Indiana extends FAFSA filing deadline, encourages students to file ASAP

The original filing due date for the 2022-2023 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) was set for April 15, 2022. However, that is a national holiday and the offices will be closed. The Indiana Commission for Higher Education has extended the filing deadline to April 18, 2022.


Despite the extended deadline, students are encouraged to file at FAFSA.gov as soon as possible to ensure maximum financial aid consideration. As financial aid funding will only be available on a first-come, first-served basis following the April 18 extension.


State financial aid programs such as the 21st Century Scholarship and the Workforce Ready Grant require students to have a current FAFSA on file in order to maintain their scholarship and grant funding and the FAFSA is required for most financial aid programs.


The number of Hoosiers filing a FAFSA has steadily declined over the past several years. The overall FAFSA filing rate as of March 18 is down 15.2 percent from the same date in 2021. For the state’s high school class of 2022, the number of FAFSA filings is down nearly 3 percent. Each year, Hoosiers who don’t file the FAFSA miss out on millions in federal financial aid, including $65 million for the class of 2021.


“Filing the FAFSA remains the number one way for students to take advantage of the available federal, state and even some merit-based scholarships,” said Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education Teresa Lubbers. “The Commission and our college and community partners will be available in the weeks leading up to the April 18 deadline, helping students and families file the FAFSA and access financial aid.”


The Indiana Commission for Higher Education and INvestEd have partnered up to host two Facebook Live events to inform Hoosier families learn about the FAFSA and have a chance to ask questions. Families can log on to Learn More Indiana Facebook (facebook.com/LearnMoreIN)  on Saturday April 2, 2022 from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM and Wednesday, April 13, 2022 from 6:30 PM to 7:30 pm


The Commission  will be hosting additional FAFSA events around the state. A calendar of events is available at www.learnmoreindiana.org.

Michigan man arrested after being stopped for driving 111 mph in Fulton County

A Wednesday traffic stop by Indiana State Police Trooper Jesse Reason led to the arrest of a Michigan man.


Corey Bland Jr, 20, of Benton Harbor, Michigan,  was incarcerated in the Fulton County Jail to face criminal charges for dealing cocaine with enhancing circumstances (firearm), possession of marijuana, and possession of a handgun after being deemed a serious violent felon. Bland was also issued a citation for driving 111 miles per hour in a posted 60 miles per hour zone and driving a vehicle having never received a driver’s license.


The trooper initiated the traffic stop in the 9:00 am hour on a 2017 Ford Fusion, on U.S 31 near State Road 14, for allegedly traveling 111 miles per hour in a posted 60 miles per hour zone.    


In a subsequent search of the Fusion, officers allegedly found two handguns, cocaine, and drug paraphernalia,


Further investigation revealed that Bland has convictions for assault with a deadly weapon from Van Buren County, MI. This makes him a serious violent felon who is not allowed to possess firearms.

Legacy Christian Academy coming to Rochester this fall

Opening August 15, Legacy Christian Academy.


The school at 5288 North Old US Highway 31 is adding options to the community for education. 


Started by homeschooling moms, Shanna Hazen, Samantha Towne and Lisa Fear were looking for options locally, outside of the public school systems. 


After her two-year-old son's cancer diagnoses with stage four neuroblastoma in May of 2019, Shanna said her prayers not only helped in her son's fight with cancer, it also taught her the importance of faith and the community, which inspired the school.



After talking to her first cousin, Samantha Towne, things began to actually fall in place.



Samantha said it was like her prayers had been answered. 



The ball started rolling after the moms discovered the building of their future location, making dreams become reality. 


 Samantha says the staff, curriculum, and details for the school are still coming together for this fall. 



Legacy Christian Academy is currently accepting student enrollments for students K-12. The school will have an openhouse April 5 offering tours of the school ffor anyone interested in more information on the curriculum and enrollment. 




Fulton Co. Chamber of Commerce members vote on annual awards

Members of the Fulton County Chamber of Commerce are casting ballots for award nominees to be recognized at the 2022 Chamber Annual Community Gala.


The Gala is sponsored by Rochester Metal Products and hosted by the Fulton County Chamber of Commerce.


Chamber members must vote before Monday, April 4.


Among the nominees being considered:


2021 Fulton County Business Award Nominees

Organization of the Year

Open to both businesses and non-profit organizations, this award is presented to an organization or business in the Fulton County area with proven growth and stability, provides innovative products and services, and demonstrates economic support of the Fulton County area business community.


Brooch Boutique

Rochester Boat Company

Woodlawn Hospital


Business Professional of the Year       

This award is presented to an Individual who demonstrates growing excellence, creativity, and initiative in their profession, is engaged in the community, and shows a strong commitment to good business practices. This person serves as a role model for other professionals both personally and professionally and possesses vision and passion to mentor and lead others.


Pat Brown - The Recovery Cafe

Patience Hisey - The Outlet Youth Center

Brian Johnson - The Community Foundation

Erin Reason - Fulton County REMC



Emerging Business Award

Open to both for-profit and non-profit organizations, this award is presented to an organization or business established in the last 0-5 years in the Fulton County area that demonstrates growing success in community, and exhibits commitment to good business practices, community relations, and employee relations.


The Flagpole

OneEyed Jacks

The Outlet Youth Center







State Road 17 to be closed over Tippecanoe River

Indiana Department of Transportation contractor RAM Construction Services will close State Road 17 between C.R. 700 N and C.R. 600 N/Olson Rd on or after Wednesday, April 6.


The bridge over the Tippecanoe River will be closed through late April for a bridge deck overlay preventative maintenance project.


Motorists should seek an alternate route. 

LaCrosse man arrested for leaving scene of fatal Starke Co. accident

A LaPorte County man has now been arrested for leaving the scene of a fatal accident.


About 10:45 pm on March 14,  deputies from the Starke County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to the area of US 421 and County Road  500 S in San Pierre for a personal injury traffic accident.


Sherman Rhodes Berry, 35, of Hamlet, was pronounced deceased at the scene after life saving efforts proved unsuccessful.


The Starke County Sheriff’s Office says their investigation reveleaed that a 2003 Dodge Ram 1500 pickup driven by Travis Eugene Lynch, 38,  of LaCrosse, had been traveling southbound on US 421 near the 500 South intersection in San Pierre. A man, determined to be Sherman Berry, was in the roadway and Lynch didn’t have enough time to react to avoid hitting Berry. The front driver’s side of the truck struck Berry while he was on the roadway.


Lynch left the scene leaving Berry to be later found at the scene deceased . The Dodge truck involved in this incident was recovered at Paul’s Auto Yard in Westville.


On March 25, Lynch was interviewed by Starke County detectives and later booked into the Starke County Justice Center for one count of Leaving the Scene of a Fatality Accident - Level 4 Felony


The North Judson Police Dept, Indiana State Police, San Pierre Volunteer Fire Dept, Starke County Coroner’s Office, Starke County Prosecutor’s Office and Michiana Crime Stoppers were thanked for their role in handling the incident and investigation.


Hoosier Lottery announces resolution for $20 Golden Jackpot Fast Play launch

Tickets showing a winning combination will be paid in full.


The Hoosier Lottery announced Friday that it will honor claims filed for winning tickets of the $20 Golden Jackpot Fast Play game after completing its investigation of the issue arising during the March 20, 2022, game launch. 


Starting Monday, March 28, players will be able to complete one of two processes regarding $20 Golden Jackpot Fast Play tickets sold on Sunday March 20th. The processes are as follows:


If player Has a physical ticket: 

  • Fill out a claim form at HoosierLottery.com
  • Provide copy of valid Government Issued Photo ID
  • Present ticket at Lottery Prize Payment Centers or mail to: Hoosier Lottery Prize Payment, 1302 N. Meridian Street, Suite 100, Indianapolis, IN  46202.

There will be a process to review tickets and players will not leave with a check. If the ticket and claim form are valid, player will be mailed a check in the coming days.  


If player no longer has ticket:

  • Fill out an affidavit form at HoosierLottery.com
  • Provide a copy of valid Government Issued Photo ID 
  • Mail affidavit to: Hoosier Lottery Prize Payment, 1302 N. Meridian Street, Suite 100, Indianapolis, IN  46202.

Affidavit will be processed 180 days after the March 20 date the ticket was issued -- September 16, 2022. If a player's claim is determined to be valid, a check will be mailed shortly after affidavit processing.


"Throughout this investigation, it has been our main goal to identify the specific issue and provide a reasonable remedy for our loyal players," Hoosier Lottery Executive Director Sarah M. Taylor said. "We believe strongly in providing fun and entertaining games for our players. In this circumstance, the execution of the game did not rise to the high expectations we set for the Hoosier Lottery."


Players of the Fast Play game experienced difficulty confirming their winning tickets soon after the game's launch. Lottery officials immediately began an investigation and communicated with players to retain their tickets.


The Hoosier Lottery is also working with the gaming system vendor to prevent this issue from arising in the future.

Marshall County man accused of pointing firearm at officer

A man was arrested in Marshall County after allegedly distrupting an investigation by pointing a firearm at an officer. 


Police say the investigation started after a theft report was filed March 21 at the Marshall County Sheriff’s Department.  On Tuesday, March 22, an officer investigating the complaint went to the home of the suspect in the crime, Ralph Reed III.


During the investigation Reed allegedly pulled out a handgun, pointing it at the officer. It was reported that Reed did eventually disarmed himself and was soon arrested and booked the Marshall County Jail. His bond was set at $10,000 cash. 

Reed is facing preliminary charges of theft and pointing a firearm but is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.   

BBB releases study on cryptocurrency scams

The Better Business Bureau Serving Northern Indiana released a new scam study today: Cryptocurrency scams: BBB study finds lack of regulation and consumer education results in dramatic increase in fraud and financial losses.


The study examines the many facets of cryptocurrency and the variety of ways criminals are exploiting the cryptocurrency market to steal from investors and victims of common scams. Read the full study here.


Cryptocurrency is a form of digital money whereby encryption technology can enable anyone anywhere to send and receive payments. It does not exist in a physical form such as paper money, but as lines of computer code, supported by a decentralized computer system known as blockchain and stored in a “crypto wallet.” Bitcoin, developed in 2009, is the most popular form of cryptocurrency, available for purchase at tens of thousands of Bitcoin ATMs and increasingly accepted as payment in certain retail transactions. Ethereum is the second most common cryptocurrency and is centrally involved in the increasingly popular non-fungible tokens (NFTs), digital assets such as pictures or music that are purchased with cryptocurrency as an investment. Critically, cryptocurrency operates outside the traditional banking system and is not subject to the same protections as bank deposits or credit card transactions.


A Warsaw man reported receiving a WhatsApp message purporting to earn him 30% profit by trading crypto futures. The message directed him to a phony website requesting that he transfer money from his bank to the crypto exchange, then send the crypto funds to the phony website link.


“Once they get it, it’s gone,” the victim said. “Many people have lost thousands of dollars. Beware and never respond to WhatsApp chats from a stranger.”


Reports from victims of large financial losses to cryptocurrency related scams are skyrocketing. In 2021, BBB received more than 2,400 complaints with monetary losses of nearly $8 million involving cryptocurrency companies. BBB Scam Tracker reports about crypto scams numbered more than 1,200 in 2021 and likewise totaled nearly $8 million in losses. Scam Tracker reports to BBB tripled between 2019 and 2021, and reported losses tripled over the last two years.


Cryptocurrency has some key traits that make it attractive to scammers: It is relatively unregulated and difficult to recoup once lost; it is wildly popular, fueled in part by celebrity endorsements; and it is not well understood by the general public. The study states that the cryptocurrency market offers new opportunities for tried-and-true investment frauds such as Ponzi schemes and fraudulent ICOs (initial coin offerings), particularly given the development of new currencies and the lack of protections that government regulation has made available to more traditional investors.


BBB Scam Tracker data shows that cryptocurrency scams most commonly originate on social media, with the FTC noting that 25% of crypto fraud reported in 2021 began on social media. Scammers may impersonate a victim’s friends to tell them about their success in crypto investing, or they may make Facebook posts promising big gains.


Tips to avoid cryptocurrency scams:

  • Guard your wallet. If you buy cryptocurrency, the security of the wallet is of prime importance. If you lose the key, then your funds are gone permanently.
  • Look carefully at email addresses and website addresses. Phishing scams often try to trick people into logging in and then capture the log in credentials. Those then can be used to steal money. Looking for an exchange with an internet search engine may lead to fake sites which advertise and impersonate real companies. Be especially careful when viewing these on a phone.
  • Do not pay for products with cryptocurrency. Be careful if someone asks you to pay with Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency. No one with the government will ever ask for this form of payment.
  • Beware of fake recovery companies. Scam companies sometimes claim that they can recover stolen money – for a fee. These are usually scammers.
  • Watch out for fake reviews. Scammers often create fake reviews for their own companies.
  • Be wary of celebrity endorsements. It can be tempting to rely on a prominent figure who has invested in cryptocurrency. But those endorsements are often not authorized and even if they are, the celebrity may be paid for the effort and may not know more about it than you do.
  • Be careful about claims made on social media. This is the most commonplace for people to encounter investment scams.
  • Be wary of “friends” who reach out to you on social media and tell you how they made money with cryptocurrency. Accounts are frequently compromised. Call your friend by phone to see if it is really them.
  • Only download apps from Google Play or the App Store. Trusted app stores do not eliminate the threat of app scams, but they do offer a basic level of protection. Be careful with apps. Some contain malicious software.
  • Do not believe promises of guaranteed returns. No one can guarantee how an investment will perform.
  • Seek help and support. Cybercrime Support Network offers a free, confidential support program for romance scam survivors.

Depot in Akron moved to location for coffeehouse

Things are falling into place for the upcoming coffeehouse in Akron set to open in 2023.


On Wednesday morning the Akron community came together for the depot's big move from its former location on Front Street, to its newest location for  ‘The Grounded Coffee House at the Depot' at the intersection of State Road 19 & State Road 14. 


State Road 19 and Front Street in Akron were closed temporarily for the event, as spectators lined the street in anticipation for over an hour. Dozens of students from the Tippecanoe Valley School Corporation were also there to watch the historical event. 


Owner Lori Geiger says the future coffee house has been and will continue to be a whole community project and started with the people who built, worked at or passed through the doors of the Akron Depot, Atlantic-Chicago, Erie, Erie Lackawanna and Conrail railroads from 1883.



 Pike Lumber Co, the Akron Revitalization Committee and the Town of Akron were among those assisting to guide the depot off its foundations and across town. Geiger is thankful for the community, and hopes the coffeehouse is one more thing that will help keep the small town of Akron alive and thriving.



Two men face several drug related charges after warrant served on Rochester apartment

Two Rochester men have been arrested on drug charges by Indiana State Police.


Recently, a search warrant served by Indiana State Police troopers resulted in the arrests of Seth Newcomb, 24, and Lazarus R. Hernandez, 20, both from Rochester.


Approximately a week ago, Indiana State Police Trooper Jesse Reason initiated a narcotics investigation after receiving information about possible illegal drug activity occurring at 203 Northgate Circle, Apt. 105, in Rochester.  During the investigation, Reason applied for and was granted a Fulton Circuit Court search warrant for the Northgate Circle apartment.


On Monday, Trooper Steven Glass, with a team of state troopers, served the warrant and made entrance into the apartment. Inside they located Newcomb and Hernandez. During a further search of the residence, officers allegedly found approximately one pound of methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, THC vape cartridges, two long guns, $4,259 in United States currency, and numerous items of drug paraphernalia.


Newcomb and Hernandez were both incarcerated in the Fulton County Jail. Both men face criminal charges for dealing methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine, possession of marijuana, dealing cocaine, possession of cocaine, dealing heroin, possession of heroin, and possession of drug paraphernalia.


Dave Sommers named new commissioner for Fulton County

Fulton County has a new commissioner.


A Republican caucus was held Tuesday to fill the vacancy left by the departure of Commissioner Steve Metzger.  Commissioner Metzger stated that due to his growing business and busy family life he is finding it hard to devote the time he would like to the elected position.  His last meeting was February 21.


Chosen from among four candidates last evening was Dave Sommers of Kewanna.  Sommers serves as pastor at Fletchers Lake and Grass Creek United Methodict churches as well as District Sales Manager at Stine Seed Company.


Sommers has also worked with Caston schools and is a former cross country coach, now assistant cross country coach at Caston.

Police stepping up patrols to enhance school bus safety

Across Indiana, state and local law enforcement agencies will be out in full force to ensure that students remain safe when traveling to and from school. Over the next couple of months, officers will be positioned along bus routes and in school zones where they will be on high alert for stop-arm violations, speeding and other forms of reckless driving.

The overtime patrols are part of the state’s Stop Arm Violation Enforcement (SAVE) program and funded with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) grants administered by the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI).

“School bus safety is a shared responsibility,” said Gov. Eric J. Holcomb. “By following the law and taking some simple, yet necessary, precautions like slowing down and driving distraction-free, we can help ensure that every student reaches their destination safely.”

More than 200 police agencies will be participating in the spring enforcement campaign, as part of an ongoing effort to prevent reckless driving in school zones and around buses. Last year alone, more than 2,700 drivers were cited for stop-arm violations by Indiana law enforcement, according to ICJI.

To address this, officers across the state will be utilizing a range of enforcement strategies, from high-visibility patrols to having police spotters on buses. In most jurisdictions, tactics and routes will be decided in coordination with local bus drivers and school transportation officials, with efforts concentrating in the morning and afternoon hours.

“School buses have several highly visible indicators to let drivers know when to stop,” said Devon McDonald, ICJI Executive Director. “The only way you’re going to miss those—the activated stop arm and flashing lights—is if you’re on your phone or not paying attention to the road. That choice can be deadly.”

As part of the campaign, state and local officials will be calling on motorists to slow down, pay attention to the road and to never pass a bus that has its red lights flashing and stop arm extended. This applies to all roads with one exception. On highways divided by a physical barrier, such as a concrete wall or grassy median, only vehicles traveling in the same direction as the school bus are required to stop.

It’s also important when approaching a school bus to be prepared to stop. Plan ahead and factor in extra time during each commute for school bus stops.

“You’ll never regret playing it safe, but you will regret driving past a stopped bus and injuring someone’s child,” said Robert Duckworth, ICJI Traffic Safety Director. “These are people who have their whole lives ahead of them. No hurry is worth the possibility of robbing someone of their future or a family of their child.”

Disregarding a school bus stop arm is a Class A Infraction and a serious offense. Violators could pay a fine of up to $10,000, have their license suspended for up to 90 days (for the first offense) or up to 1 year (for the second).

Click here to learn more about the SAVE program or here for a list of school bus safety tips.

Grant to Fulton and counties in North Central Indiana region to enhance local ag opportunities

The Indiana Economic Development Association Foundation is pleased to announce that the US Economic Development Administration (US EDA) has awarded a $100,097 grant to assist four regions in Indiana increating a strategy to leverage each region’s agricultural assets.  The grant will fund implementation of the Rural Economic Development Model (REDM): a first-of-its-kind process developed in Indiana to assist rural communities in creating new economic development opportunities for Indiana’s farmers.


The US EDA grant will enable the North Central Indiana region, comprised of Cass, Clinton, Fulton, Howard, Miami, and Tipton Counties,to examine the agricultural output in their regions to identify opportunities for creating new markets, applications, or processing facilities that can enhance the local value of the agricultural output.  This will create new markets and income for local farmers, generate more local jobs connected to agriculture, and capture a greater source of revenue for the region’s communities.


The Rural Economic Development model was created as a collaboration between the Indiana Economic Development Association (IEDA), Indiana State Department of Agriculture and the Purdue Center for Regional Development (PCRD) with support from the Indiana Farm Bureau, Indiana Corn Marketing Council, Indiana Soybean Alliance and the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs.


"Agriculture will continue to be an important economic driver for the foreseeable future.  Fulton County is looking forward to working with the five other counties in our region to develop new opportunities for agriculture products produced and supplied within North Central Indiana," stated Tiffany Futrell, Interim Director of Fulton Economic Development Corporation.


The Rural Economic Development Model employs a proprietary technology developed by PCRD that enables counties and regions to examine the agricultural output unique to their locale, and then engages a local planning team composed of local economic development officials, farmers, and other local stakeholders to create and implement a plan to leverage local agricultural outputs, expand existing agribusinesses and attract new economic opportunities.


The 24-month process kicked off in the fourth quarter of 2021 and will be completed in July of 2023.


'KKR L&B Oasis' in Delong, new owners, same community tradition

Owners of the KKR L&B Oasis, formerly L&B Country Oasis, may be new to Delong, but the past month running the store has showed the Patel family the true meaning of community in a rural area, and they're embracing it.


Moving to Delong from Evansville, owner Junjal 'KP' Patel, says the store and the community is even better than he imagined it would be. KP plans to keep everything at the country oasis just as it was when the former owners Lynn and Bonnie Walters ran it, including the staff. 


The country store has a little bit of everything, from its famous fried foods, to necessities like toiletries, groceries and more.  Many in the area see the store as a something the locals depend on it without having to travel 15 minutes to closest town. 


KP says although their main goal is to keep it similiar to how L&B Country Oasis once was with the former owners, they do want to do a few upgrades. KP said he definately wants to be involved in the community just as the former owner had, and give back as much as possible. 



Man wanted in Cass County, possibly armed and dangerous

The Indiana State Police are searching for a wanted man previously arrested in Cass County for dealing in methamphetamine, a Level 2 felony.


Timothy Allan Johnston was able to post bond awaiting jury trial, but failed to appear for his jury trial. The jury trial commenced and Johnston was found guilty for dealing in methampheatmine, possession of methamphetamine and unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon. 


Although he has not been located by law enforcement at this time, Johnston was sentenced to 38 years in the Indiana Department of Corrections. 


Johnston, 52, is a white male who may have changed his appearance by shaving his beard and cutting his hair.


Anyone with information of the whereabouts of Timothy Johnston are encourage to contact the Cass County Sheriff’s Office at 574-722-6060 or leave a message for the Cass County Drug Task Force at 574-735-0325.

Rochester FFA to host consignment auction

The Rochester FFA is gearing up for its 29th annual consignment auction.  


The auction is on Saturday, March 26, at the Fulton County Fairgrounds.  It begins at 9:00 am.


Rochester Ag Advisor Justin Pearson says the advertising deadline for items has passed but they will still accept consignments up to the day before.



Pearson says the event is more than just agriculture.  There's a little bit of something for everyone.



He says it's a full day.



Olson Auctions will work the event again this year.







FEDCO stakeholder conversations vital to planning process

Fulton Economic Development Corporation (FEDCO) is excited to announce the launch of its Organizational Assessment and Planning project.  Beginning this month, FEDCO will be contacting various groups of its stakeholders to conduct listening sessions to determine community and business concerns, opportunities for growth, and what actions people would like to see for economic prosperity in Fulton County.


FEDCO will be engaging in a comprehensive six-month process that includes gathering stakeholder and community feedback, analyzing internal operations and best practices for economic and community development today, development of board and staff, and completing a strategic investment plan that provides organizational sustainability while responding to stakeholder needs.


When asked about the planning process, Interim Director Tiffany Futrell replied,  “We believe this is an important step as we re-imagine our local economic development model and respond to our community’s aspirations.  We believe community and economic health is most successful when the publicengages in a process that includes their thoughts and support ofefforts toward a progressive, vibrant future in Fulton County.”


FEDCO has contracted with Kimberly Pinkerton of Kimberly’s Business by Design, LLC to oversee the planning project which includes using the Harwood Model for civic engagement.  This model includes turning outward to our communityand engaging a wide variety of stakeholders in the process of community growth. Conversations are planned with businesses, organizations, government, the general public and more.  FEDCO encourages invitees to engage in this process by responding “yes” to participating in a listening session.  All data will be compiled and used for strategic planning within FEDCO as well asin discussions amongcommunity partnersto determine best courses of action in response to the aspirations expressed from these outreach sessions.


FEDCO’s current mission is to conduct activities as may be necessary or desirable to achieve economic prosperity and growth throughout Fulton County.  The organizational assessment and planning project is just one step in continuing to fulfill that mission. 


For more information about FEDCO, visit the website at www.fultondevelopment.org, telephone the office at 574.223.3326 or email tfutrell@fultondevlopment.org.      

Important information about pandemic-related emergency SNAP benefits

In March 2020, the U.S. government allowed the state of Indiana to issue “emergency allotments” to help Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program households during the COVID-19 pandemic. This allowed SNAP families to receive the maximum benefit allowed based on the number of people in the household. For many Hoosiers, this meant they received more SNAP benefits than they would have under non-emergency conditions.


Due to the end of the state public health emergency on March 3, 2022, and a recent change in Indiana law, the last month that Hoosiers will receive emergency enhanced SNAP benefits is May 2022.


Beginning in June 2022, the SNAP benefit amount a household receives will again, as it was before the pandemic, be based on eligibility factors – household size, income and allowable deductions.


Click here for more information on how the benefit amount changes during and after the pandemic.


For more information on the SNAP program, eligibility requirements, and how to apply, visit https://www.in.gov/fssa



Pandemic supply chains hampering Fulton County effort to get vehicles for sheriff, highway department

While it’s not leading the news so much these days, Covid and the pandemic are still having an impact.


Fulton County Commissioner Brian Lewis says supply chain issues continue to make it difficult to keep up with the rotation of cars for the sheriff’s department.



The Fulton County Highway Department is still waiting for trucks that have been ordered.



As for Covid testing, like actual Covid cases, the number is way down.



The county’s Covid testing site is now at 429 Apache Drive.


Logansport pre-teen charged in assault at sleepover faces additional charges from separate bus attack

Charges are growing for one of the pre-teens accused of brutally torturing a classmate at a 'sleepover gone wrong' in Logansport at the end of Feb.


Officials from the Cass County Prosecutor's Office confirmed a separate assault on a school bus was caught on camera and happened the same day as the nightmare sleepover incident. 


Video from the bus camera shows a young girl grabbing another student by the hair and repeatedly punching the victim in the head. 


The same girl accused in the bus attack also faces charges from a separate attack during a sleepover that include criminal confinement resulting in serious bodily injury, a Level 3 felony, intimidation with a deadly weapon, a Level 5 felony, and battery resulting in serious bodily injury, another Level 5 felony.


Due to the sensitive nature of the allegations and the ages of those believed to be involved, including suspects and the victim, police said they are not able to confirm specific details regarding what occurred. While police couldn’t confirm exact details of the sleepover incident, they did say it went beyond bullying.


Officers determined enough probable cause based on their preliminary investigation to arrest the two girls allegedly involved the day they were made aware of the incident.


According to those close to the victim and her family, the attack during the 'sleepover' was allegedly videoed and shared to social media. The recording showed the victim during the attack, who was held down for hours during the overnight stay. The victim received cuts to her face with a sharp object, had part of her hair shaved and was burned by a lighter. 


Officials are asking anyone who may have any additional information on these particular incidents to reach out to the Logansport Police Department.



Interra Credit Union miscalculated employee's overtime wage rates

At 18 locations across Indiana, a Goshen-based credit union failed to pay 34 mortgage loan advisors and mortgage loan originators the full overtime wages they were due.


An investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found that Interra Credit Union failed to include certain bonuses and commissions into the calculations of overtime pay for the affected employees. In doing so, Interra violated the overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act.


The mortgage loan advisors and mortgage loan originators received a salary plus commissions. However, they did not meet the minimum salary levels and duty requirements to be excluded from the employer’s overtime pay obligation as executive, administrative, or professionally exempt employees under the FLSA. Additionally, many of the mortgage loan advisors and mortgage loan administrators did not earn enough in commissions over a representative period to be exempt from the overtime provisions of the FLSA.  


The employer paid $18,906 in overtime back wages and an equal amount of liquidated damages for the affected employees. The employer also agreed to change payroll practices and comply with overtime regulations in the future.


“Our investigation of Interra Credit Union found systemic violations of overtime regulations. Failure to include bonuses and commissions in the calculation of overtime pay and misapplication of the regulations that allow certain salaried employees to be excluded from overtime pay requirements are among the most common violations we find,” said Wage and Hour District Director Patricia Lewis in Indianapolis. “Employers must ensure they understand the law and apply it correctly to avoid shortchanging employees of their hard earned wages.”  

INDOT reminds drivers of North Split closures ahead of Big 10 Championship

The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) is reminding motorists to plan ahead for travel related to the upcoming Big 10 Men's Basketball Tournament. Routes to Gainbridge Fieldhouse may be impacted by work being performed as part of the North Split Reconstruction interchange closure.


Exits currently open to traffic on the north side of the downtown inner loop:

  • I-70 westbound Meridian Street/Pennsylvania Street exit
  • I-70 westbound MLK/West Street exit
  • I-65 southbound MLK/West Street exit
  • I-65 southbound Meridian Street exit
  • I-65/I-70 C/D exit ramp to Michigan Street

Exits currently open to traffic on the south side of the downtown inner loop:

  • I-70 to West Street exit
  • I-70 to Illinois Street/Meridian Street exits
  • I-65 northbound to Washington Street exit

Southbound I-65 and westbound I-70 can be accessed from Washington Street.


Vermont Street is scheduled to close on March 14 for MSE retaining wall installation and will remain closed through late March. Throughout the duration of this closure, eastbound traffic will be directed to New York Street while westbound traffic will be rerouted to Michigan Street.


Other current closures include:

  • Alabama Street: Closed under I-65 between 11th and 12th Street through mid-March. Northbound traffic will be detoured up Fort Wayne Street to Central Avenue while southbound traffic will be redirected onto 16th Street to Central Avenue.
  • Michigan Street: Closed under I-65 between Davidson Street and Pine Street through mid-March. Westbound traffic will be detoured to Washington Street throughout the duration of the closure
  • Market Street: Closed under I-65 between Davidson Street and Pine Street through late-March. Eastbound and westbound vehicular and pedestrian traffic will be detoured to Washington Street throughout the duration of this closure.
  • 10th Street: Closed under I-65 and I-70 between College Avenue and Highland Avenue through mid-April. Eastbound and westbound traffic will be detoured to 16th Street throughout the duration of this closure.
  • Lewis Street: Closed between 13th and 16th streets through mid-March. Throughout this closure, vehicular traffic will be detoured to 13th Street, Roosevelt Avenue, Commerce Avenue and 16th Street. Bicycle and pedestrian traffic will be detoured to the Monon Loop.
  • Ohio Street: Closed under I-65 between College Avenue and New York Street through late-March. Eastbound traffic will be detoured to New York Street throughout the duration of this closure.

INDOT encourages drivers?to slow down, exercise caution and drive distraction-free through all work zones.? 


For up-to-date project information, visit northsplit.com or text “NORTHSPLIT” to 468311. Follow the North Split project’s progress on social media at:? 

Rochester's Smith Sawyer Smith Insurance phone number spoofed. warning public don't share info with robocalls

A Rochester insurance provider is notifying the public via social media that someone has spoofed their phone number


The Smith Sawyer Smith Agency posted on its Facebook page that it was brought to their attention that agency's phone number was being spoofed and used to send robocalls to the public asking for personal information for legal reasons.


This is NOT a legitimate call and is currently under investigation through RTC.


The Smith Sawyer Smith Agency urges the public to not share any information with the robocalls.

South Bend teens arrested in Miami County after fleeing in stolen car

A Monday vehicle pursuit led to the arrests of Tavonta Lawrence, 19, a 15-year-old boy, and a 16-year-old girl, all from South Bend. The 16-year-old and the 15-year-old were incarcerated in the South Bend Juvenile Detention Center. The 15-year-old boy faces charges for auto theft, resisting law enforcement with a vehicle, possession of stolen property, reckless driving, aggressive driving, and operating a vehicle without ever having received a driver’s license. The 16-year-old girl faces a charge for resisting law enforcement. Lawrence was incarcerated in the Miami County Jail on a criminal charge of resisting law enforcement. 


About 6:00 pm Monday, an off-duty Indiana State Police trooper reported a Jeep Cherokee  traveling on northbound U.S. 31, near Miami County Road 1400 South, at approximately 115 miles per hour in a posted 60 miles per hour zone. Trooper Kyle Miller located the Jeep near Miami County Road 500 South and initiated a traffic stop. The driver of the Jeep, later identified as a 15-year-old boy, allegedly failed to stop, and led Miller on a vehicle pursuit. The vehicle chase ended when the Jeep crashed into a ditch on U.S. 31 near Eel River Road.


Immediately after the crash, Lawrence and the 16-year-old girl emerged from the Jeep and fled on foot. The 15-year-old girl was captured immediately. Lawrence was taken into custody after Trooper Andrew Baldwin utilized his police dog, Mack, to track Lawrence’s location in a nearby wood line. 


There were no injuries in the crash.


During the investigation, it was revealed that the Jeep Cherokee had been reported stolen from Mishawaka. 


Rochester artist recognized, work displayed in Indiana State Treasurer's office

Rochester artist Julie Sutton was recently recognized as one the 44 women chosen as an Indiana Woman Artist for 2022, thanks to her infamous 'parking meter' painting. The painting, which has also been on display at the Fulton County Public Library last summer, will now be on display in the Indiana State Treasurer's office. 


The Hoosier Women Artists program was started in 2008 as a way to celebrate and further expand the important role arts play in their community. Female artists living in Indiana are encouraged to submit artwork for consideration to be displayed in the Statehouse office of a female elected official.


First Lady Janet Holcomb also selects pieces to be displayed in the Governor’s residence each year.


The program is a partnership between the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, Treasurer of State and the Indiana Arts Commission.



Julie, a retired dispatcher, served the Fulton County Sheriff's Department for almost 14 years. Although she has always been creative, having freetime the past six years has enabled Julie to be more passionate with her paintbrush. 


The antique parking meter was painted as a realistic replica of the parking meter given to Julie's husband by his ecclectic grandfather.  



Starting the painting last February, Julie had the piece finished by April, 2021. The timeline was a quick one, considering her other paintings can take anywhere from six to nine months. 



Julie and her husband Matt, who met in art class at Rochester High School, continue to inspire each other to create at their home they've dubbed 'Sutton's Burrow.'


Also, wanting to encourage and highlight art in the community, several years ago the Sutton's began doing a yearly donation of art supplies to Rochester art students. 



A Sunday Cass County tornado confirmed by NWS

An EF-0 tornado has been confirmed four miles southwest of Royal Center in Cass County from the early morning hours of Sunday, March 6.


Estimated peak winds were 70 mph and the path length was 0.5 miles.


The National Weather Service says the tornado briefly touched down south of the Cass County intersection of W CR 400 N and N CR 925 W causing damage to some trees as well as a house chimney.


The tornado moved quickly northeast and ripped off a enclosed porch from a residence at the intersection of W CR 400N and N CR 900 W, throwing it around 175 feet over the house.


Some trees were damaged on the property with a hanging shed door being blown off (east facing) due to intrusion of wind on the south side from a broken window and open door.


Vehicles in the shed were not damaged.


An empty silo to the north of the house was thrown along the road with debris into the adjacent field (this was straight line wind related). The debris ended out in the open field on the NE side of the intersection noted above. A pine tree on the SE side of the intersection was also snapped and thrown into this same field.

Schultz receives three years probation in plea agreement for involvement in conspiracy to commit murder at schools

A plea agreement reached nearly three weeks ago has been accepted by a Fulton County judge in the John Schultz trial.


The 20-year old Schultz was being tried for conspiracy to commit murder and several drug charges in what prosecutors called a planned Columbine style shooting of Rochester and Caston schools.


The trial came to a sudden stop during jury deliberations when an announced plea agreement was reached and sentencing was scheduled for March 7.  


It was announced Monday that Schultz will serve three years of probation for conspiracy to commit murder.  A violation of that probration could result in over 18 years in prison.


Defense Attorney Paul Namie spoke to the media following the jury trial.



Namie said that Schultz was happy with the outcome that results in, essentially, no jail time.



Fulton County Prosecutor Mike Marrs said the trial looked like it was heading toward a similar ending of the one in the summer of last year.





Miami Co. member of ISP honored for being Drug Recognition Expert

The Indiana Criminal Justice Institute recently honored a select group of police officers for their efforts in reducing impaired driving and making Indiana roads safer. The officers recognized, 22 in total, are part of the state’s Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) program.


One of the officers recognized was Miami County native Steven Glass. He is an eight-year veteran of the Indiana State Police Department and assigned to the Indiana State Police Peru Post. Glass, who has 552 operating while intoxicated arrests in his career was recognized for being a drug recognition expert for the past five years.


DREs receive specialized training to recognize impairment in drivers under the influence of drugs. Because of their training, they are often called upon by law enforcement to assist with traffic stops with the goal of keeping impaired drivers off the road.


In recognition of Indiana’s DREs, ICJI held its seventh annual awards ceremony in the Grand Hall at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.

People's Convoy passes through Indiana

“Let Freedom Roll,” the phrase seen on many a sign, truck, and tractor-trailer at the Ted Everett Farm Equipment lot, at 11998 IN-39, Monrovia, IN, where the Trucker Convoy had come to rest along their route through Indiana.


Visitors to this mini festival could be heard protesting with the truckers. Many stating they have the right to make their own choices. One woman, wishing to remain anonymous, compared it to the ‘my body, my choice’ abortion rights movement. She said if a person believes a woman has the right to choose what is okay for her body when it comes to pregnancy and abortion options, then women and men both should have the right to choose if genetic manipulator is injected into their bodies. Those in the crowd around her agreed with her statements, adding in their own similar thoughts.


During an announcement to a crowd of supporters, a man called out from a makeshift stage. “We stand with all freedom fighters. Whether they are Americans, our brothers and sisters in Canada, the Ukrainians, if they are fighting for freedom, we are standing with them.” Cheering erupted from the crowd.


There were vendors at the makeshift festival selling their wares; however, many were actually giving out food and American flags for free. Kerri Cruz [Pictured left; Debby Dyer on the right], in response to the question of why she wasn’t charging for her meatball subs, stated, “That is not what this is about. This is about freedom.” Her comment caught the attention of a retired military-turned-truck driver, who asked if he could hug the ladies.



The convoy left Monrovia Thursday morning. The convoy is heading to 64279 Wintergreen Rd, Lore City, Ohio. If you are interested in tracking the convoy, they will be taking I-70 E to 465 N to I-70 E to 270 S to I70 E to Exit #186.


You can also track their movement or donate to their cause by visiting thepeoplesconvoy.org.


Debby Dyer


Michael Ewaldt


Peru man saved from overdose, arrested on drug charges

The quick actions of Indiana State Police Trooper Andrew Baldwin, Trooper Dustin Powers, Miami County Sheriff’s Deputy Casey Bailey, and Converse Police Officer Troy Gornto most likely saved the life of a Peru man.

On Sunday afternoon the Miami County Central Dispatch broadcasted a welfare check of a man slumped over the steering wheel of his vehicle at the intersection of Miami County Roads 1350 South and 200 West. When officers arrived, they found an unresponsive male, later identified as Jonathan Reed, 29, of Peru, inside his Chevrolet Impala. Officers had to break out one of the Impala’s windows to gain access to Reed. Evidence indicates he was purportedly suffering from an opioid overdose.

Officers performed CPR and administered three doses of a lifesaving medication, reviving Reed. The medication administered by the officers blocks the effects of opioids and reverses an overdose. After receiving the medication, a person who has overdosed on opioids should begin to breathe more normally. It should become easier to wake them up.He was then treated by medics and transported to a Kokomo hospital.

Further investigation led Trooper Baldwin to deploy his narcotics detecting police dog, Mack, to conduct a free air sniff around the Impala. Mack indicated the presence of narcotics inside the vehicle.

During a search of the Impala, officers allegedly found methamphetamine, heroin, prescription medication, and a hypodermic needle.

Charges will be presented on Reed to the Miami County Prosecutors office for operating a vehicle while intoxicated, possession of methamphetamine, possession of a narcotic drug, possession of a legend drug, and possession of a syringe.

After his release from the hospital, Reed was taken into custody for allegedly violating the terms of his parole.

Missing man from Starke County found dead

A wheelchair-bound man who was reported missing in a Silver Alert out of Starke County Thursday  has been found deceased. 


The Starke County Sheriff’s Office reported Victor Greene, 66, of North Judson,  was found dead Friday morning after officers were dispatched to the 700 block of East Danker Street.


No foul play is suspected at this time.  Greene's death remains under investigation.