Starke Circuit Court Judge Rejects Plea Agreement for Kimberly Hitchens; Trial Set for April 8th

Kimberly Hitchens

Kimberly Hitchens appeared in Starke Circuit Court Wednesday morning for a plea hearing. Hitchens was reportedly involved in events surrounding the Bass Lake shooting incident with Starke County police that also involved Michael Drogosz and John Brooke. She has been charged with Conspiracy to Commit Armed Robbery, two counts of Possession/Manufacturing of a Destructive Device (aiding), and Assisting a Criminal.

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Starke County Food Inspector Reports Several Infractions after Inspections

Dave Kesvormas

David Kesvormas, the Starke County Contract Food Inspector, issued a report covering the first few weeks of his job. As of March 17th, Kesvormas had completed 26 inspections.

Infractions found included: Refrigeration doors not closing properly or not sealing due to defective seals, labeling and dating, cross contamination (meaning raw meat stored over items that are ready to eat), missing thermometers, inaccurate chemical sanitizer test equipment, and general cleaning and sanitizing.

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IU Health LaPorte Hospital Birthing Suites Open

The baby is placed in this unit and doesn't leave the mother's room after its born.

It’s official. The new IU Health LaPorte Hospital’s Birthing Suites are open for patients as of March 31st. IU Health LaPorte Physicians offer local maternal care to Starke County area women. OB/GYN physicians Lyjia Strachan, MD, and John Taylor, MD, offer routine office appointments in Knox. They work in conjunction with IU Health Starke Hospital to ensure expectant mothers receive their laboratory and diagnostic imaging needs close to home. Patients of Strachan and Taylor may conveniently deliver their babies at IU Health LaPorte Hospital Family Birthing Suites. Continue reading

Knox-Center Township Fire Department Responds to Call at St. Thomas Acquinas School

Knox fire crews were called to a fire at the St. Thomas Acquinas school

The Knox-Center Township Fire Department responded to a call at the St. Thomas Acquinas School Tuesday morning.

“One the ballasts in the fluorescent lights went bad in one of the classrooms,” explained Fire Chief, Kenny Pfost.

The school houses the Head Start program and the students were removed.

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Lisa Owens Appears on ‘Breaking Down the Bars’ Program; Starke County Prosecutor Details Her Early Release

Lisa Owens

America got it’s first extensive look at Lisa Owens last night on the OWN Network show, “Breaking Down the Bars.” Owens, who is serving a Voluntary Manslaughter sentence at the Rockville Correctional Facility, is due to be released in May under a sentence modification.

Owens was convicted of killing her husband Jeff in their Knox home in 2001. She was sentenced to 40 years.

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Representative Dembowski Talks about Return to the Statehouse after Standoff

State Representative Nancy Dembowski

The Indiana Democrats are back in their seats this week after a walkout that began on February 21st. Both sides are claiming victory in the standoff. Republicans said the Democrats returned after hearing from Hoosiers that they were unhappy with their walkout.  Democrats said the Republicans were forced to make changes to bills because the public hadn’t understood Governor Daniels’ radical agenda until the slowdown.

17th District State Representative Nancy Dembowski was asked if she was happy the standoff was over.

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Jessica Jachim is the Recipient of This Year’s Lilly Endowment Scholarship

Jessica Jachim

A North Judson-San Pierre High School student has been named the recipient of a full four year scholarship as the Starke County Community Foundation 2011 Lilly Endowment Community Scholar. Jessica Jachim will receive full tuition to the Indiana college of her choice and an $800 yearly stipend for required books and equipment. Jessica is the daughter of Michael and Sherri Jachim and she plans to study English Literature or Journalism.

She is a member of the National Honor Society and is President of SADD. A representative of Hoosier Girls State, Jessica has shown her leadership skills in community and church fund raising activities and on the field as a four year member of the Blue Jay Girls Softball team.

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Knox High School Freshman Sponsors Service Project

Knox High School Freshman, Taylor Kemble, is sponsoring another service project.

“I’m having my fourth annual rummage sale,” Taylor announced. “It will be at the Knox United Methodist Church and it will be this Saturday, April 2nd fro 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. All proceeds will be used to buy backpacks for school children in Knox, and Oregon-Davis and North Judson elementary schools. All items will be $.50 unless otherwise marked and I will also be taking donations this year and they will be accepted March 31st and April 1st at the Knox United Methodist Church from 3:30-5:30 p.m.”

Taylor is asking that items be taken to the Knox United Methodist Church from 3:30-5:30 p.m. on Thursday and Friday.

“I will take any item,” she said. “I have a loft bed that I’m hopefully going to be able to sell. I will accept any items. I actually had an exercise bike donated one year.”

Taylor has sponsored projects that have had national recognition. She was honored by then-First Lady Laura Bush. For more information on Taylor’s annual service project, call 772-7746.

House Fire at Bass Lake Destroys One Home; Damages Another

The Bass Lake Fire Department responded to a house fire on County Road 210 on Saturday night at about 10:10 p.m.

According to Bass Lake Fire Chief Les Jensen, a summer home, located south of Maple Drive, that was owned by Patrick Botica from Illinois was completely destroyed. A neighboring home owned by James Tolone also of Illinois was moderately damaged due to the fire. While no foul play is suspected, the incident remains under investigation.

The Knox Center Township Fire Department was called to assist at the scene. Continue reading

IU Health Starke Hospital to Celebrate National Doctor’s Day Today

Tomorrow is National Doctor’s Day, but the staff at IU Health Starke Hospital is getting a jump on the festivities by celebrating today.

“We take one day, in this case March 29th, to celebrate what the physicians do for us and our relationship and partnership is very important with the medical staff,” said CEO Linda Satkoski. “We may take one day to celebrate but obviously it’s all year long. We work together to build the future of health care here at Starke Hospital and the community.”

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Oregon-Davis School Superintendent Moving to Mishawaka School System

Dr. Steve Disney

Sources in the South Bend media are reporting that Dr. Steve Disney will be the new Superintendent of the Mishawaka Community School System.

Dr. Disney has been the Superintendent at Oregon-Davis since 2007, replacing Bill Rentschler who resigned to move to Ft. Wayne.

Dr. Disney had been mentioned in the past for other Superintendent positions. He will reportedly be announced at tonight’s Mishawaka School Board meeting.