Amish in the News

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Horse and Buggy Crashes Decline but Still Deadly in Lancaster County, Penn.

October 22, 2014

​Lancaster County, Pennsylvania - Nothing says “Lancaster County” in Pennsylvania like the sight and sound of a lathered horse pulling a square, black buggy down the road. The county undoubtedly has more of the horse-powered vehicles than any other in Pennsylvania, based on population data. And while that means Lancaster County is the place to go to witness Plain Sect life, it also means emergency responders here have to pick up the pieces from more buggy crashes than any other county in the state. A lot more.

Shooter who Killed Horse Pulling Amish Buggy Gets Prison

October 20, 2014

Lancaster, Pennsylvania - A Pennsylvania man who pleaded guilty in a drive-by shooting that killed a horse pulling a buggy with an Amish family inside in Lancaster County has been sentenced to one to two years behind bars. Last November, Timothy Diggs Jr. apologized for his behavior and attributed it to cough medicine abuse. LNP newspapers reports that the 21-year-old from Ronks, Pa. pleaded guilty to cruelty to animals and reckless endangerment and also entered pleas in several unrelated cases.

Police Investigating Suspicious Behavior at Amish Schools

October 10, 2014

Wilmington Township, Pennsylvania - An Amish school in northern Lawrence County was put on lockdown last week when a man behaving in an unusual manner trespassed into the schoolyard. State police said that a white man parked his truck outside Shepard School’s front gate at about 1 p.m. Oct. 3. The school, along Route 208 in Wilmington Township, is a private Amish education facility. The man reportedly sat in his truck for more than 15 minutes watching the children playing outside and then walked into the schoolyard and entered an outhouse on the property, where he remained for about 10 minutes.

Merlin Miller from 'Amish Mafia' Tries, Fails to Confront Gov. Tom Corbett Outside Lancaster Newspapers

October 10, 2014

Lancaster, Pennsylvania - Merlin Miller, the eccentric leader of the Ohio Amish community on TV's “Amish Mafia,” appeared Friday at Lancaster Newspapers’ door in an attempt to collar the governor for a few private words. Miller is the nemesis of Lebanon Levi, self-proclaimed leader of the local Amish community, on the series. Gov. Tom Corbett, who was at LNP on Friday for a meeting with the editorial board, signed a petition in August supporting, a movement to halt erroneous and damaging portrayals of the Amish community on screen.

After 2-year fight, Amish school opens

October 8, 2014

Algansee Township, Michigan - After two years of meetings, misunderstandings and legal wrangling, the Amish community in Algansee Township have opened a fourth school in the 500 block of Colvin Road. Monday night the township board approved a special use permit to allow the school to operate on a 4-acre parcel split from Henry Eicher’s property at 588 Colvin Road. It also allowed for a split driveway of 20 instead of 40 feet to the school and reduced required setbacks for existing buildings from 20 to 17 feet following the Sept. 29 recommendation from the board's planning commission.

Accused Kidnappers of Amish Girls Charged with Abusing more Victims

October 8, 2014

The St. Lawrence County couple accused of kidnapping two Amish girls and making child pornography were running a child porn operation, exploiting half a dozen children over the course of almost a year, according to the office of U.S. Attorney Richard Hartunian. The U.S. Attorney's office today filed new charges against Stephen Howells and Nicole Vaisey, adding three more victims to the list. The charges detail 15 additional times that the couple or Howells, alone, made child pornography.

Raw Milk Cases Being Presented to State Supreme Court

October 7, 2014

New Holstein, Wisconsin - Though it has been decided that selling unpasteurized dairy products in Wisconsin is illegal, advocates for raw milk would like to know what the state's Supreme Court has to say about the public's rights to consume it. A group called Food Freedom USA has reported that petitions for review have been filed with the court in three separate cases involving the legality and constitutionality of farmers that wish to establish contracts with private individuals who want to obtain such products. Two of the petitions were filed Monday on behalf of dairy farmers Mark and Petra Zinniker of Walworth County and Grassway Organics Farm Store in New Holstein, who's business licenses were both revolked by the state for selling unpasteurized products to customers. A separate petition for Vernon Hershberger was filed back in August. He was the former Amish farmer from Sauk County that was found guilty last year of violating a state hold order placed on his milk products after a raid on his property.

Upstate New York Casino Plan Divides Amish And Neighbors

October 6, 2014

Tyre, New York - Ever since they settled in this tiny farm town along the New York State Thruway more than a decade ago, the Amish have been a benign, generally welcome presence: guiding their buggies down local roads, delivering fresh produce to their neighbors and paying their taxes — though they do not vote. But the possibility that a glittering casino could be built here, halfway between Syracuse and Rochester, has torn at the bonds that knit together the area’s Amish and secular residents.

Couple Drives Amish Workers to Job

October 5, 2014

Cave City, Kentucky - Billy Minton often jokes with the Amish employees at Bi-Rite grocery in Cave City, with whom he's developed a good rapport since he began driving them to and from work about a year ago. Minton retired as Cave City's police chief about two years ago, but found he was uninterested in staying at home and doing nothing. He then heard about the driving job - which he calls "a blessing" - through the grapevine. "I had actually started out driving for another gentleman who owned the van," Minton said. "I drove for him for a while and he had to downsize just a little bit, so what I done was buy my own van and came down and talked to the owner here."

So you Think you Want to Become Amish

October 2, 2014

Jumping the fence from the other side ... I can't tell you how many letters, phone calls and e-mails I receive from people inquiring about how they can become Amish. The number has to be in the hundreds, I'm sure. Most of these folks have done some research about the Amish lifestyle and admire the simplistic qualities by which the Amish live. Although I'm sure some are totally sincere, I often get the feeling many of these people are inquiring because they are looking for a "quick fix" to their hectic, over-materialistic, fed-up-with-the-way-things-are lives.

Brown City Raises a Stink Over Amish Buggies

September 29, 2014

Brown City, Michigan – Hoof steps and the sound of steel wheels crunching over gravel are a common soundtrack to country life in southwestern Sanilac County. While Amish horses and buggies aren’t a new sight on the roadways, concerns about what comes with the use of literal horsepower have been raised recently. “Basically I’ve had some complaints about manure being left on the streets, both on Main Street and the side streets, so I reached out to the Amish community to see if we could find some sort of solution to that,” Brown City City Manager Clint Holmes said. “We don’t think it’s a health issue. Primarily it’s aesthetics.”

Man Arrested for Allegedly Robbing Amish

September 9, 2014

Sheridan Township, Michigan – A Beaverton man has been arrested for allegedly robbing an Amish family in Clare County. On Aug. 28, Clare County Sheriff’s Department, with help from Gladwin County Sheriff Department obtained information as to the identity of the suspect who was wanted for questioning in an armed robbery case. The incident occurred on May 23, 2014, and involved an Amish family in Sheridan Township. Further investigation led detectives to a Gladwin County residence, where a search warrant was served and evidence related to the robbery was located.

Amish Families to Sign Permits to Stay in their Homes

September 8, 2014

Eau Claire County, Wisconsin - A number of Old Order Amish families in Eau Claire County will sign building and sanitary permits “under protest” to remain in their homes, according to their attorney. Those families say signing the permit applications would cause them to lie because they have no intentions of installing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors as required by the county’s Uniform Dwelling Code. On Friday, Judge Kristina Bourget ordered Clemens Borntreger, Mahlon Miller Jr. and Eli Gingerich to sign the permit applications and pay the required fees by Sept. 30 or face eviction. The case against David Gingerich was dismissed because his home has become a storage facility. They are all of the Augusta and Fairchild areas.

Crimes are on the Rise in Amish Communities

September 7, 2014

Lancaster, Pennsylvania - An Amish man charged with driving drunk? Yes, it happens in Lancaster County — perhaps more frequently than one would think. Drunken driving, along with sex abuse, are the crimes most often committed by local members of Plain sects. In fact, more Amish and Old Order Mennonites are being charged here than ever before, according to local law-enforcement officials and one Amish leader.

Ohio woman in Amish case seeks her release

August 29, 2014

CLEVELAND (AP) - The attorney for a woman serving time in connection with beard- and hair-cutting attacks targeting Amish is asking a federal judge to release her.

Amish Who Escaped Persecution have New Problem in Wisconsin

August 25, 2014

An expert on the Amish community says Wisconsin state government should leave them alone. The Amish number about 220,000 in the United States and reside in 20 states. They have faced lawsuits only in two states, New York and Wisconsin. In the latter state, a judge has taken a first action against a Fairchild group, ordering them to leave their homes unless they meet building and sanitary standards. That, in part, means installing smoke detectors and plugging into the sewer system in violation of their religious beliefs.

3 Amish Buggy-jacked in Lancaster County

August 25, 2014

East Lampeter Township, Pennsylvania - Police are searching for a man who robbed the occupants of an Amish horse and buggy early Monday morning in East Lampeter Township, Lancaster County. Authorities say the buggy was travelling east on the 300 block of East Eby Road. A white minivan travelling westbound pulled into their lane, forcing the buggy to stop. The suspect had his face covered and pointed a firearm at the group. The three occupants of the buggy tossed their wallets and then steered the buggy into an adjacent field to get away.

Pennsylvania Governor Wants TV Series ‘Amish Mafia' Dropped

August 18, 2014

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania - Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett and other politicians have signed a statement calling on the Discovery Channel to drop the series “Amish Mafia.” The statement says “Amish Mafia” is a “bigoted portrayal” of the religious sect and misrepresents the Amish in Pennsylvania’s Lancaster County as a “crime-ridden culture.” The statement is signed by 18 elected officials, including congressmen, state senators, state representatives and Lancaster’s mayor. Pennsylvania’s two U.S. senators signed a similar statement.

Amish Horse Manure Causing Stink in Village of Heuvelton

August 14, 2014

Heuvelton, New York - The village board has asked St. Lawrence County Legislator Joseph R. Lightfoot, R-Ogdensburg, to seek legal advice from the county attorney over the best way to proceed with crafting a public ordinance to regulate Amish horses defecating on village streets. The Heuvelton area is home to one of the largest Amish populations in the region, with hundreds of families scattered throughout the towns of Oswegatchie, Depeyster, Hammond and Macomb, according to village officials. As a result, horses and buggies are a common sight in downtown Heuvelton, where many Amish families conduct business.

After Baby Dies in Buggy Crash, Amish Family Moves Forward with Rare Lawsuit

August 14, 2014

Shipshewana, Indiana - Loren and Eva Schlabach lost their only son in a traffic accident on a clear summer day more than two years ago. Today, their pain remains so unbearable that they might be willing to risk losing their community to find justice. At 12:17 p.m. on July 9, 2012, while Loren was at work, Eva, then 25, was driving the family’s horse-drawn buggy east on S.R. 120, about three miles north of Shipshewana, with their two daughters and son. They were moving through an S-shaped curve in the road, marked with “NO PASSING” signs, when a semi-tractor trailer struck them as it attempted to pass from behind, sending their buggy into a roadside ditch. Eva and her daughter, Nichole, then 3, were flown to a hospital in Fort Wayne and were later released. Darla, then 4, was taken by ambulance to a hospital in LaGrange and also survived. But their 7-month-old son, Jaedon, was killed in the crash.

Buggy-crossing Signs Rejected

August 13, 2014

​Milaca, Minnesota - Mille Lacs County commissioners are divided on whether the county should install horse drawn vehicle-crossing signs in parts of the county following a 85-signature petition the board received that requested such signs be put up. The signatures included non-Amish and Amish names, and comes after a significant number of Amish have settled in the Milaca-Bock area starting about a year ago. Joel Stottrup / Union-Eagle Two Amish buggies with slow-moving-vehicle signs, sit at a residence along Mille Lacs County Road 1 south of Bock on Aug. 7. The county commissioners on Aug. 5 voted 2-2 on a motion by commissioner to install the signs. Because of the tie vote the motion failed. Commissioners Genny Reynolds and Roger Tellinghuisen supported the measure. Commissioners Phil Peterson and Dave Oslin voted no and Tim Wilhelm abstained.

Horse-drawn Wagon Crash Kills Ohio Amish Country Animal Park Employee, Injures 9 Passengers

August 12, 2014

Berlin, Ohio - A horse-drawn wagon has run over an animal park worker in Ohio's Amish country and crashed, killing the worker and injuring nine passengers. The Holmes County sheriff's office says deputies were called to Rolling Ridge Ranch Animal Park in Berlin on Tuesday morning. It says Apple Creek resident Orley Miller was operating the wagon and was pronounced dead at the scene.

UPDATED: Churches, Faith Groups Join Forces to Kill Support for 'Amish Mafia'

August 5, 2014

It’s time for Amish reality TV to put up its dukes. With a groundswell of support still growing for the Respect Amish cause, organizers say they will make their voices heard — and, if possible, push shows like “Amish Mafia” out of Lancaster County altogether. “We’re going to try to get a large enough megaphone that they can no longer ignore us at Discovery Channel headquarters,” local filmmaker Mary Haverstick, who launched the Respect Amish movement in June, said Tuesday.

Local Author Dee Yoder visits Main Street Books, Discusses Latest Novel

August 3, 2014

Mansfield, Ohio - Local author Dee Yoder visited Main Street Books Saturday afternoon to discuss her latest book, “The Miting.” “The Miting” portrays the life of a young Amish woman who desires to learn more about her Old Order beliefs. During her search for answers, she comes across an ex-Amish couple who hosts Bible studies in their home. She chooses to move in with the couple; however, she struggles with homesickness and ultimately has to decide which world she wants to be part of. “It’s fictionalized, but there isn’t anything in the book that I made up. All of the experiences mentioned in the book actually happened to someone,” Yoder said.

Two People Hospitalized after Car Collides with Amish Buggy in Wayne County

July 28, 2014

Frankling Township, Ohio - The Ohio State Highway Patrol is investigating a motor vehicle crash that sent two to the hospital Monday morning in Wayne County. The OSHP said the crash happened on County Road 49 in Franklin Township around 9:30 a.m. Martha Allen, 77, was driving northbound in her 2005 Buick Century when she failed to maintain an assured clear distance and rear-ended an Amish buggy.

Amish Hair-cutters Adjust to Life After Prison

July 28, 2014

Bergholz, Ohio - Amish farmer Raymond Miller developed a taste for Mountain Dew soda, got his GED and wonders if he should get a pool table after learning to play in prison. His wife, Kathryn, who had never ridden a public bus before boarding one last year to go to prison for forcibly cutting the hair of her relatives, was introduced to yoga and step classes while behind bars. The Millers, members of an Amish breakaway sect from eastern Ohio at the center of 2011 hair-cutting attacks on other Amish followers, are trying to settle back into life at home after being exposed in prison to a world their religion is focused on locking out.

Lovina's Amish Kitchen: Wedding Prep, Broken Washer All in a Week's Work

July 28, 2014

All is quiet here at the Eicher household. Everyone has retired for the evening. I will be glad to join them, but I can’t neglect the duty of this column. I will leave early to go help bake pies at brother Albert’s house. Albert and Sarah Irene’s daughter, Irene, is getting married to Levi Raber on Wednesday. I will be a cook at the wedding, so some of us go to help prepare whatever needs to be done and bake pies. I still need to sew my cape and apron for the wedding. I finished my dress.

Why are Amish More at Risk of Having High Cholesterol?

July 27, 2014

In addition to their neat farms and tidy gardens, their penchant for quilts and chicken potpie, and their work ethic and thriftiness, the Pennsylvania Dutch may share another quality. A dangerously high cholesterol level. A unique new screening effort is trying to find people with andisorder that leads to the high level, and an aggressive cardiovascular disease that results from it.

Man Allegedly Robs Amish Business at Gunpoint

July 25, 2014

Conewango, New York – Cattaraugus County Sheriffs deputies arrested a Cherry Creek man for robbing an Amish business in the Town of Conewango. The shop owner said that 22-year-old Michael Dybka robbed him at gunpoint at his shop on Chapman Road. Dybka is then accused of tying up the shop owner. When deputies arrived, the owner gave them a description of the vehicle and that led them to Dybka at his Cherry Creek home.

Amish Girl Killed by Pickup Truck

July 25, 2014

​Mahoning Township, Indiana - An 18-month-old Amish girl was killed yesterday afternoon when she was run over by a pickup truck at a home along Route 954 in West Mahoning Township. Indiana County Coroner Jerry Overman Jr. says the girl’s father was unloading tools and equipment from the truck at about 5 o’clock, and when he finished, the driver of the truck started to back up. He heard a thump and thought it was a rock, but when he got out of the truck, he discovered Martha Byler unresponsive near the right rear wheel.
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