Fort Wayne’s Engineering Resources earns honor

WASHINGTON, DC — Engineering Resources, Inc., of Fort Wayne has earned a National Recognition Award for exemplary engineering achievement in the American Council of Engineering Companies’ 53rd annual Engineering Excellence Awards for providing civil and structural engineering services for Riverfront Fort Wayne’s Promenade Park.

Riverfront Fort Wayne is a transformational project for the city, reuniting residents with the three waterways that inspired the city’s earliest settlements. Promenade Park, the project’s first phase, includes an urban edge on the south bank and a more natural experience on the north. Many of the park’s natural elements serve environmental protection roles, including rain gardens for stormwater filtration.

The terrace plaza was designed to store the displaced flood volumes and integrate with various flood levels. To accommodate changing water levels without restricting access to the river, a variable height seawall accommodates small watercraft and kayaks. Also, on the north bank, a tree canopy trail structure enables visitors to experience the river from a different vantage point. Combined with entertainment features such as an amphitheater, pavilion, and bandshell, the park provides both a destination for residents to reunite with the rivers and a catalyst for future downtown development.

Other project participants include Design Collaborative and Hoch Associates, both of Fort Wayne; and Lamar Johnson Collaborative of Chicago.

Region grows faster than state, nation

Northeast Indiana grew at a faster rate than the nation or the rest of Indiana last year, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

The estimated population in northeast Indiana’s 11 counties increased by 5,461 people for a growth rate of 0.7% from 2018 to 2019. Indiana and the United States both grew at a rate of 0.5%.

The local region’s growth rate also outpaced the surrounding states of Illinois, Michigan, Ohio and Kentucky, as well as the Midwest region as a whole. For the second straight year, northeast Indiana showed positive net domestic migration.

County 2019 2018 % change

Adams 35,777 35,595 0.5%

Allen 379,299 375,079 1.1%

DeKalb 43,475 43,208 0.6%

Huntington 36,520 36,243 0.8%

Kosciusko 79,456 79,416 0.1%

LaGrange 39,614 39,375 0.6%

Noble 47,744 47,543 0.4%

Steuben 34,594 34,487 0.3%

Wabash 30,996 31,198 —0.6%

Wells 28,296 28,083 0.8%

Whitley 33,964 34,047 —0.2%

NE Indiana 789,735 784,274 0.7%

Indiana 6,732,219 6,695,497

Tapestry rescheduled

Tapestry, a day of inspiration, renewal, and education, has been rescheduled after its original late April date was postponed earlier this month due to COVID-19. The annual event has been rescheduled for Aug. 28, at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. Principal sponsors Purdue University Fort Wayne and Parkview Health, along with the Tapestry steering committee, also say actress and activist Ashley Judd has reaffirmed her commitment to serve as keynote speaker for the sold-out event.

Event organizers say letters and emails are going out to all involved, including sponsors, attendees, vendors, and volunteers, to update everyone on options and details moving forward. They noted that anyone in those groups does not need to reregister.

“Thank you for your support and patience as we move ahead with planning Tapestry 2020,” said Kim Boyce, Tapestry project manager, in the announcement. “If for some reason we need to re-evaluate the new date, we will communicate any future changes at that time.”

Tickets for this year’s event were sold out soon after they became available. Boyce says those on the existing wait list will be notified if and when tickets for the new date are released. Those interested in having their name added to that list, being a sponsor, or hosting a booth should send email to

Hamilton woman charged with health care fraud

Suzi Gawel, 57, of Hamilton, has been charged with health care fraud and aggravated identity theft, U.S. Attorney Thomas Kirsch said March 30.

According to a federal court information, Gawel worked as an office manager at a Fort Wayne company that sold durable medical equipment to clients across northern Indiana. Some of the company’s clients were Medicaid beneficiaries.

Through her work, Gawel allegedly had access to Medicaid patient information, including patients’ names, addresses, dates of birth, Medicaid ID numbers and treating physician information. From about January 2015 and continuing to about October 2018, Gawel allegedly devised a scheme to defraud Medicaid. According to federal authorities, during this time period, she submitted more than 200 reimbursement claims to Indiana Medicaid for DME, including oximetry devices and pneumatic compressors, which were not provided to Medicaid recipients and/or for which they had no medical necessity and/or for which there was no physician order.

In total, her scheme defrauded Indiana Medicaid of approximately $646,690, federal officials allege.

The parties have entered into a plea agreement, which has been filed with the court, to resolve the criminal charges. If this signed plea agreement is accepted by the court, Gawel will pay restitution in the amount of $646,690 and will serve a prison sentence, the length of which will be determined by the court at a sentencing hearing.

Business vehicles robbed of catalytic converters

AUBURN — The Auburn Police Department is investigating three separate incidents of theft over 10 days.

Three local businesses have been the victims of thefts of catalytic convertors and other metal products from their properties, said Chief of Police Martin D. McCoy.

All three thefts occurred in fenced and gated areas where the suspect or suspects would be concealed from public view, McCoy said. Once inside the fenced area, the suspects are believed to have used a battery-operated saw to cut the catalytic convertors from beneath the vehicles. All of the thefts are believed to have occurred under the cover of darkness during evening hours.

Anyone who may have information on these thefts or may have observed suspicious activity that may be related to these or other crimes is asked to call Detective A. Quick at the Auburn Police Department at 260-920-3200, ext. 1904.

—From staff reports

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