Here is a look at some of the news that made the news in the Kankakee Valley this week:
The Starke County Commissioners have decided to reinstate the burn ban due to the dry conditions and an increase in fire activity. Open burning of any kind is prohibited, except for grills. You may burn debris in a burn barrel with a one-quarter inch mesh top from dawn to dusk. This burn ban will be in effect until July 16th when the Starke County Commissioners and EMA Director Ted Bombagetti reevaluate the conditions.
An agreement has been made to house inmates from the Starke County Jail in the Pulaski County Jail to help with the overcrowding situation. When the population goes over 62, some inmates will be transported to the Pulaski County facility. Starke County Commissioner Kathy Norem notes that it will cost $20 per day per inmate and Pulaski County will house the inmates, feed them, and provide their medication. Norem said that the inmates are being housed in the Pulaski County facility because it was the most affordable. The length of the contract is not determined and either party can cancel at any time. While various measures are being taken to reduce the population at the jail, you shouldn’t fear for your safety. Every effort will be made to deter crime in the county.
The Pulaski County Commissioners met in a special executive session Friday to discuss policy violations with two department heads who have not been following the employee handbook. Both elected and appointed department heads have not been following the handbook. Meeting request forms have not been filled out and employees have not been using the time clock to punch out. Two terminated employees have not filled out their paperwork and turned it in to the Auditor. The Commissioners and the Council will soon meet to discuss how to address the situation.
Ted Hayes has ended his affiliation with WKVI to pursue other interests. He has formed his own company, Hayes Media Solutions, and will be working throughout Northern Indiana. His duties now include working with the Marketing Department at IU Health Starke Hospital. Hayes had been with Kankakee Valley Broadcasting for 43 years.
A robotic calling system called 1st Source Bank customers Sunday evening telling them that their MasterCard debit cards had been deactivated and they needed to be reactivated. This is a scam. If you receive this type of phone call, hang up immediately. 1st Source Bank officials will not call you asking for this information. 1st Source says they are working with authorities to attempt to isolate the scam, and warns that you do not submit any information regarding your account. If you have provided that information, call 1st Source Bank immediately at (800) 554-8969. During regular business hours, call (574) 235-2000. Your card will be canceled and a new one will be issued.
Culver Town Manager David Schoeff, who was newly hired into the position, is working hard to secure grants to help in the follow-through of a comprehensive plan in order to help the town grow. Schoeff is working with the Planning Commission to identify needs and he will be working to become a member of Indiana Main Street which is a vital membership that may make it easier to obtain grant funding to revitalize the downtown and business districts.
Carl Larkin of Medaryville was arrested Tuesday after he allegedly hit a woman. Police were called to Larkin’s residence on Jefferson Street where officers found a woman who had bruises and swelling to her face. She told officers that Larkin had hit her and explained that he had come home and started yelling at her and subsequently hit her. Her daughter was able to call police. Larkin denied hitting the woman and claimed it was her who was yelling at him and causing a scene. Larkin, who was was reportedly drunk, was arrested on a preliminary charge of Domestic Battery with a Prior Conviction. The Pulaski County Prosecutor will review the case.
The Marshall County Council approved an appropriation for the Highway Department this week which called for $250,000 for vehicle maintenance supplies such as gasoline and diesel. The department has agreements with Marshall-Starke Development Center and Older Adult Services to allow them to purchase gasoline from the highway department and reimburse them. The money that the organizations pay goes back into the general fund so the department will occasionally request that the money be appropriated back into their budget so fuel can be purchased. $250,000 of that money will be appropriated so the highway department can purchase fuel.
While the Starke County and Pulaski County Health Departments have received no complaints since the statewide smoking ban became effective July 1st, officials at both offices have fielded questions from businesses concerning the new law. If you have not yet received a smoke-free business kit, Starke County Health Nurse Frank Lynch says there are kits available for pickup in his office. Terri Hansen from the Pulaski County Health Department said that her office has also received a few questions, but she feels that the informative sessions before the law took effect helped business owners understand the law. If you have questions, you can view the smoking ban information on the state’s website at www.in.gov.
A committee will be established to discuss fundraising options as well as ideas for the Knox Skate Park. Chris McLaughlin of Werks BMX told the Knox City Council last night that fundraising ideas are needed as some heavy maintenance is needed at the Skate Park. McLaughlin said he would like to seek grants to redo the skate park in concrete which could cost upwards of $1 million. A fundraiser will be held this Saturday. A professional BMX team is expected to make an appearance Saturday at the park and 150-200 people are expected to participate. The Knox City Council will establish a committee and appoint members during their next meeting on July 24th.
The ISTEP scores were released yesterday and Eastern Pulaski School Superintendent Dr. Robert Klitzman said that the third, fourth and fifth grade students scored in the 90th percentile in English/Language Arts and Math which placed the school in an upper placement on the state level. Dr. Klitzman said that in English/Language Arts and Math the fifth grade students were ranked the number one performer in the entire state of Indiana. He congratulates the students, staff and parents on a job well done. Of the 500,000 students who took the ISTEP test statewide, 71 percent passed both the language arts and math sections.
A Knox woman who pleaded guilty to one count of Dealing in Methamphetamine as a Class B Felony has been sentenced to prison. Mary Fort was sentenced to 10 years in the Department of Corrections with none of that sentence suspended. She admitted in court that she twice violated probation and will serve a year in prison on each violation. In all, she will serve 12 years in prison. In a separate hearing, Jessica Boyd pleaded guilty to one count of Dealing in Methamphetamine as a Class B felony in a plea agreement and was sentenced to 8 years in the DOC on that charge.
Knox residents are not under a water restriction at this time, but officials will be monitoring water levels and use in case the water supply and levels warrant a restriction. North Judson Town Superintendent Marshall Horstmann encourages you to monitor your water use just as a common practice to help conserve water. Check your home for any unnecessary leaks and get those fixed as soon as possible.
A break-in was reported at several buildings on the Culver Military Academy campus. In their investigation, Marshall County Sheriff’s deputies found that tools were stolen. Several of the buildings were forced open to gain entry and items inside those buildings were damaged. If you know anything about this incident, call the Marshall County Sheriff’s Department at (574) 936-3187.
Plaintiffs in the Jack Haut class action lawsuit have until August 30th to come up with an expert witness report required by the court. An expert witness working on the report had passed away unexpectedly and now a new person has to be hired to work on the report. Until that is done, there is no trial setting in the case. If a report is not filed by the deadline of August 30th, the case will be disposed of without any kind of trial. Haut has filed suit against Starke County that alleges the overcrowding conditions in the Starke County Jail are unconstitutional for inmates.
The Indiana Court of Appeals has upheld the conviction and sentence against Jack Haut. A jury found that Haut was guilty of Reckless Homicide. Haut was involved in a two vehicle accident on U.S. 35 north of Knox that took the life of Tom White, of Knox. He was sentenced to eight years in prison and he appealed that sentence, but the Court of Appeals has upheld the conviction and sentence against Haut. In their decision, the Court of Appeals found that sufficient evidence supported his conviction and the court upheld the jury’s decision and the judge’s sentence.
22-year-old Franklin Powell, of Walkerton, has been arrested on charges of Aiding, Inducing or Causing Burglary as a Class C Felony and a Class D Felony. Powell, along with three other men, allegedly stole a backhoe from the U.S. Army Reserve Center in Kingsbury to tear down the building that formerly housed Windy City Golf Carts in Knox. Powell was reportedly the lookout while two other suspects broke into the grounds and stole the backhoe. Charges against the two other men are pending. The backhoe was returned to the Reserve Center but it was heavily damaged from the demolition work.
Some farmers are removing their damaged corn crops from their fields so the remains can at least be salvaged for cattle feed as drought conditions have claimed many crops. Insurance adjustors are examining fields to determine if the crop is a total loss and if it is, the farmer could mow down the corn and then attempt to plant another crop by the end of the season. Irrigation systems are in use, but the moisture loss is too great to help the crops. They are designed to compliment rainfall and not be a complete source of moisture. Purdue Agricultural Economist Chris Hurt says a drought of this magnitude only occurs four times a century.
Theft charges against former Hamlet Street Superintendent, John Goble, Sr., have been dropped in Starke Circuit Court. After he resigned from his position, Goble, Sr. was accused of taking items belonging to the town. He was arrested on a charge of Theft in late March and he pleaded not guilty to the charge in Starke Circuit Court. The State of Indiana filed a motion to dismiss the cause without prejudice.
And that is just some of the news that made the news in the Kankakee Valley this week.