Pictured are Indiana State Police troopers Brandon Johnson and Jacob Bill. Photo provided by Major Fred Josellis.
Pictured are Indiana State Police troopers Brandon Johnson and Jacob Bill. Photo provided by Major Fred Josellis.
WINONA LAKE – Anyone tuning into the Dr. Phil show on Monday and Tuesday who doesn’t know about Hephzibah House in Winona Lake will get to learn more about some of the accusations against the Christian boarding school for teen girls, as well as hear from the son of the founder and others who defend it.

Pastor Ronald Williams and his late wife, Patti, founded Hephzibah House in 1971.

On the Dr. Phil show, Kalie, Susan and Gaby “say they want to raise awareness about Hephzibah House, where they claim they experienced abuse,” according to a synopsis of Monday’s episode.

You can check out a video promo for it at www.youtube.com/watch?v=wA-kQYM5c8Y.

It’s not the first time the school has been featured nationally for the alleged abuse that takes place in Winona Lake. CNN featured it in 2011.

A RACE FOR JUDGE – A judge’s term is six years, and while an election for judge isn’t always contested, this year’s race for Superior Court III judge looks like it could be an interesting one.

So far, with the Honorable Judge Joe Sutton retiring, there’s three people who announced they will be running in the Republican primary for the Superior Court III chair.

While Karin McGrath told the Times-Union at a fish fry in 2019 that she’d be a contender, she made that official announcement Thursday. If elected, she’d be the county’s first female judge.

She joins Chad Miner, who made an announcement early in the week, and Robert J. Bishop, who issued a news release about his run Wednesday.

Kosciusko Clerk of Circuit and Superior Courts Ann Torpy – who also has filed for re-election this year – graciously provided the Times-Union with some background information on judges’ races.

In 2008, Torrey Bauer ran against Judge James Jarrette in that year’s Republican primary. Though Jarrette won, Bauer now sits on the bench for Superior Court II and has filed with Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson to run for another term. Jarrette has retired.

In 2012 for Circuit Court, Michael Reed ran against Stephen Harris and won.

Two years later, in 2014, for Superior Court I, David Cates, Harris and Miner ran for judge, with Cates winning; and Bauer, Mark Caruso and Tyler Haines ran for Superior II, with Bauer winning.

All four Superior Court judge positions in the county are up for election this year. A reporter heard while Cates was filing for re-election that this will be his last time.

Chris Kehler, Superior Court IV judge, was appointed by Governor Eric Holcomb in 2019, so this will be his first year to run for election for the judgeship. Among the people Kehler beat out for his seat on the bench was Miner, but Miner obviously hasn’t given up on pursuing his dream. Kehler has filed for re-election.

BELATED BIRTHDAY – A little birdie told us Friday night that we missed the birthdays of two local, well-known legends.

Former Republican chair Jean Northenor turned 87 a couple of weeks ago, and former county commissioner Avis Gunter turned 92 Tuesday. Happy birthday!

GOVERNOR’S ADDRESS – Kosciusko County Republican Party Chairman Mike Ragan reminded us that at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb will give his state of the state address. There will be a remote broadcast of the speech at the Kosciusko County Republican Headquarters downtown Warsaw. Holcomb also is scheduled to the keynote speaker at the Lincoln Day Dinner April 16.

ACCOLADES – The Village At Winona earlier this week sent in a news release touting some accolades that it and Cerulean Restaurant received online.

The Village At Winona and Cerulean both made it on the “20 in 20” lists from Visit Indiana, and The Village At Winona also was named as one of 20 places to visit in Indiana from Visit Indiana, according to the news release. Cerulean also was named as one of the 20 dining destinations in Indiana for 2020.

The items can be found at visitindiana.com.

TIGER ALUMNI SERVICE – Warsaw Community Schools likes to honor the accomplishments of its alumni, and earlier this week, it honored two who now are Indiana State Police troopers.

Brandon Johnson, class of 2017, and Jacob Bill, class of 2015, are assigned to District 21, which is in the northwest portion of Indiana, according to information from WCS. Both troopers were former Warsaw Community High School JROTC cadets, who are serving not only as state troopers, but they are also in the military.

Johnson is serving in the Indiana Army Guard and Bill is serving in the Indiana Air Guard.

Bill distinguished himself recently when he assisted children who fell through the ice. In November 2019, Bill was directed to a pond at the northeast corner of CR 325 and Wooster Road where a child was seen approximately 25 yards out in the water after apparently falling through thin ice.

Johnson continues to assist in developing WCHS JROTC cadets when he is off duty. He helps with competitive teams' practices, meets and performances. Major Fred Josellis attended Johnson's 79th Recruit Academy Graduation at the Indianapolis State House Dec. 19. The day after, Johnson was speaking to WCHS cadets about what he accomplished and how he accomplished it.

WOUNDED WARRIOR – On Friday, Congressman Jim Banks (IN-03) announced that he is seeking a wounded warrior or medically retired veteran for his Fort Wayne district office.

Through the Wounded Warrior Fellowship Program, the person chosen will work with the service member and veteran constituents to handle veteran-related casework and facilitate procedures between constituents and federal, state and local agencies.

In a news release, Banks, “As a member of the House Armed Services and Veterans Affairs committees, I spend much of my time working on legislation to assist veterans. I’m proud of my legislative work, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to work with a Wounded Warrior. Together, we will help ensure northeast Indiana’s veterans and military personnel can access our federal government and the care and services they have earned.”

Interested veterans should go to www.usajobs.gov and search “Wounded Warrior Fellowship Program” for more information and how to apply.

IN THE THOUSANDS – This week, Governor Holcomb’s campaign filed more than 9,000 petition signatures at courthouses and government offices in each of Indiana’s 92 counties, according to a news release sent out by his campaign. The signatures, filed on Wednesday and Thursday, will earn Holcomb a place on the 2020 election ballot for reelection.

“Governor Holcomb is working to serve Hoosiers everywhere every single day, and so is his campaign. Our team of volunteers, county coordinators and field staff are out in every county and every corner of Indiana,” said Kyle Hupfer, Eric Holcomb for Indiana campaign manager. “We’re organized, mobilized and energized to keep Indiana’s momentum rolling. It started with collecting ballot petition signatures in rapid time, and now we’re taking that same energy to the next stage of the campaign.”

To make a gubernatorial primary ballot in Indiana, candidates are required to collect 500 signatures from registered voters in each of Indiana’s nine congressional districts. These signatures must be turned into county Clerk of Circuit Courts across Indiana between Jan. 8 and Feb. 4, and the local clerks then must certify the signatures as valid. Once all signatures are certified, the candidate must then file for office with the Indiana Secretary of State.

STATE YOUR NAME – Meetings aren’t always long, boring and strictly business. Sometimes there’s a little fun in them.

More than once this week, Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer had to give the oath of office to various board members. The oaths start out with something like, “I, (state your name), do solemnly swear ....”

At Monday’s Redevelopment Commission meeting, Thallemer pointed out humorously that “every time we do this,” he thinks of a scene from the classic 1978 movie “Animal House” starring Donald Sutherland, John Belushi and Kevin Bacon. In the scene, when the pledges have to take an oath, they say “state your name” instead of their real name. (If you’ve seen the movie, it probably makes more sense.)

The “Animal House” scene was then brought up again at Tuesday’s Warsaw-Wayne Fire Territory board meeting when attorney Andrew Grossnickle had to give the board members, including Thallemer, their oath of office.

“I don’t know why I find that so funny,” Thallemer said after discussing it with Grossnickle.

Because it’s a funny movie!

FASHION STATEMENT – While the women of the Warsaw City Council – Diane Quance and Cindy Dobbins – both happened to be wearing red at Monday’s meeting, it was three of the five guys’ attire that caught some attention.

Jeff Grose, Josh Finch and Council President Jack Wilhite all chose to wear green. Not just any green, but a shade of pea green that seemed like a unique choice.

Grose joked that they called each other to coordinate, but after the meeting Finch promised that wasn’t true. Just a coincidence.

Between the red and green, it was very “Christmas-y.” Twelve days after the holiday, but still very festive.

As for Councilmen Mike Klondaris and Jerry Frush, Klondaris wore a business suit and Frush a yellow sweater.