Tuesday, January 31, 2017

February 2017 - Quote of the Month

Happy Birthday, Charles "Chuck" Yeager!
February 13, 1923

Tot-Time @ North Judson-Wayne Township Public Library

Tot Time has moved from Tuesdays to Mondays starting on February 6th.
Mondays from 11:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. starting on January 24th and ending February 27, 2017.
For ages 18 months to 3 years.
If you have any questions or comments, please contact Kelsie Purcell by calling 574-896-2841 or email purcellkelsienjwt@gmail.com

Court Decision Paves Way for Change in Railroad Township Fire Protection

Posted on January 31, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

The restructuring of Railroad Township’s fire protection will be able to proceed, following a decision in Starke Circuit Court Monday.

Judge Kim Hall ruled that as township trustee, Mandy Thomason has sole authority to enter into a fire protection contract, without the approval of the township board. That allows her not to renew Railroad Township’s contract with the San Pierre Volunteer Fire Department and instead contract with a new Railroad Township Volunteer Fire Department.

Since an initial court hearing on December 30, the San Pierre Volunteer Fire Department had been providing fire protection under a temporary contract extension. It was designed to give Thomason and the fire department another chance to work out an agreement, but no progress was made during that time.

Attorney Cassandra Hine represented former San Pierre Fire Chief Joe Kryzyzanowski and Railroad Township Board members Clarence Gehrke and Gus Eckert. Hine said Monday that Thomason refused to meet with Interim San Pierre Fire Chief Mike Korous out of fear for her personal safety. To aid in the negotiation process, Hine requested that the case be referred to mediation and that another contract extension be put in place in the meantime.

However, Judge Hall said the dispute boiled down to whether Thomason had the sole authority to approve a fire protection contract or whether it also required the approval of the township board. He pointed out that since he didn’t see a scenario where the township board could have sole authority, any decision he could make would eventually lead to the same result: a non-renewal of the San Pierre Fire Department’s contract.

In his ruling, Hall cited several sections of state statute. He found that the township board’s authority when it comes to contracts is limited to financial oversight. Hall compared the situation to a county council’s authority to approve the expenditures of the county sheriff.

Meanwhile, Thomason’s attorneys said that she was ready to sign a contract with the new fire department. However, several questions remain. For example, the radios used by firefighters are owned by the township, but the license to operate them still apparently belongs to the San Pierre Fire Department. Meanwhile, some other equipment is actually owned by Kankakee Township, and whether the new fire department will be allowed to use it remains to be seen.

During Monday’s hearing, Hine criticized the proposed arrangement as fire protection “in name only.” She pointed out that the Railroad Township Volunteer Fire Department has only legally existed since last Thursday. Hine also said that several residents are ready to begin impeachment proceedings against Thomason, believing that the change amounts to a failure to provide fire protection, as required under state law.

Habitat for Humanity to Host Informational Meeting on Knox Home Project

Posted on January 31, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

Habitat for Humanity will be building a house in Knox for the first time, and that means a local family will have a chance to become homeowners.

Steve Morrison, the executive director of Starke/Pulaski Habitat for Humanity, says the home will be built on a donated lot on Prettyman Street. “We had not built a house in Knox yet, and so we just saw this as an opportunity, and working with your mayor and some of the other people in Knox, we saw it as an opportunity to build a house in Knox,” he says.

Potential homeowners can begin the application process by attending an informational meeting Saturday at 10:00 a.m. CST at the Henry F. Schricker Public Library in Knox. Morrison says there are a few things the organization looks for when determining someone’s eligibility for a home. “Basically, we follow three principles,” he explains, “those who have a need for housing, are living in a poor place right now or whatever and needing to raise a family in a better place, they have the financial means to pay for a mortgage, just through the help and the service of those friends and family and people who want to help those in need.”

He adds that Habitat for Humanity is always looking for donors, as well. “It takes money to build a house, and we pay for this ourselves and we hold the mortgages ourselves,” he says. “And through those donations and so forth, we’re able to build the houses and keep building houses. So just see it as a great opportunity for the community and get a house back and property back on the tax rolls and helping those in need.”

For more information on Starke/Pulaski Habitat for Humanity, visit sphabitat.org or call 574-896-2811.

DNR Hunter Safety Class Scheduled in Winamac

Posted on January 31, 2017
Author Mary Perren, WKVI

The Pulaski County 4-H Shooting Sports program is hosting a DNR hunter safety class. It’s open to residents of Pulaski and surrounding counties of all ages and genders. Topics to be covered include hunter heritage and responsibility, firearm history and safety, wildlife and conservation management and game care.

Students will learn about various types of weapons, including rifles, pistols, shotguns and bows.

Anyone born after Dec. 31, 1986 is required to take a DNR Hunter Safety class in order to purchase a hunting license.

Classes will meet Saturdays Feb. 11, 18 and 25th from 8 a.m. until noon EST at the Pulaski County Highway Garage, just north of Winamac on U.S. 35. Students must attend all three classes in order to complete the course.

Contact Ray Rausch at 574-946-3858 for more information. Visit www.ihea.com to register.

IRS Warns of Payroll Phishing Scam

Posted on January 30, 2017
Author Mary Perren, WKVI

The IRS is warning payroll and human resources professionals of an email scam aimed at stealing proprietary employee information.

Scammers use the name of a corporate officer to request employee W-2 forms from payroll or human resources departments. IRS officials caution employees to double-check any executive-level or unusual requests for lists of W-2 forms or Social Security numbers. They say last year scammers who successfully obtained information used it to try to file fraudulent tax returns for refunds.

The bogus emails will contain, for example, the actual name of the company’s CEO. That practice is called “spoofing.” In the phony email, the person will ask for copies of everyone’s 2016 W-2 and earnings summaries or an updated list of all employees with information like their home addresses, dates of birth and Social Security numbers.

Be wary if you get any such request and double check by sending a new email to the person asking for the data before hitting reply and complying.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Pet Tags & Contractor's Permits Renewal Before 2/15/2017


The Town of North Judson has several special circumstances that require permits.  Here is a list of permits that must be renewed on or before February 15, 2017:

Pet Tags (Annually):
Dog and cat, spayed or neutered = $10 each
Dog and cat, NON spayed or neutered = $25 each
After February 15, 2017, additional $10 fee will be added

Contractor’s Permits (Annually):
New = $50
Renewal = $25

After February 15, 2017, all Contractor’s Permits $75

Seeds Started for Starke County Inmate Garden

Posted on January 26, 2017
Author Mary Perren, WKVI

Inmates at the Starke County Jail are getting a jump on this year’s garden. Warden Phil Cherry says they planted 15 flats of flower and vegetable seeds this week. Right now they’re in a hallway at the jail and will be moved into the greehouses behind the facility once they get a little bit bigger.

This will be the second year of the garden program. Inmates tend the plants, pull weeds, make sure everything is adequately watered and assist with the harvest. Fruits and vegetables grown by the inmates are prepared in the kitchen and served as part of their meals. Last year surplus items were donated to local nursing homes.

The county’s efforts were recently recognized by the Indiana Department of Correction, which presented the facility it’s Heartland Award. The Starke County garden program received the most votes of any facility in the state in a Facebook contest.

In addition to tending crops, inmates also look after 36 chickens, which produce 20 or so eggs daily.

Indiana Gets Mostly F’s in Latest State of Tobacco Control Report

Posted on January 26, 2017
Author Mary Perren, WKVI

The American Lung Association’s 2016 State of Tobacco Control Report finds Indiana is failing in its efforts to reduce tobacco use. The 15th annual report grades states and the federal government on policies to prevent and reduce tobacco use. It notes Indiana has not increased the age of sale for tobacco products to 21 and has one of the lowest tobacco tax rates in the country.

An estimated 20 percent of Indiana residents currently smoke, according to Monique French with the American Lung Association of Indiana. She calls on Indiana policymakers to implement the policies and programs called for in ‘State of Tobacco Control’ that would save lives and protect kids from a lifetime of addiction.

The report assigns grades based on whether federal and state laws protect Americans from the enormous health toll tobacco use takes on lives and the economy. A new grade added to this year’s report looks at efforts to increase the minimum age of sale to 21.

French says close to 95 percent of adult smokers try their first cigarette before the age of 21. She believes increasing the minimum age of sale for tobacco products to 21 will significantly reduce youth tobacco use and save thousands of lives nationwide.

Indiana’s grades are below:

  • Funding for State Tobacco Prevention Programs – Grade F
  • Strength of Smokefree Workplace Laws – Grade C
  • Level of State Tobacco Taxes – Grade F
  • Coverage and Access to Services to Quit Tobacco – Grade F
  • Minimum Age of Sale for Tobacco Products to 21 – Grade F

The American Lung Association in Indiana calls on state officials to act on these shortcomings and priority areas that need to be addressed to meet state goals.

In this year’s “State of Tobacco Control,” the federal government earned an “F” for Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Regulation of Tobacco Products.

Although the American Lung Association applauds the release of the final rule that gave FDA authority over all tobacco products, the report recognizes the Obama Administration’s failure to proceed with other key initiatives including requiring graphic warning labels on cigarettes and the federal government’s failure to move forward on issuing a rule to end the sale of menthol cigarettes nationwide – despite the recommendations from an FDA expert advisory committee.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Demolition Planned for Downtown North Judson Building

Posted on January 24, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

A dilapidated downtown North Judson building may soon be heading for demolition. The building at 205 and 207 Lane Street was found last year to have numerous safety violations, including a broken window, unsecured doors, falling debris, and roofing issues.

After town officials determined the owners did not make the required repairs, a motion for default judgment was approved in Starke Circuit Court back in November. Now, newly-appointed town attorney Justin Schramm has been advising the town on how to proceed. Clerk-Treasurer Alicia Collins says Schramm is currently drafting a letter to the owners of the property.

Collins says if the process moves ahead according to plan, the town council could award a bid for demolition at its March 6 meeting.

Monday, January 23, 2017

North Judson in Need of Plan Commission Members

Posted on January 21, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

The Town of North Judson is looking for some new planning commission members.

Clerk-Treasurer Alicia Collins says the town’s board of zoning appeals, unsafe hearing board, and planning commission all reorganized for 2017 Wednesday. However, she says the planning commission still needs one to two more people.

Those interested may contact the Town of North Judson at 574-896-3340 for more information.

Friday, January 20, 2017

N.J.-S.P. School Board Vacancy Causes Confusion for School and Town Officials

Posted on January 20, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

The process of replacing a member of the North Judson-San Pierre School Board has led to confusion for both the board and the North Judson Town Council. The school board decided Tuesday to put off choosing a replacement for Mike Sharkozy until applicants can be re-interviewed in public.

Sharkozy represented the Town of North Judson on the appointed school board. While it’s generally up to the North Judson Town Council to pick the town’s representative, in this case, it’s actually the school board’s responsibility. Clerk-Treasurer Alicia Collins says three attorneys looked into the issue. In the end, it was determined that while the town council makes an appointment every four years, filling vacancies at other times is up to the school board.

However, the school board did invite the town council to help with the process, and two council members took part. Collins said they ranked the five applicants and gave those results to the school board for consideration.

Then, an apparent miscommunication between school and town officials caused Town Council President Wendy Hoppe to announce Monday the appointment had been delayed because of a breach of confidentiality. But the following day, the school board said the actual problem was a violation of Open Door Law, since the applicants’ interviews did not take place in a public meeting.

Council members have decided not to take part in re-interviewing the applicants. Collins says they feel they’ve already made their recommendation, and it’s now up to the school board to move forward.

N.J.-S.P. Officials to Unveil New Logo, Slogan Saturday Night

Posted on January 20, 2017
Author Mary Perren, WKVI

The North Judson-San Pierre School Corporation hopes to use Saturday night’s county rivalry basketball game with Knox at the Bluejay Nest to unveil a new slogan and logo.

During the girls and boys double-header, student artwork will be displayed in the junior/senior high school cafeteria. Positive school programs will also be shared, and other information about courses and curriculum will also be available.

Knox fans are encouraged to stop by so they can learn more about agriculture/vocational dual credit opportunities. The classes will be scheduled in a two to three-hour block each day and will be available to students from other corporations, starting next fall.

N.J.-S.P. fans can also purchase t-shirts featuring the new slogan and logo during Saturday’s game.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

N.J.-S.P. School Board Delays Appointment of New Member

Posted on January 19, 2017
Author Abby Adams, WKVI

The North Judson-San Pierre School Board is still discussing who they will appoint as a new school board member. Board member Derrick Stalbaum announced Tuesday they will be tabling this decision. “Although as a board we feel that we operate in good faith, we must admit that we made an error in the legal interpretation of the Indiana Code, resulting in a violation of the Indiana Open Door Policy,” he said. “Due to this, we will table the appointment of the new board member until the five candidates are interviewed, which will be open to the public.”

It was also announced by School Board President Pat Goin that the North Judson Town Council does not wish to participate in the appointment process.

Tuesday’s meeting also featured the award presentation and honoring of former board member Larry Lambert and outgoing member Mike Sharkozy. Both men were honored with a plaque to celebrate their service as well as a lifetime Blue Jay sports pass.

Lambert, who had been on the school board for 16 years, was honored to be given this award. While receiving the award Lambert said that he enjoyed his time on the board. He also stated that he wouldn’t be leaving the area anytime soon, “I’ll still be around, my family has been here for 160 years plus. Charge on!”

Sharkozy had his last school board meeting on Tuesday. He was sad to be leaving the board, but he stated his confidence in their work without him. “I’ve enjoyed my time on the board,” he said. “These are some great people. I know I am leaving it in good hands.”

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

1/21/2017 Cinema Saturday!

Don't forget - Cinema Saturday this week!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Prospective College Students Reminded of FAFSA Changes

Posted on January 17, 2017
Author Abby Adams, WKVI

Students completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid will notice a few changes this year.

Admissions Counselor at Ancilla College, Georgiana Hatter, spoke about the changes Friday. Applicants can now apply for FAFSA as early as October 1st, and applicants now use last year’s tax information. “This year is different, so everyone can file it a little bit earlier,” said Hatter.

Hatter stated that Ancilla would be offering free FAFSA courses from February 20th through February 23rd. Interested attendees can get the times of the classes by calling Ancilla College or stopping by the Admissions Office.

Hatter recruits students to Ancilla College from Eastern Indiana and all southern states of America. Hatter graduated from Ancilla in 2009 and started working for the college in 2016. You can contact Hatter at georgiana.hatter@ancilla.edu or through calling Ancilla College at 574-936-8898 ext. 334.

Ancilla has grown from a small commuter college to a residential college in the past few years. Ancilla now has two dorms which hold up to 192 students, as well as dining halls. The college has 500 students and is located in Marshall County. Students can earn either an Associate’s or an AAS degree. It is free to apply to Ancilla, and tours are offered daily.

Monday, January 16, 2017

1/31 & 2/2/2017 Ancilla Domini Children's Choir Auditions

From The Center at Donaldson:

Auditions will be held for the Ancilla Domini Children’s Choir on January 31 and February 2, 2017 from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. EST. Auditions are open to children of all faiths ages 7 to 10 and will be held at The Center at Donaldson’s main building both days. This is tuition free. No music experience necessary.

Rehearsals will take place on Tuesdays from 3:30-5:00 p.m. ET at The Center at Donaldson.

To register please contact Andrew Jennings at ajennings@poorhandmaids.org or 576-935-1723.

1/21/2017 NJ-SP Showcase

Senator Donnelly Discusses Hoosier Healthcare

Posted on January 16, 2017
Author Abby Adams, WKVI

U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly is discussing his plans for healthcare in Indiana following the talk of repealing The Affordable Care Act.

Donnelly said Friday there must be a plan to replace the healthcare of those currently depending on government healthcare plans following the repeal of this bill. “I’m not willing to stand aside if someone in Knox who has diabetes loses their healthcare.”

Donnelly stressed in the interview that he would work with whomever was willing, Democrat or Republican, to make sure Hoosiers do not lose their healthcare during the repeal of The Affordable Care Act.

“I’m willing to make plans, I’m willing to work together as long as everybody’s healthcare is protected,” he said.

Starke County Forest Drainage Complaints Continue

Posted on January 14, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

The Starke County Forest continues drawing complaints about drainage issues.

Forester Bruce Wakeland told the Starke County Park Board Tuesday that a complaint was brought to the County Drainage Board this week by a neighboring landowner. “For some reason, he’s focused on the Starke County Forest as his problem,” Wakeland said. “He does have drainage problems up where he lives apparently, but his house is built on a swamp and it doesn’t even have connectivity to the drains.”

Beaver dams have been blamed for flooding in the area, a claim Wakeland has disputed. The county has installed a beaver control device to help solve the issue, but Wakeland told board members the work wasn’t done properly.

He said the way the device was installed, it’s far too noisy, causing the beavers to instinctively build dams. “I’ve never given it more than about a 50-50 chance of working, but I haven’t given up on it yet,” he said. “So we got a major problem to try to fix, and my intention is, in the next week or two, to go in and talk with the county surveyor and to find out who’s responsible for this mistake. And if the contractor’s not, well then what’s it going to cost to fix it because I still think we’ve got over $3,000 invested in it. It’s worth an attempt to try and fix what is an obvious problem.”

On top of that, he says someone’s been trespassing in the forest property, in an apparent attempt to fix the drainage issue. “Somebody came out there and dug a hole clear through the lane, and also, they went down to the next dam and dug a big notch in the next dam, directly west of the observation tower,” Wakeland said. “And so not only did he drain the marsh between the observation tower and the main pond, but somebody dug a ditch clear through the lane.”

Wakeland says that puts the access lane at risk of washing out and also makes the beaver control device even less likely to work. He believes the best solution to drainage issues would be to build a bypass ditch, but he guesses that would cost $30,000 – money the county doesn’t have.

Still, Wakeland feels that in spite of the complaints, he’s done a good job at maintaining the water levels according to an agreement made when Dennis Estok was county surveyor. He also believes the drainage complaints are just taking money away from maintenance and improvements at the forest.

Surveyor Bill Crase is expected to put together a report on the drainage issue, along with some suggested solutions.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Starke Park Board Seeks Documentation on Bass Lake Beach and Campground Code Violations

Posted on January 13, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

Bass Lake Beach and Campground improvements continue to be monitored by the Starke County Park Board.

County Building Inspector Terry Stephenson had provided park board members with a written update, according to Board President Debbie Mix. “Everything he requested to be fixed and brought to code in the bathhouse has been completed,” she said Tuesday, “and there’s some exposed wiring in the main house that needs to be brought up to code.”

During Tuesday’s meeting, some board members were disappointed that Stephenson didn’t provide a full inspection report. Mix said the county needs the proper documentation, to have the option not to renew its lease with the operator of the beach and campground. “If we’re going to find them in violation, we need to make sure that we’re right on top of inspection report after inspection report, to make sure that they’re correcting things within the 30 days, we’re putting everything in writing,” she said. “And if we don’t do that, they’re getting that automatic extension.”

However, park board member Rosemary Rose pointed out that many people have expressed support for the current operators and their improvement efforts. She asked if the board’s goal is to end the current lease or to make sure the necessary repairs are made.

Mix felt that the board needs to be in a position to take action. “It really depends on if we want the status quo for the next 10 years or if we want to be able to implement some of these ideas that are going into the five-year plan,” she said. “I mean, that will certainly make a difference. So if we like what we see and we like how everything is running, then let’s keep the status quo. If we see room for improvement, then we need that report.”

Mix said the operator has had plenty of time to make the necessary repairs, and now the park board should hold them to their end of the lease, even if that means making repairs over the winter.

Justice Center Receives Heartland Award for Therapeutic Garden Program

Posted on January 13, 2017
Author Abby Adams, WKVI

The Starke County Justice Center’s community garden received The People’s Choice Heartland Award from the Indiana Department of Correction. The award was chosen by residents of Indiana for their successful 2016 harvest. To win the award, the program had to attain the most votes on Facebook and Starke County won by a landslide.

Officials from the IDOC visited the justice center Thursday to present the award. The community garden produces tomatoes, pumpkins, watermelon, and potatoes currently, with plans for even more variety next year. The inmates also keep track of 36 chickens, which produce about 20 eggs a day.

The food that isn’t used to help feed the Justice Center is donated to local nursing homes and food pantries.

Jim Bradford, the IDOC director of culinary arts for vocational reentry, who set up the People’s Choice Award, said he was impressed with the popularity of the facility. “I can’t tell you how much (Starke County) came behind this to support this award. It’s one fine facility.”

Phil Cherry, the jail warden, takes great pride in the program. “Because we’re a farming community, we thought this is something everyone will look at and pay attention to. Their family members are proud of what they’ve done and I think that’s important. We’re excited to expand next year.”

The County Justice Center has had a very successful therapeutic recovery program, with inmates coming in from eight surrounding counties. The inmates are organized into different groups, and mentor each other throughout the program. The inmates had a lot of praise for the different aspects of the program.

“We have GED classes, so some of us who don’t have a GED or a high school education got to participate in that. And I’d just like to say it is a great program.” Said an inmate in the recovery program.

Other inmates brought up being able to participate in raking leaves for the community, and cleaning up the fairgrounds. Inmates also have intensive family re-connection programs, where they get to have family discussions about home life for their return and healing processes within the family.

There are also fun activities for members of the recovery program. They have a dog come in every once in awhile to relieve stress which means a lot to the inmates, as well as football viewing parties.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

2/28/2017 Farming for the Future

1/25/2017 The Role of Young Adults in Church and Society

Ancilla College welcomes Bishop Kevin Rhodes, the first Lampen Lecture speaker of 2017 to Lindenwood Retreat & Conference Center on Wednesday, January 25, 2017 at 6:30 p.m. EST. Bishop Rhodes will discuss The Role of Young Adults in Church and Society. This event is free and open to the public. Please join us. Ancilla College and Lindenwood Retreat and Conference Center are a part of The Center at Donaldson, sponsored by The Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ.

1/12/2017 It's Kiss a Ginger Day!

 Inquiring minds are always asking questions.  If you don't believe me just ask a parent or a teacher.  So I was ever so intrigued when I stumbled on this website:  https://www.daysoftheyear.com.

Did you know that the month of January celebrates 13 different things?  Some of them are:  Be Kind to Food Servers Month, Soup Month, Clean Up Your Computer Month, and International Brain Teaser Month.  And in February there’s Hot Breakfast Month, Cherry Month, and Bird Feeding Month amongst others.**

Today – January 12th – is Kiss A Ginger Day, Poetry At Work Day, Pharmacist Day, and Marzipan Day.  I’m personally looking forward to January 16th (Appreciate A Dragon Day) and the 20th (Penguin Awareness Day).  Each day seems to have 2 to 8 items listed which gives you a choice of what to celebrate.

So if your children are often “bored – nothing to do” or just deserving of a special treat, check out this site and see what you can do to brighten their day or set up a future day to celebrate.

**By the way, February is also Bake For Family Fun Month, and there are quite a few snack days listed:  Baked Alaska Day, Carrot Cake Day, Gumdrop Day, Chocolate Mint Day, Tortilla Chip Day.  (And, if the kids have too much sugar, mom and dad might appreciate Drink Wine Day or Margarita Day.)

Possession of Wild Animal Parts

From the Indiana DNR Law Enforcement Facebook page:  
It's that time of year... Most hunting seasons are out, but you still want to get in the woods. 
Time for antler shed hunting! This is one type of hunting you don't need a license for, just permission from the landowner. If you happen to find a shed like the one in the picture, still attached to a deer skull, you can collect those as well.

Indiana Conservation Officers are providing this information so that all citizens may clearly understand the rule that governs antlers that are found with the skull attached, a permit IS REQUIRED to possess animal parts as described below. There is no possibility for our agency to mandate a specific response to the many different situations that occur regarding the possession of wild animal parts. It is always the best practice for citizens to involve their local Indiana Conservation Officer when an animal, or part thereof, is desired to be possessed and was not taken with a license and by lawful means. All of our officers may be reached through our Central Dispatch by calling 812-837-9536.

Additional information:     One more point of clarification on the deer antler collection discussion. A shed antler has specific characteristics that is present and identifies it as an antler that has naturally fallen from a live deer. With this said, the Department of Natural Resources has no interest in regulating “shed antlers”. However, the presence of a skull with the antlers identifies that a deer has died. Our interest is in what has caused the mortality of the deer and the circumstances surrounding it, therefore a permit is required to allow for investigation, if needed. It is the policy of the DNR Law Enforcement Executive staff that citizens may collect shed antlers that have been naturally discarded without the need for a permit.

312 IAC 9-2-3 Application of this article to wild animal parts
Authority: IC 14-22-2-6
Affected: IC 14-22
Sec. 3. (a) Except as provided in subsection (b), a prohibition against the:
(1) possession;
(2) sale;
(3) offer for sale;
(4) purchase;
(5) offer for purchase;
(6) shipment;
(7) transportation;
(8) delivery; or
(9) receipt;
of a wild animal also applies to any part or portion of that wild animal.
(b) The prohibition established under subsection (a) does not apply to the following parts of wild animals taken lawfully:
(1) Tanned hides.
(2) Any portion of a furbearing mammal.
(3) Cured feathers.
(4) Squirrel tails.
(5) Untanned deer hides.
(6) Antlers.
(7) Hooves.
(8) Any portion of a river otter.
(9) Untanned squirrel hides.

312 IAC 9-3-9 Wild animals killed by other means; disposition
Authority: IC 14-10-2-4; IC 14-22-2-6
Affected: IC 14-22
Sec. 9. (a) This section governs the following species of wild animals that die following a collision with a motor vehicle or are found dead:
(1) White-tailed deer.
(2) Fox or gray squirrel.
(3) Eastern cottontail rabbit.
(4) Furbearing mammal.
(5) River otter.
(6) Wild turkey.
(7) Bobwhite quail.
(8) Ring-necked pheasant.

(b) An individual may possess a species of wild animal listed in subsection (a) with a special purpose salvage permit issued in accordance with 312 IAC 9-10-13.5 or a permit issued by:
(1) a conservation officer;
(2) a district wildlife biologist for the department;
(3) a property manager or assistant property manager for the department; or

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Starke County Park Board Updated on Five-Year Plan

Posted on January 11, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

The Starke County Park Board is ready to submit a draft of its five-year plan, but what effect it will have on the Bass Lake Beach and Campground remains to be seen. The Troyer Group has been gathering input about the county’s park facilities and is now putting the finishing touches on a 34-page draft.

Troyer Group representative Mike Reese told board members Tuesday that in spite of a tight schedule, public participation has been amazing. “I thought we had a good turnout for the public meeting, about 20 people,” he said. “I think South Bend had less than that show up for their five-year park master plan meetings. And 364 surveys were turned in in that 10-day window, which I think is very impressive and shows the support that’s out there.”

Now that input has been gathered, Reese says planners are now turning their attention to creating an implementation plan for the suggested improvements. “For each of the facilities, we will have kind of a list of goals and some strategies to accomplish those goals,” he explained. “That will kind of be summarized into a matrix that will say each of the tasks, the people or parties responsible, the time line for completing that, and for the applicable line items, a construction cost or cost to achieve that line item.”

For now, though, the main goal is to submit the draft to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources by this Sunday. That would allow Starke County to possibly be eligible for DNR grant funding this year.

Reese pointed out that Starke County does face a few challenges. “Starke County is a little bit different than some of the ones they see, just because there’s not a parks department established,” he said. “You don’t have an annual budget. You’re kind of starting things.”

While those in attendance at Tuesday’s meeting applauded the planning effort, some questioned whether the changes recommended for the Bass Lake Beach and Campground will be implemented. It was pointed out that the facility’s operator can’t be forced to make improvements that aren’t specified in its existing lease with the county.

However, Park Board President Debbie Mix says she’s optimistic. “The five-year plan addresses other areas that we actually can very fairly quickly get accomplished but wouldn’t be able to get accomplished without it,” she said. “So there’s several reasons for the five-year plan. We may be kicked back in time, waiting for the lease, but I’m hoping that won’t happen.”

The plan is expected to be presented to the public later this month or early next month. The park board will then decide whether to officially adopt the plan in March, before a final version is sent to the DNR.

State Officials Urge Testing for Potentially Deadly Gas

Posted on January 11, 2017
Author Mary Perren, WKVI

Hoosiers are urged to test their homes for a cancer-causing, radioactive gas during the month of January. Radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

It’s responsible for an estimated 21,000 lung cancer deaths annually. Smokers who are exposed to especially high radon levels are at an especially high risk for lung cancer.

Radon is a tasteless, colorless and odorless radioactive gas that comes from the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water. It seeps through cracks and gaps in floors, walls and construction joints and around service pipes. It accumulates in the air within homes and in drinking water. Radon can be found throughout the United States and can get into any type of building. The greatest exposure risk is at home, where people spend the majority of their time.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Jerome Adams says testing for radon helps to determine how high levels are so immediate action can be taken if necessary to reduce them. He adds it makes sense to test homes that are winterized since gases are sealed in.

The EPA estimates nearly one of every 15 homes in the United States has an elevated radon level. If a high level is detected, licensed contractors can install mitigation systems to eliminate the problem and protect residents.

Testing is the only way to determine your home’s radon level. Test kits are available at local hardware and home stores and can be done within a few minutes. Adams says Hoosiers should retest their homes every two years.

Find more information on the Indiana State Department of Health’s radon page.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

State Lawmakers Looking to Bring Back Small School Grant

Posted on January 10, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

Several local school corporations would stand to benefit from a bill introduced last week in the Indiana House of Representatives. Francesville Republican Doug Gutwein has co-authored a bill that would reestablish a small school grant for 2017 through 2019.

Under the proposed legislation, school corporations with 1,000 students or fewer would be eligible for a grant of $200 per student. Corporations with between 1,001 and 2,400 students would get $100 per student. That would cost the state an estimated $27.3 million in fiscal year 2018, going up to $27.5 million in 2019. The bill, authored by Representative Bill Friend, now goes to the House Ways and Means Committee for further consideration.

Several rural school corporations throughout the local area, including Culver and West Central, have been joining together to ask lawmakers to increase funding for small and rural schools.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

North Judson May Pursue Trash Can Ordinance

Posted on January 7, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

The North Judson Town Council may consider an ordinance requiring garbage totes to be moved away from the street after trash collection.

In the past few months, trash collection has been moved to the streets from the alleys, and Republic Services has supplied residents with the garbage totes. But Clerk-Treasurer Alicia Collins says some residents have been leaving them along the streets, long after trash has been collected.

She says no formal policy is currently in place, but an ordinance may be enacted if the problem persists. The town encourages residents to remove garbage totes from the street within 24 hours after trash pickup.

Friday, January 6, 2017

North Judson Fire Department to Buy Brush Truck

Posted on January 6, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

The North Judson-Wayne Township Fire Department is getting a new vehicle. A Ford F-350 is being purchased, to serve as the department’s new brush truck.

North Judson Clerk-Treasurer Alicia Collins says the fire department will continue to use its old truck for incidents in wooded areas. Oliver Ford in Plymouth submitted the low bid, for just under $29,000.

Collins notes that the purchase had been planned for this year, as part of the department’s vehicle replacement schedule. She adds that funding is coming from both the town and the township, with some of that money being encumbered from last year’s budget.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

North Judson Council Reorganizes, Selects Town Attorney

Posted on January 5, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

North Judson has a new town attorney. The town council approved a contract with attorney Justin Schramm.

Clerk-Treasurer Alicia Collins notes that Schramm already has some municipal experience. He currently serves as the town attorney for Winamac, Monterey, and Francesville.

Schramm will have some work ahead of him, as he takes over in North Judson. The town faces a lawsuit from the operator of its short line railroad. North Judson has also been taking legal action against various property owners, in an effort to crack down on unsafe building violations.

During Tuesday’s meeting, the North Judson Town Council also made several yearly appointments. Wendy Hoppe has once again been selected to serve as council president. She will also remain the council’s representative on the Starke County Economic Development Foundation Board of Directors, while Jane Ellen Felchuk will continue to serve on the Starke County Environmental Management Commission.

Alicia Collins takes over as the town’s representative on the Kankakee-Iroquois Regional Planning Commission, and council members were appointed as liaisons with each of the town’s departments.

County Officials Shopping for Building Inspector Truck

Posted on January 5, 2017
Author Mary Perren, WKVI

Starke County Building Inspector Terry Stephenson could soon have a new-to-him, county-issued vehicle. County Council President Freddie Baker says the one he’s currently driving is “junk.” He says Stephenson recently could not get it to go over 30 miles per hour and nearly got stranded recently. Baker says Stephenson also has to use his wife’s car because his county vehicle was not running.

Baker has spoken to Auditor Kay Chaffins, who offered $19,000 from her budget to purchase a vehicle for the building inspector. Baker says it doesn’t have to be new, just decent looking and functional.

Councilman Dave Pearman noted such requests typically start with the commissioners, who then make a recommendation to the council as to whether or not funds should be appropriated. Baker said he spoke with Commissioner Kathy Norem about it. Cambe Chevrolet has been contacted and might be able to provide an acceptable used vehicle within that price range.

Norem suggested Councilman Bryan Cavender and Commissioner Don Binkley, who represent their respective bodies on the plan commission, see what kind of vehicle they can find to meet the building inspector’s needs.

Pearman’s motion to appropriate the money from the auditor’s budget with the caveat that it be approved by the commissioners and committee formed to find a vehicle or two, if possible, and be purchased locally.

The issue came up at the last regular council meeting of 2016 and was fast-tracked due to the end of the county’s fiscal year.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Railroad Township Trustee to Continue Fire Protection Negotiations, Following Court Hearing

Posted on January 4, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

The Railroad Township Trustee says she’s willing to make another attempt at negotiating a 2017 contract with the San Pierre Volunteer Fire Department. In a press release, Trustee Mandy Thomason called Friday’s court hearing a “positive step forward.”

It ended with both parties agreeing to continue fire protection under the terms of the current contract until January 30. However, Fire Chief Joe Kryzyzanowski will temporarily step down during that time, with Assistant Chief Mike Korous taking over in an interim capacity.

The press release emphasizes that Thomason takes her duty as township executive seriously. Thomason also assures residents that she will take all the actions in her power to make sure they always get the fire protection and emergency services they deserve.

During Friday’s hearing, Starke Circuit Court Judge Kim Hall encouraged the parties involved to work out their own solution, noting that court should be the absolute last resort for resolving disagreements. Thomason says she’s willing to negotiate in good faith with the fire department on a contract that ensures that Railroad Township gets fire protection and emergency services that comply with state law.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Starke County Officials to Renegotiate Economic Development Contract

Posted on January 3, 2017
Author Mary Perren, WKVI

A group of county officials plans to sit down next week to discuss a new contract with the  Starke County Economic Development Foundation. Executive Director Charlie Weaver has worked under the same agreement for 16 years. He agrees it’s time revisit the agreement and exactly what kind of work it entails on behalf of the county.

Commissioner Kathy Norem and Council members Nancy Dembowski, Dave Pearman and Brad Haselton  plan to meet initially before sitting down with Weaver to talk about a proposed agreement.

The Starke County Economic Development Foundation is responsible for marketing the county to new and existing businesses in order to create and retain jobs and resources locally.

Any new contract will require approval during a public meeting before the terms become official.