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.

Jack R. Moriarity of Argos was killed in a moped accident Saturday night. Moriarity was reportedly riding the moped near the 8600 block of 19th Road in Marshall County. The moped then off the roadway and struck a fence post. The action killed him instantly as he was not wearing a helmet and he was ejected from the moped. Marshall County Coroner Bill Cleavenger attributed the cause of death to blunt force trauma. The accident remains under investigation with the Argos Police Department and the Marshall County Sheriff’s Department. Toxicology reports are pending.

Officials from American Oak were granted permission to develop property in the North Judson Industrial Park. Starke County Council President David Pearman said that the area they’re interested in will be revitalized for potential business. The revitalization project will create six jobs and another 1,000 feet for future development.

A man who is accused of attempting to throw anhydrous ammonia on a Pulaski County police officer during a June traffic stop has pleaded not guilty to the charges. Paul A. Burke, of Royal Center, had pleaded not guilty to felony charges of Aggravated Battery, Disarming a Law Enforcement Officer, Theft and two misdemeanor charges of Resisting Law Enforcement and Illegal Storage and Transportation of Anhydrous Ammonia. Burke allegedly grabbed a styrofoam cup filled with a substance later tested as anhydrous ammonia from the police officer and threw the hazardous chemical at him. The chemical missed the officer and hit the pavement and began to bubble and smoke. Burke will appear in Pulaski Circuit Court on October 1 for a pre-trial conference in this case at 10:00 a.m. ET.

Joshua Allen from Crawfordsville was recently arrested by Pulaski County police after he was found to be picking a marijuana plant on State Road 39 near 600 North. After police detained Allen, Allen told police that he was building a grain bin with a construction crew and was not feeling well. He went for a walk and found the marijuana plant. He also reportedly admitted that he knew that the area was known for growing marijuana. Police found the remnants of the picked plant on the ground and Allen was arrested on a preliminary charge of Possession of Marijuana under 30 Grams.

Andrew N. Meloy, of Tippecanoe, was arrested on Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated charges in Marshall County after an accident on State Road 10 east of State Road 331. He told police that he encountered a small animal in the road, swerved to miss it and lost control of his car and went off the road. He reportedly failed several sobriety tests and a portable breath test at the scene. He was arrested on preliminary charges of Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated and Operating a Vehicle with a Blood Alcohol Content of .15 or above.

The railroad crossing on State Road 8 east of Knox is closed and is expected to be closed for maintenance until Monday, September 10. INDOT Railroad and Utilities Engineer Mike Essling indicated that the closure is a bit longer than normal, but the routine maintenance is necessary. You are encouraged to select a different route to your destination if you utilize State Road 8 East to get into or out of Knox.

Sandra K. Neighbors was arrested at a Knox residence after evidence of a possible meth lab was found at a home where she was a caregiver. Jannine Clemons told Starke County officers that she found a drain cleaner container that contained batteries and medication wrapping in her father’s laundry room. She then installed a camera outside of the residence to discover who was involved in this activity and found that her father’s in-home care provider, Sandra Neighbors, was walking around the home at night with pop bottles with a white residue in it. She called police who found a number of methamphetamine precursors and an active lab on the property. Neighbors was arrested on preliminary charges of Manufacturing Methamphetamine, Possession of Precursors, Possession of Methamphetamine, Possession of a Controlled Substance and Possession of Paraphernalia.

A jury trial for a wrongful death case is set for September 17 at 8:30 a.m. ET in Pulaski Circuit Court. The family of a minor who died as a result of ingesting prescription medication prescribed to Barbara J. Gilden of Medaryville and provided to the minor by her grandson filed suit against Gilden. The family is alleging that Gilden was negligent in properly storing her medication, allowing narcotics to be accessible to minors at her residence despite having notice that they might have been obtained by minors and failed to supervise minors in her home.

Officer James Upsall and K9 Fritz demonstrate a hold on Starke County Sheriff Oscar Cowen.

K9 Fritz is retiring. Fritz will be a full-time pet at his handler’s home end of the month. Officer James Upsall said he had several narcotics busts during his three-year tenure at the Sheriff’s Department. The K9’s two-year certification is coming up at the end of the month and it was decided to not renew the certification. If the Sheriff’s Department decides to put another K9 unit in place, Upsall said he would probably not be the officer. He thanks the community for helping out with donations for Fritz and the San Pierre Veterinarian for taking care of him during a bought of heart worm sickness. For more on Fritz’s story, you can visit this story on our website at wkvi.com.

Eight candidates have filed for Center Township Seats 2, 3 and 4 on the Knox Community School Board in the General Election. Incumbent members William Kirk Bennett, Gerald (Jerry) Fletcher and Harold A. Welter have filed along with candidates Dawn A. Bailey, Jeffrey B. Fosler, Wendy McIntire, Larry D. Sennert and Valerie Williams. Incumbent Nathan Marcum and challenger Kurt A. Kemble filed for the California-Washington Township seat on the Knox School Board. Five candidates have filed for two at-large seats on the Oregon-Davis School Board. Incumbents Seth Huitt and Kurt Hayes have filed along with Patricia Dianna Gregory, Jeffrey P. Jones and Lee Nagai. There will be a race for the District 2-Union Township seat on the Culver Community School Board. Incumbent Edward Behnke will face Mark A. Maes on the ballot.

A contractor will be working Monday to clear a majority of the debris in Wythogan Park after the July storms. Park Superintendent George Byer told the Knox City Council this week that he is still waiting on the insurance company to provide a damage estimate. The park remains closed until further notice, but Mayor Chambers hopes that it will open toward the end of September of early October. Meanwhile, the Knox Street Department is burning debris today from the July 24 storm in the city dump on 450 East. The brush will be burned in small manageable piles.

Robert Reed

A plea agreement for Robert Reed was rejected by Starke Circuit Court Judge Kim Hall yesterday. According to the agreement made with the state, Reed would have pleaded guilty to charges of Receiving Stolen Property and Resisting Law Enforcement and would serve time on work release after his sentence is served. Reed is currently serving time in the Department of Corrections on a burglary charge he received in LaPorte County. The agreement would allow him to serve the Starke County term consecutively with his term in LaPorte County. Judge Hall rejected the agreement and ordered a status hearing for October 11 at 9:00 a.m.

Todd Boldry

Todd Boldry was suspended from his Knox Middle School teaching position with pay pending further investigation into a criminal case against him. Boldry is accused of sexual misconduct with a student that occurred as early as 2007. He was arrested at the Middle School on Friday, August 24 on charges of Child Seduction and Official Misconduct.

This is the old Starke County Foundation location

The building that formerly housed the Starke County Economic Development Foundation and the old theatre in downtown Knox will soon be demolished. The Development Foundation has applied for a grant for $82,800 to demolish the building and will pay the $9,200 match for the grant. The grant, if approved, will be received by the city as the city is the government entity named on the application. The Knox City Council granted permission to Knox Mayor Rick Chambers to sign a letter to the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation to propose the demolition.