Here is a look at some of the news that made the news in the Kankakee Valley this week:
Several contested races were decided in Starke County in Tuesday’s General Election. Republican Kent Danford defeated Incumbent Democrat Daniel Bridegroom for the County Commissioner District 3 seat. The three candidates elected to the three at-large seats on the Starke County Council include Democrats Freddie Baker and Bob Sims along with Republican Bryan Cavender. The three candidates elected to the Knox Community School Board Center 2,3, and 4 seats include Wendy McIntyre, William Kirk Bennett and Gerald “Jerry” Fletcher. Kurt A. Kemble became the new representative in the California-Washington Township seat on the Knox Community School Board as he earned more votes than Incumbent Nathan Marcum. The two at-large seats on the Oregon-Davis School Board go Kurt Hayes and Lee Nagai. In Pulaski County, it was Republican Terry Young edging out Democrat William Bauer for the Pulaski County Commissioner District 1 seat. Roger Querry, Douglas Roth and Jerry Sullivan, Jr. clinched at-large seats on the Pulaski County Council. Larry Beach, Deke DeMarco and Rhonda Heims were also elected to serve on the Eastern Pulaski School Board. In Marshall County, Republicans Jon VanVactor, Rex Gilliland and Steven Harper will serve on the Marshall County Council in at-large positions. The contested District 3 seat for the Plymouth School Board was won by Gary Cook. Three seats for the Union-North School Board were up for election. The at-large seat was won by Daniel Zeiger and George Moffett. For the North Township seat, Kenneth A. Moore won it . He beat out David Grenert.
With the passage of a General Election ballot question to increase the number of members on the North Judson Town Board from three to five, the ordinance will now be presented to the Town Board for approval at their next two regular meetings. Clerk-Treasurer Donna Henry said the two additional members will be at-large members and will initially be appointed by the Board. Those two at-large members will then be elected during the next county election with staggered terms against the three other members.
Several local emergency responders from Starke and Pulaski Counties remain in the New York area in effort to help those affected by Hurricane Sandy and now they will help in the aftermath of a Nor’easter that went through the area. The Indiana District 2 Incident Management Team Public Information Officer, Al Kirsits said they moved from the Incident Command Post to a firehouse in Jericho, New York to keep safe from the storm. Kirstis said they have accomplished a lot and they will be returning home on Sunday as they will reach their 14-day deployment maximum as regulated by FEMA.
Jeffrey Farmer, of Knox, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to a felony offense of Accessing with the Intent to View Child Pornography. Farmer was charged in December 2011 after the Starke County Sheriff’s Department investigated allegations that Farmer was involved in a child molestation incident. A federal search warrant was obtained and investigators found child pornography on his computer. Farmer will be sentenced on February 4, 2013.
Lindsey Dennis pleaded not guilty in Starke Circuit Court last week to a charge of Attempted Trafficking with an Inmate as a Class C Felony. It is alleged that an inmate in the Starke County Jail asked Dennis to smuggle tobacco and controlled substances in a deodorant container into the jail. Dennis was arrested last week on the charge and was released on her own recognizance under the condition that she remain on home detention through Starke County Community Corrections.
The West Central School Board approved the Technology Committee’s recommendation to move forward with the one-to-one computer initiative using the Google ChromeBooks. Training on the new devices will begin in January and then the computers will be rolled out to students when school starts in August. The one-to-one computer initiative will be funded by monies that were set aside in the Capital Projects Plan specifically for this project.
If you still have to make a property tax payment, you have until November 13 to make your payment in the Starke County Treasurer’s Office. Treasurer Linda Belork explained that since the normal tax deadline is on a Saturday (November 10), and since a county holiday for Veteran’s Day is on Monday, the deadline was extended to Tuesday, November 13. You may take your payment to the Treasurer’s Office or drop it off in the outside drop box.
Silas Wait of Grovertown was injured after falling from a tree stand Sunday afternoon in Starke County. The 25-year-old Starke County man was climbing to his tree stand when the support chain slipped and the tree stand platform gave way and he fell 20 feet to the ground. Indiana Conservation officers, Starke County EMS and the Koontz Lake Fire Department responded to the scene and Wait was later airlifted to South Bend Memorial Hospital with head, neck and chest injuries. He is expected to fully recover.
Indiana Conservation Officer Keith Wildeman received word that a person driving a pickup in the Starke County area was spotlighting for deer Sunday afternoon. Wildeman found the suspect vehicle and saw the suspect, Robert Allen, 24, of North Judson reportedly spotlighting for deer. A traffic stop was conducted and the officer allegedly found a .50 caliber muzzleloader, ammunition and a spotlight inside the vehicle. Allen was arrested on a preliminary charge of Spotlighting a Deer from a Motor Vehicle While in Possession of a Firearm, a Class C Misdemeanor. Additional charges are pending.
Starke County IT Director Joe Short explained to the Starke County Commissioners this week that the county’s insurance claim of over $13,000 for damages from the storms in June and July has not yet been paid. The Commissioners approved a motion to sign a claim for the $1,000 deductible to allow insurance to cover the claim. Short said that repairs have been made to antennas near Washington Township, Bass Lake and Koontz Lake, but a vendor was unable to make repairs to a unit in San Pierre. The Sheriff’s Department tower has yet not been repaired.
Michael Ostrowski of Loves Park, Illinois was arrested yesterday after a multiple county pursuit incident that began in Starke County. A trooper with the Indiana State Police pulled over Ostrowski’s vehicle after he was traveling 30 mph over the speed limit on U.S. 30 in Starke County. The trooper reportedly saw Ostrowski throw something outside the passenger side window and after a dispute over his proper identification, he fled from the traffic stop. Ostrowski managed to avoid hitting two locations with stop sticks and he avoided one as he went west in the eastbound lanes on U.S. 30. He did hit stop sticks as he got to State Road 49 and made it all the way to State Road 51 in Lake County before his car broke down. He was arrested on preliminary charges of Possession of Paraphernalia and Resisting Law Enforcement and taken to the Porter County Jail. Indiana State Police charges in Starke, LaPorte and Lake Counties are pending.