Thursday, November 30, 2017

Starke County Treasurer Gives Information on Website Opportunity

Posted on November 30, 2017
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

Starke County Treasurer Kasey Clark approached the Starke County Commissioners last week to discuss an opportunity to create a website to make property records available online.

She explained that the county could have a website designed to grant taxpayer access to information from the treasurer’s office, assessor’s office and auditor’s transfer history. The information could include the property owner’s tax bill, property assessment information, or how much in taxes has been paid or how much is owed. Tax bills could be reprinted for records or for information for payment.

She said the information is public record but it would just be accessible online instead of having to contact the government office for specific inquiries.

She noted that she saw an increase in online payments for property taxes this year, which is a preferred method.

The first year of online access would be free and then the county would pay $12,000 a year. The second year is not required, according to Clark, but she would check on that information. Clark said she’d rather not pay that much for this access, so the commissioners asked her to check to see if the price could be negotiated or if Starke County could be a test site.

Clark will come back with more information for the commissioners at a future meeting.

First Weekend of December to Feature a Variety of Community Festivities

Posted on November 30, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

This weekend, there are few different ways you and your family can kick-off the Christmas season with various local holiday events in Culver, North Judson and Knox.

On Friday, December 1st, the Culver Academies Community Service Club, the Cavs Club and the Culver Youth Community Organization will sponsor a Christmas tree lighting ceremony at the Train Depot in Culver Park. Light refreshments will be served at 6:15 p.m. ET and the tree lighting will be at 6:30 p.m.

Another part of Culver’s Christmas celebration will be the Holiday Hop which will run from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. Citizens can visit participating businesses on Lake Shore Drive and Main Street to get in some early Christmas shopping and for a chance to win a $300 shopping spree. Carolers will sing throughout town during the Holiday Hop and will also be at Millers Merry Manor.

The Town of North Judson will also hold their holiday celebration on Friday, with their event taking place in Norwayne Field. Trees have been decorated by local groups and families. The lighting ceremony is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. CT. Santa will be on site, stationed at the top of the hill by the fire place.

Citizens are invited to head over the North Judson United Methodist Church Hall following the tree lighting ceremony. Kids will have chance to chat with Santa and hot cocoa and cookies will be provided.

On Saturday, Santa will head over to Knox to be a part of the 2nd Annual Peppermint Parade. The parade will feature more than 20 other participants who will be in the running to be awarded the title of best in their category or best overall Christmas spirit. The parade line-up starts at 2:30 p.m. CT and the parade will commence at 3 p.m.

After the parade, Santa will be set up in Wythogan Park to meet with families. Parents are encouraged to bring along their own camera to capture their child’s visit. Hot chocolate, cider and s’mores will be served. The tree lighting ceremony will take place at 5 p.m. in the park.

These family-friendly events are free to attend and are open to individuals of all ages.

Local Community Foundations Report Success with Giving Tuesday

Posted on November 30, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

This week’s Giving Tuesday initiative proved to be a success for local community foundations. Kim Krause with the Community Foundation of Pulaski County had a good response. “I know we still have some gifts that are trickling in, but it’s safe to say that we’ve raised well over $30,000 in one day, for Giving Tuesday,” she says.

The Starke County Community Foundation also saw a good number of donations, according to the foundation’s director of development, Sarah Origer. “In total, we received more than $15,000 in gifts on Giving Tuesday,” she says, “and it was a really nice day to celebrate the accomplishments of our many nonprofits and the work that they’re doing to make Starke County a better place.”

To celebrate Giving Tuesday, both community foundations held open houses. In Pulaski County, Krause says events were held in both Winamac and Francesville. “We had a great turnout at both locations, actually,” she says. “We just had a lot of different tasty treats, and we had people able to come in and decorate our giving tree with just reasons why they gave.”

Meanwhile, Origer says the Starke County Community Foundation gave donors an extra incentive to give to one of the foundation’s community funds. “We offered a match of $2,500 to community funds,” she explains. “So individuals could give up to $250, and it would be matched as long as it was going to a community fund. I do know that we have some additional dollars remain, so we’re continuing to match gifts to community funds, until those dollars are used.”

Giving Tuesday is a global initiative that encourages people to give back to their communities on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.

North Judson Town Superintendent Talks Tractor Replacement with Council Members

Posted on November 30, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

Town Superintendent of North Judson, Marshall Horstmann, alerted council members that the John Deere tractor that is utilized for utility purposes needs replaced.

During his report at last week’s town council meeting, Horstmann explained that there is a leak in the hydraulic pump on the tractor and the clutch is also going out. He said the tractor is from 1964 and it isn’t worth it to pay to repair the broken parts. Rather than spending money on the old tractor, he attempted to locate a slightly used one that could be purchased to replace it.

One quote for a used tractor was received and the other two quotes were for new models with loaders. Horstmann said he wasn’t initially looking for a tractor with a loader but he said it could come in handy for uses at various times of the year.

“In the wintertime if we’re using the backhoe with the snow box, and then we have to fill the salt box, I don’t have to stop with the snow box to go fill it, we could just use the other one to fill it.” Horstmann went on to say, “If we’re working on a dig someplace and we have to fill the truck with sand or gravel then we could use it instead of driving the backhoe back and forth”

Councilman John Rowe mentioned that he briefly spoke with fellow Councilman Josh Brown prior to the meeting and Brown suggested waiting to purchase the tractor until next year unless the need was immediate.

Clerk-Treasurer Andrew Rowe said there was some concern about whether or not appropriated funds that were set aside would carry over into next year. Councilwoman Jane Ellen Felchuck stated that it’s a common misconception that unused funds are lost and said that they can still be spent in the future.

After realizing that the funds would still be available down the line, Horstmann said that replacing the tractor does not need to be done right away. Councilman Rowe said they’ll definitely revisit the request in the future when the tractor will be more a more necessary purchase.

Hensler Nursery Christmas Tree to be Displayed at Indiana Statehouse

Posted on November 30, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

A Christmas tree grown in Starke County will be displayed at the Indiana Statehouse. Hensler Nursery says one of its trees will be placed in the capitol rotunda.

It’s part of the Indiana Christmas Tree Growers Association’s long-running program to provide trees for various state offices. Ten Indiana tree farms donated a total of 11 trees this year, according to Hensler Nursery.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Starke County Treasurer Discusses Tool to Collect Delinquent Property Taxes

Posted on November 29, 2017
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

Starke County Treasurer Kasey Clark discussed with the commissioners last week a tool that is being pushed by AIC (Association of Indiana Counties) officials to help collect delinquent property taxes.

According to Clark, the organization members came up with the idea of capturing state income tax refunds to pay delinquent property taxes. She said $1.5 million is not collected in the county every year and believes it could be a good tool to gather the funds.

She added that the notion was pushed during a recent annual conference she attended. The AIC asked that all counties consider the tool with potential implementation in January.

The commissioners did not take action on this request. County Attorney Marty Lucas said he would like to see a projection of what the organization believes could be collected as not much money is usually refunded in state income taxes. He thinks the action could have unpredictable circumstances.

Clark will present more information for discussion at a future meeting.

North Judson Town Council Continues Health Insurance Deliberation

Posted on November 29, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

At last week’s North Judson Town Council meeting, Insurance Broker John Howard with the Wealth Care Group informed council members of a new piece of information he discovered since the last time they discussed health insurance policy options.

During their first November meeting, members voted to allow Town Attorney Justin Schramm to be added to the insurance policy in lieu of paying him a retainer fee. Board member Josh Brown inquired about a similar possibility for council members.

A last Monday’s meeting, Howard explained that the town attorney and council members are classified as 10-99 employees and their current health insurance provider, United Health Care, does not allow those types of employees to be added to the group plan.

He said that if they still wish to pursue that avenue, their option is National General, a company that is more lenient about who can be included on the group policy.

Howard mentioned that they applied to this company last year and were declined for the outlying health issues of various employees. He said those individuals are no longer employed by the town and stated that the possibility of receiving a decent offer from National General seems more promising with this year’s group.

In order to receive a quote, he needs to collect health data from town employee so he requested permission to distribute the necessary applications. The council voted unanimously to allow Mr. Howard to collect that data and acquire a quote from National General.

The members agreed to hear the results and compare costs at their next town council meeting on December 4th.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Maxinkuckee Singers 2017 Christmas Tour

North Judson Residents Encouraged to Help Secure Competitive Grant for Water System Improvements

Posted on November 28, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

A public hearing was held over a $550,000 OCRA wastewater/drinking water grant during last week’s North Judson Town Council meeting.

Executive Director of Kankakee-Iroquois Regional Planning Commission Edwin Buswell provided some information about the proposed Office of Community and Rural Affairs grant, explaining that it will be utilized for various water system improvements. He said the local match of $1,268,000 would come from the state revolving loan fund.

One individual asked about the potential impact this could have on taxes. Buswell replied that he believes the rate increase that was implemented earlier this year would cover the cost and no additional increases will be necessary.

Town Superintendent Marshall Horstmann elaborated on the needed improvements, saying they include rehabilitating four wells and bringing both water towers back up to OSHA standards with internal and external painting, repairs and sandblasting.

Another major element of the project includes purchasing a back-up generator for the water department. Horstmann said the Indiana Department of Environmental Management has a requirement about having a stand-by generator and the town currently doesn’t own one. He said in the case of an emergency, they could face some serious issues.

“So if we had a major storm or something come through where we’re going to be without power for three or four days or whatever, we’d be scrambling to find a portable generator from some place that we’d be renting.”

Since this OCRA grant is competitive, Buswell encouraged citizens to write letters indicating why these water system improvements are needed in the Town of North Judson. He said to be as detailed as possible to increase the likelihood of making an impact. Those letters can be delivered to Clerk-Treasurer’s Office at 310 Lane Street.

Another public hearing will be held over this matter at the beginning of next year, prior to the application deadline in February.

Knox City Police Department Hiring Police Officer

Posted on November 28, 2017
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

Knox City Police Chief Harold Smith is looking to hire a new full-time officer for the department.

Officer Chad Dulin reported to the Knox Board of Public Works on Wednesday that Detective Dave Combs submitted his resignation in November after serving 11 years with the department. He served the Starke County Sheriff’s Department for several years as well. He is now the Town Marshal for the Town of Medaryville.

Mayor Dennis Estok noted that Combs was a great detective and served the police department to standards put forth by the city. The board of works members echoed his comments.

With Combs’ resignation, Officer Eric Vanderhoff moved into the detective position while Chad Keen moved to patrolman. Dulin said they are currently accepting applications for an officer through Dec. 7. The number of applications was at 14 as of last week’s meeting.

Police Chief Smith will hold initial interviews and agility tests will be given. Officials will narrow the field down to three and those applicants will be interviewed by the board of works members.

NJSP School Board Held Work Session Over Proposed Graduation Requirements

Posted on November 28, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

The North Judson-San Pierre school board held a work session last week to discuss proposed changes to graduation requirements and accountability grades. These changes would not only impact NJSP, but all Indiana public schools.

Superintendent Dr. Annette Zupin clarified that some things are still not set in stone but she wanted the board to meet to go over some of the issues that could arise from these educational adjustments at the national and state level.

There were quite a few topics that were discussed but a potential change causing major concerns is the different graduation requirements that are being proposed. With the adjustment, schools could no longer accept any diploma less than a Core 40.

Board President Sheila Akers mentioned this would mean that general diplomas would no longer count. There were some concerns about how this could be a disadvantage to certain groups of students such as those in the special education and alternative learning classes.

As a part of the work session, Dr. Zupin shared some ways that North Judson-San Pierre can stay on top these shifts. She emphasized the importance of open communication between the board members, faculty, parents and students. She wants everyone to be well informed about the potential impact of these changes. She said she will continue to pass along new information that is made available to her.

She also proposed drawing up a template to send out to concerned parents and community members so they could effectively voice their concerns to representatives. They’re looking to have those letters of concern submitted by December 5th.

In order to acquire the template contact the administration office at 574-896-2155.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Starke County Emergency Planning Committee Kick-Off Meeting Scheduled for January

Posted on November 17, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

Starke County Emergency Management Agency Director J. Nier {Nigh-er} officially assumed her position back in early October. Currently, she’s working on organizing a meeting for the Starke County Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) for January of next year.

Director Nier stated the responsibilities of the EMA include promoting preparedness and acting a logistical support for first responders. The LEPC specifically deals with tracking where hazardous materials are within the community and coming up with plans to take action on potential spills if they occur.

She said the Local Emergency Planning Committee is comprised of various individuals who represent specific sectors within the county.

“Basically, its made up of twelve members.” Nier said, “We’ll have somebody that represents the government, the community, EMA, police and police.”

She added that there can be more than one person from a specific department who serves on the committee. They also try to promote the use of proxies, just in case the members are unable to attend themselves. She said that LEPC isn’t open to just anyone due to the hazardous chemicals the committee members deal with and address.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

11/17-19/2017 Another Busy Holiday Weekend

It's going to be another busy Holiday weekend locally, especially on Saturday.   (Be sure to check out our Christmas page for more events coming up in the weeks to come.)

Friday, 11/17

  • Santa’s Clauset = 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 
  • Country Music & Gospel Bluegrass Jam = 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Saturday, 11/18

  • Knox Moose Bazaar & Craft Show = 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. 
  • NJWTPL Friends of the Library Cookie Walk = 8:30 a.m. until they are Sold Out
  • Christmas Family Photographs @ Schricker Home = BY APPOINTMENT ONLY 
  • Santa’s Clauset Opening = 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 
  • Starke County Chamber String Art Deer = 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. (MUST HAVE PRE-REGISTERED) 
  • North Judson American Legion Feather Party = 2 p.m. to ??
  • Winter Lights Night Festival (Valparaiso) = 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. 
  • Bass Lake Lions Annual Feather Party = 7 p.m. to ??

Sunday, 11/19

  • Christmas Family Photographs @ Schricker home = 10:30 until the last group leaves
  • Santa’s Clauset Opening = 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. 
  • Christmas Shopazaar @ Cheseapeake = 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

11/18/2017 Friends of the NJ-WT Library Cookie Walk

Just a reminder about the Cookie Walk this Saturday. You still have a few days to do some baking and you can drop cookies off at the North Judson-Wayne Township during business hours on Friday or bring them out to Bailey's on Saturday.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

12/20/2017 Deadline for Quantum Leap Poetry Contest

Participate in the Quantum Leap Poetry Contest by submitting a science-themed poem! This contest, in partnership between The Wabash Review of Wabash College and Indiana Humanities, is a two-part contest for Hoosiers of ALL ages and disciplines.

Participants must submit an entry form (details below) along with his or her poem by mail or email by Dec. 20, 2017. Our judges will reveal the top 10 finalists by Jan. 7, 2018 and invite the top 10 to recite their poems at a special Quantum Leap Poetry Contest event. The winner will receive $300 and have his or her poem published in The Wabash Review. Adam Henze, who was named the Official Track Poet of the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 thanks to another poetry contest presented by Indiana Humanities, will return as a judge alongside Indiana’s former poet laureate, Karen Kovacik.

The Poetry Contest reading will be held at Indy Reads Books on Jan. 19 from 7 to 9 p.m. and registration is free, but seating is limited. Sun King Brewery will provide alcohol; light appetizers will be available. All ages are welcome. You can register here:

Poetry submissions must include both the poem and the attached entry form, and they can be submitted in one of three ways: through the portal at, emailed to, or mailed to:
Wabash College
301 West Wabash Avenue
Crawfordsville, IN 47933
Poetry submissions must not include any identifying information on the actual poems. Instead, participants must fill out the entry form (directly below). Please read all instructions carefully.

My Social Security - How to Create an Online Account

HealthLinc - Your Community Health Center

Winter Weather Preparedness Week

Posted on November 14, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

It is Winter Weather Preparedness Week and the Indiana Department of Homeland Security is encouraging Hoosiers to become better equipped to deal with the approaching winter season.

IDHS provided a couple of tips to help inspire individuals to be actively involved with winter preparedness now through November 18th.

Use this week to create or maintain a home readiness kit that may be needed during winter storms. Kits should include a first aid kit and necessary medications, extra clothing, shoes and blankets as well as copies of important documents such a photo ID and Social Security cards. It would be helpful to have a battery-powered or hand crank radio and flashlight. Also include food and water for up to three days, with one gallon of water per person per day.

Make sure homes are well insulated, including proper weather stripping around all doors and windows. If you have issues with insulation, consider using storm windows or plastic coverings to retain heat.

IDHS officials say to take some time to be sure your house is properly stocked for potential emergency situations. Alternative heating and cooking has been known to cause fires in the winter, be sure to have a working fire extinguisher on hand and check the status of all smoke alarms in the household.

Be aware of how to shut of water valves properly, in case of a burst pipe. Lastly, review homeowner insurance polices to ensure that coverage is adequate for winter weather. For more information visit

Monday, November 13, 2017

Pulaski County Sheriff Granted Permission to Sell Automatic Firearms to Starke County

Posted on November 13, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

Ten automatic firearms owned by the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office will soon be sold to the Starke County Sheriff’s Office. Last week, the Pulaski County Commissioners authorized Sheriff Jeff Richwine to sell the ten MP5s.

He said he plans to use the money to replace his department’s rifles. “Right now, our rifles are the military rifles, and they’re showing issues,” Richwine explained. “I’m really not interested in being in that military program, as far as the firearms. It’s a yearly inventory that I’m working on right now. I just can’t give them back to the military if I say I want to get rid of them. We’ve got to put them on a website. If somebody wants them, they contact us.”

Richwine feels Starke County has given him a good price for the MP5s. “There’s 10 of them that they’ll pay $1,500,” he said. “So that would be some money towards these new rifles.”

He plans to cover the remainder of the cost out of his department’s Commissary Fund.

Starke County Highway Department to Apply for Federal Grants

Posted on November 13, 2017
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

Starke County Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler will be applying for federal funds for three projects.

The deadline for the federal roll call for project applications is at the end of the month. Ritzler said the county will be applying for funds to complete an intersection improvement at County Road 210 and old State Road 10. That project also includes plans for a bike trail station that would be coordinated with a local trail organization.

Ritzler said Purdue LTAP recommended improvements at this intersection as it’s dangerous. They recommended making it a T-intersection.

Another project would be the replacement of Bridge #154 which was not approved for Community Crossings money this year. Bridge #154 is on County Road 100 East over Robbins Ditch. If this project does not receive this funding, Ritzler said the highway department will bid it out locally in the spring of 2018.

Ritzler also hopes to get funding to repave four truck route projects on County Road 1100 E., County Road 700 East, Range Road, and County Road 400 South.

Ritzler said he’s confident the county will be awarded funds for at least one of the projects.

North Judson-San Pierre Elementary School to Serve as Healthy Mobile Market Site

Posted on November 13, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

The Healthy Mobile Market will be making a stop in North Judson tomorrow to assist local families in need of food assistance. From 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, the Food Bank of Northern Indiana will have their mobile unit stationed in the North Judson-San Pierre Elementary School parking lot.

The service is provided free of charge for families in need but it is first come, first served based on available product while supplies last. Bring along bags or boxes to transport items home. Items that will be offered include frozen and canned meats including ham, whole chicken, hamburger as well as canned fruits, flour, fresh cheese and more.

The Food Bank provides SNAP Outreach at all healthy mobile markets. If weather conditions are inclement or product is unavailable, there is a possibility of cancellation. Location is also subject to change.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Second Opinion Sought on Possible Starke County Intersection Improvements

Posted on November 11, 2017
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

Three intersections have been studied for potential upgrades in Starke County, but the highway superintendent wants a second opinion.

Superintendent Rik Ritzler told the county commissioners this week that he is enlisting the help of officials from Purdue University’s Local Technical Assistance Program to decide how to go about improving these intersections.

“As you know, sometimes they come down and review intersection safety for us,” explained Ritzler. “We have three intersections that we’ve done traffic studies on. We always want a second opinion when there are some differing opinions.”

One of the intersections in question is County Road 210 and Boa Shores at Bass Lake.

“They want a crosswalk installed there. We’re going to have Purdue do a little study for us on that and make a recommendation. There has been a request for a four-way stop at 300 E. and 700 S. that we’ve looked at and we’d like help with. In Bourne’s Subdivision, there’s a four-way stop request near the daycare center there. We think that all of these things should happen, but there are some technical things we want them to help us with and how to do the signage. It’s always good to have a second opinion.”

These issues are expected to be reviewed in early December.

Knox Water Superintendent Provides Tips for Winter

Posted on November 11, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

Knox Water Department Superintendent Todd Gardner has a few helpful tips for citizens as temperatures start to drop below freezing.

Gardner advises individuals to disconnect hoses from faucets so they can drain. He said a “frost free faucet” will freeze up and can break at temperatures just below freezing if a hose is left attached to it.

He also explained that homes with crawl spaces need to have those closed up as securely as possible. If crawlspace vents have louvers, or slats, they need to be closed up for the winter season.

Gardner added that with last year’s mild winter, only a few homes froze up. However, all of those incidents could have been avoided if the individual took precautions to protect their water lines from freezing.

Starke County Highway Department Continues Safety Measures

Posted on November 11, 2017
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

Starke County Highway Department crews are continuing efforts to make county roadways safer for drivers.

Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler said the installation of reflective post enhancers is ongoing.

“We’ve put the reflectors on the stop signs and they’ve worked very well,” said Ritzler. “We’re doing that throughout the county and we’re about a fifth of the way done. There is still a lot to go with that.”

“We’re also going to put these reflectors on the bridges. All of our new bridges have these reflectors on them. If you’ve gone down one of the new bridges, it looks like a runway. None of our old bridges have them and one reason why we never did that in the past is because they cost so much. They’re $17 a reflector and there are 50 to 60 on a bridge. We found a vendor when I was at my last conference that sells them for $3 apiece. So, we’re going to put them on all of the bridges and we can do that for just a few thousand dollars.”

Highway crew members have also been training in snow plow operations. A representative from the Kosciusko County Highway Department recently visited to relay information to the drivers and Bliss McKnight will be in to discuss safety and liability on Tuesday, Nov. 14.

Ritzler said on the job training will be coming soon.

“The first few times somebody plows we don’t have them plowing. They sit with an experienced driver. After about the second or third snowfall, they’ll get in the driver’s seat. The experienced driver will get in the other seat. As you know, we have a lot of drivers who haven’t been through a heavy snowfall. The last really heavy season was in 2014 and about half of our drivers came to the department after that.”

Other training will be ongoing throughout the winter months.

Starke County Law-Enforcement Agencies Join State-Wide Initiative

Posted on November 11, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

For the first time in awhile, the law-enforcement agencies of Starke County are joining the state-wide Operation Pull Over campaign. The initiative started on Friday and will run through December 3rd. During this time, there will be increased patrols where officers will be on the look out for motorists violating the seat belt and impaired driving laws.

North Judson Town Marshall Kelly Fisher said her officers will be joining members of the Hamlet and Knox Police Departments as well as the Starke County Sheriff’s Office with the operation. She said it’s important to have this blitz at this time of the year since more people are out on the road visiting friends and family for the holidays.

One bit of advice she had for motorists was to have a designated driver if they plan to be attending a party where they’ll be drinking. She explained the procedure of what happens when an officer has probable cause to pull a vehicle over for driving under the influence.

“Once we get them pulled over we’ll ask them for their license and registration and at that time we’ll be looking for impairment and then we’ll use field sobriety and portable breath tests and then they’ll be transported to the jail pending what the results are.” Fisher said, “Then we run a certified test and if at that point, they’re over then they’ll be arrested.”

Other things officers will be watching for are distracted drivers and people failing to wear their seat belts. Fisher said unbuckled drivers and passengers can face a fine of up to $25. She added that young children must also be properly secured in car or booster seats.

Back in October, WKVI News reported that Knox Police Officer Chad Dulin spoke to the Board of Public Works about Starke County receiving 100 hours from the St. Joseph County Sheriff’s Department’s enforcement effort to participate in this campaign.

He explained that Starke County is on a probationary period so during this campaign they will split the 100 hours equally between all four law-enforcement agencies in the county. In order to have a stand alone enforcement effort with more hours in the next campaign, they must show improved statistics this year. When it is determined that they’re no longer in a probationary period, they can then become eligible for grant funding for equipment and other needs.

Community Provides Input to Senator Donnelly at Ancilla Farm Bill Listening Session

Posted on November 11, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

On Friday, Senator Joe Donnelly visited the Ancilla College campus to hold a listening session over the farm bill that is currently being written. Before Donnelly talked with group gathered in Cana Hall about business, he got comfortable by removing his tie and greeting individuals in the crowd.

Ancilla President Kenneth Zirkle began the event by briefly discussing the agriculture program at the college, stating that when they started two and half years ago they only had three individuals involved, now that number is up to nearly 50 agriculture students.

Agriculture director Tim McLochlin introduced the senator, but first he acknowledged all the community members who help make Ancilla’s agriculture program so immersive and impactful.

During the session, various individuals voiced their concerns about the needs of the agriculture community. One individual spoke about how the current farm bill does little to help the dairy industry and suggested that more needs to be done with supply and control management. Many people spoke about the importance of family-run farms and asked Senator Donnelly to build the bill with generational farms in mind.

Crop insurance was an issue that Donnelly said is a cornerstone of the farm bill. He also specified that there are rules and regulations in place to avoid cases of fraud. The insurance is there to help farmers when nature plays a role in crop failure when things like floods and droughts inevitably take place.

He also talked about the role that bio-fuel plays in the agriculture industry and said that its up to farmers whether or not they wish use their supply for food or fuel. He added that conservation and environmental efforts will continue to play a major role in the future farm bill.

He thanked everyone in attendance for sharing their input and reiterated the importance of community involvement. Donnelly said the bill is anticipated to be completed sometime next year.

To hear more from Friday’s session, tune into WKVI’s Weekend Program,  Kankakee Valley Viewpoints this Sunday at noon.

American Heart Association Seeks Donations for the Little Hats, Big Hearts Program

Posted on November 11, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

Can you knit or crochet? Your skills are needed to help the American Heart Association with their Little Hats, Big Hearts program.

Now through December 31st the AHA is collecting knitted or crocheted red baby hats to distribute in Indiana hospitals in the month of February, American Heart Month. The program is meant to raise awareness of heart disease, the number one killer of Americans and congenital heart defects, the most common birth defect in the country.

They are seeking hats for newborns and preemies made of red yarn that is either cotton or acrylic, medium to heavy weight that can be machine washed and dried. Don’t worry if you’re not the knitting or crocheting type, yarn can also be donated to the cause.

This is the third year of the program and last year, 3,000 hats were delivered to more than 40 Indiana hospitals.

Donations can be sent to the American Heart Association in Indianapolis at 65000 Technology Center Drive, Suite 100. To view some helpful hat patterns or to find out more about the initiative, visit Little Hats Big Hearts

Leaf Pick-Up Extension Suggested at North Judson Town Council Meeting

Posted on November 11, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

As usual, North Judson Town Superintendent Marshall Horstmann addressed the town council members when they held their first November meeting Monday night.

In his report, he proposed that the last date for leaf and brush pick-up be November 30th. However, Council member John Rowe mentioned that could pose a problem, seeing as many trees haven’t dropped all their leaves quite yet.

Horstmann agreed that it does depend on the weather and other conditions. He said leaf pick-up could be extended if it needs to be but added that his department plans to do another round of pick-up in the springtime to get rid of any remaining piles of leaves.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Starke County Highway Department Continues with Traffic Studies

Posted on November 10, 2017
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

The Starke County Highway Department is continuing an effort to conduct traffic studies in order to collect data for a proposed U.S. 30 freeway that will travel through northern Starke County.

A coalition is putting together suggestions to present to INDOT that would include benefits to Starke County in a U.S. 30 freeway proposal between Valparaiso and Fort Wayne. In that stretch, the only way to get across U.S. 30 would be with an overpass, and the only way to get on will be at an interchange.

Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler told the Starke County Commissioners this week that they’ve collected several pieces of information during the county’s traffic studies.

“We’ve been doing accident data, speed data, vehicle types, and traffic counts at all of the intersecting roads,” said Ritzler. “We’re going to continue to do that throughout the year. The more information we gather the better when it comes time to work with INDOT in the planning process and see what we have to work with when there’s limited access on U.S. 30.”

He added that the highway department has completed studies on all of the roadways. There are about 50 intersections and nearby roads left to complete.

The highway department will soon get some additional equipment help when conducting this work.

“The Starke County Economic Development Foundation has agreed to purchase another one of the radar recorders for us. We did that as a department, but they’re going to purchase one for us as well. We’ll be able to double the efforts that we’re doing now. I told you that it would take about a year or two to do it. Now we can do it in about six months to a year.”

Particular Purchase Order Raises Questions at North Judson Town Council Meeting

Posted on November 10, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

When it came time to approve purchase orders at the North Judson Town Council meeting on Monday, members chose to refrain from paying the second installment charge for consulting services from the Starke County Economic Development Foundation until more details can be gathered.

Clerk-Treasurer Andrew Rowe alerted the council that bill was for $8,273.60. Before the purchase orders could be approved, Council Member Josh Brown asked what the SCEDF is doing specifically to warrant a total of $16,000 owed with the two installments.

Council Member Jane Ellen Felchuck explained that Executive Director Charlie Weaver does send reports and John Rowe said that representatives have attended recent meetings in order present new information. Council President Wendy Hoppe also mentioned that they brought in OTES and that they’re hopefully working to bring in more industry.

Resident, and former Clerk-Treasurer, Donna Henry added that when she was in office, after the Town entered into the contract with the Starke County Economic Development Foundation, she ran into a similar issue.

“The billing that I got the second time, I found it to be inaccurate.” Henry explained, “I forget exactly what it was but when I pointed that out to Charlie in an email, he agreed with my calculations so just be careful, don’t just take their calculation as it, just make sure that it is correct.”

Clerk-Treasurer Rowe assured the council members that he would contact representatives with the Foundation in order to check the accuracy of the bill and assess the specifics of the existing contract between the Town of North Judson and the SCEDF.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Starke County Ambulance Calls Still a Concern

Posted on November 9, 2017
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

The Starke County Commissioners remain concerned about the number of transfers by Starke County EMS personnel.

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

Clerk Mary Lynn Ritchie said the number of transfers were down to seven percent in October.

“I tracked the next 14 days of runs that are in the office. Some are billed and some aren’t so they’re not on this report and actually the transfer ratio of those went up to 15 percent,” said Ritchie. “We had a meeting during that time and so we’re hoping that that means that we’re all on the same page. We’ll see. I’ll keep tracking those very, very closely.”

Starke County officials met with Starke Hospital representatives in October who said they would work with the county to assist the EMS service. A Porter Regional ambulance is at Starke Hospital on a constant basis.

Starke Hospital Interim CEO Jeff Fites previously told WKVI News that the hospital will continue to work with various ambulance services in addition to Starke County to meet patient needs. He said overall transfers are down, but some patients need additional care that Starke County EMS may not be able to provide. He added that some patients need to travel farther than the county’s service area.

Ambulance transfers produce a large income for the county’s EMS service.

Veterans Will Be Honored at Various Events this Friday

Posted on November 9, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

Several local schools will be hosting various events tomorrow in honor of Veterans Day.

Eastern Pulaski Elementary School will hold their program at 8:30 a.m. ET while Winamac High School’s event will commence an hour later at 9:30 a.m. ET

Oregon-Davis Junior/Senior High School is hosting a breakfast Friday morning. Doors will open at 8:15 CT and breakfast will be served at 8:30 a.m. Following that, their program will commence at 9:45 a.m. sharp.

North Judson San Pierre Elementary School’s program will commence at 8:30 a.m. CT. Their guest speaker is Matt Fox, a member of American Legion Post 92. The NJSP Junior/Senior High School is holding their event at 9:30 a.m. Individuals attending are asked to utilize the east entrance, athletic door #3. Veterans in attendance are invited to attend the luncheon that will follow.

The Knox Community School Corporation will also host events at all of their buildings. The High School’s program will start at 9 a.m. CT in the gym. At 10 a.m. the middle school will host their convocation in the Weinberg Gym. Both programs will feature guest speaker Command Sergeant Major Richard Mathews. A reception for veterans and their family members will be held in the Redskin Room at the middle school following the program

Later in the day, at 6 p.m. CT Knox Elementary School will host their annual 5th grade Veteran’s Day Program.

These events are all open to the public. Veterans and enrolled service members are encouraged to attend. Contact the individual school corporation if you have any further questions.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

11/10/2017 Farm Bill Listening Session With Senator Donnelly

Senator Donnelly will hold a Farm Bill Listening Session beginning at 2:30 on Friday, November 10. This listening session will be on the campus of Ancilla College, in Cana Hall. Senator Donnelly is a member of the US Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. The current farm bill is scheduled to expire next year and, while these listening sessions are open to ideas on any agricultural issue, Senator Donnelly is looking especially for comments on farm policy issues that are important to consider in the writing of the new farm bill. We are very excited about this listening session at Ancilla and hope some of the young people there, who are looking for future in agriculture, are willing to share their thoughts.

For anyone who is not familiar with the farm bill, below are the titles included in the current legislation and a very brief summary of the various titles.

  • Title I, Commodity Programs: Provides support for major commodity crops, including wheat, corn, soybeans, peanuts, rice, dairy, and sugar, as well as disaster assistance. 
  • Title II, Conservation: Encourages environmental stewardship of farmlands and improved management through land retirement and/or working lands programs.
  • Title III, Trade: Provides support for U.S. agricultural export programs and international food assistance programs. 
  • Title IV, Nutrition: Provides nutrition assistance for low income households through programs including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). 
  • Title V, Credit: Offers direct government loans to farmers and ranchers and guarantees on private lenders’ loans. 
  • Title VI, Rural Development: Supports rural business and community development programs. 
  • Title VII, Research, Extension, and Related Matters: Offers various agricultural research and extension programs.
  • Title VIII, Forestry: Supports forestry management programs run by USDA’s Forest Service. 
  • Title IX, Energy: Encourages the development of farm and community renewable energy systems through various programs, including grants and loan guarantees. 
  • Title X, Horticulture: Supports the production of specialty crops—fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, and floriculture and ornamental products—through a range of initiatives.
  • Title XI, Crop Insurance: Enhances coverage of the permanently authorized federal crop insurance program. 
  • Title XII, Miscellaneous: Covers other types of programs and assistance, including livestock and poultry

Starke County Commissioners Approve Proposal for Elevator Project

Posted on November 8, 2017
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

The Starke County Commissioners reviewed a proposal from the Skillman Corporation for plans for a new elevator at the courthouse.

The construction manager’s fee was set at $12,750 while another $32,250 was approved for other construction manager and general condition fees.

The construction of the elevator is expected to begin in spring 2018 and take three or four months to complete.

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

NJ Animal Ordinance will Receive Final Reading at Next Town Council Meeting

Posted on November 8, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

The ordinance to regulate the housing and maintenance of animals within the town of North Judson was further discussed during a Monday evening town council meeting.

Council member Jane Ellen Felchuck moved to suspend the second reading and that motion was passed. Town attorney Justin Schramm explained that since they suspended the second reading, if 4 out of the 5 council members approved, they could pass the ordinance then and there.

Felchuck moved to pass the ordinance however since two members, Council President Wendy Hoppe and council member Josh Brown opposed, it was determined to still need a third reading at the next town council meeting.

Schramm said that during the third reading, as long as they receive majority, the ordinance can be passed with a vote of 3 to 2 at that point.

Starke County Highway Department to Try Product in Cold Mix Asphalt

Posted on November 8, 2017
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

Starke County Highway Department crews will be working with a new product to include with the cold asphalt mix.

Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler explained to the county commissioners Monday night that they have been chosen by a vendor to use an additive to the cold mix asphalt that could help it cure quicker and provide a product that would last longer. Ritzler said the vendor has adapted a hot mix version of this additive to work with cold mix.

“They’re wrapped in plastic and as you’re making it in hot mix the plastic coating comes off and there’s 800 strands on there,” explained Ritzler. “That’s the same material that they use in Kevlar. They’ve used this for a long time in hot mix asphalt as it helps bind it. They’ve never used it much in cold mix asphalt because the cold mix when it’s mixed only gets to about 160 degrees. It’s not hot enough to melt the plastic. They now have a version that has paper around it and they feel that it’ll work. They haven’t tried it yet. They’re going to provide it to us for free and we’ll use it. Hey, if it works…great!”

Ritzler said the county received enough of this additive to do a mile of cold mix paving. He will give a report on how it works at a future meeting.

Applications Now Open for Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Grant Program

Posted on November 8, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

Organizations working to improve local waterways can apply for up to $50,000 in federal matching grants. The Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Grant Program gives local governments, schools, and non-profit organizations money to improve water quality and enhance the habitat for local wildlife. Additionally, projects must engage the public, have measurable results, involve at least five partner organizations, and include a plan to sustain the project beyond the grant period.

Grant proposals for the 2018 cycle are due by January 31. Between 40 and 50 grants are expected to be awarded nationwide, each between $20,000 and $50,000.

The Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Grant Program is a partnership involving the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the Wildlife Habitat Council, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Forest Service, and a few private companies.

Ancilla Domini Community Choir and Orchestra to Perform Handel’s Messiah

Posted on November 8, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

The Ancilla Domini Community Choir and Orchestra is performing George Frideric Handel’s Messiah on Saturday, November 18th at 7 p.m. in the Ancilla Domini Chapel at The Center for Donaldson.

Choir and orchestra members started rehearsing back in September and later this month, they’ll perform their version of Handel’s Messiah, one of the most immensely popular and widely performed pieces of Christian music.

The performance will be conducted by Andrew Jennings, the director of the Ancilla Domini Community Choir, a voice instructor at Ancilla and the director of liturgy and music for the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ.

Jennings will conduct various world renowned performers including soprano Dr. Jessica McCormack and baritone Dr. Stephen Lancaster who have both performed at Carnegie Hall in the past. The program will also feature countertenor Joshua Boggs who has been a soloist and ensemble performer in countries such as Austria, Italy and Mexico and the “sought after voice” of Chicago-native Nolan Carter as tenor.

This program is presented by the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ and the Mary Lou McCarthy-Artz Concert Series. There is no admission fee but a free-will offering would be accepted. A reception will follow the performance in Cana Hall. For more information, visit

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Chaffins Appointed to Railroad Township Board, Following Paperwork Delays, Caucus Confusion

Posted on November 7, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

Railroad Township appears to have a new township board member. Roger Chaffins Sr. has been appointed to the position by Starke County Democratic Party Chair Kenny Wallace. Chaffins replaces Board President Gus Eckert, who resigned.

The process was not without some confusion, though. Wallace says a caucus was held on October 9, but because Eckert did not file his resignation letter with the Starke County Clerk’s Office in a timely manner, Wallace has declared the results of the caucus to be null and void.

He adds that since Chaffins was the only one to show an interest in the position, he decided to appoint him to the township board. All the paperwork has now been filed properly, according to Wallace. He says he thought more people would be interested in filling the vacancy, which is why he called for a caucus in the first place.

Chaffins previously served as Railroad Township trustee, before he was narrowly defeated by Mandy Thomason in the 2014 election.

Starke County Commissioners Consider First Reading on UTV Ordinance

Posted on November 7, 2017
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

Starke County Attorney Marty Lucas presented the commissioners with a proposed ordinance that would authorize and regulate the use of Recreational Utility Task Vehicles (UTVs or side-by-sides) and Off-Road Vehicles (ORVs) on certain county roads and highways.

The Starke County highway superintendent has the authority to restrict the passage of these vehicles on certain roads at his discretion for safety purposes. Proper signage will be displayed.

The use of the vehicles is strictly on roads under the jurisdiction of the Starke County Highway Department. The vehicles cannot be legally operated in the incorporated limits of Knox, North Judson or Hamlet unless similar ordinances have been passed by those governing entities.

The ordinance includes the definitions of these vehicles and their use. The UTV or ORV must be factory installed and equipped to be operated on county roads. Exempt ORVs include a farm vehicle used for the purpose of farming, certain vehicles used for construction, industrial, search and rescue, and military and law enforcement vehicles.

The driver must have a valid driver’s license to operate the ORV or UTV legally on county roads and insurance coverage is mandatory. Drivers must obey all laws, regulations and rules on a roadway.

Brief discussion was held Monday night about registration stickers similar to those given to golf cart owners to show that the UTV is permitted to be driven on the county roadways. Wording may be worked into the ordinance for consideration on second reading.

The commissioners present, President Donnie Binkley and Charlie Chesak, approved the ordinance on first reading. The second reading is expected during the next meeting on Monday, Nov. 20. A public hearing on the ordinance is planned for Monday, Dec. 4.

A copy of the ordinance is available in the Starke County Auditor’s office in the Starke County Annex Building No. 1 in Knox.

NJ Town Council Approves Signage for Prairie Trails Club

Posted on November 7, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

The North Judson Town Council received a request on behalf of the Prairie Trail Club (PTC) to install signage at the intersection of State Road 10 and State Road 39 during their meeting yesterday evening.

Peggy Bohac spoke as a liaison for Steve Lucas, the president of the PTC, and explained that the club had expressed interest in putting a sign up by Norwayne Field to alert people of where to find the trail. The trail in question is the North Judson Erie Trail which is part of the transcontinental American Discovery Trail. It was utilized for the 5K Color Run this summer.

She said that representatives with the Hoosier Valley Railway Museum have reported that many people come to the museum looking for the trail and often times the staff there is unaware of how to direct individuals.

In order to save time for the museum employees as well as travelers wishing to utilize the trail, PTC representatives proposed installing signage to clear up any confusion. Bohac went onto say that signs could also be installed along the trail in to alert cyclists of the available restaurants and other potential pit stops within the town.

The request received unanimous council approval. Bohac said she would also approach the Park Board with the same request, in order to make sure that all involved parties are informed of the decision.

INDOT Engineering Scholarship Offers Financial Assistance and Job Opportunities

Posted on November 7, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

The Indiana Department of Transportation is offering a scholarship program to civil engineering students that also includes summer and post-graduation employment opportunities.

The INDOT Scholarship program utilizes federal funds to offer up to $3,125 per semester or $2,083 per trimester for up to five years of post-secondary civil engineering education. The scholarship funds can be applied to educational expenses, fees and books. In return, recipients would work for INDOT in full-time, paid positions during summer breaks and upon graduation.

Students must be accepted or enrolled full time in one of Indiana’s Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology certified civil engineering programs. Eligible programs include Purdue University, IUPUFW, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Trine University, University of Evansville, University of Notre Dame and Valpo University.

Click here to download a Civil Engineering Scholarship Program Application. In order to be considered for the 2018-19 school year, applications must be submitted prior to December 31st of this year. To learn more about the INDOT Engineer Scholarship program application process visit

Monday, November 6, 2017

11/2017 Kid's Closet Collecting Hygiene Products

BMV Closures in November

Posted on November 6, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

If you have any business to conduct at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles during the month of November you’ll want to tend to that as soon as possible. BMV locations will be closed intermittently for the remainder of the month.

This Friday and Saturday, all locations will be closed in observance of Veteran’s Day. Later in the month, all branches will be closed for Thanksgiving on Thursday, November, 23rd and the following day for Lincoln’s birthday.

Follow this link to view a full list of BMV Holiday Closures.

Starke County Election Board Reviews 2018 Budget, Poll Worker Pay

Posted on November 4, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

Pay levels for Starke County poll workers are in line with those in the rest of the state, according to Clerk Vicki Cooley. “Our inspectors get paid more on the average than other counties in Indiana,” she told the Starke County Election Board Thursday. “Our judges are $2.90 behind average, which you’re still right in there. To me, there’s no point in changing just because your two dollars off. You know, all of these statistics show we’re right probably where we should be.”

Cooley said she researched the issue, after hearing that some poll workers felt they needed a raise. “Actually we’re better off, especially on your meals,” she said. “Some of these people brown bag it, and I cannot see [doing that] because everybody’s going to forget their meals or something, and then you’re going to have these people running into the poll booths wanting to deliver a meal or something.”

The discussion came up during a review of the election board’s 2018 budget. It calls for a total of $112,900. That’s an increase of over $11,000 from the 2016 election cycle.

Also during Thursday’s meeting, the Starke County Election Board continued looking into a new polling place for the Oregon 2 precinct. Board members visited the Koontz Lake Association Clubhouse to inspect the site for ADA compliance and other space requirements.

Applications Available for Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program

Posted on November 4, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

As the winter season approaches and temperatures continue to drop, people will begin turning up the heat in their homes. If you and your family are worried that you cannot afford the additional cost this season, there is a chance you could qualify for help through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

LIHEAP is funded through the U.S Department of Health and Human Services to help low income families avoid losing utilities this winter.

The program began earlier this month and will officially conclude in May of 2018. Beginning on December 1st, clients with active service who have approved Energy Assistance Program applications are protected from disconnection through March 15th.

To pick up an application or to get more information about the program contact your local service providers. Specific addresses and phone numbers can be found below.

Before you go in, be sure to have a copy of the social security cards of every resident in your home and copies of driver’s licenses from all members over 18-years-old. Individuals will also need proof of residence, meaning a signed lease or deed, proof of income and copies of recent utility bills. If you have already received a disconnect notice, contact your local agency immediately.

To view income guidelines depending on household size, click this link: Energy Assistance Income Guidelines 2017-2018 If it appears sideways, the option to rotate the document clockwise is the first button in the top right corner.

Pulaski County Human Services is located at 115 W Pearl Street in Winamac and you can call them at 574-946-6500.

Starke County Community Services is located at 311 E Culver Road in Knox. Their phone number is 574-772-7070.

Knox, North Judson-San Pierre See Improvement in School Corporation Letter Grades

Posted on November 4, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

Some local school corporations saw their letter grades improve slightly, while others remained flat. On Wednesday, the Indiana State Board of Education finalized the A-to-F grades for each of the state’s school corporations for the 2016-2017 school year.

Knox and North Judson-San Pierre both moved up from a C to a B. Eastern Pulaski stayed at B, while Culver Community Schools, Oregon-Davis, and West Central all remained at C.

The letter grades for individual schools were released last month.

Starke Hospital Diabetes Program Can Assist Individuals Before and After a Diagnosis

Posted on November 4, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

The month of November is acknowledged as Diabetes Awareness Month. During this time, individuals impacted by diabetes, or those who may be pre-diabetic are encouraged to take a look at their diet, lifestyle choices and health conditions to see whether or not they’re living healthily.

Starke Hospital offers a variety of programs to assist community members with diabetes management. Regional Manager of Community Relations for Starke Hospital Stacey Kellogg said they offer several services through their diabetes program that can assist individuals, pre and post diagnosis.

“The idea is that the program not only addresses those who have entered the hospital and learned that they have become diabetic but it also helps people identify whether or not they’re at risk so we can capture their diabetes before they even have a hospital stay.” Kellogg explained, “On the other side of it if people learn that they are diabetic, it provides a support network for them.”

Starke Hospital offers a free pre-diabetes class that requires no registration and a diabetes self-management class which required a physician’s order and pre-registration. A diabetes support group is also offered to provide a place to share ideas, experiences and problems related to diabetes.

For more information about the diabetes classes contact Diabetes Program Coordinator Patty Leonard at 219-326-2478.

Friday, November 3, 2017

11/13-20/2017 Operation Christmas Child

Operation Christmas Child national collection week is November 13-20. You can drop off your box at Bailey's Discount Center. See the comments for helpful links to things like a coloring page for kids to include in the box, drop off times, and a simple walk through of how to pack a box and ideas for what to include. You'll be amazed at how much joy packing a simple shoe box will bring you.

How to Pack a Shoe Box

Drop Off Locations

Holiday Concerts & Plays in Our Area

Right now there are 8 events listed in the “Concerts, Plays” folder that covers the Christmas season this year.  

Here is a listing of titles, some are one or two day events, others are on weekends until the middle or end of December. You can find more information about dates, ticket prices, and links to their websites by clicking on the link below and visiting the Library’s webpage.

11/10 to 12/31 =  The Little Mermaid (Stage Play) @ Amish Acres, Nappanee
11/17 to 19 = The Christmas Express @ Delphi Opera House, Delphi
11/18 = Handel’s Messiah @ The Center at Donaldson, Donaldson
11/24 to 12/10 = A Christmas Story, The Musical @ Memorial Opera House, Valparaiso
11/24 to 12/16 = It’s A Wonderful Life @ Chicago Street Theater, Valparaiso

12/7 = Holiday Pops @ Star Plaza Theater, Merrillville
12/10 = A Classical Blast Christmas @ Chicago Street Theater, Valparaiso
12/13 &14 = The Nutcracker @ Star Plaza Theater, Merrillville

Starke County Election Board Plans More Research, Before Agreeing to Voting Machine Upgrades

Posted on November 3, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

The Starke County Election Board is working to make sure residents’ votes are secure during future elections. Vendor MicroVote is proposing to rebuild the county’s voting machines for a total cost of about $66,000.

The work would include the replacement of screens, processors, and other internal components. That, in turn, would allow for software upgrades, which MicroVote representatives say would make the county’s voting system more secure.

The proposal was first brought to the Starke County Commissioners last week. Before any formal decisions are made, the election board wants to do a bit more research. During Thursday’s election board meeting, Clerk Vicki Cooley said the upcoming Indiana Election Administrator’s Conference will be a good opportunity to do that. “At these conferences, you can meet all these different vendors,” she said. “They will have their products, equipment on display. You can pretend to vote on them. You can see what happens. And we’ll be able to get new ideas.”

At the same time, a question was raised about whether there are any other security features Starke County should be looking into. One idea was having machines that print out a receipt when voters cast their ballots.

Election board members said that may require a switch to a different vendor, something Cooley says isn’t worth doing at this point. “We are in a contract with MicroVote,” she explained. “They were the first one to be certified in our state. When you’re looking at these certifications, that’s the important thing.”

On top of that, Cooley said that MicroVote’s machines are pretty secure already. “When you look at your voting machine, it’s not hooked up to Internet,” she said. “The only way, they say, that a person could hack these voting machines is if they actually walked in with some kind of an apparatus and hooked it right onto the machine.”

After researching the voting machine upgrades during the upcoming conference, the Starke County Election Board plans to meet again on December 7 to decide whether to proceed. It would then be up to the Starke County Commissioners and Council to make a final decision. If the proposal is approved, MicroVote plans to upgrade the machines in 2019, to have them ready for the 2020 presidential election.

Refinery Maintenance, Pipeline Leak Lead to Spike in Gas Prices

Posted on November 3, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

Drivers are dealing with a sharp spike in gas prices. Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan says it’s due to several factors, all hitting at the same time,”The first being refinery maintenance. Hurricane Harvey caused some refineries to delay their maintenance,” he says, “and now we’re starting to see not only that delayed maintenance kick in, but planned maintenance.”

DeHaan says that wouldn’t normally be an issue, but some other problems have come up. “Gasoline can be sent from as far away as the Gulf Coast, where there are refineries,” he explains, “but the pipeline that connects the Gulf Coast to the Chicago region is down because of a leak. And that pipeline should be fixed here in the next few days but still limiting the flow of gasoline.”

He says all those issues have culminated in a report from the government showing that gasoline inventories in the Midwest are now at two-year lows. DeHaan expects that prices at the pump may slowly begin dropping next week.

Bailey’s is Featuring the Indiana Heart Gallery for National Adoption Awareness Month

Posted on November 3, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

Nearly 400,000 children are currently in foster care nationally. More than 100,000 of those kids are legally available for adoption. November is National Adoption Awareness month and one local business is doing their part to help connect children in need to individuals who may be looking to make an addition to their family.

From now until November 10th, Bailey’s Discount Center will feature a photo exhibit from the Indiana Heart Gallery. The Indiana Heart Gallery is an organization that travels around the state with compelling portraits and stories of children in need of adoptive families. In 2007, the program was started by the Indiana Department of Child Services in order to put actual faces on a need that sometimes seems invisible.

Many of the children featured in the gallery are considered “hard-to-place” meaning they may have special needs, be older or could be a part of a sibling group. The program helps increase awareness about foster youth available for adoption and prompts community members to learn more about the foster to adoption process.

DCS Adoption Program Manager Sandra Caesar said that on average they are actively recruiting adoptive homes for 120 to 150 youth statewide. A solid support system early on can mean the difference between a rocky future and successfully transitioning into adulthood.

Caesar said they seek families who are not only willing to love the child, but those who will also commit to them, claim them as their own and be willing to hang in there through their ups and downs.

To view the Indiana Heart Gallery while it is available locally, visit Bailey’s Discount Center at 5900 S. Range Road in North Judson before November 10th.

This November WorkOne is Hosting a Kids Coat Drive in Starke and Pulaski Counties

Posted on November 3, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

WorkOne in Pulaski County and Starke County are working together to host a kids’ coat drive this month. Their goal is to assist local children who may not have the proper apparel for the approaching winter months.

Youth Business Engagement Specialist Kathi Holem said this is the first year that WorkOne has held a coat drive. She said that although they will mainly be collecting coats for small children, they are open to donations of other kids’ winter wear as well.

“We’ve also talked about some hats and gloves and I think that’s a great idea. We just want the focus to stay on infant to maybe second and third grade because of space, we’re kind of limited in our offices.” Holem explained, “We’re hoping if this one goes well this year then we’ll do another coat drive next year and maybe expand it to older ages.”

Supplies can be dropped off at the WorkOne in Winamac on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET. They can also be dropped off at the WorkOne in Knox Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to noon and from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. CT.

Coats will be available for distribution on Monday, November 27th from 8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4:30 p.m. CT at 1913 South Heaton Street in Knox. They will also be distributed on Tuesday, November 28th from 8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4:30 p.m. ET at 123 North Market Street in Winamac.

Holem added that in the coming months, WorkOne is offering a few more programs. In December they will host a toy drive and in January they’re doing a food drive. She said these drives will allow WorkOne to assist the community while also spreading the word about the services they offer that assist individuals with employment, education and training.

Indiana State Police Lowell Post Announces AED Fundraiser

Posted on November 3, 2017
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

The Indiana State Police Lowell Post is hosting a local fundraiser to purchase additional Automatic External Defibrillators (AED) for patrol cars at the Lowell Post. Each post in the state is hosting a fundraiser toward the same goal.

The 5K Family Fun Run is set for Nov. 10 at 8 a.m. CT at the Indiana Dunes National Lake Shore on State Road 49. For more information, call the Lowell Post at 1-800-552-8917. If you do not want to participate in the event, but would like to donate toward the effort, visit this donation link.

This is the third year the Indiana State Police has partnered with Bolt for the Heart in an effort to place AED in each of the state patrol cars. More than 200 of the devices have been purchased through this fundraiser. Throughout the state, the goal is to raise $300,000 this year to buy 250 AEDs.

According to the American Heart Association, if the first person on the scene of an emergency knew CPR and applied an AED within five minutes of a victim suffering sudden cardiac arrest, 40,000 more lives per year could be saved. They say most victims need defibrillation to restore the heart to a regular rhythm. First responders and those trained in using the devices could increase the chance of survival.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

I Feel Like A Traitor To Thanksgiving!

But with all the upcoming events, starting this weekend, that are Christmas based I just had to give in.  When you visit the North Judson-Wayne Township Library website you will find our 2017 Christmas page and plenty of information about local events – Christmas parades, Santa’s visits to various places, Christmas lights, train rides, and a chance to get your family Christmas photo in a local historical setting.  One of the new things this year are folders for “Bazaars, Craft shows, Open Houses” and “Concerts, Plays.”  As always the information will be updated as we learn more about the events or as they expire.

Starke County Public Health Nurse Provides Tips for Flu Season

Posted on November 2, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

Flu season is officially upon us and getting a flu shot is the best way to protect yourself from coming down with the most common strains of the disease.

Each year, influenza viruses are spread around the United States through coughing, sneezing, and close contact. The sickness can strike suddenly and last for several days. Symptoms vary by age but typically include a runny or stuffy nose, head and muscle aches, fatigue, fever or chills, a sore throat and coughing.

Starke County Health Department Public Health Nurse Frank Lynch has a few helpful tips to ensure citizens stay healthy this time of year.

“It is flu season so as usual, you want to wash your hands and stay home if you’re sick.” He explained, “Flu shots are available here at the health department. Kids that are on Medicaid or don’t have health insurance, the flu shots are free, as far as for adults it’s $20 for a flu shot.”

He added that though the shot does protect against the strains that the Center for Disease Control determines to be the most prevalent for a given year, it doesn’t protect against all strains. He also mentioned that contrary to popular belief, there are no live viruses in the vaccine so they cannot cause the flu.

He wants people to be aware that the effects of the shot are not immediate. There is usually a 2 week period where your body is building up immunity so if you were exposed to a flu virus before you were vaccinated or within that window of time, there is a chance you could exhibit symptoms.

For more information call the Starke County Health Department at 574-772-9137.

Repairs to North Judson-San Pierre Pool Continue

Posted on November 2, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

North Judson-San Pierre Superintendent Dr. Annette Zupin said that planned renovations to the school’s swimming area will still be done in the spring as planned but they must deal with an unforeseen issue first.

Dr. Zupin stated that Maintenance Director Wilbur Collins noticed something wrong with the pool that required an immediate repair.

“The main drain boxes are really corroded.” Zupin said, “They corroded and that was what was allowing the dirt and the water to get into the pool which is what Mr. Collins saw with discoloration, so we needed to replace the main drain boxes.”

The superintendent said that workers with the company Buddenbaum & Moore Commercial Pool Services had to cut along the whole width of the pool in order to replace the corroded boxes. She said the boxes have been put in and the piping has been set but now they have to re-tile. Once the re-tiling is complete, there is a cure period of about 28 to 30 days.

In the meanwhile, Dr. Zupin said that Knox Schools have been allowing the North Judson-San Pierre swim teams to utilize their facility for practices. She said they are very grateful to the neighboring school corporation for allowing students to use that pool while theirs is being repaired.

After the repair is completed, Dr. Zupin said they will go through with the planned renovation which includes updating temperature control and de-humidification in the pool area. That project is planned to commence this spring and work will be done over the summer so it can be completed by next school year.

The pool-area renovations are a part of this year’s lease rental bond projects while the pool repair is being covered by left over construction money from general obligation bonds issued last year.

ISP Collects Over 1,300 Pounds of Unwanted Prescription Drugs During Weekend Take Back Event

Posted on November 2, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

More than 1,300 pounds of unwanted prescription drugs were collected by the Indiana State Police, during Saturday’s Take Back initiative. Locally, 41 pounds of medications were turned in at the Bremen Post, while the Lowell Post collected 25 pounds. Several local law enforcement agencies also took part.

Saturday’s event was the 14th nationwide Prescription Drug Take Back organized by the Drug Enforcement Administration. It aims to prevent drug abuse and theft by helping people properly dispose of their prescription drugs.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

11/1 to 12/15 Enrollment for Affordable Care Act

11/1/2017 Pheasant, Quail & Rabbit Hunting Seasons Have Arrived

Pheasant, quail and rabbit hunting seasons begin Nov. 1. Here are a few last minute reminders before you head out.

• What License Do I Need:

• General Hunting Info:

• Indiana Hunting & Trapping Guide:

Starke County Real Estate Taxes Due November 13

Posted on November 1, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

Starke County real estate tax payments are due November 13. Treasurer Kasey Clark says payments can be left in the drop box outside the Starke County Treasurer’s Office in Knox or at one of six local banks.

In Knox, payments can be made at Demotte State Bank, 1st Source Bank, and First Farmers Bank. Payments can also be dropped off in North Judson at First Farmers Bank or First National Bank of Monterey, or in Monterey at First National Bank of Monterey.

Include a self-addressed stamped envelope with your payment, so the Treasurer’s Office can send a receipt. If you want to pay in person at the Treasurer’s Office, bring your statements with you for faster service.

For more information, call the Starke County Treasurer’s Office at 574-772-9111 ext. 3.

Cherry Gumz Receives Starke County Community Foundation Hardesty Award

Posted on November 1, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

The Starke County Community Foundation is honoring one of its founders. Cherry Gumz was presented with the foundation’s 2017 James R. Hardesty Leadership in Philanthropy Award last week.
Mary Gumz, 2017 Hardesty Award Winner Cherry Gumz, Daniel Gumz 
(Photo provided by Starke County Community Foundation)

From 1996 to 2008, Gumz served as the Starke County Community Foundation’s second president. Foundation officials credit Gumz’ hard work and dedication with helping to make the foundation possible. As part of the award, Gumz was given a $500 gift, which she donated to the Richard Gumz Scholarship Fund.

The Hardesty Award was presented during the foundation’s annual Community Impact Reception last Thursday in Knox. Also during the event, Gene Ladd was recognized for his 10 years of service on the Northern Indiana Community Foundation Board of Directors. NICF Executive Director Jay Albright called Ladd a “hidden gem” of Starke County.

SCCF Director of Development Sarah Origer, NICF Board member Gene Ladd, NICF Executive Director Jay Albright 
(Photo provided by Starke County Community Foundation)

Purdue Extension Offers Tips for Preparing Your Garden for Winter

Posted on November 1, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

With the gardening season coming to an end, now’s the time to start getting ready for winter, according to Purdue Extension Agricultural Educator Phil Woolery. “With vegetable gardens, that’s going to be winding down for most things,” he says. “So doing some fall cleanup in there can be a good idea, to get rid of some of the old plant material from the crops like tomatoes and beans that are still in your garden, getting rid of that, putting in compost and that sort of thing to reduce the amount of diseases for the garden in the next year.”

He says that leaf raking can help with that process. “Leaves can be a good addition for compost, or if you have a mower, if the leaves aren’t too thick, you can kind of mulch the leaves in your yard with a mower. If you can see the grass through it, then it’s fine. You won’t have to worry about raking too much up, then.”

Woolery adds that since there have been a couple of frosts already, tropical plants should have already been moved back indoors, for the winter.

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month

Posted on November 1, 2017
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

November 1st marks the start of National Diabetes Awareness Month. The American Diabetes Association reports that annually, more deaths are caused by diabetes than breast cancer and AIDS combined.

There are three types of diabetes, type 1, type 2 and gestational. Gestational diabetes only affects pregnant women and can cause high blood pressure that can potentially harm the unborn child. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults. Only five percent of people with diabetes have type 1.

The most common form of diabetes is Type 2. This type is characterized by an issue within the body that causes blood glucose levels to rise higher than normal, causing the body to not use insulin properly.

It’s important to know what symptoms to watch out for in order to reduce the risk of developing complications.

Typical symptoms of diabetes include frequent urination, feeling extremely thirsty or hungry, extreme fatigue, blurry vision, weight loss even though you’re eating, tingling, pain or numbness in hands and feet or cuts and bruises that are slow to heal. If you experience one or more of the symptoms often, contact your health care provider immediately.

To help raise awareness, support advocacy groups and fund research donate to the American Diabetes Association. If the organization reaches their goal of $50,000 by the end of the month, one of their sponsors Colgate Total has offered to match the donation.