MUNCIE - One of the backers of a medical marijuana bill introduced by
Sen. Sue Errington, D-Muncie, is the father of a Muncie woman who died
in her 30s of a terminal illness.
"Her dad told me her best days were when she could get high-grade
marijuana," Errington says.
The fifth annual "Hoosier Survey," conducted in 2012 by Ball State
University, found that 53 percent of Hoosiers supported
decriminalizing marijuana by making it legal to possess small quantities.
The 2013 "Hoosier Survey" found that 52 percent of Hoosiers supported
making marijuana a regulated substance much like alcohol and tobacco,
and that 78 percent of Hoosiers believed that marijuana should be
taxed like cigarettes.
[continues 666 words]
The legalization of marijuana is becoming an ongoing issue and is one
that doesn't deserve all of the media attention that it gets.
On March 14, an article was written in The New York Times titled
"Medical Marijuana Bill Dies in Washington State." The article was
aimed toward the House and Senate attempting to pass a bill that would
bring Washington state's largely unregulated medical marijuana system
under control of local governments.
The amendments were made anticipating that revenue from marijuana
sales could be distributed to local governments. Many medical
marijuana dispensaries and patients opposed the new regulations
fearing that their system would be crushed by the commercial market.
[continues 133 words]
Once again, the Delaware County Coordinating Council to Prevent
Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse is sponsoring Red Ribbon Week locally in
conjunction with the national drug awareness observance held each October.
Red Ribbon Week originated in 1985 as a result of the death of a Drug
Enforcement Agent and is dedicated to all of those who have been
wrongfully killed due to drugs and violence. This year's Red Ribbon
celebration activities will be this week.
In the next few days, all children attending public school in Delaware
County will be sent home information regarding this year's activities
and discounts, along with a red silicon bracelet imprinted with the
Red Ribbon Week Theme. This year's theme is "My Life, My Future, Drug
Free." Many of the schools will be participating by doing different
activities in the classroom. I would also like to challenge parents to
take this opportunity to talk to your child about the importance of
being drug, alcohol and tobacco free.
[continues 412 words]
After The Pseudoephedrine Law Knocked The Drug Down, It Returned With A
GASTON -- On a Thursday afternoon in September, police converged on an
older house near downtown Gaston with whitewashed clapboard siding.
Across the street, Kaylie Starrett watched from her own home, confused
by all the commotion. In the 18 months or so that Starrett had lived
in the neighborhood, everyone across the street seemed friendly.
It wasn't until later that she learned from friends that police
suspected her neighbors were manufacturing methamphetamine.
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If you're unfamiliar with the terms K2, Pep, Kind or spice, ask your
son or daughter who's in high school or college. Unfortunately, you
could probably ask your elementary student.
Chances are they know about it; perhaps they know someone who uses it.
Maybe they've got first-hand experience.
In a nutshell, spice is an herb mixture marketed as an incense laced
with a synthetic chemical that mimics the high produced by smoking
marijuana, but it's said to be 10 times more potent.
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Overcoming Addiction Has Proven Difficult For Many People Sentenced
To Drug Court; Those Who Succeed Praise The Program.
MUNCIE -- If the Guinness Book contained a category for most
expensive single drug binge, Jeff Branham might very well own the
By Branham's account, he smoked almost $20,000 worth of crack cocaine
in an 11-day period, a bender that left little time for sleep or
anything else but getting high.
What's worse, he financed the drugs by forging checks from his
83-year-old father's savings account, drawing the attention of
authorities who charged him with 66 felony crimes.
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The fallout from the local Drug Task Force situation will be with
Delaware County residents for months -- perhaps years -- to come,
given the likelihood of appeals and the still pending report from the
Indiana Supreme Court's Disciplinary Commission. But the bulk of the
problem can be traced to a lack of oversight and a blatant disregard
for the community's best interest that must be remedied before
confidence can be restored.
While the actions of the local DTF and prosecutor's office were
particularly egregious, the origins of the situation can be traced to
the state and the Indiana General Assembly. Legislation governing the
handling of confiscated drug-related funds and property is vague,
and officials in most counties are unsure exactly how the money is to
be handled. With few guidelines, they have for the most part created
their own procedures. The fact no money apparently has ever been sent
to the designated state education fund is particularly telling.
[continues 349 words]
MUNCIE -- Local women in need of drug and alcohol rehabilitation services
are often left with limited options in Muncie. And that's especially true
if they are coming home after spending time in Indiana's jails and
"Basically, they just go back to the same environment they left," said
Karen Watson, who ministers to women in the Indiana Women's Prison in
Indianapolis. "If they have a good environment, they're lucky. If they
have a bad environment, then they end up ... back on drugs or in prison."
[continues 432 words]
MUNCIE - A Delaware County sheriff's deputy received a 15-day
suspension without pay this week after he was arrested for drunken
driving this summer at an Indiana State Police "sobriety
Ray A. Dudley, 39, also entered into a deferral program with the
Delaware County prosecutor's office for first-time offenders, and will
have the drunken driving charge erased after a year following
completion of the program.
The traffic stop resulted in formal misdemeanor charges of operating a
vehicle while intoxicated and operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol
count of .08 or more. Dudley's BAC tested at .10 percent.
[continues 208 words]
MUNCIE -- The Muncie-Delaware County Drug Task Force and former Police
Chief Joe Winkle went on a spending spree last year with forfeited
drug money, including expenses for a personal trainer and a 50-inch
plasma television for the city hall gym.
Even bigger expenses questioned in a State Board of Account audit of
2007 city spending include payments of $31,199 for two high-end
sport-utility vehicles for DTF officers, and paying off the remaining
$17,873 loan balance on accused drug dealer Adrian Kirtz's confiscated
2003 GMC Denali that sits in storage.
[continues 548 words]
The city will continue to pursue appointment of a special prosecutor
to review local forfeiture cases.
MUNCIE -- Delaware Circuit Court 2 Judge Richard Dailey on Wednesday
concluded his series of hearings on the handling of forfeitures and
seizures in local drug-related cases, making no finding of criminal
"That is something left to someone else to do," said Dailey, referring
to a grand jury or special prosecutor.
Dailey reviewed 10 more cases Wednesday in which the Muncie-Delaware
County Drug Task Force, Delaware County Prosecutor Mark McKinney and
Deputy Prosecutor Eric Hoffman used confidential settlements or
affidavits to seize and disperse the money and assets of alleged drug
[continues 363 words]
MUNCIE -- Mark McKinney maintains he has not "done anything wrong" in
accepting payment for work on civil forfeiture cases after taking
office as Delaware County prosecutor in January 2007.
"That was for work I did before I took office," McKinney, who was a
deputy prosecutor for several years before his November 2006
election, said during a Friday interview. "I never billed the city
for anything after I took office."
McKinney was paid $5,969 in attorney fees in 2007, however, on a
handful of civil forfeiture cases, with $4,193 for the seizure of
property and money from accused drug dealer Adrian Kirtz. That case
is among those being investigated after the Muncie-Delaware County
Drug Task Force and McKinney, acting as its attorney, allegedly
distributed more than $50,000 in cash and other property through a
confidential settlement after a judge had ordered the assets frozen.
[continues 679 words]
MUNCIE -- New rules governing local drug forfeiture cases could end
the practice of the Muncie-Delaware County Drug Task Force and its
attorney, County Prosecutor Mark McKinney, of seizing -- and spending
- -- money from alleged drug dealers without court orders.
Delaware Circuit Court 2 Judge Richard Dailey on Thursday gave local
officials a draft of those rules, which would require criminal cases
to be disposed of before any civil drug forfeiture is ordered.
And forfeitures would be handled by an attorney under written
contract who is either not a deputy prosecutor or a salaried deputy
prosecutor not assigned to any criminal prosecutions.
[continues 527 words]
MUNCIE -- Judge Richard Dailey wants records reflecting all deposits
and withdrawals -- and copies of cashed checks -- from a First
Merchants Bank account that contained funds confiscated from accused
drug dealers by the Muncie-Delaware County Drug Task Force and the
county prosecutor's office.
The Delaware Circuit Court 2 judge on Friday issued court orders for
those banking records, along with those of two city government
accounts and tax forms reflecting payments to Delaware County
Prosecutor Mark McKinney, Deputy Prosecutor Eric Hoffman and former
Deputy Prosecutor Louis Denney, who filed the civil lawsuits that led
to the forfeitures.
[continues 261 words]