Murder Defendant Testifies, Closing Arguments Anticipated This Afternoon

 The fate of a Knox man accused of killing his estranged wife, kidnapping an employee from Mark Bailey’s Discount Center and stealing another vehicle in English Lake will soon be in the hands of a jury. Closing arguments are anticipated later today in the trial of Gary Chavez.

He was the lone witness for the defense and offered an often emotional account of his relationship with victim Kimberly Chavez. He said he felt “totally different” from the first time he went out with her and described their marriage as happy, affectionate and loving. Chavez admitted they argued about her son and some about money toward the end of their relationship. According to him they separated for 35 days about a decade into their marriage but reconciled and all was forgiven. Continue reading

Pulaski County Officials Increase Fine Against Sportsman’s Owner

sportsmans chain link fenceThe Pulaski County Commissioners have agreed to apply more pressure to the owner of a building that collapsed earlier this year in Monterey. A special meeting on Thursday allowed the commissioners to discuss potential solutions for the site of the former Sportsman’s Bar and Grill. The building collapsed in April, leaving debris and asbestos behind. Continue reading

Warm Weather Dries Fields, Presents Drought Stress

The warm streak in July has been somewhat welcome in area farm fields.

That’s according to Purdue Extension Agricultural Educator Phil Woolery. He says warming temperatures and a lack of precipitation in the area the second half of July has allowed time for soil to dry. That follows what is considered a record breaking year for moisture in June.
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Brownfield Assessment Funds Available for Starke County Sites

Money will soon be available to study blighted sites in Starke County. Kankakee-Iroquois Regional Planning Commission Executive Director Edwin Buswell  says the multi-county governmental service agency recently got a $500,000 Brownfield Assessment Program grant. Continue reading

Injuries Reported in Morning Crash Near Star City

 At least one person was flown to the hospital following a Thursday morning crash in Pulaski County.

Sheriff’s Deputies responded to the area of Base Road at 900 South around 5:04 a.m. to the reported crash with injuries. The Star City Fire Department was called to the scene for the use of extrication equipment.

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State Rests in Murder Trial, Chavez Testimony Expected Tomorrow

 The state has rested its case in the trial of a Knox man accused of killing his estranged wife. Defendant Gary Chavez is expected to take the stand tomorrow morning as a witness for the defense. He’s also charged with kidnapping and carjacking in connection with the events that occurred on June 6, 2014. The Starke County Sheriff’s Office got a 911 call at 3:37 that afternoon from a man in English Lake reporting a carjacking. Earlier testimony indicates that’s where Chavez left kidnapping victim Bryant Wagner when his car ran out of gas. Det. Rob Olejniczak from the Starke County Sheriff’s Office testified that based on information from Wagner he went to Mark Bailey’s Discount Center and found the pickup truck Chavez left in the parking lot. Continue reading

State Could Rest in Murder Trial Today

 The state could wrap up its case this afternoon against a Knox man charged with murder, kidnapping and carjacking. They’ve called 12 witnesses so far to testify against Gary Chavez. He’s accused of killing his estranged wife, Kimberly Chavez, at his rural Knox home last June 6th, driving his pickup truck to Mark Bailey’s Discount Center, kidnapping an employee at gunpoint, driving his car to English Lake and stealing a Jeep Grand Cherokee from a couple there. Continue reading

Election Board Places N.J.-S.P. Tax Referendum on November Ballot

North Judson-San Pierre Admin buildingThe Starke County Election Board considered placing the North Judson-San Pierre tax referendum on the ballot, this week.

N.J.-S.P.’s School Board adopted the resolution to take the property tax levy increase to the public. Under the plan, an increase of 47-cents per $100 of assessed valuation would be seen in year one. The rate would drop to 27-cents per $100 of assessed valuation in subsequent years.

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NJSP School Board Reviews 2016 Budget Estimates

The North Judson-San Pierre School Board is preparing for fiscal year 2016.

A special budget work session meeting was held on Wednesday night where school Treasurer Guy Richie presented year-over-year comparisons. The school corporation is anticipating about $8-million in General Fund expenditures for 2016 – a much reduced figure from the $11-million expended during 2012.
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Knox City Council Discusses Community Center Modifications

Nancy J. Dembowski Community Center

Nancy J. Dembowski Community Center

During the Tuesday evening Knox City Council meeting revisions to the Community Center were considered. New thermostats will be put in place to help reduce heating and cooling costs. There was also some discussion about replacing the current roof with a metal one. Continue reading

Culver Town Council Authorizes CRC Bond Issuance for Storm Water Work

The Town of Culver has authorized work to its storm water system, but it’s going to take a bit of financing to complete.

During Tuesday night’s Culver Town Council meeting, two resolutions were considered to help move the work along. Financing monies would be used to improve the storm water utility system.
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KHS Laptop Pick-Up Dates Provided

macbookStudents attending Knox Community Schools will have their first official day on Tuesday, August 4th. Prior to that first day back, high school students must obtain their laptops from the school. This can be done during Freshman orientation on July 31st from 8 until 11 am or during back-to-school night on August 3rd from 4 until 6 pm. Orientation pick-up is limited to Freshman students only. Continue reading

WoodStarke Fundraiser Concert Scheduled Saturday

woodstarkeWoodStarke is less than a month away and as event planners prepare for the family-friendly festival in the park, money is still needed in order to rent a center stage for performers to use. In an effort to raise funds, this weekend individuals can get a sneak peak of a few of the bands that will be playing during WoodStarke. Continue reading

Murder Defendant Intends to Testify During Trial

  Murder defendant Gary Chavez plans to testify in during his jury trial in Starke Circuit Court. Defense attorney David Welter told Starke Circuit Judge Kim Hall this morning that is his client’s intention. Chavez does have the right to change his mind at any time. Continue reading

Doctor to Testify in Chavez Murder Trial

 The doctor who did the autopsy on a Portage woman who was found dead at a rural Knox home last June is scheduled to testify today in the murder trial of her accused killer. Gary Chavez is charged with murder in connection with his estranged wife, Kimberly Chavez’, death. He is also charged with kidnapping and carjacking in connection with other incidents that occurred on June 6, 2014. Several police officers and evidence technicians are also on today’s witness list. Continue reading

Knox Street Department to Inspect Alleyway

City_of_Knox_LogoDuring their meeting yesterday evening the Knox City Council acted on a request from a citizen that was initially brought to their attention during a meeting earlier this month. At the July 15th meeting, local resident Steven Dodge presented a petition to establish a street on an existing city right-of-way to divert people away from the unofficial alley currently being used on his property at 801 S Bower St. At that meeting Dodge also showed the council research dating back to 1895 that showed a 33-ft-wide street was dedicated there between Portland and Bower streets. Continue reading

Questions Remain Over North Judson Ordinance Recertification

The Starke County Clerk’s office will continue attempts to receive confirmation regarding an issue that may have affected past elections.

During Monday’s Starke County Election Board meeting, recertified ordinances from the Town of North Judson were considered. The Town felt it necessary to bring annexation and ward map issues back from 2001 and 2012 after the ordinances were improperly certified. The error could make the annexation and ward map changes invalid.
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