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WROI News

Mayor Denton notes Rochester's progress with Nickle Plate Trail and stormwater issues

Rochester Mayor Ted Denton discussed several projects, both completed and still to come, during his State of the City address.

 

The mayor talked about continued efforts to work on the Nickle Plate Trail.  He noted progress has been made which should accelerate the project in the first quarter of 2023.

 

 

The mayor also discussed improvements with a continuing project - improving stormwater issues.  And that means modernizing a system that dates back over a hundred years.

 

 

 

Health department urges parents to have children tested for lead under new law

The Indiana Department of Health is encouraging all parents to have their children younger than age 6 tested for lead exposure as part of legislation that takes effect Jan. 1, 2023.

 

House Enrolled Act 1313 requires all healthcare providers serving children to offer lead testing to their patients, ideally at their 1- and 2-year checkups, or as close as possible to those appointments. Providers also are advised to offer testing to any child younger than age 6 who does not have a record of a prior blood lead test. Previously, only Indiana children covered by Medicaid were required to be tested for lead at ages 12 and 24 months.

 

“There is no safe level of lead, and the sooner we can identify that a child is at risk, the earlier we can take steps to improve the health outcomes for that child,” said State Health Commissioner Kris Box, M.D., FACOG. “By having parents and providers understand the importance of asking for this simple blood test, we have an opportunity to protect hundreds of Indiana children each year from the harmful effects of lead.”

 

Lead exposure can damage the brain and nervous system, causing slowed growth and development, learning and behavior problems, issues with hearing and speech, impulsivity, nausea and other debilitating effects.  It is more toxic to unborn and younger children but can negatively impact adults as well. Early intervention, including proper nutrition and removal of sources of lead exposure, can lower lead levels in individuals.

 

Most lead poisoning in Indiana stems from chipping or peeling lead paint that mixes with dust in the air. Other common sources of lead are contaminated soil, drinking water and, occasionally, children’s toys and jewelry.

 

IDOH is launching a public awareness campaign to bring attention to the importance of this testing with a new website, www.IndianaLeadFree.org, and messaging to the public and providers in communities across the state.

 

In addition, IDOH is partnering with the NAACP and Hoosier Environmental Council to conduct community outreach through the Health Issues and Challenges Grant program, which awarded $900,000 in 2022 for community-based lead prevention and awareness programming. The two organizations are developing plans for outreach in counties including La Porte, Madison, Clinton, Allen, Grant, Vanderburgh, Marion, Clark, St. Joseph and Lake.

 

The universal screening law follows last July’s move to lower Indiana’s blood lead reference level to 3.5 micrograms/deciliter to align with levels established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Under these new guidelines, children with blood lead levels between 3.5 and 4.9 micrograms per deciliter and their families receive education about risks and are advised to test siblings. Children with a confirmed level of 5 or above are enrolled in case management, and families of these children are encouraged to allow health department staff to do a home risk assessment, which includes discussing potentially leaded objects and surfaces and identifying educational, nutritional and developmental support services that may be available to the child. The home assessment will also test surfaces to determine where lead hazards may exist and help the family determine how to best address those.? 

 

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Fulton County Chamber Board President starts tradition of giving

The Fulton County Chamber of Commerce participated in its inaugural “Chamber Gives Back” Day this week.

 

The Chamber Board of Directors decided at its December meeting that the Board President would select a nonprofit Chamber member to dedicate a day of  “giving back” each year, rather than hosting an end-of-year party or celebration. 2022 Board President TJ Garner of Fulton County REMC selected The Outlet Youth Center.

 

“With The Outlet moving locations, we thought it was a great time to knock out one of their bigger items – painting! The new colors really brought more energy to the building,” says Garner.

 

Chamber Executive Director Jillian Smith comments, “I am continually impressed by the board’s desire to serve Fulton County and am proud to work for an organization committed to strengthening our local community.”

 

 

She looks forward to seeing what organization 2023 Board President Andy Perkins of Peterson Waggoner and Perkins, LLP chooses to serve and what projects they may have the board complete.

 

 

RapidView LLC donated the former Schnabeltier property and buildings at 491 Apache Drive to The Outlet Youth Center in August 2022. The property located on Apache Drive includes 2.22 acres and two buildings totaling 10,740 square feet.

 

Chamber board members and staff were happy to volunteer, helping with various tasks around the facility such as painting, organizing, and cleaning.

 

 

“The idea is just to make it look less like a warehouse,” says Taylor Showley, Assistant Director of The Outlet Youth Center.

 

Not only does Showley work for the youth center, but she also serves on the Chamber Board of Directors.

Mayor Denton thanks RPD for keeping the peace during holiday weekend

While most were warm and cozy with their loved ones over the holiday weekend, Rochester Police stayed particularly busy keeping the peace this year, with a high volume of calls about fights, thefts and other crimes.

 

The winter weather may have diverted many drivers from the roads, but RPD Chief Andy Shotts made it clear, it didn't slow down the criminals. During the last Rochester City Council meeting for 2022 on Tuesday, Rochester Mayor Ted Denton gave Shotts and the rest of the RPD a public pat on the back for a job well done. 

 

 

Mayor Denton praised the fact RPD recovered nearly all of the thefts reported over the holiday weekend, which ranged from porch pirates to the theft of a minivan and more. 

 

 

Photo obtained is of a porch pirate caught on surveillance while stealing a package from a Rochester home before Christmas


Rochester Mayor Denton's State of the City includes Citizen of the Year and desire to seek re-election

Rochester Mayor Ted Denton delivered the State of the City address from the Fulton County Museum on Wednesday.

 

The speech highlighted past accomplishments and upcoming challenges facing Rochester. 

 

It culminated with two particular items.  One, the mayor’s annual announcement of a Citizen of the Year.

 

 

The speech also included the mayor confirming that he will seek reelection.

 

 

NICF encouraging sign ups for new software and completion of scholarship applications

 

Fulton County Director of Development for the Northern Indiana Community Foundation Brian Johnson says they have new software in place.  They are looking to get current donors signed up to help them better facilitate their contacts with the foundation.

 

 

Also, the Fulton County Community Foundation (FCCF) endowment scholarship application is now available. The application is all online, where students can track the status of their application and find instructions.

 

 

Visit the Fulton County pageatwww.nicf.org to apply. Applications must be submitted by February 1, 2023.

 

The FCCF has over 65 scholarship funds and awarded more than $169,000 in 2022.

 

For more information about FCCF scholarships, contact Shannon Berger, Scholarship Coordinator for the Northern Indiana Community Foundation at 574-223-2202 or email scholarships@nicf.org. High school students can also contact their guidance department for more information.

 


Update: Name released of Argos man killed in Tuesday crash

An Argos man was killed in a Tuesday morning crash.

 

Just before 11 a.m., the Indiana State Police responded to a serious crash at US 31 and SR 10 in Argos. Preliminary investigation by Master Trooper Rodd Schuh indicates that a  2022 Mitsubishi driven by David Dady, Sr., 71, was traveling eastbound on SR 10 but failed to yield to northbound traffic on US 31.  The Mitsubishi was struck in the passenger side by a 2017 Freightliner that was travelling northbound on US 31.

 

Dady was pronounced deceased at the scene.  The driver of the Freightliner was not injured. 

 

An obituary for Davd Dady is on this website at fultoncountypost.com . 

 

Alcohol or drugs is not suspected to be a factor in this crash.

 

The Indiana State Police was assisted by the Marshall County Sheriff's Office, Argos Police Department, Argos Fire and EMS, Marshall County Coroner’s Office, and Reichert’s Towing.

Rochester mayor to deliver State of the City

Rochester Mayor Ted Denton will deliver the annual State of the City on Wednesday.

 

GIANT fm WROI will provide live coverage of the address beginning sometime around noon on Wednesday.

 

The Fulton County Museum is hosting the event.

 

 


Oh dear! Wheatfield firefighters rescue stranded deer from icy pond

After responding to a call around 9 a.m. on Thursday about a distressed deer stranded on an icy pond, the Wheatfield Volunteer Fire Department brought an early Christmas miracle with a successful rescue. 

 

 

Discovered more than 350 feet from shore, photos and details were given in a Facebook post about the rescue that involved three other nearby departments. The post stated that once firefighters had caught the deer, it was secured in an ice rescue sled and pulled to safety. 

 

 

The deer was not seriously injured and was soon released.

One person reported dead in Cass County truck crash and fire

A truck crash and fire resulted in a death on a Cass County road on Thursday.

 

Just after 9:30 p.m. Cass County Central Dispatch received a call of a vehicle fire on Cass County Road 400 West, north of US 24. A southbound 2007 Ford F150 went off the east side of the road and landed on a culvert drainage structure.

 

The truck was fully engulfed when help arrived at the scene.   After the fire was extinguished, one person was found in the cab of the truck.

 

No name has been released.  The coroner has scheduled a forensic examination to positively identify the person inside.

 

The Cass County Sheriff's Office says alcohol is believed to be a factor in the crash.

 

The Cass County Sheriff's Department, Cass County Fire District #1, Indiana State Fire Marshal's Office, Cass C. Emergency management, Cass County Emergency Medical Services and the Cass County Coroner's Office responded to the scene.


Be careful and prepared if planning to travel during extreme weather

As of this report, Fulton County is under an Advisory (Yellow) travel status.

 

The status is the lowest level of local travel advisory. It means that routine travel or activities may be restricted in areas because of a hazardous situation, and individuals should use caution or avoid those areas.

 

With the wind, extreme cold and wind chill dangerous enough to cause frostbite in minutes, it's more than just driving slow to avoid slick roads.  

 

Sgt. Tony Slocum with the Indiana State Police says if you become stranded it impacts a number of people who have to be out in the elements.

 

 

If you do travel under adverse conditions such as those currently in place Slocum suggests a few things to do beforehand.

 

 

 

 

Indiana State Police asking public not call 911 or dispatch centers for road conditions

With the impactful winter storm, the Indiana State Police is asking that people do not call 911 or any dispatch centers to check on road conditions. 

 

The volume of calls is expected to increase for emergencies and phone lines need to stay open. 

 

People wanting to check road conditions can go to 511in.org , download the INDOT Trafficwise app on your smartphone, or by calling 1-800-262- ROAD (7623). 

 

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State EOC and Indiana Guard actively responding to weather event

The Indiana State Emergency Operations Center remains on enhanced activation as the winter storm system moves through the state.

 

Nearly 150 soldiers from the Indiana National Guard have activated to patrol and help motorists on Hoosier roadways.

 

The Indiana National Guard fully activated nearly 30 Highway Assistance Teams (HAT) as of 5 p.m. today, patrolling designated areas in the central and northern parts of the state. The soldiers are assisting local first responders to ensure no motorists are stranded alongside roads in the extreme and dangerous temperatures moving through the area. The Indiana Department of Transportation reported nearly 750 plows on Indiana roadways as of 5 p.m., with another 200 on standby as needed throughout the night.

 

“The State EOC is coordinating a comprehensive state and local response, utilizing multiple state agencies and the Indiana National Guard to help Hoosiers endure this brief, but serious, event and enjoy the holiday safely. We caution people to stay off the roads, if at all possible,” said Mary Moran, director of Emergency Management and Preparedness with the Indiana Department of Homeland Security.

“Our Guardsmen are trained and equipped to meet the needs of Hoosiers during all weather emergencies. We consistently train with our state agency counterparts to ensure ease of collaboration during responses such as this,” said Lt. Col. Randi Bougere, director of strategic communications with the Indiana National Guard.

 

Indiana 211 can provide a list of warming shelters in your community and other needed assistance.

 

Hoosiers are encouraged to stay off the roads for the next 24-48 hours as temperatures fall off quickly and rain transitions to ice then snow. The snowfalls are expected to be between 3-6 inches over the next few days, but the strong winds will produce windchills as low as -30 degrees in some parts of the state. The strong winds also could produce near whiteout conditions in some areas, even with minimal snow.

 

The IDHS website and the Get Prepared website are important resources for Hoosiers to stay safe during a weather emergency. Both provide critical resources and real-time information on road conditions as well as tips to stay safe before and when you may find yourself stranded in an extreme weather event.

 

The IDHS Travel Advisory Map is active on the IDHS site, with current updates provided by local level emergency managers. 511in.org can provide Hoosiers with the location and road conditions according to INDOT snowplow drivers, including photos and live video of plow locations.

 

To protect yourself on the road:

  • Don’t drive if possible.
  • Keep plenty of fuel in your car.
  • Create an emergency kit with blankets, food, water and cell phone chargers.
  • Do not exit your vehicle unless you are within 100 yards of shelter.
  • Slow down.

To protect yourself in your home:

  • Prepare an emergency kit to keep your warm and nourished for up to three days if necessary.
  • Contact utility companies immediately if necessary.
  • Gather everyone in the most-insulated interior room.
  • Protect your pipes from freezing by insulating them, allowing them to drip and open cabinets.
  • Do not use a fireplace unless it has been cleaned and swept.

Finally, please remember pets and livestock during this type of weather event.

  • Brings pets indoors if possible.
  • Provide straw or warm bedding, away from wind.
  • Provide clean, unfrozen water and food.
  • Pay attention to animals in distress.

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Duke Energy prepares for winter storm and urges customers to do the same

Duke Energy is monitoring and preparing for a winter storm system that is expected to cause power outages later this week.

 

A mix of dangerously low temperatures, high winds and snow is predicted to move across Indiana beginning late Thursday evening and continuing through Friday evening.

 

Snow on its own typically has little to no impact on the electric system. However, high winds may bring down trees, limbs and power lines, while below-freezing temperatures result in increased stress on the power grid. These types of winter storms can also create hazardous driving conditions, which could impede Duke Energy workers’ ability to assess storm damage and restore power. Crews are prepared and will work as quickly as possible to restore power, however, expected high winds will also restrict some restoration efforts.

 

“As Duke Energy meteorologists are tracking this significant winter weather event, crews are preparing to restore power as safely and quickly as possible,” said Anthony Brown, Midwest Storm Director, Duke Energy. “Our top priority is to keep our customers informed and urge them to prepare in advance.”

 

Customers are encouraged to maintain a plan to move family members – especially those with special needs – to a safe, alternative location in case an extended power outage occurs, or evacuation is required.

 

Crews will work diligently to restore power in impacted communities as quickly as possible. As restoration begins, the first priority is to repair large power lines and other infrastructure that will return power to the greatest number of customers as safely, quickly and efficiently as possible. Crews then can work on repairs affecting individual neighborhoods and homes.

 

Safety information

Duke Energy encourages customers to have a plan in place to respond to an extended power outage after severe weather. Below are some tips:

 

Before the storm

  • Create (or update) an emergency supply kit to save valuable time later. The kit should include everything an individual or family would need, especially medicines, water, nonperishable foods and other supplies that might be hard to find after a storm hits.
  • Keep a portable radio or TV or a NOAA weather radio on hand to monitor weather forecasts and important information from state and local officials.
  • Charge cellphones, computers and other electronic devices in advance of storms to stay connected to important safety and response information. Consider purchasing portable chargers and make sure they are fully charged as well.

After the storm

  • Stay away from power lines that have fallen or are sagging. Consider all lines energized, as well as trees, limbs or anything in contact with lines.
  • If a power line falls across a car that you are in, stay in the car. If you MUST get out of the car due to a fire or other immediate life-threatening situation, do your best to jump clear of the car and land on both feet. Be sure that no part of your body is touching the car when your feet touch the ground.
  • The quickest way for customers in Indiana to report power outages is by calling 1.800.343.3525.

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Gov. Holcomb selects Judge Dana Kenworthy to join Indiana Court of Appeals

Governor Eric J. Holcomb announced he has selected Grant County Superior Court Judge Dana Kenworthy as the next member of the Indiana Court of Appeals.

 

Kenworthy will replace Justice Derek R. Molter who was appointed to the Indiana Supreme Court.

 

Kenworthy was born in Peru and grew up in Miami County.

 

“Judge Kenworthy is one of the sharpest legal minds in our state which is what brought her to the courtroom, but it’s her passion for children and families that has kept her there,” said Gov. Holcomb. “The Indiana appellate court will benefit from her critical thinking skills, problem-solving technique, reasoned decision-making and her sense of justice.”

 

Judge Kenworthy was appointed to Grant County Superior Court 2 in 2010. Before serving as a judge, Kenworthy worked as a Grant County deputy prosecutor for 10 years where she focused on cases involving child abuse, sexual assault, juvenile delinquency and domestic violence.

 

“Dana Kenworthy is an outstanding and innovative jurist, legal scholar and is greatly respected throughout Indiana,” said Chief Justice Loretta Rush, Indiana Supreme Court. “She brings a wealth of experience and humanity to our appellate bench.”

 

During her time as a judge in Grant County, she founded one of the earliest Family Recovery Courts in Indiana, which applies the problem-solving court model to help the highest need and highest risk families remain intact. In six years, the Grant County Family Recovery Court has been nationally recognized as a gold standard. Judge Kenworthy has had 41 participants graduate from the program.

 

“I am humbled and honored to be selected by Gov. Holcomb, and immensely grateful to friends and colleagues who offered support throughout the selection process,” said Judge Dana Kenworthy. “It is a rare privilege to serve on the Indiana Court of Appeals, and I will work hard every day to be worthy of the position.”

 

Kenworthy was born and raised in Miami County. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Ball State University and graduated summa cum laude from the Indiana University McKinney School of Law.

 

Kenworthy was elected by her peers and continues to serve on the Indiana Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges Board of Directors. She served on the Juvenile Justice Improvement Committee and the Indiana Supreme Court Resuming Operations Task Force, which established guidelines for ongoing court operations after the onset of the pandemic.

 

Judge Kenworthy lives in Grant County with her husband Alex, a retired police officer, and a junior high and high school coach. She and her husband have fostered 15 children in their home over the years.

 

A date for Kenworthy’s robing ceremony will be determined by the Indiana Courts of Appeals.

Indiana agencies working with state and local partners to respond to winter weather event

A significant weather event is predicted for the holiday weekend, including cold temperatures, high winds and potential blizzard-like conditions in some parts of the state. This system has the potential to be a life-threatening weather event and could result in serious traffic hazards and power outages.

 

Hoosiers are encouraged to stay off the roads beginning Thursday evening and through the weekend unless travel is absolutely necessary. Give road crews the time and space to safely remove snow and ice from the roadways. Hoosiers can contact Indiana 211 for information about warming centers in their community.

 

The State Emergency Operations Center will be activated beginning at 7 a.m. Thursday and will operate 24/7 through the event. Governor Eric Holcomb has activated nearly 150 personnel from the Indiana National Guard to serve as Highway Assistance Teams, which will be strategically positioned across the northern third of the state to help motorists if needed.

 

The Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) and National Weather Service are monitoring the inclement weather and working with emergency managers to gather real-time information as the weather develops. 

 

The IDHS website is an important resource for Hoosiers. It houses the Get Prepared webpage that has critical tips for people to prepare for winter weather and what to do during the storm. 

 

The Travel Advisory Map is active on the IDHS homepage. County emergency management agencies update this map to show the travel status of each county. 

 

As this weather approaches, know that state and local agencies are tracking the system and making necessary preparations to respond to Hoosiers in need throughout this event.

 

Additional resources:

  • Indiana 211 (warming centers)
  • 511in.org (INDOT TrafficWise, real-time plow information)
  • Winterops.indot.in.gov Register at this website to receive quarterly action plans from INDOT.

  • NWS Chat register for an account and join chat rooms that are manned 24/7 with meteorologists from around the state. Ask questions and get access to real time info.

 

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Driver killed in car - semi collision in Logansport

The driver of a passenger car was killed in a collision with a semi in Logansport Tuesday.

 

Logansport Police report they were called to U.S. 35 and 18th Street just before 1 p.m.  The Logansport Fire Department extricated a female driver from the car.  She was flown to Eskenazi Hospital in Indianapolis but died of her injuries.  The name is not available as of this report.

 

Preliminary investigation shows the passenger car was southbound on 18th Street and the driver pulled into the path of the semi driven by, Carl Prochno, 61, of Argos. Prochno's semi then turned onto its side and spilled a load of corn.

 

Prochno was not injured.

 

Anyone with information related to the crash is asked to call Dectective Flaude Dillion at 574-725-2826.

Winter Storm Watch underway Thursday evening

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch from Thursday evening into Saturday morning.

 

The NWS says blizzard conditions are possible with a wintry mix Thursday changing over to snow Thursday night. Snow will be moderate to heavy at times late Thursday night through Friday.

 

For parts of northern Indiana snow will transition to lake effect snow through Saturday. Snow amounts will be quite varied, exceeding eight inches near Lake Michigan to a few inches in northwest Ohio.

 

West winds could gust as high as 55 mph, and will cause significant blowing and drifting snow.

 

Travel could be very difficult with areas of blowing snow that could significantly reduce visibility. Gusty winds could reach as high as 50 mph and bring wind chills as low as 30 below zero that could cause frostbite on exposed skin in as little as 30 minutes.

 

Dangerous cold is expected Thursday night into Sunday. Low temperatures will be in the single digits above and below zero. High temperatures will be in the single digits and teens. Wind chill values could fall to around 20 to 30 below zero at times. The lowest wind chills will be Friday into Saturday.

 

Additional snow accumulations are expected near Lake Michigan through Sunday in west-northwest wind favored snow belts.

 

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Kettler steps down as ISDA Director

Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch announced  the resignation of Bruce Kettler, director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA).

 

Kettler’s last day will be Jan. 6, 2023.

 

“Bruce is a lifelong member of the agriculture community and understands the significant role the ag industry plays in Indiana,” said Gov. Eric Holcomb. “Through his dedication and commitment, he has elevated Indiana’s agribusiness development through innovation and a future-focused economy, and his leadership has set the agriculture ecosystem up for long-term success.”

 

Kettler was appointed to his position in January 2018 by Governor Eric Holcomb. He currently serves as the first vice president on the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture Board of Directors.

 

“As director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, Bruce has been a strong voice for Hoosier farmers and the state’s entire agricultural industry,” said Lt. Gov. Crouch, who also serves as Indiana’s Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development. “His leadership and stewardship have been invaluable, and I wish him well as he transitions back into the private sector.”

 

Under Kettler, the ISDA:

 

Expanded growth opportunities for Indiana agriculture through a) development of the rural economic development model and data access for rural economic development professionals, b) advancement of the Indiana Hardwoods strategy and c) implementation of Indiana Dairy Strategy 2.0.

   

Continued strong growth in soil conservation with increased cover crop adoption and money going to farmers for soil conservation and water quality priorities.

   

Led the Indiana agriculture industry through the COVID-19 pandemic through communication, cooperation and regular stakeholder meetings. His leadership minimized delays and duplication of efforts in the industry during the rapidly changing COVID-19 landscape.

 

Though Kettler is stepping down from his ISDA position, he will continue to be an advocate for the agricultural industry as he becomes the new CEO and President of the Agribusiness Council of Indiana.

 

“Thank you to Governor Holcomb and Lt. Gov. Crouch for asking me to serve the State of Indiana,” said Kettler.  “Serving the farmers, businesses and citizens of Indiana has been an honor that I could not have imagined even a few years ago. My five years at the Indiana State Department of Agriculture will hold a special place in my professional career. Leading the team of dedicated individuals working at ISDA has been very rewarding, and I know they will continue their dedication for the next director.”

 

A search will begin immediately for a successor to Kettler.

 

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Woodlawn Hospital receives Performance Leadership Award for Outcomes from Chartis Center for Rural Health

As part of the National Rural Health Day celebration, Woodlawn Hospital today announced it has been recognized with a 2022 Performance Leadership Award for excellence in Outcomes.

 

Compiled by The Chartis Center for Rural Health, the Performance Leadership Awards honor top quartile performance (e.g., 75 th percentile or above) among rural hospitals in Quality, Outcomes and Patient Perspective.

 

“Woodlawn Hospital is honored to have been awarded the 2022 Performance
Leadership Award for Outcomes. Our Mission at Woodlawn is to provide excellent
healthcare services by highly skilled staff in a compassionate and caring manner. We recognize the responsibility to serve patients, employees, physicians, and the
community. The goals of our providers and staff are always centered on providing high- quality, safe care to all those we serve. Although we are a small rural hospital, we provide outstanding services that result in excellent patient outcomes,” Stated Paula McKinney, Chief Nursing Officer at Woodlawn Hospital.

 

 

The Performance Leadership Awards are based on the results of the Chartis Rural
Hospital Performance INDEX™, the industry’s most comprehensive and objective
assessment of rural hospital performance. INDEX data is trusted and relied upon by rural hospitals, health systems with rural footprints, hospital associations and state offices of rural health across the country to measure and monitor performance across several areas impacting hospital operations and finance.

 

“Although the last two years have placed unprecedented pressure on the rural health safety net, the dedication to serving the community that we’re so accustomed to seeing from rural hospitals across the country hasn’t wavered,” said Michael Topchik, National Leader, The Chartis Center for Rural Health. “Let us celebrate the power of rural on National Rural Health Day and honor the facilities working tirelessly to provide access to high quality healthcare services to their communities.”

 

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Fulton County man graduates with 83rd Indiana State Police Recruit Academy

A Fulton County man has joined the Indiana State Police following graduation with the 83rd Indiana State Police Recruit Academy.

 

Jarod C. Sheetz, of Rochester, has been assigned to the Peru district.

 

After the commencement address, the oath of office for the 11 new State Police officers was delivered by The Honorable Justice Christopher M. Goff, of the Indiana Supreme Court. Each new trooper was then presented their badge and official identification by Superintendent Carter and his staff.

 

The graduation marked the culmination of 23 weeks of intense training which totaled more than 1,100 hours. Some subject areas of training included criminal and traffic law, de-escalation, emergency vehicle operations, defensive tactics, firearms, impaired driving detection, scenario-based training, and a host of other academic subjects related to modern policing.

 

 

Each graduating trooper will be assigned to one of 14 State Police Posts across Indiana. Once at their assigned district, the new troopers will spend the next three months working side by side with a series of experienced Field Training Officers. The purpose of the field training is to put to practical application the training received throughout the formal academy training. Upon successful completion of field training, the new troopers will be assigned a state police patrol vehicle and will begin solo patrol in their assigned district.

 

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Winter weather may impact holiday plans

With an end-of-week forecast that could include blizzard-like conditions and severely cold temperatures, FEMA Region 5 encourages everyone to prepare now: if necessary, alter travel plans, remain indoors and follow the instructions of local and state officials to stay safe.

 

Any time you plan travel, monitor local radio and TV stations for updated risk and emergency information. If you haven’t already, sign up for your community’s warning system. The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts. Be sure to check forecasts for your area and any areas you’re traveling through or to.

 

  1. If you must be on the road during severe winter weather, take precautions to get to your destination safely. Make sure you have a full tank of gas and essentials on hand before you leave—including a flashlight, warm clothes, blankets, food and water. Have those extra essentials for air or rail travel too.
  2. If you’re trapped in your car, stay inside. Watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia.
  3. Make sure everyone knows who to call if travel will be delayed or postponed.

If you’re staying home for the holidays, take steps to stay safe there too:

  1. Prepare for possible power outages by ensuring electronics are fully charged.
  2. Gather supplies in case you need to stay home for several days without power. Keep in mind each person’s specific needs, including medication. Do not forget the needs of pets. Have extra batteries for radios and flashlights.
  3. Check on your neighbors or friends.  Older adults and young children are more at risk in extreme cold.

Find even more valuable tips to help you prepare for severe winter weather at www.ready.gov/winter-weather or download the free FEMA app. 

 

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Cold, wind, freezing temps on way for holiday weekend

Travel plans for the upcoming Christmas weekend are iffy as a forecast of freezing rain and snow looms.

 

Further definition of amounts of snow and freezing rain are to be determined. But one thing appears certain.  Temperatures are set to go well below freezing at the end of the week.

 

The National Weather Service forecast reports that on Thursday there is a chance of rain, snow and freezing rain before 1 p.m., then rain, possibly mixed with snow. Thursday's high temperature will be near 35 before dropping. 

 

Going into Thursday night, rain, possibly mixed with snow and freezing rain continues until about 1a.m. From there, snow is likely, possibly mixed with freezing rain and a breezy overnight low of 14. 

 

Friday's forecast calls for wind and more snow with a high temperature of only 15.

 

A chance of snow carries into the Saturday forecast as colder temperatures settle in.  Saturday's high will be five degrees.

 

The sun returns the forecast on Christmas Sunday with the temperaturews remaining very cold.  Sunday's forecast calls for a high of eight degrees.

 

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Starke Co. Commissioner Mark Gourley named president of Northwest district

A Starke County commissioner has been named president of a region that contains several area counties.

 

Mark Gourley was elected President of the Indiana Association of County Commissioners (IACC) Northwest District.  The election was during the state's annual commissioners conference in Indianapolis.

 

The Northwest district has16 counties including Starke, Fulton, Cass, Marshall, Miami, and Pulaski.

 

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Update: Arrest in Fulton County child's death

The Fulton County Sheriff's Office reports that an arrest has been made in the July death of Wrensley Swihart.

 

Darren S. Corbett, 32, of North Liberty, has been charged in the death of the 3-month-old.  Corbett was arrested on a warrant for murder; aggravated battery resulting in death; and neglect of a dependent resulting in death.  All are Level 1 felonies.

 

In July, emergency personnel were dispatched to the 3000 South block of CR 1075 E, Akron, on a report of an infant not breathing.  Despite lifesaving efforts, Wrensley Swihart was declared dead at the scene.

 

An autopsy was performed by Dr. Scott Wagoner of the Northeast Indiana Forensic Center.  Findings were released this month that listed cause of death as blunt force trauma and manner of death as homicide.

 

Corbett has been held withough bond at the Fulton County Detention Center.

 

The Fulton County Sheriff"s Office investigation was assisted by the Fulton County Coroner's Office and the Indiana Department of Child Services.

 

 

Rochester man struck and killed by a car on U.S. 31

A Rochester man was killed Friday evening in a car - pedestrian crash.

 

Just before 7:30 p.m. officers from the Indiana State Police and the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department responded to a vehicle-pedestrian crash on U.S. 31 near Fulton County Road 50 East. The preliminary crash investigation revealed that a 23-year-old Cincinnati, OH, man was driving a 2004 Toyota Highlander in the passing lane of southbound U.S. 31 near County Road 50 East. Steven Patrick Biggs, 51, of Rochester, was walking across the travel portion of southbound U.S. 31 when he was struck by the Toyota.

 

Biggs was pronounced deceased at the scene. The Ohio man was not injured.

 

The crash is still under investigation.

 

Indiana State Police were assisted by the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department, the Fulton County Coroner’s Office, and Fulton County EMA.

 

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Popular Leesburg restaurant closing after 50 years

Stacy and Colleen Haines started Stacy’s Sports Inn in 1972.  Now run by their son, Tyler, the restaurant announced in the following announcement via Facebook its closing for December 31....

 

Stacy’s Sports Inn will be closing our doors at the conclusion of dinner on Saturday, December 31. We will continue normal operating hours until our last final New Year’s Eve.

In 1972, Stacy and Colleen Haines, knowing little about the industry, took possession of a rough and tumble bar in Leesburg. Little did they know that they would turn their risk into one of the most notable dining establishments in the State of Indiana and serve the Northern Lakes area for 50 wonderful years. The Haines Family is honored to have had Stacy’s become a staple in the Kosciusko County community offering a welcoming atmosphere for families, friends, and visitors alike.

Over the past 5 decades, the restaurant has been through a lot. Through building expansions, dance floors and bands, salad bars, a fire, recessions and a pandemic, we’ve persisted in order to host hundreds of events, serve hundreds of thousands of meals, tell millions of stories, and most importantly, create countless amounts of memories and friendships.

We raised our family here and created a family here.

To all our loyal customers, please know that this decision was not made lightly, and our family is forever grateful for your support. We will cherish the memories we have made and the relationships we have built over the years. Thank you for being a part of this journey with us.

We hope that you will join us for one last meal over the next few weeks as we will continue to serve our signature dishes through the end of the year. Please consider making reservations through the rest of December and especially on New Year's Eve to celebrate Stacy’s history and the beginning of 2023. Over the next year, we will see that gift certificates are redeemed or honored by potential new owners.

For all our Country Salad lovers, we plan on bottling our signature salad dressing and making it available for purchase. This would make a great gift for any Stacy’s fan this holiday season.

During this bittersweet time, we invite you to leave your favorite Stacy’s memories in the comments. If you have ever thought about becoming a restaurateur and are interested in purchasing the business, send us a message. Serious inquiries only please.

The closing of Stacy’s marks the end of an era for our family, inclusive of our great and talented employees, and the Leesburg community. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your long-standing support.

– The Haines Family 

 

 

Mother of 21-year-old Culver murder victim speaks out

The mother of the 21-year-old Culver woman who was murdered in August of 2021 is speaking out about the grief and injustice her family has endured since the tragic event.

 

Diana Soucy will never forget August 30, 2021, the day that would change her and her family's life forever. Remembering the visit from Fulton County Sheriff Chris Sailors and two of his deputies, late that evening, Soucy would awaken to hear every parent's worst nightmare - her oldest daughter, Cheyenne Ruttschaw, was gone. 

 

 

According to court documents, Fulton County emergency personnel responded to a rural Culver residence on August 30, regarding an unconscious person that was not breathing. Although lifesaving efforts were attempted, the victim was pronounced dead at the scene, and was later identified as Cheyenne P. Ruttschaw.

 

Fulton County Sheriff officers at the scene reported noticing Ruttschaw with many injuries in various stages of healing, including a swollen and possibly sprained ankle, black eyes, and several cuts and abrasions. That same day, a Fulton County detective with Indiana State Police troopers interviewed the other people who were at the home when the crime occured. 

 

Multiple witnesses claimed that Ruttschaw had fallen down a set of stairs inside the home, causing her to be unresponsive. They also said Ruttschaw was away from the residence for several days prior to the incident and had just returned on Aug. 30, 2021.

 

The forensic pathologist for her autopsy determined Ruttschaw's injuries were not self-inflicted, and had even included finding a foreign object lodged in the victims throat. Ruttschaw's cause of death was determinded to be a homicide caused from multiple blunt force injuries. 

 

Court documents revealed that two months later, on Oct 26, Christina Marie Mendoza, 27, who also lived at the residence was interviewed by investigators and initially charged with aggravated battery, a level 3 felony; and involuntary manslaughter, a level 5 felony. On that same day, ISP assisted Fulton County officers with a search warrant of the home, finding the five adults previously interviewed by officers, and around eight children. 

 

The story would later change. When asked about her initial story in 2021, where she claimed she hit Ruttschaw in the head while showering, Mendoza said she made the story up out of fear of the Compton residence and felt safer in jail.

 

After further investigation, more than a year later in October and November of 2022, six more people were arrested for Ruttschaw's death.

 

Daniel Martin Compton, 34, 9163 W. 700N, Culver, was charged with aggravated battery, a level 3 felony; involuntary manslaughter, a level 5 felony; strangulation, a level 6 felony; and false informing, a class A misdemeanor.

 

Krystal Lee Compton, 32; Martha E. Gonzales; Michael L. Richcreek, 33; and Michael A. Soliday, 44, all of 9163 W. 700N, Culver; and Constance M. Hall, 30, 519 W. 8th St., Rochester; are each charged with false informing, a class A misdemeanor.

 

Soucy says it saddens her that two of her family members are among those arrested in the home, accused of turning a blind eye and covering up the murder of her daughter. 

 

When interviewed in February, Mendoza disclosed a different story to officials about what happened the night of Ruttschaw’s death, stating she was not the one who killed Ruttschaw. Instead, Mendoza claimed Daniel did, after having been allegedly upset with Ruttschaw that day.

 

Mendoza claimed that as she held down the victim, Daniel put his foot on Ruttschaw's neck with all of his weight, applying pressure.
 

By the time Daniel finally removed his foot, Ruttschaw was unconsious and not breathing.  Mendoza said Daniel then immediately started brainstorming a story, gathering the others in the home to get their stories straight before calling 911. That's when the group had decided to tell officers that Ruttschaw had 'ran away,' recently and returned home injured. Mendoza did claim responsibility for several of Ruttschaw's injuries, but said she was instructed to do so by the Comptons, saving Mendoza from being beat herself. 

 

Sentenced on December 13 at the Fulton County Courthouse, Mendoza was given 12 years, with six years suspended and six years probation in cooperation to testify against the others. 

 

Soucy said she forgives Mendoza, who she felt was just as much of a victim of Daniel Compton as her daughter was. 

 

 

Losing her life at just 21 years of age, Ruttschaw's mother says the 'what if's' do creep into her mind often about her daughter. Would she have gotten married? Had kids? Found a career she loved? The list goes on.

 

Soucy says she will always remember her daughter for her kind heart and patience with her siblings. One thing Soucy struggles with is seeing the pain her younger children have over the loss of their sister, something the family takes one day at a time.

 

Having a passion for drawing, Ruttschaw will never be able to pursue that art career, but her mother keeps her drawings close to her in memory of her daughter. Some art even closer than others, with a tattoo inspired by Ruttchaw's work on Soucy's forearm. 

 

Although no amount of justice can bring back her daughter, Soucy hopes others in the community can use Ruttschaw's story as inspiration to not take abusive situations lightly. 

 

 

Adopt a Grandparent program spreads smiles at senior care facilities

The holiday season can be one of the happiest times of year for many, but for the elderly in senior living facilities, it can also feel like the loneliest.

 

Knowing even the smallest touches matter, Bethany Tucker-Beron, sales representative for Nu Skin, wants those residents to feel a small touch of kindness as she took  on the 'Adopt a Grandparent' program for the first time, this year. The program provides a chance to collect donations and provide professional skin care products and fuzzy warm socks to residents at nursing care facilities.

 

Choosing Lake City Place in Warsaw and The Whitlock in Bremen, Bethany said she purposely chose smaller facilities. She hopes to expand the project even more next year, possibly including facilities in Fulton County. 

 

 

 

 

 

Making her delivery rounds at Lake City Place earlier this week, her final deliveries will be made to The Whitlock sometime before Christmas.

 

With a goal of delivering to all 56 residents in both facilities, Bethany still has a little more than 20 residents still needed sponsored, but it's not too late to show some Christmas love. Those interested in donating can contact Bethany at 574-268-7401

 

 

Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship 2023 recipient, William Van Heyningen of Rochester

TheFulton County Community Foundation, fund affiliate of the Northern Indiana Community Foundation (NICF), is pleased to announce the recipient of the 2023 Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship for Fulton County– William Van Heyningen of Rochester Community High School.

 

Lilly Endowment Community Scholars are known for their community involvement, academic achievement, character, and leadership.

 

William is the son of Michael and AmandaVan Heyningen and plans to study Secondary Education to become a history teacher. He’s involved in soccer, band, tri-ep, National Honors Society, cross county, golf, and many other school clubs and activities in which he has received a multitude of honors and awards. Throughout William’s high school years, he’s spent many hours volunteering at the First Christian Church of Rochester as a youth group event leader, church videographer, and helped prepare and serve free community meals.

 

“Will is a well-rounded young man,” said Fulton County Community Foundation Director of Development Brian Johnson. “His academic performance combined with community involvement are an example of how today’s students have already begun to impact our community.”

 

Van Heyningen talks about his interest in band and theater.

 

 

He also notes finding an interest in math and history thanks to his teacher at Rochester.

 

 

Rochester school counselor Tara Seuferer.

 

 

Each Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship provides for full tuition, required fees and a special allocation of up to $900 per year for required books and required equipment for four years. The scholarship is for undergraduate students studying on a full-time basis leading to a baccalaureate degree at any eligible Indiana public or private nonprofit college or university. Lilly Endowment Community Scholars may also participate in the Lilly Scholars Network (LSN), which connects both current scholars and alumni with resources and opportunities to be active leaders on their campuses and in their communities. Both the scholarship program and LSN are supported by grants from Lilly Endowment to Independent Colleges of Indiana (ICI) and Indiana Humanities.

 

In determining Fulton County’s Lilly Endowment Community Scholar(s), the committee assesses a multitude of criteria, including high academic performance and community involvement. After the field of applicants was narrowed down, nominees were submitted to ICI, the statewide administrator of the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program, which approves the final selection of scholarship recipients.

 

“Will is a hard-working, energetic, and passionate student. He is a leader in the band and creative arts and can be depended on to lead by example and inspire others,” said Stephanie Brown, Rochester Community High School Counselor.

 

Lilly Endowment created the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Programfor the 1998-99 school year and has supported the program every year since with grants totaling in excess of$486 million. More than 5,000 Indiana students have received the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship since the program’s inception.

 

The primary purposes of the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program are: 1) to help raise the level of educational attainment in Indiana; 2) to increase awareness of the beneficial roles Indiana community foundations can play in their communities; and 3) to encourage and support the efforts of current and past Lilly Endowment Community Scholars to engage with each other and with Indiana business, governmental, educational, nonprofit and civic leaders to improve the quality of life in Indiana generally and in local communities throughout the state.

 

The 2023 Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship finalists include Kallie Watson, Brayden Zink, Macie Nelson, and Alivia Paul, who will receive $1,000 scholarships from the Fulton County Community Foundation.

 

The Fulton County Community Foundation works to improve the quality of life in their communities by assisting donors in fulfilling their charitable wishes forever.

 

Lilly Endowment Inc.is an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly Sr. and his sons Eli and J.K. Jr. through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. Although the gifts of stock remain a financial bedrock of the Endowment, it is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education and religion. The Endowment funds significant programs throughout the United States, especially in the field of religion. However, it maintains a special commitment to its founders’ hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana.

 

Since 1997, Independent Colleges of Indianahas administered the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program statewide with funding provided by Lilly Endowment. Founded in 1948, ICI serves as the collective voice for the state’s 29 private, nonprofit colleges and universities. ICI institutions employ over 22,000 Hoosiers and generate a total local economic impact of over $5 billion annually. Students at ICI colleges have Indiana’s highest four-year, on-time graduation rates, and ICI institutions produce 30 percent of Indiana’s bachelor’s degrees while enrolling 20 percent of its undergraduates. 

Covid-19 test recall over concern of false negative results

Detect, Inc. is voluntarily recalling specific lots of the Detect Covid-19 Test™, a molecular, over-the-counter test used to identify SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, in self-collected nasal swabs.

 

The recall affects a total of 11,102 tests shipped to customers from July 26, 2022 through August 26, 2022. The test was granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on October 28, 2021.

 

There is an increased chance that the tests from the lot numbers listed below may give false negative results. Detect has conducted a thorough investigation to identify this issue and has made the decision to conduct a voluntary recall for these lots. To date, Detect has not received any reports of false negative results related to the affected lots and is issuing this recall out of an abundance of caution. The reliability of positive test results is not affected.

 

Below is a list of the affected lots. The lot number can be found on the side of each test box along with the Use By date.

 

Lot Number

Use By Date

Number of Tests Shipped

HB264 1/1/2023 7,382
HY263 1/1/2023 1,800
HY264 1/1/2023 1,920

 

 

 

Detect is notifying all customers and distributors affected by the recall. Anyone in possession of any unused tests from the affected lots should dispose of the tests. The outer packaging is recyclable while all the test components can be discarded as regular trash.

 

Detect Hubs are not affected by the recall and do not need to be discarded.

 

Test users who attempt to use recalled tests will be notified in the Detect App™ that the test has been recalled and may not be used.

 

For information and refund questions, you can call the Detect customer support team for questions and further assistance, (855) 322 3692 or Email: support@detect.com .

Fulton County REMC sending checks to members in time for the holidays

Fulton County REMC says the check’s in the mail.  Or, it will be soon.

 

REMC COO T.J. Garner and CFO Erin Reason say that the company is giving back money to members this year.

 

 

Reason explains how the checks are allocated.

 

 

Garner explains the history behind the funds.

 

 

Reason says the checks should go out soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kosciusko Co. authorities still looking for Joseph Chaffins

The Koscisuko County Sheriff's Office is still looking for a man missing since late October.

 

Joseph Chaffins was last seen in the North Webster area on or about October 26, 2022. His family has not seen or heard from Joseph Chaffins since.

 

Chaffins is 26, a white male, five feet-eight inches tall, 140 pounds.  He has brown hair and blue eyes.

 

Chaffins lives in Pierceton.

 

The Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a missing person case and requesting the public contact the Kosciusko County Detective Bureau (574) 267-5667 or the Net43 at email NET43@kcgov.com or the tip line at (574) 372-2494 with any information on Joseph Chaffins.

Teenager killed in car - pedestrian collision in Plymouth

A 16-year-old was killed in Plymouth in a collision with a car.

 

Law enforcement and medical personnel responded just before 9 p.m. Monday to Oak Road near Pidco Drive.  Malik Steele was declared dead at the scene.

 

Few details available at this time as to what led to the incident.

 

The driver of the vehicle was not hurt and is coopoerating with the investigation.

Rochester and North Miami featured among 2023 Indiana Basketball HOF inductees

The Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame Board of Directors has announced the 2023 Women’s Induction Class to be honored on Saturday, April 29, 2023.  It includes representatives from Rochester and North Miami who went on to star at Notre Dame.
 
Sheila (McMillen) Keller led the Rochester Zebras with 28.2 points her senior season, which ranked second in Indiana that year.  Her senior season stats earned her All Conference, South Bend Area Player of the Year, Parade All-American, a Nike All-American, North/South All-Star, and a member of the Indiana All-Star team. 
 
She holds the all-time scoring record, for boys and girls, at Rochester with 1,696 career points. 
 
She was a member of the Hall of Fame’s 2020 Silver Anniversary Team.
 
Following her time at Rochester, she went to Notre Dame, where her senior year was highlighted by being named team captain, MVP, Francis Patrick O’Connor Award (best displays total embodiment and inspiration to their team), and being named to the Big East All Tourney and Academic All-Star Team.  She was also a participant in the ESPN College 3-point Championship.
 
Sheila is currently a Varsity Assistant at Carmel High School, after numerous other coaching positions since graduation. She is also a black belt in taekwondo.
 

Ruth (Riley) Hunter was USA Today Honorable Mention and a 1st Team All-State member in 1997, while leading North Miami to a 20-1 record her senior season. 

 

She holds the school record for rebounds per game, season, and career; blocks in a season and career, along with points per game in a season and career. 

 

She followed her high school playing days by going to Notre Dame where she graduated with a B.A. in psychology and Exec MBA (both Summa Cum Laude).  Ruth was a 3 time Big East Defensive Player of the Year, and a 2 time Academic All-American.  Her senior year, Notre Dame won the NCAA Championship, where she averaged 18.7 points a game that year, and was National Player of the Year, Final Four MVP, Naismith Player of the Year, NCAA Verizon Academic All-American of the Year, and Sports Illustrated Player of the Year. 

 

She was the 5th overall pick in the WNBA Draft and MVP of the 2003 finals and the first player to be MVP of the NCAA and WNBA Finals. 

 

After two WNBA Championship seasons in 2003 and 2006 with the Detroit Shock, Ruth continues to wear many hats including being the 1st Vice President of WNBPA, United Nations Foundation Spokesperson, Share Our Strength Spokesperson, and on the Notre Dame Monogram Club Board of Directors. 

 

Since 2002, she was a radio and tv analyst for Notre Dame Women’s Basketball, since 2018 is a color analyst for Miami Heat tv/radio, and 2019 to present is an analyst for the ACC Network. 

 

She was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2019, and in 2006 was named to ESPN.com’s 25 greatest Women’s college basketball players of the last 25 years.


 

Fulton County Commissioners talk dispatch center, employees health

With the opening earlier this year of the new Fulton County Jail the wait has continued for the dispatch center to fully move to the site.

 

Commissioner Rick Ranstead says it looks like that could happen this week.  It could come as the department deals with sickness of several employees.

 

 

Speaking of county employees health, commissioners discussed a possible program to help employees physical fitness.

 

 

Commissioners have also agreed to a contract with DLZ for $7500 for inspection of the old highway garage with signs of cracks, blocks shifting and other building issues.

 

 

 

 

Health officials encourage Hoosiers to get vaccinated against flu amid rising cases, hospitalizations

Indiana health and hospital officials are encouraging eligible Hoosiers to get vaccinated against influenza (flu) as soon as possible, as high levels of transmission are significantly impacting hospitals across the state.

 

As of the week ending Dec. 3, Indiana has recorded 24 influenza deaths this season. In addition, the state’s first pediatric flu death of the season was recorded last week and will be reflected on the flu report posted on Dec. 16. No additional information about the patient will be released due to privacy laws.

 

“Like many states, Indiana is experiencing very high levels of flu activity right now,” said State Health Commissioner Kris Box, M.D., FACOG. “With the upcoming holidays, travel and family gatherings, it is more important than ever to protect yourself and those around you from this highly contagious respiratory infection. This year’s flu vaccine continues to be a good match for the circulating strains, and it is your best protection against a severe, and possibly tragic, outcome.”

 

With many respiratory illnesses currently circulating, including flu, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and COVID-19, Indiana hospitals are experiencing significant patient caseloads, said Indiana Hospital Association President Brian Tabor. 

 

Hospitalizations are currently trending above last year’s levels, and at this pace, Indiana could meet or exceed the record levels of inpatient capacity we saw during the peak of COVID-19,” Tabor said. “As of this week, inpatient volume jumped 15 percent, with numbers surpassing 11,000.”

 

Tabor and Box urged Hoosiers to seek routine testing for respiratory illnesses or care for mild symptoms through urgent care centers or a family physician’s office rather than through an emergency department whenever possible.

 

“Our hospitals are dealing with the triple impact of influenza, RSV and COVID-19 right now, along with normal emergencies and illnesses, and we want to keep emergency rooms clear for Hoosiers who urgently need them,” Box said.

 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone age 6 months and older get a flu vaccine each year. Because infants younger than 6 months can’t be vaccinated, it’s important that anyone in a household where a young baby lives or visits get a flu shot to protect the child. Healthcare workers are urged to get a flu vaccine to reduce their risk of transmitting illness to their patients. 

 

It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies, which protect against flu, to develop in the body. The flu vaccine can be administered at the same time as the new COVID-19 booster, which protects against two strains of COVID-19, including new subvariants, Box said.

 

Influenza is a viral infection of the respiratory tract. It is spread by respiratory droplets released when infected people cough or sneeze nearby or when people touch surfaces or objects contaminated with those infectious respiratory droplets. People can also become infected by touching surfaces or objects contaminated with flu viruses and then touching their eyes, mouth, or nose. Individuals can be infectious two days before symptoms first appear.

 

Although anyone can get the flu, some people are at higher risk of flu-related complications, such as pneumonia, hospitalization, and death. Those most at risk for complications from flu include pregnant women, young children (especially those too young to get vaccinated), people with chronic illnesses, people who are immunocompromised, and the elderly. It is especially important for these individuals to be vaccinated each year.

 

Common signs and symptoms of the flu include:

  • fever of 100° Fahrenheit or greater
  • headache 
  • fatigue
  • cough
  • muscle aches
  • sore throat 
  • runny or stuffy nose

People can help prevent the spread of flu by washing their hands frequently and thoroughly, avoiding touching their eyes, nose and mouth with their hands, and staying home when sick. Hoosiers should practice the “Three Cs” to help prevent the spread of flu and other infectious diseases:

 

  • Clean: Properly wash your hands frequently with warm, soapy water.
  • Cover: Cover your cough and sneeze with your arm or a disposable tissue.
  • Contain: Stay home from school or work when you are sick to keep your germs from spreading. 

To learn more about influenza or to view the IDOH weekly flu report, which is updated each Friday, go to https://www.in.gov/isdh/22104.htm. IDOH also has an influenza dashboard that is updated each Friday with the weekly flu report. The dashboard showcases Indiana’s flu surveillance activity on a weekly basis. Historical flu surveillance data, along with county- and regional-level data, are available, along with breakdowns by age group for the current week.

Respect for Marriage Act triggers hope and memories for first same-sex couple married in Fulton Co

Recognized as an important first step to some, the Respect for Marriage Act set a new standard for protection, after it was passed by the House December 8, making a legal foundation to keep same-sex marriage rights from being overruled in the future. For Shaun and Erik Henderson-Vigil, the first same-sex couple to be married in Fulton County, the bill feels like a small step closer to equality. 

 

The Respect for Marriage Act requires the federal government and states to honor all marriages, including same-sex and interracial couples. Congress's purpose is for the bill to be a safety net, in the event that the Court would ever overrule same-sex marriage precedents, something the Henderson-Vigil family has feared since the beginning. 

 

Growing up in the small town of Fulton, Erik was reluctant to even comeout as gay, hiding his feelings for most of his life. Living an unauthentic life, Erik remembers as a child doing everything he could to act 'normal.' From his voice, to hand gestures looking too feminine, Erik said trying to 'not be gay,' felt like being right handed and being forced to write with the left. 

 

 

When Erik finally decided to come out in his 40's, his worst fears were confirmed. Although he remained friends with his ex-wife, who accepted his decision, the community did not. From threats, to even having his job as a teacher being questioned on if it was appropriate, coming out felt like a nightmare for Erik. After meeting Shaun and eventually starting a relationship, when the couple moved in together, the small town of Fulton was filled with mixed emotions. Erik could feel the hate uptick even more, as family members and friends distanced themselves and encouraged others in the community to do so as well. 

 

Being called up to the front of his church during a Sunday morning service to have his membership revoked by their council felt like the cherry on top for Erik. Having his faith shaken, he still didn't lose his faith in his relationship and hope for having his happily ever after. Refusing to run away from the small town, the couple hoped to raise the bar for diversity and acceptance within the community. 

 

 

Never losing hope, in 2014 the couple jumped at the chance of being legally married, after a loop-hole in Indiana law was discovered in the system prior to same-sex marriage being federally legalized. Rushing to the Fulton County Courthouse, on June 26, 2014 Erik and Shaun became the same-sex couple to not only be married in Fulton County, but also the first for Northern Indiana. Shaun said Fulton County Circuit Judge Christopher Lee was a huge help in making sure their marriage documents were pushed through and accepted. 

 

Exactly one year to the date later, June 26, 2015 made a historic day when the Supreme Court voted to make same-sex marriage legal nationwide. 

 

 

Appreciative of those ones who do support them and their marriage, as the years can continue, the levels of uncertainty and security rise and fall like a rollercoaster. Always preparing themselves for the worst, last week's ruling protecting not only their marriage, but also the right for millions of other American families, put away one less fear in the Henderson-Vigil household. 

 

Not everyone in the area is happy about the decision, however. The bill being passed triggered the Cass County Republicans and their leader Dave Richey, Cass Co Republican Commitee Chairman, who sent a letter of censure against Senator Todd Young.

 

Censure's are used as a way to express disapproval of a senators actions without involving any formal action or expulsion from office. The group denounced the choice Young made, after he voted in favor of the Respect for Marriage Act. 

Fulton County Commissioners learn county insurance going up while county jail is set to come down

Fulton County is no exception to the rule that everything is more expensive these days. 

 

That includes insurance.

 

County Commissioner Rick Ranstead says the county’s insurance took a jump for 2023.

 

 

Commissioners have also agreed on a deal to demolish the old Fulton County Jail.

 

 

Ranstead says the plan, for now, calls for a grassy, usable area at that location.  They do intend to save the current parking for continued use.

Community Presbyterian raises money for United Ministries during annual Community Cookie Walk on Saturday

The Community Presbyterian Church at 530 Jefferson Street in Rochester will be having their annual Community Cookie Walk this Saturday.

 

Doors open at 9 a.m. and runs until 12 p.m., or sold out. According to church mission and outreach coordinator, Ashley Chipps, by 10:30am, the baked goods are usually 'slim pickings.' 

 

Raising more than $1,000 from the Cookie Walk last year, donations were given to the food program at Rochester Community Schools, that provide backpacks of food for students to take home. Never keeping a dime of profit, Chipps said the annual event is a labor of love from the church and all those who participate. 

 

This year's donations are being given to United Ministries of Fulton County, an outreach program that helps local families in need with rent, utilities and medicine. Relying soly on donations, United Ministries of Fulton County announced last month they had to suspend accepting applications for assistance due to lack of funding, needing around $10,000 to restart.

 

Chipps says the outreach program is something that is close to the church's heart. 

 

 

 

 

Traffic stop leads to the recovery of stolen mail

Not that there's ever a good time for such a crime but with holiday packages and mail increased two people were arrested for stealing items from Lafayette to Michigan.

 

On Wednesday, with the assistance of the US Postal Inspection Service, an Indiana State Police trooper completed an investigation into mail theft that spanned across two states. 

 

On December 1, Trooper Stinson was patrolling Bicycle Bridge Road in the area of Springboro Road in White County. He then observed a 2013 Cadillac ATS briefly stop at a mailbox in front of a residence, then continue driving. As Trooper Stinson attempted to stop the Cadillac for a traffic violation, the driver quickly turned into the driveway of a residence on Bicycle Bridge Road north of Springboro Road. The driver was later identified as Sean Stoeckinger, 28, of Mishawaka.

 

Stoeckinger exited the Cadillac and attempted to hide items on the front porch of the residence. Trooper Stinson later discovered the items Stoeckinger attempted to hide were stolen. Trooper Stinson attempted to identify Stoeckinger and the passenger, but they both provided him with false names. The passenger was later identified to be Taylorann O'Banion, 28, ofMishawaka. O'Banion also had an infant sitting in the front seat with her.

 

While speaking with Stoeckinger and O’Banion, Trooper Stinson noticed indicators of possible criminal activity. Trooper Stinson obtained a search warrant for the Cadillac and located numerous stolen items including gift cards, checks, State Identification Cards, and mail from locations that spanned from Lafayette to Michigan. With the assistance of a US Postal Inspector, Trooper Stinson recovered mail for more than 125 people.

 

Stoeckinger and O’Banion were transported to White County Jail, and Child Protective Services provided care for the infant.

 

Both were charged with:

Neglect of a Dependent – Level 6 Felony

Theft – Class A Misdemeanor

False Informing – Class B Misdemeanor

 

Milford man sentenced on child porn charges

A Kosciusko County man was sentenced following a guilty plea involving charges of child pornography.

 

Shane Smith, 35, of Milford, was sentenced by United States District Court Judge Robert L Miller, Jr. on his plea of guilty to production of child pornography, announced United States Attorney Clifford D. Johnson.

 

Smith was sentenced to 211 months in prison followed by 5 years of supervised release. 

 

According to documents in this case, Smith created fake social media accounts to befriend minors and persuade them to produce pornography to send him.  The investigation revealed that Smith also possessed over 1,700 images and over 950 videos of child pornography on his electronic devices.

 

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Indiana State Police Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney John M. Maciejczyk.

Area high school juniors recognized as Rising Stars

Rising Stars of Indiana is presented by the Indiana Association of School Principals. It is a non-competitive recognition program, designed to honor high school juniors for their academic achievement.

 

By allowing schools to identify outstanding scholars during their Junior year, the association notes that it hopes to increase their visibility and scholarship opportunities. 

 

Each Indiana high school can recognize up to four individual students.

 

Rochester

Tanner Reese               

Noah Riffle                  

Wesley Steininger                     

Lilly Watson

 

Tippecanoe Valley High School

Kaylynn Miller               

Makynna Rentschler     

Caroline Stump                                    

Katelyn Stump

 

Caston

Cole Boldry                  

Petrie DuVall                

Haley Logan                             

Addison Zimpleman

 

Culver Community

Abigail Caudill              

Gwendylan Gilley          

Aleksander Stacy                     

Landon Stevens

 

 

Indiana State Police K9 Mack has received donation of body armor

Indiana State Police Peru Post K9 Mack has received a bullet and stab protective vest thanks to a charitable donation from non-profit organization Vested Interest in K9s, Inc.  

 

K9 Mack’s vest was sponsored by Susy and Michelle Presswood and Waymire of Fairmount, IN and was embroidered with the sentiment “Born to Love-Trained to Serve-Loyal Always”.

 

Vested Interest in K9s, Inc., established in 2009, is a 501(c)(3) charity whose mission is to provide bullet and stab protective vests and other assistance to dogs of law enforcement and related agencies throughout the United States. This potentially lifesaving body armor for four-legged K9 officers is U.S. made, custom fitted, and NIJ certified.  Since its inception, Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. has provided over 4,845 vests to K9s in all 50 states at a value of $6.9 million, made possible by both private and corporate donations. 

 

The program is open to U.S. dogs that are at least 20 months old and actively employed and certified with law enforcement or related agencies.  K9s with expired vests are also eligible to participate.  There are an estimated 30,000 law enforcement K9s throughout the United States.

 

Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. accepts tax-deductible contributions in any amount, while a single donation of $960 will sponsor one vest.  Each vest has a value of $1,744-$2,283, weighs an average of 4-5 lb., and comes with a five-year warranty. 

 

For more information, or to learn about volunteer opportunities, please call 508-824-6978.  Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. provides information, lists events, and accepts donations at www.vik9s.org, or you may mail your contribution to P.O. Box 9, East Taunton, MA 02718.   

Indiana State Police in Safe Family Travel mode for the holiday season

The Indiana State Police is ramping up enforcement as part of the Safe Family Travel campaign.

 

Officers continue to be out in greater numbers conducting saturation patrols designed to discourage impaired driving and promote seat belt use.

 

Safe Family Travel operations begin before Thanksgiving each year and run through New Year’s Day. The extra high-visibility enforcement is funded with grants provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) through the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI).

 

Indiana State Police Sgt. Tony Slocum says they aren’t trying to dampen the season.  They’re trying to make it safer.

 

 

On average, approximately one-fourth of the state’s traffic fatalities are caused by drunk drivers.

 

Slocum says the feeling of having to tell someone their family member is injured, or killed, is motivation to make sure that the person responsible pays for the crime.

 

 

Those who choose to drive impaired are, not only risking their life and the lives of others, but also could face an arrest, jail time, and substantial fines and attorney fees. The average drunk driving arrest costs up to $10,000.

 

Motorists are encouraged to contact the department or call 911 if they encounter an impaired or unsafe driver on the road.

 

Area communities awarded Community Crossing for local road projects

Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) Commissioner Mike Smith announced 229 Indiana cities, towns, and counties that received a combined $119.4 million in state matching funds for local road projects through Community Crossings, a component of the Governor’s Next Level Roads program.

 

“Modernizing and improving transportation infrastructure is a key component of driving economic development in the Hoosier state," said Gov. Eric Holcomb. "The Community Crossings program continues to help take communities to the next level by providing safe, reliable roads and bridges for residents and visitors alike."

 

Among area entities receiving funds:

Fulton County - $1 million

Culver - $320,456.25

Argos - $948,963.75

Miami County - $954, 607.20

Kosciusko County - $1 million

Wabash County - $455,894.71

Starke County - $250,521.99

Pulaski County - $970, 757.70

Peru - $498,820.92

 

The Town of Akron noted in a social media post its $222,855 award (75% of the proposed project) through the Community Crossing Matching Grant (CCMG) Fund Program. The town will be responsible for the other 25%, $74,285. The total cost of the project is $297,140.

 

The funds will be used to repair streets throughout Akron and replace the existing sidewalk along the East and West side of South Maple Street to make them ADA compliant.

 

Communities submitted applications for funding during a highly competitive call for projects in July and August. Applications were evaluated based on need and current conditions, as well as impacts to safety and economic development. Funding for Community Crossings comes from the state’s local road and bridge matching grant fund. The Community Crossings initiative has provided more than $1 billion in state matching funds for local construction projects since 2016.

 

“Community Crossings is a tremendous opportunity for towns, cities and counties to enhance local road networks across the state,” INDOT Commissioner Mike Smith said. “INDOT looks forward to partnering with locals to deliver on projects that will have a positive impact on safety and bring business to Indiana. I'm excited to see the progress in these communities throughout the coming year.”

 

To qualify for funding, local governments must provide local matching funds of 50 percent for larger communities or 25 percent for smaller communities and have an asset management plan for maintaining existing roads and bridges. State law requires annually that 50 percent of the available matching funds be awarded to communities within counties with a population of 50,000 or fewer. 

 

No threat despite alarm at Culver Elementary

The final word is that there was no threat Tuesday at Culver Elementary School.

 

The Culver Community School Corporation posted on its Facebook page:

 

Just after 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, there was an accidental alarm of a potential threat at Culver Elementary School that set off the alerting system.

 

It was quickly founded that this alert was an accident and there was no real threat to  students or staff. All precautions were taken to ensure the safety of our students, staff and patrons during the investigation of the alarm.

 

The Culver Community School Corporation posted on Facebook that they wanted to thank the police for their prompt response time.

 

Again, this was an accidental alarm, there was no harm presented to any students, staff or patrons of Culver Community Schools.

Affordable Hearing of Rochester provides the gift of sound to customers, hard-to-beat low prices

It's been four years since Affordable Hearing of Rochester opened its doors at 418 E Ninth Street, providing low cost hearing aids to customers within the community and changing lives.

 

Inspired by the heart-touching moments with his customers,  owner and licensed hearing care practioner, Chuck Smith, wanted to help provide a better quality of life for those with impaired hearing without the unnecessary high costs.

 

Always surprised by the high cost of hearing aids, Smith later realized many of the larger companies were simply just making more money by raising the prices. After a decade and a half career in the hearing industry, Smith decided to take a chance at being a business owner. Able to cut the costs on hearing aids compared to larger companies in the industry, to Smith, increasing the quality of life for his customers means more than making a larger profit. 

 

The decision has made Smith's career more rewarding than ever. 

 

 

Flourishing the past four years, Smith's business continues to gain momentum, with plans of opening another Affordable Hearing location in Logansport sometime in 2023.

 

Big changes are also being made to the facade of the Rochester building, making it more appeasing and visable in the community.

 

 

Affordable Hearing of Rochester is open Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

 

The only way to determine hearing loss is from an official exam and hearing test, something Smith offers free of charge to his customers. A trial pair of hearing aids are also given to try for a week prior to purchase. 

 

 

Their 30 day money back guarantee policy leaves customers with no strings attached if they decide to change their mind. 

 

Thomas to be sentenced January 3 for Elkhart Co. barn fires

The female suspect in a number of Elkhart County barn fires could get up to 12 years in prison.

 

Sherry Thomas pleaded guilty on Monday to one count of arson.  Multiple charges in the case involving eight barn arsons were dismissed.

 

Thomas will be sentenced on January 3.

 

Joseph Hershberger is serving 50 years after pleading guilty to eight arson counts.

 

Both still must face charges in Kosciusko and Marshall counties.

 

 

Steps businesses should take to prevent data loss, fraud

To wrap up National Tax Security Awareness Week, the Internal Revenue Service and the Security Summit partners today urged businesses to remain vigilant against cyberattacks aimed at stealing their customer’s personal information and other business data.

 

The IRS continues to see instances where small businesses and others face a variety of identity-theft related schemes that try to obtain information that can be used to file fake business tax returns. For example, phishing schemes continue to target businesses as well as tax professionals and individual taxpayers.

 

“Just like individuals and tax professionals, businesses of all types need to be on the lookout for attempts to steal information and data,” said IRS Acting Commissioner Doug O’Donnell. “Businesses are especially attractive to cyberthieves because there is a potential to steal a lot of data. They may use the information to file a business tax return or use customer data for identity theft.”  

 

The IRS, state tax agencies and the nation’s tax software and tax professional industries operate cooperatively as the Security Summit to highlight data security and fight identity theft. Today marks the final day of the seventh annual week dedicated to information security and helpful tips for individuals, businesses and tax professionals.

 

Cyber criminals target businesses of all sizes; knowing some cybersecurity basics and putting them in practice will help business owners protect their business and reduce the risk of a cyber-attack. Criminals can target a business’s credit card or payment information, business identity information or employee identity information.

 

Businesses are encouraged to follow best practices from the Federal Trade Commission, including:

  • Use multi-factor authentication.
  • Set security software to update automatically.
  • Back up important files.
  • Require strong passwords for all devices.
  • Encrypt devices.

 

More information is available at FTC’s Cybersecurity for Small Businesses.

 

Businesses should especially be alert to phishing email scams that attempt to trick employees into opening embedded links or attachments. IRS related scams may be sent to phishing@irs.gov so the IRS can try to track, stop or disrupt scams.

 

To improve security, the IRS now masks sensitive information from business tax transcripts, which summarizes tax return information, to help prevent thieves from obtaining identifiable information that would allow them to file fake business tax returns. Only financial entries are fully visible. Other information has varying masking rules. For example, only the first four letters of each first and last name will display for individuals and businesses. Also, only the last four digits of the Employer Identification Number will be visible.

 

The IRS also has the Form 14039-B, Business Identity Theft Affidavit, that will allow companies to proactively report possible identity theft to the IRS when, for example, an e-filed tax return is rejected.

 

Businesses should file the Form 14039-B if it receives a:

  • Rejection notice for an electronically filed return because a return is already on file for that same period.
  • Notice about a tax return that the entity didn't file.
  • Notice about Forms W-2 filed with the Social Security Administration that the entity didn't file.
  • Notice of a balance due that is not owed.

 

This form will enable the IRS to respond to the business and work to resolve issues created by a fraudulent tax return. Businesses should not use the form if they experience a data breach but see no tax-related impact. For more information, see Identity Theft Central’s business section.

 

In addition to phishing and other scams, all employers should remain alert to Form W-2 theft schemes. For example, a thief may pose as a company executive who emails payroll employees and asks for a list of employees and their W-2s. Businesses often don’t know they’ve been scammed until an employee reports that a fraudulent tax return has been filed.

 

There’s a special reporting procedure for employers who experience the W-2 scam. It’s available in the Identity Theft Central’s business section on IRS.gov.

 

Finally, Security Summit partners urge businesses to keep their EIN application information current. Changes of address or responsible party information may be reported using Form 8822-B. Changes in the responsible party must be reported to the IRS within 60 days. Current information can help the IRS find a point of contact to resolve identity theft and other issues.

 

For more details and to learn more about this year’s National Tax Security Awareness Week’s efforts, visit IRS.gov/securitysummit

DHS announces extension of REAL ID full enforcement deadline

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced its intent to extend the REAL ID full enforcement date by 24 months, from May 3, 2023 to May 7, 2025.

 

Under the new regulations published to execute this change, states will now have additional time to ensure their residents have driver’s licenses and identification cards that meet the security standards established by the REAL ID Act. As required by the law, following the enforcement deadline, federal agencies, including the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), will be prohibited from accepting driver’s licenses and identification cards that do not meet these federal standards.  

“DHS continues to work closely with U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories to meet REAL ID requirements,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas. “This extension will give states needed time to ensure their residents can obtain a REAL ID-compliant license or identification card. DHS will also use this time to implement innovations to make the process more efficient and accessible. We will continue to ensure that the American public can travel safely.” 

 

The extension is necessary, in part, to address the lingering impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the ability to obtain a REAL ID driver’s license or identification card. REAL ID progress over the past two years has been significantly hindered by state driver’s licensing agencies having to work through the backlogs created by the pandemic. Many of these agencies took various steps in response to the pandemic including automatically extending the expiration dates of driver’s licenses and identification cards and shifting operations to appointment only. 

 

Passed by Congress in 2005 following a 9/11 Commission recommendation, the REAL ID Act establishes minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards. Security standards include incorporating anti-counterfeiting technology, preventing insider fraud, and using documentary evidence and record checks to ensure a person is who they claim to be. Under the new regulations, beginning May 7, 2025, every traveler 18 years of age or older will need a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or identification card, state-issued enhanced driver’s license, or another TSA-acceptable form of identification at airport 1security checkpoints for domestic air travel. 

 

Since enactment of the REAL ID Act in 2005, advancements in technology have enabled TSA to make significant improvements in checkpoint screening, particularly in the areas of identity management, on-person screening, accessible property screening and alarm resolution. Through the deployment of technologies such as Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT), Advanced Technology (AT) X-ray, then Computed Tomography (CT), Bottled Liquids Scanners (BLS), and Credential Authentication Technology (CAT), as well as deployment of Passenger Screening Canines (PSC) and the rollout of TSA PreCheck®, TSA has continually advanced its security capabilities. TSA also increased its vetting capability through Secure Flight, a risk-based passenger prescreening program that enhances security by identifying low and high-risk passengers before they arrive at the airport by matching their names against trusted traveler lists and watchlists. REAL ID requirements will strengthen these improvements further by providing an additional layer of confidence in the identity of the traveler. 

 

All 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and four of five U.S. territories covered by the REAL ID Act and related regulations are issuing REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses and identification cards. These standards have significantly improved the reliability and accuracy of state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards. 

 

For more information on REAL ID, visit www.dhs.gov/real-id

Climie earns Lifetime Philanthropy Award

Judy Climie of Rochester was awarded the Fulton County Community Foundation’s (FCCF) Lifetime Philanthropy Award at their annual Giving Tuesday event on November 29.

 

Pictured: Jay Albright (NICF Executive Director), Evan Gottschalk (NICF Board President), Judy Climie (award recipient), Brian Johnson (FCCF Director of Development)

 

The award recognizes a local resident who has made a positive impact on their community through philanthropic efforts.

 

Climie recalled when she first visited Rochester, and her car’s check oil light came on, causing her to pull over in an unfamiliar place. 

 

“The guy came out of his office, put oil in the car, and sent me on my way without charging me,” said Climie. “And that just shows you the giving and welcoming spirit of this town.”

 

In 1998 Climie moved to Rochester and within two weeks she was volunteering for Chamber of Commerce, giving tours during the Round Barn Festival. Her civic engagement continued through Grace United Methodist Church, Tri-Kappa Sorority, Friends of the Library, the FCCF Board, Women of the Moose membership, the Retired Teachers local chapter, and other charitable organizations, many of which she held leadership positions and continues to participate in to this day.

 

In 2010, she helped found the FCCF’s Women’s Giving Circle, a group that has now granted nearly $80,000 to local organizations through the wisdom and resources of Fulton County Women.

 

While giving the award to Climie was an obvious fit to the committee, she says she was “flabbergasted” to receive it.

 

“I’m so honored you considered me. I hope to make a different with my actions as philanthropy isn’t all about giving money, but your time and talents as well,” said Climie.

 

Past Lifetime Philanthropy Award recipients include Dick and Suzanne Belcher in 2020 and the Baxter family in 2021. 

Over $240,000 raised on Giving Tuesday

The Fulton County Community Foundation (FCCF) hosted their annual Giving Tuesday event, where community members mingled and celebrated the international day of generosity.

 

Community contributions combined with $75,000 in matching funds from Rapidview, LLC resulted in a Giving Tuesday total of over $240,000 for the FCCF!  All donations will be put right back into the community through grants and scholarships in alignment with the foundation’s mission to improve the quality of life in Fulton County now and forever.

 

Giving Tuesday RapidView: Rex Robison (RapidView), Matt Sutton (RapidView), Kris Robison (RapidView), Brian Johnson (FCCF)

 

Giving Tuesday, always held the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, brings the generosity of people all around the world together to make real change and year after year, Fulton County exceeds the day’s sentiment.

 

“We are so appreciative of all the donors who participated in the GivingTuesday campaign,” said FCCF Director of Development Brian Johnson.“The donations made this year will continue to make an impact year after year in Fulton County. Thank you to all who gave, helping to make our community a better place for all.”

 

Visit the FCCF website at www.nicf.org to see how donations are impacting your community.

 

NWS declares Wind Advisory beginning Friday afternoon

Might want to fasten down  Christmas decorations or any outdoor furniture you  have.  Gusty winds are in the forecast for this afternoon.

 

The National Weather Service has issued a wind advisory for 1 - 11 p.m. today.  South winds are expected to be at 20 - 25 mph.  Gusts could be in the 45 - 50 mph range.

 

Warnings include blowing around of unsecured objects and falling limbs causing power outages.

 

Today's high temperature hovers near 50 but falls back into the 30s on Saturday.

Bentex recalls children's clothing due to lead paint

Lead paint that exceeds federal levels has led to a recall of 87, 000 children's clothing sets from The Bentex Group of New York.

 

The Consumer Product Safety Commission says the textile ink on the clothing exceeds either the federal lead paint ban or the federal lead content ban, posing a lead poisoning hazard. Lead is toxic if ingested by young children and can lead to adverse health effects.

 

No injuries have been reported.

 

Nine Disney theme styles are in the recall.  The clothing sets were sold at TJMAXX, DD's/Ross, Burlington, Army & Airforce Exchange Service and other stores nationwide and online at www.amazon.com from November 2021, through August 2022.

 

Bentex says customers hould stop wearing the clothing and contact the company for details on how to return or dispose of the closthing and get a refund.

 

Consumers may contact Bentex at (800) 451-0285 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (ET) Monday through Thursday and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, by email at recall@bentex.com or online at www.bentex.com and click on “Recall” at the top of the page for more information.

Rochester Downtown Partnership hosting holiday event tonight

The Rochester Downtown Partnership hosting a Holiday Stroll Friday evening.

 

Music will be provided by the RHS band and the Fulton County Choral Club.  Reindeer and ice sculpting will also be attractions as the public is invited to visit downtown stores, and get free hot chocolate, popcorn, cookies and candy.

 

Be on the lookout for Santa, too!

 

The Holiday Stroll is scheduled for Friday, 6 - 8 p.m. 

 

Historic Plymouth Balcony Block Building awarded historic grant money

Plymouth's Balcony Block Building has been awarded preservation money through the Historic Renovation Grant Program.

 

Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch and the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs today announced 10 properties will be awarded $728,671 through the Historic Renovation Grant Program. The program is designed to preserve and rehabilitate historic properties to further incentivize downtown economic development across Indiana.

 

JGM Properties has been awarded $45,162 to restore the Michigan Street façade and replace the roof of the Balcony Block Building. The building is located at 113-115 North Michigan Street in Plymouth.

 

This Italianate building is a contributing resource in the Plymouth Downtown National Register District. The building is home to Wild Rose Moon, a performing arts and education venue, and soon to be Aldridge Internal Medicine & Family Practice, a professional business. Both businesses contribute substantially to the economic activity in the historic downtown.

 

The second floor of this building contains two recently renovated urban loft apartments and one recently renovated small office space.

 

“As we advance as a state, it is important to reflect on our past,” said Crouch. “Thanks to the Historic Renovation Grant Program, these 10 properties will be around to inspire generations of Hoosiers for years to come.”

 

Eligible properties for this grant program must be at least 50 years old and either listed on the register of Indiana historic sites and structures, be listed or eligible for listing to the National Register of Historic Places, or be listed as a contributing resource in a National Register District. Awarded properties will receive funding for the renovation and preservation of exterior features.

 

“The Historic Renovation Grant Program has already created an ongoing positive impact in a number of communities,” said OCRA Executive Director Denny Spinner. “This grant round will help these 10 communities to preserve their Hoosier history while fueling economic development.”

 

From 2021 to 2022, the Historic Renovation Grant Program received more than 80 applications with requests totaling over $5 million. While applicants must provide at least a dollar-for-dollar cash-match, the program continues to leverage significantly more than the State’s investment into these projects, resulting in a greater economic impact for awarded communities.

 

Applications were scored based on appropriate historical criteria, extensive support from local residents, and the economic impact the project would have on the greater community and the State of Indiana.

 

For more information, visit in.gov/ocra/historic-renovation-grant-program.

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