Starke County Prosecutor, Nicholas Bourff, is in his third month on the job and has already made a suggestion to help speed up C and D Felony proceedings.
“One of the proposals I’ve made is to try, even if it’s with the C and D Felonies, to see if a case is going ahead to trial, and we know it will, to see if we could get a bench trial set, which just involves the Judge, instead of a jury trial,” said Bourff. “The one major drawback there is that if a defendant wants a jury trial, he or she has that right. If the defendant agrees to a bench trial, then it would save thousands of dollars and it would shave off quite a bit of time as far as eliminating the need for jury selection. In my experience as a defense attorney, the majority of my clients would not have had a problem with going to a bench trial.”
When WKVI asked Starke County Health Board member, Brenda Stanojevic, about funding, she said that Health Officer Dr. Theresa Alexander told the Board that funding will be a problem, but they should make it through.
The question was raised because the fee for a septic permit has decreased from $200 to $60. Dr. Alexander said she going to a meeting to find out ways to keep the office solvent.
Dr. Alexander said, “At some point, funding is going to raise its ugly head and we’re going to have to keep on top of it.”
Sam Frain, of Winamac, has been named the 2nd District Acting Republican Party Chairman, upon the death of GOP Chairwoman, Joyce Smith. Frain has been fulfilling many of Smith’s duties over the past two years because of her illness.
A caucus will be called in April to permanently fill the vacancy. Frain has announced that he will be a candidate for the position.
The Eastern Pulaski School Board members discussed the possibility of eliminating Driver’s Training at their most recent meeting.
“Funding is being cut and in turn, we have to make some very hard decisions,” explained Superintendent Dr. Robert Klitzman. “Driver’s Training is an elective class and the maximum class size for that program is nine students. That’s a luxury that I’m not sure we can afford anymore. I have surveyed, so far, 22 of the area school corporations and at this point in time, Eastern Pulaski is the only school that offers Driver’s Training during the school year. Everyone else either offers it in the summer, or a private contractor offers it. At this point, all I’m doing is gathering data and information to bring back to the Board and discuss this and see where it’s going to go.”
H&G Underground continues to work on the storm water improvement project in the Town of Hamlet. The project is improving storm drainage in the old downtown area of Hamlet.
Work is currently being done on Starke Street and the piping should be finished this week. Work has also started on Pearl and Davis Streets. At their meeting Tuesday night, the Hamlet Town Board expressed their gratitude to the community for being patient during this process. It will alleviate drainage issues in the Town which have been a problem for several years.
The Hamlet Town Board also approved May 21st and 22nd as the Town-wide yard sale dates.
On this date 85 years ago, Che Mah passed away. He died at the age of 88 in 1926, and is buried in Crown Hill Cemetery in Knox. At times in his life he traveled with the Barnum and Bailey Circus and Ringling Brothers Circus. In 1900, Che Mah was playing with the circus in Chicago and saved enough money to retire. A real estate dealer, who he had fallen in love with, convinced him to purchase a farm at Eagle Lake, near Knox. Being no good at farming (after all he was only 24 inches tall) he eventually sold the farm and moved to Knox where he lived until his death.
Here is just some of the news that made the news in the Kankakee Valley this week:
The North Judson Police Department is investigating a break-in at Rays Super Foods that occurred on Friday in the early morning hours. Anyone with information about this crime is to call North Judson police at (574) 772-5914.
This week is Severe Weather Preparedness Week. Severe weather can happen at any time this spring. Stay prepared with a disaster kit with a battery powered radio, non-perishable food items and a flashlight. Continue reading →
Hamlet Police Department officers recovered a stolen vehicle after a traffic stop Thursday night.
While on routine patrol, officers spotted a vehicle matching the description of a truck that was stolen in the Knox area last week. Officers ran the plate through the Starke County Sheriff’s Department and it was confirmed as the stolen vehicle. Adam Makowski was arrested and charged with Theft Receiving Stolen Property and Possession of Marijuana. Steven Sandoval was arrested and charged with Theft Receiving Stolen Property and False Informing.
Mayor Rick Chambers updated the Knox City Council members on the possible resumption of water discharge from the Indiana Fine Blanking (MPI) Plant in Knox into the City Wastewater Treatment Plant.
MPI has to treat the metals it produces so no rust will appear on the finished product. A soap is used in the water treatment to clean the metal. When it was discharged into the Knox Wastewater Treatment Plant, it was interfering with the plant’s equipment. According to Wastewater Superintendent, Kelly Clemons, the size of the plant and its equipment made it impossible to handle the discharge.
The Winamac Community High School Robotics team, coached by Brad Moore, will be competing in a National competition.
“This year, they will be going to Orlando, Florida for the competition,” said Superintendent, Dr. Robert Klitzman. “They’re able to do this by getting Corporate sponsors so we appreciate our community in helping support this. The kids build robots and then go through competitions and maneuvers with the robots and get points for how they do their different techniques during the competition. The numbers on the team have doubled from a year ago. Mr. Moore had a very successful run with our Supermileage team and now he’s taken that same flair to the Robotics Team and they’re doing quite well.”
The Starke County Emergency Management Agency is hosting a Weather Observer/Storm Spotter Training class on Monday, March 21st. Two different training sessions will be held. One session will be offered at 2:30 p.m. CT and the other at 6:00 p.m. CT at the Knox South Side Fire Station on US 35.
Tonight’s Mega Millions jackpot is an estimated $201 million. No player nationwide matched all six numbers to win the March 15th jackpot. One ticket sold in Lake County, Indiana missed the jackpot by one number, matching the first five numbers, but not the Megaball. That ticket is worth $250,000 and was purchased at Luke’s in Schererville.
Tad Gentry, of Knox, was arrested Wednesday afternoon after a brief police chase in Starke County.
According to Rob Olejniczak from the Starke County Sheriff’s Department, he spotted a vehicle being driven by Gentry on State Road 8 and 1025 E. in Starke County. He had false and fictitious plates and no driver’s license. The officer initiated a traffic stop and Gentry did not stop and ran from police on 1025 E. After traveling for a mile-an-a-half, Gentry lost control of his vehicle, went off the road, into a field and hit a tree. He then fled on foot for a short distance when police apprehended him and took him into custody. Officers reportedly found methamphetamine and marijuana in his possession at the time of his arrest.
Gentry has preliminary charges of Habitual Traffic Violator for Life, Resisting Law Enforcement by Fleeing in a Vehicle, Resisting Law Enforcement on foot, Possession of Methamphetamine and Possession of Marijuana.
Rodney Craft was sentenced in Starke Circuit Court this (Thursday) morning.
Craft plead guilty in a plea agreement to Possession of Marijuana, Possession of Marijuana with a Prior Conviction, Possession of Methamphetamine, Failure to Appear, Escape, and Possession of Chemical Reagents or Precursors with the Intent to Manufacture Methamphetamine. All charges stem from several different criminal cases in Starke County. Judge Kim Hall sentenced Craft to 10 years in the Indiana Department of Corrections. His Starke County sentence will run consecutively with a sentence handed down in Pulaski County Circuit Court on Tuesday, March 15th. He had plead guilty to Possession of Methamphetamine, Possession of Cocaine and Possession of Chemical Reagents or Precursors with the Intent to Manufacture Methamphetamine. He received a sentence of four years on all counts. In all, he will serve 14 years in the Indiana Department of Corrections.
Judge Hall also sentenced Gary McCormick in Circuit Court this morning. In an amended plea agreement, McCormick agreed to plead guilty to an amended charge of Sexual Battery and a charge of Strangulation. Judge Hall accepted the plea agreement and sentenced McCormick to three years on each charge. He will serve six years with none suspended in the DOC.
The Knox City Police Department is offering an anonymous tip line to give residents the opportunity to call in crime tips for police.
According to City Police Chief Clint Norem, when you call the Police Department at (574) 772-4122, you will have an option to speak to an on-duty officer, leave a message for an officer, or leave an anonymous tip. Chief Norem said residents who choose the anonymous tip line can leave a message about drug activity, break-ins, thefts, burglaries, or information on individuals wanted on warrants, and an officer will follow through with an investigation.