Friday, March 30, 2018

3/31/2018 Another Family Fun Saturday in Starke County

March 31st is another full Saturday in Starke County. 

8-10 am there’s a community breakfast at Trinity Assembly of God in Knox

9 am Carrying Our Communities Cross will begin their walk in Knox and end up at Norwayne Field around 12 noon

9 am NJ Police Department is sponsoring an Easter Egg Hunt at Norwayne Field

11-1 pm there’s a community meal at the NJ United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall

12 pm NJ Police Department is also sponsoring a Milk Bone Hunt for leashed dogs at Norwayne Field (maybe you’ll get to meet K9 Officer Jimy)

12 pm the Carrying Our Communities Cross should be arriving at Norwayne Field. Once it arrives there will be a prayer service.

1 p.m. ABATE will have an Easter Egg Hunt at 2380 S. 450 E., Knox. Registration will run from 11-12:30 pm and you must register to hunt.

And if you'll be attending any of the Easter Egg Hunts remember to bring your own baskets or bags.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

INDOT Awards Money for Infrastructure Improvements

Posted on March 29, 2018
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

The Indiana Department of Transportation announced the recipients of federal transportation funding to invest in local road and bridge improvements, sidewalk and trail projects.

This round of funding will help communities to design, develop and purchase land for projects for bid beginning July 2021.

In Winamac, approximately $1 million was awarded for sidewalk improvements in the downtown area as well as lighting along U.S. 35 and other locations in town.

The Town of North Judson was awarded just over $158,000 for the construction of an ADA ramp and sidewalk upgrades in the downtown area.

La Porte County will have $1.6 million for work on Bridge #186 over the Kankakee River on County Road 650 West. The county was also awarded $620,000 for an intersection improvement project on County Road 150 North near Lofgren Road and County Road 250 East.

INDOT dedicates approximately 25 percent of its federal highway funds to support local projects each year.

Starke County Election Board Discusses Upcoming Public Test for Voting Machines

Posted on March 29, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

Citizens interested in getting a little bit of “voting practice” in prior to the May Primary Election will be pleased to hear that a test voting day will be held next week.

The upcoming public test for voting machines was discussed during Wednesday morning’s Starke County Election Board meeting. Starke County Clerk Vicki Cooley said the test is being held at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, April 3rd.

Cooley explained that this test day will be a unique opportunity for individuals to vote as many times as they want since it will just be a demonstration. She said the goal of this event is to allow voters to get comfortable with the machines.

She added that a MicroVote representative and other election officials will be on site to answer any questions.

The test day will take place next Tuesday on the second floor of the Starke County Court House located at 53 E. Washington Street.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Unemployment Goes up Slightly in Local Counties

Posted on March 28, 2018
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

The February unemployment figures released this week don’t show a lot of improvement from January.

In Starke County and La Porte County, the unemployment rate stood at 5.3 percent which is two-tenths of an increase from January. The same increase was recorded in Marshall County where the rate went from 3.3 to 3.5 percent.

Pulaski County’s rate remained unchanged at 3.7 percent.

Indiana as a whole lost a tenth of a percent from January to February. The state’s rate of 3.2 percent remains below the national unemployment rate of 4.1 percent, a statistic that has held on for four years. Indiana’s initial unemployment insurance claims continue to be at historical lows, according to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.

La Porte County ranks 5th in the state in high unemployment rates in our area while Starke County ranks 6th, Pulaski County at 51st and Marshall County is ranked 58th in the state.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Starke County Assessor to Review Reassessment Bid

Posted on March 27, 2018
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

Bids were opened last week for the next cycle of reassessments in Starke County.

Assessor Michelle Snowdon explained that the five year cycle of reassessment procedures is up and she advertised for bids for the next round. Crews take 25 percent of the county in the four years contracted and look at properties for any new buildings, buildings that may have been razed on a property, take measurements, and review the general condition of houses or structures. Snowdon said not all property owners go through the proper permitting process so these crews make sure all structures are recorded. Snowdon said the workers will then update the information in the system.

The lone bid that was received for the next round of reassessments in Starke County was submitted by Accurate Reassessment out of Fort Wayne at a cost of $143,950 per year for a total cost of $575,800, which Snowdon believes is a little less than the company’s last bid. She added that the company has worked with the county with reassessments since 1999. Ownership has changed hands since that time, but she said it’s basically the same group.

The Starke County Commissioners approved a motion to take the bid under advisement so Snowdon can review the extensive bid paperwork. She will return to report her findings at the next commissioners meeting on April 2.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Indiana Youth Cadet Law Enforcement Academy Accepting Limited Number of Applicants for Summer Session

Posted on March 26, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

If you’re considering law enforcement as a potential career choice and are looking for a way to get some experience, you’re in luck. The American Legion and the Indiana Troopers Youth Services are working in conjunction, seeking promising young candidates for their newest program, the Indiana Youth Cadet Law Enforcement Academy.

The 2018 session will run this summer from June 15 through the 20th on the University of Indianapolis campus. Indiana Youth Cadet Law Enforcement Academy provides insight into law enforcement agency operations and presents first-hand experiences to highly motivated young people in grades 9 through 12.

This summer’s class will be limited to the first 50 registered applications. There is a $300 registration/sponsorship fee per cadet. The fee may be paid by an American Legion Post District or by donation. It must be payable to the Department of Indiana no later than June 1st.

For more information contact Sergeant Danielle Elwood Henderson at 317-450-8720.

NJSP Officials Seek Public Input for Video Project Highlighting School Corporation’s History

Posted on March 26, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

The North Judson-San Pierre School Corporation wants to share your stories!

Superintendent Dr. Annette Zupin recently shared that students and staff at NJSP are currently working to create a video that will celebrate the pride and history of North Judson-San Pierre. She said it’s important to recognize that the individual history of our North Judson Schools and the individual history of San Pierre Schools helped mold the corporation into what it is today.

She said they’re looking for artifacts, memorabilia or stories about North Judson Schools, San Pierre Schools, the consolidation or accounts of historical events that could be included in their video documentation of the school community.

If you have any stories or items that you’d like to contribute to this project, contact Dr. Zupin at 574-896-2155.

North Judson Town Council Members Choose to Consolidate Railroad Insurance Payments

Posted on March 26, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

North Judson Town Council members will save some money on their railroad insurance payments after approving a recommendation made by Clerk-Treasurer Andrew Rowe at their meeting last week.

Rowe first brought this idea up when the payments began but he did some additional research on the payment methods and coordinated with President Wendy Hoppe about the matter prior to bringing the suggestion before the council.

When members met last Monday, Rowe explained that the town is currently paying AFCO a monthly fee of $3,351.83 for railroad insurance. He informed members that more than $190 could be saved if the remainder of the payments were made at once, rather than continuing to submit them each month.

Rowe explained that the existing balance is $20,110.98. However, if they make all the payments by March 28th, they’ll remove some of the interest and only need to pay a total of $19,917.81. He said that would also mean they wouldn’t have to worry about this particular bill again until October.

Members voted unanimously to approve the payment by utilizing some of the money in the cumulative railroad revenue fund which had a total of $120,083.38. After subtracting this payment, that leaves $100,165.57 in the account for future use.

Water Damage Repaired at Starke County Annex Building

Posted on March 26, 2018
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

A malfunctioning sprinkler system recently caused several thousand dollars worth of damage in the Starke County Annex No. 1 building.

The Starke County Commissioners reviewed a contract last week with Paul Davis who completed repairs. The commissioners approved the work to be done during their previous March meeting, but didn’t have a contract in hand. The contract was signed last week.

According to Auditor Kay Chaffins, the incident occurred during the daytime and damaged the ceiling tiles due to a cracked pipe, as well as carpeting, drywall, and flooring in the auditor’s office. Water also trickled down into the treasurer’s office causing more damage.

Chaffins noted that the insurance company provided the county with a $17,000 check to pay for the work done.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Starke County Humane Society Fundraiser

The Starke County Humane Society is doing a fundraiser through Schwan's!

Just click here, place your order, and it will be shipped to you.

The shelter receives 20%-40% per order. Please help us share and get the word out! Thank-you so much for your support!

What's A Little Snow When There Are Easter Eggs To Hunt?

Yes, they are predicting snow tonight and into tomorrow but what’s a little snow when you have Easter eggs to hunt?

On Saturday there are a variety of local things planned to keep the kids busy.  The whole family can start the day with breakfast together (7-11 a.m. is the Little Dove Hillbilly Breakfast).  Then there’s a choice of the Bass Lake Lioness Easter Egg Hunt (10 a.m. at the Melody Drive-In) or Ms. Tabitha’s Kids Kraft (free at 10:30 a.m. here at the Library).  Later in the afternoon is the Peaceable Primate Easter Egg Hunt (12:30 p.m. CT at the Peaceable Primate Sanctuary). 

IF the kids haven’t been too sugared up on Saturday, there’s another Easter Egg Hunt Sunday afternoon.  This one is sponsored by the Kankakee Valley Harley Owners Group Chapter 1326, Kersting’s Cycle Center, and the Harry L. Keller Post 92 American Legion Auxillary (12:30 p.m. at Norwayne Field).

With Spring Break next week you might also be interested in other events across Northwest Indiana.  You can find a listing of area events on the library’s web page at

NJSP Superintendent Highlights A Few Important Dates at School Board Meeting

Posted on March 23, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

A special work session was scheduled for April 4th when North Judson San Pierre School Board members met Tuesday night.

Superintendent Dr. Annette Zupin stated that during the work session, members are expected to discuss corporation plans including technology, wellness, accountability and strategic plans.

Zupin said members will also cover details about a proposed community meeting where information about graduation pathways, school accountability and legislative issues will be shared with the public. The location of the community meeting has already been determined to be the North Judson-Wayne Township Public Library. Zupin said that members are expected to set an official date and time for this community meeting at their April work session.

Dr. Zupin also informed board members that some additional days have been added to the end of the school year. NJSP students and teachers will now have to attend class May 25th through the 30th to make up for days missed due to inclement weather.

North Judson Clerk-Treasurer Discusses Conflicting Accounts of Repairs Needed at Town Hall

Posted on March 23, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

North Judson-Clerk Treasurer Andrew Rowe informed town council members this week that a few different roofing companies recently inspected the Town Hall building and they all provided vastly different responses.

At Monday’s meeting, Rowe first mentioned RL Roofing which submitted three quotes for potential repair projects. Their lowest bid for the most basic work was $900 and they submitted two other bids for more extensive work at and $13,500 and $16,900.

Rowe said the second company provided a much more modest offer. Starke County Roofing submitted a bid of $1200 for the work they were proposing. He added that he wasn’t sure why each of the companies submitted such drastically different amounts.

He added both of those companies suggested repairing the roof around the air-conditioning unit and treating several various problem areas as well.

However, representatives from Tri-County Roofing came to do an inspection as well and they alerted Rowe that the needed repairs really have more to do with deteriorating brickwork, rather than any serious roofing problems.

He was told the area around the air conditioning unit looked fine and there were a few minor repairs that could be made around the roof but the main issue is crumbling brick that is exposing the inside of the building to outdoor elements.

The company didn’t even offer to submit an estimate since they felt their services would not suffice. The inspector suggested contacting a masonry company to address the problems instead.

Rowe said he intends to contact the first two companies to see if they want to readjust their bids to address the issues that were brought to his attention. He also suggested looking into other companies who deal more specifically with brick repair. Council President Wendy Hoppe said she had a company in mind that she would call.

Councilman Josh Brown asked if they could utilize Schambers Masonry, the company who recently completed work on the Norwayne field wall. Clerk-Treasurer Rowe mentioned that he also considered that option and said he would reach out to see if they’d be interested in the job.

Personality-Based Substance Abuse Prevention Program Coming to Knox, Oregon-Davis High Schools

Posted on March 23, 2018
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

Preventing substance abuse by identifying those who are most at risk before they develop an addiction is the goal of a program coming to two Starke County high schools. This week, the Knox and Oregon-Davis school boards learned about the PreVenture program. Indianapolis-based nonprofit Overdose Lifeline received funding from the Division of Mental Health and Addiction to offer the program in seven Indiana counties, including Starke, Pulaski, and LaPorte.

Overdose Lifeline Director of Policy and Research Savi Brenneke said PreVenture targets students by personality type. “We screen students that are at the highest risk or demonstrate certain thinking patterns that are associated with anxiety, sensitivity, impulsivity, negative thinking, and anxiety sensitivity,” she explained. “Those are highly-correlated with, later in life, substance use, as well as other issues in life.”

As part of the program, high school freshmen are given a questionnaire asking how much they agree or disagree with certain statements. “That would be, for example, ‘I would like to learn how to drive a motorcycle,’ or ‘It scares me when my heartbeat changes,'” Brenneke said. “That helps us look at their thinking process.”

Based on those results, students are placed into personality groups. Those considered to be at high risk of substance abuse are then invited to take part in two 90-minute group sessions. “They work through identifying what triggers their thinking, how that thinking kind of manifests itself in their actions, and then learning goal-setting and coping skills that then could help them make better decisions and reflect on how their thinking results in certain behaviors and actions and how they can improve that,” Brenneke said.

Brenneke said the group sessions are facilitated by two Overdose Lifeline staff members who are certified with the PreVenture program. She explained that the program is confidential and what happens in a group stays within the group. However, Knox Superintendent Dr. William Reichhart and Oregon-Davis Superintendent Dr. Don Harman both plan to have a school staff member present, as well.

As part of Overdose Lifeline’s funding agreement, it’s also required to collect statistics on substance use, to measure how well the program is working. Brenneke added that parents will have the chance to decide whether or not they want their children to take part in the PreVenture program.

The Oregon-Davis School Board voted unanimously to allow PreVenture to be offered at the high school. Knox School Board members agreed but were not asked to take formal action. Brenneke added that initial screenings have already taken place at North Judson-San Pierre High School.

She said that the PreVenture program began in Canada, and Overdose Lifeline is the first organization to implement it in the United States.

Starke County Council Approves Job Description for Paramedic Shift Captain

Posted on March 23, 2018
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

Starke County EMS Director Travis Clary presented the Starke County Council members this week with a job description for a paramedic shift captain.

Clary explained that there isn’t an assistant EMS director so there is no supervisor backup if he goes on vacation or has to attend a meeting and is unavailable to the staff.

According to the job description, the paramedic shift captain will operate with limited supervision through the department’s Standard Operating Procedure. The captain will also maintain facilities and equipment, plus promote health and safety of the department and the community through education.

The extra money Clary proposed for the position is out of the EMS budget. There would be one paramedic supervisor for each shift and there are four shifts.

The council members unanimously approved a motion to create the position of a paramedic shift captain with a pay increase of $.50 an hour, which will be about $5,400 gross a year. The position will be posted and the salary ordinance will need to be amended.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

NJ Town Marshal Talks Equipment Installation and Department Renovations at Council Meeting

Posted on March 22, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

All the necessary equipment needed for the North Judson Police Department K9 vehicle is almost completely installed.

Town Marshal Kelly Fisher told town council members Monday night, that the department has been utilizing the help of Matt Noonan to get the equipment installed.

As Officer Rico Simpson utilizes the SUV for training, they’ve been working around his class schedule to finish up the additions.

She said, “He’s been using his truck during the week to go down for schooling and then on the weekend we’ve been putting in. The kennels all done, the light bar is put on it, they call it “hot and pop”, the door popper and heat sensor is all complete.”

Fisher explained, “Rico’s actually been doing some work with popping the door and the dog gets out. He knows to go right to Rico”

In her report, Marshal Fisher also mentioned that renovations at the police department are coming along.

She said they’re about half way finished and so far, they’ve done some reorganizing and painting. The plan is to have a lobby area and the department intends to apply for a grant in order to get a drug drop-box.

She added that once everything is complete, she’d like to host an open house and have the council members come by in order to see the major difference the alterations make.

Funds Created for Starke County Park Board Grant Funds

Posted on March 22, 2018
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

With the acquisition of thousands of dollars worth of grants for projects at the Starke County Forest and the Bass Lake Beach, Starke County Auditor Kay Chaffins suggested the creation of two line items within the budget for those funds.

The park board was recently awarded $15,000 from the Hardesty Memorial Endowment Fund and $5,000 in a Community Support Grant.

For transparency and tracking, two separate accounts will be set up to collect those funds.

Another fund, the Starke County Park and Recreation Fund, will be established to accept tax-deductible donations from the public. Commissioner Kathy Norem noted that any donation received will go toward projects specifically within the Starke County Park Board’s plans. That money will not be used for municipal park projects.

For more information, contact the Starke County Auditor’s Office at 574-772-9101.

North Judson-San Pierre School Board Members Provide Annual Approval for Reduction of Force Notifications, None Sent So Far

Posted on March 22, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

North Judson-San Pierre School Board members approved the notification of a reduction in force, should the need arise, when they met Tuesday night.

Superintendent Dr. Annette Zupin explained that this is an action that is approved yearly that permits school board members to notify staff if reductions need to be made. Their approval of the action also dictates that they will follow state-mandated procedures.

The superintendent said this is typically brought to the board around this time of the year since students are enrolling in classes and the latest average daily attendance membership numbers have come in. She said with that information, they also assess certain factors, such as classroom sizes, and if the numbers warrant a reduction, that’s when staff would be notified.

She said should they need to go that route, the school officials will follow the procedures and timeline provided through state statute, which specifies that teachers must be notified between May 1st and July 1st.

Dr. Zupin added that so far, no notifications have been sent out and assessments are still being conducted.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

3/31/2018 NJ Police Department Easter Milk Bone Hunt

3/31/2018 NJ Police Department Easter Egg Hunt

Permit Question Brought Before the North Judson Town Council

Posted on March 21, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

With this weekend’s pleasant weather, you may have noticed ice cream trucks making their first rounds of the season. A citizen of North Judson submitted a question to town council members Monday night, about a truck he saw driving around town over the weekend.

He asked what kind of permit is required for those drivers to sell their wares. Town Council President Wendy Hoppe responded that they need a peddler’s permit to legally sell the treats within the town limits.

Former Clerk-Treasurer Donna Henry was in the audience and added that while in office, she had an issue where she alerted a driver that they needed a permit but they never came back in for her to issue one.

Others mentioned that it isn’t just ice cream trucks that may be dodging the permits. There are other people who come out of the woodwork attempting to sell items door-to-door without being registered with the town.

Clerk-Treasurer Andrew Rowe said that he will do his best to make sure that people are acquiring the necessary permits. Code Enforcement Officer Joe Leszek, Town Marshal Kelly Fisher and the officers of the NJ Police Department will assist with this effort as well.

On a related note, Leszek said that with the weather improving, code violations will become more apparent. While he is always on the look out, he encourages citizens to contact him if they notice a violation so it can be addressed right away.

You can direct any questions or concerns about code enforcement to 574-896-3340.

Preliminary Work on North Judson-San Pierre Capital Projects to Start Soon

Posted on March 21, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

Preliminary work will soon begin on a series of capital projects at North Judson-San Pierre, according to Superintendent Dr. Annette Zupin.

At the February NJSP school board meeting, members approved contractors for approximately $4.2 million worth of projects. They also learned that since the entire Lease Project came in under budget, a few alternates can be tackled as well, including the addition of a digital sign on Highway 10.

When members met Tuesday night, Zupin alerted them that the signage has been ordered and they received the necessary permit. She also mentioned that some work will commence while students are on spring break, which runs from March 26th through the 30th.

Some of the preliminary work that will be started next week includes running cable for security technology, field verification for lighting and electrical work and D.A. Dodd, the company awarded the plumbing bid, will begin work on the gas line. She said a meeting will also be held with NIPSCO representatives to discuss rebates.

Zupin added that the pool will begin shutting down on April 30th and there will be limited access to the JR/SR High Media Center starting May 7th.

Several Local Officials Attend Starke County Economic Development Foundation’s Community Retreat

Posted on March 21, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

A variety of local representatives gathered Tuesday morning to learn more about development opportunities during the Starke County Economic Development Foundation’s Community Retreat.

Those in attendance included members of the Starke County Commissioners and the Chamber of Commerce as well as local officials from the communities of Bass Lake, Hamlet, Knox and North Judson.

The event ran from 7:30 a.m. until noon and was held at the SCEDF office in Knox.

Executive Director Larry Wickert came up with the idea for this workshop after attending an Economic Development Course at Ball State back in January. Community Dynamics President Bob Schaefer was the event moderator.

Speakers included KIRPC Director Edwin Buswell, OCRA’s Northwest Indiana Community Liaison Gerry White, Brian Sheehan, the Director of Special Projects and Community Development in Rushville, Indiana and Geoff Schomacker, an Economic Development Finance Professional from Ball State University.

Buswell and White provided some information about various programs and grants that are available to assist with community development efforts. Sheehan, on the other hand, came to provide some real-world examples of how the city of Rushville, which earned Stellar Community Designation status back in 2016, utilized available resources to significantly improve the state of their community.

Opportunities that were covered included the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority’s Crowd Granting Program, financial assistance available through the Indiana Bond Bank and the U.S Economic Development Association’s Public Works Program which helps distressed communities revitalize, expand and upgrade their physical infrastructure.

Schomacker provided the final presentation and focused on quality of place and shifting trends. He highlighted the fact that bringing in jobs is not the sole solution to cities and towns who are facing population decline and stagnant development.

Schomacker mentioned that just because people may work in a community, that doesn’t necessarily mean they live there or spend their time and money there. He said the major focus needs to shift from drawing industry to capitalizing on and improving the existing amenities in order to help transform communities into places where people will want to stay.

After some of the presentations, the different groups separated into break-off sessions to discuss the presentations amongst themselves in order to brainstorm ways to apply the concepts in their own communities.

Before breaking for lunch, Starke County Economic Development Foundation Executive Director thanked everyone for coming out and suggested that quarterly meetings that incorporate multiple communities could be held in the future to keep these collective conversations going.

He also reminded everyone in attendance that the Stellar Communities Designation Program now has more of a regional focus and it would be helpful to coordinate with neighboring officials about potentially forming a plan to apply for the designation.

Kankakee River Basin Commissions Discusses Pros and Cons of Yellow River Pilot Project

Posted on March 21, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

A bank stabilization pilot project that was recently conducted on the Yellow River was discussed during last Thursday’s Kankakee River Basin Commission meeting.

Starke County Surveyor Bill Crase said that about 2200 feet of work was completed along both sides of the river. He told commission members that he was very impressed with the results, especially with the way the banks were able to withstand recent flooding.

He said only about 300 feet of damage was incurred and suspected that was likely from floating debris striking the spot rather than structural inefficiencies. However, there were certain issues with the way that the project that kept Crase from considering it a complete success.

“We had a successful project but at the end of the day, the cost per foot made it unsuccessful on paper. If we are going to consider carrying on with that project, we have to have our local people do it.” Crase explained, “We can not bring in big companies for big dollars with that kind of money per foot or we’re never going to get anything done.”

Crase said he was under the impression that local businesses would be utilized for aspects of the project since it was mentioned in the agreement and he was instructed to submit an approved list of local companies on more than one occasion. However, the North Carolina-based consulting firm North States Environmental reportedly went out of county for much of the work.

A few different examples were provided, but one instance Crase referenced was a time where a larger excavator was required. Crase said he offered up a local contractor who was willing to rent an excavator that could have been used right away but the firm decided to rent the equipment from a company out of the area and had to wait two weeks for it to come in.

Since the project was started late in the fall, Crase said there wasn’t really an opportunity for them to stop the work in order to address the consulting issues due to time constraints. He added that the anticipated cost of the project was expected to be about $300,000 and it came in a bit over $500,000.

Commission Secretary and Jasper County Surveyor Vince Urbano stated that as a representative of the commission and a county surveyor he was dismayed to hear that the size of the project could have potentially been doubled for the same price, had local help been utilized.

Commission Treasurer Kevin Breitzke said though the KRBC isn’t involved with creating the contract, he was upset to learn that local workers were not utilized or trained since they were told that they would be. Vice Chairman Ken Purze stressed the fact that the KRBC is a funding source and that project supervision is out of their control. He said that responsibility falls to the individual county surveyors and drainage boards.

Though the discussion got a bit heated with various county officials weighing in on the perceived failures or coming to the defense of the KRBC, Crase ended his report saying that it doesn’t do any good to sit and argue about it now. He stated that the purpose of his report was to highlight the pros and alert commission members of the cons.

He added that if the KRBC does plan to fund similar bank stabilization projects in other counties, officials now know that the utilization of local workers and the importance of maintaining individual project control will need to be emphasized as an absolute requirement in order to keep any future projects from facing the same problems.

Chairman Chris Knochel thanked Starke County Surveyor Crase for his report and said this pilot project has served as a valuable learning opportunity for the commission members.

Starke County Council Discusses Expenditures for Sheriff’s Office

Posted on March 21, 2018
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

The Starke County Council members discussed funding for a new industrial-type washer and dryer at the justice center.

Starke County Sheriff Bill Dulin told the council members Monday night that one set is from the old location on Pearl Street and they need an additional set to keep up with the amount of laundry. A quote from Miller Laundry Service was provided at a cost of $15,152. The price includes delivery and installation.

The council members supported the purchase, but asked Sheriff Dulin to get a second quote just to be on the safe side.

The sheriff also discussed an outstanding dental services bill that the county has had for the past three years. The estimated bill due is approximately $10,000-$12,000.

He explained that if an inmate has a dental issue, the jail nurse is required to assess the issue and if a tooth is to be extracted a dentist comes to the jail and performs the extraction. Sheriff Dulin said extractions are the only services given to the inmates. For example, services including fillings, crowns, plates, dentures, or cleanings are not part of the agreement.

The county is required by state law to offer dental services.

Sheriff Dulin asked the council to pay the bill so the practice can continue at the jail to avoid a lawsuit.

The council members approved action to settle the bill. Half of the cost will come from the Jail Commissary Fund and the other half will come from the Therapeutic Community Fund.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Inmates Graduate from Chemical Dependency and Addictions Program

Posted on March 20, 2018
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

Eight inmates from the Starke County Justice Center are now graduates of the Chemical Dependency and Addictions Program.

The program allowed inmates the opportunity to obtain counseling services and substance abuse education while incarcerated in the Starke County Justice Center. It was a 14-week treatment program facilitated by Porter-Starke Services and led by Chemical Dependency and Addictions Therapist Leo Smith. Therapists assisted inmates in restructuring behaviors and thoughts in addiction remediation. Skills taught included the management of stress, anger, cravings, triggers, critical reasoning and decision making.

A graduation ceremony was held Monday morning at the Starke County Justice Center where the graduates shared a goodbye letter to the drug of their choice and how they are motivated to change. Supporters were also given time to offer words to encourage a successful return into the community.

The program was also made possible in part by the Starke County Sheriff’s Office jail staff, Starke Circuit Court Judge Kim Hall, and officials with the Starke County Prosecutor’s Office, Starke County Probation Office, and Starke County Community Corrections.

Monday’s ceremony concluded the 5th program of its kind at the sheriff’s office.

Starke Circuit Court Judge Kim Hall (L) and Leo Smith (R) 
stand with the graduates of the Chemical Dependency and and Addiction Program

Be Prepared for Severe Weather

Posted on March 20, 2018
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

Be prepared for severe weather by creating a safety plan and prepare a household disaster kit.

The Indiana Department of Homeland Security encourages residents to practice severe weather emergency plans which include identifying an evacuation route in your home and in neighborhoods. During a tornado, the safest place is the basement or storm cellar. If those options are not available, go to an interior room on the lowest level with no windows. Seek shelter from flying debris by getting under a desk, table or sturdy object.

A household disaster kit should include food and water for three days, a battery-operated all-hazards radio, flashlight, extra batteries, first-aid kit, extra clothing, rain gear, blankets, personal hygiene items, a list of important phone numbers, important documents, cash, and special items including prescriptions and baby and pet supplies.

During this National Severe Weather Preparedness Week, a family drill is recommended so everyone is familiar with the evacuation plan. Children should be aware of how to call 9-1-1 and what information to provide emergency personnel.

For more information, visit

Updates at Norwayne Field Discussed During North Judson Town Council Meeting

Posted on March 20, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

Big changes are happening at Norwayne Field in North Judson.

At last night’s town council meeting Park Board representative Nick Radke informed members that the band shell has been fully assembled. He added that additional lighting and stonework is pending. He also thanked Town Superintendent Marshall Horstmann for all his assistance with the assembly.

In other news, Schambers Masonry completed the repair work that needed to be done to the brick wall that runs along highway 10. The company also took care of a couple additional minor repairs that needed to be made the existing stage and the concrete bleachers.

Back in December, Clerk-Treasurer Andrew Rowe stated that the wall was in desperate need of repairs as many spots had stones missing and portions were crumbling.

At the end of 2017, the town encumbered leftover building improvement funds to help cover costs. Clerk-Treasurer Rowe initially anticipated the repair project to be around $6,700. However, the town ended up saving over $800 as the repairs came in at a total cost of $5,885.

Town Council members voted unanimously to pay Schambers Masonry for the repair work they completed at Norwayne Field.

Starke County Council Approves Cardiac Monitor Funding

Posted on March 20, 2018
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

The Starke County Council members approved funding for two Lifepak 15 cardiac monitors during their meeting Monday night.

The commissioners deemed the purchase as an emergency during their March 5 meeting after EMS Director Travis Clary reported that two decades-old devices recently quit working. That left the county with no backup devices. To ensure that each ambulance had a working device with spares, the emergency purchase was made. Clary told the county council members Monday night that the devices arrived earlier in the day.

Clary previously mentioned that the cardiac monitors are just a newer version of the old devices so no additional training is needed.

The monitors were priced at just over $42,500 that includes a trade-in cost of the broken cardiac monitors worth $10,000.

The council members voted unanimously to fund the cardiac monitors by opting for the five-year, zero-percent interest payment option. The first $8,500 payment will be made out of the Rainy Day Fund. The EMS Department will include the rest of the payments in their budget for the remaining years.

Monday, March 19, 2018

New Medicare Cards Coming 2018-2019

You asked, and we listened. You’re getting a new Medicare card! Between April 2018 and April 2019, we’ll be removing Social Security numbers from Medicare cards and mailing each person a new card. This will help keep your information more secure and help protect your identity.

You’ll get a new Medicare Number that’s unique to you, and it will only be used for your Medicare coverage. The new card won’t change your coverage or benefits. You’ll get more information from Medicare when your new card is mailed.

INDOT Announces Complete Closure on U.S. 421 Near Medaryville for Bridge Deck Replacement

Posted on March 18, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

The Indiana Department of Transportation has announced that all lanes of U.S. 421, north of the Medaryville Town limits will be closed beginning Monday, March 19th and will remain closed until early September.

INDOT crews will be replacing the bridge deck for the structure over Antrim Ditch, just north of County Road 200 North.

Since state road detours must be along state-mandated roads only, INDOT officials stated that drivers traveling northbound on U.S. 421 will be detoured west on SR 14, north on SR 49, east on SR 10 and back to U.S. 421. Drivers traveling southbound on U.S. 421 will be detoured west on SR 10, south on SR 49, east on SR 14 and back to U.S. 421.

For more information, utilize INDOT’s Traffic Wise Traveler Information Service.

State Wide Test of Emergency Alert System to be Held Tuesday Morning

Posted on March 19, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

As a part of Severe Weather Preparedness Week, which runs from March 18th through the 24th, Indiana broadcast stations will participate in a statewide tornado drill on Tuesday, March 20th.

The National Weather Service test of the statewide Emergency Alert System will be issued for 15 minutes at 9:15 a.m. CT/10:15 a.m. ET tomorrow morning.

The tornado test drill is being conducted to ensure that the statewide Indiana Emergency Alert System network is operating properly and that it will be ready to respond in the event of a tornado warning.

Indiana Broadcasters Association Executive Director Dave Arland commented that all Hoosiers know how erratic Indiana weather can be so officials just want to make sure their systems are firing on all cylinders in case Mother Nature shows us her worst.

According to Arland, the IBA has been participating in this drill for more than three decades and broadcasters remain committed to doing all they can to keep Hoosiers safe at times when they are often most vulnerable.

In the event of severe or inclement weather, the test will be rescheduled and held on Wednesday, March 21st.

Starke County Park Board Agrees to Compensation Offer for Bass Lake Beach Gate House Damage

Posted on March 19, 2018
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

The Starke County Park Board is ready to accept an insurance settlement for damage to the Bass Lake Beach gate house. The structure was seriously damaged when a pickup truck reportedly crashed into it back in November.

The truck owner’s insurance provider offered the county just over $2,500 in compensation. Starke County Park Board President Roger Chaffins originally felt that amount was too low, after Starke County Building Inspector Terry Stephenson determined the gate house was unsafe and called for its removal.

However, Bass Lake Beach and Campground Assistant Manager Larry Clarich and others disagreed. Clarich told the park board last week that he felt the building could be repaired, and the $2,500 figure should be enough to cover the cost. Based on that recommendation, the park board voted to accept the insurance offer, as long as Stephenson agrees to the plan.

Chaffins suggested that local community members can help with the repairs, after similar efforts were used to save a pavilion that was ordered to be demolished. Clarich said some of the campground users said they’d be willing to help.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Starke County and Pulaski County Health Rankings for 2018

Posted on March 17, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

The annual County Health Rankings Reports have been released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin’s Population Health Institute.

While Pulaski County Ranked higher than Starke County in health factors and outcomes, their rank fell compared to last year while Starke County saw an improvement in each category.

Out of all 92 counties within the state of Indiana, Starke County was ranked in 79th place for health outcomes compared to 86th last year. Meanwhile in 2018 Pulaski County was ranked in the 53rd spot compared to 47th in 2017.

Health outcomes are measured by assessing the frequency of premature death and certain quality of life factors such as the percentage of poor physical and mental health days and the percentage of low birth weights.

In the health factors category, Pulaski County was ranked at 49th this year, falling from the rank of 37th in the previous year. Starke County came in lower than Pulaski, ranked number 86. However, that is one place higher than where it was ranked in 2017.

That section incorporates health behaviors, such as smoking, obesity, and teen birth rates as well as the physical environment of a county, social and economic factors and clinical care statistics.

When it comes to health factors, there were a few areas where the two counties were not so different. Adult smoking in Starke County was reported at 22 percent while Pulaski reported 20 percent and there was only a one percent difference between the excessive drinking statistics which came in at 16 percent for Starke and 17 percent for Pulaski.

Some of the biggest differences in health factor statistics came from those related to exercise opportunities and adult obesity.

Although Starke County lists a significantly higher percentage in the access to exercise opportunities category, reporting 64 percent compared Pulaski’s 35 percent the report indicates that adult obesity in Starke County is at 36 percent compared to 30 percent in Pulaski County.

Click the following links to view the entire reports for Starke and Pulaski, to compare counties and to learn more about the County Health Rankings reports.

Starke County Park Board Discusses Rent Increase, Clarifications to Bass Lake Beach Lease

Posted on March 17, 2018
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

Members of the Starke County Park Board continue to call for clarifications to the Bass Lake Beach and Campground lease, and that could mean a rent increase for Callahan Development, LLC.

The company has already notified the county that it will exercise its option to renew its lease through April of 2028. But park board member Debbie Mix says there are still some things that need to be resolved. “I don’t think it should just happen without the board giving some kind of final something because some wording has to change, just because they’re not going to be receiving another 10 years,” Mix said during Tuesday’s meeting. “So that portion has to be taken out.”

“No, that doesn’t have to be taken out,” replied County Attorney Marty Lucas. “There was one option to renew. It doesn’t become two options to renew.”

Lucas said that while the park board could propose changes at any time, that doesn’t impact Callahan’s right to renew the lease as it is. Lucas agreed that some clarification would help, though. “There is actually one thing, now that you raise it,” he said. “I think the issue about exactly what the increase in the rent will be is something that we need to sort out with them.”

Up until now, Callahan’s actual rent payment has been significantly reduced, to compensate the company for capital improvements to the property. But what exactly qualifies as a capital improvement as opposed to normal maintenance has been a topic of debate.

Mix thought that should be specified in the lease, but Board President Roger Chaffins wasn’t so sure. “As far as repairs, that unfortunately has to be decided by us, when you do stuff,” Chaffins said. “That’s our decision, and we’d have to work out. I mean, it’s a sad situation, I’m sorry, but we just have to work it out.”

Chaffins did agree that the rent needs to go up, though. Further complicating matters is the ongoing discussion about splitting the Bass Lake Beach and Campground into separate operations, but that conversation is still in early stages.

In the end, board member Rosemary Rose agreed to meet with Callahan’s representatives to discuss a possible rent increase and other issues that may come up. Lucas pointed out that anything they agree upon would then have to go before the full park board for approval.

Friday, March 16, 2018

421 Closure North Of Medaryville

From the Indiana Department of Transportation: Northwest

ROAD CLOSURE - US 421, Pulaski County:

Heads-up folks, US 421 will be closed beginning Monday, just north of Medaryville. All lanes of US 421 will be closed over the Antrim Ditch, which is just north of CR 200N, for a bridge deck replacement. This closure will be in place through early September.

Frankenstein Fridays - #9: Chapter 7

It's Frankenstein Friday! Join us as we wrap up Volume 1:  Chapter 7

Kankakee River Basin Commission Votes to Fund Preliminary Repair Costs

Posted on March 16, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

When Kankakee River Basin Commission members met Thursday morning, they permitted a total of $254,000 to be paid to three counties in order to assist with immediate repair needs resulting from the recent flooding.

Initially, members considered having all funding requests submitted at a meeting that would be held within the next 30 days but a few members said there were some issues with that idea.

Many surveyors had no choice but to immediately tend to problems that arose during the floods. The work that has already been done needs to be paid for and La Porte County Surveyor Tony Hendricks requested $85,000 to cover repair costs while Jasper County Surveyor Vince Urbano asked for $71,000 for work that has been done so far.

Starke County Surveyor Bill Crase presented another unique issue. He explained that he had to rent trucks for repair work that Starke County crews have been doing. He added that La Porte County has been utilizing those trucks as well. He said if he has to wait for the funding, the trucks will have to be returned and the rental process would need to start over which would end up costing more money. He had additional work that has been done and needs to be paid for as well. He requested a total of $98,000 to help cover repair costs so far.

The remainder of the county representatives said they would be able to wait to request funds at a later date once they have a better idea of what work will cost. Commission members voted to pay Jasper, La Porte and Starke counties for their immediate needs.

Additionally, members voted unanimously to hold a special session at 9:30 a.m. on April 12th, in order for members to prioritize projects for funding requests. Many places have been patching up problem areas but permanent fixes will need to be made in order to keep the same problems from occurring during future storms.

Jasper County Surveyor and Commission Secretary Vince Urbano expressed a concern with holding a meeting so soon, saying it is still too dangerous for crews to do full assessments at this point. However, he was assured that if all projects are unable to be submitted in April, the funds won’t be fully allocated and additional plans can be submitted later once it is safer to assess the area.

The counties of Starke, Marshall, La Porte, Lake, Porter, Newton, Jasper and St. Joseph all have county surveyors, commissioners and Soil and Water Conservation District supervisors on the Kankakee River Basin Commission (KRBC). The members coordinate on various aspects related to the river including maintenance, planning and organizing funding for projects.

More details from the KRBC meeting will be provided in future stories and audio will be shared this Sunday at noon during the Kankakee Valley Viewpoints program on K99.3 WKVI.

Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum May Consider Leasing Erie Trail to Starke County

Posted on March 16, 2018
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

Bringing the North Judson Erie Trail under Starke County’s control is something the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum might be willing to consider. The museum owns the trail, but Starke County’s five-year park plan suggests that the county lease it and operate it as a park facility. Starke County Park Board President Roger Chaffins said Tuesday that he spoke with the museum’s president, Cory Bennett, and Bennett seemed open to resuming discussions.

Turning control of the trail over to the county would accomplish a few things. It may possibly allow the trail to be added into the county’s road inventory, allowing the county to take over maintenance. Members of the Prairie Trails Club say it could also make it easier to get grant funding and encourage people to volunteer.

There’s also the possibility that the county could save the museum money by taking over the trail’s insurance, but Chaffins said that wasn’t a big concern for the museum. “He said, ‘We’re really not too worried about the insurance because our insurance is a blanket insurance, which covers that trail, so we’re not too worried about that. What we’re concerned more about is maintenance and upkeep of it.’ Well, I said, ‘I don’t think that would be any problem.'”

County Attorney Marty Lucas has put together a proposed agreement, based on some of the suggestions that have been made. Chaffins said it will be given to the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum’s board of directors for their consideration. “It’s a rough draft,” Chaffins explained, “but if they’re interested and they like what it is, then we get together and we get it worked out, which I don’t see any problem talking to Cory, of having any problem whatsoever working it out, because they’d be happy, I think, to work with it.”

Discussions between the park board and the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum began last year, but little progress was made for several months.

Starke County Economic Development Foundation Appoints Larry Wickert As Executive Director

Posted on March 15, 2018
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

The Starke County Economic Development Foundation has decided to keep Larry Wickert as its executive director. Wickert has been serving as interim executive director since the beginning of the year. Now, the foundation’s board of directors has decided to make his appointment permenant, according to a press release issued Wednesday.

The Starke County Economic Development Foundation had been searching for a new leader, following the retirement of Charlie Weaver. Before he was hired as the foundation’s interim executive director, Wickert served as the president of its board of directors. He’s also managed a retail fertilizer plant, worked as an agronomy consultant, and served as a Starke County commissioner.

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

Starke County Park Board Gets Two More Proposals for Bass Lake Beach Operations

Posted on March 15, 2018
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

The Starke County Park Board continues to hear from people interested in operating the Bass Lake Beach. The entire beach and campground is currently run 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.

During Tuesday’s meeting, Park Board President Roger Chaffins said a couple more responses have come in over the past two weeks. One of those who expressed interest was Tabitha Dillner. She told board members she’d be willing to work with the various parties involved. “I left mine very vague and general on purpose because I don’t know exactly what he would like and us to get together and work out something that works for both ends,” she explained. “I don’t want to say, ‘This is it.'”

At this point, Chaffins said he’s passing along the proposals to Larry Clarich, who oversees the day-to-day operations of the beach and campground. “I’ll also tell you that I had a phone call yesterday from another person,” Chaffins said. “I gave them Larry’s phone number, and I said you might as well figure it out because I said what it is, we’re just trying to decide what to do, and tell us what you can do or what you’d be able to do with it.”

At this point, Clarich appears to be serving as an intermediary. Potential beach operators discuss their proposals with him. He, in turn, will negotiate with lessee Richard Callahan and Callahan’s attorney.

It still remains to be determined how exactly the operations would be split up. Complicating matters is the fact that any arrangement would have to be beneficial for at least three different parties: Callahan, Starke County, and the potential operator.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

3/18/2018 NJ Kiwanis Pancake & Sausage Breakfast

NJ-SP Hoosier Girls State Delegates Announced

Unemployment Rates Up from December, Down from Last Year

Posted on March 14, 2018
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

Unemployment rates are starting to head back up from their low point in December, but they’re still lower than the same period last year. Starke County saw 5.1-percent unemployment in January, according to the latest report from the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, down from 6.3 percent the year before. But it’s a full percentage point higher than the county’s December unemployment rate.

Pulaski County’s rate remains lower. Its January unemployment rate was 3.7 percent, down from 5.1 percent during the same period last year but up from three percent in December. The actual number of Starke County residents working has dropped by over 100 since January of 2017. Pulaski County, on the other hand, has about 10 more residents employed. Both counties continue to experience a shrinking labor force.

Starke and LaPorte counties are tied for the highest unemployment rate in the local area at 5.1 percent, while Marshall County’s is one of the lowest, at 3.3 percent. Indiana as a whole reported 3.6-percent unemployment in January. The national rate was 4.5 percent.

Looking for More Ways to Help Out Local Kids? Attend Starke County CASA’s Training Course This Spring

Posted on March 14, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

There is still time to register for the spring session of Starke County CASA training for anyone interested in being the voice for a local child in need.

A “CASA” or a Court Appointed Special Advocate works with local children who have had abuse or neglect reported to the authorities. Starke County CASA Director Rhonda Adcock has been a CASA volunteer for 10 years and has served as Starke County’s director for 8 years.

Adcock reported that since becoming the director, she’s seen the number of cases in the county triple. While they have seen an increase in the amount of volunteers over the last few years, Adcock said this next class will be very important in helping eliminate the CASA waiting list in Starke County.

“We had kind of a long waiting list where children were waiting almost 6 months for a CASA,” Adcock explained, “We’re down now where they’re only waiting six weeks. With our next class, I feel like we will be at the point where as soon as a child needs a CASA they will get that CASA.”

Once applicants pass necessary interviews and background screenings, prospective volunteers attend 9 weeks of training. Adcock explained that some of that time is spent shadowing existing advocates at court hearings to apply the classroom lessons to real-world scenarios.

Director Adcock mentioned that aside from attending court, volunteers also spend time researching the needs of the child they’re assigned to. She said this can varying depending on the case.

For example, an advocate assigned to a health-related complaint may need to coordinate more with doctors and healthcare professionals, while others who receive notification of educational neglect may others may need to focus on communicating with teachers and school staff.

The spring training session is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, April 10th, so the latest date that an application can be submitted is Monday, April 9th. Individuals need to contact a CASA official to receive an application.

Director Adcock said she can be reached through the Starke County CASA Facebook page. Individuals can also contact the Starke County CASA office by email at or by phone at 574-772-7200.

Starke County Community Foundation Presents $20,000 in Grants to Starke County Park Board

Posted on March 14, 2018
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

The Starke County Forest will get $15,000 worth of improvements this spring, thanks to a grant from the Hardesty Memorial Endowment Fund. The funding was formally presented to the Starke County Park Board Tuesday by Starke County Community Foundation Director of Development Sarah Origer and Northern Indiana Community Foundation Executive Director Jay Albright.

The goal of the project is to improve access and signage at the forest. That will include upgrading the existing access trail into a gravel road, ending at a 10-to-12-car parking lot.

County Attorney Marty Lucas said the Starke County Highway Department is still working on the specific plans. “Actually, I was kind of hoping we’d be a little further along, but I think they’ve been pretty busy with all the flooding,” he said. “The time-frame that was being discussed was kind of dependent on weather, which has not been good so far, but assuming that we don’t have any more giant floods, the time-frame was to have it done by June at the latest but hopefully earlier than that.”

During Tuesday’s meeting, the community foundation representatives also presented the park board with a $5,000 grant for improvements to the Bass Lake Beach. The Community Support Grant will help with efforts to prevent and repair sand erosion.

Origer told board members that grants like these are a result of years of donations at the Starke County Community Foundation. “The community foundation is a true endowment,” she said. “The dollars that are donated are invested, and it’s a portion of the earnings that have come back year after year after year, that are making these two grants possible.”

Since $5,000 won’t cover the whole cost of the Bass Lake Beach project, the Starke County Park Board is also exploring other grant opportunities. Board President Roger Chaffins said the county is still waiting for the results of its application for $2,500 from Kankakee Valley REMC’s Operation Round Up program. But the park board’s request for $5,000 from Arrowhead Country Resource Conservation and Development has been denied.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Starke County Children Invited to Block Party

Posted on March 13, 2018
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

All Starke County children from newborn to kindergarten-aged children are invited to a block party this Thursday, March 15.

Children will visit organized block play stations with informational topics for parents. This event will help children get a sense of the aspects of math, science, literacy, and social and physical skills by engaging in block play. By playing with blocks, early childhood experts say that children learn a host of skills including imagination, self-expression, creativity, self-esteem, and emotional growth.

A light meal is included in this Thursday’s event from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. CT in the Knox Elementary School Gymnasium. Those attending are asked to enter Door #5.

For more information, contact Knox Director of Curriculum and Instruction Peggy Shidaker at 574-772-1602.

Starke County Park Board to Get Updates on Grant Applications

Posted on March 13, 2018
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

The Starke County Park Board will get updates on some grant applications tonight. The park board has already been awarded $5,000 from the Starke County Community Foundation to help prevent and repair erosion at the Bass Lake Beach. Starke County is also seeking funding from Arrowhead Country Resource Conservation and Development and Kankakee Valley REMC’s Operation Round Up program.

The park board is also expected to get an update on its request for nearly $15,000 from the Hardesty Memorial Foundation to upgrade parking and signage at the Starke County Forest.

In other business tonight, the Starke County Park Board plans to continue its discussion of the Bass Lake Beach gate house. The structure was seriously damaged when a pickup truck reportedly crashed into it back in November, but Park Board President Roger Chaffins hasn’t been happy with the compensation offer from the truck owner’s insurance provider.

Tonight’s Starke County Park Board meeting starts at 6:00 p.m. in Starke County Annex Building No. 1.

Monday, March 12, 2018

NJ Town Superintendent Discusses Funding for Paving and Sidewalk Upgrades

Posted on March 12, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

North Judson Town Superintendent Marshall Horstmann told council members that the town was recently awarded $158,160 in Federal Highway Administration funds for phase three of their ADA compliance project.

At their meeting last Monday, he mentioned since planning and engineering costs haven’t been factored in yet, that won’t even be the complete amount awarded. He also told members that with all three phases of the ADA compliance projects, the town has been awarded a total of $406,360 so far.

Though phase three won’t be tackled until 2022, Horstmann has been diligent in providing the plans to council members for their review and submitting them to the necessary state organizations in a timely manner.

Horstmann added that due to Community Crossings Grant funding they have an additional $125,094.75 for paving.

He said if you combine the Community Crossings Grant funds with the money they’ve been awarded through the ADA compliance projects, the town has a total of $531,454.75 to spend for paving and sidewalk upgrades. Horstmann said while that may not seem like much to some communities, it really it will do a lot of good in North Judson.

New Paramedics on Staff with Starke County EMS

Posted on March 12, 2018
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

There are two new full-time paramedics on staff with the Starke County EMS Department.

EMS Director Travis Clary notified the Starke County Commissioners last week that one of the new hires started the week of March 5 and the other will begin duties this week. Two new full-time Basic EMTs were also hired. They are replacing two vacancies from resignations.

Clary also mentioned that he would like to put in place a paramedic captain. The paramedic captain would be like a shift supervisor for when Clary is not on station or attending a function and is not reachable.

He is considering compensation for the added responsibility of either an additional $.25 or $.50 an hour for four paramedics to assume those duties. According to Clary, a $.25 increase would be $2,696 gross a year while the $.50 increase would be $5,408 gross a year. He said it wouldn’t have an extreme impact on the budget and it is less expensive than staffing an assistant director at a salary of over $40,000 a year.

The commissioners asked Clary to come up with a job description. They will review it and if they are in favor of the contents they will forward a recommendation for a paramedic captain to the county council. The council will then approve a wage. The commissioners anticipate reviewing the job description when they meet on Monday, March 19.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Highland Cemetery Concern Brought Before North Judson Town Council

Posted on March 10, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

Some concerns about the Highland Cemetery were brought to the attention of the North Judson Town Council Members when they met Monday night.

Resident Vicki Richey informed members that she was speaking on behalf of everyone who has a loved one buried in the cemetery.

She stated that she used to own a tree-service company and recently looked over the land at Highland and found about 45 tree stumps. She added that there is also split tree that should be taken care of because if it falls it runs the risk of damaging some headstones.

She asked the town council members to look into getting those removed in order to make the cemetery look nicer for residents and out-of-town visitors. Richey said if funds don’t currently exist for cemetery beautification, she’d be willing to arrange a fundraiser.

Councilwoman Jane-Ellen Felchuck thanked Richey for offering the possible solution.
Councilman John Rowe said it wasn’t something that could be done right away, but it was definitely a reasonable request to look into. Council President Wendy Hoppe added that it is a tough situation to address, as digging in a cemetery can be tricky.

She said in the past, there were six plots a row but more recently they had to add in graves in between those plots, leading to even more potential obstacles. Regardless of the possible difficulty, she agreed with Councilman Rowe that they will look into the matter and see what can be done.

Starke County Commissioners Approve Amendment to Manufactured Housing Applicability Ordinance, Discuss Code Enforcement Officer

Posted on March 10, 2018
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

A change was discussed this week to Starke County’s ordinance on manufactured housing applicability.

Building Inspector Terry Stephenson told the Starke County Commissioners this week he would like to eliminate the need for a licensed set crew.

“Since I’ve got to go out and inspect everything, the average set crew is charging $2,000 to $2,500 to set and inspect these mobile homes,” said Stephenson. “I think the county would be better served that if they took that extra $2,000 and bought a nicer mobile home.”

Stephenson added that the crews set the mobile home on the pads or runners that have already been inspected and then he has to inspect the placement to ensure all is within code. Stephenson said the crew doesn’t have to charge for the inspection since he’s already handling the process.

The commissioners unanimously approved the amendment.

In other business, the commissioners had a chance to review an ordinance to acknowledge that a code enforcement officer will be under the supervision of the Starke County Planning Commission. As part of the ordinance, the plan commission members will have the authority to hire, fire, discipline, and assign tasks and deadlines for the code enforcement officer.

This is a new position. The county council approved funding for the officer for this year’s budget. A person has not yet been hired in that position.

The commissioners approved the ordinance with a unanimous vote.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Frankenstein Friday #8 - Chapter 6

It's Frankenstein Friday! The plot thickens with the first death of the novel. Read Chapter 6 with us. 

NJ-SP High School Academic Super Bowl Teams

Congratulations to the High School Academic Super Bowl Teams for a wonderful performance last night at the Lowell invitational!

The Math and Science teams placed 2nd and the Social Studies, Fine Arts, and English teams took home 3rd place ribbons. Way to go teams! The next competition is March 13th at River Forest.

English Academic Team (Not pictured - Erin)

Math Academic Team

Science Academic Team

Social Studies Academic Team

North Judson Police Officer Rico Simpson and His K9 Partner Complete Week 2 of Training

Posted on March 9, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

North Judson Police Officer Rico Simpson is at the tail end of week two of K9 training at Vohne-Liche Kennels and according to Town Marshal Kelly Fisher, things are going really well.

At Monday’s North Judson Town Council meeting, Marshal Fisher told members that Officer Simpson and his K9 Partner Jimy already have a phenomenal bond. She said Jimy has a great demeanor and is doing well in his training courses so far.

Fisher shared a bit about the training so far, “Actually, he detected a bomb that one of the instructors forgot that he had left. I said well hopefully he didn’t pull the key out and hand it to Rico and say ‘look what I found’. But he’s doing really well with tracking so he’s coming along real good.”

Fisher added that the kennel for the K9 SUV has been installed and the police lights will be added this weekend. She said she’s hoping that by the next town council meeting, she’ll be able to bring the vehicle and the next K9 to a meeting so everyone will have a chance to see how numerous community contributions helped the North Judson Police Department’s K9 program.

Officer Simpson and his K9 partner have approximately 4 more weeks of training to complete. Marshal Fisher said at the halfway point she is going to go down to Vohne-Liche Kennels to see some of the progress that Jimy and Rico have made with their training. She added that if any of the council members were interested in tagging along, they are more than welcome to.

Starke County IT Director to Research New Jail Computer Program

Posted on March 9, 2018
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

The Starke County Sheriff’s Office may get a new dispatch program to better suit the needs of the department.

Starke County IT Director Mark Gourley told the commissioners this week that the CAD program, or Computer Aided Dispatch, offered an update in August where some promised features weren’t a part of the update. He said he’s talking more with the vendor about that.

Gourley said he spoke further with Sheriff Bill Dulin and they agree that the level of non-service they get from the current vendor isn’t worth the thousands of dollars a year to maintain the program.

An alternative program is being researched for better service and better acquisition of information needed for specific reports and data for the application of grant funds. The entry system only allows initial text to be included and cannot be edited. For instance, if the dispatch center receives a medical call, but it turns out to be a heroin overdose case, that information in the initial call can’t be changed to include that status update. That type of data is imperative as the county continues to combat the drug problem. Those numbers can be compared to surrounding areas and delivered to agencies who grant funds to assist in drug eradication efforts.

Detective Adam Gray added that when he does his monthly reports, he has to go in and search for cases by hand which takes several hours.

A new program could cost upwards of $150,000, but Sheriff Dulin said it would allow the sheriff’s office to be more efficient and more accurate.

Gourley will be working more with Sheriff Dulin to research programs and costs to present to the commissioners in April.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Daylight Saving Time Starts Sunday

Posted on March 8, 2018
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

Get ready to “spring forward.” Daylight Saving Time officially begins Sunday at 2:00 a.m. That means clocks should be moved forward one hour before going to bed on Saturday.

It’s also a good time to change the batteries in your smoke alarm and make sure it’s working properly. The Indiana Department of Homeland Security also reminds residents to check their smoke alarms’ manufacture date. If it’s more than 10 years old, it’s time for a new one.

Having working smoke alarms doubles your chance of surviving a house fire, according to the National Fire Protection Association. More fire safety tips can be found on the Indiana Department of Homeland Security website.

Starke County Economic Development Foundation to Hold Community Retreat

Posted on March 8, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

The Starke County Economic Development Foundation will be holding a community retreat at their office in Knox on Tuesday, March 20th from 7:30 a.m. until noon CT.

Interim Executive Director Larry Wickert spoke to the North Judson Town Council members about the session during their meeting Monday night. He cleared up some confusion about the focus, stating that the event will be open to all municipalities in the area and will not solely be about development in North Judson.

“I decided to try and make it all the communities in the county who would get together to talk.” Wickert explained, “We’ve got some great speakers to talk and then we’d have break out sessions where each group could get together to talk about what was just presented and how we might do things in our community like that.”

Wickert said community leaders in Koontz Lake, Knox, Hamlet and Bass Lake have also been invited to attend this informational retreat.

According to Wickert, the event will feature a few different speakers who will talk about economic development and why quality-of-place matters. The Executive Director of KIRPC Edwin Buswell and OCRA Community Liaison Gerry White will present information about programs and grants that are available for community development.

An economic development official from Ball State University will also be in attendance, providing information about the importance of community presentation when it comes to drawing in new businesses.

Wickert added that a representative from Rushville, Indiana will also be one of the speakers. He will provide a first-hand account of how particular grants and programs assisted with community development in his city.

Wickert told North Judson town council members that he’d be willing to arrange a follow-up meeting after the retreat. He said a follow-up meeting would allow members the opportunity to discuss the material presented during the community retreat as it specifically relates to the town of North Judson.

Golf Cart Signage at Bass Lake Causes Confusion

Posted on March 8, 2018
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

The Starke County Commissioners discussed signs posted by INDOT concerning the operation of golf carts on State Road 10 at Bass Lake.

Commissioner Kathy Norem said she received several comments from members of the Bass Lake Property Owners Association about the signs. Norem said there are conflicting interpretations of the signs that urge motorists to watch for crossing golf carts.

According to INDOT officials, state law prohibits the operation of golf carts on state highways. This includes State Road 10 that winds around the south side of Bass Lake. While the county allows golf carts on designated county roads, the county’s governance has no jurisdiction on state highways. Golf carts may cross the state highway, but a golf cart cannot continuously travel on the state highway. Violators will be ticketed.

INDOT officials say the signs posted at Bass Lake are intended to alert motorists that golf carts may cross a state highway.

County Attorney Marty Lucas will officially submit a letter to INDOT asking for clarification to distribute to the Bass Lake Property Owners Association board members.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

INSPIRE gets a makeover

INSPIRE, our statewide collection of databases, is celebrating its 20th birthday, and for a gift, we’ve given its homepage a fresh new makeover.

The new interface is powered by EBSCO Stacks and has a clean “tiled” appearance featuring some of our most popular resources, including:

  • Rosetta Stone
  • Consumer Reports
  • Health and Medicine
  • Test Preparation
  • Current News
  • Historic Newspapers
  • Digital Collections
  • Genealogy

Library users and staff can select one of these pre-selected topics and quickly navigate to that area. These databases will rotate as needed, and we welcome any suggestions you may have. There is also a scrolling menu of other subjects (e.g. biographies, business and student resources) below the tiles.

The search box and results page have not been changed, and you can easily start your search by typing in keywords in the box at the top of the homepage. If anyone prefers the previous interface, that can still be accessed here or by clicking on the and graphic on the new homepage.

Watch for new “how-to” videos, as well as an updated FAQ page, coming later this year.

INSPIRE is free for use for all Indiana residents, and is made possible by the Indiana General Assembly through Build Indiana Funds, The Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, and in partnership with the Academic Libraries of Indiana.

This post was written by Jen Clifton, Library Development Office. For more information on INSPIRE, visit here or send an email

This entry was posted in Library Development Office and tagged anniversary, consumer reports, Indiana, INSPIRE, Library, updates, virtual library by indianastatelibrary. Bookmark the permalink.

3/16/2018 Kids' Night Out @ NJ-SP High School

Kids' Night Out (Sponsored by the NJ-SP Junior Class): 5:00-8:00 PM (Pre-register at 4:30)

For grades 1-6  Cost is $10!

You can pick up a copy of the following form at the Liberty Elementary School office.

Fishing/Hunting Licenses Expire 3/31/2018

Reminder, the 2017 Fishing and Hunting Licenses expire on March 31st. For more information on purchasing a license, click here:

3/10/2018 Starke County Young Artists' Conference

Starke County Jail Offers Green Thumb Gardening Class as a Part of F.A.R.M Program

Posted on March 7, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

According to Starke County Sheriff Bill Dulin, more than 30 jail inmates recently started a gardening class instructed by Starke County Purdue Extension Educator Phil Woolery.

Sheriff Dulin shared that a total of 32 inmates will be attending the month-long class where Woolery will teach lessons about agriculture, horticulture and other skills related to botany.

He said the “green thumb” gardening class is a part of a Starke County Jail program called F.A.R.M., which is an acronym that stands for Focusing A Recovery Mindset. He said the goal of the programs is to give inmates the opportunity to learn a set of skills that they can use when they integrate back into the community.

Sheriff Dulin said that according to the most recent statistics, the F.A.R.M Program coupled with the Substance Abuse Program has 78 graduates, counting the current class. Of those 78 individuals, only 9 have re-offended resulting in a 15 percent recidivism rate. Dulin commented that the Starke County Jail’s recidivism rate is tremendously lower than the national rate which is currently at 67 percent.

Utility Tractor to Receive Repairs Following North Judson Town Council Members’ Decision

Posted on March 7, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

North Judson Town Superintendent Marshall Horstmann informed town council members about the projected cost for repairs on the utility tractor during their meeting Monday night.

In previous meetings, Horstmann brought the failing tractor to the council’s attention, stating that the John Deere model was from the 1960s and that it had many issues that made it inoperable. He proposed completely replacing the tractor and sought out some used ones to buy. He was only able to find one used tractor and two new tractors for sale.

At the last town council meeting, Councilman Josh Brown asked Horstmann to have the tractor serviced to find out how much it would cost to make the repairs, as purchasing a new tractor is not necessarily feasible for the town at this time.

Horstmann explained that after having the tractor looked at by GreenMark Equipment, they found six major problems that would cost $5,271.50 to repair. He said for that price, they offered to perform a tune up on the tractor and fix the clutch, the water pump, the break-away couplings and leaks in the exhaust and the hydraulic pump.

While considering whether or not to move forward with the repairs, Councilman James Young mentioned that it would cost a lot less than replacing it. Members agreed that having the tractor up and running would be worth the cost. Members established a purchase order for the cost of the repairs and then voted unanimously to approve the P.O.

Applications Now Being Accepted for Mail-In Ballots, Ahead of May Primary

Posted on March 7, 2018
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

Those who want to vote in the May 8 primary but won’t be able to make it to the polls on Election Day have a few options. The Starke County Clerk’s Office is now accepting applications for mail-in ballots. They’ll be sent out to qualified voters starting the week of March 24, according to county election officials.

Voters in Starke County can request to vote absentee-by-mail by calling 574-772-9160.

The Pulaski County Clerk’s Office can be reached at 574-946-3313.

The option to vote absentee-by-mail is available to those who won’t be able to vote on Election Day due to a variety of reasons, such as work obligations, illness, injury, or religious reasons. Voters who are at least 65 years of age and those who have a disability are also eligible to vote by mail. Complete eligibility guidelines can be found on the Indiana Secretary of State’s Office website.

Additionally, any voter registered in Indiana may vote in-person at their local early voting site, starting April 10. Click here for more information on early voting in Starke County, or click here for information on early voting in Pulaski County.

Starke County Highway Department Assessing Roads after Flood Event

Posted on March 7, 2018
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

Crews from the Starke County Highway Department continue to assess road damage due to the recent flood event.

Starke County Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler told the commissioners Monday night that the first stage of flood management is nearly complete.

“That was mostly damage prevention, safety precautions like the road closures and the bridge closures,” said Ritzler. “We closed two bridges for precautionary reasons on the Yellow River on 300 E. and 700 E. Both have been inspected by a bridge inspection engineer and are now open. At one point, we had 65 miles of roadways closed to traffic. We now have 26.”

The second phase of flood management includes assessing road damage and road repairs.

“Most of the bad damage is going to be where those 26 miles of roads are flooded now. We’ve already driven through them and we know they’re already torn up and we’ll have some major repairs to do. We don’t know the extent of that yet and we will know once the water is gone. I talked to [Starke County Surveyor] Bill Crase today and that flooding should be gone in about a week.”

Ritzler added that two large culverts have been replaced on 750 S. just east of 975 E. and 700 S. between 200 W. and 250 W.

The summer road improvement list will change drastically with all of the flood damage. Ritzler is concerned that flood waters may have deteriorated some bridges.

“They’re cleared now, but it may have accelerated some of that deterioration on those bridges. We will see when the formal inspections happen in October.

All townships in Starke County were involved in flood recovery.

When all of the damage is repaired, Ritzler estimates the cost of labor and material to be over $500,000, based on the FEMA reimbursement tables. All work will be carefully documented for FEMA reimbursement.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Department of Revenue Warns Parents to Guard their Children’s Personal Information

Posted on March 6, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

As odd as it may sound, the Indiana Department of Revenue is asking individuals to check their children’s credit reports, regardless of their age.

Identity thieves are always looking for identities that can be used for many years which is why children are typically seen as apt targets since thieves can to use their information unnoticed for a while.

Often times the theft is not discovered until the child grows up and applies for a student loan or a credit card and gets denied for having large amounts of debt or bad credit; it is only then that they realize their identity has been stolen and used for several years.

To prevent this from happening to your child, the IDOR tells parents to refrain from carrying their child’s social security card with them and they suggest that parents check their child’s credit report annually.

If parents recognize that identity theft has occurred early enough, they will have time to correct any errors on the report before it affects a child’s chance of getting a job, taking out a college loan or receiving a credit card.

Additionally, before sharing any of a child’s personal information, ask why it is needed and how it will be protected and be sure that you’re providing those details to a legitimate source. Don’t be afraid to ask for proof that the information will be protected. There’s no such thing as asking too many questions when it comes to protecting your child’s identity.

If you fear that you or your child have been victims of identity theft, follow the link provided for additional IDOR resources related to identity theft.