Week in Review for Dec. 31, 2012-Jan. 4, 2013

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

Pat Dunn

WKVI’s General Manager, Pat Dunn, passed away Tuesday at his home in Knox. For over 25 years, Pat had been a member of the Kankakee Valley Broadcasting Board of Directors, and was most recently placed in the position of General Manager. He was at the forefront of positive changes here at the station and we will continue to move forward with his vision. Pat was also the former owner of the Knox Insurance Agency. Funeral services were held Friday at the M.C. Smith Funeral Home in Knox.  Continue reading

Week in Review for Dec. 24-28, 2012

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

William Newman

Fugitive William Newman has been captured. Marshall County officers learned that he was at a home in Argos and Wednesday night, police gained consent to enter the property and took Newman into custody. He was wanted on a Marshall County warrant after fleeing a traffic stop on December 11th and he was also wanted on several felony drug warrants in Fulton County.  Continue reading

Week in Review for Dec. 3-7, 2012

The investigation into the fire at the Sandbar at Bass Lake continues. Five fire departments helped contain the fire that started in the early morning hours on Sunday. Bass Lake Fire Chief Les Jensen has not given a preliminary cause of the fire, saying only he would release the official cause when determined by the Indiana State Fire Marshal’s Office.  Continue reading

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. Continue reading

Week in Review for Nov. 19-23, 2012

David Hollinger of Walkerton died Thursday, November 15 after his car was struck by a train in the Walkerton area. A police investigation found that Hollinger had went around the “road closed” barricades on the tracks that are under construction. He attempted to pass, but got stuck between the rails and was struck by an oncoming train. He was killed upon impact but no other injuries were reported at the scene.  Continue reading

Week in Review for Nov. 12-16, 2012

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

The Knox Community Elementary School was on lock-down Thursday after threats were made as a result of a domestic dispute. Knox City Police had been called to a residence Wednesday night in relation to a domestic incident and the male subject believed to have caused the issue left the home before police arrived at the scene. Thursday, the suspect had made additional threats to remove his children from the school. Police thought the man to be mentally unstable so with the work of the Knox City Police Department, Starke County Sheriff’s Department and the School Corporation, the school was placed on lock-down as a precaution. The suspect was later arrested in LaPorte and the lock-down was lifted. Continue reading

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.  Continue reading

Week in Review for October 22-26, 2012

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

Linda Belork (L), Commissioner Kathy Norem, Dan Bridegroom, Kasey Clark, and Auditor Kay Chaffins reconcile the cash balances

After an emergency meeting Monday, the Starke County Commissioners closed the Starke County Treasurer’s Office as it was found that newly reinstated Starke County Treasurer Linda Belork does not hold bond for that office. The Commissioners halted all transactions through that office until further notice. As a result, the Starke County Commissioners and County Attorney Marty Lucas will come before Jasper Circuit Court Judge John Potter on Monday, October 29 at 3:00 p.m. to explain why they should not be held in indirect contempt of court after they approved a motion to close the Treasurer’s Office. Judge Potter had issued an order that Belork return to office immediately and in his order this week, he found that the Commissioners circumvented the order to restore Belork to her office. Meanwhile, Commission Vice-President Dan Bridegroom declared that the Treasurer’s Office is now open and tax payments can now be accepted in the office.  Continue reading

Week in Review for Oct. 15-19, 2012

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

Tony Clemons and Melissa McCarty were arrested Wednesday after Knox City police found them to be in a vacant home at 250 W. Locust Drive and in the process of manufacturing methamphetamine. Clemons and McCarty were taken to the Starke County Jail and face preliminary charges of Illegal Drug Lab, Dealing in Methamphetamine and drug possession charges. The Indiana State Police Clandestine Lab Team was called to the scene to remove the hazardous chemicals.  Continue reading

Week in Review for Oct. 8-12, 2012

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 information about an inmate in the Pulaski County Jail, you can obtain that information by going to pulaskisheriff.net. The list can be found on the lower right-hand side of the home page. When you click on an individual inmate, you can get information on when that person was arrested, their mugshot and the current charges filed against that person. In other technology upgrades at the jail, a video device was installed which allows a family member or attorney the ability to speak to an inmate via computer. Continue reading

Week in Review for Oct. 1-5, 2012

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

Pulaski County Sheriff's Department

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. Continue reading

Week in Review for Sept. 24-28, 2012

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

No one was hurt in a Saturday morning train crash in Knox. U.S. 35, East Division Street and North 300 East were closed so crews could clear the wreckage. A Norfolk Southern employee was performing maintenance on the tracks when a train collided with the service truck. It had been parked on a set of parallel tracks at the time of the accident. The employee was not in the truck at the time of the crash. It took crews nearly four hours to clear the wreckage and open the roads. Continue reading

Week in Review for Sept. 17-21, 2012

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

Wythogan Park in Knox opened this week. There are some areas still blocked off due to the amount of debris yet to be cleared. The walking trail is accessible. Contractors will continue working in the park, but the majority of the larger logs and branches have been removed. The park has been closed since July 24 when a fierce storm reeled through the Knox area, causing thousands of dollars in damage within the park.  Continue reading

Week in Review for Sept. 10-14

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

Starke County Coroner Kris Rannells released the identity of a man who was found dead in his home at Bass Lake on Saturday, September 8. 52-year-old David Griffin was found by his brother who went to Griffin’s home to check on him as no one had heard from him in some time. A forensic autopsy was performed at the Northeast Indiana Forensic Center in Fort Wayne but no cause of death has been announced. Rannells says the cause of death will be released when the autopsy report is finalized. He did say that foul play is not suspected.  Continue reading

Week in Review for Sept. 4-7, 2012

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

Funeral services were held Tuesday at the Knox Community Center for Knox High School student Taylor Wagner. She died from injuries sustained in a single vehicle accident on U.S. 35 just south of 200 North last Saturday morning. Her vehicle left the roadway and she attempted to correct it, but the vehicle ended up flipping three times, ejecting her from the vehicle. She was taken to IU Health Starke Hospital where she died of her injuries. A Starke County Sheriff’s Department investigation found that she was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident. Continue reading

Week in Review for August 27-31, 2012

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

Special Prosecutor Michael Krebes filed 10 counts against former North Judson Clerk-Treasurer Connie Miller last week in Starke Circuit Court. Nine counts are for Theft and one is for Official Misconduct, all Class D Felonies. The charges stem from a special report by the State Board of Accounts from January 1, 2010 to December 31, 2011 which cites financial discrepancies of $74,408.67. The counts allege that Miller kept money from equipment purchases, employee reimbursements, police department receipts, ordinance violation payments, utility customer receipts, and a number of other receipts from the town of North Judson. St. Joseph County Superior Court Judge Jerome Frese will now be presiding over the criminal case involving former North Judson Clerk-Treasurer Connie Miller. Miller’s attorney, Todd E. Wallsmith, is related to the wife of Starke Circuit Court Judge Kim Hall so by Indiana law, Judge Hall has to disqualify himself from the case. All court hearings will now be heard in St. Joseph County Superior Court. Continue reading

Week in Review for August 20-24, 2012

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

police badge

Joshua C. Sommers of Plymouth was arrested Saturday after he allegedly battered a woman in a home. He left before officers arrived on scene where they found an injured woman in the home. Officers were then notified that the vehicle Sommers was driving was involved in an accident on Ferndale Avenue and left the scene. Sommers was later found and arrested on preliminary charges of Domestic Battery, Leaving the Scene of a Property Damage Accident, Operator Never Licensed and Strangulation. He is in the Marshall County Jail.

Knox City Council

The Knox City Council approved an ordinance that amends the city’s sewer and stormwater rates. A system to collect sewage and waste and direct it to the Wastewater Treatment Facility was constructed and this ordinance allows for a department to be established to address stormwater needs and a stormwater fund for the collection of fees. If your property is connected to the city’s sanitary sewer system, you will be required to pay $1 per month to connect to the sewer system. In 2013, that fee will raise to $2. Revenue generated from the collection fees will be used for maintenance of the stormwater system.

The City of Knox has been given permission by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources to burn the brush that has accumulated from the July 24 storms. The Knox City Street Department has prepared an area for the controlled burn and the fire department will be notified before the activity takes place. The City has 30 days to complete the task. If you have any questions or concerns, call the Mayor’s Office at (574) 772-4553.

Starke County Sheriff's Department

A .65 percent tax rate that would help fund the construction of a new jail facility in Starke County was approved by the County Council and County Commissioners last night. They will now start looking at a site for the jail and the Skillman Corporation will proceed with design schematics for the proposed jail. The Council and Commissioners are hopeful to begin construction in April.

Gregory Moore was arrested late Friday night after he allegedly caused a two vehicle accident due to his high level of intoxication. Officers from the Starke County Sheriff’s Department and emergency personnel were called to the scene at 450 South and County Road 210 near Bass Lake and had to extricate Moore from his vehicle. Moore was taken to IU Health Starke Hospital due to his injuries along with two people in the other vehicle involved in the accident. Once Moore was released from the hospital, he was taken to the Starke County Jail on two preliminary felony charges of Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated Causing Serious Bodily Injury and a misdemeanor charge of Reckless Driving.

Steven O'Bryant

Steven O’Bryant of Knox pleaded not guilty to four counts of child molestation in Starke Circuit Court yesterday. The Knox City Police Department investigated a claim that O’Bryant molested a juvenile while staying at the juvenile’s home for two months. O’Bryant was arrested Monday on a warrant for these charges in Fort Wayne. This is not his first crime in Knox. He was convicted of murdering a Knox woman in 1987 and had served time in prison for the crime. He was released from the Department of Corrections on parole on June 27, 2011 and he was released from parole on January 9. Judge Hall was the county prosecutor in O’Bryant’s murder case and recused himself from O’Bryant’s current case. A St. Joseph County Judge will now conduct all of O’Bryant’s future court hearings.

William Blankenship

William Blankenship III of Knox pleaded guilty in a plea agreement to charges of Escape as a Class C Felony and Auto Theft as a Class D Felony. He will be sentenced in Porter County Superior Court 1 on October 1. These charges stem from an incident on January 10 when Blankenship drove a police car away after he was detained during a traffic stop in Kouts. Blankenship drove the car into a ditch in LaPorte County. He turned himself into authorities two days later at a home in Knox. He is currently incarcerated in the Porter County Jail.

No problems have been cited in Starke, Pulaski or Marshall Counties after BP officials recalled millions of gallons of contaminated fuel this week. The contaminated fuel came from a Whiting refinery fuel storage terminal where diesel fuel or fuel oil somehow got mixed in with regular unleaded gasoline. If you fueled your car in Northwestern Indiana, where over 5,000 vehicle-related have been reported, call the BP customer relations hotline at (800) 333-3991.

The Marshall County Sheriff’s Department detained five juveniles after an investigation into damage to golf carts and the driving range at the Plymouth Rock Golf Course. The juveniles reportedly forced their way into a gated and locked pavilion and took several golf carts. They drove the carts around the driving range and drove over markers and caused other damage. The five are suspected of burglary, theft, criminal mischief and criminal trespass and the case has been forwarded to the Marshall County Probation Department.

Plymouth Police officers are attempting to identify suspects in a burglary at the Marathon Station on North Michigan Street. On Monday morning, the suspects smashed in the front door of the business and stole cigarettes. They left the premises in an unknown vehicle. If you know anything about this incident, call the Plymouth Police Department at 936-2126.

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

John R. Mikle of LaPorte was arrested on a warrant yesterday in South Bend on charges after a July 19 accident that killed 26-year-old Katherine Adkins and injured two children in her car. He faces felony charges of Reckless Homicide, Causing Death When Operating a Motor Vehicle While Intoxicated, and two counts of Causing Serious Bodily Injury when Operating a Motor Vehicle While Intoxicated. He has also been charged with a misdemeanor count of Operating a Vehicle with a Schedule I or II Controlled Substance in the Body. His bond is set at $35,000 cash.

Starke County Commissioners Kathy Norem, Dan Bridegroom and Jennifer Davis

A motion was approved by the Starke County Commissioners this week to create a separate fund for money that will be received from the county’s insurance for repairs caused by the storms in June and July. The county will receive $75,000 which IT Director Joe Short says will hardly cover the items that need repaired or replaced. A preliminary damage estimate was figured at $48,944.85 which doesn’t include the Sheriff’s Department tower. That cost could exceed $30,000. Short said the county will like receive another payment to help with the cost of repairs.

Ralph Braun

The CEO of the Braun Corporation and Braunability in Winamac, Ralph Braun, will be featured in a CNN segment this weekend called “The Human Factor” hosted by Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Braun will talk about the invention of the motorized scooter invention and how he has strived to become mobile despite suffering from Muscular Dystrophy. He will talk about how he developed the world’s first accessible vehicle and how that idea was incorporated into the first accessible minivan. The show airs Saturday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. ET and Sunday at 7:30 a.m. ET on CNN.

Week In Review For Aug 13 – 17, 2012

Four Plymouth residents were arrested after police learned of a possible methamphetamine lab operation at 400 W. Washington St. in Plymouth. Police say that three officers approached the home at 11 a.m. on Monday and, upon arrival, detained four individuals. They obtained permission to search the apartment, and soon found several items associated with manufacturing, dealing, and using methamphetamine. Jason Joseph, 27; Justin Keller, 28; Sara Johnson, 22; and Robin Chese-Barnett, 26 were arrested and face charges of Manufacturing Methamphetamine and Possession of Methamphetamine, Precursors, and Paraphernalia.

A Bass Lake man was killed in a motorcycle accident late yesterday afternoon.  William (Bill) Wagner, 55, was reportedly traveling on State Road 10 just west of the Bass Lake Beach when the motorcycle went left of center just prior to the start of a curve.  The motorcycle then went into a ditch, struck a raised driveway causing it to go airborne.  It landed on its front wheel and with the back of the motorcycle still up in the air, the driver and motorcycle hit a tree.  Wagner was transported to IU Health Starke Hospital where he later died of his injuries.  There were no witnesses to the accident and the reason why the motorcycle left the roadway has not bee determined.  Officers from the Starke County Sheriff’s Department investigated the accident.  

A revised injunction against C&C Salvage has been filed in Starke Circuit Court.  The Starke County Planning Commission had filed the injunction after it was found that the owner, James Campbell, did not have the proper permits to expand the business.  The Indiana Department of Environmental Management also conducted an inspection of the business and found that C&C Salvage violated several state and federal laws.  Campbell is required to obtain the necessary permits for the business and correct all violations before operations can resume.  Campbell is also ordered to pay $300 a day for every day he is in violation of county, state and federal laws since July 30.  

The attorney for the new owner of Marsh Manor, at 304 S. Main St. in Knox, appeared before the Knox City Council this week to determine what needs to be done in order for her client to bring up that property to livable standards.  The owner had purchased the property on the county’s online tax sale and didn’t know that the inside of the building had been gutted from a fire and was condemned due to that fire.  The owner attempted to get her money back, but all property tax sales are final.  The owner will have to appear before the Board of Public Works to get the information needed in order to bring the property up to code.  

Indiana State Police officers responded to a two vehicle accident early Wednesday morning on I-94 just three miles east of the Michigan City exit in LaPorte County.  LaPorte County Coroner, John Sullivan, told WKVI that one victim in the accident, 38-year-old Michael Van Der Linden of Belleville, Michigan was driving the wrong way on I-94 and hit a vehicle head-on driven by 45-year-old Juan Nelson of Portage.  The impact caused a fire that consumed both vehicles and left the bodies burned beyond recognition.  Sullivan said the cause of death for both victims was blunt force trauma and thermal burns.  As Michigan police arrived at Van Der Linden’s home to attempt to notify the family of the fatal accident, they observed the door to the home open.  When police entered the residence, they found that every member of Michael Van Der Linden’s family was murdered.  His wife and children were found stabbed.   Investigators now are trying to piece together why Van Der Linden was in LaPorte County and if he is the suspect in the murder.  

Bobby Jewel was arrested Tuesday after a pursuit incident with Starke County police.  Police received a call that Jewel was driving a stolen pick-up and manufacturing methamphetamine in the Monterey area and when police found the vehicle on Lincoln Street, he fled.  Police attempted a traffic stop, but he did not stop.  The pursuit ended when the vehicle crashed through a shed and chain link fence on Adams Street in Monterey.  Jewel then ran from the vehicle, but was taken into custody.  Police reportedly found a controlled substance and a syringe in his possession.  Jewel was transported to IU Health Starke Hospital for injuries sustained in the accident.  He has preliminary charges of Resisting Law Enforcement, Possession of a Controlled Substance and Possession of a Syringe.

An accident in Washington Township sent one person to the hospital.  Starke County Sheriff’s Department officers found that a woman was driving at a high rate of speed on 700 E. just north of 25 N. in Starke County and left the roadway.  Her vehicle hit the fence at the Eagle Creek Cemetery and then a tree.  Her car came to rest on another part of the fence.  She was taken to IU Health Starke Hospital due to her injuries and was later transported to Memorial Hospital in South Bend.  The accident remains under investigation and alcohol could be a factor.  

Marshall County has been added to the list of counties where cases of variant influenza A have been confirmed.  To avoid the flu or other infections, wash your hands frequently; never eat, drink or put anything in your mouth when visiting areas with animals; cough or sneeze into your sleeve or elbow; and avoid those who are ill. 

A $132,000 loan has been approved by the Pulaski County Commissioners to L&C Recycling, LLC, to allow Tom Bonnell to move his business from its current location on State Road 119 south of Winamac to a facility on County Road 200 South near 500 West. The loan was approved pending his request to rezone the new location to industrial to accommodate his business. He was recently granted a favorable recommendation by a revolving loan committee, and now with the commissioners’ approval, the matter falls to the shoulders of the Pulaski County Planning Commission. A hearing will be conducted on Aug. 27 to decide whether or not to proceed with Bonnell’s request.

The work session held by the Knox Community School Board last week shed some light on the feelings of the community concerning the Palmer Wing project at the elementary school. Superintendent A.J. Gappa explained that of the three options available – do nothing, renovate the existing wing, or build a new one – the consensus seemed to favor constructing a new wing. With just over a dozen patrons in attendance alongside staff members at the meeting, Gappa says the majority seemed to favor the idea of building a new wing and carrying on with classes as normal until the wing has been completed. Then, classes would be added to the new wing, and the 60-year-old Palmer Wing would be torn down. Gappa explained the new wing would likely be at the west end of the newer structure of the elementary school.

In light of this year’s worsening drought, the town of Culver is looking into the possibility of drilling an extra well for the town’s water supply. According to Town Manager David Schoeff, the town board had discussed the idea a while ago and had a study done regarding the project, but nothing had come of it. Since then, some comments had been made at the last board meeting that some residents thought the board should look into the idea once again because of the dry weather. Schoeff says the dry weather isn’t causing concern for the water supply, but they’re instead looking into the possibility to ensure that as the town grows, the water supply can accommodate the expansion.

Police say an 18-year-old Valparaiso man was struck by a train on Saturday morning on the Canadian National Railroad tracks near Yellowstone Road. Nicholas Domer was reportedly walking on the railroad tracks while wearing headphones, and the train conductor told police that he saw the man walking westbound on the tracks, headed in the same direction as the train. He said he sounded the train’s horn several times in an attempt to warn the man of the quickly approaching train, but it quickly became apparent that the man was not going to get off the tracks. The train conductor initiated an emergency stop, but was unable to bring the train to a stop before it struck Domer. Domer was taken to Porter Valparaiso Hospital before being airlifted to a Chicago hospital.

Week in Review for July 30-August 3, 2012

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

This fire occurred at the salvage yard in September 2010

Starke Circuit Court Judge Kim Hall approved a motion for a preliminary/permanent injunction after evidence was presented alleging that C&C Salvage committed numerous violations. The Indiana Department of Environment Management found more than 10 violations on the property including oil that had saturated into the ground, burned trees at the back of the property due to a fire, and debris in a pond. An inspection on the property had been conducted by IDEM on May 21.  Continue reading

Week in Review for July 23-27, 2012

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

No injuries were reported after the storms ripped through the area Tuesday which caused extensive damage at the Starke County Airport. Airport Manager Pam Beharry said five planes were totaled and hangars were damaged and some destroyed. Some airplanes in the hangars were even lifted from the ground up to ten feet in the air. One hangar lost a roof in the storm, but none of the planes in that hangar were damaged. Beharry said that the total amount of damage at the airport won’t be known for a while yet. Continue reading