Forgot Password

Not a Member? Sign up here!

WROI News Archives for 2021-11

Brothers meet for the first time after seven decades

Seperated for over seven decades, at the age of 77, Al Putman, owner of Putman Bailbonds met his brother, Jim Hines of Ypsilanti, Michigan, for the very first time Tuesday in Rochester at Putts Bar and Grill.

 

Jim, who will be 81 years old in a month, was born and raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

 

The discovery of a new family member came after their sister Barbara had found Al on ancestry.com. It took years of searching for Al, but this summer she finally made contact. 

 

Jim said he wasn't totally surprised to learn about his long lost brother. His sister Barbara had already made contact with Al, but lives in Arkansas and has yet to meet him in person.  

 

 

Sharing the same father, the brothers are thankful to have been able to meet in this lifetime. Of course, the two can't help but wonder how things could have been had they grown up together.

 

 

 

Jim said he wishes the meeting could have been sooner in life. They hope to keep in contact and meet up in the future.

 

 

Four teens arrested in Miami County homicide investigation

A homicide investigation, by detectives from the Indiana State Police has led to the arrests of four teens on a preliminary charge of felony murder. 

 

On Sunday at approximately 10:15 p.m., officers from the Indiana State Police, the Grant County Sheriff’s Department, the Miami County Sheriff's Department, and the Converse Police Department responded to a possible shooting at a residence on 110 West Wabash Street, Apt.2, in Converse.  When officers arrived, they found a resident of the home, Anthony Leadford, 23, who appeared to have been shot and was deceased. 

 

During the investigation, detectives developed enough probable cause to arrest Aryan Vandiver-Stone, 19, of Marion, and Benjamin Jones 18, of rural Converse. They were both incarcerated in the Miami County Jail. Two boys, ages 15 and 16, were also arrested. They were transported to the Allen County Juvenile Facility.

 

All four teens currently face a charge of felony murder. 

 

Early Tuesday, an autopsy conducted by Dr. Thomas Sozio, forensic pathologist, determined that Leadford’s death was a homicide caused by multiple gunshot wounds. 

 

This is an active investigation. Anyone with information about this case is encouraged to contact Indiana State Police detectives by calling the Indiana State Police Peru Post at 1-800-382-0689 or 765-473-6666. 

 

The Indiana State Police was assisted with the investigation by the Marion Police Department, the Grant County Sheriff’s Department, the Miami County Sheriff’s Department, the Converse Police Department, and the Miami County Coroner’s Office.

 

Culver man identified as suspect in police involved shooting

The driver of a suspect vehicle that was shot by police following a chase in Culver has been identified.

 

Indiana State Police say the deceased driver of the Chevrolet has been identified as Dylan Bush, 33, of Culver.  Family has been notified.

 

Original press release

The Indiana State Police Bremen Post was requested to investigate an officer-involved shooting involving a deputy with the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office.

 

Just after 2:00 p.m. on November 28, 2021, an officer with the Culver Police Department attempted to stop the driver of a white Chevrolet passenger car that was suspected of driving while intoxicated on SR17, west of Culver, IN.  The driver of the Chevrolet did not stop and led officers on a pursuit through Marshall County.

 

The driver of the Chevrolet eventually came to a stop in a business parking lot in the 1100 block of North Lake Shore Drive in Culver.  A Marshall County deputy stopped his police vehicle in front of the Chevrolet. The deputy exited his police vehicle when the driver of the Chevrolet is alleged to have driven forward, pinning the deputy between the Chevrolet and the police vehicle.  The deputy then fired several rounds from his issued handgun, striking the driver of the Chevrolet.  After being struck, the driver of the Chevrolet drove several hundred feet and crashed into an unoccupied vehicle in a nearby parking lot.

 

Officers immediately began to render aid to the driver of the Chevrolet until Culver EMS arrived.  The driver of the Chevrolet was pronounced deceased at the scene.

 

An autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday, November 30, 2021. 

 

The identities of the deputy and the deceased driver of the Chevrolet will be made at a later date.  The Marshall County Sheriff’s Office has placed the deputy on paid administrative leave.  The deputy was taken to a local hospital where he was checked out and released.

 

At the conclusion of this investigation, all information will be turned over to the Marshall County Prosecutor’s Office for review.

Judge denies extended early release for Alyssa Shepherd

Alyssa Shepherd will be released from prison in 2022, but not in time for Christmas this year.  A judge has denied Shepherd’s holiday release date after an appeal by Fulton County Prosecutor Micheal Marrs and the families who opposed the early release.  Shepperd is still due to be released in March of next year, Shepherd was accused of striking 4 children, 3 who died, in a bus stop-related accident in October of 2018.

Indiana State Police investigate officer-involved shooting; suspect killed in Culver

On Sunday afternoon the Indiana State Police Bremen Post was requested to investigate an officer-involved shooting involving a deputy with the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office.

 

Just after 2:00 p.m. on Sunday an officer with the Culver Police Department attempted to stop the driver of a car that was suspected of driving while intoxicated on SR17, west of Culver.  The driver did not stop and led officers on a pursuit through Marshall County.

 

The driver eventually came to a stop in a business parking lot in the 1100 block of North Lake Shore Drive in Culver.  A Marshall County deputy stopped his police vehicle in front of the Chevrolet. The deputy exited his police vehicle when the driver is alleged to have driven forward, pinning the deputy between the Chevrolet and the police vehicle.  The deputy then fired several rounds from his issued handgun, striking the driver of the Chevrolet.  After being struck, the driver of the Chevrolet drove several hundred feet and crashed into an unoccupied vehicle in a nearby parking lot.

 

Officers immediately began to render aid to the driver of the Chevrolet until Culver EMS arrived.  The driver of the Chevrolet was pronounced deceased at the scene.

An autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday. 

 

The identities of the deputy and the deceased driver of the Chevrolet will be made at a later date.  The Marshall County Sheriff’s Office has placed the deputy on paid administrative leave.  The deputy was taken to a local hospital where he was checked out and released.

 

At the conclusion of this investigation, all information will be turned over to the Marshall County Prosecutor’s Office for review.

State Police increase holiday patrols to promote safe Thanksgiving travels

This Thanksgiving, travel is expected to rebound to nearly pre-pandemic levels. According to AAA, it’s predicted that 48.3 million people will be taking to the roads for the holiday, an 8 percent increase from last year.

 

Unfortunately, heavier traffic, combined with declining seat belt use and the prevalence of impaired driving, makes this travel period particularly dangerous for road users.

 

In response, the Indiana State Police is joining hundreds of law enforcement agencies across the state for the Safe Family Travel campaign. Over the next six weeks, officers will be out in greater numbers to discourage impaired driving and ensure drivers and passengers are properly buckled.

 

The high-visibility patrols are funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration through the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute and will concentrate around Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s.

 

“Driving impaired, not wearing a seat belt and speeding are always concerns around this time of year,” said Lt. Terry Gose, District Commander for the Lowell Post.  “That’s why we’re increasing patrols and encouraging those traveling to buckle up, drive sober and slow down. It’s better to be late and reach your destination safely, than not at all.”

 

In Indiana and nationwide, reckless driving incidents remain higher than during pre-pandemic times. As of early October, 683 people have been killed in crashes statewide, which is an 8 percent increase from the same time in 2019 and on pace with 2020 – one of the dealiest years in the past decade.

 

With one of the busiest travel periods still ahead, officers will be working to reverse this trend by focusing on impaired and unrestrained driving, two of the main causes behind the rise in fatalities.

 

Of the total number of vehicle occupants killed in crashes so far this year, more than 40 percent were not wearing seat belts. Moreover, seat belt use in Indiana declined for the first time in five years from 94.9 percent before the pandemic to 92.9 percent.

 

“Whether you’re driving for 10 minutes or 10 hours, we’re asking everyone to plan ahead and make safety their top priority,” said Devon McDonald, ICJI Executive Director. “Don’t be the reason there’s an empty seat at your table or someone else’s this Thanksgiving.”

 

The Indiana State Police wants to remind motorists that most traffic fatalities can be prevented by taking some simple precautions: never drive impaired, always wear a seat belt, follow posted speed limits, and avoid distractions.

 

Before consuming alcohol, plan a sober ride home, such as a designated driver or using a ride service or public transportation. Motorists are encouraged to call 911 if they encounter an impaired or unsafe driver on the road.

 

However, impaired driving isn’t the only concern during the holiday season. Winter weather also poses challenges for motorists, and it’s important to be prepared.

 

Always have an emergency kit in the vehicle with food, water, a phone charger, sand or cat litter, flares or bright LED alternatives, a flashlight, and blankets. Keep the vehicle full of gas, and make sure the battery is strong, fluids are at the correct levels and the spare tire is properly inflated.

Fulton County Public Library awarded ARPA grant

The Fulton County Public Library has received a grant in the amount of
$26,050 to enhance the library patron experience and better serve the community, including underserved populations.

 

“Due to COVID, the library has had to adapt and rethink how we serve the public,”
Andrea Stineback, Library Director, said. “The Pandemic brought to light many patron service areas that the library could create or expand upon. This grant opportunity will allow us to improve our services inside the library, outside the building, and even in patrons’ own homes.”

 

Internet hotspots, Chromebooks, non-fabric furniture, and a self-checkout kiosk for the Rochester Branch are some of the items included in the grant.

 

This project is supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the American Rescue Plan Act, administered by the Indiana State Library.

Mother - daughter duo opens Homespun Sip n Shop

Those looking to support local for their holiday shopping this year have a new place to check out just east of Rochester. 

Homespun Sip n Shop, 3124 E State Road 14, provides everything from homemade decor, unique gifts, baked goods, health shakes, energy drinks and more.

 

Opened just three weeks ago by Barbara Whitmer and her mother Sue Varney, the store has been an outlet for healing for the family. 

 

 

A small start with big dreams and an even bigger heart, the store has a little something for everyone in the family. 

 

 

Sue says having the store and her daughter with her all the time has been a saving grace. 

 

 

Homespun Sip n Shop is open Monday to Friday, from 8:00 am - 3:00 pm, and Saturday, from 9:00 am - 2:00 pm. 

 

 

Rochester Meats and Deli continue legacy of Linc Townsend

(Photographed from left: Wanda Townsend, Blayne Townsend, Corbin Townsend and Lisa Townsend.)

 

Rochester Meats and Deli has been in the Townsend family for three generations at 901 E 9th Street. The recent passing of owner Linc Townsend on November 4, sent ripples of condolences and support through Rochester. The local outpouring has showed just how much of an impact small business owners make in a tight knit community. 

 

Linc's son, Blayne Townsend said the interpersonal relationship they share with their customers is the difference between their deli and a big-box store. Blayne said to Linc, his customers were like family. 

 

 

Blayne said his father's values are something he will continue and pass on. He and his wife Corbin Townsend, who is 39 weeks pregnant, are expecting their first child any day now. A bitter sweet timing to the start of the Townsend's fourth generation.

 

One main value Linc always emphasized, family first. 

 

 

Rochester Meats and Deli hope to continue the family tradition for many years to come. 

 

 

Starke County man to be sentenced in December for beating a woman

A Pulaski County jury has found a man guilty of assaulting and beating a woman with a bat.

 

Pulaski County Prosecuting Attorney Kelly Gaumer presented the state’s case.  Gaumer says Billie Minix, of Starke County, was convicted after three days of testimony.  Gaumer will be sentenced December 22 on three violent felony charges:  aggravated battery, criminal confinement and intimidation.

 

Minix was charged with beating a woman and causing serious injuries.  Gaumer was accused of ambushing the victim and beating her with a baseball bat and a broom handle. DNA from the victim  was found on Minix’s clothing

 

The attack left the victim with brain damage and a broken leg. 

 

“The jury did a good job of zeroing in on what was important,” Gaumer said.  “The victim showed a lot of courage coming to court and facing the man who beat her so badly.  She will never be the same and her brain injuries will stay with her for a long time.”

 

Minix is scheduled to be sentenced on December 22 in Pulaski County Circuit Court.

 

 

 

Dollars unveiled in settlement between school district and families in 2018 car - bus tragedy

A settlement between the Tippecanoe Valley School Corporation and family of the children involved in a Fulton County car – bus collision in 2018 is over $3 million.

 

The settlement, signed in 2019, shows Tippecanoe Valley School Corporation paid $2.575 million to the parents of Alivia Stahl and her twin half brothers, Xzavier and Mason Ingle. 

 

Approximately $200, 000 went to Stahl’s father.  The mother of the children, Brittany Ingle, and her husband, Shane, received over $1.1 million.  Over $1.2 million went into an estate in the children’s names.

 

The settlement also provided $900, 000 to the family of Maverick Lowe.  Maverick was seriously injured in the crash.

 

The National Transportation Safety Board reported in 2020 that the school district was partially to blame.  The report found inadequate safety assessment of school bus routes with multiple stops that required children to cross high-speed roads.

 

Alyssa Shepherd received four years in prison as the truck driver in the incident.  Recently, it was announced she could be released as early as Dec. 20 due to Indiana’s jail time credits and her completion of a Bible study course while in prison.

BBB issues warning about suspicious investment letters in Northern Indiana

Better Business Bureau serving Northern Indiana has issued a warning after several Northern Indiana consumers report receiving letters from Vanguard though they’ve never opened an account with the investment company.

 

One Fort Wayne resident claimed to have received a letter stating they had an open brokerage account, but the consumer has never done business with the company. Other consumers have reported incorrect personal information on letters they have received. Some consumers have received up to five letters with incorrect information.

 

BBB reached out to Vanguard about the letters and the investment firm advises consumers to email fraud@vanguard.com to report any correspondence that looks suspicious.

 

Use BBB’s tips to avoid fraud:

Never share personally identifiable information. Especially with someone who has contacted you unsolicited, whether it’s over the phone, by email, on social media, even at your front door. This includes banking and credit card information, your birthdate, and Social Security/Social Insurance numbers.

 

If something sounds suspicious, call the company directly. You can call the company or check the company website directly. Don’t click on links in an unexpected email – type the URL for the company into the browser or do a web search to find the right website.

 

Don’t click, download, or open anything that comes from an anonymous sender. This is likely an attempt to gain access to your personal information or install malware on your computer.

 

Question generic emails. Scammers cast a wide net by including little or no specific information in their fake emails. Always be wary of unsolicited messages that don't contain your name, last digits of your account number or other personalizing information.

 

If you spot a scam, whether you've lost money or not, report it to BBB’s Scam Tracker at BBB.org/ScamTracker and the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov. Your story can help other consumers avoid similar scams.

Foul play suspected in death of inmate

Indiana State Police Detective initiated an investigation at the request of the Miami Correctional Facility into the death of inmate.

 

At approximately 10:04 a.m., correction officers found Leo Cullen, 43, severely injured in the N Housing Unit Dayroom. Despite medical intervention by prison staff members, Cullen succumbed to his injuries. Investigators suspect foul play and are treating the death as a homicide. 

 

An autopsy will be conducted.

 

 

Charges filed in Fulton Co. car - pedestrian collision that killed one, injured another

One person was killed, another injured in a Fulton County car – pedestrian accident.  Now, formal charges have been filed.

 

The Fulton County Sheriff’s Office responded to State Road 19, north of 50 North.  Several juveniles were at the scene.  One, a 15 year old male, was struck by what was believed to be the outside rearview mirror of a vehicle.  He was transported to a Fort Wayne hospital with head and face injuries.  At last report, he was in serious, but stable, condition.

 

A search was begun when it was realized that a girl with the group was missing.  Brelynna Felix, 12, of Akron, was found in a field nearby.  Felix died from injuries sustained in the incident.

 

Akron Police found the car involved that had left the scene.  Gage Rogers, 26, Akron, has now been formally charged with failure to remain at the scene of an accident resulting in death, a Level 4 felony; and leaving the scene of an accident with moderate or serious bodily injury, a Level 6 felony.

 

Rogers told authorities he believed he hit a deer.  Three other people were in the car at the time of the incident.

 

The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information is asked to call Det / Sgt Travis Heishman at 574-223-2819.

Grieving mother seeks justice for Judah Morgan

It's been over a month since the tragic death of 4-year-old Judah Morgan in rural LaPorte County. Judah was killed October 11, 2021 after months of reported abuse from his biological parents who had recently been granted custody of the child for the first time. Everyday since has been a nightmare for the foster family that raised him for more than three years of his life.  

 

The LaPorte County Sheriff's Department was called to a home in the 3100 block of East County Road 875 just before 3:00 am on October 11, with the report of an unconcious child. After being unable to make contact, officers entered the residence through an unlocked door. The LaPorte Circuit Court records stated Judah was found unresponsive, naked, and wrapped in a blanket with red marks on his face and bruises "all over his body."  They also found three other children in the home as well, although no adults were reported to be with them.  

 

Judah's father Alan D. Morgan initially fled the scene, but was arrested hours later in Knox. He was charged that day with murder, five counts of child neglect and one count of animal cruelty. His mother, Mary Yoder, was arrested days later and also faces four charges, including two counts of neglect of a dependent, one of those counts resulting in death. 

 

Court documents revealed disturbing details of abuse that allegedly stemmed from potty training accidents. Mary had admitted to police he was often punished in their dark basement for days at a time. She also stated clothes and food were also withheld from the child and that he was sometimes tied with duct tape. Judah's autopsy showed he died from injuries that resulted from blunt force trauma to the head. 

 

His foster mother Jenna Hullett, the woman Judah knew as mom, said his death could have been prevented had CPS done their job and checked on him. She hopes Judah's story will raise awareness on child abuse while she continues to search for justice.

 

Jenna Hullett and her husband Phil had raised Judah as their own from October 2017 to April 2021. Abuse allegations about his older brother had landed him in foster care immediately after birth. 

 

 

 

Jenna said it was love at first sight when she met Judah at the hospital shortly after birth. Wanting to provide a stable home, he was placed in the Hullett family at four months old. He quickly became the little brother everyone looked after and loved.

 

 

The family was devastated when they found out they would be unable to adopt Judah. Jenna was furious when she discovered why.

 

 

 

Jenna claims if it wasn't for the negligence of the LaPorte County DCS workers, Judah would still be alive today. 

 

 

Just a few months prior to Mary and Alan's six month home trial with Judah, the couple almost gave legal guardianship to Jenna. They chose to use Judah as a weapon instead. 

 

 

April of 2021 would be the last time Jenna or her family would see Judah alive. After starting the home trial, any request for visits with Judah was shot down by excuses. After an argument in June was sparked by Mary cancelling Judah's fourth birthday party, all messages from Jenna were ignored until after his death. 

 

 

Jenna would later find out why Judah's birthday party had been cancelled. Although she was unable to see Judah for herself, Jenna prayed that the LaPorte County CPS would ensure he was safe. His case worker had lived just four houses down from Mary and Alan. Unfortunately for Judah, she found no discrepancies during their six month home trial. 

 

 

 

When Jenna was informed that Alan was arrested in August, 2021 she contacted Judah's caseworker once again. Her hopes of getting Judah back were crushed when her concerns fell on deaf ears. 

 

 

The summer was filled with anxiety and depression for Jenna and her family. Grief stricken and desperate, Jenna sent several messages over the next few months apologizing and begging to see Judah. Each message was ignored. Mary finally messaged her the morning of October 11, 2021 for the first time since June. 

 

 

Sick of being ignored Jenna and her family want answers. Although they were not able to save Judah, the family hopes to use his story to save other children. Jenna vows to not let Judah's name or story fade until a law has been placed to prevent this from happening again to another child.  She said even one child saved because of Judah's story would be worth it. Jenna recently filed a wrongful death lawsuit against LaPorte County DCS.

 

With a trial and lawsuit looming in 2022, all the Hullett family can do is wait and keep praying. Jenna said Justice for Judah won't be something that happens overnight, but the Hullet family will be hanging along for the ride. 

 

(Photographed from left, Jenna Hullett and her daughter Madison Hullett. Madison says Judah was like a little brother to her. She copes by replaying old TikTok videos she made of Judah while he still lived in their home. She said it has completely devastated everyone in their family.)

 

Family sponsors sought for Miracle Tree program

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

There is no limit to the amount of money a sponsor can spend on a family. Gifts will be distributed to the families with a drive-thru pick up in December.

 

The Miracle Tree assisted 254 families and provided Christmas gifts for more 750 childrenin 2020. The need is large this Christmas season and we hope the generosity of our communities is even greater!

 

Administrative offices for Fulton County Sheriff's Office move to new location Saturday

Effective Saturday, November 19, the administrative offices for the Fulton County Sheriff's Office will be open to conduct business at the new Fulton County Sheriff's Office and Detention Center, 2006 Sweetgum Road, Rochester.

 

The Fulton County Jail and Fulton County Communications will remain operational at their current locations.

Silver Alert: Wyatt Engle, 18, of Wabash

The Wabash County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the disappearance of Wyatt Engle, an 18 year old white male, 5 feet 11 inches tall, 210 pounds, blonde hair with blue eyes.

 

He was last seen wearing a black hoodie and blue jeans, and driving a gold 1999 Buick Park Avenue with an Indiana license plate of 592RTJ.

 

Wyatt is missing from North Manchester.  He was last seen on Monday, November 15, 2021, at 11:15 am.  He is believed to be in extreme danger. 

 

If you have any information on Wyatt Engle, contact the Wabash County Sheriff’s Department at 260-563-9223 or 911.

ACLU files lawsuit over Starke County traffic stop

The ACLU of Indiana says it is suing the Starke County Sheriff's Department after a traffic stop that didn't have an arrest or citation issued.

 

The following is the press release from the ACLU on the case they have filed:

 

The ACLU of Indiana filed a lawsuit against Deputy Ethan Biggs of the Starke County Sheriff’s Department who conducted an invasive vehicle search without cause, in violation of the Fourth Amendment.  

 

Nicholas Tyo, Steven Stanley, and Drew Landes travelled from Ohio to Illinois this July to attend the Pokémon GO Fest, but were stopped by law enforcement in Starke County, Indiana. Dep. Biggs demanded the drivers’ licenses of all three occupants of the vehicle. After inquiring about whether or not there were any drugs in the vehicle, Dep. Biggs proceeded to lengthen the traffic stop by conducting a nonconsensual search of both the exterior and the interior of the vehicle, with the assistance of a drug-detecting dog, as well as pat-down searches of each of the plaintiffs.   

 

The complaint claims that all of this was done without justification or consent, and none of it yielded any evidence whatsoever of drugs or other criminal activity. The Fourth Amendment does not allow for police to convert a routine traffic stop into an intrusive drug investigation.  

 

At the end of the traffic stop, despite indicating that the plaintiffs had been speeding, Dep. Biggs did not issue a traffic citation or any form of written warning.

 

“Minor traffic stops should not be pretexts for invasive searches,” said Gavin M. Rose, ACLU of Indiana Senior Staff Attorney. “This is police overreach in an effort to discover contraband without any reason to believe that anything unlawful was afoot.”  

 

 

 

Women in business event planned December 3 by Fulton County Chamber of Commerce

The Fulton County Chamber of Commerce invites all interested women to attend a Women on Wellness breakfast at the Fulton County Historical Museum on Friday, December 3 at 7:30 am.

 

After a brief networking breakfast, Culver Pediatrics Center Pediatrician and Owner/CEO Noemi Adame, MD, FAAP, will address Principles of Positive Parenting, then Fulton County Wellness Center’s Aereka Heyde will present to guests Using Yoga to Stay Present and Balanced.

 

Fulton County women who plan to attend this special program can register with Stephanie Hensley at 574.224.2666 or chamberassist@rtcol.com, or online at www.fultoncountychamber.com by November 30.

 

The Chamber would like to thank the following members for supporting this event: First Federal Savings Bank, Fulton County REMC, Ivy Tech Community College, NIPSCO, Smith Sawyer Smith, Walmart, Woodlawn Hospital, Beacon Credit Union, Duke Energy, Fulton County Commissioners, Northern Indiana Community Foundation, Rochester Dental Center, Rochester Metal Products, RTC Communications, Team Pride, Aries Building Systems, First Source Bank, Flirt Boutique, Lau Industries, Peterson Waggoner & Perkins, Schnabeltier, Shepherd’s GM Center, and Teachers Credit Union.

 

About the speakers:

Dr. Noemi Adame left a career in corporate medicine and founded Culver Pediatrics Center to have the freedom to practice the type of medical care she dreamed of as a young medical student. As one of the few practice-owning physicians in the state, she has the freedom to deliver health care free of interference from bureaucrats, insurance companies, and profit-driven hospital systems. She is a board-certified pediatrician with over 18 years of clinical experience in inpatient and outpatient settings.

 

Aereka Heyde began practicing yoga over ten years ago. She become a registered yoga teacher on the 200 level in the spring of 2020 and began teaching at the Fulton County Wellness Center in the summer of 2020. She recently obtained the level 500 certification. Yoga is something she greatly enjoys and finds very beneficial for overall well-being. She considers herself fortunate to be able to share this with others.

 

Any questions can be directed to Stephanie Hensley, Executive Assistant of the Fulton County Chamber of Commerce, at 574.224.2666 or chamber@rtcol.com.

Lilly Pad Boutique opens just in time for the holidays

New to Rochester, first time business owner Keitha Kunkle opened the Lilly Pad Boutique November 2.

 

Just in time for the holidays, the boutique is located at 2317 E St Rd 14.

 

Keitha hopes Lilly Pad Boutique will provide the perfect 'Lake Manitou' Christmas gift. 

 

Originally from from Greentown, Keitha worked at Kokomo Gas for 30 years before retiring. She officially moved to Rochester a year ago, but has visited the lake for the past 12 years. 

 

The shop was something that just came to her. She hopes to attract others with her Lake Manitou products as much as Lake Manitou attracted her to Rochester. 

 

Keitha says five months ago, she would have never believed what she was doing now.

 

 

Having products and souvenirs has been Keitha's focus and will be something she will continue to build more of at her boutique. 

 

 

Keitha says the community support so far has been amazing. The Lilly Pad Boutique has a little something for everyone. From jewelery, Lake Girl Brands, jeans, leggings, winter wear and more. Lake Manitou hoodies also come in sizes for men that range from small to 3x. 

 

 

Hours for Lilly Pad boutique are:

Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 10 am- 5pm

Wednesday, 10 am-6pm

Saturday, 10am-3pm 

Closed Sunday and Monday

 

 

Miami County men arrested in traffic stop, face drug charges

Two Miami man were arrested on drug charges.

 

A recent traffic stop by Indiana State Police Trooper Dakota Anderson led to the arrest of Nicholas Parks, 41, and Christopher Symons, 37, both from Bunker Hill. Both were incarcerated in the Tipton County Jail. Parks faces criminal charges for possession of methamphetamine, possession of a legend drug, identity deception, possession of a narcotic drug, possession of marijuana, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Symons was incarcerated for resisting law enforcement, possession of methamphetamine, and possession of a narcotic.   

 

Indiana State Police initiated a traffic stop, on a 2007 Dodge Caliber, on State Road 28 near Tipton County Road 900 West. They had received information that the vehicle’s occupants had outstanding arrest warrants. 

 

During the traffic stop, Symons was identified as the driver. He had an outstanding arrest warrant for a parole violation. While speaking with officers, Symons ran from the scene. He was quickly captured.

 

Parks, a passenger in the Dodge, repeatedly provided officers with false identifying information. He was eventually identified and found to have three active arrest warrants from Howard and Madison Counties for two counts for possession of methamphetamine, dealing methamphetamine, felon in possession of a handgun, intimidation, false informing, and resisting law enforcement. 

 

During a subsequent search of the Dodge and the suspects, officers allegedly found marijuana, methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia, and $4,157.00 in United States currency. 

 

Further investigation led officers to obtain a search warrant for a travel trailer at 504 S. Main Street, Kempton. During a subsequent search of the trailer, officers allegedly found fentanyl, heroin, prescription medications, and methamphetamine.

Winamac Rural Health Clinic expanding at Pulaski Memorial Hospital

Expansion to the Rural Health Clinic at Pulaski Memorial Hospital is bringing big changes to the small town of Winamac and the rural communities that surround it. 

 

The 16,115 square foot expansion project had its official groundbreaking in November, 2020. Once complete, it will more than double the current size of the clinic. It's the largest building project the hospital has had since its 1963 opening.  

 

Brian Ledley, Vice President of Communications and Patient Experience said the clinic has gone from having just three providers to a group of twenty three physicians and nurse practitioners.

 

Ledley credited Pulaski Memorial Hospital CEO Tom Barry on recruiting the new medical and surgical groups, essentially growing the hospital. 

 

 

One of the biggest hopes is to provide the community with easier access to health care without the travel. Ledley says the community feedback has been positive. The continued growth strives to provide the best technology, medical staff and team of associates in the community. In 2017, PMH added a state-the-art MRI and CT scanner.

 

The newest expansion is extending the services the hospital can provide even more. 

 

 

The continuing pandemic has placed a challenge on the construction industry as well as the project timeline, which has been extended a few months longer than originally planned. PMH hopes for the new expansion to be open by the end of the year, with the exterior work being completeed in the spring of 2022. 

Railroad crossing repair to close SR 8 near Knox

Norfolk Southern Railroad plans to close their crossing on State Road 8 near Knox between C.R. S 550 E and C.R. S 600 E beginning on or after Monday, November 15.

 

State Road 8 will be closed for approximately nine days in this location while Norfolk Southern rebuilds their at-grade crossing. Motorists should seek an alternate route.

 

The official detour will follow U.S. 35, U.S. 30, and State Road 23.

Fulton Co., surrounding communities receive traffic safety grants to curb reckless driving

 The Indiana Criminal Justice Institute awarded $6.5 million in traffic safety grants to more than 200 police departments throughout the state. The departments will use the funds to conduct overtime patrols and carry out strategies to address reckless driving in Indiana.

 

Nationwide, last year saw a drastic increase in the number of traffic fatalities, despite having fewer drivers on the road. Tragically, 2021 is shaping up to be even worse, according to a report just released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

 

In the first half of 2021, an estimated 20,160 people died in traffic crashes across the U.S., which is 3,140 more or an 18.4 percent increase compared to the same time last year. According to NHTSA, that’s the largest six-month increase ever recorded in the reporting system’s history.

 

In Indiana, traffic fatalities remain high and continue to exceed pre-pandemic levels. As of early October, a total of 683 people have been killed in crashes, preliminary data shows. Although this is around the same rate as in 2020, it represents a marked increase (8 percent) from 2019.

 

If the pace continues and with the holiday travel season ahead, Indiana could surpass 900 traffic fatalities by the end of the year – one of the highest in the past decade.

 

Among area law enforcement agencies receivign funding:

Fulton County Sheriff's Office, $6,050

Miami County Sheriff's Office, $4,500

Peru Police Department, $19,800

Wabash County Sheriff's Department, $15, 000

Wabash City Police Department, $22,000

Cass County Sheriff's Department, $13,000

Kosciusko County Sheriff's Department (& several communities), $78,430

 

“This should be a wake-up call for everyone in Indiana,” said Devon McDonald, ICJI Executive Director. “Lives are being lost at an alarming rate because people are choosing to speed and ignore the rules of the road. The reckless driving has to stop. Enough is enough.”

 

Early estimates from NHTSA and the criminal justice institute suggest that many of the same risky driving behaviors that contributed to 2020 being one of the deadliest years on record continue to persist. Those are higher average speeds in conjunction with declining seat belt use and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

 

Robert Duckworth, ICJI Traffic Safety Director, said that most traffic fatalities, if not all, are preventable.

 

“Every driver needs to examine the choices they are making and commit to safe driving before they get behind the wheel,” Duckworth said. “We could put a stop to this crisis today if everyone chose to slow down, drive sober, wear a seat belt and pay attention to the road.”

 

To address reckless driving, departments will use the funding to conduct “zero tolerance” overtime patrols and sobriety checkpoints, most of which will take place during dedicated enforcement periods throughout the year. The first one, starting in the next couple of weeks, is the Safe Family Travel campaign designed to cut down on impaired driving and promote seat belt use during the holiday season.

 

As part of a new initiative, several departments received funding this year to deploy visible speed enforcement teams in an effort to reduce speed-related fatalities and collisions. With multiple officers working together, this strategy involves using a police “spotter” or stationary officer watching for violations who can radio to their partner if speeding is detected.

 

“High-visibility enforcement works,” McDonald said. “People are less likely to speed and drive dangerously when law enforcement is present.”

 

The grants were awarded in October using federal NHTSA funds. This year, the largest awards went to the Indiana State Police at $1 million and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department at $1.5 million, as urban areas like Marion County have experienced the largest increase in fatal crashes this year.

Eastern Pulaski Community School Corp. moves to 'mask recommended' status

Eastern Pulaski School Corporation Superintendent Dara Chezem announced in an email to parents this week EPCSC has moved to a 'mask recommended' status due to reduced numbers of students and staff having COVID-19 or being quarantined. 

 

In the future, if numbers reach 15% percent of students/staff quarantined/isolated in a given school, that school would move to a mask required status for two weeks.  If the number of quarantines/isolations does not drop at the two-week mark, the percentage would be reviewed each additional week. 

 

A color-coded dashboard will be created on their school website that will be updated weekly. If the dashboard is green, that indicates that less than 7% of staff/students are quarantined/isolated.  Yellow indicates 7 to 14% of staff/students are quarantined/isolated. Red indicates 15% of staff/students are quarantined/isolated and masks will be required. 

 

Masks will continue to be required on school buses as this is a federal mandate.

Plymouth man arrested, found with stolen vehicle from Pulaski County

A Plymouth man was arrested over the weekend after reportedly being found in possession of a vehicle that had been reported stolen in Pulaski County. 

 

Shortly before 2 p.m. on Saturday, November 6, the Marshall County Sheriff's Department received information regarding a stolen vehicle located in LaPaz at the Creekside Trailer Park.

 

Officers located the vehicle matching the description and confirmed it had been reported stolen. While attempting to make contact at the residence officers observed a man running from the back door of the residence in an attempt to flee. 

 

Dustin Kanschat, 41, of Plymouth, was later apprehended. Kanschat was taken to the Marshall County Jail and faces a preliminary charge of possesion of a stolen vehicle. 

Hoosier Feeding the Hungry hosts "Drawings for deer donors!"

With the continued rise in food insecurity, Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry is working even harder to “Meat” the Need. We want all hunters and farmers to know that even if they don’t donate a whole deer, cow, or pig – they can still help. The Gimme 5 Challenge is a call for all to donate 5 or more pounds of meat because every pound helps fight hunger here in Indiana! When picking up your processed deer, just pull 5 or more pounds of your packaged meat for donation and tell your meat processor that you would like to be part of the Gimme 5 Challenge. Donors will be entered into a drawing for $100 and winners will be drawn monthly, and both the customer and that customer’s butcher shop will win. 

 

Hunters donating a whole deer will be entered into a drawing for a Henry Big Boy 44 Mag Rifle!

 

Donations may be made through any of Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry’s participating Indiana meat processors. A full list can be found at www.hoosiersfeedingthehungry.org.

 

 

 

About Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry

Founded in 2011, Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry has paid to process almost 2 million pounds of meat – providing over 7.9 million meals. Partnering with 85 meat processors statewide, the organization gives approximately 250,000 pounds of meat annually to an average of 500 hunger relief agencies throughout Indiana. Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry accepts donations and is always looking for volunteers to help in efforts to reduce food insecurity throughout Indiana. For more information, please visit www.HoosiersFeedingtheHungry.org or call (260)233-1444.

One girl killed, a teen injured in car - pedestrian Fulton Co. incident; driver arrested for leaving scene

One person was killed, another injured in a Fulton County car – pedestrian accident.

About 7:30 pm Friday the sheriff’s office received a call from a concerned citizen who saw kids walking along the road in dark clothing and was worried for their safety. While speaking to dispatchers, the caller said it appeared someone had been struck by a vehicle.

The Fulton County Sheriff’s Office responded to State Road 19, north of 50 North.  Several juveniles were at the scene.  One, a 15 year old male, was struck by what was believed to be the outside rearview mirror of a vehicle.  He was transported to a Fort Wayne hospital with head and face injuries.  At last report, he was in serious, but stable, condition.

A search was begun when it was realized that a girl with the group was missing.  Brelynna Felix, 12, of Akron, was found in a field nearby.  Felix died from injuries sustained in the incident.

The investigation led the sheriff’s office to the car involved that had left the scene.  It was found in Akron.  Gage Rogers, 26, was taken into custody and booked in the Fulton County Jail.  Rogers was charged with Leaving the Scene of a Fatal Accident and Leaving the Scene of an Accident Resulting in Bodily Injury.

The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information is asked to call Det / Sgt Travis Heishman at 574-223-2819.

Akron Police, Henry Township Fire, Indiana State Police and the Fulton County Coroner assisted at the scene.

Fulton County bus crash survivor reflects with family on recovery, restitution

It's been three years now since the tragic Fulton County accident that killed three children and severely injured a fourth as they were trying to board their school bus in the early morning of October 30, 2018. 

 

For Maverik Lowe, the surviving child from the accident, life may never completely return to normal. Maverik's grandparents and legal guardians Andy and Marlene Pletcher said the numerous serious injuries sustained that day changed his life forever. 

 

Marlene Pletcher said her grandson surviving the accident was nothing short of a miracle. 

 

Alyssa Shepherd, the driver convicted in the crash, was sentenced in 2019 to four years in prison for the deadly accident.

 

After successfully completing a faith-based self-improvement class while in prison, Shepherd is now looking at having six months shaved off that time, with a potential release date of March 2022. 

 

A protest was held on the Fulton County Courthouse Lawn after the mother of the three children killed was informed of Shepherd being eligible for additional time cuts for a 'Community Involvement Program.' This program would shave off 90 more days, meaning Shepherd could be released as early as December of this year.

 

Fulton County Prosecutor Mike Marrs filed a motion on October 25 seeking to prevent this early release. 

 

Maverik Lowe, now 14, says he feels her time has not done justice for the crime.

 

 

 

Both Andy and Marlene said the lack of remorse and sympathy they have gotten from Alyssa or her family since the accident has been numbing. 

 

 

After three long years, 24 plus surgeries including a knee replacement, and costs for medical care and home adjustments, the bills have really started adding up. Maverik's family is finally taking up the offer for restitution in a total amount of roughly $40,000. 

 

Maverik's journey is still not over. It was only three weeks prior to this interview that he was able to completely bend his leg for the first time since the knee replacement he had over a year ago. A knee replacement usually lasts an average of 15 to 20 years. Receiving one at the age of 12 means he's most likely looking at a few more surgeries in his future.

 

For now, Maverik is just taking it one day at a time, with a bright future ahead of him. Now a freshman at Tippecanoe Valley High School, he hopes to eventually pursue a college degree in aerospace engineering. 

Walorski, Pence urge Biden officials to address energy crisis facing Hoosiers

Congressman Greg Pence (IN-06) and Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (IN-02) led members of the Indiana Congressional Delegation in a letter to Biden Administration officials raising red flags about the skyrocketing cost of propane, in hopes that agency heads will take action to curb the economic and energy crisis Hoosiers are facing.

 

The letter to Secretary Granholm, Secretary Buttigieg, Secretary Vilsack and Secretary Raimondo can be found here.

 

“As winter fast approaches, projected price increases in critical fuels, such as propane, will make it more expensive to heat our homes and small businesses. Actions taken by this administration to curb domestic production of natural gas and oil are exacerbating already low propane fuel inventories while businesses and consumers are struggling to make ends meet under skyrocketing inflation,” the members wrote. “On behalf of our constituents across the state of Indiana, we request information from your departments on actions you are taking to address low propane fuel inventories.” 

 

“For working Americans, energy price hikes are a direct consequence of this Administration’s continued attacks on American energy production. Instead of relying on domestic energy production, President Biden has outsourced that responsibility to adversarial countries that do not maintain similar environmental standards, surrendering critical foundations underpinning America’s economic security,” they continued. 

 

In addition to Congressman Pence and Congresswoman Walorski, signers include Reps. Jim Banks (IN-03), James Baird (IN-04), Victoria Spartz (IN-05), Larry Bucshon, M.D. (IN-08), and Trey Hollingsworth (IN-09).

Hoosiers ages 5-11 now eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccine

The Indiana Department of Health announced today that Hoosiers ages 5 to 11 are now eligible for a free COVID-19 vaccine following Tuesday’s authorization of the pediatric vaccine by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

 

The Pfizer vaccine is the only COVID-19 vaccine that is currently authorized for use in individuals under age 18.

 

“Having a COVID-19 vaccine available to our younger Hoosiers is a game changer in terms of our efforts to keep children healthy and in school for in-person learning,” said State Health Commissioner Kris Box, M.D., FACOG. “Fully vaccinated individuals do not have to quarantine if they are exposed but have no symptoms, so I encourage parents to get their children vaccinated if they are eligible.”

 

The pediatric vaccine will be available on a walk-in basis from 4 to 8 p.m. today at the vaccination clinic outside the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, 4551 W. 16th St., Indianapolis. Additional locations will be updated throughout the day at www.ourshot.in.gov. Beginning at 8 a.m. Thursday, parents who wish to schedule an appointment for their child to receive the vaccine can do so at www.ourshot.in.gov or by calling 211 or (866) 211-9966 for assistance. Please note that 211 cannot make appointments until Thursday.

 

Pediatric vaccine supplies may be limited initially as shipments arrive on a staggered basis. Individuals are encouraged to make an appointment or call ahead to ensure that a site has vaccine available prior to visiting the location. A parent or guardian must provide consent, and children under 16 must be accompanied to the vaccination appointment by an adult.

 

The pediatric dose of Pfizer is lower than the dosage for ages 12 and older, so parents should ensure they visit a site that carries the pediatric dosage. To find these clinics, visit https://ourshot.in.gov beginning Thursday and look for the pin designating sites with pediatric vaccine.

 

As of Wednesday, a total of 7,133,806 doses have been administered in Indiana. This includes 3,344,763 first doses and 414,620 booster doses. A total of 3,374,423 individuals are fully vaccinated.

 

 

Man in Twelve Mile house explosion dies

A Twelve Mile man who was badly burned in a house explosion last month in Cass County has died from his injuries at Fort Wayne's Lutheran Hospital. 

 

The Allen County Coroner confirmed Paul Ulerick, 62, had died shortly before 11 pm Monday from multi-system organ failure due to thermal burns from the explosion.

 

Ulerick was the owner of the popular Logansport restaurant Amelio's On The River. 

 

Logansport Mayor Chris Martin made a statement on his Facebook post about Ulerick and the impact he made on the Logansport community. 

"Paul was a towering figure in our community, heavily involved in local politics, at one point serving as the Chairman of the local Democratic Party.  Although we are of opposing parties, Paul's commitment to service and love for Logansport was never in doubt, and he will be deeply missed by so many who loved and admired him." 

 

The Indiana Department of Homeland Security said the Twelve Mile house explosion is still under investigation.

 

The Shook Shack opens in Kewanna

When David and Tarah Shook opened their new restaurant 'The Shook Shack' n Kewanna last week they did more than start a business, they followed a dream. 

 

Starting out in Culver with a food truck during the Covid pandemic, The Shook's jumped headfirst into the Kewanna kitchen the first chance they got. Making a new following has been easy in the 'Small Town With a Big Heart'. The Shook's say they are thankful for the welcoming community members.

 

With daily specials, David says meals at The Shook Shack resemble the same comfort food you may find at your grandma's house. 

 

The couple doesn't just have passion for cooking, they also have a passion for the community and giving back. Last year, The Shook Shack raised over $2,300 for local charities after donating all their funds from Thanksgiving meals served as $14 plates. 

 

 

For now, David and Tarah will be running 'The Shook Shack' by themselves and will be open five days a week. Their hours are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 6:00 am - 3:00 pm; Friday and Saturday from 6:00 am to 8:00 pm. 

 

The Shook's say they love the atmosphere of Kewanna and its farming community, which match their laidback feel and homestyle food and service. To them, it feels like home. 

 

Homeowners in Peru subdivision required to drain lake due to dam concerns

Homeowners in the Hidden Hills subdivision north of Peru are forming a conservacy district, after the Indiana Department of Natural Resources required the residents to drain one of its lakes due to concerns over its dam. 

 

The project follows a seven-year legal battle over who was responsible for fixing the structures. In 2013, the DNR sent letters to more than 20 landowners in the subdivision saying they had failed to maintain six deteriorating dams and keep them in safe condition.

 

Homeowners had argued the Miami County Board of Commissioners should be responsible since all six dams have roads running over them and were accepted into the county road system. The county argued homeowners were responsible since they owned the dams where the roads sat.

 

Last year the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled that the homeowners were fully responsible for dam maintenance. Now, homeowners are working with the DNR to make repairs to meet state standards on the structures.

 

The lake is located in the southwest corner of the subdivision and is currently around 15 feet deep. DNR said the homweowners will need to cut a breech into the earthen dam to empty the lake since a spillway was never constructed there. The breech will drain it to around three feet, preventing sediment from washing downstream. Only two homes from Hidden Hills are located on this lake. 

 

The homeowners are required to have the southwest lake drained by Dec. 30.  Following that, homeowners will need to hire engineers to begin repairing the other five structures. 

 

The developer of the subdivision has donated 35 unsold lots to the nonprofit nonprofit group Hidden Hills Lakes Preservation. Any money made on selling those plots will help pay for dam repairs and maintenance. 

 

The lots have so far generated around $160,000, which has been enough to cover all the initial costs associated with the projects.

 

Homeowners are in the middle of forming a conservancy district that will levy taxes on all the properties in the subdivision to fund the long-term costs associated with the dams. 

 

 

Weather

Obituaries

Entertainment