Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Congratulations 2017 Indiana Math Bowl Team

Congratulations to the Mathbowl Team for getting a 3rd at the competition.

Monday, February 27, 2017

3/3/2017 Deadline to Sign Up For Starke County Young Artists' Conference

North Judson Looking for Demolition, Mowing Contractors

Posted on February 27, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

The Town of North Judson is moving ahead with the demolition of a downtown building, but so far no one has expressed interest in doing the work. Town officials decided to tear down the building at 205 and 207 Lane Street after they determined the owners did not make the required repairs to bring the building up to safety standards.

Clerk-Treasurer Alicia Collins says the town has not yet received any demolition bids. The town council had tentatively planned to choose a contractor next Monday. Contractors interested in doing the work may contact the town offices at 574-896-3340 for more information.

Collins adds the town’s also looking for contractors to mow the lawns at Highland and Pioneer cemeteries this year. Mowing bids will be accepted until April 3.

Starke County Community Foundation Accepting Grant Applications

Posted on February 27, 2017
Author Mary Perren, WKVI

Grant applications are available from the Starke County Community Foundation for a variety of nonprofit organizations. Some of the awards have deadlines, while others do not.

Last year’s grant recipients include Community Services of Starke County. Last year the nonprofit agency, which provides services for elderly and disabled individuals, received $3,500 to help pay for a transportation van.

Another recipient was The Crossing alternative school. It serves students who have dropped out of school or who have just been released from the Indiana Department of Corrections. Last year the program got a $3,200 grant to assist with student job training and to purchase a deep freezer for the student lunch program.

Click Starke County Community Foundation grant application to learn more and apply.

Friday, February 24, 2017

March 2017 - Quote of the Month

Happy Birthday, Oliver Wendell Holmes! 
March 8, 1841

2017 Starke United Applications Available

The Starke County Community Foundation (SCCF) is offering many granting opportunities for charitable organizations in 2017. In an effort to be make grant dollars more accessible to community projects, the Community Foundation has removed deadlines from most of their applications. These applications may be submitted throughout the year.

Applications for the entire year are available online or at the SCCF office in the North Judson-San Pierre Middle School building at 950 W. Campbell Drive in North Judson.

Starke United Fund grants will be administered as they have been in the past. The deadline to apply is May 5, 2017. These grants are the result of a partnership with Starke United and the Community Foundation. The partnership was created to provide a more efficient way to assist Starke County’s charitable agencies. Maximum grant request per agency is $ 3,500.

Starke United app due May 5, 2017

 Starke United Fund app

North Judson Council to Consider Cumulative Capital Development Fund Reestablishment

Posted on February 24, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

North Judson residents may soon see a bit of a tax increase. The town council is working with accounting firm Umbaugh and Associates to reestablish a cumulative capital development fund.

Clerk-Treasurer Alicia Collins says the town currently has one, but since the tax rate decreases over time, it’s down to just over 0.01 percent. The reestablishment would boost that level back up to 0.05 percent.

Collins adds that residents will have the chance to ask questions and offer input on the cumulative capital development fund during a public hearing on Monday, March 20 at 6:30 p.m., before the council makes a final decision.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

North Judson Council Seeks Input on Curbside Recycling

Posted on February 23, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

The Town of North Judson is asking residents whether or not they want curbside recycling pickup. On Monday, the town council heard a presentation from Republic Services about adding the service. The company already provides trash pickup for the town.

Clerk-Treasurer Alicia Collins says council members decided to hold off on making a decision until their June 5 meeting, so community members have a chance to offer input.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

3/17/2017 NeuterScooter in North Judson

The NeuterScooter will be in North Judson on March 17, 2017. To make an appointment to have your cat neutered for $50 click on the link below.


Monday, February 20, 2017

School Superintendents Cautiously Optimistic About Budgets

Posted on February 20, 2017
Author Mary Perren, WKVI

Public school officials are keeping a close eye on the Indiana General Assembly in hopes of getting more money in the next state budget. Eastern Pulaski Superintendent Dan Foster says the Small and Rural Schools Association and the North Central Indiana Superintendents Study Council hosted a legislative day in Indianapolis last week. He says they’re still cautiously optimistic the state will restore the small and rural schools grant.

“We’re over 1,200 so that would get us $100 per student. Which doesn’t sound like a lot, but if you take our fall count of 1,262 kids, that would get us $126,000, just with that $100 a student,” Foster said.

He adds many small, rural schools, including Eastern Pulaski, are experiencing drops in enrollment.

“From the fall of ’15 to the fall of ’16 we were down 13 students, which was about $75,000. If we were to receive, for instance, that $100 a student, that would neutralize that loss of enrollment a little bit, so definitely any little bit will help.”

Foster adds the education budget in general will be tight.

“They’re telling us to on average maybe expect about a 1 percent increase next year. My comment is how many utilities and insurances and things like that have only increased 1 percent.”

Additionally Foster says the change a few years ago from a fiscal to a calendar year budget and the addition of a second student count date creates budget challenges, as funding can be cut midway through the school year.

Friday, February 17, 2017

ISP Warns of Thieves Targeting Grieving Families

Posted on February 17, 2017
Author Mary Perren, WKVI

Thieves are adding insult to injury for grieving families by trolling obituaries and breaking into their homes during visitations and funerals. Officials with the Indiana State Police Lowell Post note a number of burglaries have occurred in the past year in Starke, Pulaski, Jasper and Newton Counties.

They add thieves can find information and hours when victims will be gone by reading obituaries published online or in newspapers.

ISP officials recommend having someone stay at your home during the wake, memorial or funeral service. Another theft deterrent is a security system with a direct link to a monitoring service. Some include outdoor cameras, automated lighting and alarms.

Also, use locks and secure your home every time you leave, even if you are just running a quick errand. You can also notify your local police department and ask them to do extra patrols by your home during the visitation and funeral.

Starke County Park Board to Inspect County Forest

Posted on February 17, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger

The Starke County Forest will get an inspection by members of the County Park Board, in an effort to resolve drainage issues in the area.

Forester Bruce Wakeland says a neighboring landowner is unfairly blaming beaver dams in the forest for flooding. But County Surveyor Bill Crase believes there may be some validity to the claims, according to County Attorney Marty Lucas. “Sometimes, you just get differences of opinion on land use, if you see what I’m saying. That’s another thing, but it sounds like Bill feels there’s something to it,” Lucas told the park board Tuesday. “I think we should meet with him and investigate it and try to find out what needs to be done to resolve it.”

Lucas suggested that the park board schedule a site visit with Crase and Wakeland. While Wakeland believes issues outside the forest have been causing the flooding, he does admit that a beaver control device installed in the forest hasn’t helped, partly because it wasn’t installed properly.

Still, Wakeland has said he’s done a good job of maintaining water levels in the forest. Lucas says Crase can use GIS data to see whether that’s true. Lucas is confident the park board can reach a solution everyone will be happy with.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Have You Seen Our eBooks?

Did you know that the North Judson-Wayne Township Library has 187 ebooks available online?  

And if your library card begins with 297900000***** then you can check out ebooks from the North Judson-Wayne Township Library!

Visit our website at www.njwt.lib.in.us, click on

and then take a look at what we have to offer on our Magic Wall. 

Find something you want to read?  Visit the App Zone and download the Axis360 app to your computer,  tablet or phone. 

Any questions?  Just ask at the front desk next time you visit the library and the staff will be glad to help you.

Starke County Park Board Still Waiting for Bass Lake Beach and Campground Inspection Report

Posted on February 16, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

The Starke County Park Board continues to demand documentation of the Bass Lake Beach and Campground’s condition. County Building Inspector Terry Stephenson visited the property in December, but hasn’t provided a formal inspection report, as requested by Park Board President Debbie Mix.

As it stands, Bass Lake Beach and Campground operator Callahan Development, LLC is set to proceed with an automatic extension of its lease with the county. Mix believes the county may have a chance to get out of the lease, if Callahan is officially found to be in violation.

During Tuesday’s park board meeting, County Attorney Marty Lucas said the issue may boil down to how to create an inspection report if there isn’t an associated building permit. “We got a response,” he explained. “I took the response as being that there wasn’t really a permit and so there wasn’t a formal report.”

Some of those in attendance Tuesday questioned how many of the issues at the Beach and Campground were Callahan’s fault and how many of them existed beforehand. During the meeting, Mix presented photographic evidence of how the site appeared shortly after Callahan took over, which appears to show that at least some components were in much better shape. “Some of that is just fascia,” Mix explained. “It’s painting. It’s keeping it nice and neat. It means that that whole pavilion building was being used. It wasn’t not being used. And it had a working kitchen. It had sales of different items.”

Residents also asked what the park board plans to do if it is successful in getting out of its lease with Callahan. Mix assumed the county would simply lease the facility to another operator, but with more attention paid to the lease before it’s signed.

However, Lucas suggested that the county consider other options if and when the time comes. “I think a best practice nowadays is that if you have a property like this, you have several vendors,” he said. “You might have a contract with a restaurateur to run a restaurant in there. You might have somebody else running the campground. Somebody else might be running the facility that rents boats. And I think that maybe is a better approach, but once again, we’re not in that situation right now.”

Several of those in attendance Tuesday pointed out that Callahan has made at least some improvements to the facility in recent months. However, many agree that it’s not being used to its full potential.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

2/16/2017 Blood Drive @ NJ United Methodist Church

March Honorees @ American Legion Post #92

2/24, 25 & 26/2017 The Sound of Music @ NJ-SP High School

Starke County Park Board Unveils Five-Year Plan

Posted on February 15, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

Starke County residents got a look at the future of the county’s park facilities Tuesday. Mike Reese with the Troyer Group presented the county’s five-year park plan during Tuesday’s County Park Board meeting.

He said one general goal is simply to raise awareness of the county’s parks. “Most people know of Bass Lake Beach and Campground,” he noted. “A lot of people, we found, did not know of the Starke County Forest, as well as some of the other properties and Yellow River access sites that are even in existence. So developing an awareness, creating a presence on social media because so many people use that now, having a parks Facebook where you can provide updates to people.”

The plan also calls for unifying signage, both to direct people to the county’s parks and also to help them find their way around once they’re there. A programs and activities calendar may be developed, as well.

Several upgrades are also suggested for the individual parks. For the Starke County Forest, the plan recommends improvements to the trails and parking lot, as well as the installation of a picnic pavilion and restrooms. Meanwhile, the North Judson Erie Trail would be taken over by the county, which would work with the Prairie Trails Club to make various upgrades.

The plan also calls for the county to make better use of its Yellow River access sites at Range Road and English Lake. Reese noted that various types of funding are available from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources for kayak and canoe launches. Long-range plans call for the improvement of beaches at Koontz Lake.

However, much of Tuesday’s discussion centered around the Bass Lake Beach and Campground. Reese said the first goal is to bring the facility up to code, especially when it comes to ADA compliance. At the same time, the plan also lists several improvements on its longer-range wish list. “Some of the things that came up were improving the curb appeal, adding amenities such as drinking fountains and benches,” he said. “A very important one was improving the beach. The sand is not nearly as nice as it was before, so bringing in more sand and improving the condition of the beach for people to be able to use it. The playgrounds need new equipment.”

One challenge, though, is that the county does not have direct control over the Beach and Campground. Instead, it leases it to Callahan Development, LLC. To what extent Callahan will work with the county to improve the property remains to be seen.

On top of that, Starke County lacks an actual park department or park budget. Reese says that puts a limit on what can be accomplished, “As these properties become improved and there’s more opportunities for the public to use this and the park board’s involvement, actually getting a park department with a staff that would be responsible for maintaining these sites, and they could work to not only operate and manage these sites but work to acquire funding and manage the process of growing the park system.”

Starke County’s five-year park plan must be approved by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources for the county to be eligible for DNR grants. The DNR is expected to review a draft of Starke County’s plan this week and provide suggestions. The park board will then consider adopting the final version of the plan in March, before it gets sent back to the DNR in April. If it gets final approval, Starke County will be able to apply for grants later this year.

County Officials Find Solution to Perennial Flooding Problem

Posted on February 15, 2017
Author Mary Perren, WKVI

The Starke County Highway Department and Surveyor Bill Crase are working with a property owner to resolve an ongoing drainage problem near the Starke-Pulaski County line.

Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler says a drainage tile that crosses 800 South from the south, just west of 300 West is responsible for the frequent flooding that occurs in that area. It will be replaced, and an additional pipe will be installed on 300 West, south of 800 South.

Ritzler says the roadway will be repaved when the project is finished.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Get Your Free Copy of the Consumer Action Handbook

The Consumer Action Handbook is a free resource guide that provides general information on shopping for goods and services and tips about your consumer rights. The Handbook has information to help you file a complaint about a purchase and includes a sample complaint letter that you can use and send to a company. It also includes a consumer assistance directory, with contact information for consumer protection offices in government agencies, and customer service departments at many national corporations.

You can get a free copy of the Consumer Action Handbook in one of these ways:

Download a digital copy of the Handbook as a pdf.

By mail: Write to: Handbook
Pueblo, CO 81009

There is also a Spanish version of the Handbook, Guía del Consumidor to provide consumer information to Spanish consumers. You can get copies of the Guía in one of these ways:
Download a digital copy of the Guía.

By mail: Write to: Guía del Consumidor
Pueblo, CO 81009

Please note: The information in the Consumer Action Handbook and Guía del Consumidor are in the public domain, so you may copy any portion of these books. Please credit USAGov in Technology Transformation Service, General Services Administration as your source.

Library Lover's Month #4

February is Library Lover's Month #3

Starke County Highway Superintendent Presents Asset Management Plan

Posted on February 14, 2017
Author Mary Perren, WKVI

The Starke County Highway Department has a replacement schedule for vehicles and heavy equipment. Superintendent Rik Ritzler shared the asset management plan with the commissioners last week.

“With 87 vehicles and pieces of heavy equipment, you have to replace three or four a year or else you’re going to wait 30 or 40 years before you replace everything,” Ritzler explained. “That’s why it seems like we’re getting a lot, but really we have to maintain that and keep going. This will be a good thing to have these dates and when we’re going to replace them, why we’re going to replace them, what we actually use the vehicle for.”

Last week the highway department took delivery of a new dump truck, which will replace one that’s currently in the fleet. Ritzler says the 1997 International will become a spare, and the new truck will be assigned to Koontz Lake.

Right now Ritzler is soliciting quotes for a new tractor. He says the department is gradually replacing its mowing fleet. He says John Deere makes quality tractors, but the ones on the replacement list are more than 20 years old. His goal is to purchase a new one every couple of years before mowing season starts.

Ritzler adds he should have those quotes for the commissioners at their next meeting.

IRS Officials Say Don’t Misrepresent Your Income on Tax Returns

Posted on February 14, 2017
Author Mary Perren, WKVI

Falsifying your income to boost your tax refund could cost you quite a bit of money, according to IRS officials.

They note misrepresenting your income to claim tax credits can lead to significant penalties, interest and possible criminal prosecution. For instance, federal officials say unscrupulous people list income they did not earn in order to secure larger refundable credits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Even if your return is professionally prepared, IRS officials say the individual filer is legally responsible for the information it contains. They urge taxpayers to choose a preparer carefully and make sure he or she understands taxes and are honest about eligible credits and deductions.

Find more tips about choosing a preparer and better understanding their credentials online at www.irs.gov/chooseataxpro.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Starke County Humane Society Fundraiser

From the Starke County Humane Society Facebook page:  

The shelter is in dire need of new kennel doors! The ones we currently have were installed in 1990. As you can imagine, they've experienced a lot of wear and tear over the years. Due to the sizes and nature of the doors, they are going to need to be handmade.

We are holding an online Norwex fundraiser thru the month of February. A percentage of all orders will be donated back to the shelter to help us reach our goal of $4,000.00 to replace our kennel doors. All ordering is done online and shipped straight to your door! I'm confident you will love your products and the peace of mind knowing that you can quickly and easily clean your entire home with just water and Norwex! No more chemicals!

Our February customer specials are AMAZING! Check out the Pet Perfect Set! A MUST HAVE for all pet owners!

Any questions may be directed to Heather at 219-242-2421.

Thank you for your support! Please help us achieve our goal and get our new kennel doors!

Shop here!

Mild Winter Adds Up to Savings for Starke Highway Department

Posted on February 13, 2017
Author Mary Perren, WKVI

The mild winter should make for a more productive summer for the Starke County Highway Department. Superintendent Rik Ritzler told the commissioners last week things have leveled off since December in terms of ice and snow.

“We still had to use some salt-sand this month because of the freezing a couple days, but for the most part we’ve saved money on the plow blades, diesel fuel and other things. Hopefully that will continue in February. If that does we’ll take that to summer operations and add that to roads we can do.”

Ritzler adds supplies are already in place when the weather improves.

“We’ve been able to haul in most of the stone and material we needed for the summer. We don’t really have to haul any more of that in, so we’re kind of ahead of the game. We’re going to start replacing our culverts earlier than normal, as long as the weather holds. We have about 13 on tap right now to replace. Last year we replaced 30, and we think we’ll do about that this year.”

Ritzler says the highway department is working on its second county-wide culvert inventory. The first one cataloged 624 culverts. He says additional replacements will be added to the 2017 list once the new inventory is finished. That should be done by the end of the month.

New Laws May Delay Tax Refunds

Posted on February 13, 2017
Author Mary Perren, WKVI

Federal income tax filers who claimed popular income tax credits will have to wait another week or so for their tax refunds, according to IRS officials.

Recent legislation requires the IRS to hold refunds for tax returns claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) until mid-February. IRS officials say the policy change will help the agency to better detect fraud and ensure taxpayers get the refund they are owed.

The IRS will begin to release those refunds starting Feb. 15, and the the “Where’s My Refund?” tool at IRS.gov or via the IRS2Go mobile app will be updated within a few days.

Still the IRS cautions taxpayers not to expect their refunds to bank accounts or debit cards until the week of Feb. 27. The delay is due to several factors, including processing time for banks and financial institutions and the President’s Day three-day weekend.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

February is Library Lover's Month #2

2/12/2017 Ancilla College Offers College Goal Sunday Resources

Posted on February 11, 2017
Author Mary Perren, WKVI

Prospective college students can get a hand with completing their financial aid forms during College Goal Sunday events tomorrow at several locations.

Ancilla College officials will be at Plymouth High School from 2 until 4 p.m. to provide free assistance to students throughout the area.

In order to be eligible for federal and state grants, loans and scholarships, prospective students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). It’s due by March 10th in order to qualify for state assistance.

Students and their parents or guardians should bring their completed 2015 federal tax returns and other income information to the College Goal Sunday event. Students who are 24 or older may attend alone and bring their tax returns from last year.

Ancilla officials stress there’s no charge to fill out the FAFSA. It can be found online at https://fafsa.ed.gov/. Also, students need to complete the form annually in order to be considered for aid in the upcoming year.

Find more information online at http://www.collegegoalsunday.org.

Indiana’s Family of Farmers Holds Student Video Contest

Posted on February 11, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

Indiana students are being asked to consider the future of agriculture, as part of a video contest from Indiana’s Family of Farmers.

Students in grades six through 12 are encouraged to create a 30-to-60-second video discussing what the agriculture industry can accomplish in the future, when it comes to supplying food, feed, and fuel. Students are also asked to explain how it will affect them. They will have the chance to win a GoPro Hero+ video camera or up to $150 in cash.

The contest will be divided into two categories: one for students in sixth through eighth grades and another for students in ninth through 12th grades. The videos will be posted on the Indiana’s Family of Farmers website, where the public will have a chance to help choose the winners by voting for their favorite.

The deadline to submit a video is Monday, February 27. Winners will be recognized at the Indiana Statehouse on Tuesday, March 21, as part of the Indiana Ag Day celebration.

More information can be found on the Indiana’s Family of Farmers website.

Friday, February 10, 2017

February is Library Lover's Month #1

N.J.-S.P. Superintendent Talks Test Scores, School Letter Grades

Posted on February 10, 2017
Author Mary Perren, WKVI

ISTEP test scores don’t tell the entire story of the North Judson-San Pierre School Corporation. Superintendent Dr. Annette Zupin says unfortunately though they provide a side-by-side comparison of school districts.

“It’s frustrating. I don’t like that, but that’s reality. So we have to do better on the test. It disheartens me that we have legislators and people who think that the test score defines a school and a student. I’m totally against that philosophically. However that’s the way it is now, so we’ve got to do better on the test.”

Zupin says N.J.-S.P. is taking steps to do just that.

“Our school improvement plan addresses that. We are changing the amount of time that we spend on math, in particular. We’re devoting more time to that, so we can’t ignore it.”

Zupin adds standardized test scores are just part of the overall letter grade for schools and corporations. The graduation rate and number of dual credits students receive are also factors.

“Our test scores were not very good last year, and yet we did not fail. I attribute that to those multiple measures. So all the work that went into helping students graduate, and those dual credits, that helped us. You can’t dismiss those good things that we do. It just doesn’t have the same weight as the test.”

Zupin says N.J.-S.P. offers students individual attention and gives them access to both remediation and high ability classes. Additionally dual credit courses, for which students receive both high school and college credits, are taught by teachers. N.J.-S.P. has also offered online credit recovery for the past 10 years.

Starke Commissioners Approve Use of GIS Data

Posted on February 10, 2017
Author Mary Perren, WKVI

The North Judson-San Pierre School Corporation’s plans to revamp their bus routes cleared a procedural hurdle during Monday’s Starke County Commissioners meeting.

They agreed to let school officials use the county’s geographic information system data free of charge. School officials are looking to make their routes as efficient as possible in an effort to reduce expenses.

Starke County Community Foundation Revamps Grant Deadlines

Posted on February 10, 2017
Author Mary Perren, WKVI

The Starke County Community Foundation has removed deadlines from most of its grant applications in an effort to make funds for community projects more accessible.

Applications are available online at www.nicf.org or at the Starke County Community Foundation office in the North Judson-San Pierre Middle School building at 950 Campbell Drive.

Community Education Grants are offered to schools or teachers in the Knox, North Judson-San Pierre and Oregon-Davis school systems, with a maximum award of $500 per school system.

SCCF also has two Field of Interest grant opportunities – one for Indiana history and one for alternative agriculture projects. The Maude Brown and Henry F. Schricker Endowment provides support to all Starke County fourth-grade or above students for projects regarding Indiana history and social studies. The Robert ‘Boom Boom’ Baker Alternative Agriculture Grant awards dollars to programs or projects that encourage or support alternative agriculture within Starke County.

Several Community Support Grants will be given this year as well. Awards range from several hundred to several thousand dollars and are given to organizations that provide support throughout the community.

SCCF Director of Development Sarah Origer says the new system is designed to be more convenient for those who need funding earlier in the year.

Starke United Fund Grants will still be administered as they have been in the fast. They are a partnership between Starke United and the Community Foundation that was created to provide a more efficient way to assist Starke County’s charitable agencies. The maximum grant request per agency is $3,500, and applications are due by May 5, 2017.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

N.J.-S.P. Adds Agriculture Vocational Class Block

Posted on February 9, 2017
Author Mary Perren, WKVI

The North Judson-San Pierre School Corporation is launching a new vocational program for area students in the fall. Superintendent Dr. Annette Zupin says N.J.-S.P. has sent students to Knox and Plymouth for various vocational programs over the years.

“It’s not about competition. In my mind it’s not about seeing how many buses you can send into the next district. It’s about how can these small schools with declining enrollment, with declining population – how can we offer quality education for all of our students, and the vocational programs are perfect for that.”

Zupin says N.J.-S.P.’s vocational offering is an extension of one of the corporation’s most popular areas of elective study.

“We are offering ag courses and industrial arts classes in the area of woods and small engines at North Judson-San Pierre. So if Knox students interested in agriculture or woods or small engines, if they are interested they need to talk to their guidance counselor and see about enrolling in this block of time.”

Zupin adds N.J.-S.P. is looking at a total of 14 students for the fall program launch. She notes it may take a little while for the new offering to catch on with students from other corporations.

“Right now the norm is that Knox offers those vocational courses. This is kind of a new thought process in that you can travel over to North Judson. We’ve had students in the past do that. They came over for one period. Now we’re offering it. To me it’s just more cost effective and time effective having that block of time.”

Students are in the process of scheduling fall classes now, so Zupin says it’s too early to say how much interest there is in the program from outside the school district.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Congratulations NJSP Band Students!

Starke County Fares Well in State Road Safety Rankings

Posted on February 8, 2017
Author Mary Perren, WKVI

Starke County’s roads are among the safest in the state based on crash data. Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler told the county commissioners Monday the statistics are based on the number of miles driven.

“They did an index of the collisions for every county, one being the worst and 92 being the best. We are 88.”

Ritzler adds the report looks at numerous categories of collisions, including deer, those caused by unsafe intersections and those related to speed.

Ritzler adds the county’s aggressive seasonal brush cutting efforts help to significantly reduce the number of wrecks. He says each of the crew members will receive a commendation for their work.

“They don’t like cutting brush, but one of the biggest things about roadway safety is the cutting of brush, especially with deer coming out into the roadways and sight distance,” he said.

Ritzler also told the commissioners he reviews crash data each month.

“Anything that’s potentially road related or condition related, I go out to the site to see if there’s anything, if there is a sight distance, to see if there is something we can do. It’s on the county right of way, so we do do that every month. I think that makes a difference as well.”

Ritzler also tracks anything that may have been related to roadway conditions.

“The last couple months there were 60 collisions and only a couple of them were roadway condition related. So one thing I do do also is if it’s an icy or slick roadway, I check our GPS to see if our guy put the salt-sand down there at some time. Even when you put the salt-sand down, as you know, the roads are still slick. A lot of times it’s just someone going too fast, but at least we can prove that we put the material down. That GPS is very helpful in that and continues to be.”

Ritzler adds the state’s rankings are based on data from 2015, which is similar to 2016’s figures.

N.J.-S.P. Superintendent Touts Corporation’s Strengths

Posted on February 8, 2017
Author Mary Perren, WKVI

The North Judson-San Pierre School Corporation is promoting its strengths as part of its strategic plan implementation. Superintendent Dr. Annette Zupin says one recurring theme from both current students and alumni is the close-knit nature of the community.

“They like that the teachers know them and know their strengths and their areas of needs. ‘They know me, so they know how to help me. I know who to go to when I need something.’ That is an advantage of a small school. It’s an advantage of a community that’s tight knit and is like a family, and that is like this community.”

Zupin adds N.J.-S.P. also has an excellent agriculture/industrial arts program. It includes wood classes, which many schools have dropped.

N.J.-S.P. also offers 16 girls and boys varsity sports, along with both remediation and high-ability courses. Zupin says both are available, despite staffing reductions.

Additionally, Zupin says N.J.-S.P. has offered online credit recovery for several years. Also she says the corporation’s dual credit courses, for which students can earn high school and college credit, are taught by teachers. Many corporations offer dual credit courses online.

Zupin adds the strategic planning committee’s first goal is to make sure residents of the corporation know about the good things happening at N.J.-S.P.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

N.J.-S.P. Strategic Planning Group Works to Market Corporation

Posted on February 7, 2017
Author Mary Perren, WKVI

The North Judson-San Pierre strategic planning group is focusing on promoting the good things that are happening within the school corporation. Superintendent Dr. Annette Zupin says the new logo and slogan are a part of that process.

“We also want to get some media, video, some advertisements about the good things that we do here at North Judson-San Pierre. That will take us to the end of the school year,” she said.

At that point Zupin says the committee will evaluate and decide on a plan for next year. For now she adds the immediate priority is to make sure the community knows what’s happening at N.J.-S.P.

“Oftentimes I guess as a staff we assume that people know what we do, and the kids will go home and tell. Well, they don’t go home and tell everything. It’s our job to let the community know that.”

Zupin says the immediate goal is to reach out to residents of the school district and make sure they know about programs, curriculum and course offerings. She says that needs to be done before N.J.-S.P. starts marketing to a broader audience.

The strategic planning group recently adopted the slogan “The Bluejay Way – Who We Are, Where We Go, What We Do.” Zupin says it’s about showing respect at all times, being responsible for our actions and academics and hopefully realizing achievement as a result.

Free Mammograms Available for Local Women

Posted on February 7, 2017
Author Mary Perren, WKVI

Women in Starke and LaPorte Counties who are uninsured or underinsured will have access to mammograms, thanks to a recent grant. The Indiana Breast Cancer Awareness Trust awarded $18,000 to the Healthcare Foundation of LaPorte Breast Cancer Project.

The Foundation has been working since 2005 to educate women about the importance of early detection. It provides screening mammograms and mammography services to uninsured women who meet American Cancer Society High Risk criteria or are at least 40 years old. Women should contact their LaPorte or Starke County physician’s office and mention the mammogram voucher program to see if they qualify.

The Indiana Breast Cancer Awareness Trust funds its grants through the sale of the state’s Breast Cancer Awareness license plates. Since they were first offered in 2002, the program has provided nearly $4 million in grants for breast cancer screening programs across the state.

Railroad Township Seeking County Permission to Use Radio Frequency

Posted on February 6, 2017
Author Mary Perren, WKVI

The Starke County Commissioners are being asked to weigh in on an issue affecting the newly established Railroad Township Volunteer Fire Department. The township owns the radios firefighters use to communicate with one another and with dispatchers at the Starke County Sheriff’s Office. However, the San Pierre Fire Department holds the license for the radio frequency.

Railroad Township officials will speak to the commissioners during tonight’s 6 p.m. meeting about the issue. The new fire department was formally established after township trustee Mandy Thomason failed to reach a contract agreement with the San Pierre Fire Department after months of strained relations.

The Starke County Commissioners will also make appointments to the Knox Planning Commission and the CVC Board tonight. Consideration of a responsible bidding ordinance is also on the agenda, along with monthly reports from Starke County EMS and the Starke County Highway Department.

Tonight’s meeting will take place in the meeting room of the county annex building.

N.J.-S.P. Strategic Planning Committee Defines “The Bluejay Way”

Posted on February 6, 2017
Author Mary Perren, WKVI

The North Judson-San Pierre School Corporation has a new slogan officials hope will revive Bluejay pride in the community.

Superintendent Dr. Annette Zupin says the strategic plan committee that has been meeting since September came up with “The Bluejay Way – Who We Are, Where We Go, What We Do.”

She says N.J.-S.P. has used the phrase “The Bluejay Way” for the past six or seven years as part of its identity.

“What that Bluejay Way is, we want to show respect at all times. We want to be responsible for our actions and our academics, and through that we hope to have achievement.”

Zupin says the strategic planning group elaborated the notion as part of their ongoing effort to market the school corporation.

“The ‘Who We Are, Where We Go, What We Do,’ I think that really is the pride factor. It’s the tradition. That I think really adds to ‘The Bluejay Way’ that was around for a few years.”

Winamac-based marketing consultant Brad Conn helped the committee with the slogan as well as the redesigned Bluejay logo. It’s featured on shirts, which are available for purchase at the junior-senior high school.

We’ll hear more from Dr. Zupin regarding N.J.-S.P.’s strategic plan throughout the week on WKVI.

American Red Cross Makes Appeal for Blood Donations

Posted on February 6, 2017
Author Mary Perren, WKVI

The American Red Cross is in desperate need of blood donors to bolster supplies. Officials say all types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients.

Prospective donors must be at least 17, weigh at least 110 pounds and be in generally good health. Visit redcrossblood.org, call 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767), or download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App to make an appointment or get more information.

Blood donors can also save time at their next donation by using RapidPass to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, prior to arriving at the blood drive. To get started and learn more, visit redcrossblood.org/RapidPass and follow the instructions on the site.

A partial list of upcoming blood drives is below:

Feb. 16, 2017 – North Judson United Methodist Church, 210 West Central Ave., 1– 6 p.m. CST.

Feb. 21, 2017 – Oregon-Davis High School, 5990 North 750 East, Hamlet, 8 a.m.- noon CST.

Feb. 22, 2017 – IU Health LaPorte Hospital, 1007 W. Lincolnway, LaPorte, noon-5 p.m. CST.

Feb. 24, 2017 – Knox Community High School, 1 Redskin Trail, 8:15 a.m.-1:15 p.m.

Feb. 28, 2017 – St. Joseph Parish Hall, 1310 Main St., Rochester, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. EST.

March 1, 2017 –  Lincoln Township Community Building, 3098 S. 800 E., Walkerton (Fish Lake), 1-5 p.m. EST.

March 1, 2017 – Winamac Knights of Columbus, 340 E. 50 N. 11:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. EST.

American Heart Association Provides Handmade Red Baby Hats to Hospitals

Posted on February 6, 2017
Author Mary Perren, WKVI

More than 3,000 babies born in Indiana in February will be decked out in red hats, thanks to the American Heart Association. The “Little Hats, Big Hearts” program aims to raise awareness during American Heart Month as well as Congenital Heart Defects Week, which runs Feb. 7-14.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and in Indiana, and congenital heart defects are the leading birth defect in newborns. The program raises awareness of both conditions.

Volunteers lovingly knitted the hats by hand. They were delivered recently to hospitals across the state.

Volunteers who would like to donate materials or knit hats for next year, or hospitals that would like to participate can call the American Heart Association 317-732-4700.

IRS Warns Taxpayers of Phone Scams this Tax Season

Posted on February 6, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

The Internal Revenue Service expects phone scams to remain a threat this tax season. Once again, they’ve made the “Dirty Dozen” list of tax scams released each year by the IRS.

The IRS reminds taxpayers that it generally does not initiate contact by phone. Instead, they will mail a bill first.

Additionally, the IRS will never call to demand that people pay immediately using a specific payment method, like a prepaid debit card, gift card, or wire transfer. They will also never threaten to immediately have someone arrested for not paying.

Since October of 2013, more than 10,000 phone scam victims have collectively paid over $54 million, according to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

Visit https://www.irs.gov for more information.

4/1/2017 Deadline for DNR Accepting Historic Preservation Photo Contest Entries

Posted on February 4, 2017
Author Mary Perren, WKVI

The DNR Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology encourages photographers to submit their entries for the annual Historic Preservation Month photo contest.

May is National Historic Preservation Month, but entries showcasing Indiana’s historic places are due the first Friday of April. Entries should be of places in Indiana that are at least 50 years old. Photos can be black and white or color and should have been taken within the last two years.

All images must be 8×10 prints, mounted or matted on or with an 11×14 matte board.

Entries will not be returned. DNR officials advise photos may be used for office displays and promotions for the contest, Historic Preservation Month and historic preservations in general.

Photos will be judged by a panel of representatives from the DNR and other preservationists or photographers. Selected photos from all contests will be displayed in several locations throughout the state in May.

Visit http://www.in.gov/dnr/historic/3994.htm for more information.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

February Honorees @ American Legion Post #92

2/6/2017 Financial Aid Night @ NJ-SP High School

North Judson-San Pierre High School will be hosting the annual Financial Aid Night on Monday, February 6th, starting at 6:30 p.m. in the high school library.

A college representative will be present to discuss the financial aid process.  The rep will walk parents through completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form that must be completed online.

If you have a senior planning to attend post-secondary education, make sure to come to this important event! 

The deadline for the federal processor to receive the FAFSA is March 10, 2017. 

Railroad Township Volunteer Fire Department Up and Running

Posted on February 1, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

Railroad Township officially has a new fire protection provider. The Railroad Township Volunteer Fire Department took over from the San Pierre Volunteer Fire Department Monday afternoon, according to Railroad Township Fire Chief Andy Tilleraas. “We have secured the building,” he says. “We are working on addressing some equipment issues and are recruiting members at this time.”

The changeover cleared a major hurdle Monday, when Starke Circuit Court Judge Kim Hall found that Railroad Township Trustee Mandy Thomason has the sole authority to enter into a fire protection contract, without the need for the township board’s approval. Tilleraas says a contract between Thomason and the new fire department was signed immediately after Monday’s court hearing, and the department responded to its first structure fire that evening.

According its filing with the Indiana Secretary of State’s Office, the Railroad Township Volunteer Fire Department was officially created last Thursday, with Tilleraas listed as the incorporator. “It started with a group of members from the San Pierre Fire Department that wanted to continue to serve the community and work with the trustee on fire protection,” Tilleraas explains.

The relationship between the San Pierre Fire Department and Thomason became increasingly tense, with Thomason accusing the department of several breaches of contract and other violations. Meanwhile, firefighters say that Thomason refused to work with the San Pierre Fire Department on a potential contract renewal.

Tilleraas says anyone interested in volunteering with the Railroad Township Volunteer Fire Department may call the San Pierre Fire Station at 219-828-5843.

N.J.-S.P. Board Fills Vacancy

Posted on February 1, 2017
Author Mary Perren, WKVI

A longtime North Judson-San Pierre School Corporation employee is now a member of the school board. Sheila Akers was appointed Monday night to fill the remainder of Mike Sharkozy’s term. He represents the town of North Judson on the board.

Akers taught Spanish at N.J.-S.P. for 18 years before moving into the role of library media specialist in 1993. She shifted to the role of technology director for the corporation in 2010 and served in that capacity until her retirement in December of 2015.

The board also accepted the resignation of longtime corporation business manager and treasurer Guy Richie, who has accepted a job elsewhere.

In other business, the board hired Bill Kaminski, who is a partner in the LaPorte law firm Newby, Lewis, Kaminski & Jones, LLP as their attorney. Board members also hired architectural firm Fanning Howey.

Pressel-Sponsored Eminent Domain Bill Passes House

Pressel-Sponsored Eminent Domain Bill Passes House

Rep. Jim Pressel
A local lawmaker has successfully shepherded a bill through the House of Representatives to help protect and inform Hoosiers of potential eminent domain property seizures for railroad construction.
The measure, co-authored by Rep. Jim Pressel of Rolling Prairie, would require railroad carriers to demonstrate their plans to use the property for public use before being allowed to take it. In other words, a compelling public need for the land would have to be shown before the railroad could assume ownership of the property.
“I think the residents won’t be hit unexpectedly with requests for their land for rail usage<” Pressel said. “My goal is to ensure that the communities and homeowners are better protected and more informed about the impact and the need for a proposed rail project before it happens.”
Pressel adds the legal standard of a public need is already required to exercise eminent domain in other situations. However, many elements of Indiana’s eminent domain laws concerning railroads have not been updated since the 19th century.

Storm Spotter Class Scheduled in Marshall County

Posted on February 1, 2017
Author Mary Perren, WKVI

The National Weather Service, Marshall County Emergency Management Agency and Marshall County SKYWARN group are hosting a storm spotter training class.

It will cover the basics of thunderstorm development, fundamentals of storm structure, identifying potential severe weather features, information to report and how to report it and basic severe weather safety.

Participants are encouraged to complete the MetED Online Spotter Training prior to attending the class. It can be found online at https://www.meted.ucar.edu/training_course.php?id=23.

The SKYWARN concept was developed in the early 1970s to promote a cooperative effort between the National Weather Service and local communities. The effort focuses on individual, community-based storm spotters who report on wind gusts, hail size, rainfall and cloud formations that could signal a developing tornado.

The training is free and open to the public. It will take place Thursday, Feb. 23 at 6 p.m. EST in room 203 of the Marshall County Building at 112 W. Jefferson St. in Plymouth. Check-in will begin at 5:30 p.m.

Online registration is encouraged and can be done by visiting http://marshallINSpotter.eventzilla.net. Registration can also be done by calling 574-936-3740 or 574-834-1104.