Week in Review for December 26th-30th, 2011

Here is just some of the news that made the news in the Kankakee Valley this week:

Knox CVS

Knox police continue to look for Jonathan Hummel who is a suspect in the Knox CVS armed robbery that occurred on Tuesday, December 20th. Nathan Hummel, the other suspect in the incident, appeared in Starke Circuit Court for his initial hearing this week and pleaded not guilty in Starke Circuit Court yesterday to charges of Dealing in Narcotic Drugs; Aiding, Inducing or Causing a Robbery; Resisting Law Enforcement; Criminal Mischief; and Attempting to Disarm a Police Officer.

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Charges Pending in Starke County Armed Home Invasion

Two home invasion suspects are in custody after a chase that started in Starke County and ended with a wreck at 200 East and 950 South in southern LaPorte County. Police say they are accused of breaking into a man’s home and threatening to kill his family if he didn’t comply with their demands.

Police report that just before 11 a.m. Friday in the 3000 block of 400 North in Starke County. The homeowner told police the two suspects, who he knew, entered the home and battered him with a gun. They made him open his gun case and took several firearms and other electronic items from the home.

One of the suspects stayed in the house while the other forced the man to drive to a local bank in Knox, and withdraw $800. They told the man they would kill his family if he didn’t do what they said.

Police say the man was driven back to the home where the suspects again threatened to kill him and his family if police were called after they left and would resist police if they were located and were not afraid to fire upon the officers.

The Starke County Sheriff’s Department along with the Knox City Police, DNR Kingsford Heights Police Department, Lake County Helicopter and the LaPorte County Sheriff’s Department found the suspects traveling on 950 South in LaPorte County. A pursuit ended when the suspects wrecked in the area of 200 East and 950 South.

The suspects took off on foot, say police. One was quickly caught while several departments searched for the second man. K-9s and a helicopter were used in the search, with a LaPorte County K-9 unit eventually locating the suspect.

The investigation is ongoing, say police. They have not released the names of the suspects. The suspects are being held in the Starke County Jail with charges pending.

No Decision Yet in Linda Belork Court Case

Jasper County Circuit Court Judge John Potter has not yet made a decision in the matter between former Starke County Treasurer Linda Belork and the Starke County Commissioners.

The Commissioners removed Belork from the office of Treasurer on August 13th after a state audit found financial discrepancies. The money has been accounted for, but a Temporary Restraining Order placed against Belork by the Commissioners is still in effect and prohibits Belork from returning to office.

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Starke County Republican Candidates Sworn into Office

Starke Circuit Court Judge Kim Hall, Tim Cummins, Donna Henry, Dave Kesvormas, Wendy Hoppe and Knox City Court Judge Charles Hasnerl

Five Starke County Republican candidates successful in the November Municipal Election were sworn into office last night. Starke Circuit Court Judge Kim Hall swore in City Court Judge Charles Hasnerl and he said his office will be busy in 2012.

“One of the primary issues that we’re dealing with, along with the City in working with the Council and the Mayor, is the financial issue and trying to come up with resources to cover the costs,” said Hasnerl. “It’s a needed service and we handle a number of cases for the entire county so that’s going to be our primary focus – not just this year, but throughout this term.”

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City of Knox Sells Scrap Metal

Knox City Council (L to R) Linda Berndt, Jeff Berg, Ron Parker, Clerk-Treasurer Jeff Houston, Mayor Rick Chambers, Attorney David Matsey, Ed Blue and Greg Matt

The city of Knox brought in over $500 by selling scrap metal that had been laying around. Mayor Rick Chambers explained that sheets of corrugated metal had been purchased when the city was installing new sidewalks downtown because the engineers were under the impression that there were tunnels beneath the sidewalks, but after the sidewalks were dug up, they quickly realized that was not the case.

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Flu Shot Still Available at Starke County Health Department

With plenty of sniffles, sneezes, and coughs abound, Starke County Health Nurse Frank Lynch wants to remind everyone that the flu vaccine is still available for adults and kids. The peak of the flu season in February and March is still on its way, but so far, cases of the flu have been down since the last flu season. The H1N1 virus isn’t any worse than last season as well, but we’re not out of the woods yet.

Lynch explains that getting the flu vaccine isn’t the only step to avoiding getting sick this season– as always, keeping those hands clean is vital.

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Year in Review – Top Story

This week we have been reviewing the Top Stories of 2011. Today we reveal the top story of the Year.

It was a story that captivated all who heard it. Chief Warrant Officer Andy Howes returned home after being lost in the Vietnam War on January 10th, 1970. Although his remains had been in storage in Hawaii since the ’80’s, only improved testing allowed an Armed Forces Forensic Team to match DNA samples to those that had earlier been taken from relatives.

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Nathan Hummel has Initial Appearance in Starke Circuit Court

Nathan Hummel

Nathan Hummel made his initial appearance in Starke Circuit Court yesterday afternoon. Hummel is accused of robbing the Knox CVS with his brother, Jonathan Hummel, on December 20th.

Hummel is charged with Dealing in Narcotic Drugs as a Class A felony; Robbery as a Class B felony; Aiding, Inducing, or Causing a Robbery as a Class B felony; Resisting Law Enforcement as a Class D felony; Criminal Mischief as a Class D felony; and Attempting to Disarm a Police Officer as a Class C felony.

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Two Arrested on Battery Charges

Two people were arrested in Knox on Christmas Day on Battery charges.

Austin Pike told Knox City police officers that he and Walter Smith got into an argument and a fight ensued. The argument started as a verbal disagreement and it escalated to a fist fight. Pike told police that he hit Smith in the face. Smith became very angry and allegedly grabbed a knife and tried to stab Pike with it. Pike said Smith then left the residence.

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Knox City Council Declines Street Sign Replacement Grant

The Knox City Council this week agreed to decline a grant offered by the federal government for replacing street signs, and instead will proceed with replacing the signs on their own.

Mayor Rick Chambers told WKVI that the council agreed to decline the grant because the $50,000 grant required a $5,000 match from the city. That cost, combined with the fact that the grant only covered the engineering aspect of the project, convinced the council to proceed with the project at their own expense. New regulations from the federal government requires all signs to be replaced with newer, more reflective signs by 2018.

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North Judson Town Marshal Presents Body Armor Policy to Town Board

Doug Vessely
North Judson Town Marshal Doug Vessely

North Judson Town Marshal, Doug Vessely, presented the North Judson Town Board with a Use and Mandatory Wear Policy, regarding the use of body armor.

The policy outlines the need for officers to wear protective vests during their time on duty and in times of high-risk and/or tactical situations. Tactical situations may include search warrant executions, drug raids, initial crime scene response and serving felony warrants. All officers working in police-related secondary positions must also wear protective vests.

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Christmas Market Considered by Knox Council

Knox City Council #2
Back Row: Mayor Rick Chambers, Ed Blue, Clerk-Treasurer Jeff Houston, Greg Matt and Attorney David Matsey. Front Row: Linda Berndt, Jeff Berg and Ron Parker

With the feeling of Christmas still lingering in the air, the Knox City Council this week discussed the possibility of hosting a Christmas market– a street market featuring nativity scenes, nutcrackers, books, hand-crafted items, and other traditional Christmas goodies like cookies, soups, almonds, and other treats.

Knox Mayor Rick Chambers explains that with a Christmas market, the city could combine its Christmas events into one weekend bonanza.

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Year in Review – Part Four

We’re down to the final three top 10 stories of 2011.

One of the top stories of the year involved State Representative Nancy Dembowski, who with 43 Democrat legislators, fled to Illinois to avoid voting on anticipated right to work legislation. After staying out for weeks, the legislators finally returned to the cheers of union workers and jeers from their Republican colleagues. The issue is coming back to the legislators in the 2012 General Assembly. The Republican majority party imposed fines on those who left.

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Knox CVS Robbery Suspect Still at Large

Knox CVS

Knox City Police continue to investigate the robbery at CVS in Knox.

On Tuesday, December 20th, Nathan Hummel and Jonathan Hummel reportedly went into the Knox CVS and stole prescription medication from the pharmacy. They held the pharmacist and store clerk at knifepoint at the time of the incident. They fled from the scene and after a pursuit, fled their vehicle on Upas Road in Marshall County. Nathan Hummel was found hiding in a closet in Raymond Hummel’s residence and was taken into custody. Jonathan Hummel escaped. Continue reading