|Sheriff says 911 Center "can no longer safely operate"|
Friday, March 07, 2014 9:31:03 AM
by Jim Measel
ANGOLA - Steuben County Sheriff Tim Troyer and Steuben County Commissioners are battleing over control of County Communications.
Troyer states in a letter that Communications is suffering from a critical lack of manpower, direction and resources and it has reached the point it can no longer safely operate.
Troyer went on to say that under its current management, only three of the twelve full-time positions are filled and that Communications Director Cindy Snyder, who was appointed by the County Commissioners, gave her notice of resignation on Thursday. Troyer says Snyder came to him on Tuesday and told him of the current situation, and asked him to assume control of Communications.
Together they went to Commission Chair Ron Smith, where according to Troyer, she again said she was stepping down and requested and recommended that Communications become a division of the sheriff’s office. But Troyer says the Commissioners are not convinced that Communications should be a division of his department.
While he has temporarily assigned full time deputies to dispatch through Monday, Troyer is threatening to return to three employees at that time if Commissioners insist on maintaining their hold on County Communications.
Smith says there is no crisis and even though its shorthanded, there are enough people to cover the 911 Center. Smith adds Commissioners are taking care of the situation in a proper manner.
Following Thursday's executive session at which no decisions were made the Commissioners have scheduled a public meeting for Monday morning at 9:00 in hopes of reaching a resolution. The meeting will be held in the Commissioners’ meeting room at the Steuben County Community Center.
|Warrant service leads to meth arrests|
Friday, March 07, 2014 9:18:31 AM
GREENFIELD TOWNSHIP - Police looking to serve a warrant discovered a meth lab in a Greenfield Township home Thursday.
LaGrange County deputies had warrants for 43-year-old Melissa Norris of LaGrange and received a tip that she was staying at 7715 East County Road 750 North.
When they arrived 50-year-old Gregory Williams answered the door and told them Norris was not there. But when Williams agreed to let officers search the residence they found Norris in a back bedroom and also spotted a one pot meth lab and paraphernalia in plain view.
Deputies arrested Williams on charges of possession and manufacturing meth, possession of paraphernalia and maintaining a common nuisance.
Norris faces similar charges along with warrants for failure to appear on an original charge of meth possession, possession of chemical regents, maintaining a common nuisance, and possession of paraphernalia.
|Fugitive caught in basement of White Pigeon home|
Friday, March 07, 2014 9:17:32 AM
WHITE PIGEON - Police in St. Joseph County captured a wanted man in the basement of a White Pigeon home early Thursday morning.
Michigan State Police responded to an anonymous call stating that 29-year-old Nicholas Ames was forcing his way into the home at 202 South Lincoln Street.
Troopers searched the home and found Ames hiding in the basement.
He is wanted for warrants that include 2nd degree home invasion, felony larceny to a building, violation of the sex offender registration act in both St. Joseph and Cass counties, retail fraud and child support.
Ames was taken to the St. Joseph County Jail.
|Crash with utility pole sends Waterloo teen to hospital|
Friday, March 07, 2014 9:15:05 AM
AUBURN - A Waterloo teenager was injured Friday morning when his car crashed head on into an Auburn Power utility pole.
The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department says 18-year-old Damian Patrick was heading south on County Road 35 near County Road 38 just outside of Auburn when he struck a snow mound on the shoulder. His car then went off the road and hit the utility pole.
Patrick suffered a broken ankle and complained of chest and head pain. He was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment. Patrick told deputies that he did not wear a seat belt.
They were assisted by Auburn and Waterloo Police, Auburn Power and Utilities, DeKalb County EMS, and Jeff's Towing.
|Crash injures Middlebury woman|
Friday, March 07, 2014 9:13:08 AM
MIDDLEBURY - A Middlebury woman was injured Thursday afternoon when a pickup truck pulled into the path of her SUV.
40-year-old Jody Yoder was treated for neck and back pain after her SUV struck a utility pole after colliding with the pickup truck.
Police cited 29-year-old Brian Lambright of Shipshewana with failure to yield at the intersection of County Roads 35 and 28 about three miles south of Middlebury. Lambright was not injured according to police.
|Topeka woman injured fleeing burning home|
Thursday, March 06, 2014 5:08:19 PM
TOPEKA FIRE DAMAGE - This home at 335 North Street in Topeka was damaged by fire Thursday morning. The occupant escaped through a window. (Photo: LaGrange Co. Sheriff's Department)
TOPEKA - A Topeka woman suffered from smoke inhalation and a cut to the arm after she broke out a window to escape her burning mobile home Thursday morning.
The woman - whose name was not released - woke to find the home on fire and filled with smoke. Her escape route was cut off and dispatchers instructed her to break a window to escape. She was transported to Parkview LaGrange Hospital by ambulance.
Topeka firefighters responded to Lot 72 at 335 North Street at 10:12 a-m and had the fire under control in less than 30 minutes. No adjacent homes were damaged.
The State Fire Marshal and Shipshewana firefighters assisted Topeka units at the scene.
|Two teen girls injured in SR 5 crash|
Thursday, March 06, 2014 3:04:56 PM
CRASH AFTERMATH - A car and pickup truck came to rest at the corner of SR 5 and CR 200 South following a collision that critically injured a Topeka teen Thursday morning. (Photo: LaGrange Co. Sheriff's Department)
LAGRANGE COUNTY - Two LaGrange County teenagers were injured Thursday morning when their car pulled into the path of a pickup truck on State Road 5.
The accident happened just before 8 a-m. Deputies say the car was eastbound on County Road 200 South and attempted to cross State Road 5 when it was struck by the northbound pickup truck driven by 21-year-old James Troyer of Ligonier.
18-year-old Mikayla Rex of rural Topeka was driving the car and suffered a broken hip. 16-year-old Jaid Rex was in the passenger seat on the side where the impact occurred. She suffered internal injuries and was flown by Samaritan to Parkview Regional Medical Center in Fort Wayne where she was in critical condition at mid-afternoon.
Troyer was not injured.
The sheriff’s department said Rex’s view might have been obstructed by a pile of snow at the southwest corner of the intersection.
Topeka and Shipshewana firefighters and police along with Parkview Medics assisted deputies at the scene.
|Crashes closes SR 5 in LaGrange County|
Thursday, March 06, 2014 updated 12:07:55 PM
LAGRANGE COUNTY - Two women were injured when their car was struck by a pickup truck on State Road 5 at County Road 200 South in LaGrange County.
Initial unconfirmed reports said the crash involved a fatality due to one victim being unresponsive. However, one female passenger in the car that was T-boned was flown from the scene by Samaritan Helicopter to Parkview Regional Medical Center. The other was transported by ambulance.
The road was closed for about two hours following the crash that happened just before 8 a-m.
Firefighters from Topeka and Shipshewana along with Parkview LaGrange medics assisted deputies at the scene.
|Gasoline prices inching upwards|
Thursday, March 06, 2014 9:10:24 AM
UNDATED - It's been gas prices and not the temperatures going up in recent weeks.
You have to dig deeper into your wallet when you stop at the pump. Another price spike on Wednesday around Angola driving the prices to $3.79.
Prices in LaGrange were at $3.69, while gas could still be found for as low as $3.55 in Kendallville and $3.57 in Sturgis.
The web site www.indianagasprices.com
says the average price in the state is now $3.63 a gallon. That's an increase of 38 cents in the last month. Prices around the state range from $3.28 in Seymour to $3.94 in Cambridge City.
The price of crude oil is now at $103 a barrel. Blogger Patrick DeHaan recently said prices around the country will continue to gradually increase into April when the national average will peak at around $3.80. Some states may see the price get up to $4 a gallon.
|Hamilton couple accused of neglecting, battering child|
Thursday, March 06, 2014 9:09:17 AM
HAMILTON - A rural Hamilton couple was arrested on Wednesday afternoon by the Steuben County Sheriffs Department following an investigation into allegations of battery and neglect of a dependent child.
29-year-old Christopher Wickerham and 32-year-old April Wickerham were arrested on Steuben Superior Court warrants.
The investigation started last month after a report that a six-year-old child was being mistreated while in the Wickerham's care in Otsego Township. Both face
Class D felony charges for neglect of a dependent and battery to a child.
They are held without bond in the Steuben County Jail pending initial court appearances.
|Two Elkhart man jailed in Steuben County|
Thursday, March 06, 2014 9:08:02 AM
STEUBEN COUNTY - Indiana State Police arrested two Elkhart men on the Toll Road in Steuben County Tuesday on drug charges along with warrants out of Michigan and Florida.
Trooper Benjamin Kirk made a traffic stop on a pickup truck on the eastbound side at the 139.5 mile marker. While talking with 38-year-old Anthony Knight, Kirk learned that Knight did not have any identification and that his driving privileges were suspended.
Kirk later found out that there were 11 active warrants for Knight from Cass County, Michigan. Five of the warrants were drug related, the other six were for weapons related charges.
Kirk also discovered that the passenger, 38-year-old Rod Riege, had an active warrant out of Marion County, Florida for aggravated stalking with a credible threat. Riege was also allegedly found with hydrocodone pills and a pill crusher. He was charged with possession of methamphetamine.
Both men were arrested without incident and taken to the Steuben County Jail.
|Auburn PD to get stolen machine gun back|
Wednesday, March 05, 2014 2:56:52 PM
AUBURN - A .45 caliber Thompson sub-machine gun that was among the weapons stolen by John Dillinger and his gang from the Auburn Police Department in October of 1933 is being returned to its rightful owner.
Auburn Police Chief Martin McCoy says Special Agent Robert Jones from the Indianapolis Division of the F.B.I. will return the weapon to the police department on Thursday.
It along with bullet proof vests, ammunition and several other firearms were stolen by the Dillinger gang. The Thompson was recovered a short time later in Tucson, Arizona. Tucson Police eventually transferred the weapon to the F.B.I. where it remained for 45 years until it was discovered and plans were made to return it to its rightful owners.
McCoy says retired Police Sergeant Edward McDonald, who passed away last year, spent a long time trying to get the weapon back to the Auburn Police Department. Auburn Police plan to display the weapon so that everybody can enjoy this piece of history.
|Pond owners may face fish kills with thaw|
Wednesday, March 05, 2014 2:55:06 PM
INDIANAPOLIS - Owners of shallow ponds and lakes, especially in northern Indiana, should watch for fish kills this spring.
Considering the record or near-record snowfall and ice up to 20 inches thick on lakes and ponds, Indiana fisheries biologists anticipate numerous reports of fish kills once the bodies of water thaw.
The most common cause of fish kills in Indiana ponds is lack of oxygen.
Shallow, weedy ponds are more susceptible to winter kills. As aquatic plants naturally die during winter, plant decomposition consumes oxygen that fish and other aquatic life need. Once a winter kill begins, little can be done to stop it.
Biologists do not expect significant fish kills at deep natural lakes and reservoirs. The exception could be winter kills of gizzard shad, a species that is vulnerable to prolonged cold weather. Because the species is prolific and fast growing, shad losses do not have a lasting impact on shad populations.
|Hickman blasts proposed biz property tax elimination|
Tuesday, March 04, 2014 4:05:27 PM
by Jim Measel
ANGOLA - Angola Mayor Dick Hickman used a portion of his State of the City speech Monday night to tear apart Governor Mike Pence's proposed elimination of the business personal property tax.
While the governor says the elimination of the tax will lead to more jobs in Indiana, Hickman and other municipal leaders around the state have expressed their misgivings about the loss of revenue which could lead to reduced services.
Hickman appeared to take direct aim at Pence by saying getting rid of or reducing the tax makes "no sense to anyone unless they want a bullet point on their political resume for future elections."
During his 25 minute speech, Hickman pointed to the positive accomplishments in Angola such as the construction of the new Cameron Hospital, the new Angola Training Center and two new housing subdivisions starting up in 2014.
Hickman felt the biggest weakness in economic development was the lack of a new shovel ready industrial park or 21st century spec buildings.
|DeKalb man guilty of ten sex offenses|
Tuesday, March 04, 2014 3:51:50 PM
AUBURN - A Butler man was convicted on 10 sex charges on Monday in DeKalb County Superior Court
The verdicts against 31-year-old Jason Schwartz were returned following a five day jury trial. Five of the convictions were for Class A felonies of Child Molesting. The other five guilty verdicts were returned on Class B felonies for sexual misconduct with a minor.
Court records indicate all of the crimes took place between March and June of 2012.
Sentencing is scheduled for March 31st.
|Another flu death in St. Joseph County|
Tuesday, March 04, 2014 3:49:02 PM
COLDWATER – A third death in the tri-county area is attributed to influenza.
The Branch-Hillsdale-St. Joseph Community Health Agency says it is the second death in St. Joseph County. The victim was an elderly man who was in and out of a county facility.
In each of the three cases, there were underlying conditions that may have contributed to death. It's also unknown if any of the three had received a flu shot this season.
Health Officer Steve Todd says in some years, the peak of the flu season hits in March and April. He says while there has been a decrease in flu reports, we are not out of the woods yet.
Todd says the deaths serve to remind people of the importance of vaccinations. He says that getting a flu shot is the single most effective way to prevent flu from coming into your household and infecting you and your family.
|Company to expand in Ashley|
Tuesday, March 04, 2014 3:18:47 PM
by Jim Measel
ASHLEY - A company that specializes in medical software and archery equipment announced plans to expand its operations and create up to 26 new jobs in Ashley by 2016.
Technology Solutions, Incorporated plans to invest just under $2 million in a 20,000 square foot facility on Shea Drive in Ashley. It has been the location for Old Smokey's Fireplace and Chimneys which will be moving to a new location at 220 West State Street in Ashley.
The new facility is expected to begin operations by this summer. It will include space for an indoor Archery Tag arena. There has been a high demand for Archery Tag ever since it was introduced just over two years ago.
Founder and Chief Executive Officer John Jackson says the game's growth has forced them move its corporate office from Waterloo to Ashley. Technology Solutions was founded in 1998 and currently has 16 full time employees. They plan to continue using RISE, Incorporation to assemble its product.
The Indiana Economic Development Corporation provided up to $125,000 in conditional tax credits and up to $75,000 in training grants. The town of Ashley approved additional incentives at the request of the Steuben County Economic Development Corporation.
|Kendallville man charged with child solicitation|
Tuesday, March 04, 2014 3:13:19 PM
ALBION - A Kendallville man already in jail is facing a new count of child solicitation.
25-year-old Jay King was served the arrest warrant at the Noble County Jail, where he is currently held on unrelated charges of residential entry and possession of methamphetamine.
Noble County Prosecutor Steve Clouse says the solicitation charge follows an investigation begun when a relative of the 15-year-old girl notified police of an inappropriate relationship. Kendallville Police reviewed phone records and Facebook information and claim King used Facebook to solicit the girl for sex. Investigators believe the girl was not physically harmed.
If proven, the new charge carries 2 to 8 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
|LaGrange man charged with battery to infant|
Tuesday, March 04, 2014 8:43:05 AM
LAGRANGE - Police arrested a LaGrange man Monday afternoon for allegedly injuring an 8-month-old boy.
LaGrange County Sheriff’s deputies were called to Parkview-LaGrange Hospital just after 3 p-m. They say 21-year-old Skyler Baker was watching his girlfriend’s boy when the child began crying. Police say Baker allegedly pressed the child tightly against his chest to try and calm him down, which partially suffocated the child.
The infant was taken to the hospital for treatment.
Police booked Baker at the LaGrange County Jail on a charge of battery to a minor.
The Division of Child Services is assisting the investigation.
|Head-on crash injures two Hamilton women|
Tuesday, March 04, 2014 8:41:45 AM
DEKALB COUNTY - Two Hamilton women were injured Monday afternoon in a head on crash in the 1100 block of State Road 427 in DeKalb County.
The DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department says 20-year-old Alyssa Kimmell went off the road just after 4:20 p-m, overcorrected, and crossed the center line into oncoming traffic where she was struck head on by another car driven by 64-year-old Christine Workman.
Both drivers were pinned inside of their vehicles and freed by fire crews. Both were flown by the Samaritan Helicopter to Parkview Regional Medical Center.
Kimmell suffered a broken ankle and possible internal chest injuries. Workman was reported to be in critical condition with internal lacerations, a broken leg and ankle and a laceration to the knee.
Assisting at the scene were the Indiana State Police, Hamilton Police, DeKalb County EMS along with firefighters from Hamilton and Waterloo.
|Young driver rolls van north of LaGrange|
Tuesday, March 04, 2014 8:40:14 AM
LAGRANGE - A one vehicle crash north of LaGrange injured the juvenile driver Monday morning.
The LaGrange County Sheriff’s Department did not release her name.
She told deputies she was southbound on State Road 9 when the vehicle in front of her stopped at the intersection of 200 North. The driver tried to avoid hitting the vehicle and left the west side of the road. The minivan she was driving rolled onto its side. The vehicle, which is owned by Charles Campbell of Howe, was a total loss according to police.
The female driver was taken to Parkview LaGrange Hospital for treatment.
LaGrange Police and Fire assisted deputies at the scene.
|Two burned at Johnson Township barn fire|
Monday, March 03, 2014 4:07:14 PM
BARN FIRE - Firefighters battle a barn fire at 5545 E 700S in Johnson Township Monday afternoon. (Photo: LaGrange Co. Sheriff's Department)
JOHNSON TOWNSHIP - Firefighters responded to a barn fire in Johnson Township on Monday afternoon.
Smoke from the fire at 5545 East County Road 700 South was visible from several miles away.
Johnson Township firefighters were dispatched to the fire at 2:23 p-m and quickly called for mutual aid from Stroh and Orange Township.
Initial reports said two people suffered serious burns to their hands and faces. The Samaritan helicopter was called to the scene and landed at a nearby church.
The LaGrange County Sheriff’s Department asked motorists to avoid the area due to the full fire response.
|Proposed LaGrange County wind farm abandoned|
Monday, March 03, 2014 11:55:13 AM
by Tim Murray
LAGRANGE - Plans for a renewable energy project in southwestern LaGrange County are apparently gone with the wind.
County Zoning Administrator Bob Shanahan told LaGrange County Commissioners this morning that Apex Clean Energy has abandoned plans for the wind farm.
Shanahan got the word from Rob Probst, the development manager for Apex, during a phone call last week.
Shanahan said LaGrange County’s culture of small tract farming worked against the county. Property owners could not agree to long term leases where tracts might be divided for children. As a result the wind will remain an untapped resource for the county and its residents.
In other business, the commissioners approved rezoning 40 acres at the southeast corner of State Road 5 and 700 South from B-3 to I-2 industrial. The Town of Topeka is purchasing the land to develop another industrial park. The rezone requires final approval from the Topeka Town Board.
|CAFO operator requests delay|
Monday, March 03, 2014 11:53:48 AM
by Jim Measel
ANGOLA - Hearings for a special exception for a proposed 4,800 hog Confined Animal Feeding Operation in Steuben County are on hold for another month.
The Steuben County Plan Office said the petitioners requested the one month delay on Monday. It is now scheduled to come before the Plan Commission on April 2nd and before the County Board of Zoning Appeals on April 7th. Both meetings will be held in the Dale Hughes Auditorium at the Steuben County Community Center.
The B.Z.A. meeting on April 7th will start at 6:00 p-m, one hour earlier than normal since the Community Center closes at 10:00pm and everyone has to be out by that time.
K and D Contract Pork, whose owner and operator is Keith Werner, needs the special exception because of the size of the proposed operation.
There is strong opposition from nearby lake residents who have environmental concerns.
|Student artwork on display at Parkview LaGrange|
Monday, March 03, 2014 11:52:39 AM
LAGRANGE - More than 120 elementary and middle school students from LaGrange County will have their artwork displayed this month at Parkview LaGrange Hospital.
The students are the top finishers in the annual art fair sponsored by the Mu Chapter of Tri Kappa Sorority.
The students artwork was submitted through their school’s art department for judging. It’s the 37th year for the event.
The hospital will host a reception for the students and their families this Saturday from 1:30 to 3:30 p-m.
|LaGrange man gets 6 years for burglary|
Monday, March 03, 2014 11:51:04 AM
ANGOLA - A LaGrange man must serve six years of a eight year sentence after pleading guilty to a Class C felony charge of burglary in Steuben Superior Court.
Besides having two years of the sentence suspended, 40-year-old Bruce Wallace Perkins was also placed on probation for two years and ordered to pay almost $9,000 in restitution.
Perkins was arrested in December following the break in and theft of numerous items from a Pleasant Lake business between August 3rd and 5th of last year.
According to Steuben County court documents, the items taken included a large quantity of collectible coins, thousands of wheat pennies, over 200 mercury dimes, Indian head pennies, at least 50 ounces of silver bullion, foreign currency, numerous collectible cards and a pewter coin set.
In exchange for the guilty plea, prosecutors dismissed a second felony charge for theft.
|Starving horses lead to animal cruelty charge|
Monday, March 03, 2014 11:49:57 AM
OVID TOWNSHIP - A Coldwater man is charged with animal cruelty after deputies found 10 horses without food or water that were under weight and in distress this past week.
33-year-old Geoffrey Paul Eickmann was arrested by Angola Police at his place of employment. He waived extradition and was taken to the Branch County Jail.
Branch County Central Dispatch and Sheriff John Pollack got a number of calls about the horses at 404 Warren Road in Ovid Township. One caller said he had been dropping off hay and water for the animals since the first of February. He reported having photographs of the horses.
In a meeting with deputies the man said other neighbors wanted to make statements about the animals.
Deputies found a dead horse in one of the barns the next day. The nine other horses were removed from the property.
|St. Joseph animal rescue group to hold fundraiser|
Monday, March 03, 2014 11:48:23 AM
THREE RIVERS - Members of the Animal Rescue Fund (ARF) of St. Joseph County are planning for their Annual Dinner Auction.
The event will be held on Saturday, March 22nd at Belle Époque in downtown Three Rivers. Dinner will be served at 5:30 p.m. with a live auction beginning at 6:30 p.m.
Tickets may be purchased at Beam Sound and Video on West Michigan Avenue or at the door on auction night. Dinner tickets are not required for guests wishing to participate in the auction only. Tickets are $10 per adult and $6.00 for children. Auction items are new and donated by local businesses and supporters as well as many national organizations.
ARF was formed in 1998 to raise funds and awareness of animal welfare needs in St. Joseph County. To date over $231,000 has been raised and re-invested in the county for animal related issues. The Spay/Neuter program is a major focus of the organization.
To learn more about the Animal Rescue Fund, visit www.arfund.org
|Police arrest couple after finding missing teen|
Monday, March 03, 2014 11:47:08 AM
UNION CITY - A teenage girl missing for three days was found hiding in the attic of a Union City home Saturday.
Michigan State Police at Coldwater say a couple in the home where Cheyanne Knapp was found was arrested for harboring a juvenile runaway, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and obstructing a police investigation.
They were lodged at the Branch County Jail. Their names are being withheld until their arraignment.
Troopers went to the home after getting a tip about Knapp's whereabouts. They were assisted by Union City Police, Branch County Child Protective Services and the Branch County Probate Court.
|Weekend snow on the light side|
Monday, March 03, 2014 11:45:43 AM
UNDATED - Snowfall from that storm over the weekend was at the lower range of the forecast late Saturday night and early Sunday morning.
The roads on Sunday morning were slick and snow covered by passable. Three-and-a-half inches fell at LaGrange, while two inches fell at Topeka with only an inch was reported at Middlebury. Parts of Allen County got three inches while four inches was reported at Churubusco and in parts of northwest Ohio.
A mix of freezing rain and snow caused some real travel headaches near Huntington on Saturday night as there were a number of slide offs and wrecks on I-69.