Monday, March 31, 2014

New Sustainability Endowment Grant Offered

By: Anita Goodan, WKVI
Published: March 31st, 2014

 The Starke County Community Foundation is offering a new award for organizations called the “Sustainability Award”.

Executive Director Sarah Origer says any organization can apply for this $5,000 endowment grant.

“It’s a simple, two-page application,” said Origer. “We just want to know about your organization, about your priorities, about your long-term goals, and long-term planning. The top candidates will be invited to come in for an in-person interview.”

She noted that this is a competitive grant and the committee will be looking for a non-profit organization that will demonstrate leadership, management, programming and a desire to encourage donations to their own permanent endowment fund.

The deadline to apply is June 6. To obtain an application, visit

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

4/8/2014 North Judson-San Pierre Elementary Kindergarten Registration

Our 2014-2015 Kindergarten teachers Mrs. Allender, Mrs. Harper, Mrs. Radtke and Mrs. Shepherd, would like to invite all interested students and parents to our Kindergarten Registration on April 8th from 5:00-7:00 p.m.

Principal McBride and staff will also be there to help students and parents as they sign up for their education in an “A” rated Elementary School. During this time, you and your child will be able to visit the kindergarten classrooms and meet the kindergarten teachers. If you are unable to attend this  registration, please feel free to visit our school office to  register your child.

Please bring your child’s Birth Certificate, Immunization Record and Social Security Card. By state law a child must be five (5) years of age on or before August 1st to enter kindergarten.

4/5/2014 Color Me Green 4-H Dash

All 4-H Members, Families, Volunteers, Community Members, and anyone who wants to have fun are invited to join us for our 1st ever "Color Me Green 4-H Dash". This fun color run/walk will be held on Saturday, April 5th at the Oregon-Davis High School with registration beginning at 7:30 a.m. CDT. The run/walk will begin at 8:00 a.m.

The first 50 participants to register will receive a t-shirt and a pair of 4-H sunglasses! The cost is $10 per person or $25 per family with all proceeds benefiting the Community Services of Starke County food bank!

If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact Purdue Extension-Starke County at (574)772-9141!

To download a registration form visit -

4/19/2014 Starke Abate Easter Egg Hunt

Psi Iota Xi College Scholarship Deadline Approaching

By: Ben Haut, WKVI
Published: March 26th, 2014

The Knox Chapter of the Psi Iota Xi sorority has announced that they will soon be awarding scholarships to deserving Starke County seniors. Previous recipients may also reapply; the application is simple, and only asks for a brief written paragraph.

With the upcoming deadline of April 4, the sorority is urging all seniors to not miss the opportunity for free money. Tammy Fletcher, president of the sorority’s Knox chapter, said her sorority has been active in the community for more than 27 years, staying busy all year round.

She said rewarding students with college money has always been one of their main goals.

“It’s the goal we strive for every year, that’s what almost all of our fundraisers that we do are for scholarships for high school seniors. That was the goal of our sorority from the beginning, to further education in art, literature and music, but we also will do other things too,” Fletcher said.

Fletcher said that they not only award college scholarships to deserving students, but they also provide scholarships for preschool as well. The sorority recently hosted the Young Artists’ Conference earlier this month, benefiting more than 120 students in 1st through 5th grade.

There is no specific “mold” for potential applicants; Fletcher said all Starke County high school seniors are invited to apply.

“We really are looking for students who are going into the realm of art, literature or music, but we will accept and reward others, too. It depends on who applies and just what they say, what hits our fancy. It’s not the best student, it’s not the one that has the best grade point average, it’s just whoever answers our little questions and seems to be really needing the money,” Fletcher explained.

Visit a high school guidance office for an application or contact Tammy Fletcher by phone at 574-772-4384 or via email at

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

MoonTree Studios Preparing for Second Annual Catapult Experience.odt

By: Ben Haut, WKVI
Published: March 25th, 2014

MoonTree Studios is teaming up with the Veteran’s Therapeutic Art Center in Plymouth as they announce the return of a popular event at the MoonTree Wood Shop this spring that gives participants the opportunity to design and build a wooden catapult. Teams are invited to conceive, plan and build a working wooden machine that can hurl golf balls, seed balls and other objects for distance and accuracy.

Evelyn Schwenk, co-director of MoonTree Studios, told WKVI that these are true catapults, just a little bit smaller.

“This is like the middle ages machines that helped defend the castle, that would throw big rocks out into the people who were trying to invade the castle. So the idea for having a catapult contest originally came about through our friends at Veteran’s Therapeutic Art Center in Plymouth. These guys wanted to play with this idea of making catapults, and who could make one that would throw something the farthest distance, who could make one that would be more accurate, that kind of thing,” said Schwenk. (03-25-14 – Schwenk – Kind of Thing)

This is the second event of its kind at MoonTree Studios, following the inaugural catapult contest last year wherein six teams competed. The event is combined with the Earth Week celebration at the Center at Donaldson, and at the end of the contest, contestants will use their catapults to hurl balls of seeds around the campus.

The “Build a Catapult Experience” is open to the public as well as VTAC members. Teams can register by calling MoonTree Studios at (574) 935-1712 or register online at to receive the rules and building guidelines. They can work one-on-one and get guidelines and tips to design, construct, and test their catapult machine with an experienced MoonTree Wood Shop Facilitator. The Catapult Experience will culminate with a Contest of Catapult Prowess and Launch of Life on the prairie surrounding MoonTree Studios on Saturday, April 26.

Catapults will compete for distance, accuracy, originality of design and decoration, use of recycled material, and even historical accuracy and team insignia or costume.

The newly formed MoonTree Players will provide some entertainment and ambiance for the event, alongside the Country Griller serving lunch, beverages and snacks.

To learn more about the Build a Catapult experience, or to register and get a copy of the contest rules, call MoonTree Studios at (574) 935-1712 or visit

Starke County Youth Club Receives Grant

By: Anita Goodan, WKVI
Published: March 25th, 2014
The Starke County Youth Club was one of 53 organizations that were awarded a 21st Century Community Learning Center grant.

The grant is designed to provide academic enrichment opportunities for students at after-school sites.

21st Century Community Learning Centers provide a range of high-quality services to support student learning and development, including academic enrichment, tutoring and mentoring, and homework help, as well as music, arts, sports and cultural activities.

According to Starke County Youth Club Executive Director Irene Szakonyi, programs will be expanded to the middle school level. Programs will be added for Knox Middle School and North Judson-San Pierre students in the fall. Oregon-Davis has a program at their Junior/Senior High School.

Szakonyi added that out of the 78 applicants, the Starke County Youth Club’s proposal ranked fourth. The reimbursable grant is worth $175,000.

This year’s awards will be funded for four years and five months based upon annual reviews and successful implementation. Those involved in the Starke County Youth Club hope that goals can be met to continue with this grant for the allotted four years. They will strive for student achievement and overall improvement of the program.

Overall, more than $11 million in grants was awarded.

Monday, March 24, 2014

MARSHALL-STARKE HEAD START is Now Enrolling for the 2014-2015 School Year

MARSHALL STARKE HEAD START is accepting applications for fall enrollment. Children must be residents of Marshall or Starke County, and be 3 or 4 years of age by August 1st. Preschool classroom activities are provided to promote school readiness. There is no cost to participate. Please call (Marshall County) 574-936-7412 or (Starke County) 574-772-2347 or toll free 1-800-720-7748.

EARLY HEAD START accepts referrals on an ongoing basis. Homebased services are provided to children 0-3 years of age, and pregnant women. Playgroups are available twice a month. Early Head Start provides information about prenatal care, proper nutrition, home safety, infant/toddler care and well being. The Early Head Start program promotes school readiness. Please call (Marshall County) 574-936-7412 or (Starke County) 574-772-2347 or toll free 1-800-720-7748.

Head Start and Early Head Start also provide services for children with disabilities.

3/24/2014 New Hours Announced for Tot-Time and Story Hour


April 16th to May 21st         
Ages:  17 months - 35 months
Day:  Wednesdays
Time:  11:30 a.m. - 12 noon

COME JOIN US.  You and your toddler can share stories and crafts at the North Judson-Wayne Township Library.  Tot-Time is a great interaction, listening, and art program for you and your child.

Story Hour

April 17th to May 22nd
Ages:  3 Years to Pre-Kindergarten
Day:  Thursdays
Time:  11:00 a.m. - 12 noon

Preschool Story Hour is for children ages 3 - 5 years not yet in kindergarten.  During Story Hour your child will experience an hour of stories, songs, crafts, games and movies.  Preschool Story Hour is  designed to give your child a fun, independent learning experience.


Stop in at the North Judson-Wayne Township Library, 208 Keller Ave, North Judson, Indiana or call 574-896-2841

If school is cancelled due to bad weather, programs will be cancelled that day.  Please call the library to confirm dates and times.

Important May Primary Election Reminders

By: Anita Goodan, WKVI
Published: March 24th, 2014

Absentee voting for the May Primary Election is now available.

Starke County Clerk Evelyn Skronski informed WKVI News that if you would like to receive an absentee voting form by mail or to cast a ballot by way of the travel board, contact the election office at (574) 772-9160.

You can also mail a request to Starke County Clerk-Election, P.O. Box 395, Knox, IN 46534.

The deadline to register to vote is April 7.

The first day of in-office early voting is Tuesday, April 8. Starting then, you may vote in the second floor meeting room in the Starke County Courthouse from 8 a.m. to noon and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. You have until May 5 to vote in this fashion. On May 5, the hours to vote will be 8 a.m. to noon.

The Primary Election is on Tuesday, May 6. The WKVI news staff will have complete results from Starke, Pulaski and Marshall Counties that evening. You may view a list of candidates on the Election Central page on

Government Officials Warn of Widespread Telephone Scam

By: Mary Perren, WKVI
Published: March 24th, 2014

A sophisticated telephone scam from individuals claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service has cost taxpayers more than $1 million collectively, according to federal government officials. The Treasury Inspector General for Taxpayer Administration (TIGTA) has received reports of more than 20,000 contacts from nearly every state in the country. Callers claiming to be from the IRS tell intended victims they owe taxes and must use a prepaid debit card or wire transfer to make a payment. They threaten those who refuse to pay with arrest, deportation or loss of a business or driver’s license. George says the threats are a sign that the caller is not an IRS representative. He adds IRS contacts people by mail about unpaid taxes and will not ask for payment via prepaid debit card or wire transfer. IRS officials also will not ask for a credit card number over the telephone. If you get a call from someone claiming to be with the IRS asking for a payment, here’s what to do:

• If you owe Federal taxes, or think you might owe taxes, hang up and call the IRS at 800-829-1040. IRS workers can help you with your payment questions.

• If you don’t owe taxes, call and report the incident to TIGTA at 800-366-4484.

• You can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at Add “IRS Telephone Scam” to the comments in your complaint.

TIGTA and the IRS also encourage taxpayers to be alert for phone and e-mail scams that use the IRS name. The IRS will never request personal or financial information by e-mail, texting or any social media. You should forward scam e-mails to Don’t open any attachments or click on any links in those e-mails.

Taxpayers should be aware that there are other unrelated scams (such as a lottery sweepstakes winner) and solicitations (such as debt relief) that fraudulently claim to be from the IRS.

Read more about tax scams on the genuine IRS website at

North Judson-San Pierre Snow Make-up Schedule Changed

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Notes from Nubi - It's Almost SPRING!!!!!

I can’t believe that it’s been over a month since I last put paw to keyboard!  Can’t believe that St. Patrick’s Day has come and gone!  Why before you know it SPRING will be here, at least that’s the rumor going around the house.

Mom checked the Farmer’s Almanac online ( and they’re predicting snow until March 24th.  I certainly hope they’re wrong.  That snow in the backyard just isn’t melting fast enough for me.  Just a few weeks ago it was so cold that I could walk on top of the snow.  Then it got warmer and instead of standing on top I kept breaking through the crust, which made it difficult for me to explore.  It finally got to the point where all that smushed, gray grass is showing through so I now have most of my yard back.

Just can’t wait to see what decides to grow back there.  Mom says that what we do have isn’t all grass, but as long as it’s green I don’t think she minds.  Lately she’s been thinking of getting me my very own bush, something that won’t grow too big but will give me some shade in the summer.  Actually, I prefer to sit in the back yard and sunbathe, when it gets too hot I either move into the shade cast by the garage or the house – it depends on the mood I’m in.

Well, that darn cat Daisy is driving me crazy right now running around looking for food.  Daisy is so skinny that the vet said she should get two cans of wet food a day!  I only get wet food for my Sunday meal.  Anyway, Mom started “hiding” food for Daisy to find and suddenly she’s been eating like a little piggy and then looking for more.  When Mom came back from a small family gathering the first thing Daisy did when she saw her was to run to the TV and see if there was any food there!  She did that at least 3 times before Mom got out the food and restocked the hiding spots.

I was more restrained, as a result I got some special doggy treats Mom picked up at a bakery in Vincennes.  After telling Mom how glad I was that we were both back home – I stayed with Auntie Jane and her Great Dane – and after finishing my treats I settled into my chair beside Mom and fell asleep. 

Whew, all this typing as made me tired, guess I’ll stop now and get comfy in my chair and wait for Mom.  Hope you all enjoy the nicer weather.

Habitat For Humanity Informational Meetings Scheduled for April

By: Ben Haut, WKVI
Published: March 18th, 2014

“Could you become a homeowner?” That’s the question asked during the upcoming informational meetings for the Starke/Pulaski Habitat For Humanity aimed at providing much-needed information to prospective Habitat for Humanity homeowners. Steve Morrison, president of the organization, told WKVI that these meetings will allow them to explain the process and take applications as they seek to build a house this summer somewhere in Starke or Pulaski County.

Morrison said the process is simple; if you’re in need of housing, fill out a preliminary application. Depending on your situation, you may or may not qualify.

“Basically, we start out and we take applications and people who are in need of decent housing and so forth, or maybe they’re renting or whatever, and then we have a small brochure-type application whereby we ask them various questions, and it shows the income limits – lower and upper income limits – that people would qualify through. They have to be employed for 12 months, no bankruptcies for two years, and just some basic questions. If they all qualify for those few basic questions, then we’ll actually make a full application for possibly a home,” Morrison explained.

The first application is made up of some core questions, Morrison said, and the applicant may then be able to fill out a full application similar to a mortgage loan. There are a number of qualifying factors to take into account.

“First of all, do you live in Starke or Pulaski County? Have you been employed by the same employer for at least 12 months? Have you established good credit over the past 24 months? And then we have a series of household income, minimum and maximum levels to which they can apply, have they ever filed bankruptcy, and are you presently living in substandard housing, and are you willing to work 250 sweat equity hours per adult to build the house?” Morrison said.

To learn more about Habitat For Humanity and the process involved in applying for a Habitat home, stop in during one of the informational meetings. The first is scheduled for Saturday April 5 at the Monterey Tippecanoe Township Library at 10 a.m. EDT and the Pulaski County Public Library in Winamac at 1 p.m. EDT. On Saturday, April 12, a meeting is scheduled at the Francesville-Salem Township Public Library at 10 a.m. EDT and at the Pulaski County Public Library in Medaryville at 1 p.m. EDT. On Saturday, April 19, meetings are scheduled at the Starke County Library in San Pierre at 9 a.m. CDT, the North Judson-Wayne Township Library at 12 p.m. CDT, and the Henry F. Schricker Public Library in Knox at 3 p.m. CDT.

For more information, visit or call 574-896-2811.

Monday, March 17, 2014

4/19/2014 Starke County Humane Society Port-a-pit Chicken

The Starke County Humane Society is having their annual Nelson's Port-a-Pit Chicken Fundraiser on Saturday, April 19, 2014.  In Knox pick up your chicken at the Five Star Mall parking lot from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.  In North Judson pick up your chicken at the Burger King parking lot from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m..

Tickets are available at the shelter. (Tickets will also be available from a staff member here at the library.)
Advanced Ticket = $ 6.00
On-Site Ticket = $ 7.00
Pit-Tatoes will be $ 3.00 extra and available on-site only.

3/20/2014 Dollar-A-Day Boys: A Musical Tribute to the Civilian Conservation Corps

Michigan based author Bill Jamerson will present a music and storytelling program about the Civilian Conservation Corps at the North Judson-Wayne Township Public Library on Thursday, March 20, at 2 pm.  The program is free and open to the public and refreshments will be served. 

Jamerson will tell stories, show a short video, read excerpts from his novel and play original songs with his guitar. He has presented his program at CCC reunions, and at CCC built state and national parks around the country. In this nostalgia filled program, he talks about people both ordinary and extraordinary; and shares stories of wit, strength and charm.

Some songs Jamerson performs, include Chowtime, a fun look at the camp food, City Slicker, which tells of the mischief the young men get into in the woods, Borrowed Mom, is the story of an orphan who finds a mother, and Tree Plantin’, Fire Fightin’ Blues tells of the hardships of work. The folk songs range from heartwarming ballads to foot stomping jigs. The stories and songs are as educational as they are entertaining, as honest as they are fun.

Jamerson has produced a dozen documentaries for Michigan Public Television, and recorded many songs on historical subjects. In his presentation, he shares stories he has picked up first hand from former CCC Boys he has met over the years.  Audience members are encouraged to bring photo albums or other CCC memorabilia.  For more information about the program please call the library at 896-2841 or visit

General information about the CCC can be found at

4/12/2014 Tailgating with David Haugh & Charlie Adams

This Benefit is for the Elderly services of Starke County Community Center. 

There will be Silent and Live Auctions with Sports related items and some items are signed. There will also be food and drinks. 

Tickets are $25 which includes Dinner, a Speaker, and the Auctions. For Tickets or more info Call 574-772- 7070

3/22/2014 Nelson’s Port-a-pit Chicken Dinner

You can pick-up Nelson's Port-a-pit chicken at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church 1600 S Heaton St. Knox, IN.  All proceeds go to benefit Little Lambs Preschool.

Tickets are $6.50 ½ chicken only. Port-a-pit potatoes will be available for $3.

3/22/2014 History of Kingsbury Ordnance Plant

KOP Program March 22nd

         "History of Kingsbury Ordnance Plant" will be presented at the La Porte County Historical Society Museum, Saturday, March 22, 2014 at 1:00 p.m. The presentation by Fern Eddy Schultz, La Porte County (IN) Historian will be held in the meeting room of the museum. This operation changed many acres of farmland to industrial acreage. An entire cemetery was relocated and a village moved somewhat south. Considerable housing was added to a newly named section of La Porte (Maple Terrace) and an entire city (Kingsford Heights) was built in Union Township to accommodate workers. Hundreds of people migrated from various parts of the country to work at the facility. Schools were erected for the education of additional students this operation brought to the county.

      The construction and operation of this immense self-contained facility and some other effects on the county will be discussed. The facility operated during WWII and the Korean War and there will probably never again be such an operation in La Porte County. Maybe you had family members employed here during one or more of the wars.

     It, like a number of other industries in early La Porte County, played a very important role in our history and households. The program is free but regular museum admissions apply.
      Visit for more information about the Society and its Museum. The Museum is located at 2405 Indiana Avenue (US#35 at the south entrance to La Porte). Hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Become a member of the Historical Society and admission to its Museum and programs (unless otherwise noted) for the calendar year of membership are free.  Contact the Society and its Museum at or (219) 324-6767.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Important Voter Registration Dates for Indiana

April 7, 2014 Voter Registration Ends

May 6, 2014 Primary Election Day

May 20, 2014 Voter Registration Begins

October 6, 2014 Voter Registration Ends

November 4, 2014 General Election Day

December 1, 2014 Voter Registration Begins

NOTE: Certain military and overseas voters have extended registration periods. See for more information.

Mail-in voter registration applications must be postmarked on or before the above registration deadlines.

Register to vote by mail

To register to vote or update your current registration by mail or in person, you will need to complete and return the  Voter Registration Form (En EspaƱol) 29 days prior to a Primary or General Election (on or before October 6, 2014 for the November General Election).

IMPORTANT NOTICE: As of January 1, 2014, ONLY the version of the state voter registration form (VRG-7) and the county voter registration form (VRG-11) published on this website will be accepted by county voter registration offices. Older versions of the VRG-7 or VRG-11 will NOT be accepted for processing. The federal voter registration form referenced below may continue to be used.

Return the completed form to your county’s voter registration office or the Indiana Election Division according to the registration deadline requirements. You can also apply in person at the voter registration or county clerk’s office, any BMV license branch or public assistance office.

Once your voter registration application is received, your county voter registration office will process the application and determine your eligibility. If you are eligible, the county office will send you a voter registration acknowledgment card. Once you receive that card, you will be officially registered. If you are not eligible, or if the application was incomplete, you will receive a notice denying the application or requesting the missing information.

If you have not received a voter registration card or a notice from your county within about 30 days, call your county voter registration office. You can check your voter registration and polling location at anytime at or by calling 1-866-IN-1-VOTE.

Register to vote online by visiting  Indiana residents with a valid Indiana driver’s license or Indiana state-issued identification card will be able to use this tool to submit a new voter registration application or to update an existing voter registration record.

In addition to registering to vote online, provides Hoosiers with the ability to validate their voter registration status, find their polling place location, look into their provisional ballot status information, find county contact information, and determine “Who's on My Ballot?” for an upcoming election.

The US National Weather Service Northern Indiana Is Looking For Volunteers

Attention Weather Enthusiasts: it's time for March Madness...CoCoRaHS edition! It's a race to see which state can sign up the most new volunteers before the end of the month!

We need your help measuring precipitation and snowfall across the region. For more local information see To sign up to become a CoCoRaHS observer see

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

4/13/2014 2nd Starke County Relay for Life Pageant

The 2nd Starke County Relay for Life Pageant will be held on April 13, 2014 at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, South Heaton Street, Knox, IN from 2 to 3 p.m.

All proceeds will be donated to the Starke County Relay For Life. Entry fee is $30.00.  If you are interested in participating you may pick up an application at DeMotte State Bank or email us at or or check out our facebook page Starke County Relay for Life Pageant.

3/16/2014 North Judson Kiwanis Pancake & Sausage Breakfast

The Annual North Judson Kiwanis Pancake & Sausage Breakfast will be held at Liberty Elementary School from 7 a.m. until noon on March 16, 2014.

Tickets:     Adults - $5, Children 5-12 - $3

3/12, 13, 15, 22/2014 North Judson Pop Warner Sign-up

North Judson Pop Warner is Back!

Sign up dates at the North Judson-Wayne Township Library are scheduled for March 12th and 13th from 5p.m. to 7p.m. and March 15th and 22nd from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Early sign-ups will run through Father’s Day Weekend (at the Mint Festival)

Early sign-ups will be $85 per child with $10 off for each additional child, OR you can eliminate that cost and sell $170 (per child) in raffle tickets.  Please bring a copy of your child’s birth certificate.

New this year, football players will get to keep their jerseys.

Cheer and Dance Squads don’t feel left out, you will – for the first time – get to keep your practice gear.

For more information please call:

Anita Gougeon     574-806-1623
Phil Rodriguez      574-806-2301

3/15/2014 Starke County Young Artists' Conference

Mint Festival Gets OK From Town Board

By: Ben Haut, WKVI
Published: March 5th, 2014
The North Judson Mint Festival has taken another step toward preparing for the event; the town board this week approved a motion to authorize the issuance of a special event permit for the festival, during a short meeting held Monday night.

Clerk-Treasurer Donna Henry said a member of the Mint Festival Committee appeared before the board to request the permit for this year’s event, and the board was more than happy to grant that request. This year’s Mint Fest theme is “Mint Is Supreme in 2014!”

Henry said the committee anticipates holding all of their traditional contests and events, including the Father and Grandfather of the Year awards, pie eating and frog jumping contests, as well as the music arena at Norwayne Field. She said they also expect a car show and bingo to take place, and they’re hoping to have their diverse group of vendors and the popular elephant and pony rides.

Henry said they are also working on different entertainment acts, such as puppet or magic shows, and they are planning on the pet parade, fun walk, and the big parade, with some surprises as well.

The committee plans to hold a Mint Idol or Mint Talent contest and are searching for one or two persons to chair this event. The next Mint Festival meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, March 19 at 6:30 p.m. in the lower level of the North Judson Wayne Township Library. Anyone who is interested in the promotion of the North Judson Mint Festival is encouraged to attend.

NJ-SP Schools Hold First Public Meeting Regarding Balanced Calendar

By: Ben Haut, WKVI
Published: March 5th, 2014

The first in series of public meetings to discuss the proposed implementation of a balanced calendar for area schools took place last night at the North Judson-San Pierre Elementary School, and while the topic is a hot one, the public did not turn out en mass. Roughly 20 attendees were present for the presentation, with some offering questions and comments following the presentation by Superintendent Lynn Johnson.
One note Johnson was quick to make is that a balanced calendar is by no means a year-round calendar; rather, this setup would still consist of 180 school days, but would feature eight weeks off in the summer and two-week intercessions after every eight weeks. The school year would still start in August and end in early June.

Johnson said during her presentation that most research shows a slight correlation between the balanced calendar and improved test scores, and all studies show a dramatic increase in attendance attributed to families having more opportunities to plan vacations during breaks. Additional studies also show a dramatic decrease in discipline referrals, and other research revealed that the drop-off in student retention over long summer breaks averaged a loss of 2.6 months of grade-level equivalency in Math, two months for Reading, when using a traditional calendar; however, that dropped to one and 0.8 months respectively within balanced calendars.

Another benefit of the balanced calendar, Johnson said, is student athletes would have spring and fall breaks; currently, these students still have athletic responsibilities that prevent them from taking those days off. The balanced calendar, however, would feature two weeks – one in fall and one in spring – during which all school activities would cease. Also, those two-week breaks could be used for remediation, allowing students to get caught up during the intercession.

There are, of course, some concerns. Johnson said there could be conflicts with special education and vocational classes if all schools are not on the same calendar, and summer conflicts like AAU, state fair, military, camps and teacher conferences could occur. Students could be provided with transportation to attend remediation, and Johnson said funding that is currently used for summer school could be used to fund that transportation.

One question raised was why the corporation would be interested in making such a drastic change to their school year when the corporation’s ISTEP scores have been improving. Johnson said the corporation is interested in it because she believes it would allow teachers to really focus more on struggling children and provide more opportunities for students to succeed.

No one in the audience spoke up strongly against the idea. If this new calendar is approved, it could be implemented for the 2015-2016 school year.

Another public meeting will take place on Thursday, March 6 at 7 p.m. at the high school auditorium.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Register Now for Computer Classes Offered by the SCILL Center

By: Anita Goodan, WKVI
Published: March 4th, 2014

The SCILL Center is offering computer classes.

The first class will be on Tuesday, March 18 at 5 p.m. CT at the Starke County Economic Development Foundation in Knox. This will be an introductory class where students will learn computer software; terminology; using the mouse; selecting, inserting, deleting, saving, opening, and printing documents; creating folders, movement between windows, customizing a desktop and more.

Other classes will be offered, including an Intro to Word Class on Wednesday, April 16; Intro to Excel on Monday, May 5; Advanced Excel on Tuesday, June 10; and Publisher/PowerPoint on Wednesday, June 25.

To register, contact the SCILL Center at (574) 772-8001 or the Henry F. Schricker Public Library in Knox at (574) 772-7323.

Better Business Bureau Warns of Social Media Scams

By: Mary Perren, WKVI
Published: March 4th, 2014

Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are a great way to keep up with friends and follow sports and celebrities. They can also expose your computer to viruses and possibly make you vulnerable to identity theft. The Better Business Bureau recommends never installing a game or application you are not sure is legitimate. Also be careful when clicking on a link or video shared by a friend. Just because someone you know shared it, that’s not a guarantee it is safe to click. Go through your privacy settings and be aware of who is viewing your personal information and what they can see. The more personal information you share with the public, the easier it is for someone to steal your identity. Never give out personal information on sites you are unsure about. Always double check friend or follower requests, and do not automatically accept new requests. Always check the person’s profile and verify the request is from a real person. On Facebook, watch for posts containing poor grammar, as scheme Facebook posts are often full of typos and poor English. If you spot suspicious activity coming from a friend’s social media account, let the person know directly. If you suspect your account has been hacked, change your password, and do not share your new password with anyone.

Police Warn of Fraudulent Home Improvement Activity

By: Anita Goodan, WKVI
Published: March 4th, 2014
A Plymouth man was recently charged with home improvement fraud after not completing a construction project that he had been paid to do.

According to an investigation with the Marshal County Sheriff’s Department, detectives received information that Glenn Manns, 28, was allegedly paid to seal a blacktop driveway and he failed to do the project.

A case report was sent to the Marshall County Prosecutor’s Office where formal charges were issued. Manns was charged with Home Improvement Fraud as a Class B Misdemeanor and Theft as a Class D felony.

Officers urge you to be cautious when entering into contracts or having an unknown contractor do work or showing up to do work. Scam artists often show up at your door offering bogus home improvement and trick you into signing a contract without disclosing all the changes. The scam artist may say he/she just finished work at a neighbor’s house and has leftover material to complete a project at your house. The scammer will often pressure you to enter into a contract at that moment since the supplies are available to get the project done.

If you have a project in mind, take your time and find a contractor who is registered, licensed and bonded. Compare bids and services and make sure those numbers and terms are in writing. You should get a detailed contract.

Never pay for the entire project before the work begins. Don’t pay for more than a third of the total cost as a down payment. The remaining payments should be distributed upon completion and satisfaction that the job was done right.

Keep all records related to your project including change orders, warranties and any correspondence.

If you feel you may have fallen victim to home improvement fraud, call your local law enforcement.