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WROI News Archives for 2022-05

A fatality in a Tuesday morning Fulton County car crash

A Silver Lake woman was killed in a Tuesday morning Fulton County single-vehicle crash.

 

The Fulton County Sheriff’s Department says personnel were dispatched to 610 South State Road 14 just before 10 am.  The driver of the vehicle, Brittany Scutchfield, 34, was entrapped and unresponsive.  Henry Fire extricated the driver and despite life saving measures, Scutchfield was pronounced dead at the scene.

 

Investigators determined that for an unknown reason Scutchfield’s 2021 Ford Explorer exited the west side of the roadway and struck a tree.  The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

 

Indiana State Police, Akron Police, Lutheran EMS and the Fulton County Coroner’s Office also assisted at the scene.

Silver Alert continues for Joseph Juday

A statewide Silver Alert continues for a missing boy in Cass County.

 

The Cass County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the disappearance of Joseph Juday, 12, a white male, 5 feet tall, 110 pounds, brown hair with brown eyes, last seen wearing a black hoodie, gray sweatpants with a black knee patches, and white hi-top tennis shoes.

 

Joseph is missing from Walton.  He was last seen on Saturday, May 28, 2022, at 2:45 pm. 

 

He is believed to be in extreme danger and may require medical assistance. 

 

If you have any information on Joseph Juday, contact the Cass County Sheriff’s Department at 574-722-6060 or 911.

Royal Center woman killed in Friday crash

A Royal Center was killed in a Friday car crash.

 

Just before 2 pm, officers from the Indiana State Police responded to a two-vehicle crash on U.S. 35 at Cass County Road 475 North.  The preliminary crash investigation revealed that Curtis Burke, 48, of Royal Center, was driving a 2002 Oldsmobile Alero southbound on U.S. 35 near Cass County Road 475 North. The Oldsmobile attempted to turn eastbound onto County Road 475 North, but pulled into the path of a northbound 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe driven by Megan Swisher, 32, of Galveston. The vehicles collided and came to rest in a wood line northeast of the intersection. 

 

Curtis and a passenger in the Oldsmobile, Anna Davidson, 53, of Royal Center, were flown from the crash scene, via medical helicopter, to a Fort Wayne hospital. Davidson succumbed to injuries sustained in the crash.

 

At the last check, Curtis was in critical condition.

 

Swisher and two juvenile passengers in the Chevrolet were transported, via ambulance, to Logansport Memorial Hospital where they were treated and released. 

 

The crash is still under investigation. Neither the use of alcohol nor narcotics is suspected as having contributed to the crash.

 

Man arrested on Fulton Co. theft warrant now faces several drug charges

A warrant served by Indiana State Police troopers resulted in the arrest of a Miami County man on drug charges.

 

Joshua Coman, 25, of Peru, was incarcerated in the Miami County Jail to face criminal charges for possession of a narcotic drug, possession of methamphetamine, possession of heroin, possession of syringe, possession of marijuana, and possession of paraphernalia.

 

Coman also had an active arrest warrant for theft, issued from Fulton County.

 

About 10pm Thursday, Senior Trooper Andrew Baldwin led a team of state troopers to serve Coman with a Fulton County arrest warrant at his residence on 2934 South Miami County Road 300 South, Trailer 170. Inside they located Coman and evidence of illegal drug use. Officers applied for and were granted a Miami Superior Court I search warrant for the residence. 

 

During a further search of the residence, officers allegedly found methamphetamine, heroin, marijuana, a syringe, and items of drug paraphernalia.

 

Shily Sloan, 28, who also lived at the residence with Coman, was issued a summons for possession of marijuana and possession of paraphernalia.

 

No serious injuries after crash on US 31 and Olson Rd

A two vehicle crash involving children happened Thursday on US 31.

 

The Fulton County Sheriff's Department was among the emergency personnel who responded around 2 pm at US 31 and Olson Road.

 

It was reported that a 2011 Chevrolet Equinox driven by Cassandra Reed, of Macy, was going east crossing US 31 and failed to yield at the median. The Equinox was struck on its passenger side by a 1995 GMC truck driven by Nelson Cox, 53, of Rochester.  Cox was northbound on the highway. 

 

 

Reed and her two toddlers were transported to Woodlawn Hospital and treated for non-critical injuries. 

 

Cox was arrested for a non-related charge and booked at the Fulton County Jail on a body attachment. 

Andi Lee and Wendy Zent receive Chamber Shining Star Award for splash pad

(Back row, from left, Ashley Zent, Ren Zent, Hannah Bahney, Whitley Moser, Cory Good, Andi Lee, Bill Morris, Wendy Zent, Jillian Smith, Tiffany Futrell, Brian Johnson, Taylor Showley, Cassie Peyton, Janet West and Jennifer Wilcox. Front: Addelyn Young, Amelia Bahney, Quinnley Zent, Marlee Bahney, Wiley Moser, Lera Moser.)

 

(From left, Wendy Zent, Tiffany Futrell, FEDCO Director; Jillian Smith, Chamber Executive Director; Andi Lee)

 

Sisters Andi Lee and Wendy Zent of the Wilson family were presented with the May 2022 Shining Star Award Thursday by Fulton County Chamber members. The award reflected their hardwork and dedication of making Rochester's dreams of having a splashpad come to life. 

 

 

Zent credited the idea of the splashpad to her granddaughter, who was happy to have gotten her request. 

 

 

The sisters, who recognized a need in Rochester for more kid-friendly activities, did the research and got the resources to do the project in time for its official opening Memorial Day.

 

The Rochester City Park Splash Pad will be open from 10am to 8pm daily, Memorial Day through Labor Day.  

 

 

The splashpad is still not complete. They eventually plan on installing a fence and picnic tables for the area. Anyone wishing to donate to the project can do so through FEDCO.  All checks should have 'Splash Pad' in the memo line. Contributions are tax deductable. 

 

 

Save A Lot in Rochester to close its doors for good Thursday

Save A Lot in Rochester will be closing its doors for the last time on Thursday, and according to store owner David Rhodes, its not something that comes as a shock to him or his employees. 

 

 

Also the owner to ParknShop in Culver and Save A Lot in Knox, Rhodes says being in the grocery business around big box stores isn't easy to compete with. The independently owned store in Culver has been in Rhodes' family for three generations.

 

 

Employees were offered a job at the Culver shop, but due to rising gas prices, not all employees jumped on board with the move. Rhodes says the closing of the Rochester Save A Lot will allow him to focus more on his two other stores that remain open. 

 

Community member takes initiative to organize parade for Rochester

Community member Ed Richard announced at the Rochester City Council meeting Tuesday, that he would be taking charge in organizing a future parade in Rochester that could come into play as early as 2023.

 

Richard plans to work side by side with community members, and is also volunteering to help during the Nickel Plate Music and Arts Festival this summer. With official dates, ideas and funds not quite laid out yet, highlighting Rochester and celebrating community is his main goal. 

 

 

Richard said a future parade would not only highlight Rochester, it would bring the community together. 

 

Boaters rescued from Speak Lake in Kosciusko County

Indiana Conservation Officers rescued three fishermen after their boat sank on Spear Lake on Sunday afternoon.

At approximately 3:15 p.m., Kosciusko County Dispatch received a call of boaters in the water and in distress. 

Conservation officers Nathan Hooley and Jordan Boggs responded within minutes. With the help of nearby boaters, they pulled all three anglers from the water. The three were transported to shore, checked out, and cleared by EMS.

Investigation showed that while one fisherman was trying to retrieve a fishing rod that had fallen in the water, the boat took on water and sank, and that the boat did not have the required Personal Flotation Devices (PFD) on board. By law, wearable PFDs are required for every person on a boat.

Conservation Officers were assisted by North Webster Police Department, Turkey Creek Fire & EMS.

Monthly event highlighting downtown Rochester tabled at Tuesday city council meeting

The Rochester City Council meeting had a full house Tuesday evening, as citizens voiced their ideas about events for downtown that could potentially enhance the community cohesion. 

 

Group members from the 2022-2023 Fulton County Leadership Academy made a request for the council to reconsider the current city ordinance 119.2, banning vendors and food trucks from city property. 

 

Inspired by surrounding towns hosting 'First Friday' events, the group presented the concept of a monthly event downtown, for a future project that could benefit the community by enticing outside visitors to explore what Rochester has to offer. 

 

The idea sparked a nearly 45 minute discussion between both community members and the council. Mayor Ted Denton said lifting the ordinance would be risky for downtown restaurants, who would be competing for food sales with outside vendors. 

 

 

Council member Ruth Gunter disagreed with a monthly event hurting downtown business. 

 

Gunter, who also owns Ruthless Bar & Patio and Evergreen Eatery, said attracting the event could potentially benefit the downtown businesses even more in the long run. 

 

Although not yet approved, the council agreed to table the decision until the Leadership Academy group can come back with more feedback from local business owners, and a detailed plan on location, times and funding that may be involved. 

Stellantis, Samsung SDI to invest over $2.5B in new EV battery manufacturing facility in Kokomo

Governor Eric J. Holcomb and Secretary of Commerce Brad Chambers Tuesday joined executives from Stellantis NYSE: STLA) and Samsung SDI to announce the joint venture’s plans to invest over $2.5 billion to build a new electric-vehicle battery manufacturing facility in Kokomo.

 

To support the operation, the companies will create 1,400 new, high-wage jobs in Howard County. This project will establish Samsung SDI’s first presence in Indiana and its first manufacturing operations in the U.S.

“It’s another incredibly exciting day to be back in Kokomo celebrating such a transformational investment from Stellantis and our new partners at Samsung,” said Gov. Holcomb. “Today’s announcement is another step toward positioning Indiana as a leader in the future of mobility, battery technology and clean energy.”

Stellantis and Samsung SDI will gradually invest over $2.5 billion to build a next-generation electric vehicle battery manufacturing facility in close proximity to the existing Stellantis facility in Kokomo. The investment could gradually increase up to $3.1 billion. Plant operations are expected to achieve an initial annual production capacity of 23 gigawatt hours (GWh), with an increase to 33 GWh over the next few years. The facility will supply battery modules for a range of electric vehicles produced at Stellantis’ North American assembly plants. Construction is scheduled to begin later this year with production operations planned to launch in the first quarter of 2025.
 
“Our goals for the growth of Indiana’s economy are ambitious,” said Sec. Chambers. “This significant venture with Stellantis and Samsung SDI is squarely in line with our 5E focus on the energy transition and building an economy of the future. Large-scale investments like this are a testament to Indiana’s business-friendly climate, its strong workforce, a growing population and our continued investment in quality of life. The economic growth and momentum in our state this year is unprecedented.”

“Just under one year ago, we committed to an aggressive electrification strategy anchored by five gigafactories between Europe and North America,” said Carlos Tavares, Stellantis CEO. “Today’s announcement further solidifies our global battery production footprint and demonstrates Stellantis’ drive toward a decarbonized future outlined in Dare Forward 2030. I am grateful to Governor Holcomb and Secretary Chambers along with Mayor Moore, and their teams as well as all my colleagues for their support and dedication to bring this operation to Kokomo, a city that holds a rich and long history for our company.”

Stellantis employs over 85,000 people across North America, including over 7,000 throughout its Indiana operations. Open positions will be posted online as they become available.

"We express our gratitude towards officials from the state of Indiana and Stellantis for supporting the final selection of the plant site in Indiana," said YOONHO CHOI, chief executive officer of Samsung SDI. "We have secured a solid foothold in a rapidly growing North American EV market through the joint venture with Stellantis. We will make sincere efforts to bring satisfaction to the market with top-class quality products in the future, and we will contribute towards meeting the climate change target."
 
Last year, Stellantis rolled out its Dare Forward 2030 strategic plan, the company plans to have global annual battery electric vehicle sales of five million vehicles by 2030, reaching 100% of passenger car BEV sales mix in Europe and 50% passenger car and light-duty truck BEV sales mix in North America. Stellantis also increased planned battery capacity by 140 GWh to approximately 400 GWh, to be supported by five battery manufacturing plants together with additional supply contracts. This announcement is part of the long-term electrification strategy to invest $35 billion USD (€30 billion) through 2025 in electrification and software globally.

With today’s news, Stellantis and its JV partners have committed more than $3.3 billion in Indiana in just the last two years. Stellantis announced plans in October 2021 to invest $229 million in its Kokomo operations to support its goal of achieving 40% low-emission vehicle sales in the U.S. by 2030, along with a $400 million investment, announced in 2020, to expand and retool its Indiana Transmission Plant II for production of its new GMET4 engine.

“We would like to thank our partner, Stellantis, for its continued investment, support and faith in this community for over 85 years,” said Mayor Moore. “We would also like to thank Samsung SDI for its confidence in us and look forward to working together for the decades to come. This multi-billion dollar investment will help solidify Kokomo as a global leader in automotive manufacturing.”
 
Based on the company’s plans to locate its operations in Indiana, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) committed an investment in the Project of up to $37.5 million in the form of conditional tax credits; up to $2 million in conditional training grants; up to $20 million in conditional redevelopment tax credits based on the company’s investment plans; up to $2 million to the local community from the Industrial Development Grant Fund to support infrastructure improvements; and up to $100 million in conditional structured performance payments and $25 million for site readiness to offset capital and infrastructure costs. The IEDC and other state financing authorities will also offer repayable financing support to the Project to aid construction and infrastructure. These incentives are performance-based, meaning the company is eligible to claim state benefits once investments are made and employees are hired and trained. The city of Kokomo, Greater Kokomo Economic Development Alliance Inc., Howard County, Duke Energy Indiana and Northern Indiana Public Service Company offered additional incentives.  

Starke Co. INDOT project scheduled to begin Tuesday, May 31

Indiana Department of Transportation contractor RAM Construction will begin work at the U.S. 30 and U.S. 35 interchange on or after Tuesday, May 31.

 

Both U.S. 30 and U.S. 35 will have alternating lane closures, with changing traffic patterns in the area through late July. Work will include a bridge deck overlay preventative maintenance project on U.S. 30 over U.S. 35, as well as repairs on U.S. 35 under U.S. 30.

 

One lane will remain open in each direction at all times.

Fulton Co. Commissioners clear way for RTC to establish broadband

The Fulton County Commissioners have opened the way for RTC to utilize broadband grants and increase broadband to the county.

 

Commissioner Brian Lewis.

 

 

In county highway news, Lewis says they bought back a truck that was totaled by insurance following an accident over the winter.  Lewis says the truck’s value in parts, including its bed, ,exceeded the insurance money that would have been paid on it.

 

Plus, buying new trucks these days can be challenging, and expensive.

 

 

Lewis notes crews are going to be setting up the communication hut at the new county jail leading to the tower being set.  Concrete foundations have been poured.

76 year sentence in Pulaski County murder

A Monticello man will serve 76 years in prison for the murder of William “Neil” Toosley.

 

Danny James Clark, 50, was found guilty last month by a Pulaski County jury of murdering Toosley in rural Medaryville in August 2018.  Evidence showed Clark violated a no-contact order by traveling to the home of a former girlfriend in northern Pulaski County. Clark told police that he waited in the empty house for two days.  When Toosley entered the home he Clark pointed a gun at him.  He then questioned Toosley, then ordered him to the floor and hit him at least five times in the back of the head. 

 

Clark then set the house on fire and stole the homeowner’s vehicle. 

 

Police arrested Clark in Louisiana about two weeks later.  He was found after he called a friend in Indiana.

 

Four of Toosley’s family members gave impact statements at the sentencing hearing.  They asked for the longest possible sentence.

 

The homeowner also explained that she still fears Clark and lost all her belongings in the fire.

 

Clark was convicted of several charges including murder, arson and abuse of a corpse.

 

“This sentence considered Clark’s prior conviction for domestic violence, the violationof the no-contact order, Clark’s extensive planning and preparation before committing the crimes, and his efforts to evade the law after he killed Neil.  The defendant’s acts were calculated, brutal, and 100% vindictive against the homeowner for ending their relationship,” said Pulaski County Prosecutor Kelly Gaumer.

 

“Clark had plenty of options that did not include murder or arson,” Gaumer continued.  “IInstead of taking any of those, he chose to bludgeon an innocent man.  Neil Toosley had no dispute with Clark and believed he was walking into an empty home to run an errand for the homeowner.”

 

Toosley, a National Guard veteran, would have been 46 years old if he was still alive today.

 

 

Lane closures upcoming for U.S. 35 in Cass County

A resurfacing project for U.S. 35 between State Road 18 and South Fork Deer Creek in Cass County will begin on or after Monday, May 23.

 

Road work will begin with shoulder closures for curb ramps and curb install. After that, the roadway will be reduced to one lane with flaggers directing traffic for resurfacing operations.

 

Work will be ongoing through mid-July.

Gypsy moth, now called spongy moth, aerial Btk treatments to continue next week

Aerial treatments conducted by Indiana DNR divisions of Forestry and Entomology & Plant Pathology to slow the spread of gypsy moth, now called spongy moth, in Marshall County will continue next week. Sites in LaPorte and Noble counties were completed, Thursday, May 19, 2022, but weather prohibited treatment in Marshall County. That 71 acres site will be completed next week as soon as weather permits.

Gypsy moth, now called spongy moth, is one of North America's most devastating invasive forest pests and has caused thousands of acres of defoliation across the eastern United States.

Treatment begins shortly after sunrise but could be delayed until later in the morning or to the next day due to unfavorable weather conditions such as morning fog or rain. Treatment should take about an hour.

During treatment, a yellow airplane flying 75-125 feet above the treetops will conduct the treatment, starting at sunrise and continuing throughout the day, as the weather and flight schedules permit. With favorable weather, treatments may be completed by late morning or early afternoon.


The airplane distributes a spray containing the bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki, referred to as Btk, into the treetops of infested areas where gypsy moth caterpillars feed on tree leaves. Btk kills gypsy moth caterpillars by disrupting their digestive systems after they ingest it.

Btk has been used for decades by gardeners and does not adversely affect people or animals. People who live or work near the treatment areas might want to stay inside when the planes are flying and for about 30 minutes after treatments are complete. This gives the material time to settle out of the air and stick to treetops. For more information on Btk, call toll-free at 1-866-NO-EXOTIC (663-9684) or call your county extension office.

If the weather cools and slows the emergence of the caterpillars, the treatment application could be delayed until the following week. Updates will be posted on Twitter @INdnrinvasive. DNR will also issue news releases to update the status.

Once treatment begins, rain or high wind may interrupt it for that day. If that happens, treatment would resume the next suitable day and continue until all sites have been treated.


To determine if your property is in the treatment areas or to view maps of all treatment locations, or for more information about gypsy moth, see gypsymoth.IN.gov.

RHS students protest reproductive rights Thursday

Rochester High School students with the High School Democrats of America raised their voices Thursday afternoon in front of the Fulton County Courthouse, in a protest for reproductive rights. The group also led a walk out demonstration at RHS on Wednesday and joined the thousands across the country taking to the streets over the supreme court's draft opinion, that would reverse the constitutional right for abortion. 

 

 

 

Among the students participating, RHS Junior Alayna Carpenter said standing up for what they believe in hasn't been easy among the other classmates. 

 

 

 

Leading the march of about a dozen supporters as they chanted downtown, RHS Junior Melody Hisey said despite the opposition, the fight is worth it. 

 

 

About a handful of locals also joined the students at the courthouse protest. Long-time activist Rita Cloud was one of those. Cloud, who participated in local protests in Rochester in the late 60's,  says she would have never believed that 50 years later women's freedom and rights would be threatened yet again. 

 

Miami Co. Solid Waste Management receives IDEM grant

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) announced recipients of the agency's Community Recycling Grant Program. IDEM awarded $465,068 to 18 applicants.

Community Recycling Grants are available to counties, municipalities, solid waste management districts, schools, and nonprofit organizations located in Indiana. The grants provide funding for projects that increase education and promotion of recycling, waste reduction, organics management (including yard waste management and composting), and household hazardous waste collection and disposal.

Among the agencies receiving funds:

:

  • Miami County Solid Waste Management District – $6,510


Grants are funded through IDEM’s Solid Waste Management Fund. Funds come from the solid waste management fee (IC 13-20-22-1). The fee consists of $0.50 per ton charge on solid waste for final disposal at Indiana municipal solid waste landfills and incinerators. None of the funding comes from tax dollars. 

 

 

Pursuit ends in ditch, arrest

A Leesburg man led Indiana State Troopers on a pursuit through a field before crashing into a water filled ditch on Monday night.

 

About 10 pm Monday, Trooper Matthew Drudge saw the driver of a 2017 Jeep commit a moving violation as it travelled northbound on SR 15 south of Leesburg in Kosciusko County.  Drudge activated the red and blue emergency lights and the Jeep pulled to the right and stopped near the intersection of SR 15 and Levi Lee Road.

 

As Drudge approached the Jeep on the passenger side he noticed the driver still had his foot on the brakes due to the brake lights being on.  As Drudge began to speak to the driver, later identified as Austin Zarse, 27 of Leesburg, another trooper stopped to see if Drudge needed assistance.  As the assisting trooper began to walk towards the Jeep, Zarse sped off northbound on SR 15.

 

Zarse led troopers and assisting agencies on a pursuit that continued northbound through Leesburg.  As Zarse approached CR 900 North, he took the pursuit off the roadway and began to drive westbound through a field.  Drudge followed Zarse through the field as he travelled northwest.

 

Zarse continued to flee until his Jeep ran down an embankment and into Coppes Ditch.  The Jeep became disabled and came to a stop in approximately three feet of water.  Zarse exited the Jeep and was taken into custody but not before he began dumping bags of an unknown substance into the water.

 

Zarse was medically cleared for crashing into the ditch and for being in the cold water. He was then arrested and transported to the Kosciusko County Jail for resisting law enforcement, obstruction of justice, and reckless driving.

 

The Indiana State Police was assisted by the Kosciusko County Sheriff's Office, Net-43, Milford Police Department and Crouse Towing.

Fulton County Bark Park holds opening ceremony Saturday

After three years in the making, the Fulton County Bark Park had its official opening day ceremony Saturday, at its location in the Richland Restoration Nature Park on 450 N, west of Old US 31 between New US 31. 

 

The new dog park came to the community as a group project by the Fulton County Leadership Academy 2019-2020 cohort. Not letting COVID restrictions retire the project completely, it was the groups determination, hardwork and serious love for animals that brought the Bark Park to where it is today. 

 

 

Support from various local businesses, Fulton County REMC Operation Round-up, Northern Indiana Community Foundation and the Fulton County Parks Department provided help in the land preparation, installation of two pavilions, concrete walkways, and walking trails. 

 

 

Group member Ashley Burrus said it has been an amazing journey to see the group's vision come together. 

 

 

 

The Fulton County Bark Park is now officially open to the public daily from sunrise to sunset, and offers 60 acres of recreational room, with two fenced in sides to keep small and large dogs seperate.

 

 

Among the community support the park has recieved, Nubiano's Pizza is donating 15% of all orders from May 17th and May 18th for the Fulton County Bark Park between 11am-8pm. 

 

Awakened Meadows Farmers Market and Crafts plans to breathe life back into Fulton

Wanting to reawaken Fulton and bring together a sense of community, Erik and Shaun Henderson-Vigil have always dreamed of starting their own local farmer's market in the small town that they love.

 

After a nearby property fell into their hands, the two are now making their dream a reality, with the grand opening of Awakened Meadows Farmers Market and Crafts, behind 251 Jefferson St, May 21-22 from 8:00 am - 5:00 pm. 

 

Shaun says their vision and purpose for the farmer's market is to highlight the small town and bring back more business to the area. 

 

 

The local community is already showing their support and excitement. 

 

 

Opening weekend now has 12 vendors, with the numbers rising almost everyday. The vendors range from a food truck, freeze dried candy, fresh farm eggs, tumblers, a spiritual life coach, handpainted glassware, goat dairy products and more.

 

Awakened Meadows is currently accepting more vendors. Shaun says they're hoping for more local products like fresh fruits and veggies in the future, to give it a more holistic feel.

 

Weekends after May 21-22 are $20 and include both days. Interested vendors are asked to call or text 765-398-2864, and can also find more about them on the 'Awakened Meadows Farmers Market and Crafts' Facebook page. 

 

 

USDA accepts 2 million acres in offers through Conservation Reserve Program General Signup

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is accepting more than 2 million acres in offers from agricultural producers and landowners through the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) General signup, which included more than 4600 acres in INDIANA. This is the first of the program’s multiple signups occurring in 2022. With about 3.4 million acres expiring this year, Vilsack encourages producers and landowners to consider the Grassland and Continuous signups, both of which are currently open.  

  

“Our conservation programs are voluntary, and at the end of the day, producers are making market-based decisions as the program was designed to allow and encourages,” said Julia Wickard, FSA State Executive Director in INDIANA. “We recognize the Conservation Reserve Program is an important tool in helping mitigate climate change and conserve natural resources, and this announcement is just the first opportunity for producers to take advantage of the program. Producers are still looking at options under the working-lands Grassland Conservation Reserve Program, the more targeted buffer-type practices under Continuous CRP, and partnership opportunities through the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP).  For farmers who have decided to return all or a portion of their land into production agriculture, USDA will also be reaching out to ensure they understand and can take advantage of options to either prepare the land for production or transition it to beginning farmers.” 

 

Producers submitted re-enrollment offers for just over half of expiring acres, similar to the rate in 2021. Offers for new land under General CRP were considerably lower compared to last year’s numbers, with fewer than 400,000 acres being offered this year versus over 700,000 acres offered last year. 

 

It is important to note that submitting and accepting a CRP offer is the start of the process, and producers still need to develop a conservation plan before enrolling their land on October 1, 2022. Each year, during the window between offer acceptance and land enrollment, some producers change their mind and ultimately decide not to enroll some accepted acres without penalty.

 

The three other types of CRP—Grasslands, Continuous, and CREP—are still available for either working-lands or targeted, often smaller sub-field, offers. Producers have submitted offers on nearly 260,000 acres through the Continuous and CREP signup so far this year. The Grassland signup – which last year had its highest participation ever – closes May 13, 2022. 

 

General CRP Signup 

 

The General CRP Signup 58 ran from Jan. 31 to March 11, 2022.  

 

Through CRP, producers and landowners establish long-term, resource-conserving plant species, such as approved grasses or trees, to control soil erosion, improve soil health and water quality, and enhance wildlife habitat on agricultural land. In addition to the other well-documented benefits, lands enrolled in CRP are playing a key role in climate change mitigation efforts across the country.  

 

In 2021, FSA introduced improvements to the program, which included a new Climate-Smart Practice Incentive to increase carbon sequestration and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This incentive provides a 3%, 5% or 10% incentive payment based on the predominant vegetation type for the practices enrolled – from grasses to trees to wetland restoration.  

 

More Information 

While the General Signup is closed, producers and landowners can still apply for the Continuous and Grassland signups by contacting their local USDA Service Center.? 

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Signed into law in 1985, CRP is one of the largest voluntary private-lands conservation programs in the United States. It was originally intended to primarily control soil erosion and potentially stabilize commodity prices by taking marginal lands out of production. The program has evolved over the years, providing many conservation and economic benefits.?Learn more at fsa.usda.gov/crp.?? 

Governor Eric Holcomb directs flags to be flown at half-staff

Governor Eric J. Holcomb is directing flags in the State of Indiana to be flown at half-staff in remembrance of the one million American lives lost to COVID-19.

 

Per President Biden's order, flags should be flown at half-staff immediately until sunset on Monday, May 16.

 

Gov. Holcomb is asking businesses and residents in Indiana to lower their flags.

Indiana State Police Peru Post holds annual memorial service

An inscription on the memorial stone in front of the Indiana State Police Peru Post reads, “We Will Remember Them”. On Wednesday that promise was kept when local law enforcement officers, retired state police employees, local government officials, and family members of the fallen joined employees from the Indiana State Police Peru Post as they paid tribute to the 47 Indiana State Police employees who have died in the line of duty since the department’s inception in 1933.

 

Since the early days of the Indiana State Police, memorial services have been held at all Indiana State Police Post during the month of May The memorial services are a way of paying tribute and remembering the ultimate sacrifice paid by state police employees who died while serving and protecting the citizens and visitors of Indiana. The services are also for the family members of the fallen heroes. The memorial services let the families of the fallen know that the sacrifice made by them, and their departed loved ones will never be forgotten.

 

Today’s service started with troopers standing at attention as Captain Jeremy Kelly, Area I commander for the Indiana State Police, read a roll call of the fallen employees. Lieutenant T.J. Zeiser, commander of the Indiana State Police Peru Post, provided a brief description of what lead to the fallen employees’ final call.

 

 

The solemn ceremony ended with the playing of Taps by a bugler.

 

Four troopers from the Indiana State Police Peru Post have died in the line of duty:

 

  • Sergeant Glen R. Hosier died April 26, 1971, of a gunshot wound he received while leading officers up the staircase of a Miami County home. He was attempting to arrest a murder suspect. 
  • Trooper Robert J. Lather II died July 6, 1982, in an automobile crash on U.S. 31 in Miami County. He was assisting the Howard County Sheriff’s Department in pursuit of a traffic violator. 
  • Master Trooper Detective David E. Rich died July 5, 2007, of a gunshot wound he received when a motorist he stopped to assist opened fired on him as he approached a disabled vehicle on U.S. 24 in Wabash County. 
  • Trooper Daniel R. Barrett died January 27, 2008, while attempting to catch a speeding vehicle on U.S. 31 in northern Fulton County. His police car left the roadway and struck a tree, killing the trooper instantly.

For a complete listing of Indiana State Police employees who died in the line of duty, visit the Indiana State Police website at www.in.gov/isp.

DNR LE hosts recruiting event on May 19 for District 1

DNR’s Division of Law Enforcement will host a conservation officer recruiting event on May 19 for District 1, which includes Elkhart, Fulton, Kosciusko, Marshall, Miami, St. Joseph, and Wabash counties.

 

Elkhart and St. Joseph counties currently have conservation officer vacancies.

 

The event will be at Potato Creek State Park, located at 25601 State Road 4 in North Liberty, at 6:30 p.m. 

 

Anyone interested in becoming an Indiana Conservation Officer is encouraged to attend.  The event will cover critical portions of the 2022 Indiana Conservation Officer hiring process, including duties of a conservation officer, preparation for the written exam, preparation for core values training, and physical agility testing requirements.

 

Conservation officers are eligible for a variety of benefits, including take-home vehicle; cellphone and computer; all necessary equipment to perform job tasks; comprehensive medical, dental and vision coverage; paid vacation; holidays and comp time; scheduling allocations; and three paid hours per week to maintain physical fitness. Salary for second-year conservation officers is $56,271.

 

To see if you qualify to be an Indiana Conservation Officer and to complete the pre-screen exam, see on.IN.gov/dnrlaw and click on Become a Conservation Officer.

Kokomo couple arrested after school reports child bruised and malnourished

A Kokomo couple was arrested recently on charges of child abuse, after a nine-year-old girl was reported by the school to be neglected to the point of being malnourished, with bruises all over her body. 

 

The girl, who weighed just 48.5 pounds, was taken to a local hospital by school officials where Kokomo Police detectives then began the investigation. According to the affidavit, along with the bruises, the child reportedly had several bones protruding, and appeared unbathed with stained, dirty clothing.  

 

The child confided in an Indiana Department of Child Services worker that both Seats and Smith took turns beating her with a belt. She also stated Seats grabbed her by her throat to choked her and held her against a wall. It was reported Seats also had also slammed her head into a door, and scared her to the point she urinated after he threatened to hit her in the head with a hammer. 

 

According to the affiavit, a medical examination reported bruises and abrasions on both of the girl's knees, her right and left thighs, right hip and stomach area, her chin and several bruises on her neck. Kokomo Police took Tracy A. Seats, 32, the girl's father, and Amy D. Smith, 38, into custody. Both Seats and Smith face charges of one count each of domestic battery with serious bodily injury, neglect of a dependent resulting in serious bodily injury and domestic battery with bodily injury.

 

Seats was previously charged with neglect in 2019 on a seperate investigation. He originally spoke with an officer and commented on the bruises, but later changed the story and stated he did not know anything about them. 

 

Seats faces additional charges with intimidation using a deadly weapon and strangulation. All charges are felonies. The couple is scheduled to appear before a jury in the Howard Superior Court September 30.

 

Husband and wife who conspired with Subway spokesperson Jared Fogle to sexually exploit children sentenced to federal prison

Russell Taylor, 50, Indianapolis, and his ex-wife, Angela Taylor (now known as Angela Baldwin), 40, Connersville, were sentenced today, ending a years-long child exploitation investigation into a conspiracy that involved Taylor, Baldwin, and Jared Fogle. Taylor was sentenced to 27 years in prison and Baldwin was sentenced to over 33 years in prison.

 

According to Court documents, the investigation into Taylor, Baldwin, and Fogle began in 2014, when an acquaintance of Taylor and Baldwin contacted the Indiana State Police to report that Taylor had offered to send her child sexual abuse material. In 2015, a search warrant was executed at the home that Taylor and Baldwin shared. Child sexual abuse material was discovered on multiple electronic devices and law enforcement officers concluded that there were likely hidden cameras in the house.

 

Taylor and Fogle were both charged, pled guilty, and convicted in 2015. Taylor appealed, and his conviction was vacated in 2020. During the subsequent re-investigation, investigators discovered evidence that implicated Baldwin, and she was charged with production of child sex abuse material, possession of child sex abuse material, and conspiracy to produce child sex abuse material.

 

According to court documents, between 2011 and 2015, Taylor and Baldwin worked together and with other individuals, including Jared Fogle, to produce, possess, and distribute child sexual abuse material. Taylor and Baldwin placed hidden cameras in their house to secretly record minor children fully nude and/or engaging in sexual activity. In addition to viewing the hidden camera footage, Taylor and Baldwin also distributed the sexually explicit images and videos to each other, to Fogle, and to other members of the conspiracy.

 

Taylor, who pled guilty in June 2021 to multiple offenses, including 24 counts of producing child sexual abuse material, was sentenced today to 324 months in federal prison.

 

Baldwin, who was convicted by a jury in October 2021 of two counts of production of child sexual abuse material, one count of conspiracy to produce child sexual abuse material, and one count of possession of child sexual abuse material, was sentenced to 400 months in federal prison.

 

“The Taylors have finally been held accountable for their years of heinous sexual exploitation of children,” said U.S. Attorney Zachary A. Myers. “Child sexual abusers must be held accountable for the lifelong impact of these crimes on survivors and their families. The prosecutors, investigators, and analysts of Indiana’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force will not relent in our mission to protect children from these offenders. I commend all of the dedicated professionals who fought to take these child predators out of our community and help to bring justice to their victims.”

 

“This case demonstrates the never-ending commitment of the FBI and our law enforcement partners to seek justice for the victims of child sexual abuse,” said FBI Indianapolis Special Agent in Charge Herbert J. Stapleton. “Russell Taylor and Angela Baldwin not only abused children by producing child sexual abuse material in their home, but also re-victimized children over and over again by contributing to the distribution of these images.  Sentences like this one send a clear message that adults who participate in this type of despicable abuse will be held responsible for their actions.”

 

“The collaborative work performed by the Indiana State Police, Indiana Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and our federal law enforcement partners helped to bring to justice those who sought to perpetuate the victimization of children”, said Indiana State Police Superintendent Douglas G. Carter.  “And for that, I am so proud and grateful for their tireless efforts.”

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force investigated the case. The sentence was imposed by U.S. District Chief Judge Tanya Walton Pratt. As part of the sentence, Judge Pratt ordered that Taylor and Baldwin be supervised by the U.S. Probation Office for life following their release from prison. Taylor and Baldwin will also be required by law to register as a sex offender wherever they live, work, or go to school.

 

U.S. Attorney Myers thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kathryn E. Olivier and Bradley P. Shepard who prosecuted this case.

 

Indiana Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force is a partnership of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies led by the Indiana State Police. The Task Force is dedicated to investigating and prosecuting crimes involving the technology-facilitated sexual exploitation of children and the trafficking of child sexual abuse material. Each year, Indiana ICAC investigators evaluate thousands of tips, investigate hundreds of cases, and rescue dozens of children from ongoing sexual abuse. In fiscal year 2019, the most recent year for which data is available, the Southern District of Indiana was second out of the 94 federal districts in the country for the number of child sexual exploitation cases prosecuted.

 

Additionally, this case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc

Portions of Marshall Co. included in gypsy moth spraying

Aerial treatments conducted by DNR’s Division of Entomology & Plant Pathology and Division of Forestry to slow the spread of spongy moth, which used to be called gypsy moth, in selected areas of Marshall, Noble, and LaPorte counties could begin the week of May 16, weather permitting.

Spongy moth is one of North America's most devastating invasive forest pests and has caused thousands of acres of defoliation across the eastern United States.

Treatment begins shortly after sunrise but could be delayed until later in the morning or the next day due to unfavorable weather conditions like morning fog or rain. Treatment should take about an hour.

A yellow airplane flying 75-125 feet above the treetops will conduct the treatment starting at sunrise and continuing throughout the day as weather and flight schedules permit. Treatments may be completed by late morning or early afternoon.

The airplane distributes a spray containing the bacteria referred to as Btk, into the treetops of infested areas where spongy moth caterpillars feed on tree leaves. Btk kills spongy moth caterpillars by disrupting their digestive systems after they ingest it.

Btk has been used for decades by organic gardeners and does not adversely affect people or animals. People who live or work near the treatment areas might want to stay inside when the planes are flying and for about 30 minutes after treatments are completed. This gives the material time to settle out of the air and stick to treetops. For more information on Btk, call toll-free at 1-866-NO-EXOTIC (663-9684) or call your county extension office.

If the weather cools and slows the emergence of the caterpillars, treatment application could be delayed until the next week. Updates will be posted on Twitter @INdnrinvasive. DNR will also issue news releases to update the status. Once treatment begins, rain or high wind may interrupt it. If that happens, treatment would resume the next suitable day and continue until all sites have been treated.

To determine if your property is in the treatment areas, to view maps of all treatment locations, or for more information about spongy moth, see 
gypsymoth.IN.gov.

 

Dedication ceremony honors memory of Terry Moore Friday at the Fulton County Community Center

The Fulton County Community Center activity room was a full house Friday afternoon, during the dedication ceremony honoring the memory of Terry Moore.

 

The activity room at the center was renamed the 'Terry Moore Memorial Activity Room' in honor of the decades she spent working on the vision and development of the Fulton County Community Center. 

 

During the ceremony Mayor Ted Denton, family and friends spoke of the Rochester legend, who was the backbone and drive to the Community Center's growth since its small start in 1990. 

 

 

Terry was known for her big heart that she wore on her sleeve for the community she was born and raised in. Her husband, Joe Moore, ended the ceremony with a speech dedicated to his late wife, that left the crowd rolling in emotions. 

 

Terry and Joe recieved the 2016 Community Service Award. The couple's love for helping people and giving back to the community stretched far. It was Terry's unconditional love however, that stretched even further than Joe's comfort zone sometimes.  Her passion for giving outshown his concern for others using his wife's kindness as weakness. 

Compared to the famous Mother Theresa, Terry was said to know no stranger. 

 

 

Winamac Coil Springs Gene Huber Jr. becomes president of multinational organization

Gene Huber Jr. is leading a multinational association in his Indiana field of expertise.

 

Winamac Coil Springs, a spring company located in Winamac and Kewanna, is one of the largest single location spring companies in the United States. A leading manufacturer of compression, extension single and double torsion springs, and wireforms, the company still continues to grow, putting rural Indiana on the map. 

 

Wanting to not only improve and grow his own company, but also help other companies, WCS Executive Vice President Gene Huber took a step up in the spring industry by recently becoming president for the Spring Manufacturers Institute, an international organization for spring makers.  

 

 

 

The Spring Manufacturers Institue is an association of multinational spring companies and wire formers from all over the world including most of North America, the Japanese Federation, the European Federation and Asian Federation.

 

 

Learning, collaberating and continuing to grow is Huber's biggest goal with not only this new position, but also his position at WCS in Kewanna. 

 

 

Kathy's Ice Cream, Coffee and Sweet Shop brings a sweet addition to Kewanna

Kewanna building owner Norman Ray's vision has turned into reality after officially opening Kathy’s Ice Cream, Coffee and Sweet Shop in downtown Kewanna last month. 

 

Norman, who's had a passion for remodelling homes in the past, saw potential in the building that's been everything from a beauty shop to a knick-knack store. When the previous owners talked about tearing it down in 2015, Norm jumped at the chance to help save the building. 

 

Inspired by the nostalgic soda shops from his time, Norm hopes the store will help bring back life to the once vibrant Kewanna. 

 

 

 

Managed by his daughter Kathy Sellers, the sweet tooth to Kewanna is open Monday to Wednesday from 12pm-7pm, although hours may extend this summer.

On top of the sweets and retro atmosphere, they also serve pizza, nachos, chili dogs and other snacks. The father-daughter duo said so far local support and reaction has been a positive one. 

 

 

 

Indiana State Police Master Trooper arrested on battery charge in Miami Co.

An Indiana State Police investigation has led to the arrest of Master Trooper Michael Meiser.  Meiser, 43, was booked into the Miami County Jail to face a misdemeanor charge of battery. He has since posted bond. 

 

Recently, the Indiana State Police launched a criminal investigation after receiving information that Meiser had purportedly committed battery against an Indiana State Police employee. 

 

During the investigation, enough probable cause was developed for a Miami Superior Court II arrest warrant to be issued. Thursday, at 1:15 pm, Meiser was taken into custody and transported to the Miami County Jail.

 

Meiser is a 16-year-veteran of the Indiana State Police Department. He is currently assigned administrative duties until the completion of the criminal case and an Indiana State Police internal investigation. 

 

 

Taillights led to traffic stop and drug arrest

Failed taillights led to the arrest of two men on drug charges.

 

A recent traffic stop by Indiana State Police led to the arrests of Richard Egan, 27, of Indianapolis, and Dylan Whitlow, 23, of Greenwood. Both were incarcerated in the Miami County Jail to face criminal charges for dealing marijuana and possession of marijuana. Egan faces additional charges for possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. 

 

The traffic stop was made on a Honda Civic, on U.S. 31 near State Road 218 for not having its taillights illuminated.  During the traffic stop, Egan was the driver. While Trooper Wilkison was speaking to Egan, he allegedly smelled the odor of marijuana emitting from the vehicle. 

 

During a subsequent search of the Honda, officers allegedly found psilocybin mushrooms, approximately two pounds of marijuana, 450 containers of suspected THC wax, 72 wrapped marijuana edibles, drug paraphernalia, and approximately $ 15,000 in United States currency. 

Fulton County asked about housing inmates by western Indiana county

Fulton County’s new jail may soon see some new occupants from out of town.

 

Fulton County Commissioner Bryan Lewis says they have been contacted by Vermilion County in western Indiana.  Vermilion County is in the midst of a planned remodel of its jail facilities and is trying to find space for prisoners to be re-located during that project.

 

 

In area roads work, Fulton County is going to work with the City of Rochester on a culvert project.

 

 

Aside from that, county highway is handling some of the usual road maintenance that crops up this time of year.

 

 

Back to the new Fulton County Jail site, Lewis noted good news in the extended wait to move communications to the site.  He noted foundations are finally in for the tower which he hopes can also be set soon.  He hopes it could be operational in the next two months.

 

Once communications / 911 is moved out of the old facility the county can look to move probation into the old sheriff’s site.

Fulton County Primary Election Results

Fulton County Primary  Election had 2,811 of 12, 072 or 23.29% of registered voters turn out.

 

Sheriff

Heishman 1,338

Craig 725

Sumpter 487

 

Assessor

Hensley 1,307

Becker 1,055

 

Commissioner District 2

Lewis 1,445

Cowles 1,035

 

County Council District 4 

Gundrum 478

Denton 356

 

Newcastle Township Trustee

Leininger 123

Clennon 50

 

Henry Township Trustee

Paxton 179

Woodruff 78

 

 

 

Fulton County vote centers accepting voters thru 6pm

Fulton County's vote centers are open until 6:00 pm for voting on this Primary Election Tuesday.

 

Fulton County residents may vote at any of the vote centers.

 

Locations include:

 

Fulton County Fairgrounds, 1009 W 3rd St., Rochester

 

Community Resource Center, 625 Pontiac St, Rochester

 

Akron Community Building, 815 E Rural St., Akron

 

Fulton Community Building, 204 E Dunn St., Fulton 

 

Fulton County Historical Museum, 37 E 375 N, Rochester

 

Kewanna Fire Station, 404 Toner St, Kewanna

 

Argos company named Family-Owned Small Business of the Year

Governor Eric J. Holcomb issued a proclamation declaring May 1 – 7 as Small Business Week in Indiana, celebrating the more than 529,000 small businesses in Indiana and the more than 1.2 million hardworking Hoosiers they employ.


The Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) will recognize eight Hoosier small businesses that have worked with the Indiana Small Business Development Center (SBDC), a program of the IEDC, to start, grow or pivot their small businesses.

These awards, presented in conjunction with the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) National Small Business Week, honor the entrepreneurs' and small businesses' achievements and contributions to grow Indiana’s economy and strengthen communities across the state. 
 
The 2022 honorees include:  

 

Family-Owned Small Business of the Year: AMERI-CAN Engineering (Argos)

Founded in 1988, AMERI-CAN Engineering is a third-generation, family-owned business that manufactures specialty sanitation trailers. In 2005, AMERI-CAN Engineering founders, Gladys and Ron Bird, were awarded The Andy Gump Award, the most prestigious honor within the portable sanitation industry.

 

Located in Argos, AMERI-CAN Engineering manufactures trailers that are distributed throughout the world. 

Fulton County Chamber of Commerce accomplishments of award winners at gala

The Fulton County Chamber of Commerce would like to extend a “Thank You!” to event sponsor Rochester Metal Products for supporting our annual meeting as well as our entertainment sponsor Duke Energy.

 

Thank you to our community award sponsors that help make this event possible: Fulton Economic Development, Lake City Bank, and WROI 92.1 Giant FM. Thank you to Mart Smith and his selection team for presenting the Community Service Award.

 

We received several deserving nominations for the community awards this year and had the opportunity to recognize and honor qualifying nominees by turning the voting over to chamber members. 

 

The Organization of the Year Award is presented to an organization or business in the Fulton County area with proven growth and stability, provides innovative products or services, and demonstrates economic support of the Fulton County area business community. The nominees for 2021 Organization of the Year include: Brooch Boutique, Rochester Boat Company, and Woodlawn Hospital. 

 

Brooch Boutique is a women’s clothing boutique that offers a variety of gifts, accessories, and footwear. In the last 5 ½ years, Brooch Boutique has expanded from a small brick-and-mortar location attached to an already existing business to an additional three storefronts, an e-commerce platform, and a robust mobile app. Now they are building a 3200 square foot addition to the Rochester location, of which 1600 square feet will be used to accommodate growing shipping and receiving departments. 

 

Rochester Boat Company is a family-owned business founded in 2009 by Lisa and Shane Reffett to meet their need of installing a lift and pier at their home on Lake Manitou. Since then, Rochester Boat Company merged with and purchased several pier/lift services on the lake, acquired a Shore Station franchise, utilize three boat storage buildings in Rochester, built a wash bay for detailing boats and other vehicles, and established a design service for piers and lifts. 

 

Woodlawn Hospital is an integral part of our community’s healthcare system and one of Fulton County’s largest employers. The hospital invested in purchasing the da Vinci robot for Gynecologic and General Surgery.  More recently, the Robotic Orthopedic Surgical Assistant robot, known as ROSA, was purchased and has nearly eliminated the need for a hospital stay for many patients. In 2021, Woodlawn Hospital received a 4-Star Rated Top Hospital in Indiana by Medicare.gov and was designated ‘Safe Sleep Provider’ in its New Beginnings Department. 

 

Congratulations to this year’s recipient: Brooch Boutique!

 

 

The Emerging Business 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 the community, and exhibits commitment to good business practices, community relations, and employee relations. The nominees for the 2021 Emerging Business Award include: The Flagpole, One Eyed Jacks, and The Outlet Youth Center.

 

The Flagpole is a nostalgic family-owned ice cream and hot dog shoppe that serves 21 flavors of ice cream made on site. Owners Tim and Helen Durkes continue to witness sales growth year after year as they strive to provide a fun family atmosphere to Rochester and Fulton County’s residents and visitors. Tim and Helen are grateful to provide many teenagers their first job, teaching them communication, respect, and hard work. They reward these teenagers’ hard work with bonuses and treating them like family. 

 

One Eyed Jacks is a full-service American restaurant, locally famous for their breaded tenderloin sandwich. One Eyed Jacks originated in Winamac and the owners opened a second location in 2020 inside Manitou Moose Lodge 1107 on beautiful Lake Manitou. In that time, they have experienced over 340% growth in gross sales. The employees of One Eyed Jacks aren’t just coworkers, they are a family and they are proud to support local nonprofits and school activities. 

 

The Outlet Youth Center is a faith-based, youth-driven, and community-minded nonprofit organization striving to provide a safe and structured environment for all Fulton County area youth. Director Patience Hisey and the Board officially opened its doors in August 2020. Despite COVID and school-reopening challenges, the number of participating students has doubled this school year. They added a tutoring program, several clubs, and even had enough support to hire an Assistant Director. 

 

Congratulations to this year’s recipient: The Outlet Youth Center!  

 

The Business Professional of the Year 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 possess vision and passion to lead and mentor others. The nominees for 2021 Business Professional of the Year include: Pat Brown with Recovery Café Fulton County, Patience Hisey with The Outlet Youth Center, Brian Johnson with Fulton County Community Foundation, and Erin Reason with Fulton County REMC. 

 

Pat Brown is locally known for actively pursuing a drug-free Fulton County. He is the Executive Director of Recovery Café Fulton County, a peer support community physically located in Downtown Rochester. Recovery Café provides a clean and sober environment where people can express themselves without fear of judgment or rejection. Additionally, Pat volunteers with many local non-profits to eliminate drug abuse and encourage harm reduction. 

 

As I’m sure you just heard, Patience Hisey has a passion for the vulnerable youth in our community. She is committed to being someone students can depend on and trust; she partakes in additional training and takes time to build relationships. She sets an amazing example of how to care for and mentor students in our community. 

 

Not only is Brian Johnson the Director of Development for the Fulton County Community Foundation, in 2021 he was a project leader for Fulton County 4-H, Rochester Youth Baseball League coach, and volunteer at Rochester First Baptist Church. He also had the opportunity to organize volunteers for mobile food pantries in Fulton County and be a mentor for colleagues within the community foundation. 

 

Erin Reason is the Chief Financial Officer of Fulton County REMC. She has an open-door management policy overseeing 5 positions within the office. That’s in addition to raising three boys under 5, raising and selling meat goats, providing bookkeeping services for her two family businesses, and being an active member of a local sorority, of which she is the incoming Vice President. 

 

Congratulations to this year’s recipient: Brian Johnson!

 

 

The final award of the evening was presented by Mart Smith to Treva Mulligan of Flirt Boutique for her efforts in business and community, the Community Service Award.

 

Thank you to the following for your contributions in making the gala is successful event for all: Log House Restaurant, Evergreen, Jarrety’s Place, One Eyed Jacks, Rochester Community Schools, The Round Barn Opry Band, the Fulton County Chamber Board of Directors and Gala Events Committee.

 

Winamac Art in the Park event is this weekend

The Pulaski County Tribe announced a public invitation for their Arts in the Park event that is set for Saturday, May 7 from 11:00 am-2:00 pm at the Winamac Town Park. 

 

The event includes hands-on art activities, a live mural painted by Zach Medler, the public reveal of newly installed artwork, the announcement of additional art components, the dedication of newly installed bench swings, the art of pickleball demonstrations, a balloon artist, food trucks, tree plantings, and photo opportunities and more. 

 

The event is part of incorporating art into the park in Winamac, in an effort to beautify the park and area of Pulaski County. 

 

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