Starke County Park Board Denies Rent Credit for Bass Lake Campground Electrical Upgrades

Starke County will not help the operator of the Bass Lake Campground with the cost of electrical upgrades. After six months of discussion, the county park board voted Tuesday to deny a request to deduct the $7,800 cost from the operator’s rent payment. The project would have increased the electrical capacity in the back half of the campground, to accommodate newer RVs.

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Starke Park Board Again Holds Off on Approving Bass Lake Campground Electrical Work

The Starke County Park Board still wants to do some more research before making a final decision on electrical upgrades at the Bass Lake Campground. The facility’s operator, Callahan Development LLC, wants to increase the electrical capacity in the back half of the property and is asking the county to deduct the $7,800 cost from its rent payment.

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Starke County Park Board Chooses New President

The Starke County Park Board welcomed two new members Tuesday. Attorney Richard Ballard was appointed to the board by Starke Circuit Court Judge Kim Hall, following the resignation of Roger Chaffins. Starke County Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler had been appointed by the county council back in January, replacing Debbie Mix. Ballard and Ritzler both took their seats on the park board for the first time Tuesday, during the board’s first official meeting since last September.

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Michael Salita Trial Begins Today in Starke Circuit Court

Michael Salita
Michael Salita

A jury trial is set to begin today in the case of Michael Salita.

Salita, 28, was arrested on Aug. 14, 2014 on a charge of rape as a Level 3 felony. Jury selection of 12 jurors and one alternate will be held beginning at 9 a.m. followed by opening statements by both Deputy Prosecutor Autumn Ferch and defense attorney Richard Ballard.

The state is anticipated to call up to four witnesses while the defense will have five witnesses to testify in the case. The only motion that Ballard made to the court was that all witnesses be separated during the trial.

The trial is expected to take two days in Starke Circuit Court. The jury will deliberate after all testimony and closing statements are given.

Jury Trial Scheduled for Today in Starke Circuit Court

  A jury trial will be held in Starke Circuit Court today.

Brad Allen is facing charges of dealing in methamphetamine, a Class B felony, and possession of precursors and/or chemical reagents, a Class D felony. The alleged incident occurred on June 3, 2013.

A 12-member jury will be seated this morning and opening statements and witness testimony will occur following the seating of the jury.

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Wireman Cases to be Joined for One Trial

Starke County Courthouse
Starke County Courthouse

Defendants Sadie Wireman and her son, Michael, will have their cases joined for a single trial in Starke Circuit Court.

The pair face methamphetamine-related charges. Plea agreements were rejected for the Medaryville duo on June 6th when Michael Wireman did not comply with the requirements with the probation department before his court hearing and Sadie Wireman claimed not to know what methamphetamine was. Judge Kim Hall said he would not accept a guilty plea from her if she didn’t know what the drug was in which she allegedly possessed.

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Verdict Rendered in Trial of James Ritenour III

James Ritenour III

A Starke County jury took just one hour to decide verdicts in the case of James Ritenour III.

The one-day trial occurred Wednesday in Starke Circuit Court and a 12 member jury found James Ritenour III not guilty on charges of Battery with a Deadly Weapon, a Class C Felony, and Criminal Recklessness, a Class D Felony. He was found guilty on two counts of Intimidation, as Class D Felonies, and one count of Interference with Reporting a Crime, a Class A Misdemeanor.

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Starke Circuit Court Judge Throws out Plea Agreement for Jenny Keeton

Jenny Keeton

A plea agreement was thrown out of court yesterday for Jenny Keeton, charged with Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor as a Class C Felony and Dealing in a Scheduled II Controlled Substance as a Class A felony.

The agreement requested Keeton serve four years in the Department of Corrections with two of those years suspended, to be served on home detention followed by probation. The Class A Felony, which carries a minimum sentence of 20 years, would be dismissed. Starke Circuit Court Judge Kim Hall rejected the agreement, saying he has no reason to accept an agreement with probation because he believes her extensive past, including 16 prior charges with several violations of probation, disqualifies her for the privilege.

A status hearing was set for March 9 to allow Keeton’s attorney, Richard Ballard, to form a new plea agreement with Prosecutor Nick Bourff that would appease Judge Hall.

Keeton admitted in court to encouraging her niece to take methadone, a controlled substance, while she stayed at her home. Keeton said she told the girl to take the medication because she was suffering of pain—but Judge Hall said he didn’t buy her version of the story.