Amish in the News

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Amish Kidnapping in New York

September 18, 2014

The two people accused of kidnapping two Amish girls in St. Lawrence County in August are facing several charges, and federal prosecutors have revealed that there was a third victim. U.S. Attorney Richard Hartunian announced the charges Thursday for Steven Howells Jr. and Nicole Vaisey. The two are charged with conspiracy to sexually exploit children and sexual exploitation of children. They are also charged with sexual exploitation of children for a third case that happened between 2012 and 2014. Howells is also charged with possession of child pornography in this case.

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.

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.

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.

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.

New York's Amish Population Growing Rapidly

July 20, 2014

Whitehall, New York - While it may seem surprising Whitehall has become a microcosm of the growing Amish population in New York and America, it’s really just a matter of geography. Whitehall, which Supervisor George Armstrong estimates is home to more than 100 Amish, is the latest town in the state to host an influx of Amish and is seeing that rise as a result of growing populations to the west, both in New York and the more traditional Amish states of Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana.

Amish Population by State (2014)

July 18, 2014

Settlement and district statistics were updated as of May 1, 2014. Population figures (which include adults and children) are estimates calculated by using state-sensitive averages of the estimated number of people per church district. The number of adults and children per district varies by region, community, affiliation, and age of the district; therefore, the actual number of people in a specific district or state may be higher or lower than the estimates in these tables. The national composite average per district is 136.9. The figures include all Amish groups that use horse-and-buggy transportation, but exclude car-driving groups such as the Beachy Amish and Amish Mennonites.

Facebook Tip Leads to Arrest in Hit-and-Run Crash that Injured 3 Amish in Horse-Drawn Buggy

July 15, 2014

Ischua, New York - Authorities say a tip called in by a Facebook follower led to the arrest of the motorist who was involved in a hit-and-run accident with an Amish horse-drawn buggy on a western New York road. State police say they posted information on the July 7 crash in Cattaraugus County on Facebook and Twitter. Troopers say a Facebook user called them with information on the vehicle and driver. That led to the arrest of a 31-year-old woman from Cuba, New York.

Man Admits to Targeting Amish and Old Order Mennonite Homes in Burglary Spree

July 14, 2014

East Earl, Pennsylvania - An East Earl man admitted to burglarizing more than a dozen local homes, most of the targets being Plain-sect properties. Lewis B. Knight, 29, pleaded guilty to 14 burglaries in at least four eastern Lancaster County jurisdictions while supporting a drug habit earlier this year. Most of the victims were Amish or Old Order Mennonite, according to police. Knight pleaded to numerous felonies and misdemeanors regarding the spree that ended when his car got stuck in a victim’s driveway.

Police: Woodhull Woman Stole from Amish Residents, Church

July 13, 2014

Woodhull, New York - Police say a Woodhull woman used her position as a bank employee to defraud money from Amish individuals, businesses and the Old Order Amish Church. Stacy L. Zeh, 42, has been charged with two counts of fourth-degree grand larceny, an E felony, and one count of second-degree scheme to defraud, a misdemeanor. Painted Post-based New York State Police say Zeh was an employee at Woodhull branch of Community Bank. An investigation began when Amish community members noticed discrepancies in their accounts. The bank’s branch manager had begun an internal investigation into discrepancies in their own records.

Remembering my Amish Baptism

July 11, 2014

Stuarts Draft, Virginia - I was baptized at the above Stuarts Draft, Va., Amish meetinghouse on a warm Sunday morning in June, 1954 — 60 years ago. At just under 15, I was the youngest member of a baptismal class of about a half-dozen teens who gave a public witness to their faith and joined the church that day. It was a memorable experience for a 14-year-old who had always experienced church as a central part of his life and who was now received as a full-fledged fellow member of it. I’ll never forget kneeling at the front of the congregation and having our good Bishop Simon Yoder cup water in his hands from a bowl and gently pour this sacramental sign of cleansing and commissioning on my head — “im Namen des Vaters and des Sohnes und des heiligen Geistes” — and then taking me by the hand and having me stand as a new born and newly welcomed adult member of God’s family.

Nebraskan Pleads Guilty in Buggy Crash Death Case

July 8, 2014

Pawnee City, Nebraska - A 57-year-old woman has pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges related to a fatal collision with a horse-drawn buggy in southeast Nebraska. Online court records say Vivian Cockrell, of Pawnee City, made her pleas Monday in Pawnee County District Court. She was convicted of motor vehicle homicide and misdemeanor misuse of a learner's permit.

Geauga County Amish Attacks Underscore Community's Relationship with Sheriff's Office

July 3, 2014

Middlefield, Ohio - Sheriff's deputies in Geauga County spent decades trying to form a better relationship with a segment of its community not known for its openness with law enforcement — a group who didn't readily pass information along about criminal activity and crimes committed against its members. Fostering a mutual relationship with the Amish community in this region about 45 miles east of Cleveland took time, persuasion and anti-drug program called D.A.R.E. "It gave us a reason to sit down with them and talk," Geauga County Sheriff's Office Lt. John Hiscox said. "Other than if you have any concerns give us a call."

Authorities Investigate Armed Robberies of Amish Buggies

July 2, 2014

Gladwin and Clare Counties, Michigan - Michigan State Police troopers from the West Branch Post, along with Gladwin and Clare county sheriff’s deputies, are investigating several armed robberies of Amish buggies. The armed robberies and attempted armed robberies occurred in Gladwin and Clare counties between May 22 and June 4, a media release from troopers states. Troopers first began investigating the case after the June 4 attempted robbery, which occurred about 10 p.m. along Bard Road in Gladwin County. The victim of the robbery attempt turned his buggy around and drove away when the suspect approached him. No property was stolen and no one was hurt.

Deputies Break Up Large Amish Kegger

July 1, 2014

Lisbon, Ohio - The Columbiana County sheriff's office broke up an Amish keg party in a wooded area off Myers Road Saturday night. According to sheriff's reports, the Carroll County Sheriff's Office had contacted the department in this county at 10:17 p.m. about the party, which was reportedly in West Township. Deputies arrived and saw two Amish wagons parked over a hill and two people attempting to hide horses in the woods. Deputies could also hear music coming from the woods and began walking toward the source. They met several people walking out toward the road and learned there were at least 80 people in the woods.
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"Dear Joe and Esther: Once again, thanks so much for coming and sharing your heart and MAP's ministry with us last Sunday. Our hearts are burdened along with yours for teh Amish, and we are grateful to be privileged to partner with you in ministry. -- In Christ, Portage Community Church"

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