Gov. Holcomb announces historic expansion for 21st Century Scholars Program

Governor Eric J. Holcomb and the Indiana Commission for Higher Education (CHE) today announced that over 40,000 students have been automatically enrolled in the 2027 cohort in the 21st Century Scholars program.

Automatic enrollment in the 21st Century Scholars program was a key item on the Governor’s 2023 Next Level Agenda to help increase educational attainment. 

Created in 1990, the 21st Century Scholars program is nationally recognized and one of Indiana’s keys to narrowing gaps in educational attainment. The scholarship covers up to full tuition and fees at Indiana colleges and universities for students from low-income backgrounds. The Commission estimates over 20,000 additional students will be enrolled in the program for each 8th grade class. Students who are automatically enrolled must still meet subsequent requirements to obtain the scholarship.

“Indiana’s workforce depends on a skilled talent pipeline,” said Gov. Holcomb. “For over 30 years, the 21st Century Scholarship has played a transformative role in getting more Hoosiers prepared to enroll and succeed in college. Automatically enrolling income-eligible students into this life-changing program will lead to greater levels of educational attainment, stronger communities, and a globally competitive workforce.”

Central to the Commission’s strategy, the program has seen significant change this year with recent legislation that allows the Commission to automatically enroll all financially eligible students into the program. HEA 1449-2023, authored by State Rep. Earl Harris Jr., was signed into law by Gov. Holcomb in May after receiving bipartisan support in the Indiana General Assembly.

"This legislation will ensure higher rates of equity for Hoosier students from all walks of life and help more Indiana students achieve a higher education and all the blessings that come with it," Harris said. "Helping students get enrolled in the 21st Century Scholars program will not just help individual students and their families, but the state as a whole by helping us build a skilled, 21st Century economy. This bill is a testament to the good that can happen when lawmakers work together for the benefit of their constituents, and I look forward to seeing the impacts of this bipartisan piece of legislation for generations to come."

Gaps in educational attainment call for intentional, focused action

Earlier this year, Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education Chris Lowery called attention to the college-going rate for low-income Black, Hispanic and Latino students in the State of Higher Education Address.

“The college-going rate for students from low-income households who are not part of the 21st Century Scholars program is 30 percent,” Lowery said. “When multiplied by their on-time college completion rate of 27 percent, those students have roughly an 8 percent likelihood of graduating from high school and completing college on time. For Black students, the likelihood is 10 percent, for Hispanic and Latino students, it’s 17 percent. This is unacceptable, and in my view, it is an emergency.”

For Indiana, the 21st Century Scholars program tackles disparities impacting students from low-income households. Since the program’s creation, over 50,000 Scholars have earned a college degree through the scholarship. The Commission’s 2023 College Readiness Report shows that 81 percent of Scholars attended college in 2021 compared to 30 percent of their non-Scholar, low-income peers.

In addition to providing a way to manage the cost of college, the 21st Century Scholars program gives students a peer network and support system, ensuring students have what they need to be successful in college.




Indiana DCS director set to appear at hearing next week, must prove why department not in contempt for failure to provide documents for torture killing of 4-year-old Judah Morgan

A Hendricks County Superior Court judge has signed an order demanding that the Indiana Department of Child Services director, Eric Miller, appear for an in-person hearing next week to explain why his department should not be held in contempt for failing to obey court motions, which ordered Indiana DCS to produce documents for the case relating to the torture death of 4-year-old Judah Morgan.


Indiana DCS was named as a non-party to a civil lawsuit filed earlier this year in January, seeking damages and further accountability against Judah's biological father, 29-year-old Alan Morgan. Morgan was sentenced to 70 years last November, after pleading guilty to the murder and beating of Judah on October 11, 2021. 



Judah's second cousin and kinship placement "mother", Jenna Hullett, is a plaintiff in the lawsuit against her cousin Morgan. Hullett had raised Judah for the first three years of his life. She would last see the boy April 7, 2021, when Judah was placed with his biological parents under what was supposed to be a six-month home trial with Indiana DCS. Hullett said that prior to his murder, she had tried multiple times to alert DCS of the ongoing abuse and violations of the six-month home trial. Each time Hullett said she was ignored or told to mind her own business. 


The lawsuit also takes aim at the Indiana Department of Child Services, accusing the organization of dropping Judah's case file, even though Judah was considered to be 'ward of the state' and an 'endangered child' since birth. The suit reads that from his birth on June 17, 2017, until the year of his death, Judah was a 'child in need of services' or CHINS, a ward of non-party Indiana Department of Child Services, the state agency responsible for the safety and well-being of Hoosier children who come into contact with the state's child welfare system.


The suit also highlighted that under Indiana law, DCS's responsibilities included providing child protection services and providing child abuse and neglect prevention services for children like Judah. At the time of his birth on June 17, 2017, Judah had tested positive for drugs. Only six weeks prior to his birth, the suit said, allegations of physical abuse and neglect of Judah's older sibling were substantiated by Judah's parents. It pointed out that clearly Judah was an endangered and neglected child "from the moment that Judah was placed by DCS in his parents' home".


Lawyers for Judah Morgan's estate filed an order requesting multiple documents from Indiana DCS on April 26, 2023. According to court documents, DCS has since moved several times to block that request, and requested a protective order be granted prior to giving up the documents on July 14. The request was then granted five days later.


On August 11, 2023, a court order shows DCS finally produced "a few documents" to the plaintiffs. DCS then asked the Court for an extension of time, seeking to push out the deadline for production of documents to a date after the statute of limitations. Now the third request for an extension, the court order claims, DCS' production of documents to date was not in good faith, being "woefully inadequate." 


The lawyer representing Jenna Hullett in the suit against Alan Morgan said DCS has still yet to produce the necessary documents as of Aug. 30. 


Miller, the director who was promoted to the role of DCS director in May, must now appear in person on September 6 at 10 a.m. to prove his department should not be held in contempt for failing to obey court orders. The order to appear was filed in the same month a seperate class action suit was filed, accused DCS and Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb of failing to protect Indiana children. The suit has similar accusations against the Indiana Department of Child Services director Eric Miller and Indiana DCS for failing their constitutional duty to protect children in the care of the state. The Indiana Department of Child Services still declines to respond to the request for media comment. 

Electrical explosion and fire seriously injured electrician

An electrical explosion and fire seriously injured a man at BW Fusion.

Just before 11 a.m. Wednesday, Cass Country Central Dispatch received a call to respond to the plant at 3155 West County Road 300 South. An employee of Fissel Electric Service had been installing electrical equipment in a building under construction at the job site when the electrical explosion and fire began.

Responding firefighters with the Clymers Fire Department and Cass County Fire District #1 used extinguishers to put out the fire.

The electrician, Joshua Watts, 45, of Delphi, was flown by medical helicopter to Eskenazi Hospital in Indianapolis with serious injuries.

No one else was injured.

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Akron man arrested after pursuit with law enforcement

An Akron man after fleeing law enforcement in Kosciusko County.

A Mentone police officer tried to make a traffic stop on a motorcycle traveling 68 in a 55 mph zone. The motorcyclist, Blake Honeycutt, 25, accelerated from the scene.

The pursuit reached speeds as high as 99 mph before Honeycutt stopped in a driveway at was caught as he tried to flee on foot.

Honeycutt was charged with resisting law enforcement and various marijuana and possession charges. Also, Honeycutt was driving without a license. His had been suspended indefinitely.

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Kosciusko Co homeless man charged with child molesting, criminal confinement

A homeless man was recently arrested in Kosciusko County after allegedly luring a juvenile into a park bathroom.
Daniel Kay Smith, 54, was arrested on charges of child molesting, a level 4 felony, and criminal confinement, a level 5 felony. He was booked into the Kosciusko County Jail with a $15,250 preliminary bond.

The probable cause affidavit revealed that on Saturday the Syracuse Police Department was dispatched on a report of a man luring a juvenile into a park bathroom. Prior to officers arriving Smith fled on foot, but was chased by a civillian and began running down the alley behind the Syracuse Police Department. Smith soon jumped into a nearby channel and was soon spotted by officers, floating on his back with his arms spread out to his sides. A nearby boat soon assisted in getting to Smith.

Once Smith was detained he denied allegations and claimed to have been sun stroked. 

Turkey Creek Fire and EMS attempted to tend to Smith, but he stood up and attempted to walk away. According to the report, Smith claimed that he didn’t do anything and he wanted to rest. He also said he was a disabled veteran. Later, Smith said he was off his medications and referred to himself as Agent Smith of the CIA.
According to court documents, a witness who was near the park at the time of the assault told officers they saw Smith luring a 7-year-old child into the men's bathroom by cracking the door open and motioning for the juvenile to come to him. The witness said that as soon as he saw the door shut he ran over to the park and intervened, but found the bathroom door at the park to be locked. 

After the witness began knocking, Smith soon opened the door and claimed that he and the child were family friends. The juvenile remained silent. It wasn't until the witness called police that Smith fled from the scene. 

The juvenile was later interviewed by police and the Safe Harbor Child Advocacy Center, who helped with a forensic interview. According to reports, the juvenile claimed that after Smith lured them to the bathroom, Smith had grabbed and kissed him on the cheek. When someone began knocking on the door, Smith opened the door and was then chased through the park. It was also discovered Smith is not related to the juvenile.

According to court documents, this was not Smith's first time being arrested. Smith's prior convictions included possession of methamphetamine, a level 6 felony, in Kosciusko Circuit Court on Nov. 8, 2021; dealing in methamphetamine, a level 5 felony, in Kosciusko Circuit Court on April 16, 2018; possession of two or more chemical reagents or precursors, a class D felony, in Kosciusko Circuit Court, on Jan. 13, 2011; burglary, a class C felony, in Kosciusko Circuit Court on July 1, 1999, and Aug. 28, 1998; operating a vehicle as a habitual traffic violator, a class D felony, in Kosciusko Superior Court III, on Aug. 6, 1998; and possession of chemical reagents or precursors, a class C felony, in Elkhart Superior Court III, on Aug. 17, 2006.

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FEMA and FCC plan nationwide emergency alert test for Oct. 4

FEMA, in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), will conduct a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) this fall.

The national test will consist of two portions, testing WEA and EAS capabilities. Both tests are scheduled to begin at approximately 2:20 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Oct. 4.

The WEA portion of the test will be directed to all consumer cell phones. This will be the third nationwide test, but the second test to all cellular devices. The test message will display in either English or in Spanish, depending on the language settings of the wireless handset.

The EAS portion of the test will be sent to radios and televisions. This will be the seventh nationwide EAS test.

FEMA and the FCC are coordinating with EAS participants, wireless providers, emergency managers and other stakeholders in preparation for this national test to minimize confusion and to maximize the public safety value of the test.

The purpose of the Oct. 4 test is to ensure that the systems continue to be effective means of warning the public about emergencies, particularly those on the national level. In case the Oct. 4 test is postponed due to widespread severe weather or other significant events, the back-up testing date is Oct. 11. 

The WEA portion of the test will be initiated using FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS), a centralized internet-based system administered by FEMA that enables authorities to send authenticated emergency messages to the public through multiple communications networks. The WEA test will be administered via a code sent to cell phones. 

This year the EAS message will be disseminated as a Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) message via the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System-Open Platform for Emergency Networks (IPAWS-OPEN).

All wireless phones should receive the message only once. The following can be expected from the nationwide WEA test:

  • Beginning at approximately 2:20 p.m. ET, cell towers will broadcast the test for approximately 30 minutes. During this time, WEA-compatible wireless phones that are switched on, within range of an active cell tower, and whose wireless provider participates in WEA, should be capable of receiving the test message. 
  • For consumers, the message that appears on their phones will read: “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.”
  • Phones with the main menu set to Spanish will display: “ESTA ES UNA PRUEBA del Sistema Nacional de Alerta de Emergencia. No se necesita acción.”

WEA alerts are created and sent by authorized federal, state, local, tribal and territorial government agencies through IPAWS to participating wireless providers, which deliver the alerts to compatible handsets in geo-targeted areas. To help ensure that these alerts are accessible to the entire public, including people with disabilities, the alerts are accompanied by a unique tone and vibration. 

Important information about the EAS test:

  • The EAS portion of the test is scheduled to last approximately one minute and will be conducted with the participation of radio and television broadcasters, cable systems, satellite radio and television providers and wireline video providers.
  • The test message will be similar to the regular monthly EAS test messages with which the public is familiar. It will state: “This is a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System, issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, covering the United States from 14:20 to 14:50 hours ET. This is only a test. No action is required by the public.

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26th Annual Monterey Days Festival set for this weekend

The 26th annual Monterey Days Festival is bringing free entertainment that includes free inflatables for children, contests, food, music and more. 

Patrick Daily says the festival is for the kids, breathing life into the small community for the Labor Day weekend.

Running the festival for the part four years, Daily is also in charge of the Halloween and Christmas events held in the town of Monterey. Not only does the festival bring community members out of the house, it also brings others in from outside the community. 


A burn out contest on Sunday is the second year, one of the only ones in the area. Daily said the event last year attracted 500 people. 



The festival ends with a car show Monday.

Daily said the festival would't be possible if it wasn't for the generous donars like Lahmer's Hardware, First National Bank of Monterey, Reinhold Farms, and more. Always accepting donations towards the Monterey Festival LLC, Daily emphasized the fun was always aimed for the kids and families in the community. 



A list of the schedule for this year's Monterey Days is featured below. Daily hopes those in the area check out the event if they get time this weekend. 

Food, vendors, wrestling, fishing tournament and even a Hillbilly Scramble are on the agenda for the Monterey Days Festival this weekend.

On its Facebook page the festival did recently announce one cancellation. Due to insurance reasons, the festival had to cancel the catch the pig contest that was scheduled for Saturday.

Here's the rundown of festival activities for this weekend.


Friday- September 1

Food Vendors open 6 pm

6 pm - Kids Inflatables (free) 

6 pm - Pageant, ages 4 to 7 and 8 to 12

6:30 pm - Lions Club Cake Walk

7 to 9 pm - Fishing tournament registration

7:30 pm  - Hillbilly Scramble

8 pm - DJ Karaoke


Saturday- September 2

Silent Auction items at T-Shirt Booth. (Winners announced at Burn Out Contest at 1 pm, Sunday)

7 am to 12 noon - Fishing Tournament (registration Friday in park, 7 to 9 pm) Weigh-in by DJ booth at 12 noon

50/50 Raffle all day; winner to be announced by Band

8 am to 4 pm – Town-side yard sales

9 am to 1 pm - Library Book Sale at Monterey Library

10 am – DJ, food vendors, arts and crafts vendors open

10 am - Waterball at the Firehouse (registration at 9:30 am)

11 am - Kids inflatables (free)

11 am - Watermelon Eating Contest

12 noon - Frog Jump/Turtle Race (bring your own frog/turtle)

2 pm - Catch the PIG Contest

4 to 5:30 pm - Tractor Show (Tractors will be in main parade)

6 pm – Parade; line-up 5 pm at the Meeting Place of Monterey (school house)

7 pm - Kyle Kunce on acoustic

7:30 pm - Hillbilly Scramble

7:30 pm - Band Low Coolant


Sunday- September 3

8 to 10 am – Breakfast (under pavilion)

10 am – DJ, food vendors, arts and crafts vendors open

10 am to 2 pm - Burn Out Contest (registration 8:30 am). All cars, trucks welcome; NO bikes.  Registration fee $35. Spectator fee $5 adults, $3 children age 12 and under.

11:30 am - Kids Inflatables- free 

12 noon – KALITA Magic Show

2 pm - The Great KALITA Escape Show

3 pm - Kids Games. Age groups: 9 and under, 10-13, 14-18

4 pm - Pro Wrestling

7 pm – Band TBA

7:30 pm - Hillbilly Scramble


Monday - September 4

8 to 10 a.m. – Breakfast (Under pavilion)

8 am to 12 noon – Car show (Registration 8 to 11 am. All cars, trucks, bikes are welcome.) 

11 am to 4 pm – Collins/Tasch Post No. 399 American Legion (Bingo, Duck Race, Beer Garden, Raffle)


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Pulaski County, Winamac law enforcement still looking for vehicle thief

Pulaski County authorities still looking for who is responsible for stealing a vehicle from a Winamac dealership and then fleeing police over the weekend.

About 1 a.m. Saturday, a vehicle was stolen from the Winamac Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram. Shortly after, a Winamac police officer located the vehicle and tried to conduct a traffic stop. A pursuit ensued into southern Pulaski County

Deputies with the sheriff’s department responded. The Winamac officer lost sight of the vehicle briefly near Pulaski CR 900 South. By the time the vehicle was found at a site pulled off the roadway, the occupant(s) had fled into the fields.

The Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department says the suspect(s) has not been identified. The vehicle is being processed for suspect DNA. Indiana State Police crime technicians are working with the investigation.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department at (574) 946-6655.

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2023 Monterey Days Festival schedule

Food, vendors, wrestling, fishing tournament and even a Hillbilly Scramble are on the agenda for the Monterey Days Festival this weekend.

On its Facebook page the festival did recently announce one cancellation. Due to insurance reasons, the festival had to cancel the catch the pig contest that was scheduled for Saturday.

Here's the rundown of festival activities for this weekend.


Friday- September 1

Food Vendors open 6 pm

6 pm - Kids Inflatables (free) 

6 pm - Pageant, ages 4 to 7 and 8 to 12

6:30 pm - Lions Club Cake Walk

7 to 9 pm - Fishing tournament registration

7:30 pm  - Hillbilly Scramble

8 pm - DJ Karaoke



Saturday- September 2

Silent Auction items at T-Shirt Booth. (Winners announced at Burn Out Contest at 1 pm, Sunday)

7 am to 12 noon - Fishing Tournament (registration Friday in park, 7 to 9 pm) Weigh-in by DJ booth at 12 noon

50/50 Raffle all day; winner to be announced by Band

8 am to 4 pm – Town-side yard sales

9 am to 1 pm - Library Book Sale at Monterey Library

10 am – DJ, food vendors, arts and crafts vendors open

10 am - Waterball at the Firehouse (registration at 9:30 am)

11 am - Kids inflatables (free)

11 am - Watermelon Eating Contest

12 noon - Frog Jump/Turtle Race (bring your own frog/turtle)

2 pm - Catch the PIG Contest

4 to 5:30 pm - Tractor Show (Tractors will be in main parade)

6 pm – Parade; line-up 5 pm at the Meeting Place of Monterey (school house)

7 pm - Kyle Kunce on acoustic

7:30 pm - Hillbilly Scramble

7:30 pm - Band Low Coolant



Sunday- September 3

8 to 10 am – Breakfast (under pavilion)

10 am – DJ, food vendors, arts and crafts vendors open

10 am to 2 pm - Burn Out Contest (registration 8:30 am). All cars, trucks welcome; NO bikes.  Registration fee $35. Spectator fee $5 adults, $3 children age 12 and under.

11:30 am - Kids Inflatables- free 

12 noon – KALITA Magic Show

2 pm - The Great KALITA Escape Show

3 pm - Kids Games. Age groups: 9 and under, 10-13, 14-18

4 pm - Pro Wrestling

7 pm – Band TBA

7:30 pm - Hillbilly Scramble


Monday - September 4

8 to 10 a.m. – Breakfast (Under pavilion)

8 am to 12 noon – Car show (Registration 8 to 11 am. All cars, trucks, bikes are welcome.) 

11 am to 4 pm – Collins/Tasch Post No. 399 American Legion (Bingo, Duck Race, Beer Garden, Raffle)


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Warsaw man charged with rape, battery

A Warsaw man was arrested recently on charges of rape and battery and criminal confinement. 

Kevin Rodriguez-Duran, 27, is now facing charges of rape, a level 3 felony; criminal confinement, a level 5 felony; strangulation and domestic battery, both level 6 felonies; and criminal mischief, a class B misdemeanor.

Warsaw Police responded to the domestic incident on August 26. Officers made contact with the caller, who reported that Rodriguez-Duran had aassaulted them, and appeared at that time to have a swollen, bloody lip. 

Court documents stated the person reported that they had been laying in bed with two children just before the assault began. The person stated that when Rodriguez-Duran entered the room, he appeared to be intoxicated. Giving the children a cell phone to occupy them, Rodriguez-Duran then attempted to be intimate with the person. After being rejected, it was stated that Rodriguez-Duran forcibly had sexual intercourse with the person against their will, allegedly putting his hands around the person's neck and choking them. Attempts to leave the room during the assault were unsuccessful when Rodriguez-Duran allegedly stopped the assault, but resumed the attack shortly after. 

When the person went to call her mother for help, it was stated that Rodriguez-Duran violently slapped the phone from the victims hands, hitting their face during the process. After hearing and witnessing the violence through a FaceTime phone call while it was briefly  connected, the mother of the person called 911. Rodriguez-Duran was accused of later picking the phone up and slamming it to the ground, shattering the screen. 

Rodriguez-Duran denied the assault to officers, claiming the victim said, "yes and no," when he tried to be intimate. When asked if there was a physical fight, Rodriguez-Duran also denied ever putting his hands on the victim. A breathalizer would reveal Rodriguez-Duran had a 0.13% BAC. 

Rodriguez-Duran was arrested August 26 and booked in the Kosciusko County Jail, with a $21,000 surety and cash bond. Part of Rodriguez-Duran's bond conditions were that he could not leave Kosciusko County without prior court approval.

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Three Kokomo men sentenced after heist of from armored truck aided by inside man

Three Howard County men have been sentenced in federal court for a bank theft of over $200K.

Keith Martin, 43, Edwin Sims, 31, and James Alexander, 36, of Kokomo, Indiana, have all been sentenced to federal prison after pleading guilty to a coordinated bank theft of $204,918. Edwin Sims also pled guilty to possession with intent to distribute cocaine.

According to court documents, on November 16, 2021, at approximately 2: l7pm, officers with the Kokomo Police Department (KPD) responded to a bank near West Jefferson Street after the armed robbery of a Garda armored truck. Upon arrival, officers spoke to the driver of the armored truck, Keith Martin, who stated that while an employee went into the bank to service the ATM, an armed robber, later determined to be Edwin Sims, entered the back of the Garda truck. Sims approached Martin and took his firearm and cell phone, then stole $204,918 in cash from the armored truck. Sims fled the scene in a red Cadillac driven by co-conspirator, James Alexander.

While investigating the robbery, officers received additional video from inside the armored truck for the entire day of November 16th. At two different stops prior to the robbery, Martin can be seen on his phone, as the same red Cadillac drives past the armored truck.

When Sims entered the truck, Martin immediately leaned to the left, making it simple to remove his firearm. Martin handed his cell phone and firearm to Sims, without any coercion. Investigators obtained a search warrant for the cell phone records of Martin and discovered that Martin had made several calls with James Alexander prior to the robbery.

On November 30, 2021, FBI agents arrested Alexander on an outstanding warrant for Criminal Recklessness. During an interview with investigators, Alexander stated that after the bank theft, the trio met at a Motel 6 to split the money and give Martin his cell phone back.

On December 1, 2021, Martin was arrested while driving a GMC Yukon. FBI agents recovered $32,278 in a shoebox and a Glock 19 inside the vehicle. An additional search of the red Cadillac used in the getaway was also conducted, uncovering $35,387 inside a backpack.

On December 8, 2021, officers attempted to arrest Sims in Indianapolis. Sims fled but was taken into custody at East l6th Street and Campbell Avenue. Officers located 17.9 grams of cocaine base and 52 grams of cocaine individually bagged for sale next to Sims at the time of his arrest.

Keith Martin was sentenced in July 2023 to seven months in federal prison. Edwin Sims was sentenced in March 2023 to 12.5 years’ imprisonment. James Alexander was sentenced in August 2023 to 27 months’ imprisonment. The three defendants were each ordered to pay $135,792.85 in restitution.

“This brazen conspiracy was quickly unraveled by the outstanding investigative efforts of the FBI, Kokomo Police, and DEA,” said U.S. Attorney Zachary A. Myers. “Federal prosecutors and law enforcement agencies will continue to prioritize working with our local partners to address violent crime in our communities. The convictions and sentences in this case demonstrate that that these serious crimes carry serious consequences.”

“The FBI is committed to investigating violent crime and pursuing those who commit these offenses which this sentence clearly demonstrates,” said FBI Indianapolis Special Agent in Charge Herbert J. Stapleton. “The rapid response and outstanding investigative work by the FBI, the Kokomo Police Department, and the DEA ensured these three defendants are behind bars where they belong.”

The Federal Bureau of Investigations, Kokomo Police Department, and the Drug Enforcement Administration investigated this case. The sentences were imposed by U.S. District Court Judge, James R. Sweeney. Judge Sweeney also ordered that Martin, Sims, and Alexander be supervised by the U.S. Probation Office following their release from federal prison for 2, 3, 3, years respectively. 

Wabash man charged with child pornography

A Wabash man has been arrested on child porography charges.

Officers with the Indiana State Police Peru District, Internet Crimes against Children Task Force (ICAC), arrested Adam Taylor, 40, of Wabash, for Possession of Child Pornography. 

The investigation began when a cyber tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) was received by the ICAC Task Force. The tip ultimately led to a search warrant being served on a residence at 1493 Orchard Street, Wabash, by the Indiana State Police (ISP), with assistance from the Wabash City Police, Wabash County Sheriff’s Office, and Homeland Security. After a subsequent search, officers located multiple electronic devices. 

The findings of the investigation were provided to the Wabash County Prosecutor’s Office, which ultimately resulted in an arrest warrant being issued. Taylor was located and served the arrest warrant. Taylor was transported to the Wabash County Jail. 

Trooper David Kewish was assisted throughout the investigation by other troopers from the Peru Post, Wabash City Police Department, Wabash County Sheriff’s Office, and Homeland Security. 

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Locomotive and hopper car overturned at Cass County industry

An engine operator was injured in a Cass County train derailment.

About 6:45 a.m. Monday, Cass County Central Dispatch received a call about the derailment at the Waelz Sustainable Products plant at 3440 West County Road 300 South. An employee of WSP had been operating the locomotive to move four rail cars within the production facility when the locomotive and first hopper car overturned and left the tracks.

The other three cars did not overturn. None of the cars were loaded and no chemicals were released.

The operator, Shane Baber, 51, of Logansport, was flown to Parkview Hospital by medical helicopter with non-life threatening injuries. He was later released.

The Cass County Sheriff’s Department, Clymer’s Fire Department, Cass County Emergency Management and Cass County EMS responded.

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Miami County woman charged with driving over three times legal limit with young child in car

A Peru woman was arrested for driving intoxicated with a young child in the car.

Just before 9:30 p.m. Saturday, an Indiana State Trooper responded to the area of US 31 and Blair Pike in an attempt to locate a vehicle that had struck a utility pole and left the scene. A short time later, the trooper located and stopped the 2017 KIA, near US 31 and Miami CR 100 N.

The driver was identified as Courtney Blow, 29, of Peru. A three-year-old child was in the backseat. Indiana State Police say Blow displayed signs of impairment, failed field sobriety tests, and had a preliminary BrAC of .263%.

The trooper transported Blow to a local hospital for a certified test. The results of that test are pending. Blow was then transported to the Miami County Jail.

The Department of Child Services was contacted, and the child was released to a family member.

Blow faces the following charges:

Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated-with a Passenger Less than 18-yrs of age—Level 6 Felony

Neglect of a Dependent—Level 6 Felony

Leaving the Scene of a Crash—Class B Misdemeanor

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Rochester elementary principal pleased with corporation's IREAD - 3 results

Rochester students performance on the IREAD test shows favorable accomplishment.

Columbia Elementary Principal Jason Snyder says results received recently showed positive growth.

Snyder notes students can take the test early….and many do.

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Wabash announced as one of four new physical fire training locations

Governor Eric J. Holcomb was joined by the Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) and firefighting leaders from across Indiana on Friday in Plymouth to announce the first phase of a large-scale plan to expand physical firefighting training for Hoosiers.

Gov. Holcomb prioritized more training site funding as part of his 2023 Next Level Agenda.

“Indiana will always support its public safety personnel, who selflessly risk their lives to protect the communities in which they live,” Gov. Holcomb said. “This plan will ensure that Hoosier firefighters have the skills and the equipment necessary to do their job safely and effectively.”

The first phase of this Hub-and-Spoke training model will include four new physical training locations to be built in Corydon, Linton, Rensselaer and Wabash. These new sites are expected to be completed and ready for use in the first quarter of 2024.  In total, the state will be investing $7.7M in new training sites like the four sites announced today. The goal with these funds is to provide high-quality, physical training structures within 30 miles or 45 minutes of all career and volunteer departments. The new sites will join more than a dozen sites already utilized for state firefighter training.

“When you look at the gaps we have in fire training, it’s primarily in rural areas,” said Steve Jones, Indiana State Fire Marshal. “Volunteers do not have the flexibility to travel for hours to attend trainings. We selected these first sites to address some of these ‘training deserts,’ and there was significant local buy-in for the need for these sites.”

The updated training model includes a live burn training structure on the sites by IDHS, home to the Indiana State Fire Marshal. The sites will be locally owned and maintained, although the state will construct the training facility and help with site preparation where necessary. Any fire department interested in more information and expressing interest in setting up a new training site should click here.

In addition to the $7.7M provided by the General Assembly in the most recent two-year budget, IDHS was also granted an additional $10M to provide new personal protective equipment (PPE) for volunteer firefighters across the state. Of the nearly 870 fire departments across the state, over 600 of these are volunteer fire departments. The goal with these funds is to fully outfit close to 900 volunteer firefighters with essential sets of PPE Volunteer departments often operate with outdated equipment and little funding to replace it as needed.

Volunteer fire departments interested in acquiring new PPE through this program should sign up here. Following the award of a bid, IDHS will reach back out to those expressing interest to determine specific needs, eligibility and make final awards.

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Students in Fulton and neighboring counties receive over $2M of Indiana JAG scholarship money

The Indiana chapter of Jobs for America’s Graduates announced today that this year's graduating class earned more than $23,200,000 in scholarship money. Recipients included students from 52 Indiana counties.

JAG Indiana, which is administered by the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, is a state-based, national non-profit organization dedicated to helping high school students of promise who have experienced challenges achieve success through graduation. JAG students receive adult mentoring while in school and one year of follow-up counseling after graduation. 
"This year's graduating class is the latest example of young Hoosiers overcoming challenges to succeed in school, and begin their journey to a productive and rewarding career," said DWD Commissioner Richard Paulk. "JAG starts with jobs, and local businesses continue to pour in advice and support to students to not only expose them to job opportunities, but also the career pathways available in their hometowns."

The scholarship money includes millions of dollars for JAG graduates who are receiving funds from the 21st Century Scholarship and Frank O'Bannon Grant.

"With many graduates receiving the 21st Century Scholars and the Frank O'Bannon Grant, JAG Indiana continues to be a leader in increasing access to education beyond high school for all Hoosier students," said Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education Chris Lowery. "I applaud and recognize JAG Indiana in its efforts to empower and prepare young people for success after high school."

Recently, JAG Indiana received the “6 of 6” Award at the 40th Annual National Training Seminar held in Louisville, Ky. The award recognized the Indiana program for exceeding six goals set at the national level relating to graduation rates, post-secondary education, job placement and other significant milestones.

JAG Indiana’s achievements for the 2022-2023 school year include:

95% graduation rate (national goal is 90%);

83% full-time employment rate (national goal is 80%);

82% positive outcome rate (national goal is 80%);

96% maintain contact with student through their first year after high school (national goal is 91.5%);

72% job placement rate, including military (national goal is 60%); and

39% further education rate (national goal is 35%).

“JAG Indiana students continue to achieve amazing results that will set them up for success now and later in life,” said DWD Director of Youth Initiatives Brianna Morse. “We're so proud of our statewide team and classroom Specialists for all they've accomplished this year to benefit Hoosier students."

Since 2006, more than 40,000 students have participated in JAG Indiana with 95% graduating from high school.

County            Students /scholarship         Sum of Total Scholarship/Grant Value

Cass                       3                                              $48,928.00

Fulton                     5                                              $135,860.00

Starke                    49                                           $897,703.00

Wabash                  74                                           $1,194,532.00

Conviction upheld for woman connected to 2018 murder in Miami County woods

The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld the conviction of a woman who lured a man to his death in a rural Miami County woods in 2018. 


Brittany Morris, 22, lost her appeal of her guilty verdict in connection to the 2018 murder of 22-year-old Drake Smith. A jury had convicted Morris on a felony count of aiding, inducing or causing robbery and a misdemeanor count of theft in for the crime in March of 2022. 17-years-old at the time of the murder, Morris was tried as an adult and sentenced to 48 years in prison two months after her conviction, receiving her sentence in May of 2022. 


According to investigators, Morris, with the help of Ethan Cain and Joshua Kean, plotted to rob Drake Smith in May 2018. Luring Smith to Okie Pinokie Trail, a wooded area outside of Peru, Morris told the victim there would be a party. Instead, Smith was repeatedly hit in the head by Cain with a breaker bar, provided by Kean. 

During the assault, Smith's vehicle was also ransacked. Court documents stated the group stole beer, drugs and money from Smith. It was also reported that Morris had stolen a Bluetooth speaker from the vehicle. Cain removed Smith’s shorts, which contained his wallet and additional marijuana. 

Smith was left to die in the wooded area. Mushroom hunters found his body just hours later. 

The following day the group was said to have traveled to Muncie, where Morris used some of the stolen money from Smith to buy a swimsuit and an auxiliary cord for the stolen Bluetooth speaker.

Burning their clothing worn shortly after the crime, Cain and Kean later dropped off Morris at her home before fleeing to California, where they would both eventually be apprehended. 


Court documents state that after the murder, Morris phone history revealed Google searches like “what is accessory to a crime” and “how many years can you get for accessory after the fact."

The recent appeal argued there was “insufficient evidence” to support her conviction of aiding, inducing or causing murder. Morris claimed she had no way of knowing Smith would be beaten to death or that her friends had access to a weapon.

The Indiana Court of Appeals, however, ruled it was clear that Morris was at the scene of the crime, inciting Cain and Kean to rob Smith. Morris also didn’t try to stop the attack and stole items from Smith’s truck during his assault. It was also noted by the court that Morris implied that Smith would be an easy target, stating he “can’t fight.” 


The appeals court issued its opinion in June and it was certified Friday, August 18. 

Governor to introduce new firefighter training model in Plymouth

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb Friday will be in Plymouth to kick off a major enhancement project impacting firefighter training in Indiana.

The event will be held at the Plymouth Fire Department Training Tower.

The Plymouth Fire Department training tower was dedicated in November 2015 by former Fire Chief Rod Miller as the Wayne A. Smith Training Center.  Current Fire Chief Steve Holm wanted everyone who trains at the facility to know about the facility’s dedication to former Chief Smith with the placement of a sign.  On Wednesday, the Plymouth Fire Department and volunteers took time before a training exercise to unveil the new sign with former Fire Chief Wayne Smith in attendance.

 Firefighter Art Jacobs spoke during the dedication and said, “Through your dedication, service to our department our community, and actually the fire service across the United States you were involved in so much.”  He went on to say, “There is a saying about the best thing old firefighters can do is make young firefighters old firefighters by making them survive through training.”  Jacobs said, “Your dedication to our safety is heartfelt and appreciated and it is only fitting that this training tower be named after you.”

Officials from the City of Plymouth, the Plymouth Fire Department, area fire departments, the State Fire Marshal’s Office, the Professional Firefighters Union of Indiana, the Indiana Volunteer Firefighter’s Association, and the Indiana Fire Chief’s Association will be in attendance. 

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Owens Corning in Wabash to close

A planned closing of a Wabash facility means the loss of dozens of jobs.

The Owens Corning facility in Wabash has filed the following WARN Notice with the Department of Workforce Development.

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Update: Two teens and a truck into Lake Manitou following short chase with deputies

An early morning pursuit ended with a truck in Lake Manitou and two teenagers released to their families.

About 3 a.m., the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department attempted to make a traffic stop on a 2001 Chevrolet Silverado that did not have a visible license plate and just hit a curb at East 9th and Wabash Avenue.

The truck failed to yield to deputies and a short pursuit ensued. The truck crashed in front of 1723 Mitchell Drive. It struck a gazebo and a pier and then went into the lake.

The Fulton County Sheriff’s Department says a passenger, age 17, surrendered himself immediately.  However, the driver, Hunter Meeks, 18, of Mentone, disobeyed commands and tried to swim away before surrendering. Meeks was taken for medical treatment.

The juvenile was temporarily detained and then released to family.

Alcohol and speed are considered contributing factors in the incident.




Truck ends up in Lake Manitou after fleeing traffic stop

An early morning law enforcement ended with the suspect vehicle in Lake Manitou.

Few details are available as of this report.  Rochester Police initiated a traffic stop about 3 a.m. at East 9th Street and Wabash Avenue for failure to yield.


The suspect vehicle fled from the officer and eventually ended up in Lake Manitou.

The driver, listed as a juvenile in dispatch records, was released to his grandfather for medical reasons.

More details as they are made available from law enforcement.

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Be aware: Scams are on the rise

Law enforcement agencies axcross the state agree that scams, both old and new, are on the increase.

Indiana State Police troopers and detectives have conducted investigations into a variety of online and/or phone scams that have surfaced in the last two to three months.

Method of Operation for such scams include individuals claiming to represent government agencies like the Internal Revenue Service or other local government agencies requesting some form of financial payment(s). Other scams include individuals making claims they are affiliated with computer or software companies and are demanding funds to scrub victims' computers, tablets, or cell phones from viruses. Scams can also include a home improvement nexus such as roof repair, remodeling, or driveway paving as well as individuals representing themselves as affiliated with charity organizations requesting donations especially following a natural disaster or significant traumatic event.

The Indiana State Police would like Hoosiers to know about the variety of tactics used by scammers to gain trust and obtain personal information. Below are techniques used in the past by those wishing to obtain personal information, and be advised government agencies, such as the Social Security Administration, Internal Revenue Service, Federal Trade Commission, Law Enforcement, or the Office of the Inspector General, will not:

  • Suspend your Social Security number.
  • Threaten you with arrest or legal action because you don’t agree to pay money immediately.
  • Claim to need personal information or payment to activate a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) or other benefit increase.
  • Pressure you to take immediate action, including sharing personal information.
  • Ask you to pay with gift cards, prepaid debit cards, wire transfers, cryptocurrency, or by mailing cash.
  • Threaten to seize your bank account.
  • Offer to move your money to a “protected” bank account.
  • Demand secrecy and have you withdraw cash for pick-up.
  • Direct message you on social media.

The Indiana State Police recommends that Hoosiers follow the recommendations from the Indiana Attorney General’s Office.

  • Be on alert for communications with dangerous attachments or fraudulent links.
  • Treat any emails or texts with subject lines or information with caution.
  • Avoid clicking on links in unsolicited emails and be wary of email attachments.
  • Always verify the email addresses of those who send you emails.
  • Use trusted, legitimate government websites to obtain up-to-date information.
  • Don’t reveal personal or financial information via email or text message.
  • Verify the authenticity of a charity before donating money

The Indiana State Police requests that if you have any doubts as to the inquiry being made, please check with family members and/or contact law enforcement.

Regarding identity theft, victims can seek assistance from the Attorney General's Identity Theft Unit. The unit provides investigative services to help in the prosecution of identity thieves. The Identity Theft Unit is committed to reducing incidents of identity theft around the state by providing educational resources to teach Hoosiers how to protect themselves from this crime. Hoosiers can visit the Indiana Attorney General Office’s website at https://www.in.gov/attorneygeneral/

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Barbara McGee honored with RHS parking spot after 53 years of service

A joke manifested into reality, longtime substitute teacher for Rochester Community School Corporation, Barbara McGee, was honored with her very own 'senior parking spot' in front of Rochester High School earlier this week. The parking sign had been paid for by a generous donation from Kathie Adams. After 53 years working for the school district, the honor was a complete surprise for McGee. 



McGee says during the past five decades, the students are what have kept her going, and continue to motivate her. 




McGee believes over the years her students have taught her just as much as she has taught them. She hopes to put the parking spot to good use for not just this year, but many years to come. McGee says even after 53 years, retirement is not something she's looking for in her future. 



Akron takes aim for National Register of Historic Places

Believing the grass is greener where you water it, rather than on the other side, the community leaders of Akron are continuously looking for ideas to make the small town flourish.

Having a population of 1,125 in the 2020 census, the economy still remains strong with its flourishing and unique restaurants, businesses, doctors offices and more. 

By using its rich history to make for a better future, the Town of Akron and the Akron Chamber of Commerce is now taking the next step towards an even stronger economy. Partnering together, community leaders have submitted forms to designate many of the town's commercial and residential structures to be part of the National Registration of Historic Places. 

According to Lori Tilden-Gieger, the decision was pretty easy. 


Having applied for the National Registration of Historic Places earlier this spring, Gieger says it will be worth the wait once everything is approved in the next few months.

If approved, residents and business owners on the registration will be able to not only recieve historical tax credits, but also grant money for preservation and restoration. 

As Akron continues to thrive, Gieger says she can't help but think the town's tradition of 'neighbors helping neighbors,' has something to do with that. The tradition, Gieger says, is something that has been passed down since the settlers. 




Zimmer Biomet announces leadership transition

Zimmer Biomet Holdings, Inc. (NYSE and SIX: ZBH) announced the appointment of Ivan Tornos as President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and election to the Board of Directors, effective immediately.

Tornos has most recently served as Chief Operating Officer of Zimmer Biomet, a role he has held since early 2021. He takes over as President and CEO from Bryan Hanson, who has served as the Company's President and CEO since late 2017 and Chairman since 2021, and is departing to take on another CEO role.

Suketu (Suky) Upadhyay, who joined Zimmer Biomet in 2019 as Executive Vice President (EVP) and Chief Financial Officer (CFO), is expanding his role to also include full responsibility for overseeing the Company's global Operations and Supply Chain functions. Additionally, current Lead Independent Director Christopher Begley takes on the role of Chairman of the Board, effective today.

The Company is reaffirming its full-year 2023 financial guidance as outlined in the second quarter financial results announced on August 1, 2023.

"It is an honor to be appointed CEO of Zimmer Biomet at a time when our execution is extremely strong and our innovation momentum is at an all-time high," said Mr. Tornos. "I am grateful for Bryan's leadership in transforming the Company and am now looking forward to leading the team and accelerating our ZB strategy to drive continued growth and boldly advance the standard of musculoskeletal care."

Mr. Tornos joined Zimmer Biomet in November 2018 as Group President, Orthopedics and a year later was named Group President, Global Businesses and the Americas. He was appointed Chief Operating Officer in March 2021 with responsibility for overseeing all global businesses at Zimmer Biomet, as well as leading the global operations, clinical and medical education and global R&D and New Product Development functions. In this role, he had oversight of the Americas and the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) regions.

Prior to joining Zimmer Biomet, Mr. Tornos served as Worldwide President of the Global Urology, Medical and Critical Care Division of Becton, Dickinson and Company. Earlier, he was with C.R. Bard in positions of increasing responsibility, most recently serving as President, EMEA. Before joining C.R. Bard, Mr. Tornos served as Vice President and General Manager of the Americas Pharmaceutical and Medical/Imaging segments of Covidien International. He also served as International Vice President, Business Development and Strategy with Baxter International Inc., and prior to that he spent over a decade in leadership assignments around the globe with Johnson & Johnson. Mr. Tornos currently serves as an independent member of the Board of Directors of global healthcare company PHC Holdings Corporation.

"Ivan has consistently delivered strong results since joining Zimmer Biomet. His deep expertise in the medtech sector, commercial prowess and proven leadership experience make him the ideal leader for Zimmer Biomet as we move into our next phase of innovation and growth," said Mr. Begley. "As a Board of Directors, we are extremely pleased with the strength of the Company's succession planning efforts, the depth of the management team and Ivan's appointment.  On behalf of the entire Board, I thank Bryan for his tremendous service to the organization and his role in establishing the Company as a leading player in the medtech space."

Today it was announced that Mr. Hanson will be assuming the role of CEO of the healthcare spinoff of 3M. During his tenure at Zimmer Biomet, he spearheaded the Company's transformation, reshaping the mission, culture, corporate strategy, quality, compliance, operations and market performance. Mr. Hanson also successfully orchestrated the spinoff of the Company's Spine and Dental franchises to an independent company, ZimVie Inc.

"The last five and a half years at the helm of Zimmer Biomet have been transformational, not just for the Company, but for me, as well," said Mr. Hanson. "I have the utmost confidence in Ivan, the entire ZB team and the strength of the business. I cannot think of a better leader to continue to move the ZB mission forward and deliver value for patients, customers and shareholders."

State Road 25 lane closures coming up in Cass County

There will alternating lane closures on State Road 25 between C.R. 1000 N and U.S. 35 for three bridge deck overlay projects beginning on or after Friday, August 25.

State Road 25 will have one lane open in this area in both directions until work is completed in late October.

Motorists should expect changing traffic patterns in the area and possible delays during peak times.

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Logansport among five large Indiana utilities with PFAS found in treated drinking water

Logansport is one of five Indiana towns reported to have toxic PFAS levels in their treated water that are above federal health guidelines. 

The large drinking water utilities red flagged were also reported in Columbus, Elkhart, Sellersburg, and Watson Rural Water Company. 

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management started testing water utilities for PFAS in 2021. Overall, 24 utilities in the state have levels of the chemicals that are above federal health guidelines. A list of test results is available on IDEM's website 

PFAS are a group of human-made chemicals found in many kinds of common non-stick and stain-resistant products such as pans, cleaners, fast food wrappers and more. Certain exposures to the chemical has been linked to things like kidney cancer, problems with the immune system and developmental issues in children. 

For those concerned about the effects, Indiana Public Broadcasting has created a guide for what to do if there are PFAS in your water.

For now the guidelines are set for safety measures, but have no legal backing. The federal government wants to change that by setting harder limits for two most well-known PFAS — PFOS and PFOA .

The proposed limits would still only affect Columbus Municipal, which had higher levels than any other location from the tests. 

The testing program was voluntary, and not all water utilities had participated. It was reported that more than 800 community water systems in Indiana have either not been tested, or have still not received their results yet. 

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Congressman Rudy Yakym with stops in Rochester, Plymouth and Warsaw this week

This week Congressman Rudy Yakym (IN-02) is on the third and final week of his “Make It, Grow It, Move It” August district tour.

During this third week of the tour, Congressman Yakym will primarily highlight Indiana’s status as the “Crossroads of America” and emphasize Hoosier transportation projects and infrastructure investments happening in the Second Congressional District.

On Tuesday, the congressman will tour the Reith Riley project site to see the process of road improvements and attend the MACOG Transportation & Infrastructure Stakeholders roundtable.

On Wednesday, Representative Yakym will visit the Warsaw Municipal Airport, tour the Airmarking Company in Rochester, and stop at Wiers International in Plymouth for a tour of their facility. 

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Child, 8, seriously injured in Cass County crash

A child was injured in a Cass County crash Sunday.

About 1 p.m., law enforcement and medical personnel responded to the site just south of Cass CR 500 South on CR 500 East. A single vehicle went off the road and collided with a tree.

Preliminary investigation revealed Konner Galloway, 31, of Logansport, was driving a 2008 Chevrolet Impala. The Impala left the roadway, overcorrected, then crossed over the roadway and into the tree.

Galloway refused treatment for minor injuries at the scene. An eight-year-old front seat passenger was transported to Parkview Hospital in Fort Wayne by medical helicopter after being extricated from the vehicle by fire personnel. His injuries were described as life-threatening.

Neither person was wearing a seat belt. The Cass County Sheriff’s Office says alcohol is not believed to be a factor.

DNR, New Waverly Fire, Walton Fire and Cass County Emergency Medical Services assisted at the scene.

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High temperatures, humidity mean extreme heat this week

Dangerous heat and high humidity are in the forecast throughout the region this week. 

“Nearly our entire region will experience at or near historic high temperatures this week, but high heat index values will make for an extremely dangerous situation for many residents,” said Tom Sivak, FEMA Region 5 regional administrator. “We all need to take precautions. Regularly check yourself and those you care about—especially children, older adults and pets—for the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses and be ready to respond to them.”  

After a stretch of comfortable temperatures, don’t be caught unaware as highs spike this week. Thursday's high is expected to reach 98 degrees with the heat index much higher.

  • Watch for heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides a list of warning signs and symptoms of heat illness and recommended first aid steps.
  • Stay indoors as much as possible and limit exposure to the sun. If you don’t have access to air conditioning at home, find places in your community with AC, such as a local cooling center.   
  • Keep your home as cool as possible. For example, roughly 40% of unwanted heat buildup in our homes is through windows. Use awnings or curtains to keep the heat out, and check the weather stripping on doors and windows to keep the cool air in.
  • If you must be outside, find shade. Avoid strenuous activity, cover your head with a hat wide enough to protect your face and wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  • Drink plenty of water, even if you don't feel thirsty.
  • NEVER leave people or pets in a parked car.  

Finally, follow the direction of local and state officials for locations of cooling centers and other resources when available during the high heat.

For more information and tips on being ready for extreme heat, visit www.ready.gov/heat

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Lawsuit filed against Indiana DCS by foster care children, claims system is not about kids safety, and ran as inexpensively as possible

A class action lawsuit has been filed against the Indiana Department of Child Services by nine foster children on August 16, representing 11,000 children in the state's child welfare system. 

Governor Eric Holcomb, DCS Director Eric Miller, and the Indiana Department of Child Services are named as the defendants for the lawsuit.

The lawsuit alleges Indiana has failed to provide "reasonable care and safety" to the children in its custody, a violation of the children’s rights under the U.S. Constitution and federal law.

The lawsuit reads, "state and federal data indicate that Indiana’s foster children are languishing in state custody longer than ever before. The state’s refusal to correct these well-documented failures leaves Indiana’s most vulnerable children at substantial risk of serious and unconstitutional harm.”

The lawsuit was pushed along by A Better Childhood, a national nonprofit that files lawsuits on behalf of abused and neglected children. Meeting with several children and families affected by Indiana DCFS's failures, A Better Childhood hopes the lawsuit will ensure changes are made to better protect and assist the vulnerable children in the system. 

A Better Childhood is pushing DCS to make changes, including developing a policy that prohibits retaliation against foster parents. The lawsuit also claims DCS fails to recruit and retain an adequate number of caseworkers. Leaving children in limbo and delaying permanency, the lawsuit claims workers often fail to maintain and update medical records for foster children, and, particularly on children with disabilities, over relies on institutional placement. 

This is not DCS's first rodeo with criticism of their practices in form of a lawsuit. A Better Childhood filed a similar lawsuit against DCS in 2019, but was later dismissed in court. 

Going in for round two with extensive research, victims to testify if needed, A Better Childhood is hopeful the federal court finally hears the voices of the vulnerable victims behind the lawsuit. 

A DCS spokesperson from the agency has declined to comment on the lawsuit at this time. 


RDP recruiting storytellers for Saturday's Nickel Plate Music and Arts Fest

Rochester Downtown Partnership's is in the midst of a search for knowledgable members in the community who are willing to share the history and stories of downtown Rochester continues. 

RDP member Chad Hisey says originally called for a panel discussion at The Times Theater on August 27. However, the team is still on the hunt for community members willing to share their memories of the past.

Incorporating the upcoming Nickel Plate Music and Arts Festival on August 26 with their quest for knowledge, RDP will be setting up a booth during the festival to interview those wanting to share their story.


Teaming up with RTC for their booth, interviews for Saturday are already starting to be lined up. 

Once stories are collected, Hisey said RDP plans on hosting multiple nights at The Times Theater to highlight specific subjects, businesses, and stories of downtown Rochester's past. 

Those interested in joining RDP for an interview at their booth on Saturday, can set an appointment time by calling or texting Hisey at 574-201-8857. 


Annual Smash Out Cancer Saturday at Akron Community Center

The Beaver Dam United Methodist Church's Wheels on Fire - Cancer Crusader's annual Smash Out Cancer event will be held at the Akron Community Center on August 19. 

The event has previously raised thousands of dollars over the years to help cancer patients in Kosciusko and Fulton County. 

Saturday's event includes a variety of entertainment and food, including walking tacos, hot dogs, chips, burgers, drinks and ice cream from The Igloo Ice Cream Shop. 

The team has added to the fun by providing kids games like putt-putt golf, Skee-Ball, a ring toss and more, which includes prizes. 

At 4:30 p.m., Ed Rock will kick off live entertainment, followed by Debra Collier's School of Dance performing at 5 p.m. Mike Bowers' performance will be at 5:30 p.m., and Kylene Crabb's will follow at 6 p.m. A pie auction, and live auction, will also take place, starting at 6:30 p.m. 

At 8:30 p.m., the Light Up Your Life Memorial Service will begin, with candles lit to honor or memoralize loved ones, whos names will also be read. 

Missing tomorrow's event, but still want to participate in something with the group this year? Wheels of Fire Cancer Crusaders will be having a free-will donation pancake and sausage breakfast September 30 at the Mentone Fire Department. 

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Flags to half-staff Saturday for Michael Ray Wilcox, Jr

Governor Eric J. Holcomb is directing flags to be flown at half-staff in Starke and Pulaski Counties in honor and remembrance of Michael Ray Wilcox, Jr. Wilcox was on shift as an EMT when he passed away suddenly in a tragic traffic accident on Aug. 5, 2023.

Flags should be flown at half-staff in Starke and Pulaski Counties from sunrise to sunset on Saturday, Aug. 19.

Gov. Holcomb is asking businesses and residents in Starke and Pulaski Counties to lower their flags to half-staff.

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Area farms honored at Indiana State Fair as Hoosier Homesteads

103 Indiana family farms were presented the Hoosier Homestead Award at the Indiana State Fair from Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch and Indiana State Department of Agriculture Director Don Lamb.

To be named a Hoosier Homestead, farms must be owned by the same family for more than 100 consecutive years, and consist of 20 acres or more, or produce more than $1,000 in agricultural products per year.

Based on the age of the farm, families are eligible for three different distinctions of the Hoosier Homestead Award. They can receive the Centennial Award for 100 years, Sesquicentennial Award for 150 years or Bicentennial Award for 200 years of ownership. Since the program's inception in 1976, over 6,100 families have received the award.

During the ceremonies, three Indiana farms received the Bicentennial Award for 200 years of continuous ownership: the Craig / Day family from Lawrence County, the Harry Goss Dow & Bessie M. Dow family from Morgan County and the Wise/Hobbs family from Madison County. 

Among area farms recognized:


Steinberger Frushour Kruck, 1909, Centennial



Kolberg, 1899, Centennial

Jacob Bucher, 1923, Centennial



McKinney, 1918, Centennial

Knarr, 1873, Sesquicentennial



Stark, 1916, Centennial

Marks, 1911, Centennial



Descendants of Edward & Ethel (Cripe) Rautenkranz, 1920, Centennial


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Call out for chili teams for the 31st Annual Chili Cook-Off and Red-Hot Car Show

The Fulton County Chamber of Commerce is looking for chili teams for the 31st Annual Chili Cook-Off and Red Hot Car Show held on Saturday, October 14.

Various teams will battle it out for the title of the region’s “best chili”. Cash prizes are awarded for 1st and 2nd place, People’s Choice, and Best Decorated Booth.

Teams must be signed up in advance. The entry form and rules are available online at www.fultoncountychamber.com/ChiliCookOff. Deadline for entry is Friday, September 18, at 12:00 pm.

Any questions can be directed to Kellie Scobie at (574) 224-2666 or kellie@fultoncountychamber.com .


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Mother of Winamac boy who lost battle to Spinal Muscular Atrophy with local reminder for SMA Awareness Month

It's been nearly six years since Heather Hurlburt lost her son, Karter Harlan, to Spinal Muscular Atrophy.

August is SMA Awareness Month. Since her loss, every year Hurlburt and many other families affected by SMA, dedicate the month to raising awareness about the disease. 

SMA is a progressive neurodegeneative disease affecting the motor nerve cells in the spinal cord. 

Hurlburt hopes sharing Karter's story not only keeps his memory alive, but also sheds light on a disease that's vitally important to catch early. The Winamac baby was just seven months old when he lost his battle on September 25, 2017. 

When Karter was born, doctor was unaware that anything was wrong with the seemingly healthy boy. By the time the disease was discovered, it was practically too late. With SMA, early detection and treatment is imperative. The disease affects the muscles used for activities such as breathing, eating, crawling, and walking. 

As Karter grew, Hurlburt subtly began to notice something wasn't right. 

As time went on, Hurlburt became desperate for answers. Karter's condition was medically beyond anything local doctors could handle. Hurlburt's answers were finally found at Riley's Hospital for Children in Indianapolis. 

Approximately one in 50 people, more than six million total, is a genetic carrier for SMA. According to curesma.org, each year thousands of infants in the U.S. and around the world are born with SMA. SMA also impacts children, teens, and adults from every background, race, and gender. 

Since Karter's 2017 death, advancement in drug discovery to treat the disease has rapidly progressed.

In 2019, the FDA announced the approval of Zolgensma, a gene therapy, to treat SMA in children under the age of two. The therapy alters the under lying genetic cause of SMA, permanently stopping the disease. 

The approval was a game changer, being the first in the line-up of gene therapies promising a cure for this inherited and deadly condition. 

Although it's arrival was too late to save Karter, Hurlburt says the journey she had with her son and the SMA community is one that she will never forget. Hurlburt continues to participate in events, and show support to those affected by SMA as much as she can. 

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Continuance granted for suspect in Kokomo cold case murder trial, brother acquitted Friday

One of the suspects in a Kokomo cold case murder had his trial moved to December just days after the suspect's brother was aquitted.

The state was granted the continuance by the judge to Joey McCartney. Originally set to start Tuesday, the trial is now scheduled for December 5. The continuence came just days after his brother, Jesse, was aquitted by a jury on charges of burglary and murder.  

The brothers were accused in the murder of Destiny Pittman, 21, a cold case stemming from Feb. 7, 2013. It was reported officers with the Kokomo Police Department responded to a call that day around 9:30 p.m., on a report of a shooting at the 800 block of James Drive. Officers reported finding Pittman unconscious and unresponsive. Pittman later died..

The case went cold for nearly a decade. Then earlier this year, an informant claimed to have information on the murder. The informant reported to officials having been with the brothers that night, and in the area of the murder. Seeing the brothers go into the home, the informant claimed to hear gunshots after they entered. 

The informant stated that Jesse McCartney had returned from the home shortly after with cash and a bag of marijuana. Kokomo Police announced the arrest of the brothers, Joey and Jesse McCartne,  in March of this year. 

According to court documents, jurors took less than 90 minutes Friday to acquit Jesse McCartney. 

Howard County Superior Court Judge Brant Parry ordered Joey McCartney to be released on his own recognizance He will be allowed to stay at his Kentucky home until his next court date in Kokomo. A pretrial conference  is scheduled for November 14. Charges against Joey McCartney include murder, burglary resulting in bodily injury and conspiracy to commit burglary, according to online court records.

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Bridge deck overlay to close section of U.S. 35

U.S. 35 in Pulaski County will be closed between C.R. S 50 E and C.R. 225 S on or after Monday, August 21 through late September for a bridge deck overlay project over the Tippecanoe River.

The offficial detour will follow State Road 14, State Road 17 and State Road 16.

Due to this closure on U.S. 35, the detour for the State Road 119 closure between C.R. 750 S and C.R. 675 S in Pulaski County was rerouted. The official detour follows State Road 119, State Road 39 and State Road 14.

State Road 119 will be closed through early September for a bridge deck overlay over Dickey Creek.

Wabash named finalist for the PreservINg Main Street Program

Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch and the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs announced the finalist communities for the PreservINg Main Street Program as New Castle and Wabash.

In partnership with Indiana Landmarks and Indiana Humanities, PreservINg Main Street is designed to build a sustainable historic preservation ethic while building local capacity and a comprehensive downtown revitalization model. 

“The PreservINg Main Street program has already taken the Main Street communities of Brookville and Kendallville to the next level,” said Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, Indiana’s Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development. “It is a great accomplishment to become a finalist in this program, and I wish New Castle and Wabash the best of luck.”

The community selected will be eligible for implementation funds of up to $2 million through OCRA’s Community Development Block Grant program, along with multiple capacity-building opportunities through a partnership with Indiana Humanities and Indiana Landmarks

“New Castle and Wabash both have a great vision for their downtowns and put together strong applications for the PreservINg Main Street program,” said OCRA Executive Director Denny Spinner. “Congratulations to these communities on becoming finalists!”

The two finalist communities will receive an in-person site visit this September from a selection team made up of OCRA, Indiana Humanities and Indiana Landmarks staff. The community selected for the PreservINg Main Street designation will be announced on Thursday, Oct. 12, 2023.

Visit in.gov/ocra/preserving-main-street/ to learn more.

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Peru garage fires result in woman arrested, accused of arson

A Peru woman was arrested on arson charges, after officials believe she started a garage fire that also caused damage to several other garages in the area. 

The Peru Fire Department and law enforcement were called to E Fifth St in Peru just before 6am on August 11 on a report of a structure fire. After arriving on scene with officers from the Peru Police Department, they soon located a detached garage fully engulfed in flames. As fighterfighters worked to extinguish the blaze at the garage, another fire was reported to dispatch from the alley nearby. Deputies from the Miami County Sheriff's Office soon responded to help with the chaos, and officials were luckily able to extinguish the fire before any more structures were able to ignite. An investigation on blaze was soon started. 

Just before 10:30am the same day, an off-duty Peru Police Officer observed a female walking, who appeared to have started a grass fire with an item of clothing in the area of US 24 and State Rd 19. Noticing the fire was rapidly growing, the off-duty officer quickly extinguished the blaze and reported to on-duty officers that the female had fled into a nearby wooded area. 

Officers soon located the woman, soon identified as 50-year-old Adrienne Hardy, a resident of Peru. Connecting the evidence from the scene of the fire on East Fifth St, Hardy was taken into custody and transported to the Peru Police Department, where she was interviewed by detectives and charged with Arson, a Level 4 Felony, and Criminal Mischief, a Class B Misdemeanor. The investigation is still, however, ongoing at this time. 

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Roots Yoga and Dance branches out by moving ballet classes to Rochester Lions Club

It's been a year of progress for ballet teacher Ashley Taylor. Since her start last December with Roots Yoga and Dance Project, introducing ballet classes to the Rochester community has since taken off like wildfire. 


Preparing her current students for their first recital in December, and having hopes of offering some more extended ten month classes in 2024, Taylor's classes continue to grow in numbers. She knew her space was also going to need to grow. Taylor eventually settled on the Rochester Lions Club.



Hosting an open house the first week of August, the move has since given Taylor the opportunity to widen her horizons. Expanding her adult ballet classes, Taylor has also added back classes for adult tap on Monday evenings. She eventually hopes to add on a Mommy and Me ballet class in the future. It will be once a week and 'come as you can,' for any mom's wanting to try it out it without having to commit to a nine week class. 


Putting herself out there in the community, outside of Roots Yoga and Dance, Taylor is also has been branching out in other areas with her choreography. 





Nestlé recalls chocolate chip cookie dough bars due to wood chips

Nestlé USA is initiating a voluntary recall of a limited quantity of NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough “break and bake” Bar (16.5 oz) products due to the potential presence of wood fragments.

This voluntary recall is isolated to two batches of NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough “break and bake” Bar products that were produced on April 24 and 25, 2023. This product was distributed at retailers in the U.S. 

This recall does not involve any other NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® products, including other varieties of refrigerated cookie dough in “break and bake” bars, rolls, or tubs, or Edible cookie dough

No illnesses or injuries have been reported, but the company taking action out of an abundance of caution after a small number of consumers contacted Nestlé USA about the issue.

Consumers who have purchased NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bar (16.5 oz) with batch codes 311457531K and 311557534K should not prepare or consume the product and should return the product to the retailer where it was purchased for a replacement or refund.

For any further support needed, contact Nestlé USA at (800) 681-1678 Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. EST.

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Miami County drug arrest results from bad license plate lights

A traffic stop on Riverside Drive in Peru resulted in the arrest of a Walton, IN man after troopers discovered drugs.

About midnight, an Indiana State Police trooper stopped the driver of a Ford Truck for an equipment violation near Riverside Drive and CR 50 West for no plate lights illuminated on the vehicle.

While the trooper spoke to the driver, Ryan Mitchell Oldaker, 42, of Walton, he reported that he smelled the odor of raw marijuana coming from the Ford. This led to a search of the Ford and the discovery of suspected methamphetamine, suspected legend drug, suspected marijuana, and paraphernalia.

Oldaker was arrested and taken to the Miami County Jail.

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LaPorte Co woman pleads guilty in connection to torture death of 4-year-old Judah Morgan

The biological mother of Judah Morgan, the four-year-old LaPorte County boy who was found dead inside a rural Hamlet home back in October 2021, has pleaded guilty in connection with the child's brutal murder. 

Mary Yoder, 27, had been charged with neglect of a dependent resulting in death and neglect of a dependent, as well as failing to report possible neglect or abuse.

On Friday, Yoder entered a guilty plea in LaPorte County Circuit Court, shaking and breathing heavily as she answered questions about her role in the 2021 torture death of her son. 

Yoder told the courts she knew Alan Morgan, Judah's father, was hitting the boy. She also acknowledged he was often kept alone in a dark, unfinished basement while the rest of the family left, and was often denied food. Yoder admitted the abuse ultimately resulted in the boy's death. 

A plea for the case had been expected back in March. Yoder, however, appeared to surprise the judge at that time when she opted at that time to go to trial. A September 25 trial had been scheduled, but was canceled on Friday as a result of Yoder's plea. 

Yoder's guilty plea included felony counts of neglect of a dependent resulting in Judah's death, and domestic battery, which applied to Yoder kicking Judah's younger sibling in the home while being recorded on video.

Yoder is facing up to 40 years behind bars on the first criminal count, and up to six years for the second. 

LaPorte County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Alevizos took the proposed plea agreement under consideration. A hearing is set for November 1.

Alan Morgan, Judah's father, pleaded guilty to murdering his son last November. He was sentenced to 70 years in prison.

Judah's second cousin, Jenna Hullett, who raised the boy for the first three years of his life, has attended each court session since the case began in 2021.

The boy was supposed to have been on a six month home trial with his biological parents under the Indiana Department of Child Services when the murder occured. The boy had never lived with Morgan and Yoder prior to the six month home trial, which began April 7, 2021. 


A civil lawsuit targeting Alan Morgan has been launched, accusing DCS of placing the child in harms way. Hullett said the parents had a history of abuse, but Indiana DCS decided to close the case anyway, despite Judah being in the agency's care since birth. 


Landmark 1980 trial against Ford put Winamac in spotlight, still reminder to take car recalls seriously

It's been 43 years since the Winamac community was thrown into the national spotlight during a landmark trial with the Ford Motor Company, who was accused of reckless homicide.

The actual tragedy did not happen in Winamac. The trial came after a fiery traffic crash that killed three teens in Elkhart County on Aug. 10, 1978. Judy Ulrich, 18, had been driving a 1973 Ford Pinto on U.S. 33 near Goshen, with her sister, 16-year-old Lyn Ulrich, and cousin, 18-year-old Donna May Ulrich. 

According to court documents, Ulrich had stopped at a gas station just before the accident. When Ulrich pulled back on the road, she slowed down to check the Pinto's gas cap. That's when a Chevrolet van driven by Robert Duggar, 21, rear-ended the Pinto. The vehicle erupted into flames.

Indiana State Police responded  to the crash and reported two bodies inside the vehicle and a third outside. Lyn and Donna May Ulrich burned to death inside the Pinto. Judy Ulrich later died at the hospital from her injuries. 

The investigation focused on the Pinto's gas tank right away. The safety of the fuel system in the Pinto had been previously questioned, causing Ford to issue a voluntary recall of its Pinto and Mercury Bobcat a month prior to the Ulrich crash. 

Court documents stated Duggar, the driver of the Chevrolet van, was not charged.

Ford Motor Company was indicted by the Elkhart Superior Court grand jury on three counts of reckless homicide in September of 1978. Charges were based on a 1977 Indiana law that allowed corporations to be charged criminally. The case was the first time in U.S. history that homicide charges were brought against a corporation.

On a change of venue motion in April of 1979, the case was moved to the small town of Winamac. Lawyers and members of the media descended on the Pulaski County community by the end of 1979. It was reported that every motel within a 30 mile radius had been booked through February, 1980. 

Opening arguments in the State of Indiana v. Ford Motor Company began January 15, 1980. Court documents showed the case was handled by Prosecutor Michael Cosentino. 

It was reported Cosentino told the jury that two former Ford employees and company documents would show management knew about the Pinto fuel system being unsafe. Costentino argued Ford management deliberately chose profit over human life.

An eyewitness reaccounted that the Chevrolet van that hit the Pinto was travelling around 40 to 45 mph, while the Pinto was travelling an estimated 35 mph when the collision occured. The Pinto was said to have blown up, 'like a napalm bomb' immediately after. It spun around and hit the curb after the explosion. Under cross-examination by Ford's attorney, the eyewitness would later admit that he wasn’t sure of the actual speeds.

The case would go to a jury of seven men and five women on January 10, 1980. Court documents read the jurors claimed the state failed to present them with enough evidence to prove Ford was guilty of reckless homicide, and returned with a not guilty verdict on March 13. Although Cosentino did have a budget of $20,000 to present his case, Ford was rumored to have a budget of $1 million. 

It was reported that although Cosentino hadn't won the case, the trial would at least serve as a warning to the business community to take vehicle recalls seriously. With vehicle recalls happening on a monthly basis, just last week Hyundai and Kai warned drivers of 90,000 vehicles they should park outside and away from building structures due to fire risk.

The recalled Hyundais and Kias were reported to have some electronic components that can overheat, causing damage that increases the risk of “localized melting,” the automaker said, and of fire. It's been the latest in a long, large series of other fire-related recalls from Hyundai and Kia vehicles in the past few years for a number of reasons. 

Hyundai models involved in the August recall are 2023 Hyundai Elantras, Sonatas, Tucsons and Konas as well as 2023 and 2024 Palisades. A total of more than 52,000 Hyundais in this recall are in the United States, with an additional estimate of 11,000 being in Canada. 

Kia is recalling an additional nearly 40,000 vehicles in the US. These include 2023 Kia Soul and Sportage vehicles and 2023 and 2024 Kia Seltos models. 

The companies will begin notifying owners about the recall in late September. Owners will be advised to take their vehicles to a dealership to have the oil pump replaced, if necessary, at no charge. 

Hyundai is aware of at least four thermal incidents related to this issue, but no confirmed crashes or injuries. Kia is aware of six incidents of localized melting but also claim no crashes, injuries or deaths have resulted yet from the problem, according to statements from both.

According to documents posted to the National Highway Traffic Administration's auto safety website, drivers are advised to watch for signs of a possible problem, which include various warning lights in the gauge cluster.

Drivers should also watch for smoke coming from underneath the vehicle, as well as burning or melting odors. 

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FSSA announces contractor security breach affecting Indiana Medicaid members

The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration today announced that software used by a contractor experienced a security breach that exposed certain personal information of Indiana Medicaid members.

The names, addresses, case numbers and Medicaid numbers of more than 744,000 members of Indiana Medicaid were exposed in the breach, which occurred in the MOVIEit application used by Maximus Health Services. Social Security numbers of four additional Medicaid members were impacted.

The MOVEit application breach affected companies and organizations worldwide and occurred in late May.

Maximus alerted FSSA of the breach. The people affected in Indiana are members of Medicaid who had received a communication from Maximus regarding the selection of a managed care entity. Maximus is contacting all Medicaid members affected with information and options for credit monitoring.

For questions or additional information, individuals can call 1-833-919-4749 toll?free.

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Starke County man faces several charges following traffic stop

A Starke County man is charged with a number of drug-related offenses following an early morning traffic stop.

Just before 2 a.m. Tuesday, a Starke County deputy conducted a traffic stop in the area of 250 South and State Road 39. The deputy instructed both occupants out of the vehicle.

It was noted that the passenger, Brad Allen, 42, of North Judson, had a large abnormal bulge in his left pocket. It was reported that the deputy attempted a pat down for weapons andAllen forcibly resisted, and discarded the object from his pocket underneath the squad car.

Allen was detained. The bag was recovered. Located inside were three bags. One bag containing approximately 4.27 grams of a green, leafy, plant like substance. The other two bags contained a white crystal-like substance weighing approximately 17.69 grams that later field tested positive for methamphetamine.

A vehicle search was conducted. A scale with a large amount of white crystal like residue, and approximately 50 clear sealable bags were located. 

A glass pipe with white residue and a handgun were also located inside of the vehicle.

Allen was taken into custody. Upon arrival at the Starke County Justice Center a bag was located with a gray colored rock weighing approximately 0.94 grams. The item was identified as heroin.

Charges filed with the Starke County Prosecutor’s Office included:

Felony Level 2 Dealing in Methamphetamine                             

Felony Level 3 Possession of Methamphetamine

Felony Level 5 Unlawful carrying of a handgun                          

Felony Level 6 Possession of a Narcotic Drug

A Misdemeanor Possession of Marijuana                                    

C Misdemeanor Possession of Paraphernalia


Bond was set in the amount of $33,000 cash.

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Rochester Corn Hub sells first come first serve each Saturday outside of Rochester Glass Co

It's been four years since Tyler and Megan Denniston, owners of Rochester Corn Hub, started selling sweetcorn Saturday mornings in front of Rochester Glass Company.

Having roots to the fields, even though the Denniston's now live in Rochester, their family farm in Winamac had previously provided sweetcorn to the corn and sausage fundraiser at the Rochester Moose Lodge. Getting attention on the quality and taste of their corn grown from their fields outside of Knox, the Denniston's had an idea about starting a side gig for Saturdays during the summer.



Opening each Saturday at 9 a.m., the Rochester Corn Hub is first-come first-serve now that words gotten around. 


Selling three different varieties over the summer, the current variety, Rosie, will be sold until the end of the season. Hoping for at least three to four more weeks, Rochester Corn Hub will be slinging ears of corn until early September. Starting to sell the Rosie variety last week, a customer favorite, makes demand go up even more.


To stay updated on preorders and information on corn sales you can visit their Rochester Corn Hub Facebook page or text Megan at 574-242-0323. 

This week the Denniston's began doing pre-sales on Wednesdays, with preorders due by Tuesday.




Although the Rochester Corn Hub keeps the Denniston family busy, the profit of corn sales is being used to grow more than just their pockets. Proceeds made go straight in their two-year-old daughter's saving account, a reward that the Denniston's is hoping has a sweet ending. 


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Logansport woman receives 10 year sentence for neglect of a dependent

A Logansport woman was recently sentenced to ten years in prison for neglect of a dependent, according to a press release provided by Cass County Prosecuting Attorney Noah Schafer. 

The case began in January of 2020. Officers from the Logansport Police Department responded to a call of a child in substantial medical distress. Deanna Mae Harrison and her boyfriend Zachery Lee Gunter were later confirmed to have been present when the injuries on the child took place.

The press release stated medical professionals had noted that the couple both stood silent as a cause to the injuries was being determined, giving the injuries time to become life threatening. Both Harrison and Gunter were arrested for charges on Neglect of a Dependent, a Level 3 Felony. 

Court records show Harrison's criminal records include a misdemeanor conviction for  criminal recklessness in a case that also involved a child. Harrison also has a pending misdemeanor charge in Cass Superior Count 2 involving invasion of privacy. With her latest ten year sentence, Harrison could serve four years in community corrections and four years suspended on probation. 

The release also stated Gunter was sentenced in March of 2022 to 12 years in prison, with four years suspended to probation. 

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Companies in Pulaski and Kosciusko counties recognized for longevity

 Governor Eric J. Holcomb awarded 38 Indiana companies and organizations with the Governor’s Century or Half Century Business Award in recognition of each company’s longevity and service to its employees, community and the state.  
"Every year, the Century and Half-Century Awards remind me of the dedication and perseverance Hoosiers across the state bring to their businesses, and each year it is truly an honor to recognize these organizations that have withstood the test of time, navigated economic uncertainties and demonstrated unconditional commitment to their employees and communities across Indiana.” 
The Governor’s Century and Half Century Business Awards honor Hoosier businesses that have remained in operation for a minimum of 100 or 50 consecutive years and have demonstrated a commitment to community service. More than 1,200 Indiana companies have been recognized during the award's 32-year history. 

2023 Century Award honorees: 

  • Frain Mortuary Inc. (Funeral Services) 
    156 years; Pulaski County 
  • Phend and Brown Inc. (Construction) 
    101 years; Kosciusko County 

2023 Half Century Award honorees:  

  • Clunette Elevator Co. Inc. (Agricultural) 
    72 years, Kosciusko County
  • Warsaw Chemical Holdings (Chemical Product Wholesaling) 
  • 82 years; Kosciusko County

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Fulton County approves moratorium on industrial solar farms

Fulton County has chosen to put a hold on proposed solar farms.

Fulton County Commissioners approved the one-year moratorium.

Commissioner Dave Sommers.

Sommers says the potential negatives of large solar farms prompted the moratorium decision to allow for preparing a proper ordinance.

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Fulton County opts in to Senate Bill 4 program for Local Public Health Fund

Senate Bill 4 was authored by State Sen. Jean Leising (R-Oldenburg) to improve the quality of services performed by Indiana's local health departments.

Senate Bill 4 would establish the Local Public Health Fund grant to support local health departments that choose to provide "core public health services" recommended by the Governor's Public Health Commission.

These services include, but are not limited to, screening for childhood lead exposure, increasing access to immunizations, partnering with schools to support student health, improving emergency preparedness for rural counties, preventing tobacco use, and reviewing suicide, child and overdose fatality reports.

Fulton County Commissioners approved opting into the program.  CommissionerDave Sommers.

"By preventing health problems, rather than just treating them, Indiana can foster healthy families and a strong workforce," Leising said. “This bill works to better support local health departments in screening, preparing for and treating potential health risks to our communities before they arise."

Funding for grants would be determined by the state budget, but SB 4 would ensure applicant counties receive a minimum grant of $350,000, with additional funding determined by population size and the health vulnerability of residents. The State Budget Committee would review annual county grant allocations before distribution.

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Republican candidates for Indiana governor visited Fulton County Tuesday

The Fulton County Republicans hosted the state's Republican candidates for governor at the Fulton County Historical Museum Tuesday.

Each candidate was given approximately five minutes to address the audience.

In order of appearance at the event - 


Senator Mike Braun

Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch

Former Attorney General Curtis Hill

Eric Doden

Jamie Reitenour

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Indiana State Police focusing attention on school bus safety

As the summer break comes to an end, students across northeast Indiana are starting their return to school.  Keeping that in mind motorists should expect to see an increased amount of school bus traffic during the morning and afternoon commutes, and therefore should plan accordingly to allow for extra travel time each day. 

According to an April 2023 survey that focused on school bus stop arm violations, the Hoosier State experienced over two thousand daily incidents of stop arm violations (on average).  That number is unacceptable and we must do a better job towards ensuring our children's safety as they travel to and from school each day. 

The Indiana State Police would like to remind all motorists of the rules of the road pertaining to school buses and when you are required to stop for a school bus:

When a school bus is stopping or stopped with the red lights flashing and stop arm extended...

  • When approaching the school bus from either direction on a two-lane road, motorists are required to STOP. 
  • When approaching the school bus from any direction on a multiple lane highway where there is no barrier or median separating lanes of travel, motorists are required to STOP.
  • Motorists who are on a highway that is divided by a barrier, such as cable barrier, concrete wall, or grassy median, are required to STOP only if they are traveling in the same direction as the school bus.  

Regardless of your particular situation, when you see a school bus with or without lights flashing or the stop arm extended, that big yellow school bus should serve as a reminder that there are children in the immediate area. Slow down, be patient, use caution, and always be prepared to stop. 

The Indiana State Police is committed to the safety of our children and keeping Indiana’s roadways safe through educational programs and enforcement action. 

If you observe a school bus stop arm violation, please call 911 to report that incident, to include the suspect vehicle description, location, and the number of the school bus involved.

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Indiana farmland prices continue to rise in 2023

Indiana farmland prices once again hit record highs in 2023, according to the recent Purdue Farmland Value and Cash Rents Survey.

Statewide, the average price of top-quality farmland averaged $13,739 per acre, up 7.3% from June 2022. Average- and poor-quality farmland increased 5.8% and 0.7% to $11,210 and $8,689 per acre, respectively.

“While farmland prices reached a new peak in 2023, the appreciation rate from 2022 to 2023 was much lower than the record-high price growth observed between 2021 and 2022,” said Todd H. Kuethe, the Schrader Endowed Chair in Farmland Economics and the survey’s author. “Farm incomes and liquidity are playing a role in boosting price growth; however, rising interest rates continue to put downward pressure on purchases financed through mortgages.”

Statewide, cash rents increased by a modest amount between 2022 and 2023, yet in nominal terms, all three quality grades are at an all-time high. Per-acre cash rental rates for top-, average- and poor-quality land exceeded the previous highs set in 2013, 2014 and 2021. Indiana per-acre cash rent for top-quality land increased by 1.99% to $306. Cash rental rates for average- and poor-quality land increased by 2.09% and 2.50% to $257 and $212, respectively.

Kuethe says that it’s important to note that these modest changes at the state level mask some of the larger variation across land qualities and regions. For example, cash rental rates grew by 32.8% to 47.2% in the Southeast region for top-, average- and poor-quality land, but cash rental rates fell by 2.2% to 10.7% in the Southwest region. The highest cash rents, across all three quality grades, were observed in the West Central region. Across all regions and quality grades, rent as share of land value (the capitalization rate) held relatively steady between 2022 and 2023.

A divergence was also found in values for farmland transitioning out of agricultural production and those of farmland used for recreational purposes in 2023. Statewide, the per-acre value of farmland transitioning out of agricultural production increased by 4.1% between June 2022 and June 2023 to $25,228. However, the value of recreational land declined by 10.4% to $8,170 per acre.

For more in-depth analysis on the survey, the Purdue Center for Commercial Agriculture has released a new Purdue AgCast episode. Listen as Purdue ag economists Todd Kuethe, James Mintert and Michael Langemeier discuss Indiana farmland values, cash rents and results from the 2023 Purdue Farmland Values and Cash Rents Survey. The two-part series is available for free at https://purdue.ag/farmland-values.

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Terminally ill David Broad recognized for 40 years of EMS service in Pulaski County

Community members, friends and family of David Broad gathered at Hickory Creek in Winamac Monday to honor his 40 years of service and dedication in EMS. Known as being a helper to the end, the time to accept help has been bittersweet for Broad and his family during his journey with terminal brain cancer. 

Along with his certificate of appreciation given by the Emergency Medical Services of Indiana, Broad was flooded with stories of those he's helped, hugged, inspired, or loved over the past four decades. 

His son, Timmy Broad, said his father's legacy of helping is one that won't be forgotten in Winamac anytime soon.



The illness has been a whirlwind for the Broad family. Neurologists confirmed a small tumor in May. Scheduling the tumor to be removed in July, things took a turn for the worst when additional scans discovered significant growth, and that new tumors had also developed in other regions of Broad's brain.

Broad was soon diagnosed with a Stage four astrocytoma brain tumor, commonly known as glioblastoma. No medical options now remain for Broad. Due to the tumors rapid growth, Broad was given, at most, a few weeks to live. 

A man of helping, but never taking, it felt foreign for Broad to accept help from others. With accumulating medical bills and having to arrange last minute hospice care, however, the Broad's were left without a choice.

Last week, the need for financial assistance was at an all-time high when the family needed to provide nearly $4,000 within a 48 hour period to continue Broad's hospice care. With some help from the community that he poured his heart into, the Broad family was quickly able to raise $9,000.

Thankful and touched by community members Broad's main concern still continues to be about his family and taking care of his wife, Tammy. Dealing with mobility issues of her own, Broad had been his wife's main caretaker leading up to his illness. As daunting medical bills continue to stack up while inevitable changes are being made, those wanting to donate to the family can do so by visiting givesendgo.com/davebroad

Wanting to keep positive and stay strong like his father wants, Timmy says the lessons and life lived by Dave Broad in the past 70 years will be passed down and continued for many generations to come. 



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New laws await students, teachers this school year

As area students and teachers prepare to return to the classroom this week, there will be a host of new Indiana state laws awaiting them that went into effect on July 1. 

Here's a look at some of the new laws. 


Change to textbook fees 

Students and families will no longer pay textbook fees under a new law that set aside $160 million to cover the costs of K-12 students attending public school districts or a charter school. Non-public schools will charge for textbooks and devices still. 


Expansion to voucher program

The state's voucher program to cover the cost of tuition at a private or religious school has been expanded under a new law that removed eligibility requirements and boosted the income limit for a family of four to $220,000. With the changes, the state has estimated more than 40,000 new students will qualify for a voucher over the next two years.


Changes to 21st Century Scholars Program

A significant change is coming to the state's 21st Century Scholars program as all eligible low income students will be automatically enrolled.

The program covers up to 100 percent of tuition for students attending one of Indiana's public universities or colleges or part of the tuition at a private institution. The law comes after it was discovered half of eligible families were not signing up. 

In order to take part and remain eligible, students must maintain a 2.5 GPA and stay out of trouble through high school. 


Pronouns and sex education

Schools will now be required to provide written notification to a student's parent or guardian if the student requests to be called by a different name, pronoun, title or word. The notification must take place within five business days of the student's request. In addition, the law blocks teaching sex education in grades pre-k through third. 


Anti-bullying measure

Under a new measure, schools will be required to investigate all reports of bullying. 

With the new law, parents of a bullying victim must be notified within three business days of the report and parents of the alleged bully within five days. Furthermore, the new measure states if the reports is severe and true, the victim or bully can transfer to a new school.


Armed teachers

A new law will allow teachers an opportunity to carry a firearm in the classroom with several requirements.

Lawmakers approved a bill by Jim Lucas, R-Seymour, that provides state funded firearms training for school personnel, including teachers, who wish to carry a firearm. 

The measure is a response to multiple school shootings across the country, according to Lucas. 


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One Starke County paramedic killed, another seriously injured in ambulance-car crash

A Starke County paramedic was killed in a crash while responding to a call.

About 3:30 p.m. local time Saturday the Starke County 911 Center received multiple reports of a two vehicle accident involving a Starke County ambulance.

Preliminary results of the investigation revealed the Starke County ambulance was traveling eastbound on Starke County Road 800 South responding to an emergency call. The ambulance had its emergency lights and siren activated. A vehicle traveling northbound on County Road 700 East entered the intersection and collided with the side of the ambulance. This vehicle was operated by Eva Horan.

As a result of the collision, the ambulance rolled over.

The driver of the ambulance, EMT Michael Wilcox Sr, was pronounced dead at the scene by the Starke County Corner’s Office. Paramedic, Brandy Salita, who was a passenger in the ambulance, was transported to Northwest Hospital in Laporte in serious condition.

Horan was transported to Northwest Starke hospital with minor injuries.

The investigation is still ongoing by the Starke County Sheriff’s Department. The Indiana State Police assisted with reconstruction of the scene.

Other assisting agencies include the North Judson Police Department, the Fulton County Sheriffs Department, the Bass Lake Fire Department, the Knox Fire Department, the North Judson Fire Department, Culver EMS, and the Starke County Coroner’s Office.

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West Nile virus activity detected

State health officials report this year’s first signs of West Nile virus activity in the state.  To date Fulton County had mosquitoes test positive for West Nile virus.  West Nile virus is commonly found throughout the state each summer, so it is expected to see activity in more counties as the season progresses.  In 2022, West Nile virus was found in mosquitoes in 43 Indiana counties. 

"As soon as we start detecting West Nile virus in mosquitoes, we know people are at greater risk for infection,” said Jennifer House, DVM, veterinary epidemiologist at the Indiana State Department of Health.  “The good news is there are simple, effective steps Hoosiers can take to protect themselves from being bitten by a mosquito.”

Dr. House recommends people take the following protective steps:

  • Avoid being outdoors during prime mosquito biting times, dusk to dawn, when possible;
  • Apply insect repellent containing DEET, picaradin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus to clothes and exposed skin;
  • Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out of the home; and
  • When possible, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants when outside.


West Nile Virus usually causes a mild form of the illness, which can include fever, headache, body aches, swollen lymph glands, or a rash. However, a small number of individuals can develop a more severe form of the disease with encephalitis or meningitis and other neurological syndromes, including flaccid muscle paralysis.  Some individuals may die from the infection. Health officials say that although individuals over age 50 are at greatest risk for serious illness and even death from West Nile virus, people of all ages have been infected with the virus and have had severe disease.  Since 2002, when Indiana had its first human case of West Nile virus, more than 20 Hoosiers have died from the illness.

West Nile virus is transmitted to humans by mosquitoes that have first bitten an infected bird. A person bitten by an infected mosquito may show symptoms three to 15 days after the bite.

“Mosquitoes are very active this time of year and can spread several different disease causing viruses, including West Nile, St. Louis Encephalitis, and La Crosse Encephalitis;” said Dr. House. “Mosquito transmitted diseases commonly occur in August and September so Hoosiers should take the proper precautions to prevent being bitten.”

Dr. House is also asking Hoosiers to take steps to rid their properties of potential mosquito breeding grounds by:

  • Discard old tires, tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots or other containers that can hold water;
  • Repair failed septic systems;
  • Drill holes in the bottom of recycling containers left outdoors;
  • Keep grass cut short and shrubbery trimmed;
  • Clean clogged roof gutters, particularly if leaves tend to plug up the drains;
  • Frequently replace the water in pet bowls;
  • Flush ornamental fountains and birdbaths periodically; and
  • Aerate ornamental pools, or stock them with predatory fish.

The basic rule is; if water lasts more than 4 days mosquitoes can reproduce. Even a small bucket can produce up to 1,000 mosquitoes in just a few days.

For more information, visit the Indiana State Department of Health Web site at: www.statehealth.IN.gov

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River Rat Rental Company makes a splash opening outside of Rochester

Jared and Sarah Tackett, owners of the campground Tippecanoe River Run located at 1417 W 375 N outside of Rochester, have started a new chapter for their family and customers.

Their newest business is River Rat Rental Company LLC., and a soft opening was held on July 29, River Rat Rental Company offers kayak rentals for $35 a day. This year the season will run until October 31 before closing for winter and reopening again in April. 

Tackett said the new business comes from a need she had observed while running the campground for the past seven years. 

As for now, the business is starting slow with just providing equipment rental only. With the couple both working full time emergency personnel jobs, taking care of five kids, plus a campground and guests, the Tackett's are taking things one step at a time. 

The Tackett's do have some unique ideas up their sleeves for next year. River Rat Rentals hopes to eventually host tours sometime next season for guests on the Tippecanoe River that may be new to the waters or not from the area. Tackett said the selected tours dates would also include all the hauling and transportation for the day. The tours are to not be confused with classes, but instead more of a way to help guests navigate where they're going. 



School bus safety enforcement campaign underway in Indiana

As students head back to the classroom, state and local law enforcement agencies are reminding motorists to stop for school buses or face the consequences.

Over the next couple of weeks, officers will be increasing patrols to prevent stop-arm violations, speeding and other forms of reckless driving around school buses and in school zones.  

More than 200 agencies are participating in the back-to-school Stop Arm Violation Enforcement campaign – better known as SAVE. The overtime patrols are funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration through grants administered by the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI). 

Despite thousands of motorists being cited under the SAVE program, unsafe driving around school buses continues to be a concern, according to state officials.? 

In April, thousands of bus drivers who participated in a one-day observational survey counted 2,091 stop-arm violations in Indiana. That one-day total, when multiplied by the number of school days, adds up to a potential 376,380 violations throughout the school year.? 

"It is disheartening that we still have people who are willing to put the lives of students and bus drivers at risk," said Devon McDonald, ICJI Executive Director. "Law enforcement cannot be everywhere, so it is up to drivers to do the right thing and exercise caution around school buses. Students' lives depend on it."? 

The data comes from the National School Bus Illegal Passing Driver Survey, which is managed by the Indiana Department of Education in the state. This year, data collection took place on April 25, with 6,665 bus drivers participating from 195 school districts.? 

To prevent unsafe driving, officers will use a range of enforcement strategies from high-visibility patrols to police spotters on buses. For each jurisdiction, officers will coordinate with local bus drivers and school transportation officials, with efforts concentrating in the morning and afternoon hours. Agencies will also be working to raise awareness about the importance of school bus safety and following the law.  

Drivers should slow down and prepare to stop when the overhead lights on a school bus are flashing yellow. Once the lights turn red and the stop arm extends, drivers are required to stop on all roads with one exception. On highways divided by a physical barrier, such as a concrete wall or grassy median, only vehicles traveling in the same direction as the school bus are required to stop. 

Motorists should also be mindful of posted speed limits, avoid distractions and watch for children in or near school and residential areas. Planning ahead and allowing for extra time during each commute will help keep all road users safe. 

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

If the person disregarding a school bus stop arm causes bodily injury to a person, the offense becomes a Class 6 felony. Violators face anywhere from six months to two and a half years in jail. If someone is killed, the offense becomes a Class 5 felony, carrying a sentence between one year and six years.??

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No injuries in train-semi collision in Argos

A semi-tractor and trailer, hauling trash to the landfill in Fulton County got stuck on the Norfolk Southern railroad tracks and was struck by a train Thursday morning in Argos.

Assistant Police Chief Corey Bowman said the accident happened between 6:15 and 6:30 a.m. Thursday.  He said the semi-driver got confused, thinking he had missed his road for the Four County Landfill.  As he attempted to head back in the right direction, he crossed over the Norfolk Southern railroad tracks on Kenilworth and became stuck because the road ramps up to the track level and ramps back down to the road grade on the other side.  The profile of the trailer got stuck on the tracks and was unable to get off the tracks before a train came through.

There were no injuries reported to the driver of the semi or the occupants of the train. 

The road was closed for about eight hours while Norfolk Southern surveyed the scene, cleared the debris, and checked the tracks. 

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Rep. Jackie Walorski among four dead in crash one year ago

Indiana Rep. Jackie Walorski and three others were killed on the afternoon of this date, August 3, last year in a car crash.

Walorski, 58, was traveling southbound on SR 19 near Nappanee, in an SUV with two other people when their vehicle crossed the dividing line and slammed into a car head-on traveling northbound, according to the Elkhart County Sheriff's Office. All three people in the SUV, Walorski; Zachery Potts, 27; and Emma Thomson, 28., were killed.

Thomson was Walorski's communications director and Potts was currently a district director in Indiana for the House of Representatives. Potts had worked previously as Walorski's campaign manager.

The driver of the other vehicle, Edith Schmucker, 56, was also killed in the crash.

Everyone involved was wearing their seat belt.

Potts was the driver of the Toyota RAV4 as it traveled northbound and attempted to pass another vehicle when it collided with Schmucker’s southbound Buick.

The Elkhart County Sheriff's Office handled the investigation and said evidence from the crash reconstruction, along with the airbag control module showed that the Toyota was traveling at a speed of 82 mph just seconds before the crash.

The sheriff’s office also noted that it did not appear phones were being used when the crash took place.

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Drivers from Argos and Rochester injured in Wednesday head-on

An Argos man was seriously injured in a Wednesday head-on collision with a Rochester driver.

Just after 6 p.m., Fulton County emergency personnel were dispatched to the area of 6500 N 600 W on a report of a head-on motor vehicle accident. Further reports stated one of the vehicles was on fire and the driver was trapped inside.

While en route emergency personnel were notified the fire was out; however, the driver of that vehicle was still trapped.

Preliminary investigation by members of the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office showed a 2005 Ford Taurus driven by Anthony Campbell, 41, of Argos, was traveling south on CR 600 W. For an unknown reason, Campbell crossed the center line and struck head-on  a 2003 Dodge Ram driven by David Overmyer, 45, of Rochester. Overmyer was pulling a large gooseneck trailer

Campbell was seriously injured in the crash and was flown to a trauma center by a medical helicopter. His current condition is unknown.

Overmyer was transported to Woodlawn Hospital and later released.

The crash remains under investigation. Assisting the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office was the Indiana State Police, Aubbeenaubbee Township Fire Department, Lutheran EMS, and Med Flight.

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Pulaski Memorial Hospital celebrates 60 years of service tonight

Pulaski Memorial Hospital has come a long way since its start in Winamac 60 years ago.

Dedicated on March 3, 1963, its first week of operation started out with 25 patients being administered, three babies being born and a handful of surgeries.

Pulaski Memorial's Vice President of Communications and Patient Care Brian Ledley says that with over six decades of transformation, the past ten years in particular, the hospital's advancements have transformed Pulaski Memorial into being more than just a typical hospital or clinic.

With a mission to bring quality care close to home, Pulaski Memorial has grown from a start of having only two or three providers to now with more than 20. 



In celebration of the six decades in service, Pulaski Memorial Hospital will be hosting an event from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday at 616 East 13th Street in Winamac in the medical building parking lot. From non-fasting health screenings like blood pressure and glucose checks, a blood drive hosted by South Bend Medical Foundation, live music, food, a bounce house and more, the event is open to the public.




Rochester man is one of Duke Energy lineworkers to advance to International Lineman's Rodeo

A Rochester man is among fifteen Duke Energy lineworkers from the Midwest who will compete this fall in the International Lineman’s Rodeo after advancing from the Duke Energy Midwest Lineman’s Rodeo in Plainfield, IN, over the weekend.

Lineman’s rodeos showcase the job-related skills that line technicians rely on daily to restore power – often under extreme conditions such as high wind, heavy rain, freezing cold and sweltering heat.

Lineman compete to score highly in equipment repair, pole climbs and hurt man rescues, and get graded for their speed, agility, technique and safety procedures. Each year, Duke Energy holds regional competitions in the Carolinas, Florida and the Midwest to qualify lineworkers for the international competition.

“Our crews’ agility and depth of knowledge continue to impress me each day, but I’m even prouder of their dedication to keeping the lights on for millions of customers who depend on them,” said Scott Batson, senior vice president and chief distribution officer at Duke Energy. “Safety, skills and efficiency are integral in the job of a lineworker – and Duke Energy truly has some of the best talent in the world.”

High poles, top talent

Duke Energy Midwest regional rodeo winners will join lineworkers from Duke Energy rodeos in Florida and the Carolinas to compete at the International Lineman’s Rodeo in Bonner Springs, Kan., on Oct. 14. For 20 years, Duke Energy lineworkers have showcased their talents at the global competition.

Duke Energy Midwest competitors advancing from regional rodeos to the International Lineman’s Rodeo include:

Apprentice overall awards

  • First place – Oliver Huhta (Princeton, Ind.)
  • Second place – Logan Pollei (Rochester, Ind.)
  • Third place – Nick Gearhart (Carmel, Ind.)
  • Fourth place – Calvin Fettig (Noblesville, Ind.)
  • Fifth place – Tyler Adrian (Carmel, Ind.)
  • Sixth place – Riley Hilty (Huntington, Ind.)

Journeyman teams overall awards

  • First place – TJ Lewis (Aurora, Ind.), Bret Lewis (Madison, Ind.) and Nick Meyer (Madison, Ind.)
  • Second place – Andrew Hall (Carmel, Ind.), Jason Washburn (Noblesville, Ind.) and Cody Kennedy (Noblesville, Ind.)
  • Third place –Travis Vidal (Columbus, Ind.), Nick Minnich (Columbus, Ind.) and John Menefee (Columbus, Ind.)

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Mayor Denton says progress being made, encourages patience during storm clean-up

Rochester Mayor Ted Denton says it's taking time but they're getting there.

The 'there' is a back-to-normal, cleaned-up town after more disrupting, damaging storms invaded the area over the past weekend.

Mayor Denton says it's been a mess that city staffers have been attacking with limited resources.

The mayor noted that it's not just picking up limbs and other debris. Disposing of the items has also posed a challenge.

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Nickel Plate Music and Arts Fest still accepting vendors

Rochester's third annual Nickel Plate Music and Arts Festival may be just around the corner, but it's still not too late for last minute vendors or volunteers to join the downtown fun on August 26. 

Festival coordinator Christine Walsh's passion for highlighting the importance of art in the community helped inspire the Nickel Plate Music and Arts Festival's beginning. Walsh believes the connectivity of the shared experience of supporting and appreciating art, whether it be visual, through music and performances, story telling, or creating, brings the community together by encouraging the act of further creating. 



Similar to last year's festival experience, six art tables will be featured on the courthouse lawn for free hands-on activities, along with live music throughout the day. Sweetcakes Entertainment will be there again, providing face painting, henna tattoos, balloon animals and caricatures to festival goers, free of charge. Other art booths, food trucks and more will also be line up on East 8th Street to add to the festivities. 

Each year has a unique twist, focusing on something specific, like the first year with a Jamaican band and last year's Latin Duo. Walsh's planned highlight for this year was having Paula Jo Taylor and band perform, an all-female country band from Nashville, Tennessee. 

A professional stage and sound will be added for this year's performances, thanks to a $7,500 grant from the Fulton County Community Foundation.

A grant from the Indiana Arts Commission's of $3,800 helped fund some of the free art activities, and the City of Rochester also continues to also support the event, sponsoring all the live music this year. 

The list continues to grow for vendors. Walsh continues to invite new vendors, artists, food trucks and other unique entertainment to join, accepting applications for vendors up to August 25. 

Volunteers, vendors or sponsors wanting to participate in the festival can reach out by going to the Nickel Plate Music and Arts Festival's Facebook page and fill out a form or email cwalshrdp@gmail.com. 

Cass County with EF-O tornado confirmed by NWS

The National Weather Service of Northern Indiana confirmed that an EF-O tornado travelled 2.1 miles between Walton and the Cass-Miami County line on Saturday.

During the weekend severe storms impacted the area during the evening hours of Juy 28 and into the morning of July 29. The NWS website reported the scattered storms began with an initial round before a stronger second round, consisting of a Bow Echo, moved through the morning.

The highest measured wind speed was recorded at Grissom Air Force Base at 74 mph. Numerous reports of damage to trees, limbs, structures, powerlines and poles were reported across northern Indiana and northwest Ohio. 

Assessment of the damage continues in some areas. As of July 30, the NWS confirmed two tornadoes from the storm. 




Supermoon tonight is the first lighting up the skies in August

Tonight's 'Super Sturgeon Moon' is kicking off August.

It's the first of two supermoons lighting up the skies this month. A once in a blue moon occurance, tonight's lunar display will be a bold one due to the proximity, peaking its closest distance at 2:32 am EST.

A supermoon occurs when the moon is closest to Earth in its orbit, looking much bigger and brighter than the average full moon.

According to information on the NASA website, supermoons happen three to four times a year. At its closest point, a full supermoon appears about 17 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter. The second supermoon for August will be the 'Super Blue Moon' on August 30. Blue moons are referred to two full moons occuring within the same calendar month. The most recent blue moon occured in October of 2020. 

The Old Farmer's Almanac states you can catch the best glimpse of tonight's 'Sturgeon Supermoon' looking toward the southeastafter sunset. 


Photo provided by nasa.gov