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[OPEN ACCESS SAMPLE] Plain People in the News February 2023

Updated: Jun 26, 2023

An Amish Farewell

By Erin LaBelle. Manchester Press.

Close to 1,000 gathered in a former chicken house at the Borntreger farm in Delhi Jan. 31 to remember Ervin Borntreger, 22, his son Marlin Borntreger, 1, and his nieces, Emma Borntreger, 4, and Rebecca Borntreger, 2. The four lost their lives in a Grundy County van rollover accident Jan. 27 while traveling to Missouri with an Amish group during a snowstorm. The tragedy has left the Delhi Amish and non-Amish communities in a state of shock, drawing them closer together to grieve and support the three families most affected.

4 teens, 1 adult charged in crime string targeting Amish

By: Noelle Haynes. WKBN.

MERCER COUNTY, Pa. (WKBN) – Four juveniles and one adult were charged last Thursday after a string of burglaries, thefts and criminal mischief incidents that targeted Amish communities, according to a report.

According to a Pennsylvania State Police report, PSP Mercer investigated a string of crimes through Fairview, Coolspring, Perry, New Vernon, Sandy Lake Townships and the Jackson Center Borough.

The incidents occurred from September 2021 to November 2022 and were focused on rural areas targeting both businesses and private residencies. The specific target was the Amish community, according to the PSP report.

Victims of the thefts reported more than $16,000 of moveable property stolen, including an ATV, tools, fuel, firearms and chainsaws. The suspects also took $5,100 in cash and did $26,000 worth of property damage, according to the report.

PSP Mercer recovered most of the stolen goods. As a result of the investigation, PSP reports 21 burglaries were solved. Read the full article here:

The Sweet and Sour Origins of Amish Soul Food: In Pennsylvania Dutch Country, African Americans have created a distinct and delicious cuisine.

Atlas Obscura.

The delicious meals that chef Chris Scott cooks up in his Harlem kitchen may seem like new-fangled American fusion: Pennsylvania Dutch-style chicken and corn soup alongside shrimp grits; lemonade fried chicken with bread-and-butter pickles. But these are actually examples of a cuisine that has been stewing along quietly for generations: Amish soul food.

This combination of Southern and Amish cooking hails from Coatesville, Pennsylvania, where Scott grew up. “We’ve been eating this since we were kids,” says Scott. “Our parents, [too.]” Coatesville is located in Chester County, Read the full article here:

Bedeviled eggs: Bird flu, inflation bump egg prices, strain supply. ISABEL HICKS BOZEMAN. DAILY CHRONICLE. Darrel Kleinsasser, left, fills a pallet with thousands of eggs the Mountain View Hutterite Colony each week for the Billings market. Only Ike Hofer and his son are allowed inside the poultry barn. They always scrub their hands and disinfect their shoes before entering, and their chickens have stayed inside for months to prevent contact with wild birds. Hofer, the poultry barn manager for Rockport Colony, a Hutterite colony in Teton County, said the tightened security is aimed at staving off the bird flu. The colony’s laying hens haven’t yet been impacted by bird flu this outbreak, but the duo has been taking preventative measures. The bird flu did kill the colony’s 4,000 turkeys last year, only a few weeks before Thanksgiving. Read the full article here:

Stuartburn Reeve reaches out to Amish.

Written by Lexi Olifirowich Steinbach Online.

The Reeve for the RM of Stuartburn has only been in her position for a few months and has already seen ways to help everyone in her RM.

Michelle Gawronsky says when it comes to the Amish, though they are very private people, they have been open enough to ask for help from her office. For example, when the pandemic hit, the Amish ran into troubles as things turned online. She says one of the biggest issues the Amish dealt with was getting birth certificates for their children, as government offices were closed. Read the full article here:

One breeder recounted how the future member of Congress made off with four golden retrievers, leading to a criminal charge in 2017.

By Jonathan O'Connell, Emma Brown, and Shayna Jacobs.

The Washington Post.

YORK COUNTY, Pa. — It was after dark when George A. Santos approached the farmer in Pennsylvania’s Amish country looking to buy at least eight puppies.

He promised a wire transfer of more than $5,000, the farmer said, but it never appeared. He said Santos ended up writing a smaller check — and driving off with four golden retrievers. “Something inside me said I just cannot trust him,” the farmer told The Washington Post, speaking on the condition of anonymity to protect his privacy. Read the full article here:

Branch County Road Commission wants authority to license, regulate Amish traffic.

Don Reid, Coldwater Daily Reporter.

February 01, 2023.

BRANCH COUNTY — Branch County Road Commissioners will again ask state legislators for the power to regulate and license Amish buggies.

Past efforts to gain the authority exercised in Indiana for safety and to recover some costs for road use failed to gain any support in past Michigan legislatures.

Going back to 2014, California Township residents and officials complained about the damage the carbide-tipped steel horseshoes and steel wagon and buggy rims did to the roads. Read the full article here:

Their Work Was Delayed but Not Denied as Unity Amish Prepare for Year Ahead. Morning Sentinel staff report Members of the Amish community in Unity guide blocks of ice harvested Thursday from a farm pond. The ice was taken to icehouses to keep produce cold for up to a year. Photo courtesy of David Leaming. UNITY — A group of 30 Amish men and teenagers gathered Thursday for an annual effort to cut blocks of ice from a farm pond that were then stored in icehouses to keep produce cold for up to a year. The labor-intensive work is normally done earlier in the winter, but farmer Stephen Smith said it was delayed by the unseasonably warm temperatures. They were able to complete the work ahead of the bitterly cold and gusty weather that moved into the region Friday. Farmer Stephen Smith uses ice tongs Thursday to load heavy blocks of ice onto a wagon in Unity. He said about 30 Amish men and teenagers cut and chipped long pieces of ice from a farm pond before carving them into blocks for storage through the year in icehouses to keep produce cold. Photo courtesy of David Leaming. A chainsaw was used to cut large pieces of ice from the pond, and then they were crafted into smaller blocks, which were guided over to a conveyer belt using poles. The blocks were loaded onto horse-drawn wagons and taken to icehouses near a community harvest building not far from the Amish Community Market and Bakery on state Route 139, also known as Thorndike Road. The heavy load required each wagon to be pulled by a team of four horses. Smith said approximately 300,000 pounds of ice was collected as part of a project that’s essential for storing produce and other food through the year. “We’re glad it’s cold now as we usually do this in January and had to wait this year due to a warm winter,” Smith said. Read the full article here:

Two women charged with stealing tens of thousands from Amish growers in St. Croix County.

ST. CROIX COUNTY (WQOW) - Two women are charged in St. Croix County for allegedly stealing tens of thousands of dollars from Amish growers.

Linda Curtis, 50, is charged with identity theft, theft of a business setting, and two counts of resisting or obstructing an officer. Court records list a New Richmond address for her. Sabreena Stage, 22, is charged with identity theft and theft from a business setting. Court records list a Roberts address for her. Read the full article here:

Supervisors: Building codes apply to Amish residents too.

Evan Lawrence, Special to The Post-Star.

FORT EDWARD — Amish residents of Washington County won’t be exempt from meeting building codes, the county Board of Supervisors’ Public Safety Committee decided Tuesday. An Amish working group, made up of committee members and others, checked with legal counsel and was advised not to give the Amish exemptions from certificate of occupancy requirements based on their religious beliefs, several members reported. However, the group also drew up a draft waiver request form for discussion at the meeting.

Read the full article here:

From ‘no phones’ to smartphones in 38 years [The Scribbler].

JACK BRUBAKER | The Scribbler.


The Scribbler recently re-watched “Witness,” that exceptional movie made in Lancaster County in 1984 by director Peter Weir. The Scribbler was struck this time by two particular lines. The chief bad cop from Philadelphia is talking by telephone with a Lancaster police sergeant. He wonders how he might locate a good Philadelphia cop (played by Harrison Ford) who is disguised as an Amish man living among real Amish. The sergeant rejects some ideas.

Read the full article here:

Erb's Coleman Museum is still burning strong. Andrew Dolph. The Times-Reporter. SUGARCREEK – It goes without saying that museum visits can provide a glimpse back in time, and Erb’s Coleman Museum is illuminating. Forty years ago, Ed Erb started selling gas-powered refrigerators and fixing Coleman lanterns for the Amish community — particularly the fisherman. Then those fishermen started bringing him the antique lanterns they found in the attics of their parents' homes. Read the full article here:

Sewing service to others; Hutterite quilting project sends hundred overseas.

By Dana Melius. The Free Press.

At the Altona Christian Community in rural Henderson, dozens of women joined forces to put on a colorful display of service to others.

In what has become an annual project at the Hutterite colony in eastern Sibley County, the four-day sewing spectacle stretches well beyond the Altona community. Hutterite colonies from as far away as Missouri and as close as the Starland Hutterite Colony in rural Gibbon, on Sibley County’s western side, participated in the four-day gathering. It’s also a celebration of community, bringing together the generations to piece together these works of art.

Charges held for court for man accused of robbing Amish community.

By David L. Dye. Herald Staff Writer

MERCER — Charges are proceeding to the Mercer County Common Pleas Court for the man accused of organizing a string of burglaries.

Caden Hinkson, 19, of Fredonia, appeared in court for his preliminary hearing Thursday afternoon before District Judge Daniel W. Davis, Mercer.

The charges were held for common pleas court, and Hinkson’s arraignment is scheduled for April 11 before Judge Daniel P. Wallace.Hinkson is facing charges of attempted burglary, burglary, theft, criminal mischief, possessing an instrument of crime, and corruption of minors, according to court documents.Read the full article here:

Fire destroys wood shop.

Cresco Times.

CRESCO - At 8:54 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023, the Howard County Sheriff’s Office took a 911 call of a shed fire at 7011 Unity Ave., northwest of Cresco.

Cresco Community Fire Department Chief Neal Stapelkamp said, “The entire shed was fully involved upon arrival, with fire threatening another structure that was very close to the fire. Initial efforts were to save the threatened structure, which was accomplished, and then the fire department worked to extinguish the involved structure.”Read the full article here:

Dan Lee: There's much to appreciate in the Amish community.

Dan Lee.

In previous columns, I have noted that, even though I am not a Roman Catholic, I find much to appreciate in the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. This includes Paul VI’s encyclical Populorum progressio (1967), Benedict XVI’s encyclical Caritas in veritate (2009) and Francis’ encyclical Laudato si’ (2015), all of which I use as assigned reading in various courses that I teach.Read the full article here:

Kirksville man life-flighted to Columbia after buggy is struck from behind.

KTTN News.

The operator of a stationary horse and buggy received serious injuries when the buggy was hit from behind by a pickup truck in southeastern Adair County.

Forty-year-old Mervin Miller of Kirksville was flown by medical helicopter to University Hospital in Columbia. The driver of the pickup, 50-year-old Larry Hamlin of Brashear, was taken by private vehicle to Northeast Regional Medical Center in Kirksville with minor injuries.The accident happened Saturday evening four miles northeast of La Plata on Route E as the pickup was eastbound when it hit the rear of the stationary horse and buggy.

The pickup and the buggy were demolished and Hamlin was wearing a seat belt.Read the full article here:

Big-Sky Country: Photographs that capture traces of American industry, class divides, and westward expansion.

Children at the Gildford Hutterite colony.

In 2005, the photographer Christopher Churchill visited a Hutterite colony on the Montana Hi-Line, a sparsely populated stretch of prairie along the Canadian border. He was traveling the United States for a project about faith, hoping to find commonalities among divergent beliefs. But as he spent time in the small religious community, surrounded by endless wheat fields and tracks that once formed the main line of the Great Northern Railway, he soon became interested in another American belief system: capitalism. Churchill was struck by the way commerce had shaped even this isolated landscape—and also by how the colony, in which members live and work together and share the proceeds of their labor, offered an alternative view of prosperity.

Read the full article here:

Barneveld man charged with DWI following crash with Amish buggy that injured 5.

Two adults and three children were injured after a pickup truck hit an Amish buggy in Trenton. The truck driver was charged with DWI.

KTV. TRENTON, N.Y. – A Barneveld man was charged with DWI after New York State Police say he crashed into an Amish buggy, injuring two adults and three children under the age of 3.The crash happened on Powell Road in Trenton around 9:30 p.m. on Feb. 11.

State police say 58-year-old Douglas Cark was driving his pickup truck eastbound when he struck the buggy, which overturned and ejected the family of five inside.

According to Oneida County Emergency Services, Clark initially left the scene and then returned shortly after.

Local council looking to assist Amish community with tax issue.

By Bob Montgomery. Blackburn News.

Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh Mayor Glen McNeil says council has been asked to the help the Amish community in the municipality.

McNeil says, in the past, the Amish communities in Ontario and more specifically in Huron County were exempt from paying tax on their property as determined by MPAC. But McNeil says MPAC has now determined that the property the Amish schools sit on will be declared commercial and be taxable.

“So we have an Amish settlement within Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh that came to our most recent council meeting and asked if we could help them with communicating with MPAC to continue to have the Amish schools exempt,” shared McNeil. McNeil adds their municipal staff have said they’re more than willing to work with the Amish in communication with MPAC to see if they can find a solution that would continue to see the Amish schools exempt.

Lawrence Co., Ethridge residents thankful damage from 2 EF-0 tornadoes wasn't worse.

Kerri Bartlett.

The Columbia Daily Herald.

A few residents and business owners are assessing damage to their property after two EF-0 tornadoes ripped through Lawrence County, including the town of Ethridge, late Thursday afternoon, uprooting large trees and damaging structures.

After surveying the area, the Nashville Weather Service confirmed Friday evening that the severe storm produced two tornadoes that touched down in Lawrence County in addition to an EF-1, which hit Marshall County Thursday.

Read the full article here:

While rebuilding homes, Amish volunteers bond with South Louisiana over faith and food.

WWNO - New Orleans Public Radio | By Stephan Bisaha.

Give them space.

That was Ruth Crosby’s first instinct as Amish men and women worked on her Hurricane Ida-damaged home in Golden Meadow, Louisiana last May. She didn’t know if they wanted to avoid photos from the Crosby’s or just have them stay clear of the work — after all, Amish culture has a reputation for being reclusive.

Then, she noticed some of the women eating sandwiches while sitting under a tree. So Crosby decided to offer the volunteers some Cajun hospitality — as in shrimp, catfish and jambalaya.

Read the full article here:

Man accused of robbing Amish community to appear in Common Pleas Court.

By David L. Dye.Sharon Herald Staff Writer.

MERCER — The case of a local man accused of organizing a string of burglaries, many of which targeted the Mercer County Amish community, is moving to common pleas court.Caden Hinkson, 19, of Fredonia, was in court Wednesday for his preliminary hearing before District Judge Douglas E. Straub, where the charges against him were held for court.Hinkson will return to court for his arraignment April 18 in Mercer County Court of Common Pleas, according to court documents.

Read the full article here:

6 injured after [Mennonite] buggy hit by truck.


Six people were injured Tuesday after an Amish buggy was hit by a truck, according to the Iowa State Patrol.

Troopers say a Chevy truck driven by 66-year-old Jim Whitmarsh, of Charles City, was traveling eastbound on 140th Street.

The truck slammed into the back of an Amish buggy traveling in the same direction, according to crash reports. The impact caused the occupants of the buggy to be ejected.

Among the injured are 32-year-old Lavern Stauffer, 27-year-old Teresa Stauffer and four children under the age of 6. The crash remains under investigation.Read the full article here:

Elmira boy suffered excruciating burns — 10 months passed before he was taken to a hospital.Elders convinced parents that ointments, Advil and gauze dressing was all that he needed.

By Gordon Paul.

KITCHENER — The accident was horrific. What transpired over the next 10 months was tragic and led to criminal charges against the parents of a 10-year-old Mennonite boy.In May 2020, the boy was operating a riding lawn mower outside his home in Elmira.When the mower ran out of gas, the boy pulled alongside a large gas tank. His brother, 9, started pumping gas into the machine.Gas spilled onto the older brother’s left arm and torso. Heat from the mower’s engine ignited the gas. “This caused his left arm and torso to be severely burned,” Crown prosecutor Alyssa Bain told court on Friday. “The fire was extinguished with water from a garden hose by his mother and sister.”

Read the full article here:

Taking a Step Back in Time on an Amish Farm.

Goulburn Post (Australia).

Cars and trucks slowed to a careful crawl on a busy US highway to allow a quaint procession of horse-drawn buggies to dawdle across the road.

It was the first real sign of the respect fellow Pennsylvanians had for the unusual band of people who had settled in their midst.

These are the Amish. Read the full article here:

Fire destroys Pine Twp. Amish house.

PINE TOWNSHIP — A wood-burning stove is believed to be the cause of a Thursday afternoon fire that left an Amish family homeless along Malloy Hollow Road between Heilwood and Strongstown in Pine Township.

“We had heavy fire on the roof already,” Pine Township Volunteer Fire Company Chief Keith Muir said of the double-wide mobile home with an addition built on as a laundry room. Read the full article here:

Yoder Charter School chosen as semi-finalist for national award.

Alice Mannette.

The Hutchinson News.

Yoder Charter School is in the running for a national award.

The K-8 school, which is part of the Haven school system, was selected as a semi-finalist for the 2023 Building Hope Impact Award for community engagement.

The Building Hope Impact Awards were created to recognize and support charter schools across the United States that are excelling in advancing education through community engagement, student empowerment and educational innovation. Yoder Charter School was selected as one of seven schools in the community engagement category.

Va. might create religious exemption allowing gun background checks without photo ID.

‘These folks are sportsmen and they own firearms to protect their livestock’

By: Graham Moomaw. Virginia Mercury.

Virginia lawmakers are considering a bill easing photo ID rules for gun purchases to accommodate Mennonite and Amish communities that have religious objections to being photographed.

Building on past efforts to grant photo-less ID cards to Old Order Mennonite and Amish communities, the Virginia General Assembly appears set to create a religious-based exemption to rules requiring photo ID as part of the background check process for gun purchases.

Under a bill drawing bipartisan support, roughly 2,000 Virginians would gain the ability to buy firearms using special ID cards state lawmakers approved in 2019, according to the legislator sponsoring the plan. Read the full article here:

Lycoming County DA seeking comment from Amish passengers before pursuing charges. Sun Gazette. Lycoming County’s district attorney wants to talk to seven Amish men and women before he decides whether to pursue charges stemming from a fatal crash, according to Because most Amish do not have telephones, District Attorney Ryan C. Gardner said he is trying to contact the Amish, who live in Mifflin County, by letter. He also is considering sending a detective to speak with them, John Beauge of PennLive reports. Read the full article here:

Amish manure spreader rear-ended on Route 274.

A Jeep crashed into the back of a horse-drawn manure spreader on Route 274 in Western Saturday afternoon, according to the Western Fire Department.

WESTERN — One person was hospitalized after their horse-drawn manure spreader was struck by a Jeep on Route 274, according to the Western Fire Department.

Fire officials said an Amish man was driving a horse-drawn manure spreader along Route 274 at about 5:11 p.m. Saturday when the spreader was rear-ended by a Jeep. The Amish man was thrown backwards into the manure spreader, officials said, and he was taken by a private vehicle to a local hospital for his injuries.

Two people in the Jeep were also evaluated for injuries, officials said.

The New York State Police are investigating the collision.

Warsaw Adult Education Offers HSE, ELL Classes.

David Slone, Staff Writer.Times Union Online.

Many of the students seeking their High School Equivalency (HSE) are people who may not have graduated high school for a myriad of reasons and want to go back and get their degree.Abby - who did not want to provide her real full name - is 39 and is going back to school now through Warsaw Adult Education (WAE) to get her HSE after dropping out of school at 15.“Growing up in the Amish community, a lot of the times when eighth grade is done, they usually call it a graduation, but the state doesn’t see it as a graduation. And a lot of the jobs now, they ask for that higher education. There are some families in the Amish community who do encourage their kids more now than what they used to, to get that GED (now HSE) as they go on,” she said.

For more on WAE, visit the website at

Washington County supervisors won't grant Amish waivers from code rules. EVAN LAWRENCE.Special to The Post-Star. FORT EDWARD — With only Hartford Supervisor Dana Haff in favor, the Washington County Board of Supervisors voted down a resolution Friday to exempt Amish in the county from meeting state building codes. Haff introduced his own resolution after the county Public Safety Committee voted against recommending an exemption for the Amish. Read the full article here:



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