scammed over the phone is either to ignore unsolicited calls from unknown callers or just hang up when something doesn’t seem right.

 

You should never provide any information over the phone to an unknown caller regarding your personal identity, social security number, bank account(s), or credit card number(s).

 

If in doubt, or if you feel you may have fallen victim to a phone scammer, just hang up and immediately report the incident to your local law enforcement agency.


Law enforcement seized marijuana plants and DCS removed a child from a Starke County home

Three arrests, a marijuana development seized and a child taken from a Starke County home on Monday.

 

Shortly after 10 a.m. Starke County deputies responded to a home in the 6700 S. block of Lombardy Lane in the Bass Lake area. Deputies were requested to respond to assist the Indiana Department of Child Services with an investigation.

 

According to a social media post by the Starke County Sheriff Jack Roas when deputies and DCS workers entered the residence, a marijuana growing operation was located inside the home. DCS immediately removed a small child from the residence.

 

Individuals at the residence included the homeowner, Nicole Whitfield, 30, of Knox as well as a female identified as Jenifer Zuniga, 38, of Knox and a man identified as Joseph Givens, 37, of Knox. All individuals were detained at that time.

 

During a detailed search of the residence, 46 marijuana plants were located in various stages of growth. Additionally, other narcotic drugs and drug paraphernalia were located.

 

Preliminary charges include:

 

Whitfield is being held on Maintaining a Common Nuisance a level 6 felony and Possession of Marijuana an A Misdemeanor.

 

Givensis being held on Possession of Marijuana and Visiting a Common Nuisance, both of which are misdemeanors.

 

Zuniga is being held on Possession of Methamphetamine a level 6 felony, Maintaining a Common Nuisance a level 6 felony and Possession of Marijuana an A Misdemeanor.

 

  

FEDCO to introduce new executive director at Thursday event

The Fulton Economic Development Corporation (FEDCO) Board of Directors invites the public to Arlington Public House on Thursday from 4:30-6:00 p.m. to help introduce the new FEDCO Executive Director Michael Ladd to the community.

 

Ladd is an experienced leader in the nonprofit industry.  He has expertise in partnerships at the public, private, and government level, public relations, educational programming, special events management, fundraising, and volunteer recruitment and training. 

 

A press release from the Fulton Economic Development Corporation (FEDCO) Board of Directors notes that Ladd has a proven ability to mobilize volunteers in creating new programs and services that drive sustainable progress in organizations and that he is a success driven executive that has been recognized for his ability to identify issues and concerns before they become bigger problems. 

 

“I am very excited to have Mr. Ladd joining our team.” states FEDCO President David Heyde. “We believe that he will be an excellent asset to FEDCO and Fulton County as a whole.”

 

This welcome reception is open to the public.


Area teams to take part in 2023 Indiana Supportive Housing Institute

Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA), and Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH) have announced the five teams selected to participate in the 2023 Indiana Supportive Housing Institute.

 

Each team is comprised of housing developers, service providers, and community-based organizations who will develop concept projects for affordable housing with access to supportive services for Hoosiers experiencing homelessness. The teams were selected through a competitive process.

 

“The Institute continues to be an intentional opportunity for organizations to develop detailed, individualized supportive housing plans,” Lt. Gov. Crouch said. “This year we are focusing on providing supportive housing that will serve individuals experiencing homelessness as identified through the state’s Coordinated Entry System.”

 

2023 marks the 15th year of the Indiana Supportive Housing Institute and the ongoing partnership between IHCDA and CSH to bring more affordable supportive housing across the state for individuals and families experiencing homelessness. The selected teams represent locations in five counties from north to south-central, and urban to rural areas, demonstrating that homelessness impacts all communities.

 

“The Indiana Supportive Housing Institute is an opportunity for IHCDA to promote housing stability for those experiencing homelessness,” said Jacob Sipe, executive director of IHCDA. “It’s important that IHCDA and our partners align affordable housing developments to the current needs in communities. We congratulate the teams selected for the Institute, and look forward to collaborating with them to advance supportive housing in the state."

 

Below is a list of organizations participating in this year’s Institute:

 

Warsaw/Kosciusko County: Neighborhood Development Associates, LLC; Bowen Center; Valenti Real Estate Services, Inc.; Housing for Hope, Inc.; SRKM Architecture; Housing Authority of Warsaw

 

Plymouth/Marshall County: Bradley Company; Garden Court; Bowen Center; McKinley Development, LLC

 

Indianapolis: Wheeler Mission; Englewood Community Development Corporation; Gratus Development, LLC; Adult & Child Health

 

Lawrence County: Hoosier Uplands Economic Development Corporation; Milestone Ventures, LLC

 

South Bend: South Bend Heritage Foundation; Oaklawn Psychiatric Center; City of South Bend, Our Lady of the Road; St. Joseph County Health Department

 

“CSH is delighted to mark 15 years of collaboration and impact that has connected thousands of individuals and families to quality homes and, finally, stability for those who have cycled through various institutional systems and experienced the trauma of homelessness,” said Lori Phillips-Steele, Director, CSH Indiana. “Only homes end homelessness. Supportive housing pairs quality homes people can afford with the services people need to remain in their homes and achieve their highest quality of life.”

 

Over the next few months, these teams will work closely with IHCDA and CSH through targeted training and group exercises incorporating CSH’s Quality Supportive Housing Standards. Teams will also receive technical assistance and be presented with pre-development financing opportunities. The Institute will culminate with teams presenting their final plans to CSH, IHCDA, and Institute sponsors. Following graduation from the Institute, each lead organization can apply for funding through IHCDA’s Rental Housing Tax Credit program.

Rochester man injured in crash in front of Rochester Fire Department

A Rochester man was injured in a two-car crash in front of the Rochester Fire Department in the 6 a.m. hour Monday.

 

Rochester Police say that David Ramirez, 26, of Akron, crossed the center line of SR 14 and struck an oncoming vehicle drive by Aaron Dereski, 25, of Rochester.

 

Dereski was transported via ambulance to a Fort Wayne hospital with unknown injuries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Autism Society of Indiana provides picture communication boards to Starke Co. Sheriff's Office

Through a grant provided by the Autism Society of American and Today’s Champions, the Autism Society of Indiana purchased  s to be placed in the vehicles of all first responders and law enforcement in Starke County.

 

The Starke County Sheriff's Department stated in a social media post that communication boards will give police, fire fighters and EMS providers a way to communicate with a person who may be nonverbal, have limited English skills, have autism or other disabilities or mental health issues.

 

All participants also received a training video on how to implement the communication board.

 

The Autism Society of Indiana and Today’s Champions recognizes the need for this type of assistance to first responders and the citizens of Indiana who struggle with communication and wants to provide communication boards for every law enforcement and first responder agency in the state of Indiana.

 

For more information or to inquire about the communication boards, contact the Autism Society of Indiana at autismsocietyofindiana.org or kbrownlofland@gmail.com

Crawfordsville man arrested walking through traffic in Marshall County

An arrest in Marshall County involved a man wanted on a warrant in Montgomery County.

 

The Marshall County Sheriff's Office was called at 3:30 p.m. to the area of U.S. 31 and U.S. 6 on reports of a man walking in and out of traffic and running in front of moving vehicles.

 

Deputies determined that the man, Thomas Witt, 31, of Crawfordsville, was under the influence of drugs.  Witt also had an active felony arrest warrant for his arrest through Montgomery County.

 

Witt was arrested on a public intoxication charge in Marshall County.

Rudy Yakym getting adjusted to being U.S. Representative

Indiana's newest member of the U.S. House of Representatives is settling into his new role.

 

Rudy Yakym has filled the 2nd Congressional District seat left by Jackie Walorski's death in a car accident in August 2022.

 

Yakym says the opportunity presented to him is an inspiring one.

 

 

Yakym notes his tour of the district's counties is important to stay in tune with those he represents.

 

 

He tells the story about how he and his children were on hand for the historic naming of the Speaker of the House.

 

 

 

 

 

Round Barn Opry makes debut February 17 at The Times Theater

Things are finally coming together for the Round Barn Opry.

 

After a year of planning,the Round Barn Opry will be finally making their debut in The Times Theater, 618 Main St in Rochester, on February 17 at 7 p.m. Kicking off a new tradition for historical theater, following their debut, Round Barm Opry will be making use of the stage by holding an Opry show the first and third week of every month on Thursday and Friday evenings. 

 

Katie Stewart is excited to bring her love for music back to her hometown. The Round Barn Opry isn't her first rodeo in the music industry. Playing in Florida for the Orange Blossom Opry and going by the stage name Kate Karter, she has performed all over the southern portion of the United States, even releasing a debut single 'Party in the Sticks' this past September. Now living in an apartment above the theater, planting the roots of her career in her hometown was a jump Kate was eager to take. 

 

 

Lead guitarist Larry Shepherd, bass player Paul Sadler, and drummer Jared Lewis will be joining Karter on stage, along with her own father, local musician and pastor Thad Stewart who will be playing rhythm guitar.

 

Sometime in the near future they also plan on holding auditions to showcase other local talent as well. 

 

 

Stewart said not only has the band been working hard, but so has the community. Between the murals and paintings done by local volunteers, to the donations and more, Stewart hopes the theater's contributions to the community is something that will continue to open doors for Rochester, in turn giving back to Rochester. 

 

 

Drummer Jared Lewis said he was happy to bring the memories of the theater back to life. Kate Karter even shared one memory she had in The Times Theater lobby. 

 

(Pictured from left, Thad Stewart, Katie Stewart "Kate Karter," and drummer Jared Lewis on the Times Theater stage recently.)

Peru's Riverfront and Cass Co. broadband among READI projects celebrated by North Central READI region

Secretary of Commerce Brad Chambers joined local officials and regional leaders Thursday in Kokomo as the North Central Region celebrated five quality of place investments that will support current and future residents.

 

Fueled by the transformational Indiana Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative (READI), the region is investing $98.9 million to advance community amenities, infrastructure and workforce development to support talent retention and attraction. 
 
“Across Indiana, communities are making unprecedented investments in their neighborhoods and their people thanks to READI," said Sec. Chambers. In north central Indiana, the region has come together to advance initiatives focused on quality of life, quality of place and quality of opportunity, and because of their collaboration, the future of the North Central READI region is bright." 
 
The nationally recognized READI program is allocating $500 million to 17 regions across the state to accelerate shovel-ready projects and programs that are expected to transform Indiana communities, attract talent and improve the quality of life for Hoosiers in the short and long term. The North Central Region, led by the North Central Indiana Regional Planning Council (NCIRPC), was awarded $30 million in READI matching funds to advance its strategies grow its population base, improve quality of place and quality of life, increase and diversity the region's quality of opportunity, and spur innovation and entrepreneurship to attract and retain talent. 
 
“The North Central region has seen tremendous successes over the past eight years, and the READI investment enables us to rapidly advance that success, keep the momentum going and secure a bright future for our families," said Paul Wyman, NCIRPC Board President. "Our community leaders work together for a larger purpose, and as a result, we are now seeing unprecedented levels of private investment and job creation."

Today, the North Central Region announced its first READI funding allocations, designating $9.25 million to support five projects: 

 

  • Industry 4.0 Training Lab at Ivy Tech Kokomo
    ($2M total project investment; $1M READI allocation)

    At Ivy Tech Kokomo, READI funds will be used to help prepare the region's workforce for the future of advancing manufacturing as the sector continues to modernize operations and integrate smart technologies and processes. This initiative will enable the region to proactively develop an educated workforce pipeline and upskill its current workforce to support Industry 4.0 and fuel the future of manufacturing. 
     
  • Riverfront Development in Peru
    ($22.523M total project investment; $2.75M READI allocation)

    In Peru, the region is transforming 40 acres of idle real estate along the Wabash River, bringing new vibrancy and quality of place to the area. Revitalization of the riverfront property includes the newly constructed Miami County YMCA and a 174-unit development that will include apartments, duplexes and senior housing. READI funds will be used to enhance the streetscaping at the site along Forrest and Maple streets. 
  • US-31 & SR-28 Infrastructure in Tipton County
    ($67M total project investment; $3.5M READI allocation)

    In Tipton County, the region is investing in infrastructure near the recently-developed US-31 & SR-28 interchange to facilitate further commercial and residential development in the area and along the SR-28 corridor. The city of Tipton, Tipton County and Tipton Municipal Utilities are partnering to extend water and sanitary sewer services with support from READI funds. The project is expected to lead to $60 million in private investment and development.
  • Broadband Development in Cass & Howard Counties
    (Cass County: $4.455M total project investment; $1M READI allocation // Howard County: $3.952M total project investment; $1M READI allocation)

    The North Central region will allocate $2 million of READI funds to increase broadband in Cass and Howard counties, working to resolve the digital divide and increase digital accessibility. In Cass County, READI funds will build on the county's prior investment, adding an additional 237 miles of fiber to the existing 117 mile fiber ring. This expansion will increase broadband infrastructure and fill in the gaps inside the ring, creating an affordable, scalable, reliable fiber network supplying upload and download speeds of 1G.

    To the southwest, Howard County will build a fiber backbone with an estimated 300 miles of laterals to better serve rural communities, reaching approximately 250 businesses, 3,000 households and five schools. 

Pursuit and arrest of suspect wanted on Pulaski Co. felony warrants

A suspect fled an attempted traffic stop and was involved in a hit-and-run before being caught on Wednesday.

 

According to the Pulaski County Sheriff's Office a straffic stop was attempted by Winamac Police.  The suspect vehicle, a black SUV, fled the scene.  The Pulaski County Sheriff's Office responded to aid the Winamac officer.  Due to poor weather at the time, officers lost sight of the vehicle.

 

The sheriff's office soon received a 911 about a hit-and-run with a vehicle matching the SUV's description at the Broken Arrow Campground entrance. The SUV was soon located.  It had been abandoned.

 

The Pualski County Canine Unit, Pulaski County deputies and North Judson Police conducted a track to locate the suspect.  James Nine was eventually found and arrested without further incident.

 

Nine had active felony arrest warrants out of Pulaski County.

Peru man to be sentenced after found guilty in federal court

A Peru man was found guilty in federal court.

 

Curtis Birner, 37, of Peru, was found guilty following a two-day jury trial presided over by United States District Court Judge Robert L. Miller, Jr.

 

Birner was found guilty of the single-count Indictment charging him with being a felon in possession of a firearm in October 2021.   

 

Birner will be scheduled for sentencing by separate order of the Court.  

 

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives with the assistance of the Peru Police Department and the Miami County Sheriff’s Department.

Trevor Bolt is District 1 Conservation Officer of the Year

Indiana Conservation Officer Trevor Bolt has been selected as the 2022 District 1 Officer of the Year.

 

District 1 includes St. Joseph, Elkhart, Marshall, Kosciusko, Fulton, Miami, and Wabash counties.

 

Bolt is assigned to Marshall County where he has served since 2017. In addition to his normal duties as a field officer, Bolt serves as a division defensive tactics instructor. 

 

The district award puts Bolt in the running for the Pitzer Award, which is presented to the top overall conservation officer in the state and is selected from the 10 district winners.

 

The Pitzer Award is named after Conservation Officer James D. Pitzer, who was fatally shot while investigating illegal hunting activity on Jan. 2, 1961, in Jay County.

Winamac pursuit ends in arrest of masked robber

The Pulaski County Sheriff's Department responded to a Tuesday call about a break-in where a resident arrived home to find a masked man inside of her home.

 

The victim reported that the suspect quickly fled the scene with some of her items.  He drove off in a red pickup truck.

 

Pulaski County deputies located the vehicle and attempted to stop the driver. After a pursuit through the Winamac area, the chase ended near Braun Corporation after the suspect tried to flee on foot. Deputies gave chase, ultimately leading to the suspect's arrest.

 

An investigation is still ongoing.  No names have been released as of this report.

Driver arrested by ISP for driving under the influence while pulling an industrial woodchipper

A recent traffic stop by Indiana State Police led to the arrest of an Indiana man for posession and operating while under the influence of a controlled substance.

 

Todd Mills, 58, of Spencer, was incarcerated in the Miami County Jail to face criminal charges for allegedly operating a straight truck while under the influence of a controlled substance, possession of methamphetamine, possession of marijuana, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

 

Indiana State Police initiated a traffic stop on a 2021 Freightliner straight truck, pulling an industrial woodchipper, on U.S. 31 near Miami County Road 1150 South. The driver was allegedly not wearing a seat belt. While speaking to Mills, the trooper determined Mills was possibly intoxicated.

 

Further investigation revealed that Mills was allegedly under the influence of methamphetamine. During a search of the Freightliner, officers purportedly found methamphetamine, marijuana, and drug paraphernalia.

 

Mills was working for Wright Tree Service Inc based in Des Moines, Iowa.

INDOT preparing for winter storm, difficult commutes expected Wednesday

The Indiana Department of Transportation is preparing for a winter storm expected to impact the state starting overnight Tuesday and early Wednesday.

 

The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued winter storm warnings and winter weather advisories for all of Indiana. NWS is calling for rain transitioning to snow south of I-70, with higher snow totals along and north of I-70. Snowfall rates of up to one inch per hour are possible at times.

 

 

 

Owner of Kewanna gas station speaks out after Saturday's robbery

The owner of the Countrymark gas station that was robbed in Kewanna Saturday is speaking out, as the investigation on the culprit continues.

 

In the eight years owners Terry and Kathy Hobbs have operated the gas station, this is the first time anything like this has happened. The Hobbs also hope it's the last. 

 

The incident was reported to the Fulton County Sheriff's Department just before 8:30 p.m. on Saturday.  A masked man entered the store with a handgun. The suspect demanded the attendant get on the floor as he looked around for cash. Less than five minutes later Hobbs said the suspect left the gas station with an undisclosed amount of cash.  He drove north on State Road 17 in a maroon truck.

 

Watching the cameras after the ordeal was over, Hobbs said the clerk did as she was trained to do in case of a robbery. Although scary, no injuries were reported, leaving Hobbs thankful the only thing lost was money, and not the life of her employee. 

 

 

One thing Hobbs does know is that the culprit knew the routine of the store before commiting the robbery. Never allowing her employees to close alone for safety precautions, Hobbs said the suspect seemed to be aware of that as well, choosing the slowest time of the evening to commit the crime. Prior to the robbery the suspect watched the store, waiting 10 minutes after the last customer left to enter the gas station. Knowing his way around the store, the robber helped himself to the money, knowing exactly where everything was.

 

 

UPDATE: Although not official on whether it's related, the Pulaski County Sheriff's Department responded to a call January 24 about a break-in, after a resident arrived home to find a masked man inside of her home. The victim reported that the suspect had quickly fled the scene, leaving with some of her items in a red pickup truck.

 

Upon locating the vehicle, Deputies attempted to stop the driver. After a pursuit through the Winamac area, the chase ended near Braun Corporation, where the suspect then continue to flee on foot. Deputies gave chase, ultimately leading to the suspects arrest. Due to the ongoing investigation, names are currently being withheld.  

 

Anyone with more information on the crime is asked to call Detective Sgt. Matt Utter of the Fulton County Sheriff Department at 574-223-2819, or report to Crime Stoppers at 573-223-7867. 

 

 

Fulton County Solid Waste District needs help from public

The Fulton County Solid Waste District is imploring the public to aid them in sorting recyclables at the drop-off sites as mounting trash continues to be a concern.

 

The following post was made on the district's Facebook page:

 

Sorry for the long read but we are trying to get people's attention!

 

If you are reading this, please share!!!

 

I want to start off by saying that we have some amazing recyclers in Fulton County. But with that being said, we have been dealing with a tremendous amount of unsorting and trash at ALL of our drop-off sites. We always have and continue to require that all of your recyclables be sorted into the proper bins on our trailers.

 

As I mentioned above, most of our recyclers do any amazing job but it is the few people out there that don’t like to follow the rules and seem to be ruining it for others.

 

As most of you are aware, Kosciusko County has pulled all of their drop off recycling locations in their county due to the rising cost and the large amounts of trash being dumped at each location. We here at Fulton County Solid Waste have seen an increase in the use of some of our drop off sites and at our facility which is great. The problems we are running into are that Kosciusko County drop off sites didn’t require sorting of recyclables, but we do! We try to make recycling in this county as convenient as possible and ask that everyone do their part on the sorting end of it. We only have so much manpower to operate our facility (as every business does) and would appreciate it if everyone takes the time to sort their items.

 

This is a free service that we offer, and we want to keep it that way for all of our residents. Which leads me to my next point.

 

Fulton County Solid Waste District is NOT tax funded (we do not receive any money from the residents of this county to operate our facility as most people think we do). 75% of our funding comes from the landfill here in our county.

 

While a lot of people complain about the landfill here, what they don’t realize is that our landfill is a blessing in many ways. The more we can recycle and keep out of the landfill, the longer the landfill will be around to continue to help fund programs in this county. Some of the programs that we provide for FREE to all Fulton County residents include 4-Tire Collection Day’s thru-out the year, Electronics’ disposal, Household Hazardous Waste disposal, Refrigerated Appliance Disposal, Fluorescent Lighting & Mercury Disposal, Batteries, Used Oil & Antifreeze (these items need to be brought into our facility). Along with offering all residents 8 convenient 24-hour drop off locations for their normal recycling.

 

We need more people to start recycling correctly so we can preserve the space in our landfill so that they can continue to help fund these programs. Without the landfill funding, the cost of these programs will be passed on to the residents on their tax bills. So please everyone, we are asking that if and when you do your recycling, take the extra time to sort your material. We also realize that not everything is recyclable, if it is trash, you need to do the proper thing and dispose of it in the trash not in our trailers. Your Trash is Your Responsibility, not ours! We do offer a trash disposal program along side our recycling programs. It consists of buying trash bags from our facility and then when they are full, you bring them to us and we dispose of them. If you are interested in this program, please contact us for more details or if you have any questions about what we take, 574-223-4939.

 

The last thing we want to do is pull all of our recycling drop-off sites, but if people keep abusing the free privilege we offer, we will be forced to do something different. We have contemplated making our sites manned drop-off sites and only having trailers at the sites on certain days and certain times so we can monitor our trailers. We do not want to go this route because it would be a big inconvenience for everyone.

 

So again, we are asking for everyone to please sort your items and do not dump trash on us.

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