Starke County Republicans are Sworn into Office

Superior Court Judge Patrick Blankenship swears Starke Circuit Court Judge Kim Hall into office

The Starke County Republican elected officials were sworn into office last night in the Starke County Circuit Courtroom. Superior Court Judge Patrick Blankenship swore in Judge Kim Hall. Judge Hall then swore in the rest of the candidates.

“It was a wonderful evening and a great opportunity to place these fine folks under oath to faithfully and impartially perform their duties,” said Judge Hall.

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Top 10 Stories of 2010; Story #3

Samuel Hewitt

After 44 years of searching, the remains of Samuel Hewitt, a 1965 Oregon-Davis graduate, were found near a military base near Da Nang, Vietnam in September of this year. Hewitt was a United States Marine stationed at a base near Da Nang when he suddenly came up missing. That was on March 22nd of 1966. Until his skeleton was unearthed and identified he had not been heard from since that date.

Hewitt served outside Da Nang with the 3rd Battalion of the 9th Division Marines, assigned to night patrols and scouting missions. His sister feels that when Hewitt was out on night patrol, he was shot and killed.

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Gerald Broude, Jr. Sentenced to 50 years

Gerald Broude
Gerald Broude

Gerald L. Broude, Jr. was sentenced in Starke Circuit Court Tuesday morning. Judge Kim Hall sentenced Broude, Jr. to 50 years in the Indiana Department of Corrections. He was given 50 years on each of the three Class A Felony counts of Child Molestation, and eight years on one count of Child Molestation, a Class C Felony. The sentences will run concurrently for a total of 50 years.

The mother of the victim gave a victim impact statement this morning and Broude, Jr. maintained his innocence in his statement to the Court. Judge Hall found his actions to have a severe impact on the victim and the family and classified him as a sexually violent predator.

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Sentencing Hearing for Gerald Broude Today

Gerald Broude
Gerald Broude

Gerald Broude will be sentenced today in Starke Circuit Court. On December 1st, a jury of seven men and five women deliberated for 30 minutes, finding Gerald Broude guilty on four counts of child molestation. The alleged acts occurred in 2008.

After Broude’s verdict came in, Broude was ordered to be held without bond until today’s sentencing hearing.

Starke County Officers to be Sworn in This Week

The Starke County Republican candidates voted into office in the General Election will be sworn in in a ceremony this evening at 5:00 p.m. CT in the Starke Circuit Courtroom.

The swearing in ceremony for the Starke County Democrats elected into office will be on Thursday, December 30th at 7:00 p.m. CT at the Knox Community Center.

New Starke County Prosecutor Announces His Staff

Nicholas Bourff

The new Starke County Prosecutor will begin his duties in the office January 1st.

“The majority of the staff that is already there will remain there,” explained Nicholas Bourff, Starke County’s newly elected Prosecutor. “I think it’s important to maintain continuity in that office, especially since I’m new at it. The women in the Child Support office have been there for a while, they know that office much, much better than I do and I think it’s important to keep that.”

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Bruce Fingerhut Leaves Starke County Council after 12 Years

Bruce Fingerhut

Four new Starke County Council members will be taking office January 1st. After 12 years, Bruce Fingerhut decided to not seek re-election this year.

“I’d say just working with all of the people in the County,” said Fingerhut on his most proudest accomplishment. “I’ve enjoyed meeting the folks and I was trying to think of all the names of the different Councilmen that Chuck and I have served with over the last 12 years (Chuck the last 16) and I’ve gotten to know some really nice folks. Starke County is a great place to live and I’m going to continue to live here and enjoy it and spend more time working on the Trail.”

Wednesday, we hear from Bill Dulin who has been on the Starke County Council for only two years.

Henry F. Schricker Died on this Day in 1966

Henry Schricker

Starke County’s most famous citizen passed away on this date in 1966. Henry Schricker died on December 28th, a Wednesday afternoon after being a hospital patient at Starke Memorial Hospital for almost a month. He died of a heart attack at the age of 83.

He served two terms as Governor of the State of Indiana. He was born in North Judson on August 30th, 1883, when the area was still part of the Great Kankakee Swamp.

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Top 10 Stories of 2010; Story #4

The number four story of 2010 is the Republican resurgence in Starke County.

Long a bastion of Democrat government, the Republicans rode the wave of national sentiment to local success. The major impact will be felt on the Starke County Council where the Republicans won three of four seats up for election. Tony Radkiewicz defeated longtime council member Chuck Estok, Mitchell Semans defeated Becky Ferch in a seat that had been held by Dan Awald, and Dave Pearman defeated E.J. Rogers in the seat held by Bill Dulin.
Judge Kim Hall beat back a challenge by former Judge David Matsey by a wide margin.

The state races went Republican, as did the U.S. Senate Race that saw Dan Coats return to the senate by a wide margin. Democrat Representative Joe Donnelly was returned to his seat with a narrow victory over Jackie Walorski, and Democrat Nancy Dembowski got by Frances Ellert for the 17th District House seat. Both candidates, though, blamed the votes that went to the Libertarian candidates for their defeats.

The Republicans gave notice in Starke County that the GOP Party is back, and to be reckoned with in the future.

Tragic Accident Claims Life of Illinois Woman

A tragic auto accident occurred Sunday afternoon at the intersection of State Road 10 and State Road 35 in Starke County. Police found that Megan Smithson, 19, of Illinois, stopped at the intersection and pulled out onto US 35 and into the path of a vehicle driven by Tony Wagner, 37, of Winamac.  Smithson was pronounced dead at the scene by Starke County Coroner, Kris Rannells.

Wagner was transported to Starke Memorial Hospital and airlifted to South Bend Memorial for leg injuries sustained in the accident.  An 18-year-old passenger in Smithson’s vehicle was also airlifted to South Bend Memorial due to injuries suffered in the accident.  The Bass Lake Fire Department and Starke County EMS assisted the Starke County Sheriff’s Department at the scene.

North Judson Town Board Receives 2011 Budget Order

North Judson Town Board
North Judson Town Board: (L to R) Dan Anderson, Jane Ellen Felchuk, Wendy Hoppe, Connie Miller (Clerk-Treasurer)

The North Judson Town Board received its 2011 budget order from the State. The Board had to cut $5,242 out of the Town’s Cumulative Capital Improvement Fund. The Town requested $9,000 and the State approved $3,758. The Fund is used for street repair and maintenance. The Town’s approved budget total is $767,964 for 2011.

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James Strong Named Commander of the Indiana State Police Post in Bremen

Commander James Strong

Indiana State Police Superintendent, Paul Whitesell, recently announced the promotion of First Sergeant, James Strong, to the rank of Lieutenant to serve as the Commander of the Indiana State Police Post in Bremen. The Bremen Post covers Marshall, St. Joseph, Kosciusko, and Elkhart Counties. Strong earned this promotion through written testing and a competitive interview process.

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Knox City Police Department Receives New Cameras and Thermal Imagers

Knox City Police Chief Clint Norem
Knox City Police Chief Clint Norem

The Knox City Police Department recently received new cameras and thermal imagers for the squad cars. Three cameras were received and two have been installed. The third camera will be installed in the last squad car in the near future.

“The cameras are activated on traffic stops,” explained Knox City Chief, Clint Norem. “We have ours hooked into the light system so once an officer activates his overhead lights, the camera system will start recording. The interesting feature with this system is it actually records between 30 and 60 seconds prior to the lights being activated. You may be able to catch the actual incident that occurred that led up to the traffic stop. In accident situations, there is a setting the camera that should the vehicle be involved in an accident, it will actually record 60 seconds prior to the accident. It’s a great benefit for not only the officers, but also the public.”

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A Knox Man is Arrested on Charges of Residential Entry, Possession of Methamphetamine

Justin Miller

A Starke County police officer arrested a Knox resident on Wednesday, December 23rd, on charges of Residential Entry and Possession of Methamphetamine, both Class D Felonies.

Officers were called to a residence on 250 North after a call was made to the Sheriff’s Department about a possible break-in at the residence. Justin Miller was attempting to leave the residence and got stuck in the snow when police were called to the scene. After further investigation, police found that Miller had allegedly broken into the basement by breaking the basement window and gaining entry into the residence. When police searched Miller’s vehicle, they reportedly found methamphetamine and paraphernalia in his pickup truck. Justin Miller was taken to the Starke County Jail and currently has no bond.

Starke County Councilman, Chuck Estok, Attends his Last Council Meeting

Chuck Estok

Four County Councilmen are being replaced in January. Chuck Estok, Bruce Fingerhut, and Bill Dulin attended their final meeting last week. Dan Awald, who is the fourth Councilman being replaced, was not in attendance at his last meeting.

Following the meeting, Ted Hayes talked with the three who were in attendance, starting with Chuck Estok, who has served the longest at 16 years. Ted asked the veteran Democrat Councilman what he is most proud of during his long service to the citizens of the County.

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Disposed Natural Christmas Trees Will be Picked up in Knox Beginning January 6th

The City of Knox will be picking up disposed Christmas trees on the regular brush pick up day beginning Thursday, January 6th, 2011.

Anyone who wishes to dispose of their natural Christmas tree may do so by putting it at the curb. Make sure all ornaments and tinsel are removed. Residents may also dispose of trees in the City’s compost pile located behind City Hall. The garbage contractors will not pick up disposed natural Christmas trees.

Experience Works to Offer Paid Training for Senior Citizens

Experience Works is offering paid training and employment search opportunities for low-income seniors age 55 and older.

Participants with Experience Works earn minimum wage while they train, learning updated job skills at local non-profit and community organizations. They also get assistance creating resumes, coaching on interview skills, learn to fill out online applications and conduct job searches. If you think you might qualify for this program, attend an information session at the Knox WorkOne location on West Lake Street on Wednesday, December 29th from 9:00 a.m. to Noon CT. For more information, call (574) 595-6294 or visit their website.