Accident Slows Traffic on US 35 in Knox

Officers from the Knox City Police Department were called two a two vehicle accident Thursday morning on US 35 in Knox.  It appears that a motorcycle in the southbound lane was attempting to turn left into Advanced Auto Parts and a car hit the rear of the motorcycle.  Injuries were reported at the scene.  Individuals were taken to the hospital as a result of injuries sustained in the accident. Continue reading

Sysco Project Picking up Pace in Hamlet

There’s finally some movement on the Sysco project in Hamlet. Starke County Economic Development Foundation Director, Charles Weaver, revealed yesterday that he has been securing information for three general contractors who have been asked by the Baugh Midwest Cooperative to submit bids for the construction of the massive redistribution center. Baugh Midwest Cooperative is the parent company of Sysco.

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Knox Police Continue to Investigate Attempted Abduction

Amber Howard and her children, Korie and Evan

Three weeks ago today, Amber Howard was in her home in Knox when she heard her daughter, Korie, screaming that someone was in the back yard trying to abduct her one-year-old brother, Evan.

When the mother went into the yard, the daughter said the man, dressed in red jogging pants, came into the yard, grabbed her off a swing set, and then picked up the baby as if to take him. When she screamed, the man ran off down Roosevelt Road in the Parkview section of Knox. He dropped the baby before climbing over a fence.

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Trial Begins for Niki Hochstetler

Niki Hochstetler

After a lengthy selection process, a jury of 12 citizens and one alternate juror was chosen in the case of Niki Hochstetler, charged with two counts of Battery with a Deadly Weapon, and one count of Criminal Mischief after allegedly stabbing Eric Amore at the Country Roads Bar and Grill in Walkerton last July. The defense had requested a motion to limit, requesting that witnesses be questioned outside of the presence of the jury to ensure that what the witnesses say is acceptable before the jury, but this request was denied by Judge Kim Hall in the Starke Circuit Court.

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Hamlet Town Board Waits to Release Project Funds

Hamlet Town Board: Curtis Simpkins, Kerry Stone and Bob Yung

Van Janovic appeared before the Hamlet Town Board last week to request the release of funds for the sewer improvement project that was recently completed. The Board agreed to retain a small percentage of funds contingent upon KIRPC’s approval of the project. Once the project gets the ok, all of the funds will be released to H&G Underground.

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Citizens Speak Up at Culver Town Board Meeting

Culver Town Council Members Ed Pinder, Ralph Winters, Ginny Bess, Sally Ricciardi
Culver Town Board Members (from left to right) Ed Pinder, Ralph Winters, Ginny Bess, Sally Ricciardi

At Culver’s Town Board meeting, several citizens spoke up against the local banquet facility after a large outside gathering got very loud, bothering neighbors. Some of the residents wanted to know if the big outdoor gatherings are required to get any permits to have these loud events, and Board President, Ginny Bess Munroe, mentioned that a food cart serves food in that area and is required to get a permit.

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Renovation Project Continues at Knox High School

Crews have been replacing water pipes throughout the High School

The renovation project is progressing at Knox High School. A Qualified School Construction Bond in the amount of $1,970,000 was approved for the replacement of water pipes, construction in the pool area, new lockers and more at the High School.

“All the water pipes throughout the High School are being replaced and that’s a major project,” explained Superintendent, A.J. Gappa. “All the ceiling tiles had to be removed to get to the water pipes. Many of the cement block walls had to be cut into and blocks taken out to replace pipes and then put back into place. We have some major work going on in the pool area because of the changing of the ceiling and the lighting in addition to the deck lining and so forth. Everything is torn up, there’s dust everywhere, but work is progressing. It appears that a couple things may be a little ahead of schedule and a couple of other things are just barely behind, but everybody thinks it will be done on time, which is mid-August.” Continue reading

North Judson-San Pierre Retirees Honored

(L to R) Bill Gustafson, Murry Hight, Bill Ransom, Nila Beauchamp, Shirley Bukowski, Betty Warner and Barb Rausch

The North Judson-San Pierre School staff recently honored 10 retirees at their end-of-the-school year breakfast. At the same time, they also recognized 33 staff for years of service.

Retiring from North Judson-San Pierre Elementary School are Nila Beauchamp, Shirley Bukowski and Betty Warner. From the Middle School, retirees are Bill Gustafson, Murry Hight, Bill Ransom and Barb Rausch. Retiring from the High School are Bob Bell and David Vessely and James “Art” Dolezal is retiring from the maintenance department.

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John Dillinger in Starke County in 1934?

John Dillinger

There have been many stories about John Dillinger being in Starke County. The famous outlaw may well have been in Starke County on this date 77 years ago. He may not have been here long, as the Dillinger gang held up the Merchants’ National Bank in South Bend just before noon.

The man identified as John Dillinger entered the bank carrying a machine gun and announced the holdup. Dillinger fired the machine gun into the ceiling creating panic as he and his gang members took $28,500. Once on the street, they encountered Patrolman, Howard Wagner, and killed him.

They escaped and their getaway car was later found in Newton County in Goodland, about 100 miles away.

Goodland is southwest of Starke County and very well could have been on the escape route.

Starke County Coroner Completes Autopsy in Drowning Incident

Starke County Coroner Kris Rannells has released the preliminary autopsy report on the victim of the drowning incident in Knox early Sunday morning.

Rannells said preliminary cause of death is being ruled as asphyxiation because of drowning.  Mercan Lyncook, of Parma, Ohio, drowned after jumping off the abandoned train bridge near the historic Depot located on State Road 35.

Pulaski Memorial Hospital Plans Building Project

Rick Mynark

Pulaski Memorial Hospital is entering into a building project.

“The Board has approved the construction of a 6,400 square foot medical office building to be located just south of the hospital and connected to the main hospital by a covered walkway for patient access,” said Hospital CEO, Rick Mynark. “There will be two suites within the building, one for Dr. Clint Kaufman, who does the vast majority of our OB deliveries. He will have an opportunity to be located on campus and much more accessible to the maternity unit as he’s needed. The other part of the building, about 2,800 square feet, will be allocated to what we call a group practice. This will eventually expand to consist of three or four physicians as the feature develops. Right now, there will be one physician in there when the building is completed with perhaps a Nurse Practitioner to assist him.”

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Jury Trial Set for Jack Haut

Jack Haut

Jack Haut appeared in the Starke Circuit Court yesterday afternoon for a final status hearing, and his jury trial has been scheduled for July 20 at 9am. Haut is charged with Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated Causing Death, and Reckless Homicide. Haut told the court that he plans to have six witnesses, and will provide the court with a list of these witnesses by Friday, July 1. The jury status hearing for this case is set for July 8 at 9am.

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Teacher Contract Approved at Knox Community Schools

Gary Dulin, Jerry Fletcher, Harold Welter, Mary Lynn Ritchie, Kirk Bennett, Nathan Marcum, Mike Yankauskas, Superintendent A.J. Gappa

The teacher contract has been ratified by the Knox Federation of Teachers and the Knox Community School Board and Superintendent A.J. Gappa said the Board approved the contract Monday afternoon.

“Our old contract with the teachers actually ran out December 31st, 2010, so we’ve been working as a status quo contract for the last six months,” said Gappa. “We got together with the teachers and maybe had one of the shortest negotiation that we’ve ever had, but everybody was proactive and in agreement and we worked together. The teachers had a meeting Friday morning and they ratified the contract and then we had a special board meeting Monday afternoon and the Board voted to approve the agreement between the KFT and the Knox Community School Corporation.”

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Culver to Remove 100 Tons of Sludge from Sewer System

Culver Town Council Members Ed Pinder, Ralph Winters, Ginny Bess, Sally Ricciardi
Culver Town Council Members (from left to right) Ed Pinder, Ralph Winters, Ginny Bess, Sally Ricciardi

One hundred tons of sludge needs to be removed from sludge beds in Culver, in order to allow them to upgrade their sewer system. Because of the increase in volume, the system is in need of an increase in capacity. This involves upgrading some of the headworks and an equalizer tank. When the project was done just last year, the cost was roughly $30,000.

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West Central Moves Forward with Wind Turbine Project

The West Central School Board is moving along with the wind turbine project. According to Superintendent Charles Mellon, the next big hurdle will be cleared next week.

“We will be selling the bonds on July 6th,” said Mellon. “With that, we anticipate getting the funding for the project on July 20th. We anticipate some type of groundbreaking in the first part of August as equipment will begin to be delivered and the project completion can be as early as November. We signed the contract a week or so ago and we’re looking for some paperwork from the NIPSCO company and then we will be ready to proceed.”

Starke County Sheriff’s Department Investigates Burglary

The Starke County Sheriff’s Department responded to a burglary incident at Hines Salvage in Grovertown on Sunday, June 26th.

The owner told police that he found a knife laying on the ground by the office door, which he thought the suspect(s) used to get into the business. Once the unknown suspect(s) were inside the business, it appeared several drawers were gone through and weapons were taken. Also taken from the office were bolt cutters that were used to cut off six locks that were on trailer doors and garage doors. 6-7 car radiators were stolen, along with 4-5 catalytic converters and several feet of copper wire.

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Bella Vita Offers Classes to Area Women

Tona Miller

Tona Miller, one of the councilors at the Bella Vita Pregnancy Resource Center has said that to date, over 35 women have entered classes at the facility.

“I think that they are very interested in our classes,” said Miller. ” We have a program called the ‘Earn While you Learn’ program and what this program does is every class that you come to, prenatal or parenting, you earn what we call baby bucks. With these baby bucks, you can purchase items out of our store. We have clothing, diapers, cribs, walkers, strollers, anything baby related. You also earn the baby bucks for going to your doctor’s visit or WIC appointments. I think most of the girls are very interested in this program because it helps them in a financial way.”

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Last Day to File for Knox Municipal Election is Thursday

Thursday at 12:00 p.m. CT is the deadline for the Knox municipal election sign-up.

Any office that does not have a candidate that was selected in the Primary Election can be filled. So far, only Thom Morin has signed up to fill a position on the ballot. He has signed as a Republican for the General Election. Morin will oppose Don Kring for the City Council seat that is currently held by President Ed Blue who is not running for re-election.