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Newburg, PA — Laura and John, who has his own construction company, live with their boys - Aiden, 7; Thomas, 4; and Micah, 3 - in a spacious house in tiny Newburg, 150 miles west of Philadelphia. John, 31, designed and built the house, which is lit with the help of solar panels during the day and gas lights at night. He also built a barn that houses his office and the family horse and buggy.
The land - 10 acres, bought from his father - was part of the original Lapp family farm, and John's parents and two of his three brothers still live close by. It's an arrangement few "English" wives likely would embrace, but Laura seems genuinely delighted.
A central Pennsylvania man convicted of robbing and assaulting three elderly Mennonite sisters has been sentenced to 12 to 40 years in prison.
The Lancaster County sentencing judge Thursday said 22-year-old Dereck Taylor Holt is a danger to the community. Holt will get psychiatric treatment in prison.
Authorities say Holt pretended to be an insurance salesman to get inside the Clay Township home in December, then bound the 85- to 91-year-old victims, hit them with a stun gun, sprayed their home with household chemicals and left them for dead.
It was nice to know that people in the Amish community also read “Across the Fence.”
I find it interesting that as I write about the way life was lived when I grew up, I’m also writing about the way the Amish are living life today. This is a case where the past and the present meet and the past is still alive and relevant. It’s not just a memory. I think that’s why I love going for rides through Amish country. I can still relate to the life they’re living.
Ohio — Approximately 200 Amish residents in Trumbull County gathered at the Mesopotamia fire station Monday evening for an open forum to discuss drug issues relating to heroin and methamphetamine.
Then meeting was called at the request of bishops within the Amish community, who reached out to the police for help. Our station was asked not to show video from inside the meeting, but two police officers and a member of the Trumbull Ashtabula Group drup task force spoke, and went over meth and heroin awareness tips.
Wisconsin: Seven Amish families in the towns of Bridge Creek and Fairchild could be added to the number of Amish evictions enforced by Eau Claire County. Now Judge William Gabler has in essence ordered the eviction of one Amish family's chickens from their chicken coop by September 27th. Why? Because the Amish have a religious objection to smoke detectors. What do smoke detectors have to do with chickens?
LANCASTER, Pa. — Yes, they partake of cocktails and a gala dinner at the tony Union Club on Park Avenue in New York, and lunch at the United Nations and the White House during their visit.
But on a recent fresh summer day, the chefs of the heads of state from all over the globe gather for chicken croquettes, succotash, whoopie pies and other local dishes at an Amish barn in East Lampeter Township.
It is a day for a celebration of simple food and simple moments, a sort of sweet corn diplomacy offered from Lancaster County to the outside world.
SULLIVAN — If something is worth inventing, it’s worth inventing again.
Armed with that kind of reassurance, Sullivan entrepreneur Larry Yoder has gone ahead and reinvented the horseless carriage “because I had a ball doing it.”
And it really is a carriage: He’s taken a former Amish buggy and built solar panels into the roof to feed batteries that power an electric motor capable of whipping it along at 14 mph, flat out. The buggy has been lengthened and widened and now, measuring 10 feet long and 6½ feet wide, will hold six passengers in comfort in its green crushed velvet interior.
Traditional Amish beliefs are butting heads with modern society in Eau Claire County, where county officials are meeting resistance by some of the county’s Amish residents to installing smoke detectors in their homes.
One Amish family in the eastern part of the county, near Augusta, has been evicted from its home, in part because of the issue, and others face possible eviction because of their refusal to allow smoke detectors in their homes and their objections to other portions of the state building code, said Randy Hill, an Eau Claire tax preparer who has several Amish clients.
GLADSTONE – A member of a Manitoba Old Order Mennonite community tells Global News that Child and Family Services took 42 children from their homes near Gladstone last week.
“We are very distressed,” said a bearded man riding a horse and buggy who Global News can’t identify to protect the identity of children involved.
“CFS has apprehended all our children that are minors. They walked into the houses, took the babies out of their cribs while they were sleeping.”
FAIRBANK, Iowa — A member of an Amish Community, William J. Yutzy, 30, of 33906 Hilton Road, Edgewood, formerly of 1370 Dillon Ave., Fairbank, pleaded guilty and was sentenced on one count of Sexual Abuse in the Third Degree, a Class C Felony, in Buchanan County District Court on Tuesday, June 5.
In January 2012, our lives changed in a way that we never anticipated. My husband John and I went to a John Regier seminar for marriage relationships. That day, we heard a lot of inspiring information. As I lay in bed that night, I asked Jesus to forgive me for my sins and to live in my heart. I remember thinking to myself just before I completely fell asleep, “How am I going to tell John?”
CHATSWORTH, Ont.— Police have charged an Owen Sound, Ont., man after they say members of local Amish communities were followed around and harassed for more than a decade.
Provincial police spokeswoman Alina Grelik alleges a male suspect has been harassing Amish in Chatsworth Township and Owen Sound for some 13 years.
They say an investigation launched after several incidents last month revealed the alleged harassment had been occurring since 2000.
Last week, I received this message from a young woman who read The Outcast . She had grown up in the Amish church but left under the protection of her family when she was nineteen years old. This is what she had to say:
BALTIC, Ohio — In parts of Ohio and Pennsylvania where horse-drawn buggies clip-clop at the pace of a bygone era, Amish communities are debating a new temptation — the large cash royalties that can come with the boom in oil and gas drilling.
In some ways, Amish attitudes toward hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, are as different from the outside world as their clothes and traditions. Instead of worries about air and water pollution, they're focusing on people's souls.
LANCASTER, PA — An Amish-style horse and buggy were stolen from behind a Waffle House in Lancaster early Sunday morning.
East Lampeter Township Police said the victim reported that his horse and buggy had been tied behind the restaurant on the 2500 block of Lincoln Highway East, while he and a friend were in the Waffle House between 3:45 and 4:51 a.m.
JEFFERSON COUNTY, N.Y. — A three-year-old boy is dead after he was crushed by heavy gates at an Amish farm in Jefferson County.
Deputies say it happened Monday afternoon along Dog Hill Road in Orleans.
According to investigators, the boy was climbing the metal gates when they fell on him. Each gate weighed about a hundred pounds.
WAYNE COUNTY — The Wayne County Sheriff says that suspects have been passing counterfeit $100 bills in the Amish community.
These bills look very genuine at first glance and will pass the "pen test" vendors often use. This is because the bill is printed on a $1 bill.
It is common for those involved in these crimes to bleach the $1 bill and then print larger denominations onto the now-blank bill.
The money then feels real and will pass the pen test.
In the most recent case, the suspects were driving a black minivan occupied by a man and two women, all with visible tattoos.
CANTON — An Amish couple is waiting to find out if child neglect charges against them will be dropped following a closed-door conference Thursday in Family Court.
The couple, Annie L. and Levi M. Shetler, were charged last year after they refused open-heart surgery for their newborn daughter, Sarah, because they said the operation goes against the tenets of their religion.
SPENCERVILLE, IN — An Amish pallet factory has been cited for a dozen child labor violations involving seven different children. The most serious violation the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration (IOSHA) cited the factory near Spencerville for involves a 15-year-old girl who had her arm cut off by a woodworking machine.
Driving around Amish country in northeast Indiana, many probably wouldn’t even notice Timberline Crating. But behind the barbed wires and past the horses sits the pallet manufacturing factory now cited for violating child labor laws.
"Because they've never been written about by scholars in books before and because the Amish are a human community and there are incidents of child abuse. There are incidents of domestic violence. There are Amish people who struggle with their sexual identity and orientation and that's part of Amish life. We felt we needed to look at those topics and include them in a comprehensive book about Amish life in America...
"They're human beings like we are. They have their own struggles. As one grandmother said to me, 'We have our good ones and our bad ones. We have our problems like everybody else.'"
Eau Claire — Here in western Wisconsin many of us wouldn't be too shocked to see a horse drawn buggy roll through our town, we know there are Amish communities mixed into our rural communities. One Eau Claire woman is breaking from tradition, as she pursues a life outside of her Amish family.
When she's not busy studying or working her job at Menards, 26-year-old Sarah Borntreger volunteers her time at the Trinity Equestrian Center in Eau Claire.
"I'm definitely a country girl. Growing up on a farm, we had horses, we had cows, no electricity, no TV, none of that," says Sarah.
I grew up in an Amish community in northern Indiana. I am the youngest child of four. I was ten when my 21-year-old brother died after a two-year battle with a brain tumor. My oldest sister is married, and another one is no longer Amish.
The Amish, the ex-Amish and the Amish scholars gathered together for the Elizabethtown College Amish Conference on June 6-8 to discuss various aspects of Amish life, from religion to technology to healthcare.
Gazing into the crowd at many panels revealed a mix of bonnets and ponytails as the groups came together. Everyone came from a different background and everyone had a different story to tell.
GALEN NY — Two Amish were sent to jail and fined for the death of nine dogs in December.
Town Justice Carol Heald sentenced Merlin Schmucker, 26, of 849 Burch Road, Galen, and Jonathan Eicher, 19, of 828 Gansz Road, Lyons, Wednesday to 30 days in the Wayne County Jail after the two pleaded guilty to animal cruelty charges.
Baraboo, Wisconsin — Less than a week after the jury acquitted him of three criminal charges, Eric Defort and Phillip Ferris, attorneys for the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ), move to have the judge revoke the terms of the bond and jail Vernon Hershberger.
In January 2012 Vernon Hershberger was arraigned at the Sauk County Courthouse on four criminal misdemeanor charges for violations of the state food and dairy code; after appearing before Judge Guy Reynolds, he was released on a $500 bond with the bond containing conditions he was not to violate.
Lancaster, PA — When young people get to their late teens or early 20s, they must decide whether to remain in the church and adopt its austere rules, and the researchers found more traditional Amish families currently experience defection rates of less than 6 percent, compared to about half of the children of the most progressive Amish.
More conservative Amish tend to live in more secluded places, and their lifestyle restrictions can make the outside world seem distant and intimidating, Kraybill said. More progressive families lead lives that are not much different than Amish-type groups that permit cars, making it a shorter leap for their children to leave.
The annual eighth-grade graduation took place Wednesday at Westview School Corp., and about half the graduating pupils were Amish.
For most of these students, the graduation ceremony signals the end of their formal education, as attendance in high school and beyond is considered by many Amish to be contrary to their religion and way of life.
“As a general percentage, between 40 and 45 percent of our students in our eighth-grade class are Amish,” said Randy Zimmerly, superintendent of the Westview School Corp. “We pretty much know that all of those kids are going to decline going on to high school.”
Why, exactly, do Amish students tend to end their formal educations at eighth grade when a majority of non-Amish students continue on through 12th grade and beyond? What’s more, how are they legally able to do it?
As the Amish population has grown more rapidly than other segments of Lancaster society, more and more Amish have had to find work off the farm. Even so, thousands maintain farms and are eager to purchase new farms.
The Amish bought the first farms south of Route 30 about 1940. Since then, they have taken over hundreds of farms in the southern end, with a population beginning to rival the historic heart of the Amish settlement in eastern Lancaster County.
For many Amish teens, Rumspringa means hard partying, dating, cars — and Facebook. So much for “What happens in Rumspringa stays in Rumspringa.”
Since kids on Rumspringa are determinedly social (they are looking for spouses, after all), they don’t spend hours alone online. They use tech and social networking with purpose bordering on urgency. When I asked Noah what’s different about how the Amish use Facebook, he suggested that they use it more so than non-Amish do. It’s critical for a Rumspringa social life.