Friday, October 20, 2017

11/2/2017 Learning Disabilities & ADHD Conference

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West Side of North Judson Proposed as Ideal Spot for Future Industrial Development

Posted on October 20, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

Starke County Economic Development Foundation Board President Larry Wickert provided the North Judson Town Council with a report when they met earlier this week.

Wickert’s report began with an update about the SCEDF Ag-Initiative. He said as a part of the initiative to advance agriculture industry in the area, foundation representatives have been researching alternative crop options that would be more profitable for local producers.

SCEDF board members have been discussing the most advantageous area in North Judson for future developments. North Judson Town Council President Wendy Hoppe and former town councilman Tim Cummins both serve as members of the SCEDF board. Wickert said that after some discussion with them and other committee members, they came to the conclusion that the best place would be on the west side of town near where OTES Signs & Graphics is located.

He explained that since water and sewer utilities reach out to that area it would be the ideal vicinity for future industrial development within the Town of North Judson.

NJSP Superintendent Provides a Peek at Some Preliminary Work Being Done on Lease Rental Bond Projects

Posted on October 20, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

North Judson-San Pierre Superintendent Dr. Annette Zupin had a plethora of project updates to provide to the school board when they met Tuesday night.

Dr. Zupin informed the board that although they won’t be receiving money from their lease rental bonds until January, plenty of preliminary work has been done so far. She stated that quotes are out for the bathroom partition replacement portion of the project and she anticipates that work to be completed over Christmas Break while students are out of the building.

The superintendent mentioned that on Monday, drilling was conducted on the school’s campus in three different areas to assess the best location for the proposed tennis court. She said those results will be back soon and then they can begin designing that plan.

Dr. Zupin said that the Elementary and Jr./Sr. High School principals have been speaking with representatives about the proposed security measure, “The architects have spoken with both Mrs. Berndt and Mr. Polite about how what secure entrance will look so they’re designing that plan right now.”

Zupin added that last week crews were looking at the roof, checking to see the extent of the damages and what kind of materials will be needed for those repairs. She also said that within the next week, they will have someone come in to check the ducts, to assess whether or not they need to be cleaned before they spend money on a cleaning crew.

Starke County Council Discusses Additional Appropriation for SCILL Center

Posted on October 20, 2017
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

The Starke County Council members discussed an additional appropriation request made Monday night by Starke County Economic Development Foundation Executive Director Charlie Weaver.

“It’s for $40,000 and that’s for the second half of the calendar year for the SCILL Center. It’s consistent with what’s been done in the past,” said Weaver.

The money helps keep the SCILL Center operations going at the facility located in the industrial park in Knox.

The funding request was before the Starke County Commissioners at their last meeting and discussed in several meetings before Monday’s meeting.

The council unanimously approved the request as presented.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Halloween is Creeping Closer!

And that means there are only two weekends left to:

  • plan that Halloween party
  • visit a Halloween maze
  • get the heck scared out of you 
  • admire some scarecrow art
  • take a ride on a Halloween Train
  • or find some other way to celebrate
So check out the list of mazes, haunted houses, pet fests, trips to a "haunted" zoo, a wicked woods, haunted mini golf, etc. that we've gathered for you at the North Judson-Wayne Township Library's web page. 

But don't worry, once Halloween is over we'll start working on our list of things to keep you busy over Thanksgiving and Christmas.  

New North Judson Clerk-Treasurer Scheduled to be Sworn-In Friday Morning

Posted on October 19, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

Tomorrow morning at 7:30 a.m. Andrew J. Rowe will be sworn in as North Judson Clerk-Treasurer. Rowe was voted in during a democratic caucus last Thursday and a resolution to appoint him to the position received unanimous council approval at a North Judson Town Council meeting on Monday night.

The resolution also states that Rowe is granted the authority to be the signature of all bank accounts, accounts payable, accounts receivable and all other financial records required by the office of clerk-treasurer.

Though Rowe will be sworn-in by Alicia Collins during Friday’s ceremony, North Judson Council President Wendy Hoppe specified that his term does not officially begin until 12:01 a.m. on Monday, October 23rd. The resolution passed Monday states that his term will run from that Monday until Wednesday, January 1st of 2020.

Starke County Council Addresses Loss in Ambulance Transfers

Posted on October 19, 2017
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

Starke County EMS is losing ambulance transfers to another ambulance service which has caused a reduction in revenue for the county.

EMS Director Travis Clary mentioned the issue to the commissioners earlier this month in his report to the board and the Starke County Council discussed it this week.

Council Vice President David Pearman said county officials met with Starke Hospital personnel recently and they said they would work with the county to assist the EMS service. The fact that a Porter Regional ambulance is at Starke Hospital is still bothering some county officials.

Pearman added that another reason for the change is that the EMS service is not equipped with particular breathing equipment.

“One of the things that had been discussed before was that they would help us fund and train us but also help us fund the piece of equipment,” said Pearman. It’s not super expensive but supposedly that’s why they’ve been sending so many. My point is our patient mix could not have changed that much in three months where all of a sudden we’re not qualified to do our own transfers. They’re saying we don’t have the required equipment and training.”

Starke Hospital Interim CEO Jeff Fites told WKVI News, “In a recent meeting with county commission and EMS officials, we discussed ambulance transfers from Starke Hospital. It’s important to note that transfers overall at the hospital have been down for the time period that the county indicated they’ve seen a decrease. Our number one priority at Starke Hospital is our patients, some of whom have a higher acuity than Starke County EMS can accommodate, and some of whom must travel farther than the Starke County EMS service area.

We will continue to work with various ambulance services in addition to Starke County EMS for transfers from Starke Hospital so our patients can receive the timely and medically-necessary transfer services they need. We intend to continue collaborating with Starke County EMS, including offering them additional training if they would like it. We value our relationship with Starke County EMS and feel confident we can work together to offer excellent ambulance transfer care to our communities.”

It is also bothering residents in Starke County who are waiting on transfer service as Starke County EMS is not being called to perform transfers as often. Residents reportedly often wait hours for the alternate service to complete the transfer request.

EMS Director Travis Clary reported to the commissioners on Oct. 2 that the percentage of transfers dropped from 35 or 25 percent to 10 percent last month.

2% Increase to Base Salary Included in North Judson-San Pierre Master Teacher Contract

Posted on October 19, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

The North Judson-San Pierre Teacher’s Master Contract was ratified by the teacher’s association on Thursday of last week and received board approval during the NJSP school board meeting on Tuesday night.

Superintendent Dr. Annette Zupin stated that the contract is a 2 year agreement which will be retroactive to the beginning of this school year. She shared that some of the highlights include that the beginning teacher base pay was raised to $35,000.

Dr. Zupin said that a two percent increase was applied to existing teacher salaries. She went on to thank the teachers, “They’ve been patient through our financial issues and they are here because they are loyal and committed to North Judson-San Pierre so they deserve what we were able to work together to accomplish.”

Zupin added that the extra curricular schedule was re-structured to reflect the school’s new set-up with the Jr./Sr. High School. For that reason, any language referring to the “middle school” was removed.

11/5/2017 FAFSA Workshops Planned for November, As Part of College Goal Sunday

Posted on October 19, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

Those planning on attending college next fall can get an early start on the financial aid process. On Sunday, November 5, students and their parents can get some free help filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. As part of College Goal Sunday, volunteers around Indiana will be holding FAFSA workshops.

By filling out the free application, students may be eligible for state and federal grants, scholarships, and loans at most colleges and universities. To qualify for state aid, the form needs to be filed by April 15. However, event organizers say many people are worried that the process is complicated and time consuming.

During the free College Goal Sunday workshops, volunteers will be available to guide students and their parents through the process. Locally, FAFSA workshops will be held at Plymouth High School, Purdue University Northwest in Westville, and Ivy Tech Community College in Valparaiso. Families are asked to bring their completed 2016 tax returns and other income and benefits information. Students and parents are also encouraged to create U.S. Department of Education FSA IDs online before going.

All workshops start at 2:00 p.m. local time on Sunday, November 5. More College Goal Sunday events are planned for February. For more information about College Goal Sunday or for a complete list of locations, visit

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Looking For Family Friendly Events For The Holidays?

Families will be gathering for the Holidays over the next few months and there are at least 72 events taking place within 50 miles of North Judson between now and the end of the year.  So if you're looking for family friendly things to do, check out the Events & Festivals site provided by the State of Indiana.

11/13/2017 Real Estate Taxes Are Due

North Judson Town Council Receives Updates About Water System Improvement Project

Posted on October 18, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

The potential of a supplemental round of grant funding being offered through the Office of Community and Rural Affairs could provide more financial assistance for proposed projects in the Town of North Judson. Vince Sommers of Common Wealth Engineers came before the North Judson Town Council members to fill them in on the process so far and to alert them of the potential supplemental round of grant funding.

The town is pursuing SRF Drinking Water Funds for their water system improvement project. Sommers said that any time federal money is utilized an environmental impact report must be conducted. The State Revolving Fund reviewed the preliminary engineering report for the water system improvements and instructed the organization who helped secure the grant, Kankakee-Iroquois Regional Planning Commission (KIRPC), to advertise a finding of no significant impact.

Once the report is advertised, there will be a 30 day public comment period. If no significant public input is provided then the plan will receive approval. Sommers said the possibility have having the project approved soon would be advantageous for the supplemental round that OCRA may be offering at the end of the year.

“They have some additional money. They’re looking at a round beginning in December of this year.” Sommers explained, “We’ll have an approval of your plan, like I said probably in the next 35 to 45 days, which will fit very very nicely for KIRPC to pursue a half million dollar grant.”

He said OCRA just closed out their round two grants last week and added that proposals for the additional funds would be due in February of 2018.

North Judson-San Pierre 6th Grader Spreads Kindness with Her Award Winning Design

Posted on October 18, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

A North Judson-San Pierre middle school student was chosen as a finalist in a nation-wide charitable design contest. At last night’s NJSP School Board meeting, sixth grade teacher JoAnn Gappa and her student Hailey Wright spoke to board members about the Wonder Kind Project.

Mrs. Gappa told board members that her students have recently been reading and working with the book Wonder by R.J. Palacio. One activity she provided to her students was to create a visual representation of kindness and inclusion for a design challenge. GAP Kids started the Choose Kind Challenge inspired by the book, which centers around a child with a Craniofacial condition.

Wright explained the challenge to the members of the board saying, “We all had to design a t-shirt and bunch of other teachers around the world did it and they only picked 8 finalists.” She said her inspiration for her design was to show how we are all different but still “fit in”

Mrs. Gappa explained that 100 percent of the proceeds gathered from the student-designed shirts will be donated to charities that work to educate, empower and transform the lives of children and families living with Craniofacial differences.

As an added bonus, Wright also won a GAP gift card, shirts for her class and a pre-showing for her and her classmates of the upcoming movie inspired by the book. Mrs. Gappa said if all goes according to plan, they’ll also be able to face-time with some of the actors from the movie for a Q&A prior to the screening.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Happy 25th Anniversary, CADA!

Fall Leaf Pick Up in North Judson

North Judson Town Council Holds First Reading Over Animal Ordinance

Posted on October 17, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

An ordinance which has resulted in quite a bit of public attention as well as council consideration received its first reading during last night’s North Judson Town Council meeting. The ordinance regulating the housing and maintenance of animals in the Town of North Judson received unanimous council approval on first reading.

The ordinance is divided into three sections. Section one provides definitions of animals such as cats, dogs, chickens, pot-bellied pigs, rabbits and swine as well as other poultry and domestic animals. It also provides the definitions of phrases such as at large, dangerous animal, feral, free-roaming, harboring, impound and housing.

Section two of the ordinance deals with the regulation of animals. This includes general care as well as registration. The ordinance specifies that individuals must annually register their animals at the Clerk-Treasurer’s Office on or prior to February 15th of the current year.

There are specific subsections pertaining to the requirements associated with chickens, horses and ponies, cats and dogs, rabbits and swine. It specifies that any animals not listed in Section 2 of the ordinance cannot be housed within corporate Town limits. It also says that housing and setbacks are required to conform to the acceptable standards listed in the specific subsection for that animal and must be set a minimum of fifty feet from any property line.

The third section deals with penalties and prohibitions. Section three is divided into subsections dealing with confinement, running-at-large, non-immunized animals, capture and removal and bodily injury caused by an animal.

It goes on to list the penalties which include a first violation fee of $50 and the violator would be given 10 days to correct the violation and a second violation fee of $100 with 5 days allotted for the violation to be corrected. Any violation can result in the potential impoundment of the animal(s) in question. The Town’s code enforcement officer would be in charge of determining whether a violation has occurred but the NJ Police Department and Starke County Humane Society would deal with capture and impoundment respectively.

The final subsection of the ordinance declares that if any part of the ordinance is for any reason determined to be illegal, invalid or unconstitutional by any court of competent jurisdiction, such portion shall be deemed an independent provision and will not affect the validity of the remainder of the ordinance.

This is just a general synopsis of the proposed ordinance which will receive a second reading in the near future. In order to receive a full copy of the ordinance, contact the Clerk-Treasurer’s Office at 310 Lane Street by calling 574-896-3340.

Starke County Council Holds Budget Hearings

Posted on October 17, 2017
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

The Starke County Council members opened public hearings for the 2018 county budgets and the Solid Waste District with no public comment Monday night. The budget presented by the council totals $11,647,011. The General Fund is listed on Indiana Gateway as $7,022,851.

The 2018 Starke County Airport Budget was adopted with a total of $302,659. Phase one of a runway extension project is included for next year. Starke County Economic Development Foundation Director Charlie Weaver explained that the entire project was not fully funded by the FAA so only a portion will be completed with plans to gather grant funding for phase two.

The county council members tabled a request from Coroner Dannie Hoffer for an increase in his pay from $7,500 to $9,000 in the 2018 budget. The council members would like more details on surrounding county wages, death calls, assessed valuation, and a possible job description and position policy manual.

The council members would also prefer that Hoffer use an 800 mhz radio to be called to a scene. There is also a question about his ability to take the vehicle home that is used when responding to calls.

The council will discuss the issue further when they meet in a special session on Thursday, Oct. 26 at 5:30 p.m. in the meeting room in the Starke County Annex Building No. 1 in Knox.

North Judson-San Pierre School Board Meets Tonight

Posted on October 17, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

The North Judson San-Pierre School Board will meet tonight at 7 p.m. in the school corporation’s administrative office.

Items up for discussion and action include a donation from Farm Bureau, the approval of certified handbook modifications and amendments to the non-certified handbook. The approval of the teachers’ master contract and approval of advertising the tax anticipation warrant are also on the agenda for tonight.

Board members will also receive some information about the Wonder Kind Project when they meet this evening.

Monday, October 16, 2017

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Are You Interested in Becoming a Child Care Provider?

Northern Wood Products Offers $8,500 for Starke County Forest Timber

Posted on October 14, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

The Starke County Forest will make $8,500 with its timber sale. Northern Wood Products of Walkerton submitted the only bid. It was formally accepted Tuesday by the Starke County Park Board, at the recommendation of Forester Bruce Wakeland.

The Starke County Forest is designed to be a self-sufficient park facility, with timber sales being the main funding source.

Two Local Communities Receive Grant Funds for Projects

Posted on October 16, 2017
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch and the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs recently announced $15 million in Community Development Block Grants.

Thirty-one rural communities received funds in an effort to ensure health and safety, and to improve the quality of life of citizens.

Starke County was the recipient of a $500,000 Public Facilities Program Grant. The county will use the grant funds to replace the elevator at the Starke County Courthouse. The project will help the county meet requirements put forth by the Americans with Disabilities Act. The new elevator will assist all residents in utilizing the offices on all levels of the courthouse.

The Town of Winamac is the recipient of a $500,000 Stormwater Improvement Program Grant for stormwater improvements to include new inlets and sewers, rehabilitation of existing storm sewers and installation of new drywells.

Starke County Council to Meet Tonight

Posted on October 16, 2017
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

The Starke County Council will meet tonight where public hearings are scheduled for the 2018 county budget as well as the 2018 budget for the Starke County Solid Waste District. The council is also expected to adopt the 2018 budget for the Starke County Airport.

The council held public hearings on these items in a prior meeting, but the hearings could not be counted as legal as a proper quorum was not in place. Three council members were physically in attendance while another was present via teleconference which didn’t count as a legal meeting.

A transfer and appropriation request is also on tonight’s agenda. A monthly report from the Starke County Economic Development Foundation is anticipated and Starke County Coroner Dannie Hoffer will discuss a request for pay increases in next year’s budget.

The Starke County Council will meet at 5:30 p.m. CT in the meeting room in Starke County Annex Building No. 1 in Knox.

Community Members Encouraged to Attend Tomorrow’s Starke County Health Fair

Posted on October 16, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

Starke Hospital will be holding their annual health fair tomorrow in the Knox Middle School gymnasium. WKVI will be broadcasting live from this free community event which will feature a number of interactive health exhibits, health screenings, healthy snack samples and more.

From 3 p.m. until 7 p.m. a number community vendors will be on site. “Ask a provider” is a feature of the fair where health care professionals from Knox and North Judson will be present to answer various questions.

There also will be CPR and self-defense demonstrations. Free flu-shots for adults will be available while supplies last. They will even hold some for individuals who won’t be able to attend until after 5 p.m.

For more information, visit or call 574-772-6231.

10/16/2017 North Judson Town Council Meets Tonight

Posted on October 16, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

The North Judson Town Council is scheduled to hold the adoption of the 2018 budget this evening. During the last town council meeting, members held the public hearing and first reading over the proposed budget which contains an estimated total of approximately $983,500.

Council members will also revisit old business such as the proposed animal ordinance and receive updates from the Town Marshal and Town Superintendent as well as other present department heads.

The North Judson meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. tonight in North Judson Town Hall located at 310 Lane Street.

Friday, October 13, 2017

North Judson Native Andrew Rowe Appointed to Clerk-Treasurer Position

Posted on October 13, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

The caucus to determine the new North Judson Clerk-Treasurer took place Thursday evening. Democrat Chairman Kenny Wallace announced that one individual had submitted a letter of interest by the Tuesday deadline. Wallace then introduced the candidate, Andrew Rowe, who provided a bit of background information about himself and why he was interested in filling the open position.

Rowe was born and raised in North Judson. He has experience working with government representatives and economic development officials. He said after speaking with an individual about the importance of generational integrity and hometown pride he felt inspired to return to his roots and work to make the town of North Judson a better place to live, work and raise a family.

He said aside from working specifically with the Town of North Judson, he mentioned wanting to be involved with the Democratic Party at the local level.

Three representatives from precincts within North Judson voted at the caucus. Jackie Bridegroom and Paula Eckert are the presidents for their precincts and Vice President Pam Stalbaum was filling in for President Isaiah Collins who was unable to attend. He submitted a notification of his absence to Chairman Wallace 72 hours prior to the caucus in order to allow the VP to stand in.

A secret ballot was taken and there was a unanimous vote to name Andrew Rowe as the new North Judson Clerk-Treasurer. Chairman Wallace thanked Alicia Collins for her service to the community and wished her the best of luck at her next position. Following the announcement, Rowe had his mind set on what comes next,

“I’m just looking forward to getting acquainted with the job, the position, what it entails and getting to know the council members who I don’t know very well. There’s a couple people on the council who I haven’t had a lot of experience with, and seeing how we can work together into the future.”

Alicia Collins will be working with the appointee who will begin training soon and said she will be available to help him if any questions arise further down the line.

Her advice included that communication is key when it comes to working with the town council and told him to be prepared for a variety of responsibilities. She said that since North Judson doesn’t have a mayor, the clerk-treasurer is sometimes the first point of contact when citizens have concerns.

Rowe will be attending the next North Judson Town Council meeting on October 16th to shadow Collins during her final meeting.

Bass Lake Beach Operator Considers Giving Part of Beach Back to County, As Lease Renewal Proceeds

Posted on October 13, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

The Bass Lake Beach and Campground will continue to be operated by Callahan Development, LLC for another 10 years, but the company may be willing to turn some of the property back over to Starke County. The county owns the facility, but has leased it to Callahan since 2008. Now, Callahan has given the county written notice that it will exercise its option to renew the lease through April of 2028.

Callahan’s attorney Todd Wallsmith discussed the process with the Starke County Park Board Tuesday. “The lease is effectively renewed at this point,” he explained. “We’ve given notice of our intent to renew the lease. There is not an option in the lease for another renewal after the 10 years. There is not a rewriting of the lease or anything else. The only issue that remains in the lease to be resolved is how much the county intends to raise the rental.”

But Wallsmith said Callahan is open to the idea of giving the beach itself back to the county, while the company would continue to run the more profitable campground and pier slots. “The reality is the expenses of maintaining a beach, perhaps the way some people want to see it and certainly in light of some of the things that the DNR had recommended with the stone being put down, et cetera, it’s cost prohibitive. It’s not something that any business would be able to do. It’s more akin to something that a government would do. A government would have to seek grants for it, in order to really effectuate that.”

Wallsmith and County Attorney Marty Lucas said there are a lot of issues that would need to be worked out. But Lucas said if that could be done, there would be many potential benefits, like grant funding and increased public involvement. “I just think you’re going to find the public is going to be more interested in volunteer activities if the beach was being operated publicly,” Lucas said.

Still, a group of local residents wants both parties to work together to clarify some of the terms of the lease. Park Board President Debbie Mix has suggested forming a work group to help set some future goals.

Starke County Community Foundation Announces Lilly Endowment Scholarship Finalists

Posted on October 13, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

Nearly 30 students applied for the 2018 Starke County Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship and recently, the Starke County Community Foundation announced the five students who were chosen as finalists.

Seniors from Knox High Community School, Culver Community High School and North Judson-San Pierre High School are in the running to receive the scholarship.

The student chosen from Culver was Cody Rieckhoff who plans to study criminal justice. The North Judson-San Pierre finalist is Ashley Rearden who wants to go into business management. Three finalists are from Knox Community High School and they are Elizabeth McEntee, who plans to study neuro-biology, Cassandra Waletzko, who is considering concentrations in biology and forensic science and Daniel Darda who plans to study animation.

The finalists will be interviewed and the recipient of the scholarship will be announced at a later date. The winner will have 8 semesters paid for by the Lilly Endowment and they can choose from any public or private Indiana institution. The recipient also receives a book stipend of approximately $900.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Hamlet Interchange Recommended, As U.S. 30 Improvement Discussions Begin

Posted on October 12, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

As Starke County prepares to put together its wish list for the proposed upgrade of U.S. 30, one of the things it’ll be pushing for is an interchange at Hamlet. That’s what Starke County Economic Development Foundation Executive Director Charlie Weaver told the Hamlet Town Council Wednesday.

He explained that installing an interchange at Starke Street would be difficult, due to the amount of land that would need to be acquired, but there are other options. “Take an example, where Old 30 meets New 30 east of Hamlet. That might be an opportunity,” he said. “It’s an easy route to the town, plus the schools. So I mean those are things are a long ways out, but the whole idea is, even among ourselves we said, ‘You’ve got to respect Hamlet. You can’t limit it to 35.'” They’re also hoping for an interchange at State Road 23.

A committee of local stakeholders will meet for the first time on October 25. Its goal will be to come up with recommendations for the Indiana Department of Transportation to consider, if and when they decide to upgrade U.S. 30 to freeway standards. Weaver said the members were chosen by the Starke County Commissioners. “We have the gentleman that owns Gun Town. He’s on there. I think we have the fire chiefs from Hamlet and Koontz Lake. We have several farmers that farm on both sides, so we can get their reaction to what’s going on. We have the hospital. We have emergency management. We have a county commissioner, county council, a representative from Knox City Council.”

The Hamlet Town Council’s representative is Brian Earnest. He said he plans to work with the town’s fire department to come up with a list of the routes it uses to respond to different locations. “I know with talking to some of the state people that that’s one of the things, like emergency time is one of the big arguments you want to use,” Earnest said.

Meanwhile, Weaver said that Starke County Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler is doing traffic counts on all the cross streets. “He’s going to be doing it monthly because you’re going to see different traffic counts whether it’s harvest season, whether Hensler’s are having tree sales and that sort of stuff,” he explained. “So we need to have all that data.”

Starke County is a member of the U.S. 30 Coalition, which is advocating for the upgrade of U.S. 30 to freeway standards between Valparaiso and Fort Wayne. The Hamlet Town Council decided Wednesday to move its October 25 meeting to 7:00 p.m., to allow Earnest to attend the committee meeting.

Knox Community Schools Partner With Cheryl Lyn Welter Family Charitable Foundation

Posted on October 12, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

Harold Welter approached the Knox School Board Tuesday night to discuss how the charitable foundation that was created in memory of his daughter could be a helpful resource to the school corporation. The Cheryl Lyn Welter Family Charitable Foundation was formed in order to assist underprivileged students in grades K-12 with expenses that are beyond what their families are able to afford.

Knox School Board members permitted the principals at each of the buildings to work with the Cheryl Lyn Foundation to process grants that would be provided to disadvantaged students at the elementary, middle and high schools.

Knox was just the first school board that Welter approached. He made plans to speak to the Eastern Pulaski School board in November and is meeting with the superintendent at North Judson-San Pierre later this week to arrange to be put on the agenda for their next board meeting.

Over the next 6-8 weeks Welter wants to reach all 9 schools in the Kankakee Valley area. He is hoping that by early 2018, grants from the foundation can start being awarded to students in need.

The foundation wants to reach their endowment goal by Cheryl’s birthday on November 5th. For more information about the foundation or to donate to this one-of-a-kind cause, visit the Cheryl Lyn Welter Family Charitable Foundation website or their Facebook page.

Starke County Park Board May Consider Taking Ownership of Koontz Lake Lions Club Park

Posted on October 12, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

Koontz Lake Lions Club Memorial Park could soon be under county ownership. The Lions Club bought the site in the 1970s and has been running it as a park ever since. But with declining membership, club member Van Janovic approached the Starke County Park Board Tuesday to discuss the possibility of gradually handing the park over to the county. “There’s going to come a time when we’re going to have difficulties in keeping this park and maintaining it,” he said. “So the say we’re approaching you now is just in a discussion mode, as to wonder if this board would be interested in the future – that may be years from now – to begin to take over ownership.”

Meanwhile, the Lions Club plans to keep maintaining the park, for as long as it can. Starke County does not currently have a budget for park maintenance.

One big benefit of giving the park to the county is that it would relieve the Lions Club of having to pay for the park’s insurance. Starke County Attorney Marty Lucas said a cooperative agreement could be a win-win for both groups. “Based on what I’ve seen, if the county was the insurer, and almost like you had the Lions continue to be like the Friends of the Park there or whatever and continue to do the maintenance, that could be a huge savings possibly,” he said. “So I think that would be a great place to start, to look at, just simply, what kind of arrangement would allow your organization to be relieved of that insurance. Then, when you had some money, you could put it into upgrades or maintenance, instead.” Lucas expects that it what it would cost for the county to add the park to its insurance would be less than what the Lions Club is currently paying.

Koontz Lake Lions Club Memorial Park contains a playground, shelter, basketball court, and lighted baseball field. Janovic said it’s the only park of its kind in Oregon Township. “It’s been there a long time. It’s popular within the community. And we continue to make improvements on it and keep it up, and we think it’s a real asset to the community there. And we enjoy that part of our public service, as Lions.”

While the park board was not asked to make any decisions Tuesday, discussions are expected to continue.

NIPSCO Projects Winter Heating Costs to Stay Close to Last Year’s Levels

Posted on October 12, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

NIPSCO’s home heating bills are expected to stay about the same as they were last year. Projections released by the company Wednesday say an average residential customer can expect to pay about $390 on gas bills between November 1 and March 31. That’s just three dollars more than last year. NIPSCO says the projections are based on current market forecasts and assume normal winter weather.

But don’t get too used to those prices. NIPSCO is seeking permission to begin phasing in a rate hike in mid-2018. The company says it’s been more than 25 since it last raised its natural gas base rates.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Indiana Legacy Databases Aid in Genealogical Research

The Indiana State Library recently launched Indiana Legacy, which combines many of the library's most popular online indexes into a database containing over four million entries covering vital records, newspapers, marriage indexes and more. This database is free to use and may be accessed from any computer.

The database incorporates existing Indiana State Library databases with the Vital INformation Exchange (VINE), a collaborative statewide database composed of Indiana local history and vital records from Indiana libraries, historical societies, genealogy societies and related organizations.

10/17/2017 Friends of the NJ-WT Library Meeting

NJSP Memorial Monument

CORRECTION: The phone number should be 574-772-3665.

Moving Starke County Forward/North Judson Erie Trail

Caucus to Replace NJ Clerk-Treasurer Scheduled for Tomorrow

Posted on October 11, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

A caucus to find a replacement for the clerk-treasurer position in North Judson is scheduled for this Thursday. The current clerk-treasurer, Alicia Collins, announced her resignation during the first North Judson Town Council meeting in October.

Alicia Collin’s last North Judson Town Council meeting will be October 16th and her final day at the office is October 20th. She told council members she will make her self available for training during the transition period.

In order to be eligible for the position, candidates had to vote Democrat in the last primary election and submit a letter of interest to the Democratic chairman 72 hours prior to the scheduled caucus.

Tuesday afternoon, Starke County Democrat Chairman Kenny Wallace said that only one person had submitted the required letter of interest at that time. However, since yesterday was the last day for submissions, he was expecting more to come through.

The caucus will take place at 6:30 p.m. tomorrow night at the VFW in Knox.

Bass Lake Beach Operator Agrees to Concrete Repairs, Asks County to Install Glacial Stone

Posted on October 11, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

The operators of the Bass Lake Beach have agreed to make some repairs to the property’s seawall, but they’re asking for the county’s help with some related work. The Starke County Park Board has asked the operator of the facility, Callahan Development, LLC, to stabilize the seawall surrounding the beach house patio.

It needs to be refilled with sand to protect the facility from a potential collapse, according to a group of local residents and park board members who’ve been researching the site. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources has also suggested installing glacial stone around the seawall, to protect it from incoming waves and also help prevent sand erosion.

The park board previously suggested the work should be considered maintenance, making it Callahan’s responsibility to pay for it. Callahan’s attorney Todd Wallsmith responded to that request Tuesday. “The repair of the damage to the concrete surrounding the beach house, we agree would fall under the category of maintenance, and I understand they’re taking steps to address that now,” he told the park board. “The issue concerning the glacial rock, which would need to be put in, we would suggest is probably not part of maintenance but is rather a capital improvement.”

But he acknowledged that it doesn’t make sense to repair the concrete without installing the glacial stone to help control future erosion. For that, they’re asking for some help from the county. “I believe that the county has sources for stone, and certainly being a tax-exempt organization, will be able to get the stone at a much lower rate,” Wallsmith said. “They could probably do the labor at a lower rate.”

What exactly counts as maintenance and what is a capital improvement has been an ongoing debate between Callahan and county officials. But Starke County Attorney Marty Lucas said the arrangement seemed reasonable. “I mean, I think their position makes sense, in the sense that obviously, the stone wasn’t there when they acquired the place,” he said. “So they would be maintaining what they had, and the county would pick up – but obviously I can’t make a commitment on that. We don’t know what it would cost. It might not be that much, actually, for the county to do it. I’m hopeful that it might be under $2,000, actually for the county to do it, that portion of it.”

Wallsmith added that Callahan’s goal is to work together with the county. “It would be an opportunity for Callahan properties to engage in something with the county, where we aren’t at odds with each other and do something together on this,” Wallsmith said.

The park board voted to have Starke County Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler determine the costs and feasibility of installing the glacial stone. The proposal will then go to the county commissioners for funding consideration.

Starke County Inmates Graduate from Nurturing Fathers Program

Posted on October 11, 2017
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

Fourteen students in the Nurturing Fathers program formally graduated yesterday. They attended the program while incarcerated in the Starke County Jail.

The program was facilitated by Jerome Kelly of Family Focus, Inc. out of Valparaiso who said that he gives the attendees the understanding of how to change behavior.

“They’re learning how to communicate better to their children,” said Kelly. “They’re trying to have a better understanding with their children and to be able to know that they’re still the parent and they’re still in control. There shouldn’t be any argument of moments. I’m not saying that they will never yell or argue. But if you’re in control of things, especially yourself, then where is there room to argue?”

He mentioned that he does not have all of the answers to each individual problem that arises, but he can relay the tools to those attending the class to make the right decisions in the moment.

“You have to make up your mind and make good, healthy decisions for yourself first which will then domino effect down to your children.”

Starke County Sheriff Bill Dulin applauds the benefits of the program.

“I think it’s a huge asset for what we do here as far as trying to rehabilitate the inmates that will re-enter society and be a productive citizen,” said Sheriff Dulin.

The Nurturing Father course is approximately 12 weeks long. The program graduated seven men in the same program in April.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Community Mourns the Loss of Retired Starke Circuit Court Judge

Community Mourns the Loss of Retired Starke Circuit Court Judge

Marvin McLaughlin Passing the Indiana Bicentennial Torch in 2016
This week, the Starke County community learned of the passing of long-time Starke Circuit Court Judge Marvin D. McLaughlin. Though he was retired at the time of his death, community members remember his years of service to the county. The 87-year-old North Judson resident was at Pulaski Memorial Hospital when he passed away on Saturday, October 7th.
Marvin McLaughlin attended Butler University and obtained his law degree from Indianapolis University. In 1957, he moved to North Judson to start a law practice. He served as Starke County Prosecutor for four years. McLaughlin went on to serve as a Starke Circuit Court Judge for nearly three decades, from 1963 until his retirement in 1992. 
He was also a former member of the Starke County Council. Judge McLaughlin was a well respected and admired member of the community, being nominated and chosen as the recipient of the 2010 Henry F. Schricker “Service before Self” Award and serving as a one of the notable community members in the Indiana Bicentennial Torch Relay last year.
Details regarding a celebration of life service for Judge McLaughlin are pending at this time. Memorial contributions in his honor can be made to the McLaughlin-Leonard Family Community Fund or the North Judson United Methodist Church Building and Maintenance Fund through the Northern Indiana Community Foundation.

North Judson Town Marshal Reports Concerns Surrounding Semis Braking Near School

Posted on October 10, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

The possibility of some “no Jake-brake” signs being installed at the edge of the Town of North Judson was discussed last Monday night at the North Judson Town Council meeting. Town Marshal Kelly Fisher told council members that she’s received some complaints, one from the school corporation and another from a resident, regarding semi-trucks utilizing their noisy engine brakes where the speed limit is reduced on State Road 39/State Road 10 near the location of the schools.

Fisher said “With the speed limit dropping the semis are hitting their “Jake brakes” and its disrupting the school and like I said, a citizen who’s not in very good health, she said it’s bothering her as well.”

Fisher went onto to ask council members what she would have to do in order to get some signs installed. Town Attorney Justin Schramm said that since it is a state road, INDOT officials are probably who would need to contacted. Council President Wendy Hoppe said she would provide Fisher with a contact number of someone she could contact about the issue.

Council members discussed how they’ve seen similar signs in other towns, such as Wanatah and Royal Center. They informally agreed that implementing a sign like that could be beneficial to the area.

Since the meeting, Fisher has spoken with the proper channels and is waiting to hear back about the next step to take to alleviate the concern.

Starke County Park Board to Discuss Bass Lake Beach Maintenance, Open Timber Bids

Posted on October 10, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

Upgrades to the Bass Lake Beach seawall will continue to be discussed during tonight’s Starke County Park Board meeting. Board members are calling on facility operator Callahan Development, LLC to stabilize the seawall surrounding the beach house patio. Representatives from the county discussed the issue with Callahan’s attorney last month, and the entire board is expected to get an update tonight.

Board members may also consider forming a work group with several local stakeholders, to set goals for the future of the Bass Lake Beach and Campground. The idea was proposed last month by Park Board President Debbie Mix. But the park board decided to hold off on seeking volunteers, after board member Rosemary Rose expressed concerns about how productive such a group would be.

In other business tonight, the park board will formally open bids from timber companies interested in harvesting wood from the Starke County Forest. Forester Bruce Wakeland expects the timber sale will generate at least $5,000 for the forest.

Tonight’s Starke County Park Board meeting starts at 6:00 p.m. in Starke County Annex Building No. 1.

North Judson Town Superintendent Announces Community Crossings Grant Funds

Posted on October 9, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

The Town Superintendent of North Judson, Marshall Horstmann, told council members the amount of money that was received through the INDOT Community Crossings Grant when they met last week.

Horstmann said the Town of North Judson was awarded $125,094.75 to go toward paving for next year. He alerted the council members that a certain rule surrounding the grant funding has changed.

“Now the way they do it is you have to pay for the paving and then you have to turn in a receipt to INDOT. Then they’ll reimburse you.” Horstmann went on, explaining the reason for the switch, “They’ve had issues in the past where towns have gotten the money but then they didn’t do the paving.”

Horstmann told council members he is meeting with INDOT representatives on October 16th to go into more detail about project specifics.

America Observes Fire Prevention Week

Posted on October 9, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), Fire Prevention Week is the longest running public health observance on record.

First established in 1925 by President Calvin Coolidge, it was formed in order to commemorate the “Great Chicago Fire” of October of 1871 when more than 250 people died and another 100,000 were left homeless. This year, Fire Prevention Week started on the 8th and runs through the 14th. It serves as a reminder to individuals of all ages to be prepared for when the unexpected may strike.

During this week, parents and teachers are encouraged to go over basic fire prevention and safety tips with students at all levels. The NFPA has a few helpful resources that can help families be prepared in case of a fire.

Have up-to-date smoke detectors with working batteries in each and every room and be sure fire sprinklers are in working condition. Invest in specific stickers that can be placed on the windows of younger children, the disabled or the elderly to assist the fire department in finding rooms that may contain individuals who are unable to escape. Once outside, never return into the burning structure for any reason.

The NFPA advises parents to go over escape plans with children on a semi-regular basis and always include more than one exit strategy. Teach kids to assist themselves in case you’re unable to get to them. Practice during the day and during the night. Be sure your address number is visible and easy for the fire department to find.

To take a quiz to test your preparedness or to find helpful maps and print-outs visit

North Judson Town Council 2018 Budget Hearing & First Reading

Posted on October 7, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

A public hearing over the proposed 2018 budget was held Monday evening at the North Judson Town Council meeting. Clerk-Treasurer Alicia Collins began by stating that the total proposed budget is $983,546 and the adopted tax levy would be $582,000. The adopted tax levy is the maximum funds estimated to be raised. Collins then opened the hearing up for public input. No comments or questions were provided at the time.

The council moved on to the first reading. Council President Wendy Hoppe read the ordinance associated with the budget, describing the Department of Local Government Finance’s expectations for the town council. These stipulations stated that by passing the budget ordinance they would be bound to the figures therein.

The first reading of the budget ordinance was approved by the council unanimously. The North Judson Town Council’s budget adoption is scheduled for October 16. To view the budget notice for the town of North Judson on Indiana Gateway click here.

Starke County Highway Department Improving Road Safety

Posted on October 7, 2017
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

The Starke County Highway Department is installing a safety precaution at some of the more dangerous intersections in the county.

Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler informed the county commissioners Monday night that reflective strips are being added to the poles that hold traffic signs. Stop signs have the added traffic control device to increase visibility and safety.

“You don’t really notice them that much during the day, but at night they really make a difference,” said Ritzler. “Material-wise it’s $25 an intersection. If we prevent one accident a year, it pays for all of the intersections to be done with these strips. An average accident costs $30,000 to $40,000. Over the next couple of years, we’ll do all of the intersections. We’re doing all of the main roads now and the intersections we know are dangerous.”

According to Ritzler, transportation safety studies have shown that this simple measure can reduce the number of intersection accidents as much as 15 percent each year.

October is National Cybersecurity Month

Posted on October 7, 2017
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

The Indiana Department of Homeland Security is encouraging all residents to take the necessary steps to achieve cyber security.

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. The Indiana Department of Homeland Security encourages you to take simple steps to safeguard yourself online and to learn strategies on how to recover from a cyber attack.

Protect personal and business information by using strong passwords, not opening unsolicited or unknown emails, knowing the intention of others online before providing access or information, keeping web browsers and operating systems up to date, and backing up important files.

For more information, visit

AAA: Infotainment Systems Can Create Dangerous Distractions for Drivers

Posted on October 9, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

Car infotainment systems can distract drivers for potentially dangerous periods of time. That’s according to researchers with the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

Systems found in new cars often allow drivers to do much more than just listen to the radio, including things like sending text messages or checking social media. Researchers found that the most distracting task was programming navigation, which took drivers an average of 40 seconds to complete. AAA says taking your eyes of the road for just two seconds doubles your risk for a crash.

They believe that car makers can significantly reduce distraction by locking out certain features while the car is moving. In the meantime, AAA reminds drivers that just because the technology’s available in your car doesn’t mean it’s safe to use while driving.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Local Police Departments & K-9 Officers Join Forces for High School Sweep

Posted on October 6, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

The North Judson Police Department’s K-9 officer, Gunner, was re-certified last week according to North Judson Town Marshal Kelly Fisher. She mentioned his re-certification during her department report during the North Judson Town Council meeting on Monday night.

She also informed the council that on September 29th, three police departments joined forces to conduct a sweep through the North Judson High School building and parking lot to see if any drugs or other illegal substances were on the property.

Fisher said the North Judson Police Department’s reserve officer Scott Beishuizen was on the scene with his K-9, Gunner. The Hobart Police Department’s Matt Dasel assisted with their K-9, Jack and Knox City Police Officer Chad Dulin had K-9 Odell there to help as well.

The K-9 officers were walked through the premises and conducted thorough “sniff-tests” of the cars and lockers. Nothing was found and the schools were determined to be drug-free thanks to K-9 officers Odell, Jack and Gunner and their handlers from the Hobart, North Judson and Knox Police Departments.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Slow Moving Farm Equipment

From the Starke County Sheriff's Office

Please remember our farmers are working in the fields and farm equipment traffic will increase on the backroads and highways in Starke County.

11/11/2017 Comedy Hypnosis Show

10/7/2017 NJSP Junior Class Fish Fry

Revisions to NJ Animal Ordinance Suggested Before First Reading Takes Place

Posted on October 5, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

The North Judson Town Council once again reviewed the proposed animal ordinance at their meeting Monday night. The current ordinance is divided into three sections: definitions, regulations and penalties and prohibitions.

Town Attorney Justin Schramm recommended that in order to speed up the process they could have held a first reading and any proposed changes could still be made and presented during the second reading. Some council members were interested in holding the first reading at that time but desired changes presented by other council members left it as just a consideration.

Council President Wendy Hoppe said one of her concerns was that the town does not have an official animal ordinance enforcer, like towns with similar ordinances. Her concern was that the ordinance designates Joe Leszek, the town’s code enforcement officer, as the authority in those matters and he is a part-time employee.

Schramm clarified, stating that Leszek would only be in charge of providing notice that a violation has occurred. Any potential actions would fall under the jurisdiction of the humane society or the police department.

In order to cut down on the amount of pages in the ordinance, which is currently 9 pages, Council member Jane-Ellen Felchuck proposed combining the sections about horses, ponies and swine together into one section since most of the word usage about housing and immunization was the same.

Council member James Young pointed out that a good reason to keep those separate is to see the difference between the fees and to cut down on any potential confusion. He also said they should be focused on content right now rather than wording.

She also expressed concern with the fees listed, but other council members disagreed, stating they felt those were fine. Schramm came up with the fees by asking all the council members for their opinions then taking the average and listing those numbers.

Felchuck was adamant about having the changes made to avoid any potential legal problems and ensure conciseness before a first reading takes place. Council member John Rowe agreed to give Felchuck two weeks to address her concerns and stated that he is ready to move things along.

The first reading of the animal ordinance is anticipated to take place during the next North Judson Town Council meeting on October 16th.

Starke County Council to Hold Second Public Hearing on Budget

Posted on October 5, 2017
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

The Starke County Council members did hold a public hearing Monday evening to gather public comment on the 2018 budget, but the lack of a quorum has forced a second public hearing.

The council needs to have at least four members present to recognize a quorum. Members Brad Hazelton, Nancy Dembowski and Bryan Cavendar were physically present Monday night for the public hearing. It was thought that if a fourth member could be part of the meeting via teleconference, it could be a legally called meeting. It was found that the meeting cannot be counted as legal so a second public hearing is scheduled.

The Starke County Council will conduct that hearing on Monday, Oct. 16 at 5:30 p.m. CT in the meeting room in the Starke County Annex Building No. 1 in Knox.

Bridge Bids Opened for Two Projects

Posted on October 5, 2017
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

Starke County Attorney Marty Lucas opened bids for two bridge projects during the commissioners meeting on Monday night.

Northern Indiana Construction Company, Inc. submitted the lowest bids for Bridge No. 36 on County Road 25 N. over the Yellow River and Bridge No. 58 on County Road 800 S. over Bogus Run. Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler asked the commissioners to conditionally approve the bids as they will need to satisfy the ordinance checklist before they are formally awarded. If the lowest bidder does not conform to the ordinance requirements, then the next lowest bid will go through the same process.

The lowest bid submitted for the Bridge No. 36 replacement project was $303,234.10 while the lowest bid for the Bridge No. 58 replacement project was $282,648.10.

Ritzler said three out of the five bids submitted were lower than the engineer’s estimate. The bids will be awarded at the commissioners meeting on Oct. 16.

The Community Crossings grant funds received for this year’s requests will pay for these two projects.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

10/19/2017 Autism 101

If you would like to attend, please register with Early Learning Connections at (219) 685-1500 by 10/17/2017.  

Whew, I'm tired already!

I’ve spent the past few days updating our webpage, something I do every week – adding links, removing items that have expired, making the occasional change – and just happened to notice that there are 45 pages listed under “2017 – Activities/Events/Meetings in Our Area.” 

This breaks down to:
  • Charity listings = 1
  • Craft classes = 3 (with several dates/items listed under some pages)
  • Events = 14 (meetings, golfing, rides, shows, local festivals, etc.)
  • Food = 8 (4 breakfasts, Taco Dinner, Pork Chop Dinner, Chili cook off, Fish Fry)
  • Health related = 8 (health fair, cancer awareness programs, training, enrollment, clinics, etc)
  • Holiday = 5 (3 Halloween related, 2 Christmas)
  • Maps = 2 (INDOT Road Construction so you can check before you go, Indiana Bike Route US35 – which is new today)
  • Other = 6 (items like Woof Studios, Rabies Clinic, calls for volunteers, local meetings)
45 items already and the Holiday Rush hasn’t even started! 

Indiana Bike Route US 35

To download your own copy of this map visit

Looking to learn more about all things USBR35?  You'll find a variety of marketing materials used to promote the route at

New Starke County EMA Director Named

Posted on October 4, 2017
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

The Starke County Commissioners welcomed a new Starke County Emergency Management Agency Director Monday night.

Jean Nier will be filling the position as unanimously approved by the commissioners. Commissioner Kathy Norem noted that the position will be full-time.

“I think the commissioners would like to offer her a full-time position as our EMA Director,” said Norem. “When we looked at the parameters that the council established for us I think we could start her at $33,000 with another $1,000 after 90 days and another $1,000 after six months which would be a total salary of $35,000.”

Norem said Nier brings a lot of knowledge to the position.

“Jean comes to the job with more than six years of experience with half of it as a previous county EMA director and the other half as an employee working for the state Department of Homeland Security in this particular role.”

Nier will begin as the new Starke County EMA Director on Tuesday, Oct. 17.

North Judson Town Council Moves to Transfer Old Rail Road Funds to New Account

Posted on October 4, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

The cumulative railroad revenue fund was established through an ordinance passed by the North Judson Town Council at their last meeting in September. The ordinance was passed in order to switch over the $94,820.19 in the previous railroad fund to the newly established account.

Clerk-Treasurer Alicia Collins alerted the council Monday night that the State Board of Accounts said she needed council approval before any funds could be transferred.

She informed them that the old railroad fund, as well as their credit card is currently at First Farmers Bank and Trust, while their general account is at First National Bank of Monterey. She asked the council whether they wished to move all the money in the old rail road account over to the First National Bank of Monterey or if they wanted to close out the old railroad account and start the cumulative railroad revenue fund at First Farmers Bank and Trust.

Council President Wendy Hoppe suggested keeping the railroad money at First Farmers Bank and Trust since they also have their credit card there. Councilman Josh Brown agreed stating that he felt it was a good idea to have money in more than one place.

Councilwoman Jane Ellen Felchuck added that the State Board of Accounts used to require money in multiple banks. Collins mentioned that although that is no longer a requirement it still seems like it would be in their best interest to have funds in both banks.

The council unanimously approved the transfer the money in the old railroad account into the cumulative railroad revenue fund while retaining First Farmers Bank and Trust as the depository.

Starke Hospital Mobile Health Units Providing Breast Cancer Awareness Info in October

Posted on October 4, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

Starke Hospital will have mobile health units out in a few places in the Starke County community during the month of October. Starke Hospital’s Regional Manager of Community Relations Stacey Kellogg said that wellness professionals will be onsite to help disburse breast cancer awareness information.

Kellogg said the professionals will be able to steer people in the right direction when it comes to how and when individuals should be screened and other helpful health tips. She said they will have information there about early detection practices, clinical breast exams, how to do a self breast exam, when everybody should get screened and how to have that conversation with your doctor.

Mobile health units will be stationed at

  • Bailey’s Discount Center on Friday, October 13th from 1:00 until 2:30 p.m.
  • Starke Hospital from 1:00 until 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 26th.

Indiana Launches Opioid Recovery Website

Posted on October 4, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

Hoosiers battling opioid addiction have a new online resource to help them find the help they need. Governor Eric Holcomb announced the launch of Indiana’s Next Level Recovery website Monday.

It’s designed to be a one-stop hub of information on the state’s opioid crisis. That includes facts and data, as well as information about what state lawmakers and others are doing to curb drug abuse. In addition to resources for those with substance abuse disorder and their families, the website also has information for health care professionals, emergency responders, and community leaders.

Attacking the drug epidemic is one of the five pillars of Governor Holcomb’s agenda since taking office in January.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Learning Links for KIDS

It’s always fun checking out a kid’s section; mainly because there are so many books and things that didn’t exist when I was a kid – like tablets and home computers.  Today I added some new sites to the Learning Links for KIDS page on our website, checked all the sites listed to make sure they still worked, and only had to remove one.

Most of these are free learning websites that can be used to add to what your child is learning at school, some are just games.  Because most of them consist of games, your child may not even know that they are learning while playing.  A few of the sites do ask if you want sign up, but it’s not necessary to sign up to use the sites.  The sites that do ask usually do it so they can keep track of how your child is improving.

These sites cover from preschool to 5th grade and beyond, English, science, math, mineralogy, and just general knowledge.  So why don’t you go on over to our page and check it out.  If nothing else, it’s a great way to keep the kids busy.

Caucus Scheduled to Find Replacement for North Judson Clerk-Treasurer Position

Posted on October 3, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

A caucus has been scheduled to find a replacement for the clerk-treasurer position in the Town of North Judson. The current clerk-treasurer, Alicia Collins, submitted her resignation to the North Judson Town Council yesterday at their first meeting in October.

During the clerk-treasurer’s report Collins stated she would be leaving the office in good standing, with the 2018 budget pending approval and all other records and filing up to date. Her final day will be October 20th and she said she will make her self available for training during the transition period.

Collins said that although she was very motivated to move North Judson in a positive direction when she began working there, she hasn’t seen the progress she was looking for in order to make it a better place to live. Negative moral and lack of accountability and teamwork are a few of the reasons she gave for deciding to resign. Though the decision to move on was not taken lightly she said it was more beneficial for her family and her overall life goals to do so.

Collins said she has found a position where she will be able to advance her career and remain in Starke County. She has been taking the Starke County Leadership Classes and provided a list of suggestions for the council to consider. She encouraged them to embrace a new way of leadership as opposed to the old way.

Many of the council members spoke up, expressing their appreciation for Collins and all she’s done for the council in her time there. Town Attorney Justin Schramm said that in his position, he works the most with clerk-treasurers. He stated he sincerely appreciated the great working relationship they shared and commented on all the pieces of litigation they’ve been able to settle over the last several months by working together. Council President Wendy Hoppe congratulated her, wishing her the best of luck with her future career and said she looks forward to working with her at one last meeting. Council member Jane-Ellen Felchuck thanked her for providing them with the list of leadership tips.

The caucus to find her replacement is scheduled for October 12th at 6:30 p.m. at the Knox VFW. In order to be eligible for the position, individuals would need to submit a letter of interest to Kenny Wallace, the Starke County Democratic Chairperson, at least 72 hours prior to the caucus. Another requirement is that they voted Democrat in the last presidential primary. In order to reach Mr. Wallace by phone call (574) 772-4900 or send an email to

Starke County Commissioners Concerned about Drop in Ambulance Transfers

Posted on October 3, 2017
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

Starke County EMS Director Travis Clary presented ambulance transfer figures to the county commissioners Monday night and the numbers caused concern.

The percentage of transfers dropped from 35 or 25 percent to 10 percent last month. Clary explained that Porter Regional brought in a full-time ambulance that is available at Starke Hospital 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. The Porter ambulance service is getting a majority of the Basic Life Support, Advanced Life Support and nursing home transfer calls while Starke County EMS is not getting as many.

Commissioner Kathy Norem was quick to note that transfers help fund the EMS services.

“It will affect the taxpayers too. That’s how we fund the paramedic system that increased the quality of care – at the hospital’s request, I might add. That would be something we would want to do anyway and we should have done that. I’m proud of being able to have done that, but like any other business it’s very contingent on your collections and being able to fund that,” stated Norem.

The commissioners also expressed concern that patients are waiting longer than usual to be transferred. Norem said a family member had to wait and that person was very ill.

“They needed to be transferred and they had to wait for the Porter ambulance to get back from a transfer. I don’t know why they didn’t call you guys. I know other people that have had to wait while they came back.”

It was suggested that Clary, EMS Clerk Mary Lynn Ritchie, a commissioner, and a council member discuss the issue and other with La Porte Hospital CEO Ashley Dickinson.

Fuel Analyst Says Gas Prices Have Fallen From Last Month But Risen From Last Year

Posted on October 3, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

You may have noticed that gas prices have recently gone down. Though that is partially due to certain areas finally regaining stability after the recent natural disasters, it also has to do with the annual switch from summer fuel to winter fuel. Senior Petroleum Analyst for Gas Buddy, Dan McTeague said that prices in Indiana have dropped on average around 15 cents from last month, when there was still speculation and concern over the amount of refineries damaged.

Though we may be experiencing lower gas prices than a month ago, compared to this time of year in 2016, we’re paying approximately twenty more cents. McTeague said there a few factors responsible for that difference.

“Some of that’s due to a higher valuation for crude which is about $5 or $6 a barrel more.” He explained, “The other factor of course, is that gasoline demand continues to be pretty impressive, right across America.

Fuel supplies from regions unaffected by the hurricanes had to be filtered into the areas where supplies were lost. This has led to an increase in demand in those areas where no storms occurred.

McTeague added that while regular fuel prices will continue to decrease as temperatures drop, the cost for diesel fuel will actually go up. This is due to the fact that diesel is sometimes used as proxy for soil and other things.

As winter comes on diesel prices rise with the removal of crops and end-of-the-year farming endeavors. He said just in the last month and a half diesel prices have been raised about twenty cents. He wanted to make sure to mention the difference since there will be many drivers who utilize diesel in our agricultural communities.

To view the specific gas prices for your area, click here.

Cheryl Lyn Welter Family Foundation Receives 2017 Advisor Charitable Leadership Award

Posted on October 3, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

Seventeen years ago, the Knox community collectively grieved the loss of Cheryl Lyn Welter, a dedicated and involved senior at KHS who tragically lost her life in an automobile accident the day before Homecoming.

Today, Cheryl is still making a difference by impacting the lives of underprivileged school children thanks to the efforts of her family. The Cheryl Lyn Welter Family Charitable Foundation was established back in March to raise money to assist local school children in grades K-12 with various expenses that are out of their reach.

Her father and longtime WKVI radio personality and sports commentator Harold Welter described the foundation’s mission to be in character with the kind of thing Cheryl would have liked to do. He elaborated, “She was a people person and she, as a matter of fact, had been accepted at the Purdue University School of Child and Family Counseling so she was going to make a career out of helping people.”

Welter said there are countless scholarships out there for students heading off to college, in fact there is even a scholarship offered in Cheryl’s honor. However, he felt there wasn’t an organized effort in place to assist underprivileged students in younger grades. This foundation was established to help cover the cost of things like field trips, special events and other expenses a student’s family may not be able to afford.

Later this month, Harold will be speaking on behalf of the foundation, accepting the 2017 Advisor Charitable Leadership Award which his firm, Financial Partners of Knox, received after submitting Cheryl’s story for consideration. The award is given  by the broker-dealer Sigma Financial to individuals who display a commitment to community involvement. The firm will receive a personalized trophy as well as a significant sum of money to put into the foundation.

When the foundation was established, an endowment was set up with a goal of $100,000. About $25,000 has been raised so far. Welter said they’re hoping to reach their goal by Cheryl’s birthday which is November 5th.

Money has been raised over the last few months through the generous community donations contributed during WKVI morning shows and online contributions. Currently, a family friend, Helen Guriel is raising money raffling off tickets for a lovely hand stitched quilt she created in Cheryl’s honor. Individuals also have the opportunity to become fundraisers themselves. To help keep Cheryl Lyn’s spirit alive by assisting the community’s disadvantaged youth in a major, one-of-a-kind way, visit the Cheryl’s Kids Fund webpage or the foundation’s Facebook by clicking on those links.

Starke Hospital Offering Free Mammogram Vouchers to Those Who Qualify

Posted on October 3, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

According to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, breast cancer is the second most common type of cancer found in women. They say 1 in 8 American women will have breast cancer at some point in their life. The good news is that when the cancer is detected early, it can be treated and the survival rate goes up substantially. In order to raise awareness about the importance of early detection and to promote mammograms and self-examinations, we recognize October as Breast Cancer Awareness month.

The Indiana Breast Cancer Awareness Trust is a not-for-profit organization that improves access to breast cancer screenings and diagnosis and support services while also increasing awareness. One of the ways they accomplish all of that is by selling Breast Cancer Awareness specialty license plates through the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles. A $25 donation is generated through every license plate sold. Since the plate was introduced in 2002, tens of thousands of Hoosier women have received screening, diagnostic and support services with nearly $4 million being awarded through their competitive grants.

Regional manager of community relations for Starke Hospital Stacey Kellog says that through grant funds provided by IBCAT, the hospital is able to offer free screening mammogram vouchers this year.

The Health Foundation of La Porte assisted with making these funds available to the Starke Health Fund, a partner of Starke Hospital. Kellogg said program services that are offered have been expanded this year.

“If a woman has a mammogram and it comes back where something’s suspicious and she needs to have follow up testing like a breast ultrasound or a biopsy, now that grant will even cover some of the follow up testing as well.” Kellogg explained, “It’s a fantastic foundation the Health Foundation of La Porte made available through the Starke Health Fund so nobody who needs a screening mammogram should go without one. ”

If your insurance doesn’t cover screening mammograms or if you’re unable to afford one, talk to your doctor about receiving a mammogram voucher, which should be available at various offices around Starke County. If your doctor is unaware of the program or doesn’t have any vouchers available contact the diagnostic imaging center at Starke Hospital to arrange to receive a voucher.

You can reach Starke Hospital by calling 574-772-6231. Specific questions about services provided can be directed to Stacey Kellogg at 219-983-8641.

Monday, October 2, 2017

When is Trick or Treat/Trunk or Treat?

It’s Coming!  There’s nothing that can be done to stop it!  Now’s the time to run to the stores and stock up!  Don’t wait until the last minute or all the good candy will be gone!

Wait – “good candy will be gone”? 

Yep, it’s October which means that soon the streets will be filled with children rushing from porch to porch asking, “Trick or Treat?”  But WHEN will our homes be overrun with these small creatures asking for candy? 

I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled for that information and added a Trick or Treat/Trunk or Treat subpage to the NJ-WTPL’s webpage.  Places and times will be added as they are found.  I’m sure it won’t take long for that information to filter out to the public so check in frequently to find out when YOUR neighborhood can expect to be invaded.

10/3 - 5/2017 Prescription Drug Take Back Day

After a successful day of Prescription Drug Take Back Day we are going to do it again!

STARKE COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE Prescription Drug Take Back Day Being Held October 3rd thru October 5th, 2017

On October 3rd thru October 5th from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. the Starke County Sheriff’s Office will give the public an opportunity to prevent Prescription Pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs.

Bring your pills for disposal to 5435 E St Rd 8 (We will not accept NEEDLES) The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to theft, misuse, and abuse.

Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs.

Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines - flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash - both pose potential safety and health hazards.

Starke County Community Health Fair Registration Still Open

Posted on October 2, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

There’s still time to register for the Starke County Community Health Fair. It will take place Tuesday, October 17 from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. at Knox Middle School.

Not only will the event give residents the chance to meet with doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals, but various health screenings will also be offered. On top of that, free flu shots will be available for adults age 18 and older while supplies last. Participants will also be able to take part in interactive exhibits, including CPR training, cardio pounding, self-defense demonstrations, and more.

To register, visit

Budget Hearing Scheduled for NJ Town Council Meeting Tonight

Posted on October 2, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

The North Judson Town Council is scheduled to hold a public hearing for their proposed 2018 Budget when members meet tonight at 6:30 p.m. According to Indiana Gateway, the budget estimate submitted for the general fund is $728,584, while the total estimated budget amounts to $983,546.

The meeting agenda states that council members will discuss the railroad bank account that was established during a meeting in September. At that meeting, they passed an ordinance designating an account where all funds railroad related would go. That includes money set aside for renovations as well as revenue received from the railroad company.

Council members will also hold the first reading over a new ordinance as well as revisit the animal ordinance. At the last meeting, a working document of the animal ordinance was presented by Town Attorney Justin Schramm. The council members have been gathering research to contribute to the ordinance in order to ensure a suitable solution can be made on this matter that has spanned several months.