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Five years ago today: A look at Perspective headlines

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Five years ago today, the city looked much like it does today, with the Perspective reporting on traditions that still are ongoing, like the Liberty Cup, Winding Creek Bluegrass Festival, and Diabetes Awareness Walk and mentions of politicians who still very much make the news.

Here’s a look at some of the headlines and articles from this week five years ago:

Judge declines to recuse in intimidation case

Menges claims no prior relationship with former prosecutor; ruling on filing error forthcoming

By Pat Munsey Aug 12, 2014

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Justin Cooper lost one battle in court last week, but he is awaiting a ruling from Howard Superior Court I Judge William Menges which may move his case to another court.

Cooper, accused of intimidating the wife of former Howard County Prosecutor James Fleming, petitioned the court to consider a change of judge and a change of venue on grounds that Menges and Fleming had a past personal relationship which creates a perception of bias, and that the criminal was erroneously filed in Menges’ court by the prosecutor’s office.

Menges heard arguments on the motions on Aug. 8, during which attorney Anthony Riedle presented Cooper’s position.

“Our motion plainly shows that by local rule, this case was mistakenly filed,” said Riedle. “There is no domestic relationship between my client and the victim. I also believe that the facts in my affidavit show a clear inference or appearance of bias.”

The prosecutor’s office opted to file Cooper’s case in Superior I on grounds that the intimidation constituted a domestic dispute. Cooper is accused of threatening the lives of Fleming and his wife during an argument over visitation.

Special prosecutor Barry Brown did not respond to the motion for change of venue based upon the local court rules, explaining that he is not versed in them, though he did say that the motion seemed meritorious, given his limited knowledge of the issue.

Brown also indicated that while he did not oppose the filing of the motion to change judges, he did not agree to the appointment of a special judge for the case. Instead, he suggested that the decision be left to the court’s discretion.

Menges declined to issue a ruling on this motion, stating that he wanted to review the local court rules before reaching a decision. As for the second motion, alleging bias on the part of the judge, he provided a point-by-point refutation of the purported facts submitted by Riedle.

“There are factual discrepancies I need to clear up,” said Menges. “I have attended two social events at the same time as [Fleming] in the entire time I have been in Kokomo. One was the wedding reception for Judge Brant Parry, and the other was a Y’s Men Christmas party sometime in the ‘80s. And we did not attend these events together.

“I have never been in his home, and he has not been in mine. I’m not sure where he lives. I don’t know how many kids he has. It is true that I was chairman of the Republican party when Mr. Fleming ran for office, but that was 20 years ago. That was the only one of his campaigns I was involved in. I probably contributed to his campaign in 1994, but I have contributed to none of his other campaigns.”

Menges also refuted a claim made in the affidavit that he worked with Fleming to establish the Howard County Drug Court, stating that the former prosecutor was not involved in the deliberations that led to its formation.

“I do not think there is actual bias or prejudice; the motion for change of judge is denied,” said Menges.

Following the ruling, Reidle made a motion requesting a speedy trial for Cooper. Menges pointed out that the current trial setting on Sept. 26 falls well within the 70-day speedy trial window, but he also cautioned that proceeding with the motion to change venue would invalidate the speedy trial request if the motion is granted. Menges also asserted that a request for a speedy trial must be submitted in writing.

Who took the bonus?

By Pat Munsey Aug 14, 2014

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Howard County government gave a bonus this year to all of its employees, and the checks were cut in July. This year, the Howard County Council voted to include itself in the bonus, as well as all other elected officials whose salaries come from the general fund.

Of the elected officials, all but four took the money. Those receiving a bonus include:

County councilmen Les Ellison, Richard Miller, Stan Ortman, James Papacek, John Roberts, and Dwight Singer; recorder Brook Cleaver, surveyor Dave Duncan, assessor Mindy Heady, auditor Martha Lake, coroner Jay Price, Center Township assessor Sheila Pullen, sheriff Steve Rogers, treasurer Ann Wells, and clerk Kim Wilson.

Trio works to strike out Lou Gehrig’s disease

By Alyx Arnett Aug 12, 2014

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Before being diagnosed with ALS, Tony Critchley spent his spare time on the golf course. John Davin spent his time riding his motorcycle. Today, neither is able to continue those hobbies.

But in preparation for the annual Walk to Defeat ALS in Indianapolis on Sept. 27, Davin and Critchley are hosting fund raisers based on those pastimes.

Critchley said his fund raiser is about people coming out and enjoying a sport they’re able to play.

“I used to love golf, and now I can’t play. It’s about not taking life for granted,” he said.

Critchley was diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, on Nov. 26, 2012, at age 46.

The disease is an always-fatal neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells and the spinal cord. Most commonly, the disease strikes people between the ages of 40 and 70, and as many as 30,000 Americans have the disease at any given time. Today, there is no known cause or cure for ALS.

ALS starts with muscle weakness or stiffness as early symptoms. Progression of weakness, wasting, and paralysis of the muscles of the limbs and trunk, as well as those that control vital functions such as speech, swallowing, and, later, breathing generally follows.

Critchley’s symptoms began in his hands, shortly after leaving him unable to play golf anymore.

On Sept. 14, he said he’s excited to be back in the midst of golf for the inaugural Tony Critchley Kokomo Golf Classic at Chippendale Golf Club, 91047 Golf Course Lane. Registration begins at noon, with a shotgun start at 1 p.m.

Funds will go toward Critchley’s Walk to Defeat ALS team, Critchley’s Crawlers. Last year, Critchley raised $17,000 to go to the ALS association. This year, he’s hoping for $25,000.

As for John Davin, he gave up his motorcycle last spring after being diagnosed with ALS in January 2013.

While he said it was hard on him, he still loves being around the biker community. His fund raiser, set for Aug. 16, will allow him to do just that. The second annual John Davin ALS Ride begins at The Elbow Room, 1004 N. Washington St., with bike sign-in from 11 to 1 p.m. Cost is $15 for riders and $5 for passengers. The ride includes food and door prizes.

For those who won’t be riding, the fund raiser goes on all night with Downtime playing at 8 p.m. There also will be an auction and raffle. All proceeds from the ride will go to Davin’s team, Johnny’s Walkers, which will be donated to the ALS Association.

Davin said he expects a good turnout.

 “In this town, it doesn’t take much encouragement to get participation. All you have to say is you’re a charity, and people seem to flock. This town is amazing, amazing,” he said. “I used to be one of those people too, and I still am. I still go to rides and buy a T-shirt or something to show some support. I used to be able to ride, but my wife and I will still show up.”

Another known person in Howard County with ALS is Cora Glassburn, who also will be participating in the Walk to Defeat ALS. While she doesn’t have a fund raiser in advance, she is asking the community to either donate to her team, Cora’s Crusade, or walk with her.

Glassburn said raising funds for ALS could make the difference of a lifetime in future generations.

“I have children. [Critchley] has children. We’re trying to help somebody who may get ALS on down the road. It’s really important for awareness and to help find a cure or something that might even slow it down. It may not be in our lifetimes, but in somebody else’s,” she said.

The only treatment currently is a pill called riluzole, a treatment to alter the course of the disease, which was approved by the FDA in 1995. The antiglutamate drug was shown to prolong the life of people with the disease by two to three months.

Of the three, Critchley is the only one taking the pill.

To donate to any of the teams, visit www.alsa.org/walk. The team names can be searched, and donations can be made online. The walk takes place Sept. 27 in Indianapolis at White River State Park.

Liberty Cup returns in 2014; makes changes to tournament

By Jenn Goad Aug 14, 2014

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Howard County’s most prestigious golf tournament returns for its seventh year in 2014 with a major change.

This year’s Liberty Cup, sponsored by Liberty Financial, is playing without the much-debated player handicap, pitting the area’s best golfers against one another full-out for annual course bragging rights.

“The change in format will bring the best 64 male and best 16 female players in the county for a real shoot-out,” said Bill Eldridge, organizer of the Liberty Cup. “This is the tournament format that Craig Dunn envisioned in the beginning. It just took us eight years to get here.”

The Kokomo Country Club, which holds the lion’s share of team wins with four, will face off against Wildcat Creek, which has one win, the American Legion with one win, and Chippendale, which is looking for its first Cup victory. Green Acres Golf Course will not field a team.

Each golf course will populate 16 of their best men and four of their best women with the top 13 men and top two women’s scores tabulated on each hole for the final results.

In the past, handicaps were at the end of everyone’s tongues. Last year, seven players outshot their handicap, but historically the win goes to the team that shoots closest to its handicap.

This year, the team that shoots the best will come out on top.

“At least this year I won’t have to hear about so-and-so’s sandbagged handicap," Eldridge said jokingly.

The Kokomo Country Club won by a 30-point margin last year, with Chippendale edging the Legion by one point for second place. Wildcat came in fourth.

The 2014 Liberty Cup will take place on Sept. 12 at Wildcat Creek Golf Course (3200 Timber Valley Drive).

A sample of the city

Taste of Kokomo Aug. 16 brings in record number of restaurants, food competitions, David Cook

Alyx Arnett  Aug 12, 2014

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With new restaurants popping up around Kokomo, there’s no better chance to get a taste of each of them, as well as returning favorites, than at the 18th annual Taste of Kokomo, set for Aug. 16 in Foster Park.

This year’s festival will be home to 33 restaurants, a record number, said organizer Beth Rattray of United Way of Howard County.

“There are so many new places around town, which we’re so lucky to have, that it’s hard to keep up with what’s new. So this is your chance,” she said.

Thirteen restaurants are joining the Taste for the first time, including several new-to-Kokomo restaurants, like Boondocks, a Cajun-style restaurant making its home on Buckeye Street in downtown Kokomo.

“Boondocks is one of the new ones coming to Kokomo, and they haven’t even opened yet. People will get the chance to try a little bit of its New Orleans-style cuisine,” Rattray said.

Boondocks will bring in fried alligator, Cajun shrimp, and jambalaya and cornbread.

Another newer restaurant, Foxes Trail, is joining the event and offering up bourbon chicken and rice, grouper nuggets, hamburger sliders, and clam chowder.

Rounding out the list of first-time Taste participants are Marco’s Pizza, Frittatas, Smokin’ OP’s BBQ, Pepperwhistle, Bob Evans, Grindstone Charley’s, Chuck E. Cheese, T’s Pizzaria Tacos and More, Golden Corral, Simply Q BBQ, and Main Occasions.

The returning vendors are Drake’s Bar and Grill, Bailey’s Concessions, Sheila’s Custom Catering, Culver’s, Coffee Junkiez, Puckett’s Pie Shop & North Street Carry-Out, Applebee’s, Orange Leaf, PASTAriffic, Main Street Café, Texas Roadhouse, Olde Tyme Poppin Korn, The Gyro Place, St. Joe’s Café, Harvey Hinklemeyers, Manna from Heaven Cakery, Half Moon, Main Occasions Catering, Little Caesar’s, and Scoops Ice Cream.

Between the dozens of restaurant offerings, Rattray said there will be something for everyone.

“This is the most we’ve had in the whole history of the Taste of Kokomo, which is pretty amazing, so there will be a lot to choose from,” she said.

One food/drink ticket is worth $1, and all items cost between one and five tickets. Wine and beer will be available in the beer garden.

In addition to the food, the Ameriprise Financial Event Tent will host four food competitions, something Howard County has come to love to see, said Rattray.

“People love to watch people do crazy things with food,” she said.

Events in the tent kick off at 5:30 p.m. with the Gourmet Burger Challenge. In this amateur event, contestants compete for the best grilled burger for the chance to win the Big Green Egg grill from Martin Brothers of Russiaville.

Returning champion David Tharp will be back, vying to keep his title.

“We’ll have two gas grills set up, and the contestants have to make six four-ounce burgers. Anything goes,” Rattray said.

A panel of judges will choose the winner, while the audience can vote for People’s Choice.

The second event kicks off at 6:30 p.m. with the Hot Wing Eating Contest. This one is no joke, said Rattray who noted the wings are covered in scorpion pepper, a pepper that’s ranked the hottest pepper in the world, according to Guinness World Records in 2011.

Reigning champion Krissy Boyd of last year’s contest will be back to go up against other fearless feasters.

“This is the third year we’ll have this competition, and [Boyd] is the only girl who ever enters this competition. Nobody touches her usually. She can really consume some hot stuff,” Rattray said.

Next up is the Pizza Eating Contest at 7:30 p.m. Entrants will try to eat a Harvey Hinklemeyer’s 20-inch meat lovers pizza. Fast.

The final event is the Taco Throw Down, set for 8 p.m. Gordo’s Tacos, Gett’s Tacos, Smitty’s Backyard Barbecue, and T’s Pizzeria Tacos and More will bring their best tacos and compete for the Taco Throw Down title.

“When you think of tacos, you think of them as all kind of similar, but all of these places have something different,” she said.

The audience can taste a sample from each taco shop for one ticket, and judges will decide who takes the title.

Rattray said these types of events are great for mom-and-pop restaurants, as they’re able to participate in the Taste without having to devote a whole Saturday evening to it.

“That’s one of the reasons we came up with this because there are a lot of restaurants, and we want the mom-and-pop shops to do as much as they can. It’s a way to get the public to see what’s out there with these smaller restaurants that have so much to offer, but they also don’t have a big staff.

“It’s a great way to get them a little bit of publicity, people knowing where they’re at, what’s new, and then every single one of them is a mom-and-pop shop, which is what we love,” she said.

Then, this year’s entertainment is giving attendees a taste of a variety of music. Headlining the night is David Cook, who rose to fame after winning the seventh season of American Idol. Special guests are Andrew Young, Paul Stout, The Pummels, and South Side. VIP tickets are available at United Way of Howard County, 210 W. Walnut St., for $20.

For the kids, there will be plenty going on at Kids’ Corner from bounce houses to face painting to balloon animals.

The 18th annual Taste of Kokomo takes place Aug. 16 from 5 to 10:30 p.m. in Foster Park. Admission is free. Proceeds benefit United Way of Howard County.