Legislators Considering Smoking Ban

Legislators are considering a smoking ban in this session of the legislature that would prohibit smoking in public places, enclosed areas of a place of employment, in certain state vehicles and within 12 feet of a public entrance to a public place or an enclosed area of a place of employment. The bill allows smoking in certain gaming facilities, cigar bars, and retail tobacco stores if certain requirements are met.

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College Goal Sunday Set in Plymouth

Students looking for help on the FAFSA form can get that assistance during College Goal Sunday on February 12th at Plymouth High School.

This free program is designed to assist you in filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, form. The FAFSA is required for students to be considered for federal and state grants, loans and scholarships at most colleges, universities and vocational/technical schools nationwide. The deadline to file for the FAFSA is March 10th. In one afternoon at College Goal Sunday, you and your parents can get help in finishing the complicated form and get it filed online.

Tax forms and other income and benefit information are required. For more information, visit this website.

Township Government Portion of Government Reform Bill Fails to Pass

Indiana Statehouse

A bill that would have reshaped county government died yesterday. Republican Representative Kevin Mahan, of Hartford City, pulled a bill that would have eliminated township advisory boards and required referendums in each county on whether to keep township government at all. The bill was to have been debated Friday.

Oregon Township Trustee Mark Allen, a Democrat, traveled to Indianapolis to attend the hearing.

“There was quite a push to keep townships alive and I think it’s a great thing, especially in your rural communities,” said Allen. “Where I live, you’ve got a volunteer fire department that the township trustee is in charge of and you also have a township assistant.”

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Some Republicans are Voting Against Right to Work

State Representative Tom Dermody

Even though Republican Governor Mitch Daniels has made right to work his number one priority item for this session of the Indiana General Assembly, some Republicans are voting against the measure. One was Senator Ed Charbonneau, of Valparaiso, who voted against the bill Monday.

Republican Representative Tom Dermody, of LaPorte, has said he will vote against the measure.  Continue reading

Owner of Ortman’s Meat Processing in Winamac Dies

Jim Ortman

The owner of Ortman Meat Processing in Winamac passed away Monday in Pulaski Memorial Hospital.  James R. Ortman, with his wife Mary,
have owned the business for 23 years as well as Prairie Moon Orchard in Francesville.

Ortman won many awards for his products. He was a member of the Indiana Meat Packers Association and a Director and Chairman of the Cured Meat Show.  Jim had lived in Winamac since 1962 and when he was 13, he was adopted by George and Ann Ortman.

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Winamac Man Arrested for Alleged Battery Incident

31-year-old Wesley Hurley, of Winamac, was arrested Saturday after an alleged battery incident.

A deputy from the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department was notified of the incident and was enroute to the residence when he saw a man waving his arms in the air to gain his attention. The officer walked up to the residence where he could hear a man yelling at a woman. The woman then opened the front door and the officer could see that she had been crying and her clothes were torn and she was injured.

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Medaryville Fire Department Investigates House Fire

The Medaryville Fire Department and the Indiana State Fire Marshal’s Office are investigating a house fire that erupted Sunday evening.

Fire Chief Shaun Hauptli said that when the fire department arrived on scene, the southern part of the home at 210 W. Main Street was engulfed in flames. The home was occupied at the time of the fire and it was on the market. The home was considered a total loss. The cause of the fire is unknown at this time.

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Winamac Man Arrested after Driving under the Influence

Jeremy Miller, 33, of Winamac, was arrested Saturday after he was found to be driving under the influence.

Pulaski County Police were called to the town of Pulaski after a call was received about a man who reportedly had driven from a residence with his three children and he had been drinking. An officer pulled over Miller’s vehicle and his mother pulled up in a truck across the street. The officer allowed Miller’s three children to be taken from the scene into the custody of his mother. Police then conducted several sobriety tests and Miller allegedly failed every one. A portable breath test showed that he was over the legal limit. He was transported to the Pulaski County Jail.

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West Central School Board Discusses Future Plans

During the recent meeting of the West Central School Board, Superintendent Charles Mellon said that the Board talked about future plans for the Corporation.

“We did discuss a little bit about the possibility of having a late arrival day for students, possibly once week,” stated Mellon. “We’re looking at Thursday where the students would come in like maybe 20 minutes late. The teachers would arrive at 7:30 a.m. and that would give us almost an hour of in-service each week to take care of the many tasks that now face teachers outside of the classroom. This was just presented to the Board. We need to discuss it with the Association. We have received teacher input just on a survey. That was kind of a first step to make the Board aware and we’ll go back and do a little bit more work and bring it back to the Board when it’s time to approve the 2012-2013 school year calendar.”

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Pulaski County Police Arrest Rochester Man for Battery

Officers from the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department arrested a Rochester man after he allegedly battered his wife on Sunday.

The victim told police that she and Derek Keller were drinking and they were on their way home when an argument ensued. Keller reportedly struck the victim with a closed fist in the forehead. She grabbed the keys out of the ignition and the vehicle stopped in the roadway. She ran to a home nearby and the homeowner drove her home and she called police.

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Two North Judson Residents Arrested on Methamphetamine Charges

Two North Judson men were arrested on Tuesday, January 17th after Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department officers reportedly found items used in the manufacture of methamphetamine in their vehicle.

Police initiated a traffic stop at County Road 800 North and U.S. 421. The officer notified the driver, Donald Fletcher, that the license plates did not match the vehicle. Fletcher said he didn’t have the money to get the proper plates and he reportedly told police that he knew they weren’t the right plates and Starke County police recently towed the vehicle for the same reason.

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High School English Students Present Assignment to Knox Community School Board

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

The Knox Community School Board heard a presentation from Michelle Matysak’s High School English class during the Spotlight on Success portion of the meeting. Superintendent A.J. Gappa said that Jacob Kietzman and Kara Aaron made the presentation:

“They presented Sonnets that they had they had created on their MacBook. Remember, we’re in the one-to-one computer program and they were able to create, not just in words, but show on their MacBook, with video presentation, the Sonnets they created. They had a background of instrumental music to go along with it. The Board was pretty impressed and it was a great presentation. It’s just another example of some of the items that teachers and students are able to do in classes that they wouldn’t be able to do if we hadn’t gone to this computer program.”

North Judson Woman Arrested on Battery Charges

A North Judson woman was arrested in Pulaski County on Tuesday, January 17th after reportedly hit a police officer as she was being placed into custody.

Pulaski County officers were called to a residence in Medaryville after Sharon Nielsen was in a verbal argument with her husband. Her husband told police that she came home from the bar and an argument began. Nielsen had gone out to her car and her husband locked the door behind her. She began breaking windows and he called police. He said he wasn’t going to let her back into the house if she continued her destructive behavior.

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Bill Introduced Yesterday Could Help Starke County Build a New Jail

Starke County Jail

Republican State Representative Tom Dermody, of LaPorte, introduced a new bill in the House Ways and Means Committee yesterday to help raise funds for a new jail in Starke County.

House Bill 1213 would allow the Starke County Council to increase the County Economic Development Income Tax (CEDIT) to finance, construct and equip a jail facility. The county council is only permitted to raise enough funds to cover the costs of the jail and the additional tax rate cannot increase more than .65%.

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Valparaiso Man Arrested in Connection with Child Molestation Case

Ryan Schroeder

A Valparaiso man has been charged with 23 felonies in a child molestation case.

Ryan Schroeder, 26, who is currently in the United States Navy based in Jacksonville, Florida, has been charged with Aiding in Child Molestation, Aiding in Child Exploitation, Possession of Child Pornography, Aiding in Voyeurism and Aiding in Theft. He was arrested yesterday in Jacksonville and is awaiting extradition back to Porter County.

This investigation also included the arrest of 21-year-old Tara Tryon, of Wanatah, on October 27th, 2011. She was arrested and charged with 20 counts of Child Molestation. Schroeder, the former boyfriend of Tryon, allegedly asked her to do the acts and also received photos of the acts on his phone. Tryon is now out on bail.

Three LaPorte Residents Arrested on Cocaine Charges

Gregory Green
Larry Phillips, Jr.
Miguel Rosalez Palomare

Three LaPorte residents were arrested on Friday on cocaine charges.

LaPorte Metro Operations Unit detectives served an arrest warrant to Gregory Green for Dealing Cocaine, a Class B Felony. Then, Larry R. Phillips, Jr. was arrested a short time later for delivering cocaine to Green’s address. Phillips has been charged with Possession of Cocaine, a Class B Felony.

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West Central School Board Discusses Budget

The West Central School Board discussed the school’s dwindling budget at their meeting last week. Superintendent Charles Mellon said there are reasons as to why the school is losing money.

“There are two reasons for that,” said Mr. Mellon. “Of course, our enrollment has gone down and then there are different things that they are taking out that were items in the formula in the past like the small school grant, restoration grant and these type of things. I just wanted to convey to the Board that we did get our first draw. We look at being about $310,000 short of what we had last year. We add that on to $323,000 that we were short last year.”

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