Wednesday, May 31, 2017

6/3/2017 Casting Like A Champion

1-2 p.m. EST at the Nature Center, Tippecanoe River State Park.

Get some casting and fishing pointers from fishing champion Greg Zellers.  Greg grew up fishing with his Grandpa at a very young age.  He continued to enjoy his hobby and has participated in several tournaments.  Zellers will give tips for anglers and answer questions.

Beginners and advanced anglers welcome.

June Quote of the Month

Happy Birthday, Anne Frank. 
June 12, 1929

6/3 & 4/2017 Indiana Free Fishing Days

6/9 & 10/2017 Starke County Residential Household Hazardous Waste Collection

Starke County Economic Development Foundation Markets Available Properties

Posted on May 31, 2017
Author Mary Perren, WKVI

The Starke County Economic Development Foundation is marketing several available properties in the Hamlet area. Executive Director Charlie Weaver recently told the county council one site with an available building is for sale.

He says the building is 25,000 square feet with a 25-foot center eave and 18 foot ceilings on the side walls. That property is already listed.

Weaver is also working with Sysco and Jones Lang and LaSalle Brokers to enter into a listing and marketing agreement for their land.

Sysco Corporation chose a site near Hamlet for a planned Midwest Redistribution Center in early 2006 and purchased 320 acres of land in 2007. The project stalled in 2009 due to the weak national economy.

Weaver says another site near North Judson is also ready for development. He says the Starke County Economic Development Foundation has obtained rights to sell the land, which is suitable for industrial use.

Council members asked Weaver about the sale of the Stelrema building on U.S. 35 between Knox and Hamlet. They recently granted a tax abatement to Chicagoland-based Gary Poppins to manufacture gourmet snack food. Weaver says that purchase has not yet closed, as final details are still being worked out.

Visit for more information.

6/2/2017 Hamlet Lions Club to Provide Food During Relay for Life

Posted on May 31, 2017
Author Mary Perren, WKVI

Members of the Hamlet Lions Club will be cooking for a good cause this weekend at the Starke County Fairgrounds. President Mitch Siemens says they will open their building on Friday to prepare food for Starke County Relay for Life supporters and volunteers.

“We’re going to cook hamburgers and hot dogs and Polish sausage and French fries and have some pop there and nachos and cheese and all sorts of good stuff,” Siemens said during a visit to the WKVI morning show.

He adds the Lions Club will donate all of its profits and then some to Starke County Relay for Life.

“We started off all of our profits go, but our profits were only $350-400, so we just give a flat $500. If we make more than $500 we’ll give more than $500. Nothing less than the $500.”

Hamlet Lions Club members will be serving food Friday night until at least 10 p.m. Starke County’s Relay for Life event gets under way at 3 p.m. at the Starke County Fairgrounds and continues until 9 a.m. Saturday.

First Wave of Free Concerts Announced for Indiana State Fair

Posted on May 31, 2017
Author Mary Perren, WKVI

If your summer plans include a trip to the Indiana State Fair, you may want to schedule it around the free nightly concerts. Fair officials have announced the first five of 17 shows that will be part of the Chevrolet Silverado Free Stage headline entertainment during the fair, which runs Aug. 4-20, 2017. Shows are free with paid admission to the Indiana State Fair.

  • George Thorogood and The Destroyers will take the stage Friday, Aug. 4. 
  • The Yacht Rock Revival Tour 2017, featuring Robbie Dupree, Player’s Peter Beckett, Matthew Wilder, and Elliot Lurie from Looking Glass backed by the Yacht Rock Revue band will perform Thursday, Aug. 10. 
  • Modern rock band Blue October will take the stage Friday, Aug. 11. 
  • ”Godmother of Soul” Patti LaBelle will be there Thursday, Aug. 17, 
  • Actor-turned-recording artist Keifer Sutherland will take the stage Friday, Aug. 18.

Fair officials say additional free shows will be announced soon. Tickets can be purchased online through the Indiana State Fair website or at the Farmers Coliseum Box Office during regular business hours. A discounted rate is available now. Tickets purchased at the gate will be full price.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Snowdon Selected as Starke County Assessor

Posted on May 27, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

Starke County has a new assessor. Longtime assessor’s office employee Michelle Snowdon was unanimously chosen during a Democratic Party caucus Thursday. Snowdon replaces Rhonda Milner, who officially stepped down from the position Friday afternoon.

Indiana law requires county assessors to have a certain amount of training. Assessors elected after January 1, 2012 must be certified as at least a Level 3 assessor-appraiser. The assessor is responsible for identifying, listing and calculating the assessed value of all real and personal property.

Friday, May 26, 2017

These Quilt Gardens Have Wowed Visitors for 10 Years

by TERRY MARK on May 3, 2017

The 10th anniversary of the popular Quilt Gardens in Elkhart County will feature two new sites, a new Quilt Mural and one of the largest-ever exhibitions of Seward Johnson bronze sculptures outside of the artist’s personal retrospective.

Planting of the 19 Quilt Gardens in late May has become an annual rite of spring, bringing out expert gardeners and volunteers alike to plant the thousands of plants that will flower into 1 million or more blooms at their peak.

The Quilt Gardens, which are free to the public, open officially May 30, 2017, and close Oct. 1, 2017.

This year, this one-of-a-kind exhibit will be accompanied by something else unprecedented — 56 life-size bronze sculptures by noted American artist Seward Johnson throughout the downtowns of Elkhart, Goshen, Nappanee, Middlebury, Bristol and Wakarusa. The sculpture exhibit will be topped off by a monumental, 25-foot-tall sculpture that will tower over downtown Elkhart’s Central Park.

The new Quilt Gardens sites will be at Wellfield Botanic Gardens in Elkhart and at The Barn Door in Middlebury. Wellfield Botanic Gardens is returning as a Quilt Gardens site after a hiatus of five years, while The Barn Door is a recently opened shop featuring antique, vintage and re-purposed furniture and household items.

In addition to the 19 Quilt Gardens, there will be 22 Quilt Murals returning on display, including a new mural at the Elkhart Public Library.

“When you put it all together, you have an Epic Art Adventure,” said Diana Lawson, chief executive officer of the Elkhart County Convention & Visitors Bureau, making reference to the theme of this summer’s public art displays. “Come to any of the Quilt Gardens sites from May 30 to Oct. 1 and you’ll likely run into an avid quilter, gardener, photographer or family enjoying beauty in its various forms.”

Each year, the Quilt Gardens bloom in exciting new combinations with patterns selected by each site to complement their surroundings. It takes an estimated 2,000 man-hours to plant, weed, water and maintain the gardens each year.

“The annual Quilt Gardens along the Heritage Trail has been an integral part of extending the stay of our current guests while warmly welcoming new visitors to experience Das Dutchman Essenhaus for the first time. It’s truly an honor to partner with the Elkhart County Convention & Visitors Bureau as they celebrate 10 years of success with this countywide event,” said Hannah Walsh, director of marketing for Das Dutchman Essenhaus.

The Quilt Murals are at 16 sites, with a location in Nappanee and Middlebury each having four. The newest Quilt Mural is the Educate, Enlighten & Entertain mural at the Elkhart Public Library’s main branch downtown.

“Displaying a Quilt Mural and hosting a Seward Johnson sculpture are two of the many ways we fulfill Elkhart Public Library’s mission to education, enlighten and entertain our community. We’re grateful the Friends of Elkhart Public Library support our active participation in local arts and culture initiatives, and we invite the public to come to the library and learn more about the artist, the style, and the themes and ideas depicted in these works,” said Lisa Guedea Carreno, director of the Elkhart Public Library.

Plan your getaway to experience the urban/rural fusion of Elkhart County.

Terry T. Mark is the director of communications and public relations for the Elkhart County Convention & Visitors Bureau.

12 tips for a better BBQ, straight from a meat scientist

It’s that time again. Time to fire up the grill.

The backyard barbecue is often considered a symbol of summer. It can represent a family tradition or a relaxing way to spend time with friends. For many, this skill is passed on from one person to another, as a sort-of learned trade. Others scour the internet or a few cookbooks, looking for ways to master the craft.

Stacy Zuelly, who comes from an agriculture background, has made a career out of perfecting the selection of good meat for cooking and grilling. As an assistant professor of animal sciences at Purdue University, Zuelly specializes in meat sciences.

Zuelly says the best way to get the most out of your barbecue is to start by selecting the best cuts of meat. If you don’t start with the right ingredients, you won’t get what you want.

“People often go to the store with a set amount of money and pick up the cheapest steak they can find,” Zuelly says. “And then they’re disappointed when they have a dry steak.”

That’s just part of the reason that Zuelly now offers what she calls a “BBQ Boot Camp,” where anyone can learn how to be a better meat chef. During the program, Zuelly gives tips on picking out the right cut, cooking at the right temperature and with the right method, and how to use rubs and marinades.

“The most confusing part for most people starts in the grocery store, though.” says Zuelly.

Zuelly offers the following 12 pro tips for those who would like to become just a bit better at their backyard cooking skills.

1. Buy a meat thermometer and use it. If you want to be better at any type of meat preparation, a digital meat thermometer is a must. “I don’t know why it’s a point of pride for people, but the one thing I say over and over again in my boot camps is spend the money to buy a digital thermometer,” Zuelly says.

Meat thermometers help keep food safe while also preventing overcooking. Color and touch can be extremely deceiving. Sometimes, pink meat is perfectly safe to eat and people will end up overcooking meat until it’s too dry to enjoy, Zuelly says.

Digital meat thermometers are better because they read temps instantly, and you don’t have to insert them deep into the meat. Zuelly also recommends using a meat thermometer with a fairly thin tip so it doesn’t splice through burgers and ruin them.

2. If you’re looking for an easy barbecuing experience, pick a center cut. Cuts from the center of the animal are the most tender. And tenderness is usually seen as a good thing. The middle is where your good steaks come from, like the ribeye and the loin, Zuelly says. Because they’re user-friendly, these center cuts are also the most expensive.

3. Don’t discount the limbs. They just need more love. This means that cuts from the limb will be less tender. So, anytime you go to the grocery store and it lists shoulder or round, it means they’ll be less tender.

 “That doesn’t mean they’re not good cuts,” Zuelly says. “They just need more attention, cooked in a method that will bring out the flavor.” The limb cuts lend themselves better to ground products. Or to bring out tenderness, they can be marinated and cooked low and slow. Interesting fact: The Boston butt pork roast is actually from the shoulder of the hog, not the rear.

4. Select front cuts; they will be more flavorful. Animals fatten from front to rear. This means front-end cuts like the beef brisket will have more fat, flavor and juiciness. This is also why the ribeye has more fat than the New York strip steak. The hind limbs will be tougher and have less fat, which means if you have a hind cut, you’ll really have to marinade it for tenderness and juiciness.

5. While at the grocery store or butcher shop, look at the cut information. None of the tips Zuelly teaches will do you any good if you do not have some patience at the meat counter. See which part of the animal the meat is coming from so you will know how you will have to prepare it. Make sure you read the cut information at the grocery store, because the information about where the cut is coming from and the grade will always be on that package.

6. Use your cut selection to determine your cooking method. If you have something with enough fat, you can barbecue it. Grills are high temperature, so you need to have selections rated for good tenderness. Burgers, steaks and pork chops can go on the grill because they are tender meats and can cook well with those high temperature. Less tender meats should be slow-cooked at a low temperature. Interesting fact: Once you go past four hours of a smoker, you’re not really adding any more smoke so feel free to wrap up your cut to continue cooking it.  

7. Select a steak with marbling. When you choose U.S. high Choice and Prime, you get the most consistency in getting this type of selection. This demonstrates the importance of knowing what the grading scale means. Low Choice and Select meats are the most common and will be sold in your average grocery store. “This doesn’t mean they won’t be great, but as you go down the quality grading scale, the variability within the meat cuts increases and the likelihood of having an unsatisfactory eating experience goes up,” Zuelly says. “From a flavor standpoint, nice flecks of fat inside the meat are important.”

8. Know what different certified breeds offer you. You may come across terms like Certified Angus and Certified Heritage Berkshire Pork, but what do they mean? Zuelly doesn’t recommend a certain breed of meat, but she does mention that if they are certified, they have to meet certain standards for that breed, which means you know that you’ll get a certain standard of marbling and will have a bit more consistently.

9. Know what cuts to look for in beef.  Zuelly recommends the sirloin, which comes from the middle-back portion of the animal. She says these offer the biggest value for their flavor. They are generally bigger steaks and can come as top sirloin, bottom sirloin or tri-tip. Zuelly says they’re often underrated and overlooked by consumers. If you’re willing to spend more, Zuelly recommends the ribeye, chuck-eye, porterhouse, T-bone, tenderloin, and New York strip as excellent cuts that will not disappoint.

10. Learn to pick out the best pork selections. For pork, Zuelly says to look at two things: marbling and color. The ideal color is a reddish pink. “Pale means dry,” says Zuelly. “It may look like it has juices on the outside, but that means they’re not on the inside and the moisture is not in the meat.” Zuelly also says that it’s OK to cook pork medium-rare and recommends cooking the pork to 145 degrees and letting it rest for three minutes. “It will have a slight pink center, but it tastes so much better,” she says.

11.  Don’t underestimate the importance of grilling poultry well. Many grilling or cooking instructions for poultry can be misleading, Zuelly says.

“If you Google how to grill a chicken, it says to cook it until the juices run clear,” she says. “I was like, ‘What does that mean?’”

So, Zuelly conducted an experiment. When she taught her students at South Dakota State University, she instructed them to do just what cooking instructions often told them: Cook the chicken until the juices run clear.

After five semesters of this experiment, she compiled her results. There was over a 100 degree spread between the “clear juice-cooked chicken.” Some students had severely unsafe chicken that was not OK to eat while others had cooked chicken until it was too dry to stomach. This proves that meat thermometers are the best way to get that safe and flavorful eating experience, Zuelly says.

 “Poultry in general is fairly lean,” she adds. That means it needs help to bring out its flavor. Poultry purchased in the grocery store often will be enhanced to add moisture. However, for certain cooking methods like grilling, you will need to add marinades for additional moisture, Zuelly says.

12.  Don’t ruin lamb by over-seasoning. Lamb will consistently be fairly tender and lean. Zuelly herself is a lamb producer and her top tip is to not over-season the lamb meat. “You don’t need rosemary and mint jelly to make it good.” she says.

Zuelly hopes that her BBQ Boot Camps will help everyone to become an expert behind the grill or at the barbecue. She offers her full list of tips and tricks at these events. If you would like to find out more about the BBQ Boot Camp, check out their website at

North Judson Council Hires Railroad Appraiser

Posted on May 26, 2017
Author Mary Perren, WKVI

The North Judson Town Council has hired an appraiser for their railroad line. During a special-called Wednesday meeting members agreed to pay Alexandria, Va.-based G.W. Fauth & Associates an amount not to exceed $35,000 for the work. It will mark the first appraisal the town has had of the rail line since taking over ownership in 2004.

The town council last July selected Michigan-based Lake State Railway to operate it.

Meanwhile, the Chesapeake and Indiana Railroad (CKIN), which formerly leased the line from the town, has not voluntarily vacated it. Their lease expired last Aug. 15th.

In July of 2015 farmer-owed grain handling cooperative Co-Alliance sent a letter to the Surface Transportation Board stating the need for a rail line operator with knowledge of grain commodity shipping and expressing their support for a continued relationship with CKIN.

The town had a May 10th deadline to file an Application for Adverse Discontinuance of Service by Chesapeake and Indiana Railroad with the Surface Transportation Board. Such a filing would allow for the removal of CKIN as the operator by legal means.

Until that is done, the town cannot finalize the lease with Lake State Railway. The uncertainty is also keeping excursion trains operated by the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum from traveling past English Lake due to the storage of freight cars on the tracks. The train rides through the countryside to English Lake and LaCrosse are popular tourism draws.

Chicago-based Railroad Regulatory Attorney Thomas McFarlad is handling the STB filings for the town. Attempts by WKVI to reach him via email were not successful.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

6/12-16/2017 Veteran Employment Transition Seminar

6/5/2017 Starke County Young Professionals Meeting

Our next meeting will be:
Date:  June 5th
Time:  5:30 p.m.
Place:   Route 10 Bar & Grill, 613 W. Talmer, North Judson.  

It is open to anyone interested in being a part of our Young Professionals Group.

North Judson Council Discusses Compliance Officer Position

Posted on May 25, 2017
Author Mary Perren, WKVI

The North Judson Town Council is finalizing a job description for a compliance officer. The part-time employee will work under the supervision of the town marshal and will issue warnings and citations for tall grass and other code violations.

Interim Town Marshal Frank Thomas previously suggested the council consider adding such a position to allow the police department to focus on fighting crime.

Council members agree they want the compliance officer to live within the town limits so he or she will have a vested interest in keeping the community clean. They charged town attorney Justin Schramm with preparing a formal job description and will consider it along with wages at their June 5th meeting.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

6/10/2017 NJFD Fish Fry

6/10/2017 "Angel On My Shoulder" Dinner Theater

2017 Summer Food Service Program @ NJSP School Corporation

6/2017 American Legion Post #92 Honorees

Bass Lake Beach and Campground Operator Plans Repairs, Amid Questions from Park Board

Posted on May 24, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

The operators of the Bass Lake Beach and Campground say they’re making some updates to the facility, after several repairs were suggested during a recent inspection. Lessee Richard Callahan, his attorney Dave Wallsmith, and assistant manager Larry Clarich met with the Starke County Park Board Tuesday to address those concerns.

Repairs to the guardrail surrounding the beach house patio are underway, according to Wallsmith. The inspection report noted concrete damage, causing the railing to become loose.

However, County Attorney Marty Lucas took issue with some parts of Callahan’s written response to the report. “You think repairing the railing is a capital improvement?” Lucas asked. “That’s what it says, ‘Any permanent repair would constitute a capital improvement.’ So when a railing goes out, that’s a capital improvement. Seriously? I mean, I’ve got to tell you, I would really appreciate some good faith cooperation on this.”

While the inspection report said that a section of railing was missing, Wallsmith and Clarich explained that there had never been a railing there. In the end, they agreed that repairing the existing railing was not in and of itself a capital improvement.

Park Board President Debbie Mix noted that Callahan made several improvements to the property when he first began operating it nearly 10 years ago. But she was concerned that a lack of use has caused the beach house to deteriorate since then. “How is there a hole in the ceiling?” she asked. “It’s this big. It’s a whole panel big, and then you can see the sky straight up.”

Clarich responded that they were aware of the problem and were already planning repairs at the time of the inspection. As for how that hole got there in the first place, no one’s entirely sure. Clarich pointed out that the inspector found no water damage to the roof, but animals may have damaged the ceiling tiles. In any case, Clarich said the ceiling tiles have been replaced.

Meanwhile, Callahan said the beach and campground still look as good as they did when he first opened them in 2008, after making his initial improvements. “Other than new paint that it needs, pretty much,: he said. “Maybe better.” Mix disagreed.

Several electrical issues were also noted in the inspection report. Many junction boxes in the beach house attic are missing their covers. While it’s not in a public area, Clarich said it could be a fire hazard and plans to fix the issue. Other electrical repairs are also planned.

But when it comes to many of the upgrades, Wallsmith pointed out that the buildings are old and never had many of the features common in new construction. “The duty, as I see it, in order to receive the benefits of an antiquity and the maintenance of it, is maintaining it at the style and character as it was when it was created,” he said.

Lucas was not so sure. “Well that’s creative. I’ll give you that,” he responded. “But you’re not going to find that in the lease anywhere.”

For now, various members of the park board are planning at least a couple of site visits in the coming weeks, to monitor the progress.

Investment in Energy Efficiency Earns N.J.-S.P. Schools a NIPSCO Rebate

Posted on May 24, 2017
Author Mary Perren, WKVI

Lighting updates at North Judson-San Pierre Schools are already paying off for the corporation. The change from fluorescent to LED bulbs and fixtures will save considerable money over the long term. It also earned the corporation an energy efficiency rebate from NIPSCO. Major Accounts Manager Kelley Davies presented school corporation officials a check for $20,800. She says such rebates are an incentive for schools, businesses and individuals to invest in energy efficiency upgrades.

N.J.-S.P. Maintenance Supervisor Wilbur Collins says the corporation hopes to realize additional long-term savings and qualify for additional rebates with the upcoming capital improvement projects.

“We have boilers, we have air handlers, we have controls, we have lighting and stuff we’re going to be doing, so for us it’s a good way to kick it off, to take and let the people of the area know we’re being the right stewards of the money, as well as we’re trying to capture back as many incentives as well as the energy savings that we can to take and help.”

Collins says the corporation sought the biggest bang for its buck with the initial round of lighting upgrades at the junior-senior high school.

“Every light outside of the facility was changed, and everything went to LED. Inside of our gymnasiums, both gymnasiums, both mezzanines, our pool area, those have all been changed. What we really did is we took all of the really big fixtures, the thousand waters, things like that, and we went for the biggest hit right at the start.”

Local contractor Busse Electric did the work. They are a certified NIPSCO trade ally.

Next Collins says will be the conversion of the remaining light fixtures, which will be part of the planned capital projects. He says the bid specifications for the upcoming capital projects will include energy efficiency stipulations.

NIPSCO offers incentives for residential, commercial and school/institutional customers. Visit for more information.

Starke County Posts Significant Unemployment Drop

Posted on May 24, 2017
Author Mary Perren, WKVI

Starke County’s April unemployment rate hit an 19-year low and posted a significant drop from March, according to the latest state jobs report.

The April rate of 3.3 percent is also below the state unemployment figure of 3.6 percent and the national rate of 4.4. Last month Starke County’s unemployment rate was 5.1 percent.

All 92 Indiana counties saw declines in their month-to-month unemployment rates. Marshall County has the lowest of Starke County’s neighbors at 2.3 percent. Pulaski County is at 2.9 percent, and LaPorte County is tied with the state average at 3.6 percent unemployment for April.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

6/10/2017 Starke County Rocks Painting Workshop

Free! Come join us at the North Judson Library to design and create your own Starke County Rock!

Starke County Rocks is a community building group. It's simple...we create a Rock, post a photo of it to Starke County Rocks Group along with a hint of where to find it.

Popular hiding spots include waterfront parks, playgrounds and family-friendly hiking trails.

Leave a note with your rock or write "FB: Starke County Rocks" on the bottom so people know where to post when they find it.

Starke County Park Board to Discuss Bass Lake Beach and Campground Repairs

Posted on May 23, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

Repairs to the Bass Lake Beach and Campground will be discussed during a special meeting of the Starke County Park Board tonight.

Last month, the park board had an independent inspection completed at the property, which found several items to be in poor condition. After giving the property’s operator, Callahan Development, LLC, a couple weeks to look over the inspection report, board members plan to meet with representatives tonight to figure out how to address some of the concerns.

Tonight’s Starke County Park Board meeting starts at 6:00 p.m. in the Starke County Annex Building. You can read the entire 34-page inspection report on Starke County’s website.

Chickens Complaints Lead to Lengthy Discussion During North Judson Town Council Meeting

Posted on May 23, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

The North Judson Town Council may revisit its animal ordinance, following complaints about chickens during last week’s meeting. Nearly six years ago, council members voted to prohibit residents from keeping farm animals, including chickens, within town limits. But during last week’s meeting, some residents complained that they continue to see chickens in North Judson.

When council members decided to outlaw farm animals, they agreed to allow at least one household to keep their existing chickens. But there appears to be some confusion as to whether that meant keeping only those specific chickens until they died off or were otherwise disposed of or simply not exceeding that number in the future.

Council President Wendy Hoppe believed the exception only applied to that particular group of chickens, and they were not supposed to be replaced with new ones. However, resident Steve Ransom, whose daughter keeps several chickens, said she had received a letter from the town, stating otherwise. Clerk-Treasurer Alicia Collins could find no record of such a letter having been sent, and Ransom didn’t specify which town official sent it.

Other residents complained that the chickens attract a rooster from outside the town limits, waking people up in the morning. Council members gave the Ransoms five days to present the letter to the town, and let Town Attorney Justin Schramm advise them on how to proceed. Schramm also suggested double checking the board’s actions on the matter, to make sure they were properly advertised and are legally enforceable.

North Judson-San Pierre School Board Ratifies Employee Health Insurance Carrier Switch

Posted on May 23, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

The North Judson-San Pierre School Corporation hopes to save its employees some money on health insurance premiums.

The school board last week ratified the corporation’s decision to switch to United Healthcare, at the recommendation of Superintendent Annette Zupin. “We have been shopping for better rates,” she explained. “If we stayed with our current plan, our employees would experience a 24-percent increase in their premiums, on top of the 15-percent increase from last year, and we knew we could not do this. So we have been working with a broker, and our broker worked very hard and found us other options.”

Zupin thanked teachers and staff members for filling out their paperwork quickly, allowing the corporation to meet the June 1 enrollment deadline.

Monday, May 22, 2017

5/26 - 29/2017 Programs at Tippecanoe River State Park

5/29 to 9/4/2017 Moving Starke County Forward Healthy Challenge

It's that time of the year again!

This year for the Moving Starke County Forward Healthy Challenge Series we will be walking to EVERY National Park in America! Help us travel to America's National Parks!

Sign up at

Chief Nursing Officer Hired at Starke, LaPorte Hospitals

Posted on May 22, 2017
Author Mary Perren, WKVI

The new chief nursing officer at Starke and LaPorte Hospitals will start her job next week.

Anetra Jones, MPH, RN, CPPS, NEA-BC, replaces interim CNO Rose Labriola. Jones was hired after a series of interviews with staff, nurses and executive leadership from both hospitals.

She holds an Associate of Science Degree in Nursing from Florida Community College, and both a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Master of Public Health with a concentration in Health Care Organization and Policy from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Jones began her nursing career as a staff nurse in critical care and ICU, eventually working as a charge and staff nurse in pediatric intensive care and a post trauma unit. Her advanced experience in nursing leadership and development includes holding executive nursing leadership roles. She comes to La Porte most recently from Harris Regional Hospital in Sylva, N.C., where she has served as Chief Nursing Officer since 2013.

North Judson Council Introduces Proposed Water and Sewer Rate Ordinances

Posted on May 22, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

North Judson water and sewer customers will soon have the chance to weigh in on proposed rate hikes. Updated water and sewer rate ordinances were introduced on first reading during last week’s town council meeting. The council’s next step will be to hold a public hearing, before making a final decision.

Under the proposal, the minimum monthly water bill would increase nearly four dollars to $16.75. Customers using up to 5,000 gallons would pay $5.05 per 1,000 gallons. Meanwhile, the minimum sewer bill would rise nearly eight dollars to $38.55, with a rate of $12.05 per 1,000 gallons of water used for up to 3,200 gallons. Those living outside the North Judson town limits who use the town’s utilities would pay more.

Council members pointed out those rates would still be lower than those of many other local communities. Clerk-Treasurer Alicia Collins added that North Judson’s rates haven’t been keeping up with expenses. “The water bills went up six dollars in 18 years,” she said. “You cannot do that.”

The proposed rate hikes follow a study by accounting firm Umbaugh and Associates, which determined that the current levels are not adequate to cover operating costs. Additionally, the town’s water and wastewater infrastructure is in need of upgrades, requiring more revenue to cover future bond payments.

Collins said last week that a date for the public hearing hasn’t been finalized, but tentative plans call for it to be held Monday, June 5.

Click here to view the proposed water rate ordinance.

Click here to view the proposed sewer rate ordinance.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Public Hearing Scheduled for North Judson Town Marshal Termination Appeal

Posted on May 19, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

North Judson residents will have the chance to weigh in on the firing of Town Marshal John Ramos next week. The town council has scheduled a public hearing for Thursday, May 25 at 6:30 p.m. at the North Judson-San Pierre High School Auditorium.

Ramos is appealing his termination, after council members voted to fire him on April 21. Ramos had been serving as North Judson town marshal since July 2016, following the death of Doug Vessely the previous April.

Town officials had previously said his appeal would be considered by council members during a closed executive session. But during this week’s regular council meeting, it was announced that a public hearing will take place.

In the meantime, Officer Frank Thomas is running the police department on an interim basis. He told council members Monday he hopes to focus more on crime and crime prevention. “I won’t say why or how or anything else like that, but we really need to get back to policing the town,” he said. “Officer Rico [Simpson] here has really been hitting it hard here recently. He’s kind of got a little elbow room to go back to doing his job, and he’s done a really good job here lately, putting in a lot of hours. But I’m just going to say, the last six to nine months, we kind of dropped down in what we call in the police world our productivity.”

Thomas is asking the town council to hire a part-time ordinance enforcement officer, to allow police to spend more time pursuing criminals.

Starke County Highway Superintendent Elaborates on Road Funding

Posted on May 19, 2017
Author Mary Perren, WKVI

Starke County will be able to implement plans to pave 123 miles of local roads with asphalt over the next decade without raising taxes, according to Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler. He presented options to the county council Monday. They include using money from the Local Roads and Streets and County Economic Development Income Tax (CEDIT) funds to draw down a maximum three-to-one funding match from the state.

Ritzler says Starke County will need $571,250 in local money each year to draw down $2.2 million.

The road funding proposal approved by state lawmakers includes a 10-cent per gallon fuel tax. It will go up one-cent each year until 2024. Vehicle owners will also pay an additional $15 wheel tax to the state.

Ritzler says without a commitment to the local funding match, the tax paid to the state by Starke County residents will go elsewhere.

He adds the state will look favorably on Starke County’s asset management plan for roads and bridges when it comes to funding. Such plans assure money is being allocated wisely and will be spent on projects that are ready to go.

Ritzler’s presentation did not require a vote by the council during their meeting Monday, but it will be a consideration during the crafting of the 2018 budget.

North Judson-San Pierre School Board Approves Purchases of Mower, Wall-Coverings

Posted on May 19, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

The North Judson-San Pierre School Board approved some purchases Tuesday. Board members voted to spend over $10,000 for a mower from Culver Power Equipment. Superintendent Annette Zupin said the corporation’s current mower is old and needs to be replaced. She added that money is included in this year’s Capital Projects budget for that purpose.

Additionally, Zupin told board members that the corporation’s locker replacement project has led to the need for some wall-coverings. “When we take the lockers out, the panel above needs either painted or recovered, and it’s simply a vinyl that goes on top,” she explained. “It goes with the lockers. It makes it all tie together nicely, and so it’s really just an extension of that locker project.”

The school board approved the lowest of three quotes, which was issued by Stan’s Painting. Zupin said the wall-coverings will be funded with money from last year’s general obligation bond issue, the same as with the rest of the locker project.

BMV Branches to Close During Memorial Day Observance

Posted on May 19, 2017
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

All branches of the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles will be closed Saturday, May 27 through Monday, May 29 in observance of Memorial Day.

Branches will reopen with regular business hours on Tuesday, May 30. The Knox branch is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT while the Winamac and Walkerton branches are open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET. The La Porte branch is open Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30p.m. CT.

For online assistance, visit

6/3/2017 Cancer Survivor Awareness Hair Drive

Stop in to Connies Salon on June 3rd and donate your locks to a very worthy cause! Haircuts will be $15 during this event. Appointments preferred, call Connie at 574-896-3696.

Saturday, June 3 at 8 AM - 1 PM, Connie's Salon, 124 Lane St, North Judson, Indiana 46366

Hosted by Starke County Young Professionals Group

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Is It Heat Exhaustion OR Heat Stroke?

From the Facebook page of the North Judson - Wayne Twp Volunteer Fire Department:

As the temps go up remember stay hydrated and try to keep cool.

New eBooks @ the North Judson-Wayne Township Library

A mix of fiction and non-fiction, some old and some new titles have been added to our ebook collection this week.  

The Shakespeare collection will make it easier for students to have access to his plays and gives us a second copy for circulation. 

The Narnia series by C.S. Lewis has always been a popular set for our younger patrons.  Having the collection as ebooks will make it easier to carry his books with on vacation or day trips out of town.  

And with Stephen King's The Dark Tower coming out in August it doesn't hurt to have copies of the series as ebooks for you speed readers out there.  Now if you finish one book in the middle of the night you won't have to wait until morning to check out the next book and start reading.


A  Midsummer Night's Dream                       
All's Well That Ends Well                              
Antony and Cleopatra                                    
As You Like It                                                
Julius Caesar                                                  
King Lear                                                       
Measure for Measure                                     
Merchant of Venice                                        
Much Ado About Nothing                             
Romeo and Juliet                                           
Taming of the Shrew                                     
Twelfth Night; or What You Will                 

Juvenile Fiction:

Old Yeller
Gipson, Fred

Horse and His Boy
Lewis, C. S. ; Baynes, Pauline (ILT)
Last Battle
Lewis, C. S. ; Baynes, Pauline (ILT)
Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Lewis, C. S. ; Baynes, Pauline (ILT)
Magician's Nephew
Lewis, C. S. ; Baynes, Pauline (ILT)
Prince Caspian
Lewis, C. S. ; Baynes, Pauline (ILT)
Silver Chair
Lewis, C. S. ; Baynes, Pauline (ILT)
Voyage of the Dawn Treader
Lewis, C. S. ; Baynes, Pauline (ILT)

Adult Fiction:  

King of the Castle
Graham, Heather
Distant Shores
Hannah, Kristin
Bazaar of Bad Dreams
King, Stephen
Drawing of the Three
King, Stephen
King, Stephen
King, Stephen
Waste Lands
King, Stephen
Wind Through the Keyhole
King, Stephen
Wizard and Glass
King, Stephen
Song of Susannah
King, Stephen ; Anderson, Darrel (ILT)
Dark Tower
King, Stephen ; Whelan, Michael (ILT)
Wolves of the Calla
King, Stephen ; Wrightson, Bernie (ILT)
Ginny Moon
Ludwig, Benjamin
Picoult, Jodi
Two Lost Boys
Robertson, Linda
Black Widow
Silva, Daniel

Starke Council Approves Sheriff’s Office Vehicle Purchases

Posted on May 18, 2017
Author Mary Perren, WKVI

Starke County Sheriff Bill Dulin can replace several aging patrol cars following Monday action by the county council. They agreed to appropriate money from the Jail CEDIT and Therapeutic Community funds to cover the cost.

Dulin plans to buy one new Ford Interceptor patrol car from Best Ford in Knox with money from the local option tax. He’s also looking to purchase three or four reconditioned police vehicles from a dealer in Chicago for between $15 and $20,000 each.

Dulin says they have less than 50,000 miles each and come with warranties. He adds the Chicago Police Department purchases vehicles from the same dealer to supplement its fleet.

The commissioners agreed to the purchase and noted they like the idea of purchasing one new vehicle along with the reconditioned ones. The Starke County Sheriff’s Office did not buy any vehicles last year.

Dulin says four of the five they are looking to replace have more than 110,000 miles, while the fifth one has 92,000.

The Sheriff’s Office truck will still be used by the jail maintenance director, while the other vehicles will be allocated to other departments within the county.

N.J.-S.P. School Board Schedules Hearing on Bond Issue for Improvement Projects

Posted on May 18, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

The North Judson-San Pierre School Corporation continues making preparations for a $5.5 million improvement project at the corporation’s three buildings.

As part of that process, Superintendent Annette Zupin says members of the public will have another chance to weigh in on the proposal next month. “We have had the tours. We’ve had work sessions. We’ve had meetings regarding these projects,” she told the school board Tuesday. “Now what’s going to happen is we have our regular meeting in June. That’s just a regular board meeting. The week after that, June 27 at 7:00, we have what’s called a 1028 preliminary determination hearing.”

She says such a hearing is a required step for projects of this size. “At that meeting, the Board of Education for North Judson-San Pierre School Corporation will consider the resolution for to construct the project,” Zupin says. “They will consider the preliminary determination resolution to issue the bonds, and that will be for the $5.5 million over seven years. So that would be part of your resolution.”

School board members will also consider a reimbursement resolution. “[It] would allow us to pay any preliminary costs related to the project in advanced of receiving the bond proceeds,” Zupin explains. “Now that reimbursement resolution is required by federal tax law when we enter into a project such as this.”

During Tuesday’s school board meeting, Zupin also recommended that board members proceed with the optional upgrades listed in the project plan for the high school. “We did talk about three options that we could take out or leave in, and those were the pool and the tennis courts and the temperature control,” she explained. “I believe it’s in our best interest to do them all. I think those temperature controls are important. I also think that the pool and the tennis courts are important for our students and our community.”

She believes all those upgrades can be done without a major impact on the corporation’s debt service.

North Judson Recycling Drop-Off Site to Be Removed, Curbside Recycling Discussions Continue

Posted on May 18, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

Whether or not North Judson gets curbside recycling pickup, the recycling drop-off site currently offered by the Starke County Environmental Management District will be removed by July 1. That’s what town council member Jane Ellen Felchuk told the rest of the council Monday. Town officials say it’s been difficult to keep the site clean, and they want the bins taken away as soon as possible.

As an alternative, North Judson may hire Republic Services, the company that handles the town’s garbage, to pick up recycling as well. The cost to residents would be $36 a year.

But the $20 a year in tax money that currently goes to the Starke County Environmental Management District would not decrease, since the organization still provides other services. That drew a few complaints from residents during Monday’s meeting.

Council member John Rowe said up until now, he hadn’t heard from anyone who opposed curbside recycling, and he welcomes any input. “Every single community has curbside,” he pointed out. “Bass Lake is going to have it this summer. Knox has it. Everybody has it. So we’re behind, as it is.”

Concerns were also expressed about the fact that Republic Services now collects trash from the streets, rather than the alleys, creating some challenges when cars are parked there. Clerk-Treasurer Alicia Collins explained that it’s Republic’s policy not to go through alleys, and the town has no control over the matter.

The town council is expected to make a decision on curbside recycling at an upcoming meeting.

Rain Delays Planting for Some Crop Farmers

Posted on May 18, 2017
Author Mary Perren, WKVI

Crop farmers are keeping an eye on the sky this week as they attempt to finish planting. The Indiana Farm Bureau estimates half of corn and soybean crops have been planted statewide. President Randy Kron says weather was ideal for most of April, but heavy rains at the end of the month, followed by cooler temperatures halted them in their tracks.

Some farmers have resumed planting, while others are still waiting for fields to dry out. The Indiana Farm Bureau notes fields with drainage tiles in place are less affected by the wet weather.

Another consideration is whether to replant sections of fields most affected by the rain. Most interviewed by the Indiana Farm Bureau are hoping for minimal losses. Factors like adjusting crop maturities due to later-than-anticipated planting are a consideration. Additionally some elite hybrid seeds preferred by farmers may not be available now.

Thunderstorms are possible in spots today and Saturday. From there cooler, drier weather is expected.

Motorists Should Prepare for Summer Driving Season

Posted on May 18, 2017
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

It’s important to make sure your vehicle is set for vacations on the road this summer to avoid being stranded.

The AAA estimates that 40 percent of drivers are not prepared for emergency breakdown situations. Flat tires, vehicle lockouts and dead batteries are the top three reasons why the AAA is called in the summer.

Motorists are urged to schedule a vehicle maintenance checkup. Oil changes, fluid level checks, battery tests, and tire inspections could mean the difference between a smooth road trip or a disaster.

Emergency kits should be included in your car’s inventory which should include a mobile phone and car charger, a flashlight with extra batteries, a first-aid kit, a basic toolkit with tire pressure gauge and adjustable wrench, windshield washer solution, jumper cables, emergency flares, drinking water, and extra snacks.

AAA also reminds residents to drive free of distractions and pull out of the way of traffic if your vehicle suffers a breakdown. If law enforcement is assisting a motorist, follow the state law which requires vehicles to move over a lane or slow down to give sufficient clearance from the scene.

For more tips, visit

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

5/27 to 29/2017 3rd Annual Freedom Ride

5/28 & 29/2017 Memorial Day Services By NJ Harry L. Keller Legion Post #92

Mint Festival 2017 Grand Marshal

The Mint Festival would like to announce our Mint Festival 2017 Grand Marshal!  Congratulations to Marshall Field!

Marshall and his wonderful wife Gloria have been married for 43 years. They have 5 children together and 7 grandchildren. Marshall served 6 years in the U.S. Army Reserves.

As a farmer, Marshall raised beef cattle & farrow-to-finish hogs, corn, soybeans and peppermint over the years.

Congratulations, again, to Marshall Field for being chosen as the 2017 Mint Festival Grand Marshal!

Special thank you to Thomas Hamilton-Attorney at Law for being the sponsor for the Grand Marshal.

Starke County Commissioners Adopt Truck Route Ordinance

Posted on May 17, 2017
Author Mary Perren, WKVI

Starke County’s truck route ordinance will take effect June 1 following adoption Monday by the county commissioners. It applies to all vehicles with a gross combined vehicle weight of more than 38,000 pounds, which is the same standard the state uses. They are prohibited from using light vehicle routes unless a free permit is issued by the highway department or they qualify for an exemption. Registered farm vehicles, delivery trucks and school buses are exempt.

Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler says the long-term goal is to improve conditions for all motorists by adding 123 miles of hot mix asphalt roads throughout the county within the next decade. Once that’s done, he says every location in the county will be within a mile of either a hot mix county road or a state highway. For now he says farmers, over-the-road and delivery drivers need to use the quickest route possible to get to a more suitable road.

Ritzler adds having an asset management plan in place will help the county draw down a maximum amount of state funding to improve and maintain roads.

He stresses the ordinance is not intended to restrict any local farming or business operation.

Ritzler does want local farmers, business owners and truck drivers to let him know the routes they take on a regular basis so he can plan accordingly. Drivers and owner/operators will be issued free permits, which will in turn let the highway department know which roads may need shoulders and other improvements as resources allow

Click Starke County Truck Route Ordinance 2017 to read the entire measure. Farmers, truck drivers and others who need to obtain permits can contact the Starke County Highway Department at 574-772-3011 or via email at

North Judson May Consider Adding Part-Time Ordinance Enforcement Officer

Posted on May 17, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

The Town of North Judson may soon be adding a part-time ordinance enforcement officer.

Police Officer Frank Thomas asked the town council Monday to consider hiring someone for maybe 10 hours a week during the spring and summer months. “It’s going to generate that extra income that we maybe haven’t had in a while,” he said. “It’s going to reduce the unsightly properties by keeping the grass down, getting rid of all these couches in the alleys and bent up cars. It’s going to alleviate a lot of the pressure from the police department having to do these things.”

Thomas said he often spends hours a day dealing with lawn violations, time he says could better be used ridding the town of criminals. He pointed out that someone working for $15 an hour for 10 hours a week would cover their own salary cost just by writing three citations.

Council member James Young agreed it would be a good deal for the town. “We continue to see people move into this town and new houses come up,” he said. “If you have someone that all they worry about is ordinances, now we have somebody who’s specifically worrying about making sure our town looks nice, things are kept up, and I think that just brings more people, when they drive through North Judson, say, ‘Hey, this is a beautiful place. It’s a great town.’ So I think it’s definitely a positive idea.”

While Thomas was more concerned about yard cleanup, council member John Rowe said the town could also use a dog catcher, after numerous complaints of loose animals have been presented to the town recently. Whether or not that would be the same person remains to be determined.

Council members agreed to think about the proposal before possibly taking action at a future meeting. Town Attorney Justin Schramm said an additional appropriation would likely be required in order to hire someone, which means a formal public hearing would have to be held.

Starke County Democrats to Choose New Assessor

Posted on May 17, 2017
Author Mary Perren, WKVI

The Starke County Democratic Party will caucus on May 25th to select a new assessor. Rhonda Milner is stepping down from that elected position on May 26th.

By law a county assessor must be at least a Level 3 assessor-appraiser if he or she is elected after Jan. 1, 2012.

Starke County Democratic Party Chairman Kenny Wallace says the two assistants in the assessor’s office both meet those guidelines, but he only expects one of them to seek the position.

The assessor is responsible for identifying, listing and calculating the assessed value of all real and personal property. Representatives from the Starke County Assessor’s office physically inspect 25 percent of the parcels in the county each year to ensure accurate information for every property record. Accurate records help provide accurate assessments to the taxpayers.

County officials noted Milner is leaving the office in good shape and thanked her for her service.

N.J-S.P. School Board Approves 2017-18 Textbook Fees, Meal Prices, Elementary Handbook

Posted on May 17, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

The North Judson-San Pierre School Board is finalizing some plans for next school year. On Tuesday, board members approved the elementary school handbook, textbook fees, and meal prices for the 2017-2018.

Superintendent Annette Zupin said for the most part, there are no major changes. “The handbook changes that you see are very minor, cosmetic, pretty much, with name changes, dates,” she said. “Mrs. [Julie] Berndt, our new elementary principal for next year, she has reviewed the handbook and feels it is appropriate. When she comes in and feels that changes need to be made, she can make addendums, but I’m sure she wants to kind of assess things for a semester or the year. So she is very comfortable with the proposed handbook.”

The handbook for the junior/senior high school was approved last month. Zupin added that next year’s textbook fees will be roughly the same as this year’s, but students in kindergarten through eighth grade will see a slight reduction.

No changes to school meal prices are planned for next year, but the school board did approve some guidelines for dealing with students who fall behind in their payments. Zupin says the policy is required by the National School Lunch Program. “Students will be permitted to charge up to two meals or a total of four dollars,” she explained. “After receiving two regular meals and the account is still negative and they have not paid, we will provide up to two alternate meals, and that is a cheese sandwich and milk for lunch. Those will be charged to them, but that’s their alternative meal. At that point, we really hope that we can contact the parents and make sure that that is paid.”

She encouraged parents to keep an eye on their children’s accounts by using

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

North Judson Alumni Discusses Life, Work on the USS Eisenhower

Indiana native discusses life, work aboard the USS Eisenhower
POSTED 6:35 PM, MAY 15, 2017, BY 

"No ship on Earth has more firepower than the USS Eisenhower. The Nimitz-class carrier is 20 stories high and its flight deck covers four and half acres. When it’s underway, The Ike carries 60 combat aircraft that can deliver tons of bombs to America’s enemies.

Indiana native Josie Arcus delivers many of those bombs to the Ike’s aircraft squadrons. The sailor from North Judson works with aviation ordinance. It means she assembles the carts that will carry two thousand pound bombs to the carrier aircraft. It’s something her friends in Starke County can’t imagine her doing."

You can read the rest of this article at:

5/20/2017 Free Fishing Day for Indiana Residents

There's a Free Fishing Day coming up this Saturday for residents of Indiana.

North Judson Council Hires Engineering Firm to Evaluate 205 and 207 Lane Street

Posted on May 16, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

North Judson officials hope to move forward soon with the demolition of a downtown building. Pulaski Circuit Judge Michael Shurn approved an emergency demolition order Monday morning, allowing the town to tear down the structure at 205 and 207 Lane Street without having to go through a bid process. But before that can happen, Shurn also asked that a structural engineering report be completed, to determine whether Doug Cassel can safely remove several pieces of his personal property.

The town council voted Monday evening to hire DLZ Engineering to put together that report for a cost of $700. Town Attorney Justin Schramm said the town may eventually be able to recoup that cost from Cassel.

Once the engineering report is complete, the town has 24 hours to notify Cassel’s attorney of the result. If it’s deemed safe, he has 14 days to remove his stuff. Otherwise, the town can hire a contractor and proceed with demolition.

Council members also authorized Town Superintendent Marshall Horstmann to choose a contractor for a pre-demolition survey to look for hazardous materials like asbestos on the property. Horstmann told council members he already called one company but hadn’t heard back as of Monday night’s meeting. He said there were two more that he planned to contact Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the area around the building has been blocked off and “no trespassing” signs have been posted since a portion of the structure collapsed last Thursday. Clerk-Treasurer Alicia Collins emphasized that the structure is extremely dangerous. “Thursday night, there were seven junior high kids coming out of the back of the building at 8:15, and I called [Officer] Rico [Simpson] to come help me get these guys out of there,” Collins said. “There was an adult there that was probably 40 with a five-year-old. I mean, they were climbing in and out of the building. We have to keep people out of there because it is not safe. So if you see anybody, call the police department, for sure.”

The goal is to have the building removed in time for next month’s Mint Festival. If not, town officials plan to put additional fencing around the structure. Speaking on behalf of Mint Festival organizers, Donna Henry thanked council members and the town attorney for their efforts in demolishing the building in a timely manner.

Starke County Commissioners Terminate EMA Director

Posted on May 16, 2017
Author Mary Perren, WKVI

The Starke County Commissioners are looking to hire a couple of department heads. They voted last night to terminate Emergency Management Agency Director Jacob Lippner, after being advised by the EMA Advisory Board that they have the authority to do so.

President of the Commissioners Don Binkley said the position was not a good fit for the county or for Lippner but did not elaborate.

The commissioners had tasked Lippner with oversight of the county’s radio system for emergency responders in addition to his state-mandated preparedness and response duties.

Until his replacement is hired, Starke County EMS Office Manager Marylynn Richie will handle EMA communications, and Indiana Department of Homeland Security District 2 Coordinator Ted Bombagetti will assist the county should an emergency occur.

Binkley says no timeline has been set to hire a new EMA director. Applications can be submitted to the commissioners in care of the auditor’s office.

The commissioners are also looking to hire an information technology director for the county. Brian Pinson has submitted his resignation but will still be working for another couple of weeks. Applications for that position can also be submitted to the commissioners in care of the auditor’s office.

County Opioid Profiles Released by State Health Officials

Posted on May 16, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

Health problems related to opioid use are being tracked by the Indiana State Department of Health. County-level statistics on things like opioid overdoses resulting in a trip to the emergency room or death, as well as diseases like Hepatitis C that may indicate the sharing of needles, are all included in the new county opioid profiles.

Locally, both Starke and Pulaski counties saw declines in their rates of nonfatal emergency department visits due to opioid overdoses between 2011 and 2015. While Pulaski County’s rate of overdose deaths declined over that same period, Starke County’s increased, with a particular in 2013. Chronic Hepatitis C rates are also heading upward in both counties.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Jerome Adams says the goal of the data profiles is to help local governments and nonprofit organizations better assess their community’s needs and protect residents.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Starke County Park Board May Wait Until Next Year to Apply for DNR Grant

Posted on May 15, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

The Starke County Park Board may have to wait another year before applying for grant funding from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

Now that Starke County has a five-year park plan, it’s eligible for grants from the Land and Water Conservation Fund. But grant applications are due June 1, and the park board doesn’t have a detailed plan for any of the individual projects yet.

After speaking with DNR officials, park board member Christopher Lawrence said last week that it’s not likely Starke County will be able to meet that deadline. “They are all out of the office inspecting other jobs that are already being approved,” he said. “I believe she said she had one date left that they could possibly meet with us and wanted to know what our plan was. That’s where I hesitated because we really don’t have a plan besides our master plan, and that’s really not what they’re looking for. They want a specific, detailed plan of what we need a grant for.”

Lawrence added that once DNR officials complete their work on this year’s grant projects, they’ll have time to help county officials begin an application for next year’s grant cycle. But Park Board President Debbie Mix didn’t rule out the possibility of submitting an application this year, saying a special park board meeting scheduled for next Tuesday may give members a chance to discuss some plans.

SADD Students Stage Successful Mock Crash

Posted on May 15, 2017
Author Mary Perren, WKVI

Officials with the Eastern Pulaski School Corporation hope a recently staged mock crash will prevent a real-life tragedy from occurring.

The Students Against Destructive Decisions group enlisted the help of the Winamac Fire and Police Departments, Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department, EMS, REACT and Coroner, Indiana State Police and Samaritan Helicopter. Their goal was to underscore the dangers of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol and driving while distracted.

SADD members played the parts of crash victims and drivers. The Winamac Community High School Drama Department provided makeup assistance to create a more realistic scene.

The mock crash was staged prior to prom, but SADD members told the school board last week the safety message also resonates with graduation coming up.

SADD Advisor Laura Fred-Smith told the school board the goal is to stage a large-scale event like the recent mock crash every four or five years so each group of students can experience it once during their high school career. SADD also does other awareness events throughout the year, including demonstrations at high school sporting events.

Visit to view the video of the mock crash.

INDOT Announces State Road 49 Closure

Posted on May 15, 2017
Author Mary Perren, WKVI

A section of State Road 49 in Porter County will be closed to through traffic for the next two weeks. Starting today, the road will be closed between U.S. 20 and U.S. 12 so crews can dig up and replace a section of roadway.

Drivers can still access the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and South Shore Rail lines by way of U.S. 12. INDOT’s marked detour uses U.S. 20 to State Road 149 to U.S. 12 to get around the closure.

The road is expected to reopen on Wednesday, May 24 at 5 p.m.

Friday, May 12, 2017

State Officials Warn of Deadly “Gray Death” Heroin

Posted on May 12, 2017
Author Mary Perren, WKVI

State officials from several agencies are warning of an extremely potent and potentially deadly mix of heroin that has made its way into Indiana.

It’s known as Gray Death and is a mixture of heroin, fentanyl, carfentanil and other synthetic opioids. At least one person has overdosed in central Indiana this week.

Carfentanil is used as a tranquilizing agent for elephants and other large mammals. It’s 10,000 times more potent than morphine and 100 times more potent than fentanyl. Law enforcement officials say it’s often mixed in with drugs like cocaine or crystal meth, and often end users have no idea their drugs have been tainted.

Officials from Indiana State Police, State of Indiana Emergency Medical Service, Stare Fire Marshal and Indiana State Department of Health say the drugs put emergency responders as well as users and their families at risk.

State EMS Medical Director Dr. Michael Olinger says even a tiny amount of the wrong substance can be deadly. Opioids can come in several forms, including powder, blotter paper, tablets and spray and can be absorbed through the skin or accidental inhalation of airborne powder.

Olinger says there’s always a chance family members or friends may come into contact with dangerous substances while working to save their loved one.

Response personnel should exercise extreme caution with any suspected opioid delivery method. Always wear gloves and masks when responding to any situation where carfentanil or fentanyl is suspected, and cover as much skin as possible when responding to any potential overdose situation.

Signs of exposure include respiratory depression or arrest, drowsiness or profound exhaustion, disorientation, sedation, pinpoint pupils and clammy skin. The onset of these symptoms may occur within minutes of exposure.

Seek immediate medical attention, as carfentanil and other fentanyl-related substances can work very quickly. Any needle stick should be medically evaluated as soon as possible.

Do not touch any potential drug materials or paraphernalia. Carfentanil can be absorbed through the skin or accidental inhalation of airborne powder. Avoid coming into contact with needles, bags or other paraphernalia. Do not disturb any powder that may be in the area.

Responders should also be ready to manage the victim’s airway in the event of exposure. Opioids override the body’s breathing reflex, causing victims to suffocate. Naloxone is an antidote for opioid overdose, but it might not be available.

Providing breathing assistance could help prolong the victim’s life while waiting for emergency medical services to arrive. Even if naloxone is available, always send an overdose victim to the hospital for monitoring. Naloxone may wear off before the effects of the opioid, making it possible for the victim to stop breathing again.

Improvements Planned to Starke County Forest Access Lanes

Posted on May 12, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

As the Starke County Forest’s drainage issues are being resolved, Forester Bruce Wakeland is turning his attention to improving access throughout the property. He told the Starke County Park Board Tuesday that he’s been taking with Surveyor Bill Crase about building up the access lane to prevent it from washing out. Wakeland said Crase has sand available, but funding is needed to transport it to the forest.

Wakeland added that a water crossing in the lane should no longer be needed, now that several beavers have been removed and dams are less of an issue. He said a beaver control device is also starting to help, after he reported various problems with it in the past. Wakeland told the park board that he’s still cleaning out dams, but he believes the dam-building activity is now limited to the efforts of one “amateur” beaver.

Also during Tuesday’s meeting, Wakeland agreed to explore the possibility of re-configuring the trails in the back of the forest, to open up a larger portion of the property to the public. He explained that the trails currently lead to his personal residence, and the back of the forest is closed off to visitors due to privacy concerns.

North Judson Council Requests Emergency Court Hearing, Amid Fears of Building Collapse

Posted on May 11, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

A downtown North Judson building is on the verge of collapsing. That’s what Town Attorney Justin Schramm told the town council Thursday. Council members met for an emergency session, after neighbors reported that a portion of the building at 205 and 207 Lane Street had collapsed in on itself earlier in the day.

“You know, this building could collapse in five minutes, it could collapse five months from now. We just don’t know,” Schramm said. “But there was an event today that caused, I guess, shaking of some buildings around town, so we know that a portion of it has collapsed.”

Due to the urgency of the situation, the town is requesting permission to tear down the structure as soon as possible, without going through the bid process that would usually be required. To do that, council members voted to file a complaint in Starke Circuit Court saying the building poses an “immediate danger to the health and safety of the surrounding community.”

Schramm hoped to schedule a court hearing Friday morning, in order to proceed with the demolition as soon as possible. In the meantime, the 200 block of Lane Street has been closed, until the building can be torn down.

The emergency demolition would also mean that the town wouldn’t be able to wait for a blight elimination grant from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs. Clerk-Treasurer Alicia Collins says there’s enough money in the town’s Economic Development Income Tax and Cumulative Capital funds to cover the cost of the work. However, Schramm also plans to take legal action requesting that the property owner be responsible for reimbursing the town.

The town council had previously taken steps to demolish the structure, but the project was delayed when the owner took legal action to retrieve his personal property from inside the building.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

5/12/2017 Help Needed For Pioneer Cemetery Renovation Project

From Dennis Dalphond's Facebook page:
"This Friday May 12th between 4 and 6 PM 
So here is the deal. 
The 4th and final footing is ready to be poured. The footing is 100 feet long, 1 foot wide and 10 inches deep. It will take 4 yards of concrete to fill. Fortunately,this time we will have a cement truck delivering it for us. Josh Binkley and Tazco Readymix (from Westville) are going out of their way (with pricing and delivery time) to help us out. Saturday morning delivery is not possible so the truck will be there Friday afternoon between 4 and 6 pm.. While we will not have to mix the concrete ourselves, we may have to move it around in 5 gallon buckets from the chute to the form. Once the concrete is in place we will need to place boulders (some of them quite heavy) onto the concrete. If we get enough hands out to help it should take 1 or 2 hours to get the job done. 
Such fun!! 
A Friday evening to remember.  
Please show up and lend a hand. I will not know the exact time that the truck will arrive until Friday afternoon and will post the ETA when it is available."

Last year the terraced area across from the North Judson United Methodist Church was not in the best conditon. In the over fifty years that I have walked past it I have seen it get worse and worse. Dr. Dennis Dalphond has made it his goal to revamp and create an area more in keeping with Norwayne Field, which lies on the other side of Pioneer Cemetery. For over a year he and other volunteers have worked to improve the area and keep the intent of the people who originally did the landscaping there. The work is coming close to completion and with your help it could be finished by the 2017 Mint Festival. So if you have the time he could sure use some hands this Friday, May 12th, between 4 and 6 p.m. to help finish the final footing. It already looks more attractive than it did last year. (By the way, these photos were "stolen" from Dr. Dalphond's Facebook page.)