A Knox man with an extensive criminal history is headed back to prison for the sixth time in his life.
James Royce, 44, pleaded guilty in a plea agreement with the state to felony charges of residential entry and escape and a misdemeanor charge of criminal mischief in two separate cases. The state and defense argued Royce’s sentence to Starke Circuit Court Judge Kim Hall.
In one case, Royce admitted that he forced his way into his aunt’s home without an invitation. In the second case, he admitted to escaping the custody of a jailer who was escorting him from the courthouse to the Starke County Jail. Royce had appeared for a hearing in Starke Circuit Court and Judge Hall ordered him back to jail. Royce admitted that he “panicked” and ran. The jailer suffered an injury chasing after Royce. Royce was apprehended approximately 20 minutes after he escaped custody. He also admitted to tampering with the GPS ankle bracelet he was wearing as he had been on home detention through Starke County Community Corrections.
Students from Starke County’s three school corporations will get a firsthand look at local job opportunities during the upcoming Manufacturers Day at Knox Middle School. The Starke County Economic Development Foundation is bringing together 7th grade students and representatives from local industries and SCILL on Thursday, Oct. 2. They will have displays of what their company manufacturers, the skills and training required for each job at the company and the kinds of jobs they have and will also be available to answer questions. Continue reading
The 5th annual Life Walk is this Saturday.
The event will help raise money for the Bella Vita Pregnancy Resource Center. The walk will begin around 10 a.m. at the center on Lake Street and conclude at Wythogan Park.
An open house is planned at the center along with face painting, a balloon artist, coffee and doughnuts.
If you get a call from a relative requesting bail money, make sure the person is really in jail before you rush to their aid. Officials with the Starke County Sheriff’s Department say scammers are preying on local residents in an attempt to swindle money from them. The caller tells the potential victim they need money to get out of jail and will pay them back when they go to court. Continue reading
The Starke County Council and Commissioners are expected to make their appointments to the county park and recreation board at their respective meetings this evening. The council gets two appointments, one Democrat and one Republican. The commissioners get one appointment, and it is not restricted by political party affiliation. Continue reading
U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly and U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski paid a visit to Starke County over the weekend. Both took part in Saturday’s veterans program organized by the Blue Star Mothers. After a parade down Main Street, both spoke in front of the veterans monument at the Starke County Courthouse. Donnelly said the sacrifices of those who have served in our nation’s armed forces ensure we can live our lives in safety and in freedom. Continue reading
Gary Chavez told Judge Pro Tem Daniel Murphy in Starke Circuit Court Friday morning that he will not be able to afford a private attorney.
A status hearing was held in his case on Friday to see where Chavez was in terms of obtaining counsel. He hasn’t been represented since he appeared for his initial hearing in August. Murphy informed Chavez that a court appointed attorney will be assigned to his case.
Workers’ compensation insurance premiums for Starke County employees have spiked for the coming year. The annual increase of nearly $60,000 is blamed on the county’s prior claims history. Premiums are determined based on three years worth of data. Continue reading
Downtown Knox will be bustling today with a veteran’s parade and the free WoodStarke Festival at Wythogan Park. The parade organized by the Blue Star Mothers will begin at 10 a.m. CT at Five Star and concludes at the Starke County Courthouse. U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly, Representative Jackie Walorski and veterans will speak on the courthouse steps after the parade concludes. Veterans, service members and their families are invited afterward to lunch at Knox United Methodist Church. Continue reading
Knox third grade students will get to go to Potato Creek State Park thanks to the Discovering the Outdoors Field Trip grant.
The grant program is administered through the Indiana Natural Resources Foundation and allows students to participate in field trips to parks and reservoirs to engage them in learning about Indiana’s fish, forest, wildlife, natural habitats and conservation. The grant money helps with transportation costs, program fees and classroom supplies for the field trips to local state parks. Indiana has 24 state parks and eight reservoirs eligible for field trip funding.
IU Health officials are looking for a new strategic partner to serve the health care needs of Starke and LaPorte Counties. Leadership has decided that’s the best approach to create the strongest strategy going forward, according to a news release. IU Health LaPorte Hospital President and CEO G. Thor Thordarson said in a statement, “We have a strong plan for taking care of our community that includes investing in new facilities, best people, and leading-edge technology. We will work with an organization that is as dedicated as we are to this mission.”
The inaugural WoodStarke Festival at Wythogan Park in Knox promises a day full of healthy, family fun. A group of volunteers has put together a slate of activities. They will be set to a background of music by local, original bands from genres ranging from bluegrass and bagpipes to hard rock. Performers include Commander, Culver Pipes and Drums, Jerry Nenycz, Damien Acoustics, Adam Combs, Josh Grace, 10 Gauge, Welder and Company, South of Sorrow and Seldom Told. Continue reading
Henry F. Schricker
Nominations for the coveted Henry F. Schricker award are being accepted until Tuesday, Sept. 30.
The award is given to a Starke County resident who has shown that he or she has put “service before self”. That was the motto of former governor Henry F. Schricker who exemplified that action while in office and as a upstanding resident of Starke County.
The Starke County Chamber of Commerce will review all submissions and a committee of former award winners will select this year’s recipient. A nomination form is available on the Starke County Chamber’s website at www.starkecountychamber.com. Include the qualities and deeds of your nominee. The entry should include the person’s voluntary contributions and benefits to Starke County.
Pacific Avenue west of 300 East in Knox may be closed for brief periods of time over the next few days. Road crews are installing a new storm sewer at that intersection as part of the improvement project in that area. The project engineer advises the intersection will be fully accessible for emergency responders at all times.
Senator Joe Donnelly and Congresswoman Jackie Walorski will be honoring area veterans along with Blue Star Mothers this coming weekend.
A parade will be organized for veterans and their families to assemble behind Five Star at 8 a.m CDT. The start time for the parade is 10 a.m. and will run from Five Star to the courthouse.
Strong storms packing high winds are possible across the Kankakee Valley today. Starke County Emergency Management Agency Director Ted Bombagetti says the full oliage on the trees will cause them to act like kites and blow in the wind. As a result, the potential for lost power will be high. Continue reading
Starke County Highway Department workers add rip rap to bridges.
Starke County’s annual bridge maintenance program is almost complete. Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler says the county is awaiting the final inspection on each of the 58 bridges. Crews cleaned the deck and drains on each bridge, sealed all of the concrete decks, made minor repairs and added rip rap to about half of the structures to help prevent erosion. Once the inspections are complete a full report will be posted on the county’s website.
Knox City Council
The Knox City Council held the public hearing for the 2015 budget last night.
The city advertised a $2.8 million budget which is a little less than what it was last year.
There were no citizens in the audience that commented on the budget and the hearing concluded.
Officials met last week to look into composing a new five-year comprehensive plan for the city of Knox.
Knox Mayor Rick Chambers said a company will be hired to design a plan.
“We have hired a company from Indianapolis called Green Three and this company will be hired from a grant that we have obtained from the State of Indiana from OCRA (Office of Community and Rural Affairs) to update Knox’s five-year plan and give us a direction of where we want to go,” stated Chambers.
The tires on the John Deere Gator used by the Knox Park Department need to be replaced. The park board recently approved the purchase of a new set of all-terrain tires for $480. Employees use the utility vehicle year-round to transport items between the city’s three parks, maintain the grounds and plow snow. Park board members decided all-terrain tires would be the best, most durable option.