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Police and local briefs

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 - 10:59 am

Motorcyclist leads police on chase

A high-speed chase took police through three counties Monday night before a Fort Wayne man was arrested. About 10 p.m., a 2007 Kawasaki motorcycle driven by Keith Allen Brundige III, 22, of Fort Wayne, took State Police on a 157 mph chase as it traveled westbound on U.S. 30 from the area of O'Day Road, a release said.

The pursuit led through Allen County, near Churubusco, and then into Whitley and Noble counties.

The motorcycle finally stopped, and Brundige was arrested at 10:19 p.m.

Brundige was charged with resisting law enforcement, a Class D felony; criminal recklessness, a Class A misdemeanor; and reckless driving, a Class B misdemeanor.

Scam artist alert

Fort Wayne police warn area residents that they've received several reports of a couple trying to perpetrate a scam that involves playing on would-be victims' sympathies.

A white female, described as in her late teens to early 20s, and a white male in his early 20s have approached residents at their homes in the northern and southwestern parts of Fort Wayne, saying their vehicle had broken down. They ask to borrow money for a tow, promising to repay the money within 24 hours. In a few cases, they have been successful in securing money from residents, but they have never returned to repay it. A brown GMC full-size van with an Oregon plate has been seen or associated with the couple.

Woman turns in roommate

A woman said she took her roommate, Lawrence J. Baird Jr., up on his offer to view his pornographic DVDs, but called New Haven police when she found they contained images of child pornography, according to Baird's arrest affidavit released Monday. Baird, 44, of the 5400 block of Maumee Road, Lot 65, was preliminarily charged with five counts of possession of child pornography. Baird admitted the pornographic material was his, according to the affidavit.

Newspaper writers honored by APME

Members of The News-Sentinel staff won four awards from the Indiana Associated Press Managing Editors on Saturday:

• Blake Sebring won first place in deadline sports reporting for “Comeback Ks,” about the 2008 Turner Cup-winning Komets team.

• Jennifer Boen won third place for her story, “Burmese Refugees,” in the community affairs/public interest category.

• Ashley Smith won third place in non-deadline news reporting for her story on Ula Banks' struggle to obtain documentation of her birth.

• Ashley Smith, Evan Goodenow and former N-S reporter Jeff Wiehe won third place in deadline news reporting for their coverage of former Wayne High School assistant principal Kristopher Sennett's child-seduction case.

The News-Sentinel competes in Division 2, which includes daily newspapers with circulations of 20,000-49,999. The Journal Gazette won seven awards in Division 1, for daily newspapers with circulations of 50,000 or more.

Crashed motorcyclist in critical condition

A motorcyclist who crashed Sunday was in critical condition this morning at Parkview Hospital.

Julius Sims, 25, crashed around 4:40 p.m. near the intersection of Rudisill Boulevard and Fairfield Avenue, according to Fort Wayne Police. Sims was westbound when he changed lanes while approaching the intersection and collided with a van making a left turn onto Fairfield.

Sims wasn't wearing a helmet, according to police spokesman Officer Michael Joyner. Indiana law does not require adult motorcyclists to wear helmets.

Suspended molestation sentence for elderly man

City resident Parnel E. Bales, 83, on Monday in Allen Superior Court received a six-year suspended sentence for child molestation. Bales molested a boy between Sept. 5, 2007, and March 11. Bales, of the 5000 block of South Field Drive, had two counts of child molestation dropped.

Bales admitted, according to his arrest affidavit, that what he did was wrong and he “shouldn't have done it.”

City man accused of sex with minor

Dale K. Tucker, of the 3900 block of Stone Creek Run, was preliminarily charged Monday with contributing to the delinquency of a minor and four counts of sexual misconduct with a minor.

Tucker admitted he had oral sex and masturbation with the youth, according to Tucker's arrest affidavit. The boy said Tucker also served him alcohol.

VanNiekerk court date postponed in Michigan

The court appearance for Johan A. VanNiekerk, 41, of Fort Wayne, has been postponed because all the medical reports are not in, according to the Calhoun County Courts. No new date has yet been set.

VanNiekerk is charged with killing his 72-year-old mother, Brenda VanNiekerk, and his 3-year-old daughter, Laura VanNiekerk, who were both found dead May 1 at the Comfort Inn in Marshall, Mich., a town of 7,300 about 90 miles north of Fort Wayne. Prosecutors were expected to lay out the case details during his court appearance Monday in Battle Creek, Mich.

Harrison Square condo builders to get letter

The Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission will send a letter to the developers of Harrison Square's proposed residential and commercial building, officially notifying them of their failure to meet terms of their contract.

Atlanta-based Barry Real Estate Cos. was supposed to have completed the project by June 1, but work has not yet begun - something company officials have attributed to the recession and credit crisis. The contract calls for a penalty of up to $5,000 per day, but mayoral spokeswoman Rachel Blakeman said the notice does not necessarily mean a lawsuit against Barry will follow.

Final round of aerial treatment for gypsy moths

Weather permitting, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources planned to begin the final round of gypsy moth aerial treatments for Allen County sites this morning.

Maps of the treatment sites and more information about gypsy moths and the scheduled aerial treatments may be found on the DNR Entomology Web site at gypsymoth.IN.gov.

The gypsy moth program in Indiana, conducted by the DNR Division of Entomology and Plant Pathology, has kept gypsy moths in check and confined the tree-killing insect mainly to the northeastern part of the state for more than 25 years. This invasive pest species, originally from Europe, attacks more than 500 kinds of plants but prefers oak trees.

IPFW library receives grant

The Walter E. Helmke Library at IPFW has received a Library Services Technology Act grant of nearly $24,000 from the Indiana State Library for the “Thirteen Millennia: Native American Life in Northeastern Indiana” project.

The funding will be used to augment publicly accessible digital records including archival documents, maps, photographs, painting, lithographs, and other artifacts and video recordings of the state's first inhabitants and their descendents on the Mastodon Digital Object Network.

The grant will also support the Allen County-Fort Wayne Historical Society's efforts to digitize archival collections on local indigenous peoples such as the Miami Indians.

Schools honored

Forest Park Elementary School's PTA was named the Indiana PTA Outstanding Unit of the Year during the Indiana PTA Convention. Forest Park's PTA organized a Million Penny Campaign to buy resource books for classrooms at the school.

The school's PTA was also named a 2009 Indiana PTA Honor Unit, as were Price Elementary School PTA and Northrop High School PTSA.

The Indiana PTA 2009 Outstanding Journalism Awards went to “Franke Park Elementary School Newsletter” at Franke Park and “Lakeside Links” at Lakeside Middle School.

Northrop High School, which was previously named an Outstanding PTA Unit two years in a row, became a member of the “500 Club” for having at least 500 PTSA members for two years or more.

Statewide, 17 schools were recognized with the Gold Oak Leaf Award, given to those schools that increase membership by 50 percent or more. FWCS schools recognized include Elmhurst High School PTSA, Harrison Hill Elementary PTA, Kekionga Middle School PTSA, Scott Academy PTA, Northcrest Elementary PTA and Shawnee Middle School PTSA.

Shawnee also received the Membership Achievement Award for being among the schools with the highest percent increase in membership over last year's number.

- From staff, wire reports