Silver Alert: Aaliyah Ramirez

The Syracuse Police Department is investigating the disappearance of Aaliyah Ramirez, a 14 year old white female, 5 feet 9 inches tall, 138 pounds, black hair with brown eyes, last seen wearing a black zip up jacket, gray and white sweatpants, and a purple Nike backpack.


Aaliyah is missing from Syracuse, Indiana, and was last seen on Tuesday, April 27, 2021 at 8:01 am.  She is believed to be in danger. 


If you have any information on Aaliyah Ramirez, contact the Syracuse Police Department at 574-265-1483 or 911.

A woman entered WROI, left office with scissors before being taken into custody by Rochester Police

About 2:00 pm Friday a woman entered WROI and told staff members she was in trouble and needed help while waiting for a ride.

She explained that people were after her, that they attempted to harm her.  The woman said she sought help in the past but was denied.

Several minutes into the encounter the woman picked up a pair of scissors from a nearby desk.  She refused to return them when asked.  From there, she departed the building and began to walk away.  At this point, WROI staff members contacted police and made them aware of the woman’s departure and that she had scissors from the radio office in her possession.  She walked to Main Street, passed Jarrety’s and turned onto 7th Street.  

Moments later, Rochester Police aided by the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department made contact with the woman on the street.  She was safely taken into custody.


Rochester mayor hears ideas for parks, amenities; pool opening scheduled for May 29

Finally, a stretch of temperatures that make it feel like spring is here to stay. With that, more and more people looking to get outdoors.


Rochester Mayor Ted Denton says he’s been involved in more and more conversations regarding the city’s parks and amenities.  And ideas about what could be done there.



The mayor says other ideas are being discussed.



Mayor Denton notes that government can be helpful in such ventures but it’s often private funds or resources that provide much of the backing.



Looking ahead, Rochester is making plans to open the pool this season.  The scheduled opening of the Rochester City Pool is tentatively set (weather permitting) for Saturday, May 29.


The pool was closed for the 2020 season due to Covid-19.


Governor’s instructions for operation this year express that all personnel (except lifeguards when in observation chairs) will be required to wear a mask. 


Social distancing for non-related patrons is still strongly encouraged, but will be left up to patrons’ judgment, as will the wearing of masks.


All will participate at their own risk.


Tire collection day in Fulton County Saturday

The ulton County Solid Waste District is hostin a tire collection day Saturday, May 1, from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm.


There is a 4-tire limit per person.


This event is for Fulton County residents only!!

Akron, Fulton County among over 200 Community Crossing grants

Governor Eric Holcomb and Indiana Department of Transportation Commissioner Joe McGuinness today announced 218 Indiana cities, towns, and counties received a combined $100.2 million in state matching funds for local road projects through Community Crossings, a component of the Governor’s Next Level Roads program.


To qualify for funding, local governments must provide local matching funds, 50 percent for larger communities or 25 percent for smaller communities, from a funding source approved for road and bridge construction. They must also submit an INDOT-approved asset management plan for maintaining existing roads and bridges. State law requires annually that 50 percent of the available matching funds be awarded to communities within counties with a population of 50,000 or fewer. 


The Town of Akron announced via social media that it received the grant for the second consecutive year. The project submitted was fully funded and will be awarded $55,884.13.


Akron must match 25% at $18,628.07. The total cost of the project is $74,512.20.


The streets that will be repaired with this funding are:

1: Front Street - SR19/Mishawaka to Oak St

2: Noyer Drive - Walnut St to SR14/Rochester St

3: West Street - SR 19/Mishawaka to Central St

4: Walnut Street - Noyer Drive to Whittenberger St

5: Oak Street - Front St to Main St

6: South Street - West St to Maple St


Also announced:  $1 million in Community Crossing GRants for Fulton, Marshall and Cass counties.  Wabash County was awarded $863, 953.  

Rochester man found dead in Colorado creek April 18

Lifelong Rochester resident Justin Whitaker, 30, was identified by the El Paso County Coroner's as the deceased man found in a creek outside of Fountain, Colorado on April 18.


According to a news release by the Fountain Police Department, on April 18, at approximately 2:30 pm, officers with the Fountain Police Department received a call from a citizen who found a man's body just north of Duckwood Park, in Fountain Creek. 


The Fountain Police Department's Investigation Division said there were no obvious signs of trauma prior to the autopsy. 


Whitaker had recently moved to Colorado.  He had lived around the Rochester community for most of his life.


The case remains an active investigation and is considered to be a suspicious death. Anyone with more information about this incident is asked to call Detective Michael Bixby at (719) 382-4264.

Midwest ice cream maker recalls almost 100 products

Velvet Ice Cream recently announced a voluntary recall of all ice cream and sherbert products sold in the past month.  The recall affects dozens of products sold after March 24.  In a news release, the company stated there have been no reported illnesses.


Possible listeria contamination was found during routine testing.  It's the third such recall involving Velvet in the last four years.


Velvet Ice Cream has been in business for over 100 years.


Anyone who bought one of the affected products is encouraged to dispose of it. Customers can contact the company for a refund.


This list of affected products is on the company's website:


Fulton County collected hundreds of pounds of unwanted, unused drugs for proper disposa

The 20th DEA Drug Take Back Day was this past Saturday.  The Fulton County Sheriff’s Office runs a program 24 – 7.


The Fulton County Sheriff’s Office collects unused and unwanted prescription drugs for both liquid and pill medications along with vaping pens and cartridges.  Items can be taken to a drop box in the lobby that was provided by a grant from Drug Free Fulton County.


The sheriff’s office reports that it recently submitted 15 boxes of collected medication that weighed over 355 pounds to the DEA for proper disposal.  That constituted nearly six months of collections from Fulton County residents.


If you have a large amount of medication to drop off you should contact Det / Sgt Travis Heishman.  He can be reached by e-mail at t.heishman@co.fulton.in.us .


People have been encouraged to take advantage of programs such as is because disposing of medicines by flushing them or throwing them in the trash can pose potential safety and health hazards.  Also, a  majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends.

Fire may have been ignited by one of the children who died in Miami County residence

A finding on a Miami County fire that resulted in the death of three children has been announced.


The residential fire was February 27 at 13475 South 300 East in southern Miami County.  The caller Laura Gingerich, said her three children were trapped inside.  The sheriff’s office, Indiana State Police and Converse Police were pushed back by heavy smoke and extreme heat.  Firefighters arrived and found the children in an upstairs bedroom.


Miracle Gingerich, 6, Steven Gingerich, 5, and Wilma Gingerich, 1, died.  Cause of death has been determined as accidental  with inhalation injuries due to house fire.


In the release from Miami County Sheriff Timothy Hunter said that it was found during the investigation that one of the children previously set fire inside the residence.  While the exact cause of the fire was undetermined, evidence is consistent with a set fire.


Investigators examined several areas of potential ignition sources, including wiring, outlets, television, radio and power strips.  No evidence was found of faulty equipment or other ignition sources.

10-digit dialing in Indiana's 219 & 574 area codes starts April 24

Beginning Saturday, Apr. 24, everyone in northern Indiana’s 219 and 574 telephone area codes is encouraged to start using 10 digits, rather than seven, to make local phone calls. (For example, callers should start dialing “219-555-5555” or “574-555-5555” instead of “555-5555.”) This will help ease into the upcoming transition to mandatory 10-digit dialing for local calls within the 219 and 574 area codes.


Local calls made with seven digits will still work until Oct. 24, 2021, to allow everyone ample time to adjust to the new dialing pattern and to make any required system changes before 10-digit dialing becomes mandatory for local calls.


The change to 10-digit dialing is necessary to accommodate the national “988” National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, as designated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). All telecommunications providers in the United States are required to implement the three-digit 9-8-8 dialing code for the hotline by July 16, 2022. Under the FCC order, 10-digit dialing must be in place before then for any area code with a “988” prefix.


Timeframe and Guidance for the 219/574 Area


Effective tomorrow, Apr. 24, 2021, you should start using 10 digits whenever you place a local call from the 219 or 574 area code (dialing the area code followed by the number’s remaining digits). If you forget and dial just seven digits (through Oct. 24, 2021), your call will still be completed.


Starting on Oct. 24, 2021, you must use 10-digit dialing for all local phone calls. After this date, if you do not use 10 digits, your call will not be completed and a recording will instruct you to hang up and dial again.


Beginning July 16, 2022, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline will be reachable by calling the three-digit 9-8-8 code. The lifeline can be reached before and after that date at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).


The most important facts for residential consumers and businesses in these area codes to know are:


  • Your telephone number, including current area code, will not change.
  • You will need to dial area code + telephone number (a total of 10 digits) for all local calls in the 219 and 574 areas.
  • You will continue to dial 1 + area code + telephone number (a total of 11 digits) for all long-distance calls.
  • Calls that are local now will remain local.
  • 10-digit dialing for local calls will not change the price of a call, your coverage area, or other rates and services.
  • You can still dial three digits to reach 911 for emergency services.
  • You can continue to dial three digits to dial 211 (social services), 411 (directory assistance), 711 (telecommunications relay service), or 811 (call to request utility locate before you dig).
  • You should start including the area code together with your seven-digit local telephone numbers when providing numbers to others.
  • You should make sure that all preprogrammed numbers for local calls are set to include the area code. Examples include life safety systems, medical monitoring services, PBXs, fax machines, Internet dial-up numbers, alarm and security systems, gates, speed dialers, mobile/wireless phone contact lists, call forwarding settings, voicemail services, and similar functions.
  • You should check your website, stationery, advertising materials, personal and business checks, personal or pet ID tags and microchips, and other items to ensure that the phone number includes the area code.


Any safety and security equipment, including medical alert devices and alarm systems, must be programmed for mandatory 10-digit local dialing unless the calls are already directed to toll-free or long-distance telephone numbers. If you are not sure whether your equipment needs to be reprogrammed, contact your medical alert or security provider. All necessary reprogramming must be completed before Oct. 24, 2021. To avoid last-minute issues, consumers are strongly encouraged to address any needed changes as soon as possible after Apr. 24, 2021, when the six-month transition period begins.


Specific area codes in 35 states, including all four of Indiana’s neighboring states, are implementing 10-digit dialing to accommodate the 988 Lifeline.


Mandatory 10-digit dialing has been in place for several years in Indiana’s 317 and 812 area codes; it was implemented to accommodate the addition of new “overlay” area codes due to shrinking number supplies. 

LaFontaine, Family Express Corp of North Judson,Plymouth receive USDA monies

In honor of Earth Day 2021, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Indiana Rural Development Acting State Director Curtis Johnson announced that USDA is investing $487 million in critical infrastructure that will help communities in 45 states build back better and stronger while prioritizing climate-smart solutions and environmental stewardship.


USDA is making the investments under the Water and Environmental Program, the Rural Energy for America Program, the Electric Loan Program and the Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program.


Indiana highlights of the announcement include investments in:



Rural Water and Wastewater Infrastructure

USDA is investing $374 million through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program to modernize rural drinking water and wastewater infrastructure in 31 states. Through its Water and Environmental Programs, USDA funds vital water infrastructure that directly benefits the health, economic vitality and environment of rural America.


Town of LaFontaine will use a $1.5 million loan and $2.6 million grant to update and repair the existing wastewater system. This project will help keep the town's wastewater system functioning efficiently and effectively and maintain safe drinking water for the 875 residents.



Biofuel Infrastructure

USDA is investing $18.4 million in 20 states through the Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program (HBIIP) to build infrastructure to help expand the availability of higher-blend renewable fuels by approximately 218 million gallons per year. This will give consumers more environmentally friendly fuel choices when they fill-up at the pump.


Family Express Corp is receiving a $220,000 grant to replace 19 dispensers and one storage tank at four fueling stations, as well as install six dispensers at one fueling station. Stations and locations benefitting from this grant are North Judson, Plymouth, Valparaiso, Brookston and Westfield. This project predicts to increase the amount of ethanol sold by almost 4 million gallons per year.




Indiana State Police partner with DEA for Drug Take Back Day

On Saturday, April 24, 2021 the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is sponsoring the 20th nationwide “Prescription Drug Take Back” initiative.  The “Take Back” initiative seeks to prevent prescription drug abuse and theft through proper disposal of prescription drugs.


Collection sites will be set up nationwide for expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs which will be properly disposed of without threat to the environment.  This program is for liquid and pill medications.  Vaping pens without batteries and vaping cartridges will also be taken.  Needles, new or used, WILL NOT be accepted for disposal.  This service is free and anonymous with no questions asked.


This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue.  Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs.  Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.


In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines—flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash—pose both potential safety and health hazards.


Once again, the Indiana State Police is pleased to partner with the DEA, and as in the past, unwanted medications may be dropped off at any Indiana State Police Post, except the Toll Road Post.  The event will be on Saturday, April 24, between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.  


To locate the State Police post closest to your home or business, click this link for Indiana State Police on the Map. To find other locations in Indiana or across the U.S. that are participating in the Drug Take Back initiative, click this link to the DEA.


The Drug Take Back events are the safe, popular and responsible way for the public to legally dispose of prescription drugs with no questions asked.

Walorski says job openings are damaging supply chains, economy

Jobs.  In many places, hey’re not hard to find.  For employers, it’s harder to find people to fill them.


With signs up in many business and industries touting jobs available Congresswoman Jackie Walorski says unemployment funded by federal government is fueling the problem.



Walorski worried supply chains that suffered thru the pandemic may never bounce back.



And Walorski says jobs are already under pressure from innovation and technical advances.  That will grow if employers aren’t there handling these positions.



Walorski says those missing jobs impacting supply chains is playing a major factor in the rising costs of gas, wood, groceries and will continue to increase.










Rochester among state's school districts receiving allocated Covid monies

Rochester schools will receive over $3 million in federal stimulus funding.


The Indiana Department of Education announced that more than 300 public school districts will share in the nearly $1.8 billion allocated for Indiana.


The IDOE says schools can use the funding to reimburse approved expenses incurred through September 2024 as a result of the pandemic. Schools must also follow federal requirements to use at least 20% of the funding to support accelerated learning opportunities for students, such as summer learning or enrichment, comprehensive afterschool programs, or extended school years programs, as schools work to make up for lost instructional time.


Among area school districts

Rochester Community School Corp - $3,218,780.35

Caston School Corporation - $959,663.64

Argos Community Schools - $1,072,542.43

Tippecanoe Valley School Corp - $2,415,360.93



State Road 25 to be closed over Wabash River in Logansport

The Indiana Department of Transportation announces a road closure for State Road 25 over the Wabash River beginning Monday, April 26.


State Road 25 will be closed between Melbourne Ave and Gates Dr for a bridge preventative maintenance project through mid-July, 2021. 

Rochester schools restructuring plan given go-ahead by school board vote Monday

A proposal to restructure Rochester schools to deal with a growing crowding issue was approved by the corporation school board Monday night.


The proposal had been met with controversy following its release to the public and a public hearing on the topic last week.  Board members addressed several of the topics Monday including what they felt was a plan to save taxpayer dollars and the board’s failure to be more open with the idea. 



It was that lack of communication along with restructuring concerns that prompted a letter signed by many teachers calling for more discussion on the plan as shown in the following letter calling for the restructuring to be delayed:



Superintendent Jana Vance cited what she believes to be the school district’s ability to handle any social and emotional component to the proposed changes.  And that the restructuring saves taxpayer dollars and fits the plans set forth for the administration.



The board approved the measure by a 6-1 vote.  Board member Joe Murphy voted against.







Area lakes receive DNR grants for projects

DNR recently awarded $499,970 in grants through the Division of Fish & Wildlife’s Lake and River Enhancement (LARE) program to improve the waterways in several Indiana counties.

DNR grants totaling $325,410 were awarded and will be used for logjam and sediment- removal projects for nine projects in nine counties.. The other $174,560 was awarded to fund 10 projects to remove aquatic invasive plants in 21 lakes in seven counties.  

LARE grants are funded through the LARE fee paid by recreational boat owners annually when they register their boats with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. This user-funded program benefits boaters throughout the state. The grants allow for the completion of projects that would be difficult for local organizations to fund on their own. Grants are awarded on a competitive basis, and local sponsors share at least 20% of the cost of the projects.


Lake Bruce (Fulton-Pulaski)               Sediment Removal                 $32,350


Barbee Lakes (Banning, Barbee, Irish, Kuhn, Little Barbee, Sawmill and Sechrist Lakes) (Kosciusko) $9,500


Bass Lake (Starke) $5,000


Koontz Lake (Marshall and Starke) $22,300


Lake Bruce (Fulton and Pulaski) $5,000


Lake of the Woods (Marshall) $23,600


Tippecanoe Lake chain (Tippecanoe, James and Oswego Lakes) (Kosciusko)

Wawasee and Syracuse Lakes (Kosciusko) $10,500


Webster Lake (Kosciusko) $38,680

New start dates for work on U.S. 6 and State Road 331

The Indiana Department of Transportation announces changes to the start dates for road and lane closures for U.S. 6 and State Road 331 near Bremen.


The U.S. 6 bridge over State Road 331 will be closed to traffic for a bridge deck overlay and bridge painting beginning on or after Monday, May 3. These preventative maintenance activities prolong the life of the bridge deck. Motorists should seek an alternate route. The official detour will follow State Road 106.


State Road 331 will have lane closures under the U.S. 6 bridge during bridge cleaning and painting operations beginning on or after Monday, May 3. Flaggers will direct traffic when these restrictions are in place.


State Road 331 will also have lane closures between State Road 106 east to U.S. 30 for paving operations beginning Wednesday, April 28. Flaggers will direct traffic in the area where work is occuring. 


These projects will be ongoing through early-July, 2021.

Area counties, cities, among 80 COVID-19 Response Grant Phase 3 recipients

Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch and the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs today announced that an additional 80 Hoosier communities will receive more than $18.6 million in federal grant funding through OCRA's COVID-19 Response Grant Program.


“This grant program has already provided support to more than 600,000 Hoosiers across our state,” Crouch said. “This round we expanded the COVID-19 Response Grant Program so we can continue helping Hoosiers, their families and their businesses recover from the pandemic.”

In April of 2020, OCRA began addressing COVID-19 impact on Indiana communities. Last year, 112 grants were awarded to 96 communities, totaling more than $20.9 million.


"Based on additional research and community feedback, OCRA was able to open this round to municipalities of all sizes and expanded eligible activities," said Denny Spinner, Executive Director of OCRA. "With a focus on assisting small businesses, expanding food bank and pantry services, and providing essential mental health services, these grants will impact Hoosiers and communities that are on the road to recovery."


For this round, eligible applicants include non-entitlement and entitlement local units of government could apply for up to $250,000. Eligible activities include mental health services, childcare services, public WiFi locations, food pantry or bank services, subsidence payment programs, or grants or loans to businesses to retain low-to-moderate income (LMI) jobs.


Funding for the COVID-19 Response Phase 3 is derived from Indiana’s CARES Act allocation.


Fulton County is awarded $250,000 to provide grants to businesses and food banks located within the county's jurisdictional boundaries.


Starke County is awarded $250,000 to provide grants for businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic to assist them in retaining jobs and keeping their businesses open. Starke County will also distribute food boxes to families.


Pulaski County is awarded $250,000 to provide grants up to $10,000 to assist small businesses in the community that have been impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.


The City of Knox is awarded $200,000 to manage a grant program for businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic to assist them in retaining jobs and keeping their businesses open.


The Town of North Judson is awarded $200,000 to start a grant program for businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic to assist them in retaining jobs and keeping their businesses open.


The Town of Winamac is awarded $153,840 to provide grants to businesses in the community that have been hard-hit by the pandemic.


Miami County is awarded $100,000 to provide grant funds to assist mental health support services to families by providing initial screening and evaluations, one-on-one counseling sessions, support to families for mental health barriers, and resource materials to help clients cope with the challenges they face during the COVID-19 pandemic.


The City of Peru is awarded $100,000 to provide assistance to licensed childcare providers located within the city limits.

Indiana transitions to new high school equivalency exam

The Department of Workforce Development and Indiana Adult Education will transition to a new high school equivalency test on July 1. Used in more than 25 states and territories, HiSET® will become the state’s new HSE credential and another way for Hoosiers without a high school diploma to demonstrate their skills and knowledge.


A product of ETS, a leader in assessment, the HiSET® exam is consistent with the curricular emphasis found in today’s high schools, aligns with the College and Career Readiness Standards for adult education, and maintains rigor while providing another path to a new future.


According to Marilyn V. Pitzulo, DWD’s associate chief workforce strategy and design, Indiana continues to be a leader nationally in adult education. “This opportunity will give Hoosiers an opportunity to demonstrate mastery and earn a state-issued HSE diploma,” she said.


An HSE helps adult learners achieve college and career goals, expand opportunities, and change lives.


The items that are included in the HiSET® exam are pilot-tested, validated, and normal for graduating high school juniors and seniors.


While not every state offers the HiSET® exam, the HSE credential is recognized by all states, the U.S. Department of Education, military, and federal programs. Three neighboring states – Ohio, Illinois, and Michigan – currently offer the HiSET® exam.


HiSET® is seven hours in length and covers five subject areas – mathematics, science, social studies, and language arts (reading and writing). The HiSET® test will be offered in English and Spanish, by paper and computer, and there is an option for examinees to take the exam from home.

HiSET® Exam at Home will be a convenient option for students who are unable to test at a test center. The subtests are identical in content, format, and on-screen experience to tests taken at a test center. It may be taken on a computer at home or another secure location and monitored by a human proctor online. HiSET® Exam at Home will be available from 4 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET, seven days a week.


Immediate “unofficial” score results on computer-delivered, multiple-choice tests, except for language arts – writing, will be available to examinees.


In addition to Indiana Adult Education, HiSET® offers a variety of prep materials to help test takers get ready for the exam, including an Official Guide to the HiSET® Exam and practice tests.


A transition from the current TASC (Test Assessing Secondary Completion™) exam will allow examinees to complete any unfinished tests from July 1 – October 15, 2021. In Indiana, new adult education students will take the HiSET® exam July 1 and after.


In Indiana, the cost to take the new exam will remain at $115. There will be an additional charge for students who utilize the HiSET® Exam at Home option.

New Richland Restoration Nature Park receives more grant funding from FCCF

The Friends of the Fulton County Parks and Recreation received a $25,000 from the Fulton County Community Foundation (FCCF) to help with improvements at Richland Restoration Nature Park.


From Left: NICF Executive Director Jay Albright, Parks Board Members DaleaZimpleman, Sandy Sawyer, Mark Kepler, Bill Walsh, Mary Chesser, FCCF representatives Brian Johnson, Kris Robison, Caroline Jones


The park, located on 450 N between Old US 31 and Highway 31, offers 60 acers of diverse outdoor recreational activities. Phase 2 improvements supported by this grant will include additional parking, a third pavilion, expansion of walking trails, a dog park, and electricity.


The Community Foundation has also offered a matching opportunity of $15,000. All contributions to the Friends of the Park designated for Richland Restoration Nature Park will be matched $1 for $1 up to $15,000 total. More than $5,000 of the goal has already been raised. 


Donors interested in participating in the matching opportunity should contact Friends of the Parks treasurer Bill Walsh by phone at (574) 835-3601, by email to fultoncoparks@rtcol.com. Donations can be mailed to Friends of the Fulton County Parks and Recreation, P.O. Box 462, Rochester Indiana 46975. 


This marks the second round of grants provided to the park project from the FCCF. The FCCF provided $25,000 to support the first phase of improvements. These projects included land preparation, installation of two pavilions, concrete walkways, and walking trails.

Pursuit in Marshall and Fulton counties, two South Bend teens arrested

A pursuit on US 31 ended in Fulton County and resulted in two arrests Thursday morning.


Just before 9:00 a.m. an Indiana State Police trooper was patrolling in Marshall County on US 31 near Veterans Parkway when he noticed a Nissan SUV approaching him from behind at a high rate of speed. The Nissan was traveling 100 miles per hour.


The trooper reportedly activated his emergency lights and the Nissan came to a stop in the right lane of southbound US 31 behind the police car. As the trooper began to get out of his police car the Nissan sped off.


The Nissan fled southbound on US 31 and exited to eastbound US 30 and quickly looped back to northbound on US 31. The chase exited westbound on Veterans Parkway towards Michigan Road. A Marshall County deputy in a marked police vehicle took the lead in the chase at the roundabout at Michigan Road.


The chase went through Plymouth and into Argos before ending up on Old 31. The driver of the Nissan, identified as Da Qua Micou, 18 of South Bend  then came to a stop and was safely taken into custody at Old 31 and CR 700 North just into Fulton County.


Micou was preliminarily arrested for Resisting Law Enforcement with a Vehicle, Reckless Driving, Operating a Vehicle Without Ever Receiving a License, and Possession of Marijuana.

The passenger in the Nissan, identified as Malik Clark, 19 of South Bend, was preliminarily arrested for Possession of Marijuana.


Micou and Clark were taken to the Marshall County Jail.

Bill to set state wind and solar standards dies in Senate

In a somewhat surprising move, House Bill 1381 was never called for a Senate vote Tuesday.


Without the necessary support, the bill is “essentially” dead but language in the bill that would set statewide standards for wind and solar projects, essentially overriding “home rule” for local government, could be added to another bill.


Renewable energy companies are frustrated with local governments making entry for large-scale projects extremely difficult. House Bill 1381 was created to set standards to be used statewide at the expense of local governmental control.


The bill passed on early Tuesday which gave the impression it was dead. After a caucus and long discussion about another bill, House Bill 1381 came back up.


Without enough support, though, Sen. Mark Messmer (R-Jasper) withdrew the bill.


“There wasn’t enough support to pass the bill,” said Messmer in a story for Indiana Business Journal. “There’s no sense talking about a bill that’s not going anywhere.”


There is statewide support to increase Indiana’s renewable energy footprint. The opposition is not with renewable energy but with where it is being located – in many cases on prime farm land in a state that heavily relies on the agriculture industry.

Three area high school graduates are now ISP Troopers

Four Indiana State troopers assigned to the Toll Road Post received their patrol cars after successfully completing three months in the ISP Field Training Program. The probationary troopers graduated from the 80th Indiana State Police Recruit Academy in December.


The entire class was issued their Dodge Charger state police cars at the Indiana State Police Museum in Indianapolis.


These troopers will now begin solo patrol on the Indiana Toll Road.


Garrett Tharp, 21, is a 2018 graduate of Plymouth High School. Tharp will patrol the Indiana Toll Road in St. Joseph, Elkhart, and LaGrange County.


Bryce Bustamante, 23, is a 2015 graduate of LaVille High School. He will patrol the Indiana Toll Road in Porter, LaPorte, and St. Joseph County.


Casey Davis, 28, is a 2011 graduate of Wawasee High School. Following high school Davis joined the United States Marine Corps where he served for seven years at Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina and Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in Beaufort, South Carolina. He will patrol the Indiana Toll Road in LaGrange and Steuben County.

K9's in Rochester and Fulton County law enforcement get protective vests

Fulton County Sheriff's Office K9 Rapid and Rochester Police Department’s K9 La’Ron will each receive a bullet and stab protective vest thanks to a charitable donation from non-profit organization Vested Interest in K9s, Inc.


Delivery of Rapid's vest is expected within eight to ten weeks.



Vested Interest in K9s, Inc., established in 2009, is a 501 (c)(3) charity whose mission is to provide bullet and stab protective vests and other assistance to dogs of law enforcement and related agencies throughout the United States. This potentially lifesaving body armor for four-legged K9 officers is U.S. made, custom fitted, and NIJ certified. Since its inception, Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. has provided over 4,247 vests to K9s in all 50 states at a value of $6.9 million, made possible by both private and corporate donations.


The program is open to U.S. dogs that are at least 20 months old and actively employed and certified with law enforcement or related agencies. K9s with expired vests are also eligible to participate. There are an estimated 30,000 law enforcement K9s throughout the United States.

Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. accepts tax-deductible contributions in any amount, while a single donation of $960 will sponsor one vest. Each vest has a value of $1,744-$2,283, weighs an average of 4-5 lb., and comes with a five-year warranty.


For more information, or to learn about volunteer opportunities, please call 508-824-6978. Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. provides information, lists events, and accepts donations at www.vik9s.org, or you may mail your contribution to P.O. Box 9, East Taunton, MA 02718.




Rochester brightening with LED's; replacing lights that turned purple

Rochester’s program with Duke Energy to replace hundreds of lights with LED’s is brightening up the city and bringing audio with it.  Although, LED replacements have been sought for some of the new lights thanks to an interesting color variation.


Rochester Mayor Ted Denton says the effort downtown will include an improved look to go with the lights.



The mayor says downtown events will benefit from the speaker system.  Also, neighboring street traffic poles will receive an upgrade.



Mayor Denton says they have run into one issue that Duke is addressing.  Several lights have taken on a purple color.



So far, even the purple lights have maintained brightness and intensity while they await replacement.

Silver Alert: Gerald Griffith, Warsaw




The Warsaw Police Department is investigating the disappearance of Gerald Griffith, a 54 year old white male, 5 feet 1 inch tall, 244 pounds, black hair with brown eyes.


Gerald is missing his left and right legs and his prosthetic limbs have the American flag on them.


Gerald is also missing the fingers on his left hand.


Gerald is missing from Warsaw and was last seen on Tuesday, April 13,  at 9:30 am.  He is believed to be in extreme danger and may require medical assistance. 


If you have any information on Gerald Griffith, contact the Warsaw Police Department at 574-267-5667 or 911.

Indiana working to minimize appointment disruptions following pause of Johnson & Johnson vaccine

At the direction of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Indiana Department of Health has temporarily paused the administration of Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine following an announcement about a rare adverse event from the federal organizations.


In the meantime, the state Department of Health is encouraging vaccination sites statewide to use existing doses of Pfizer or Moderna if available to fulfill previously scheduled Johnson & Johnson appointments. The state also has supplied the two-dose Moderna vaccine for a mass vaccination clinic at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The clinic will continue through Sunday.

The FDA and CDC issued their guidance after a type of blood clot called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) was seen in combination with low levels of blood platelets (thrombocytopenia). This has been found in only six U.S. patients who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.


The length of the pause is unknown. The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will meet Wednesday to review the cases and is expected to make a recommendation shortly afterward. According to the FDA, one reason for the pause is to inform healthcare providers so they can recognize and treat patients and report the conditions appropriately.


If you have recently received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, flu-like systems within the first few days of vaccination are part of the body’s normal immune response to the vaccine. Those symptoms include pain, redness and swelling in the arm where you got the vaccine, as well as tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever and nausea.


Anyone who develops a severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, shortness of breath or leg swelling within three weeks after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine should contact a healthcare provider and inform the provider of the symptoms and recent COVID-19 vaccination.


Those who have an appointment to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will receive the Moderna vaccine until further notice. Details about second-dose appointments will be available soon. Anyone with a Johnson & Johnson appointment at another location in the next two days may call 211 [(866) 211-9966] to cancel their appointment and reschedule at either a Pfizer or Moderna vaccination site. Information regarding appointments beyond that timeframe will be provided at a later time.


The state Department of Health will provide updates when more information is available. Learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine from the Indiana Department of Health at ourshot.in.gov.

Water line break prompts Eastern Pulaski Community Schools to release early Tuesday

Due to an issue with the town water supply in Winamac earlier, Eastern Pulaski Community School Corporation will be releasing early today.


According to Winamac's town manager Bradley Zellers, a main water line was hit by a contractor from a local business.  It drained the town's water supply quickly.


The damage was repaired without further complications, however, it was too late to call off the school's early release that was announced slightly before 11:00 am. 


Eastern Pulaski Elementary School will be released at 1:00 pm and Winamac Community Middle School / Winamac Community High School will be released at 1:10 pm.

FBI, ISP SWAT involved in Pulaski Co. warrant, stand-off

A warrant arrest involved a number of law enforcement agencies including the FBI at a residence in Pulaski County.


Pulaski County deputies were requested to assist in a felony arrest warrant for Darren Amick, a subject known to be a danger to law enforcement.  After receiving a tip from the White County Sheriff’s Department a search warrant was executed at a rural Winamac residence. Pulaski County Sheriff Deputies, assisted by FBI, Indiana State Police SWAT, Winamac Police, White County Sheriff’s Department, Porter County Sheriff’s Department, and Jasper County Sheriff’s Department, executed the search warrant at the residence in an attempt to locate Amick who had active arrest warrants out of White County for Level 2 Felony Planting An Explosive Device With Intent To Use It, and felony warrants for Dealing Methamphetamine.


After several hours with Amick refusing to exit the residence the decision was made to enter the trailer. The Indiana State Police SWAT team deployed chemical irritants and canine units. The suspect continued to forcibly resist arrest, but was ultimately taken into custody.


The suspect was transported to Pulaski Memorial Hospital by Pulaski County EMS where he was treated for exposure to chemical irritants and injuries received while fighting the law enforcement animal. Amick was released to White County Sheriff’s Department for transport back to White County.

State Health Dept to pause use of Johnson & Johnson vaccine

The Indiana Department of Health is proactively notifying all vaccination clinics using the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to pause its use following news reports that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has called for additional review of its safety. The state has not received official notification of a directive to pause but is doing so out of an abundance of caution.


The health department will be sending the two-dose Moderna vaccine to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which is conducting mass vaccination clinics today, so that Hoosiers can continue to get vaccinated without interruption.


The department is also working with other clinics that were scheduled to use the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the immediate future.

Etna Green man died in Sunday mobile home fire

A mobile home fire in Etna Green resulted in a death.


Emergency personnel were called to the scene in the Etna Green Mobile Home Park - Lot 34 just after 11:00 pm Sunday.  Neighbors reportedly observed the fire and attempted to make contact with any potential occupants. Once firefighters were able to extinguish the flames and perform an interior search of the residence, they located the deceased body of Arthur J. Peterson, 42.


Etna Green Fire Department, Atwood Fire Department, Etna Green First Responders, Lutheran EMS, Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office, Kosciusko County Coroner’s Office, Indiana State Fire Marshal all responded to the scene.


This incident remains under investigation by the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office, Kosciusko County Coroner’s Office and the Indiana State Fire Marshal.

Cow still loose as Pulaski County authorities try to find owner

The following entry was posted by the Pulaski County Sheriff's Office on the department's Facebook page early Monday afternoon.  The public's assistance is requested for a wandering cow.


Pulaski County Sheriff's Office, Indiana

On April 11, 2021 at 7:15 PM the Pulaski County Sheriff Office was advised of a cow in the roadway in the area of 1225 W / 500 N, Medaryville. While Dispatch attempted to locate the owner of the animal, Sheriff’s deputies attempted to catch it. Unfortunately, neither entity was successful, and at approximately 8:00 PM the animal was last seen running south bound on 1300 W.


The cow is a younger black cow with a white face, 300-400 pounds.

Religious services deemed essential by Indiana Senate bill

Religious activities are deemed essential services in a bill approved by the Indiana Senate on Thursday.


The bill prohibits state and local orders from preventing anyone from attending religious servies during a disaster emergency.  It would also prevent such orders from being more restrictive on churches than on other places, like businesses, that are considered essential.


Services could be held without restrictions on capacity size, social distancing or mask mandates.  Those restrictions could still apply, however, to their schools or daycares.


The bill now goes to the governor.


Vaccine clinic Saturday in Rochester; Warsaw April 20-24

A shot clinic is set for Saturday in Rochester as extra doses of coronavirus vaccine have become available in Fulton County.


Rochester Mayor Ted Denton.



The mayor says encourages those above 18 to check for availability, and call if you have difficulty navigating the ourshot.gov website.



The Fulton County Health Dept can be reached at (574) 223-2881.


The Indiana Department of Health will be holding a vaccination clinic at Center Lake Pavilion in Warsaw. The city released information that the clinic will be held from April 20-24 from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. each day.


The clinic will be providing hundreds of vaccines per day, and the times offer some flexibility for evening and Saturday appointments. The Pfizer vaccine will be used during this clinic, which is currently the only vaccine approved for those ages 16 and 17. Registration is open and available at ourshot.in.gov.




U.S. 30 to have lane closures between S.R. 39 and U.S. 35

The Indiana Department of Transportation announces lane closures for U.S. 30 over the Kankakee River starting Thursday, April 8.


U.S. 30 will be reduced to one lane in each direction through late-June, 2021 for a bridge deck overlay project.

Rochester schools to restructure ahead of next school year

The Rochester School Board has announced plans to restructure for the 2021-22 school year.


The plans were unveiled in a press release from the school board and include the 8th grade class moving from the middle school to the high school; preschool through first grade at Columbia Elementary; second through fourth at Riddle Elementary; and fifth through seventh at Rochester Middle.


Fulton Co. Commissioners give go ahead to remove beavers, dams

Bugs, rodents, pests, even deer on area roadways are all fairly common animal world problems that people deal with often.  Fulton County has a different kind of animal issue - beavers.


Highway Superintendent John Geier explained the current issue to Fulton County Commissioners.



Geier says his department has never paid for trapping before.   At one time, the lake association had split costs on trapping with maintenance on the county ditch at that location.  Commissioners noted that the lake association doesn’t want to pay for the issue. 


Geier was approved by commissioners to seek help in fixing the issue.  Commissioners said it would be cheaper now than to wait for more beavers adding to the population at the site.


Greg Compton's 260 mile Walk for Riley underway, ending May 1 In Louisville

This week, in honor of the 'Robert 'Bob' Compton Memorial Fundraiser to Benefit Riley Children's Hospital', Plymouth native Greg Compton, 67, began his 260 mile walk through Indiana.


Starting from the Michigan State line on Monday, April 5, Greg is walking to the Clark Memorial Bridge in Louisville, Kentucky.  He hopes to be there by May 1. 



Compton drove the route ahead of time with a friend so he could plan accordingly. Multiple friends and family have volunteered to help him along the way.



Since January 2021, in preparation for the event, Greg has been training with long distance walking. 



Despite being healthy, Greg has had his share of health concerns, recently recovering from Covid before the holidays. It's something that won't stop him, but it also wasn't easy. 



His mission and main objective - raising donations. By Greg's first day walking on Monday April 5, he'd already raised $16,442, with a goal of $260,000 by the time he reaches Louisville. 


Those interested in donating can do so online at https://give.rileykids.org/campaign/robert-compton-memorial-fundraiser-greg-compton/c320809. 

The Compass! Navigating Through Life and Sobriety, a new Tuesday tradition In Rochester

New to Rochester -- The Compass! Navigating Through Life and Sobriety had its first day Tuesday at The Cross, located at 100 W Third Street in Rochester.


Facillitator Debbie Fernandez says the program will be every Tuesday from 11:00 am-12:30 pm. It will provide interactive life skill lessons and will also have free groceries to those in need. 



State Road 114 to be closed just west of U.S. 421 in Pulaski Co.

The Indiana Department of Transportation announces a road closure for State Road 114 between C.R. S 1600 W and U.S. 421 beginning Monday, April 12. 


The State Road 114 bridge over Hill Ditch will be closed for approximately two weeks for bridge deck patching and to repair the joints in the bridge deck and approaches.

Fulton County law enforcement watching to keep school buses safe

Many school districts are now in the stretch run following spring break.  And with school buses busily carrying kids to and from schools area law enforcement is stepping up efforts to make sure traffic abides by the rules as they pertain to buses.


Fulton County Sheriff Chris Sailors.



On a Covid note, Sheriff Sailors says the monthly numbers in the Fulton County Jail include those housed elsewhere as Covid concerns remain.



Sailors also notes the process continues on construction of the new jail.  He says the timeline and budget are still on track.

Fulton Co. Commissioners expect to follow Gov. Holcomb's order as mask mandate ends Tuesday

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb recently announced the mask-wearing mandate will be lifted Tuesday.


Masks will still be required in all state buildings and at vaccination and COVID-19 testing sites, but nowhere else unless counties and local governments require them for entrance.


Fulton County Commissioners stated during their Monday meeting the intent to follow the governor’s order with nothing stricter enacted locally.  They will, however, leave it open to department heads to monitor as to whether or not masks are needed under certain situations.


Fulton County is marked as under Yellow on the state’s most recent advisory map.  Kosciusko, Starke and Wabash are also marked as Yellow.  Miami, Pulaski, Cass and Marshall have Blue status/.


School systems in the state will stick with mask wearing during school hours and at school events until the end of the school year.


Payments for Hoosiers harmed by Equifax data breach are coming

Attorney General Todd Rokita announced that his Office is preparing to distribute payments to 236,616 current and former Indiana residents who filed eligible claims for restitution following the massive 2017 Equifax data breach.


Each person who filed an eligible claim for restitution at IndianaEquifaxClaims.com will receive approximately $79. The Office will begin distributing digital and check payments on March 31. Claimants will receive their money in the manner they requested at the time of their claim.


“This office’s years-long efforts to put money into the pockets of Hoosiers harmed by the Equifax data breach are finally coming to fruition,” Attorney General Rokita said. “I am very proud of the attorneys in my Office who worked tirelessly to achieve a positive outcome in this case. We will always fight tooth and nail for Indiana consumers.” 


The Office of the Attorney General sued Equifax – one of the world’s largest credit-reporting bureaus – in May 2019, two years after the company suffered a data breach that impacted approximately 147 million Americans, including roughly 3.9 million Hoosiers. Social Security numbers, dates of birth, addresses, driver’s license numbers and credit card information were compromised in the data breach, which an investigation by the United States House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform concluded was “entirely preventable.”


Last year, the Office announced that Indiana would receive $19.5 million under a settlement with Equifax. Indiana was one of two states that opted not to participate in a multistate settlement in July 2019, choosing instead to file its own lawsuit and ultimately negotiate its own settlement.


Indiana’s $19.5 million settlement exceeds the amount received by any of the 48 states that participated in the multistate settlement, which distributed $175 million to participating states.

Driver escapes violent crash on US 30 With non-life-threatening injuries

An Indiana State Police trooper was in the right place at the right time to render immediate aid when he witnessed a crash between a semi and a passenger car.


Just before 3:30 pm Friday Trooper Jon Price was in his marked police car on the south side of the intersection of US 30 and King Road when he saw a 2003 Freightliner traveling westbound on US 30.  The Freightliner failed to stop at a red light and ran into the rear of a 2001 Toyota that was stopped at the intersection.  Both vehicles continued through the intersection stuck together following the collision, coming to rest west of King Road.


Price immediately responded and saw that the driver of the Toyota, Alexis Owens, 19 of Ft. Wayne, was bleeding heavily from her face but was alert and conscious. Owens was transported to Memorial Hospital in South Bend with injuries that are not believed to be life threatening.



The driver of the semi, Pavel Galiant, 67 of Kent, WA, was not injured in the crash. Galiant was issued a citation for disregarding a traffic light.


Price commented that Owens was wearing a seatbelt and that made a difference in the severity of her injuries.


Alcohol and drugs are not suspected in the crash.


Gene Miles retires as CEO of First Farmers Bank & Trust; remains CEO, President of First Farmers Financial Corporation

Gene Miles retired from his daily responsibilities as Chief Executive Officer of First Farmers Bank & Trust on March 31.


A press release from the company states that Miles' impact on the bank is immeasurable and the growth during his tenure is unparalleled throughout company history. Gene will continue in his role going forward as President and Chief Executive Officer of First Farmers Financial Corporation ( FFMR ). Bank President Mark “Doc” Holt will serve as President and Chief Executive Officer of the bank going forward.


Gene Miles served First Farmers for over 41 years and his career has touched on nearly every capacity within the institution, including branch manager, commercial loan officer, compliance officer, investment officer, marketing officer and accounting officer. Starting as a branch manager in 1979 at a time when the bank had 3 locations, less than 30 employees, and a total asset size of $44 million, Gene was mentored by many former bank officers and worked closely with prior president Robert Larrison. He assumed the role of executive vice president in 1984 and president in 1997 and president & CEO in 1999.


In 2016, Gene was awarded the Bruning Award, the American Bankers Association’s premiere award for agricultural Banking. In 2020, Gene was honored with a Leaders in Banking Excellence award through the Indiana Bankers Association.


First Farmers Financial Corp is a $2.2 billion financial holding company headquartered in Converse, Indiana. First Farmers Bank & Trust has offices throughout Carroll, Cass, Clay, Grant, Hamilton, Howard, Huntington, Madison, Marshall, Miami, Starke, Sullivan, Tippecanoe, Tipton, Vigo and Wabash counties in Indiana and offices in Coles, Edgar and Vermilion counties in Illinois.

Fulton County Community Foundation grants to Intrepid Phoenix

The Fulton County Community Foundation awarded Intrepid Phoenixa community support grant of $7,250 to help bring their fitness recovery program to Fulton County.


Pictured: Teresa Houser (FCCF Board Member) Larry Smith (Intrepid Phoenix Founder) Brian Johnson (Fulton County Director of Development)


They are partnering with Ace Fitness, located in the Peace Tree Village, along with other substance abuse recovery organizations in Fulton County to help individuals who struggle with substance abuse.


The fitness recovery program serves residents of Fulton County that are in the recovery process regardless of age, gender, race, or length of sobriety. The organization designs a program that will meet the needs and goals of the individual regarding both fitness and health through the help of a Certified Personal Trainer and nutritionist. They also provide a Certified Peer Recovery Coach.


Intrepid Phoenix’s mission is to provide a wholistic approach to fitness in recovery from substance abuse. The organization focuses on improving the mental, emotional, and physical health of individuals to give them the best chance to avoid a relapse and live happy and productive lives.


For more information about this program, visit their Facebook Page at

https://www.facebook.com/theintrepidphoenixor feel free to call 630-606-1882.

Fatality reported in car-utility pole crash

A Tippecanoe woman was killed in a one-vehicle accident.


Emergency crews were called to the scene in Kosciusko County on County Road 700 South just east of 600 West.  According to the preliminary results of the ongoing investigation conducted by the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office Fatal Crash Team, the vehicle was traveling eastbound, left the north side of the roadway and struck a NIPSCO utility pole.


Amber L. Meyer, 30, was pronounced deceased due to blunt force trauma.


There is no further word on what may have caused Meyer to drive off the road.