Saturday, October 31, 2015

11/7/2015 Sorority Hosts Holiday Bazaar to Benefit Scholarship Funds

Psi Iota Xi Sorority is hosting its annual Winter Wonderful holiday bazaar on Saturday, November 7.
The event brings together local artists and vendors, and gives residents an opportunity to do some holiday shopping, all while helping raise money for the sorority’s preschool and college scholarships, as well as other charities helping the community. Additionally, door prizes will be awarded throughout the event, and food and beverages will be available.
The Winter Wonderful holiday bazaar will be held November 7 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Central at the Washington Township Community Building at 20 N. State Road 23 east of Knox.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Nurse Recommends Flu Shots, Good Hygiene

State health officials this week confirmed the first flu-related death of the season. No details about the person’s age or county of residence were released due to privacy laws. Starke County Health Nurse Frank Lynch says now is the time to get your flu shot if you haven’t done so already.
He adds there is nothing in the shot that can give a person the flu. Shots are recommended annually for everyone six months or older. Lynch says the very young, very old and people with compromised immune systems or breathing problems, heart disease and other medical complications are especially susceptible to the flu and other types of viral illnesses.
He says the best way to avoid getting sick is to wash your hands frequently to minimize the spread of germs and other types of bacteria. Lynch also recommends staying home from work or school when you are sick. Flu symptoms include running a fever of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or greater, headache, fatigue, cough, muscle aches and a sore throat. Despite the early flu death, state officials say influenza activity is minimal at both the state and county level at this time.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Starke County Bicentennial Committee Finalizes Torch Relay Route

Indiana BicentennialPlans are moving ahead for Starke County’s celebration of the state’s bicentennial next year.
During its meeting Tuesday, the Starke County Bicentennial Committee received approval to share the details of the bicentennial torch relay route. Chairman Dave Pearman says the torch will pass through the county Friday, October 7 between 4:30 and 7:00 p.m., “It’s going to begin in the area of Bass Lake. It’ll go down State Road 10. At State Road 10 and the North Judson Trail, it’ll actually diverge then, and the torch will travel on one of the trains from the train museum.”
Once residents have a chance to meet the train at the museum, the torch will head toward Knox, “From there, we’ll make our way to 300 East in Knox and then start a little bit slower cadence and begin the torch route again on 300 East. Moving through to the river where it meets at 300 East just past the Industrial Park, the torch will join a boat and will arrive by boat into the park to a great deal of fanfare.” At that point, the relay will meet up with a youth relay taking place in the park for the celebration’s grand finale.
Pearman says the committee’s still looking for nominations for torchbearers, “It’s been fairly slow. We’ve got about a half a dozen so far, but one of the things I’ve been telling the state is that we’re not super-nervous about that in Starke County. We’ve got a great committee put together. Also, the deadline has been extended from December 31, 2015 to January 31, 2016, and so essentially what will happen is that our committee will also be involved in selection and recommendation, so we’re not really concerned about the lack of nominations at this point.”
Nominations can be turned in at local libraries, the chamber of commerce, or the Indiana Bicentennial: Starke County Facebook page.
The Bicentennial Committee’s also finalizing plans for its fund-raising efforts for the celebration. During Tuesday’s meeting, they worked on commemorative artwork that will appear on place mats in local restaurants. The committee’s also getting prices from print shops and asking businesses to advertise in the place mats. They plan to have them, along with the rest of their marketing program, ready to launch in January.
Pearman also says a special bicentennial flag has been given to the county to fly at the courthouse on December 11.

Indiana Prepares for First River Otter Trapping Season

River OtterRiver otters will be in season in Indiana for the first time in years starting this November.
The Indiana Department of Natural Resources says the otters were reintroduced about 20 years ago, but have been protected as a way to help grow their population. Biologists recently assessed that river otter numbers are sufficiently large to allow trapping.
Indiana Conservation Officer Keith Wildeman says there are indicators of strong population growth.
“Over the years, there have been a number of road kills, and a number of incidental trappings of otters that our biologists feel the numbers are there and the population of there that the trapping is warranted,” says Wildeman.
River otters are often trapped for their pelts, less so for their meat.
In 2015, a quota of 600 otters has been set. Only two otters may be caught per trapper. This year’s season will run alongside beaver trapping season – which begins on November 15th and runs until March 15th. The 600 otter quota could also put an earlier stop to the trapping season.
Wildeman says trappers are required to register their catches with the DNR check system within 24 hours.
“That is to know that we can keep track of the statewide quota of the season,” says Wildeman. “And then once that quota of 600 is reached, the season will close for trapping otters within 48 hours.”
Check-ins can be online, or by visiting a DNR representative. If incidentals are trapped following the end of the season, the carcass is expected to be turned over to the DNR for study. The pelts will receive a CITES tag for sale of the open market.
More can be found on DNR website. Wildeman says he wants to remind trappers that they need to seek permission before entering private property.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

11/7/2015 Feather Party @ Knox American Legion Post #131

Halloween Tips from Sheriff Dulin & the Starke County Sheriff's Office

11/11/2015 NJ American Legion Post #92 Veteran's Day Memorial

11/11/2015 NJ American Legion Post #92 Balloon Lift Off

11/7/2015 St. Luke Community Church Vesper Circle Bazaar

10/31/2015 Trunk or Treat @ Church of the Heartland

10/31/2015 Truck or Treat @ Our Redeemer Lutheran Church

11/7 & 8/2015 Celebrate Historic Schricker Home 100th Year

10/31/2015 Rock-a-thon Coat Drive

11/6/2015 Bluegrass Jam

11/1/2015 NJ Kiwanis Pancake & Sausage Breakfast

11/1 & 2/2015 NJ Water Hydrants to be Flushed

N.J.-S.P. Superintendent Elaborates on Resignation

North Judson-San Pierre Superintendent Lynn Johnson
North Judson-San Pierre Superintendent Lynn Johnson
North Judson-San Pierre Superintendent Lynn Johnson says her abrupt decision to retire at the end of December, a year before her current contract is up, was a mutual one between herself and the school board. The corporation made the announcement on Monday, and the board will formally accept her resignation and separation agreement at their November meeting.
“I don’t have less of a commitment to the corporation,” Johnson told WKVI News in an exclusive interview. “I intend to see the referendum through, ensure a smooth transition and make any tough decisions that might be necessary.”
She admitted the push for a property tax increase to shore up the corporation’s general fund is a “polarizing process” but added “we are a community that loves our kids.” Voters who reside within the district will decide that issue on Tuesday.
N.J.-S.P. School Board President Pat Goin agrees the referendum push has been a “long, hard battle” for Johnson.
“No one can question her dedication to North Judson-San Pierre Schools and her way of putting kids first always,” Goin told WKVI News.
She adds filling the superintendent’s position will be “very difficult” if the referendum does not pass. Should that happen Goin says the corporation will have to be conscientious of spending and continue to tighten its belt.
Johnson is staying on through the end of December. Her immediate plans include spending a week with her granddaughters in Illinois and heading to Florida with her husband for a vacation to “think, contemplate and plan.” Johnson’s 30 year career in education includes 11 years as a teacher in LaPorte, 13 years as a principal and the last six as superintendent at N.J.-S.P.  She praised the corporation’s leadership team, central office and teaching staffs for their hard work and dedication.
Goin says the Indiana School Board Association keeps a list of interim administrators who are willing to step in on a short-term basis. The board will work with them to find a superintendent to buy time until the end of the school year. Goin adds there is one qualified candidate within the corporation and encourages her to apply when the position is posted. She says the corporation is open to exploring all options in the future, including possible administrative consolidation with other districts, but questions how much money that process would actually save. Johnson’s salary is $102,000 annually, according to the North Judson-San Pierre Superintendent Employment Contract.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

NJ-SP 2015 Volleyball Sectional Champs!

Starke Chamber Names Kersting’s Cycle Center Business of the Year

Kerstings Business of the Year
Kersting’s Cycle Center is the Starke County Chamber of Commerce 2015 Business of the Year
“The little shop in the middle of nowhere where wonderful folks come from everywhere” is the 2015 Starke County Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year.
Kersting’s Cycle Center owner Jim Kersting and his late wife, Nella, opened a small engine repair shop south of North Judson on State Road 39 in 1960. The original building has grown to more than 37,000 square feet with more than 20 employees during the busy motorcycle riding season.
In addition to the motorcycle showroom and repair shop, Kersting’s is also home to The World of Motorcycles Museum. The 24,000 square foot building is home to more than 150 motorcycles, automobiles, antiques and memorabilia. Former Gov. Mitch Daniels, a motorcycle enthusiast, paid a visit to the museum during his second term. Visitors from around the world stop in to see the extensive collection of vintage motorcycles.
Each year a North Judson-San Pierre High School senior receives a scholarship in memory of Nella, who died in 2003. Jim also supports several charities, serves on the North Judson Board of Zoning Appeals and had a hand in founding the Kankakee Valley Harley Owners Group, or H.O.G. Chapter. That organization also supports numerous charities. Jim was also one of the founding fathers of the North Judson Mint Festival, which occurs every Father’s Day weekend.
Kersting’s Cycle Center will be recognized during the annual Starke County Chamber of Commerce Dinner on Thursday, Nov. 5 at the Nancy J. Dembowski Community Center in downtown Knox. Social hour begins at 6 p.m. and will be followed by the dinner and awards at 7.

BMV Amends Hours to Accommodate Elections

Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles license branches will adjust their hours next Monday and Tuesday in order to accommodate prospective voters. They will be open from 8:30 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 2 and from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 3. During those times license branches will only process new, amended or replacement ID card and driver’s license or learner permit applications. New driver’s licenses and learner permits will only be processed if the customer has already completed the required testing.
The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles provides free, state-issued ID cards for voting purposes to any unlicensed Hoosier who is a United States citizen if he or she can provide proper documents and will be at least 18 on or before the date of the next General Election.
Acceptable documents include a proof of identity document like a birth certificate or passport; a proof of Social Security document such as a Social Security card, pay stub that contains the full Social Security number or W-2 form; proof of lawful status, such as a birth certificate or passport; and two documents to show proof of residency, including a voter registration card, utility bill or bank statement.
More information and a complete list of acceptable documents can be found online at

Monday, October 26, 2015

N.J.-S.P. Superintendent Announces Retirement, Replacement Search Underway

Superintendent Lynn Johnson
Superintendent Lynn Johnson
A local school corporation has started the search for a new Superintendent.
North Judson-San Pierre announced on Monday that Lynn Johnson will be retiring from her position on December 31stof this year. Johnson has been vocal during her tenure as Superintendent about issues facing education in the Hoosier state.
According to information released by the N.J.-S.P. school corporation, the Board of Trustees has now started the search for an interim Superintendent. The Board will subsequently begin the search for a permanent replacement.
The announcement of Johnson’s retirement comes days prior to November’s General Election. North Judson – San Pierre is asking residents for an increase in their property tax levy for the school corporation to continue providing what they consider crucial services to students.
Johnson will be offering support to assist in the transition process. Johnson and members of the School Board of Trustees could not be immediately reached for comment.
WKVI will update this story as more information becomes available.

Starke County Chamber Announces Shricker Honoree

Melba Shilling
Melba Shilling
A longtime Starke County Extension Home Economist is the winner of the 2015 Henry F. Schricker Award. Named for the former governor and Starke County native, the award is given annually to a resident who embodies Shricker’s credo of service before self. This year’s committee, comprised of Starke County Chamber of Commerce representatives and former Schricker Award winners, selected Melba Shilling as the honoree.
She was born in Ridgeville, Ind. and graduated from Jefferson High School and Purdue University. Melba married her husband, Jim, on April 1, 1956. They have two children, Bradford and Brenda, and two grandchildren, Kaylee and Carson Krom.
Melba was an Extension Home Economist in Starke County in the 1950s, 60s and 70s. She was honored by the Indiana Home Economics Association for outstanding contributions in her career field, and is listed in Who’s Who of American Women and Community Leaders of America. She is also a member of many organizations.
Melba and Jim were notified of the selection in early October. Both expressed humble gratification at the committee’s selection. Due to Jim’s death on Oct. 17th, the award presentation and celebration of Melba Shilling’s life will take place in the spring.

Friday, October 23, 2015

N.J.-S.P. Principal Responds to Volleyball Allegations

BluejayThe WKVI News and Sports Departments and General Manager met this week with officials from North Judson-San Pierre High School to discuss allegations raised by two parents during the Tuesday, Oct. 21 ‘s school board meeting and reported by WKVI News. We received this response from them this morning and agreed to publish it in its entirety on our website. We have also removed the original story from our site in an effort to stop the spread of misinformation.

Statement From NJ-SP High School Principal (Annette Zupin):

As the principal of North Judson-San Pierre High School, I do not make a habit out of publicly commenting about school business.  The allegations of misconduct that were recently made at a school board meeting (and subsequently reported by WKVI) are serious.  I choose to comment publicly on this situation now because it is serious, and because it is important for anyone that has read the initial report to know the truth.  
The truth is that we did have conflict on our volleyball team.  That conflict was first reported to us on Thursday, August 27th.  On the afternoon of the 27th, members of our administrative team interviewed players and coaches from our volleyball team.  On Friday the 28th, a second series of discussions were held.  There were small group meetings (all junior varsity players together with a coach and an administrator in one room & all varsity players together with coaches in a different room) followed up by a large group (full team) meeting with coaches and an administrator present.  There were also several meetings over the course of these two days with various groups of parents.

As in any situation involving conflict, it is never just one thing.  The common themes that were discussed on that Friday were … miscommunication over a team gathering that made the junior varsity players feel left out, poor body language between teammates, and the fact that a large number of underclassmen had earned significant roles on the varsity team.

At the end of the meeting on Friday, the vast majority of the players in the volleyball program were pleased with the progress that had been made and were ready to move on.  On the Monday after that meeting, two junior varsity players chose to leave the team.  Soon after that, two other junior varsity players were lost for the season for medical reasons.  At that point, we were able to add three more girls to our volleyball program which allowed us to complete the junior varsity season.  At no point during the rest of the season did we receive any more reports of conflict within the team.

For these same allegations to emerge two months later is quite curious to me.  We’re not perfect.  We will never claim to be.  But we are also not what was portrayed in the WKVI article.  Morale is so low that nine girls quit?  The correct number is two, and three more joined the team in the next three days.  Bullying?  No.  Conflict?  Yes.  Was it mediated?  Yes.  This situation has been addressed, and we have moved forward.

We take great pride in working to provide the best possible environment for our students to succeed … both inside and outside of the regular school day.  That environment is not problem-free.  When problems arise, we work through them.  We don’t ignore them.  In cases of severe misconduct, we take severe action.  In cases where other corrective measures are appropriate, we use those.

I know not all of you have the view from the inside of the school that I do.  I know it’s easy to find negativity if you seek it.  But I look forward to coming to work at North Judson-San Pierre High School everyday because of the students and the staff that I get to work with.  I am proud to be a Bluejay, and I will always be proud to be a Bluejay!

Local Innovators Honored at Induction Ceremony

society of innovators logoA day before his funeral, the late Jim Shilling received one final honor.
Jim and his wife Melba’s invention Agri-Therm earned them an induction into the team category of The Society of Innovators of Northwest Indiana. Agri-Therm is a system for detecting temperature in grain bins. It was one of several teams and individuals to be inducted into the society at a ceremony last night in Hammond.
Other inductees in the team category include The Brady Stick, a pelvic alignment device developed by Larry and Garry Brady, and Porter-Starke Services for its efforts in using the “This I Believe” essay writing initiative as part of its outreach.
In the individual category, Don Galbreath from Winamac was inducted for his innovations to the waste-handling industry over the past 60 years, specifically his work in developing roll-off hoists. In addition to being inducted as a member of the society, he was also inducted as a fellow, the top award for individuals. When accepting the award, he said his work on roll-off hoists began after his father’s blacksmith business started running out of work, and they were looking for different things to make. Rather than being the first to make the product, he said he simply followed a need that existed at the time and developed a version that required less maintenance.
Additionally, IU Health LaPorte Hospital was one of two teams to win this year’s Chanute Prize, after having been inducted into the society in 2013. It was recognized for its efforts to improve its processes and create a better work environment through the use of Rapid Improvement Events. So far, they’ve allowed the hospital to put more than 40 initiatives into place.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

11/17/2015 Painting with Tabitha

We’ve scheduled another “Paint with Tabitha” session for Tuesday, November 17th at 6 p.m. 

The subject this time is a close-up of a sunflower, which will look very nice as a centerpiece on your Thanksgiving snack table.  Just imagine all the oooohs and aaaahs you’ll get from your guests, who won’t believe that you did it yourself.

Cost for the class is $10.  To reserve your spot call the North Judson-Wayne Township Library at 574-896-2841, email us at, or just stop in.  We'll be looking for you.  

Starke and Pulaski Counties Partner for Workforce Training Program


Starke and Pulaski Counties are working together to expand adult workforce training.

Starke County Economic Development Foundation Executive Director Charlie Weaver asked the commissioners of both counties Monday for their support in applying for a grant from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs. He told the Pulaski County Commissioners the grant would help fund a program that will give workers the skills most needed by area industries, “We have surveyed Starke County, done some surveys in three companies in Pulaski County, other companies in Marshall County and LaPorte County, trying to find out what in the adult workforce is the most needed right now, and it was interesting – every company we went to, the number one need was industrial equipment maintenance. That’s the people they can’t find. The secondary need was training in automation with troubleshooting.”

Weaver says the counties have to have a workforce ready for potential industries, “The reason we’re doing this is the whole landscape of employment is changing. So we’ve got to, in the rural counties, prepare ourselves so that we are relevant when a company comes looking for a location. We’ve got to have those job skills that are not only new for today but new for tomorrow, and that’s what this whole thing is designed to do.”

The Office of Community and Rural Affairs is awarding eight grants of up to $250,000 each. Weaver says in order to get some of that money, a regional approach is needed, “We’re just individually too small to compete, so we have to join together, and my commissioners ask, ‘Why are you going to Pulaski County to do this?’ And my answer is ‘To be able to train the people in Starke County, I need people from other counties to get trained also. We need enough mass to be able to afford the program.'”

The Pulaski County Commissioners formally agreed to support the program and to work with Starke County on the project, while the Starke County Commissioners agreed to update its fair housing and drug-free workplace ordinances in order to comply with the grant.

Project Cleanup Efforts Continue in North Judson

Trees were recently removed from Pioneer Cemetery adjacent to Norwayne Field in North Judson. Photo courtesy of
Trees were recently removed from Pioneer Cemetery adjacent to Norwayne Field in North Judson. Photo courtesy of

The contractor who removed dead trees from Pioneer Cemetery in North Judson is almost done cleaning up leftover debris from the job. Town officials opted to take the trees out due to safety concerns.

They had been decaying for decades, and every time the wind blew limbs and branches fell off. As of right now there are no official plans to plant new trees. There’s been some talk of private fundraising efforts to offset the cost of doing so. Any money raised privately would have to be donated to the town and allocated for that purpose.

The old fire station/community center at the corner of Main Street and Keller Avenue was also demolished recently. The 1950s-era building was in need of extensive repairs, including a roof which carried an estimated price tag of $40,000. The building’s foundation has been removed, and the ground will be smoothed out and left in a green condition. The flagpole from the fire station will remain, and benches may be added to develop the corner lot into a green space. Final plans for the space have yet to be determined.

Local Resources Available to Help with Domestic Violence Posted on


October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Wendy Elam with the Coalition Against Domestic Abuse in Starke County says domestic violence takes many forms, “It could be physical abuse, it could be emotional, it could also be financial. There are different aspects, like isolation and the abuser having controlling behavior over the victim.”

She says a victim of domestic violence is abused every seven seconds, and many of these cases go unreported, “It’s just the tip of the iceberg that you hear about, and they say a quarter of your physical assaults, a fifth of your rapes, and half of the stalkings go unreported. So what you hear is just a little bit of what’s actually going on.”

Elam says if you’re experiencing abuse, the best thing to do is talk to an advocate who’ll help you make a safety plan, “It’s all confidential, free of charge, and we’ll help you. A safety plan is the main thing because you’re just trying to keep that victim safe.”
People can reach the Caring Place in Starke County at 574-772-2222 or the emergency shelter directly at 1-800-933-0466.