Storm Yesterday Causes Few Injuries, No Estimate On Power Restoration

Scenes like this one in North Judson were all too common in the wake of yesterday's storm.

Kankakee Valley REMC has reported over 7000 people without power in Lake, Porter, LaPorte, Starke, and Pulaski counties after the afternoon storm that tore through the area on Friday. KVREMC dispatched crews yesterday to affected areas to begin restoring power. Causing the outages are five substations that have been reported down due to transmission feeds from NIPSCO being out as well as broken poles and downed wires.

Starke County Commissioner Kathy Norem says the hardest hit area seems to be around Bass Lake, where boats were reportedly flipped over in the water and even tossed up on land. Several trees were felled and Norem says cleanup crews have their work cut out for them.

“The hardest hit areas seem to be in California Township around Bass Lake and North Bend Township, also around Bass Lake. The crews have been out, the highway department is out, the Sheriff’s Department has been out, but there is a lot of damage in that particular area and it’s going to be a long cleanup,” Norem said.

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Fundraising Efforts Pay Off For The Starke County Fireworks

Fundraising efforts for the Starke County fireworks celebration have paid off, as a total of $6499.20 has been raised thus far for the event. Knox Mayor Rick Chambers says the cost of fireworks came out to roughly $7800, and the remaining $1300 is expected to be made up by gate fees.

Donations provided $3696 toward the celebration, and two fundraisers nearly doubled that amount. The port-a-pit chicken fundraiser raised $1533, and the fish fry raised another $1044.50. The remaining $225 came from vendor fees at the airport.

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Statewide Smoking Ban Effective Tomorrow

The statewide smoking ban takes effect tomorrow.

House Enrolled Act 1149 bans smoking from restaurants, hotels and motels, movie theaters, bowling alleys, healthcare facilities, nursing homes, mental health facilities, assisted living facilities, and most other workplaces. The law also prohibits smoking within eight feet of a public entrance of any of those facilities.

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Drought Triggers Call For Voluntary Water Conservation

This summer’s chronic hot and dry weather has not only resulted in drought conditions throughout most of Indiana, it has also prompted a call for high-capacity water facilities in 32 counties to implement voluntary water conservation measures.

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources and the Indiana Department of Homeland Security have announced plans to send notification letters to owners and operators of facilities in several counties with the capacity to withdraw 100,000 gallons or more per day.

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Pulaski County 4-H Fair Kicks Off Today

The Pulaski County 4-H Fair is underway!

More 4-H entries are coming in today and open class exhibits are expected as well. The 4-H Recognition Program is set for 3 p.m. ET today and Earth Day activities are scheduled for 3-7 p.m. ET. The truck and tractor pull gets underway at 6 p.m. tonight. Admission is $7, but children under the age of six get in free.

Tomorrow, the Fair Association’s Hog Roast is at 10:30 a.m., the bed race begins at 2 p.m. and the Miss Pulaski County Pageant is at 8 p.m.

The Pulaski County 4-H Fair continues through Friday, July 6.

New Motorcycle Sale Law Ensures Level Playing Field For Indiana

State Senator Ed Charbonneau

This Sunday, fully-assembled motorcycles will be available for purchase to Hoosiers at Indiana dealerships thanks to a new law authored by State Senator Ed Charbonneau.

Currently, state law prohibits the sale of motorcycles on Sunday, making their purchase a class B misdemeanor. However, Senate Enrolled Act 192 repeals that ban, aiming to not only help local business owners increase profit, but Charbonneau says it will also add convenience for Indiana customers.

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Week in Review for June 25th-19th, 2012

Here is a look at some of the news that made the news in the Kankakee Valley this week.

Two fatal accidents were investigated in the Kankakee Valley area this week. On Monday, the Knox City Police Department responded to a two vehicle accident on U.S. 35 and John Street where the driver of a passenger vehicle hit a minivan head-on. The driver, 67-year-old Robert Freye, of Hamlet had a heart attack and crossed the center line and hit the minivan. He died of a torn aorta. The passenger in his vehicle, Mary Hightower, 63, of Hamlet, was badly injured in the accident and the driver of the minivan, Patrick McCarty, 39, of Knox sustained minor injuries in the accident. Two 16-year-old boys were killed in a single vehicle accident on 12 B Road, east of Olive Trail in Marshall County, Thursday night. Vincent Cody Poczik and Hunter Brandt of Plymouth were killed instantly when Poczik’s vehicle left the roadway, struck a guardrail and flipped end over end. The accident remains under investigation.  Continue reading

Pulaski County Mourns Loss of Prominent Community Member

A 50-year member of two organizations and a prominent community member passed away this week at the age of 90.

Alladean L. Clouser of Medaryville passed away on Wednesday, June 27. Clouser was a member of the First United Methodist Church in Winamac, and a 50-year member of OES Tippecanoe Chapter #96, having served as a matron for the organization three times. She was also a Rainbow Mother Advisor.

Clouser was also a member of the Home Demonstration Clubs for 50 years in addition to being a member of the Pulaski County REACT. She also served as a 4-H leader, Cub Scout and Girl Scout leader, and a choir mom.

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Authorities Release Driver’s Identity In Monday’s Fatal Knox Crash

Authorities today released the name of the driver of a vehicle who died in a Monday morning accident on U.S. 35 and John Street in Knox. Robert E. Freye. 67, of Hamlet, died when his vehicle struck a minivan.

Starke County Coroner Kris Rannells and Forensic Pathologist Dr. Alan Griggs performed an autopsy Tuesday in Lafayette and confirmed that Freye had suffered a heart attack prior to the accident and died as a result of injuries sustained in the accident. The cause of death was determined to be a torn aorta.

The woman who was a passenger in the vehicle has been identified as Mary Hightower, 63, of Hamlet. She was badly injured in the accident and remains hospitalized. The driver of the minivan involved in the accident was Patrick McCarty, 39, of Knox who received minor injuries in the accident.

Brief Storm Causes Thousands To Go Without Power, Few Injuries Reported

Several trees were reported to have fallen, some even across the road, in several areas throughout the Kankakee Valley.

A storm tore through the Kankakee Valley on Friday, cutting off power to thousands and causing a number of roads to be closed. The storm also caused at least two injuries, as two boys were injured when a tree fell on them near Bass Lake and were transported to IU Health Starke Hospital for treatment.

The Bass Lake area suffered a large amount of damage from the storm. Boats were reportedly flipped over in the water or even flung up on shore, and several piers were reported to have been broken or missing entirely.

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Hamlet Man Killed in Monday Accident in Knox

Knox City Police and first responders tend to an accident at U.S. 35 and John Street in Knox

Starke County Coroner Kris Rannells has released the name of the man killed in a two vehicle accident in Knox Monday afternoon.

67-year-old Robert Freye, of Hamlet, was traveling north on U.S. 35 in Knox when he suffered a heart attack, causing him to cross over into the southbound lane by John Street and hit a minivan driven by Patrick McCarty, 39, of Knox. Freye died instantly of a torn aorta as a result of the accident. The passenger in his vehicle, Mary Hightower, 63, of Hamlet was injured in the accident and was flown to Memorial Hospital in South Bend. McCarty received minor injuries in the accident.

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Fatal Accident Investigated by Marshall County Police

Officers from the Marshall County Sheriff’s Department were called to a fatal accident on 12 B Road east of Olive Trail last night.

Marshall County Coroner Bill Cleavenger said 16-year-old Vincent Cody Poczik of Plymouth and his passenger, 16-year-old Hunter Brandt of Plymouth, died of injuries sustained in the single vehicle accident. Poczik’s vehicle left the road, struck a guardrail and flipped end over end.

Both boys were killed instantly.  The accident remains under investigation.

Toxicology results are pending on both youths.

Fallen Tree Causes Moped Accident

A moped driver was injured in an accident during the storms that went through the North Judson area last night.

The moped hit a tree in the middle of the road on 250 West near 700 South. The driver was taken to IU Health Starke Hospital and later airlifted to Memorial Hospital in South Bend with unspecified injuries. The Starke County Sheriff’s Department has not released the name of the man involved in the accident.

Temperatures Exceed 100 Degrees; Beware Heat Stroke

Walter Fritz
Dr. Walter Fritz

With temperatures breaking the three-digit mark, former Starke County Health Officer Dr. Walter Fritz says residents need to be aware of the risk of heat stroke. Fritz says the longer the weather stays this hot, the more likely it is for someone to suffer from heat stroke.

“It looks like we’re in for a long haul with this, and the longer and the more severe the weather goes on like this, the more likely the possibility of heat stroke is to come up,” Fritz explained. “This is a medical condition that we all have to keep in the back of our minds and hopefully use good common sense to prevent.”

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Fireworks Displays May Fizzle Out In Marshall County

Public fireworks displays in Marshall County are in jeopardy, as the disaster declaration for the county has prohibited the launching of consumer fireworks. Marshall County Emergency Management Agency Director Clyde Avery says the decision as to whether or not to allow public fireworks displays to take place this year will ultimately fall on the shoulders of the county commissioners.

Avery says one jurisdiction has decided to move forward with their fireworks display this year, so Avery will meet with the commission president to reevaluate conditions and decide whether or not to allow the fireworks show. Legally, fireworks are not supposed to be launched until today, according to state statute – but Avery says they’ve always had a problem with people discharging fireworks before they’re legal.

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Knox Woman Arrested For Stealing From Parked Cars

A Knox woman was arrested Wednesday on a charge of theft after an investigation by the Plymouth Police Department.

On Tuesday, June 26, an employee from AutoPark called the Plymouth Police Department to report a customer going through employee cars in the parking lot. Police were told that a video was taken of the suspect entering one car and placing something in her pocket.

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Knox City Council Approves Using Riverboat Funds To Build Handicap Ramp at Courthouse

Knox City Council

The Knox City Council this week approved a motion to use $4000 from Riverboat revenue to put in a handicap ramp on the west side of the courthouse. The committee planned to use funds out of the 50/50 sidewalkfund, but work that had been done in front of city hall and expenses as part of the city’s leaf pick-up had drained the sidewalk repair fund.

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Torres-Bowman Announces Retirement From Community Services of Starke County

A retirement party was held for Cecilia Torres-Bowman, pictured.

Cecilia Torres-Bowman has retired from Community Services of Starke County after dedicating 20 years of her life to the organization. She says she’s done a little bit of everything while there.

“For almost 20 years, I’ve done a little bit of everything – mostly with the food pantry and the Energy Assistance Program,” said Torres-Bowman. “I also lent out health equipment and the resource manuals, so there have been quite a few things I’ve been doing.”

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Summer Study Committee To Look At Housing D Felonies In-County

Starke County Jail

With state corrections facilities running out of room, a summer study committee is looking into the possibility of housing criminals charged with Class D felonies in county jails rather than the Department of Corrections.

Because of this, the Starke County Jail Committee has been encouraged to plan for a facility with 130 beds rather than just 100 to ensure that even if the state does decide to send D-felony offenders back to the county, they won’t have to worry about overcrowding.

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