Roberta Clemons and Jose Santiago, Jr. Sentenced in Starke Circuit Court

Roberta Clemons

Roberta Clemons was scheduled for jury trial on Wednesday in Starke Circuit Court, but instead, she plead guilty to all charges. There was no plea agreement. The potential jurors watched the defendant plead guilty and then they were free to leave the courtroom.

The Sentencing Hearing took place shortly thereafter. Judge Kim Hall sentenced Clemons to the maximum of three years on each of the three counts of Possession of a Controlled Substance, a Class D felony. The sentences will be served concurrently. She was ordered to participate in an intensive drug treatment program in the Indiana Department of Corrections. If she successfully completes the treatment program, she may petition the Court to modify her sentence.

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Starke County Commissioners Approve Ordinance Restricting Weapons at Courthouse

Starke County Courthouse

The courthouse is now a weapon-free zone, thanks to the ordinance passed by the Starke County Commissioners at their recent meeting. A public hearing was held regarding the proposed ordinance that would restrict firearms and other weapons at courthouse facilities as well as other public meetings. There was no public comment, and the Commissioners voted to approve the ordinance.

“We’re just trying to protect our court, protect our judge, protect the people who work at the courthouse, and also us,” said Commissioner Dan Bridegroom.

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President Bush Visited Class of Former Koontz Lake Resident’s Daughter on September 11th, 2001

Daisy Davey

With the death of Osama Bin Laden, many people are remembering back to September 11th, 2001. That was the awful day that planes attacked the Twin Towers in New York and the Pentagon in Washington D.C. At the time of the first attack, President George Bush was in Sarasota, Florida. He was visiting a second grade class promoting education at the Emma Booker School. He was reading “The Pet Goat” to the students.

When the news of the tragedy hit, we were all notified of the President’s whereabouts. It was then that we, here, realized that the Principal of the school was the daughter of a Koontz Lake resident.

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Knox Community School Board Discusses Lease with Apple Computers

Gary Dulin, Jerry Fletcher, Harold Welter, Mary Lynn Ritchie, Kirk Bennett, Nathan Marcum, Mike Yankauskas, Superintendent A.J. Gappa

The Knox Community School Board member discussed entering into a lease agreement with Apple computers at their recent meeting.

“That program would involve having an Apple Macbook computer for each of the students enrolled from grades six through twelve,” said Superintendent, A.J. Gappa. “We’re looking at a four year lease program that Apple promotes through different school corporations throughout the State of Indiana and also throughout the country. Apple representative, Joseph Lee, was here to help answer questions that the Board members had about the program. Many questions have been answered, but there are some other items that the Board wants to look at before they make a commitment because it is such a large commitment. We anticipate getting some of those questions answered before the next Board meeting.”

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The Late Almo Smith to be Featured on ‘Ted Hayes Remembers’ Program

Almo Smith

On “Ted Hayes Remembers” this week, he’ll feature an interview with the late Almo Smith.

In his days in Knox, Almo Smith worked at the Kingsbury Ordinance Plant, sold insurance, served on the Hospital Board, and was the City Court Judge. He was also one of the founding fathers of WKVI radio. Mr. Smith hired both Harold Welter and Ted Hayes to get the station “off the ground.”

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New Curly Slide Erected in Wythogan Park

New curly slide at Wythogan Park

A generation of kids went down the curly slide in Wythogan Park. Now, the old curly slide has gone the way of many rides that have seen “better days.”

A new slide has been erected.

“We bought a brand new swirl slide that will replace the old one that he had installed on August 2nd, 1977,” said Park Superintendent, George Byer. “This one will be a blessing for us. We wanted new playground equipment so this is going to fall right in place.”

Bi-County Track Meet

Boys 110 M Hurdle Finals
Girls 4x100 Relay
Marissa Hamilton Ties Bi-County High Jump Record.
Gavun Henry's 2nd Place Throw.

The Bi-County Track Meet took place Friday, April 29th at North Judson-San Pierre High School. Winamac took 1st place as a team for both the boys and the girls, Knox placed 2nd in the boys competition, North Judson came in 3rd, West Central was 4th and Oregon-Davis came in 5th. For the girls, North Judson placed 2nd, Oregon-Davis was 3rd, West Central came in 4th, and Knox finished in 5th. Congratulations to all of the athletes and coaches of these five schools on a very exciting evening!

Incumbents Re-Elected in City of Knox Primary Election

Rick and Marlene Chambers

Knox City Democrats went to the polls yesterday and re-elected Mayor Rick Chambers, Clerk-Treasurer Jeff Houston, and City Councilman Ron Parker in the contested races.

Chambers defeated challenger Mark Smith 401-288 in the mayoral race, and at party headquarters, he thanked his supporters.

“It’s been an exciting four years and I’m just humbled by the public coming out and voting and supporting me,” said Chambers. “We’re here to support the public. I’ve got to thank my family. My Mother-in-Law, my kids, everybody else that helped me, and the City workers who have made me look good for the past four years. We’ve got to thank them.”

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Jack Haut Files Suit Against Starke County Sheriff, Commissioners

Jack Haut

A litany of complaints have been filed by an attorney for Starke County Jail prisoner, Jack Haut. The Class Action allegations were made on behalf of Haut and those similarly situated pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

Most of the complaints have to do with alleged overcrowding. Specifically, the Haut suit claims that because of overcrowding prisoners are forced to sleep on the floor in dayrooms for months at a time.

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Jose Santiago, Jr. Pleads Guilty Right before Trial; Roberta Clemons Trial Today

Jose Santiago, Jr.

A Knox man’s scheduled trial for today has been canceled in a surprise move by the defendant, Jose Santiago, Jr.
Santiago yesterday in Starke Circuit Court plead guilty without any plea agreement to charges relating to an indoor marijuana growing operation in February of this year.

Police Officers from Knox, Starke County and the Indiana State Police conducted a raid on the illegal operation at 207 Roosevelt Road in Knox and seized 78 marijuana plants in the raid.

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$10,000 in Damage to Roads Affected by Robbins Ditch Levee Break

Looking north on Range Road at the Robbins Ditch

Starke County Highway Superintendent, Steve Siddall, briefed the Commissioners and public Monday as to the damage done due to the levee break last week on the Robbins ditch.

“It broke out Thursday morning sometime and we were notified,” said Siddall. “The water had come across 400 North and then to the south of that on Range Road. Both roads took a pretty good beating. We’re looking at a lot of damage. $10,000 in damage is a rough estimate. I haven’t been up there because we’re trying to let things dry up. We weren’t able to open up Range Road up to 400 North on Friday by putting stone down as the road was impassable. We just barely made it across Friday to put stone down.”

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$127,000 Raised in Culver Academies’ Relay for Life

Kelly Cares Foundation donated $2,500 to Culver Academies' Relay for Life. Pictured are Mike Wilcox, former Culver parent and Trustee, Paqui Kelly, and Kyle Blankenship, Co-Chairman. Academies photo by Gary Mills

A record $127,000 was raised during the Relay For Life effort at Culver Academies in April. It was the fourth Relay for Life event held at the school and because of the weather it was the first Relay held indoors.

In all, there were 100 volunteers working on the event, that was co-chaired by Kyle Blankenship who said, “We weren’t about to cancel the two day event because of a little rain.”

The Academies’ fund raising effort was bolstered April 13th by a $2,500 check from the Kelly Cares Foundation, and its founders Brian and Paqui Kelly. Paqui Kelly is a two time cancer survivor and the wife of the University of Notre Dame football coach.

Knox School Board Approves Purchase of Pool Deck Liner

Gary Dulin, Jerry Fletcher, Harold Welter, Mary Lynn Ritchie, Kirk Bennett, Nathan Marcum, Mike Yankauskas, Superintendent A.J. Gappa

The Knox Community School Board approved a change order in the Knox High School renovation project. Brian Bohlender from Barton Coe Vilamaa went through the funds for the project. Work is being done in the pool area, water piping is being replaced throughout the school and new lockers are being installed. At their meeting Monday night, the Board approved the installation of a pool deck liner and the deck liner pad at a cost of approximately $36,048.

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Chambers Beats Smith in Democrat Mayoral Primary

Mayor Rick Chambers defeated challenger Mark Smith in the City of Knox Mayoral Primary Election held Tuesday. Total votes totaled were Chambers 401 to Smith’s 288. Also challenged in the primary this year was City of Knox Clerk Treasurer Jeff Houston. His opponent was Clarence Marshall. Houston received 365 votes to Marshall’s 318.

The only other contested race featured the City Council District 2 seat presently held by Ron Parker. He was challenged by Robert Shireman . Parker won the race with 305 votes to Shireman’s 290.

Other council seats which were not contested included City Council at-large Linda Berndt the top vote getter with 471 votes, Donald Kring Council District 1 403 votes, Jeff Berg City Council District 3 445 votes and Greg Matt City Council District 4 437 votes.

The only Republican to run in this years primary was Judge Charles Hasnerl who received 51 votes and was not challenged in the primary and the Democrats did not file a candidate for that office.


Lovina Streight

This year, 2011, marks the sesquicentennial of the Civil War in the United States. At 4:30 in the morning of April 12, 1861, Confederate forces started the American Civil War by firing on Fort Sumter, a Union military base located outside the entrance to the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina. Just two days later, after suffering severe damage from four thousand shells, the federal forces surrendered. The American flag came down, and the Confederacy’s new Stars and Bars banner flew over the fort.

President Lincoln asked for a quota of 4600 men from Indiana… “Soldiers, or good men willing to be converted into soldiers for the emergency.” In reality, almost 200,000 served from Indiana. My grandfather was one of those men. During those four years, 25,025 Hoosiers died. In fact, the Battle of Antietam in 1862 was much more devastating than present day wars around the world. It was the bloodiest single-day battle in American history, with about 23,000 casualties.

The Historical Society has an excellent program about William Garner, the last Civil War soldier from Starke County to die. If you would like a program about the “Billy” Garner in the Civil War for your club or organization some time during this sesquicentennial year, call me at 574-772-4311.

Also, the Starke County Historical Society has made special arrangements with the Indiana Historical Society to exhibit, Faces of the Civil War from May 3, 2011 to May 27, 2011, here in Starke County. The exhibit will be at the Henry F. Schricker Library in Knox. The exhibition brings to life the stories of many Hoosiers whose lives were touched, and in some cases taken, by the Civil War.

Non-soldier stories featured in the exhibition include the stories of women who served both on the homefront and on the battlefield. Lovina Streight followed her husband into battle and was captured more than once by the Confederate Army while tending to her husband, as well as his wounded and dying comrades.

Voters Encouraged to Vote Today in City of Knox May Primary Election

It’s Primary Election Day! Voters in precincts 1, 2, 3, and 4 in Center Township in Knox are encouraged to vote today and all voting will be done at the Knox Community Center. Polls will be open from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Starke County Clerk, Evelyn Skronski, received 182 absentee ballots in her office. 123 walk-in ballots, 37 ballots by mail and 22 Travel Board were received. Of those votes 163 were Democratic ballots and 19 were Republican ballots.

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Starke County Commissioners Discuss Bridge Repair

County bridge #156 over the Robbins Ditch

The Starke County Commissioners held a lengthy discussion with all involved in the bridge #156 reconstruction or rehabilitation. The bridge, located at 400 North and Range Road, has been closed for approximately a month.

“It is an inconvenience with Range Road being closed, not only just for the farmers but for businesses as well as the Highway Department, schools, EMS, mail carriers, and any other emergency vehicle, ” said Starke County Highway Superintendent, Steve Siddall. “We really want to try and open that back up as soon as possible. The biggest thing is the permits from the DNR. The permits could hold us up for at least six months and hopefully the DNR wouldn’t do that, but you never know.”

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Pulaski County Airport Expansion Could Save Lives, Says Resident

Pulaski County Commissioners Tracey Shorter, Kenneth Boswell, Michael Tiede

The Pulaski County Commissioners met yesterday evening and were approached by taxpayer Tim Hoffa regarding the airport expansion project. Hoffa explained to the board that there is one vital benefit to be gained from expanding the runway, and that is the ability to save lives.

Hoffa is currently in the process of being evaluated for a double-lung transplant, and one of the qualifications for such a procedure is a nearby airport with a runway of at least 5000 feet. Hoffa said he was ecstatic when he heard about the proposed expansion, because it shortened his trip to the airport in the event of a donor match. Hoffa explained that he would have a limited amount of time to get to the Fulton County airport, which is the closet airport that meets these requirements. He stressed that hundreds of lives could be saved with this expansion, and that the Commissioners should approve and expand the runway because saving lives is more important than any other potential issues with the project.

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