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WROI News Archives for 2021-07

Cruise-Thru Car Show in Winamac for Hickory Creek residents today at 5 pm

Frank Widner was concerned his mother, Barbara Hardy, had had a stroke earlier this month, after three bad falls in eight days. They were devastated to find it was actually a terminal brain tumor. 

 

Now at Hickory Creek, 515 E 13th Street, in Winamac, Barbara, who is a huge fan of car shows will get her last one this Friday, thanks to her son Frank. 

 

 

Frank says anyone is welcome to participate and is wanting to make this an annual tradition in honor of his mother. 

 

 

The car show begins at 5:00 pm , with the lineup starting at the Winamac Church of the Heartland, 890 State Road 14. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Schultz trial goes to the jury

Closing arguments have been concluded in the Fulton County trial of John Schultz.

The jury has begun deliberations.

 

U.S. 31 to be reduced to two lanes over U.S. 30

The Indiana Department of Transportation announces lane closures for the U.S. 31 bridge over U.S. 30 beginning on or after Friday, July 30 through mid-October.

These restrictions are for an approach slab replacement and bridge deck overlay project. A bridge deck overlay is a protective treatment done to extend the life of a bridge deck. 

During phase one, the northbound and southbound right driving lanes will be closed. The passing lanes and all ramps will remain open. Work will flip to the left passing lanes during phase two. Motorists should be prepared for changing traffic patterns in the area.

INDOT urges drivers to stay alert near crews and follow traffic directions carefully. Motorists are encouraged to allow extra time when driving through this area and should slow down and drive distraction-free through all work zones.

Closing arguments anticipated today in John Schultz trial

Two days of testimony appear to be all that is needed in the Fulton County trial of John Schultz following hours of testimony by the teen that prosecutors have called his co-conspirator in a plot to coordinate school shootings at Rochester and Caston schools.

 

Schultz, 19, of Rochester, stands accused of conspiracy to commit murder, a level 2 felony; and intimidation and possession of methamphetamine, both level 6 felonies.

 

Donald Victor Robin Jr., 18, highlighted the prosecution witnesses in day two of the trial on Tuesday.  Robin was sentenced in March following a plea agreement for conspiracy to commit murder.  He received 17 years, with nine of those suspended.  He’s serving his time currently in the Westville Correctional Facility.

 

Under questions from prosecutors Robin told the court that with their arrest he and Schultz ran out of time leading up to their potential plans for the school shooting.  He said their use of methamphetamine and other drugs fueled his desire to continue with the idea when he might otherwise have pulled out.

 

Robin also answered questions from prosecutors about his concerns with safety in prison with other inmates aware he is testifying for the state in this case. When asked if he would have entered into a plea agreement to serve prison time if he and Schultz had not actually intended to go ahead with the plan, he responded that he would not have.

 

Robin explained how he showed Schultz a documentary on the 1999 shootings at Columbine.  Evidence in the case showed various pictures, messages and social media posts involving what happened at Columbine.

 

Robin said part of their preparations for a school attack included looking for ways to make bombs like those the Columbine attackers had, but failed at that time.  They looked for parts and ways to perfect the system.

 

Robin noted that Caston schools came up in their conversations due to the remoteness of the location.  Bur Rochester had been the place that drove their anger.  Robin said he left school after 9th grade due to bullying. Evidence was introduced that Robin identified as a list of people Schultz hated.  Among them were people, students at Rochester High School.

 

The defense indicated inconsistencies and contradictions in Robin’s testimony compared to what he told investigators and the defense team before in meetings before Tuesday’s court appearance including his testimony of the pair’s intention to use propane tanks as bombs, something the defense says Robin did not explain before now.  Under a re-cross, Robin said he had time since those meetings to remember details and he is clearer of mind now than he was then.  He also said the attorneys in the defense team made him feel like he was being bullied and when he feels that way he shuts down and doesn’t want to talk.

 

The prosecution concluded its questioning by lunch Tuesday with the defense continuing until approx 2:30 following the break.

 

The prosecution rested its case followed by the defense which isn’t calling any witnesses, including Schultz himself who it doesn’t appear will take the stand.  

 

Closing arguments are anticipated today.

Man arrested after vehicle pursuit in Miami Co.

A vehicle pursuit led to a crash, then arrest of a South Bend man.

 

Justin Fitch, 30, was incarcerated in the Miami County Jail. He faces criminal charges for resisting law enforcement with a motor vehicle, criminal mischievous, resisting law enforcement (non-vehicle), driving while suspended with a prior conviction, aggressive driving, leaving the scene of a property damage crash, and reckless driving. 

 

Just before 3:30 pm Monday, Indiana State Police Trooper Kyle Miller initiated a traffic stop on a Ford Explorer, which was allegedly traveling southbound on U.S. 31, near Miami County Road 1050 South, with a false and fictitious license plate. The driver of the Ford, later identified as Fitch, failed to stop and led Miller on a vehicle pursuit. The chase ended when the Ford crashed into a bean field on Miami County Road 700 East near State Road 19.

Indiana State Police report Fitch emerged from the vehicle and fled on foot. Officers from the Indiana State Police, the Miami County Sheriff’s Office, and the Peru Police Department quickly set up a perimeter. Fitch surrendered a short time later and was taken into custody without further incident.

 

Further investigation revealed that Fitch was allegedly driving on a suspended driver’s license with a prior conviction. 

Donald Robin says they "ran out of time" in planned Rochester, Caston school shooting

Donald Robin, Jr. says they ran out of time leading up to a potential school shooting in Rochester and Caston.

Robin, 18, Rochester, was charged with conspiracy to commit murder, a level 2 felony. Three additional criminal charges were dismissed as part of a plea agreement.

Robin was sentenced to eight years in Fulton Circuit Court in March.  He is serving his sentence in the Westville Correctional Facility.

Robin is testifying today in the case against the man prosecutors have called the co-conspirator in the case, John Schultz, 19.

Robin told the courtroom there were times he might have pulled out of the plan but the use of methamphetamine by he and Schultz helped to push them to continue.

Robin also answered questions from prosecutors about his concerns with safety in prison with other inmates aware he is testifying for the state in this case.

The prosecution concluded its questioning of Robin just before lunch.  The defense is expected to begin its questioning after the lunch break.

Schultz trial scheduled to begin today

A slight delay this morning in the beginning of a jury trial for John Lawrence Schultz.  The 19-year old Rochester man is charged in a conspiracy to manufacture a school shooting at Rochester. 

A juror experienced car trouble on the way to court leading to the delay this morning.

A witness who knew the men involved came forward to Rochester Police with initial information in the case with a statement that he heard Schultz and Donald Robin, 18, talking about wanting to perform the shooting and kill people at the schools.  Robin is already serving a sentence for conspiracy to commit murder and is expected to testify against Schultz during the trial this week.

Voir dire was held in Miami County.  Jurors were to be sworn in and released with directions to report to the Fulton Circuit Court today.  Jurors were also directed to not investigate, Google, or read anything about the case.

 

 

 

 

Unemployment up in Fulton, surrounding counties; Miami 4th highest in Indiana

June unemployment numbers are on the rise from the previous month in Fulton and surrounding counties.

Fulton County experienced a modest increase in unemployment from May's 4.1 percent to 4.2

Miami County experienced the largest hike, up six-tenths of a point.  Miami County's June unemployment percentage of 6.1 is the fourth highest in Indiana behind only Howard (9.4), Lake (7.9), and LaPorte (6.2).

Starke County had 5.2 percent unemployed in June, up two-tenths of a point from May.  Starke has the 12th highest rate in the state.

Pulaski rose a tenth-of-a-point to 4.0 percent in June.  Marshall and Kosciusko counties each rose two-tenths to 3.4 percent.

Wabash (3.9) and Cass (4.5) each rose half a percentage point from May to June.

Dick's Drive-In presented with the Third Quarter Double I Award by Chamber

Jillian Smith, Executive Director of the Fulton County Chamber of Commerce presented Rochester's famous Dick's Drive-In with the third Quarter Double I Award on July 20. 

 

 

Owners Jeff and Libby Working made the decision this year to buy the home next door at 196 Main St, formerly 'Bill's Barber Shop.' Jeff said it's allowed them to expand without having to change anyone's memories of the drive-in. 

 

 

Man's body recovered after jumping from bridge into Yellow River

 Indiana Conservation Officers are investigating after the body of a Knox man was recovered from the Yellow River Wednesday afternoon.

At approximately 9:15 a.m., witnesses observed a man jumping off a railroad bridge into the water near State Road 35. The victim did not resurface. Multiple agencies responded to the area and initiated a search.

At 12:00 p.m., Indiana Conservation Officer Public Safety Divers recovered the victim in 19-feet of water. The Starke County Coroner’s Office is notifying family and the incident remains under investigation. The man’s identity is currently being withheld pending notification of family.

Indiana Conservation Officers were assisted by the Knox City Police Department, Starke County Sheriff’s Department, Knox Fire Department, Bass Lake Fire Department, North Judson Fire Department, Starke County EMS, and the Starke County Coroner’s Office.

Legislators invite public to statewide redistricting meetings Aug. 6-7, Aug. 11

Hoosiers are invited to attend one or more of a series of public meetings across the state on August 6 - 7 and August 11 to provide feedback on Indiana's redistricting process.

Indiana is required to redraw its districts for the U.S. House of Representatives, the Indiana House of Representatives and Indiana Senate following the nationwide census every 10 years. Before legislators are expected to return to the Statehouse in mid-to-late September to redraw the district boundaries, public meetings will be held in each of Indiana's nine congressional districts. The meetings will be grouped into geographic areas, including north, south and central.

The northern group meetings will be in Lafayette and Valparaiso on Friday, Aug. 6 and in Fort Wayne and Elkhart on Saturday, Aug. 7. In addition, the southern group will host meetings in Anderson and Columbus on Friday, Aug. 6 and Evansville and Sellersburg on Saturday, Aug. 7. The central meeting will held in Indianapolis on Wednesday, Aug. 11

State Rep. Tim Wesco (R-Osceola), chair of the House Committee on Elections and Apportionment, will chair the redistricting meetings in the north, and State Sen. Jon Ford (R-Terre Haute), chair of the Senate Committee on Elections, will chair the meetings in the south. Wesco and Ford are expected to co-chair the central Indiana meeting.

"We look forward to hosting these important meetings across the state to hear directly from the public on Indiana's redistricting process," Wesco said. "Hoosiers can be confident that we'll continue to meet all of our statutory and constitutional requirements."

"Public input on redistricting is extremely important to the map-drawing process," Ford said. "We look forward to hearing from Hoosiers from all over Indiana during these meetings."

Below is the complete schedule of public meetings regarding redistricting:

  • North – Friday, Aug. 6 and Saturday, Aug. 7 at the following Ivy Tech campuses:
    Lafayette | 10 a.m. to noon Friday, Aug. 6
    Valparaiso | 3-5 p.m. CDT Friday, Aug. 6
    Fort Wayne | 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Aug. 7
    Elkhart | 4-6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 7
  • South – Friday, Aug. 6 and Saturday, Aug. 7 at the following Ivy Tech campuses:
    Anderson | 10 a.m. to noon Friday, Aug. 6
    Columbus | 4-6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 6
    Evansville | 9-11 a.m. CDT Saturday, Aug. 7
    Sellersburg | 4-6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 7

 

  • Central – Wednesday, Aug. 11 at the Statehouse

Indianapolis | 1-3 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 11 in the House Chamber at the Indiana Statehouse

 

Campus meeting room information will be updated as it's available on the Indiana General Assembly's website at iga.in.gov. Meetings will be livestreamed and archived at iga.in.gov.


Census data is delayed due to the pandemic, but is expected to arrive on Aug. 16. Wesco and Ford said an online portal with mapping software will be launched in late August that will allow the public to draw and submit their own maps for consideration.

No indictment in car - pedestrian crash that killed Rochester man

No indictment will be forthcoming related to a car-pedestrian collision that resulted in the death of a Rochester man.

On March 13, the Marshall County Sheriff’s Department was called to the 14, 000 block of Michigan Road north of Argos for a body in the road.  James Schuck, 34, died from injuries sustained in the incident.  The investigation  found that Brittany Jensen, 24, of North Liberty, struck Schuck with her 2012 Dodge Avenger and drove from the scene.

A Marshall County grand jury was asked to consider a charge related to leaving the scene of an accident.  The grand jury chose not to indict Jensen.

Operational District 1 reports results for Operation Dry Water in Fulton, surrounding counties

Indiana Conservation Officers’ Operation Dry Water (ODW) results during the heightened enforcement weekend of July 2-4 in the counties of Wabash, Miami, Fulton, Marshall, St. Joseph, Elkhart, and Kosciusko resulted in 3 BUI arrests, 22 boating citations, and 48 boating warnings.

In addition, the 11 conservation officers participating in ODW in District 1 contacted a total of 962 boaters while patrolling waterways.

ODW is a nationwide awareness and enforcement campaign to deter boating while under the influence. During the July 2-4 weekend, officers were on the lookout for impaired boaters with the overall goal removing dangerous and impaired boaters from the waterways.

"Each year we see countless Indiana boaters doing things the right way,” said Indiana Boating Law Administrator Lt. Kenton Turner. “Unfortunately, we also encounter a few who put the rest in danger; this is why Indiana Conservation Officers are dedicated to ensuring everyone can safely enjoy our waterways.”

Faith Outreach Center VBS helps fight world hunger

Faith Outreach Center, 1125 E 9th St in Rochester, will be having its Vacation Bible School from July 27 - July 30, 9:00 am to 12:00 pm. It's free of charge and open to all kids in Kindergarten through sixth grade.

 

This year's theme is 'Knights of the North Castle'.  While on the quest to find the King's armor, there will be learning stations, games, crafts and snacks. This year the church has also teamed up with Renee Rubio, founder of Spark of Opportunity International, to raise mission donations to help in the international fight against child hunger.

Spark of Opportunity International is a non-profit organization dedicated to changing the lives of children and their families in the largest slum of Africa. 

 

 

If the church reaches its mission goal, as an incentive for donations, both Youth Pastor Eli Hall and Pastor Terry Baldwin will have a bucket of green slime dumped on their heads next week. 

 

Renee's main incentive, however, is the difference it's making for the children in Africa. 

 

 

FEDCO now accepting donations for Rochester's upcoming splash pad

Rochester is finally jumping on the splash pad bandwagon.

Thanks to Wendy Zent and her sister, Andi Lee, the park board approved the Rochester City Park having a splashpad.  

 

 

The idea originally came to the sisters last summer, but Wendy says they didn't start taking action until this past April. Now the details are starting to fall into place. The splash pad will be located in the center of Rochester City Park and will be open to the public, free of charge. 

 

 

Although Wendy is hoping the splash pad will be ready by the summer of 2022, no dates have been set in stone yet. 

 

 

Right now, the biggest focus is getting donations. FEDCO is handling the money and donations. For those wanting to make a donation, checks can be written to FEDCO, with 'Splash Pad' in the memo.

 

Several community fundraisers are starting to pop up around Rochester as well. 

 

 

Rochester's East 9th Street to be closed into September during INDOT reclamation

It usually takes a few days to adjust to road construction that forces us to drive a new path to work or home.  There will be several days to adjust to a portion of an upcoming project.

SR 25 / SR 14 is being resurfaced between U.S. 31 and Barrett Road. There are three sections to this project:

 

U.S. 31 to E. 9th Street.

E. 9th Street between Main and Race Street.

E. 9th Street between Race Street and Barrett Road.

 

Adam Parkhouse is the Director of Communications – Northwest District for INDOT.  A recent letter from Parkhouse to city officials relates planned impact from the project to come.

Parkhouse notes that the first and third sections are standard resurfacings with sidewalk improvements. The second section, East 9th Street between Main and Race, is a full-depth reclamation that will require a 40-day closure (weather permitting) of the roadway.

INDOT is currently expecting that closure to begin July 27, which would take completion out to early September for that portion.

Parkhouse noted they have been working to make sure the contractor has a plan in place to maintain access to businesses and homes along E. 9th Street for the duration of that 40-day closure and they will stay on top of this to ensure that access is maintained.

The entire project is expected to be completed in October.

Health officials urge precautions against mosquito-borne diseases as West Nile Virus activity is detected

State health officials are urging Hoosiers to take steps to protect themselves from mosquito bites after the West Nile virus was detected in Indiana for the first time this year.

So far in 2021, one mosquito sample collected in Vigo County has tested positive for West Nile virus. No human cases of West Nile virus disease have been detected so far this year; however, the Indiana Department of Health expects to see further West Nile activity throughout the state as the mosquito season progresses. 

“Many of us are looking forward to summer activities that were postponed or canceled last year, but we don’t want anyone to get sick from mosquito bites,” said State Health Commissioner Kris Box, M.D., FACOG. “Hoosiers in all parts of the state should take precautions to prevent mosquito bites whenever they are outdoors.”

Mosquitoes can transmit a variety of diseases. In 2019 and 2020, Indiana experienced outbreaks of another mosquito-borne disease, eastern equine encephalomyelitis (EEE). These outbreaks caused two human cases, one of which was fatal, and 18 horse cases in northern Indiana. Although EEE virus activity has not been detected in Indiana so far this year, health officials want Hoosiers to remain cautious.

State health officials recommend the following preventive measures:

  1. Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are active (especially late afternoon, dusk to dawn, and early morning);
  2. Apply an EPA-registered insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol to clothes and exposed skin;
  3. Cover exposed skin by wearing a hat, long sleeves and long pants in places where mosquitoes are especially active, such as wooded areas;
  4. Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out of the home. 

Even a container as small as a bottle cap can become a mosquito breeding ground, so residents should take the following steps to eliminate potential breeding grounds:

  1. Discard old tires, tin cans, ceramic pots or other containers that can hold water;
  2. Repair failed septic systems;
  3. Drill holes in the bottom of recycling containers left outdoors;
  4. Keep grass cut short and shrubbery trimmed;
  5. Clean clogged roof gutters, particularly if leaves tend to plug up the drains;
  6. Frequently replace the water in pet bowls;
  7. Flush ornamental fountains and birdbaths periodically; and,
  8. Aerate ornamental pools or stock them with predatory fish. 

About 80 percent of people infected with West Nile virus will not develop any symptoms at all, but about 20 percent will develop an illness accompanied by fever, headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or rash. Fewer than 1 percent of people infected with West Nile virus will develop severe illness affecting the nervous system, which can include inflammation in the brain or the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. About one in 10 severe cases is fatal. People older than 60 years are at greatest risk of severe disease from West Nile virus.

While EEE virus disease is much less common than West Nile virus disease, it typically causes more severe illness. As with West Nile, some people infected with EEE will not develop any symptoms at all. Some people will develop an illness accompanied by fever, chills, joint pain or muscle pain. Some will recover from this illness without additional complications, but in others, the illness can progress to severe illness affecting the nervous system. About one in three severe EEE virus disease cases is fatal; however, patients who recover from severe illness often experience serious and permanent complications. People who are younger than 15 years and older than 50 years are at greatest risk of severe EEE virus disease.

People who think they may have West Nile virus or EEE virus disease should contact their healthcare providers.

To see the latest results of the state health department’s mosquito surveillance, go to https://gis.in.gov/apps/ISDH/Arbo/. To learn more about mosquito-borne diseases, visit https://www.in.gov/isdh/27793.htm.

Peru father and son arrested during domestic situation

A father and son were arrested after resisting and fighting with police officers during a domestic situation in Miami County.

James Gilland, 41, and his son, Kyle Gilland, 21, both from Peru, were incarcerated in the Miami County Jail. Kyle faces criminal charges for three counts of battery with bodily injury, two counts for battery on a law enforcement officer causing bodily injury, resisting law enforcement, intimidation, and disorderly conduct. James was arrested for obstruction of justice and resisting law enforcement officers. 

 

After 10:30 pm Sunday officers from the Indiana State Police and the Miami County Sheriff’s Office responded to custody issue at 1249 N. Paw Paw Pike, Peru.  It was reported there was an intoxicated male making threats to shoot the occupants of the home. Sheriff’s officers arrived on the scene first. Trooper Andrew Baldwin arrived approximately a minute later.

 

Baldwin observed two sheriff’s officers on the ground attempting to handcuff James Gilland. As Baldwin exited his police car, he observed Kyle Gilland allegedly punch the sheriff’s officers in the face. One of the sheriff’s officers attempted to utilize his taser on Kyle but the probes missed. Baldwin utilized his taser hitting Kyle who fell to the ground. Kyle purportedly continued to resist, as the taser probes allegedly became disengaged.

Indiana State Police report that James and Kyle attempted to get in a vehicle and flee the scene. They were eventually taken into custody at gunpoint. It is alleged that a male occupant of the home was also battered by Kyle Gilland during the incident. 

 

The sheriff’s officers and occupant of the home, who were reported to be battered, drove themselves to Dukes Memorial Hospital. They were treated for minor injuries.

Kyle and James were checked and medically cleared by ambulance personnel at the scene.

 

Miami County correctional officers brought caged transport vehicles to the scene. Kyle refused to willingly get into the vehicle claiming to be a three-time black belt and that his hands are registered weapons. Officers carried him and placed him in the vehicle. James complied and walked to the transport vehicle. 

 

No guns were located at the scene.

 

Assisting at the scene were numerous Indiana State Police officers, the Peru Police Department, Dukes Hospital EMS, and the Miami County Sheriff’s Office. 

Amboy man killed in Iowa car-garbage truck crash

A Miami County man was killed in an Iowa car crash.

Randolph Beaty, 58, of Amboy, was the driver of a car on a highway in Mahask County in southern Iowa Friday.  The Iowa State Patrol reports that a garbage truck failed to yield to Beaty's car.  The car struck the truck and became wedged beneath it.

A passenger in Beaty's car, age 56, was taken to an area hospital.  

The garbage truck driver was not hurt.

 

School districts get money back from Indiana Bond Bank

In May 2021, as part of a newly launched ‘Indiana Bond Bank (IBB) Gives Back’ campaign, the IBB reimbursed 29 school corporations $348,175 in interest paid on tax anticipation warrants issued through IBB in 2020 during the height of COVID-19. 

Argos Community Schools, North Miami Community Schools and Wawasee Community School Corporation are among the school districts receiving reimbursements.

In summer 2020, schools issued tax anticipation warrants through IBB to combat COVID-19-related cash-flow deficits. After providing this cash-flow relief to schools, IBB sought a portion of the State’s Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF) to reimburse the schools for the majority of their interest expense paid. 

Because the initial financing rolled all costs into the interest rate, this reimbursement of the majority of their interest results in schools effectively receiving a no-cost, no-interest loan from IBB.

“Through no fault of their own, these schools faced cash-flow interruptions due to COVID-19," explained Mark Wuellner, Executive Director of the Indiana Bond Bank. "None planned on borrowing last year. So we felt an obligation to pursue every option on their behalf. It took time and effort, but what an amazing feeling to call these 29 hard-working school treasurers and hear their surprise that over one year later we had a reimbursement check for them.”

One of the schools receiving reimbursement as Centerville-Abington Community Schools. Of the over $11,000 in reimbursement, School Corporation Treasurer Tyna Stover exclaimed, “IBB securing a refund of our interest is a prime example of the stellar customer service IBB is known for. I’m so glad we chose to use IBB last year – no one else would have gone to these lengths for us a year later. The impact of our reimbursement far exceeds the actual dollar amount. Those dollars symbolize how much IBB cares about public schools. Each dollar benefits our students, our schools our community and our taxpayers.”

“I am so proud of our IBB team, who worked behind the scenes for months to secure reimbursement for these 29 schools," said State Treasurer Kelly Mitchell, chair of the Indiana Bond Bank Board. "As the kick-off to the 'IBB Gives Back' campaign, it perfectly encapsulates how IBB views serving local governments. Exceptional customer service is a baseline expectation that does not end with the financing.”

A full list of schools receiving reimbursements may be found below. As part of its efforts, IBB also secured interest expense reimbursements for a fire protection district (over $2,000) and three cities (over $113,000) which issued tax anticipation warrants through IBB due to COVID-19.


 

Attempted murder charge added for Miami County man arrested after standoff

An attempted murder charge has been added for a Miami County man arrested this week after a pursuit and standoff with law enforcement

A nearly two-and-a-half-hour standoff ended Tuesday afternoon when officers from the Indiana State Police Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT) arrested Jason Fites, 45, of rural Macy, Fites is incarcerated in the Miami County Jail. He faces 17 criminal charges. His bond in Miami County has been set at $750,000. He does have an active arrest warrant from Tippecanoe County.

 

The Miami County Prosecutor’s Office added additional charges to include attempted murder, dealing cocaine, and two additional charges of a serious violent felon in possession of a handgun.

 

During the investigation, officers allegedly located cocaine that Fites purportedly threw out of his truck’s window when he was being pursued by officers.

 

Fites faces the following list of charges.

Count 1: Attempted Murder, a Level 1 Felony.

Count 2: Dealing in a Narcotic Drug, a Level 2 Felony.

Count 3: Dealing in Methamphetamine, a Level 2 Felony.

Count 4: Dealing in Cocaine, a Level 3 Felony.

Count 5: Possession of a Narcotic Drug, a Level 3 Felony.

Count 6: Possession of Methamphetamine, a Level 3 Felony.

Count 7: Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Serious Violent Felon, a Level 4 Felony.

Count 8: Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Serious Violent Felon, a Level 4 Felony.

Count 9: Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Serious Violent Felon, a Level 4 Felony.

Count 10: Possession of Cocaine, a Level 5 Felony.

Count 11: Criminal Recklessness, a Level 6 Felony.

Count 12: Resisting Law Enforcement, a Level 6 Felony.

Count 13: Pointing a Firearm, a Level 6 Felony.

Count 14: Unlawful Possession of Syringe, a Level 6 Felony.

Count 15: Theft of a Firearm, a Level 6 Felony.

Count 16: Resisting Law Enforcement, a Class A Misdemeanor.

Count 17: Reckless Driving, a Class C Misdemeanor.

 

Original Media Release from 7/13/2021:

Rural Macy – Today, at approximately at 3:35 p.m., a nearly two-and-a-half-hour standoff ended when officers from the Indiana State Police Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT) arrested Jason Fites, 45, rural Macy, IN. Fites is incarcerated in the Miami County Jail to face criminal charges for resisting law enforcement, criminal recklessness with a firearm, possession of heroin, possession of methamphetamine, dealing heroin, dealing methamphetamine, pointing a loaded firearm, violent felon in possession of a handgun, and possession of a syringe. He also had a warrant for his arrest from Tippecanoe County for a parole violation. He is being held without bond.

 

Officers from the Cass County Drug Task Force were conducting surveillance at a hotel in Peru, IN searching for Fites. He was wanted on a Tippecanoe County, IN arrest warrant for violation of his parole on a class A felony charge from 2012.  Officers observed Fites leave the hotel in his GMC Sierra pickup truck.  They requested assistance from the Indiana State Police to stop the truck.

 

At approximately 12:45 p.m., Indiana State Police Trooper Jon Cole initiated a traffic stop on Fites east of U.S. 31 on Miami County Road 400 North. Fites initially stopped, but then led officers on an approximately 15-minute pursuit. The chase ended when Fites stopped the truck, on Miami County Road 1100 North, and ran into his residence at 1311 East. During that pursuit, Fites allegedly fired a gunshot on State Road 19 near Miami County Road 700 North. The shot was allegedly fired when Fites was driving by a Miami County Sheriff’s Officer who was placing stop sticks in the road. The officer not injured.

 

Fites refused to come outside of the home. His elderly father and a female caretaker were also inside the residence.  Both father and caretaker were eventually able to exit the residence and were taken to a safe place by police officers. Indiana State Police negotiators were able to make contact, via cell phone, with Fites inside the home. After approximately two and a half hours of negotiation, Fites still refused to exit the home. Fites finally surrendered as officers from the Indiana State Police SWAT were beaching the front door to his residence. He was taken into custody without further incident.

 

During a subsequent search of Fites’ home and truck, officers allegedly found methamphetamine, heroin, a syringe, three handguns, ammunition, and $5.800 in Untied States currency.

 

Grand opening for '50 Shades of Beauty Salon' in Kewanna Monday, July 19

Next week, the small town of Kewanna will have its own hair salon again, after the official opening of the '50 Shades of Beauty Salon' at 107 E Main St. 

Owner, cosmetologist, and mother of two, Ashley Parlett lives in Kewanna and also runs the '50 Shades of Beauty Salon' in Logansport with partner Liza Vilchiz.  She said everything just kinda fell into place after Ashley's mother Michelle Boleyn, owner of 'JuJu's Gems & Rusty Gold,' purchased the downtown Kewanna building. 

 

 

Ashley is hoping her grand opening Monday, July 19, will bring in some new faces. 

 

 

The Kewanna salon will be open Mondays and Wednesdays for now. Ashley will still also be working part-time at the Logansport salon. 

 

'50 Shades of Beauty Salon' offers a wide range of beauty services from haircuts, waxings, eyelash extensions, and more. Prices are the same as their Logansport salon. 

 

 

For now, it will be just Ashley at the Kewanna salon, but she is looking to eventually hire an extra stylist.  

 

Ashley is hopeful about the Kewanna salon and other new upcoming businesses bringing back life to the small town. 

 

Rochester man accused of child molestation

A jury trial has been scheduled for February for a Rochester man charged with two counts of child molesting.

Jeffrey Craft, 51, is charged with Level 1 Child Molesting where the defendant is at least 21 years of age.  He’s also charged with a Level 4 count involving Child Molesting-Fondling or touching with a child under the age of 14.

The Fulton County Sheriff’s Office investigated a report made to the Indiana Department of Child Services.  In an interview with the child, it was stated that Craft inappropriately touched the child several times over an April – to – June time frame, as many as 25 times.

Craft denied the reports when questioned by law enforcement.

A jury trial was scheduled for February 15 with a pretrial conference August 2.

 

 

 

Royal advice, inspiration from Miss Fulton Co. Aubrey Dague and Little Miss Jr Fulton Co. Allaynna Hart

Giant FM News met with 2021 Miss Fulton County Aubrey Dague and 2021 Little Miss Junior Fulton County Allaynna Hart for a one on one interview. The girls talked about what brought them to where they are today. 

Dague, 19, gives credit to ethics taught during her ten years in the 4H Horse and Pony Club. 

 

 

A second try for the crown this year, she is thankful she didn't give up. 

 

Dague says the secret to her success so far has been her focus on determination, dedication, and time management. 

 

 

The future is looking bright for Dague, who has a goal of a career in horticulture.

 

 

Little Miss Junior Fulton County Allaynna Hart, 10, was humbled to win her first-ever pageant. It was a chance Allaynna says, she's glad she took. 

 

 

After her mother, Autumn Hart was approached by one of the directors, Cynthia Hernandez, about Allaynna being in this year's pageant because of her bubbly personality, the hesitant mother decided to let her daughter decide. It was a decision that would lead her to her crown. 

 

 

Allaynna hopes to inspire other girls to also try new things and not be afraid to follow their dreams. 

 

 

 

Tippy River Dog and Hunt Supply hooks into Rochester

Starting out three years ago as a hobby website, two buddies, Johnny Wadkins and Jake Wyatt, have come a long way from Tippy River Dog & Hunt's start of selling hunting and fishing supplies online. 

 

Now having customers from all over the United States, Wadkins said the two friends, now business partners, decided to take it a step further by renting out a place at 430 Main Street in Rochester to use as their storefront. 

 

 

Opening last week, the store provides a wide variety of hunting and fishing supplies, bait, pet food, and more. 

 

 

 

Wadkins said the best is yet to come in the future for the store. 

 

 

First Farmers Financial Corp. announces common stock buyback program

First Farmers Financial Corp. (OTCQX:FFMR), announced that the Board of Directors has approved a plan to repurchase up to $2 million in the Corporation’s outstanding common stock on the open market.

 

The timing, price, and quantity of purchases under the stock repurchase plan will be at the discretion of management and may be discontinued, suspended, or restarted at any time.  The program will be funded from current available working capital.  The board feels the stock repurchase plan will provide capital management opportunities and add value for the Company’s shareholders depending upon market and business conditions.

 

First Farmers Financial Corp is a $2.3 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. 

 

As of June 30, 2021, the Corporation had 7,049,996 common shares outstanding.

Emergency culvert repair switches lanes for U.S. 30

The Indiana Department of Transportation anticipates that work to replace the failed culvert on U.S. 30 westbound will be complete within the next two days and the westbound lanes will be reopened.

 

This is a full pipe repair across the entire roadway so when the westbound lanes are reopened, eastbound U.S. 30 will be closed in the same area. Replacing the culvert in the eastbound lanes is expected to begin as soon as Thursday, July 15 and will take approximately two weeks. 

 

Motorists will need to seek an alternate route. The official detour will continue to follow State Road 19, State Road 10 and State Road 331 when the road closure switches to the eastbound lanes.

 

Warsaw Military Veteran Stand Down on July 23

Goodwill’s Veterans Resource Network (formerly Vets’ Community Connections) and its community partners have organized employment and housing opportunities, information pertaining to Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits, free personal care items, care kits, backpacks, a meal and more.

 

Stand Down is a concept that was created during war time. It was time away from the battlefield when soldiers could rest from combat and take care of personal hygiene, enjoy warm meals, receive medical and dental care, and enjoy the camaraderie of battle buddies in a safe environment.

 

Today the goal of a Stand Down is to help veterans and their families as well as prior service and currently serving military in Kosciusko County and the surrounding areas who may be experiencing life's hardships outside of the military, or who simply are looking for the opportunity to connect with the veteran community. For some, it is a time to receive a warm meal and clothing. For others, it is a life-changing event.

 

Our Community Partners:  WorkOne of Northern Indiana, Ivy Tech Community College, Goodwill Industries of Michiana, Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs, Brightpoint, Indiana Wesleyan University, Humana, The Country Caterers, Infinity Speaks / Neurolumen, The Vet Center, VA Healthcare Northern Indiana, Indiana Tech, Indiana Legal Services, the Military Assistance Project (MAP), and more.

 

We are excited to let you know that we have invited our partner agencies to return to this year’s event. This is not a drive thru event. You will be able to walk around and talk directly with the organizations who attend. We encourage veterans to pre-register. Upon arrival, please remain by your vehicle. Volunteers will come around to check you in or complete your registration if you were not able to pre-register. If you would like to volunteer or make a donation, please contact Jill Powers at JPowers@Goodwill-NI.org or (574) 400-5487.

State Road 23 to be closed for multiple culvert replacements

The Indiana Department of Transportation announces that State Road 23 will be closed between U.S. 6 and U.S. 30 beginning Monday, July 19.

The road will be closed in three locations for culvert replacements: just south of C.R. 600 N, just north of C.R. 650 N and at Union Rd south of Walkerton. This work will take approximately two weeks, weather permitting.

Area counties united for READI

The Indiana Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative (READI), spearheaded by Governor Eric J. Holcomb to accelerate strategic investments in Hoosier communities, has attracted participation from counties, cities and towns spanning 91 of Indiana’s 92 counties. Together, these communities have come together to form 18 regions that will collaborate to develop bold, strategic plans to accelerate small- and large-scale growth within their communities and work to secure matching funds through the state’s $500 million initiative.

“READI will help harness a natural synergy of regional economic development leaders and private industry professionals to implement strategic investments in quality of place and innovation,” said Governor Eric J. Holcomb. “We encourage stakeholders to collaborate and think big. Focus not only on shovel-ready, but on multi-year programs to develop talent, drive innovation and improve the quality of life which will transform our great Hoosier state for future generations to come.” 

This marks the first step in the process for Indiana READI, which is designed to propel public-private investments in quality of place and quality of life, innovation, entrepreneurship, and talent attraction and development. The 18 regions that have indicated their intent to pursue READI funding are outlined below; regions may be further refined or consolidated in the coming weeks. Next, these regions will create regional development plans that show how the region will be transformed from its current state to one that leverages unique opportunities and removes barriers to growth to advance its future. 

  • North Central, led by the North Central Indiana Regional Planning Council
    Counties: Cass, Clinton, Fulton, Howard, Miami, Tipton

     
  • South Bend/Elkhart, led by the Northern Indiana Regional Development Authority
    Counties: Elkhart, Marshall, St. Joseph

     
  • Northwest, led by the Northwest Indiana Forum
    Counties: Lake, Porter, LaPorte, Jasper, Newton, Pulaski, Starke

     
  • Southern Indiana, led by the Our Southern Indiana Regional Development Authority
    Counties: Clark, Floyd, Jefferson, Scott, Washington
     
  • Evansville, led by the Southwest Indiana RDA (SWIRDA)
    Counties: Gibson, Posey, Vanderburgh, Warrick
     
  • East Central, led by the East Central IN Regional Partnership
    Counties: Blackford, Delaware, Grant, Henry, Jay, Randolph, Wayne
     
  • West, led by the Wabash River RDA
    Counties: Clay, Knox, Parke, Sullivan, Vermillion, Vigo
     
  • Northeast, led by the Northeast Indiana RDA
    Counties: Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, LaGrange, Kosciusko, Noble, Steuben, Wabash, Wells, Whitley

     
  • West Central, led by the West Central Indiana Alliance
    Counties: Boone, Hendricks, Montgomery, Putnam
     
  • Southeast, led by SEI READI Inc.
    Counties: Dearborn, Ohio, Switzerland, Union, Franklin, Ripley (excludes city of Batesville)
     
  • Accelerate Rural Indiana, led by the Decatur County Community Foundation
    Counties: Decatur, Rush, Shelby
    City: Batesville
     
  • I-69 Southern Gateway, led by the Morgan County Community Foundation
    Counties: Johnson and Morgan
     
  • Greater Lafayette Region, led by the Greater Lafayette Commerce Community and Economic Development Foundation
    Counties: Benton, Carroll, Fountain, Tippecanoe, Warren, White
     
  • Indiana First Region, led by the Southwest Indiana Development Council
    Counties: Crawford, Daviess, Dubois, Harrison, Knox, Martin, Pike, Orange, Spencer, Perry
     
  • Central Indiana-White River Regional Opportunity Initiative, led by the Central Indiana Regional Development Authority and Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Organization
    Counties: Hamilton, Madison, Marion
     
  • 70-40 Greater Mt. Comfort Corridor, led by the Hancock County Economic Development Council
    Counties: Hancock, Marion
     
  • South Central Indiana Talent Region, led by the Southern Indiana Housing and Community Development Corporation
    Counties: Bartholomew, Jackson, Jennings
    Town: Edinburgh
     
  • The Indiana Uplands, led by the Regional Opportunity Initiatives Inc.
    Counties: Brown, Crawford, Daviess, Dubois, Greene, Lawrence, Martin, Monroe, Orange, Owen, Washington

Across the state, regions are already convening broad, diverse groups of stakeholders, including major employers and anchor institutions, education partners, economic development professionals, philanthropy partners, and elected officials, to outline their regional development plans. In these plans, regions will map out their proposal to invest in their growth and prosperity, outlining a series of strategies focused on physical projects and sustainable, multi-year programs to advance quality of place, quality of life, and quality of opportunity. 

The IEDC’s investment in a region’s plan is expected to have a 4:1 match from local public and private sources and can include strategies focused on physical projects, such as infrastructure, workforce housing developments, the revitalization of blighted or vacant properties, and cultural amenities, as well as sustainable, multi-year programs, such as talent attraction initiatives, public private partnerships to advance innovation in industry and small business support services. 

Regions have until Aug. 31, 2021, to submit these plans, which will then be evaluated in the fall. Full guidelines for regional development plans as well as evaluation timelines are available online.

Launched by Gov. Holcomb and led by the IEDC, READI builds on the framework and successes of the Indiana Regional Cities Initiative and the 21st Century Talent Initiative, encouraging regional collaboration and data-driven, long-term planning that, when implemented, will attract and retain talent in Indiana. The IEDC will work closely with state and local partners to align goals and funding mechanisms to ensure that projects and programs proposed by regions are in line with and coordinated with broader state initiatives.

More information, including answers to frequently asked questions and detailed guidelines on regional development plans, is available at IndianaREADI.com. A map of the identified regions can be found here.

ISP body worn cameras being deployed to troopers

The Indiana State Police is well underway with the process of issuing body worn and in-car cameras to its troopers across the entire state; a process which started in early June and is expected to take until late August to complete.

In August of 2020, Governor Holcomb mandated the ISP would adopt and implement a body worn camera system by the Spring of 2021. Since the Governor’s announcement, extensive research and testing has been conducted to ensure the system implemented would best meet the needs of the ISP.

In all, nearly 800 body worn camera systems, which will also include and work in tandem with in-car cameras, will be put into the field for uniform Troopers and Sergeants assigned to patrol duties, Capitol Police Officers and specific Special Operations units.  By the end of today, more than 230 body worn, and in-car camera systems will have been deployed into the field.

“This process was focused on selecting the very best product and system for not only the Department but for Troopers in the field that work in both urban and rural areas”, said ISP Superintendent Doug Carter.

The system utilizes a router which is installed in the vehicle which allows for more accessibility and connectivity in areas of the state where cell phone coverage is not always optimal.

The cost associated with this project is approximately $15 million over a period of five years. 

 

The ISP policy governing body worn cameras can be found at the link below:

 https://www.in.gov/isp/files/ENF-010%20LERD.pdf.

3 Towers Broadcasting expanding to fourth Indiana market

3 Towers Broadcasting, LLC continues to grow its network of radio stations in Indiana.

On Aug. 1, 3 Towers Broadcasting, based in Shelbyville, will assume control of operations of WREB FM, located in Greencastle.

The sale from The Original Co. Inc. to 3 Towers Broadcasting is pending Federal Communications Commission approval.

“We’re very excited for this opportunity to be a part of Greencastle, Putnam County and the surrounding communities through WREB Radio,” said Johnny McCrory, co-owner and vice president of 3 Towers Broadcasting. “All of our GIANT fm stations have stressed entertaining, informative ties with our local news, sports and events coverage. We believe our listeners, website readers and social media followers will find value with ‘GIANT fm.’”

The company locally owns and operates WSVX (AM 1520 and 96.5 FM) as well as WGRN (106.3 FM) in Greenfield and WROI (92.1 FM) in Rochester – which was recently named Fulton County Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year.

In addition, 3 Towers Broadcasting operates online news sources Shelby County Post (www.shelbycountypost.com), Hancock County Post (www.hancockcountypost.com) and Fulton County Post (www.fultoncountypost.com), as well as the soon-to-be-created Putnam County Post.

 

 

WREB serves as a news and music service for west central Indiana on 94.3 FM.

Shelbyville’s local radio station has been around since 1961, originally branded WSVL. 3 Towers Broadcasting, created by Scott Huber, Johnny McCrory, Douglas Raab and Todd Glidden, took over operations in 2007 and is now expanding its “GIANT fm” brand to a fourth market.

“’GIANT fm is a branding image used by our stations today,” said McCrory, who continues to run operations with Huber following the deaths of Raab (in 2011) and Glidden (2013). “It provides an identity across our multiple radio frequencies as we communicate with thousands of people with varying occupations, concerns, interests and more. ‘GIANT fm” believes in being a vibrant part of the local community. We are plugged into our community and strive to be the reason our listeners are, as well.”

Belcher named Leader in Banking Excellence

Richard E. Belcher, chairman and CEO of First Federal Savings Bank, Rochester, has been honored by the Indiana Bankers Association with the IBA Leaders in Banking Excellence award.

The award, which celebrates exceptional leaders who have positively impacted Indiana banks and communities, was presented at a special ceremony at the bank on June 9. Next month, six other Indiana bankers are to be inducted into the class of 2021 leaders at the IBA Annual Convention.

At the June 9 ceremony, representatives from the IBA and Indiana banking community made presentations, and Belcher offered comments, reflecting on his career and community involvement. Additionally, he was presented with an ebony plaque etched with his portrait and biography. An identical crystal plaque is on permanent display at the IBA offices in Indianapolis.

 

The Leaders in Banking Excellence awards are the Association’s highest honor.

 

Click to view Dick Belcher’s comments from the award presentation.

 

Biography:

Richard E. Belcher founded First Federal Savings Bank, Rochester, out of the back of a grocery store in 1966 and today serves as chairman and CEO. His leadership includes service as 1985-86 chairman of the Indiana League of Savings Institutions, which later merged with the Indiana Bankers Association. In 2021 Belcher donated more than $3 million to multiple Fulton County nonprofits, culminating an estate plan created with his late wife, Suzanne. Belcher has been named Rochester Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Citizen, Northern Indiana Financial Entrepreneur of the Year, and he and Mrs. Belcher together earned the Rochester Community Service award and the Purdue University President’s Council Pinnacle award. In 2008, he spearheaded construction of the first LEED-certified bank branch in Indiana. A member of the IBA 40 Year Club, Belcher is a graduate of Purdue University and a veteran of the U.S. Army.

 

Congratulations to the 2021 class of IBA Leaders in Banking Excellence:

David B. Becker, First Internet Bank of Indiana, Fishers

Richard E. Belcher, First Federal Savings Bank, Rochester

Mark S. Fogt, Garrett State Bank

David M. Geis, Jackson County Bank, Seymour

James D. Neff, Horizon Bank, Michigan City

Michael C. Rechin, First Merchants Bank, Muncie

C. Michael Stegall, Community First Bank of Indiana, Kokomo

Keeping your pets safe during the dog days of summer

While many of us think of summer as a time to have fun in the sun, for our canine companions, summer fun can quickly turn dangerous. 

WROI Giant FM News met with the Fulton County Animal Adoption And Education Center's Executive Director Janet Showley, who explained the dangers of heatstroke. 

 

 

The signs of heatstroke to watch for include heavy panting and unsteady balance.

 

If your pet begins to show symptoms, you need to act immediately by taking it out of the sun into a shady area. Putting water on the animal, or alcohol on its paw pads can also help.

Showley says the most important thing is keeping an eye on your pet this summer.  

 

 

Showley says there are many things you can do to help keep your pet cool during the 'dog days of summer.' 

 

 

Rochester's Life Care Center releases details, reaction to current COVID-19 situation

Life Care Center's Executive Director Michael Meadows released the following information related to recent COVID-19 cases at their facility:
 

At Life Care Center of Rochester, the health of our residents is our highest priority.

 

From the beginning of the pandemic, our associates have followed all guidelines from the Center for Disease Control and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. We continue to work closely with our local and state health departments, and many of our residents and staff have also been vaccinated against COVID.

 

On July 2, during routine testing, we discovered a case of COVID-19 within the facility. Our incredible associates have worked so hard and continue to go above and beyond each day. We are thankful that we have adequate staff to continue to provide quality care during this outbreak.

 

Here are the latest details from our facility:

As of right now, we have had 9 residents test positive for COVID, as well as 6 associates. We are sad to report that one of our COVID-positive residents has passed away, and we grieve with the family.

 

Our other positive residents are being cared for in an isolated area to limit the chance of exposure for other residents, and our positive associates are home in isolation until cleared by the health department to return to work.

 

We are continuing our outbreak testing according to the guidance we have received from the local and state departments of health, testing residents for COVID daily and associates frequently as well. Residents are monitored throughout the day and night, and associates are screened when they arrive and leave.

 

Our staff continue to follow all infection control protocols, including wearing appropriate protective personal equipment and practicing proper hand hygiene.

 

We stay in consistent communication with the loved ones of residents, and we welcome their questions at any time. Visitation remains restricted, but we are happy to coordinate video or phone calls. We are thankful for the support and prayers of our community.

 

 

 

Life Care Center of Rochester confirms 12 active COVID-19 cases, suspends visitation

Life Care Center of Rochester announced to families Friday, July 2, that a staff member had tested positive for COVID-19.

 

Visitation was suspended until their first round of testing for all residents and staff members was completed at the facility.

 

By Sunday evening, July 4, the number of confirmed active cases was up to 12.

 

Visitation is now suspended until there have been 14 days without a positive test result. The nursing facility will be testing daily to minimize exposure. 

 

UPDATE: As of 10:26 a.m. Wednesday, July 7, Life Care Center of Rochester confirmed 2 additional staff members and one resident have been added to their active COVID-19 cases. This makes a total of 15 active COVID-19 cases in the facility at this time. Six of those cases being staff members and nine residents.

Kosciusko Co. driver sustained medical event, crashed into home

It appears a medical event led to the death of a Kosciusko County man who crashed his car into a home.

 

At 7:00 pm Monday the 911 Communications Center received a report of a vehicle that had crashed into a residence. An initial arriving deputy sheriff was able to force entry into the Cadillac Fleetwood, so that medical personnel could tend to the driver, James Gall, 91, of Leesburg.

 

The preliminary results of the ongoing investigation, conducted by the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office Fatal Team, indicate that Gall was northbound on County Road 400 East prior to the collision. The Cadillac left the west side of the roadway, struck a fence and came to rest against the south side of the unoccupied home.  The home sustained structural damage.

 

Gall was transported to a Warsaw hospital where he was pronounced deceased.

 

According to Kosciusko County Coroner Anthony Ciriello, Gall suffered a medical event immediately prior to the collision.

 

Logansport native, business owner advocates against proposed zinc recycling plant 'WSP'

Like many other residents in Cass County, local business owner Dave Price became extremely concerned last year when he heard about the potentially harmful effects of a proposed zinc recycling plant.  Waelz Sustainable Plant 'WSP' is being built at 3440 W County Rd 300 S, near Clymers. 

 

WSP is a kiln facility that recycles zinc oxide from steel mill by-products and has the potential of emitting lead and mercury into the environment. Despite protests from local residents, the $75 million project still continues and Price says locals feel ignored.

Price has attended nearly every meeting, hearing, protests and won't stop fighting until he gets answers. 

 

 

Price isn't the only one feeling strongly about the proposed facility. Last year the Cass County Citizens Coalition was formed to take a stand against WSP. 

 

Attending meetings, hearings, and putting together fundraisers, over the past year, the Cass County Citizen Coalition has raised thousands of dollars for legal fees and other things needed to ensure the community is safe from the factory. 

 

 

The groups' efforts have raised enough funds to hire Logansport Attorney Jim Brugh and Royal Center Attorney John Schwartz. Two open door lawsuits were filed against Cass County officials last year over how officials were conducting business with the zinc reclamation plant. 

 

The lawsuit was moved out of Cass County to Miami County to avoid conflict of interest. In June, Miami County Circuit Court Judge Timothy Spahr ruled in favor of the lawsuit against Cass County officials. 

 

Filing the lawsuit were Patricia Razor Robert McDonald, Roy Miller, and Mellissa Harrison.  All lived within two miles of the Cass County Agri-Business park near Clymers. 

 

 

The Cass County Citizens Coalition has also raised enough money to purchase their own air monitoring system for the city of Logansport, despite WSP installing an air monitoring system this past March, at their Clymers-area plant. 

 

Waelz Sustainable Products announced on June 18, that the Indiana Department of Environmental Management has issued an air permit for the population of WSP's zinc recycling facility in Cass County. The air permit will allow WSP to complete the construction of the plant, as well as begin the hiring push to fill the 60 jobs at the facility. 

 

 

Two Silver Lake people transported from the scene of a Saturday 2-car crash

Two Silver Lake people were injured, another treated at the scene, of a Saturday two-car crash.

 

Emergency crews responded to the collision in southern Kosciusko County at 10:44 am Saturday.   According to the preliminary results of the investigation, April Lloyd, 41, of Silver Lake, was traveling southbound in a 2013 Ford Fusion on CR 600 W, approaching SR 14.  The Kosciusko County Sheriff’s office says Lloyd failed to yield to a Ford Ranger, driven by Amber High, 19, of Silver Lake, traveling eastbound on SR 14.  The truck struck the passenger side of Lloyd’s Fusion.

 

The vehicles came to rest on the southeast side of the intersection.

 

Lloyd was airlifted from the scene while a passenger in the other vehicle, Cheryl High, 54, of Silver Lake was transported by ground ambulance.  Both were listed with non-life threatening injuries.

 

Amber High was treated and released at the scene.

 

The Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office, Claypool Police Department, Burket Fire Department, Silver Lake Fire Department, Parkview EMS, and Parkview Samaritan Air Ambulance responded.

 

 

Guilty verdict in Rochester attempted murder case

A trial ended with a guilty verdict on three counts in a case that involved the shooting of a Rochester man.

 

Tyler Smith, 25, of Goshen. formerly, Rochester, was found guilty of attempted murder, aggravated battery, and criminal recklessness committed with a deadly weapon.

 

Smith was arrested after the November 27 incident where John Larson, 52, was shot by a person in a stopped vehicle at 510 Race Street. 

 

Smith will be sentenced July 21.

UPDATE - U.S. 30 closure east of S.R. 331

After going through the emergency contract procedure, the Indiana Department of Transportation has signed the Emergency Award and Notice to Proceed and contracted Woodruff to repair the culvert on U.S. 30 just east of State Road 331.

 

Repairs in the westbound lanes that are currently closed will begin on Tuesday, July 6, and U.S. 30 westbound is expected to reopen by the end of July. Motorists will need to continue seeking an alternate route. The official detour follows State Road 19, State Road 10 and State Road 331. 

 

This is a full pipe repair across the entire roadway so work will move to the eastbound lanes after the westbound side is complete. INDOT is still working on maintenance of traffic plans for this phase of work and will provide more information as it is available. 

Logansport Municipal Utilities issues a public safety alert

Logansport Municipal Utilities (LMU) is issuing a public safety alert to not engage in any river water recreational activities, including boating, fishing, swimming, etc on the Wabash River starting July 6, 2021, and several of the following days.

On Tuesday, July 6, 2021, from 6:00 am to 4:00 pm, the Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP), located at 1400 W. Wabash Avenue, will be repairing the chlorine contact tank. During this period, the effluent waters discharged by the WWTP will not undergo the chlorination process designed to remove pathogenic bacteria.

Unchlorinated wastewater may go into the river during the repair period and for several days after. People who swim, wade, or ingest this water are at risk of becoming ill. Be advised to suspend all water-based recreational activities (boating, fishing, swimming, etc) on the Wabash River downstream of the plant’s location through July 12, 2021. For questions or more information please call 574-753-6231.

Warsaw couple arrested after monkey dies in hot car at Tennessee waterpark

Two Warsaw residents face out-of-state criminal charges after a monkey died inside of their hot car, parked at a Tennessee waterpark Wednesday, June 23. 

 

The Sevierville Police Department responded to a report of two animals inside a hot car outside the Soaky Mountain Waterpark in Sevierville, Tennessee around 4:30 p.m.

 

At the scene, Sevierville Police officers reported finding two baby marmoset monkeys, one in poor condition and the other dead. The surviving 5-week-old monkey was taken to a nearby animal hospital to recover. The deceased monkey was reported to be 9 weeks old. 

 

Temperatures at the time were 87 degrees outside. 

 

The owners were arrested and charged at the scene. Paul Brettell, 54,  Warsaw, IN, was charged with animal cruelty. Nova Brettel, 54, Warsaw, IN was charged with aggravated animal cruelty. 

Franciscan Health Services provide shot clinics this month at Caston and Pioneer Schools

Franciscan Health Services has partnered with several area schools to provide easy access to local students getting their immunizations for the 2021-2022 school year.

 

A shot clinic will be at Caston School Corporation, 9815 SR 25, July 23 from 2-7p.m. Visitors to the clinic are asked to enter through door 11. 

 

There will also be a clinic on June 27 from 12-6 pm in Pioneer High School at 417 S Chicago Street in Royal Center. 

 

To ensure they bring enough vaccines and supplies, you can schedule an appointment call (317)528-6374or email Marinita.Mikits@franciscanalliance.org. 

 

The cost is $10 per vaccine. 

Second round of small business COVID-19 Relief funding applications now available

Thanks to a second grant from the Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) and some matching funds from Fulton County and the City of Rochester, Small businesses located in Fulton County may now apply for grants to offset business losses from COVID-19.   Businesses in high-risk categories such as hospitality/tourism, food and beverage, personal care, professional services, and retail sectors are encouraged to apply.  Independent contractors and sole proprietors are eligible. The goal of this program, per federal requirements, is to retain jobs and 51% of the jobs retained must be held by LMI (Low to Moderate Income) persons.  FEDCO is managing the grant application process for Fulton County, and OCRA staff will also review all applications.   The eligibility requirements include the following:

 

  • Businesses with less than $1 million in gross annual sales and fewer than 20 employees.   

51% of jobs retained must meet the LMI (Low-to-Moderate Income) federal guidelines.

  • Businesses who have been denied benefits from other federal or state programs or have been declared ineligible may receive priority
  • First-time applicants for the COVID relief funds from OCRA grants will receive priority
  • Business must have incurred a business/financial loss due to COVID-19
  • Business must be based in Fulton County
    • Nonprofits are not eligible per HUD Rules

 

 

Applications are available online through this link and include the LMI forms for employee income verification:    http://fultondevelopment.org/covid19-immediate-response-grant-application

 

All forms are due by Wednesday, July 21st, 2021, at 12:00 noon.  Applications will not be accepted after this time.  The approximate date for funds release is the end of August. Each business may apply for a maximum of $10,000.  As the county tries to assist as many businesses as possible, funds may be limited, and awards could be less than your request. 

 

Businesses who wish to apply will need to include their Profit/Loss Statement for the period January 1, 2020, through December 31, 2020, OR Schedule C from their 2020 income tax return. Business owners must complete the Income Verification Form that is included in the application link so that LMI income status can be verified. 

 

For more information related to the application process, please contact Amy Beechy, Manager of Small Business Initiatives for FEDCO at amy@projectmatttersllc.com or telephone at 574-709-7955. 

Area firework displays this Fourth of July weekend

A list of local firework display's in the area this Fourth of July weekend:

 

Akron

July 4
Akron 4th of July Festival
Pike Memorial Park
Activities all-day

Parade at 2 p.m.
Fireworks 10 p.m.

 

Culver

July 3

Parade at 10 a.m. 

Get your best view from the park 


Elkhart

July 2
Central Green
Incredible Johnsons perform at 7:30 p.m.
Fireworks at dusk

 

Kewanna 

July 3

at the park


Knox

July 3
Parade at 1 p.m.
Gates at Wythogan Park, open at 2 p.m. for a full day of fun activities
Fireworks at 9:30 p.m.


La Porte

July 2
Red Wine and Brew
The Summit at Johnson Rd & 400 W
Fireworks at dusk


Nappanee

July 3
Stauffer Park
Activities all-day
Fireworks at 10:15 p.m.


North Liberty

July 4
Parade at 2 p.m. in downtown North Liberty.
Fireworks at dusk - North Liberty Elementary School

 

Rochester 

 

Lake Manitou Association Fireworks on the Lake 

July 4 

on Lake Manitou at sunset 

City of Rochester

July 5

at the Fulton County Airport at sundown

 


Winona Lake

July 3
Parade at 6 p.m.
Fireworks at 10 p.m. over Winona Lake

Emma Moore, 2021 Miss Circus City

17-year-old Emma Moore was crowned Miss Circus City during the Miss Circus City pageant and scholarship program on June 27 in Peru. The award came as a pleasant surprise to the young contestant. 

 

 

The Circus City Festival Scholarship program provides young ladies of Miami County between the ages of 7-22 the opportunity for scholarships, giving out over $2,500 each year. It was an opportunity Emma said, she is glad she took. 

 

 

 

The Queen has a busy summer ahead of her. 

 


2020 Miss Circus City Courtney Turcheck will be joining Emma this summer and will be also competing in the Indiana State Festivals Convention. An adjustment to make up for the past year that, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, never happened. 

 

 

Representing Miami County isn't the only thing Emma's got on her plate this year. The 2021 Maconaquah High School graduate will be attending Hope College in Holland, Michigan this fall to study psychology and history, with the goal of becoming a teacher. 





 

Pat Kelly, Peru's legendary Hobo Circus Clown, dead at 87

It was an end of an era Sunday, June 27, when the infamous Hobo Circus Clown Pat Kelly died at Hickory Creek in Peru at the age of 87. 

 

Pat was the last living son of the late Emmett Kelly, the nation’s most famous hobo clown ‘Weary Willie,’ based on the hobos in the 1930’s during the great depression.

 

 

The Kokomo Tribune reported Pat Kelly’s career in Peru officially started in 1958. Pat and his stepfather, Joe Lewis, a famous cop clown, put on a show outside the Fred Sanger’s department store at 51 N Broadway in Peru, which is now home to the Miami County Museum.

 

Pat went on to perform for decades around the nation but returned back to the area in the mid-nineties, where he continued as the 'official clown in residence, leaving a legacy in Peru and the circus world. 

Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld dies at 88 after a battle with multiple myeloma

Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has died at the age of 88 in Taos, New Mexico. Rumsfeld served two terms as Defense Secretary under two different presidents and is best known for his lead roles in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. 

 

His family publicly confirmed his death Wednesday. The Associated Press reported that he died on Tuesday after a battle with multiple myeloma, a type of cancer.

 

He is survived by his wife, Joyce H. Pierson, three children, and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. 

 

 

 

 

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