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. 

A new emancipation law takes effect July 1st. Custodial parents will no longer have the right to receive child support once your youngest child turns 19, unless the court has found that child to be disabled. Past-due child support payments are not affected by this change. A separate court hearing will need to be held if there are court ordered payments for educational support. Non-custodial parents will no longer be obligated to pay current child support once your youngest child turns 19, unless that child is found to be disabled. If your child support order was made through the prosecutor’s office, this change will be made automatically. If you had child support ordered without the support of a child support office, you will need to consult an attorney.

Work has been done to make improvements at the Plymouth Municipal Airport. A new Board of Aviation Commissioners has been established and the airport has seen extensive renovations, including the hangars. A college student from the Starke County area, Kailee Shearin, painted a mural for the lobby, and the landscaping has been enhanced. As a result of the changes, three businesses have located near the airport. $100,000 has been spent on improvements at the airport and more than $500,000 in reserve funding has been set aside for future revitalization, including an overhaul of the runway.

The burn ban in Pulaski County has been extended for another week. The Pulaski County Commissioners met yesterday and agreed that in light of the drought conditions and the lack of rain, the ban shall be extended until July 2nd, when the conditions will be reevaluated. Open burning of any kind is prohibited with the exception of grills. Debris may be burned if it is enclosed. The Commissioners also ask that you not light any fireworks. Burn bans have also been enacted in Marshall County, LaPorte County and Starke County.  Fireworks are not allowed to be ignited.

Paul Burke of Royal Center and Dana Candlish of Kokomo were arrested Friday after a Pulaski County police officer found them to be in possession of anhydrous ammonia. The officer found the liquid in a cup outside their vehicle during a traffic stop. The liquid began to boil and smoke inside the cup and Burke reportedly tried to throw the substance on the police officer.  Burke was arrested on preliminary charges of Attempted Aggravated Battery, Improper Storage of Anhydrous, Theft, Resisting Law Enforcement and Battery on Law Enforcement. Candlish was arrested on preliminary charges of Assisting a Criminal and Improper Transportation of Anhydrous.

One of the 161 new laws taking effect July 1st includes a House Bill that addresses synthetic drugs – particularly bath salts. The bill changes the term “synthetic cannabinoid” to “synthetic drug” and adds chemical compounds including some compounds sold as bath salts. The bill also allows the Board of Pharmacy to adopt an emergency rule declaring a substance as a synthetic drug and it enhances penalties for dealing in or possessing such drugs if the amount is more than two grams.

A Wheatfield woman was injured Sunday night after her vehicle left the road and into a water filled ditch. Shannon Conley sustained a head injury in the accident on State Road 39 near County Road 400 North. A Chesterton woman was injured in a two vehicle accident north of Winamac Sunday night. Steven Taylor of Knox reportedly told police that he must have dozed off and struck the back of Cindie Cassebaum’s vehicle and injured her passenger, Donna Veden. Taylor said that he had taken pain medication the day before and it could have been in his system at the time of the accident at the entrance to the Broken Arrow Campground. Taylor was arrested on a preliminary charge of Driving While Suspended Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury.

Now that the Koontz Lake Regional Sewer District’s Clean Water Plant is fully functional, officials say mandatory connection to the sewer district has to be done by November 30th. Connection permits are needed by August 30th and if you don’t get your permit by then, you will be assessed a $50 late penalty and if a connection to the sewer district is not made by November 30th, you will be assessed a monthly penalty equal to 20 percent of your monthly bill. Additional penalties may apply in addition to those already established if determined necessary.

Gas prices are expected to drop throughout the summer. Don Good from the Good Oil Company says prices have been driven by the world and U.S. economies rather than by supply and demand and that is the cause of the drop. Prices should stay low, but issues in the Gulf of Mexico have caused a number of oil rigs to close down as a precaution. As a result, we could see prices stabilize, but then continue to decrease as the summer proceeds.

Starke County Jail

The Starke County Jail Committee learned this week that renovating the current jail facility will cost more than building a new facility. Approximately $750,000 to $1 million would be needed to house inmates at another facility if the Starke County Jail were to be renovated and that’s in addition to renovation costs. It was recommended by Criminal Justice Specialist, Paul Downing, that the Jail Committee plan for a new 132-bed facility. Public presentations concerning the next steps of the Committee are planned in late July.

The exercise group attended the meeting en masse to be heard regarding the council’s decision.

The Knox City Council approved a motion to allow an exercise group resume activities at the Knox Community Center free of charge on Mondays and Wednesdays from 9:00 a.m. to Noon. The group was recently told to vacate the Knox Community Center after other groups were requesting to use the facility free of charge. The Council agreed that all other non-profit no-charge exercise groups can meet at the Community Center on Mondays and Wednesdays from 9:00 a.m. to Noon. Mayor Rick Chambers will look into creating a building-use policy.

The 21st Century Scholars support site in Knox is closing June 30th. The closure will pave the way to consolidate services and eight 21st Century Scholar Outreach Coordinators will be hired throughout the state to take over services. Regional Coordinator at the Knox site, Kelly Manning, said that even though the support site is closing, the scholarship is still available. Income-eligible seventh and eighth grade students who enrolled in the scholarship program and fulfilled a pledge of good citizenship could receive tuition up to four years at any participating public college or university in the state. To apply by Saturday, June 30th, visit www.scholars.in.gov.

The Knox City Council approved paperwork this week stating the Hoosier Custom Plastics is in compliance to the terms of their tax abatement. The Council members were hesitant to approve the forms as the paperwork wasn’t filed properly, but this week it was found that everything was in order. The forms had been sent to the wrong departments which slowed the process.

19-year-old Andrew Benson was arrested Monday after he allegedly stole items from a vehicle parked at the Plymouth High School. A Dell laptop computer and a wallet containing credit cards and gift cards were stolen from the vehicle and after an investigation, Plymouth Police found that Benson stole the items. He allegedly used the cards shortly after he took them. When a detective talked with Benson concerning the incident, he attempted to run from him. He was taken into custody a short time later. Benson was arrested preliminary charges of Theft, Credit Card Fraud, Forgery and Resisting Law Enforcement.

Upper 90 degree temperatures were recorded Thursday with some areas of the state reaching the 100+ mark.

State officials will be inspecting the Starke County Jail facility on July 17th. An inspection will check the safety of the inmates and ensure that the jail conforms to state guidelines for running a corrections facility. The jail has been written up for overcrowding issues in previous inspections, but now that some Starke County inmates have been housed in the Pulaski County Jail, the population has been kept to 62 and Sheriff Oscar Cowen is confident that the jail will pass that part of the inspection. Prior inspections prompted the formation of the Starke County Jail Committee and discussions on renovation or the construction of a new jail facility.

The drought has caused low water levels in the state’s freshwater lakes and rivers. Conservation Officer, Keith Wildeman, warns that if you are boating in Bass Lake or Koontz Lake, or in the Kankakee River, Yellow River or Tippecanoe River, you could hit obstructions that you wouldn’t normally see. Boats could run aground in the shallow water. Wildeman says that even through the water levels are low, you should always wear a personal floatation device or life jacket when out in a boat or in the water.

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

The Knox City Police Department investigated an accident Sunday where a 12-year-old boy was hit by a car at the intersection of St. Louis Street and Shield Street. The boy reportedly proceeded into the intersection and was hit by a car driven by a 17-year-old Knox resident. The driver told police that he saw the bicyclist, but wasn’t able to stop before the collision. Police determined that the bicyclist was distracted by music on his mp3 player and disregarded the stop sign at the intersection. The boy sustained hip and leg injuries and was taken to IU Health Starke Hospital for treatment.

And that is just some of the news that made the news in the Kankakee Valley this week.