by Eric Armentrout
New Farm Bill
On Feb. 4, the 2014 farm bill (named the Agriculture Act of 2014) was passed by Congress, and it was signed into law by President Obama on Feb 7. Writing the rules to fully implement the new farm bill now falls to USDA. The final regulations will further determine program and decision parameters and set sign up dates for producers. At the current time, the choices farmers make to participate will begin with the 2014 crop year. We will do our best to provide you information on the new farm bill as details become available. We will use newspaper articles, personal emails, public meetings and in office face to face discussions to assist you in gaining the understanding you will need to make the best decisions for your particular situation.
On, Monday, Feb. 24, at approximately 2 p.m., Warsaw Police made a traffic stop on a Pontiac Grand Prix in the 300 block of South Detroit Street after receiving an anonymous tip that the vehicle occupants were transporting heroin to sell in both Kosciusko and Wabash counties.
A police canine alerted to the presence of illegal drugs and eighteen individual bags of heroin, weighing approximately 8 grams total, were recovered from Meagan A. Martens’ body.
Just as basketball is stirring up a great deal of activity this March, more than 250 Indiana law enforcement agencies are planning to launch action of their own. Beginning Friday, Feb. 28, Wabash County Law Enforcement will initiate a major enforcement effort to crack down on impaired and dangerous drivers.
“We will have a strong and visible police presence aimed at deterring dangerous driving and getting impaired drivers off the street,” said Sgt. Steve Hicks. “If you plan to drink alcohol, don’t drive. Designate a sober driver.”
by Eric Stearley
At 10:19 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 19, a hooded suspect entered First Merchants Bank, located at 189 W. Market Street, and demanded money. The robbery took just two minutes, and the suspect fled the scene before police could respond to the bank alarm.
Wabash Police Department Assistant Chief Matt Bruss guarded the bank’s entrance following the robbery, informing bank patrons that the bank may be closed for the rest of the day.
"We know that it was a white male, probably around 6 ft tall, maybe a little bit taller, and there was no weapon involved, and he did leave with an undisclosed amount of money, so at that point, we're just trying to determine who we're searching for," said Bruss. "He left the bank on foot, but from there, we're not sure.”
by Emily Armentrout
Four Wabash County educators recently received Teacher Creativity Fellowship Program grants through the Lily Endowment. Out of more than 450 applications from Indiana teachers, 100 were selected for the opportunity, including: John Pence, Wabash-Miami Area Program; Kathy Hawkins, Manchester Elementary School; Abigail Armentrout, Wabash Middle School; and Sarah Andrews, Wabash Middle School.
Mr. Pence, along with his daughter, Anna, will be traveling to El Salvador in June. Mrs. Hawkins will be traveling to England, and Miss Armentrout and Mrs. Andrews will be traveling together to Europe, visiting Spain and England.
by Shaun Tilghman
Deanna Niccum, 42, North Manchester, was arrested Monday, Feb. 17, on a warrant citing three alleged criminal offenses, including: Attempted Child Exploitation, a class C felony; Attempted Vicarious Sexual Gratification, a class D felony; and Child Solicitation, a class D felony.
The arrest resulted from an investigation that began after one victim’s parents alerted the North Manchester Police Department of an incident that occurred earlier this month between Niccum and their child, according to the case summary.
Officers from the NMPD took the next step by contacting the Department of Child Services, as well as Wabash County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Bryan Michaud. On Feb. 14, following the determination of probable cause, Information and Affidavits of Probable Cause were filed, an arrest warrant was ordered, and bond was set at $12,500 surety / $250 cash.
by Emily Armentrout
February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness month. Southwood High School recently held a convocation for their students on abusive relationships. Speakers Laura Craig, an abuse survivor, and Debbie Norris, mother of Heather Norris, who was brutally murdered by an abusive boyfriend in 2007, were on hand to tell of their experiences with abuse.
Laura Craig is currently a nursing student at Indiana Wesleyan. Her story began when she was 16. Like most teenage girls, she started dating a guy who “started out nice. He was very flattering and supportive, but he started to become controlling.” Craig told the students she was never physically abused but the psychological pain began manifesting itself outwardly.
“I stopped eating. I lost 15 pounds in three months. I wore baggy sweatpants all the time, and I didn’t wash my hair for days. You could see circles under my eyes,” Craig told The Paper.
Craig shared that she had become suicidal. She began cutting herself and actually attempted to kill herself. Finally, she reached a point where she decided to fight back, which she said her boyfriend did not like.
by Eric Stearley
Harsh winter weather returned with a vengeance Monday afternoon, causing MSD of Wabash County schools to send students home at 1 p.m. It was yet another episode in a dramatic series of winter storms that have reminded northern Indiana residents that this is snow country.
Prior to Monday’s snow, the area’s last major snowstorm started the night of Feb. 4. At 5 a.m. the next morning, fifteen Wabash County Highway Department workers met with Highway Superintendent John Martin to go over their assignments and special instructions for their next 10 hours behind the wheel of a plow truck. Though there was a good amount of snow on the ground, this routine was something with which the crew had become very familiar. Since the snowstorm at the start of the year that closed schools for the entire week of Jan. 6, the plow drivers only managed to get a single day away from plowing roads.
If snow isn’t falling, the winds are blowing roads shut. In a year with seven travel watches and five days at a warning level, the work has been nonstop. The money allotted to pay the department’s overtime for all of 2014 was nearly gone by Valentine’s Day.