Week in Review for July 16-20, 2012

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

47-year-old Debra Clemons of Francesville was arrested Thursday, July 12 after she was found to be intoxicated and her autistic son was found walking along U.S. 421 after midnight. A Pulaski County deputy walked alongside the boy on U.S. 421 until a family member could be contacted to pick up the boy. After the boy was picked up, the officer went to his home and found his intoxicated mother, Debra Clemons, where she told police that she was out looking for her son and didn’t know how he got out of the house. She was arrested on a preliminary charge of Neglect of a Dependent. 

North Judson Town Board

Members of the North Judson Town Board and the Starke County Economic Development Foundation met in a special meeting, Thursday, July 12 to discuss the North Judson Industrial Park. Discussion surrounded accessibility to a state highway and the size of the industrial park. Officials believe these two items need to be addressed to attract industry to the park. More discussion will be held in a future meeting.

Marshall, Pulaski and St. Joseph Counties have been designated as primary natural disaster areas due to losses caused by extreme drought. Farm operators in Jasper, LaPorte, Starke and White Counties qualify for natural disaster assistance because farmers reside in counties contiguous to the designated counties. Farmers are eligible for low-interest emergency loans from FSA. The USDA encourages all farmers to contact their crop insurance companies and local FSA offices to report damages to crops or livestock loss.

The West Central School Board learned that the ISTEP scores have gone down this year. Superintendent Charles Mellon said the administration and teachers will be doing an in-depth investigation as to the fall of the scores. He said the results were a little surprising as students showed growth in testing throughout the school year. Scores will be dissected to see why they are going in the wrong direction. The ISTEP scores at the Knox Community School Corporation were down this year, according to Superintendent A.J. Gappa. Gappa said the administration and teachers are looking into reasons as to why this has happened. He explained that other tests given showed growth in some areas. An action plan is being assembled to initiate at the beginning of the school year.

Tom Berg

Tuesday was designated as Tom Berg day! Knox Mayor Rick Chambers made the proclamation announcement Monday while visiting the WKVI studios during Berg’s attempt at breaking a Guiness World Record for longest continuous radio broadcast by a single host. Tom was on the air for 187 attempting to break the world record which stands at 184 hours by a Belgian DJ.

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana has filed a complaint against the City of Plymouth which alleges that the City violated the rights of Air Force Reservist Robert D. DeLee by refusing to pay him longevity pay after he returned from active duty overseas. He worked as a patrolman for the Plymouth Police Department and after he returned home, he was reemployed to that position but was not paid his longevity pay as required by the Uniformed Service Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994.

Joshua Thomas Wolfe, 27, was arrested by Pulaski County SWAT team members on Sunday, July 15 after he was found at a home in Ripley. He had been wanted on charges of Revocation of Probation for Sexual Misconduct with a Minor, Dealing in Methamphetamine and other charges in surrounding counties. An anonymous tip came into the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department on Wolfe’s whereabouts and that he was armed with a pistol. SWAT surrounded the home and Wolfe was arrested without incident.

The burn ban in Starke County has been extended until Monday, August 6th. The County Commissioners and EMA Director Ted Bombagetti will reevaluate the conditions at that time. Burning is only allowed in burn barrels with one-quarter inch mesh on the top and debris can only be burned from dawn to dusk. Pulaski, Marshall and Benton Counties have allowed their bans to expire.

A 41-year-old LaPorte County woman was injured after her ex-husband allegedly shot at her from an outdoor location. A bullet fired from his weapon went through the window and narrowly missed her. She received injuries from the broken window fragments and was treated and released from a nearby hospital. LaPorte County Police determined that her ex-husband, Scott Bailey, fired the shot and attempted to locate him Monday, but were unsuccessful. Police were called to a residence in Michiana Shores Tuesday where Bailey was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The U.S. News and World Report has ranked IU Health 16th for best hospital. This is the first time an Indiana healthcare system has appeared on the honor roll. Eleven clinical programs, including cancer, cardiology, neurosurgery and orthopedics were cited among the top specialty programs in the United States. The IU Health system includes the major hospitals in Starke and LaPorte Counties.

The Marshall County Commissioners made no headway in their discussion concerning a golf cart ordinance. A public hearing on the matter was held Monday morning and several residents were for and others were against the use of golf carts on all county roads. The original ordinance suggested that the carts only be used around the county’s lakes and not on any other roads. Sheriff Tom Chamberlin said that he is concerned about allowing the carts on roads that have a speed limit of 55 mph. Two motions died for lack of a second and the Commissioners had no further discussion at this meeting, but the issue will be discussed at their next meeting.

The state has been placed under a water shortage warning and Knox Mayor Rick Chambers is urging you to conserve water. The average daily water use for the city has gone up to 550,000 gallons. Mayor Chambers said the aquifer from where the water is pumped is two feet lower than normal. You are encouraged to refrain from watering your lawn and change water use habits around your home and business.

The North Judson-San Pierre School Corporation is looking at a revenue loss of approximately one million dollars over the next two budget years. Superintendent Lynn Johnson said that the loss of the restoration grant and the small schools grant plus the loss of enrollment has attributed to the reduction in funding. The Board has yet to set any plans of budget reductions in place and will hold public meetings to inform you of their plans in the near future. Johnson said that the Board’s number one concern is how this is going to affect the students and work around that.

Dale Hite

Dale Hite was sentenced to 30 years in the Indiana Department of Corrections. Starke Circuit Court Judge Kim Hall handed down the sentence after a jury had found Hite guilty on charges of Resisting Law Enforcement Resulting in Death, Reckless Homicide, Resisting Law Enforcement, Possession of Methamphetamine, Failure to Stop and a Stop Sign and Failure to use Headlights from Dusk to Dawn. He was also ordered to pay $1,000 to the Starke County Sheriff’s Department. On October 16th, 2009, Hite was fleeing from police at speeds of 124 mph when he left the roadway and hit some trees on 600 North in Starke County. The impact killed Amber McMillin and Nicholas White.

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