Week in Review for Nov. 26-30, 2012

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

Stephen Suthard

No details have been released by police as to what led to the deaths of two Culver residents Wednesday night. 44-year-old Michael Price and 16-year-old Culver High School Sophomore Stephen Suthard were found dead in a home at 419 W. Madison Street by Price’s wife. They died from apparent gunshot wounds. Crime Scene Technicians assisted in the investigation led by the Culver Police Department and Chief Wayne Bean. Autopsies on the pair will be conducted by Forensic Pathologist Dr. Joseph Pralow on Monday. A community gathered together last night at the Wesley United Methodist Church to offer support.

The Starke County Commissioners approved a site for the new Starke County Jail this week. The site chosen is across from Sabre Manufacturing on Highway 8 near 550 East. The motion was 2-1 to approve the site with Commissioner Dan Bridegroom opposing. He indicated that the building is larger than what was needed and it will cost more to heat and cool the building in the long run. Commissioner Jennifer Davis stated that she is for the site, but has her concerns about how the previous site appraisal did not match the asking price for the property. The site will now need to be approved by the Starke County Council.

A trial was held in Starke Circuit Court for a man charged with Domestic Battery and Strangulation. After a 20 minute deliberation, a six-member jury found Alan Balchunas not guilty on the charges. He was accused of choking and and battering his ex-wife, Pamela Balchunas, in front of their two children in an incident July 1. Pamela Balchunas told police that she hit him with a baseball bat twice after she was reportedly battered before leaving the residence. They were both arrested in the incident.

Paul E. Minix was allegedly beaten and choked during a home invasion in Pulaski County Monday night. He told police that two suspects had reportedly battered him. He let the pair stay at his home and they left the residence the next day only to return to batter Minix. They also allegedly stole two cell phones from his residence after the assault. The report has been forwarded to the Pulaski County Prosecutor’s Office seeking charges of Burglary Resulting in Bodily Injury as a Class A Felony and as a Class A misdemeanor, Theft, Residential Entry and Strangulation.

An inmate in the Pulaski County Jail was found dead in his bunk Monday afternoon. Jailers went to check on 53-year-old William H. Olson and found him to be unresponsive. Pulaski County EMTs were called to the scene but were unable to revive him. Olson had been in the facility since September 2, 2010. He was serving time on a charge of Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated and a probation violation. He had only four months left in his sentence. Pulaski County Coroner Steve VanDerAa said the preliminary autopsy report showed that William H. Olson died of a pulmonary embolism, or blood clot, in his lungs and heart. VanDerAa ruled his death as natural causes.

The intersection at State Roads 39 and 14 in Pulaski County is now a four-way stop. Stop signs with reflective tape were added on State Road 14 along with “Stop Ahead” warning signs with flashing beacons and painted “Stop” bars on the road. INDOT approved this change after it was determined that added safety measures were needed at that intersection.

Several members of organizations vital to the success of the welding program were awarded welded plaques.

An open house was held Wedneday at the Knox Middle School to recognize all of the businesses, organizations and individuals involved in making the welding program a success. SCILL Center Director Jerry Gurrado named more than 10 of those entities that have been involved with the program that has helped students learn welding skills to find employment in the field. The instructor is Andrew Odle.

Monomoy Capital Partners, a New York private equity fund company, recently acquired the assets of the MPI corporation from Revstone Industries, LLC. While the terms of the transaction were not disclosed, officials did indicate that the operations at the Knox plant will not change and this move secures the 300 jobs at the plant. Monomoy is a firm that implements customized business improvement programs and helps companies increase profitability and growth. MPI, with its headquarters in Michigan and factories in Knox and three other locations, is the leading manufacturer of automatic transmission products.

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

Two juveniles have been charged with three counts of Killing a Vertebrate Animal and three counts of Criminal Recklessness, all Class D Felonies, after an investigation revealed that they allegedly shot and killed three cows on a farm in LaPorte. One cow was pregnant. Deputies met with the farmer at his farm in the 5100 S. block of County Road 425 West after he heard five gunshots. He reportedly followed the suspect vehicle and provided police with the license number. The juveniles were then questioned and taken to the LaPorte County Juvenile Justice Center and charged.