All posts by Mary Perren

Starke County Council Approves Sheriff’s Vehicle Purchases

Starke County Sheriff's Department BadgeStarke County Sheriff Bill Dulin can buy two 2016 Ford Interceptor Utility Vehicles. The county council Monday evening approved the purchase, which will cost slightly more than $70,000. The money will come from the county adjusted gross income tax, or CAGIT, certified shares. The equipment list for both was whittled down significantly due to budgetary constraints. Dulin says new light bars need to be purchased for the SUV’s, as the ones on the existing Dodge Charger patrol cars will not fit.

Testimony Resumes Today in Salvage Yard Arson Trial

The state will call more witnesses today in the arson trial of a Knox man accused of setting his business on fire. James Campbell owns C&C Salvage, also known as Starke County Recycling, at the intersection of U.S. 35 and Toto Road. The business caught fire last March 20, and Campbell was arrested eight days later on an arson charge. The state’s first witness was a mechanic named Tim Graves, who worked for Campbell for two weeks prior to the fire. He testified Campbell sent him out to get seven gallons of gas and a 50-foot extension cord about two hours before the fire started. Continue reading

State Appeals Court Upholds Starke Circuit Court Conviction

 The Indiana Court of Appeals has upheld a Knox man’s conviction on a drug charge from 2013. A jury found Alfred Higdon guilty of possession of methamphetamine as a Class D felony. He was sentenced to three years in prison. Higdon’s appeal claims the trial court erroneously admitted evidence that was the product of an illegal search by law enforcement. Continue reading

First Witnesses Testify in Salvage Yard Arson Trial

The first two witnesses for the state have testified in the arson trial of a Knox man accused of setting his business on fire. James Campbell owns C&C Salvage, also known as Starke County Recycling, at the intersection of U.S. 35 and Toto Road. The business caught fire last March 20, and Campbell was arrested eight days later on an arson charge. The state’s first witness was a mechanic named Tim Graves, who worked for Campbell for two weeks prior to the fire. He testified Campbell sent him out to get seven gallons of gas and a 50-foot extension cord about two hours before the fire started. Continue reading

Jury Seated in C&C Salvage Arson Trial

A jury of eight men and six women will hear testimony in the C&C Salvage arson trial in Starke Circuit Court. Attorneys for the state and defendant James Campbell spent yesterday screening prospective jurors and finally settled on a panel of 12 with two alternates around 5:20 p.m. The scrap yard south of Knox at the intersection of U.S. 35 and Toto Road caught fire on March 20, 2014. Firefighters from eight local departments responded and spent several hours battling the blaze. One firefighter from the Bass Lake Fire Department was injured. Campbell owns the business. He was arrested eight days later on a charge of arson as a Class A felony. If convicted he faces between 20 and 50 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Continue reading

Starke County Commissioners Bless Inmate Work Crew, Defer Action on K9

Starke County Sheriff's Department BadgeInmates at the Starke County Jail could soon be picking up trash along county roadways under the supervision of a corrections officer. The Starke County Commissioners last night blessed Sheriff Bill Dulin’s plan to establish an inmate road crew of between three and five people to bag up debris for the county highway department to collect. Superintendent Rik Ritzler says it shouldn’t be a problem if the inmates stay in one area and Dulin coordinates schedules with him in advance. The road crew will not cost the county any additional money. The commissioners agreed it will be beneficial to the county in terms of beautification and making the inmates work. Continue reading

Arson Trial Set to Start in Starke Circuit Court

Almost a year after a set fire destroyed a Knox business the owner is scheduled to stand trial in Starke Circuit Court. James Campbell owns C&C Salvage on U.S. 35 just south of Toto Road. It caught fire on March 20. The Bass Lake, Knox-Center Township, Hamlet, Washington Township, Koontz Lake, North Judson-Wayne Township, San Pierre and Monterey Fire Departments all responded to the blaze and spent several hours getting it under control. One firefighter was injured. Black smoke was visible for miles, and a brigade of tanker trucks hauled water to the scene. Continue reading

Starke County Sheriff to Discuss Request for Second K9

starke-county-courthouseStarke County Sheriff Bill Dulin will discuss the acquisition of a second K9 with the county commissioners when they meet this evening. Last year the county bought a dog from the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department after one of their K9 handlers left for personal reasons. K9 Terror is a certified drug and tracking dog and has already assisted with numerous drug-related investigations since joining the force in December. Dulin will also talk to the commissioners about establishing a county inmate road crew, according to the advance agenda for tonight’s meeting. It starts at 6 p.m. at the annex building. Continue reading

Statewide Winter Moratorium Ends, Utility Payment Assistance Still Available

The state-mandated moratorium on utility service disconnection during the winter months is over. However, several forms of payment assistance are still available for low-income families who need help paying their heating bills. These include assistance through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance (LIHEAP) Program. It is available to households that fall within 150 percent of federal poverty guidelines and is administered through local community action agencies. LIHEAP-eligible NIPSCO customers may also qualify for additional discounts through the NIPSCO Customer Assistance for Residential Energy, or CARE, program. Applications are made at the same time as those for LIHEAP assistance. Continue reading

Final Pretrial Hearing Set for Murder Defendant

Next month’s murder trial for a Knox man accused of killing his estranged wife at their rural California Township home last June is still on schedule. Gary Chavez is charged with murder, kidnapping and carjacking. Police say he beat his wife Kimberly to death on June 6, 2014, drove to Mark Bailey’s Discount Center and kidnapped an employee who was sitting in his car in the store parking lot. The two drove to English Lake where Chavez is accused of stealing another vehicle at gunpoint and leading authorities on a high-speed chase through LaPorte and Porter Counties. That vehicle broke down near Kouts, which is where Chavez allegedly stole a pickup truck at gunpoint from two men who stopped to help him. Police in Lake County deployed stop sticks on Interstate 65 near Crown Point in an attempt to end the pursuit. That’s when Chavez shot himself in the face. He spent two months in a Chicago hospital before being released to the custody of the Starke County Sheriff and has been jailed ever since. Continue reading

Mother of Baby Left in Car Makes Initial Court Appearance

 The mother of an infant who suffered frostbite after being left alone in a car after a Feb. 5 crash near North Judson made her initial appearance in Starke Circuit Court yesterday. Shayna Madison, 24, is charged with neglect of a dependent as a level 5 felony. Police responded to a wreck in the area of 250 West and 500 South. No driver was in the vehicle, but a small child was found in a car seat in the back. The child was treated at IU Health Starke Hospital and turned over to the Department of Child Services. Continue reading

DNR Honors Winamac Fish and Wildlife Manager

The manager of the Winamac Fish & Wildlife Area is the recipient of the Indiana Division of Fish and Wildlife’s highest honor. Tony Carroll was recently recognized as the 2014 Wildlife Biologist of the Year during the division’s annual conference at Brown County State Park. Director Mark Reiter acknowledged Carroll’s exceptional work ethic, professionalism and dedication to Indiana’s fish and wildlife resources as basis for the award. Continue reading

Right to Try Bill Advances in State Senate

State Senator Ed Charbonneau

State Senator Ed Charbonneau

A local lawmaker’s bill to potentially give terminally ill patients access to medications that might save their lives is headed to the full Senate. The measure sponsored by Sen. Ed Charbonneau of Valparaiso passed the Senate Committee on Health and Provider Services by a vote of 10-0. It would allow terminally ill patients who meet certain criteria to receive pharmaceuticals which have passed the first phase of the Food and Drug Administration’s approval process. Currently patients must wait two or four months to receive approval on an FDA application for expanded access. Continue reading

LaPorte Man Arrested After Hitting School Bus

A LaPorte man faces drunk driving charges after reportedly hitting a school bus full of children Wednesday afternoon and injuring one of them. The wreck occurred in the 100 block of west McClung Road, according to LaPorte Police. When they arrived, they found a school bus with damage to the rear and a red Pontiac Grand Prix with heavy front end damage. Continue reading

Glenn Wood Jr.

Funeral arrangements for Glenn Wood Jr., 83, of Star City, are Sunday, March 15, 2015 at 2 p.m. ET at the Frain Mortuary in Winamac.  Visitation is Sunday, March 15, 2015 from noon until the time of services at the funeral home.  Memorials may be given to the Star City United Methodist Church, Star City West Cemetery, or a charity of the donor’s choice.