Man shot, two arrests in Rochester investigation Friday

Two people arrested in a weekend Rochester shooting.


Rochester Police responded top 510 Race Street just after 10:00 pm Friday.  John Larson, 52, had been shot at that location.  Larson’s injuries were not believed to be life-threatening.


Rochester Police and the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office began an investigation by processing the scene and interviewing people at or near the location.  Evidence gathered at the scene provided officers with leads that led to the arrest of two people.


Tyler Allen Smith, 25, is charged with attempted murder, criminal recklessness with a deadly weapon and aggravated battery. A search warrant for Smith’s residence and vehicle led to the arrest of Michael Hensel, 38.  Hensel was charged with possession of illegal narcotics.


Smith is being held in the Fulton County Jail.

Snow chances, amounts increasing

Nearly the entire state will be getting snow all throughout Monday and into Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service in Indianapolis.


The time to especially watch out for snow is in the afternoon and evening.


“That’s where we see the primary travel impacts because that’s when we’ll be seeing temperatures falling below freezing as snow continues to fall,” said Mike Ryan, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Indianapolis.


Ryan expects the Indy metro area and much of central Indiana to get around an inch through Tuesday.


“But as you go north and east, especially to places like Kokomo and Muncie, those places may see around two to three inches in some spots. As for people further north, they will be seeing lake-effect snow off of Lake Michigan. In fact, if you get up near South Bend and heading towards Valparaiso, they’ll end up seeing around six inches of snowfall,” said Ryan.


As for cities and towns south of Indianapolis, Ryan said there is potential for some snow, but there will be “little to no accumulation.”


The snow will be completely done by Wednesday. High temperatures will be in the 30s and 40s throughout the week.


The National Weather Service urges you to drive at appropriate speeds, allow for extra stopping distances when approaching intersections, and give yourself extra travel time. 

Buyers beware: iPhone scam on the rise

Buyers beware!  If you're buying an iPhone 11 Pro Max online with Facebook Marketplace, buy-sell-trade, classified ads or something other than an Apple authorized dealer for a price that's too good to be true, it probably is. 


With an enormous market share, the fake iPhone business has, unfortunately, become extremely profitable for devious manufacturers. There are so many fake iPhone 11's in the market currently that look identical to the real thing, buying one from unfamiliar sources is risky. 


Many iPhone 11's are reportedly being sold online from cities close  like Ft.Wayne, Elkhart and Indianapolis for anywhere between $300-$600. The iPhone 11 Pro Max is worth $1449. 


Although there isn't a whole lot of difference in looks at first glance, with a thorough inspection it turns out to actually be a $165 android with a cover and stickers. 


Buyers should look for any slight irregularities in the packaging, button and logo placements. 


The photos provided show just how real a fake iPhone looks and what to look for. It was bought online by a Fulton County resident from a seller in Ft.Wayne. 


Some of the biggest clues are after you turn on the iPhone, like the welcome screen, the font type-in messages and being able to access Siri. 



The extra cameras are a plastic piece with stickers, therefore the camera quality won't be as good either. 



Shepherd hearing move to March

Ahearing in the Alyssa Shepherd case has been moved to a new date.


Shepherd was scheduled to appear in court this week.  However, the restitution hearing has been continued to March 10 due to Shepherd’s pending Motion Seeking Transfer to the Indiana Supreme Court.


Shepherd is currently serving her sentence related to the death of three children and serious injuries to a fourth in the 2018 Fulton County school bus stop accident.



Colder temps, rain - snow next week

Snow is likely to fall in Indiana beginning early next week with temperatures dropping and high winds gusting.


Mike Ryan, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Indianapolis, said a storm system will move into Indiana from the Gulf beginning Sunday night bringing rain with it.


“The colder air comes in behind it. That should change the rainfall over to a mix of rain and snow, which will probably go into all snow by Tuesday,” said Ryan. “There’s still a lot of uncertainty as to how much snow we might see.”


Ryan believes the eastern part of the state will see the greatest impacts of the wintry conditions.


“That’s just based on the location of where the storm will organize and develop. But as we get into the second part of the system Monday night and Tuesday, we could see some snow develop off Lake Michigan. That would impact northern and northeast Indiana, potentially down into the northeast parts of central Indiana such as Muncie and Richmond, but the whole state needs to be prepared,” said Ryan.


Ryan said you also need to pay attention to the wind chill.


“With this being a stronger system, there’s going to probably be a fair amount of wind on Monday and Tuesday as well. We’re likely to see wind chills get down to the teens or maybe even the single digits. We haven’t had that this fall. This is definitely a sign that we’re trending more and more into the winter,” said Ryan.


When next week starts, Ryan said it is a good idea to take it slow when you’re driving.


“Take extra time to get to your location, especially with this being the first snowfall of the year for many places. Make sure you have some extra equipment in the car, in case you have to pull over,” said Ryan.


He also says you’ll want to pay attention to the forecast throughout the weekend to see how the storm system develops. 

Indiana Farm Bureau says cost of Thanksgiving meal up 12%

How much will a Thanksgiving meal cost you this year?   According to the Indiana Farm Bureau, you can expect to spend about 5 dollars per person, or $47.81, on a full Thanksgiving meal. That's 12% more than what you would have spent in 2019.


That price includes the cost of "a sixteen-pound turkey, the stuffing, two pumpkin pies, rolls, peas, a relish tray, cranberries and some drinks as well," says IFB Public Relations Manager Molly Zentz.


However, that number is very likely a high-estimate. The price tag of $47.81 is meant to feed a group of ten individuals, which is the usual number the IFB measures by -- but gatherings that large are unlikely to happen this year due to the pandemic.


So, according to Zentz, whether people plan to have a large or small gathering, Thanksgiving may actually be more affordable this year.


The IFB also found that this year, more people are considering getting smaller cuts of turkey, or perhaps even ham, instead of the usual large turkey dish.


"If you're having a party with your immediate family, or even a virtual event where you're going to cook something just for yourself, you'll want to purchase small cuts of turkey, small cuts of meat," Zentz said. "It's possible that people won't want to purchase a large turkey if they're having a smaller gathering."


As a result, this year, the IFB also measured the price of a four pound ham. If that's the route you want to go, Zentz says, the average price for a four pound ham is just under eleven dollars.


Zentz adds that this deviation from a traditional turkey won't hurt local turkey farmers, as most of the turkey that Hoosier farmers produce becomes ground turkey or deli meat anyway.


"Even if you go out and purchase some deli meat or some ground turkey, you'll still be supporting Indiana's turkey farmers this year," Zentz said. 


You can read the full IFB report at infarmbureau.org.

One dead in fiery Miami County two-car crash

Just after 3:30 pm Tuesday officers from the Indiana State Police and the Miami County Sheriff’s Department responded to a two-vehicle crash on State Road 16 near Miami County Road 500 West, in which one person died.


The preliminary crash investigation by Senior Trooper Todd Trottier revealed that a Chevrolet passenger car was traveling westbound on State Road 16 near County Road 500 West. Ashley Lackmon, 20, of Macy, was driving a 2019 Ford Fusion eastbound on State Road 16 near County Road 500 West. For an undetermined reason, the Chevrolet crossed into the eastbound lane causing a head-on collision with the Ford. After the crash impact, the Chevrolet caught on fire and had to be extinguished by Denver firefighters.


A nearby homeowner prevented the Ford from catching on fire. Prior to first responders arriving, he used a tow strap and a box truck to pull the Ford away from the burning Chevrolet. Lackmon was initially trapped in the Ford and could not be extricated until first responders arrived.


The driver of the Chevrolet was pronounced deceased at the crash scene.  Lackmon was flown, via medical helicopter, to a Fort Wayne hospital. At the time of this release, she was in critical condition.


The driver of the Chevrolet has not been positively identified. Once identification is made their name will be released.


This crash is still under investigation. If anyone has information about this crash they are asked to contact Senior Trooper Todd Trottier by calling 765-473-6666.

Sunbeam has recalled 6-Quart Express Crock Multi-Cooker

Sunbeam has recalled more than 940,000 of their 6-Quart Express Crock Multi-Cookers, according to the manufacturer.


The recalled crock-pot can pressurize when the lid is not fully locked and may cause the lid to suddenly detach while the crock-pot is in use, allowing hot food and liquid to eject from the crock-pot and burn the user.


“Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled Crock-Pot in pressure cooker mode, but may continue to use for slow cooking and sautéing,” Sunbeam said. “Consumers should contact Crock-Pot immediately to obtain a free replacement lid.  Consumers who continue using the multi-cooker in pressure cooker mode while waiting for the replacement lid should be certain the lid is securely turned to the fully locked position by aligning the arrow on the lid with the lock symbol on the base.”


The crock-pots were sold in the U.S. at Walmart, Target, and other stores nationwide and on Amazon and other online retailers between July 2017 and Nov. 2020. 


The crock-pots were made between July 1, 2017 and Oct. 1, 2018 with date codes K196JN through K365JN and L001JN through L273JN. The date code is engraved on one of the prongs of the plug and on the bottom of the base.


Sunbeam says it has received 99 reports of burn injuries, ranging in severity from first-degree to third-degree burns.



Family sponsors sought for Miracle Tree program

Anyone looking for a way to give back this Christmas season can sponsor a family in need within the Rochester School Corporation or Tippecanoe Valley School Corporation through the Miracle Tree program.


Miracle Tree has been a holiday tradition in Fulton County for years thanks to the generous donors and businesses that have supported the program.


The Rochester tree is located at Shepherd’s Chevrolet at the corner of SR 25 and 14. Tippy Valley trees are set up at Bell Memorial Public Library in Mentone and Akron Carnegie Public Library in Akron. Families who have expressed an interest in receiving help this year were assigned a number. Those numbers were then placed on ornaments and hung on the trees.


A potential sponsor will know how many children are in the family and their ages. Each family has a wish list for the sponsors to use when shopping, filled with clothing sizes and toys requested.


If a person, business or organization is interested in sponsoring a family, they simply take an ornament from the tree and give it to the front desk at the dealership or library. The sponsor is then provided a wish list for that family with items the children might want for Christmas.


Sponsors wrap the gifts they purchase and then return them back to a community location specified on each wish list. To avoid any confusion, there are specific instructions on each wish list on how to mark the gift after it has been wrapped so organizers know which gift belongs to which family and child.


There is no limit to the amount of money a sponsor can spend on a family. Gifts will be distributed to with a drive-thru pick up in December. If someone would like to sponsor a family but does not feel safe entering a location to pick a name, please contact us at 574-223-8733 and we will help you!


The Miracle Tree assisted 254 families and provided Christmas gifts for more 750 childrenin 2019. The need is large this Christmas season and we hope the generosity of our communities is even greater!



Culver Community Schools to go virtual today

Culver Community Schools will finnish out the schedule this Thanksgiving week with virtual learning.  Superintendent Karen Shuman released the following information on Sunday.


Dear Parents and Students,


We will have instruction be synchronous virtual for the next two days.


We currently have many employees (mostly elementary) who have reported they are a close contact to a known positive Covid 19 individual. We don't have any known positives but many of the employees are waiting for test results and some are sick. The next two days will be eLearning due to COVID 19.


We feel by taking this action for the next two days will help prevent unnecessary exposure for many others and prevent a longer closure in the future. Students are expected to be meeting with teachers at 10AM to 3PM each day in their Google classroom.


All extracurriculars at the middle and high school will continue as scheduled. All elementary after school activities are cancelled for this week. Students who have difficulty with internet connectivity can go to local libraries or be in close proximity to the school.


Food service will not be available for the next two days.


If you have questions and concerns, please ask.


Thank you for helping us make it this far. I will send out an update this Wednesday.


Be Safe,

Karen Shuman, Ed.S.


Declining turkey sales this year bring struggles to local poultry farm

As Covid cases rise many families are skipping out on traditional Thanksgiving this year and businesses like Hiatt's Poultry LLC of rural Rochester are taking quite the hit.


GIANT fm News spoke with owner Michael Hiatt at his farm on how this year has been different. 



Michael says it's the worst year he's ever seen for the business. 



The poultry farm has been in the Hiatt family for five generations. 



Michael says most of his business from the farm is done out of town normally, but new customers are always welcome. 



Hiatt Poultry turkey sizes start at 18 to 20 lbs and go up to 40 lbs at $2.69 / lb for a whole turkey or $4.59 for just breast meat. 







Deadline approaching to file Equifax data breach claim

Time is running out for Hoosiers to get their share of a restitution payment related to the Equifax data breach of 2017.


Hoosiers have until Dec. 16 to file a claim for part of the $19.5 million Equifax paid the state.

The data breach happened between May and July 2017. The breach compromised the personal information of 147.9 million Americans, including nearly four million Hoosiers.


“We structured our settlement with Equifax so that we could give Hoosiers the opportunity to claim money they may have lost due to Equifax’s failure to protect personal information,” said Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill. “That money is just waiting to be claimed. Now, it’s up to Hoosiers to visit IndianaEquifaxClaims.com and secure their rightful portion of the settlement.” 


Visit IndianaEquifaxClaims.com to learn more and file a claim.

Winamac Coil Spring inducted into the IMA Hall of Fame

Winamac Coil Spring, Inc., a global manufacturer of springs and wire forms, based in Kewanna, , was inducted into the Indiana Manufacturers Association’s (IMA) Hall of Fame at the annual Hall of Fame Inductions and Manufacturing Excellence Awards event held virtually today. Past events have been held live in Indianapolis; but due to the ongoing pandemic, the awards were transitioned to a virtual format this year.


Companies inducted into the Hall of Fame are chosen for their outstanding contributions to the development of a healthy, dynamic business environment in Indiana, and to the state’s overall economic well-being.


Winamac Coil Spring, Inc. was founded in 1948 by Walter Pesaresi and today is owned and operated by 3rd generation family members.  Receiving the award were President, Anthony Pesaresi; Executive Vice President, Gene Huber, Jr. and VP of Operations, Chad Huber.  Other members of the family executive committee that were unavailable at the time of the presentation are, VP Office Purchasing Manager, Danny Pesaresi Jr. and VP Plant 4 Division Manager, Andy Pesaresi. 


Winamac Coil Spring has plants in both Fulton and Pulaski counties employing 170 people. “From rural Indiana we supply 6 of the world’s top 10 agriculture equipment companies, as well as some of the most recognized brands in the off road power sports industry,” commented Anthony Pesaresi, President. “The dedication, innovation and skill of our employees have helped our company become leaders in the large spring and wire form industry,” added Executive VP, Gene Huber, Jr.



“The IMA Hall of Fame Inductions are held to celebrate and recognize the positive achievements made by Indiana manufacturing companies, and to honor their contributions in furthering manufacturing in Indiana," said IMA President and CEO Brian Burton. "Additionally, these inductions serve to bring attention to our industry and make the public aware of manufacturing’s enormous impact on the Hoosier economy.”


Indiana manufacturing continues to be one of the highest paying industry sectors in the state, and accounts for nearly 30% of Indiana’s total GDP. As the most manufacturing-intensive state in the nation, Indiana is the number-one wage payer and employer of Hoosiers.


St. Joseph Health System in Marshall County fearful of Covid-filled Thanksgiving

Health experts and hospitals in Marshall County are fearing the worst as we get closer to Thanksgiving.


With the coronavirus pandemic resurging big time throughout the state of Indiana and the rest of the United States, many hospitals are trying to prepare the best they can for a new surge in hospital patients that have contracted COVID-19.


"We will have a crushing wave of hospital patients coming next week," said Chad Towner, the CEO of St. Joseph Health System in Marshall County.


He said they are dealing with a plethora of issues because of the this new surge in cases.


Towner said they are having staffing issues, which many other hospitals in Indiana are seeing, and that the "well is dry" in terms of finding more people to make sure they are covered.


Towner said they see about 1,000 COVID cases a day throughout the entire St. Joseph Health System, which covers several counties in northern Indiana, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Illinois, and Michigan.


"The beds that we have created for our COVID unit, we have had to take away from our non-COVID beds," he added. "This limits a hospitals ability to care for heart attacks, strokes, and other medical conditions that require hospitalization."


Towner, along with the Marshall County Health Department, is echoing the requests from state health experts that you not travel this year for Thanksgiving. Towner believes if many Hoosiers do travel for Thanksgiving, we will see another spike in COVID cases and deaths hit by January.

Fratco inducted into Indiana Manufacturers Hall of Fame

Fratco, a leading manufacturer of corrugated drainage pipe headquartered in Francesville, Indiana, was inducted into the Indiana Manufacturers Association (IMA) Hall of Fame at the annual Hall of Fame Inductions and Manufacturing Excellence Awards event held virtually today.

Companies inducted into the IMA Hall of Fame are chosen for their outstanding contributions to the development of a healthy, dynamic business environment in Indiana and to the state’s overall economic well-being.


Since Fratco’s humble beginnings in 1923 as a local clay tile kiln, the company has grown to a four-site, state-of-the-art producer of the market’s most high-quality, cutting-edge drainage solutions. Under their fourth generation of family-owned leadership, Fratco has seen production rates grow exponentially. Their dedication to precision engineering, great service and dependable products have contributed to Indiana’s strengthening economy and built a reputation that customers know and trust.

“Thank you to the Indiana Manufacturers Association for this honor,” said Fratco’s President and CEO Chris Overmyer. “We are proud to be a Hoosier-based company. As we innovate for tomorrow, we remember our roots and remain dedicated to enhancing the local economy and community.”


“The IMA Hall of Fame Inductions are held to celebrate and recognize the positive achievements made by Indiana manufacturing companies, and to honor their contributions in furthering manufacturing in Indiana," said IMA President and CEO Brian Burton. "Additionally, these inductions serve to bring attention to our industry and make the public aware of manufacturing’s enormous impact on the Hoosier economy.”


Indiana manufacturing continues to be one of the highest paying industry sectors in the state, and accounts for nearly 30% of Indiana’s total GDP. As the most manufacturing-intensive state in the nation, Indiana is the number-one wage payer and employer of Hoosiers.


About Fratco
Fratco is a leading manufacturer of corrugated drainage pipe and all associated fittings. Fratco has four plants across Indiana, Illinois and Iowa, which are supported by many distributors throughout the Midwest. Since 1923, Fratco has made it their goal to engineer only
high-quality, cutting-edge solutions to ensure their customers’ needs are met when it comes to drainage. Fratco sources only the best materials and continually tests to guarantee that all of their products meet the highest standards.


About The Indiana Manufacturers Association
Formed in 1901, the Indiana Manufacturers Association is the second oldest manufacturers association in the country and the only trade association in Indiana that exclusively focuses on manufacturing. The Indiana Manufacturers Association, representing more than 1,100
companies, is dedicated to advocating for a business climate that creates, protects and promotes quality manufacturing jobs in Indiana. The staff members of the Indiana Manufacturers Association are recognized experts in areas including tax, environment, labor relations, human resources, energy, workforce development and healthcare. For more information, visit www.indianamfg.com .

300 year sentence for Marshall Co. child molester

A Bremen man accused of molesting his girlfriend's daughter and niece has been sentenced to three hundred years behind bars.


Ricardo Vasquez was found guilty on ten counts of child molesting. He was sentenced Wednesday to 300 years, which included a sentence enhancement for being a repeat sex offender.  During their investigation, Bremen police learned Vasquez had been living under the alias 'Rick Bane' for nearly 9 years in order to escape a warrant for a child molesting conviction in Georgia.


“I was very pleased with the sentencing Vasquez got from Judge Bowen. What Vasquez did to the victims was reprehensible. Vasquez had no remorse. Ensuring defendants like Vasquez never have the chance to prey on children again is the most important duty I have as a prosecutor,” Marshall County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Tami Napier said.

Don King was popular figure in Rochester - Caston school communities, passed away of cancer

Donald G. King, 66 of Rochester passed away Tuesday, November 17, 2020 at St. Vincent Hospice in Indianapolis after a year long battle with cancer.


Don was born on April 11, 1954 in Rochester and is the son to the late Lyman Arthur and Helen (Rentschler) King.  On October 21, 1973 in the Fulton Baptist Temple, Don married Ellen A. Berry who survives.


Don worked as the transportation director for the Rochester School Corporation but was well known for all the other “hats” he wore around the Fulton/Rochester area.


Don coached both boys and girls basketball for over 40 years at Rochester and Caston. When he was not coaching, Don was the voice of Caston Athletics and a huge IU fan. Don was also a great supporter of the cheer teams that his wife Ellen coached.


Don loved being outdoors, especially doing lawn care for himself and others. He was a 4-H Leader, grain, hog, and dairy farmer and a Sunday School Teacher.  Don never met a stranger and to those that had the privilege to know him instantly felt his warm and caring personality.

Surviving along with his wife Ellen, is a son, Jeffrey (Toni) King, Columbus; granddaughter, Abigail King, Columbus; two brothers, Bobby (Penny) King, South Bend; Arthur King, Twelve Mile; sister, Rosemary (Bruce) Scales, Rochester.


Due to the current covid-19 restrictions, Don’s celebration of life service will be livestreamed at 11:00 am on Saturday, November 21, 2020. You can access this live stream by visiting (www.gundrumcares.com) and clicking on “live funeral services” and selecting “todays service”. Rev. Bruce Russell will be officiating.


Memorials in memory of Don may be made to Rochester High School with designation to the Rochester girls basketball program or to Caston High School with designation to the Caston Athletic Fund.

Three dead in Cass County crash as authorities seek identification

Cass County authorities are seeking the public's help to identify three people killed in a fiery crash Wednesday night.


Cass County Central Dispatch received a call of a fire and explosion along the Wabash River near the intersection of County Road 600 West and South River Road at 9:30 pm.


A number of assisting agencies responded including the Clinton Township Fire Department, Logansport Fire Department, Logansport Police Department, Indiana State Police,Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Phoenix Ambulance Service, Cass County Emergency Management Agency, Carroll County Emergency Management Agency, Cass County Highway Department and the Cass County Coroner’s Office.


Initial scene assessment found that a Toyota Camry traveled off the north side of the roadway, struck several trees and caught fire.


Three deceased occupants were located in the Toyota. All attempts to identify the victims from the crash have been unsuccessful.


“This is a tragic scene, we need the community to assist with identification of the victims so that we can notify their families,” stated Sheriff Schroder.


Anyone with additional information is asked to contact the office at 574-722-6060 or 574-753-7800.

UPS hiring for the holidays

You may be about to get a lot of packages. UPS needs Hoosiers to help deliver them.


Steve Jones, with UPS marketing says they need to hire 750 people in the Indy metro and two to three thousand people across the state for the holidays.


"Each peak season, UPS's volume basically doubles," said Steve Jones, with UPS talent acquisition. "We look for a number of qualified people to help us deliver the holidays and deliver our peak season."


Jones said the company is looking for warehouse workers to move packages, helpers for the people who drive the brown trucks and people who can drive their own cars to deliver packages. Jones said that in the past three years, 35 percent of the people who work as extra holiday help ended up with full-time jobs.


"I started with UPS 30 years ago as a peak season hire, unloading trailers at 3 o'clock in the morning, and I've had a wonderful career with UPS," said Jones.


Jones said the jobs are safe and UPS workers are considered essential.


"We have physical distancing. We're providing PPE for every one of our employees every day. We have regular cleaning and disinfection of our work areas," he said. "We have implemented touchless deliveries to keep our drivers and our customers safe."


He said www.upsjobs.com is the place to go to apply. Jones said most people who are hired start work within a week of applying.

Fulton County Sheriff's Office Deputies complete Drug Recognition Expert Training.

Fulton County Sheriff's Office Deputy Ryan Haney and Anthony (AJ) Styers recently graduated from Drug Recognition Expert Training (DRE), according to Sheriff Chris Sailors.


Drug Recognition Expert is an advanced training for highly motivated law enforcement officers who are active in OWI enforcement. Not everyone who applies for the training is accepted. It is believed Deputy Haney and Styers are the first local law enforcement officers to be accepted and complete the program.


       Deputy Ryan Haney      



    Deputy Anthony (AJ) Styers


This standardized training was made possible and paid for entirely by a grant through the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI). The program was developed to enhance the officer’s ability to identify, evaluate, and document suspected drug impairment. Their training consisted of 3 separate phases of over 120 hours of training.


Phase One: The DRE Pre-school, which includes an overview of the DRE evaluation procedures, the seven drug categories, eye examinations, and proficiency in conducting the SFSTs.

Phase Two: The DRE School which includes an overview of the drug evaluation procedures, expanded sessions on each drug category, drug combinations, examination of vital signs, case preparation, courtroom testimony, and Curriculum Vitae (C.V.) preparation. At the conclusion of the training, the officer must successfully complete a written examination before moving to the third and final phase of training. This training was completed in Lawrence Indiana last month.


Phase Three: During this phase, the candidate DRE must complete a minimum of 12 drug evaluations under the supervision of a trained DRE instructor. Of those 12 evaluations, the officer must identify an individual under the influence of at least three of the seven drug categories and obtain a minimum 75% toxicological corroboration rate. The officer must then pass a final knowledge examination and be approved by two DRE instructors before being certified as a certified DRE. This training was completed in Jacksonville, Florida with both our deputies graduating on Friday, November 13, 2020.


Please join us in congratulating these two deputies on their completion of this training and dedication to better serve the citizens of Fulton County.

Kosciusko Co. manufacturer to close in Spring 2021; 80 employees impacted

Kosciusko County's Wabash Valley Manufacturing LLC in Silver Lake is closing by April of 2021.


The company has offered a variety of durable, functional, high-end furnishings including commercial-grade benches, waste receptacles, picnic tables, grills, bike racks and more.


The closing will impact approximately 80 employees.  Layoffs are to be complete by March.











Fulton Co. Health Dept discussing enforcement of governor's executive order

The Fulton County Health Department stated in a press release there is no intent to close down businesses or force curbside pickup at restaurants.


Fulton County Health Department President Harry Webb describes the conversation of their Friday meeting regarding the governor’s most recent executive order.



Webb says the order involves two of the few tools available to fight the virus pending future vaccines and medical treatments.



One of the Department’s main goals is educational. Webb says the health dept is working very hard to contain the spread of this virus.



He has hopes that efforts at masks and social distancing will make a difference.  He understands everyone is tired of hearing that.



Panhandle Pathway out of Winamac now a national trail

The Panhandle Pathway, a 22 mile trail starting in Winamac, is now officially a national trail.


The US Department of the Interior announced in October that the rural trail now joins more than 1,000 other trails in the National Trail System. 


Friends of the Panhandle Pathway President John Bawcum spoke with GIANT fm News on how the trail's national acknowledgment came to be. 



Bawcum also explained how the public trail was started. 



He feels it will help in the future goals of expanding the trails. 





HHS Secretary Alex Azar details coronavirus vaccines on GMA

Moderna and Pfizer both say they have coronavirus vaccines that are at least 90% effective.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, also a former executive at Eli Lilly, told ABC’s “Good Morning America” that Monday is a historic day.


Fulton Co. "yellow zone" designation allows for gatherings up to 100; Governor stresses enforcement of precautions

Governor Holcomb's latest public-health order outlines for the first time potential enforcement actions for businesses who ignore coronavirus precautions.


Holcomb announced Wednesday he'd institute new limits on large gatherings, linked to the four-level weekly COVID risk score calculated by the Indiana State Department of Health. The text of the 15-page order spells out additional requirements businesses must follow, and says state and local health departments, police, the Alcohol and Tobacco Commission, or the Indiana Department of Homeland Security can act against businesses which defy those orders.


The order recommends a three-step process, starting with a verbal warning to correct "unsafe practices." That would be followed by a written order, with businesses who still don't comply subject to shutdown. The order says businesses closed down for noncompliance should be referred to state licensing boards or the secretary of state for possible license revocation.


The state followed that progression earlier this year with businesses who defied a lockdown order, but this is the first time it's been explicitly applied to routine precautions. The order says businesses must mark off six-foot social distancing with signs or floor markings, make sanitizer readily available, and require employees to wear masks. It also requires restaurants, bars and clubs to keep tables six feet apart, and require patrons to remain seated.


The order requires businesses to post signs directing customers to wear masks, and recommends they deny admittance to those who won't.


The order also limits spectators at most high school sporting events. Counties in the high-risk "red zone" -- currently Clay, Decatur, Fayette, Fountain, LaGrange, Newton, Perry, Union and Warren -- are barred from allowing any spectators other than players' parents, guardians, or siblings. All but five of Indiana's other 83 counties are in the "approaching high risk" orange zone, and are limited to quarter-capacity. The order says the Marion County Health Department and the IHSAA will work out a separate spectator plan for the state high school football championships at Lucas Oil Stadium over Thanksgiving weekend.


Spectators other than family members are banned from community sports events in orange and red counties.


As Holcomb announced on Wednesday, public or private gatherings other than religious services are subject to capacity limits based on risk level. The moderate-risk "yellow zone" -- currently Crawford, Fulton, Monroe, Putnam and Switzerland Counties -- are allowed gatherings of up to 100 people. The limit is 50 people in orange counties and 25 in red counties, unless the local health department approves in advance a plan for handling more.


While counties with worsening virus numbers can be moved to a higher risk level, counties must show improving numbers for two straight weeks before being moved to a lower level.


Local governments can impose stricter limits if they want. Indianapolis and Fishers have already done so.


The order runs through December 12 but can be extended or revised.


Warsaw woman charged by U.S. Attorney for illegal firearms purchase

A Warsaw woman was charged for lying to buy firearms which were used to shoot police in Wisconsin.


Heather Bentley, 35, was charged in a criminal complaint with making false statements in connection with the purchase of firearms, announced U.S. Attorney Kirsch.


According to documents in this case, Heather Bentley purchased three firearms on November 4, 2020. When she purchased the firearms, she certified that she was the actual buyer of the firearms. However, it is alleged that other individuals had given her over $1,500 to purchase the firearms. Bentley indicated during a later interview that two individuals who she knew to be felons had asked her to buy guns because they were fleeing from the police.  Bentley allegedly provided all three firearms to those individuals.


Two days later, on November 6, 2020, two police officers in Delafield, Wisconsin responded to a call for service. Those officers encountered these same two individuals, one of whom shot both of the police officers. Both individuals were arrested in Wisconsin.


"The charges in this case allege the defendant made a straw purchase, which is when a person acquires a firearm from a federal firearms licensee for someone else, who is either ineligible to purchase the firearm or wishes to conceal their identity,” commented ATF Special Agent in Charge Kristen de Tineo of the Chicago Field Division. “ATF will continue to investigate these serious violations, which put not only the community at risk, but, as illustrated in this complaint, law enforcement as well.”


The United States Attorney’s Office emphasizes that a Complaint is merely an allegation and that all persons are presumed innocent until, and unless, proven guilty in court.


If convicted, any specific sentence to be imposed will be determined by the Judge after a consideration of federal statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.


The case is being investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives with the assistance of the Delafield, Wisconsin Police Department.  This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Molly Donnelly.   

Cromwell man killed in Friday car - tree crash

An early Friday morning collision claimed the life of a Cromwell man.


According to the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office Fatal Team, Brittany Hughes, 25, of Cromwell, was driving a 2000 Nissan Altima northbound on State Road 13. The Altima left the east side of the roadway, south of Southshore Drive, struck a tree and rolled.


Hughes’ front seat passenger, Tyler Goodpaster, 24, of Cromwell, was ejected from the vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene by the Kosciusko County Coroner’s Office.


Speed is not believed to be a factor and this crash remains under investigation.


Syracuse Police Department, Turkey Creek Fire Territory and North Webster/Tippecanoe Township Fire Department also responded to the scene.



Rochester schools scheduled to host students next week

Rochester Superintendent Jana Vance released the following letter regarding the student return to the classroom planned for next week:


Rochester Community Schools is on target to re-open Tuesday, November 17, 2020.  Faculty and staff are looking forward to seeing the students and filling our buses and buildings with their excitement and energy. 


Our ability to hold in-person classes remains fluid.  We must have the faculty and staff to safely and successfully educate your student(s).  As we work to educate students we must also work to keep everyone safe and healthy.  That being said, it may be necessary to close down school again or even portions of the school:  a bus route or classroom for example. 


We know that Covid puts extra stressors on all and we are all feeling the exhaustion of the pandemic.  Please continue to work to safeguard your student and family as well as our district and community by:


--Do not send your student to school if they are feeling ill or have a fever

--Follow safety protocols by social distancing and wearing masks

--Wash hands often

--Adhere to basic personal hygiene

If we can assist you or your family, please be sure to reach out to your building principal or school nurse.


Thank you in advance for your patience and support. 


Jana K. Vance, Ed.S


Rochester Community School Corporation


Fulton County Health Department addresses public concerns about today's meeting

Fulton County Health Department President Harry Webb released the following statement regarding today's scheduled meeting:

The Heath Dept meeting today is NOT closing down any businesses or forcing curbside pickup. It is simply to discuss an enforcement policy for Retail Food Establishments with the regards to following Governor Holcomb’s executive order(s).  When the Health Department receives a complaint, this policy will outline the steps the staff needs to follow with regard to the complaint. 


One of the Department’s main goals is educational. The Health Dept is working very hard to contain the spread of this virus so we can keep our schools, businesses and restaurants open.


The Governor’s order has specific requirements such as wearing face masks and maintaining space between seating areas and social distancing that should be followed so we can slow the spread of this virus. New effective treatments are being developed and vaccines should be available in the spring that will protect the most vulnerable. If we can come together as a community and follow his orders we may be able to slow the spread down.


We are all tired of the restrictions this pandemic has placed on all of us. But this virus is unrelenting and it is spreading rapidly among people that ignore these guidelines. Today’s meeting at 1pm is not a public hearing. But the public is allowed to attend up to the limited capacity of the meeting room.


Social distancing will be maintained. Face masks covering the nose and mouth will be required. For the protection of all, the meeting will be brief.


Harry Webb

President Fulton County Health Dept

Rochester mom, student frustrated but working thru learning at home and work

As Covid cases continue to rise, the unknown still dangles over nearly all schools across the nation on how the 2020-2021 school year will turn out. 


The climbing number of positive cases in our area within the past few weeks prompted Rochester Community Schools to announce the closing of in-person learning from November 2 to November 16, bringing changes to not only the students but also the parents. 


Single mother and business owner of Chameleon’s Closet, Erin Marden is one of the many parents of Rochester students juggling their professional life and their students' education right now. She says she's one of the lucky ones and can take her son to work, but knows not all parents have that option. 



Being at the shop and managing it nearly by herself six days a week, her seven year old son Layne went from the classroom to the storefront. 



As much as Erin is there to help, it’s still not the same as having his teacher and classmates around.



Even Layne gets frustrated.



Erin knows she’s not the only parent who feels like they’ve been thrown a curve ball with online learning.  Like everyone else in the world, Erin is on the fence about what is right and wrong with closing schools during the pandemic. 






Governor turns to Indiana's coronavirus map with new executive order

There's no "Stage 5" anymore, said Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb.


However, he's signing a new executive order on Sunday that will focus on the state's coronavirus map and the coronavirus restrictions for counties that are "orange" and "red."


So, you'll need to check which color your county is to find out your restrictions.


"We are in the middle of a second surge," he said.


Link to Indiana coronavirus map and dashboard:  https://www.coronavirus.in.gov/2393.htm .


He said that social gatherings will be limited to 50 people in counties that are orange, and 25 people in counties that are red. If you have an event that wants more than that you will have to submit plans and get approval from local health officials.


"Please keep your family gatherings small. Keep them shorter than normal. Limit them to immediate family or a small social 'pod' or gather outside," said Holcomb.


Indoor extracurriculars at schools are also changing. If you are in an orange county activities are limited to 25 percent capacity. Red counties are limited to participants, support personnel, and parents.


Holcomb said they are not closing restaurants and bars, but hours may be restricted depending on what local health departments say, and they will be continuing to require masks.


Hospitals and long-term care facilities may also have limitations on visits.


"This year has been hard. It is going to get harder if we don't commit to...wearing a mask, socially distancing, staying home if you're sick, and washing your hands," said Dr. Kris Box, State Health Commissioner.

Fire concerns prompt Ring doorbell recall

Ring is recalling 350,000 video doorbells after reports that some have caught fire.


Ring has received 23 reports of fire involving its second-generation video doorbells, according to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission. At least eight people received minor burns and some property was damaged.


The safety commission says the doorbell battery can overheat and catch fire if incorrect screws are used during installation.


The recalled doorbells were sold in the US between June and October 2020.


You can check to see if your doorbell is part of the recall through Ring's website or app.

Fulton Co. Sheriff's Dept testing out new body cameras

The Fulton County Sheriff’s Office is now working with body cameras in place.


Fulton County Commissioner Steve Metzger says the department has wrapped up training and is now testing out the new technology.



Commissioner Richard Ranstead says Sheriff Chris Sailors has a policy that deals with making sure cameras are utilized.




Cooler temps to blow in by Wednesday

Rain and high winds are expected to move through much of Indiana tonight into early Wednesday morning, according to the National Weather Service in Indianapolis.


Joe Skowronek, meteorologist with the National Weather Service.



Skowronek believes the better chances for strong storms are in western Indiana. 


Much of the state is under a "marginal risk" for severe weather. A marginal risk means isolated severe storms are possible, with the threat of isolated damaging winds, small hail and maybe a tornado. It is the lowest severe weather designation.


There is a possibility that rain returns by the weekend.


ISP seek public assistance in Peru death investigation

On November 4, officers from the Indiana State Police were dispatched to a home at 1223 Chanute Avenue, Peru, to conduct a well-being check on Shane Myers, 44.


Myers, a resident of the home, was found deceased.


Detectives from the Indiana State Police Peru Post are conducting a death investigation. Detectives are requesting assistance from the public. Anyone who has information about the death of Myers is asked to contact Indiana State Police Detective Mike Lorona by calling 765-473-6666.

Police stepping up seat belt enforcement in November

The Fulton County Sheriff’s Office will be increasing seat belt enforcement patrols now through the end of November as part of the national Click It or Ticket mobilization. The department will be joined by more than 250 law enforcement agencies around the state that will be working overtime to reduce motor vehicle deaths and injuries in Indiana.

The patrols are supported with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration funds provided by the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute.

“Over the years, we’ve had a number of incidents where someone wasn’t wearing their seat belt and was either injured or ejected that could have been prevented,” said Sheriff Chris Sailors.


“Buckling up matters. It saves lives and is your best defense against injury or death. Don’t skip this simple step and pay for it later.”

Last year, out of the total number of motorists involved in passenger vehicle crashes, 90 percent were wearing a seat belt. Despite this, unrestrained motorists accounted for over half of all vehicle fatalities in 2019 (308 out of 565), according to data from the criminal justice institute.

Drivers under the age 34, particularly young male drivers, were more likely to be found not wearing a seat belt. Additionally, individuals not buckled up in crashes were three times more likely to get injured when the driver was speeding and seven times more likely when the driver was impaired.

Indiana has a primary seat belt law, which allows law enforcement officers to stop and cite drivers and passengers for failing to wear a seat belt. Drivers can also be cited for each unbuckled passenger under the age of 16.

“Every time you go somewhere in a vehicle, whether you’re a driver or passenger, you should always wear a seat belt,” said Devon McDonald, ICJI Executive Director. “Not only is it the law, but it’s the single most effective thing you can do to protect yourself on the road.”

When it comes to seat belt safety, the department recommends making sure the lap belt is properly secured across the hip and pelvis, below the stomach. The shoulder belt should be positioned across the middle of the chest and away from the neck – never behind the back or under an arm.

If the seat belt doesn’t fit, or the car is older and only has lap belts, ask the car dealer or vehicle manufacturer about seat belt adjusters, extenders or retrofits.

Additionally, children under eight must be properly restrained in a federally approved child or booster seat. Parents and caregivers can choose the safest car seat for their child by visiting TheRightSeat.com, or to find a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician, who can inspect and assist with the installation of a car seat, visit www.childseat.in.gov.

To learn more about the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office please visit:

https://www.co.fulton.in.us/department/index.php?structureid=32 or find us on Facebook

Ford Explorers focus of recall

Ford Motor Co. said it is recalling about 375,000 Ford Explorers in North America because a part of the rear suspension can break and lead to a crash.


The recall covers some 2013 - 2017 models.


Ford said the recall is necessary because of a "possible fracture of the outboard section of the rear suspension toe link" after a previous recall was completed.


Ford said it knows of at least 13 crashes and six injuries related to the issue.

Walorski says virus, economy focus in Washington

The fight against the virus and to re-establish the economy is the leading storyline facing legislators when they go back to Washington.


2nd Congressional District Representative Jackie Walorski.



Walorski says preparation underway for an incoming vaccine.



Walorski says she’s hopeful the election wrap-up will lead to a more cooperative Washington.



Walorski won re-election by defeating Democrat Pat Hackett in the November election.



Warsaw man arrested for possession of child pornography

On November 5, 2020, detectives with the Indiana State Police Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICACTF) arrested a Kosciusko County man on alleged charges of possession of child pornography.


The Indiana State Police ICACTF received a Cyber Tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). The tip ultimately led to a search warrant being served on a residence in the 3200 block of East Old Colony Road, Warsaw, by the Indiana State Police with assistance from the Warsaw Police Department.


As a result of the investigation, George Vincent Glaser, 43, was arrested and transported to the Kosciusko County Jail on the following preliminary charges:



Four Counts:  Possession of Child Pornography, Level 6 Felony


Anyone having any information related to cyber-crimes against children are encouraged to contact their local law enforcement agency or visit the NCMEC website at http://www.missingkids.com/cybertipline.


The Indiana ICACTF was assisted by the Warsaw Police Department and Kosciusko County Prosecutor’s office.

Unemployment continues decline; Fulton County businesses looking for people to hire

The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on the state's economy all year long, but the state's Secretary of Commerce is offering Hoosiers some hope about the future.


Jim Schellinger tells Inside Indiana Business that believe it or not, the state is tracking to have a record year for job commitments down the road.  He says it’s been a banner year.  In fact, all the numbers they track, whether it be jobs, cut backs, or wages it’s a record year.


FEDCO Executive Director Terry Lee says most business he talks to are hiring.



Schellinger called the northwestern 13 counties in the state the "poster child for regionalism." He added that they still have standing job commitments from companies in virtually every region of the state.


Lee says much of the challenge is the same as during normal times, workers leaving the county for jobs.



Lee knows that the mystery offered by Covid and the election have also been a factor.  He says smaller businesses are still a concern.

So far in 2020, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation's central Indiana region, made up officially of 33 counties, has accounted for projects totaling commitments of $3 billion in capital investment and 16,735 new jobs.

Lake Wawasee named best lake in the state

After counting almost 30,000 votes, Visit Indiana announced today the winners for The 20IN20 Best of Indiana people's choice campaign. The winners are:


"It may be hard to narrow your choice in these categories, but what's great about the Best of Indiana is you get to learn about other voters' favorite locations and ones you might want to visit as well," said Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch.



Voters named Lake Wawasee in Kosciusko County as the best lake in Indiana. It is the largest natural lake within Indiana's borders. You can experience Lake Wawasee on the SS Lillypad, a 110-passenger dinner boat, or rent a boat for the day. 


Indiana's Lake Michigan shoreline is number two on the best lake list. The beaches, trails and sand dunes of this area are part of the Indiana Dunes National Park and Indiana Dunes State Park.


You'll find marinas to launch your boat in Michigan City and Hammond. Don't have a boat? There are charter boats available to take your group on fishing and boating excursions.


Indiana's second-largest natural lake gets the third spot on the lake list. Located in the charming small town of CulverLake Maxinkuckee, known as "Lake Max," delights visitors with every kind of water activity. 

Man killed in Tuesday Fulton County car crash

A Macy man was killed in a Tuesday night one-car crash.


Just before 9:00 pm, a Fulton County Sheriff's deputy was traveling west on St Rd 114 near 450 West. The deputy observed what appeared to be tire marks and debris from a possible accident.


It was discovered that a red 2005 Pontiac passenger car, driven by Gary L. Bowers (56) of Macy, had left the roadway on the south side for an unknown reason.  During the investigation it was learned that it appeared the driver had overcorrected and went off the road. The vehicle then rolled over several times and came to rest in a field.

Bowers was entrapped in the vehicle and had to be extricated by the fire department. He was flown from the scene by helicopter but later died from his injuries.


This accident is still under investigation but it is believed that a high rate of speed and alcohol were contributing f actors.

Assisting at the scene were Lutheran EMS, Liberty Twps. Fire Department, Wayne Twps. Fire
Department, Macy-Allen Twps. Fire Department, and Samaritan Helicopter.

Pulmonary embolus cause of death of Grace College student

The death of 20-year old Grace College student Bethany Nesbitt was determined by an autopsy.


Kosciusko County Coroner Anthony Ciriello says the cause of death has been ruled natural due to a "pulmonary embolus that had not been previously detected." Pulmonary embolism is blockage in one of the pulmonary arteries in your lungs.


Ciriello said while COVID did play a role in contributing to the death, it was not caused by COVID.


Nesbitt was found dead in her residence hall on Friday morning at 10 AM.

It's Election Day! Polls are open until 6 pm

Fulton County polling locations:


Precincts 1, 2 & 3 - Community Resource Center, 625 Pontiac St., Rochester

Precincts 4 & 5 - Fulton County Annex Building, 125 E 9th St., Rochester

Precincts 6, 7, & 8 - Fulton County Fairgrounds, 1009 W 3rd St., Rochester

Precinct 9 - Aubbeenaubbee Township Community Bldg. Leiters Ford, 7410 Main St.

Precincts 10, 11 & 12 - Akron Community Building, 815 E Rural St., Akron

Precinct 13 - Fulton Community Building, 204 E Dunn St., Fulton

Precinct 14 - Newcastle Community Building, St Rd 25 N, Talma

Precinct 15 - Fulton County Historical Museum, 37 E 375 N, Rochester

Precinct 16 - Kewanna Fire Station, 404 Toner St, Kewanna

Precinct 17 - Grass Creek Fire Station, Grass Creek


Rochester schools to close in-person learning thru November 16

Schools in Rochester are closing to in-person learning due to COVID.
Superintendent Jana Vance released the following letter Monday morning:

Good afternoon—


It is with a heavy heart that I am announcing the close of Rochester Community Schools in-person learning through November 16.  At this time, we anticipate reopening our district on November 17.


We will be providing meals to all students who would like that service beginning this Wednesday, November 4.  Please check our website www.zebras.net  for further information.

Your student’s building level principal will be sending you specific information around virtual learning and those expectations.  Please note that virtual learning will begin tomorrow. 


We apologize for the inconvenience, but due to COVID and those throughout the district who are either symptomatic or quarantined, it is necessary for us to safeguard all.



Jana K. Vance, Ed.S


Rochester Community School Corporation