Our 2016-2017 Kindergarten teachers would like to invite all interested students and parents to our Kindergarten Registration on April 12th from 5 – 7 p.m. Our Kindergarten staff will be there to help students and parents as they sign up for their education in a “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
Social Security Card.
By state law a child must be five (5) years of age on or before August 1st to enter kindergarten.
Starke County residents can help give local students the chance to learn the basics of economics, by taking part in a bowling event. Junior Achievement’s 2016 Achieve-A-Bowl will be held next month in Knox.
The annual fundraiser helps the nonprofit organization provide economic education to more than 740 students throughout Starke County. Local business leaders and parents volunteer to help educators teach local youth the basics of economics, business, and workforce readiness.
There are still plenty of opportunities to help out with next month’s Achieve-A-Bowl. Organizers are looking for organizations to sponsor bowling lanes, at a cost of $100 per lane. They’re also still accepting applications for bowling teams. Registration is $50 per team, and Junior Achievement is challenging each bowler to raise at least $60 to support its programs.
The Achieve-A-Bowl will take place Wednesday, April 20 at Bowlaway Lanes in Knox. Check-in starts at 5:30 p.m., while bowling is from 6:00 to 8:00.
Community Services of Starke County, Inc will benefit from the proceeds of the Nelson's Port-A-Pit Chicken & Pork Chop sale at Smith Farm Store in Knox. They will be selling from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., or until all sold out. Chicken OR Pork Chop = $6.50 Pit Tatoes = $3.50
The North Judson-San Pierre School Corporation has yet to release the names of the 24 staff members who are being eliminated or reassigned as part of a “right-sizing” of the corporation. The cuts announced and approved at the Tuesday, March 15 meeting include a termination of seven certified employees, an adjustment in contract for three certified employees, and a termination in employment for 14 non-certified personnel.
The reductions will be effective at the end of the school year. During the public comment portion of the meeting, North Judson-San Pierre Interim Superintendent Dr. Bob Boyd promised to provide a list of names to the media by the end of the week in order to allow time for formal notification of affected employees.
Boyd sent a news release on Friday, March 18th elaborating on the approved cuts. The reductions include 10 certified teachers, four of whom are general elementary school classroom teachers. Another three are special education teachers, and three more are certified support personnel. An additional 14 non-certified staff will be cut. Boyd says they are primarily teacher’s aid positions that support student learning, and adds no support programs will be cut.
WKVI News asked then if the names would be forthcoming, to which Boyd replied “the thought of the affected people’s names going public at this time was found to be repugnant by most folks here at N.J.-S.P.,” and advised they would be available after the board minutes are approved.
Indiana’s Access to Public Records Act is open to interpretation as to when so-called “draft minutes” or other meeting memoranda are available for public inspection. It merely states they are to be available “within a reasonable period of time” after a public meeting.
Additional reductions in food service and custodial personnel are still under consideration, according to Boyd. He says they will be announced in a timely manner.
The “right-sizing” plan includes consolidation of the middle and high school administrations and a move of 6th grade students to the elementary school building. Boyd says adjustments in central office and building level administrative positions will be made as a new superintendent is appointed by the school board. Boyd’s interim contract is up at the end of June.
As for decisions about the current central office building and middle school space, they will be made prior to the start of school in August. WKVI News remains committed to reporting on decisions as they are made and will share information as it is publicly available.
To date, Boyd says the adjustments in general fund expenditures total about $1.25 million, which is 16.5 percent of the 2016 general fund total appropriations. He says the right sizing will bring expenditures in line with projected general fund revenue. Boyd says N.J.-S.P. will continue to provide services for all grade levels well into the future. He adds cuts in state funding mean “business as usual from the past” is not possible in the short-term future.
This Friday is the deadline for certain retirees to start withdrawing money out of their retirement accounts. Specifically, those who reached the age of 70½ during 2015 who have a traditional IRA or participate in many workplace retirement plans must start receiving required minimum distributions by Friday, April 1.
The deadline only applies to the required minimum distribution for the first year. After that, it must be made before December 31 of each year.
However, Friday’s deadline does not apply to owners of Roth IRAs, and people with certain workplace retirement plans can wait longer to start taking money out of their accounts.
For more information or to learn how to calculate your required minimum distribution, visit the IRS website.
WKVI will once again be hosting a Radiothon to help the Starke County Youth Club raise money for its enrichment programs for local children.
SCYC Executive Director Irene Szakonyi says SCYC representatives will be on the air on K99.3 WKVI on Friday, May 6 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., “We have special guests coming in, a lot of our kids and their families, some club alumni, sharing what the program is about and the impact it’s had on their lives, all for the purpose of raising funds to keep it strong and healthy in our community.”
She says the money raised each year from the Radiothon goes a long way in providing activities and educational opportunities for Starke County youth. “The Radiothon provides absolutely critical funds for us to provide after-school, summer, and recreational programs all throughout the year for kids in kindergarten through 12th grade,” says Szakonyi. “Without the Radiothon, we would not be able to provide the scope of service that we provide and we wouldn’t be able to serve as many children and families as we serve in the course of the year.”
Szakonyi says regular people can make a big difference in the lives of local students, “The theme for this year’s event is ‘Be a club hero,’ and we know that in this community, there are plenty of people with superpowers, and that superpower is helping kids.”
The Indiana General Assembly has decided to again make changes to the farmland assessment formula, and Purdue Extension says landowners may notice a few changes.
This is the second time in two years that a change has been made. Larry DeBoer, a professor of Agricultural Economics with Purdue University, says this year’s changes will likely lower the property tax burden for local farmers with an eventual increase expected for everyone else.
The formula is considered complicated and can be found in Senate Enrolled Act 308. The legislation was signed into law by the Governor late last week. According to DeBoer, the assessment formula starts with a base rate, but sees a figure added to it called the capitalization rate. That second figure includes a numerator – consisting of income generated from the farm land; and a denominator made up of average interest rates.
Changes in commodity prices, however, are influencing the capitalization formula from years where those prices were up dramatically. Those same commodities have since fallen. That, according to DeBoer, is the reason behind another change in the capitalization formula.
Under the new formula farmers will see their property tax levy decreased. DeBoer says, however, that means increases on other homeowners for local governments to maintain their current revenue levels.
Indiana Department of Natural Resources
402 W. Washington St.
Indianapolis, IN 46204-2748
For immediate release: March 28, 2016
Hunter Education Classes Offered
Indiana Conservation Officers and volunteer Hunter Education Instructors are offering several Hunter Education classes in Northwest Indiana prior to the start of the 2016 Spring Turkey Season. The Youth Turkey Season is April 23rd and 24thand the regular Spring Turkey Season is April 27th through May 15th.
Indiana Hunter Education Courses will provide instruction in the areas of safe firearm use and handling while hunting, as well as in the home, hunter ethics and responsibility, game identification, and conservation management. Anyone born after December 31, 1986 is required to be certified in Hunter Education before they can purchase a hunting license.
Hunter Education Classes are being offered in Cedar Lake, Fish Lake, Hammond, North Judson, Portage, and Valparaiso. For dates and details regarding these classes, please visit www.register-ed.com to view events near you.
Hunter Education classes fill up fast and you are encouraged to register online prior to start of the class. You are required to attend the entire class in order to take and pass the test.
Plus the 2016-17 Indiana Fishing Regulation Guide is now available on eRegulations, a third-party online service. The Indiana Fishing Regulation Guide is a summary of Indiana fishing regulations. It is designed as a service to anglers and is not intended to be a complete digest of all fishing regulations. Most regulations are subject to change by administrative rule. There is a combined bag limit of 6 walleye or sauger and a size limit of 16 inches for walleye in all of district 10, except Wolf Lake in Lake County where it is 14 inches. The size limit is reduced to 14 inches for walleye caught south of State Road 26 which is about half way down the state. For more detailed information take a look at the 2016 fishing guide at http://www.eregulations.com/indiana/fishing/pageFlip/
The Starke County Commissioners last week reaffirmed their commitment to building a new hospital in Knox. County officials are still negotiating with Tennessee-based Community Health Systems, which recently acquired 80-percent ownership of IU Health Starke and LaPorte Hospitals. The county owns the current hospital building and land on which it sits. Commissioner Kathy Norem quoted an email received by the commissioners stating they are “ignorant, clueless and intentionally blocking the building of a new facility.” She says they want to ensure adequate services are provided.
“Every elected official here this evening is a longtime resident of this community. We all use the hospital, and we depend on its existence to provide medical, surgical and emergency services for ourselves, our families and our constituency. Certainly we recognize the value of the hospital and not just in terms of the medical services provided, but also as an economic powerhouse in our community. Without a hospital, a poor community is only going to get poorer.”
The commissioners voted unanimously to extend the notice period with CHS by 90 days and agreed to schedule public meetings during that time to share information with both hospital employees and the public at large. Norem says they want to ensure everyone knows what’s really going on. She says the commissioners are interested in a new hospital, but more than that they want to ensure people maintain their jobs and necessary services are provided.
County Attorney Marty Lucas adds CHS has requested confidentiality to the extent allowed by law with regard to the negotiations.
“We’re not as free to share information at this point as we’d like, but, on the converse of that, before any deal is actually agreed to, the public will know everything. That’s what these public meetings are about, to bring that to the public a little more. I just want you to understand that’s a little bit of a challenge.”
Dates for the public meetings have not yet been announced. As soon as they are, we will share them during our newscasts and on our Community Calendar page. Additionally, in our commitment to full public disclosure and transparency, we will share the entire discussion about the hospital, including public comments, on the Sunday, April 3 Kankakee Valley Viewpoints program. It airs at noon Central on K99.3 WKVI FM.
Ancilla College students can graduate with an associate degree in nursing in four semesters, thanks to recent changes within the program.
Director of Nursing and Health Sciences Ann Fitzgerald says students can now be admitted directly into the program. Admission tests and state licensing have not changed, but Fitzgerald says Ancilla has made the program simpler to get into a quicker to get through.
The entire RN program can be completed in four semesters with 62 credit hours. Fitzgerald adds small class sizes give students more individual attention.
All economic indicators show the health care industry is booming. Jobs are plentiful, and data shows one in four new jobs will be in the health care industry in the next 10 years. Ancilla also offers a one-year LPN to RN bridge, a Medical Assistant certificate, and CNA, Health Science, Exercise Science, Professional Health Studies and more programs and degrees.
The east and westbound driving lanes of I-94 between the U.S. 20/35 interchange and mile marker 41 in LaPorte County will be closed for the next several months. Starting Friday, April 1st and continuing through the end of October, INDOT crews will rehabilitate the bridge that runs over the NICTD Railroad.
Traffic will be reduced to two lanes on both the east and westbound sides of the interstate while the work is ongoing. Drivers should be prepared to slow down and be alert to shifting traffic patterns.
March Madness is drawing to a close. So what could be more fitting than putting up some pictures of the 1920/21 and the 1942/43 North Judson basketball teams that were included in Marv Allen’s Photographic History of Starke County.
The route is set for this fall’s Indiana Bicentennial Torch Relay. The event, patterned after the Olympic torch relay, will start in Corydon on Sept. 9 and travel more than 3,200 miles through all 92 counties. Corydon was chosen as the starting destination as it was Indiana’s original capitol.
More than 2,000 torchbearers will shepherd the flame through the state along a route designed to showcase Indiana’s natural beauty, local interest and historic significance to the state. Each county’s bicentennial committee solicited nominees to carry the torch. That list is being vetted at the state level now.
Communities along the torch route will host celebrations as the flame passes through. A specialized Mobile Visitors Center will accompany the torch along its journey.
The torch will come up U.S. 35 into Pulaski County on Friday, Oct. 7th and along part of the Panhandle Pathway. A celebration is planned in the Winamac Town Park.
From there it will head into Starke County up U.S. 35 to State Road 10 into North Judson, take a ride on the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum’s rail line, travel north out of town onto 350 West to Toto Road and into Knox, where an overnight stop is planned before heading north to St. Joseph County the following day.
Marion County is the final stop along the 92 county relay route. An all-day celebration is planned in Indianapolis on Saturday, Oct. 15.
Ancilla College is taking part in a state initiative aimed at helping Hoosiers with some college credit return to college and succeed. The You Can. Go Back. program initiated by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education is a Learn More Indiana initiative.
It offers students exclusive incentives to return to school. Ancilla College Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Joanna Blount says the two-year private school is uniquely set up to help students succeed. She says Ancilla offers online, evening and accelerated courses, financial incentives, one-year certificate programs and more to make college attractive to learners looking to step up their career.
Professional advisers at Ancilla review each student’s case individually and match them with the right program. Blount says they will develop an academic plan that best fits the student’s goals and situation. She adds classrooms are often filled with students from college-age through retirement. Additionally, Ancilla hosts classes on different days of the week and at different times of the day to accommodate working and family schedules.
Programs and incentives available to eligible returning students include academic credit for work or military experience using the ACE (American Council on Education) evaluation; prior learning assessment through testing and departmental exams; military financial benefits as part of the Post 9/11 GI Bill’s Yellow Ribbon program; a tuition freeze for “You Can. Go Back.” students who maintain continuous full-time enrollment; career assistance with job preparation, internships and job hunting tips and eight certificate programs.
The Starke County Commissioners are taking extra steps to signal their compliance with a state law that looks to provide jail inmates with healthcare benefits.
Two meetings ago, Sheriff Bill Dulin approached the Commissioners about signing an agreement with a company to assist inmates with Medicaid applications. Indiana adopted the law effective in September of last year – which is designed to ensure incarcerated individuals obtain healthcare coverage prior to their release.
Commissioner Kathy Norem says it will work differently if those subject to incarceration are already receiving benefits.
“Inmates who do have Medicaid benefits when they’re arrested,” says Norem. “That has to be reported to Medicaid and their benefits will be suspended while they’re in the jail…it gets them signed up for Medicaid upon their release.”
A small fee is charged to process the applications for jail inmates. Under the state’s law, inmates incarcerated for more than 30 days are required to receive application assistance. It’s optional for those behind bars for less than that period.
While there’s no penalty for failing to comply with the law, there are incentives offered through the state to encourage participation. Currently if Starke County checks an inmate into the hospital for treatment, they are given a bill. If however a boilerplate contract is signed with the state indicating Starke County’s desire to comply, certain inmate medical expenses can be reimbursed.
Norem says there doesn’t seem to be a reason not to participate.
“That bill will be sent to the Family and Social Services Administration for payment by Medicaid,” says Norem. “But if we don’t sign it, we’re still on the hook for it.”
The Commissioners agreed to have County Attorney Marty Lucas review the contract prior to signature.
Norem said she would contact the state requesting the contract. Signature is anticipated at the next County Commissioners meeting.
The North Judson Town Council has selected a contractor for cemetery lawn mowing. Altman’s Lawn Service was once again awarded the bid during Monday’s town council meeting, for a cost of $12,000 for the year. They also agreed to mow the lawn at the firehouse when needed, at a cost of $20 for each mowing.
Unlike last year when the deadline for mowing bids had to be extended due to low response, the Town of North Judson had plenty of choice this year, with a total of nine bids being received for 2016. Altman’s was the lowest bidder to provide proof of liability service.
Also during Monday’s meeting, funding for the town’s water tower rehabilitation project took another step forward. The town council gave its final approval to the town’s updated Drug Policy Ordinance. The updates were required as a condition of accepting grant funding from the state. Now that they’ve been formally approved, the planning grant application can officially be submitted.
More details have been revealed about the new community center planned for North Judson. A public hearing was held Monday to give residents the chance to offer input, as well as learn more about the project.
During the meeting, project organizer Bill Crase said he envisions a community center that can be used for many different types of events and activities. “Not only can it be used for the rental of weddings, birthdays, and stuff like that, but we’re going to try to plan for senior citizen functions there as well, and other things along that line for the community to actually use this facility,” he said. “We want it to be a true community center.” The new building would also be available for use as an emergency shelter, in the case of severe weather or lengthy power outages.
Crase says they plan to build the new facility on donated land, “At this time, the projected location would be to the north of the fire station. It would be on the railroad bed back there north of the fire station.”
The Town of North Judson is collaborating with Wayne Township in an effort to get grant funding from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs. Kankakee-Iroquois Regional Planning Commission Executive Director Edwin Buswell was also at the meeting to explain how the funding process will work. “Total project cost right now is estimated at $830,000 but that is not a set number yet,” he said. “That’s pretty much the high end of the estimate. It could come down easily. So it has a $430,000 local match that will come from the town, the township, and in-kind donations. A letter of intent is due April 8 and then the application is due June 10 and we’ll hear results, I think, in probably August.”
Crase believes the town’s chances of getting a grant are good, but says organizers are also coming up with some alternate plans in case funding falls through. One idea is to use some of the North Judson-San Pierre School Corporation’s property, at a time when school officials are looking to downsize the facilities to match the decline in the number of students.
More public hearings are expected to be held as the grant application process moves forward.
Indiana residents are encouraged to take a few minutes today to make sure they know what to do in case a tornado strikes. Officials are planning statewide tornado drills this morning and again this evening.
At 10:15 a.m. and 7:35 p.m. EDT, the National Weather Service will test its tornado warning procedures, which will activate Emergency Alert System tests on radio and television stations, as well as tornado sirens in many communities across the state.
The Indiana Department of Homeland Security says there are a few steps you can practice to make sure you’re ready for a tornado. If you’re at work or school, check to see if there is a severe weather plan and know where the designated safety area is. Otherwise, move to an interior area on the lowest level of the building, away from windows.
If you’re at home, go to the basement or lowest level, and move away from exterior windows and doors. Those who live in mobile homes or similar buildings should plan ahead to find a safe and sturdy structure to go to, in the event of a tornado. The IDHS says mobile homes are not safe shelters during a tornado, since they often can’t withstand the wind speed and pressure.
It’s also important to be able to receive notice of severe weather. One of the best ways to do that is to have an all-hazards weather radio in your home near your sleeping area. Also, consider making sure you’re able to receive emergency notifications on your cell phone.
Today’s statewide tornado drill is part of Severe Weather Preparedness Week.