Here is a look at some of the news that made the news in the Kankakee Valley this week:
Starke Circuit Court Judge Kim Hall approved a motion for a preliminary/permanent injunction after evidence was presented alleging that C&C Salvage committed numerous violations. The Indiana Department of Environment Management found more than 10 violations on the property including oil that had saturated into the ground, burned trees at the back of the property due to a fire, and debris in a pond. An inspection on the property had been conducted by IDEM on May 21.
The Knox City Council held a public hearing last night to gather opinions on the proposed reestablishment of the cumulative capital fund. With no comments, the Council passed the ordinance on all three readings to put it into place. The Council also held a public hearing on the proposed ordinance that would create a storm water fee of $1.00 in the first year of establishment and a $2.00 fee the next year. There was no public comment so the Council approved the first reading of that ordinance. The Council also approved salary ordinances which increases the salary of appointed and elected employees and employees of the clerk-treasurer’s office by three percent.
Five horses that were loose on Range Road south of Toto Road have been seized by the Starke County Sheriff’s Department after 10 reports of neglect were made to police in a month. Officers had warned the owners to keep the horses fed and in a pen. After two calls on Sunday alone, the horses were taken into custody and are being kept in an undisclosed location. Starke County Prosecutor Nicholas Bourff will file animal neglect charges against the owners.
The USDA has designated Pulaski County as a primary disaster area due to severe drought conditions. This gives farmers a chance to apply for emergency loan assistance from the Farm Service Agency to help with production losses. 50 counties have been designated as primary natural disaster areas. Representative Tom Dermody stated that he’s happy that more counties been named a primary disaster area and will advocate on behalf of LaPorte County to make it eligible for federal assistance.
Starke County Sheriff’s Department detectives are investigating an alleged injury incident in the jail. Luther Lovins was reportedly injured while in the jail between July 12th through the 26th. Sheriff Cowen confirmed that an injury occurred but the cause remains under investigation. All of the evidence and videos are being reviewed and whatever is found will be turned over to the Starke County Prosecutor’s office for review.
A service and support exercise was held in the Winamac Town Park Monday and Tuesday. District 2 task force members set up tents and other equipment in order to coordinate efforts in case of a disaster in the state. This group would be able to house, transport and provide meals and emotional relief to those affected by a disaster. Sherry Fagner, Service and Support Element Leader, said other state task force members attended the exercise to gather ideas and coordinate plans for a similar set-up. District 2 encompasses several counties including St. Joseph, Marshall, Pulaski and Starke Counties.
Clean-up efforts continue in Wythogan Park after last Tuesday’s storms twisted and blew over dozens of trees and damaged fences and playground equipment. Park Superintendent George Byer says the overhead branches that are holding on by just a sliver of wood are what he’s worried about and he and the Park Board want you to stay out of the park for safety reasons. It could take weeks to clean up the destruction in the park. Shelter six in the park was recently vandalized and several picnic tables were stacked on top of each other. One table was broken into pieces and thrown on the roof of the shelter. The destruction is so bad that the Harvest Days Festival scheduled for August 24-26 will be moved from the park to the downtown Knox area.
The sale of fuel is the only thing that is keeping the Starke County Airport in business at the time being. Airport Manager Pam Beharry said most of the damage has been cleaned up at the airport, but they are unable to house planes due to the damage sustained to the hangars. Two estimates will be gathered for repairs to the main hangar door, roof and fencing.
Community Services of Starke County Executive Director Joan Haugh says the position formerly held by Program Coordinator Cecilia Torres-Bowman will not be filled. Her responsibilities have been divided up amongst other employees. Those responsibilities include the management of the food pantry, coordination of the resource manual, health equipment loan program, quality program, and medicaid billing and prior authorization.
A 13-year-old Starke County boy was reported missing shortly after noon yesterday, but was later found safe and returned home. James A. Chapman had left his home in the 5000 block of 100 North through a bedroom window and he was spotted short time later one-quarter of a mile east of his residence. He was safely returned to his residence around 8:00 p.m. last night.
Tony Clemons and Deborah Clemons were arrested Tuesday after a drug transaction. A deputy from the Starke County Sheriff’s Department reportedly received a text message from an unknown individual asking about a drug sale. The message had requested a meeting at the Knox Post Office to conduct the sale. Officers from the Knox City Police Department waited for the transaction to take place and Tony Clemons and Deborah Clemons were arrested on a preliminary charge of Dealing in Methamphetamine. They reportedly had multiple bags of the drug in their possession at the time of the incident.
A Back to School Health and Wellness Fair was held yesterday at the HealthLinc Clinic in Knox. Immunizations and sports physicals were offered to underinsured and uninsured children and children were also able to get a backpack and school supplies during this third annual event. Several organizations also set up at the Fair including WorkOne employees who helped residents get on the road to employment. Jujitsu was performed to demonstrate health and wellness and the Sandra Lee Studio of Dance dancers performed as well. Angie Gardner, Site Manager of HealthLinc, said that this was a great event to help promote health and wellness in Starke County.
Angela Schwei was arrested last night after she allegedly cut another woman on the leg with a sharp object. The pair had been involved in a verbal altercation in Burger King in North Judson and were told to leave the restaurant. The altercation escalated in the parking lot and Schwei reportedly slashed the victim on the leg with a sharp object. The victim was transported to IU Health Starke Hospital and was treated and released. Schwei was arrested on preliminary charges of Aggravated Battery with Bodily Injury and Battery with a Deadly Weapon. Formal charges are pending.
The Starke County Jail Committee held its last two public meetings this week at the Oregon-Davis High School Cafeteria and at the North Judson-San Pierre High School Auditorium. The public hearings gathered public input on the proposed jail project and the cost involved. A new jail that meets the specifications necessary for the county will cost approximately $14 million and taxpayer money will be used to pay for the bonds to finance the project. Commission President Kathy Norem said that a new facility is the most feasible option at this point. The information gathered in all three public meetings will be presented in a joint meeting of the Starke County Commissioners and Council on Monday.
The national average of gas is $3.55 per gallon, but Indiana residents, as well as those in the Great Lakes Region, are experiencing higher prices. GasBuddy.com Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan said there are three refineries that had some issues last weekend and the crude oil pipeline that supplies Canadian crude oil has been shut down temporarily which has caused the spike in gas prices. DeHaan says this is a temporary situation and will only last a few weeks.
The burn ban in Starke County has been lifted, but the Commissioners urge you to burn with caution and follow the terms of the county’s burn ordinance. They will continue to monitor drought conditions and the ban could be reinstated if conditions worsen.
And that is just some of the news that made the news in the Kankakee Valley this week.