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WROI News

USDA accepts 2 million acres in offers through Conservation Reserve Program General Signup

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is accepting more than 2 million acres in offers from agricultural producers and landowners through the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) General signup, which included more than 4600 acres in INDIANA. This is the first of the program’s multiple signups occurring in 2022. With about 3.4 million acres expiring this year, Vilsack encourages producers and landowners to consider the Grassland and Continuous signups, both of which are currently open.  

  

“Our conservation programs are voluntary, and at the end of the day, producers are making market-based decisions as the program was designed to allow and encourages,” said Julia Wickard, FSA State Executive Director in INDIANA. “We recognize the Conservation Reserve Program is an important tool in helping mitigate climate change and conserve natural resources, and this announcement is just the first opportunity for producers to take advantage of the program. Producers are still looking at options under the working-lands Grassland Conservation Reserve Program, the more targeted buffer-type practices under Continuous CRP, and partnership opportunities through the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP).  For farmers who have decided to return all or a portion of their land into production agriculture, USDA will also be reaching out to ensure they understand and can take advantage of options to either prepare the land for production or transition it to beginning farmers.” 

 

Producers submitted re-enrollment offers for just over half of expiring acres, similar to the rate in 2021. Offers for new land under General CRP were considerably lower compared to last year’s numbers, with fewer than 400,000 acres being offered this year versus over 700,000 acres offered last year. 

 

It is important to note that submitting and accepting a CRP offer is the start of the process, and producers still need to develop a conservation plan before enrolling their land on October 1, 2022. Each year, during the window between offer acceptance and land enrollment, some producers change their mind and ultimately decide not to enroll some accepted acres without penalty.

 

The three other types of CRP—Grasslands, Continuous, and CREP—are still available for either working-lands or targeted, often smaller sub-field, offers. Producers have submitted offers on nearly 260,000 acres through the Continuous and CREP signup so far this year. The Grassland signup – which last year had its highest participation ever – closes May 13, 2022. 

 

General CRP Signup 

 

The General CRP Signup 58 ran from Jan. 31 to March 11, 2022.  

 

Through CRP, producers and landowners establish long-term, resource-conserving plant species, such as approved grasses or trees, to control soil erosion, improve soil health and water quality, and enhance wildlife habitat on agricultural land. In addition to the other well-documented benefits, lands enrolled in CRP are playing a key role in climate change mitigation efforts across the country.  

 

In 2021, FSA introduced improvements to the program, which included a new Climate-Smart Practice Incentive to increase carbon sequestration and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This incentive provides a 3%, 5% or 10% incentive payment based on the predominant vegetation type for the practices enrolled – from grasses to trees to wetland restoration.  

 

More Information 

While the General Signup is closed, producers and landowners can still apply for the Continuous and Grassland signups by contacting their local USDA Service Center.? 

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Signed into law in 1985, CRP is one of the largest voluntary private-lands conservation programs in the United States. It was originally intended to primarily control soil erosion and potentially stabilize commodity prices by taking marginal lands out of production. The program has evolved over the years, providing many conservation and economic benefits.?Learn more at fsa.usda.gov/crp.?? 

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

Governor Eric J. Holcomb is directing flags in the State of Indiana to be flown at half-staff in remembrance of the one million American lives lost to COVID-19.

 

Per President Biden's order, flags should be flown at half-staff immediately until sunset on Monday, May 16.

 

Gov. Holcomb is asking businesses and residents in Indiana to lower their flags.

Indiana State Police Peru Post holds annual memorial service

An inscription on the memorial stone in front of the Indiana State Police Peru Post reads, “We Will Remember Them”. On Wednesday that promise was kept when local law enforcement officers, retired state police employees, local government officials, and family members of the fallen joined employees from the Indiana State Police Peru Post as they paid tribute to the 47 Indiana State Police employees who have died in the line of duty since the department’s inception in 1933.

 

Since the early days of the Indiana State Police, memorial services have been held at all Indiana State Police Post during the month of May The memorial services are a way of paying tribute and remembering the ultimate sacrifice paid by state police employees who died while serving and protecting the citizens and visitors of Indiana. The services are also for the family members of the fallen heroes. The memorial services let the families of the fallen know that the sacrifice made by them, and their departed loved ones will never be forgotten.

 

Today’s service started with troopers standing at attention as Captain Jeremy Kelly, Area I commander for the Indiana State Police, read a roll call of the fallen employees. Lieutenant T.J. Zeiser, commander of the Indiana State Police Peru Post, provided a brief description of what lead to the fallen employees’ final call.

 

 

The solemn ceremony ended with the playing of Taps by a bugler.

 

Four troopers from the Indiana State Police Peru Post have died in the line of duty:

 

  • Sergeant Glen R. Hosier died April 26, 1971, of a gunshot wound he received while leading officers up the staircase of a Miami County home. He was attempting to arrest a murder suspect. 
  • Trooper Robert J. Lather II died July 6, 1982, in an automobile crash on U.S. 31 in Miami County. He was assisting the Howard County Sheriff’s Department in pursuit of a traffic violator. 
  • Master Trooper Detective David E. Rich died July 5, 2007, of a gunshot wound he received when a motorist he stopped to assist opened fired on him as he approached a disabled vehicle on U.S. 24 in Wabash County. 
  • Trooper Daniel R. Barrett died January 27, 2008, while attempting to catch a speeding vehicle on U.S. 31 in northern Fulton County. His police car left the roadway and struck a tree, killing the trooper instantly.

For a complete listing of Indiana State Police employees who died in the line of duty, visit the Indiana State Police website at www.in.gov/isp.

DNR LE hosts recruiting event on May 19 for District 1

DNR’s Division of Law Enforcement will host a conservation officer recruiting event on May 19 for District 1, which includes Elkhart, Fulton, Kosciusko, Marshall, Miami, St. Joseph, and Wabash counties.

 

Elkhart and St. Joseph counties currently have conservation officer vacancies.

 

The event will be at Potato Creek State Park, located at 25601 State Road 4 in North Liberty, at 6:30 p.m. 

 

Anyone interested in becoming an Indiana Conservation Officer is encouraged to attend.  The event will cover critical portions of the 2022 Indiana Conservation Officer hiring process, including duties of a conservation officer, preparation for the written exam, preparation for core values training, and physical agility testing requirements.

 

Conservation officers are eligible for a variety of benefits, including take-home vehicle; cellphone and computer; all necessary equipment to perform job tasks; comprehensive medical, dental and vision coverage; paid vacation; holidays and comp time; scheduling allocations; and three paid hours per week to maintain physical fitness. Salary for second-year conservation officers is $56,271.

 

To see if you qualify to be an Indiana Conservation Officer and to complete the pre-screen exam, see on.IN.gov/dnrlaw and click on Become a Conservation Officer.

Kokomo couple arrested after school reports child bruised and malnourished

A Kokomo couple was arrested recently on charges of child abuse, after a nine-year-old girl was reported by the school to be neglected to the point of being malnourished, with bruises all over her body. 

 

The girl, who weighed just 48.5 pounds, was taken to a local hospital by school officials where Kokomo Police detectives then began the investigation. According to the affidavit, along with the bruises, the child reportedly had several bones protruding, and appeared unbathed with stained, dirty clothing.  

 

The child confided in an Indiana Department of Child Services worker that both Seats and Smith took turns beating her with a belt. She also stated Seats grabbed her by her throat to choked her and held her against a wall. It was reported Seats also had also slammed her head into a door, and scared her to the point she urinated after he threatened to hit her in the head with a hammer. 

 

According to the affiavit, a medical examination reported bruises and abrasions on both of the girl's knees, her right and left thighs, right hip and stomach area, her chin and several bruises on her neck. Kokomo Police took Tracy A. Seats, 32, the girl's father, and Amy D. Smith, 38, into custody. Both Seats and Smith face charges of one count each of domestic battery with serious bodily injury, neglect of a dependent resulting in serious bodily injury and domestic battery with bodily injury.

 

Seats was previously charged with neglect in 2019 on a seperate investigation. He originally spoke with an officer and commented on the bruises, but later changed the story and stated he did not know anything about them. 

 

Seats faces additional charges with intimidation using a deadly weapon and strangulation. All charges are felonies. The couple is scheduled to appear before a jury in the Howard Superior Court September 30.

 

Husband and wife who conspired with Subway spokesperson Jared Fogle to sexually exploit children sentenced to federal prison

Russell Taylor, 50, Indianapolis, and his ex-wife, Angela Taylor (now known as Angela Baldwin), 40, Connersville, were sentenced today, ending a years-long child exploitation investigation into a conspiracy that involved Taylor, Baldwin, and Jared Fogle. Taylor was sentenced to 27 years in prison and Baldwin was sentenced to over 33 years in prison.

 

According to Court documents, the investigation into Taylor, Baldwin, and Fogle began in 2014, when an acquaintance of Taylor and Baldwin contacted the Indiana State Police to report that Taylor had offered to send her child sexual abuse material. In 2015, a search warrant was executed at the home that Taylor and Baldwin shared. Child sexual abuse material was discovered on multiple electronic devices and law enforcement officers concluded that there were likely hidden cameras in the house.

 

Taylor and Fogle were both charged, pled guilty, and convicted in 2015. Taylor appealed, and his conviction was vacated in 2020. During the subsequent re-investigation, investigators discovered evidence that implicated Baldwin, and she was charged with production of child sex abuse material, possession of child sex abuse material, and conspiracy to produce child sex abuse material.

 

According to court documents, between 2011 and 2015, Taylor and Baldwin worked together and with other individuals, including Jared Fogle, to produce, possess, and distribute child sexual abuse material. Taylor and Baldwin placed hidden cameras in their house to secretly record minor children fully nude and/or engaging in sexual activity. In addition to viewing the hidden camera footage, Taylor and Baldwin also distributed the sexually explicit images and videos to each other, to Fogle, and to other members of the conspiracy.

 

Taylor, who pled guilty in June 2021 to multiple offenses, including 24 counts of producing child sexual abuse material, was sentenced today to 324 months in federal prison.

 

Baldwin, who was convicted by a jury in October 2021 of two counts of production of child sexual abuse material, one count of conspiracy to produce child sexual abuse material, and one count of possession of child sexual abuse material, was sentenced to 400 months in federal prison.

 

“The Taylors have finally been held accountable for their years of heinous sexual exploitation of children,” said U.S. Attorney Zachary A. Myers. “Child sexual abusers must be held accountable for the lifelong impact of these crimes on survivors and their families. The prosecutors, investigators, and analysts of Indiana’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force will not relent in our mission to protect children from these offenders. I commend all of the dedicated professionals who fought to take these child predators out of our community and help to bring justice to their victims.”

 

“This case demonstrates the never-ending commitment of the FBI and our law enforcement partners to seek justice for the victims of child sexual abuse,” said FBI Indianapolis Special Agent in Charge Herbert J. Stapleton. “Russell Taylor and Angela Baldwin not only abused children by producing child sexual abuse material in their home, but also re-victimized children over and over again by contributing to the distribution of these images.  Sentences like this one send a clear message that adults who participate in this type of despicable abuse will be held responsible for their actions.”

 

“The collaborative work performed by the Indiana State Police, Indiana Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and our federal law enforcement partners helped to bring to justice those who sought to perpetuate the victimization of children”, said Indiana State Police Superintendent Douglas G. Carter.  “And for that, I am so proud and grateful for their tireless efforts.”

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force investigated the case. The sentence was imposed by U.S. District Chief Judge Tanya Walton Pratt. As part of the sentence, Judge Pratt ordered that Taylor and Baldwin be supervised by the U.S. Probation Office for life following their release from prison. Taylor and Baldwin will also be required by law to register as a sex offender wherever they live, work, or go to school.

 

U.S. Attorney Myers thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kathryn E. Olivier and Bradley P. Shepard who prosecuted this case.

 

Indiana Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force is a partnership of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies led by the Indiana State Police. The Task Force is dedicated to investigating and prosecuting crimes involving the technology-facilitated sexual exploitation of children and the trafficking of child sexual abuse material. Each year, Indiana ICAC investigators evaluate thousands of tips, investigate hundreds of cases, and rescue dozens of children from ongoing sexual abuse. In fiscal year 2019, the most recent year for which data is available, the Southern District of Indiana was second out of the 94 federal districts in the country for the number of child sexual exploitation cases prosecuted.

 

Additionally, this case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc

Portions of Marshall Co. included in gypsy moth spraying

Aerial treatments conducted by DNR’s Division of Entomology & Plant Pathology and Division of Forestry to slow the spread of spongy moth, which used to be called gypsy moth, in selected areas of Marshall, Noble, and LaPorte counties could begin the week of May 16, weather permitting.

Spongy moth is one of North America's most devastating invasive forest pests and has caused thousands of acres of defoliation across the eastern United States.

Treatment begins shortly after sunrise but could be delayed until later in the morning or the next day due to unfavorable weather conditions like morning fog or rain. Treatment should take about an hour.

A yellow airplane flying 75-125 feet above the treetops will conduct the treatment starting at sunrise and continuing throughout the day as weather and flight schedules permit. Treatments may be completed by late morning or early afternoon.

The airplane distributes a spray containing the bacteria referred to as Btk, into the treetops of infested areas where spongy moth caterpillars feed on tree leaves. Btk kills spongy moth caterpillars by disrupting their digestive systems after they ingest it.

Btk has been used for decades by organic gardeners and does not adversely affect people or animals. People who live or work near the treatment areas might want to stay inside when the planes are flying and for about 30 minutes after treatments are completed. This gives the material time to settle out of the air and stick to treetops. For more information on Btk, call toll-free at 1-866-NO-EXOTIC (663-9684) or call your county extension office.

If the weather cools and slows the emergence of the caterpillars, treatment application could be delayed until the next week. Updates will be posted on Twitter @INdnrinvasive. DNR will also issue news releases to update the status. Once treatment begins, rain or high wind may interrupt it. If that happens, treatment would resume the next suitable day and continue until all sites have been treated.

To determine if your property is in the treatment areas, to view maps of all treatment locations, or for more information about spongy moth, see 
gypsymoth.IN.gov.

 

Dedication ceremony honors memory of Terry Moore Friday at the Fulton County Community Center

The Fulton County Community Center activity room was a full house Friday afternoon, during the dedication ceremony honoring the memory of Terry Moore.

 

The activity room at the center was renamed the 'Terry Moore Memorial Activity Room' in honor of the decades she spent working on the vision and development of the Fulton County Community Center. 

 

During the ceremony Mayor Ted Denton, family and friends spoke of the Rochester legend, who was the backbone and drive to the Community Center's growth since its small start in 1990. 

 

 

Terry was known for her big heart that she wore on her sleeve for the community she was born and raised in. Her husband, Joe Moore, ended the ceremony with a speech dedicated to his late wife, that left the crowd rolling in emotions. 

 

Terry and Joe recieved the 2016 Community Service Award. The couple's love for helping people and giving back to the community stretched far. It was Terry's unconditional love however, that stretched even further than Joe's comfort zone sometimes.  Her passion for giving outshown his concern for others using his wife's kindness as weakness. 

Compared to the famous Mother Theresa, Terry was said to know no stranger. 

 

 

Winamac Coil Springs Gene Huber Jr. becomes president of multinational organization

Gene Huber Jr. is leading a multinational association in his Indiana field of expertise.

 

Winamac Coil Springs, a spring company located in Winamac and Kewanna, is one of the largest single location spring companies in the United States. A leading manufacturer of compression, extension single and double torsion springs, and wireforms, the company still continues to grow, putting rural Indiana on the map. 

 

Wanting to not only improve and grow his own company, but also help other companies, WCS Executive Vice President Gene Huber took a step up in the spring industry by recently becoming president for the Spring Manufacturers Institute, an international organization for spring makers.  

 

 

 

The Spring Manufacturers Institue is an association of multinational spring companies and wire formers from all over the world including most of North America, the Japanese Federation, the European Federation and Asian Federation.

 

 

Learning, collaberating and continuing to grow is Huber's biggest goal with not only this new position, but also his position at WCS in Kewanna. 

 

 

Kathy's Ice Cream, Coffee and Sweet Shop brings a sweet addition to Kewanna

Kewanna building owner Norman Ray's vision has turned into reality after officially opening Kathy’s Ice Cream, Coffee and Sweet Shop in downtown Kewanna last month. 

 

Norman, who's had a passion for remodelling homes in the past, saw potential in the building that's been everything from a beauty shop to a knick-knack store. When the previous owners talked about tearing it down in 2015, Norm jumped at the chance to help save the building. 

 

Inspired by the nostalgic soda shops from his time, Norm hopes the store will help bring back life to the once vibrant Kewanna. 

 

 

 

Managed by his daughter Kathy Sellers, the sweet tooth to Kewanna is open Monday to Wednesday from 12pm-7pm, although hours may extend this summer.

On top of the sweets and retro atmosphere, they also serve pizza, nachos, chili dogs and other snacks. The father-daughter duo said so far local support and reaction has been a positive one. 

 

 

 

Indiana State Police Master Trooper arrested on battery charge in Miami Co.

An Indiana State Police investigation has led to the arrest of Master Trooper Michael Meiser.  Meiser, 43, was booked into the Miami County Jail to face a misdemeanor charge of battery. He has since posted bond. 

 

Recently, the Indiana State Police launched a criminal investigation after receiving information that Meiser had purportedly committed battery against an Indiana State Police employee. 

 

During the investigation, enough probable cause was developed for a Miami Superior Court II arrest warrant to be issued. Thursday, at 1:15 pm, Meiser was taken into custody and transported to the Miami County Jail.

 

Meiser is a 16-year-veteran of the Indiana State Police Department. He is currently assigned administrative duties until the completion of the criminal case and an Indiana State Police internal investigation. 

 

 

Taillights led to traffic stop and drug arrest

Failed taillights led to the arrest of two men on drug charges.

 

A recent traffic stop by Indiana State Police led to the arrests of Richard Egan, 27, of Indianapolis, and Dylan Whitlow, 23, of Greenwood. Both were incarcerated in the Miami County Jail to face criminal charges for dealing marijuana and possession of marijuana. Egan faces additional charges for possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. 

 

The traffic stop was made on a Honda Civic, on U.S. 31 near State Road 218 for not having its taillights illuminated.  During the traffic stop, Egan was the driver. While Trooper Wilkison was speaking to Egan, he allegedly smelled the odor of marijuana emitting from the vehicle. 

 

During a subsequent search of the Honda, officers allegedly found psilocybin mushrooms, approximately two pounds of marijuana, 450 containers of suspected THC wax, 72 wrapped marijuana edibles, drug paraphernalia, and approximately $ 15,000 in United States currency. 

Fulton County asked about housing inmates by western Indiana county

Fulton County’s new jail may soon see some new occupants from out of town.

 

Fulton County Commissioner Bryan Lewis says they have been contacted by Vermilion County in western Indiana.  Vermilion County is in the midst of a planned remodel of its jail facilities and is trying to find space for prisoners to be re-located during that project.

 

 

In area roads work, Fulton County is going to work with the City of Rochester on a culvert project.

 

 

Aside from that, county highway is handling some of the usual road maintenance that crops up this time of year.

 

 

Back to the new Fulton County Jail site, Lewis noted good news in the extended wait to move communications to the site.  He noted foundations are finally in for the tower which he hopes can also be set soon.  He hopes it could be operational in the next two months.

 

Once communications / 911 is moved out of the old facility the county can look to move probation into the old sheriff’s site.

Fulton County Primary Election Results

Fulton County Primary  Election had 2,811 of 12, 072 or 23.29% of registered voters turn out.

 

Sheriff

Heishman 1,338

Craig 725

Sumpter 487

 

Assessor

Hensley 1,307

Becker 1,055

 

Commissioner District 2

Lewis 1,445

Cowles 1,035

 

County Council District 4 

Gundrum 478

Denton 356

 

Newcastle Township Trustee

Leininger 123

Clennon 50

 

Henry Township Trustee

Paxton 179

Woodruff 78

 

 

 

Fulton County vote centers accepting voters thru 6pm

Fulton County's vote centers are open until 6:00 pm for voting on this Primary Election Tuesday.

 

Fulton County residents may vote at any of the vote centers.

 

Locations include:

 

Fulton County Fairgrounds, 1009 W 3rd St., Rochester

 

Community Resource Center, 625 Pontiac St, Rochester

 

Akron Community Building, 815 E Rural St., Akron

 

Fulton Community Building, 204 E Dunn St., Fulton 

 

Fulton County Historical Museum, 37 E 375 N, Rochester

 

Kewanna Fire Station, 404 Toner St, Kewanna

 

Argos company named Family-Owned Small Business of the Year

Governor Eric J. Holcomb issued a proclamation declaring May 1 – 7 as Small Business Week in Indiana, celebrating the more than 529,000 small businesses in Indiana and the more than 1.2 million hardworking Hoosiers they employ.


The Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) will recognize eight Hoosier small businesses that have worked with the Indiana Small Business Development Center (SBDC), a program of the IEDC, to start, grow or pivot their small businesses.

These awards, presented in conjunction with the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) National Small Business Week, honor the entrepreneurs' and small businesses' achievements and contributions to grow Indiana’s economy and strengthen communities across the state. 
 
The 2022 honorees include:  

 

Family-Owned Small Business of the Year: AMERI-CAN Engineering (Argos)

Founded in 1988, AMERI-CAN Engineering is a third-generation, family-owned business that manufactures specialty sanitation trailers. In 2005, AMERI-CAN Engineering founders, Gladys and Ron Bird, were awarded The Andy Gump Award, the most prestigious honor within the portable sanitation industry.

 

Located in Argos, AMERI-CAN Engineering manufactures trailers that are distributed throughout the world. 

Fulton County Chamber of Commerce accomplishments of award winners at gala

The Fulton County Chamber of Commerce would like to extend a “Thank You!” to event sponsor Rochester Metal Products for supporting our annual meeting as well as our entertainment sponsor Duke Energy.

 

Thank you to our community award sponsors that help make this event possible: Fulton Economic Development, Lake City Bank, and WROI 92.1 Giant FM. Thank you to Mart Smith and his selection team for presenting the Community Service Award.

 

We received several deserving nominations for the community awards this year and had the opportunity to recognize and honor qualifying nominees by turning the voting over to chamber members. 

 

The Organization of the Year Award is presented to an organization or business in the Fulton County area with proven growth and stability, provides innovative products or services, and demonstrates economic support of the Fulton County area business community. The nominees for 2021 Organization of the Year include: Brooch Boutique, Rochester Boat Company, and Woodlawn Hospital. 

 

Brooch Boutique is a women’s clothing boutique that offers a variety of gifts, accessories, and footwear. In the last 5 ½ years, Brooch Boutique has expanded from a small brick-and-mortar location attached to an already existing business to an additional three storefronts, an e-commerce platform, and a robust mobile app. Now they are building a 3200 square foot addition to the Rochester location, of which 1600 square feet will be used to accommodate growing shipping and receiving departments. 

 

Rochester Boat Company is a family-owned business founded in 2009 by Lisa and Shane Reffett to meet their need of installing a lift and pier at their home on Lake Manitou. Since then, Rochester Boat Company merged with and purchased several pier/lift services on the lake, acquired a Shore Station franchise, utilize three boat storage buildings in Rochester, built a wash bay for detailing boats and other vehicles, and established a design service for piers and lifts. 

 

Woodlawn Hospital is an integral part of our community’s healthcare system and one of Fulton County’s largest employers. The hospital invested in purchasing the da Vinci robot for Gynecologic and General Surgery.  More recently, the Robotic Orthopedic Surgical Assistant robot, known as ROSA, was purchased and has nearly eliminated the need for a hospital stay for many patients. In 2021, Woodlawn Hospital received a 4-Star Rated Top Hospital in Indiana by Medicare.gov and was designated ‘Safe Sleep Provider’ in its New Beginnings Department. 

 

Congratulations to this year’s recipient: Brooch Boutique!

 

 

The Emerging Business Award is presented to an organization or business established in the last 0-5 years in the Fulton County area that demonstrates growing success in the community, and exhibits commitment to good business practices, community relations, and employee relations. The nominees for the 2021 Emerging Business Award include: The Flagpole, One Eyed Jacks, and The Outlet Youth Center.

 

The Flagpole is a nostalgic family-owned ice cream and hot dog shoppe that serves 21 flavors of ice cream made on site. Owners Tim and Helen Durkes continue to witness sales growth year after year as they strive to provide a fun family atmosphere to Rochester and Fulton County’s residents and visitors. Tim and Helen are grateful to provide many teenagers their first job, teaching them communication, respect, and hard work. They reward these teenagers’ hard work with bonuses and treating them like family. 

 

One Eyed Jacks is a full-service American restaurant, locally famous for their breaded tenderloin sandwich. One Eyed Jacks originated in Winamac and the owners opened a second location in 2020 inside Manitou Moose Lodge 1107 on beautiful Lake Manitou. In that time, they have experienced over 340% growth in gross sales. The employees of One Eyed Jacks aren’t just coworkers, they are a family and they are proud to support local nonprofits and school activities. 

 

The Outlet Youth Center is a faith-based, youth-driven, and community-minded nonprofit organization striving to provide a safe and structured environment for all Fulton County area youth. Director Patience Hisey and the Board officially opened its doors in August 2020. Despite COVID and school-reopening challenges, the number of participating students has doubled this school year. They added a tutoring program, several clubs, and even had enough support to hire an Assistant Director. 

 

Congratulations to this year’s recipient: The Outlet Youth Center!  

 

The Business Professional of the Year Award is presented to an individual who demonstrates growing excellence, creativity, and initiative in their profession, is engaged in the community, and shows a strong commitment to good business practices. This person serves as a role model for other professionals both personally and professionally, and possess vision and passion to lead and mentor others. The nominees for 2021 Business Professional of the Year include: Pat Brown with Recovery Café Fulton County, Patience Hisey with The Outlet Youth Center, Brian Johnson with Fulton County Community Foundation, and Erin Reason with Fulton County REMC. 

 

Pat Brown is locally known for actively pursuing a drug-free Fulton County. He is the Executive Director of Recovery Café Fulton County, a peer support community physically located in Downtown Rochester. Recovery Café provides a clean and sober environment where people can express themselves without fear of judgment or rejection. Additionally, Pat volunteers with many local non-profits to eliminate drug abuse and encourage harm reduction. 

 

As I’m sure you just heard, Patience Hisey has a passion for the vulnerable youth in our community. She is committed to being someone students can depend on and trust; she partakes in additional training and takes time to build relationships. She sets an amazing example of how to care for and mentor students in our community. 

 

Not only is Brian Johnson the Director of Development for the Fulton County Community Foundation, in 2021 he was a project leader for Fulton County 4-H, Rochester Youth Baseball League coach, and volunteer at Rochester First Baptist Church. He also had the opportunity to organize volunteers for mobile food pantries in Fulton County and be a mentor for colleagues within the community foundation. 

 

Erin Reason is the Chief Financial Officer of Fulton County REMC. She has an open-door management policy overseeing 5 positions within the office. That’s in addition to raising three boys under 5, raising and selling meat goats, providing bookkeeping services for her two family businesses, and being an active member of a local sorority, of which she is the incoming Vice President. 

 

Congratulations to this year’s recipient: Brian Johnson!

 

 

The final award of the evening was presented by Mart Smith to Treva Mulligan of Flirt Boutique for her efforts in business and community, the Community Service Award.

 

Thank you to the following for your contributions in making the gala is successful event for all: Log House Restaurant, Evergreen, Jarrety’s Place, One Eyed Jacks, Rochester Community Schools, The Round Barn Opry Band, the Fulton County Chamber Board of Directors and Gala Events Committee.

 

Winamac Art in the Park event is this weekend

The Pulaski County Tribe announced a public invitation for their Arts in the Park event that is set for Saturday, May 7 from 11:00 am-2:00 pm at the Winamac Town Park. 

 

The event includes hands-on art activities, a live mural painted by Zach Medler, the public reveal of newly installed artwork, the announcement of additional art components, the dedication of newly installed bench swings, the art of pickleball demonstrations, a balloon artist, food trucks, tree plantings, and photo opportunities and more. 

 

The event is part of incorporating art into the park in Winamac, in an effort to beautify the park and area of Pulaski County. 

 

Rochester couple arrested with approximately a quarter pound of meth

A search warrant served Friday by Indiana State Police troopers resulted in the arrests of Allyson Byerline, 21, and Collan Johnson, 32, both from Rochester.

 

Indiana State Police Trooper Jesse Reason initiated a narcotics investigation after receiving information about possible illegal drug activity occurring at 61 Coral Drive, Rochester. During the investigation Reason applied for and was granted a Fulton County search warrant for the Coral Drive home. 

 

Just after 9:30 am today Reason with a team of state troopers served the warrant. Inside they located Byerline and Johnson. During a further search of the residence, officers allegedly found approximately a quarter pound of methamphetamine, marijuana, $669.00 in United States currency, and numerous items of drug paraphernalia.

 

Byerline and Johnson were both incarcerated in the Fulton County Jail. They each face criminal charges for dealing methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine, possession of marijuana, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Johnson faces an additional charge for invasion of privacy. 

 

Assisting with the search warrant were ISP Lieutenant T.J. Zeiser, Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Officer Master Trooper Bart Stouffer, Trooper Steven Glass, Trooper Doug Weaver, and Fulton County Sheriff’s Detective Sergeant Travis Heishman. 

 

Peru man arrested on child porn charges

In March 2022, Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Investigators with the Kokomo Police Department, assisted with an investigation initiated by Peru Police Department investigators. Further assistance was requested to Homeland Security Investigators (HSI) in relation to the production and possession of child pornography.

 

On April 22, HSI obtained a signed federal arrest warrant for James Dustin Eugene Rippy, 38, of Peru, for the Production and Possession of Child Pornography. Investigators from the Kokomo Police Department assisted Peru Police Department Investigators and HSI in serving the warrant.

 

Rippy was taken into custody without incident.

 

This case remains under investigation and anyone with additional information is asked to contact Detective Austin Bailey at 765-456-7280 or by email at abailey@cityofkokomo.org.

Bald eagles in Starke and Miami counties with avian influenza

Avian influenza has been confirmed in two wild raptor species in Indiana, according to the DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife (DFW).

 

Diagnostic testing on the raptors was done at Purdue’s Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, where the birds tested positive with the (HP) H5N1 strain that is circulating in North America.

The individual raptors that tested positive were one bald eagle each from Starke and Miami counties, and a red-tailed hawk from Johnson County.

Since the beginning of the year, avian influenza has been detected in raptors in multiple states.

In light of spring turkey hunting season, Michelle Benavidez Westrich, a DFW wildlife health biologist, said that the current H5N1 strain has not been detected in wild turkeys, and she does not expect that to happen.

“While wild turkeys are presumed susceptible, the likelihood of wild turkeys catching this disease is very low; it has never occurred in Indiana,” she said.

As always, meat harvested from wild birds in the state, as long as it is handled properly and cooked to an internal temperature of 165F, does not present a food safety risk.

Avian influenza has been detected in various wild water birds in multiple states this year. A redhead duck collected from Dubois County by the USDA tested positive for the H5N1 strain earlier in 2022. The DFW is partnering with USDA-Wildlife Services to increase surveillance efforts throughout the state. People who see waterfowl or raptors that are dead or appear sick are asked to report them using the DNR online reporting tool: on.IN.gov/sickwildlife.

Additional information about avian influenza in wild birds, bird feeder care, and more advice on how you can help prevent the spread avian influenza and other bird diseases is at bit.ly/3vRh7dX.  

 

 

 

Rochester man sentenced for role as driver in car-pedestrian death in 2020

Rochester’s Larry Smith will serve eight years in prison for his role in a car-pedestrian accident that killed a pedestrian.

 

Smith was charged with causing death when operating a vehicle with a controlled substance in the body, a Level 4 felony.  He was the driver of a vehicle that struck Carol Hoffer, 84, in Etna Green on November 3, 2020.  Hoffer later died of her injuries.

 

Smith was ordered to serve 12 years in prison but four of those were suspended.

 

Original story - November 3, 2020

A Kosciusko County woman was struck by a car and died Tuesday.

Carol Hoffer, 84, of Etna Green died as a result of injuries she sustained after being struck by a vehicle in Etna Green Tuesday evening.

According to investigating deputies, Hoffer was walking on Broadway St. when she was struck by a 1999 Ford F150 driven by Larry Smith, 57, of Leesburg. Immediately prior to the collision, Smith turned west onto Broadway St. from Walnut St.

Hoffer was transported by the Samaritan Air Ambulance to South Bend Memorial Hospital, where she later succumbed to her injuries.

Smith was not injured in the collision.

This crash remains under investigation by the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office Fatal Team.

Wheels on Fire Cancer Crusaders fundraising event Saturday at Fulton County Gun Club

A Wheels on Fire Cancer Crusaders fundraising event will be held at the Fulton County Gun Club this Saturday, April 30, starting at 10:00 am. 

 

The event is said to continue as long as shooters are there.

 

Over the decades Fulton County Gun Club has raised $25,863.75 for Wheels on Fire. They hope to break 2020’s record of $5,700 this year.

 

Trap shooting practice with 10 targets is $3 or 25 targets for $6. Trap shooting games have an entry fee between $6 and $10.  

 

The event's silent auction, which will start at 10 am, will have shooting, hunting and outdoor equipment, ammo, and a pass for the shooting range up for bid. Final bid will end at 1pm. 

 

The kitchen will be open with a full dinner menu available. All kitchen receipts will go to Wheels on Fire. For any questions call (574) 223-2072 or fcgc@rtcol.com.

BraunAbility builds 50 ramps in 50 days

As a way of recognizing their 50th anniversary, BraunAbility, the Winamac-based global leader in wheelchair accessible vehicles and lifts, is lending a hand to community members in need, while continuing to advocate for the disabled.  

 

Dedicated to enhancing independence and inclusion for individuals with mobility challenges the company has partnering with Servants at Work (SAWs), to set an ambitious goal: to build 50 ramps in 50 days in the communities where its employees live and work.

 

BraunAbility Senior Brand Manager Megan Wegner explains. 

 

 

The 50 home ramps will be built from July and August by SAWs and BraunAbility volunteers, completely free to the home’s occupant. Each ramp, which will take around four to six hours to complete, will be constructed of wood and adheres strictly to ADA standards.

 

To qualify for the ramp build, recipients must have a long-term disability and have a household income below the Area Mean Income for the state of residence.  

 

Donations are being accepted to help cover the costs of ramp build materials. To donate or to learn more about the program, visit here

 

Logansport teens arrested for vandalizing park bathrooms

'What's on our mind? The worst vandalism I've ever seen in my 28 years of doing Parks & Recreation. This was done at the Riverside restrooms on Friday night, on both the men's and women's sides. I don't know who is so angry that they could do this, but it's made me heartsick and sick to my stomach,' read a post on Saturday from the Logansport Parks & Recreation Department. 

 

The post, which got over 800 shares, sparked community outrage at the senseless destruction. The incident happened Friday night at Riverside Park, 1212 Riverside Dr, in Logansport. Photos posted on social media show broken sinks, toilets torn from the wall, and bathroom stalls ripped apart and thrown along with trash all over the floor.

 

According to police, after recieving a tip on April 25, detectives followed up information obtained and made four arrests. Among those arrested were three juveniles aged 13, 14 and 15. All three juveniles were charged with level 6 felony criminal mischief and level six felony residential entry on an unrelated case. One adult was also arrested in the investigation. Kaelib Rhodenbaugh, 18, of Logansport was also charged with level 6 felony criminal mischief and level six felony residential entry on a unrelated case. 

 

The charges related to the residential entry occured at a separate location on the 1200 block of North Street in Logansport, but happened on the same night the Riverside Park bathrooms were damaged.  

 

Rhodenbaugh, along with two of the juveniles arrested were also charged with misdemeanor criminal mischief, as well as misdemeanor minor consumption.

 

Logansport Mayor Chris Martin addressed the situation in a Facebook post on the city's page.

 

 

The incident is still under investigation. Anyone with information about the vandalism is asked to contact Detective Chris Rozzi at 574-725-2821.

 

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