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.

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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.