Ivy Tech Launches Ivy+: Bending the Curve on the Cost of College

Next to homeownership, the cost of college is one of the biggest investments for Americans. People are either trying to pay for college for their children or they are trying to attend college themselves. It is the crux of why many are questioning the value of a college degree. When calculating the cost of tuition and fees, plus textbooks, along with living expenses, simply put, college can be expensive.


There are many ways families can reduce the out-of-pocket costs of college. Filing the FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, to determine if a student qualifies for federal or state financial aid is one way. Applying for scholarships is another. Students could even consider living at home with a parent or guardian.


However, even if students qualify for financial aid, other needs such as food, transportation, and housing may take precedence, and research shows that more than 65 percent of college students forego purchasing course materials, including textbooks, in order to save money. 

To help combat this financial obstacle and ensure Hoosiers can afford post-secondary education, Ivy Tech Community College has maintained its low-cost tuition model. This year, with the funding support of the Indiana General Assembly, we are pleased to announce that Ivy Tech will freeze tuition for the next two years. This means the cost of tuition will remain with no unexpected increases for the 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 academic years.


Not only that, but beginning this fall semester, Ivy Tech will pay for student textbooks for at least the next academic year, investing nearly $25 million to cover the costs of required textbooks. This investment will save students hundreds of dollars each year and, most importantly, ensure they have the materials they need to succeed on day one. 


We did not stop there. We also know that full-time students, which describes 25 percent of our student body, need to complete 30 credit hours per year to be considered “on-time completion” for a two-year degree. Ivy Tech will ensure no full-time student will pay more than $4,500 per year for as many credit hours as they want to take. If a full-time student does not complete 15 credit hours in a semester, Ivy Tech will allow them to take up to six credit hours at no charge with a Summer-Flex Scholarship to reach the 30 credit hours needed. This will help students maintain state financial aid eligibility and qualify for more aid dollars.


You may think this sounds too good to be true. We can assure you – it is true! With our new Ivy+ approach to tuition and books, these student-centered initiatives reinforce that Ivy Tech is committed to being your community college, plus remove barriers to student success and completion. Our goal is to ensure Hoosiers succeed in earning a post-secondary credential that either puts them directly into a high-wage, high-demand career or sets them up for a seamless transfer to a four-year institution where they can complete their bachelor’s degree and beyond. With Ivy+ we are investing in a brighter, more affordable, future for Hoosiers.

One Person Died in Miami County Crash

Monday, at approximately 7:22 p.m., officers from the Indiana State Police and the Miami County Sheriff’s Department responded to a two-vehicle crash on State Road 19 near Miami County Road 550 East, in which one person died.


The preliminary crash investigation by Senior Trooper Jeremy Perez revealed that a Brandon Eller, 33, Amboy, IN was driving a 2011 Dodge Caliber southbound on State Road 19 near County Road 550 East. Steven Armfield, 69, Sheridan, IN, was driving a 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee northbound on State Road 19 near County Road 550 East. For a yet to be determined reason, the Dodge crossed into the northbound lane causing a head-on collision with the Jeep.


Eller and Armfield were both flown, via medical helicopter, to a Fort Wayne hospital. Eller suffered serious but non-life-threatening injuries. Armfield suffered life-threatening injuries. Carolann Pulley, 78, Converse, IN, a passenger in the Jeep was also flown to a Fortt Wayne hospital. She succumbed to injuries sustained in the crash.


This crash is still under investigation.


Perez was assisted at the crash scene by ISP Sergeant Rick Brown, Senior Trooper A.J. Coffee, Trooper Andrew Baldwin, Trooper Mario Cruz, the Miami County Sheriff’s Department, the Amboy Fire Department, Dukes’ Hospital EMS, Lutheran Medical Helicopter, Samaritan Medical Helicopter, and Miami County EMA.

Beacon Credit Union kicks-off its 10th Annual Project Spotlight Voting

Beacon Credit Union’s Project Spotlight will kick off voting on July 1, running through July 31. Everyone in the community is encouraged to vote for their favorite cause either online or in their local Beacon Member Center. Each individual may vote once per day per community. After voting, the public may share to Facebook or Twitter to encourage others to vote for their favorite organization. Last year Project Spotlight received over 64,000 votes in the one-month period. Nominations were taken earlier this spring via branch and online submissions.


Project Spotlight is a program created by Beacon Credit Union with the hope that individuals and organizations would be inspired to reach out and serve those living and working around them. There will be winners from all 13 communities where Beacon Credit Union has a full-service Member Center. The project that receives the most votes, in each community, will receive $1,000 from Beacon Credit Union. The second place will receive $500, and there will be a third place in each community randomly picked to receive $250. The total amount of money donated to charitable organizations by Beacon Credit Union through Project Spotlight will be $22,750. For the past 90 years, Beacon Credit Union is proud to be part of all of the communities we serve and are enthusiastic about joining other organizations committed to Hoosiers and their communities

Fulton County Sheriff's Office tallies 14 citations during seat belt enforcement operation

The Fulton County Sheriff’s Office issued 14 seat belt citations during its recent Click It or Ticket enforcement campaign, which coincided with Memorial Day and lasted for three weeks. According to the department, the high-visibility patrols were conducted to encourage drivers and passengers to buckle up in order to prevent injuries and save lives.


“We’re making progress, but unrestrained driving continues to be a concern,” said Sheriff Chris Sailors. “Wearing a seat belt needs to be a habit. It takes very little effort and is the best way to keep you and your loved ones safe on the road. Our focus continues to be on saving lives, not writing tickets.”


According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2020, the national seat belt use rate was 90.3 percent, down slightly from the previous year at 90.7 percent. Historically, seat belt use in Indiana has been above the national average, last recorded at 94.9 percent in 2019.


Despite this, data from the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI) shows that more than half of the people who died in passenger vehicle crashes last year in Indiana were unrestrained. Male drivers under the age of 34 were the most likely out of any age group to be found not wearing a seat belt at the time of a crash.


“Buckling up matters,” said Devon McDonald, ICJI Executive Director. “From 2015 to 2019, seat belts have saved more than 69,000 lives in the U.S. I commend our law enforcement partners for bringing attention to this simple, life-saving action.”


In total, more than 200 Indiana police agencies participated in this year’s Click It or Ticket operation, which was funded by NHTSA through ICJI. Although the zero-tolerance campaign is over, the department will continue to educate motorists about the importance of buckling up and the law.


In Indiana, drivers and passengers can be ticketed for not wearing a seat belt. Drivers can also be cited for each unbuckled passenger under the age of 16. Additionally, children under eight must be properly restrained in a federally approved child or booster seat.


“Wearing a seat belt is especially important if you’re a parent or caregiver,” said Robert Duckworth, ICJI Traffic Safety Director. “Research shows that children whose parents buckle up are much more likely to buckle up themselves. We need everyone to set a good example and model safe driving behavior for our youth.”

New owners to Viking Foods in Akron

Two brothers from Indianapolis, Garry and Sim Singh, are the new owners of Viking Foods in Akron.


They have big plans for their newest business. 



The brothers also run eight gas stations. Garry says they plan on running the small town grocery store with the same high standards as their other businesses. 



Sim says they plan on doing some major upgrades, but it may take some time. 



As pictured, from left: Owners Sim Singh, Garry Singh and the manager, Paul Singh

Car split in two, two injured in Kosciusko County crash

Two people were injured in a Kosciusko County crash Wednesday morning in Van Buren Township.


Just after 5:00 am, emergency crews were called to the intersection of S.R. 15 and C.R. 900 N.

A preliminary investigation found that the driver of a 2004 Honda Accord, Spencer Stapleton, 23, of Warsaw, was westbound on C.R. 900 N. and failed to stop at S.R. 15.


Stapleton’s vehicle pulled into the path of a 2016 Chrysler Town and County traveling northbound on S.R. 15.  Nicole Jeffries, 29, also of Warsaw was the driver of the Town and Country.  The front of the van hit the driver’s side of the Honda and split the Honda in half.


Stapleton was ejected from the vehicle and landed about 50 feet from the vehicle.


Stapleton and a front seat passenger, Dusty Deshane, 27, of Warsaw, were transported from the scene by air ambulance. The driver sustained critical injuries and the passenger sustained non-critical injures.



The driver and two minor passengers of the Chrysler refused treatment at the scene.


Two parked vehicles were also damaged at a residence on the northwest corner of the intersection.


The Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office, Milford Police Department, Milford Fire Department, Lutheran EMS, Turkey Creek Fire Territory, Lutheran Air Ambulance and North Webster Fire Department responded to the accident.

The Community Project Discount Store giving back 30% of every sale to local organizations

The Community Project Discount Store at 710 Main Street in Rochester has had a small start but big dreams, and an even bigger heart.


Owner Jared Howard has always lived in the Rochester area but never appreciated 'small town living' until taking over the thrift shop from Mike Williams in 2020. Jared's passion for giving back to the community sparked from there and has yet to be extinguished, despite the challenges. 




The Community Project Discount Store is not your average thrift shop, giving 30% of all sales to local charities. 



Jared says he carefully keeps track of things to make sure every penny gets donated to the organizations as promised. 




Despite running the store by himself most of the time and not making a profit some of the time, it's Jared's dreams that keep him going. 







Fulton County Health Dept with vaccine clinic hours on Thursday

The Fulton County Health Department now has Moderna and Pfizer Covid-19 vaccines available.  


The Pfizer vaccine is approved for anyone over the age of 12. Moderna is approved for ages 18 and older.


Save time by registering online or walk in during clinic hours.


The Fulton County Covid-19 vaccine clinic is now at the Health Department, 125 E. 9th St, Rochester.  Clinic hours this Thursday, June 24 will be:   8:30 am - 11:20 am – 2:00 pm - 3:20 pm


Again, walk -ins are welcome


All Hoosier ages 12+ are now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.


You can register online at www.ourshot.in.gov .




Fulton Co. commissioners look to enact three speed ordinances

Changes in speed limits for some stretches of Fulton County roads.


County Commissioner Brian Lewis details the speed ordinances that are set to be enacted soon.



As for construction on the new Fulton County Jail, Lewis says final touches are being made and wrap-up with a ribbon cutting anticipated sometime in the next few weeks.



Lewis says the 911 communications tower bid process is complete.  Total cost comes in at $439, 127.  It's hoped to start that project in September.


The Old Barn and Garden raises awareness about pollinators for 'National Pollinators Week'

Lauren Mundell, the owner of 'The Old Barn and Garden' in Winamac, is taking advantage of 'National Pollinators Week' to bring local awareness about the importance of pollinators and keeping them safe. 




As the pollinator population continues to decline worldwide, Mundell says many of the problems stem from harmful pesticides. 



A pollinator is an animal or insect that moves pollen from plant to plant, fertilizing them. They are extremely vital in the reproduction of plants. Without them, it would be very difficult, if not impossible, for plants to produce food. 



Lauren says 'The Old Barn and Garden' will have various specials for select pollinator plants this week at the store. There will also be a raffle this Saturday that includes a jar of local honey and a shirt. The winner will be announced at 2:00 pm. 






The Chameleon's Closet moves to Main Street

The Chameleon's Closet opened their doors last week to their new location at 723 Main St in Main Street in Rochester. There will be an official grand opening Saturday, June 26. 


Store owner Erin Marden said the move downtown to a larger location is also giving her an opportunity to partner with Edith Rose Company, a local CBD and hemp producer. 





Lots of changes are in the air at the store, including their hours. They'll now be open Monday thru Thursday from 11 am to 6 pm and Friday and Saturday from 10 am to 7 pm.


Erin also has more ideas up her sleeve for the future when it comes to holistic practices. 



Erin is looking into certifications to teach classes and provide an outlet for natural healing in the community. 




Nubiano's announces it will close Sunday's due to not enough employees

Another business has become a casualty of the inability to hire enough help.  A Rochester restaurant has decided to close on another day during the week.


Effective this past Sunday, Nubiano’s announced it will be closing on Sunday's.


In a Facebook post, Nubiano’s stated that they simply don't have enough help and apologized for any inconvenience this may cause.


Other hours at Nubiano’s will still be the same.



Akron Elementary names new principal

Akron Elementary has a new principal for the upcoming school year.


Scott Sterk was approved and named the new Akron Elementary principal at the Tippecanoe Valley School Board board meeting held on Monday.  Sterk fills the role vacated by fellow Tippecanoe Valley alumni, Chrissy Mills who is relocating this summer to Georgia.


Sterk grew up near Warsaw, relocated to Akron, and was a 1997 graduate of Tippecanoe Valley High School.   He continued his education at Indiana University - Kokomo, Olivet Nazarene University, finishing with his administration and supervision education at Ball State University.


Sterk has served as a 6th grade teacher at Lincoln Elementary in Warsaw for 17 years.  His philosophy in the classroom or in administration is to focus on building relationships and getting to know the students, staff and parents as people.


Sterk shared, “I feel like I am coming home.  Our kids attend Tippecanoe Valley and I have personally seen how passionate the staff is at serving.  I love what I do and to do it in your hometown is just irresistible to me."


In a message geared toward his parents at Akron Elementary School, Sterk said, “I look forward to meeting and getting to know the parents in the community and learn more about how best to serve this community.” 


Sterk and his wife have five children.  He officially starts his leadership on July 1.

IDEM issues air permit for Cass County's WSP

Waelz Sustainable Products (“WSP”) announced that the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (“IDEM”) has issued an Air Permit for the operation of WSP’s zinc recycling facility in Cass County.


The air permit, which was also reviewed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, will allow WSP to complete construction of and operate the facility. Receipt of the permit also signals the start of a major hiring push to fill the 60-plus jobs so that the facility can begin operations in Q3 2021.


“This is strong proof that our facility is required to operate in accordance with requirements that are protective of human health and the environment and subject to appropriate oversight. We were very confident this would be approved but we’re still excited that it is official, so we can complete construction and begin operations,” said Michael Englert, General Manager of WSP. “Now we can turn to growing and training our team, so we are planning to host a job fair soon to start filling the 60 positions needed to run this state-of-the-art facility in its first phase of operations. We’re very much looking forward to getting up and running and demonstrating that WSP can contribute to the economic vitality of Cass County.”


Notable excerpts from IDEM’s Addendum to the Technical Support Document (ATSD) issued in conjunction with the permit include:


• This permit is protective of human health and the environment and will allow for environmentally sound operations that contributes to a prosperous economy.


• The permit contains applicable standards established by the U.S. EPA and the Indiana Environmental Rules Board, which will limit the emissions from the facility. The permit also contains applicable control device operating requirements, monitoring requirements, testing requirements, and associated record keeping and reporting requirements to assure that all permit limitations are enforceable as a practical matter and to assure that the source can demonstrate compliance with applicable state and federal rules.


• Regular inspections, regular stack testing, along with compliance monitoring, record keeping and reporting, will allow IDEM, OAQ to determine if WSP is in compliance with all air permit terms and conditions.


WSP is a joint venture between Indianapolis-based Heritage Environmental Services and Zinc Nacional of Monterrey, Mexico. When fully commercialized with a second kiln , the facility will employ 90+ full-time staff to produce zinc oxide, a widely-used component in numerous applications, such as sun block, diaper rash cream, cosmetics, sticky notes, dietary supplements, plastics, ceramics, galvanized steel, tires, motor oil and agricultural products like animal feed, and more, and will service the metals sector by providing a sustainable solution for the growing steel industry and minimizing the need for mining of 2 zinc. The project is expected to generate substantial business tax revenue directed to both Cass County and the State of Indiana and is slated to be operational in the third quarter of 2021. 

Starke County man died as storms collapsed mobile home

A man was killed and a woman critically injured when Saturday storms collapsed their mobile home in Starke County.


The home was in San Pierre.  Emergency personnel were called to the scene about 11:30 Saturday night.  Winds in the area were reported at 60 mph.


The name hasn’t been released as of this report.


Upcoming 2021 Fulton County 4H Fair edges closer to 'normal'

Program Assistant Jeannie Rock at the Fulton County Purdue Extension Office has been busy getting ready for the upcoming Fulton County 4H Fair that starts Saturday, July 10, at the Fulton County 4H Fairgrounds in Rochester. 


Jeannie says despite having fewer restrictions this year, the COVID-19 pandemic has put a damper on the number of participants in the fair. 



Jeannie says this year will hopefully be a little closer to normal compared to last year's changes. 



There have been a few changes with the auction this year that 4H families may need to be aware of. 



Donato named to four study committees

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


Donato’s assignments include the following:


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


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

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


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


Fulton County Commissioner Rick Ranstead.



Heather Redinger takes over the post officially on Monday.

North Judson's Mint Festival is this weekend

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


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


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


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



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


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

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

Admission and parking for the Festival are free.

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

For more information, visit the Festival on Facebook.

Fulton County Habitat For Humanity holds groundbreaking ceremony at new Rochester home site

The Fulton County Habitat for Humanity held a groundbreaking ceremony Friday, June 18, at the newest home site on the corner of Seventh Street and Fulton Avenue in Rochester. 


Habitat For Humanity gives a hand to working families in the community who want a part of the American dream, home ownership. Habitat homeowners must complete hours of volunteer work requirements. They also have to be able to pay a modest mortgage on their house.


The ceremony was started at noon by Fulton County Habitat for Humanity President Karmin Reeves and Pastor Terry Bradford of First Free Will Baptist Church led the prayer. 


Fulton County Habitat for Humanity Secretary Julee Anderson presented the White family with the 'Golden Hammer.'  Chris and Emiley White each put in 75 hours of volunteer work to meet the requirements before this ceremony. 




Chris, Emiley and their four children will be moving into the home once it's finished. Emiley said having the library across the street makes it a great location for her family of six.  





Rochester's Streamliner Family Restaurant recognized for years of service

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

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

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


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

2021 Century Award honorees:

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

2021 Half Century Award honorees

  • American Containers (Manufacturing)
    56 years; Marshall County


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

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

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


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


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

Suspicious barn fires focus of growing investigation

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


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


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


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


Goshen father and son killed in Kosciusko Co. crash

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


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


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


Banks was not injured.


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

Road sign put at Kewanna ditch after Thursday morning rollover crash


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


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


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




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

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


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


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



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



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


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


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



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



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



State health department to close Optum testing sites June 30

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


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


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


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

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

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

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

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


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


Elexis typically wears jeans with a black hooded sweatshirt.


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


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

OrthoPediatrics Corp. announces launch of next generation cannulated screw system

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


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


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


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


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


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

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

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


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


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


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


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

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

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

Tower, Community Crossings bids opened by Fulton Co. Commissioners

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


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



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



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




Rochester home destroyed by fire

A fire early Monday morning destroyed a Rochester home.


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


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


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


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

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


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



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



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



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



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



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


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




Lauren had one last message for our listeners. 



Kosciusko Co. corporal announces candidacy for sheriff in 2022

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


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


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


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


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


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


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

Boener spreads her passion for nature in Marshall County

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


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


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



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


Courtside Ministries starts Tuesday prayer tradition in Rochester

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


Regional leader Tony Cargile explains. 




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


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



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



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

Governor appoints Marshall Co. deputy prosecutor to judge

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


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


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


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

Valedictorian for the RHS Class of 2021, Calen Campbell

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



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


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



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


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



Former Rochester councilman sentenced

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

Rochester city councilman Gary Clevenger Jr. Wednesday. 


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


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


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


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

Click It or Ticket looks to educate and write tickets

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


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



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



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



The current Click It or Ticket runs through this weekend

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

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


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


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



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


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


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