Thursday, August 31, 2017

9/30/2017 Fall Pumpkin Door Hanger

Come celebrate the beginning of fall with us and create this lovely pumpkin decoration complete with your choice of monogram!

You do have to pre-register by September 18th. 

Saturday, September 30 at 10 AM - 12 PM at the Starke County Chamber of Commerce, 400 N Heaton St, PO Box 5, Knox, Indiana 46534

Cost is $20 and includes all material. Colors can be changed.

10/7, 14, 21/2017 Pumpkin Train @ Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum

Tickets for the Pumpkin Train are on sale now... get 'em before they're gone! Buy tickets with this link: 

The train departs the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum depot in North Judson, Indiana, on October 7th, 14th, and 21st at 10:00 am, 12:30 pm, and 2:30 pm Central time (Chicago time). Choose between coach and open-air seating when you purchase your tickets. Don't forget to purchase your pumpkin tickets.

The 13-mile round-trip train lasts approximately 75 minutes. Please read our website for full travel and ticket information.

Quote of the Month - September

Happy Birthday, Jesse Owens. 
September 12, 1913

10/17/2017 Starke County Community Health Fair Slated

Knox, Ind. – The Starke County Community Health Fair presented by Starke Hospital is slated for October this year – a move that will help the hospital educate the community about important preventive health measures to consider before winter hits.

In previous years, the health fair has taken place in May, but a committee decided to switch it to fall this year.

“October is a great time to really be thinking about what you and your family’s needs might be related to health,” said Stacey Kellogg, regional community relations manager for Starke Hospital. “Flu season is right around the corner, and many people are due for certain health screenings like mammograms or colonoscopies. The Starke County Community Health Fair offers an opportunity for the community to learn more about these important tests, get free screenings for conditions like diabetes and high cholesterol, and meet with the doctors, nurses, and medical professionals in our community.”

New this year will be free flu shots for adults while supplies last.

The event will be from 3-7 p.m., Oct. 17 at the Knox Middle School gym, 901 S. Main St., Knox. Park in the lot off of Shield Street and enter the gym in the back.

“We are happy to be working with the Knox Middle School staff to host the health fair at the gym again this year,” Kellogg said. “The health fair has grown over the years, and having it at the middle school allows us to invite more community vendors to participate, and create highly-interactive health exhibits around a variety of topics. We also took into consideration comments from the community last year who requested the fair be open later so they could attend after work, so we are pleased to be extending it to 7 p.m.”

People of all ages are welcome.

This year the health fair will feature free screenings for blood pressure, blood sugar (diabetes), high cholesterol, hip/knee/back conditions, body mass index, and osteoporosis. Screenings are made possible with support from the Healthcare Foundation of La Porte.

Interactive exhibits this year will include CPR demonstrations, cardio pounding (like drumming), how to be tobacco free, healthy snack preparation with samples, surgery suite exhibit, self-defense demonstrations, and more.

“We are excited to have so many community partners involved in this event. We expect about 29 nursing students from Purdue University Northwest to assist with delivering health education and screenings, and are looking forward to having Community Services of Starke County, WKVI, and other partners represented,” Kellogg said.

Physicians, nurses, and medical professionals in the areas of surgery, primary care, cardiology, emergency department, diagnostic imaging, obstetrics/gynecology, and more will be on hand to interact and answer questions.

Advanced registration is highly encouraged for the Starke County Community Health Fair. Registration is available online at Follow Starke Hospital on Facebook for updates.

Vendors who wish to request space at the fair can do so online at This does not guarantee vendor space; it is simply an application. Someone from the health fair committee will contact vendors with a response.

Request for Railroad Township Documents Leads to Response from Public Access Counselor

Posted on August 31, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

Indiana’s public access counselor has been asked to weigh in on a dispute over public documents in Railroad Township. According to an advisory opinion issued by Public Access Counselor Luke H. Britt, Megan Korous filed a complaint with his office back in June, alleging that Township Trustee Mandy Thomason violated the Access to Public Records Act.

The main concern appears to stem from an executive session that took place on April 11. In order for an executive session to legally take place, Britt says notice must be posted at the meeting site at least 48 hours before the meeting begins. That notice must include the date, time, and location of the meeting, as well as a reference to the Indiana Code allowing the discussion to take place in executive session, rather than a public meeting.

After an executive session takes place, an official record should be created, listing the date, time, location, and the names of the members who were there. It must also refer to the Indiana Code that allowed the meeting to take place, along with a certified statement that no other topics were discussed.

Korous reportedly asked Thomason for a copy of those documents back in May, only to be told the request was not specific enough. Meanwhile, Thomason told the public access counselor that she did respond to the request. But Britt said she appeared to have only provided a screen shot of a Facebook post, rather than the official government documents.

In his analysis, Britt found that the request for the executive session documents seemed to be relatively straightforward, and said the documents should be provided as requested. While responding to the complaint, Thomason also asked the public access counselor to comment on a number of other requests for documents reportedly made by Korous. Korous appears to have asked for documentation from all of the township’s income and expenditures, as well as the amount of money paid in legal fees since 2016.

Britt found those requests to be overly broad, and noted that “no single constituent is the independent auditor of this information.” However, he stopped short of agreeing with Thomason’s assertions that the requests are “frivolous,” “abusive,” or “vexatious.”

Manufacturing Day Events Planned for Starke, Pulaski Counties

Posted on August 31, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

Manufacturing Day is just over a month away, and economic development officials are getting ready. Seventh graders from around Starke County will once again have the chance to meet with representatives from local industries, during an event hosted by the Starke County Economic Development Foundation.

Executive Director Charlie Weaver says there will be few changes to this year’s event. “We are inviting or have invited all seniors to join the seventh graders, who are not going on to college, and to try to give them an acquaintance of what’s going on in their own community,” he explains. “As last year, that includes North Judson-San Pierre School, Knox, O-D, and Culver, to pick up the North Bend kids.”

Also new this year is a job fair for local manufacturers. “Everybody but one that I’m aware of is desperate for more people, and our goal, of course, is to bring back into Starke County the labor force that’s working outside the county,” Weaver says.

Meanwhile, the Pulaski County Community Development Commission is planning an event of its own, according to Executive Director Nathan Origer. “We’re working on possibly doing a job fair that is geared explicitly toward seniors in high school,” he told the Pulaski County Commissioners last week. “So rather than companies setting up and doing it for hours for a normal job fair and hoping five people from the general public show up, doing it with a captive audience, high school students.”

Origer pointed out that many manufacturers have jobs available for students who plan to attend college, as well as those going straight into the workforce. “Our manufacturers hire attorneys,” he said. “Some, if they’re large enough like Braun, have corporate counsel. They have accountants and salespeople, and other white-collar jobs. So you can go off to college and get a degree and get a white-collar job then, if you want to come back. So we’re going to be working on that, and also just trying to get teachers and parents more tuned into the difference between modern manufacturing and that image of that dirty, dusty, gray nasty place, dimly-lit, from 50 years ago.”

The events will be held on or around Manufacturing Day, which is officially observed the first Friday of October.

Protect Yourself from Scammers Posing as IRS

Posted on August 31, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

The Indiana State Police are warning residents to be weary of people calling and posing as the IRS. A number of citizens in the northern Indiana have reported calls from individuals claiming to be an IRS representative, demanding money and threatening legal action. As the police work to stop the perpetration of these false calls, the IRS has provided a few tips to ensure your safety.

Scams can happen in a variety of ways such as phone calls, letters, emails and even knocking at your door. Generally, taxpayers will first receive several notices from the IRS through the United States Postal Service. If someone contacts you out of the blue, there is a chance it could be a scam.

It is important to note a few of things IRS absolutely does not do. The IRS will never demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe. An actual IRS representative will advise you of your rights as a taxpayer.

The IRS will not call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as prepaid debit cards, gift cards or wire transfers. Typically the IRS will mail a bill to any taxpayer who owes money.

If a person calls, visits or emails you threatening to bring in local police, immigration officers or other law-enforcement to arrest you for not paying, it is not an IRS agent. IRS agents also do not have the authority to revoke your driver’s license, business licenses or immigration status. These threats are common tactics from scam artists who are hoping to frighten people into paying.

A real representative from the IRS should always be able to provide two forms of credentials called a pocket commission and a HSPD-12 Card. The HSPD-12 is a government-wide standard for secure and reliable forms of identification for federal employees and contractors. You have a right to see or request these credentials if you’re ever approached by someone claiming to be from the IRS.

If you believe you are the victim of one of these scams, contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration by calling 800-366-4484 or visit the IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting Webpage.

West Nile Virus Increases across the State

Posted on August 31, 2017
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

Officials with the Indiana State Department of Health are keeping an eye on the West Nile Virus activity in the state.

As of Aug. 18, 261 pools of water tested positive for the West Nile Virus in 58 counties this year. According to statistics compiled by the Indiana State Department of Health, three mosquito infections were separately reported in Starke County, La Porte County and Fulton County. One mosquito infection was reported in Porter County while there were no reports in Marshall County or Pulaski County.

The number of cases reported to the state so far this year has surpassed the totals in 2016.

One human case of West Nile Virus was confirmed in Hamilton County and another in Lake County. Horses in Adams and LaGrange Counties are infected.

State health officials expect to see the number of cases rise until the first hard freeze of the year. Residents are urged to use mosquito repellent with DEET for protection. Rid properties of any objects that hold water to avoid a possible breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

9/2/2017 Movies in the Park - A Dog's Purpose

From the Facebook page of the Town of North Judson:

Saturday, September 2nd will be the last "Movie in the Park" for this year. A Dog's Purpose is the movie that will be shown and it begins at 8pm. Thank you again to the Starke County Young Professionals Group for bringing the movies to Norwayne Field.

"A Dog's Purpose"

A devoted dog (Josh Gad) discovers the meaning of its own existence through the lives of the humans it teaches to laugh and love. Reincarnated as multiple canines over the course of five decades, the lovable pooch develops an unbreakable bond with a kindred spirit named Ethan (Bryce Gheisar). As the boy grows older and comes to a crossroad, the dog once again comes back into his life to remind him of his true self.

9/2/2017 Dedication of Lincoln Historical Marker & Tierney Park

Starke County Annex 2 to Get Accessible Sidewalk Ramp

Posted on August 30, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

Starke County is working to make one of its government buildings more accessible to people with disabilities. Last week, the county commissioners approved the construction of a sidewalk ramp in front of the Annex 2 building, which houses the health and probation departments, Starke County Community Corrections and Purdue Extension.

The addition follows a recent ADA audit by Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler. “A ramp exists in the back of the building, and it does meet minimal engineering standards,” he told the commissioners. “The problem with it is that back door is often kept lock for security reasons, so that means, basically, someone who needs to get into the building with a wheelchair would have to come all the way around the building on the sidewalk all the way around, which kind of doesn’t make sense because the front of the building’s already made for ADA. There’s a ramp in the front. The doors in the front are wider, and they have the button on them. The lift is out in the front. Really, they were made for someone to go out in the front.”

The commissioners chose Covenant Concrete Construction to build the sidewalk ramp, for a cost of $1,500. The City of Knox has agreed to cover half of that cost, under its 50/50 sidewalk replacement program.

Meanwhile, the commissioners also decided to hire a contractor to repave the parking lot at Annex 1, for an estimated cost of $1,800. While Ritzler said his department could do the work in-house, the outside contractor would be able to use hot mix asphalt, which would make for a better surface.

Investigators Looking into Counterfeit Bills

Posted on August 30, 2017
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

Several counterfeit $100 bills are being analyzed after they were used to pay for items at different businesses in North Judson.

North Judson Town Marshal Kelly Fisher was called to a bank in town where several businesses reportedly deposited the counterfeit money from daily transactions. According to police, the bills were tested with markers no sign of deception. Police say they were still found to be counterfeit.

Federal investigators are now taking part in the investigation.

Starke County Sheriff’s Office Prescription Drug Take-Back Initiative

Posted on August 30, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

The Starke County Sheriff’s Office will be working with community members to combat prescription drug abuse with their Prescription Drug Take-Back event today from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Prescription pills that sit in your medicine cabinet or around your home can be susceptible to theft, misuse and abuse. To prevent these types of crimes, the Sheriff’s Office is asking individuals to bring in potentially dangerous, expired, unused or unwanted prescription drugs.

This event is very important to the community for a number of reasons. This initiative addresses the alarmingly high rates of prescription drug abuse, accidental poisonings and overdoses from these drugs while also giving people a safe way to dispose of unwanted prescriptions. The current method of disposal, throwing pills in the trash or flushing them down the toilet can potentially pose significant safety and health hazards.

The event is for prescription pills only; other drugs or needles will not be accepted. Pills for disposal can be brought to the Starke County Jail at 5435 E St Rd 8. The service is free and anonymous with no questions asked. According to Starke County Sheriff Bill Dulin, the pills will be incinerated.

Bible Baptist Church Seeks Volunteers and Supplies to Assist Harvey Victims

Posted on August 30, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

Members of the Bible Baptist Church of Knox are putting together an impromptu mission trip to assist victims of the natural disaster that struck Texas. Pastor James Adcock made contact with a Houston Pastor and will be communicating with him about when and where volunteers will be needed and the type of supplies that could assist the community.

Adcock said this mission trip is a way to practically apply the kind of messages he preaches to his congregation.  “At Bible Baptist Church we talk about missions but we want to talk about missions in a way that its real and relevant to us today” Adcock told WKVI,”so when the hurricane came into Texas and I was praying I felt like this was our opportunity to not just sit back…but to actually be active.”

Another member assisting with this mission trip is Ed Martin who is in charge of community outreach at the church. He feels this mission trip is a great way for our community’s compassion to spread across the country.

Martin said “What a better outreach than to go across the United States and reach out to people who have had this devastation? James has put a list on Facebook on the things that they will need later on when the water recedes so that’s what we’ll be taking down to Texas with us.”

Some of those items include de-humidifiers, portable blowers, air circulators, extension cords, pop up canopies, shovels, wheelbarrows, dishwashing gloves, mops and brooms. If you’re curious about what other supplies are needed or you wish to volunteer, contact Pastor Adcock through the Bible Baptist Church Facebook page (or see list below).

Adcock said they plan to leave after Labor Day, early Tuesday morning and return on Saturday. They will be driving down with a couple of trailers and trucks full of supplies and volunteers. The pastor said individuals can also personally assist the missionaries by donating gift cards for restaurants and gas stations and keeping them in their prayers.

Moving Starke County Forward Overdose Awareness Event

Posted on August 30, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

This past Sunday, Moving Starke County Forward hosted an event for Overdose Awareness at Wythogan Park. The event honored the community’s first responders as well as featured moving testimony from a former addict who is now working to raise awareness and promote recovery.

The event coordinator was Jordan Morris, a member of the Moving Starke County Forward Leadership Team. Morris said they wanted to include a ceremony honoring first responders because of the incredible service they provide to the community.

“Honoring first responders seemed to be something that happens less frequently than it probably should,” Morris said, “So we sent invitations to all of the departments that have individuals serving as first responders.”

Fifteen awards were presented to several different departments including the Starke County Sheriff’s Office, dispatch, EMS and local fire departments to thank them for their sacrifices and commitment to the community.

Following the award ceremony, Tiffany Witham shared her recovery story with the crowd of about 50 community members who were gathered for the event. Witham’s former probation officer approached Morris about including Tiffany as the speaker since she was three years clean this past July. Witham struggled with addiction for 6 years before recovering. It was a long, tedious process but she uses her past experiences to help raise awareness and provide recovery encouragement to addicts.

Witham said, “I understand people fear or hate what they don’t understand and there’s a lot of people that do not understand addiction. They hate addicts, they write these horrible things about them…and they need help and it’s a hard habit to break. I just want people to understand that there is hope.”

Tiffany’s full speech can be found on the Moving Starke County Forward Facebook page.

The event concluded with a candlelight vigil where individuals lit a white candle in memory of lost loved ones. International Overdose Awareness Day is Thursday August 31. Community members are encouraged to wear silver or gray on this day to show support for addiction recovery and overdose awareness.

Indiana Statehouse Internship Opportunity

Posted on August 30, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

Current college students and recent graduates seeking a paid internship that would involve participating in state government and provide valuable networking opportunities can now apply to work in the Indiana Statehouse. Indiana House Republicans are accepting internship applications for the 2018 legislative session now through October 31st.

Internships are open to all undergraduate students above freshman level, graduate students and recent graduates of all majors. Students can apply for positions in a variety of areas such as legislative, communications, fiscal policy and technology. The full time positions run Monday through Friday from January until mid-March. Students will be paid $750 every two weeks. They can also earn academic credit and are eligible to apply for a competitive $3,000 scholarship to use toward college expenses.

More information about the opportunity and the application form can be found here.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Starke County Coroner Asked to Formalize Procedures Amid Legal Concerns

Posted on August 29, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

Starke County Coroner Dannie Hoffer says he’s taking steps to save the county money, but other county officials are worried that could lead to some legal troubles. Hoffer addressed several concerns during last week’s county council and county commissioners meetings.

For one thing, Council President Freddie Baker noted that Hoffer was using his own personal computer to conduct county business. Hoffer said his $500 office supply budget would not be enough to buy a computer for the coroner’s office. “I’m trying to go as slowly as I can,” he said. “I’m not trying to cost the county more money.”

“But what it’s going to do in the end is it’s going to cost us money,” Baker replied. “If something goes wrong, how many times today do we hear that somebody’s using their own computer and doing municipal business on that computer, yours, how do you protect it? You can’t.”

The commissioners asked Hoffer to discuss the issue with County IT Director Mark Gourley, to see if some extra equipment may be available or if the cost could be covered by the IT budget. Hoffer added that he purchased several items for the new county morgue out of his own pocket, including a bathroom vanity, shelves, and a refrigerator.

Allowing other coroners to use the morgue without a formal agreement in place was also a cause of concern for the commissioners and council members. Hoffer explained that Starke County would not be liable for mistakes made by other coroners on the property. Still, County Attorney Marty Lucas said it would be better to put it in writing. “It never hurts to have a piece of paper where the person is saying in advance, ‘We’re going to use your facility, but we’re going to indemnify and hold you harmless from any claim related to the facility usage,'” Lucas said.

Hoffer has discussed charging LaPorte County’s coroner to use the morgue. However, he has been letting Marshall County use it for free, after the coroner there provided some free help with a couple of Starke County cases. “They did take a case from here, took it over, came back, done the autopsy, took the baby back, brought him back over here, never charged us a dime for the autopsy, the removal, the storage, nothing,” Hoffer explained. “1:30 in the morning, we had the homicide-suicide. We only had room for one person left in the cooler. We called Marshall County. They came at 1:30 in the morning all the way to Monterey, picked up the gentlemen, took him back to their morgue, held him overnight, brought him back to Starke County the next day for the autopsy, never charged us a dime.”

Meanwhile, Hoffer asked the council and commissioners for a pay raise, saying that he’s the lowest-paid coroner in the state. The request was tabled, until the commissioners could do some research of their own.

Tips for Hoosiers Looking to Help Victims of Hurricane Harvey

Posted on August 29, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

We may be more than a thousand miles away from Hurricane Harvey’s impact but there are still many ways that Hoosiers can help positively impact the lives of those in need. When donating money or supplies, be especially aware of who you’re assisting. Unfortunately during times like these, criminals can prey on eager humanitarians just trying to help.

In order to ensure your assistance will get into the right hands, work with legitimate, well-known relief agencies such as FEMA or The Red Cross. The Red Cross already experiences blood shortages during the summer months and with the addition of injuries incurred during this natural disaster, they are even more in need of donations.

Individuals also have the ability to submit monetary donations to help Red Cross coordinate emergency relief efforts to provide disaster relief as quickly as possible. To schedule an appointment, locate a blood drive near you or to make a monetary donation visit or call 1-800-RED CROSS [1 800 733 27677].

Additionally, the Indiana Department of Homeland Security provides the following warnings and tips about responsible giving and volunteering.

Avoid the use of social networking sites that promote impromptu collections drives. Not only can this lead to scams, but it could also potentially lead to crowded warehouses of unrequested items and clogged distribution channels in the impacted area. Cash donations can be managed much easier since the type and amount of supplies required can change frequently. Providing monetary donations to valid agencies allows volunteers to acquire the needed supplies and address the most urgent needs more quickly and efficiently.

If you’re looking to provide volunteer assistance, be sure you have a plan before heading for impacted areas. As much as volunteers play a vital part in disaster recovery, sometimes well-meaning individuals who show up without prior contact or coordination with disaster management personnel can further complicate or even hinder response and recovery operations.

Contact a volunteer organization before heading out and inform them of your specific skills so you can be directed to the area where you can provide the most assistance. Make necessary arrangements for things you’ll need while volunteering such as appropriate clothing, food, water and a place to stay. If you’re unsure of what you’ll need, ask the organization you’ll be working with.

A list of legitimate relief agencies as well as more information about how you can help victims of Hurricane Harvey can be found here.

Starke Hospital Offers Monthly Diabetes Education Classes and Support Groups

Posted on August 29, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

Diabetes is known as one of the world’s ‘silent diseases’ meaning that many people may be walking around at risk and not even know it. The staff at Starke Hospital realizes this and that is why they offer a series of programs to educate people on pre-diabetes warning signs and how to adjust lifestyle habits once a diagnosis is received.

One of the classes offered is a free pre-diabetes class that meets the 3rd Monday of every month. Stacey Kellogg, the regional manager of community relations for Starke Hospital, said there a lot of indicators for people who could be pre-diabetic.

Kellogg said that having elevated blood sugar, being clinically overweight and having high blood pressure are all indications that you’re on your way to full blown diabetes diagnosis.

Fortunately, if you catch these warning signs early enough many of the symptoms can be reversed by implementing necessary dietary and lifestyle changes. The next pre-diabetes class is September 18 from noon to 1 p.m. in the 2nd floor OB Conference Room at Starke Hospital.

Two of the services offered to individuals who are past the pre-diabetes stage are the self-management classes and a support group. The support group is free and open to inflicted individuals as well as family members who want to learn how to help their loved ones with the diabetes. The support group meets next on September 26 from 11 a.m. to noon in the 2nd floor OB Conference Room.

Self-management classes require a physician’s order and pre-registration. With this program, certified diabetes educators and clinical dietitians work closely with your doctor for coordination of care. These classes begin at the start of each month and run for four weeks, meeting from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Tuesdays. To make arrangements, contact Diabetes Program Coordinator, Patty Leonard at 574-772-1183.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Petroleum Analysts Wait to See How Harvey Impacts National Gas Prices

Posted on August 28, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

As first responders attend to the devastation and destruction caused by Tropical Storm Harvey, fuel analysts wait to see how national gas prices will be impacted. Senior Petroleum Analyst for Partick DeHaan said that during Hurricane Katrina whole-sale gas prices shot up 40 cents a gallon. Though he expects a similar reaction, the current projections are still unknown.

DeHaan said, “With such tremendous damage in area of the country that is home to such a significant number of refineries, pipelines, oil rigs, what happens there could have a major impact on gas prices throughout the country and at least right now, there’s so much floodwater that there’s no way to assess how much there is.”

According to DeHaan, when energy markets open for electronic trading, that will be able to provide more insight into which way gas prices are going and how the market is digesting what is happening as a result of the damage caused by Harvey.

Starke County Council Creates Fund for Park Donations

Posted on August 28, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

You can now make a donation to the Starke County Park Board. While the park board oversees a few different facilities, including the Bass Lake Beach and Campground and the Starke County Forest, it does not have a dedicated funding source from the county government. However, the county council last week created a “special non-reverting park and recreation fund,” designed to let the park board accept “gifts, donations, and subsidies.”

The Bass Lake Beach and Campground and the Starke County Forest are designed to be self-sufficient. But when it comes to obtaining grant funds for additional improvements, the park board hasn’t had much success.

The Starke County Park Board became eligible to apply for grants earlier this year, with the completion of its five-year plan. But the board failed to put together applications in time to apply for either a Land and Water Conservation grant or a Place Based Investment grant.

Park Board President Debbie Mix was asked about the board’s progress last week by County Commissioner Kathy Norem. “Truthfully, I kind of view that as one of your main jobs, is to find the money,” Norem said.

“I know, you’ve told me,” Mix replied. “And it’s a matter of getting the other board members to be a part of that because it’s not just the one person.”

During last week’s commissioners meeting, Mix and Carolla Heilstedt gave an update on the park board’s efforts to apply for a crowdgranting opportunity to help build a kayak launch on the Yellow River. Commissioner Donnie Binkley suggested that the park board also look at potential grants from NIPSCO or Kankakee Valley REMC.

Mobile Health Units to Provide Information & Screenings in September

Posted on August 28, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

The Wellness Outreach Professionals with the Mobile Health Unit of the La Porte Hospital will be making stops around the community during national prostate cancer awareness month. La Porte County and Starke County will have Mobile Health Units set up in various places throughout the month of September in order to provide men’s health education and promote the importance of colorectal cancer screenings.

Take-home colorectal cancer screening kits will be available. These kits do not replace regular check-ups or the recommended colonoscopy screening at age 50 but that they can help detect warning signs of colon cancer or other conditions. Screenings kits and Mobile Health Unit visits are made possible by the Healthcare Foundation of La Porte.

Dates, times and locations of the Mobile Health Unit visits are as follows,

La Porte County:
September 6 from 10:30 – Noon at Kabelin’s, 512 Andrew Ave, La Porte
September 8 from 10 – 11 a.m. at LaCrosse Public Library, 307 Main St., LaCrosse
September 11 from 9-10 a.m. at La Porte County Family YMCA, 901 Michigan Ave., La Porte
September 11 from 11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at La Porte Hospital, 1007 Lincolnway, La Porte
September 12 from 9-10:30 a.m. at Good Will Industries, 1509 E. Lincolnway, La Porte
September 12 from 11 a.m. – Noon at Salvation Army, 3240 Monroe St., La Porte
September 15 from 10-11:30 a.m. at La Porte County Public Library, 904 Indiana Ave., La Porte
September 19 from 10-11:30 a.m. at Kroger, 55 Pine Lake Ave., La Porte
September 19 from 1-2:30 p.m. at Al’s Supermarket, 702 E. Lincolnway, La Porte
September 20 from Noon-1:30 p.m. at The Pax Center, 605 Washington St., La Porte

Starke County:
September 22 from 1:30-3 p.m. at Bailey’s Discount Center, 5900 S. Range Rd., North Judson
September 28 from 1-2:30 p.m. at Starke Hospital, 102 E Culver Rd., Knox

Community Cantata Choir Call Outs Coming Soon

Posted on August 28, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

Although the Community Cantata Choir won’t have their final performance until Christmastime, rehearsals will be underway soon. Event coordinators and program directors Nan Folkers and Brian Liechty are still working out this year’s theme and the schedule for official try-out dates and subsequent rehearsals. Folkers said the start date should be announced in early September.

The Community Cantata is an annual Christmas performance put on by the Knox United Methodist Church. Folkers says members from 10 to 12 other churches join together to help put on the program each year. Although the performance is arranged through the church, Folkers wants singers to know that church involvement is not a requirement.

This year, the cantata choir is looking for new members to be a part of the program which includes ensemble pieces, as well as solos. Try-outs will be released as soon as the directors decide on a date. Answers to further questions can by provided by Director Nan Folkers at The Golden Living Center, 574-772-6248.

9/2-4/2017 BMV Announces Labor Day Closure

Posted on August 28, 2017
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI 
The Labor Day holiday will create a change in hours at all Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicle branches. All branches will be closed Saturday, Sept. 2 through Monday, Sept. 4.
The La Porte, Plymouth, Walkerton, and Winamac branches will open on Tuesday, Sept. 5 at 8:30 a.m. local time while the Knox branch will open again on Wednesday, Sept. 6.
For online assistance, visit

Starke County Council Sets Hourly Pay Rate for EMA Director

Posted on August 26, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

The Starke County Council has set a pay rate for the county’s next Emergency Management Agency director. Former director Jacob Lippner was fired by the county commissioners back in May. They’ve since decided to make the position a part-time job going forward.

Council members decided Monday to set an hourly pay rate ranging from $15.50 to $18.50, depending on the new director’s education and experience levels. The EMA director is expected to work no more than 20 hours a week, under normal circumstances. That rate will be added into the county’s 2017 salary ordinance.

The county commissioners and members of the EMA Board plan to interview candidates for the position during an executive session Monday. The commissioners hope to hire a new EMA director during their next regular meeting.

North Judson Council Considers Changes to Bylaws, Schedules Budget Meeting

Posted on August 26, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

The North Judson Town Council is looking to make some changes to the way it operates. Most significantly, members are considering the addition of a council vice-president, according to Clerk-Treasurer Alicia Collins. She says that currently, if the council president is absent, one member is chosen to take charge just for that one meeting.

The changes to the official bylaws were proposed by council member Jane Ellen Felchuk. Collins says council members plan to act on the proposed changes at their next regular meeting.

Meanwhile, the North Judson Town Council is getting to work on the town’s 2018 budget. Members will meet in special session on Tuesday, September 5 to discuss the budget with representatives from accounting firm Umbaugh and Associates. That will be followed by the council’s regular meeting at 6:30 p.m.

Collins says that no comments or questions were offered during a public hearing Monday on the town’s proposed water and sewer upgrades. The hearing was a required step before the town can seek financial help from the state and federal government.

Friday, August 25, 2017

8/26/2017 Double Feature Night @ Norwayne Field - Trolls/The Shallows

Starke County CAN is showing a Double Feature at Norwayne Field this Saturday evening, August 26. Trolls will be shown again (hopefully in its entirety this time😀), followed by The Shallows. We will have an earlier start time of 7 PM or as soon as it is dark enough. Pass the word!

8/25-27/2017 Tour de La Porte Starts Today!

Posted on August 25, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

More than one-thousand people from various cities and states will gather this weekend for fun and fundraising at the 16th annual Tour de La Porte walking, running and cycling event sponsored by the Healthcare Foundation of La Porte. 100 percent of proceeds from the event go to benefit local cancer patients directly. The money can assist with things like treatment, medication and wigs as well as in town and out of town transportation costs and even child care.

The weekend-long event kicks off today at 5:30 p.m. with the 5K Trail Walk&Run. Early packet pick up and onsite registration and check-in will be going from 2:00 until 7:30 p.m. Individuals who have not registered online can register during this time. Be sure to indicate how many events you’d like to participate in. Registering for more than one event results in a discounted price.

Tonight, participants have a chance to carbo-load at a spaghetti dinner sponsored by the Rotary Club of La Porte. The dinner starts at 4:00 and ends at 7 p.m. The cost to attend is $7 for adults and $4 for children.

Saturday is chock-full of events for people of all ages. On-site registration and pre-registered check-in will begin at 5:30 a.m. The Road Walk&Run half marathon begins at 6:30 a.m., the 10K starts at 7:15 a.m. and the 5K will take off at 7:45 a.m. The award ceremony will commence at approximately 8:45 a.m.

Saturday will also feature a mini fun run at about 9:30 a.m. for kids up to age 8. Children can run either 100 or 250 meters, depending on age. Prizes will be passed out to all fun run participants.

Sunday is the cycling event and all individuals are required to wear helmets. On-site registration and check-in begins at 6 a.m. For the first time this year the race will feature group starts; 100 mile & 60 mile groups leaves at 6:30 a.m., the 40 mile group will leave an hour later and the 25&15 mile groups leave at 8:30 a.m.

Individuals are free to pick a time to leave if they don’t want to join the group, however, CEO of the Healthcare Foundation Maria Fruth warns cyclists doing the longer routes should leave as early as possible so safety and gear stops will be available to them.

Fruth has been involved with the event for years and is thrilled about what it means for the La Porte community. She told WKVI, “I have been doing the tour since day one and I have seen the incredible growth and the incredible impact it brings to the community. I’m very grateful that we can continue to do this.” She said they carry on the legacy of the La Porte Hospital Foundation by not only bringing special events like this but by continuing the tradition of assisting people locally.

All Events start and finish at Cummings Lodge at 350 Grangemouth Road in La Porte. If you’re interested in learning more about this charitable initiative check out their website here.

North Judson Council Updated on Pioneer Cemetery Beautification Efforts

Posted on August 25, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

Efforts to beautify North Judson’s Pioneer Cemetery continue to move ahead. Dr. Dennis Dalphond has been leading a group of volunteers in restoring the cemetery’s stone terrace.

He told the North Judson Town Council Monday it will take another couple years to finish the project, according to Clerk-Treasurer Alicia Collins. She says Dalphond is looking for more volunteers to help with the effort. Volunteers work on the cemetery each Saturday.

Starke County Highway Department Anticipating Future U.S. 30 Upgrades

Posted on August 25, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

With plans in the works to upgrade U.S. 30 to freeway standards, efforts are underway locally to make sure the project would have a positive on Starke County.

One concern is figuring out how traffic may reach the Town of Hamlet, depending on the placement of interchanges. The Starke County Highway Department and the Starke County Economic Development Foundation recently split the cost of assessing County Road 500 North as a potential alternate route.

Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler told the county commissioners Monday they’ve decided to expand their study to Old U.S. 30 and 600 North. “The assessments were really not that expensive,” he explained. “It’s was a pretty good cost-sharing thing. Economic Development agreed to share the cost. We do have it in our budget for next year, which is when we’ll be paying for it. So we could do that without asking for any extra money.”

Under the freeway proposal, drivers would only be able to get on U.S. 30 at interchanges and would only be able to cross the highway by using an overpass. Ritzler said he plans to start developing plans about where those might be located. “I also propose that once we get all our traffic counts done, to have the engineer look at this and kind of do an assessment for each one of the overpasses and interchanges that may happen at U.S. 30,” he said. “Basically, every intersection of U.S. 30, we want to do a study and see if it warrants one. If we have that information up front before INDOT does anything with it, it is really helpful to us.”

The Indiana Department of Transportation would have the final say on how the upgrades will take shape. But consultants working with the U.S. 30 Coalition say INDOT will likely listen to local recommendations, if there’s a strong local consensus.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Starke County Commissioners Approve Courthouse Elevator Grant Application

Posted on August 24, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

Upgrades to the Starke County Courthouse elevator are a step closer to moving ahead. The county commissioners voted Monday to submit a grant application to the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs, after they sent in a letter of intent last month.

As part of the upgrades, new automatic sliding doors will be installed on both the elevator cab and each floor level, according to engineering firm DLZ. The existing manual doors are considered too heavy for many users to open, which has led to accessibility concerns.

Engineers say the elevator will also be outfitted with modern fire alarm controls, emergency communication devices, and audible floor indicators. Two feet will have to be added to the top of the elevator shaft, as part of the work.

To help pay for the upgrades, Starke County is applying for a $500,000 Public Facilities Program Grant. The county’s share of the cost would be $55,560, which would come out of the County Economic Development Income Tax Fund. The local funding arrangements were also approved by the commissioners Monday.

An announcement on whether the county will receive those funds is expected in October. While the grant is considered very competitive, Commissioner Kathy Norem said OCRA officials are optimistic about the county’s chances.

Meanwhile, the Starke County Council took steps of its own, to help provide financing for elevator maintenance and repair. They finalized a resolution creating a Courthouse Elevator Sustainability Fund authorized the deposit of $5,000, as a starting amount.

North Judson Finalizes Payments for Demolition of 205 and 207 Lane Street

Posted on August 24, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

The Town of North Judson saved almost $145,000 by rejecting the first bid it got for the demolition of 205 and 207 Lane Street. That’s according to Clerk-Treasurer Alicia Collins.

She says the town has finished paying off all the costs associated with the project, with the final total adding up to $105,186.50. For comparison, the first demolition bid the town got was for $250,000. The town council rejected it back in June.

Collins says that delayed the project by several weeks and meant that a large area had to be blocked off during the Mint Festival. But she says it was well worth the inconvenience.

On July 10, the town council accepted a bid from Dirt Works Excavating at a much lower price of $96,499. While the town agreed to cover the cost of asbestos removal and air quality monitoring, Collins says it ended up being a lot less than town officials expected, coming in under $8,700.

The demolition work was completed earlier this month.

Skimmer Scams on the Rise – Be Cautious While Paying at the Pump

Posted on August 24, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

                                              Normal Card Reader              Skimmer

With an increase in skimming devices being discovered at gas stations this year, AAA warns drivers to be extra cautious about paying at the pump. Unfortunately, this could happen to anybody; AAA Public Affairs Manager Greg Seiter had his card skimmed at a gas station on the south side of Indianapolis just a few weeks ago.

Credit card skimmers are devices that attach to credit card slots and steal your information. Skimmers will sometimes just look like the slot itself so AAA advises customers to jiggle the slot to see if it is askew or asymmetrical in any way.

If you have the option, AAA recommends paying for gas inside the store and using cash rather than your credit card. However, since most people are on the go and rarely carry cash anymore, the motor club also provided the following tips to keep your bank account secure.

Park your car as close to the building as possible. Criminals with skimmers tend to pick pumps further away to avoid being caught by clerks. Keep an eye out for any individuals who appear to be unnecessarily lingering around the gas pump area. Sometimes they may even be pretending to put gas into their own vehicle so be extra alert of untrustworthy activity.

If your phone has Bluetooth scanning capabilities, you can turn on your Bluetooth to check for skimmers embedded in the pumps. If a random series of numbers and letters pops up it could be a telltale sign that a skimmer has been inserted into the gas kiosk. DO NOT connect to the Bluetooth device and immediately notify a gas station attendant of your concern.

Inspect the gas station pump for any sign of tampering. Be sure the gas pump panel is closed and the security tape is still sealed. Check the card reader for any attachments or suspicious qualities. If you feel uncertain about whether a skimmer could be present, do not use that pump and alert the cashier.

Lastly, keep an eye on your bank account as often as you can. Skimmers may wait months to utilize your stolen information and then suddenly go on a spending spree. If you have any concerns that your account may have been compromised, contact your bank immediately.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

9/6/2017 Bella Vita Pregnancy Center Grand Opening

8/25/2017 Port-A-Pit @ St. Peter Lutheran School

Out-of-County Autopsy Costs a Concern for Starke County Coroner

Posted on August 23, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

Starke County’s coroner says out-of-county autopsies are causing a big strain on his budget. Now, county officials may be looking to state lawmakers to help ease that burden.

Coroner Dannie Hoffer told the county council Monday he’s expecting to get some bills for autopsies of Starke County residents who died outside the county. When people are taken to hospitals in places like South Bend or Fort Wayne, it’s up to the local coroner’s office to conduct any necessary autopsies, if they die there. But state law requires the county of origin to reimburse them for the cost.

The problem, according to Hoffer, is that an autopsy in St. Joseph County often costs twice as much as one done in Starke County. “They take them up to Michigan, and we have to pay for a transfer fee,” he explained. “We have to pay for an expensive doctor, housing, hospital, all that stuff. Do I agree with that? I’ve talked to him before. I don’t agree with it because I can get them done a lot cheaper, but by law, I can’t bring them back to Starke County and then autopsy them. It has to be done in the county that they died in.” Hoffer said he saves money on autopsies by using a less expensive pathologist and by transporting bodies himself.

County Attorney Marty Lucas said he couldn’t find anything in state law limiting the cost of autopsies, or even preventing coroner’s offices from charging other counties higher fees. “When we get the bills, we ought to look at that,” he said. “I wouldn’t mind preparing a letter on that, saying that this seems like an unfair burden on counties that are on the other end of that. That’s not what the law was intended to do. The law was intended to protect the counties that were importing cases, like Allen County, which makes sense.”

Hoffer also presented council members with a detailed list of autopsies conducted by his office, along with his reasoning for doing them. Coroners in Marshall and Pulaski counties have also reported a significant increase in their autopsy numbers, in recent months.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Starke County Council Holds Hearing for 2018 North Judson-San Pierre Budget

Posted on August 22, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

The North Judson-San Pierre School Corporation’s efforts to cut spending are having a positive impact on the corporation’s budget. That’s what Business Manager Guy Richie told the Starke County Council Monday during a hearing on the corporation’s 2018 budget proposal. “The last few years, we were pretty bleak when we’re coming in here and explaining we’re losing all our kids and such,” he said. “But for this past year, our cash balance ended with $559,000, as compared to $182,000 the year before in 2015. So we did gain $377,000.”

He attributes the increase to the large number of staff cuts the corporation has made in the past couple years. “In 2016, we had the lowest revenue that I can find on record, which was just $7 million,” he explained. “But the good thing about that, we only spent $6.6 million, as compared to $8.2 million the previous year and $9.2 million in 2014. So our reductions have been taking a very good effect on us.”

Superintendent Dr. Annette Zupin said balancing the budget takes the help of the entire corporation. “I can tell you at the school corporation, I think instead of sulking in the demographics, the projected population numbers for our county, we’ve decided to manage the decline, and make sure that staff and student ratios kind of match,” she said.

Zupin said it’s too soon to know for sure, but she’s anticipating steady enrollment this year, with no significant declines expected.

No members of the public offered any comments during Monday’s hearing. Budget adoption is scheduled to take place during next month’s county council meeting.

Unemployment Rates Up from Previous Month, Down from Last Year

Posted on August 22, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

Unemployment rates were a bit higher in July than the month before, but still better than the same period last year. Starke County’s rate climbed to four percent last month, according to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development. That’s a half a percent higher than June, but a full percentage point lower than July of 2016.

Pulaski County continues to fare better than Starke County. Last month’s rate was 3.4 percent, compared to 2.9 percent in June and 4.5 percent in July of 2016. Meanwhile, both counties continue to see slight declines in the number of people in their labor force.

Statewide, the July unemployment rate was 3.4 percent. The national rate was 4.6 percent.

The Starke County Community Foundation Awards $5,000 to Local Non-Profits

Posted on August 22, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

For the first time this year, The Starke County Community Foundation has adopted an open grant-cycle meaning that grant applications will be accepted and awards will be given year-round. $5,000 worth of grants were recently distributed to several local non-profit organizations.

A $2,000 grant was given to the North Judson-San Pierre High School Memorial Committee. The group wishes to provide a site for Alumni to visit and also to help preserve the history of North Judson by constructing a memorial to the old NJ-SP High School, which was built in 1921 and demolished in 1993.

Starke County A.B.A.T.E. also received a $2,000 grant which they plan to use to help to lift the financial burden off of low-income families during the holidays. The funding will help them to purchase food, stockings, toys, clothes, and gifts.

HealthLinc was awarded $500 for its Reach Out and Read program in Knox. The grant will assist with the purchase of brand new books that are sent home with participants. A major element of Reach Out and Read is parents’ involvement with their children’s education. When parents read to their children at home, they assist with their vocabulary and pre-reading skills, and they forge important neural connections during a critical period of brain development.

Knox Elementary School received a $500 community education grant in order to purchase a new sandbox. The school seeks to purchase the sandbox for the Title I and Integrated preschools. Representatives of the school reported that research shows playing in sand helps young children to develop fine motor skills, social skills, language skills, sensory processing, and neurological processing.

SCCF grant applications are available at For more information, contact SCCF Director of Development Sarah Origer at or by calling 574-772-3665.

Monday, August 21, 2017

4/8/2024 - Next Total Solar Eclipse

Apparently those solar eclipse glasses have an expiration date of 3 years, so it would probably be best NOT to save them for 2024. However, Astronomers Without Borders will be recycling them for distribution in South American and Asia in 2019. More on that later.

8/26-27/2017 TIppecanoe River State Park Program Schedule

Public Hearing Tonight for North Judson Sewer, Water Projects

Posted on August 21, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

The North Judson Town Council will hold a public hearing tonight on proposed water and sewer upgrades. The town plans to pursue a loan through the State Revolving Fund, as well as grant funding from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs, to rehabilitate the two water towers, add a well, and upgrade the existing well pumps, among other improvements.

North Judson is also planning $3.1 million in wastewater upgrades. That work will include modernizing the wastewater treatment plant and bringing the town’s combined sewer overflow into compliance with Indiana Department of Environmental Management regulations. The town hopes to get a 40-year bond through the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Office to pay for that work.

Residents will have the chance to weigh in on the financial arrangements tonight at 6:00, before the regular town council meeting at 6:30.

Starke County Council to Hold Public Hearing Tonight on North Judson-San Pierre Budget

Posted on August 21, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

A public hearing on the North Judson-San Pierre School Corporation’s proposed 2018 budget will be held during tonight’s Starke County Council meeting.

Council members will also expected set a pay rate for a part-time Emergency Management Agency director. The position is currently open, after Jacob Lippner was fired by the county commissioners back in May.

This evening’s Starke County Council meeting starts at 5:30, followed by the Starke County Commissioners meeting at 6:00. The commissioners are scheduled to hear from Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler about a county-wide sign and speed limit ordinance, the installation of ADA-compliant ramps, and paving the Annex Building parking lot.

Additionally, Coroner Dannie Hoffer is expected to continue discussing the cost of autopsies with both the council and commissioners. Last month, he said his autopsy budget took a hit, due to accidental overdose cases. Both groups will also get their monthly update from the Starke County Economic Development Foundation. Both meetings will be held in Starke County Annex Building No. 1.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Visiting Local School This Thursday

Posted on August 21, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

In an effort to provide updates and discuss educational initiatives, Indiana State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Dr. Jennifer McCormick is holding a series of teacher and community meetings across the state. Less than ten meetings have been scheduled but fortunately, local residents have the opportunity to attend the North Judson-San Pierre meeting and reception as long as they register prior to the Thursday.

During a N.J.-S.P. school board meeting last week, Superintendent Dr. Annette Zupin presented details to the board, “It will be August 24th, from 5 o’clock to 6:30 she will be speaking in the auditorium. The Indiana State Teacher’s Association is hosting a reception prior with finger foods and just a chance to speak with Dr. McCormick. That is 4 o’clock to 5 o’clock and will be in our cafeteria.”

Since the program is offered through the Department of Education and the reception is hosted by I.S.T.A, individuals must register for both separately in order to attend. Register for the 4:00 p.m. reception here. Register for the 5:00 p.m. teacher and community meeting here.

The Starke County Career and College Success Coalition Looking for Community Input

August 21, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

The Starke County Career and College Success Coalition wants to hear from you during their meeting open to the public on Tuesday, September 5. This coalition focuses on providing the appropriate resources needed to help Starke County residents obtain further education and maintain meaningful careers.

Parents, students, business owners and any enthusiastic individuals geared towards community improvement are asked to speak up and share any ideas that could help the coalition with their goals. Any questions can be directed to coalition member Shirley Fosler at her work number 574-772-1675.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

9/2/2017 Dedication at Little Company of Mary/Holy Cross Grounds

The Starke County Historical Society will dedicate the Lincoln Funeral Train Historical Marker at the former Little Company of Mary/Holy Cross grounds in San Pierre on Saturday, September 2, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. CST.

Railroad Township Trustee, Mandy Thomason will dedicate the former LCM/HC ground as Tierney Park, in memory of John Tierney.  Tierney is the San Pierre resident who donated the land for the Little Company of Mary complex, as well as successfully stowed away on Lincoln’s funeral train as a teenager, ultimately ending up in Springfield, Illinois for President’s Lincoln’s funeral.

Thomason will also dedicate the Little Company of Mary Sand Prairie that resides in Tierney park.

Speakers will include Alice Dolezal of the Starke County Historical Society, Mandy Thomason, Charlie Adams of WKVI radio, and Derek Luchik of the Nature Conservancy.

Please join us as we celebrate these new additions to Starke County’s heritage.

AAA Safety Tips for Monday’s Eclipse

Posted on August 19, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

This Monday, for the first time since 1979, certain parts of the continental U.S. will experience a total solar eclipse and even though only a partial eclipse will be visible from Indiana, it is important to stay safe if you’re driving while the phenomenon occurs. AAA provides the following safety tips for people who may be operating a vehicle during the eclipse.

Before getting behind the wheel, check NASA’s interactive map to pinpoint the approximate time the eclipse will be visible in your area so you can be off the road if you want to watch.

Be sure you have the proper protective eye wear while viewing the un-eclipsed or partially eclipsed sun. Regular sunglasses will not suffice; the only safe way to view is with special ‘eclipse glasses’ or hand-held solar viewers.

If you must be on the road while the eclipse is happening be sure to follow all traffic laws you normally would and avoid looking in the sky. Peak darkness will only last 2-3 minutes but if you think you’ll be distracted, find a safe place to park your vehicle.

If you’re driving during peak darkness, have your headlights on, watch for pedestrians who may be attempting to see the eclipse and keep additional space between you and other vehicles in case of potentially distracted drivers.

Friday, August 18, 2017

9/9/2017 Starting Point for Genealogy

10/17/2017 Starke County Community Health Fair

Join us for this FREE health fair on Tuesday October 17, 2017 from 3:00 PM – 7:00 PM at the Knox Community Middle School Gym (901 South Main Street, Knox, Indiana).   You can register at Starke County Community Health Fair.

Interactive health exhibits:

  • Free health screenings! Blood pressure, BMI, Cholestrol, Hip/Knee/Back, Diabetes
  • Free flu shots (while supplies last) (We will hold some for those who need to arrive between 5-7 p.m.)
  • Ask-a-Provider with doctors and nurses in Knox and North Judson
  • CPR demonstrations
  • Cardio Pounding demonstrations
  • Self Defense demonstrations
  • Healthy snack samples
  • Live radio broadcast with WKVI
  • Community vendors

Thank you to the Healthcare Foundation of La Porte for continued support of health events in La Porte and Starke Counties!

West Nile Virus on the Rise Throughout Indiana

Posted on August 18, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

West Nile virus activity is on the rise across Indiana. Now, state health officials are urging Hoosiers to protect themselves from mosquito-borne diseases.

According to statistics from the Indiana State Department of Health, West Nile has been found in mosquito batches in 53 of the state’s 92 counties, including Starke, LaPorte, and St. Joseph. On top of that, two human cases have been confirmed in Lake and Hamilton counties.

West Nile virus can lead to fever, headache, body aches, swollen lymph glands, or a rash, according to state health officials. But more severe cases may cause inflammation in the brain and spinal cord, muscle paralysis, or death.

The Indiana State Department of Health says there are a few steps you can take to reduce the risk of West Nile and similar diseases. Avoid being outdoors in the late afternoon, at night, or early in the morning, when mosquitoes are active. Cover your skin by wearing long sleeves, long pants, and a hat. Apply an EPA-registered insect repellent to clothes and exposed skin.

State health officials add that you can help stop mosquitoes from breeding, by getting rid of any old tires, ceramic pots, or other containers that can collect water. Cut your grass short and trim your shrubbery. Flush fountains and birdbaths every week.

The Indiana State Department of Health expects increased West Nile activity until the first hard freeze of the year, which typically happens in late October.

N.J.-S.P. School Bus Drivers Set to Receive Raises

Posted on August 18, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

North Judson-San Pierre School bus drivers will be receiving raises following a decision to approve the transportation salary schedule made by the school board during a meeting earlier this week. Superintendent Dr. Annette Zupin said bus drivers have been working hard to familiarize themselves with new transportation software and recently reduced routes.She told the board, “We have reduced the routes by two, we are down to 17 routes this year and our bus drivers have not received a raise in quite some time.”

The new software which was approved by the board in December of last year, is used to assess routes for efficiency. While addressing the transportation salary schedule, Dr. Zupin personally thanked Cafeteria Treasurer Nancy Hubbard and Transportation Director Wilbur Collins for their dedicated work with the Transfinder system.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

8/20/2017 Free Pre-WoodStarke Concert

FREE CONCERT to show off some talent of WoodStarke. PS-150, June Bros., and one other band will be preforming. 1

2-4pm on Sunday August 20 in the Norwayne Field amphitheater in Downtown North Judson.

Map for SCYC Rainbow Splash on August 20th

Farmers Expecting Lower Corn Production, Following Spring Weather Challenges

Posted on August 17, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is forecasting similar corn yields to last year’s in Indiana, but many Hoosier farmers aren’t that optimistic. That’s according to the Indiana Farm Bureau.

Heavy rain in April, followed by unseasonable cold weather into May created some challenges. Several farmers say they’re behind in their corn production. Many told the Farm Bureau they had to replant a lot of their corn, with much of it just pollinating now. Corn that was not replanted is thin.

However, farmers in southern Indiana are reporting healthier corn yields, according to the Farm Bureau. Farmers say there’s still a chance that corn production will improve, if weather conditions are favorable.

Starke County CASA Training Class to Start Later this Month

Posted on August 17, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

The Starke County Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program is recruiting its next group of volunteers. CASAs help guide abused and neglected kids through the court system.

Director Rhonda Adcock says the next training class is set to begin August 29. Classes will be held Tuesday evenings, through the end of October.

Adcock says there are currently 17 children waiting to be paired with an advocate. She says 10 more volunteers would bring that number down to zero.

To join the CASA program, volunteers need to have reliable transportation and must be able to pass background checks. On top of that, Adcock says they need to have a passion for helping children.

If you’re interested in volunteering, you can get an application by visiting or contacting Starke County CASA at or 574-772-7200.

Motivated Community Members Needed for Blue Jay Strategic Planning Group

Posted on August 17, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

The Blue Jay Strategic Planning Group is searching for new members to join their organization that serves as a link between the school corporation and the community. The group meets once a month in order to set goals that seem pertinent to parents, residents and school faculty.

The group lost at least half of last year’s members due to scheduling conflicts so they are looking for four to six new members to join. In order to be considered, community members have to fill out the appropriate application. Superintendent Dr. Annette Zupin is accepting the applications in multiple ways. Individuals can visit the N.J.-S.P. Central Office at 801 Campbell Drive to pick up or drop off an application or email them to Zupin directly.

Members of this year’s committee have the opportunity to also serve on the School Improvement Team which is comprised of faculty, parents and community members. The application deadline is set for the end of August. Access the application here.

Ancilla College New Student Orientation on Friday

Posted on August 17, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

Incoming Ancilla College students have the opportunity to settle into residence halls, explore the campus, meet faculty and learn all they need to know about the upcoming semester at a new student orientation this Friday at 12 p.m. [EST]. College placement testing will start at 9 a.m. for students who still need to get that completed.

Orientation covers things such as housing, semester billing, financial aid, advising and student support services. Lunch is provided for orientation but students must first register through Ancilla’s website. A link to registration requirements, as well as more information about activities Ancilla has in store for their Welcome Weekend can be found here.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

8/27/2017 Overdose Awareness Day

9/23/2017 Center For Hospice Care Volunteer Training

From Compassion to Action
2017 September Volunteer Training
Center for Hospice Care needs volunteers in St. Joseph, La Porte, Elkhart, LaGrange, Starke, Marshall, Kosciusko and Fulton Counties. The next Volunteer Training is in September & October. No previous health care experience is necessary. Volunteers are needed for:

  • Patient Care
  • Companionship
  • Bereavement Callers
  • Office Support
  • Massage Therapists
  • Veteran Volunteers to serve our veteran patients
  • Hair Stylists and Barbers
  • Pet Visitation
  • Camp Evergreen Grief Camp for Kids
  • Life Bio (capturing the life stories of our patients)
Training is comprehensive and will prepare volunteers for various opportunities. Following training, volunteers may assist patients and families in activities such as respite, transportation, laundry, errands, companionship, or bereavement. Volunteers will serve patients in their homes, in nursing homes, or may serve in office or clerical roles. Center for Hospice Care is in need of individuals with licensure/certification in massage therapy, hair styling, pet visitation, or notary public.
Training dates are:
September 23 and October 7, 8:30 am – 5 pm
Mishawaka Campus, 501 Comfort Place, Mishawaka
Registration required. Please contact Kristiana Donahue, Volunteer Recruitment Coordinator, (574) 286 -1198 or

10/14/2017 Sweet Life Comedy Night

N.J.-S.P. School Board Approves Boiler Purchase & Capital Project Advertising

Posted on August 16, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

After working with Thermal Solutions for several months, North Judson-San Pierre Schools are permitted to purchase three new boilers at a discounted price. Though the school board already approved the boiler project during their July meeting, they were required to act on purchasing the boilers during their Tuesday night meeting.

Superintendent Annette Zupin informed the board that the boilers will cost $16,606 each. The total cost of $49,818 will come out of the capital projects and construction funds. The board voted unanimously to approve the purchase.

The board also approved to advertise the 2018-2020 Capital Projects. Superintendent Zupin told the board that all projects involved are still currently in the paper work stage so physical work won’t begin until around November.

However, in order to prioritize projects they will be meeting with an architect in two weeks. Zupin explained that priority is based on time of year, whether there are students in the building or not and the climate, so the meeting is to put together a rough draft of a timeline for the projects. The Superintendent plans to keep both the board and the public posted about the capital projects timeline to make sure that everybody stays informed during the process.

Railroad Township Board Approves 2018 Salaries

Posted on August 16, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

Railroad Township officials will keep the same salaries for another year. A 2018 salary resolution was approved last week by the township board.

Trustee Mandy Thomason will continue to get $12,020 a year. Trustee Clerk Sarah Gillard makes $5,459. Board members Gus Eckert, Clarence Gehrke, and Mike Lawecki each receive $750 a year.

Yellowstone Trail Fest This Weekend, 8/19 & 20/2017

Posted on August 16, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

Hamlet’s annual celebration of classic transportation returns this weekend. The Yellowstone Trail Fest takes place Saturday and Sunday at the Starke County Fairgrounds.

Saturday’s highlights include the Dr. Leinbach Memorial Zucchini Contest, a car show, and musical performances from Mark & Liza, PS 150, South of Sorrow, and Seldom Told.

Sunday’s festivities kick off with the Starke County Youth Club Rainbow Splash Fun Run and Walk at 8:00 a.m. The re-purposed metal sculpture contest returns Sunday, and the Yellowstone Trail Fest Parade steps off at 2:00 p.m.

Bounce houses, a water slide, and the Indiana Historical Society’s History on Wheels exhibit will be featured throughout the event.

For a complete schedule, visit

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Long-time Farming Families Receive Recognition at Indiana State Fair

Posted on August 15, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

At the Indiana State Fair last Friday, five local farms received the Hoosier Homestead Award, recognizing their families’ century-long commitment to Indiana agriculture. In order to be considered for the Hoosier Homestead Award, farms must be owned by the same family for more than 100 years and consist of more than 20 acres or produce more than $1,000 of agricultural products annually.

This year’s local recipients include the Hostetler-Stutzman Farm of Laporte County, established in 1884 and the Will Family Farm of Starke County, established in 1915. The Pulaski County award winners are Glen-Ray-Den Farms, established in 1879, Needham House Farms, established in 1887 and Louis Tieman’s Farm, established in 1900.

In total, 72 Indiana families received Hoosier Homestead Awards from the Indiana State Department of Agriculture. ISDA Director Ted McKinney expressed how important it is to recognize these generational farming families since they provide the food, fuel and fibers we use in everyday life.

Starke County Leadership Class Set to begin in September

Posted on August 14, 2017
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

The sixth community leadership training class in Starke County begins Sept. 22.

The class meets once each month from September to May from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at different locations in Starke County. The program provides new and established leaders a chance to get a new perspective on Starke County including history, culture, challenges, opportunities, and more. Attendees will learn leadership skills, networking, social services, local government, economic development, education, law enforcement, and personal development.

Class Facilitator Jim Jessup says interaction with current community leaders and other class members is a key component of the experience.

The cost to attend is $300 which includes meals, instruction, materials, and transportation. Contact the Starke County Chamber Office at (574) 772-5548 or call Charmaine Dunkel at Community Services of Starke County at (574) 772-7070 for an application and more information. Payment plans and partial scholarships may be available.

The deadline for acceptance into the program is Sept. 15.

Colorful Fundraiser Planned for Sunday

Posted on August 14, 2017
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

A Rainbow Splash Fun Run and Walk is set for Sunday, Aug. 20 at 8 a.m. CT at the Hamlet Fire Station and all of the proceeds will benefit kids in Starke County. The event is part of this year’s Yellowstone Trail Festival.

This is an opportunity to meet with your friends for a morning of fun. Run or walk this event and get splashed with color at points along the route.  Proceeds from this fundraiser will benefit the Starke County Youth Club

Irene Szakonyi from the Starke County Youth Club said sign up is easy.

“You can go to and sign up right online and pay online with a credit card at that location,” said Szakonyi. “You can download the hardcopy forms and send them in by mail if that’s your preference. We’ll have on-site sign-up on the day of the splash.”

The cost is $26 per person. A discount is applied if you have a team of four members.

Szakonyi recommends wearing specific clothing for the event.

“We do recommend that you wear a white shirt because that shows the color the best. There will be stations where color will be spayed on you. You get it in your hair, you get it on your shirt, you get it on your shoes, you get it everywhere! It’s a really good time and a lot of fun.”

For more information, visit or call (574) 772-1600 ext. 1851.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Police Seeking Information in North Judson Church Burglary

Posted on August 12, 2017
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

Officers from the North Judson Police Department are investigating a burglary that occurred at the St. Peter Lutheran Church on Talmer Avenue.

Police say the incident happened during the overnight hours of Sunday, Aug. 6. While police initially thought a broken window was the entry point into the church, they learned that the suspects entered the building in a different manner.

Investigators gathered several pieces of evidence and continue to analyze details in the case.

Police are still determining the total loss of items and damage in this incident.

If anyone has information about this burglary, anonymous tips can be made to the North Judson Police Department by calling (574) 772-5914.

Railroad Pavement Markings, Signs to be Updated

Posted on August 12, 2017
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

Some railroad signs and pavement markings will be updated soon in Starke County.

Starke County Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler told the commissioners this week that INDOT recently conducted a railroad crossing audit for the county. Crews found 23 crossings that needed improvement with updated pavement markings or signs.

Ritzler said he is working on funding to update these crossings.

“We applied for a grant totaling just under $37,000 to replace 43 signs and 88 pavement markings,” commented Ritzler. “Pavement markings are expensive. For us to do it, it costs $610 per sticker, but TCS (Traffic Control Specialists) has a machine that can do it for the same price and much better. So, we’ve got a quote from them to do that. If we get the grant, they will be doing our pavement markings for us.”

Ritzler said this is not a matching or reimbursable grant. This particular grant covers 100 percent of the cost. Ritzler feels confident that the county will receive the grant since INDOT helped the county properly complete the paperwork.

Starke County Park Board Considers Crowdgranting for Yellow River Access Site

Posted on August 12, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

The proposed Yellow River access site at Range Road has missed the boat for a Place Based Investment grant. Now, the Starke County Park Board may turn to crowdgranting, to keep the project alive.

The park board planned to pursue a Place Based Investment grant from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs and the Indiana Office of Tourism Development. However, coming up with the local share of the match proved to be a bit of a challenge. Carolla Heilstedt, who’s been coordinating the project, said she literally worked until the last minute trying to line up funding. But that caused her to miss the application deadline.

She told park board members Tuesday there are other options, though. The CreatINg Places grant through the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority also helps communities and nonprofit groups raise money for placemaking projects. As part of the program, project organizers set up an online fundraising campaign through If the goal is met within a specific amount of time, the project is eligible for a dollar-for-dollar match from the state. The program was successfully used by the Town of Culver recently, to raise money for a new amphitheater.

However, Heilstedt wanted to revisit the project’s plans, before moving forward. While the county already owns the potential Yellow River access site at Range Road, Heilstedt said it would be difficult to build a parking lot there. Since the site is steep and narrow, she said a retaining wall would be required.

As an alternative, Heilstedt suggested that the county look into getting another piece of land nearby for a parking lot, while the existing property would be used for the kayak launch itself. Board member Roger Chaffins agreed to contact a neighboring landowner, to see if any arrangements can be made.

If the Range Road site can’t be used, Heilstedt is also looking into the possibility of putting the access site at State Road 23. She said Dr. Walter Fritz would allow the facility to be built on his property, but he would not be willing to sell the land to the county outright.

Friday, August 11, 2017

9/3/2017 Learn to Hunt: Youth Dove Hunt

September 3nd: 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

This event is designed for Youth (12 to 17 years old) new to dove hunting. All youth hunters will have an experienced mentor to provide dove hunting guidance and to ensure safe gun handling practices. Students will practice their shooting techniques and skills on the trap range with clay birds before hitting the dove field. Dove cleaning demonstration will take place after the hunt.

This event is FREE of charge, all firearms and ammunition will be provided. Eye and ear protections is recommended. Camouflage or drab colored clothing is preferable but not necessary. Attendees should bring afternoon snack and a fold out chair to sit on while in the dove field. You may bring your own cased firearm and ammo if you desire (firearm and ammo must Abe legal for dove hunting). A valid a youth hunting license (resident or non-resident) and a free HIP number is required.

Pre-Registration is required due to limited space so sign up quickly. Register at

NOTE: This will likely be a warm weather hunt, so light weight clothes are recommended.

Location Information:
Winamac Fish & Wildlife Area (View Map)
1493 West 500 North
Winamac, IN 46996

Phone: (574) 946-4422
Contact Information:
Name: Kody Fox
Phone: (574) 946-4422

They're Looking For Some Good People

North Judson - Wayne Twp Volunteer Fire Department

We have what is guaranteed to be a fun, rewarding and exciting opportunity for YOU! We currently have openings to join our fire department.

If you enjoy: driving large trucks, operating equipment, learning new things, strenuous activity, educating, being on a roof, cutting apart cars, caring for the injured, water, adrenaline rushes, nights with no sleep, helping the community, sirens and/or the color red this may be for you.

Dedication is required, as we do not take this job lightly. We are currently planning a class for new recruits, so don't delay. Doctors, nurses, or anyone with medical experience, we don't just fight fires, we also run lots of medical calls and could use your help.

Contact this page, or anyone you know that is currently a member for more information. You must be at least 19 years old, have at least a GED or high school diploma, and live within our coverage area, which includes all of Wayne Township and the majority of Jackson Township in Starke County, and part of Rich Grove Township in Pulaski County. Experience is not required. Please share.

2017 Deer Reduction Zones

The 2017 Deer Reduction Zones have been established and Indiana DNR Law District 10 has reduction zone opportunities in portions of Lake, Porter, and LaPorte Counties this year. It is important to check whether or not your specific location within your county falls within the established reduction zone. Reduction zones provide an opportunity for hunters with an abundance of deer in their area to better manage their herd if needed by taking more deer than areas outside of the reduction zones.

For more detailed information on Indiana's deer reduction zones click the link:

New Basic EMTs, Paramedic Hired (8/11)

Posted on August 11, 2017
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

The Starke County EMS personnel roster is getting a facelift.

Starke County EMS Director Travis Clary informed the commissioners on Monday night that he recently hired three basic EMTs and a paramedic. Clary was promoted to director in July which left his paramedic job open. Clary conducted other interviews this week to fill other part-time paramedic positions within the department.

Following a CPR training class at the highway department, Clary mentioned that he and Rik Ritzler discussed Automated External Defibrillators. Ritlzer expressed interest in purchasing one for his department, but Clary said he had one that he gave Ritzler to satisfy the request. It’s an older model but is in working order. Three others are available for departments who may want them.

Clary added the ambulance repair issues continue to plague the EMS staff. The newest ambulance is experiencing an issue with a system to that is required on diesel vehicles for cleaner air.

“We continue to have ambulance repairs,” said Clary. “Ambulances continue to be in and out of service. Last week we were down to no spare ambulances again. The newest truck is out right now. It had to be sent to Chevy. That one has about 30,000 miles on it. We’re being told that it could cost quite a bit but we’re hoping everything’s under warranty.”

The county council will review the EMS budget when they meet later this month.