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' A somber experience'

Thousands of Hoosiers turned out Sunday to pay their respects as a procession carried the body of a U.S. Marine, killed in Afghanistan, through Miami County and back to his hometown of Logansport.

Onlookers lined both sides of State Road 218 from Grissom Air Reserve Base to the Cass County line and beyond as the hearse carrying Marine Cpl. Humberto Sanchez made its way to a funeral home in preparation for the Tuesday funeral.

“This reminds me of the sacrifice any of us could be called upon to make,” Senior Master Sgt. Zach Chapin, 434th Air Refueling Wing superintendent of inspections at Grissom, said in a Sunday news release from the base.

That morning the base had entered quiet hours as the body of the Marine was flown on to the base for what the military calls a “dignified transfer” of Sanchez’s casket from the plane to the waiting hearse.

A procession led by Indiana State Police then made its way from the base to Logansport.

“It’s a somber experience,” Tech. Sgt. Josh Weaver, of Grissom public affairs said in the release. “We wanted to put the family first, and pay our respects to the sacrifice that Corporal Sanchez made.”

Onlookers remained quiet, many of them holding American flags, along the highway as the hearse passed into Cass County just after 11 a.m.

Jets flew overhead as the procession approached downtown Logansport where the hearse carrying Sanchez’s body stopped briefly under a garrison flag.

The procession included vehicles carrying Sanchez’s family, followed by thousands of motorcycles.

Sanchez, 22, was among 13 U.S. military members killed in the suicide bombing at Afghanistan’s Kabul airport in late August.

Eleven Marines, one Navy sailor and one Army soldier were among the dead, while 18 other U.S. service members were wounded in the bombing, which also claimed the lives of more than 160 Afghans. Officials have blamed the bombing on Afghanistan’s offshoot of the Islamic State group.

The U.S. military said it was the most lethal day for American forces in Afghanistan since 2011.

Sanchez’s funeral was planned for Tuesday at LifeGate Church in Logansport with the burial to follow at Mount Hope Cemetery.

Construction remains on schedule at Peru High School

The project to renovate Peru High School is moving ahead better than planned.

“Construction is on time and under budget,” a social media post from Peru Community Schools said Monday.

The post was accompanied by a picture depicting what the entrance at the high school is expected to look like once the work there is completed.

Construction began at the building in July, launching a roughly year-long project that, once completed, will see junior high and high school students combined into a single building.

Dubbed the “7 to 12 Project,” the Peru School Board voted 4-3 in August 2020 to move forward with the renovation following the recommendation of an advisory committee formed more than a year earlier headed up by former superintendent Thomas McKaig.

In a presentation of that group’s findings during a March 2020 School Board meeting, McKaig told members that not only is the junior high building, which was built in 1959, badly in need of repairs and upgrades, but also that the newer high school was built to hold 1,200 students and is currently sitting at enrollment well under 700. That would make a transition to a consolidated school building easier, and likely more cost effective, than other options considered by the group. He suggested that school officials explore that option.

Superintendent Sam Watkins told the Tribune when the work started that the project will take a year.

“Summer to summer,” he said.

The project will be carried out in three phases.

The first phase will see updates to 10 to 12 classrooms. After that, crews will re-work the counseling and nursing “suites.” And the final phase, Watkins said, will see a new entrance and office area built to meet more modern security considerations.

Students from the junior high school and teachers are expected to move into the renovated building in August 2022.

“In the end it will help us better serve our students, staff and community,” he said.

Members of the Peru Fire Department and the local State Farm office pose for a picture with a banner promoting Fire Prevention Week. From Left to Right: Stacey Westfall (Peru Fire Department), Cole Alspaugh (Peru Fire Department), Richard Ashley (Peru Fire Department), Christy Winter (State Farm Insurance Agent), Evan Coffman (Peru Fire Department), Dawn Wilkinson (State Farm Ins. Office Manager), Chelsea Abbot (State Farm Insurance Account Representative), Brian Edwards (Peru Fire Department Assistant Chief).

Officials close Wayne Street bridge for repairs

Crews have closed the Wayne Street bridge over the Wabash River for repairs and officials don’t expect it to reopen for nearly a year.

Closure of the bridge between Canal Street and State Road 124, southeast of downtown Peru, was announced Monday via social media by both Peru Mayor Miles Hewitt’s office and the Indiana Department of Transportation.

The work, INDOT said, is being done by contractor Primco.

“The closure is scheduled to be in place for 300 days,” the INDOT post said. “Please use the detour of Canal Street, S.R. 19 and S.R. 124.”

Hunter Petroviak, spokesman for the INDOT Fort Wayne District told the Tribune that workers are doing a “deck and beam replacement.”

“Essentially taking everything off the top and replacing it,” he said in a message to the paper.

Community Calendar

Events and information

Sept. 15

The Peru Utilities Service Board will convene a regular session on Sept. 15 at 4 p.m. The public may participate via Microsoft Teams. Scheduling information and a link to join the meeting can be found at peruutilities.com.

Sept. 16

The Peru School Board will convene a work session on Sept. 16 at 6 p.m in administration building on West Third Street to continue work on revisions to the superintendent’s evaluation process.

Sept. 18

Parkview United Methodist Church will host a vendor fair from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 1785 S State Road 19. Vendors will have an assortment of products. Lunch will be available for purchase.

Harvesting Capabilities will host its fourth annual Build-A-Scarecrow fundraiser at Garden Gate Greenhouse on Sept. 18 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Attendees can choose from an adult scarecrow, a child scarecrow or a sitting scarecrow this year. Cost is $25 with all supplies is furnished – the scarecrow frame, pants, shirts, dresses, wigs, hats, scarves, and all kinds of accessories. Bring the whole family and have fun building a custom scarecrow to take home. Proceeds go to Harvesting Capabilities which provides medical equipment and aluminum ramps for members of the community in need No reservations are necessary. Call Harvesting Capabilities at 765-472-1902 with questions.

The Orlando A. Somers Camp #1, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, will meet Sept. 18 at noon at the South Branch of the Howard County Public Library, 1755 E. Center Road in Kokomo. Any descendant of a Union soldier or sailor or anyone who has an interest in the Civil War is invited to attend. For more information, call 765-667-1940 or visit www. orlandosomerscamp.org.

Sept. 21

The Miami County Council has cancelled their Sept. 21 meeting and will meet next on Oct. 19.

Sept. 27

The Miami County Democratic Party will hold its monthly meeting on Sept. 27 at 6 p.m. at the Riverwalk Shelter 10. For more information contact Bryce at 765-985-2215

The First Baptist Church of Denver will host an American Red Cross Blood Drive on Sept. 27 from 1 to 6:30 p.m at the Fellowship Hall 11 N. Yorick St. in Denver. Please call 1-800-733-2767 to schedule an appointment or go to RedCrossBlood.org. and enter: fbcden and if possible use the Rapid Pass.

Sept. 29

Parkview Methodist Church will host a mobile food pantry at 11 a.m. on Sept. 29 at 1785 State Road 19 in Peru. Distribution is drive-thru only. Those attending are asked to remain in their vehicles and arrive no earlier than 10:30 a.m.

Sept. 30

Purdue Extension in Miami County, in cooperation with Miami County Extension Homemakers, will offer three educational sessions during a “Consumer Education Day” at the Miami County Fairgrounds Sept. 30. The event includes three educational sessions. At 9 a.m. there will be a session titled “Managing Stress: Turning Challenges into Blessings.” At 10 a.m. guests can attend the “Technology for Nearly Everything (Virtual Meetings/Video Chats)” talk. And at 11 a.m. there will be a session titled “What is the Buzz about Bees and Honey?” All sessions are free and open to the public. No pre-registration is required. For more information call the Extension office at 765-471-1921.


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.

The Miami County Republican Party holds its monthly meeting on the first Tuesday of every month at 6 p.m. at party headquarters at 171 N. Miami St. in Peru.

NA Recovery Meetings


7:30 to 9 p.m. – Healing House meeting – 234 W. Main St.


7:30 to 9 p.m. – Miami Nation of Indiana Tribal Headquarters, 80 W. 6th St. (use east entrance)


7:30 – 8:30 p.m. – Miami Nation of Indiana Tribal Headquarters, 80 W. 6th St. (use east entrance)

AA Recovery Meetings


12 p.m. – Library, First Christian Church Library, 53 W. Main St. (use elevator entrance)

7:30 p.m. – Miami Nation of Indiana Tribal Headquarters, 80 W. 6th St. (use east entrance)


6 p.m. – Miami Nation of Indiana Tribal Headquarters, 80 W. 6th St. (use east entrance)


7:30 p.m. – Miami Nation of Indiana Tribal Headquarters, 80 W. 6th St. (use east entrance)


6 p.m. – Miami Nation of Indiana Tribal Headquarters, 80 W. 6th St. (use east entrance)


12 p.m. – Library, First Christian Church Library, 53 W. Main St. (use elevator entrance)

7:30 p.m. – Miami Nation of Indiana Tribal Headquarters, 80 W. 6th St. (use east entrance)


10 a.m. – Library, First Christian Church Library, 53 W. Main St. (use elevator entrance)


2 p.m. – Women’s only meeting, Library, First Christian Church Library, 53 W. Main St. (use elevator entrance)

Vaccination information

The Miami County Health Department is providing COVID-19 vaccinations now at the county health building on Court Street in Peru. Vaccines are available to those ages 12 and up on Wednesdays from 2 to 6 p.m. and on Fridays from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Walk-ins are welcome.

To make a vaccination appointment visit the state-run website ourshot.in.gov or by calling the state’s 211 telephone assistance service.

Testing available

COVID-19 testing is available through the Miami County Department of Health at the county health building on Court Street in Peru. Those who need to make an appointment for testing still need to do so by visiting scheduling. coronavirus.in.gov or calling 765-472-3901 Ext 1293 if assistance is required. Beginning Aug. 23, testing hours will be Monday and Wednesday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday testing is from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Testing is drive-up only, on Fifth Street. Those with testing appointments or needing appointments are asked not enter the Health Department building.

County COVID-19 cases jump more than 200 in less than a week

Miami County continues to add COVID-19 cases at a rate not seen since the height of the pandemic last winter.

Tuesday’s update from the Indiana State Department of Health put the county’s total case count at 5,200.

That represented a rise of 125 cases since Friday when the total was 5,075.

Friday’s total came after a two-day jump in cases of 98 and a Thursday update that added the county’s seventh death since the recent surge, largely attributed to the prevalence of the highly contagious delta variant of the virus, began in early August.

Those numbers include two single-day spikes of more than 50 cases each, something that hasn’t been seen in the county since December when numbers were trending downward following November highs.

The recent surge has boosted hospitalizations around the state as health officials urge people to get vaccinated against the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

As of Tuesday, state data showed that in the Indiana State Department of Health’s District 3, of which Miami County is one of 11 counties, hospitals in the district have fewer than 10 percent of intensive care unit beds open and around 63 percent percent of ventilators available. Those numbers are down from 23 and 78 percent, respectively, in early August.

Just over 54 percent of Indiana’s eligible population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, but Miami County remains among the state’s lowest ranked counties with a vaccination rate of 37 percent.

That figure is up slightly from Friday’s 36.7 percent.

State health officials have maintained that if more Hoosiers don’t get vaccinated and wear masks, virus spread and hospitalizations will worsen though at least early October.

In Miami County, only Maconaquah Schools have adopted a mandatory mask policy and county commissioners, on Tuesday, voted 2 to 1 to reject a mask mandate order from Miami County Board of Health.