Health department announces changes to Covid-19, monkeypox dashboards

The Indiana Department of Health (IDOH) today announced changes to its COVID-19 dashboard to reflect new publishing schedules and additional surveillance tools.


Beginning this week, the COVID dashboards at www.coronavirus.in.gov will be updated each Wednesday by 5 p.m. This change reflects a national shift to evaluating weekly metrics rather than daily case counts and will ensure that trends in COVID-19 activity remain available to the public and healthcare providers to help inform decisions.


Breakthrough case counts and hospitalizations have been removed from the vaccine dashboard at www.ourshot.in.gov and from the youth dashboard in recognition of the fact that the widespread use of at-home tests, new variants and updated vaccines no longer provide a clear picture of breakthrough cases. 


IDOH also has added a new wastewater surveillance dashboard that shows the results of SARS-CoV-2 tests conducted on untreated wastewater. Since people infected with the virus can shed it in their stool even if they do not have symptoms, wastewater surveillance can serve as an early warning that COVID-19 is spreading in a community.


“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have made changes to our dashboards to ensure we are providing information that most accurately reflects the current situation so that individuals and communities can take steps to protect themselves and their families,” said State Health Commissioner Kris Box, M.D., FACOG. “These adjustments allow us to better evaluate COVID-19 activity in communities at a time when many cases go unreported due to the high use of home tests.”


In addition to the changes to the COVID-19 dashboards, IDOH has shifted to weekly updates of its monkeypox dashboard at https://monkeypox.health.in.gov to reflect declining case counts.

Keepsake round barn christmas ornaments on sale now

In 2021, Fulton County participated in Indiana First Lady Janet Holcomb and the Indiana Statehouse Tour Office’s “92 Reasons to Celebrate.” The Fulton County Chamber of Commerce partnered with local artist Erica Coffing to design and submit an ornament highlighting Fulton County’s historic round barns, which was on display at the statehouse all season long.


Chamber Executive Director Jillian Smith is proud to announce that the Chamber is collaborating with Coffing once again to create replica ornaments to be sold to the public this holiday season.


These limited-edition ornaments will be available for purchase on Saturday, October 8 from 10:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. in front of the Chamber office located at 822 Main Street in Rochester. Individuals can then purchase ornaments from the Chamber office beginning October 11 during regular business hours.


Ornaments are $20 each and proceeds will be deposited into the Chamber Agency Fund at the Fulton County Community Foundation to support beautification projects in Fulton County.


Please contact Kellie Scobie at 574-224-2666 with any questions.


$50K Powerball ticket bought in Plymouth

A $50, 000 Powerball ticket was sold in Marshall County.


The Hoosier Lottery says the ticket was purchased at a Plymouth Speedway on North Michigan Street.


The winning numbers were 6-10-24-33-67, Powerball of 11.


No ticket matched all of the numbers and the Powerball.  The next jackpot will be $322 million.


For the Plymouth winner, the odds of matching four balls and the Powerball was 

1 in 913,130.

Auditor of State confirms all automatic taxpayer refund checks are printed & mailed

More than 1.5 million automatic taxpayer refund (ATR) checks have been printed and mailed, confirmed State Auditor Tera Klutz, CPA today.


“We successfully completed printing on September 21 and sent the last batch of automatic taxpayer refund checks to the postal service on September 22,” stated Auditor Klutz. “Most Hoosiers who filed a 2020 tax return in 2021, should have received their automatic taxpayer refund via direct deposit or mailed check by now.”


Klutz continued, “While most eligible recipients have received their refunds, we are aware that many need further assistance to claim it. Due to the checks being issued from the 2020 Indiana tax return some recipients have passed away or moved and we are working to get those checks reissued to the proper name and address.”


Do you need a refund check reissued?

• If an individual received a payment who has since passed away, the living spouse or executor needs to file a Distributee's Affidavit for Disposition of Estates SF# 49377 with the Auditor of State, and include a copy of the Death Certificate.

• If an individual received a check that could not be deposited due to blurriness or printer error, the recipient needs to file an Affidavit for Lost or Not Received Warrant SF#42850 with the Auditor of State.


Completed and notarized forms can be mailed to the Indiana Auditor of State at 200 West Washington Street, Room 240, Indianapolis, IN 46204. Feel free to contact us directly at Comments@auditor.IN.gov with any questions regarding this process.


Do you need a refund check split? Hoosiers who received a joint check of $650 made out to both spouses who filed their 2020 individual income taxes jointly, but who have since divorced and need the check separated and reissued should mail the original check along with a written request to divide the refund to:


Indiana Department of Revenue
Attn: Non-Responsible Spouse
PO Box 7202
Indianapolis, IN 46207


Did you qualify for the automatic taxpayer refund, but you still have not received a direct deposit or mailed check? You are encouraged to contact the Indiana Department of Revenue directly after November 1 to allow time for returned mail to process.


For more information, visit the Automatic Taxpayer Refund page on the AOS website.

Paving schedule set for Rochester streets

The City of Rochester Street Department has announced that the city street paving projects are scheduled to begin on or around October 10. 


In a notice about the upcoming projects the city asks that residents in these areas move all vehicles off the street prior to October 10, and refrain from parking on the street during the resurfacing in that respective area. 


If you have any questions, please contact the Street Department at 574-223-4740.


The following streets / areas are on the schedule: 

Gregory Farm Village


Schoolview Addition


Long Beach Drive


Rochester Blvd – Jackson to Lakeshore


Madison St – 13th to 14th St


W 12th St – Park Rd to Fulton


W 9th St Clay to Fulton


W 5th St - Clay to Fulton


W 4th St- Alley to Pontiac (South half lane)


W 6th St - Minnow Creek to Clay


E 16th St – Bancroft to Wallace


E 6th St – Indiana Ave to Pool parking lot


E 6th St – Main to Monroe




Logansport man charged with child molestation

A Cass County man was arrested by Indiana State Police on child molestation charges.

A criminal investigation by Indiana State Police Detective Wendell Beachy resulted in the arrest of Justin Bault, 40, 2347 East Cass County Road 350 North, rural Logansport.  Bault was arrested during a traffic stop on State Road 25 and Cass County Road 350 North, when troopers served him with a Cass County arrest warrant alleging criminal charges for three counts of child molestation and a single count of child exploitation.

On August 2, Beachy started an investigation after receiving information that two girls had possibly been molested in Cass County. During the investigation, evidence revealed that Bault allegedly molested two girls at separate times when they were approximately seven years of age.

Bault was incarcerated in the Cass County Jail.

Norfolk Southern to close portion of U.S. 31 in Tipton County

Norfolk Southern Railroad announces closure to a portion of U.S. 31 in both directions between S.R. 28 and W. 100 S. starting on or after Monday, October 3, through Wednesday, October 5.


This closure will allow Norfolk Southern Railroad to replace the rail in the crossing. 


The official detour: 

  • Traveling North on U.S. 31: S.R. 28 to S.R. 19 to S.R. 26 back to U.S. 31
  • Traveling South on U.S. 31: S.R. 26 to S.R. 19 to to S.R. 28 back to U.S. 31

No public comment at Fulton County Council budget public hearing

The Fulton County Council held a public hearing on the 2023 budget during their monthly meeting this week.


Council President Phyl Olinger opened the public hearing, and no one in the room spoke regarding the budget.  The council will have the first reading of the 2023 budget during next month’s meeting.


County Councilman Ron Dittman says the budget is one of the harder things the council must do.


In other business, Sheriff Chris Sailors presented his monthly report for August.  The Sheriff’s Department had 792 incidents, 143 traffic stops, 75 criminal case investigations, and 26 accidents.  The daily average inmate population for August was 105. 


The next County Council meeting is on October 18, at 4:30 pm.  

Rochester City Council agrees to vacate an alley next to The Times Theater

A request by a city business to have an alley vacated was approved by the Rochester City Council.


The council voted unanimously to approve a request by The Times Theater to vacate the alley next to their building on Main Street's west side between Sixth and Seventh St. 


Council member Ruth Gunter, a property owner to the northside, chose to recuse herself from the vote, due to conflict of interest. 


The decision came after a public hearing on the request, where The Times Theater Chairman Julie Shambarger explained they plan on using the building's side entrance as a second emergency exit for the theater.



Commissioners give go-ahead on tax break for RTC to bring internet to Fulton Co. homes

Efforts to increase internet access and broadband capabilities were brought before Fulton County Commissioners this week.


Commissioner Rick Ranstead explains RTC’s efforts to get fiber into Fulton County homes, the grant which powers those efforts, and the request made this week.



Ranstead says it is worth the investment for residents and future growth.



Two former Starke County detectives indicted by grand jury

Two former detectives with the Stark County Sheriff's Department have turned themselves in to face charges.


Following a lengthy investigation by detectives with the Indiana State Police Criminal Investigation Division Lowell Post, evidence and testimony was recently presented to a grand jury. The subject matter of the grand jury involved missing evidence from the Starke County Sheriff’s Department. At the conclusion of the proceedings, the grand jury issued indictments.


Adam Gray- 50, of Knox

  1. Official Misconduct- Level 6 Felony (4 counts)
  2. Theft- Class A Misdemeanor (2 counts)
  3. Dealing Paraphernalia- Class A Misdemeanor
  4. Dealing Marijuana- Class A Misdemeanor

 Don Ferguson- 54, of South Bend

  1. Official Misconduct- Level 6 Felony (3 counts)
  2. Theft of Firearm- Level 6 Felony
  3. Theft- Class A Misdemeanor
  4. False Informing- Class B Misdemeanor

Both individuals have turned themselves in to the Stark County Jail.

54 years of family being celebrated at Shepherd's

Shepherd’s Family Auto Group has been in business for 54 years. It all started back in 1968 by Robert “Bobby” Shepherd.


At Shepherd’s the old saying is they will always treat you like family and part of that is because Shepherd’s was started by family, and continues to be run by family today.



Bobby talks about the struggles of the car business and realizing he wasn’t in control of the obstacles and struggles they had dealt with.


Shepherd’s Family Auto Group made the decision to expand from their North Manchester location to Rochester in 1994.  In 1999, they continued that expansion into Kendallville and opened their newest store in Auburn in 2019.  Each location of Shepherd’s has a family member running the location.


Austin Shepherd on each location.



At Shepherd’s if you know what you’re looking for and it doesn’t happen to be on the lot, there’s always a possibility that Shepherd’s could find it for you within their network.



Shepherd’s Family Auto Group continues to celebrate their 54 years in business with the September Sales Event that has been extended through the end of the month.  



Sult Family Medicine, Fulton County's first direct primary care practice

Board certified family physician Dr. Jennifer Sult took a big leap when she officially opened her own practice this past August at 710 East 9th St in Rochester.


Born and raised in Fulton County, Sult decided to return to her roots to follow her passion for helping others after medical school. Hired to practice at Woodlawn Hospital in 2008, the 'big corporation feel' wasn't what Sult had been looking for when wanting to become a doctor. 



Leaving Woodlawn in 2020, Sult had taken the past two years to create her own practice where she was more in control and able to have a better relationship with her patients, bringing a new model of health care to Fulton County.


Promising her patients convenient care, Sult says her practice provides same day or next day appointments, as well as access to Sult via phone, text, or video. Patients pay a small monthly fee for service that you would expect at your family doctor. Membership costs vary, but the monthly fee means no primary care fees or co-pay and unlimited visits.  Unlike an urgent care facility, Sult Family Medicine does not provide one time visits. 



Sult's primary care includes in-office procedures like injections, suturing, EKG, minor skin problems and more, plus after hours access to access to a physician and significantly cheaper labs and prescriptions. Transparent about pricing, Sult says her patients will never have surprise bills when leaving her office.



With no long term contracts and unprecedented medical access for the area, Sult said she has gotten new patients daily, and spots are filling up fast. Sult does plan to cap her limit, and will stop accepting new patients once she gets 700. 

ProPEL to examine U.S. 30 and U.S. 31 corridors

The Indiana Department of Transportation says a study of the U.S. 30 and 31 corridors gets underway this fall.


ProPEL is an INDOT initiative to streamline transportation planning using collaborative PEL studies to consider environmental, community and economic goals early in the planning process. INDOT says ProPEL studies will assess innovative ways to renovate our roadways and corridors, while prioritizing community needs and equitable infrastructure.


INDOT is asking for the Hoosiers’ input as it begins streamlined planning studies along the U.S. 30 corridor in Northern Indiana.

U.S. 30 West: Study area extends from SR 49 (Valparaiso County) to West County Road 700 North (Fulton County) and Beech Road (Marshall County).

U.S. 30 East: Study area extends from Beech Road (Marshall County) to the Indiana/Ohio state line (Allen County).

Multiple public meetings will be held along the corridors, with the first set of meetings expected this fall. The PEL studies will examine mobility, safety, economic development, land use, environmental impacts and other factors along the corridor.


U.S. 31 North: Study area extends from just south of Eel River (Miami County) to just south of the Fulton/Marshall County line.

U.S. 31 South: Study area extends from 276th Street (Hamilton County) to just south of Eel River (Miami County)


Studies are to be complete by Fall of 2024.  Public meetings are expected to be scheduled for this fall.





Lebanon man sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for trafficking meth in Parke, Clay, and Vigo counties

Max W. Woodard II, 51, of Lebanon, was sentenced to ten years in federal prison after pleading guilty to possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.


According to court documents, on April 19, a law enforcement officer stopped Woodard’s vehicle for a traffic violation near U.S. 40 and North Miami Gardens Street in Vigo County. The officer identified Woodard as the driver and sole occupant of the vehicle. Woodard appeared nervous when the officer approached his vehicle, and he did not comply with the officer’s commands. The officer asked Woodard to exit the vehicle, but Woodard refused. The officer attempted to open Woodard’s door, but it was locked. The officer continued to ask Woodard to exit the vehicle and he continued to refuse.


Another officer with a police K9 arrived on the scene and the K9 alerted to the presence of controlled substances inside the vehicle. Officers searched the vehicle and found a black bag containing 477 grams of methamphetamine. Woodward was traveling to Terre Haute, to sell the methamphetamine when he was stopped by police. Woodard was taken into custody and transported to jail.


The next day, investigators went to Woodard’s residence in Lebanon, after he consented to a search of his residence. The officers found two loaded firearms in Woodard’s couch: a black 9mm handgun and .22 caliber handgun. Two additional firearms were surrendered to law enforcement by a third-party who had removed the firearms from Woodard’s residence shortly before officers’ arrival. All four firearms belonged to Woodard.


Zachary A. Myers, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana, Michael Gannon, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the DEA’s Indianapolis Field Office, made the announcement.


The sentence was imposed by U.S. District Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson. As part of the sentence, Judge Stinson ordered that Woodard be supervised by the U.S. Probation Office for five years following his release from federal prison.



Crime victims assistance grants awarded to several area agencies

Several area agencies were awarded federal grants to assist crime victims.


The Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI) awarded $67 million in federal grants to more than 190 public and non-profit entities through the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) program.


The funding will be used to provide direct services and assistance to crime victims throughout the state.


Among area grantees:

Cass County Prosecutor, $62, 276

Miami County Prosecutor, $89, 774

Pulaski County Prosecutor, $118, 446

Kosciusko County Prosecutor, $69, 856

Kosciusko County Shelter for Abuse, $596, 840

CASA of Kosciusko County, $118, 950


VOCA funding is provided by the Office for Victims of Crime under the U.S. Department of Justice and comes from the fines and restitution paid by convicted federal offenders.


The Victims of Crime Act was established by Congress in 1984 to support state and local programs that assist victims of all kinds of crime including assault, robbery, homicide, driving while intoxicated, fraud, elder abuse, domestic violence, human trafficking and many others. Overall, VOCA funds are designed to help survivors stabilize their lives after a victimization, participate in the justice system and restore a measure of security and safety to their daily lives, along with addressing the physical and emotional trauma of crime.


Over the next two years, these grants will fund a variety of initiatives in Indiana including mental health counseling, transitional housing, crisis intervention, legal aid, and child and youth services. The funding will also be used to support victim advocates, sexual assault nurse examiners (SANEs) and other victim-focused positions.


This cycle, priority was given to projects that focus on serving marginalized and underserved communities, as well as promote equity and racial justice.


“When it comes to addressing the needs of crime victims, one size does not fit all,” said Kim Lambert, ICJI Victim Services Director. “That’s why funding sources like VOCA are important because they allow organizations, embedded in the community, to create and tailor services to the individual.”


The projects for the 2022-2024 grant cycle were approved by the ICJI Board of Trustees and will be made available to organizations starting in October.


LaPorte County father pleads guilty to murder of 4-year-old Judah Morgan

A La Porte County father has pleaded guilty  in the death of his 4-year-old son, Judah Morgan, after Judah was found murdered last October at their home in rural Hamlet.


Alan D. Morgan, 29, admitted to committing murder and battery on Wednesday in court. In return prosecutors agreed to take off 'life without parole' as a possible sentence. The charges of neglect of a dependent and animal cruelty were also dropped. 


The defense agreement also resolved an additional case with Morgan, who pleaded guilty to resisting law enforcement. Charges related to drug possession, reckless driving and operating a vehicle under the influnce were all dropped. 


On October 11, 2021, La Porte County Sheriff Deputies were called to Morgan's home, after a call around 2:45 am about a report of an unconcious child. Shortly after, Judah's body would be discovered in a back room nude, covered in bruises, and wrapped in a blanket. 


According to charging documents, after failing to make contact, deputies responding to the 911 call entered the residence through an unlocked door. Reporting the home to be in disarray and smelling of the rotten food, trash, and animal feces that was strewn about, officers also discovered an extremely malnourished dog in a locked crate. Three other children were also found in the home unharmed and sleeping, but alone. Unfortunately for little Judah, he would be pronounced dead at the scene. 


Court documents stated the 4-year-old was sent to the basement as punishment for not being potty-trained like his other siblings, typically three times a week. It was reported the unfinished basement was cold, dark and without working lights. Judah would be kept in the basement for a few days at a time, often enduring horrific abuse, and withheld food and water. 


The child's mother, Mary Yoder, 26, is also faces charges of  neglect resulting in death. Yoder is due back in court in December. Morgan's sentencing is set for November 29. 

Jury needs just minutes to convict Winamac man; sentencing Tuesday

A Winamac man will be sentenced next week following a jury taking just minutes to return a guilty verdict.


Pulaski County Prosecutor Kelly Gaumer stated in a press release that Scott Freeman was found guilty of possessing a narcotic drug.  The charge stems from an incident on June 20 when Freeman was seen by Sgt. Fred Rogers of the Pulaski County Sheriff's Department driving a golf cart.  Freeman was known to be wanted on an active warrant.  During his arrest, Freeman was found to have a pill in his pocket.  It was identified as Acetaminophen Oxycodone, a Schedule 2 narcotic.


The six-person jury found that Freeman did not have a prescription for the pill and returned a guilty verdict in under ten minutes.


Freeman faces a possible sentence of six to 30 months.  He will be sentenced Tuesday, September 27.






NIPSCO requests increase in electric rates to IURC

NIPSCO says generating cleaner electricity from renewable energy projects and upgrading its electric grid to support the transmission and monitoring of that electricity are some of the key factors leading to a request with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) to adjust its base electric rates next year.


NIPSCO is a subsidiary of NiSource Inc. (NYSE:NI).


While the proposed increase was filed with the IURC, it will undergo a thorough regulatory review process, which includes the opportunity for the public to provide input. Any changes to a customer’s bill that are ultimately approved by the IURC will be phased in over time beginning in late 2023 and into 2024, versus a one-time increase.


NIPSCO’s last request to change electric rates was in 2018.


“The investments we’re making provide direct benefits to all our customers, the communities we serve and the local economy,” said Mike Hooper, NIPSCO president. “Beyond the necessary upgrades, grid modernization and customer-centric enhancements that are critical to ensure the level of service our customers expect for the future, a significant portion of the investments are tied to our future energy transition and the addition of new renewable energy projects located in Indiana.”


NIPSCO transition includes renewable energy generation, which represents approximately $840 million in new investments through 2023. In turn, customers directly benefit by receiving a credit on their bills from 100 percent of the revenue associated with the sale of excess power currently being generated by the existing renewable projects and the sales from the upcoming additions. We currently forecast that benefit to be $50 million annually, depending on how much energy is ultimately generated from these sources.


“While there are near-term costs associated with the investments being made to get our wind and solar projects off the ground, customers are already benefiting from these existing renewable projects and will continue to see cost savings grow in the long term when we’re able to eliminate the costs associated with running our remaining coal-fired electric generating facilities by 2026-2028,” added Hooper.


The company also says it is investing approximately $700 million for electric transmission and distribution system upgrades, technology improvements, and safety and reliability initiatives to be completed by the end of 2023, with plans for similar investments into the future.


NIPSCO says it seeks to further its commitment to customers in several ways, including:  


• Proposing new bill payment assistance programs for income-qualified customers, with a portion funded by NIPSCO


• Continuing investments to thwart and protect its electric grid against cybersecurity threats


• Upgrading and replacing overhead and underground cable to increase reliability 


• Modernizing the electric grid with automated technology that identifies problems and outages to enable us to restore service faster


• Enhancing the overall customer experience through the introduction of a new mobile app, along with the ability for customers to connect with customer care agents online via live or automated chat, the continuation of energy efficiency programs and more


As a regulated energy provider, NIPSCO cannot change any rates or charges to its customers without the approval of the IURC. NIPSCO’s natural gas rates are not affected by this request.    


Based on NIPSCO’s proposal, an average residential electric customer using 668 kilowatt hours (kwh) per month, paying approximately $120 today, would see an overall increase of approximately $19 per month, or approximately 16.5 percent, spread over multiple years.


The change would begin to occur by September 2023, with the remaining changes applied in March 2024 and July 2024. 


As the company retires its remaining coal-fired generation, the costs associated with operating and maintaining those facilities during the transition to more renewable resources will reduce and eventually be eliminated. This proposal ensures customers are only paying costs as NIPSCO incurs them, and the associated savings of approximately $6 per month will be passed directly back to customers – providing a more real-time benefit to customers.


Actual projected bill impacts may vary by customer – including non-residential customers – depending on usage and future potential changes in market prices for commodities like coal.


Bill payment assistance and energy savings programs are available  


As the current economic effects of inflation and the pandemic are being experienced, it’s important to know that help continues to be available. Bill payment assistance programs are available for customers experiencing financial difficulties – including low-income customers. 


Outside of the state and federal energy assistance programs and moratorium on winter service disconnections, NIPSCO provides funding for an additional bill reduction program, credit arrangements, budget plans and reduced deposits for eligible customers, including: 


• Payment Agreements: NIPSCO has expanded its payment plan agreements to offer its most flexible payment plans to customers that need financial support, including a three-month option, a six-month option introduced during the pandemic and a 12-month option for eligible LIHEAP customers. Customers can learn more and enroll at NIPSCO.com/PaymentPlans.  


• LIHEAP Program: LIHEAP support is available to households that are at or below 60 percent of State Median Income (SMI). The program opens on October 1 for online and mail-in applications. Customers can learn more and find out if they qualify at? eap.ihcda.in.gov?or call 2-1-1. 


• Township Trustees: A limited amount of energy assistance funds are available through local Township Trustee offices. NIPSCO customers are encouraged to contact their local Township Trustee to see what help may be available. 


• The Emergency Rental Assistance Program (IERA): Provides up to 18 months of rental and utility assistance for renters. Additional information can be found at https://www.in.gov/ihcda/homeowners-and-renters/rental-assistance/.


Customers experiencing difficulty with paying their bill – regardless of their income – are encouraged to contact our Customer Care Center Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. CT at 1-800-464-7726 to determine what help might be available to them. For more information on bill assistance, customers can visit NIPSCO.com/FinancialSupport


In addition to offering a variety of payment assistance options, NIPSCO offers a number of energy efficiency programs to help lower energy usage and bills. Visit NIPSCO.com/Save for more information on available programs and other ways to save.


For more information pertaining to NIPSCO’s request, visit NIPSCO.com/2023electricrates.

Rochester's Drew Strasser making comeback from frightening August 5 collapse at school; benefit dinner Friday

The Mayo Clinic defines sudden cardiac arrest as the abrupt loss of heart function, breathing and consciousness. The condition usually results from a problem with the rest of the body.


It seems unlikely that on the morning of August 5 at Rochester High School 17-year-old Drew Strasser was the least bit concerned about such a health tragedy.  The senior was at his first Friday morning tennis practice of the season.  Suddenly, a teenage athlete who had shown no signs of what was to come collapsed and wasn’t breathing or responsive.


Drew’s mother, Laneia.



Now, Drew’s on the way back.  In fact, a return to school has already happened. 



Not surprisingly, Laneia says Drew is still recovering.  And, what’s more, they are continuing to search for the cause.



Support from the school and community has been there from the get-go.



Coming up Friday, ahead of the Rochester home football game with Peru, there will be a carry-out hog roast dinner benefit for Drew Strasser.  Proceeds from the free will donation dinner at the RHS parking lot will help with medical and travel costs for Drew’s stay at Riley Hospital for Children.


The dinner is from 4:00 -7:00 pm, or until it’s sold out.



Bridge maintenance on SR 25 to continue into mid-October

The Indiana Department of Transportation with traffic restrictions on State Road 25 between Fulton and Metea.

Crews will be performing bridge maintenance between E. C.R. 875 N and E. C.R. 900 N. There will be alternating lane closures in the area and traffic will be controlled by a temporary traffic signal.

Work is scheduled to start on or after Sept. 19 and is expected to wrap up by mid-October. All work is weather-dependent and schedules are subject to change.

INDOT encourages drivers to consider worker safety by slowing down, driving distraction free and using extra caution when driving in and around all work zones.


Legislation to rename Mishawaka veterans clinic for Jackie Walorski headed to president's desk

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi held a signing ceremony for the Indiana delegation’s bill, H.R.8656, to rename the Department of Veterans Affairs Clinic in Mishawaka, Indiana the “Jackie Walorski VA Clinic.”


The legislation passed the House unanimously on August 12, passed the Senate unanimously on September 8, and is now headed to the president’s desk.


Congresswoman Jackie Walorski served on the House Committee on Veteran’s Affairs for two terms, where she worked tirelessly to provide Hoosier veterans with quality care and advocated for the construction of a VA Clinic in Mishawaka.


Said Rep. Banks: “Today was an extremely emotional day in Congress for those who were lucky enough to know Congresswoman Walorski. It provided me with some closure and I hope the friends and colleagues we shared feel the same way. I’d like to thank Speaker Pelosi for honoring Rep. Walorski’s memory by hosting today’s ceremonial bill signing and bringing H.R.8656 to the House floor for speedy passage. I’d like to thank the rest of the Indiana delegation for coming together during a difficult time for us all and especially for the support they’ve offered the Walorski family.”  




Grow Wabash County to make E-Commerce coaching available

Grow Wabash County has secured a $50,000 grant from Region 3A utilizing EDA CARES Act funding to be able to identify and teach small, for-profit Wabash County businesses ways to improve their electronic commerce (e-commerce) presence.


Grow Wabash County invites for-profit small businesses in Wabash County to apply for its new E-Commerce coaching program presented in partnership with Cyclone Social.


This E-Commerce program will allow for 10 to 12 small businesses in Wabash County to receive high quality instruction and support to help them develop an e-commerce platform to sell their goods and/or services online. These coaching sessions will take place one-on-one between business owners and members of the Cyclone Social team and together they will take a holistic approach to creating and maintaining a successful e-commerce website.


Cyclone Social, a digital media agency based in Fort Wayne, has taken the lead on many projects geared towards giving brick and mortar businesses the tools and knowledge needed to establish a dynamic presence online.


"We have seen small, brick-and-mortar stores turn to e-commerce and absolutely explode with their businesses,” Andrew Lamping, founder and CEO of Cyclone Social, said. “It's exciting for us to be a part of this program and support so many remarkable businesses in expanding to e-commerce."


The selected businesses will be able to participate in this program free of charge, though certain ongoing fees (i.e. domains, website upkeep, etc.) to maintain their E-Commerce website will be the responsibility of the business owner.


“One of our main motivations at Grow Wabash County is to help our local business community grow, thrive and ultimately remain competitive in this ever-changing business landscape,” Keith Gillenwater, president and CEO of Grow Wabash County, said. “Every day, more and more business in being done, at least partially, online, so we are excited to be working with Cyclone Social to help our local small businesses take the success they have as a brick and mortar business and multiply it by building out their virtual business presence.”


Business owners interested in applying to receive E-Commerce coaching from Cyclone Social are asked to complete the application

at: www.growwabashcounty.com/ecommerceprogram. In order to qualify for this program, a business must be a for-profit small business that operates in Wabash County.



A full copy of the Request For Proposals (RFP) can be found on the Grow Wabash County website at www.growwabashcounty.com/build-your-business.


Questions regarding the submission process may be directed to Chelsea at chelsea@growwabashcounty.com or 260-563-5258. 



Warsaw's KGP closing plant, laying off nearly 200

KGP in Warsaw says it is closing its manufacturing facility.  Nearly 200 people will lose their jobs.


The Minnesota-based company submitted a WARN notification to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.  The company cites a raw material shortage as the reason for the shutdown.

The layoffs are expected to be permanent.


It was just in January of last year that KGP announced it was hiring 200 people at the facility.


Three waves of reduction are planned with one each in November, December and January.

Rochester couple shocks loved ones with surprise wedding

When Eric Crispen and Carla Smiley started planning their wedding last year, they knew they wanted to keep it lowkey. Taking it to a new extreme, the couple decided to not even tell their wedding guests until they were standing at the altar. 



Inviting guests to their house on West 9th Street for an 'open house' to show off their new home renovations, the only ones who knew about the wedding were their children, and a select few friends that Carla had spilled the secret to. 



Already prepared with food, drinks and a canopy set up for dinner, the ceremony started after their ordained son-in-law, Josh Groom, ushered family and friends to the lawn for a 'toast' that ended with the couple saying, 'I do.'


Wendy Reinartz, a close friend who helped reintroduce the couple, was one of the guests who were left in shock. 





Community members gather to remember loved ones lost from overdose

Community members gathered at the Fulton County Courthouse Saturday evening to remember, mourn and celebrate loved ones lost to overdose.



Hosted by Recovery Cafe Fulton County, the event included live music, speeches that shared stories, and a reading of the names of loved ones who lost their battle with addiction.


Flameless LED tea lights illuminated lanterns with names that were lined up on the courthouse steps. Naloxone was also handed out, as an effort to help save lives and prevent future overdoses in the future.


Sharing the story of her sister, Cari Keeps was among those who spoke during the event. 


Keeps said prior to losing her sister in 2007, the stigma of addiction made her embarrassed about her sister's disease. She hopes gatherings like the one on Saturday, and organizations like Recovery Cafe Fulton County, help break the stigma, and allow others to show more compassion, ultimately save lives. 



Walorski's vehicle found to be at fault in August crash

The final report on the August 3 two-car crash that killed U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski has been released.


And it has determined Walorski's car was at fault.


According to the release from the Elkhar County Sheriff's Office Walorski's car was left of center and traveling at an excessive speed at the time of the crash.  Staff member Zachery Potts was driving the Toyota RAV-4 with staff member Emma Thompson and Walorski as passengers.


Walorski's vehicle accelerated to pass a flat-bed truck while traveling northbound on State Road 19.  It collided with a southbound car drive by Edith Schmucker of Nappanee.  All four people were killed.


Crash reconstructionists investigated the scene.  With their report and information obtained from the airbag control module, it was determined the RAV-4 was traveling 82 miles-per-hour just before the crash.


The report does indicate that there was no cell phone activity reported from the people in the Walorski vehicle leading up to the crash.


All four deaths have been officially ruled accidental.


Indiana Department of Workforce Development reports data breach

Applicants information has been compromised in a cybersecurity incident reported by the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.

Someone gained access to some of the information held by the DWD.  Information impacted includes login email addresses and security questions. Currently, the agency doesn't believe social security numbers were accessed.

More than 4000 accounts were impacted.  The DWD says most of those were not currently receiving benefits.  Those impacted are being notified by mail.

Anyone impacted by the data breach can request a credit freeze from the three credit agencies.

Sult Family Medicine opens in Rochester

The Fulton County Chamber of Commerce staff and board of directors celebrated the opening of Sult Family Medicine LLC with a ribbon cutting on September 16.


Pictured:  From left to right – Back: Chamber Board member Jason See, Chamber Ambassadors Julie Shrive and Cassie Peyton, Chamber Board member Dr. Cailtin Rich

Front: FEDCO Executive Director Tiffany Futrell, John and Jennifer Sult, Jessica Cichowicz, Lorna Mollencupp, Chamber Executive Director Jillian Smith


Dr. Jennifer Sult, a board-certified family physician, launched Sult Family Medicine LLC in August 2022 and is pleased to offer an alternative way to provide health care to the people of Fulton County. The practice is a direct primary care practice, allowing Dr. Sult to work directly with patients without the need for a middleman.Once patients become a member of the practice, they are able to access Dr. Sult by phone, text, video, or in person for their primary care needs.


Chamber Executive Director Jillian Smith states, “Fulton County residents are privileged to have a direct care option, especially with Dr. Sult’s education, experience, and passion for rural Indiana.”


Sult Family Medicine is currently accepting new patients into their membership. Interested individuals and families may call 574-223-7858 or stop by the office located at 710 East 9th Street Monday thru Friday 8:00 am - 4:00 pm for more information.

DWD takes steps to protect unemployment insurance claimants' personal information

The Indiana Department of Workforce Development has become aware of a cybersecurity incident involving unauthorized access to some unemployment applicants' login email addresses and security questions in the agency's Uplink system. DWD immediately took steps to secure the system. 

Investigators within the agency continue to research the incident, which impacted 4,264 accounts. At this time, no social security numbers were determined to have been accessed. Account holders are being notified by mail.

At least 94% of the affected accounts were dormant, meaning those account holders were not actively receiving benefits. Active account holders who are unable to log into their Uplink account should contact DWD at 1-800-891-6499 if they need to gain access.

DWD is working to further review processes and controls and continues to take all reasonable measures to ensure the security and privacy of Hoosiers' personal information.

Affected individuals who want to take further steps to secure their information have the right to request a credit freeze from each of the three credit agencies, which is a consumer right provided by Indiana law. To place a freeze, either use each credit agency’s online process or send a letter by certified mail to each of the three credit agencies. Further information about a credit freeze can be found at: in.gov/attorneygeneral/2891.htm.

U.S. Attorney announces new public reporting procedure for environmental justice and environmental crimes

Zachary A. Myers, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana, announces that the U.S. Attorney’s Office is implementing new public reporting procedures for environmental crimes and issues relating to environmental justice.


Members of the public who have concerns about environmental matters in the Southern District of Indiana can now report them to the Department of Justice via email to


The Office is implementing this public reporting procedure under the Department of Justice’s Comprehensive Environmental Justice Enforcement Strategy. This Strategy seeks to provide “timely and effective remedies for systemic environmental violations and contaminations and for injury to natural resources in underserved communities that have been historically marginalized and overburdened, including low-income communities, communities of color, and Tribal and Indigenous communities.”


“Advancing environmental justice and public health through civil and criminal environmental enforcement are priorities of the Department of Justice,” said U.S. Attorney Myers. “We hope that concerned individuals and organizations in our community will partner with us and bring more of these matters to our attention. Together, we will work to reduce public health and environmental harms caused by violations of our laws and regulations—especially in underserved communities.”


The Office’s public reporting procedures complement the other avenues for reporting environmental concerns to the federal government, such as the online portal maintained by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), https://echo.epa.gov/report-environmental-violations.

Rochester woman scheduled for February trial in death of infant daughter

A jury trial is scheduled for February for a Fulton County woman charged in the death of her infant daughter.


Shawna Glosser, 26, of Rochester, is charged with Level 1 Felony - Neglect of a Dependent Resulting in Death after her seven-month old daughter, Arabella, drowned in a bathtub.


Rochester Police and the Fulton County Sheriff’s office responded to a Mitchell Drive apartment on August 11 to a report of infant not breathing.


According to court documents, Glosser told officers she left the child unattended in an infant seat in the tub.  Officers reported the tub had too much water for a small child and was nearly half full. 


Officers say they also found drugs and drug paraphernalia.


Good Family Funeral Home coordinated a celebration of life on August 17.


A pretrial conference is set for September 26.


Starke County once again without EMS Director

The search is underway yet again in Starke County for an Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Director.


Starke County Commissioners terminated Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Director Eric Wood earlier this month. It was one month shy of one year as Starke County EMS Director for Wood who was appointed for the position in October of 2021. 


Starke County Commissioners made their official decision after reporting that periodic reviews showed the Starke County EMS Administration had been operating in a way that would not make for long-term success. 


Prior to Wood, Travis Clary had been the Starke County EMS Director from 2017 until November 1, 2021, after a public resignation. 

Medaryville receives grant to upgrade wastewater system

A Pulaski County community will receive hundreds of thousands in grant money from the state.


Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch and the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs announced 21 rural Indiana communities will receive more than $12.9 million in federal grant funding to create and expand community facilities and improve water infrastructure.


The goals of the Wastewater/Drinking Water Program are?to protect the health and environment, reduce utility rates for low-to-moderate income communities and improve rural infrastructure to enable long-term economic growth. Eligible Wastewater/Drinking Water Program projects include many aspects of wastewater improvements and drinking water system improvements. 


The Town of Medaryville is awarded $700,000 for upgrades to the wastewater system. The improvements include rehabilitating three lift stations, backup power for three lift stations, wastewater treatment plant power upgrades and replacing a culvert on the wastewater treatment plant drive.


The State of Indiana distributes Community Development Block Grant funds to rural communities, which assists units of local government with various community projects such as infrastructure improvement, downtown revitalization, public facilities and economic development. 

Department of Veterans Affairs Clinic in Mishawaka to be named "Jackie Walorski VA Clinic"

The Senate passed a bill to rename the Department of Veterans Affairs Clinic in Mishawaka, the “Jackie Walorski VA Clinic” with unanimous consent.


The legislation was sponsored by the entire Indiana delegation, passed the House unanimously on August 12, and now is headed to the president’s desk.


Congresswoman Jackie Walorski served on the House Committee on Veteran’s Affairs for two terms, where she worked tirelessly to provide Hoosier veterans with quality care and advocated for the construction of a VA Clinic in Mishawaka.


Said Rep. Banks: “I’d like to thank the entire Senate for honoring Rep. Walorski and ensuring the bills’ quick passage. As an overseas missionary, an advocate for veterans during her time in Congress, and a loving wife and daughter, Jackie spent her life serving others and this clinic will preserve her legacy. Amanda and I continue to pray for the Walorski family.”


On Wednesday, August 3, Rep. Jackie Walorski, her communications director Emma Thomson, and Walorski’s district director Zach Potts lost their lives in a car accident while traveling in Indiana’s second district.


Rep. Walorski is survived by her husband Dean Swihart.

Kewanna man arrested on meth charges, possession of firearm by a felon, resisting law enforcement

Calling the Fulton County Sheriff's Department about a probation concern shortly after 8pm Monday evening, Pulaski County Probation Officer Sandy Lucas got the assistance of Pulaski County Deputies Alec R Berger and Aaron Zimmerman to help conduct a search of a Fulton County residence at 2094 S St Rd 17, near Kewanna. 

As officers arrived on scene, Drew Allen, 34, of Kewanna, attempted to evade police on foot before being apprehended by Pulaski County Deputies and Kewanna Officer Galliard. A search warrant was then obtained by Fulton County Sheriff Deputies Mitch Scott and Ryan Utter. Officers reported finding a substantial amount of narcotics, methamphetamine, and evidence related to distribution of narcotics inside the residence.


Allen was arrested and booked at the Fulton County Jail on charges of resisting law enforcement, dealing/possession of methamphetamine, and possession of a firearm by a felon. This is considered an ongoing investigation, and all suspects are considered innocent until proven guilty in the court of law. Also assisting in the now ongoing investigation was the Kewanna Police Department, Fulton County Sheriff's Department, and the Indiana State Police. 



Pulaski Co. correctional officer charged in relationship with inmate

A correctional officer in Pulaski County has been charged for a relationship with an inmate.

On Friday, the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office received information that a Pulaski County Correctional Officer was in a possible relationship with an inmate.

On Sunday, Pulaski County Deputy Matt Pickens began an investigation into the allegations. The Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department stated in a press release that Deputy Pickens conducted several interviews and reviewed jail camera footage, some of which contained audio recordings of conversations between the correctional officer and the inmate. It was determined after review of the footage and audio recordings that the allegations of a possible relationship between the inmate and officer were accurate.

On Sunday evening,  the correctional officer arrived at the jail to begin her evening shift. Deputy Pickens met her inside the jail and escorted the correctional officer to conduct an investigative interview. During this interview, it was discovered that the officer had brought controlled substances into the Pulaski County Jail and given them to the inmate. She also confirmed a relationship between herself and the inmate was planned upon his release.

Stacy R. Small was booked into the Pulaski County Jail and then transported to the White County Jail for safe keeping.

Small arrested was charged with Trafficking with an Inmate – Level 5 Felony, and Official Misconduct – Level 6 Felony.

City of Knox receives water infrastructure grant

Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch and the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs announced four Hoosier communities were awarded $290,000 in Planning Grants through the Community Development Block Grant program.


The communities will use the funds to develop plans to implement community and economic development projects. 


The City of Knox was one of three to receive water infrastruture grants.  The grant was for $90, 000.


“With aging infrastructures across the United States, water quality is a common issue in many communities ” said Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch. “So these planning grants are a great resource for rural communities. With these grants, communities can make necessary investments to better the lives of their residents.”


The Planning Grant program strives to encourage communities to plan for long-term community development with the aid of subject matter experts and community input. The applications funded this quarter will aim to address water infrastructure and public facilities feasibility. 


“Each of these four communities is helping to set their city or town up for success by creating and investing in a strategic plan,” said OCRA Executive Director Denny Spinner. “I look forward to seeing these projects continue through the process and the positive impact on each community."


Water Infrastructure grants allow communities to complete a holistic study of potential issues and opportunities across their drinking, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure. By completing this planning, communities will be able to make decisions regarding their most urgent water needs, while understanding how each system works in context with other utility systems.


Fraudulent internet pop-ups claiming to be Microsoft scam locals

The Pulaski County Sheriff's Office recently warned the public via FaceBook of a fraud scheme, after seeing several local cases where victims recieved a pop-up on their computer claiming to be Microsoft. The alert warns that the computer has been compromised and gives a number to call. 


The scammer then advises the victim who calls, that they must pay to fix their computer by either wiring money or purchasing gift cards. The Pulaski County Sheriff's confirmed this as a scam, and advises against providing payment. Those impacted by the scam should report it to their local law enforcement. 


Photographed below is an example they shared, being one of many, from the pop-up scam. 


Annual 9/11 memorial ceremony continues at Lake Bruce

(Ceremony photos taken by local photographer Renee Colley)

Sunday's gloomy weather didn't stop 25 people from gathering in Lake Bruce Sunday to honor and reflect on the 21 year anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The annual Lake Bruce tradition was started twelve years ago by retired Valparaiso Fire Chief Joe McLees, who moved full time to the lake in 2010.



Setting out a memorial in his yard and lining the road with American flags, McLees holds a full ceremony each year at the corner of Valparaiso Street and Pontoon Drive. The ceremony, led by McLees, includes a memorial speech, words from others in the community, the ringing of bells, a reading of the chronological order of events that occured on 9/11, and a moment of silence. 



At 9:59 am, the time the first World Trade Center collapsed, a recording of taps played over a loud speaker. Following the taps, a recording of 'Amazing Grace' on bagpipes was played - a song also played at all firefighter's funerals. The ceremony finished with a recording of 'God Bless America', that typically ends in the crowd singing along. 



McLees said normally  the memorial grows a little more each year, with community members joining in and adding their own contributions. This year's ceremony had about half in attendence compared to last year, most likely due to the weather conditions. McLees said rain or shine, whether it be 50 people or just one person attending, he will always continue the public ceremony and memorial to honor all who lost their lives from the deadly attack September 11, 2001. 



Among the almost 3,000 killed during 9/11,  415 were emergency workers who had been responding to the scene at the World Trade Center. Being on the Valparaiso Fire Department for 36 years, McLees says he hopes the sacrifices made that day will never be forgotten. 



Starke County man helped out of sticky situation by DNR

Indiana DNR officials report that a 69 year-old North Judson man is ok after finding himself stuck up to his chest in thick muck while attempting to retrieve a downed goose from a Starke County Swamp.


After trying to help him for an hour, his elderly hunting partner called 911. An Indiana Conservation Officer responded from Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area and deployed a kayak upon arrival. After evaluating the situation, the officer used a knife to reach into the muck and cut the waders from the hunter. After cutting the waders, the officer was able to pull the man into a row boat.


Bass Lake Fire Department and Starke County EMS arrived on scene and checked the man over, determining he did not need any immediate treatment.


Indiana Conservation Officers remind hunters to never hunt alone and always let someone know where you're hunting and when you plan to be home.

Warsaw, Kosciusko Co. law enforcement make arrests in car theft, gang activity

Between August 10 and 11, and again between August 21 and 22, multiple victims in the city of Warsaw as well as in Kosciusko County experienced losses from thefts from motor vehicles as well as auto thefts.


Several more reported unlawful entries into their vehicles where vehicles were ransacked, but nothing of value taken. Many of these vehicles were left unlocked in driveways or outside of apartment buildings. Some of the items stolen included credit and debit cards, as well as driver’s licenses and other identifying information.


These thefts were all localized in certain sections of the city or county, leading detectives to believe they were all connected. As the investigations unfolded, it was found that the same subjects were observed on surveillance cameras at local businesses and businesses in other communities. These included Columbia City, Goshen, Mishawaka, South Bend, and Niles, Michigan.


Investigators worked with detectives in other jurisdictions to begin identifying those in the surveillance videos. It was quickly determined that they were known for similar crimes in other counties. Furthermore, these subjects were identified as being affiliated with a street gang in Niles, Michigan. Among other intelligence gathered against this group, it was found that they were known to carry and specifically seek out firearms left in vehicles.


Late night August 30, there were additional crimes in the Backwater area, to include another theft of a motor vehicle, as well as multiple cases of theft from motor vehicles in the Syracuse area. Around 66 EMS B6 Lane, a detective located two stolen vehicles: one being a county case and the other from Warsaw.


Furthermore, one of the suspects being sought in these cases was observed close by. That male subject, later identified as Mario Pratt, of South Bend, was taken into custody, along with a female identified as KaShawn Hudson, of Warsaw. As the investigation continued, officers observed another suspect being sought during this who fled from law enforcement. A foot pursuit ensued, and the male suspect jumped in a canal while trying to flee. This caused him to sink in muck and officers had to rescue him from the water. He was taken into custody without further incident. That suspect was identified as Micheal Hubbard, of South Bend.


As officers continued to search the area for two more males alleged to have fled on foot in the area prior to law enforcement’s arrival, investigators from Warsaw and Kosciusko County, assisted by NET43, applied for a search warrant which was granted for the property of 30 EMS B5A Lane. During this search, officers seized evidence linked to fraudulent activity at businesses across the region, connected back to original theft cases involving credit/debit cards from motor vehicle thefts in this county.


Investigators pieced together criminal gang activity with these subjects, finding public social media posts that identified them as the “AG Boiis”, a street gang connected to the South Bend /Niles, Michigan areas. This finding added another charge to the investigation of Criminal Organization Activity, where subjects knowingly or intentionally commit offenses with the intent to benefit, promote, or further the interests of a criminal organization.


Formal charges have been filed in these cases as the investigation continues.


This is still an active and ongoing case, as there are additional suspects being sought regarding the crimes in Kosciusko County. Additionally, more charges may be filed on these individuals at the conclusion of this investigation.


At this time, it is believed this group is responsible for at least six motor vehicle thefts, multiple thefts of firearms from vehicles, as well as a large number of thefts of credit/debit cards leading to multiple fraudulent activity in northern Indiana and southern Michigan.


Anyone with information into these cases is encouraged to contact the Warsaw Police Department at (574) 372-9515 or the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office at (574) 267-5667 and ask for the detective division.


FEDCO announces development at Blacketor Industrial Park

Fulton Economic Development Corporation announces new development at Blacketor Industrial Park north of Sroufe Landscaping. 


Dan Holtz, developer for MOJE LLC, has broken ground on a light industrial facility at Blacketor Industrial Park. Once complete, approximately half of the facility will be leased to a sewing shop that is a supplier for the RV Industry.


This company recently expanded their operations into Fulton County, they currently employ three full time employees in Fulton County and are looking to expand their employee count to between twelve and twenty once in the new facility. 


The remaining half of the facility will be available for lease once complete. 


“We are excited to have this investment here in Fulton County, having some industrial space available for lease will be a great addition to our inventory also, ”  saidTiffany Futrell, Interim Director of FEDCO.


Dan Holtz explained, “We are fortunate to be expanding into Fulton County at this time, as the city and county see the potential to diversify their light industry and look to grow their community.” 


Prep work for the structure is wrapping up and posts will start going up next week. 

UPS begins recruiting 100,000+ seasonal workers

UPS announced  it will hire more than 100,000 seasonal employees ahead of the holiday rush.


Its streamlined, digital-first process now takes just 25 minutes for most people – from filling out an online application to receiving a job offer. And nearly 80% of seasonal positions do not require an interview.


After achieving superior on-time performance during last year’s peak holiday season – topping its two major competitors for a third consecutive year – the company is again gearing up to meet customer needs.


The company is filling full- and part-time seasonal positions – primarily seasonal delivery and CDL drivers, package handlers, and driver helpers – by offering competitive wages across multiple shifts in hundreds of locations across the country. Permanent positions also are available in some areas for those who apply early.


“We have made our hiring process as simple and easy as possible,” said Nando Cesarone, Executive Vice President and President, U.S. Operations. “UPS’s strength has always been our people, and we are excited about the opportunity to welcome new UPSers to our team as we deliver what matters for our customers this holiday season.”


And seasonal opportunities are a proven pathway to a career at UPS – nearly 35,000 seasonal employees earned permanent positions following the 2021 holidays. UPS creates jobs that pay industry-leading wages and benefits, and rewards people who stay. A full-time UPS package delivery driver makes an average of $95,000 per year, plus an additional $50,000 in contributions to health, wellness and pension benefits.


“I love my job – serving your community, getting to know your city and the people,” said San Diego full-time driver Rene Aranda, who started as a seasonal driver helper in 2018. “UPS offers a great opportunity to grow and live a more comfortable life than other companies.”


Through the company’s Earn and Learn program, eligible employees have the opportunity to earn up to $25,000 (lifetime maximum) for college tuition and expenses. Part-time seasonal employees are even eligible for pro-rated reimbursement the day they are hired. And in 2021, UPS invested $30 million in education assistance programs for its employees because the company believes in investing in its people.


Applicants should apply at upsjobs.com. If you are a UPS employee, you can refer friends and family for UPS jobs at ups.loop.jobs.

The Kibitzer Tavern in Kewanna continues business as family tradition

Two years after taking over The Kibitzer Tavern, 101 W Main Street, in Kewanna, business partners Colton Measels and Todd King continue to hold down the small-town watering hole that's been run by Measel's family for more than three decades.



Learning work ethic and leadership from his grandparents, former owners Randy and Gloria Banks bought the Kibitzer in 1989. Growing up in the kitchen with his grandma, Measels thought about buying the bar, but Gloria's untimely passing in 2020 sped up the process.


Keeping his grandmother's memory alive has been important to Measels. Other than a slightly upgraded menu, Measels and King have kept things pretty much the same. 



Becoming business owners during the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic wasn't easy. With a lockdown that spanned for months and Kewanna Fall Festival being canceled for 2020, business took a big hit their first year.  They were kept afloat thanks to support from locals keeping them busy with carry-out orders. 



Keeping their employees stable during the pandemic was important for the new business owners. Six of the seven workers they currently have are longtime employees at the tavern. As things have returned back to normal, business remains steady. Measels and King say the loyalty of the small town community makes them confident about any bumps that may happen in the future. 




Famous for their pizza, burgers, chicken and fried fish, the menu has a little something for everyone. Just like when Gloria had it, home-cooked lunch specials are served during the week on a first come, first serve basis. 



The Kibitzer Tavern's kitchen hours are Monday thru Thursday from 11am to 9pm, Friday and Saturday from 11am to 10pm and Sundays from 12pm to 8pm. 

Woman killed in Fulton Co. car-semi collision

A Henry County woman was killed Wednesday in a car crash in Fulton County.


Just after 8:30 am, officers from the Indiana State Police and the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department responded to a two-vehicle crash at the intersection of State Road 14 and Fulton County Road 1100 West. The preliminary crash investigation revealed Madonna Mawk, 81, of Mooreland, Indiana, was driving a 2003 Jeep Liberty eastbound on State Road 14 approaching County Road 1100 West. Indiana State Police report evidence indicates the Jeep attempted to turn north onto County Road 1100 West and hit a westbound 2023 Peterbilt semi-tractor that was pulling a box trailer.  The collision was into the driver’s side fuel tank of the Peterbilt. 


The Peterbilt was driven by Timothy Phelps, 44, of North Vernon, Indiana.


Mawk was pronounced deceased at the scene. Phelps was not injured.


Mawk was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash. Phelps was cited, under federal motor carrier regulations, for having a false logbook and possessing a radar detector. 


This is an ongoing investigation. At this time, neither the consumption of alcoholic beverages nor narcotics is suspected of having contributed to this crash. 

Maconaquah School Corporation Board appoints Interim Superintendent following car crash, arrest in Fulton County

James Callane has resigned the post he had held since 2018 as the superintendent of schools at Maconaquah.


Callane, 53, of Peru, was preliminarily charged with leaving the scene of a property damage crash, and operating a vehicle while intoxicated-endangerment following a property damage crash near Fulton on Saturday.


Toxicology reports are pending.


Callane was booked into the Fulton County jail in Rochester and later released on his own recognizance.


The following was posted on the Maconaquah Schools Facebook.  No further mention of why Callane resigned is mentioned as it is a personnel issue.


Maconaquah School Corporation Board Appoints Kelly McPike as Interim Superintendent

On September 4, 2022, Maconaquah School Corporation Superintendent Dr. James Callane resigned the position. The Board of School Trustees is grateful to Dr. Callane for his many years of service to the Corporation, and wishes him and his family well.

Director of Student Services Kelly McPike will serve as Interim Superintendent. Ms. McPike brings 14 years of administrative leadership at Maconaquah Schools. The Board is familiar and confident with her ability to lead our Corporation.

While the success of the Corporation rests with all its employees and board members, who are dedicated to delivering the best possible education to our students, the Board recognizes the importance of a permanent superintendent position and will work quickly towards this solution.

Any questions regarding this transition should be directed towards Board President Robert Daine.

Indiana Debate Commission opens its season for Oct. 16 U.S. Senate debate

The Indiana Debate Commission will host a single debate between three U.S. Senate candidates Sunday, October 16, with a one-hour broadcast starting at 7 p.m. Eastern.


The single debate in this year’s race will include three candidates: incumbent Sen. Todd Young (Republican), Thomas McDermott (Democrat), and James Sceniak (Libertarian).


Anyone can submit questions for consideration in this debate, which will be moderated by Laura Merrifield Wilson, an associate professor of political science at the University of Indianapolis, and also a commission board member. She previously moderated a gubernatorial debate in 2016.


Questions for these candidates will come primarily from Hoosier voters, which can be submitted online at www.indianadebatecommission.com.


To submit a question for consideration, click “Ask Your Question” on the top menu of the commission website through Friday, Sept. 30. Questions will be reviewed and selected solely by the commission, and some submitters may be offered the opportunity to ask their questions in person.


The debate will be broadcast live from the studios of WFYI-TV in Indianapolis. The commission will provide a live broadcast feed and web stream to news media outlets across Indiana for viewers statewide.


Hoosiers will be able to view the debates locally, via live stream on the Indiana Debate Commission website and the commission’s YouTube channel.


The Indiana Debate Commission is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that organizes nonpartisan, citizen-focused political debates as a service to the public. Since 2007, the commission has produced 23 statewide debates in U.S. Senate and gubernatorial elections. The group’s work is underwritten by a variety of media and community organizations. The major sponsor for this year’s debate is AARP Indiana.

Cardinal Services Inc merges to new office in downtown Rochester

Since 1954, Cardinal Services Inc of Indiana has provided resources, support, and guidance to individuals in the area living with Intellectual disabilities. 


Started by parents in need of support in Kosciosko County, the small group created an organization that has filled a big gap in the past six decades, taking the disabled out of the shadows and into the community. Cardinal Services provides programs that help their clients feel valued, including skill training for individuals with disabilities, support for children, families, and transportation.


Now expanded to 10 counties in Indiana, the organization with a staff of roughly 380 employees, help 6,500 people each year.


Celebrating their grand opening of the newest office in downtown Rochester with a ribbon cutting last week, Cardinal Services Inc of Indiana continues to grow, offering more services now than ever before.  



Breaking stigmas and raising awareness, Cardinal Services Inc Residential Assistant Director Jacki Pawski says the organization continues to cultivate change in not only the lives of their clients, but also in the mindset of others in the community. 




Fostering life skills and independence, Pawski says the ultimate goal for the organization is to help clients and their families live a life as close to a normal as possible. 



Indiana Senate Republican Caucus offering internship opportunities

The Indiana Senate Republican Caucus offers paid spring-semester internships in a number of different fields, including communications, information technology, legal, legislative, page and policy positions.

Internship candidates can be of any major, but must be at least a college sophomore. Recent graduates, as well as graduate and law school students, are also encouraged to apply.

Positions are open to Indiana residents and nonresidents who attend a college or university in Indiana.

Interns earn an $800 biweekly stipend and benefit from scholarship and academic credit opportunities, professional development, community involvement and networking.

These are full-time positions at the Statehouse in downtown Indianapolis that typically begin with a mandatory orientation in late December and conclude at the end of the legislative session in April 2023.

For more information and to access an application, go to www.IndianaSenateRepublicans.com/Intern.

The deadline to apply is Oct. 31.



Man shot in hunting accident in Pulaski County

Indiana Conservation Officers are investigating a hunting incident that occurred on private property in Pulaski County.


Dave Berry, 69, of Roachdale was dove hunting along a Sandy Prairie Hunt Club field when he was struck by a gunshot.


Berry is a Putnam County Commissioner.


Initial investigation has revealed that unbeknownst to other hunters, Berry began searching for a downed dove in an uncut cornfield when he walked in the direction of another group of hunters. At the same time, a juvenile hunter attempted to shoot at a low-flying dove striking Berry approximately 35 yards away with pellets from the 20-gauge shotgun.


Berry was transported by members of his hunting party to Pulaski Memorial Hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries to his arms, legs, and abdomen.


The incident remains under investigation

Fulton County authorities handling death investigation; foul play not suspected

The Fulton County Sheriff's Office is investigating a man found dead near Kewanna.

At 8:43 pm, Friday, September 2, emergency personnel were dispatched to the area of 9050 W 100 N Kewanna on a report of an unresponsive individual. Upon emergency personnel's arrival, they located a male unresponsive off the roadway who was later pronounced deceased at the scene.


The deceased male was later identified as Charles Grigsby, 29, from Angola.


The case remains as an open investigation, however, foul play is not suspected.


Assisting the Fulton County Sheriff's Office at the scene were the Kewanna-Union Township Fire Department, Lutheran EMS and the Fulton County Coroner's Office.

Indiana Arts Commission awards local artist Erica Coffing 2022 fellowship grant

Local artist Erica Coffing is pursuing her passion for art as not just a hobby, but also a career.


Wanting to continue to beautify the area while inspiring others to do the same, Coffing believes art is more powerful and important than people realize. 



Trying to involve herself in the community as much as possible, Coffing is a board member for the nonprofit organization Full Tilt Arts in Rochester and the Heartland Artist organization in Plymouth.


Coffing is also working on various projects with the Logansport Art Association and the Fulton County Chamber of Commerce. Between community projects, commissioned paintings and teaching art classes, Coffing still managed to find the time recently to further her career as a professional artist with the Indiana Arts Commission. 



Artists participating in the program were encouraged to apply for a fellowship grant that would provide $2,000 towards a project of the artists choosing. Receiving the grant, Coffing plans to do a project focused on raising awareness and acceptance for the LGBTQ community through portraits of locals. Wanting to bring their hardships and triumphs to life on canvas, Coffing hopes the stories will help others in the community open up their minds and hearts to diversity. 



Coffing plans to show an exhibition of the project by late summer 2023 at the Native Nook in Rochester. 

Rochester, Caston, Tippecanoe Valley combine for over $180, 000 in safety grants

The Indiana Secured School Safety Board has approved more than $22.9 million in matching state grants, marking the fourth consecutive year of record-breaking school safety investments.


The grants will be allocated to 425 schools, which is the largest number of schools to ever apply.


“We continue to prioritize investments in school safety to help students and staff succeed without the worry of violence in Hoosier schools,” Gov. Eric J. Holcomb said. “This funding allow schools to address their specific safety needs through additional personnel and programs designed to prepare for and prevent school violence.”


The General Assembly allocated $19 million the past two years for the Secured School Safety Grant (SSSG). Legislators will set future allocations during this year’s budget session. With the addition of $3.9 million in funds unspent from previous grant cycles, Indiana was able to fully fund all top priority, eligible requests from all schools that applied. Additionally, the funding will cover all eligible requests for additional training for School Resource Officers and staff. 


With this funding, Indiana now has invested more than $132.9 million in school safety since 2013, when the SSSG program was initiated.


For FY23, the Board approved $22,911,714.45 in school safety funding. The performance period for the grant begins September 1.


Among area schools receiving funding:

Rochester Community, $38,000.00

Caston School Corporation, $45,000.00

Tippecanoe Valley, $100,000.00


The allocation of funds for FY23 includes:

Funding Category

# of Eligible Projects

Total Eligible Funding

SRO and LEO Personnel Costs



Threat Assessments



Equipment and Technology



Active Event Warning System






Student/Parent Support Services Program







“These grants allow Indiana to make a real and tangible impact on students, staff and administrators at schools across the state,” said Rusty Goodpaster, director of the Secured School Safety Board. “We’re proud to be able to help make these schools safer while Hoosier kids receive a world-class education.”


The Secured School Fund is administered by the Indiana Department of Homeland Security. Visit the IDHS website for a full breakdown of SSSG awards (schools and total award received).


The SSSG issues matching grants for eligible items and then schools match those funds at a certain level, either 25 percent, 50 percent or 100 percent. The match requirement is based on average daily membership of the school district, the total amount of the project or what the request covers. 


Eligible items in the grant include funding for school resource officers (SROs) and law enforcement officers in schools; equipment and technology; active event warning systems (no matching requirement); firearms training for teachers and staff that choose to allow guns on school property; threat assessments and to implement a student and parent support services program. Common ineligible requests include vehicles, clothing/uniforms or vape detectors for schools.


The Indiana School Safety Hub also provides schools with a wealth of resources, training opportunities and other information designed to give schools the tools they need to keep students and staff safe.


Amber Dyson Scholarship Fund donation

The Fulton County Optimist Club donated $8,602.50 from their pancake breakfast fundraiser to the Amber Dyson Scholarship Fund at the Northern Indiana Community Foundation.


Created in 2021 to honor the giving spirit of Amber Dyson, the fund provides educational scholarships for Fulton County residents who graduate from Caston, Rochester, or Tippecanoe Valley High School and will attend an accredited Indiana institution of high learning; particular focus is given to students seeking a degree in the medical field.


Pictured from left: Greg Mellinger (Optimist Club), Deanna and Rick O’Neill (parents of Amber Dyson), Brian Johnson (community foundation), Jim Straeter (Optimist Club)

Cass County Emergency Management benefits from NIPSCO grant

Eighteen organizations will receive grants from NIPSCO to help fund their safety education and training projects throughout Northern Indiana.


This year, NIPSCO has granted a total of $68,000.


Over the past five years since this grant program was initiated, a total of 78 projects were funded, totaling $281,000 in grant donations that positively impact safety education and programming within the NIPSCO’s service territory.


This year’s recipients include the Cass County Emergency Management Agency - Public Safety Education Program


Information on the annual NIPSCO public safety grant opportunity is shared with communities throughout the company’s 32-county service area. A selection committee comprised of several NIPSCO departments reviews applications against a set of criteria and chooses grant recipients each year. NIPSCO’s goal is to support important safety initiatives as well as consider geographical areas so as many communities as possible are assisted.



Department of Health sets up monkeypox dashboard

The Indiana Department of Health (IDOH) launched a new data dashboard showing the prevalence of monkeypox cases in the state, broken down by age group, gender, ethnicity, race and public health district.


Since mid-June, Indiana has reported 153 probable or confirmed cases of monkeypox. The dashboard does not include two previously reported pediatric cases because follow-up investigations have determined those to have been false positives.


“Our goal with any dashboard is to provide accurate, up-to-date information on the status of an outbreak or important public health issue to keep Hoosiers informed,” said IDOH Chief Medical Officer Lindsay Weaver, M.D., FACEP. “As the monkeypox situation evolves, we continue to review cases and lab results in consultation with our federal partners to ensure our data accurately reflect the current situation. We are grateful to our laboratory, epidemiology and data teams for their continued review of cases so that we can keep Hoosiers informed about this outbreak.”


The dashboard, which is posted at monkeypox.health.in.gov, will be updated Monday through Friday by 5 p.m. to reflect cases identified as of 5 p.m. the day before. Due to small case counts in most areas of the state, cases will be broken down by public health emergency preparedness district at this time to protect patient privacy.


Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus, which is part of the same family of viruses as smallpox. Symptoms are similar to smallpox, but milder, and monkeypox is rarely fatal. The illness typically begins with fever, headache, chills, muscle aches and exhaustion about five to 21 days after exposure. Within one to three days (sometimes longer) after the appearance of fever, the patient develops a rash. The illness typically lasts for two to four weeks. People are considered infectious until all scabs from the rash have fallen off and a fresh layer of skin has formed.


Person-to-person transmission is possible through skin-to-skin contact with body fluids, monkeypox sores or contaminated items, such as bedding or clothing, or through exposure to respiratory droplets during prolonged face-to-face contact.