Law enforcement seized marijuana plants and DCS removed a child from a Starke County home

Three arrests, a marijuana development seized and a child taken from a Starke County home on Monday.


Shortly after 10 a.m. Starke County deputies responded to a home in the 6700 S. block of Lombardy Lane in the Bass Lake area. Deputies were requested to respond to assist the Indiana Department of Child Services with an investigation.


According to a social media post by the Starke County Sheriff Jack Roas when deputies and DCS workers entered the residence, a marijuana growing operation was located inside the home. DCS immediately removed a small child from the residence.


Individuals at the residence included the homeowner, Nicole Whitfield, 30, of Knox as well as a female identified as Jenifer Zuniga, 38, of Knox and a man identified as Joseph Givens, 37, of Knox. All individuals were detained at that time.


During a detailed search of the residence, 46 marijuana plants were located in various stages of growth. Additionally, other narcotic drugs and drug paraphernalia were located.


Preliminary charges include:


Whitfield is being held on Maintaining a Common Nuisance a level 6 felony and Possession of Marijuana an A Misdemeanor.


Givensis being held on Possession of Marijuana and Visiting a Common Nuisance, both of which are misdemeanors.


Zuniga is being held on Possession of Methamphetamine a level 6 felony, Maintaining a Common Nuisance a level 6 felony and Possession of Marijuana an A Misdemeanor.



FEDCO to introduce new executive director at Thursday event

The Fulton Economic Development Corporation (FEDCO) Board of Directors invites the public to Arlington Public House on Thursday from 4:30-6:00 p.m. to help introduce the new FEDCO Executive Director Michael Ladd to the community.


Ladd is an experienced leader in the nonprofit industry.  He has expertise in partnerships at the public, private, and government level, public relations, educational programming, special events management, fundraising, and volunteer recruitment and training. 


A press release from the Fulton Economic Development Corporation (FEDCO) Board of Directors notes that Ladd has a proven ability to mobilize volunteers in creating new programs and services that drive sustainable progress in organizations and that he is a success driven executive that has been recognized for his ability to identify issues and concerns before they become bigger problems. 


“I am very excited to have Mr. Ladd joining our team.” states FEDCO President David Heyde. “We believe that he will be an excellent asset to FEDCO and Fulton County as a whole.”


This welcome reception is open to the public.

Area teams to take part in 2023 Indiana Supportive Housing Institute

Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA), and Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH) have announced the five teams selected to participate in the 2023 Indiana Supportive Housing Institute.


Each team is comprised of housing developers, service providers, and community-based organizations who will develop concept projects for affordable housing with access to supportive services for Hoosiers experiencing homelessness. The teams were selected through a competitive process.


“The Institute continues to be an intentional opportunity for organizations to develop detailed, individualized supportive housing plans,” Lt. Gov. Crouch said. “This year we are focusing on providing supportive housing that will serve individuals experiencing homelessness as identified through the state’s Coordinated Entry System.”


2023 marks the 15th year of the Indiana Supportive Housing Institute and the ongoing partnership between IHCDA and CSH to bring more affordable supportive housing across the state for individuals and families experiencing homelessness. The selected teams represent locations in five counties from north to south-central, and urban to rural areas, demonstrating that homelessness impacts all communities.


“The Indiana Supportive Housing Institute is an opportunity for IHCDA to promote housing stability for those experiencing homelessness,” said Jacob Sipe, executive director of IHCDA. “It’s important that IHCDA and our partners align affordable housing developments to the current needs in communities. We congratulate the teams selected for the Institute, and look forward to collaborating with them to advance supportive housing in the state."


Below is a list of organizations participating in this year’s Institute:


Warsaw/Kosciusko County: Neighborhood Development Associates, LLC; Bowen Center; Valenti Real Estate Services, Inc.; Housing for Hope, Inc.; SRKM Architecture; Housing Authority of Warsaw


Plymouth/Marshall County: Bradley Company; Garden Court; Bowen Center; McKinley Development, LLC


Indianapolis: Wheeler Mission; Englewood Community Development Corporation; Gratus Development, LLC; Adult & Child Health


Lawrence County: Hoosier Uplands Economic Development Corporation; Milestone Ventures, LLC


South Bend: South Bend Heritage Foundation; Oaklawn Psychiatric Center; City of South Bend, Our Lady of the Road; St. Joseph County Health Department


“CSH is delighted to mark 15 years of collaboration and impact that has connected thousands of individuals and families to quality homes and, finally, stability for those who have cycled through various institutional systems and experienced the trauma of homelessness,” said Lori Phillips-Steele, Director, CSH Indiana. “Only homes end homelessness. Supportive housing pairs quality homes people can afford with the services people need to remain in their homes and achieve their highest quality of life.”


Over the next few months, these teams will work closely with IHCDA and CSH through targeted training and group exercises incorporating CSH’s Quality Supportive Housing Standards. Teams will also receive technical assistance and be presented with pre-development financing opportunities. The Institute will culminate with teams presenting their final plans to CSH, IHCDA, and Institute sponsors. Following graduation from the Institute, each lead organization can apply for funding through IHCDA’s Rental Housing Tax Credit program.

Rochester man injured in crash in front of Rochester Fire Department

A Rochester man was injured in a two-car crash in front of the Rochester Fire Department in the 6 a.m. hour Monday.


Rochester Police say that David Ramirez, 26, of Akron, crossed the center line of SR 14 and struck an oncoming vehicle drive by Aaron Dereski, 25, of Rochester.


Dereski was transported via ambulance to a Fort Wayne hospital with unknown injuries.








Autism Society of Indiana provides picture communication boards to Starke Co. Sheriff's Office

Through a grant provided by the Autism Society of American and Today’s Champions, the Autism Society of Indiana purchased  s to be placed in the vehicles of all first responders and law enforcement in Starke County.


The Starke County Sheriff's Department stated in a social media post that communication boards will give police, fire fighters and EMS providers a way to communicate with a person who may be nonverbal, have limited English skills, have autism or other disabilities or mental health issues.


All participants also received a training video on how to implement the communication board.


The Autism Society of Indiana and Today’s Champions recognizes the need for this type of assistance to first responders and the citizens of Indiana who struggle with communication and wants to provide communication boards for every law enforcement and first responder agency in the state of Indiana.


For more information or to inquire about the communication boards, contact the Autism Society of Indiana at autismsocietyofindiana.org or kbrownlofland@gmail.com

Crawfordsville man arrested walking through traffic in Marshall County

An arrest in Marshall County involved a man wanted on a warrant in Montgomery County.


The Marshall County Sheriff's Office was called at 3:30 p.m. to the area of U.S. 31 and U.S. 6 on reports of a man walking in and out of traffic and running in front of moving vehicles.


Deputies determined that the man, Thomas Witt, 31, of Crawfordsville, was under the influence of drugs.  Witt also had an active felony arrest warrant for his arrest through Montgomery County.


Witt was arrested on a public intoxication charge in Marshall County.

Rudy Yakym getting adjusted to being U.S. Representative

Indiana's newest member of the U.S. House of Representatives is settling into his new role.


Rudy Yakym has filled the 2nd Congressional District seat left by Jackie Walorski's death in a car accident in August 2022.


Yakym says the opportunity presented to him is an inspiring one.



Yakym notes his tour of the district's counties is important to stay in tune with those he represents.



He tells the story about how he and his children were on hand for the historic naming of the Speaker of the House.






Round Barn Opry makes debut February 17 at The Times Theater

Things are finally coming together for the Round Barn Opry.


After a year of planning,the Round Barn Opry will be finally making their debut in The Times Theater, 618 Main St in Rochester, on February 17 at 7 p.m. Kicking off a new tradition for historical theater, following their debut, Round Barm Opry will be making use of the stage by holding an Opry show the first and third week of every month on Thursday and Friday evenings. 


Katie Stewart is excited to bring her love for music back to her hometown. The Round Barn Opry isn't her first rodeo in the music industry. Playing in Florida for the Orange Blossom Opry and going by the stage name Kate Karter, she has performed all over the southern portion of the United States, even releasing a debut single 'Party in the Sticks' this past September. Now living in an apartment above the theater, planting the roots of her career in her hometown was a jump Kate was eager to take. 



Lead guitarist Larry Shepherd, bass player Paul Sadler, and drummer Jared Lewis will be joining Karter on stage, along with her own father, local musician and pastor Thad Stewart who will be playing rhythm guitar.


Sometime in the near future they also plan on holding auditions to showcase other local talent as well. 



Stewart said not only has the band been working hard, but so has the community. Between the murals and paintings done by local volunteers, to the donations and more, Stewart hopes the theater's contributions to the community is something that will continue to open doors for Rochester, in turn giving back to Rochester. 



Drummer Jared Lewis said he was happy to bring the memories of the theater back to life. Kate Karter even shared one memory she had in The Times Theater lobby. 


(Pictured from left, Thad Stewart, Katie Stewart "Kate Karter," and drummer Jared Lewis on the Times Theater stage recently.)

Peru's Riverfront and Cass Co. broadband among READI projects celebrated by North Central READI region

Secretary of Commerce Brad Chambers joined local officials and regional leaders Thursday in Kokomo as the North Central Region celebrated five quality of place investments that will support current and future residents.


Fueled by the transformational Indiana Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative (READI), the region is investing $98.9 million to advance community amenities, infrastructure and workforce development to support talent retention and attraction. 
“Across Indiana, communities are making unprecedented investments in their neighborhoods and their people thanks to READI," said Sec. Chambers. In north central Indiana, the region has come together to advance initiatives focused on quality of life, quality of place and quality of opportunity, and because of their collaboration, the future of the North Central READI region is bright." 
The nationally recognized READI program is allocating $500 million to 17 regions across the state to accelerate shovel-ready projects and programs that are expected to transform Indiana communities, attract talent and improve the quality of life for Hoosiers in the short and long term. The North Central Region, led by the North Central Indiana Regional Planning Council (NCIRPC), was awarded $30 million in READI matching funds to advance its strategies grow its population base, improve quality of place and quality of life, increase and diversity the region's quality of opportunity, and spur innovation and entrepreneurship to attract and retain talent. 
“The North Central region has seen tremendous successes over the past eight years, and the READI investment enables us to rapidly advance that success, keep the momentum going and secure a bright future for our families," said Paul Wyman, NCIRPC Board President. "Our community leaders work together for a larger purpose, and as a result, we are now seeing unprecedented levels of private investment and job creation."

Today, the North Central Region announced its first READI funding allocations, designating $9.25 million to support five projects: 


  • Industry 4.0 Training Lab at Ivy Tech Kokomo
    ($2M total project investment; $1M READI allocation)

    At Ivy Tech Kokomo, READI funds will be used to help prepare the region's workforce for the future of advancing manufacturing as the sector continues to modernize operations and integrate smart technologies and processes. This initiative will enable the region to proactively develop an educated workforce pipeline and upskill its current workforce to support Industry 4.0 and fuel the future of manufacturing. 
  • Riverfront Development in Peru
    ($22.523M total project investment; $2.75M READI allocation)

    In Peru, the region is transforming 40 acres of idle real estate along the Wabash River, bringing new vibrancy and quality of place to the area. Revitalization of the riverfront property includes the newly constructed Miami County YMCA and a 174-unit development that will include apartments, duplexes and senior housing. READI funds will be used to enhance the streetscaping at the site along Forrest and Maple streets. 
  • US-31 & SR-28 Infrastructure in Tipton County
    ($67M total project investment; $3.5M READI allocation)

    In Tipton County, the region is investing in infrastructure near the recently-developed US-31 & SR-28 interchange to facilitate further commercial and residential development in the area and along the SR-28 corridor. The city of Tipton, Tipton County and Tipton Municipal Utilities are partnering to extend water and sanitary sewer services with support from READI funds. The project is expected to lead to $60 million in private investment and development.
  • Broadband Development in Cass & Howard Counties
    (Cass County: $4.455M total project investment; $1M READI allocation // Howard County: $3.952M total project investment; $1M READI allocation)

    The North Central region will allocate $2 million of READI funds to increase broadband in Cass and Howard counties, working to resolve the digital divide and increase digital accessibility. In Cass County, READI funds will build on the county's prior investment, adding an additional 237 miles of fiber to the existing 117 mile fiber ring. This expansion will increase broadband infrastructure and fill in the gaps inside the ring, creating an affordable, scalable, reliable fiber network supplying upload and download speeds of 1G.

    To the southwest, Howard County will build a fiber backbone with an estimated 300 miles of laterals to better serve rural communities, reaching approximately 250 businesses, 3,000 households and five schools. 

Pursuit and arrest of suspect wanted on Pulaski Co. felony warrants

A suspect fled an attempted traffic stop and was involved in a hit-and-run before being caught on Wednesday.


According to the Pulaski County Sheriff's Office a straffic stop was attempted by Winamac Police.  The suspect vehicle, a black SUV, fled the scene.  The Pulaski County Sheriff's Office responded to aid the Winamac officer.  Due to poor weather at the time, officers lost sight of the vehicle.


The sheriff's office soon received a 911 about a hit-and-run with a vehicle matching the SUV's description at the Broken Arrow Campground entrance. The SUV was soon located.  It had been abandoned.


The Pualski County Canine Unit, Pulaski County deputies and North Judson Police conducted a track to locate the suspect.  James Nine was eventually found and arrested without further incident.


Nine had active felony arrest warrants out of Pulaski County.

Peru man to be sentenced after found guilty in federal court

A Peru man was found guilty in federal court.


Curtis Birner, 37, of Peru, was found guilty following a two-day jury trial presided over by United States District Court Judge Robert L. Miller, Jr.


Birner was found guilty of the single-count Indictment charging him with being a felon in possession of a firearm in October 2021.   


Birner will be scheduled for sentencing by separate order of the Court.  


This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives with the assistance of the Peru Police Department and the Miami County Sheriff’s Department.

Trevor Bolt is District 1 Conservation Officer of the Year

Indiana Conservation Officer Trevor Bolt has been selected as the 2022 District 1 Officer of the Year.


District 1 includes St. Joseph, Elkhart, Marshall, Kosciusko, Fulton, Miami, and Wabash counties.


Bolt is assigned to Marshall County where he has served since 2017. In addition to his normal duties as a field officer, Bolt serves as a division defensive tactics instructor. 


The district award puts Bolt in the running for the Pitzer Award, which is presented to the top overall conservation officer in the state and is selected from the 10 district winners.


The Pitzer Award is named after Conservation Officer James D. Pitzer, who was fatally shot while investigating illegal hunting activity on Jan. 2, 1961, in Jay County.

Winamac pursuit ends in arrest of masked robber

The Pulaski County Sheriff's Department responded to a Tuesday call about a break-in where a resident arrived home to find a masked man inside of her home.


The victim reported that the suspect quickly fled the scene with some of her items.  He drove off in a red pickup truck.


Pulaski County deputies located the vehicle and attempted to stop the driver. After a pursuit through the Winamac area, the chase ended near Braun Corporation after the suspect tried to flee on foot. Deputies gave chase, ultimately leading to the suspect's arrest.


An investigation is still ongoing.  No names have been released as of this report.

Driver arrested by ISP for driving under the influence while pulling an industrial woodchipper

A recent traffic stop by Indiana State Police led to the arrest of an Indiana man for posession and operating while under the influence of a controlled substance.


Todd Mills, 58, of Spencer, was incarcerated in the Miami County Jail to face criminal charges for allegedly operating a straight truck while under the influence of a controlled substance, possession of methamphetamine, possession of marijuana, and possession of drug paraphernalia.


Indiana State Police initiated a traffic stop on a 2021 Freightliner straight truck, pulling an industrial woodchipper, on U.S. 31 near Miami County Road 1150 South. The driver was allegedly not wearing a seat belt. While speaking to Mills, the trooper determined Mills was possibly intoxicated.


Further investigation revealed that Mills was allegedly under the influence of methamphetamine. During a search of the Freightliner, officers purportedly found methamphetamine, marijuana, and drug paraphernalia.


Mills was working for Wright Tree Service Inc based in Des Moines, Iowa.

INDOT preparing for winter storm, difficult commutes expected Wednesday

The Indiana Department of Transportation is preparing for a winter storm expected to impact the state starting overnight Tuesday and early Wednesday.


The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued winter storm warnings and winter weather advisories for all of Indiana. NWS is calling for rain transitioning to snow south of I-70, with higher snow totals along and north of I-70. Snowfall rates of up to one inch per hour are possible at times.




Owner of Kewanna gas station speaks out after Saturday's robbery

The owner of the Countrymark gas station that was robbed in Kewanna Saturday is speaking out, as the investigation on the culprit continues.


In the eight years owners Terry and Kathy Hobbs have operated the gas station, this is the first time anything like this has happened. The Hobbs also hope it's the last. 


The incident was reported to the Fulton County Sheriff's Department just before 8:30 p.m. on Saturday.  A masked man entered the store with a handgun. The suspect demanded the attendant get on the floor as he looked around for cash. Less than five minutes later Hobbs said the suspect left the gas station with an undisclosed amount of cash.  He drove north on State Road 17 in a maroon truck.


Watching the cameras after the ordeal was over, Hobbs said the clerk did as she was trained to do in case of a robbery. Although scary, no injuries were reported, leaving Hobbs thankful the only thing lost was money, and not the life of her employee. 



One thing Hobbs does know is that the culprit knew the routine of the store before commiting the robbery. Never allowing her employees to close alone for safety precautions, Hobbs said the suspect seemed to be aware of that as well, choosing the slowest time of the evening to commit the crime. Prior to the robbery the suspect watched the store, waiting 10 minutes after the last customer left to enter the gas station. Knowing his way around the store, the robber helped himself to the money, knowing exactly where everything was.



UPDATE: Although not official on whether it's related, the Pulaski County Sheriff's Department responded to a call January 24 about a break-in, after a resident arrived home to find a masked man inside of her home. The victim reported that the suspect had quickly fled the scene, leaving with some of her items in a red pickup truck.


Upon locating the vehicle, Deputies attempted to stop the driver. After a pursuit through the Winamac area, the chase ended near Braun Corporation, where the suspect then continue to flee on foot. Deputies gave chase, ultimately leading to the suspects arrest. Due to the ongoing investigation, names are currently being withheld.  


Anyone with more information on the crime is asked to call Detective Sgt. Matt Utter of the Fulton County Sheriff Department at 574-223-2819, or report to Crime Stoppers at 573-223-7867. 



Fulton County Solid Waste District needs help from public

The Fulton County Solid Waste District is imploring the public to aid them in sorting recyclables at the drop-off sites as mounting trash continues to be a concern.


The following post was made on the district's Facebook page:


Sorry for the long read but we are trying to get people's attention!


If you are reading this, please share!!!


I want to start off by saying that we have some amazing recyclers in Fulton County. But with that being said, we have been dealing with a tremendous amount of unsorting and trash at ALL of our drop-off sites. We always have and continue to require that all of your recyclables be sorted into the proper bins on our trailers.


As I mentioned above, most of our recyclers do any amazing job but it is the few people out there that don’t like to follow the rules and seem to be ruining it for others.


As most of you are aware, Kosciusko County has pulled all of their drop off recycling locations in their county due to the rising cost and the large amounts of trash being dumped at each location. We here at Fulton County Solid Waste have seen an increase in the use of some of our drop off sites and at our facility which is great. The problems we are running into are that Kosciusko County drop off sites didn’t require sorting of recyclables, but we do! We try to make recycling in this county as convenient as possible and ask that everyone do their part on the sorting end of it. We only have so much manpower to operate our facility (as every business does) and would appreciate it if everyone takes the time to sort their items.


This is a free service that we offer, and we want to keep it that way for all of our residents. Which leads me to my next point.


Fulton County Solid Waste District is NOT tax funded (we do not receive any money from the residents of this county to operate our facility as most people think we do). 75% of our funding comes from the landfill here in our county.


While a lot of people complain about the landfill here, what they don’t realize is that our landfill is a blessing in many ways. The more we can recycle and keep out of the landfill, the longer the landfill will be around to continue to help fund programs in this county. Some of the programs that we provide for FREE to all Fulton County residents include 4-Tire Collection Day’s thru-out the year, Electronics’ disposal, Household Hazardous Waste disposal, Refrigerated Appliance Disposal, Fluorescent Lighting & Mercury Disposal, Batteries, Used Oil & Antifreeze (these items need to be brought into our facility). Along with offering all residents 8 convenient 24-hour drop off locations for their normal recycling.


We need more people to start recycling correctly so we can preserve the space in our landfill so that they can continue to help fund these programs. Without the landfill funding, the cost of these programs will be passed on to the residents on their tax bills. So please everyone, we are asking that if and when you do your recycling, take the extra time to sort your material. We also realize that not everything is recyclable, if it is trash, you need to do the proper thing and dispose of it in the trash not in our trailers. Your Trash is Your Responsibility, not ours! We do offer a trash disposal program along side our recycling programs. It consists of buying trash bags from our facility and then when they are full, you bring them to us and we dispose of them. If you are interested in this program, please contact us for more details or if you have any questions about what we take, 574-223-4939.


The last thing we want to do is pull all of our recycling drop-off sites, but if people keep abusing the free privilege we offer, we will be forced to do something different. We have contemplated making our sites manned drop-off sites and only having trailers at the sites on certain days and certain times so we can monitor our trailers. We do not want to go this route because it would be a big inconvenience for everyone.


So again, we are asking for everyone to please sort your items and do not dump trash on us.

Janowski is District 10 Conservation Officer of the Year

Indiana Conservation Officer Tim Janowski has been selected as the 2022 District 10 Officer of the Year. District 10 includes Lake, Porter, LaPorte, Newton, Jasper, Starke, and Pulaski counties.


Janowski is assigned to Lake County where he has served since 1998.


In addition to his normal duties as a field officer, Janowski has served as a field training officer, public safety diver, boat accident investigator, background investigator, and passenger-for-hire inspector.


The district award puts Janowski in the running for the Pitzer Award, which is presented to the top overall conservation officer in the state and is selected from the 10 district winners.


The Pitzer Award is named after Conservation Officer James D. Pitzer, who was fatally shot while investigating illegal hunting activity on Jan. 2, 1961, in Jay County.

Winter Weather Advisory kicks in before Wednesday morning commute

Snow is on the way. 


Question is - how much?


The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory that is in effect from 4 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday.


Total snow accumulations of 4 - 6 inches are in the forecast.  Snow is expected to spread rapidly north early Wednesday with rapid accumulations before noon.  The snow will become lighter in the afternoon.  Blowing and drifting snow is expected to continue into Wednesday evening.

Stolen truck in Rochester related to Kewanna armed robbery

Local authorities believe a truck stolen in Rochester is related to a Saturday armed robbery in Kewanna.


The Fulton County Sheriff’s Department responded to a reported armed robbery at the CountryMark gas station in Kewanna just before 8:30 pm Saturday. A man was reported to have entered the store with a handgun and demanded money.  He fled the scene with an undisclosed amount of cash in a red pickup headed northbound on State Road 17.


While on the scene in Kewanna, the sheriff’s department learned of a stolen truck report taken by Rochester Police.  The truck was described as a red, quad cab Ford F150.


The Fulton County Sheriff’s Department believes the two cases are related and has asked the public for any information related to the cases to be reported to Detective Sergeant Matt Utter at 574-223-2819 or Crime Stoppers at 574-223-7867.



Bane-Welker to celebrate its new Winamac store

Bane-Welker announced they have just opened their brand-new Winamac building located at their current address, 2686 US 35.


The former building was demolished on January 17.


“We’re thrilled to be able to offer customers a new place to shop,” stated Jason Bane, President of Bane-Welker Equipment. “The original store was in need of some updates, and we wanted to give our team and our customers a place they would look forward to working and shopping in.” 


A small ribbon cutting ceremony will take place on Monday, January 23 from 10 AM to 12 noon with a public open house planned in the spring.


Bane-Welker Equipment, founded in 1967 by the late Kenneth and Patricia Bane, is an agriculture equipment company representing Case IH and other complimentary brands. Bane-Welker offers new and used equipment, parts, sales, service, precision farming, online parts sales, and customer support. The company operates 9 stores in Indiana including Crawfordsville, La Crosse, Lebanon, Remington, Terre Haute, Pendleton, Plymouth, Winamac, and Wingate, and six stores in Ohio, including Circleville, Eaton, Georgetown, Plain City, Utica, and Wilmington. 


In 2018, the company became 100% employee owned. 

Megabus and Miller Transportation to connect service Rochester with cities in Midwest

Megabus, one of the largest bus companies in North America, has announced a new partnership with Miller Transportation, one of the largest transportation companies serving the Midwest.


This partnership will allow for expanded service options for 56 cities including connecting Chicago with 23 cities, Detroit with 13 cities, Indianapolis with 32 cities, Louisville with 24 cities, Nashville with 7 cities and Memphis with 13 cities.


This partnership will allow for expanded service options to more than 50 Midwest cities and will connect Rochester, IN with 12 cities including Indianapolis, IN, South Bend, IN and Detroit, MI.


 “The continued expansion of our network to more than fifty cities throughout the central United States is an exciting opportunity for Megabus,” said Colin Emberson, VP Commercial for megabus. “We’re pleased to be able to offer the customers in Indiana, Illinois Michigan, Tennessee, and Kentucky additional convenient and safe travel options; with connections to points beyond.”


“By working together with Megabus and selling our tickets on megabus.com, Miller Transportation can sell excess seating inventory and introduce our brand and convenient destinations to new customers across North America,” said John Miller, CEO of Miller Transportation. “For over 85 years Miller Transportation has provided one of the most reliable and safest transportation options and we are proud to continue this legacy as we partner with Megabus.


Schedules are now available and tickets can be purchased today for travel beginning on January 25th at https://us.megabus.com/.

Cannedy the caucus choice to fill Rochester City Council vacancy

The Rochester City Council learned of its newest member Wednesday with a Republican caucus held at the Fulton County Jail and Detention Center meeting room.


Rochester residents Bob Cannedy and Marvin Davis filed to fill the seat left vacant

when Chayse Thompson was elected in November to serve the Fulton County Council's District 3.


Cannedy defeated Davis by a vote of 3-2 to join the Rochester City Council.



Cannedy said he was thinking about the possibiity in November.



Cannedy says he has appreciated improvements in quality of life that Rochester has made over the years.



Bob Cannedy is with First Bank of Monterey in the Winamac branch.



Davis serves on the water board. He was a salesman for Winning Edge, retired now. He also was a basketball and football official for many years, since retired. Now he does some rating for the IHSAA officials .




RTC media day in Kewanna celebrates second project completion in fiber optic expansion in Fulton Co

Community members packed the basement of the Kewanna-Union Township Public library Tuesday afternoon, for the Kewanna Town Media Day with RTC Fiber Communications, in celebration of advancing their mission of eventually providing access to high speed fiber optic internet in all of Fulton County and parts of Marshall and Pulaski. 


This past May RTC was awarded six large grants from Next Level Broadband Connections Round 3, to aid RTC in giving fiber internet access to 4,954 homes in the area. Recently completing fiber builds in areas like Macy, Burket, Silver Lake and Mentone, RTC Fiber Communications is now expanding their fiber services in Fulton County, as well. 


Recently celebrating the completion of Leiters Ford on November 16, RTC's very first fiber project for the Next Level Connections fiber build out to all of Fulton County. Kewanna came as the second town in the county to have fiber internet. 


RTC Communications President Joe McCarter said he hopes to have most of Fulton County with fiber access by the end of 2023, with the town of Fulton next on the list this spring. By 2024 McCarter said they're hoping to be wrapping up the project, with rural Akron and south-east Marshall County, near Tippecanoe, being last on their list.



A big investment for a small town, McCarter credited RTC's recent expansions to the strong support they've received from the current and future fiber communities and the people living within them. 



Caucus Wednesday night to fill vacant Rochester City Council seat

A caucus is scheduled for Wednesday to fill a vacancy on the Rochester City Council.


Chayse Thompson served 11 years on the city council but was elected in November to serve the Fulton County Council's District 3 and was sworn in to his position on January 1.


Thompson, a Republican, will have his at-large seat replaced by the caucus that is scheduled for January 18.  Candidate filing closed 72 hours before the caucus.


There are two candidates.


Marvin Davis is on the water board for the City of Rochester. He is a retired salesman for Winning Edge. He also was a basketball and football official for many years, since retired. Now he does some rating for the IHSAA officials .


Bob Cannedy is with First Bank of Monterey in the Winamac branch


The caucus will be at 6 p.m. in the meeting room of the Fulton County Detention Center.


Two Peru people arrested on drug charges following months of investigation

A nine-month narcotics investigation by officers from the Indiana State Police, the Peru Police Department, and the Drug Enforcement Administration resulted in the arrests of two people from Peru.


Wallace Taylor, 31, and Jordan Taylor, 32, both from Peru, were incarcerated in the Miami County Jail. Jordan was arrested on a Miami County arrest warrant alleging criminal charges for three counts of dealing methamphetamine, three counts of possession of methamphetamine, and neglect of a dependent. She also faces additional criminal charges for dealing methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine, and possession of marijuana. The additional charges stemmed from a traffic stop.


Wallace was served two separate Miami County arrest warrants. One warrant alleged criminal charges for conspiracy to commit in dealing methamphetamine and possession of methamphetamine. The second warrant was for a bond revocation on previous charges for two counts of dealing methamphetamine and two counts of possession of methamphetamine. 



During the narcotics investigation officers developed probable cause to be granted Miami Circuit Court arrest warrants for Jordan and Wallace Taylor. 


On January 12, Indiana State Police Trooper Kyle Miller located Jordan Taylor driving a 2005 Jeep Liberty on U.S. 31 and Miami County Road 500 South. Miller initiated a traffic stop. While speaking with Jordan, he allegedly noticed indicators of criminal activity. Indiana State Police Trooper Andrew Baldwin and his narcotics-detecting police dog Mack arrived to assist. Baldwin utilized Mack to conduct a free-air sniff around the Jeep. The dog indicated the presence of illegal narcotics in the Jeep. During a subsequent search, officers allegedly found approximately 3.6 ounces of methamphetamine and approximately 30 ounces of marijuana. She was arrested on the Miami County warrant and additional charges for the narcotics purportedly found in the Jeep.


On January 13, Wallace Taylor was taken into custody by an Indianapolis Metropolitan Police SWAT Team at a hotel on the east side of Indianapolis. He was transported to the Miami County Jail to face charges from the arrest warrants. 


Fulton County determining future of EMS

What will the future of EMS in Fulton County look like? 


That is what the Fulton County Commissioners are asking as well.  It's also why they have hired Ritter Strategic Services to come up with a strategic plan for the future. 



Co-founder of Ritter Strategic Services Barry Ritter was at the Fulton County Justice and Detention Building meeting room on Tuesday to get the discussion started on what he will be doing and what is needed from the county leaders, first responders, and the community as a whole. 


Ritter says the current contract for EMS service for Fulton County has two years left and things will probably look different in the new contract but will come at a cost, but what will that cost be?



There will be several more meetings with groups throughout the county in the coming months. 


Fulton County Commissioners say they are also planning a citizen forum so the public will have a chance to be heard.

New look website and school board for Rochester schools in 2023

A revamped website is being touted by Rochester schools.


Superintendent Dr. Jana Vance says the new-look website offers advantages over its predecessor.



The school corporation also has a new look with some members of its board.  Katie Miller will serve as the board's president for a second consecutive year.



Miller says she feels more suited for her role as president going into a second year in that role.



Delphi murder trial to stay in Carroll County

Allen County Judge Fran Gull has given both sides of the Delphi double murder trial one week to choose where jurors will be selected from as the trial will not be granted a change of venue.


Richard Allen, 50, of Delphi, was present at Fraiday's hearing. He was charged in October with two counts of murder in the slayings of Liberty German, 14, and Abigail Williams, 13.


A bail hearing is set for February 17 while a new trial date may also be discussed.  For now, the trial is scheduled to begin in March.




Vicious stabbing death of elderly Logansport woman remains unsolved after 32 years

It's been more than three decades since the murder of 77-year-old Ruth Becker, who was found stabbed to death at her home in Logansport on  January 13, 1991. Still, the culprit behind the brutal crime has yet to be found. 


It was a little before 8 p.m. when a relative of Becker called 911 to report concerns. According to the relative, a friend of Becker informed them about her phone ringing off the hook for hours, and knew she had lived alone and had very few relatives other than cousins.


A well-check by the Logansport Police Department would confirm the worst. After gaining entrance inside the home at 515 Brown St, officers discovered Becker lying in a pool of blood, just 20 feet from the front door. It was quickly determined the death was the result of foul play and an investigation was started immediately. 


Becker had been stabbed multiple times, with a fatal blow to the heart. Some unique key pieces to the case were the murder weapon, and how the killer had left the home. Police collected fingerprints, forensic evidence, interviewed Becker's family and friends, and canvassed the neighborhood for answers. They came up with very little substantial information. 

The case hit close to home for Cathi Collins, a Logansport police officer who worked the case vigilantly. Collins has since retired from the LPD in 2011. At the time, she  lived only three blocks away from the crime scene.



The Logansport Police Department hasn't given up on finding Becker's killer. In 2011, forensic evidence from the scene was submitted to an Indiana State Police lab, with hopes that advances in technology would help turn up some answers. Even after her retirement, Collins put work in on dusting off the cold case over the years.


In 2013, a criminology professor at Ball State University, also worked on a report about the case with Collins and former LPD Chief Mike Clark and Mike Morphet, an assistant chief with the department at the time. Despite the effort, no new leads were found and Becker's murder once again fell cold. 



Even the motive remains a mystery. Police concluded that at the time of the murder nothing appeared to be missing from the modestly furnished residence, including a small amount of cash Becker kept in the home that remained untouched.


Friends and family of Becker knew the single, elderly woman had lived a quiet, but frugal life. Becker retired in 1976 from the RBM factory in Logansport, where she worked as an assembler, and spent the last 15 years of her life living off a small retirement fund and monthly social security check.


Aside from the occasional grocery store run, and attending church every Sunday, Becker was a notorious homebody who rarely left her residence. As the years pass, Collins says Becker's case is something she will think about often until justice is served.



Having a passion to serve, her retirement from the LPD wouldn't be the end of Collins law enforcement career. Collins currently works as jail commander for the Fulton County Detention Center in Rochester. 




(Photo of Ruth Becker and grave from Mt Hope cemetery in Logansport, found on findagrave.com)

IRS to begin accepting tax returns on January 23

The Internal Revenue Service announced Monday, Jan. 23, as the beginning of the nation's 2023 tax season when the agency will begin accepting and processing 2022 tax year returns.


More than 168 million individual tax returns are expected to be filed, with the vast majority of those coming before the April 18 tax deadline. People have three extra days to file this year due to the calendar.


With the three previous tax seasons dramatically impacted by the pandemic, the IRS has taken additional steps for 2023 to improve service for taxpayers. As part of the August passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, the IRS has hired more than 5,000 new telephone assistors and added more in-person staff to help support taxpayers.


“This filing season is the first to benefit the IRS and our nation’s tax system from multi-year funding in the Inflation Reduction Act,” said Acting IRS Commissioner Doug O’Donnell.  “With these new additional resources, taxpayers and tax professionals will see improvements in many areas of the agency this year. We’ve trained thousands of new employees to answer phones and help people. While much work remains after several difficult years, we expect people to experience improvements this tax season. That’s just the start as we work to add new long-term transformation efforts that will make things even smoother in future years. We are very excited to begin to deliver what taxpayers want and our employees know we could do with this funding.”


These steps took place as the IRS worked for months to prepare for the 2023 tax season. The Jan. 23 start date for individual tax return filers allows the IRS time to perform annual updates and readiness work that are critical to ensuring IRS systems run smoothly. This is the date IRS systems officially begin accepting tax returns. Many software providers and tax professionals are already accepting tax returns; they will transmit those returns to the IRS when the agency begins accepting tax returns on Jan. 23.


The IRS urges people to have all the information they need before they file a tax return. Filing a complete and accurate tax return can avoid extensive processing and refund delays as well as avoid the possibility of needing to file an amended tax return.


In addition, the IRS encourages people to carefully review their tax situation to make sure they don’t overlook important tax credits they may be eligible for, like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The IRS has set a special day on Jan. 27 to encourage people to make sure they understand the important benefits of the EITC, a credit that can help low- and moderate-income workers and families.


The IRS has a variety of free services available to help people. The IRS's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs also offer free basic tax return preparation to qualified individuals. People can also get help from trusted tax professionals, commercially available tax software as well as IRS Free File, which provides free electronic filing of tax returns.


April 18 tax filing deadline in 2023


The filing deadline to submit 2022 tax returns or an extension to file and pay tax owed is Tuesday, April 18, 2023, for most taxpayers. By law, Washington, D.C., holidays impact tax deadlines for everyone in the same way as federal holidays. The due date is April 18, instead of April 15, because of the weekend and the District of Columbia’s Emancipation Day holiday, which falls on Monday, April 17.


Taxpayers requesting an extension will have until Monday, Oct. 16, 2023, to file.

Two injured in two-vehicle crash on State Road 25

A two-vehicle crash on Saturday resulted in multiple injuries.


Just after midnight, Fulton County Dispatch received 911 calls for the crash near the intersection of State Road 25 and CR 900 South.  Rena Grube, of Rochester, was driving south in a 201 Ford Explorer on SR 25.  Jeremy Cuthbert, of Rochester, was crossing the southbound lanes in a 1999 Chevrolet GMT400.  The vehicles collided in the intersection.


State Road 25 was closed for over two hours.


Grube was transported by Lutheran Ground ambulance for medical attention.


Cuthbert was transported by Lutheran medical helicopter.


The Fulton County Sheriff's Department says alcohol is suspected to be a factor in the crash.  The investigation is continuing.


Liberty Fire, Macy Fire and Twelve Mile Fire assisted at the scene.

Miami-Cass REMC receives largest grant to expand broadband access

Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch and the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs announced the fourth round of the Indiana Connectivity Program awarded $935,174 to expand broadband access to 256 addresses across 31 counties.


44 of those addresses and $211, 200 of the grant funding was awarded to Miami-Cass REMC.


The program aims to help more Hoosier residents and business owners obtain access to high-speed, quality broadband.


The Indiana Connectivity Program acts as a tool to connect residents and businesses that lack internet service with internet service providers and assist in the expense of extending broadband to unserved and underserved locations.


“The Indiana Connectivity Program has now helped expand broadband access to 764 families and businesses,” said Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch. “This program has impacted each of these homeowners or business owners’ daily lives by providing resources only available through reliable internet.”


Of the 256 addresses funded, 237 are households and 19 are businesses. Internet providers carrying out the projects are matching over $2.4 million for a total investment of more than $3.4 million. To find a list of providers granted funding, visit in.gov/ocra/broadband/icp.


“Reliable internet access is a necessity in today's world and provides unlimited resources for both businesses and families,” said OCRA Executive Director Denny Spinner. “Hoosiers lacking reliable broadband should apply for the Indiana Connectivity Program and encourage their neighbors to do the same. Through the program, geographic areas with multiple applicants have experienced greater success in gaining internet service."


The program accepts addresses on a rolling basis. Hoosiers and business owners lacking internet connectivity can communicate their interest by entering their address and information into the Next Level Connections portal at in.gov/ocra/broadband. Submitting location information into the Next Level Connections Broadband portal does not guarantee extension of service.


Broadband providers must complete their projects within nine months of the contract date. For more information, visit in.gov/ocra/broadband/icp.

USDA reminds producers of continuous certification option for perennial forage

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reminds agricultural producers with perennial forage crops of an option to report their acreage once, without having to report that acreage in subsequent years, as long as there are no applicable changes on the farm. Interested producers can select the continuous certification option after USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) certifies their acreage report.?


“FSA’s continuous certification option simplifies future acreage reporting of perennial crops, and it can also help streamline the application process for many of our farm programs, including disaster assistance programs,” said FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux. “For example, when persistent drought conditions over the past year affected livestock producers in the West and Great Plains, producers who had previously filed a continuous acreage report were able to benefit from a streamlined application process for the Livestock Forage Disaster Program.”?


An acreage report documents a crop grown on a farm or ranch and its intended uses, including perennial crops like mixed forage, birdsfoot trefoil, chicory/radicchio, kochia (prostrata), lespedeza, perennial peanuts and perennial grass varieties. To access many USDA programs, producers must file an accurate and timely acreage report for all crops and land uses, including failed acreage and prevented planting acreage.?


The perennial crop continuous certification process requires a producer to initially complete an acreage report certifying the perennial crop acreage. The producer may select the continuous certification option any time after the crop is certified. ?Once the continuous certification option is selected, the certified acreage will roll forward annually and does not require additional action on the producer’s part in subsequent years unless the acreage report changes.?


Once an producer selects continuous certification, then continuous certification is appliable to all fields on the farm for the specific crop, crop type and intended use. If continuous certification is selected by any producers sharing in the crop, then the continuous certification is appliable to fields in which the producer has a share for the specific crop, crop type and intended use. ?


 “Currently less than half of the 336.5 million acres of perennial forage is being reported using the continuous certification process,” Ducheneaux said. “Producers can help streamline the reporting process by selecting continuous certification after filing their crop acreage report.”


Producers can opt out of continuous certification at any time. The continuous certification will terminate automatically if a change in the farming operation occurs.?


How to File a Report??

To file a crop acreage report, producers need to provide:??


    Crop and crop type or variety.??

    Intended use of the crop.??

    Number of acres of the crop.??


    Map with approximate boundaries for the crop.??

    Planting date(s).??

    Planting pattern, when applicable.??

    Producer shares.??

    Irrigation practice(s).??


Acreage prevented from planting, when applicable.???

Other information as required.??


More Information?

Producers can contact their local FSA office to see if their crops are eligible for continuous certification or to make an appointment. Producers can make an appointment to report acres by contacting their local USDA Service Center. ??

Civil suit accuses Indiana DCS of placing child in harm's way and targets LaPorte Co. father recently convicted of murder

A civil lawsuit was filed January 5, accusing the Indiana Department of Child Services of placing 4-year-old, Judah Morgan, in harm's way before his brutal murder in rural Hamlet on October of 2021.


The suit targets Alan Morgan, the La Porte County man convicted in the death.


The complaint was filed by Jenna Hullett, personal representative for Judah's estate, who is represented in the legal action by Mishawaka-based attorney Charles Rice. Hullett raised Judah for the first three years of his life, after he was placed in her home with a kinship placement shortly after his birth. The suit accuses Indiana DCS of failing to protect Judah, after he was removed from the Hullett home and placed in what was supposed to be a six month home trial with his biological parents in April of 2021.  That was two months before his fourth birthday. 


The suit claims that as a result of the 'reckless, careless, negligent and wrongful acts and omissions of other persons and the intentional acts of Alan Morgan, Judah was beaten, tortured and eventually murdered on October 11, 2021'. It also seeks judgement against Alan Morgan, requesting an unspecified amount of money for hardships, including attorney fees. 


Alan Morgan was recently sentenced in late November to 70 years in prison, after he pled guilty to murder, an amended felony battery charge and a felony count of resisting law enforcement. During his sentencing hearing, the forensic pathologist who did Judah's autopsy stated it was the worst case of blunt force trauma on a child he'd ever seen in his 28-year career. Video footage that was captured from inside the family's home detailed the horror of some of the abuse Judah underwent at the hands of Alan. One instance included Judah being punched in the stomach more than a dozen times as Alan straggled him at eye level before dropping him to the ground. 


The criminal case is still pending against Judah's mother, Mary Yoder, 27. Yoder was charged with a Level 1 felony neglect of a dependent resulting in death, Level 5 felony neglect of a dependent  involving cruel confinement, Level 5 felony domestic battery, and two more additional counts of Level 6 felony neglect of a dependent. 


Despite Judah having never lived with his parents prior to April 2021 due to Judah being born with drugs in his system, along with abuse allegations that were substantiated against his older sibling in 2017, Indiana DCS closed Judah's case only two months after the six month home trial had begun with his biological parents. 


The complaint states DCS is the agency responsible for the safety and well being of Hoosier children who come in contact with the state's child welfare system. 

Infant deaths in sleeper result in reissue of a Fischer Price recall

A recall has been reissued for a Fischer Price product.


According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission the recall is for the company's Rock 'n Play Sleepers.


In April 2019, over 30 deaths were reported in the sleeper after infant rolled from their back to their stomach or side while unrestrained.


But, since the recall, another 70 deaths have been reported.


Anyone who has the sleeper is supposed to stop using it and contact Fischer Price for a refund.


It's illegal to sell or distribute the sleeper.


Two children injured in Miami County crash Tuesday

Three people were injured, two children, in a two-car crash Tuesday morning.


Just after 8 a.m., officers from the Indiana State Police and the Miami County Sheriff’s Department responded to a two-vehicle crash on Old U.S. 31 at Miami County Road 1000 North.


The preliminary crash investigation by Indiana State Police Senior Trooper A.J. Coffee and Master Trooper Todd Trottier revealed that Kristy Berggren, 31, of Macy, was driving a 2007 Mitsubishi Outlander westbound on County Road 1000 North. Berggren stopped for a stop sign at Old U.S. 31 and then proceeded into the intersection. The Mitsubishi was struck in the passenger side by a southbound 2002 Ford F-250. The Ford driven by Derek Bradley, 38, of Rochester, had the right of way and was not required to stop.


Indiana State Police Captain Jeremy Kelly was one of the first police officers on the scene. He found eight-month-old Gunner Berggren, a passenger in the Mitsubishi, not breathing and without a pulse. Kelly, along with good Samaritans, initiated cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Gunner regained a pulse before being transported in an ambulance to a South Bend hospital.


Kristy Berggren was initially transported to Dukes Memorial Hospital. She was later transported to a South Bend hospital with a neck injury.


Illiana Stroud, 5, of Macy, a passenger in the Mitsubishi, was transported to Dukes Memorial Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.


Bradley was not injured.


This is an ongoing investigation. At this time neither the use of alcohol nor narcotics is suspected as being a contributing factor in the crash.


Trottier and Coffee were assisted at the crash scene by the Macy Fire Department, the Miami County Sheriff’s Department, Miami County EMA, ISP Captain Jeremy Kelly, ISP Lieutenant TJ Zeiser, ISP First Sergeant Tomson, and Lutheran EMS.


Lucky's Convenient Store opens in Kewanna

The little town of Kewanna has a few more options this week, after Lucky's Convenient Store opened its doors for the first time Monday at its newest location on the corner of Main and Logan Street.


Providing groceries, knick-knack items, Hunts Brothers Pizza and more, starting this Friday, the store also plans on adding beer and wine to their shelves. 


Although the owners, Mike Singh, and business partner, Lucky Singh, are new to Kewanna they aren't new to Fulton County. Owning the only gas station and liquor store in the small town of Fulton, they also ran the Sunoco Gas Station at 601 Main St in Rochester, recently selling it in 2022. 




Mike says his main priority with the store is providing to his customers and adapting to their needs and wants.


Lucky's Convenient Store will be open Monday to Saturday from 6am to 10pm, with Sunday's hours still yet to be set. 





Rochester's Primos Bar & Grill closing restaurant

A Rochester restaurant has announced it is closing.


Primos Bar & Grill has announced through its Facebook page that the last day to be open for business will be Saturday.


Cousins Alex and Enrique Martinez opened the restaurant in the former Poblanos building at 721 Main Street.


The post from Primos Bar & Grill Facebook page:


First and foremost we'd like to thank everyone who has supported us on this journey so far, whether you're a customer, friend, or family member! The past couple years have been very interesting for us and we feel like we achieved so much more than we could have imagined.

Our last day open for business will be this Saturday the 14th. This decision wasn't easy for us, but life is full of unexpected twists and turns! We don't know exactly what the future holds for us but we hope to be able to reach such a level of excellence like we did with Primos!

It has been an honor to serve the community and customers from far and wide. We truly appreciate the chance to be able to share with you our creation, and maybe someday we will be able to serve you again!

Cheers! ????


US farmers win right to repair John Deere equipment with MOU with American Farm Bureau Federation

The American Farm Bureau Federation and John Deere signed a memorandum of understanding that ensures farmers’ and ranchers’ right to repair their own farm equipment.


The MOU, signed at the 2023 AFBF Convention in San Juan, Puerto Rico, is the culmination of several years of discussions between AFBF and John Deere.


“AFBF is pleased to announce this agreement with John Deere. It addresses a long-running issue for farmers and ranchers when it comes to accessing tools, information and resources, while protecting John Deere’s intellectual property rights and ensuring equipment safety,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “A piece of equipment is a major investment. Farmers must have the freedom to choose where equipment is repaired, or to repair it themselves, to help control costs. The MOU commits John Deere to ensuring farmers and independent repair facilities have access to many of the tools and software needed to grow the food, fuel and fiber America’s families rely on.”


David Gilmore, John Deere Senior Vice President, Ag & Turf Sales & Marketing said, “This agreement reaffirms the longstanding commitment Deere has made to ensure our customers have the diagnostic tools and information they need to make many repairs to their machines. We look forward to working alongside the American Farm Bureau and our customers in the months and years ahead to ensure farmers continue to have the tools and resources to diagnose, maintain and repair their equipment.”


The MOU sets parameters and creates a mechanism to address farmers’ concerns. John Deere commits to engaging with farmers and dealers to resolve issues when they arise and agrees to meet with AFBF at least twice per year to evaluate progress.


The agreement formalizes farmers’ access to diagnostic and repair codes, as well as manuals (operator, parts, service) and product guides. It also ensures farmers will be able to purchase diagnostic tools directly from John Deere and receive assistance from the manufacturer when ordering parts and products.


The MOU has the potential to serve as a model for other manufacturers and AFBF has already begun those discussions.


Read the MOU here

Caucus announced for January 18 to fill Rochester City Council opening

A caucus is scheduled to fill a vacancy on the Rochester City Council.


Chayse Thompson served 11 years on the city council but was elected in November to serve the Fulton County Council's District 3 and was sworn in to his position on January 1.


Thompson, a Republican, will have his at-large seat replaced by the caucus that is scheduled for January 18.  Filing closes 72 hours before the caucus.


The caucus will be at 6 p.m. in the meeting room of the Fulton County Detention Center.



Warsaw's OrthoPediatrics expands operations in Germany

OrthoPediatrics, a company focused exclusively on advancing the field of pediatric orthopedics, announced the establishment of its direct sales organization in Germany.


OrthoPediatrics GmbH, commencing operations on January 1.


OrthoPediatrics’ first direct international organization represents an expanding commitment to support pediatric orthopedics in international markets.


For the past ten years, OrthoPediatrics has maintained a presence in Germany that has been supported by distributors and more recently, by a sales agent. With this new direct organization, OrthoPediatrics will be able to establish a deeper connection to the German pediatric orthopedic community, which represents one of the largest orthopedic markets in Europe.

Hallstrom Exterior Clean adds dryer vent cleaning to services

Dryer fires are a common winter hazard that can be prevented by routine cleaning.


In 2022 the National Fire Protection Association reported that each year there are nearly 17,000 fires reported in the U.S. that are linked to clogged dryer vents, causing an average of 55 deaths, 380 injuries and costing nearly a quarter of a billion dollars in property damage. 


Helping his customers stay safe this winter, Jacob Hallstrom, owner of Hallstrom Exterior Clean, Akron, has added dryer vent cleaning to his services. Hallstrom suggesting having all dryer vents be cleaned professionally once a year to not only keep your home safe, but also increase your dryer's performance. 



Not always just lint build up, Hallstrom said dryers can be clogged, creating potentially fire-inducing situations. The many twists and turns in the vent make it hard to get the vent clean without the proper equipment. According to the US Fire Administration, dryer fires peak in the winter, with the highest number occuring annually in January. 



Always looking to upgrade his business to better serve his customers, Hallstrom Exterior Clean also specializes in providing professional softwashing and pressure washing services for both commercial and residential buildings.


You can contact Hallstrom at 574-835-5815 for a free qoute.

American Senior Communities accounts for nearly half of collections by the U.S. Attorney's Office

Zachary A. Myers, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana, announced that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Indiana collected $12,233,320 in criminal and civil actions in Fiscal Year 2022. 


Much of it involved American Senior Communities with locations in Rochester and across Indiana.


Additionally, the Southern District of Indiana worked with other U.S. Attorney’s Offices and components of the Department of Justice to collect an additional $216,807 in cases pursued jointly by these offices. Of this amount, $60,816 was collected in criminal actions and $155,991 was collected in civil actions.   


“The efforts and leadership of our Civil Division and Asset Recovery Unit have resulted in the recovery of millions of dollars that will assist victims of fraud and other crimes,” said U.S. Attorney Myers. “We are proud to have coordinated with so many local, state, and federal law enforcement partners to protect victims and hold criminals accountable.”


The U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, along with the Department’s litigating divisions, are responsible for enforcing and collecting civil and criminal debts owed to the United States and criminal debts owed to federal crime victims. The law requires defendants to pay restitution to victims of certain federal crimes who have suffered a physical injury or financial loss. While restitution is paid to the victim, criminal fines and felony assessments are paid to the department’s Crime Victims Fund, which distributes the funds collected to federal and state victim compensation and victim assistance programs.


Additionally, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Indiana, working with partner agencies and components, collected $1,964,136 in asset forfeiture actions in Fiscal Year 2021. Forfeited assets deposited into the Department of Justice Assets Forfeiture Fund are used to restore funds to crime victims and for a variety of law enforcement purposes.


For example, in August, the Southern District of Indiana recovered Nearly $6 million as part of the government’s settlement with American Senior Communities, L.L.C. (ASC). In 2017, a former employee of a hospice services company doing business with ASC filed a “whistleblower” lawsuit under the civil False Claims Act. The complaint alleged that ASC had engaged in conduct to defraud the Medicare program. Specifically, the complaint alleged that ASC was charging Medicare directly for various therapy services, which were being provided to beneficiaries who had been placed on hospice, when those services should have been covered by the beneficiaries’ Medicare hospice coverage. Based on the investigation, the estimated loss to the Medicare program was $2,795,522.33 and ASC agreed to pay $5,591,044.66 to the United States. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Shelese Woods and Justin Olson handled the case for the United States


American Senior Communities has locations across the state including Winamac, Rochester, Peru and Wabash.

Logansport Intermediate School handles concern of explosive device found in outdoor light pole

Initial concerns of a possible explosive device at a Logansport school resulted in evacuation of the building and bomb techs being called.


About 8:30 Wednesday, Logansport Police were notified that a suspicious object was found inside an exterior light pole in the rear parking lot of Logansport Intermediate School. The building was immediately evacuated as Logansport Police, Logansport Fire, the Cass County Sheriff's Office, Indiana State Police and Cass County EMS responded to the scene.


Indiana State Police EOD were called in to investigate the device inside of the metal light pole. Meanwhile, two trained and certified bomb dogs from Vohne Liche Kennels performed an interior sweep of the school and no items related to explosives were found.


The bomb dog and handler then approached the light pole where the device was quickly determined to not be an explosive device.  It was determined to be a vibration dampener.  The dampener is used inside of polles to reduce swaying.  It had broken loose from the wire casing anf fell inside the pole.


Logansport Police report that the all-clear was given just after 11 a.m. and everyone returned to the building.



Angela Miller takes over as superintendent of Caston schools

It's the kind of change usually associated with the beginning of a school year.  At Caston, a new superintendent is on the job to start the new calendar year.


Angela Miller started as the new superintendent of Caston School Corporation January 1.


Miller graduated from Manchester College and started her career as a K-8 art teacher at Whitko Community Schools. 


During her 17 years at Tippecanoe Valley she taught, earned a Masters in Elementary Education from IU Kokomo and an Administrative License from IPFW.  She was the corporation curriculum director for eight years and principal at Mentone Elementary for five years. 


Miller has been the Curriculum Director at Caston for the past 7 ½ years and earned her Educational Specialist Degree from Indiana State University in 2021.


Miller replaces Dr. Paul Voigt who left Caston December 31 to accept a superintendent's position at Smith Green Community Schools in Churubusco.

Over nine years in sentence for driver involved in hit-and-run death of Brelynna Felix

A Fulton County man was sentenced to 9 1/2 years in prison for a hit-and-run that killed a 12-year-old girl.


Almost a year after the incident took place, in November 2022, Gage Rogers, 27,  entered guilty pleas to a Level 4 felony of failure to remain at the scene of an accident resulting in death, and a Level 6 felony of leaving the scene of an accident with serious bodily injury.


Rogers contends he didn’t stop at the scene because he thought he had just struck a deer.


He was sentenced by Judge Greg Heller.


About 7:30 pm on November 5, 2021, the Fulton County Sheriff’s office received a call from a concerned citizen who saw kids walking along the road in dark clothing and was worried for their safety. While speaking to dispatchers, the caller said it appeared someone had been struck by a vehicle.


The Fulton County Sheriff’s Office responded to State Road 19, north of 50 North.  Several juveniles were at the scene.  One, Isaiah Felix, 15,  was struck by what was believed to be the outside rearview mirror of a vehicle.  He was transported to a Fort Wayne hospital with head and face injuries. 


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


Felix was a Tippecanoe Valley Middle School student.


The investigation led the sheriff’s office to the car involved that had left the scene.  It was found in Akron. 


Odell Lumber and Supply owner expands business, potentially career in 2023

With a new year full of possibilities ahead, Trent Odell, owner of Odell Lumber and Supply in Rochester, has big ideas for growth in 2023.


A former Howard County grain and livestock farmer, Odell and his wife, Stacey, took a chance at becoming a first-time business owner in 2019, when they bought the lumberyard formerly known as Fansler Lumber, 1720 E State Road 14, in Rochester.



Helping with some extra guidance and expertise, Odell Lumber manager Ben Murphy has worked side-by-side with Odell building up their experienced staff to provide the community with well-stocked, quality supplies. The business provides everything from structural lumber, trim, siding, doors, windows, cabinets, hardware and more.


Keeping the small-town feel of personal service is also a top priority for Odell. On most days you will find Odell Lumber accountant and office wizard Jackie Whetstone at the front desk with a smile, happy to help on any project or, at least, lead customers in the right direction.


Odell not only credited his staff's smooth teamwork but also his loyal customers, who help Odell Lumber and Supply continue to grow. Wanting to give his customers a clearer vision of what the store has to offer, Odell ended 2022 with a construction project of their own. Adding on 1,000 square feet to the front of his building, a showroom will have all of his products on display.  It should be finished sometime later in 2023. 


Odell took another big leap in 2022 when he announced he would be running as a Republican candidate in the 2023 race for Mayor of Rochester.  He has a passion for growth in not only his business, but also the Rochester community he now calls home.


With a mind for business, a heart for serving the community, and a fearless attitude of never being afraid to try something new, Odell said he's confident he's got what it takes to lead and expand the community, as well. 








Rich Vorhees announces intention to run for Logansport mayoral position

Logansport native and internationally known photographer Rich Voorhees has announced he will run for the Republican nomination for Mayor of the City of Logansport.


“We need a community conversation on the direction of this city. For far too long decisions have been made with little or no public engagement and the result has not always served the residents of the community well.”


"The Voorhees administration will re-establish an identity (brand) for Logansport and we have to bring in the kind of projects and outcomes that have broad based community support and foster pride in our city."


"We need to continue bringing locally based retail to our downtown, expand our relationship with the agricultural community around us, restore our neighborhoods and re-introduce neighborhood retail and services. Job development needs to align with today’s tech and information careers so our college grads can return back from college and find jobs that match their skill set."


"We also need to bring fiscal responsibility and spend wisely on things that have community support. We need to re-evaluate some proposed projects and see if they have community support, or if another direction needs to be taken."

Loss of contract to impact over 100 workers with Morrison Healthcare in Warsaw and Fort Wayne

A food service provider has notified the state that over a hundred workers are being impacted by its loss of contract with Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne and Lutheran Kosciusko Hospital in Warsaw.


Morrison Healthcare served the following WARN notice to the state of Indiana along with mayors in the cities of Warsaw and Fort Wayne:






Farmer sentiment rebounds at year end on stronger 2022 income

Following a two-month decline and a year of weak sentiment, the Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer closed out the year on a more positive note, rallying 24 points in December to a reading of 126.


U.S. farmers were more optimistic about both their current situation and expectations for the future. The Current Conditions Index jumped 37 points to a reading of 135, while the Future Expectations Index increased 18 points to a reading of 122. The Ag Economy Barometer is calculated each month from 400 U.S. agricultural producers’ responses to a telephone survey. This month’s survey was conducted Dec. 5-9.


“The improvement in current sentiment was motivated by producers’ stronger perception of current financial conditions on their farms and could be attributed to producers taking time to estimate their farms’ 2022 income following the completion of the fall harvest,” said James Mintert, the barometer’s principal investigator and director of Purdue University’s Center for Commercial Agriculture.


The Farm Financial Performance Index climbed 18 points to a reading of 109 in December. Notably, this was the only time in 2022 that the index was above 100. The turnaround was driven by a sharp increase in the percentage of producers who expect better performance than last year, which jumped from 23% to 35% of respondents, and is consistent with USDA’s forecast for strong net farm income in 2022.


The Farm Capital Investment Index climbed 9 points this month to 40, the highest reading for the index since February; yet, it remains 9 points lower than a year earlier. Among the nearly three-quarters of respondents who said it was a bad time for large investments, the most commonly cited reason was high prices for farm machinery and new construction (41%), followed by rising interest rates (28%).


Despite the improvement in farmers’ perceptions of their financial situations, both the short- and long-term farmland value indices continued to drift lower in December. The short-term index fell 5 points to 124, while the long-term index declined 4 points to 140. When examined over the course of the last year, it’s clear that sentiment among producers about farmland values has shifted. For example, compared to a year ago, the percentage of respondents who expect to see farmland values decline in the upcoming year increased from 6% to 15%, while the percentage expecting to see values rise declined from 59% to 39%. Among producers who expect farmland values to rise over the next 5 years, just over three-fourths of them said that a combination of nonfarm investor demand and inflation are the main reasons they expect to see values rise.


Looking to the year ahead, the December survey asked producers to compare their expectations for their farm’s financial performance in 2023 to 2022. Producers indicated they expect lower financial performance in 2023 and cited rising costs and narrowing margins as key reasons. Concerns about costs continue to be top of mind for producers. Nearly half (47%) of crop producers said they expect farmland cash rental rates in 2023 to rise above the previous year. Other top concerns for 2023 include higher input costs (45% of respondents), rising interest rates (22% of respondents) and lower crop or livestock prices (13% of respondents).


Read the full Ag Economy Barometer report. The site also offers additional resources – such as past reports, charts and survey methodology – and a form to sign up for monthly barometer email updates and webinars.


Each month, the Purdue Center for Commercial Agriculture provides a short video analysis of the barometer results. For even more information, check out the Purdue Commercial AgCast podcast. It includes a detailed breakdown of each month’s barometer, in addition to a discussion of recent agricultural news that affects farmers.

The Soul Relaunch adds mindfulness to New Year's resolution options

With the holidays ending, New Year's resolutions beginning, and the colder, darker days continuing for the next few months, Soul Care & Mindset Coach, Nicole Manning, is offering a new options to the 'new year, new me' list.


The 'winter blues,' is not a medical diagnosis, and usually seasonal, melting away in late spring or summer. Seasonal depression, however, is a mental health condition triggered by the changing of the seasons and should be treated by medical health professionals. Researchers for the National Institues of Health have spent nearly four decades studying 'the winter blues' in both mild and clinical forms, to find a cause for the condition, and treatments to help it. Although shorter days seem to be a main trigger for the winter blues, much still remains unknown about these winter-related shifts in mood, that are fairly common for those living in the north. 


Shining some light on positive thinking, Manning says mindfulness can be key to resetting your internal clock's circadian rhythm. Although not a replacement of medical treatment for serious depression, The Soul Relaunch is offering a free 21-day mindfulness challenge starting January 3. 



Starting out her day each morning, Manning creates daily live videos for her clients, with pep talks focused on keeping them present to better advance their goals. 




Becoming a certified life coach, meditation facilitator, clinical hypnotist and energy healer, Manning said the work has not only changed the lives of her clients, it's also given her own life a 360 turn as well. Those interested in learning more about Manning and the Soul Relaunch can find her on Facebook or on her website at thesoulrelaunch.com.




Rochester City Councilman Chayse Thompson recognized for 11 years of service

It's the start of a new chapter in local politics for Rochester City Councilman Chayse Thompson, who, after 11 years as a City Council member, will be switching seats to sit with the Fulton County Commissioners.


Thompson, a Republican candidate, was elected in November to serve Fulton County Council's District 3 and was sworn in to his position on January 1. The change is something Thompson said he hopes will not only help his career, but also allow him to help more people in the community. 


During the Rochester City Council's final meeting of the year on December 27, Rochester Mayor Ted Denton said farewell to Thompson with a formal letter of recognition for his dedication. Although Thompson was unable to attend his last meeting as a Rochester City Council member due to illness, Mayor Denton still  included him in the meeting by presenting his letter via phone call.