Wednesday, March 21, 2018

3/31/2018 NJ Police Department Easter Milk Bone Hunt

3/31/2018 NJ Police Department Easter Egg Hunt

Permit Question Brought Before the North Judson Town Council

Posted on March 21, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

With this weekend’s pleasant weather, you may have noticed ice cream trucks making their first rounds of the season. A citizen of North Judson submitted a question to town council members Monday night, about a truck he saw driving around town over the weekend.

He asked what kind of permit is required for those drivers to sell their wares. Town Council President Wendy Hoppe responded that they need a peddler’s permit to legally sell the treats within the town limits.

Former Clerk-Treasurer Donna Henry was in the audience and added that while in office, she had an issue where she alerted a driver that they needed a permit but they never came back in for her to issue one.

Others mentioned that it isn’t just ice cream trucks that may be dodging the permits. There are other people who come out of the woodwork attempting to sell items door-to-door without being registered with the town.

Clerk-Treasurer Andrew Rowe said that he will do his best to make sure that people are acquiring the necessary permits. Code Enforcement Officer Joe Leszek, Town Marshal Kelly Fisher and the officers of the NJ Police Department will assist with this effort as well.

On a related note, Leszek said that with the weather improving, code violations will become more apparent. While he is always on the look out, he encourages citizens to contact him if they notice a violation so it can be addressed right away.

You can direct any questions or concerns about code enforcement to 574-896-3340.

Preliminary Work on North Judson-San Pierre Capital Projects to Start Soon

Posted on March 21, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

Preliminary work will soon begin on a series of capital projects at North Judson-San Pierre, according to Superintendent Dr. Annette Zupin.

At the February NJSP school board meeting, members approved contractors for approximately $4.2 million worth of projects. They also learned that since the entire Lease Project came in under budget, a few alternates can be tackled as well, including the addition of a digital sign on Highway 10.

When members met Tuesday night, Zupin alerted them that the signage has been ordered and they received the necessary permit. She also mentioned that some work will commence while students are on spring break, which runs from March 26th through the 30th.

Some of the preliminary work that will be started next week includes running cable for security technology, field verification for lighting and electrical work and D.A. Dodd, the company awarded the plumbing bid, will begin work on the gas line. She said a meeting will also be held with NIPSCO representatives to discuss rebates.

Zupin added that the pool will begin shutting down on April 30th and there will be limited access to the JR/SR High Media Center starting May 7th.

Several Local Officials Attend Starke County Economic Development Foundation’s Community Retreat

Posted on March 21, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

A variety of local representatives gathered Tuesday morning to learn more about development opportunities during the Starke County Economic Development Foundation’s Community Retreat.

Those in attendance included members of the Starke County Commissioners and the Chamber of Commerce as well as local officials from the communities of Bass Lake, Hamlet, Knox and North Judson.

The event ran from 7:30 a.m. until noon and was held at the SCEDF office in Knox.

Executive Director Larry Wickert came up with the idea for this workshop after attending an Economic Development Course at Ball State back in January. Community Dynamics President Bob Schaefer was the event moderator.

Speakers included KIRPC Director Edwin Buswell, OCRA’s Northwest Indiana Community Liaison Gerry White, Brian Sheehan, the Director of Special Projects and Community Development in Rushville, Indiana and Geoff Schomacker, an Economic Development Finance Professional from Ball State University.

Buswell and White provided some information about various programs and grants that are available to assist with community development efforts. Sheehan, on the other hand, came to provide some real-world examples of how the city of Rushville, which earned Stellar Community Designation status back in 2016, utilized available resources to significantly improve the state of their community.

Opportunities that were covered included the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority’s Crowd Granting Program, financial assistance available through the Indiana Bond Bank and the U.S Economic Development Association’s Public Works Program which helps distressed communities revitalize, expand and upgrade their physical infrastructure.

Schomacker provided the final presentation and focused on quality of place and shifting trends. He highlighted the fact that bringing in jobs is not the sole solution to cities and towns who are facing population decline and stagnant development.

Schomacker mentioned that just because people may work in a community, that doesn’t necessarily mean they live there or spend their time and money there. He said the major focus needs to shift from drawing industry to capitalizing on and improving the existing amenities in order to help transform communities into places where people will want to stay.

After some of the presentations, the different groups separated into break-off sessions to discuss the presentations amongst themselves in order to brainstorm ways to apply the concepts in their own communities.

Before breaking for lunch, Starke County Economic Development Foundation Executive Director thanked everyone for coming out and suggested that quarterly meetings that incorporate multiple communities could be held in the future to keep these collective conversations going.

He also reminded everyone in attendance that the Stellar Communities Designation Program now has more of a regional focus and it would be helpful to coordinate with neighboring officials about potentially forming a plan to apply for the designation.

Kankakee River Basin Commissions Discusses Pros and Cons of Yellow River Pilot Project

Posted on March 21, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

A bank stabilization pilot project that was recently conducted on the Yellow River was discussed during last Thursday’s Kankakee River Basin Commission meeting.

Starke County Surveyor Bill Crase said that about 2200 feet of work was completed along both sides of the river. He told commission members that he was very impressed with the results, especially with the way the banks were able to withstand recent flooding.

He said only about 300 feet of damage was incurred and suspected that was likely from floating debris striking the spot rather than structural inefficiencies. However, there were certain issues with the way that the project that kept Crase from considering it a complete success.

“We had a successful project but at the end of the day, the cost per foot made it unsuccessful on paper. If we are going to consider carrying on with that project, we have to have our local people do it.” Crase explained, “We can not bring in big companies for big dollars with that kind of money per foot or we’re never going to get anything done.”

Crase said he was under the impression that local businesses would be utilized for aspects of the project since it was mentioned in the agreement and he was instructed to submit an approved list of local companies on more than one occasion. However, the North Carolina-based consulting firm North States Environmental reportedly went out of county for much of the work.

A few different examples were provided, but one instance Crase referenced was a time where a larger excavator was required. Crase said he offered up a local contractor who was willing to rent an excavator that could have been used right away but the firm decided to rent the equipment from a company out of the area and had to wait two weeks for it to come in.

Since the project was started late in the fall, Crase said there wasn’t really an opportunity for them to stop the work in order to address the consulting issues due to time constraints. He added that the anticipated cost of the project was expected to be about $300,000 and it came in a bit over $500,000.

Commission Secretary and Jasper County Surveyor Vince Urbano stated that as a representative of the commission and a county surveyor he was dismayed to hear that the size of the project could have potentially been doubled for the same price, had local help been utilized.

Commission Treasurer Kevin Breitzke said though the KRBC isn’t involved with creating the contract, he was upset to learn that local workers were not utilized or trained since they were told that they would be. Vice Chairman Ken Purze stressed the fact that the KRBC is a funding source and that project supervision is out of their control. He said that responsibility falls to the individual county surveyors and drainage boards.

Though the discussion got a bit heated with various county officials weighing in on the perceived failures or coming to the defense of the KRBC, Crase ended his report saying that it doesn’t do any good to sit and argue about it now. He stated that the purpose of his report was to highlight the pros and alert commission members of the cons.

He added that if the KRBC does plan to fund similar bank stabilization projects in other counties, officials now know that the utilization of local workers and the importance of maintaining individual project control will need to be emphasized as an absolute requirement in order to keep any future projects from facing the same problems.

Chairman Chris Knochel thanked Starke County Surveyor Crase for his report and said this pilot project has served as a valuable learning opportunity for the commission members.

Starke County Council Discusses Expenditures for Sheriff’s Office

Posted on March 21, 2018
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

The Starke County Council members discussed funding for a new industrial-type washer and dryer at the justice center.

Starke County Sheriff Bill Dulin told the council members Monday night that one set is from the old location on Pearl Street and they need an additional set to keep up with the amount of laundry. A quote from Miller Laundry Service was provided at a cost of $15,152. The price includes delivery and installation.

The council members supported the purchase, but asked Sheriff Dulin to get a second quote just to be on the safe side.

The sheriff also discussed an outstanding dental services bill that the county has had for the past three years. The estimated bill due is approximately $10,000-$12,000.

He explained that if an inmate has a dental issue, the jail nurse is required to assess the issue and if a tooth is to be extracted a dentist comes to the jail and performs the extraction. Sheriff Dulin said extractions are the only services given to the inmates. For example, services including fillings, crowns, plates, dentures, or cleanings are not part of the agreement.

The county is required by state law to offer dental services.

Sheriff Dulin asked the council to pay the bill so the practice can continue at the jail to avoid a lawsuit.

The council members approved action to settle the bill. Half of the cost will come from the Jail Commissary Fund and the other half will come from the Therapeutic Community Fund.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Inmates Graduate from Chemical Dependency and Addictions Program

Posted on March 20, 2018
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

Eight inmates from the Starke County Justice Center are now graduates of the Chemical Dependency and Addictions Program.

The program allowed inmates the opportunity to obtain counseling services and substance abuse education while incarcerated in the Starke County Justice Center. It was a 14-week treatment program facilitated by Porter-Starke Services and led by Chemical Dependency and Addictions Therapist Leo Smith. Therapists assisted inmates in restructuring behaviors and thoughts in addiction remediation. Skills taught included the management of stress, anger, cravings, triggers, critical reasoning and decision making.

A graduation ceremony was held Monday morning at the Starke County Justice Center where the graduates shared a goodbye letter to the drug of their choice and how they are motivated to change. Supporters were also given time to offer words to encourage a successful return into the community.

The program was also made possible in part by the Starke County Sheriff’s Office jail staff, Starke Circuit Court Judge Kim Hall, and officials with the Starke County Prosecutor’s Office, Starke County Probation Office, and Starke County Community Corrections.

Monday’s ceremony concluded the 5th program of its kind at the sheriff’s office.

Starke Circuit Court Judge Kim Hall (L) and Leo Smith (R) 
stand with the graduates of the Chemical Dependency and and Addiction Program

Be Prepared for Severe Weather

Posted on March 20, 2018
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

Be prepared for severe weather by creating a safety plan and prepare a household disaster kit.

The Indiana Department of Homeland Security encourages residents to practice severe weather emergency plans which include identifying an evacuation route in your home and in neighborhoods. During a tornado, the safest place is the basement or storm cellar. If those options are not available, go to an interior room on the lowest level with no windows. Seek shelter from flying debris by getting under a desk, table or sturdy object.

A household disaster kit should include food and water for three days, a battery-operated all-hazards radio, flashlight, extra batteries, first-aid kit, extra clothing, rain gear, blankets, personal hygiene items, a list of important phone numbers, important documents, cash, and special items including prescriptions and baby and pet supplies.

During this National Severe Weather Preparedness Week, a family drill is recommended so everyone is familiar with the evacuation plan. Children should be aware of how to call 9-1-1 and what information to provide emergency personnel.

For more information, visit

Updates at Norwayne Field Discussed During North Judson Town Council Meeting

Posted on March 20, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

Big changes are happening at Norwayne Field in North Judson.

At last night’s town council meeting Park Board representative Nick Radke informed members that the band shell has been fully assembled. He added that additional lighting and stonework is pending. He also thanked Town Superintendent Marshall Horstmann for all his assistance with the assembly.

In other news, Schambers Masonry completed the repair work that needed to be done to the brick wall that runs along highway 10. The company also took care of a couple additional minor repairs that needed to be made the existing stage and the concrete bleachers.

Back in December, Clerk-Treasurer Andrew Rowe stated that the wall was in desperate need of repairs as many spots had stones missing and portions were crumbling.

At the end of 2017, the town encumbered leftover building improvement funds to help cover costs. Clerk-Treasurer Rowe initially anticipated the repair project to be around $6,700. However, the town ended up saving over $800 as the repairs came in at a total cost of $5,885.

Town Council members voted unanimously to pay Schambers Masonry for the repair work they completed at Norwayne Field.