Here is look at some of the news that made the news in the Kankakee Valley this week:
Fugitive Joshua Hunnicutt turned himself into the Starke County Jail on Sunday. He had escaped from the facility on Wednesday, May 23rd by climbing the outside rec area wall. He reportedly told police that he turned himself in because he realized he would eventually be caught. He is currently being held in the Starke County Jail on his previous charge of possession of methamphetamine and a new charge of Escape as a Class C felony.
Inmates from the Starke County Jail were transported to the Pulaski County Jail this week after Starke County officials and Sheriff Oscar Cowen thought the overcrowding at the jail could pose a problem with disorderly conduct and violence. 15 inmates are now being housed at the Pulaski County Jail under a temporary agreement.
Memorial Day services were held in the Kankakee Valley Monday with many services being conducted by VFW and American Legion Posts in the area. Senator Jim Arnold gave a Memorial Day address to those gathered at the Crown Hill Cemetery in Knox. A service was also held at the Starke County Courthouse and wreaths were laid by the monuments, including the newest monument to honor the war’s fallen in Afghanistan. Music was provided and Darrel Gunn was the Master of Ceremonies.
The Starke County Council voted 4-1 in favor of purchasing new tax and auditing software for the Starke County Treasurer’s Office and the Starke County Auditor’s office. The new software would actually benefit all office holders and department heads. The entire package from the Low company would cost $115,000 with $15,000 coming from the Treasurer’s budget and $25,000 coming out of the Auditor’s budget. The Council members decided the remaining balance could come from CEDIT, Rainy Day Funds or Capital Improvement funds. Councilwoman Judy Benninghoff said she would like to see a quote from the current provider, Harris, before providing a yes vote.
Knox City Attorney David Matsey and Clerk-Treasurer Jeff Houston will be devising a process in which residents can be heard front of the Board of Public Works before water is disconnected at a home. A court case in Evansville caught the attention of the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns that suggests that due process has to be followed before a disconnect can be completed and the resident has the right to a hearing before the Board of Public Works.
Dale Hite was on trial this week in Starke Circuit Court. He has been charged with Resisting Law Enforcement Resulting in Death, two counts of Reckless Homicide, and counts of Resisting Law Enforcement, Possession of Methamphetamine, Failure to Stop at a Stop Sign and Failure to use Headlights from Sunset to Sunrise. Hite was charged after an October 19th, 2009 incident in which he crashed a car he was reportedly driving at speeds of 124 mph and two people were killed. Hite was allegedly driving from a residence where police suspected the residents of producing methamphetamine.
Territorial Engineers have been contracted by the City of Knox to design a new, modern submersible pump as part of the lift station project at the corner of Claybaugh and U.S. 35. The engineering contract was approved for $21,000 and the entire lift station project cost is approximately $200,000. Van Janovic of Territorial Engineers said the design should be complete by August and ready for bid.
Pulaski County Sheriff Michael Gayer conducted a memorial service for the county’s fallen officers on Tuesday. The lives of Sheriff Charles Oglesby, Sheriff Milo “Mike” Lewis and Deputy Shad Bassett were commemorated along with others who have served. The pastor from the Bethel Bible Church led everyone in prayer, “Taps” was performed and a 21-gun salute was conducted by the Francesville American Legion.
The Knox City Council tabled a statement of benefits request for Hoosier Custom Plastics as the Council members wanted more information before approving the paperwork. A representative from the company was not present at the meeting to answer the Council’s questions. The paperwork the Council was being asked to sign would substantiate the company is in compliance with that was promised when tax abatement was initially approved.
Chief Probation Officer in Starke County, John Thorstad, says that the county has 375 adult criminal offenders reporting to the probation office. The State had come up with new risk assessments that determines what type of programs an offender needs with probation and Thorstad says their success in probation depends on attitude. A lot of the offenders that are on probation are repeat offenders and they are having trouble keeping jobs because a lot of employers will not hire felons.
Three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion and driver of the number 14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, Tony Stewart, was in Lakeville Wednesday night to help promote the Little Hoosier 100 race scheduled for August that will feature kids ages 5 to 16 racing quarter midgets. Stewart says the race will feature kids from all over the world and one may be the next Jeff Gordon or Helio Castroneves. Stewart also answered fan questions and discussed his career, his contract renewal process with fellow teammate and Hoosier Ryan Newman, and his connection to Indiana and Bob and Joyce Newton. Tony Stewart will be back in the area on Saturday, June 16th to participate in a race at Plymouth Speedway’s new dirt track.
Officers from the Indiana State Police Meth Suppression Section and the Underwater Search and Rescue/Recovery Team recovered two dozen plastic bottles used the manufacture of methamphetamine from the Yellow River in the area of Peach Road and 14th Road in Marshall County. Empty pseudoephedrine blister packs, burnt foil strips, soiled coffee filters and other pieces of paraphernalia were taken into the possession of the state police. The items were spotted by a fisherman in the area. If you find items you suspect could have been used in the manufacture of methamphetamine, call your local law enforcement agency. Do not attempt to discard the trash yourself.
Firefighters battled a large barn fire Friday morning at 0320 E. 600 N. in the Hamlet area. A cause of the fire has not been released and no injuries were reported. The barn belonged to Ed Jernas.
And that is just some of the news that made the news in the Kankakee Valley this week.