Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Starke and Pulaski County Unemployment Statistics From May

Posted on June 19, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

The most recent Indiana Department of Workforce Development unemployment report reveals a growing labor forces in Starke and Pulaski counties and fairly consistent unemployment rates.

From April to May, the labor force in Pulaski gained 338 additional workers and 321 more people were described as employed. Conversely, there were 19 more people determined to be unemployed and the rate rose slightly from 3.8 to 3.9 percent.

Starke County’s rate remains higher than that of their neighbors to the south and west. However, the county did see a slight decrease from April to May, going from 3.9 to 3.8 percent unemployment.

There were 364 more people on Starke County’s labor force during the month of May. Other improvements include that there were 267 additional individuals identified as employed and there were 3 fewer people determined to be unemployed.

Meanwhile, the state rate stayed the same from April to May at 3.2 percent and America’s rate shrank slightly, falling one-tenth of a percentage point. Compared to this time last year, the state is in the same boat while the country’s rate has improved, going from 4.3 in May of 2017 to 3.8 this year.

Salaries to be Discussed at Tonight’s North Judson-San Pierre School Board Meeting

Posted on June 19, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

The North Judson-San Pierre School Board will be discussing salaries when they meet tonight at 7 p.m.

Salaries for non-certified employees, transportation staff, non-instructional salaried employees and the new Dean of Students will be considered, along with administrative salaries and employee stipends.

Textbook fees, school meal prices and food provider proposals will all be up for acceptance and an appointment for the Pulaski County Public Library board will be established. A lease agreement with Apple and the superintendent’s contract will be up for consideration. Members will also set a reorganization meeting.

Additionally, a closed executive session will be held prior to the meeting in order to discuss the job performance evaluation of individual employees.

The School Board meets in the central office board meeting room in the NJSP administration building at 801 Campbell Drive.

North Judson Officials Plan to Attend Open House Celebrating the Upcoming One-Year Milestone of a Local Business

Posted on June 19, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

Outstanding Trade Exhibit Services, also known as OTES Signs and Graphics is coming up on their one year anniversary of being established in North Judson. Local officials intend to celebrate the company’s one-year milestone this week.

When the North Judson Town Council met Monday evening, Council President Wendy Hoppe reminded the members that an open house to celebrate the anniversary will be held at the business on Wednesday.

She explained that she’s been coordinating with Clerk-Treasurer Andrew Rowe to find the right thing to present during the event to express their gratitude to the company.

Hoppe said that invitations were recently sent out by the Starke County Economic Development Foundation. Council Vice President John Rowe noted that the Friday was the last day to submit an RSVP.

President Hoppe mentioned that she will be one of the speakers, SCEDF Executive Director Larry Wickert will also be providing a presentation and additional speeches will be made as well.

SBA Encourages Qualifying Flood Victims to Apply for Disaster Loans

Posted on June 19, 2018
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

Those who experienced flood damage this past February may qualify for low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration. Federal disaster assistance is now available to residents, businesses, and non-profit organizations across the local area, including Marshall, Starke, and Pulaski counties. The deadline to apply is July 5.

SBA Public Affairs Specialist Brian Beard says that for homeowners and renters, the first step is to register with FEMA. “The first thing they do is look at the financial situation, and somebody who has enough income is quite possibly going to get referred to the SBA for a loan because FEMA just concentrates on the safety and security of the home,” he said during a presentation at Monday’s Pulaski County Commissioners meeting. “And so if somebody does get referred to the SBA, it’s important for them to follow through, and even if they’re not sure they want a loan, they should go ahead and apply. There’s no cost. And if the loan gets turned down for any reason, they might be referred back to FEMA for more direct aid.”

Businesses and non-profit groups looking for disaster loans may apply directly with the SBA. Those who qualify for a loan have two months to decide whether or not to accept it.

Beard said loans of up to $200,000 are available for a homeowner’s primary residence, while up to $40,000 is available for personal property. “Businesses can get up to $2 million, not only for physical damage,” he explained, “but if there’s an interruption in sales and income, in direct effect from flooding, like if a bridge got washed out and you couldn’t get to the business or something, you can get a working capital loan to cover monthly costs, until sales come back up again.”

Beard said repayment terms are up to 30 years, based on the applicant’s ability to pay, and there’s no payment for the first six months. “The SBA loans are directly from the federal government, and the interest rate will not change,” he said. “So it’s 1.813 percent for home or the personal property, and that includes the personal vehicle, the automobile, and 3.58 percent for businesses and 2.5 percent for non-profits.”

To apply for an SBA disaster loan, visit DisasterLoan.sba.gov, or call 800-621-3362 for more information. To register with FEMA, visit DisasterAssistance.gov.

Starke County to be an Applicant for Regional Stellar Communities Designation

Posted on June 19, 2018
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

Starke County officials will be taking the steps necessary in becoming a stellar community.

Starke County Commissioner Kathy Norem discussed the recent Regional Stellar Communities Designation program meeting with OCRA’s Northwest Indiana Community Liaison Gerry White and municipal government entities last week who outlined steps needed in order to submit a successful application to become a stellar community.

The commissioners approved action Monday night to spend $8,000 in order to complete an income survey which is the first step required before the application for a planning grant to build a five-year plan for the county. That plan will be instrumental in helping outline future projects in the county to include in the county’s Stellar application.

Norem and Commission President Don Binkley noted that even if the county doesn’t reach Stellar status, they will have a good idea of which direction to go with the five-year plan in place. Also, the county could have a better chance at getting some grants to help those projects along.

One component of the application is the agreement of three municipalities to join as a regional applicant. The commissioners have yet to hear formal confirmations from the City of Knox, Town of North Judson and the Town of Hamlet in their partcipation, but it is likely that the requirement could be met.

The commissioners voted in favor of providing a letter of intent to the Office of Community and Rural Affairs. Additionally, it was a unanimous decision to move forward in conducting an income survey in the amount of $8,000 and a planning grant in the amount of $50,000 for the five-year plan.

Monday, June 18, 2018

7/18/2018 Science of Sound

Parents/Guardians can sign up 6-8th graders at:  bit.ly/4hsound

Recycling Bin Rules

Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum Decides Not to Lease Erie Trail to Starke County Park Board

Posted on June 16, 2018
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

The North Judson Erie Trail will remain under the control of the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum for the foreseeable future. The Starke County Park Board had approached the museum’s leaders about leasing the trail and operating it as a park facility. County officials hoped the lease would help reduce maintenance costs, increase grant opportunities, and encourage volunteers.

But during Tuesday’s park board meeting, President Roger Chaffins said the museum has declined the county’s proposed contract. “Their problem is they don’t want to get hooked up with the county right now because they say they’re working on a five-year plan,” Chaffins said. “Well, okay, that’s what your board wants to do, but myself, I feel that if you were hooked up with the county, it’d be better for your five-year plan. But I’m not arguing with them. That’s what I was told on that.”

The trail lease was first proposed in the park board’s five-year plan. The idea has also gotten the support of volunteers with the Prairie Trails Club.

Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum Contributes to North Judson-Wayne Township Fire Department Fundraiser

Posted on June 18, 2018Author Jacque Ryan

The Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum provided a donation to the North Judson-Wayne Township Volunteer Fire Department earlier this month.

HVRM President Cory Bennett presented Assistant Fire Chief Mike Scutchfield with a $300 check, just before the annual Fish Fry Fundraiser that was held on June 9th. According to a press release, this is the sixth donation that the museum has made to the fire department in recent years.

Fire Department representatives reported that this year’s fish fry had one of the biggest turn outs they can recall and said that the fundraiser was a huge success.

HVRM President Cory Bennett and Assistant Fire Chief Mike Scutchfield

FEMA Officials Provide Additional Guidelines in Public Notice

Posted on June 18, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

FEMA recently issued a public notice in regards to the major flooding that occurred earlier this year and the subsequent public and individual funding assistance being offered to several counties including Starke, Pulaski, Marshall and La Porte.

The notice, provided by Starke County EMA Director J. Nier, reportedly concerns activities that may affect historic properties, ones that are located in or affecting wetland areas or the 100-year floodplain and critical actions within the 500-year flood plain. FEMA officials report that such incidents may adversely affect the historical property, floodplain, or wetland or could result in continuing vulnerability to flood damage.

Federal actions in or affecting the floodplain or wetlands are required to be reviewed for opportunities to relocate. They must also be evaluated for any historical, environmental, social, economic, legal and safety considerations.

When there is no relocation opportunity available, FEMA is required to perform a detailed review to determine what measures can be taken to minimize future damages. Members of the public are invited to participate in the process by determining their impacts and identifying alternative locations.

When it comes to historic properties, the National Historic Preservation Act required federal agencies to take into account the effects of their undertakings on the structures. The activities or actions affecting buildings, districts or objects 50 years-old or older that affect archeological sites or undisturbed ground will require further review to determine if the property is eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.

If the property makes it onto the Register and there is proof that FEMA’s undertaking will adversely affect it, FEMA will provide additional public notices.

Additionally, FEMA intends to provide Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funding to the State of Indiana to mitigate future disaster damages. These projects may include construction of new facilities, demolition of structures or other types of projects that will help reduce future disaster damages and prevent them if at all possible.

If you feel that this information applies to your property, click the following link to view the full FEMA Public Notice.