Starke County Commissioners Want Formal Bid Process for Courthouse Repairs

starke-county-courthouseThe two quotes for tuckpointing at the Starke County courthouse are so widely varied in terms of price the commissioners have decided to go through a formal bid process for the work. They plan to ask the contractors who are completing the new jail to put together bid packets for the scope of the project. It includes masonry repair from the top of the clock tower to the basement, electrical and plumbing upgrades and the remodeling of space on the second floor to accommodate the prosecutor’s office. It’s currently in the basement of the existing jail across the street. That building will be remodeled after the inmates move out and will eventually be home to Starke County Community Corrections and the probation office. Continue reading

Starke County Council Approves Mower Purchase for Jail

Starke County Sheriff's Department BadgeStarke County officials have opted to do their own lawn maintenance and snow removal at the new jail in an effort to contain costs. On Monday the county council approved the purchase of a mower with a commercial grade deck for the facility. It will be paid for with tax money set aside for construction of the building east of Knox on State Road 8. Continue reading

Starke County Sheriff Raising Funds for Second K9

Starke County Sheriff's Department BadgeStarke County Sheriff Bill Dulin hopes to raise enough money through donations to add a second drug and search dog to his department. The county commissioners Monday gave him permission to proceed with fundraisers to cover the cost of a dog, training for the animal and its handler. Money will also go toward veterinary expenses, food and equipment for the county’s existing dog. Continue reading

Nies to Appear for Initial Hearing

Luther Nies

Luther Nies

A Knox man accused of felony attempted child seduction and child solicitation is scheduled to appear in Starke Circuit Court today for an initial hearing.

Luther Nies, 25, was arrested on a warrant Wednesday morning on the charges that stem from alleged actions in Feb. 2013. According to court documents, Nies attempted to molest a five-year-old child. Knox City Police Department officers placed Nies into custody without incident and he remains in the Starke County Jail on a $35,000 surety bond.

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Knox Man Charged after Two Month Investigation

Luther Nies

Luther Nies

A Knox man was arrested on a bench warrant yesterday after a two-month investigation by the Knox City Police Department.

Luther J. Nies, 25, was arrested on charges of attempted child molestation as a Class C felony and child solicitation is a Class D felony. The alleged acts involved a small child in 2013. No other details are available at this time.

Nies is in the Starke County Jail on a $35,000 bond.

Teen Arrested on Burglary, Theft Charges

A Knox teen is being held in the Starke County Jail in connection with a Sunday morning  burglary incident.

Officials in the Starke County Dispatch Center fielded a call from a victim in the 7000 South block of 250 West in North Judson. The victim told police that he was outside and saw two men coming out of his garage with arms full of his tools, according to a press release. Chainsaws, a portable welder, hand tools and other power tools were reportedly taken.

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Knox Burglary Suspect Taken into Custody

Jason Cooke

Jason Cooke

A man who police say ran from the scene where a meth lab and stolen items were found was taken into custody.

Jason E. Cooke, 35, of Plymouth was located and taken into custody by the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department on Monday, Jan. 26. Cooke was later transported to the Starke County Jail and is being held on preliminary charges of burglary and theft, according to a Knox City Police Department press release.

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Starke County Commissioners to Discuss Space for Coroner, Plans for Current Jail

starke-county-courthouseStarke County Coroner-elect Adam Gray will provide a report to the commissioners today on his quest to find suitable space for a county morgue. The commissioners previously told him to meet with the county building inspector to see if suitable space is available in any of the county-owned buildings. Gray will be the first non-funeral director in several years to serve as Starke County Coroner. In the past, the funeral directors have used their facilities for storage and viewing. Continue reading

Chavez to Receive Court Appointed Attorney

 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.

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Gary Chavez to Appear in Court for Hearing

  Gary Chavez will appear in Starke Circuit Court this morning for an attorney status hearing.

Chavez last appeared in court for an initial hearing on Aug. 25 where he pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, kidnapping and carjacking. He appeared without an attorney but stated that his family was working on getting an attorney to represent him. Today’s hearing will determine where that process stands.

Chavez, 57, is accused of beating his estranged wife, Kimberly Chavez, to death at his home in Knox, kidnapping an employee at gunpoint and fleeing in a vehicle from Mark Bailey’s Discount Center in North Judson and carjacking a vehicle from a residence in English Lake at gunpoint on June 6.

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Murder Defendant Out of Hospital, Jailed Without Bond

Starke County Sheriff's Deputy Bill Dulin and Prosecutor Nick Bourff speak to the media about the June 6, 2014 carjacking and ensuing pursuit.

Starke County Sheriff’s Deputy Bill Dulin and Prosecutor Nick Bourff speak to the media about the June 6, 2014 carjacking and ensuing pursuit.

The rural Knox man accused of beating his wife to death, kidnapping a man from a business parking lot, stealing a Jeep at gunpoint in English Lake and leading authorities on a high-speed chase through three counties before shooting himself is back in Starke County. Detective Rob Olejniczak from the Starke County Sheriff’s Department and Jailer Joshua Kazee picked Gary Chavez up from the Cook County, Ill. jail today. Continue reading

Rape Charge Filed Against Knox Man

A Knox man has been charged after an alleged sexual assault.

A call was made to the Starke County Sheriff’s Department on Thursday afternoon that a female had been raped. The victim was transported to IU Health Starke Hospital for further evaluation and treatment.

The incident occurred in the 200 block of North Main Street, according to Knox City Police Department officials. A warrant was secured to search the residence. Michael J. Salita, 28, was taken into custody for questioning and was held in the Starke County Jail while the investigation continued through Friday.

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County Officials Considering Uses for Existing Jail Building

starke-county-jail-outsideThe current Starke County Jail in downtown Knox will still be owned by the county and used for correctional programs once the new Starke County Sheriff’s Office and Detention Center east of Knox on State Road 8 opens next year. Commissioner Kathy Norem says the building is part of the collateral for the loan to build the new structure, so it cannot be sold or torn down and must be used in the justice arena. She says the county set aside money to renovate the building. Continue reading

Two Fugitives Arrested in Knox

Two Steuben County fugitives were arrested by Knox City Police Department officers Wednesday afternoon.

Officers received a tip that Nancy Bailey, 30, and Kelly Moe, 31, were at a home in the 300 block of Spruce Dr. in Knox. When police arrived at the scene, they found the pair inside the home where they provided false names to the responding officers, according to the police report.

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Knox Man Pleads Guilty but Mentally Ill

 A Knox man pleaded guilty but mentally ill to two charges in Starke Circuit Court Thursday morning.

Frank Solberg, 44, pleaded guilty in a plea agreement with the state to charges of intimidation as a Class C felony and interference with reporting a crime as a misdemeanor. He admitted in open court that he threatened the life of his mother with a butcher knife if she were to call the police at the height of an argument. He also admitted that he ripped the telephone off the wall so she could not dial 911 to seek help from law enforcement.

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Teen Charged with Arson

Dakota Roush

Dakota Roush

A  house fire in Knox on Thursday turned out to be the act of arson and a suspect is in custody.

Firefighters from the Knox-Center Township Fire Department were called to a house fire in the 2000 East block of County Road 200 South at 8 p.m. on July 24. When they arrived, the home was fully engulfed in flames.

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Juveniles Apprehended in Attempted Break-in in Knox

Three juveniles were taken into police custody at 4:30 a.m. CT Tuesday after an alleged attempted burglary was reported in the Parkview area in Knox.

The caller witnessed a boy and two girls attempting to break into a vacant residence on North Clark Street, according to a release from the Knox City Police Department.

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Starke County Commissioners Adopt Inmate Medical Care Ordinance

Starke County Jail inmates who receive routine medical care while incarcerated now have to pay $15 per doctor visit. The county commissioners Monday unanimously adopted an ordinance to that effect. It does not apply to inmates who self pay for treatment or have insurance. The copays are for medical, dental, eye and other types of services. Continue reading