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Donato named to four study committees

State Sen. Stacey Donato (R-Logansport) will serve as a member of several study committees in preparation for the 2022 legislative session.


Donato’s assignments include the following:


  • Interim Study Committee on Child Services;
  • Governor’s Commission on Supplier Diversity;
  • Commission on Improving the Status of Children in Indiana; and
  • 21st Century Energy Policy Development Task Force.


Redinger to direct Fulton Co. Plan Commission as Cowles joins WTH Technology

It’s a change in the director for Rochester and Fulton County’s planning department.


Executive Director of the Fulton County Area Plan Commission Casi Cowles announced about a month ago that she was resigning from the post.  accepted a position with WTH Technology, based in Indianapolis.  WTH is among other things, a creator of a popular suite of GIS software products.


Fulton County Commissioner Rick Ranstead.



Heather Redinger takes over the post officially on Monday.

North Judson's Mint Festival is this weekend

Ready to enjoy a festival like atmosphere.  You might try the North Judson Mint Festival.


The Father's Day weekend event features the Father / Grandfather of the Year, live music and food in downtown North judson and at the city park.


A 5K run - walk, pancake breakfast, car show and more is on the docket for Saturday.  The Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum is also open Saturday and Sunday.


It's the 44th year for the festival in North Judson.



The 44th annual North Judson Mint Festival runs this weekend with a lineup of live music, food, and activities for the whole family to enjoy.


Saturday’s events kick off with a 5K Run/2-mile walk followed by a pancake breakfast and a list of activities for guests of all ages to enjoy, like a car show, pet parade, and cooking with mint competition.

The Festival wraps on Sunday with live music, a parade, and more.

Admission and parking for the Festival are free.

Guests can also enjoy train excursions with the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum on Saturday and Sunday.

For more information, visit the Festival on Facebook.

Rochester's Streamliner Family Restaurant recognized for years of service

Governor Eric J. Holcomb awarded 101 Indiana companies and organizations with the Governor’s Century or Half Century Business Award in recognition of each company’s longevity and service to its employees, community and the state. 

“I’m honored to recognize these dedicated, Hoosier business leaders who have created a lasting impact not only on their communities but to the state as a whole,” said Gov. Holcomb. “As we continue to attract new jobs and investment to Indiana, these well-established businesses will set the tone for a Hoosier economy dedicated to hard work, constant improvement and strong community roots. I’m confident these businesses will continue providing great service for the next 100 years and keep Indiana on the path to success for centuries to come." 

The Governor’s Century and Half Century Business Awards honor Hoosier businesses that have remained in operation for a minimum of 100 or 50 consecutive years and have demonstrated a commitment to community service.


More than 1,160 Indiana companies have been recognized during the award's 30-year history.

2021 Century Award honorees:

  • Baker Specialty & Supply Company Inc. (Supplies)
    108 years; Cass County
  • Guyer The Mover Inc. (Trade)
    100 years; Miami County

2021 Half Century Award honorees

  • American Containers (Manufacturing)
    56 years; Marshall County


  • Ball Auction & Realty Inc. (Real estate)
    52 years; Marshall County
  • Engineering Aggregates Corporation (Supplies)
    61 years; Cass County
  • G and G Hauling & Excavating (Trade)
    55 years; Kosciusko County
  • Indiana Coated Fabrics (Manufacturing)
    54 years; Kosciusko County
  • Indiana Technology and Manufacturing Companies (Technology)
    66 years; Marshall County
  • Oliver Ford Sales Inc. (Automotive sales & service)
    66 years; Marshall County
  • Precision Automotive (Automotive repair and producer)
    52 years; Kosciusko County
  • South Side Barber Shop (Trade)
    57 years; Wabash County
  • Streamliner Family Restaurant (Food service)
    82 years; Fulton County

U.S. 35 to be closed between Anoka and Walton

The Indiana Department of Transportation announces a road closure for U.S. 35 between C.R. E 400 S and C.R. S 600 E beginning Monday, June 21. 


The road will be closed for a small structure replacement and is expected to reopen in late July.


Motorists should seek an alternate route. The official detour will follow State Road 29 and State Road 218. 

Suspicious barn fires focus of growing investigation

Suspicious barn fires are drawing the combined interest of area law enforcement agencies.


The Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office reports an investigation of two suspicious barn fires in the northwestern part of the county on June 11.  In a department Facebook post they noted they are now working with the Indiana State Fire Marshal’s Office, Elkhart County Sheriff’s Office and the St. Joseph County Police Department.  All of those jurisdictions have had suspicious barn fires this year.


Residents are asked to report any suspicious activity they see in their area. Most of the fires have been in the evening and early morning hours. Patrol units and investigators are looking for the suspect and will be saturating the area. Area residents are advised that some police vehicles will be unmarked; as such, do not hesitate to report unfamiliar vehicles in your area.


Kosciusko County Sheriff Kyle Dukes has contacted area residents, farmers and community leaders to discuss the fires and ask for assistance with reporting suspicious activity at (574) 267-5667.


Goshen father and son killed in Kosciusko Co. crash

A father and son were killed over the weekend in a car - tractor trailer accident.


Shortly after 2:00 am Sunday, emergency crews were dispatched to the intersection of US 30 and CR 875 W for a two-vehicle collision. According to the preliminary results of the ongoing investigation, conducted by the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office Fatal Team, a 2011 Mazda, driven by Marlin Fuentes, 32, of Goshen,  was traveling southbound on CR 875 W approaching US 30.  A semi-tractor trailer driven by Paul Banks, 44, of Bridgman, Michigan, was traveling westbound on US 30, approaching CR 875 W.


Evidence indicates that Fuentes failed to yield to the semi-tractor at the intersection. The semi-tractor struck the driver’s side door of the Mazda; killing the driver and passenger. Fuentes and a passenger, his son, Marlin, Jr., 10, were killed in the collision.


Banks was not injured.


The Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office, Etna Green Fire Department, Atwood Fire Department, Lutheran EMS and Kosciusko County Coroner’s Office responded to the accident scene.

Road sign put at Kewanna ditch after Thursday morning rollover crash


A soft shoulder road sign is now in at a Kewanna ditch on 250 S and 1000 W.  It was placed there by the Fulton County Highway Department after a roll-over crash Thursday morning, said to be caused by an unmarked ditch.


The Fulton County Sheriff's Department responded to the crash.  The vehicle, driven by Brandon M. Hendrickson, 23, of Rochester, had been traveling east on 250 S towards Kewanna around 8:30 am when he lost control after hitting a dip in the road. The vehicle then hit an electric pole nearby, causing it to flip and land in the north field. 


It was reported that both Hendrickson and his passenger were somehow left with only minor injuries, but did request an ambulance for a medical evaluation. Power was down in the area for about two hours as REMC repaired the pole. 




From student to business owner, RHS 2021 graduate Tessa Brooks opens Elemental Art Studio LLC

From books to business, Tessa Brooks, 18, had a dream when starting Elemental Art Studio in Rochester this past March.  From painting to pottery and everything in-between, Elemental Art Studio is located at 713 Main St. 


Tessa’s goal with the studio is to provide a place for people who want to create but may not have the equipment or place to do so. 


Saving money waiting tables and helping her dad’s construction business, Tessa’s passion for providing an outlet to the community fell into her hands this past spring. 



Tessa says art has been a part of her life since she can remember. 



The art studio is open to all ages, groups, and people.


Her hours are Thursday through Friday, 1 pm to 7 pm, Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm. Monday through Wednesday are open by appointment only for parties or private classes. 


Tessa pre-makes pottery for her customers to paint and put their own touches on, providing the paint, supplies, and help to anyone that needs it. 



Not wanting to scare away all the starving artists in the area, prices are affordable. 



She also plans on having painting and pottery classes at the studio in the future, as well as an art gallery for local artists to put their work on display. 



State health department to close Optum testing sites June 30

The Indiana Department of Health will close COVID-19 testing sites run by OptumServe Health Services effective June 30 now that a robust community-led testing network is in place, including pharmacies, providers, clinics and local health departments.


The partnership, which is concluding after 14 months, was announced by Gov. Eric J. Holcomb in April 2020 to bring large-scale testing to Hoosiers and remove barriers to testing by providing free and nearby access at a time when community resources were limited. Since May 6, 2020, more than 541,000 free COVID-19 tests have been provided at an OptumServe site.


“We are grateful to OptumServe for its work to ensure that Hoosiers had COVID testing available to them while we worked to build more local capacity,” said State Health Commissioner Kris Box, M.D., FACOG. “Without their work, many Hoosiers who were exposed to COVID or showing symptoms might never have known their status. I have no doubt that having this resource available helped reduce the spread of COVID in our state.”


At its peak, OptumServe provided testing in 53 counties. Currently, 30 counties have an OptumServe testing site. Throughout 2020 and early 2021, more community-based providers, clinics and pharmacies have been able to offer COVID-19 testing, reducing the need for Optum sites. In addition, local health departments received state grants in the fall of 2020 to open nearly 100 testing sites.

Box said demand for testing has decreased across the state and noted that free testing will remain available at more than 250 sites after the Optum sites close. You can find a COVID-19 testing site near you by visiting

“While our case counts have fallen significantly, we must continue to take steps to reduce the spread of disease," Box said. "We remain committed to ensuring that any Hoosier who wants or needs to be tested can receive that testing in a location that’s convenient."

Plymouth Police want public's help to find Elexis Marie Lunsford

The Plymouth Police Department is asking for the public's help in locating a runaway juvenile.


Elexis Marie Lunsford is a 16 year old female. She is 5'1" tall and weighs approximately 125 lbs. She has brown hair and blue eyes.


Elexis typically wears jeans with a black hooded sweatshirt.


She was last  seen on Saturday, June 5, around 11:0 pm.


If you have any information on her whereabouts, please contact the Plymouth Police Department at 574-936-2126 and select option #1 for Central Dispatch. 

OrthoPediatrics Corp. announces launch of next generation cannulated screw system

OrthoPediatrics Corp. (“OrthoPediatrics”) (NASDAQ: KIDS), a company focused exclusively on advancing the field of pediatric orthopedics, announced today the launch of its 6.5mm/7.3mm Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis (“SCFE”) Cannulated Screw system.


The company previously received 510(k) clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as expanded indications for its next generation Cannulated Screw System.


The OrthoPediatrics 6.5mm/7.3mm SCFE system has been completely rethought and precisely designed. The system offers flexibility to treat pediatric specific SCFE injuries with fully threaded screws and partially threaded screws for common trauma indications.


Unlike other systems on the market, the OP fully threaded SCFE screws are available in 2mm increments, providing the surgeon more options to treat pediatric populations with an implant that fits correctly instead of simply making do with what is available. The screws also incorporate useful features that can help surgeons if they choose to remove the implant. With this addition, OP now offers cannulated screws in 2.5mm, 3.0mm, 3.5mm, 4.0mm, 4.5mm, 5.5mm, 6.5mm, 7.0mm and 7.3mm sizes with various thread lengths to service almost all needs of the pediatric surgeon.


The system was designed in collaboration with pediatric orthopedic surgeons focused on more solutions for treating pediatric patients with fractures. It expands the Company’s offering to help treat the unique needs found in pediatric hospitals.


OrthoPediatrics’ Senior Vice President & General Manager, Joe Hauser, stated, “We are pleased to announce the release of our new SCFE system as part of the next generation of cannulated screws to use in specialized procedures. This continued innovation represents our continued commitment to pediatric orthopedics. Our engineering teams have been diligently working with a prominent group of surgeons, and we are excited to bring yet another system to market in our quest to meet unmet clinical needs for pediatric patients.”

ISP and BBB warn about fake, knock-off child safety seats

Indiana State Police and the Better Business Bureau are warning people about the dangers of purchasing fake or substandard car seats. These items can be purchased online and at a significantly lower price than the authentic product.  


“The promise of a great sale or price reduction is probably the number one hook for unsuspecting victims looking for a bargain. With car seats, the problem is that saving a few dollars could turn out to be dangerous for the child,” says Tim Maniscalo, BBB Central Indiana’s President and CEO.  


During a recent child car seat check-up event in the tri-state area, a high-end brand of car seat was discovered as a fake. 
“Fake or knock-off child safety seats may look safe, but they are not crash tested and may be missing vital safety features,” says Sergeant Todd Ringle, Indiana State Police.? 


Although the difference in price can be appealing to consumers,?ISP and BBB advise local area parents looking to buy a car seat to: 


  • Shop from a reputable retailer. ?If this is a new e-shop and you don’t know their inventory, policies or reliability, check for the company’s rating, reviews and potential complaints. Make sure the URL starts with “https”, where “s” stands for “secure” or look for the small lock icon. 

  • Use NHTSA’s guidelines for car seat safety and?check their database for reliable manufacturers

  • Report scams?to?BBB Scam Tracker?and also to local authorities as soon as possible. 

Tower, Community Crossings bids opened by Fulton Co. Commissioners

Fulton County Commissioners spent part of this week’s meeting opening bids for various projects.


One of those – the tower to go at the new Fulton County Jail.  Commissioner Rick Ranstead says those bids remain under advisement at this time.



Fulton County benefitting again from the state’s Community Crossings program.



Ranstead says Community Crossings has allowed Fulton County to proceed with projects that would have been, at least, more costly than without the program.




Rochester home destroyed by fire

A fire early Monday morning destroyed a Rochester home.


The caller told dispatchers that everyone at 7952 South State Road 25 was out safely and they were trying to get the dogs out of the home.  The property is owned by Thomas Stroud.


That call came in just before 3:00 am.  Minutes later, the structure was fully engulfed in flames.


Kewanna, Liberty and Twelve Mile assisted.  The road in front of the home was reopened in the 6:00 am hour.


Monterey warms hearts across America with a new independent film by LA filmmaker Lauren Z. Ray

The 2019 US Census estimated that Monterey, Indiana had a population of around 310.


Now the small town is making big waves with the film ‘Welcome to Monterey' by independent filmmaker Lauren Z. Ray. Currently living in Los Angeles, Lauren’s roots in Monterey brought on the award-winning film. 



Never thinking of Indiana as an interesting movie plot, Lauren only knew it as home. She was inspired by her friends in LA, who were captivated by the story of her family’s hometown. 



Filming for several months in Indiana, Lauren did extensive research and interviews with the locals about its annual festival, history, and the fight to keep the town's head above water.  



Lauren has gained a new perspective about Monterey because of the film as well. 



She gives credit to the support of her family, who helped her and housed her during her time in Indiana. 



Lauren’s friends and family aren’t the only ones interested in the sleepy town with a small population and strong family ties. 


'Welcome to Monterey' is now capturing the hearts of people and the attention of film festivals around the country. Already winning several awards, the film has been enrolled in over 27 film festivals. 




Lauren had one last message for our listeners. 



Kosciusko Co. corporal announces candidacy for sheriff in 2022

This announcement of a candidate for Sheriff of Kosciusko County submitted to GIANT fm News on WROI:


James M. Smith, an Army veteran with sixteen years of experience in law enforcement, today announced his intention to seek the Republican nomination for the office of Kosciusko County Sheriff in the May 2022 primary election.  In announcing his candidacy, Smith said that he intends to bring a common sense approach to the office, emphasizing the need for “effective law enforcement with a fiscally conservative mindset.”


A lifelong resident of Kosciusko County, Smith graduated from Warsaw High School in 2000.  He joined the U.S. Army Reserves, where he served for twelve years, including a nine-month tour in Kuwait and Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003.  He served as a reserve officer for the Syracuse Police Department from 2005 to 2007 and then as a full-time officer for that department until 2011, graduating the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy in 2008.  In 2011, Smith began service as a deputy for the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department, where he continues to serve today.  In 2017, he attained the rank of corporal.


Smith is a certified hostage negotiator, a certified field training officer, and a certified Indiana Law Enforcement Academy instructor for S.T.O.P.S. (Strategies & Tactics of Patrol Stops), a survival course designed to train officers to safely conduct high-risk tactical traffic stops, and E.V.O. (emergency vehicle operations).  He formerly served as the Kosciusko County Reserve Coordinator and is currently a member of the Rescue and Recovery Dive Team.


Outside of law enforcement, Smith’s community involvement includes membership in the North Webster-Tippecanoe Township Chamber of Commerce, the Leesburg Lions Club, and the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #149, in each of which he served a term as president or vice president.  He is also a member of the Warsaw Morning Breakfast Optimist Club, where he serves on the organization’s board, the North Webster American Legion Post #253, and the Kosciusko County 4-H Swine Committee.  He attends the Warsaw Community Church and the Clunette Methodist Church. 


A strong Republican, Smith also serves as the GOP’s precinct committeeman for the fourth precinct of Tippecanoe Township.  In 2018, he was elected to the Tippecanoe Township Board, where he currently serves as president.


Smith resides in Warsaw with his wife, Trish.  They have two children:  Zachary, 18, and Isabelle, 16.

Boener spreads her passion for nature in Marshall County

National Geographic Certified Educator, photographer and writer AJ Boener may have closed her 'Luna Hill Wild School' in 2020, but that hasn't stopped her passion from wanting to show her love for nature to the world. 


This fall she plans on packing up her family of six in an RV and becoming nomads, publishing a book on their journey. 


Hoping to drop some final seeds in the community before she leaves, this spring she helped launch the ‘Edible Front Yard Mentoring Program,’ put on by the Marshall County Purdue Master Gardeners club for Plymouth residents.



AJ also plans on leading a walk in Plymouth later this month. 


Courtside Ministries starts Tuesday prayer tradition in Rochester

Outside of the Fulton County Courthouse's east doors, every Tuesday morning from 8 am - 11 am you'll find the Courtside Ministries table.  The first week of June launched the program in Rochester. 


Regional leader Tony Cargile explains. 




Strapped with prayer, faith and hope, the group will be praying for those in need outside of the courthouse.


Although it's new to Rochester, Courtside Ministries started a little more than a decade ago. It has now spread to over 16 different states. 



Leading the weekly prayer table will be Alice Edwards of Warsaw and Serena Case of Tippecanoe. Serena chose Rochester as the newest location for the group. 



Volunteers wanting to help can reach out to Serena at 574-780-9826. 

Governor appoints Marshall Co. deputy prosecutor to judge

Gov. Eric J. Holcomb today announced a judicial appointment for Marshall County.


The governor named Matthew Sarber as his appointment to the new Marshall County Superior Court, set to begin on July 1, 2021.


Sarber has served as Deputy Prosecutor with the Marshall County Prosecutor’s Office since 2016. He previously served as a public defender in Marshall County and in private practice.


He earned an undergraduate degree from Manchester University and a law degree from Valparaiso University School of Law.

Valedictorian for the RHS Class of 2021, Calen Campbell

Calen Campbell, Valedictorian to the Rochester High School Class of 2021, does not let his title take away from his humbleness. 



Calen says the uncertainty of this year had been tough, but his determination pushed him through. 


One thing that’s not uncertain is Calen’s plans for this fall. 



He credits his mother as well as his own self-driven motivation, to take him where he is at today. 


Calen says his life goal is to make the world a better place. He hopes to do so while also pursuing his greatest passion, traveling. 



Former Rochester councilman sentenced

A sentencing hearing in Fulton County Superior Court was held via teleconference for former

Rochester city councilman Gary Clevenger Jr. Wednesday. 


Clevenger received a sentence of one year probation and a suspended year and a half prison sentence for his guilty plea to felony neglect of a dependent.  The case was presided over by Fulton County Superior Court Judge Greg Heller after Judge Christopher Lee disqualified himself due to his son having been employed with the defendant's counsel.


The victim in the case was reported to be between 14 – 16 years old.


Initial charges in the case in June of 2019 included child solicitation, sexual misconduct, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and neglect of a dependent.  Clevenger resigned from the Rochester City Council following his arrest.


Clevenger is also ordered to undergo a sexual evaluation and have no contact with the victim.

Click It or Ticket looks to educate and write tickets

If you need an added incentive to buckle up, the Click It or Ticket program is still in operation.


Peru District 16 Public Information Officer for the Indiana State Police Sgt. Tony Slocum encourages everyone to put on their seat belt.  He says it’s not surprising that one demographic in particular isn’t, at least as much.



He notes another sobering statistic.  More of those who are killed in car crashes are the ones not wearing a seat belt.



Slocum says you can expect to get a ticket if found not wearing your seat belt.



The current Click It or Ticket runs through this weekend

Rep. Walorski joins Indiana congressional leaders to support Grissom as site for new aircraft

Indiana’s congressional delegation is pushing for the Air Force to select Grissom Air Reserve Base as a site for new aerial refueling and transport aircraft.


The northern Indiana base’s 434th Air Refueling Wing now flies KC-135 tankers. The Air Force announced in mid-May that Grissom was among six bases under consideration for assignment of the KC-46A Pegasus planes.


All nine U.S. House members from Indiana and its two senators joined in a letter to Air Force officials calling Grissom “an optimal facility” for the new planes.



The KC-46A is replacing the KC-135 tankers, the last of which were built in 1965, according to the Air Force.


If selected, Grissom would expect to see 12 KC-46As based there with the addition of 190 positions to its some 500 current Air Force jobs, according to U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski’s office.


The Air Force expects to make its base selection this fall, with the new planes operational in early 2027.

UPDATE: Identity released of 3rd person killed in Thursday Kosciusko Co. crash

Update:  The third person killed in a Thursday Kosciusko County crash has been identified. 


Han Nguyen Le, 36, of Warsaw, was the driver of the Nissan Maxima involved in Thursday's two-vehicle crash that killed three people.


Original Story

Three people are now confirmed dead in a two-car crash and fire in Kosciusko County Thursday.


Emergency crews were dispatched to a two-vehicle collision on Old Road 30, east of State Road 13, Thursday afternoon. Deputies with the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office arrived within minutes of the initial call and discovered a 2014 Nissan Maxima fully engulfed in flames and two unresponsive females inside a Kia Sportage.



The preliminary results of the investigation indicate that the eastbound Maxima passed an eastbound motorcycle and collided head-on in the westbound lane with a westbound Kia Sportage, driven by Teressa Johnson, 66, of Warsaw. The collision caused significant front-end damage to both vehicles; entrapping all occupants. 


According to witnesses at the scene, the Maxima was traveling at a high rate of speed prior to the crash.


The Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office Fatal Team responded with North Webster Police, Pierceton Police, Winona Lake Police, North Webster / Tippecanoe Township Fire, Pierceton Fire, Lutheran EMS and the Kosciusko County Coroner’s Office.


Johnson and a front seat passenger, her daughter, Amanda Johnson, 43, of Warsaw, were pronounced deceased at the scene. The driver of the Maxima remains unidentified at the time of this press release.


This incident remains under investigation.