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PERU, Ind. (AP) — A north central Indiana mayor has resumed his duties after a judge found him able to again perform his job after suffering an April heart attack that sidelined him.

Miami Circuit Judge David Cox ruled this week that Peru Mayor Miles Hewitt is able to perform the duties of the city’s executive office after hearing testimony from Hewitt and considering a letter from the mayor’s cardiologist.

The 70-year-old, first-term mayor resumed his duties Tuesday, the Kokomo Tribune reported.

Hewitt said he believed he was able to return to his duties and City Attorney Dustin Kern filed a letter from the cardiologist stating the doctor believed Hewitt was able to return to work.

“I feel fantastic,” Hewitt said. “I think it’s great that I get to go back to do what the people have elected me to do.”

Hewitt suffered a heart attack April 29. Peru City Council President Patricia Russell was appointed as acting mayor May 18 after a judge deemed Hewitt unfit for office. At that time, Russell testified that Hewitt had recently been taken off a ventilator but had trouble speaking and writing, so he couldn’t conduct official business.

Hewitt said he was in intensive care for 26 days, followed by another month in a hospital and rehabilitation.

“I’m feeling better every day,” Hewitt said.

Hewitt’s term runs through 2023.

NAPPANEE and PERU, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — A manufacturer of single and double decker buses headquartered in the United Kingdom has notified the state of layoffs related to the previously-announced closure of two northern Indiana facilities. In separate WARN Notices, Alexander Dennis Inc. says it will permanently close its locations in Nappanee and Peru, affecting nearly 200 jobs.

In July, ADI parent NFI Group Inc. said it would begin integrating ADI’s manufacturing locations in North America into its existing facilities. In addition to Nappanee and Peru, the ADI plant in Vaughan, Ontario in Canada was also set to close.

The Indiana locations are responsible for the manufacturing of sub-assemblies and final assembly of the Enviro500 double deck bus and Enviro200 midi bus for the North American market.

“After a thorough review of our North American manufacturing locations, we have determined that rationalizing our ADI North American manufacturing locations is the required approach moving forward,” NFI Chief Executive Officer Paul Soubry said in July. “As it is never easy to close locations and impact individuals’ careers, this important decision was not taken lightly. This integration, however, continues us on the necessary path for NFI as we execute our plan of transforming our organization into a more cost efficient, integrated operating business.”

The company says it will begin laying off employees in Nappanee and Peru on February 4 and continuing through May 6. The affected employees are not represented by a labor union and there are no bumping rights.

A spokesperson for ADI tells Inside INdiana Business all affected employees have been offered retention payments to remain on staff until the closures are complete and will be provided re-employment assistance.

Additionally, some employees are expected to be redeployed to ADI’s sister company, ARBOC Specialty Vehicles, in Middlebury.

BURLINGTON, Ind. (WISH) — A Peru man who had been reported missing Monday in Kokomo was found dead Tuesday morning in a crashed truck that went into a ravine in western Howard County, police said.

Anthony M. Benedict, 26, was driving south on County Road 1150 West from State Road 22 to County Road West 00 North-South when his purple 1994 Ford Ranger drove straight through a curve, went off the road, struck a tree and came to rest in a steep ravine out of view from the road, according to a news release from Capt. Jordan J. Buckley, patrol commander of the Howard County Sheriff’s Office in Kokomo.

A Burlington Fire Department crew and Community Howard Regional Health medics was called to a report of the crash about 9:35 a.m. Tuesday. Benedict was pronounced dead at 10 a.m.

The crash site was about 2 miles east of Burlington.

An autopsy was set for Wednesday at Community Howard Regional Health, a hospital in Kokomo.

Anyone with information was asked to call Deputy Keith Chesshir at 765-614-3469.

INDIANAPOLIS (Inside INdiana Business)- The U.S. Department of Transportation is awarding  $2.26 million to seven Indiana airports. The grants will fund airport safety and infrastructure projects. 

The funding comes from a $520.5 million national investment in America’s airports.

“America’s airports provide a gateway to the world for our citizens while at the same time delivering first impressions of the United States to visitors from abroad,” said FAA Administrator Steve Dickson. “It’s in our national interest to make them the crown jewel in our transportation system. The Airport Improvement Program allows us to do just that.”

The award recipients in Indiana include:

• $64,447 to Putnam County Regional Airport in Greencastle for apron reconstruction.

• $300,000 to Logansport/Cass County Airport to update the Airport Master Plan.

• $150,000 to Marion Municipal Airport to modify a snow removal equipment building.

• $374,738 to Peru Municipal Airport for runway lighting work.

• $423,045 to Richmond Municipal Airport for taxiway rehabilitation.

• $573,000 to Wabash Municipal Airport for taxiway rehabilitation.

• $373,950 to Arens Field in Winamac for runway lighting work.

PERU, Ind. (AP) — Schneider Electric says it will close a factory in northern Indiana, affecting 306 workers.

Mayor Gabe Greer says the closing of Schneider’s Square D site will have a “huge impact” on Peru. The company has cut more than 120 jobs since 2017.

The Kokomo Tribune reports that the Peru plant makes switchgear and switchboard apparatus, 85 miles north of Indianapolis. The company says production is being shifted to other states and Mexico.

Schneider says the decision is in “response to competitive market dynamics and to meet the needs” of customers.

Workers are represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. Spokesman Tim Reimke says union officials were “blindsided” by the announcement Friday. He says the union and the company plan to meet this week.

PERU, Ind. (WISH) – There’s a legend the woods near the Mississinewa River in Peru are haunted. People talk about how visitors will hear a small child scream as if she is being tortured; supposedly, it is a 7-year-old girl named Stephanie.

According to Jeff King, an investigator with Truth Seekers Paranormal Investigations and the Miami County Historical Society, Stephanie and the eight bodies found on the property are just a myth.

The stories of an Indian burial ground nearby are true, and so were the uneasy feelings felt while visiting.  King brought along some tools to help with the investigation, something called a K2 meter. It’s a go-to for every reputable paranormal investigator, whether they’re a starter or at the professional level. 

For the scary part, everything starts in the dirt circle at the end of County Road 510 East.  From there, the trails go in all different directions. As News 8 photographer Marcus Collins and I went into the woods, something strange happened. Marcus noticed his microphone, the same mic he had just put brand new batteries in, is giving him static and problems. 

King spoke to the spirits to try and entice them out.

“We’ve noticed some interference with the camera,” said King. “We would love to hear from you, Marcus would love for you to say his name.” 

But nothing happens.  At one point, King points out the old Indian burial ground. I decided to head that way by myself to try and entice the ghosts to show up. After a few minutes, nothing was showing up on our K2 meter. Although, I didn’t get any definitive proof that day, the feeling surrounding those woods is something I will never forget.

PERU, Ind. (WISH) – A second arrest was made Thursday in connection to a murder investigation in Miami County

On Thursday morning, police in California arrested Joshua Kean, 23. Indiana State Police said Kean showed signs of dehydration when he was found. He was expected to be in a hospital for a couple of days before being taken to a California jail. 

He will eventually be transferred to Indiana. 

Kean is facing charges of assisting a criminal, obstruction of justice and theft. 

On May 19, mushroom hunters found 22-year-old Drake Smith of Summitville dead along the Okie Pinokie Trail near Peoria, Indiana. His death was ruled a homicide. 

Police earlier this week arrested another suspect in the case, Ethan Cain, 21. He faces charges of murder, obstruction and theft. 

PEORIA, Ind. (WISH) – Indiana State Police said Wednesday night they are searching for two men in connection to a homicide after a body was found Saturday in a state forest.

Two mushroom hunters told police about 10:20 a.m. Saturday that they found the body of Drake Allan Smith, 22, of Summitville, on the Okie Pinokie Trail near State Road 124 and Miami County Road 510 East. That’s near the entrance to Frances Slocum State Forest. 

An autopsy Monday determined Smith’s death was a homicide.

Arrest warrants have been issued for Ethan D. Cain, 21, of Marion, and Joshua C. Kean, 23, of La Fontaine. Cain faces charges of murder, obstruction of justice, and theft. Kean faces charges of assisting a criminal, obstruction of justice, and theft. 

Police said Cain and Kean should be considered armed and dangerous. People who know the pair’s whereabouts were asked to call Indiana State Police detectives at the Peru post at 1 (800) 382-0689 or (765) 473-6666. 

Cain is 5-foot-10 and about 220 pounds, with brown hair and hazel eyes. Kean is 6 feet tall and about 250 pounds, with blonde hair and blue eyes.

No further information will be released at this time, Indiana State Police said Wednesday night. 

PERU, Ind. (WISH) – One man was killed in an early morning crash in Peru Friday.

According to the Indiana State Police, authorities responded to a two-vehicle crash on U.S. 31 at Business 31 in Peru just before 5 a.m.

Police say that a semi trailer, driven by 41-year-old Celena Borders, headed north on U.S. 31 failed to stop at red light at Business 31.

As a result, the semi t-boned a 2005 Dodge pickup on Business 31, who had the right away and was attempting to make a southbound turn.

The driver of the pickup, 49-year-old Gregory Monin, was transported to the hospital, but later succumbed to injuries sustained in the crash.

The deadly crash remains under investigation.

PERU, Ind. (AP) – An Indiana doctor accused of operating a “pill mill” has been sentenced to more than 10 years of probation but no time behind bars under a plea agreement with prosecutors.

The Kokomo Tribune reports 70-year-old Dr. Tristan Stonger appeared Thursday in Miami County Circuit Court, where Judge Tim Spahr accepted Stonger’s guilty plea to five charges including issuing an invalid prescription and insurance fraud. In exchange, 50 other charges are dropped.

Stonger apologized, saying he’s “very remorseful.”

Investigators say Stonger saw as many as 100 patients in a single day and traded pain pills for work on his farm. The charges followed a three-year investigation by the Drug Enforcement Agency, which spent months surveilling his Pain Management Centers of Indiana office in Peru.

He also operated Bloomington and Indianapolis offices.