Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Quote of the Month - February

Happy Birthday, Ed Asner – February 15,1929.
Actor Ed Asner played Lou Grant on The Mary Tyler Moore Show 
and lent his voice to the animated movie Up.

Current Healthy Indiana Plan Extended Through the End of February

Posted on January 31, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

The current Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP) program, which was originally set to expire today, has received an extension to continue operations through February 28th.

The extension was granted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Governor Eric Holcomb stated that as a result, the more than 400,000 HIP participants will see no change in service, for now.

Holcomb and other legislators are working with CMS to finalize details of the new plan. According to Holcomb’s press secretary, Indiana submitted a HIP waiver application in January of last year and filed an amendment in the summer.

When the waiver is approved, Indiana will reportedly expand treatment options to Hoosiers impacted by the drug epidemic, enhance opportunities to connect participants to meaningful employment, as well as community engagement and ease administrative burdens for HIP members.

Starke County Park Board Reorganizes for 2018

Posted on January 31, 2018
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

The Starke County Park Board has switched presidents. Roger Chaffins was elected board president for 2018, during last week’s meeting. He was nominated by board member Rosemary Rose. She said she thought he did a great job when he served as president in 2016.

Last year’s president, Debbie Mix, shifts to vice-president. Meanwhile, board member Chris Lawrence asked to step down from his role as secretary, but was reappointed anyway. However, Rosemary Rose did agree to serve as backup secretary.

Leroy Gudeman Announces Retirement from Kankakee Valley Broadcasting, Inc. Board of Directors

Posted on January 31, 2018
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

A founding member of the WKVI and WYMR radio stations is retiring from the Kankakee Valley Broadcasting, Inc. Board of Directors.

Leroy Gudeman was there when WKVI went on the air with the 99.3 FM station on July 21, 1969, and with the 1520 AM frequency in November of 1970. He also saw the opening of WYMR 98.3 FM station in Plymouth on Feb. 6, 2015.

Gudeman served the community for 57 years with his law practice in downtown Knox and has been a well-respected member of the community his entire life.

Gudeman will be enjoying his retirement in the Knox community with his wife, Kay, who is the general sales manager with Kankakee Valley Broadcasting, Inc.

The staff and management at Kankakee Valley Broadcasting, Inc. wish Leroy well in his retirement and thank him for his many years of dedication to the listeners.

House Bill That Would Affect Bidding Process Faces Opposition from NJ Town Council

Posted on January 31, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

A proposed House Bill was brought to the attention of North Judson Town Council members during a special meeting Monday night.

Council President Wendy Hoppe informed council members that House Bill 1313 is currently being considered by the House of Representatives. She explained that if enacted, it would affect the bidding process.

Hoppe said, “What the state is trying to say is the bidder can bid it and we have no way that we can check their background; who they are, what they are, what their work is. Where now we do have that [capability] and that in a nutshell is what that bill is about.”

Hoppe said this is a relevant change to legislation, as the town will have to bid out a number of projects for proposed water and wastewater upgrades this year.

Clerk-Treasurer Andrew Rowe said that a letter of opposition was sent to legislators which read,

“On behalf of Town Council President, Wendy J. Hoppe, the Town of North Judson is strongly opposed to the passage of House Bill 1313 and we would like to convey our clear communication to not pass this bill which would negatively impact our town and local governments across the State of Indiana.”

Rowe said he received a few responses indicating that those concerns would be taken into account when the bill is voted on.

The bill, authored by Repbulican Representative Doug Miller, had its first reading on January 16th. It was then referred to the committee of Employment, Labor and Pensions. The committee has yet to act on the bill. A representative for the General Assembly stated that after committee consideration, two more readings are needed at the House level before it will be eligible for passage.

To view the full version of the bill and to keep up-to-date with the actions taken on it, click here.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Starke County Forest Hunting Rules Questioned by County Park Board Member

Posted on January 30, 2018
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

Who’s allowed to hunt in the Starke County Forest and who gets to make that decision were topics of discussion during last week’s County Park Board meeting. Forester Bruce Wakeland previously told board members that he typically rents the forest to a group of hunters each year over the Thanksgiving weekend. It’s to help control the deer population, but also to raise a few hundred dollars for the forest.

While Wakeland manages the forest, it’s owned by Starke County as one of its park facilities. Park board member Roger Chaffins believes that leaves it up to Wakeland to make those decisions. “It’s his determination to do that,” Chaffins said last week. “The county actually can’t say, ‘You can’t do that,’ because he’s the manager of it, and it was kind of written in the agreement when he gave it to the county, I think.”

Board member Debbie Mix added that Wakeland picks hunters based on his experience of who’s been responsible in the past.

But board member Chris Lawrence criticized the arrangement as a “good old boy system.” He suggested switching to an “unbiased” system, similar to the one used by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

The issue was raised last week by board member Rosemary Rose. She said she heard from a few people who went to the forest, only to find it closed for hunting.

Factors Impacting Crude Oil Prices and Ways to Save on Fuel Provided by Senior Petroleum Analyst

Posted on January 30, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI Senior Petroleum Analysts Patrick DeHaan and Dan McTeague collaborated on a fuel price outlook for 2018.

Though the men did predict an expensive year ahead when they issued the prediction on January 3rd, McTeague said conservative figures were utilized in order to avoid making any assumptions that could have been considered too high. Five weeks into the New Year even the maximum predictions have been surpassed.

McTeague explained that one factor currently contributing to dwindling crude oil inventories is a leak to a frequently used pipeline.

“Something referred to as the Keystone Pipeline, not the Keystone XL that’s been in the news, but the existing Keystone Pipeline has been running at lower rates after a leak was discovered there a little over a month ago.”

McTeague said other factors impacting oil prices include heightened demand, both inside and outside the country, and increased exports. He said the United States is currently sending out much more oil to compete with global demand, leading to fewer reserves remaining within the country.

Other than looking around for the least expensive gas prices, McTeague said there are few other ways motorists save money on fuel.

Proper vehicle maintenance is imperative, be sure your fuel gauge is working correctly and that you take care of your car’s tire pressure. Drivers should also avoid accelerating or braking too hard and overloading the vehicle unnecessarily in order to avoid burning excess fuel.

To stay informed with the latest updates and fuel insights, visit

North Judson Town Council Approves Purchase of K9 Vehicle for Police Department

Posted on January 30, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

During a special meeting Monday night, North Judson Town Council members permitted Town Marshal Kelly Fisher to proceed with the purchase of a vehicle for the Police Department.

The vehicle is for Officer Rico Simpson and the police dog that he will be picking up next month. Members approved the purchase of a black 2014 Ford Explorer, with all-wheel drive that was requested by the town marshal. Marshal Fisher explained that it’s had routine maintenance so it is in very good condition.

She said it currently has 70,254 miles and there is still a little over a year left on the warranty. She also mentioned that the dealer agreed to put brand new tires on the vehicle before they take it off the lot. The vehicle will be purchased from Asia Motors, a dealer utilized and recommended by other law enforcement agencies, according to Fisher.

The cost of the vehicle is around $15,000. Fisher reminded board members of $10,000 that the department previously set aside for the purchase of a code enforcement vehicle. She also informed them that donations in the K9 Fund are up to $12,680.

The plan moving forward is to repurpose Officer Rico Simpson’s current vehicle to use for code enforcement and part-time car. The $10,000 that was set aside, plus $5,000 from the donations will be utilized to buy the Explorer.

Fisher explained that the NJ PD already has lights, a computer and a radio for the vehicle, as well as a kennel that was donated by the Starke County Sheriff’s Department.

The only additional purchases that have to be made are a temperature sensor alarm system, a door popper, and potentially a siren box.

She said even after purchasing the additional features with donated money, approximately $6,381 will remain in the K9 Fund for future maintenance.

Marshal Fisher added that Simon’s Speed Shop volunteered to install the K9 Kennel, as well as all of the necessary attachments free of charge.

Monday, January 29, 2018

NJ Town Council to Hold Special Meeting to Consider K9 Vehicle Purchase Tonight

Posted on January 29, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

A special meeting to consider the purchase of a K9 vehicle will be held by the North Judson Town Council tonight at 6:30 p.m.

Town Marshal Kelly Fisher initially proposed the purchase when town council members met on Monday, January 15th.Fisher explained that the department has $10,000 worth of funds available that was initially intended to buy a mode of transportation for the town’s code enforcement officer.

However, rather than purchasing a new vehicle for that purpose, she suggested handing down Officer Rico Simpson’s current car so they can utilize the money for something that could be equipped with the K9 travel kennel.

Fisher said she wants to get something that can be easily transported around town and down alleyways. She provided members with a few different SUV options coming in around $15,000.Fisher informed them that some of the proposed vehicles would need additional attachments.

She said most the additions, such as mounts, lights and the dog kennel itself, are already available through the department. The only things that would need to be purchased and installed would be a temperature sensor and a door popper.

Marshal Fisher’s request will be further discussed and possibly acted on tonight. Members will hold the special meeting in Town Hall, after the conclusion of a closed executive session pertaining to the same topic.

Senior Petroleum Analyst Expects High Gas Prices to Continue in 2018

Posted on January 29, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

For the last 10 weeks, the United States has consecutively seen a steady decline in crude oil inventories, according to Senior Petroleum Analyst Dan McTeague.

In January of 2017, the cost of a barrel of oil was around $52. McTeague shared that right now, we’re seeing prices closer to $66. That is a $14 difference and he said it may increase as the year goes on with high demand at the national and international level, increased exports and stalled production continuing to impact costs.

That decline in inventories has resulted in higher commercial gas prices, with Hoosier motorists paying $2.54 on average. That is about 50 cents more than the same time last year. McTeague explained that this trend is fairly uncommon for January going into February since we typically see lower prices while still utilizing winter blends.

McTeague said that prices can be pushed so far before consumers will rethink filling up,

“At what point do prices become so expensive that people are dissuaded? I think anything under $3 a gallon is still safe but over $3 a gallon, people will start to take notice but there’s no doubt about it, with America producing and selling a lot more oil, oil is quickly becoming king once again.”

He said if crude oil costs continue this upward trend, we can expect to see gas prices get up to the $3 range when they make the switch to summer blend in late March to mid-April.

Recently, prices in Marshall County are coming in as low as $2.47 at some Plymouth stations but in Bremen prices are listed around $2.54 and individuals in Argos can expect to pay up to $2.69 per gallon.

Pulaski County is seeing an average of $2.66 while Starke County residents can expect to pay anywhere between $2.65 to $2.69, depending on where they fuel up.

McTeague encourages people to shop around, especially if they commute. He said simply saving six to ten cents on a gallon of gas can result in big savings over time.

Click the following link for more fuel insights from

Starke County Park Board Still Waiting for Concrete Repairs at Bass Lake Beach

Posted on January 29, 2018
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

A lack of action on concrete repairs at the Bass Lake Beach is drawing concerns from some Starke County Park Board members. Back in August, board members asked the operator of the facility, Callahan Development, LLC, to repair the seawall surrounding the beach house patio and install glacial stone to help protect it from incoming waves.

The two groups came to an agreement in October in which Callahan would repair the wall, but the county would install the stone. Little progress has been made since then.

During last week’s park board meeting, County Attorney Marty Lucas suggested that operator Richard Callahan and Assistant Manager Larry Clarich assess the situation. “Kind of what it is, it’s a little open-ended at this point,” Lucas explained. “That’s probably why it seems a little murky because what we’re really talking about is the two of you get together, look at it, and see who can do what and how much. Do you see what I’m saying? We have a goal, but we don’t have exactly how to get there yet.”

Clarich explained that Callahan hasn’t had a chance to look at the site yet, and it would be hard to do it now because the lake is frozen. But Clarich said he hopes to be able to do the work sometime between March 15 and May 1.

Still, board member Debbie Mix was concerned with the lack of progress up until now. “We need to have a plan,” she said. “We just can’t let months and months go without having a plan. Last month we said we hadn’t gotten together, there was no plan, and before that. That was also in October that was said. So my concern is that we just keep on pushing, kicking it down the road, and it’s going to be May 15 and nothing’s going to be determined.”

Lucas then suggested that Mix might want to take a more active role in overseeing the work. “Maybe you could help facilitate the communication,” he said. “I mean, to be really honest, I’m supposed to be the lawyer, not the person that goes out there and oversees construction projects.”

In any case, Clarich said the repairs also depend on the county’s cooperation when it comes to installing the stone. Board member Roger Chaffins said he’s been working on that. “If I can get the stone brought in there and it’s there waiting, if I can get the sand brought in there for the beach, it’s there waiting, that’s done,” he said. “It doesn’t have to thaw out for that to get in there. And I talked to [Surveyor] Bill Crase to see if the guy that had the stone still has it, so we can pick it up at a reasonable price, the county can. Now the next question is with Rik [Ritzler], if he wants to drive a truck in there or whatever, I don’t know.”

Since the park board doesn’t have its own budget, members decided to pursue grant funding for the stone and sand. Otherwise, it would be up to the county commissioners to figure out how to pay for the materials.

More Starke County Officials File to Run for Reelection

Posted on January 29, 2018
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

Candidate filings continue in Starke County. In the past week, Prosecutor Nick Bourff, District 3 County Council Member Dave Pearman, and Jackson Township Trustee Robert Schmidt have all filed to run for reelection.

Starke County has several contested races so far, including Sheriff, Clerk, Auditor, District 2 County Commissioner, and District 2 Council member. Three candidates are also running for Railroad Township Trustee.

The deadline for candidates to file for the May primary is February 9.

Starke County Candidate Filings As of January 26:

Assessor: Michelle Snowdon (D)

Auditor: Kasey Bula Clark (D), Rachel Milner Oesterreich (D)

Clerk: Katherine (Kay) Dolezal Chaffins (D), Vicki Cooley (D)

Coroner: Dannie Ray Hoffer Jr. (D)

Prosecutor: Nicholas Allen Bourff (D)

Recorder: Rebekah Sponaugle Wagner (D)

Sheriff: Thomas Decola (R), Bill Dulin (D)

Commissioner District 2: Don Binkley (D), Bryan Harold Cavender (R)

County Council District 1: Bradley J. Hazelton (D)

County Council District 2: Howard A. Bailey Jr. (R), Dale Conley (D)

County Council District 3: David Pearman (R)

County Council District 4: Karen Tibbs (D)

California Township Board Member: Richard Anderson (R)

Center Township Trustee: Julie Manns (D)

Center Township Board Member: Ben Warren (D)

Jackson Township Trustee: Robert Schmidt (D)

North Bend Township Trustee: Rutherford Byron Walters (R)

Oregon Township Trustee: Mark Allen (D)

Oregon Township Board Member: Joseph I Reed Jr. (R)

Railroad Township Trustee: Roger Chaffins Sr. (D), John Harris (R), Mandy Thomason (R)

Railroad Township Board Member: Bart D. Egolf (R), Joe Krzyzanowski (D)

Washington Township Trustee: Cathy Ewing Benko (D)

Washington Township Board Member: Kimberly Temple (R)

Wayne Township Board Member: Joe Griffo (D)

California 2 Democrat Precinct Committeeman: Shirley Fields

Center 1 Democrat Precinct Committeeman and State Convention Delegate: Jeffery J. Houston

Center 1 Democrat Precinct Committeeman: Rick Chambers

Center 3 Democrat Precinct Committeeman and State Convention Delegate: Jeff V. Berg

Center 5 Democrat Precinct Committeeman and State Convention Delegate: Kenneth Wallace

Railroad Township Democrat Precinct Committeeman: August (Gus) Eckert II

Wickert Named Interim Executive Director of Starke County Economic Development Foundation

Posted on January 29, 2018
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

The Starke County Economic Development Foundation will soon be looking for a new leader. Charlie Weaver has retired, after serving as the foundation’s executive director since 2005.

Foundation officials said in a press release that a formal search for a new executive director will begin in the near future. In the meantime, Larry Wickert, the president of the foundation’s board of directors, will serve as interim executive director.

The press release says Wickert previously managed a retail fertilizer plant and has worked as an agronomy consultant. He’s also a former Starke County commissioner.

Wickert told the Hamlet Town Council last week that Weaver will continue to serve as Starke County’s representative on the six-county U.S. 30 Coalition. The organization is pushing for the highway to be upgraded to freeway standards between Valparaiso and Fort Wayne.

Starke County Economic Development Foundation 
Interim Executive Director Larry Wickert (SCEDF Photo)

Friday, January 26, 2018

Bandshell to be Placed on Stage at Norwayne Field

North Judson Park and Recreation Board:

Twenty-five years ago, the concrete performance stage at Norwayne Field was poured on what was once the town baseball field. Even back then, the plan was to eventually place a bandshell or roof over the stage. Now in 2018, that dream will finally become a reality.

Through the generosity of the North Judson Community Center Fund, the Park Fun Day Committee, and the Park Beautification Fund, a laminated wood bandshell has been purchased from RCP Shelters in Stuart, Florida. The 40 by 20 foot structure cost $20,450 and is due to arrive next week. The stage cover will look very similar to the one at Wythogan Park in Knox.

We hope to begin construction as soon as the weather permits, and have it completed well before the Mint Festival, and even before our summer movies at Norwayne resume in May. Approximately $5000 more is needed to cover construction costs, shingles, and concrete. At that point, we will have a roof, but still lack aesthetic improvements of lighting, stonework, and landscaping. To that end, we will be applying for grants, and also accepting donations from anyone interested in seeing this become an attractive addition to our community.

Contributions can be made to the Park Beautification Fund in care of Sue Dolezal, 3987 W. Third St, North Judson 46366.

2/22/2018 The Hive: Ladies Giving Circle for Starke County

Save the date! Come learn about The Hive, the new ladies' giving circle for Starke County. During this first annual social gathering, we will learn more about The Hive, hear from local non-profits and award $5,000 in grants, and we'll promote positivity in our community. Hors d'oeuvres will be served.

After the first annual event, those who wish to join The Hive will be able to do so by paying $10 per month or $120 per year in membership dues. Members who are 22 years old and younger will pay just $5 per month or $60 per year. Half of this amount will make next year's grants possible. The other half will be put into The Hive's endowment fund with the Starke County Community Foundation, which will help make future grants possible. The Hive will meet once yearly for a social gathering during which grants will be awarded. We hope you will join The Hive and help to create some positive buzz in our community!

RSVP to the Community Foundation at 574-772-3665. Thank you! 

Frankenstein Friday - Chapter 1

It's Frankenstein Friday! Join us as we read Chapter 1 of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.

If you missed the beginning of the story, visit the Frankenstein - One State/One Story page on our website.

Blood and Platelet Shortage Has Reached a Critical Level, Donors Needed

Posted on January 26, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

Recent severe weather conditions have resulted in multiple blood drive cancellations, causing the Red Cross to declare that the blood and platelet shortage has reached a critical level.

According to a press release from the organization, no matter the weather is like, every day the Red Cross has to collect more than 13,000 blood and platelet donations to help meet the needs of patients. Due to the winter weather conditions in January, more than 550 blood drives were forced to cancel causing over 16,500 blood and platelet donations to go uncollected.

Red Cross Communications Manager Rodney Wilson said currently, blood and platelet donations are being distributed to hospitals faster than they’re coming in. He said donors are critically needed to restock the shelves for patients within our own communities and for those in areas where donors are unable to give due to continuing inclement weather.

Upcoming blood drives for our area include one in Union Mills at the Conservation Club House from 9:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. CT and another at Martin’s Super Market in Warsaw from 8:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. Both of those will be held Sunday, January 28th.

In Winamac, the Knights of Columbus are hosting a Red Cross Blood Drive from 11:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday, January 31st. In Starke County, a drive will be held at North Judson United Methodist Church from 1 p.m. until 6 p.m. CT on Thursday, February 1st and Oregon-Davis High School will hold one on Wednesday, February 7th from 8 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. CT.

Additionally, a Medical Foundation Blood Drive will be hosted by Plymouth Mayor Mark Senter on Saturday, February 3rd at the Plymouth Fire Station from 8 a.m. until noon ET.

For more information or to schedule an appointment online visit

Starke County Park Board Considers Grant Opportunities

Posted on January 26, 2018
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

The Bass Lake Beach and Starke County Forest would stand to benefit from some grant opportunities being explored by the Starke County Park Board. A few funding sources were discussed during Tuesday’s meeting.

Up to $5,000 is available through Arrowhead Country Resource Conservation and Development, but board members only have a few days to turn in an application. Board member Roger Chaffins thought improvements to the Bass Lake Beach would have a good chance of getting the grant. “I don’t know what the cost is to fix the concrete in the front plus bring the stone in plus bring the sand in for the beach,” he said. “That, to me, would be more of a jibing thing of what they would look at better, I would think, if we could try that right away.”

Those repairs and upgrades have been discussed for several months, but so far the county government and beach operator Callahan Development, LLC haven’t finalized arrangements for the work. Since the park board doesn’t have its own budget, county employees’ labor could possibly be used as a local match, while the grant itself would pay for materials.

Meanwhile, County Attorney Marty Lucas said he was approached by representatives of a charitable fund who are interested in supporting the Starke County Forest. “This isn’t a formal application,” he explained. “This is just talk. And I don’t know, they may say they’re not interested. But I just want to have ideas that you all think are a good idea that are very practical.”

Board members’ top priority for the forest was doubling the size of the parking area, to fit at least 12 vehicles. Their second choice was to reinforce a dike in the park. Other ideas included the installation of signage, trash bins, or benches.

Also during Tuesday’s meeting, park board member Debbie Mix suggested revisiting a plan to add an ADA-accessible kayak launch to the Yellow River. The county has been unsuccessful at getting a grant for the project in the past, but Mix pointed out that all the necessary information has already been gathered. “That was already put together,” he said, “and there’s already $500 sitting there for us at the Community Foundation because that was a part of the grant application last year.”

Mix also suggested several other projects to consider for future grant applications, such as upgrades to the Bass Lake Beach House, extending the North Judson Erie Trail to the Monterey area, and installing signage for various county attractions along area highways.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Final Unemployment Rates of 2017 for Starke and Pulaski Counties

Posted on January 25, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

The Indiana Department of Workforce Development released the final unemployment rates for 2017 and Indiana’s rate stayed steady at 3.4 percent, still coming in lower than the national average of 4.1 percent.

In Starke County, the unemployment rate stayed consistent with the national average, and November’s figure by staying at 4.1 percent. However, Starke County’s unemployment rate for December 2017 is down from the same month in 2016, when was 5.3 percent.

In Pulaski County, December’s unemployment rate dropped slightly from November, moving from 3.3 to 3.1 percent. That’s down almost a point and half from the same time in 2016, when Pulaski’s unemployment rate was 4.5 percent.

In December, the Starke County labor force had 129 fewer people than in November, while in Pulaski County there were 90 fewer people in the work force.

When measuring statistics, the labor force is determined by the amount of employed workers and the number of unemployed individuals who indicate they do not have a job but they have been seeking employment within the last four weeks.

Individuals who indicate they are not seeking work are not included in the labor force. As a result of fewer people seeking employment, less people are considered unemployed.

North Judson-San Pierre to Host 2nd Annual Blue Jay Show Case Tomorrow, Residents Invited to Share Their Stories

Posted on January 25, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

North Judson-San Pierre will be hosting the second annual Blue Jay Showcase during Friday night’s girls’ basketball game versus Triton at the Jr/Sr High School.

Superintendent Dr. Annette Zupin invites all community members to come out and see the various things that NJSP students have been working on this year.

“It’s an opportunity for our students and teachers to display or demonstrate student work and programs.” Zupin explained, “So in the cafeteria, during the ball game, we will have just a variety of student work and programs.”

Dr. Zupin said work from students of various ages will be featured. Patrons will have a chance to see artwork and demonstrations and displays from students who specialize in woodworking, nutrition and agriculture, as well as demonstrations from elementary students involved in the robotics program.

The Blue Jay Showcase will be run tomorrow from 5:30 p.m. until halftime of the varsity game. Zupin added that the choir will be singing the national anthem at the game as a way to showcase their talents.

Additionally, this year, an area will be set up in the atrium, near the concession stand, in order to generate excitement about a video that will be made this spring.

The superintendent said, “NJSP, we are going to work on creating a video, to celebrate the pride and the history of our school communities”

She said they’re looking to gather information from the past and they wish to include the histories of the North Judson and the San Pierre schools when they were two separate entities.

Superintendent Zupin invited all former students and faculty to attend and tell their stories or show any artifacts or memorabilia that could help share the history of North Judson-San Pierre.

Bass Lake Beach Gate House Replacement Discussed by Starke County Park Board

Posted on January 25, 2018
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

The Starke County Park Board is moving forward with the replacement of the gate house at the Bass Lake Beach. The structure was seriously damaged when a pickup truck reportedly crashed into it back in November. Starke County Building Inspector Terry Stephenson believes the accident, along with wood rot and the settling of concrete, has left the building unsafe.

But at this point, it’s not entirely clear whether the pickup truck owner’s insurance will cover the entire replacement cost, according to park board member Roger Chaffins. “More than likely his insurance is not going to cover it, all of it,” he said during Tuesday’s board meeting. “So there, we go from his insurance to Callahan’s insurance; his is next. The county’s insurance is third.” County Attorney Marty Lucas suggested looking into why the driver would not be fully covered.

Chaffins said Stephenson gave him a list of four construction companies who may be willing to rebuild the structure. Chaffins considered asking them for quotes, while others suggested bidding the project out formally.

Lucas explained that how board members should proceed depends on the cost of the work. “The estimate is important, in terms of how formal this has to be because the bidding rules would apply because it is a public works project,” he said.

Bass Lake Beach Assistant Manager Larry Clarich raised concerns about whether the gate house could legally be rebuilt in its current location or if would have to be farther from the highway. Chaffins agreed to look into that, but didn’t think it would be a problem either way. “You could always go back,” he said. “If you have to go back two or three feet, that wouldn’t hurt nothing.”

“Maybe people wouldn’t run into it,” Lucas added.

Chaffins also wants to discuss the gate house replacement with the county commissioners, to see how they want to approach it.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

North Judson Town Council Members Include 3% Raise in Amended Salary Ordinance

Posted on January 24, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

The North Judson Town Council members met for a special session to discuss the town salary ordinance prior to their regular meeting last week.

Members approved three percent raises across the board for the council, clerk-treasurer and department heads. The only position that remained unchanged was the park caretaker position.

Town Marshal Kelly Fisher requested forgoing her raise and giving it to her full-time officers. As a result Officers Frank Thomas and Rico Simpson will be getting four percent raises. Council President Wendy Hoppe said with the increase, those officers would be making a little bit more than Culver officers.

Officer James Dulin is still on a probationary period since he was only hired back in November and he won’t attend the police academy until September. Town Marshal Kelly Fisher explained that he won’t be eligible for a raise until that period is up and he’s finished academy training.

The ordinance received council approval from all members except for Councilman John Rowe who had to abstain due to his relation to the clerk-treasurer. The new pay rates will go into effect on February 2nd.

Starke County Park Board Seeks Proposals for Bass Lake Beach Operations

Posted on January 24, 2018
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

Ideas for operating the Bass Lake Beach are being sought by the Starke County Park Board. Board members decided Tuesday to issue a request for proposals from businesses or individuals interested in managing the beach area, the beach house, or both.

The entire beach and campground is currently operated by Callahan Development, LLC, which leases it from Starke County. But the company said it may be willing to give up control of the beach itself, to allow it to focus on the profitable campground and pier slots.

If and how that would happen still remain to be seen, but County Attorney Marty Lucas said that seeking outside proposals is a first step. “This is all a matter of trying to get our ducks in a row,” he explained. “It’s a challenge because this is a chicken/egg kind of situation. Before we can make a deal with Callahan, we need to have what that deal consists of. Before we can know what it consists of, we have to have an offer. So the idea is to kind of test the waters and see who might be interested in doing this and on what terms.”

Lucas said the goal is to come up with an arrangement that benefits all the parties involved. “One: minimally meet the community’s desire to have the beach open, to have public access to the beach to be a little improved I think, the quality of the experience improved, and I think people consistently want to see some kind of food service there.” To appeal to Callahan, Lucas said the deal should make the Callahan’s job easier and make the rest of the property more profitable. On top of that, the arrangement has to be financially sustainable.

In order to solicit ideas, board members spent a few minutes choosing from three different options for a request for proposals. In the end, the park board chose the shortest, most open-ended of the three, at the recommendation of board member Roger Chaffins. “If we get a bite on this, there’ll be stuff we have to discuss back and forth to get things,” he said. “I mean, we’re not going to hammer it out in one night. It’s not going to be hammered out in two nights. It’s just the beginning of the fishing expedition.”

Anyone with a proposal for operating the Bass Lake Beach is asked to send it to the park board by March 1, in care of the Starke County Auditor’s Office.

Here’s the Starke County Park Board’s complete request for proposals:

The Board of Commissioners of Starke County and the Starke County Park Board are considering a cooperative arrangement with Callahan LLC for a third person to manage the beach area and the pavilion of the Starke County Beach. A request for a written proposal is invited from any business or other interested person to manage the beach area or the pavilion (or both the beach area and the pavilion). An element for beach management shall include provision for life guards during the summer season. An element for pavilion management proposal shall include food services. Any proposal must be made by March 1, 2018 to the Starke County Parks Board by email at the following address:

Starke Co. Park Board
c/o Starke Co. Auditor,
53 East Mound Street # H
Knox, IN 46534

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Volunteers to Offer Free Tax Help in Knox, Winamac

Posted on January 23, 2018
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

Free tax help is available to some low-income taxpayers. People making $54,000 or less, as well as those with disabilities, the elderly, and those speaking limited amounts of English, are eligible for free help through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program.

Locally, program volunteers will be available in Knox and Winamac. Appointments can be made by calling Community Services of Starke County at 574-772-7070 or Pulaski County Human Services at 219-794-1829. Volunteers will also be available at locations in South Bend, LaPorte, Valparaiso, and Logansport.

For a list of what to take to your appointment or to find a location near you, visit

Basketball Team’s Fundraising Effort Helps Give Back to Cancer Patients

Posted on January 23, 2018
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

Thanks to the hard work of local basketball and cheerleading teams Starke County cancer patients will have some financial relief.

The North Judson-San Pierre basketball team, both boys and girls, and the cheerleading team sold pink t-shirts and chances to win pink, autographed basketballs in order to raise money for the effort.

The shirts and basketballs were sold on Dec. 30 during a boys and girls doubleheader. More than $1,000 was raised for the Christina Rotering and Ashley Derrickson Memorial Fund for Starke County Cancer. This donation allows the continuation of legacies of these students to help Starke County cancer patients with lessening the burden of bills.

The funds are within the Starke County Community Foundation, an affiliate of the Northern Indiana Community Foundation. For more information, call Sarah Origer at the Starke County Community Foundation at 574-772-3665.

Starke County Park Board to Continue Discussing Plans for Bass Lake Beach and Campground

Posted on January 23, 2018
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

The future of the Bass Lake Beach and Campground will continue to be discussed during tonight’s Starke County Park Board meeting. The operator of the facility, Callahan Development, LLC, plans to keep leasing it from the county through April of 2028. But the company said it may be willing to give the beach itself back to the county, while it would continue to run the more profitable campground and pier slots.

For the past few months, the Starke County Park Board has been trying to come up with ideas for how such an arrangement might work. In December, board members considered asking for public input on the idea of separate entities operating the beach house, food service, or the beach itself. That discussion is expected to continue when the park board meets tonight at 6:00.

In other business tonight, the Starke County Park Board will choose its 2018 officers. Board members are also scheduled to get an update on the Starke County Forest.

The Starke County Park Board will meet in Starke County Annex Building No. 1.

NJ Town Council Discusses Potential Changes to Holiday Decoration Procedure

Posted on January 23, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

North Judson Town Council members will be looking into alternative holiday decoration options after there was collective council dissatisfaction and a few citizen complaints about how lights and decorations were handled in 2017.

As a portion of his report, Clerk-Treasurer Andrew Rowe presented a purchase order from HAP Industries for $5,796 for their decoration assistance last year. Though the members voted to pay the P.O., Councilman John Rowe suggested revisiting the deal with HAP and potentially purchasing decorations rather than renting them.

Councilwoman Jane Ellen Felchuck asked how the decorations would get put up and Councilman Rowe replied that Town Superintendent Marshall Horstmann recently received a lift attachment for the man basket crane that could be utilized for installation.

Councilman Rowe said that areas within town were decorated really nicely but said he felt that the decorations that lined 10 paled in comparison. He said the town’s contract with HAP industries would be running up soon and encouraged members to consider making a change.

“We either need to revisit and purchase lights for next year which probably costs about $13 or $14,000 if I remember correctly or we need to figure out how we’re going to go all the way down and its going to be lights like town.” Councilman Rowe said, “I just want it to look like we’re getting our money’s worth and it sure didn’t feel like that last year.”

The issue of storage came up when considering the option of purchasing decorations. However, Clerk-Treasurer Andrew Rowe mentioned that once the amphitheater is removed from the park garage in March that would open up a good amount of space in there.

Council President Wendy Hoppe mentioned some citizens informed her of a small town in between North Judson and Indianapolis that does something simple like putting snowflakes up in front of street lights. She proposed doing something like that since the town has LED lights that could make the simple decorations sparkle.

No official actions were taken during last Monday’s meeting, but the topic will be revisited in the future.

Monday, January 22, 2018

North Judson Fire Department to Attend Training Session in Valparaiso

Posted on January 22, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

Last week, North Judson Fire Chief Joe Leszek shared that the Fire Department will soon be attending a nearby training session.

At the most recent North Judson Town Council meeting, Leszek told members that the AMKUS and Task Force Tips Rescue Systems training center was recently installed in Valpo.

“We’re excited about that, Valparaiso Fire uses it for their training center.” Leszek said, “It gives us the capability to a lot of ventilation work and simulate cutting roofs and things like that indoors so we don’t have to do it outdoors right now at this time of year.”

Leszek explained that session will take about three to four hours. He said few local stations will help cover the area in their absence and some NJ Firefighters will be sticking behind to man the station.

The North Judson Fire Department will be attending the session on Sunday, January 28th.

Production to Start Soon at Gary Poppins

Posted on January 22, 2018
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

Production should start soon at the Gary Poppins factory at the corner of U.S. 35 and 250 North, north of Knox.

Larry Wickert from the Starke County Economic Development Foundation updated the Starke County Council last week that the delivery of equipment was delayed. The initial date was Nov. 1, but that has since been postponed to Feb. 1. Wickert said the company has hired a manager who now lives in Starke County.

Gary Poppins officials purchased the former Stelrema property and will customize it to their needs.

As far as the Sysco property in Hamlet, negotiations continue with two companies to place a facility on that property. Wickert said one company has great potential and talks may move in a positive direction to increase economic efforts in Starke County.

Candidate Filings Continue

Posted on January 22, 2018
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

The number of contested races is starting to add up, heading into the May primary. Starke County Sheriff Bill Dulin has filed to run for reelection this year. At this point, the incumbent Democrat faces a challenge from Republican Thomas Decola.

The race for Railroad Township Trustee has gotten a good amount of interest, with incumbent Republican Mandy Thomason facing a primary challenge from John Harris. Former trustee and current township board member Roger Chaffins is also seeking the seat as a Democrat.

District 1 County Council Member Brad Hazelton is seeking reelection, while Karen Tibbs is running for the council’s District 4 seat. Starke County Coroner Dannie Hoffer Jr. is also running for reelection. The races for Starke County Clerk, Auditor, District 2 Commissioner, and District 2 Council Member have all been contested since the first day of filing.

Pulaski County has a couple contested races so far. District 3 County Commissioner Mike McClure faces a primary challenge from Tyler Campbell, while Pulaski County Coroner John Behny will face Alan S. Mitchell in the May primary. Republican Tim Murray is running for Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge.  Meanwhile, Pulaski County Sheriff Jeff Richwine, Clerk Christi Hoffa, and Surveyor Jenny Keller have all filed to run for reelection, along with Winamac Town Council member Alvin Parish.

The deadline for candidates to file for the May primary is February 9.

Candidate Filings As of January 19:

Starke County

Assessor: Michelle Snowdon (D)

Auditor: Kasey Bula Clark (D), Rachel Milner Oesterreich (D)

Clerk: Katherine (Kay) Dolezal Chaffins (D), Vicki Cooley (D)

Coroner: Dannie Ray Hoffer Jr. (D)

Recorder: Rebekah Sponaugle Wagner (D)

Sheriff: Thomas Decola (R), Bill Dulin (D)

Commissioner District 2: Don Binkley (D), Bryan Harold Cavender (R)

County Council District 1: Bradley J. Hazelton (D)

County Council District 2: Howard A. Bailey Jr. (R), Dale Conley (D)

County Council District 4: Karen Tibbs (D)

Center Township Trustee: Julie Manns (D)

North Bend Township Trustee: Rutherford Byron Walters (R)

Oregon Township Trustee: Mark Allen (D)

Railroad Township Trustee: Roger Chaffins Sr. (D), John Harris (R), Mandy Thomason (R)

Railroad Township Board Member: Bart D. Egolf (R)

Washington Township Trustee: Cathy Ewing Benko (D)

Washington Township Board Member: Kimberly Temple (R)

Center 1 Democrat Precinct Committeeman and State Convention Delegate: Jeffery J. Houston

Center 1 Democrat Precinct Committeeman: Rick Chambers

Center 3 Democrat Precinct Committeeman and State Convention Delegate: Jeff V. Berg

Pulaski County

Assessor: Lorena H. (Holly) VanDerAa (R)

Clerk: Christina L. Hoffa (R)

Coroner: John Behny (R), Alan S. Mitchell (R)

Sheriff: Jeffery K. Richwine (R)

Commissioner District 3: Tyler Campbell (R), John Michael “Mike” McClure (R)

Surveyor: Jenny Weaver-Keller (D)

Francesville Town Clerk: Cathy Lynn Elston (R)

Winamac Town Council: Alvin R. Parish (R)

Harrison Township Trustee: Betty Stinemetz (R)

Jefferson Township Trustee: Betty L. Kruger (R)

Jefferson Township Board: Roscoe “Bud” Cummins (R)

Monroe Township Trustee: Michelle Schmicker (R)

Monroe Township Board: Timothy F. Hoffa Jr. (R)

Rich Grove Township Trustee: Deloris Locke (R)

Salem Township Trustee: Kay Beasey (R)

Tippecanoe Township Board: William E. Bauer (Bill) (D), Kelli Denton (D)

VanBuren Township Trustee: Lenora K. Hoover (R)

White Post Township Board: Patricia L. Tiede (R)

Circuit Court Judge: Tim Murray (R)

Friday, January 19, 2018

Frankenstein Friday - Introduction

Happy Frankenstein Friday! You can read Frankenstein along with us every Friday as we celebrate it's 200th birthday in 2018. Read, think and talk with us this week :  

North Judson-San Pierre School Board Elects Board of Finance Officers

Posted on January 19, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

The North Judson San-Pierre School Board elected officers to their Board of Finance when they met Tuesday evening.

Members elected Sheila Akers to the President position and Jim Menis was elected to serve as secretary. Superintendent Dr. Annette Zupin stated that Indiana state law requires the finance board to meet annually after the first of the year and on or before the final day of January.

Additionally, board members unanimously approved the decision to retain First National Bank of Monterey as the school corporation’s depository bank.

North Judson Town Council Discusses Umbaugh Contract and Change to the Town’s Point of Contact

Posted on January 19, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, wkvi

The North Judson Town Council members renewed the town’s contract with Umbaugh and Associates when they met Monday evening.

Council President Wendy Hoppe mentioned that Umbaugh really helped save the town money last year. The council members noted that the contract appeared to be identical to last years and Town Attorney Justin Schramm said he felt comfortable moving forward with it.

The contract secures Umbaugh for consulting services related to the 2019 Budget and any other financial matters. There’s a $7,000 maximum for budget consultation, but if all the time is not used then the town will not be charged the full amount.

Though no changes were made to the agreement itself, Clerk-Treasurer Andrew Rowe mentioned that there has been a switch in who serves as the town’s point of contact. He said he initially worked with Eric Walsh, but now that Walsh has become a partner, he’s working with another employee.

The new point of contact is Jeffery Weaver, who is in the process of taking his CPA exam. Rowe added that though Weaver has been helpful with certain things, he doesn’t feel that he’s receiving the same quality of assistance as before.

“… I think there are some things that might be new to him, it’s as simple as that…We work in Keystone and he’s not especially skilled in Keystone…but coming here it’s almost like we’re figuring things out together and I don’t know, I just expected for $140 an hour that it would have been a little different.”

Clerk-Treasurer Rowe said he wasn’t interested in discontinuing services with Umbaugh and he felt that Weaver was doing a good job with the aspects is was familiar with but he just wanted to alert the council members of the changes.

The contract was unanimously approved and Councilman John Rowe noted that if they are unsatisfied with the service they receive this year, they can look to renegotiate next year.

County Council Clarifies Police Pay

Posted on January 19, 2018
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

The Starke County Council members cleared up some confusion on county police pay.

The council members approved a $5,000 raise for Starke County police officers for 2018, but they were unsure about the three percent raise that was proposed them in addition to the raise.

Auditor Kay Chaffins explained that the three percent increase is in effect for all employees, but the council had not approved the increase for the patrolman. The council unanimously approved the three percent increase for the patrol officers with the Starke County Sheriff’s Office.

The county has not yet received the budget for 2018.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Capital Projects Update Provided at North Judson-San Pierre School Board Meeting

Posted on January 18, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

Superintendent Dr. Annette Zupin provided the North Judson-San Pierre School members with a capital projects update when they met Tuesday night.

Dr. Zupin informed members that the emergency renovations to the pool are officially complete and it is fully operational. The pool area will now have renovations done to the dehumidification system as a part of the capital projects.

She explained that a pre-bid meeting was held on Thursday, January 4th and bids were due on Wednesday, January 17th. At the next school board meeting on Tuesday, February 20th, bids will be reviewed and approved by the school board and contracts will be assigned.

North Judson Town Marshal Proposes K9 Vehicle Purchase

Posted on January 18, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

North Judson Town Marshall Kelly Fisher presented town council members with a few different options for police vehicles when they met Monday night.

Fisher told them that she’s been seeking a vehicle that can be utilized by Officer Rico Simpson once the K9 is obtained from Vohne Liche Kennels.

She explained that $10,000 is currently set aside for the purchase of a code enforcement vehicle. However, she presented members with a proposal to utilize that money for a K9 vehicle instead.

Fisher said, “If we can hand Rico’s car down to the ordinance officer and then maybe if we could use that $10,000 plus maybe another 5 out of our donations to buy him an SUV.”

She mentioned that if their current part-time K9 officer chooses not to continue his contract in February, the new K9 SUV could replace the part-time vehicle on the insurance. If that were to happen, the cost of insurance would not be impacted.

She showed members a few different used SUV options, one of which was fully equipped. She explained that if they went with any of the others, the only necessary attachments that would need to be purchased would be the NJPD Decals, a heat sensor and a door popper.

Other additions such as lights, mounts and the dog kennel are already available through the police department. She stated that equipping a car from scratch costs around $8,000, so re-using some of the features they already have will save them a lot of money.

Fisher added that Simon’s Speed Shop offered to install the kennel and the necessary internal features in whichever vehicle is selected.

Council members asked Fisher to select the vehicle she wants to go with and write out all of the things that would need to be added. They said they would officially consider her recommendation at the next town council meeting.

School Superintendents Monitor State Legislative Proposals

Posted on January 18, 2018
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

Local school superintendents are keeping an eye on some bills being considered by the Indiana General Assembly.

One of the big concerns is that the state hadn’t set aside enough money to distribute to local schools according to the state’s funding formula. West Central Superintendent Don Street says he’s watching the efforts currently underway to fix the problem. “There’s a bill going through that will allow some more money through the state Rainy Day Fund, surplus cash,” he explains. “That money will be allocated to schools to help us not have a deficit from what we had been promised or anticipated in getting, based upon our ADM and some of the other formulas involved with that.”

Meanwhile, Eastern Pulaski Superintendent Dan Foster says he’s keeping an eye on changes to the state’s A-to-F grading system. “If you’ve read any of the articles, basically about half of the State Board of Education didn’t know this was coming at that meeting, and yet, it got passed,” he says. “So now they’ll open public comments in a few weeks, and we’ll see where that goes. Hopefully, calmer heads will prevail, and it won’t be as bad as we think.”

But beyond that, Foster says there are some bills that aren’t specifically related to education, but would still have a big impact on public schools. During Monday’s school board meeting, Foster highlighted two different Senate bills that aim to raise Indiana’s minimum wage. “That’s going to hit us in the budget, and where does that money come from? We’re a tax-based organization. We don’t have the option to go raise our prices.”

Senate Bill 308 proposes raising the minimum hourly wage to $11.31, while Senate Bill 121 would gradually raise it up to $15 between now and 2021

Starke County Council Discusses New Job Title for Jail Employee

Posted on January 18, 2018
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

The Starke County Council members will be revising the salary ordinance to allow for a Starke County Sheriff’s Office employee helping out with case work.

Newly-appointed County Council President Brad Hazelton read aloud from a letter that an employee who had worked with the county for several years was hired as a part-time jailer at $14.00 an hour, which is higher than the $12.51 rate of pay, because of his many years of experience.

Sheriff Bill Dulin explained that Ron Lawson, who has 34 years of previous experience in police work, has been helping with detective work with a backlog of 400 cases, and gathering statistical information for grants, filing timely reports among other clerical work. According to Dulin, he was hired as a part-time jailer but was offered a higher rate because of his experience. Dulin added that Lawson was originally hired as a part-time officer, but the pay was less and the line item would have been exhausted of funds by April.

In order to pay him at a rate of no more than $14 an hour, a new job title needs to be created in the salary ordinance with a set rate per hour. The county council members unanimously approved this action to take place. Sheriff Dulin will present a job description for a jail clerk to be presented for approval at the February meeting. Both the county council and commissioners will need to review the proposed job description and funding.

Starke County Community Corrections, Probation, Sheriff Asks for Letter of Support

Posted on January 18, 2018
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

The Starke County Community Corrections, in partnership with the Starke County Probation Department and the Starke County Sheriff’s Office, are working to submit a grant request for programs and funding.

Community Corrections Director Robert Hinojosa said this is the ninth year of requesting funding for community corrections and the second year for jail treatment programs and pretrial funding.

Pretial Officer Chuck Phillips said there are no increases in funding for his salary and benefits of $63,000. User fees would be used to cover any increases should they be necessary.

Sheriff Bill Dulin said his portion of the grant application would include funding for the Intensive Outpatient Program facilitated by Porter-Starke Services.

“Our portion of the grant is the IOP programs – the in-custody substance abuse programs,” said Sheriff Dulin. “I’ll give you some round numbers. In the nine months that we’ve had, I believe we’ve had 126 inmates have gone through and nine have been re-arrested. The recidivism rate is right around 15 percent while the national average is 67 percent. This is a huge component of what we do and what we’re trying to do with the heroin problem and the methamphetamine problem. It also addresses our GED program and our Alcoholic Anonymous program.”

The Starke County Sheriff’s Office is asking for $75,763 which is the same amount requested as last year.

Hinojosa said the community corrections program has grown in Starke County. However, they are asking for the same amount for operating costs which is $324,401.

“We are going to continue to target high risk offenders,” commented Hinojosa. “We won’t spend a lot of resources with low risk offenders. Those are people who have pretty much lived a good life and got into trouble. If you kind of leave them alone, they’ll do okay. So you focus on high risk offenders and that’s one of the things that the DOC really liked about our proposal which is why we’ve received funding for years.”

The total amount of funding requested is $463,064.

Hinojosa mentioned that the state recognizes several important factors in that all three entities are working together to reduce redundancy in programs and collaborating for efficiency.

The commissioners voted unanimously to sign a letter of support that will go along with the application. The application will be electronically filed at the end of the month and notification of funds will be announced in March or April. The funds will be available July 1.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

North Judson Clerk-Treasurer Addresses Un-Cashed Checks

Posted on January 17, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

At the North Judson Town Council meeting Monday night, Clerk-Treasurer Andrew Rowe alerted members that there are several un-cashed checks on the books that go back several years.

Rowe mentioned that on all checks dispersed by the town, it states that they can be receipted back if they haven’t deposited after 2-years. Clerk-Treasurer Rowe said after speaking to the State Board of Accounts about the matter, the plan is to receipt all checks back into the town.

However, there was one check for Fire Captain Eric Wappel from 2015 that was apparently lost. Rowe was seeking to reimburse Wappel for the fire pay he never deposited. He worked with Town Attorney Justin Schramm to draw up an affidavit requesting that the first check be declared null and void, and a new check for the original amount of $973.02 be written up and given to the fire captain.

The town council members unanimously approved Rowe’s request to cancel the initial check and reimburse Wappel for the lost funds.

Rowe added that the remainder of the checks will be addressed in March. He’s looking to get them all off the books so he won’t need to continue reconciling them each month.

North Judson-San Pierre School Board Approves Memorandum of Understanding with WorkOne

Posted on January 17, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

The North Judson-San Pierre school board approved a memorandum of understanding between the NJ-SP School Corporation and the Northwest Indiana Workforce Board when they met Tuesday night.

According to information provided by Superintendent Dr. Annette Zupin, the Northwest Indiana Workforce Board, or WorkOne, oversees the Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) program in Indiana High Schools. The agreement between the school and the organization is in line with complying with recent changes to graduation requirements.

Dr. Zupin shared that the program aims to have participants complete their high school diploma, attain employable skills and receive assistance in pursuing post-secondary education and securing quality entry-level jobs, leading to career advancement opportunities.

The JAG program at NJ-SP would include a classroom specialist who would teach courses in leadership skills, academic problems, life skills, personal skills and socio-economic barriers. Program staff would also work to provide job placement services. As participants of the JAG program, NJ-SP students will practice speaking and team skills as well volunteerism and community action.

WorkOne would finance the specialist or teacher, while North Judson-San Pierre would provide the classroom space and support field trips and other activities.

Starke County Commissioners and Council Discuss Hiring Two Full-Time Paramedics

Posted on January 17, 2018
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

Starke County may soon have two more paramedics on staff.

EMS Director Travis Clary and Clerk Mary Lynn Ritchie discussed the need for two full-time paramedics with both the Starke County Council and Starke County Commission members Tuesday night. They explained that it is difficult to find part-time paramedics to work for the county and it’s even harder to get part-time people to work shifts when a full-time paramedic is not able to work a shift. Clary said he’s been picking up extra shifts to fill the void.

The cost for a full-time paramedic to pick up shifts is eating into the overtime budget. Clary and Ritchie proposed hiring two full-time paramedics to help pick up hours and help with the hours needed to fully staff ambulances. While health benefits would be offered at a cost to the county, it’ll save the county in the long run with the qualified staff on the roster.

The proposal was unanimously supported by the county council to be considered by the commissioners. The commissioners also unanimously supported the proposal. The request now goes back to the county council where the members will discuss budgeting the positions at their next meeting in February.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

2018 Visit Indiana

So I’m sitting at my desk, waiting to see what Mother Nature is going to dump on us overnight, cleaning up some pages on the library’s website.  In my warm weather daydreaming state I somehow find myself at the Visit Indiana website. 

Were you aware that they have a section of trip ideas?  And that you can filter them to find activities from 20 to 100 miles within your zip code area?  Whether you’re looking for some outdoor activities for the family, a romantic getaway for Valentine’s Day, a shopping trip/weekend with the girls, or even a visit to a casino you can find plenty to do in Indiana. 

And once the weather gets nicer you might want to follow some of the Delicious Trips to find some of the best ice cream, pies, tenderloins, diners, wines, and fine dining that the state has to offer.  You could follow their recommended food trailways or be adventurous and create your own by selecting nearby stops for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and in between treats.

Oh, I also wanted to let you know that the 2018 Indiana FestivalGuide is out so you can download a copy to your computer/tablet/phone or stop in and pick up a copy at the North Judson-Wayne Township Library.  Even though it’s cold, snowy, and slick outside summer will be here before you know it. 

·         Winter Wonderlands
·         Delicious Trips
·         Summer Fun Trips
·         Family Fun
·         Outdoor Rec & Sports
·         Rural Destinations
·         Art & Culture
·         Romantic Retreats
·         Girlfriend Getaways
·         Casinos and Entertainment

1/16 to 2/28/2018 Food Drive @ Demotte State Bank

Nominations Now Open for Age of Excellence Awards

Posted on January 16, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

Nominations are now being accepted for the REAL Services’ 22nd Annual Age of Excellence Awards.

Each year, REAL Services celebrates unsung heroes of several local counties including Marshall and La Porte. The organization seeks to acknowledge those members of our communities who go above and beyond to care for elderly and low-income individuals.

Nominations are being accepted for eight award categories including Business of the year, The Wyatt Mick Volunteer of the Year, the Les Fox Hoosier Lifetime Award, Caregiver of the Year, Professional of the Year, Agency/Program Serving Low-income Award, Change Agent of the Year and the Sergeant Shriver Lifetime Achievement Award.

To nominate someone for one of the listed categories, visit and click the Age of Excellence logo then the “nominate someone here” button. The deadline for nominations is 4 p.m. on March 9th.

The 2018 Age of Excellence Awards Luncheon will be Friday, April 20 at the Century Center in downtown South Bend. The cost of this event is $50 per person. Each nominee receives a complimentary reservation for the event and a discounted ticket price for one of their own invited guests.

Individuals can also ensure they have a seat for the luncheon by clicking the “reserve your seat here” button at The deadline for reservations is April 10th.

At the luncheon, all nominees will be recognized with a certificate acknowledging their kind acts. The Keynote speaker for the event is Andrew Berlin, a Partner of the 2016 World Champion Chicago Cubs, owner of the South Bend Cubs and Chairman and CEO of Berlin Packing.

North Judson Town Council Establishes Fund for North Judson Police Department K9

Posted on January 16, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

Last night, North Judson Town Council members considered an ordinance that establishes a fund for the police department’s K9 donations. Town Attorney Justin Schramm said the ordinance also allows for the flexibility to make additional purchases related to the K9.

Town Council President Wendy Hoppe read the ordinance aloud and specified that the fund can be used by the K9 handler, Rico Simpson and other law enforcement officials for any purposes related to obtaining, training or maintaining the dog. Additionally, it was mentioned that any requests to utilize the funds must come before the town council in a meeting open to the public.

Town council members unanimously approved the ordinance establishing the K9 Acquisition, Training and Equipment Fund on first reading.

During her Town Marshal report, Kelly Fisher stated that the donations are up to about $12,000, with $2,000 of that coming from the recent shirt sales. She added that Officer Simpson will acquire the K9 later this month and start his 6-week training course on February 26th.

Round Lake Cemetery Flag Issue Resolved

Posted on January 16, 2018
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

The issue concerning the removal of flags on veteran’s graves at the Round Lake Cemetery has been resolved.

Mark Gourley, acting as American Legion District Vice Commander, told the Starke County Commissioners last week that he sat in during the Round Lake Cemetery Association meeting on Monday, Jan. 8 and the action of placing and removing American flags on veteran’s graves at Round Lake Cemetery will now be handled by the Knox American Legion Post #131.

Officials with the North Judson American Legion Post brought attention to the issue In December when the flags were removed from veteran’s graves at Round Lake Cemetery after Memorial Day. Round Lake Cemetery Association President Harrison Fields commented that he researched the issue online and found that “all legion posts should follow the practice of removing flags from veteran’s graves as soon as possible after Memorial Day.” The North Judson post commander felt the flags should be left on graves all year round.

The county does provide funding for flags each year.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Starke County EMS Department Working on Heating Issue at Ambulance Base

Posted on January 15, 2018
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

The Starke County EMS Department is working to get the heat installed at the Grovertown EMS base.

EMS Director Travis Clary told the Starke County Commissioners last week that some parts were needed to install a ceiling-mounted heater at the base. The heater was purchased as an emergency need at the end of 2017 as medications were freezing while the ambulance was parked in the unheated garage. Clary noted that the heater was to be installed last week.

He added that the bathroom pipes did freeze at the base which has been an ongoing issue for several years during the winter season. That problem will be tackled at a later date.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Our New Sign is Up & Running!

Here is a video of our new sign!  As you can see general information (hours, closures, etc.) will be in a golden hue, library sponsored programs are in green, and community activities are in blue.  So if your local organization is having an event let us know and we'll be glad to add it to our sign. 

1/26/2018 2nd Annual NJ-SP BlueJay Showcase

Open Seats in Starke County for 2018 Elections

Posted on January 10, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

According to Starke County Election Deputy Clerk Crystal McCarty-Taylor, people can file for a declaration of candidacy starting today anytime between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. and they have until February 6th at noon to file.

Interested individuals must come into the Starke County Clerk’s Office to file. She added that no exceptions will be made if the February deadline is missed.

Officials up for election in Starke County include the County Sheriff, Assessor, Coroner, Recorder and Auditor as well as the Prosecuting Attorney and Circuit Court Clerk. Elections will also be held for the County Commissioners in District 2 which includes California, Center and Davis Townships.

On the County Council, four district seats are open. District 1 covers Davis, Jackson and Oregon Townships, District 2 is only Center Township, District 3 includes California, North Bend and Washington Townships, while Railroad and Wayne Townships fall in District 4.

Township Trustees and three board members for each township will be elected for California, Center, Davis, Jackson, North Bend, Oregon, Railroad, Washington and Wayne Townships.

Individuals must live in the township or district they’re running for and residents can only vote on positions in their specific district or township. Starke County Primary elections are on May 8th this year. If you have any questions, contact Deputy Clerk Crystal McCarty-Taylor at 574-772-9160.

For additional election information, visit the Starke County Government website and select Election under the Circuit Court tab.

Starke County Commissioners Review Proposal for Elevator Project

Posted on January 10, 2018
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

The Starke County Commissioners reviewed paperwork Monday night pertaining to the construction of a new elevator at the Starke County Courthouse.

KIRPC Representative Shawn Cain presented forms that the commissioners reviewed that indicate that KIRPC is the grant administrator for the $500,000 grant received for the project. The project cost is approximately $550,560 with $35,000 in fees for KIRPC. The project is expected to be bid out in May. KIRPC is expected to oversee all financial aspects of the project and make sure all laws are followed concerning wages and reporting.

County Attorney Marty Lucas gave his approval for the paperwork and the commissioners unanimously approved the forms.

DLZ Representative John Kirk gave the commissioners a proposal for services including construction documents, bidding and construction administration services from the grant application award. The company is planning to oversee the replacement of the elevator. The shaft will be modified with a new car that includes new controls for a fully ADA-compliant elevator.

Kirk will give the commissioners a formal contract for approval during their meeting next Tuesday.

A conference room on the first floor of the courthouse may be utilized to conduct business. The commissioners assure that all measures will be taken to assist those who are physically disabled in order to successfully conduct business inside the courthouse.

Residents Notify Officials of Fraudulent NIPSCO Calls

Posted on January 10, 2018
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

NIPSCO officials are warning customers that calls are being made by unknown callers claiming to be affiliated with NIPSCO.

According to officials, the callers are contacting customers demanding payment through a prepaid card. The calls are fraudulent.

NIPSCO encourages people to hang up and call their office to inquire about a billing statement. If you are not sure about a phone call email, program offer or person claiming to be affiliated with NIPSCO, call the 24-hour Customer Care Center at 1-800-464-7726.

Never give out your personal information to unconfirmed sources. NIPSCO will not ask for a pre-paid debit card or money gram as a payment method for service.

NIPSCO employees always carry photo ID badges and will gladly show identification when asked.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

2/12/2018 2018 Skywarn Spotter Training

2018 Spotter Training Registration is now Open. 
Find a class near you - this season we are offering 21 classes in 21 counties. Help us save lives! 
Registration links can be found online at . . .

Health Officials Urge Precautions Against Flu

Posted on January 9, 2018
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

Twenty-five flu-related deaths have been reported in Indiana this season and officials with the Indiana State Department of Health are urging residents to reduce the spread of influenza.

Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box suggests getting a flu shot to prevent the flu or decrease its severity.

Elderly residents, especially those with health conditions can be susceptible to the flu as well as pregnant women, people with chronic illnesses and those with compromised immune systems.

Influenza is spread when infected people cough or sneeze and people touch surfaces or objects contaminated with droplets. Common symptoms of the flu include a high fever, headache, fatigue, cough, muscle aches, sore throat and runny or stuffy nose.

Dr. Box encourages everyone to wash hands frequently with warm, soapy water, and cover coughs by sneezing into an arm or a disposable tissue. Also, stay at home when sick to keep germs from spreading.

Dollar General Project to Move Forward

Posted on January 9, 2018
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

The Starke County Commissioners gathered public comment Monday night on the proposed construction of a Dollar General store at the corner of 200 South and U.S. 35 south of Knox.

Commission President Donnie Binkley noted that he wanted to gather public opinion on the project as the intersection poses a safety concern. Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler said INDOT expedited a traffic study at that intersection and found that it does not warrant the installation of a stop light. About 8,000 northbound and southbound vehicles pass that intersection on U.S. 35 each day. Less than 30 cars turn east on 200 South which is the location of the driveway.

Once the business is up and running, INDOT may conduct an additional traffic study to see if a stop light needs to be installed at the intersection.

Questions were asked about why the driveway to the store is off of 200 South and not U.S. 35. The attorney representing Developer Joe Leonard explained that if a proposed commercial project is planned on a corner lot the driveway must be located on the lesser traveled road. In this case, the lesser traveled road is 200 South. He added that several improvements to the design were made to accommodate safety concerns raised by Ritzler by moving the driveway further away from U.S. 35 to ease possible traffic congestion. That change met with Ritzler’s approval. To accommodate semi traffic to the store, a wider lane will be constructed with hot mix asphalt for easier maneuverability.

Commissioner Kathy Norem stated that she’d like to see a stop light at that intersection. To help accomplish that goal, she encouraged residents to write letters to their state representatives and INDOT and urge them to install a traffic light there. She added that the state and the City of Knox should look at future plans to widen that portion of U.S. 35 into four lanes for economic growth.

Public comments also included grading the hill in that area for better vision and lowering the speed limit for safety.

After hearing comments, the commissioners voted to allow the developer to move forward with the project. This Dollar General store will be an additional retail business. The Dollar General store on Main Street in downtown Knox will remain at its current location.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Town of North Judson Takes Over for Hoosier Valley With Omega Railway Management Correspondence

Posted on January 8, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

All communications with the railway management company Omega will now go through the town of North Judson rather than Hoosier Valley Railroad, according to Town Council President Wendy Hoppe.

Hoppe explained that Omega is the company responsible for the billing and collection services for residents who utilize anything that runs under the town’s railroad, “Anything that runs underneath, be it an irrigation line, be it a power line, be it a drainage tile.” Hoppe said, “Omega was billing them and taking care of all that.”

At the last few North Judson town council meetings, President Hoppe mentioned that she was contacted by a couple of different local farmers in the North part of town who reported very steep increases in their rates.

When she looked into the issue, an Omega representative said that the company’s billing department was authorized to implement increases in areas where it was deemed necessary. The representative explained that when they did not receive any responses from Hoosier Valley after more than five attempts to contact them through email, Omega carried forward with the increases.

Hoppe was also told by Rich Warner with Hoosier Valley that no one currently mans the company’s email account. For that reason, Hoppe requested for all future correspondence to go through the town. She said Omega agreed to that and also said they would return the farmers’ rates to their previous standing for the time being.

Hoppe also said that Warner asked to be taken off as Hoosier Valley’s town council representative. She said she has considered asking them to appoint someone but added that it may not be necessary with the newly established railroad committee. Councilman John Rowe said it would be useful to have another Hoosier Valley representative appointed so they can receive updates.