WKVI Information Center


Pulaski County Officials Investigate Accident

By:Anita Goodan
Published:July 28, 2014

Officers from the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department are investigating a serious accident that occurred just before noon ET on Monday on County Road 100 South at 600 West.

No other details have been released at this time. Information will be passed along as it becomes available.

Man Arrested on Child Molesting Charge

By:Anita Goodan
Jonas Olvera

Jonas Olvera

A Texas man who was visiting residents at a home in the 100 block of Franklin Street in Plymouth was arrested on a preliminary charge of child molesting.

Plymouth Police Department officers were called to the home on Friday afternoon after receiving a report that an 11-year-old girl was allegedly sexually assaulted. After further investigation, including the questioning of the suspect, 67-year-old Jonas Olvera, Olvera was arrested and booked into the Marshall County Jail on the charge of child molesting. Olvera was also wanted a warrant issued in 2009 in connection with another report of child molesting.

Bond was set at $15,000 surety or $3,000 cash on the warrant and $100,000 cash on the new charge.

Blueberry Festival Committee Exploring Location Options

By:Anita Goodan

The Blueberry Festival Committee members are looking at new locations to hold the festival and according to Festival Coordinator Sherrie Martin it’s something that’s been discussed for years.

Martin told WKVI News that the committee has always been planning for “what if”. With that in mind, the members have been pursuing their options in moving the festival out of Centennial Park in Plymouth for more than 10 years.

The committee members have looked at locations in Bremen, Bourbon, Argos, Culver and all over the county recently and in the past few years to see if there is space enough to accommodate a move.

The committee may be pursuing it a little harder as of late with the new tennis court project in Centennial Park in Plymouth. Martin commented that the new tennis courts will consume quite a bit of space that is utilized for several popular events during the festival including the fireworks show, balloon glow, and Hoosier Old Wheels show.

Martin stressed that this year’s Blueberry Festival will go on as planned at Centennial Park in Plymouth on Labor Day weekend. Options are being explored for 2015. No decisions have been made.

The groundbreaking for the new tennis court project is planned directly after the Blueberry Festival this year.

Kewanna Man Sentenced on Federal Firearm Offense

By:Mary Perren

ATF logoA Kewanna man was sentenced last week in U.S. District Court to two years and three months in prison and two years of supervised release after a jury found him guilty of making false statements during firearm acquisition. Court documents indicate Eric M. Gainer, 45, tried to buy a Rossi 410/22 gun on Oct. 1, 2012 from a firearms dealer. He’s a convicted felon with a past misdemeanor conviction for domestic violence against and was at the time under a court restraining order prohibiting him from stalking or threatening his child or an intimate partner. Gainer filled out an ATF Form 4473 prior to the attempted purchase and did not disclose his criminal history. An investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms led to his arrest and conviction.

Bremen Man Ordered to Reimburse Department of Work Force Development

By:Mary Perren

Indiana Workforce DevelopmentA Bremen man was sentenced last week in U.S. District Court to two years probation and ordered to pay $34,126.25 in restitution for 18 months worth of unemployment benefits. Court documents indicate Timothy Heckaman, 53, previously pleaded guilty to the felony offense of theft of government property. Between March of 2010 and September of 2011 he applied for and received extended unemployment insurance benefits through the Indiana Department of Work Force Development. During that time Heckaman submitted false weekly vouchers to the state indicating he was not working when he actually did have a job. An investigation by the Department of Labor and Indiana Department of Work Force Development led to his conviction.


New Recording Equipment Purchased for North Judson Police Department

By:Anita Goodan
Starke County Prosecutor Nicholas Bourff (left), Frank Thomas and Town Marshal Doug Vessely. Photo provided

Starke County Prosecutor Nicholas Bourff (left), Frank Thomas and Town Marshal Doug Vessely. Photo provided

Starke County Prosecutor Nicholas Bourff recently purchased new interviewing equipment for the North Judson Police Department.

The recording equipment was purchased with Pretrial Diversion funds which are used at the discretion of the prosecutor to help local law enforcement.

North Judson Town Marshal Doug Vessely said the equipment was desperately needed and everything is running smoothly.

Scales Purchased for Marshall County Police Departments

By:Anita Goodan
Prosecutor Holmes (right) hands Plymouth Police Deparment Corporal and Evidence Technician Bridget Hite a scale

Prosecutor Holmes (right) hands Plymouth Police Deparment Corporal and Evidence Technician Bridget Hite a scale

Marshall County Prosecutor David R. Holmes has purchased highly sensitive weight measuring scales with money from the Pretrial Diversion Fund.

Holmes stated in a press release that the new changes in the drug laws make it essential to have accurate readings on the weight of any drugs seized in a case. That weight needs to be proven in court.

The scales were purchased for the Argos, Bourbon, Culver, Plymouth, and Bremen Police Departments. The Marshall County Undercover Narcotics Investigative Team also received scales.

The Marshall County Sheriff’s Department already had the scales in use as well as the Indiana State Police.

Holmes noted that taxpayer money was not used in the acquisition of this equipment. The money came from a fund managed by his office.

Kindergarten Countdown Benefits 20 Students

By:Anita Goodan
Kids learned several important skills prior during the Kindergarten Countdown

Kids learned several important skills prior during the Kindergarten Countdown. Photo provided.

The Kindergarten Countdown program held at the Knox Elementary School in June was a success this year.

Twenty children received an early education before they enter Kindergarten this fall. Students who attend preschool often obtain better scores on tests, have better social skills and are more understanding of routines than those who do not attend a preschool program.

The camp ran four days a week for three weeks in June for three hours. The students learned nursery rhymes, numbers and letters and participated in hands-on activity to develop motor skills.

This experience also helps children transition into kindergarten.

The program was funded by a grant from IU Health via the Indiana Association of United Ways. The cost to run the camp is upwards of $6,500 which covers the cost of a teacher, an assistant, transportation and breakfast and lunch.

The camp was also made possible by the Starke United Fund through the Northern Indiana Community Foundation and the Starke County Community Foundation.

Starke County Highway Department Chip Seals Record Number of Road Miles

By:Mary Perren
Starke County Highway Superintendent Stephen "Rik" Ritzler

Starke County Highway Superintendent Stephen “Rik” Ritzler

The Starke County Highway Department recently finished chip sealing 47 miles of roadway, which ties 2013 as the most miles of roads done in the last 15 years. They did set a record by completing the work in nine days, compared to 16 last year. They credit good weather and minimal equipment delays with getting the work done quickly and say they have also developed a good system which allows them to be more efficient.

About two weeks prior to the start of the work, county highway superintendent Rik Ritzler scouts the scheduled roads for debris, potholes and other potential problems. The drivers then fix any issues about a week before the scheduled work begins. A broom truck sweeps the road the morning the chip sealing is scheduled to start. A patch crew follows and repairs any holes that have developed since the preparation work. They are followed by a foreman who leads the main group and directs traffic ahead of the distributor machine, which lays oil in a thin layer across the road. Next a chipper truck spreads stone over the oil. A continuous line of dump trucks keep the chip truck fully supplied with stone, which is rolled continuously by two rollers. A pickup truck follows them and provides tail end traffic control. A week after the road is chipped the highway department sends a broom and two rollers back to re-roll and sweep off the excess stone.

The next round of chip sealing is scheduled for late August and early September, with a goal of 20 miles to be done then. Asphalt paving is next on the schedule and will start Monday, with a goal of 10 miles to complete. Those roads will be chip sealed during the second round of work. Later this summer the Starke County Highway Department will be crack sealing roads for the first time in the county.

Below is information about the chip sealing process:


1. Chip seals provide the County with the opportunity to maintain the roads for very low cost.
2. A chip seal is about one-fifteenth the cost of a conventional asphalt overlay.
3. By extending the time between asphalt overlays, chip seals result in lower costs over the long term.
4. By placing a chip seal sooner than an asphalt overlay would be placed, the traveling public benefits from roads maintained in better condition.
5. Chip Seals eliminate some need to crack seal.
6. Chip seals enhance safety by providing good skid resistance.
7. Chip seals provide an effective moisture barrier for the underlying pavement against water intrusion by sealing cracks in the pavement.
8. Chip seals prevent deterioration of the asphalt surface from the effects of aging and oxidation due to water and sun.
9.. Chip seals can help eliminate black ice.
10. In hot weather, chip seals help re-seal cracks by flowing back together.


The difference is in the construction method. Hot Mix Asphalt pavement is produced by heating liquid asphalt and mixing it with aggregate, with the mix then spread and compacted to form a durable road structure and riding surface. Chip Sealing uses the same ingredients as asphalt concrete paving, but the construction method is different. With chip seals, a thin film of heated asphalt liquid is sprayed on the road surface, followed by the placement of small aggregates (“chips”). The chips are then compacted to orient the chips for maximum adherence to the asphalt, and excess stone is swept from the surface. The ingredients of hot mix asphalt and chip seals are the same; only the construction methods are different.

INDOT Closes Portions of U.S. 31

By:Mary Perren

Access from multiple side roads to U.S. 31 in St. Joseph County will be limited through the end of the year. Indiana Department of transportation officials say the closures are necessary as the new U.S. 31 construction is tied in to the existing U.S. 31. Motorists can still access U.S. 31 by way of Main Street, Kern Road and Ireland Road. However, crews will shut down access to U.S. 31 from Jewell Avenue, Hildebrand Street, Yoder Street, Dice Street, Pulling Street, Gilmer Street, Pasadena Avenue Detroit Avenue, and Lucinda Street.