Amish Acres 23,000-square-foot restaurant barn

With an 8,000-square-foot main kitchen and a second kitchen and bar on its second floor, the 23,000-square-foot restaurant barn at Amish Acres has been serving 60,000 meals annually.

Kruse Plaza owners buy Amish Acres

NAPPANEE — The owners of Kruse Plaza in Auburn bought a major portion of the Amish Acres complex in Nappanee in an auction Wednesday night.

John Kruse of Auburn, Jason Bontrager of Elkhart and former congressman Marlin Stutzman of Middlebury paid $1.55 million for the entertainment center at Amish Acres. The purchase includes the Round Barn Theatre, a 400-seat restaurant and rights to an annual festival, as well as parking areas, Kruse said.

Kruse said the new owners intend to continue operating Amish Acres as a tourist attraction. He said it will open on schedule this spring, around Memorial Day, and continue its popular arts and crafts festival this summer.

“What we’re going to be focused on first is the ultimate experience” for visitors, he said. “We want to build off what’s there. We want to try to improve it. We want to bring in a lot of current things that people will resonate with more in 2020. ... We’re excited about all of it.”

Kruse said the new owners aim to modernize the restaurant menu, increase options for weddings at Amish Acres and bring “new and exciting theater opportunities.” He said his group holds rights to a theater-entertainment package that “people are going to absolutely love” and that will be a “significant draw.”

Police charge two with machete robbery

SHIPSHEWANA — A woman police say threatened the front desk clerk at a Shipshewana hotel with a machete during a robbery in November has been arrested, along with her alleged accomplice.

Shipshewana police officers, Indiana State Police troopers and members of the LaGrange County Sheriff’s Office critical response team arrested Mackenzie Scott, 22, of Goshen, at a Shipshewana home Thursday along with Matthew Felder, 28, of Shipshewana.

Scott, police believe, was the ski mask-wearing woman who entered the Van Buren Hotel on Nov. 16 at about 1 a.m. brandishing a machete. She allegedly used that machete to threaten the clerk behind the hotel’s front counter as she demanded money. Scott left the hotel with an undisclosed amount of cash and was last seen jumping into a large, older model passenger car that drove away from the hotel, heading north on S.R. 5

Scott was charged with armed robbery, a Level 3 felony, possession of marijuana, possession of paraphernalia and maintaining a common nuisance.

Felder was charged with aiding in an armed robbery, also a Level 3 felony, possession of marijuana, possession of paraphernalia, and maintaining a common nuisance.

Angola honored for main street ranking

ANGOLA — Angola’s Main Street organization, the Downtown Angola Coalition, got a little thank-you Monday at the start of the regular common council meeting.

Last fall, Angola was named one of Indiana’s best main streets, taking third overall with Franklin and Madison taking first and second, respectively.

Monday, Matt Crouch, deputy director for the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs, and Josh Alsip, project manager for Visit Indiana, presented the coalition with a certificate, congratulating it for its hard work in Angola.

Alsip said main streets tell a lot about the past, who a community is and how it has been shaped over the years.

Angola, he said, is one of the most iconic places in Indiana with the historic Steuben County Soldiers’ Monument at its center.

In 2020, he said, tourists and visitors are looking for experiences they can’t get elsewhere. He feels Angola is one of those places people can get those experiences.

Auburn construction tops $23 mlllion

AUBURN — New construction valued at more than $23 million occurred in Auburn last year, says a city report released Tuesday night.

The total includes approximately $16.4 million for residential improvements, $6.1 million for commercial improvements and $800,000 for institutional improvements, according to the Auburn Department of Building, Planning and Development.

The largest building projects in 2019 were the Team Quality Services corporate headquarters downtown, Culver’s restaurant, S&S Storage, Van’s operations center and Specialty Security Services on West 9th Street.

Construction permits were issued for 71 new dwelling units, including 55 single-family homes and 16 duplex units at Sunrise Apartments on East 7th Street.

“It’s been very consistent over the last several years” for single-family homes, said Amy Schweitzer, administrator of the department. The city saw 53 single-family homes built in 2018 and 57 in 2017.

Auburn native competes on ‘The Biggest Loser’

RIVERVIEW, Florida — Auburn native Kristi McCart is competing for prizes on the renewed TV series, “The Biggest Loser.”

The show airs every Tuesday at 9 p.m. on the USA Network.

McCart can’t reveal whether she won, or how much weight she lost in the competition, but she hopes she “inspires someone to get off the couch and make healthier choices.”

The competition was filmed last summer on the Biggest Loser campus just outside Santa Fe, New Mexico.

“I am now back to work and learning how to manage it all … and still try to keep health at the forefront,” McCart said. “I would like to continue to lose more. … I would go back tomorrow if I could. I’d pack my bags tonight.”

McCart lives near Tampa, Florida, where she works as an attorney in Riverview, Florida.

Fen named for retiring park superintendent

LAGRANGE — After a career that’s spanned more than three decades, Mike Metz officially retired from the LaGrange County Parks Department’s superintendent position.

In his honor, LaGrange County and Parks Department threw him a party at the Maple Wood Nature Center to celebration his accomplishments.

But the members of the parks board decided to do Metz one better. Last week, they announced they had named the fen at the heart of Pine Knob Park as the Mike Metz Fen. Pine Knob is LaGrange County’s biggest park, and Metz played a key role in first creating and later growing that park.

“It’s a nice compliment,” Metz said. “It was nice that they realized I had a lot to do with that park happening.”

Metz, a landscape architect by training, had been with the parks department for 36 years. He officially retired as its superintendent Friday.

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