Here is a look at some of the news that made the news in the Kankakee Valley this week:
If you would like to see the jail list at the Pulaski County Jail, you will be able to access that on the jail’s website in the next couple of weeks. Jail Commander Phil Cherry said it will be easier for you to see bond amounts if you need to bond someone out of the jail and if a person has been arrested in a criminal case you have filed with the Sheriff’s Department. Check pulaskisheriff.net for that feature to be uploaded soon. Cherry also said new visitation video equipment has been installed which will allow those unable to get to get the jail a chance to visit with inmates.
Craig Madsen of San Pierre was sentenced in Pulaski Circuit Court on Friday. Madsen pleaded guilty to an amended charge of Possession of a Controlled Substance, a Class D Felony. He was sentenced to three years in the DOC on that charge with ten months of that sentence to be served on home detention through the Starke County Community Corrections program. On another amended charge, Public Intoxication, he will serve 180 days on home detention. The sentences will be served concurrently and will run consecutively to another sentence already being served in a Starke County case. He was arrested March 1 after being disruptive while at a Winamac boys basketball sectional game. He had 78 pills in his possession at the time of the incident.
The Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department and the Pulaski County Coroner’s office are conducting a death investigation. 19-year-old Devin Holbrook and 32-year-old Anthony Gentry were outside working outside the residence at 518 W. Montgomery Street when Holbrook made the comment that he wasn’t feeling well. Holbrook and Gentry then went inside to watch television and Holbrook fell asleep. Gentry went to check on Holbrook and he wasn’t breathing and his lips were blue. Gentry performed CPR until emergency crews arrived at the scene. EMS personnel found that resuscitation was not possible and requested the assistance of the coroner. Police did reportedly find drugs in the area where Holbrook was found and they field-tested positive for methamphetamine and heroin. Holbrook’s death has been ruled accidental pending the results of a toxicology test.
The Starke County Jail Committee has narrowed down their property location choices to three in their search for a place for a new jail. Starke County Commissioner Kathy Norem told the Committee that the sooner they find a location for the jail, the sooner they can place a new radio tower at that location and get the project underway. The Committeee is also anxious to get the jail done to ease the overcrowding issue at the jail. Starke County inmates continue to be transported to Pulaski County to keep the Starke County Jail at a level where overcrowding is not an issue. Pulaski County Jail Commander Phil Cherry said the agreement is working out so far and no major problems have occurred.
The Starke County Commissioners denied a request made by Clerk Evelyn Skronski to combine voting precincts. Skronski told the Commissioners that she wanted to combine Washington 1 and Washington 2 together and Wayne 1 and Wayne 2 together in order to reduce costs. Commissioners Kathy Norem and Dan Bridegroom were against the request. Bridegroom said it would cause long wait times and he doesn’t want people to turn away from the polls. The Commissioners did approve a pay raise for poll inspectors, judges, clerks and sheriffs who work the polls. Commissioner Norem said the county is required to pay those workers minimum wage for their time.
Gregory Tolson, Cherie Tolson and Nathan Vermilyer of Knox were arrested Tuesday night after police conducted a search warrant at 403 S. Shield Street in Knox. Officers from the Knox City Police Department, Starke County Sheriff’s Department and the Hamlet Police Department reportedly found an active meth lab at the residence in the presence of children. Department of Child Services was called to the scene to remove them from that environment. All three were taken into custody and have been charged with Manufacturing Methamphetamine, Possession of Methamphetamine and Illegal Drug Lab. Greg and Cherie Tolson have additional charges of Neglect of a Dependent.
A local business has won the prestigious Joe Krier Quality Dealer of the Year Award for 2012. Economy Auto Sales won that award which is given out by the Indiana Independent Automobile Dealers Association. The award is given based on a record of good business, honesty and integrity and being a good civic leader in the community. Owner George Mammarella says he gives back to the community as they community has given to the business. He’s appreciative of his customers and is very involved in the community. Economy Auto Sales will represent Indiana at the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association Convention in Las Vegas next year.
A Meet the Candidates event was held Wednesday night at the Knox Community Center. Candidates and representatives from the national, state and local level spoke for five minutes about their campaign points. On the local level, candidates for Starke County Commissioner District 3, Democrat incumbent Dan Bridegroom spoke along with his Republican challenger Kent Danford. Starke County Council Republican candidates Bryan Cavender, Talia Reed, and Bruce Williams expressed their wishes to be elected to office. Democrat Freddie Baker also spoke. Democrat Council candidates Judy Benninghoff and Bob Sims were absent from the event. The Meet the candidates night was hosted by the Starke County Chamber of Commerce.
William F. Blankenship was sentenced recently in Porter Superior Court. Judge Roger Bradford sentenced Blankenship to five years total time served. Blankenship had pleaded guilty to charges of Escape and Auto Theft after he stole a Kouts police car after a traffic stop in January. He spent a total of nine months in the Porter County Jail, but because if good behavior in the jail, he received roughly 18 months credit to his sentence. The judge noted that further incarceration would not do Blankenship any good due to mental health issues, including bipolar disorder. He will now be extradited to Illinois to face other charges.
Pulaski County Sheriff Michael Gayer is warning you of the reintroduction of heroin to the area. Gayer said his officers have investigated a few cases in recent weeks involving the pricey and unobtainable addictive drug. The Sheriff’s deputies have been dealing with prescription drug abuse, methamphetamine and marijuana cases as of late, but heroin has come into a few cases. If you suspect drug abuse by a loved one or county citizen, call the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department at 946-6655 or a drug rehabilitation agency.
The official ADM count for the Knox Community School Corporation this year shows a drop of 41.5 students. Superintendent A.J. Gappa explained that three different grade levels showed a loss and officials are trying to determine the movement of those students. The official enrollment is 1882.5 students. Kindergarten students count for a half-student. Gappa said that he hopes this is just a one-year dip in enrollment and the corporation will continue to grow.
A teen incarcerated in the LaPorte County Juvenile Detention Center escaped yesterday, stole a truck and engaged in a pursuit with officials from the Department of Natural Resources and Westville and LaPorte County police. The teenager reportedly stole a truck in the Westville area and planned to pick up an ex-girlfriend at the South Central High School. The police located the vehicle by the school and attempted a traffic stop but the driver fled. The driver proceeded to drive through several corn fields and bailed from the vehicle. Police later took the teen into custody. Formal charges are pending.
An investigation into Starke County Recycling, Inc., C&C Salvage and other businesses owned by James L. Campbell found that environmental management law and rule violations were made. As a result, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management has proposed a settlement in that Campbell will submit to a site assessment plan to allow IDEM to assess potential contamination areas in question. Campbell would then be required to implement the plan. Within 45 days of the implementation of the plan, a work plan identifying contaminates, and exposure will need to be submitted. If all of the items in the plan are complete, IDEM will issue a certification. If Campbell fails to comply with the order, he could be fined as much as $8500 a week.
And that is just some of the news that made the news in the Kankakee Valley this week.