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Sunday snow possible before warmer week ahead

Though things are expected to warm up in the coming days, Miami County may be in for one more relatively small blast of winter weather before the weekend is over.

“We actually have temperatures trending warmer,” National Weather Service Northern Indiana meteorologist Chris Roller told the Tribune on Friday.

That could see high temperatures in the 20s on Saturday.

“And then Sunday reaching 35 degrees or so,” he said.

But Sunday night, as temperatures drop, some more precipitation could move into the area.

As of Friday, projections showed that Miami County could see 1 to 2 inches of snow.

“At least for what I have in there at this point,” Roller said.

It will all depend where temperatures are when that precipitation starts falling, he explained.

Warmer temps could bring a “wintry mix” of rain and sleet or even wetter snow that would pack down more and show lower accumulation totals.

But after Sunday things will continue to warm up, with a Tuesday high in the mid to upper 30s.

That could begin “a slow melting process” and start reducing the snow pack, Roller said.

The National Weather Service estimates that Miami County saw between 6 and 8 inches of snowfall in the area Monday night and Tuesday morning.

That winter storm, which saw accumulation totals as high 18 inches in areas to the north, shutdown schools in the county on Monday and Tuesday.

It also prompted Miami County commissioners to issue a red travel advisory for the county, shutting down most travel. Officials cancelled city and county meetings and closed the county courthouse and Peru City Hall on Tuesday.

Schools remained closed, with many students shifted to e-learning, on Wednesday, when a fresh system brought another estimated 1 to 2 inches to the area.

Schools stayed closed Thursday as well, which was the first full day that the county operated under an orange travel advisory. Commissioners lifted the red advisory on Wednesday night.

By Friday things had returned, more or less, to normal. Schools were back in session and commissioners, just after 11 a.m., moved the advisory to yellow, which restricted travel only in areas that were still believed to be hazardous.

Late-night scramble saves weekend vaccination clinic

A late night phone call from state health officials on Thursday salvaged what would have been hundreds of cancelled COVID-19 vaccination appointments for Friday and Saturday.

“It’s a good update,” Miami County Health Officer Dr. Christi Redmon told the Tribune on Friday morning. “But we didn’t anticipate it.”

Redmon was hard at work early trying to undo a Thursday night media blitz in which she said the county health department was going to have to cancel vaccination appointments for at least two days because winter weather that slammed much of the country earlier in the week appeared to have hampered distribution efforts.

Monday’s regular shipment of vaccine doses had not arrived, she explained earlier on Thursday, and as of Thursday night, it still hadn’t and all indications were that doses would not arrive in order to fill the coming days’s appointments.

“This is a disaster, but it’s a distribution problem, nationwide,” Redmon said Thursday night as she worked to let county residents know that their Friday and Saturday appointments would be cancelled and provide information about how they would be rescheduled.

But a phone call that came in from the state after 10 p.m. on Thursday carried good news.

Officials were “transferring” enough doses to keep Friday appointments going and for the health department to still conduct its Saturday vaccination clinic where more than 200 people are expected to receive either their first or second dose of the vaccine, Redmon said Friday morning.

The news meant that, with the few dozen reserve doses on hand, the health department could open its Friday vaccination site at the old firehouse building at the corner of Main and Miami streets.

By 10 a.m., patients were being vaccinated and Redmon, who was on site lending a hand, said she expected the new doses would arrive before the site reopened after its lunch break.

Those doses, she said, were coming in from other counties who had enough doses to lend to Miami County so the Saturday clinic could still happen.

“This is not, ‘The shipment has arrived,’” Redmon said.

That Monday delivery is still pending, but Redmon credited state workers with quick thinking to get doses into the county on Friday.

“They were up late trying to get this accomplished,” she said.

Wind, solar bill gathers opposition as it passes House

An energy bill that many feel steps on local control in attempt to set statewide standards for wind and solar projects has passed the Indiana House of Representatives but continues to gather opposition from around the region.

Local Rep. Ethan Manning, a Republican who represents portions of Cass, Fulton and Miami counties, voted against House Bill 1381 in the Wednesday vote that the sent the bill to the state Senate for consideration.

Manning, who also voted against the bill as it passed out of the House Utilities, Energy and Telecommunications Committee, where he serves as vice chair, had said he planned to vote no on the House floor as well.

The bill, authored by the committee’s chair, Valparaiso-area Republican Rep. Edmond Soliday, would establish default standards for wind and solar projects including setback requirements, height restrictions, shadow flicker limitations, signal interference and sound level limitations.

It has attracted the attention of members of the Facebook group, Miami County, IN Property Rights, amid concerns that the bill would take too much local control over the zoning and restrictions of such developments.

Manning has said he has also heard from at least five of nine commissioners from the counties he represents as well as two of three Farm Bureau presidents and others, all who oppose the bill.

On Monday, the Wabash County Board of Commissioners, added to that opposition, unanimously approving a resolution opposing the bill.

The language of the resolution passed came from the Association of Indiana Counties and expresses “support for local control of land-use decisions.”

“The state of Indiana consists of diverse communities, each with its own needs and opportunities,” stated the resolution. “Counties have created and implemented plans for development that provides the new investment and additional employment that is desired by the citizens of the county, and in many instances, the desired development has included wind or solar projects.”

The resolution opposes state control of these choices, and stated that “decisions regarding wind and solar development are best made by the citizens living in the community.”

“If enacted, such legislation would disenfranchise the citizens of the ability to determine the conditions under which wind energy and solar energy projects would be allowed in the county,” stated the resolution. “Communities would be compelled to allow wind and solar projects under conditions dictated by others living outside the community.”

That resolution was not on the Miami County Board of County Commissioner’s agenda for their Tuesday meeting, which was cancelled because of weather, but could come up for consideration at their March 2 meeting.

During a televised press conference Wednesday, Gov. Eric Holcomb said he wanted “to make sure we have a statewide, attractive, all of the above approach to our energy sources, balancing that with local decision-making.”

“It will be very important to see what the criteria is, what language restricts or allows locals to continue to make decisions that are in the best interest of their locality,” he said. “Thankfully, our energy policy as we move forward has been all of the above, has been diversified. We want to make sure the local farmer who is trying to maximize their acreage and also keep in mind their neighbors have the ability to do that while at the same making sure we’re a great state for continuing to not just make and ship but create products that are moved all over the world.”

Holcomb said he didn’t want to address the bill as currently written as more amendments could be on the way, but “right now I look through this lens locally balanced from a statewide approach.”

Group seeks to expand childcare services in city

After an initial setback, the United Way and City of Peru are pushing forward with a grant application that, if awarded, would fund the expansion of childcare services in the city for low to moderate income families.

To meet the requirements of the $100,000 grant, the money would have to be used to expand services to at least 20 such families.

“We want to add more than that,” Debi Wallick, executive director of the United Way of Miami County told the Tribune on Thursday. “But at least 20 of them have to be low to moderate income.”

Wallick first took her proposal to the city’s Board of Works asking the city to be a lead applicant, with the United Way a co-applicant, for the state community development block grant when it is submitted to Indiana’s Office of Community and Rural Affairs in March.

Along with Steven Ray, of the North Central Indiana Regional Planning Council, who is helping write the grant, Wallick explained that the process for the grant was going to be “very competitive” and asked the city for matching funds.

Those matching funds would be assigned a score of 10 points in the scoring process used to assign the awards.

“To be a competitive grant we need those 10 points,” Wallick said.

Mayor Miles Hewitt and the rest of the board agreed for the city to serve as a lead applicant and be used as the “pass through” for the funds that will go to local childcare providers, but he and the board members balked at providing any of the city’s money.

Board member Ron Dausch, the city’s building commissioner, made a motion to support the application but not for “using taxpayer money to support private businesses.” Code enforcement officer Bill Gornto seconded the motion.

Without the $25,000 match Wallick said Thursday she had decided to lower the amount of the application to $100,000 and went seeking $10,000 from around the community.

She met the goal with the help of the Miami County Community Foundation, the United Way office, St. Johns Lutheran Church, Main Street Methodist Church, Ida’s New Beginnings and others.

“That came to $11,500 in matching funds,” she said.

At the time, Wallick and Ray planned to apply for $250,000 and asked the city to kick in $25,000.

There will be a public hearing on the matter on March 11 at the CRC Building at 13 E. Main St. at 5 p.m.

Community Information

Community information

To help keep residents informed during the ongoing health emergency, this section will continue to evolve.

Though many events have been canceled, some, like mobile food pantries and blood drives, will continue to take place. The top portion of this section will list such events and be updated daily. Cancellations and closures of various events, agencies and public buildings will be listed below those items.

Testing available

The state of Indiana, in a partnership with OptumServe Health, has opened a coronavirus testing site at the Indiana National Guard armory at 77 German St. in Peru. Individuals who are symptomatic or COVID-19 or close contacts of confirmed COVID-19 positive patients are eligible for testing. Residents will not be charged for testing and insurance is not required, but those with insurance are asked to bring information with them. For more information or to schedule a test, visit lhi.care/covid testing or call 888-634-1116. This site will remain through the end of the year, but appointments are now required.

COVID-19 testing is also now available through the Miami County Department of Health in partnership with Dukes Hospital. Testing is available to all members of the public regardless of symptoms. Children as young as 2 can be tested with parental consent. The site at the Boulevard entrance of Dukes Hospital is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and open from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday. Saturday hours are 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. For questions about the site call the county health department at 765-472-3901 ext. 1228. To register for testing visit https:// scheduling. coronavirus.in .gov.

Events and information

United Way accepting grant applications

The United Way of Miami County is now accepting grant applications for money from a coronavirus relief fund made possible by the Lilly Endowment. Money from the $225,000 dollar fund is expected to paid out in three phases – for immediate relief to longterm recovery – and is targeted to help “human and social service nonprofits on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.” To apply, visit the local United Way website at www. uwmiamip.org.

Feb. 17

The Peru Utilities Service Board will convene a regular meeting via Zoom on Feb. 17 at 4 p.m. Those interested in viewing or speaking can do so by using the we address: zoom.us/j/96981283024

Meeting ID: 969 8128 3024

Feb. 22

The Peru Community Schools School Board will convene an executive session at 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 22 in the administrative center on West Third Street. A public session will begin at 6:30 p.m. This meeting replaces the Feb. 16 meeting that was cancelled because of winter weather.

Feb. 23

The North Miami School Board will convene a regular meeting on Feb. 23 at 7 p.m. in the district’s office building. This meeting replaces the Feb. 16 meeting that was cancelled because of winter weather.

Feb. 24

Eastpointe Bible Church will host a mobile food pantry on Feb. 24 at 11 a.m. at 1540 E Paw Paw Pike.

The Maconaquah Board of School Trustees will convene a regular school board meeting on Feb. 24 at 6 p.m. in the Maconaquah High School auditorium. The meeting is subject to change if county COVID-19 metrics dictate. If held virtually a link will be provided on the school website.

Feb. 27

The Miami County 4-H Council will host the 48th annual Pancake and Whole Hog Sausage Day on Feb. 27 at the county fairgrounds from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. This year’s event will be drive-thru only. Bulk meat sales available. Tickets are $5. For more information call 765-472-1921.

March 6

The Richvalley Lions Club will host its tenderloin day on March 6 from 11 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. (or until supplies run out). Drive-thru service only this year. No all-you-can-eat service. Cash or check only. Meal service includes box of two breaded tenderloins with baked potato, apple sauce, sour cream and butter. Meat-only box with three pieces of tenderloin also available. Price is $10 per box. Follow signs for drive-thru. Enter on McClellen Street, turn right on Jefferson, pick up on Mill Street and exit onto Bridge Street.

March 13

The Peru Circus Band will host its spaghetti supper fundraiser on March 13 from 4 to 7 p.m. Drive-thru at the Peru Maennerchor. Spaghetti, meat sauce, garlic bread and garden salad $7. Children under 6 free.

March 20

The Peru Rotary Club is now accepting applications for the 2021 Opal and Clifford Arnholt Scholarship. This year, the scholarship will be awarded to two winners, each of whom will receive a one-time award of $2,000. To be eligible to win, an applicant must be a graduating senior at Maconaquah High School, North Miami High School, or Peru High School who will be pursuing higher education during the 2021-2022 school year. Additionally, applicants may not be related by blood or marriage to a current Rotarian.

Applications may be obtained from the guidance offices at Maconaquah High School, North Miami High School, or Peru High School and must be emailed to the Arnholt Scholarship Committee at perurotary club@ yahoo.com on or before March 20.

March 31

Parkview United Methodist Church will host a mobile food pantry on March 31 at 11 a.m. at 1785 Indiana State Road 19.

April 1

The Miami County Extension Homemakers are giving two $250 scholarships. The scholarships are available to any graduating high school senior or student who is enrolled in his or her freshmen year of college. The applicant must be a child, grandchild or great-grandchild of a current Miami County Extension Homemaker who has lived in Indiana for the immediate past year. Applications are available in the guidance departments of any of the three Miami County schools or at the extension office at the fairground. For more information, call Diane Robison for any 765-452-4192. Deadline to submit is April 1.

Miami County Farm Bureau is accepting applications for four $1,000 scholarships to be awarded to county high school seniors. All applications must be submitted online this year. The application deadline is April 1. Miami County applications will be judged out of county using the following criteria: financial need of the student, involvement and leadership in all activities, and determination to succeed in the student’s chosen field.

Indiana Farm Bureau offers many scholarships opportunities to students across Indiana. This year’s scholarship will open on Jan. 1 and can be accessed at https://www.infarmbureau.org/scholarships.

Those with questions can contact Becca Bonnell at bbonnell@infb.org or 317-692-7820.

Eligible applicants must:

Be the child of an Indiana Farm Bureau member or a student member and remain such while the scholarship is in force.

Be a high school senior accepted in an approved/accredited college or university: OR be a full time student attending an approved/accredited college or university.

Complete application including attachments. Applicant is NOT eligible if he/she is the child of: an Indiana Farm Bureau employee, an Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance employee, a member of the Indiana Farm Bureau Board of Directors, or a member of the Indiana State Women’s Leadership Committee.


Dog tags are available at the Miami County Courthouse, Room 107, between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. The fee is $5 per dog. Residents can also mail payment to Miami County Courthouse, 25 N. Broadway, Room 107, Peru, IN 46970. They are asked to enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope and tags will be mailed along with a receipt. Please make checks payable to Miami County Treasurer. For questions, call 765-472-3901 Ext. 1860.

To add something to this list send an email to jkeever @perutribune.com.

City accepting bids until March 2 in property sale

There is still time for those interested to place bids on dozens of pieces of property that the city of Peru has put up for auction.

The sales are part of an effort to get the properties out of the city’s hands and back on to the tax rolls.

“That was one of the mayor’s directives in the beginning,” Building Commissioner Ron Dausch told the Tribune on Thursday. “We’ve been working on it for quite a while now.”

This is the first such sale the city has organized since Mayor Miles Hewitt took office at the beginning of 2020 and the first that Dausch said he has been involved in.

In 2019, the city put 22 properties up for bid.

Typically the properties are lots that were home to an old house that was abandoned and fell into disrepair, acquiring liens to the point that they became subject of a tax sale.

There are other reasons, and Dausch said depending on why and how the lot came into the city’s possession there were laws about how they could be sold. Some, he said, had to be first offered to adjacent landowners because they could be bid on by anyone.

But now, there are 31 properties available for purchase, most, if not all, of them with minimum bids well-below the assessed value.

The city is accepting bids on them until 4 p.m. March 2 after which the sealed bids will be opened in a public meeting.

The rules for the bidding process are as follows:

Bids must be at least the minimum bid price listed for the property a bid is being submitted for.

Bids must be received at the City of Peru Clerk’s Office, 35 S Broadway, Peru, Indiana 46970 in a SEALED envelope clearly marked “BUILDING DEPARTMENT, PROPERTY BID”.

Any bid received after the due date and time (4 p.m., March 2, 2021) will not be considered.

Bids will be opened and read publicly at the Board of Works meeting held at 5pm, March 2, 2021 in the Council Chambers at City Hall, 35 S Broadway, Peru, Indiana.

If multiple qualified bids for the same property are received, a subsequent round of bidding will take place. A letter will be mailed to those bidders indicating the highest original bid amount with an invitation to bid one final time.

Once a bid is accepted and awarded, the purchaser will have ten (10) business days to pay the bid amount in its entirety, for the property. Payment shall be made payable to “City of Peru” and taken or sent to City of Peru, Clerk’s Office, 35 S Broadway, Peru, Indiana.

A Quit Claim Deed shall be provided by the City of Peru Building Department. Upon execution of said Deed, it shall be recorded by the City of Peru with the Miami County Auditor’s Office & Miami County Recorder’s Office.

For a list of the properties available for sale visit the City of Peru’s website or https://bit.ly/3dvoZZs.