June: Killer comes to justice


(1) After 24 years of waiting, the family of Linda Lee Bennitt finally got some answers, when a team of “cold case” investigators with the Lake County, Indiana Sheriff’s office reopened Linda Bennitt’s murder case. Using DNA procedures that weren’t available in 1984, investigators arrested Mark Steven Erler, 47, who was being held in a state hospital facility in California.

The family of Linda Bennitt was on hand in Merrillville, Indiana, when authorities announced that they had made an arrest.

(2) The Switzerland County High School Class of 2008 went through commencement exercises, with Emilee Waldron earning Class Valedictorian and Morgan Ross earning Class Salutatorian.

There were 97 members in this year’s graduating class.

(3) Switzerland County senior Brandon Otter earned a spot in the IHSAA State Track Meet in the high jump; while fellow senior Courtney Cole agreed to play basketball collegiately at the College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati.

(4) Switzerland County native Steven Hewitt retired from the U.S. Air Force after serving for 26 years and five months.

While on duty he served in more than 30 countries. He is the son of David and Shirley Hewitt of near Vevay, and graduated from Switzerland County High School in 1981.

(5) The Switzerland County Commissioners renamed a portion of Kelly Road, the “Sergeant Kenneth Booker Road” in honor of the Switzerland County man who lost his life last year in Iraq.

Several of Sergeant Booker’s relatives were on hand for the ceremony unveiling the road sign.

(6) Cindy Kerr resigned as a member of the Patriot Town Council, where she also served as council president.

Fellow town council members Jim Caudill and Danielle Hutcherson accepted the resignation; and the following month Janett Boling was appointed to fill the term.

(7) The annual Switzerland County “Relay for Life” was forced inside to the Switzerland County High School gym due to rainy weather, but the event was still a big success, as more than $31,000 was raised.

The family of Shirley Gregory, a longtime supporter of the “Relay for Life” attended the event following Shirley Gregory’s funeral visitation as a way of paying tribute to their lost loved one.

(8) The Vevay Town Council voted down a proposal by Switzerland County Tourism that would have had the town provide $130,000 to help fund the second phase of the “Vision for Switzerland County” tourism plan.

With the denial of funding, there was some concern over the continuing operation of businesses in Vevay that are run through the tourism program.

(9) Stephanie Adams was crowned as the 2008 Queen of the Switzerland County 4-H Fair. The first runner up in the pageant was Laci Daugherty; while Rachel Gurley was the second runner up and Stephanie Adams was also chosen as Miss Congeniality.

(10) Beth Abbott was elected President of District 12 at the FFA State Convention which was held at Purdue University. That was just one of the honors that were bestowed upon the local chapter at the State Convention.

The chapter was again ranked as one of the Top 10 chapters in the entire state.