Indiana Civil Air Patrol Conducts Training in Starke County

Col. Mark Reeves

The Indiana Wing of the Civil Air Patrol conducted a search and rescue exercise this past weekend at the Starke County Airport. Ted Hayes visited the site, and talks with Col. Mark Reeves who was directing the cadets through their exercise.

“We’re running an Air Force training mission,” said Col. Reeves.  “The Air Force has authorized us to practice our skills in search and rescue.  The cadets are from the age of 12 to 21.  They can qualify in all sorts of things.  Most of the time they are ground team members.  They qualify by doing ground team type stuff, first aid, search and rescue, and line searches.”

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Sam Frain Selected as Chairman of the Second District Republican Congressional Committee

Sam Frain

The Second District Republican Congressional Committee recently held a caucus to select a new Chairman. The caucus was held in the Fulton County Republican Headquarters in Rochester. Samuel J. Frain, of Winamac, was selected to fill the vacancy created following the death of longtime Chairwoman Joyce Smith in March. Frain had been serving as the District Vice Chairman and was a former District Treasurer. Frain was the unanimous choice of those participating in the caucus.

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April is Autism Awareness Month

Linda Trent

April is Autism Awareness Month and Linda Trent, who lives near Toto, is the grandmother of two grandsons who have been diagnosed with autism.

Although little is known about the care of autism, it is known that it affects information that is processed in the brain. Signs of the disease usually show up in a child between the ages of two and three, although some children regress into the disease as they get a little older.

Trent says that people have a hard time being around an autistic child.

“A lot of times when people see a child acting up they think, ‘Somebody should do something about that brat’, said Trent. “That brat isn’t a brat. That child can not help the activities they’re doing. Whether it’s clapping their hands or tapping on things, or making odd noises, they cannot help it. They need a lot of help in school. Many of them have a para-pro to assist them through the school system. It’s difficult for them because many of them don’t like to feel certain fabrics or certain sounds, or even smells. They might act up when things bother them. They might not hug you if you have that hair spray or cologne on. It might upset them.”

It’s not known if the disease is diagnosed more readily than in past eras, or if more children are born with a propensity for developing into an autistic child.

“We have one in every 110 children who are diagnosed as autistic,” said Trent. “It’s four times more common in boys. If you have an autistic sibling, you’re four times more likely to be autistic. It’s just growing in numbers. Cases of autism surpasses children that have AIDS, cancer and diabetes combined.”

Tomorrow we’ll explore whether vaccinations have anything to do with autism.

Prescription Drugs Becoming Drug of Choice for Abusers

Prescription drugs have now passed street drugs as the method of choice for most drug abusers in the United States. There are more deaths caused by prescription drugs than cocaine and heroin each year. 20% of teens say they have taken a prescription drug without a doctor’s prescription. Those facts don’t surprise Porter-Starke Addictions Counselor, Leo Smith.

“It’s one of the problems that people don’t see or that they don’t want to see,” said Smith. “When you get a drug from a doctor and it’s prescribed it’s like, ‘I got it from a doctor and everything’s good’ – until it starts to turn on you. This is a huge problem in Starke County. This is a huge problem everywhere. I don’t care if it’s Starke County, LaPorte County, or Porter County. It’s everywhere.”

Over 20 people died of overdoses last year in Starke County.

“That’s my understanding and in the last year, that’s 20 that they could verify,” continued Smith. “If you’re not on the front line, it does knock your socks off, but I’ve got to be honest with you, it doesn’t surprise me. I hear it first hand. I have the longest grapevine in the whole world as far as what’s going on with the prescription drug use and I hear about it all the time.”

“I got back from vacation after two weeks and the first client I saw said, ‘Did you hear about so-and-so?’ They had overdosed the Friday before I came back.”

“I haven’t fixed you after eight weeks of treatment. After eight weeks of treatment, hopefully you’ll walk out of there with some really good tools. I was laughing with some clients they other day and I said, ‘You know, I’m going to give you some Craftsmans and some Snap-ons, some Milwaukee and DeWalts, but you have to apply them and you have to use them.’ When you walk out of here, you’ll know what you are and what you need to do. Recovery is progressive. It’s a day at a time and it’s a life long process.”

Leo Smith will be talking more about drug abuse next week on WKVI. Leo Smith will be presenting a Lunch and Learn discussion on Tuesday, April 19th at the Knox Community Center from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. He will discuss relapse for persons recovering from substance abuse. Call 772-4040 for more information or to reserve a seat.

Paqui Kelly to Help Kick off Culver Academies’ Relay for Life

Brian and Paqui Kelly in 2006

Two-time cancer survivor Paqui Kelly, the wife of Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly, will share her story and personal experience with students of Culver Academies at an all-school assembly at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 13th, at Eppley Auditorium.

Kelly’s appearance will serve as a prelude to the Academies’ fourth annual Relay For Life at 7 p.m. ET, Friday , April 15th, at Oliver Field, located at the corner of Indiana 10 and 117. The Academies’ Relay was the first in Indiana to be student-organized and has raised more than $350,000. This year’s goal, which will be donated to cancer research, is $130,000.

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Week in Review for April 4th-8th, 2011

Here is just some of the news that made the news in the Kankakee Valley this week:

The Starke County Commissioners met with HJ Umbaugh and Associates and RQAW last week to go over a few capital projects at the county facilities including the jail roof and the Courthouse elevator. A slight tax increase is being discussed to repay any money that may be borrowed for the projects.

Students from the three Starke County schools were able to see Shakespeare’s Macbeth Tuesday at the North-San Pierre High School Auditorium. The play was performed by professional actors from the Shakespeare Theatre in Chicago’s Navy Pier. Continue reading

John Brooke Trial Set To Begin Monday, Hitchens Has Charges Dismissed Pleads Guilty To One Count

A jury has been seated in Starke Circuit Court this afternoon consisting of 8 men and 4 women.  The trial of John Brooke who is facing seven charges against him include Conspiracy to Commit Armed Robbery, Intimidation, Possession and Manufacturing of a Destructive Device, Possession of a Destructive Device, Resisting Law Enforcement, Unlawful use of Body Armor, and Assisting a Criminal, all felony charges. The trial will commence at 9.00 am Monday morning.
In a surprise developement Kimberly Hitchens had charges of Conspiracy to Commit Armed Robbery, Possession/Manufacturing of a Destructive Device dismissed by the State of Indiana but plead guilty to one charge of aiding and Assisting a Criminal a class D felony.  A sentencing hearing has not been set at this time.

North Judson Man Arrested on Battery Charges

Jesus Pedroza, Jr.

Starke County and North Judson police officers arrested a North Judson man early this morning after he allegedly hit and threatened his girlfriend.

According to the police report, the victim called police to report that her boyfriend, Jesus Pedroza, Jr. had battered her and threatened to kill her with a gun. Officers responded to 2683 W. and 500 S. and asked to enter the residence to find the suspect. Police found Pedroza, Jr. running away from the residence. When officers announced the K9 would be released, Pedroza, Jr.surrendered himself to police.

The victim told police that Pedroza, Jr. had punched her when returning home in the car from “The Pub”. He allegedly slammed her head against the passenger side window. Pedroza, Jr. was arrested and taken to the Starke County Jail on preliminary charges of Strangulation, Domestic Battery, Intimidation, and Resisting Law Enforcement.

News from the North Judson Town Board

North Judson Town Board: Dan Anderson, Wendy Hoppe, Jane Ellen Felchuk, Attorney Cassie Hine and Clerk-Treasurer Connie Miller

The North Judson Town Board heard a presentation from Clerk-Treasurer, Connie Miller, about a 50/50 sidewalk program. The Clerk presented ordinances and other papers to the Board members for their consideration. It is a new program for the town and it mirrors the program in Knox where the property owner submits their project to the Board, the Utility Superintendent inspects the site and determines whether or not the applicant’s project is acceptable. The homeowner would pay for half the project and the Town would pay for the other half. The discussion was tabled until the April 18th meeting so the Attorney and the Board members can decide how to move forward.

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Annual Starke United Meeting Held Thursday Night

Marilyn Zabinski, Julie Dessauer and Megan Hamand

The annual Starke United meeting was held last night at the Community Services of Starke County Building in Knox. The emcee for the evening, Megan Hamand, introduced the speaker of the evening, Marvin McLaughlin, of North Judson, who blended humor with an appeal to support the organization. Mr. McLaughlin set the stage for the rest of the evening which included the announcement of the Volunteer of the Year, Marilyn Zabinski.

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Knox Community School Board Spotlights Middle School Science Fair Winners

Kameron Keehn, Olivia Tallarita and Abigail Belcher

The Knox Community School Board spotlighted the winners of the Middle School Science Fair Monday night.

17 students participated in the March 15th event and the students could enter projects in an Experiment category, Research category or Demonstration category. The first, second and third place winners won money that was donated by the Middle School PTO.

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The Starke and Pulaski Lilly Scholarship Winners to be Featured on ‘Ted Hayes Remembers’

Andrew Frasure and Jessica Jachim


Today on “Ted Hayes Remembers”, our host will be talking about the achievements of the Lilly Scholarship Program in our area, specifically the Starke County Lilly Scholarship effort.

Ted will have not only this year’s Starke County Lilly Scholar, Jessica Jachim, but the Pulaski County Lilly Scholar winner, too. He’s Andrew Frasure.

One question Ted asked was, “At what point did studying and getting good grades become a focus?” Here is Jessica’s response:

“In third grade, I began my interest in writing and I got my first journal and ever since then, I’ve loved to write,” said Jessica. “I have 52 journals now. I began writing short stories in fourth grade on my Grandmother’s computer everyday after school. Ever since then, I’ve just developed my passion for writing.”

Andrew had this response:

“Ever since I started school, my parents were a big influence on me,” said Andrew. “They taught me to work hard and to give everything my best effort. All my coaches that have coached me throughout my entire athletic career, they’ve taught me to work hard at everything I do. In going through Elementary School and Middle School, I realized I had a talent for math and science and in High School I really progressed on this talent and I feel that Chemistry is my best subject.”

Jessica and Andrew will be with Ted today on “Ted Hayes Remembers”. The program airs at 12:20 p.m. and at 5:30 p.m. CT.

Chicago Man Arrested in LaPorte County on Cocaine Charges

Salvador Orozco

A Chicago man is in the LaPorte County Jail after police arrested him on cocaine charges.

The LaPorte County Metro Operations Unit learned that a large shipment of cocaine was destined for LaPorte County. Investigators rapidly gathered information and learned that the shipment was to be delivered to a retail parking lot in Michigan City via automobile. Investigators from the Michigan City Street Crimes Unit,  the DEA and Metro operations detectives began surveillance and the targeted suspect vehicle was located and stopped in a parking lot. Police came upon the vehicle and a Michigan City K9 alerted to drugs in a compartment in the vehicle. Investigators conducted a search and found one kilogram of cocaine inside the compartment. Officers also seized more than $30,000 in United States currency.

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Knox Man Arrested after Leaving Children Alone in a Home

Curtis Bradley

A Knox man was arrested Wednesday after police found he left his children unattended in a home.

According to the police report, the Starke County Sheriff’s Department received a call that a person in a red truck was doing donuts in the parking lot at the Oak Estates apartments. The Knox City Police Department officer called to the scene didn’t find anyone there at the time, but the officer did locate the suspect vehicle at 345 Ruthie Drive with one of the rear truck tires on fire. The reporting officer noted that there was a pile of melted rubber behind the tire and there was a large skid mark in the road. The officer approached the residence and found Curtis Bradley in the home and asked if the truck outside was his and Bradley confirmed it was his. The officer told him that the truck was on fire and they went outside to the truck. Bradley reportedly tried to touch the burning tire and the officer pulled him back so he wouldn’t injure himself. Bradley then started to swing his arms at the officer wanting to fight. The officer told him to put his hands behind his back and Bradley resisted. After some force, Bradley was taken into custody. The fire department was called to extinguish the fire.

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