Week in Review for Oct. 29-Nov. 2, 2012

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

Starke County EMA Director Ted Bombagetti (L) and Sheri Gaillard from the Pulaski County Sheriff's Department assist other responders in the command center in Baltimore

Members of the the District 2 Emergency Management Team arrived in Baltimore Monday where the group of firefighters, law enforcement, emergency managers, and health department representatives provided the City of Baltimore with damage assessment and debris management support after Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast. They have now been redeployed to Long Island, New York to assist with recovery efforts. Several ambulance teams from Indiana were also in the New York and New Jersey areas providing assistance this week. They were sent back to Indiana on Thursday. The District 2 Task Force is expected to be in the New York area throughout the next week. 

The Knox City Council on Tuesday approved a tax phase-in for Reagent Chemical and Research in Knox. The resolution will allow the business a five-year deduction for new manufacturing equipment and a ten-year deduction for two real property improvements. As part of the resolution, Reagent will agree to provide at least 11 full-time jobs paying at least $297,000 per year in wages and will convert at least 90,000 pounds of solid waste such as paint waste and leftover scrap from manufacturing clay targets.

LaPorte County Sheriff's Department
La Porte County Sheriff's Office

A Crown Point woman, suspected of murdering her husband in Prescott, Arizona, was arrested Monday morning in LaPorte County on an arrest warrant. Prescott Police worked with the Indiana State Police Department to locate Joan Leslie Carpenter, 61, and bring her back to Arizona to face a charge of first degree murder of her husband from an incident that occurred in 2002. An investigation has found that Carpenter allegedly committed the murder and then returned to Indiana. Carpenter reportedly ran a business out of her home in Crown Point and police arrested her as she arrived at a client’s house in LaPorte. She is currently in the LaPorte County Jail where she will await extradition back to Arizona.

A court hearing in Jasper Circuit Court was continued this week as the Jasper County Prosecuting Attorney found that the Starke County Commissioners complied with Judge John Potter’s order by opening the Starke County Treasurer’s Office and giving Treasurer Linda Belork full access to all records, computers, and keys to the office. Judge Potter had called for the court hearing Monday after he found that the Commissioners didn’t comply with his order to reinstate Belork to office by closing the office. The Commissioners closed the office as Belork was not covered by a surety bond. The office is now open and the court hearing was continued.

Jennie Carter

Jennie Carter’s jury trial has been continued to Wednesday, February 20 at 9:00 a.m. in Starke Circuit Court after being rescheduled last week. Carter faces a felony charge of Theft after she allegedly stole $7,748.40 from the Starke County Tourism Commission on June 2, 2011. She has pleaded not guilty to the charge and during her initial hearing, she told Judge Kim Hall that the money had been paid back to the Tourism Commission. She was the Treasurer of the organization at the time of the incident, but resigned after her arrest in March of this year.

A Medaryville man died in a single vehicle accident Wednesday afternoon in Pulaski County. Emergency responders responded to call that a vehicle was found in a farm field northeast of Medaryville and the lone person in the vehicle appeared to be dead. Upon arrival, emergency personnel found that James E. Neeley, 46, of Medaryville died of injuries sustained in a single vehicle accident. A Pulaski County investigator found that Neeley’s vehicle left the roadway, struck a ditch and continued several hundred feet into a standing cornfield. The Pulaski County Coroner’s preliminary findings indicate that Neeley died of blunt force trauma from the impact.

Thomas Drnek II is facing charges of Operating Vehicle While Intoxicated Causing Death, a Class B Felony and Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated as a Class A Misdemeanor after he allegedly crashed a vehicle into some trees of off U.S. 35 north of LaPorte early Thursday morning. Another occupant in the car, 26-year-old Jacob Anderson, was ejected from the vehicle and was pronounced dead at the scene. This accident remains under investigation with the LaPorte County Fatal Alcohol Crash Team.

Christopher Adam Wilhite

32-year-old Christopher Adam Wilhite of Francesville was arrested Wednesday after the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department conducted an investigation and reportedly found forensic evidence showing that Wilhite had child pornography on computers confiscated from his residence. The discovery of the evidence violates the terms of his probation as a convicted sex offender. Wilhite was arrested on a preliminary charge of Possession of Child Pornography.

The school corporation grade cards were released this week where is was revealed that the Knox Community High School received an A, the Knox Middle School received an F and the Knox Community Elementary School received a C. The high school’s score was based on the results of End of Course Assessment Tests, the graduation rate, Math and English/Language Arts Scores and College and Career readiness, while the middle and elementary schools grades were based on ISTEP scores. Initially, the middle school and elementary schools received a grade that was a step above what their final score was, but since the state included a “growth” category, it put their grade a level lower. Superintendent A.J. Gappa said all buildings implemented improvement plans at the beginning of the year and the principals are expected to report on how those plans are working at a school board meeting this month.