Today's News

Two Pulaski County Officials Suspended With Pay; Commissioners Silent as to Why

Pulaski County Commissioners Larry Brady, Terry Young, and Tracey Shorter

Two Pulaski County officials have been suspended with pay, but neither the county commissioners nor their attorney have released any clue as to why. The county commissioners recently suspended Highway Superintendent Kenny Becker and secretary Lin Morrison with pay following an investigation, and have appointed Rex Cudworth as the interim superintendent.

The commissioners also ordered that the locks be changed at the county highway garage, but will not elaborate on what prompted the action. The investigation continues, however, as the pair is still suspended with pay. Personnel matters must be discussed in an executive session, but any vote to terminate an employee or suspend an employee without pay must be taken at a public meeting.

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Fire Investigation Ongoing at Winamac Business

The fire at Dillman Tire and Auto in Winamac remains under investigation.

An investigator with the Indiana State Fire Marshal’s office is expected to return to the fire scene today. Winamac Fire Chief Bill Weaver said the representative was unable to get to Winamac earlier this week to conduct the investigation.

The late night fire destroyed the business at the corner of Logan and Pearl streets. It started late Friday night and four fire departments struggled to contain the blaze. Firefighters were able to leave the scene six hours later. Weaver has not given a preliminary cause of the fire. He hopes answers as to the cause of the blaze will be found soon.

Starke County Election Board to Meet Today

The Starke County Election Board is expected to meet at 10 a.m. this morning to discuss a number of topics, including the Knox Community School Corporation’s request to hold a special election on May 7 in order to present a public question to its voters.

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North Judson-San Pierre Superintendent Explains School Delay Procedure

North Judson-San Pierre Superintendent Lynn Johnson

The process in which school officials use to determine a school delay or cancellation is not an easy one. That’s according to North Judson-San Pierre School Superintendent Lynn Johnson who explains her corporation’s procedure.

“We cover 138 square miles and we have contact points in each of the four quadrants the school district covers. They report back to our director of transportation, who is Julie Soplanda. Julie calls me and then I make the decision on the delay,” said Superintendent Johnson.

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Expert Says Gas Prices Spiked Due to Three Major Factors

Gas prices have spiked this week throughout Indiana, having gone from a state average of $3.34 on Jan. 27 to $3.56 on Wednesday. Patrick DeHaan with GasBuddy.com told WKVI that the spike could be attributed to three major factors including refinery maintenance, rising crude oil prices, and the idea that the economy is improving.

DeHaan said that the cost of crude oil was around $85 in early December, but has since raised to $98 per barrel – a 14 percent jump, DeHaan said, and it’s defintely not helping. He said the rising cost of crude oil is due in part to a newly-opened pipeline that allows accumulated oil inventory to be sent out toward other parts of the country, raising the demand.

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Knox Street Dept. Plans to Patch Problematic Potholes

With all the freezing and thawing that’s been going on, the prominence of potholes throughout the area is on the rise. Knox Street Superintendent Jeff Borg told WKVI that the weather has been surprisingly gentle to the roads – that is, until these last few days. A few potholes have popped up in the area, and Borg said his crew is hoping to get those filled up soon.

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Weather Spotter Training Scheduled for Feb. 5

The Marshall County Emergency Management Agency is teaming up with the Marshall County SKYWARN group and the National Weather Service to present the annual Weather Observer and Outreach Talk program.

This weather spotter course will be presented in a webinar setting and conference call.

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Sen. Jim Arnold Focuses Legislation on Veteran Business, Transparency

Senator Jim Arnold

Democrat State Senator Jim Arnold of LaPorte has introduced a number of bills this legislative session on a variety of issues, including price preferences for veteran businesses, better government transparency, and increased public safety.

Senate Bill 271 aims to create opportunities for veteran-owned small businesses to participate in providing purchases and services for state agencies. The bill would require state agencies to have a set goal of veteran-owned businesses contributing at least three percent of purchases for the total dollar amount consumed every fiscal year. The bill would require the Indiana Department of Administration to post on its website and present to the governor and the legislative council an annual report recognizes state agencies that did not meet past fiscal year goals, and would also include the reason for missing the goal and what is being done to correct it.

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Thomas P. McGrath

Thomas P. McGrath, 88, of Knox, Indiana passed away Wednesday, January 30, 2013.  Funeral services will be Monday, February 4, 2013 at 11:00 a.m. CT at the St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Knox.  Visitation is Sunday from 4:00-7:00 p.m. CT and Monday from 10:00-10:30 a.m. at the Rannells Funeral Home, Hamlet Chapel.  A Rosary Service is scheduled for Sunday at 4:00 p.m. CT at the funeral home.  Memorial contributions may be given to the Golden Living Center in Knox.

Boys Basketball Coaching Leaders

Boys Basketball Coaching Leaders: (Through 1/29/13)

Dan Warkentien-South Central (16 years): 262-121 .684

Travis Hannah-John Glenn (13 years): 153-152 .502

Bryan Heimlich-West Central (9 years): 114-100 .533

Kyle Elliott-Culver (5 years): 50-51 .495

Kyle Johnson-Winamac (3 years): 31-26 .563

Phil Shabi-NJSP (2 years): 20-15 .571

Matt Crawford-OD (2 years): 6-30 .166

Scot Spoljaric-LaCrosse (2 years): 4-28 .125

Chris McGowen-Knox (1 year): 2-12 .142

Girls Basketball Coaching Leaders

Girls Basketball Coaching Leaders: (Through 1/29/13)

Terry Minix-OD (20 years): 286-143 .667

Dan Huizenga-Knox (11 years): 129-117 .524

Gina Hierlmeier-Culver (7 years): 105-51 .673

Brad Odom-West Central (8 years): 85-85 .500

Rick Budka-South Central (5 years): 45-57 .441

Jeff Wagner-Winamac (3 years): 46-20 .696

Kyle Amor-John Glenn (2 years): 19-21 .475

Debbie Bolen-NJSP (1 year): 12-7 .631

Brian McMahan-LaCrosse (4 years): 12-46 .206

Boys Scoring Leaders

Boys Scoring Leaders (Season): through 1/29/13 (10ppg)

Riley Charlesworth (LaCrosse): 20.7ppg (12 games)

Trent Elliott (Culver): 20.3ppg (15 games)

Zach Shidler (Winamac): 18.0ppg (12 games)

Bryce Guse (LaCrosse): 13.1ppg (11 games)

Dalton Bailey (NJSP): 12.6ppg (14 games)

Blake Hurford (OD): 12.2ppg (14 games)

Adam Clindaniel (SC): 11.4ppg (13 games)

Dylan Short (Knox): 10.8ppg (14 games)

Zach Johnston (OD): 10.6ppg (15 games)

Jake Strong (Glenn): 10.5ppg (14 games)

Drew McKay (WC): 10.3ppg (11 games)

Boys Individual Scoring (Career): Minimum 300 points

Trent Elliott-Culver (Jr): 755

Zach Shidler-Winamac (Sr): 746

Riley Charlesworth (Sr)-LaCrosse: 736

Colton Hill-Knox (Sr): 572

Collin Stevens-Culver (Sr): 543

Micah Budzinski-Culver (Sr): 482

Adam Clindaniel-South Central (Sr): 375

Sam Culver-LaCrosse (Sr): 374

Dylan Short-Knox (Sr): 373

Jake Strong-John Glenn (So): 370

Blake Hurford-Culver (So): 324

*As reported to etpearl.com

Girls Scoring Leaders

Girls Scoring Leaders (Season): through 1/29/13 (10ppg)

Ashley Campbell (OD): 19.5ppg (21 games)

Stephanie Shorter (Winamac): 17.1ppg (13 games)

Kayla Shaffer (Culver): 16.2ppg (19 games)

Jordann Frasure (NJSP): 15.6ppg (19 games)

Jesse Averone (OD): 14.5ppg (21 games)

Jessica Schramm (Winamac): 13.1ppg (18 games)

Alisha McIntosh (OD): 12.7ppg (21 games)

Riley Popplewell (SC): 12.1ppg (19 games)

Jill Rosenbaum (SC): 12.0ppg (19 games)

Haley Collings (OD): 11.6ppg (21 games)

Kyler Columbia (Glenn): 10.6ppg (19 games)

Gabbie Sievers (LaCrosse): 10.6ppg (18 games)

Kaitlin Zachary (Knox): 10.6ppg (20 games)

Kayla Zimmerman (NJSP): 10.6ppg (18 games)

Nikki Frasure (Knox): 10.5ppg (20 games)

Girls Scoring Leaders (Career): Minimum 300 points

Ashley Campbell-OD (Jr): 1,243

Jordann Frasure-NJSP (Sr): 978

Jesse Averone-OD (Jr): 940

Alisha McIntosh-OD (Jr): 755

Jill Rosenbaum-South Central (Jr): 731

Kayla Shaffer-Culver (Jr): 709

Stephanie Shorter-Winamac (Jr): 686

Jessica Schramm-Winamac (Sr): 624

Kaitlin Zachary-Knox (Sr): 523

Gabbie Sievers-LaCrosse (Sr): 442

Haley Frasure-NJSP (Sr): 434

Taylor Guse-LaCrosse (Sr): 431

Haley Collings-OD (Jr): 430

Kyler Columbia-Glenn (So): 429

Kayla Zimmerman-NJSP (Sr): 426

Katie Dreessen-Glenn (Sr): 370

Tatum Schultz-Culver (So): 351

Bethany Brogdon (Jr): 317

Mickella Hardy-Culver (So): 312

Carah Ochs-Glenn (Sr): 312

Alivia Kruger-West Central (Jr): 308

*As reported to etpearl.com

Plymouth PD is Narrowing Down School Bomb Threat Suspects

A week since the bomb threat was originally discovered, Plymouth Police Department officers have announced that they have “narrowed down” the suspect pool after reviewing surveillance footage near the boy’s restroom where a bomb threat was penciled on the wall at the Plymouth High School.

The threat claimed that a bomb would go off in the high school library on Jan. 24 at 12:30 p.m., prompting the school to undergo a two-hour delay that morning to allow more than a dozen state troopers, two bomb dogs, and local police to search the school for an explosive. Fortunately, the threat turned out to be a hoax; no bomb was found.

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Lamphier Sentenced to Eight Years in DOC for Burglary

A Starke County man received his sentence in the Starke Circuit Court last week after he pleaded guilty to Burglary as a Class C felony. William Lamphier admitted to breaking into a barn at 8880 N. 1175 E. and taking items.

Lamphier was accused of stealing a weed eater, a power washer, a toolbox filled with tools, a gas can with gas, a blower, and a round black heater belonging to Larry Perry. Lamphier reportedly used a flat-head screwdriver or similar tool to pry open an entry door to gain access to the barn sometime after Sept. 2, 2012. The items were later located at a trailer in Plymouth on Sept. 28, leading police to arrest Lamphier for the crime.

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Former Bass Lake Fire Chief Passes Away; Services Friday

A volunteer firefighter for 26 years, Phillip L. Banasiak passed away on Friday. Banasiak had been the fire chief for the Bass Lake Fire Department for eight years and dedicated his life to saving others. In 2011, however, Banasiak went through one of the hardest ordeals of his life after he was diagnosed with complications from prostate cancer.

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Bill to Expand Benefits for Families of Workers Who Die in Line of Duty

Indiana Statehouse

Democrat Senator Jim Arnold of LaPorte and Republican Senator Ed Charbonneau of Valparaiso have co-authored a piece of legislation that would expand benefits for family members of state employees who pass away in the line of duty.

Senate Bill 324 would raise the benefit amounts from $50,000 to $100,000. Arnold explained that he realizes the conditions highway workers and others experience and this bill will make sure that if a worker loses his or her life on the job, his or her family will be adequately compensated.

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Illegally Parked Motorists in Handicapped Space Could Face Steeper Minimum Fine

State Senator Ed Charbonneau

Republican Senator Ed Charbonneau of Valparaiso has introduced legislation that would increase the minimum penalty for parking in a handicapped parking space from $50 to $200.

The bill passed the Senate Corrections and Criminal Law committee on a vote of 5-4.

Charbonneau said tickets are usually written when citizens complain about a possible violation. He hopes that a steeper fine will keep motorists from taking parking spots specifically designated for disabled residents.

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