Monday, April 30, 2018

State Road 8 Remains Closed in Southern LaPorte County, Repairs to Start this Summer

Posted on April 30, 2018
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

Drivers can expect a portion of State Road 8 to remain closed at least through the summer. The Indiana Department of Transportation says significant repairs are needed to the stretch of State Road 8 between U.S. 421 and State Road 39, following damage from February’s floods.

INDOT officials say they’re done testing the road, and now they’ve begun designing a repair project. They expect construction to start this summer, but they warn that it will be a substantial project. Because of that, INDOT says it’s likely that State Road 8 will remain closed through the summer and maybe longer.

INDOT officials stress that the road is not safe to travel on, until repairs are made. Those who disregard closure signs may be ticketed.

Mint Festival Information

Today we created our yearly Mint Festival page on the library's website. As we receive more information about events and activities it will be added so you can find the information you seek in a centralized area.

Mint Festival Father & Grandfather of the Year Essay

Forms for the 2018 Mint Festival are available at the North Judson-Wayne Township Library. Just stop in to pick one up.

Governor Nominates Portions of Marshall, Starke Counties for Opportunity Zone Program

Posted on April 30, 2018 
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

Portions of Marshall and Starke counties have been nominated as Opportunity Zones. The federal program seeks to attract private-sector investment to low-income communities through capital gains tax incentives. It was created under the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Governor Eric Holcomb has nominated 156 census tracts Indiana to be included. One of those is the northwest portion of Plymouth, an area bounded roughly by Pioneer Drive, 7th Road, Michigan Street, and the Chicago, Fort Wayne & Eastern Railroad tracks. Also included in the governor’s nomination is the portion of Starke County north of Knox and south of U.S. 30.

According to the Governor’s Office, the nominations were based on a combination of factors, including existing economic development programs and the likelihood of attracting investment and industry. The areas were recommended by a five-member advisory group with input from local officials and residents.

The nominations now go to the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury. Once approved, Opportunity Zone designations remain in place for 10 years

Absentee Voting Continues in Pulaski and Starke Counties

Posted on April 30, 2018 
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

Primary Election day is just around the corner, and while some people will be venturing to the polls on May 8th, there are many people in Starke and Pulaski counties who have opted to vote early.

The Pulaski County Clerk’s Office reported that, as of Saturday afternoon, 22 ballots have been cast by mail, 35 individuals have cast ballots by travel board and 204 in-person absentee ballots have been cast.

According to the Starke County Clerk’s Office, between April 10th and April 28th, 21 ballots have been cast through the travel board, 39 mail-in ballots have been received and there were a total of 356 ballots cast by walk-ins.

Absentee voting will continue at the Starke County Courthouse and the Pulaski County Justice Center this week. A satellite voting site will also be set up at the Francesville Fire Station May 4th from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Saturday, May 5th from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m.

The last day to cast an early ballot is Monday, May 7th. The Pulaski County Justice Center will be open from 9 a.m. until noon ET on that day while the Starke County Courthouse will be available to last-minute absentee voters from 8 a.m. until noon CT.

Starke, Pulaski Election Boards Finalize Plans for Next Week’s Primary

Posted on April 30, 2018 
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

Final preparations are underway for next week’s primary elections. The Starke and Pulaski county election boards both have poll worker training sessions scheduled for this week.

Starke County Election Board President Harrison Fields wants to make sure all the first-time poll workers are ready. “I’m not really scared about this election, but I just know in my own mind that when that door opens at 6:00, you’ve got to have the people there to run it,” he said during last week’s election board meeting. “It’s got to go.” This week’s training sessions have already been finalized, but board members said it might be helpful to offer extra training for inspectors in the future.

The Indiana Election Division offers online training as a backup, but Pulaski County Election Board Member Laura Bailey says the system has some major flaws. “There are three sections that have no video that you’re supposed to be seeing and many of the others date back to 2005,” she said during last week’s election board meeting. “And so I sat there while somebody was going through the online training and made corrections and said, ‘Well, really it’s this,’ because laws have changed since then. And I think we need to communicate that with the IED and urge them to update it.”

Pulaski County Clerk Christi Hoffa says the electronic poll books’ operating systems have been updated, but the voter file will be downloaded closer to Election Day. Starke County Clerk Vicki Cooley was still waiting for some election materials to arrive, as of last Wednesday. “I called again on our books because I was getting very nervous about it,” she told election board members last week. “I even offered to saddle up my pickup truck and come down to Indy and get them. They said they would overnight them, and we should be receiving them no later than Monday [today].”

On Election Day, a representative from MicroVote will be in Starke County to handle any issues with voting machines. Pulaski County will save money by having local officials get some extra training from MicroVote ahead of time, according to Election Board Chair Jon Frain. “The purpose of the training is that MicroVote has a person that we can pay a large some of money to sit here all day with us on Election Day, and this is the same training they go through,” he explained. “And the last election we had, both in the primary and in the general election that year, whenever there was an issue, he called down to Indianapolis to MicroVote and asked the questions. So we’re going to get the same training and have the same access, but we’re saving the county money.”

Frain says the three election board members, a mechanic, two canvass board members, and IT Consultant Willie DeGroot will all attend the training. County IT Director Matt Voltz was apparently invited to attend, but Hoffa hadn’t heard back from him, as of last Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the Starke County Election Board continues making sure the new Oregon Township Precinct 2 polling place is brought up to ADA standards. Board members noted that a ramp may have to be placed at one of the doors at the Koontz Lake Association Clubhouse, due to a gap between the concrete and the door threshold. Board members planned to take final measurements at the site last Wednesday.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Frankenstein Friday #14 - Chapter 11

We're talking about the creature's morality in Chapter 11 on this Frankenstein Friday. Read along with us.

If you're following along on Frankenstein Friday and you missed a week or two you can easily find them on our website -

NJ Town Council Considers Request from Local Independent Filmmaker Seeking Facility for Indoor Scenes

Posted on April 27, 2018 
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

A local independent filmmaker came before the North Judson Town Council last Monday, seeking permission to utilize a building in town for an upcoming movie he plans to make. Jacob Dessauer told council members that he is seeking a facility to utilize where he can construct disposable sets for indoor scenes.

“I’m filming an independent movie around North Judson and my property out in English Lake.” He went on, “I was wondering if the Town owned or knew of any spaces roughly 18×12 foot with a 9-foot ceiling just as a minimum that they would be able to donate or loan for a certain period of time.”

Dessauer is attempting to secure a facility as soon as possible to avoid having to cut or rework the scenes he has planned.

Town Council President Wendy Hoppe asked how long he would need the facility and Dessauer responded that it would take about one week, maybe two at the most, including weekends.

Clerk-Treasurer Andrew Rowe offered up the potential of utilizing the park garage and an audience member suggested contacting the owner of the old Dollar Store since that place is gutted. Rowe also mentioned that he has to look into whether or not the town’s insurance would have an impact on what they would be able to provide.

Dessauer said he plans to begin filming outdoor shots this summer and said he hopes to finish up with filming and production by the end of next year. He describes the movie as a comedy that incorporates action and adventure. He explained that it will satirize movies from the 70’s and 80’s and take place in that era. The plot apparently follows two CIA agents as they attempt to save the future of Earth from a stray asteroid.

If any residents are aware of an unused structure that fits these specifications they can coordinate with Clerk-Treasurer Rowe by calling 574-896-3340 or contact the filmmaker directly at

Starke, Pulaski Election Boards Plan Hearings, Fines for Late Campaign Finance Reports

Posted on April 27, 2018 
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

Candidates in next month’s primary who were late in turning in their financial reports can expect hearings before the election board and possible fines.

During Tuesday’s Pulaski County Election Board meeting, Clerk Christi Hoffa said that nine candidates turned in their pre-primary campaign finance reports after last Friday’s noon deadline. “We have to have a hearing,” she explained. “They are all given an opportunity to come to the hearing, state their case, why they were late, whatever it may be. We then have to assess the fine, which is state-set at $50 per calendar day, which includes the weekends, or we can vote to reduce or waive the fee only by unanimous decision.”

The Pulaski County Election Board plans to hold hearings later in May, after Election Day.

In Starke County, six late finance reports had been received by the clerk’s office, as of Wednesday’s election board meeting. But Clerk Vicki Cooley wasn’t sure if there were others that still hadn’t been turned in. Before the Starke County Election Board can start assessing fines, though, it has to come up with a place to put that money. “If you did decide on a fine for a person, if has to, more or less, have it approved through the commissioners,” Cooley said, “and be a line item because we can’t accept money that there’s no place for it to go to, basically.”

The Starke County Election Board voted to prepare a resolution calling for the account to be created. It will be up for approval at the election board’s next meeting.

Going forward, Pulaski County Election Board Chair Jon Frain urges candidates to obey the deadlines in the future. “If I was to be quoted on the radio at this point, I would say for all candidates to please turn in their campaign finance reports in a timely manner for the General Election, please, the pre-election campaign, all reports in a timely fashion, please,” Frain said.

Candidates in this year’s General Election will have until Friday, October 19 at noon to file their pre-election campaign finance reports.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

4/30/2018 Little Lights Preschool Registration

4/26, 27, 28/2018 Rummage Sale & Ss Cyril & Methodius Church

KHS Life Skills Class is Hosting Their 2nd Annual Color Run Fund Raiser This Saturday (4/28)

Posted on April 25, 2018 
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

The Knox High School Life Skills Class is hosting their 2nd annual Color Run this Saturday and there’s still time to sign-up!

The Color Run is an untimed 3-mile fun run for all ages and fitness abilities. Along the route, runners pass through vibrant “color zones” where powered-dye if playfully thrown at the participants. The course will end with a “finish fest” that will feature a DJ, door prizes and a cook-out hosted by the National Guard.

Event organizer Tiffany Hoar, said they’re already expecting two times more participants than last year! As the teacher for the Life Skills class at Knox High school, she works with students who have mild and moderate cognitive disabilities.

Tiffany said she came across the My School Color Run program as she was brainstorming about some creative ways to raise funds for the resources the class requires.

“These kiddos can stay until their 22 and once they’re 22, they exit high school and go into the independent living world,” the instructor explained, “so my whole goal is I work on life skills with them such as cooking, cleaning, hygiene and work skills, like filling out job applications and interviewing for a job.”

She added that they also take trips to the grocery store to gather the ingredients for the meals they prepare and attend community events such as plays in order to implement some of the social skills they learn in class.

Individuals can register the day of the race or sign-up online. If you can’t make it to the event but still want to provide funds for the class, donations can be submitted through the KHS Life Skills Color Run event page.

Check-in and same day registration will begin at 8 a.m. CT in the KHS parking lot near the tennis courts. The fun run will kick off around 8:30 a.m. on the cross country track. On-site registration will cost $30 and will include a t-shirt until they run out. Once the shirts run out, registration will be $20.

Participants are encouraged to wear white clothing during the run and should bring a spare pair of clothes or towels and blankets to protect your vehicle from the residual powder-dye on the trip home. Those with lighter hair who want to avoid walking away with a new multi-colored hairdo that could last a day or two should bring something to guard their heads.

If you have any questions contact Tiffany Hoar at 574-772-1670 ext 1951.

Date and Fee Established for Annual Town Wide Garage Sale in North Judson

Posted on April 25, 2018 
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

Requests pertaining to the date and permit fee for the North Judson town-wide yard sale were brought before the town council during their meeting last Monday.

Billing Clerk Jennifer Vanek asked council members if the annual sale could be held on the first Saturday in August, which will be the 4th. She also requested that the yard sale permit fee, which typically costs $10, be reduced to $5 for the event.

Both requests received unanimous council approval. Town Council President Wendy Hoppe commented that Vanek does a great job with the event every year.

If you would like to obtain a permit for the event, visit Town Hall at 310 Lane Street or call 574-896-3340.

Starke County EMA Director Holds First Community Organization Active in Disaster Meeting

Posted on April 25, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

Starke County Emergency Management Agency Director J. Nier hosted a meeting with community members who interested in participating in a group focused on local disaster preparation and response efforts.

Church representatives, members of the medical community and concerned citizens were among the individuals who attended the first Community Organizations Active in Disaster or COAD meeting on Tuesday night.

Director Nier explained that Starke County COAD was actually established a while ago. However, she said when she took the position in October of last year, the group had been inactive for some time. During the flooding event in February, she realized that there were certain needs that were being unmet so she’s attempting to revive the organization.

While the community had no shortage of generous donations, Nier said her office is still full of clean-up and comfort kits as well as clothing donations, the response to the event was lacking proper organization.

She said the three main things that COAD will focus on will be getting more local volunteers, establishing a donation manager and community outreach.

Volunteers will assist with various aspects of disaster response from damage assessment to working with the Red Cross. Some of the volunteer work would require additional training such as National Incident Management System (NIMS) training through FEMA and protocol classes with the Red Cross. Individuals would have to be willing to take the extra time to complete the necessary certifications.

The EMA Director said that the donation process is something that definitely needs to be addressed and potentially managed by one of the volunteers. She also mentioned the possibility of obtaining a 501-C3 non-profit classification so the group could set up a donations fund to use for future resource and housing needs.

Now that the unmet needs have been acknowledged, the next step is to set up a new Emergency Operations Plan (EOP). Nier said the most recent EOP she found was from 2009.

IU Health Starke Hospital representative Josephine Klisek noted that Director Nier could use the hospital’s plan as a template for the county and church leaders talked about providing potential shelter sites and bringing in more members of their congregation to assist with future planning.

During the remainder of April and throughout the month of May, the pioneer members will reach out to others in order to add more individuals to the network. Starke County COAD will meet again on Tuesday, June 5th at 5:30 p.m. in the meeting room of Starke County Annex Building #1.

If you have any questions about how to get involved, contact Director Nier at 574-772-9182.

North Judson Brush Pick-Up Begins Today, Fire Hydrant Flushing to Occur in May

Posted on April 26, 2018 
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

North Judson Town Superintendent Marshall Horstmann addressed a few important dates that residents should keep in mind in the coming weeks at last Monday’s town council meeting.

In response to a citizen question, he stated that the town utility department will start brush pick-up on Thursday, April 26th. Horstmann said they won’t be able to accomplish it all in one sweep, so additional brush pick-up will need to take place after today.

He also mentioned that crews will be flushing fire hydrants in May. During his report, Horstmann told council members, “We’re planning on flushing the fire hydrants the nights of May 6th and the 7th. It will be done between the hours of 8 p.m. and 4 a.m.”

If you have any questions you can contact the utility department at 574-896-3340.

Poll Worker’s Needlepoint Hobby Leads to Debate during Starke County Election Board Meeting

Posted on April 26, 2018 
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

A poll worker’s needlepoint hobby led to a lengthy debate among Starke County Election Board members Wednesday. Board President Harrison Fields said he’s gotten complaints about a poll worker who’s apparently been doing needlepoint while waiting for potential voters, during in-person absentee voting hours. “I’ve had two phone calls on it, and me personally, I don’t like the looks of it, personally,” he said. “I don’t like the looks of it.”

Starke County Clerk Vicki Cooley said that during early voting, there’s sometimes a wait of several hours between voters. While the election board has decided not to allow poll workers to use laptops during voting hours, Cooley said she had no problem with them bringing along a quiet activity to work on. Fields disagreed. “I think if you go out down here in private business, I don’t think any private business is going to let you do such things,” he said.

Fields said he was okay with poll workers bringing newspapers or magazines to look at. Others warned that could lead to problems if they happen to contain pictures of candidates.

With less than two weeks until the May Primary, board member Peg Brettin asked Fields to drop the issue. “We’re picking on menial things,” she said. “We’ve got an election coming up that we need to be worrying about.”

Fields wanted to settle the matter with a vote, but Cooley and Brettin didn’t think it was worth it. “Do you really want to put a vote into the minutes that it’s okay that the ladies can take care of handiwork down there?” Brettin asked.

“Sure, why not?” Fields replied.

The issue never came to a vote, but after more than 15 minutes of discussion, board members agreed that poll workers should be asked to keep any needlepoint or other outside materials out of the sight of voters.

Starke County COAD Addresses Inconsistencies with Communication Systems Utilized by Emergency Personnel

Posted on April 26, 2018 
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

When Starke County COAD met for the first time Tuesday night, a question from one of the county’s amateur radio operators prompted a discussion about the communication systems utilized by the county’s emergency personnel.

Hamlet Fire Chief and Starke County Council President Brad Hazelton explained that some emergency personnel, such as the Sherriff’s Department, use radios that run on the 800 megahertz spectrum while others, like the fire departments, utilize very high frequency, or VHF technology. Hazelton said, “We can talk to EMS, because they’re VHF and 800 but the police are only 800 and we’re only VHF.”

The Pastor of the Knox Church of the Nazarene, Rick Martin, inquired about how the inconsistencies impact communication between agencies, “If they had to get a hold of you, or if you had to get a hold of them, are you saying that’s not possible?”

Hazelton replied, “If police need to get a hold of us, they have to call back to dispatch and then dispatch will have to relay to us.”

Chief Hazelton mentioned that assistance from the Hamlet Fire Department wasn’t needed much during the recent flooding event since response efforts were primarily concentrated in Knox so he couldn’t comment on whether or not the convoluted line of communication caused any problems.

Hazelton mentioned, while this is something they would like to address, the radios would cost approximately $5,000 a piece and each of the county’s 7 fire departments would require 6 to 7 radios. In order to get all the county’s fire departments equipped with 800 megahertz radios, it would cost around $30-$35,000 per department, resulting in a total cost of over $300,000.

Hazelton noted that right now, fixing this problem is not financially feasible as there isn’t currently enough money in the county’s budget to address it. He added that there were issues in the past with utilizing grant funds to obtain 800 MHz radios that turned out to be faulty.

The topics of improving the county’s emergency communication system and establishing a chain of command consisting of volunteers will be discussed more when the Starke County Community Organizations Active in Disasters group meets in the future.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

CLOSURE - U.S. 231 Bridge, North of Rensselaer

Indiana Department of Transportation: Northwest

CLOSURE - U.S. 231 Bridge, North of Rensselaer:

The U.S. 231 bridge over the Iroquois River, just north of Rensselaer, will be closed beginning tomorrow and through mid-August. The closure limits are between CR 100S and Division Road, about one mile south of SR 14.

After mid-August, when one side of the bridge is complete, the bridge will be down to one lane with a traffic signal directing traffic until the entire project is complete in October.

This work is for a bridge replacement.

Downtown Additions Discussed During North Judson Town Council Meeting

Posted on April 24, 2018 
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

North Judson Town Council members considered the purchase of 30 new banners from OTES Signs and Graphics when they met last Monday.

Councilman James Young explained that the town already has the mounting brackets and hardware needed to hang them, so they would just need to buy the banners themselves. He said the price for all 30 banners came to $960, which breaks down to $32 per banner.

He added that the look of the new banners would be consistent with existing signage, “With a design that would look similar to what we have coming into town, it just says ‘Welcome to North Judson’, something bright and colorful.”

Councilman Josh Brown stated that he thought the banners looked great and other council members were in agreement. The motion to purchase all 30 banners passed with unanimous approval.

Young also informed members about a few potential projects that he’s been looking into with North Judson-San Pierre art teacher Clayton Howard, “I also talked to the high school art teacher about painting fire hydrants and some possible murals on some of the buildings downtown.”

Young explained, “He’s supposed give us a report about coordinating with the art class to be doing that in the near future.”

No official actions were taken on those proposed ideas. However, Young said he will continue speaking with Mr. Howard about the painting projects.

North Judson-San Pierre School Board to Consider General Obligation Bond

Posted on April 24, 2018 
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

North Judson-San Pierre Superintendent Dr. Annette Zupin recently informed school board members that the school’s existing debt is about to drop significantly in 2019. First covered during their work session on April 4th, Zupin reviewed the matter during last Tuesday’s school board meeting.

She said in order to maintain the school’s current rate, additional debt has to be taken on.

She explained, “The debt service fund is for annual debt obligations and really is helpful for schools because it’s a way for us to maintain our school facilities, buy some equipment and make sure that we have what our students need.”

Dr. Zupin is proposing taking out a general obligation bond worth $1.1 million that would be paid off over the next 3 years starting in 2019. She reiterated that the school’s tax rate would remain unchanged and added that general obligation bonds are easier to issue, buy and sell than lease rental bonds.

The superintendent said that some proposed purchases include updated surveillance equipment for the elementary school as well as some technology upgrades.

Zupin told board members, “What I would like to do is purchase 360 MacBook Airs. That would be 12 carts of 30, 6 in each building, that way each grade level has access to them,” She went on, “and 60 iPads, 2 carts of 30 for our kindergarten and first grade because those are easier for them to use.”

According to Superintendent Zupin, the total estimated cost for the technology and security upgrades would be around $400,000. She said that leaves more than half a million dollars from the bond issuance that could be set aside for potential projects or needed repairs that may pop up down the line.

No official actions were taken last Tuesday but a bond resolution will be considered during the board’s next meeting on May 15th.

Unemployment Rates Drop in Starke, Pulaski Counties

Posted on April 24, 2018 
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

Unemployment rates are moving lower in Starke and Pulaski counties. According to the latest report from the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, Starke County’s unemployment rate dropped to 4.7 percent in March. That’s down from 5.4 percent the month before and 4.8 percent in March of 2017.

Pulaski County continues to fare better. Last month’s unemployment rate was 3.2 percent. That’s a decline of half a percentage point from the month before and six-tenths of a percent from the same period last year.

However, the actual number of Starke County residents who were employed was down slightly compared to last March, while Pulaski County saw an increase. Marshall County continues to have the lowest unemployment rate in the local area at 3.1 percent. The state as a whole saw an unemployment rate of 3.3 percent last month, while the nationwide rate was 4.1 percent.

Starke County Sheriff Discusses Community Service

Posted on April 24, 2018 
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

Community service may make a comeback as a condition of a misdemeanor sentence after recent discussions with Starke County Sheriff Bill Dulin, Jail Warden Phil Cherry and Starke County Chief Probation Officer Shawn Mattraw.

Dulin told the county commissioners last week that the county could collect fees from those serving a community service sentence.

“What I thought we could do is get the lower level misdemeanors that are sentenced through Knox City Court to be sentenced to community service through the jail. We would take them out and pick up roadside trash, paint curbs, clean parks, and stuff like that. We would charge them $2.50 per hour of community service and it must be paid up front before we take them on.”

He hopes that it will offset costs to the county for that type of work.

Dulin said the fee would be deposited into the part-time jail fund which would help with the salary of the jail officer, lunch for the community service worker and fuel costs for transporting the offender to the location.

Commissioner Donnie Binkley also suggested working with Maintenance Director Jim Coad with work around the county buildings. A tentative schedule could be shared with the county officials to let them know where the workers are helping in the county.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Congratulations NJSP High School Academic Teams!

Congratulations to the High School Academic teams on their performance at Kouts last Thursday night! The Social Studies, English, and Math teams took home 3rd place. The Interdisciplinary team took 2nd place and the Science and Fine Arts teams earned 1st place!! Super job to all the team members!

2020 Census Jobs

Spread the News (please), We’re Hiring!

The Chicago Regional Census Center of the U.S. Census Bureau is seeking candidates to fill Management, Recruiting, Informational Technology, Space/Leasing, Administrative, Clerical and other positions to support the upcoming 2020 Census. Positions are opening now in the Regional Census Center in downtown Chicago. Additional job opportunities will become available in our Area Census Offices throughout the states of Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, and Wisconsin.

Interested parties can visit our regional employment page at to see current job openings. They should check back often if they don’t see a position that fits their interests, since more positions will be available in the near future.

They may also contact the Chicago Regional Census Center at for more information or to leave their contact information.

Please forward this message to message to others that may be interested Census Bureau work.

The U.S. Census Bureau does not discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, age, membership in an employee organization, or other nonmerit factor.

North Judson Book of Codes and Ordinances to Undergo Reviews

Posted on April 23, 2018 
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

North Judson Clerk-Treasurer Andrew Rowe and Code Enforcement Officer Joe Leszek plan to go over the town’s book of ordinances soon to check for any necessary revisions or amendments.

Clerk-Treasurer Rowe said that the last time ordinances were put together was in 2007, so the codes are overdue for some review. Aside from retracting any outdated or unneeded codes and updating existing ones, Leszek said there also needs to be something added that implements consequences for repeat offenders or people who fail to comply after a warning has been issued.

The Code Enforcement Officer explained, “We write somebody a ticket, that person doesn’t pay the ticket and they don’t take care of the violation or they do the pay the ticket but they still don’t take care of the violation, so where do we escalate from there? Is there a fee? First offense is $50 and the second offense goes up to whatever amount Marshal Fisher or the board finds appropriate.”

 Leszek told the council members, “We are definitely starting to run into some issues since we’ve been doing this for about 8 or 9 months now where we are getting into some people who have been issued a ticket and haven’t paid it and its still there or they’ve been issued a ticket, paid it and the problem is still there.”

Leszek also reminds individuals to call in to report any violations that they may see so they can be addressed as soon as possible. You can call the North Judson Clerk-Treasurer’s Office with any code violation alerts at 574-896-3340.

Starke County Council Gets Youth Club Update

Posted on April 23, 2018 
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

Starke County Youth Club Executive Director Irene Szakonyi updated the Starke County Council members on what projects students are working on in the after school program.

She mentioned that Youth Lead is one of the special programs that students are participating in to help them create the footsteps of leadership.

“It is an evidence-based substance abuse prevention program,” said Szakonyi. “A number of our teens engage in leadership skills with this program where they facilitate this project with our staff. As a matter of fact, they were the ones who decided that as their capstone event for the end, what they’re doing with all of the kids in Club, is raising food donations for the food pantry. We want them to make healthy choices and we want them to abstain from risky behaviors, but we also want them to lead in this community.”

The Starke County Youth Club provides after school academics and extra curricular activities to the three school corporations in the county.

“We have about 370 in the after school program right now across the county. What we know about our kids is that the more they’re at Club, the more positive benefits there are for them – whether that’s a personal thing or academic thing. We know that our kids who regularly attend have better outcomes in the classroom like better work habits, turning in their homework and better grades. We also predict that 80 percent of our kids this year alone will reach their growth targets in Math and Language Arts on their local assessments.”

The youth club’s annual fundraising radiothon is scheduled for Friday, May 4 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and all are invited to listen to testimonials from students and parents who attend and those who support the program. Donations will be accepted that day to help keep the programs going in the county.

Reminder That Work Will Start Today on US 35 Railroad Crossing in Knox

Posted on April 23, 2018 
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

Motorists are reminded that work will begin today on the US 35 railroad crossing in Knox. The Mayor’s Office recently issued a press release to alert residents that Norfolk Southern will be closing the crossing for repairs and maintenance.

This closure will be in effect beginning today, Monday, April 23rd at 8 a.m. Depending on weather conditions, the crossing is anticipated to re-open on Thursday, May 3rd at 5 p.m.

Railroad crews will be working on the track structure and will be working with the Indiana Department of Transportation to restore the highway surface. Citizens are asked to be patient while the repairs and maintenance work are completed.

If you have any questions contact the Mayor’s office at 772-4553.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Frankenstein Friday #13 - Chapter 10

Happy Frankenstein Friday! Join us as we dive into Chapter 10 of Frankenstein.

North Judson-San Pierre School Board Reviews Corporation Plans

Posted on April 20, 2018 
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

North Judson-San Pierre School Board members considered multiple corporation plans on first reading when they met this week.

In early April, a work session was held to establish what to include in the school’s technology, wellness and strategic and accountability plans. When members met on Tuesday, Superintendent Dr. Annette Zupin reviewed the content with board members.

Dr. Zupin said the two major focuses of the technology plan are professional development and the implementation of eLearning. “We want to put two eLearning days on our calendar for next school year and if we’re going to do that, we need to be sure our teachers are prepared.” Zupin went on, “So this summer, we will hold some professional development for eLearning.”

The superintendent added that another element of the technology plan is getting more devices into the hands of students. She said that officials are currently working to set up the financing to obtain the additional technology.

When it comes to the wellness plan, the main takeaway is that it is state driven so the school is required to follow specific guidelines that emphasize nutrition education and promotion, physical education and other school-based activities that encourage healthy habits.

The corporation strategic and accountability plan is a little broader, according to Dr. Zupin. She said it establishes goals for the school as a whole.

Zupin shared that this plan highlights the importance of providing a diverse and relevant curriculum, ensuring continuous growth related to students’ academic achievement, establishing and maintaining a cash balance that ensures finical stability and engaging parents, businesses and community members in the educational process.

Members were asked to continue to look over the plans to check for any inconsistencies or grammatical errors. Members will consider officially adopting these plans when they meet next month.

North Judson Town Council Considers Request From Building Inspector

Posted on April 20, 2018 
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

North Judson Building Inspector Jeff Abrams appeared before the town council requesting to establish a permit for gas line inspections when members met Monday.

“When there is a house vacated and the gas has been shut off, Nipsco wants an inspection done so I think that we should be able to charge for that because I have to go out and look at it.” He explained, “They have to do a pressure test it and it has to hold pressure for a day.”

Abrams said after doing some research he found that a neighboring municipality charges a $50 permit fee for the service, so he recommended that North Judson charge that price as well.

Councilman Josh Brown asked Nipsco would pay the fee. Abrams replied that it would be homeowners who would apply for the permit and pay the charge. He also mentioned that Nipsco would be notified of the request and then they would turn the meter on so the pressure test could be carried out.

Councilwoman Jane Ellen Felchuck inquired about what the town council would need to do to incorporate the change into their fee schedule. Town Attorney Justin Schramm informed her that they would just need to amend the fee schedule in their existing rate ordinance.

A motion was made to amend the fee schedule by adding a gas line inspection permit fee and members passed it unanimously. That motion also established that $50 would be charged for the permit.

Starke County Coroner Updates Commissioners on Autopsy Costs, Testing

Posted on April 20, 2018 
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

The autopsy pricing deal that Starke County officials thought was a good one through the Lake County Coroner’s Office isn’t as good as initially thought.

On Monday night, Coroner Dannie Hoffer gave the commissioners an update on his recent discussion on that topic with Lake County Coroner Merrilee Frey.

“She said that the autopsies are going to be $1,100, plus $400 for the rental of the hospital and the assistant, plus the cost of the toxicology report which is about $260,” reported Hoffer. “We’re about right where we are by doing them here.”

The county is currently paying around $1,800 for autopsies. Commissioner Kathy Norem, along with Councilman Dave Pearman and Adam Gray from the Starke County Sheriff’s Department all recall the previous conversation with the Lake County Coroner that it would be a flat $1,000 fee to do autopsies in Lake County. Apparently, that’s not the case.

Hoffer added that he was to have a meeting with Ashley Dickinson at LaPorte Hospital this week to discuss an opportunity to do pre-screen toxicology quick labs at Starke Hospital to determine if a full-blown autopsy needs to be done on a suspected opioid death or if a complete toxicology lab needs to be ordered. Hoffer said a toxicology test would be much cheaper. Starke Hospital does not currently offer that service.

Hoffer recently learned that Starke County is one of the top five counties in the state with high opioid-related deaths. With that, the Indiana State Board of Health has agreed pay for any toxicology test the county conducts that proves the victim died of an opioid overdose.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

2018 North Judson Mint Festival Queen/King Pageant

2018 North Judson Mint Festival Mint Darlings Pageant


North Judson-San Pierre School Board Holds First Readings Over Employee Handbook Revisions

Posted on April 19, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

North Judson-San Pierre School Board members held the first readings over the revisions to the certified and non-certified handbooks when they met Tuesday night.

Superintendent Dr. Annette Zupin shared that the certified handbook is a fairly recent addition, as state laws changed what is allowed to be included in the master contract for teachers. She noted, “The teacher contract can only have monetary issues but there are a lot of things to answer outside of what is monetary and so a handbook was created and we just need to update those.”

The certified handbook applies to teachers and Dr. Zupin said that aside from some organization and cleaning up, the major two major changes were the addition of the most recent child abuse reporting guidelines provided through the state and a section discussing the teacher evaluation process. Zupin said she felt it was important to include some information about evaluations, to allow any new teachers to know how often they’d be evaluated and by what standards.

The non-certified handbook, which applies to additional staff, was also re-organized to help with clarity. In addition to that, the revised handbook also includes the child abuse reporting guidelines as well as some changes to the paid holidays and non-paid days off.

Dr. Zupin noted that the handbook has always included something about non-paid days but they amended the section to address that employees must receive permission prior to taking the day off. She added that it also states that if an employee misses too many days, they will need to meet with administrators.

Zupin said she discussed the certified handbook with the teacher’s association and covered the non-certified handbook with supervisors. Members simply held the first reading over these revisions when they met this week. The amended handbooks will be up for adoption at NJ-SP’s May school board meeting.

Microvote Representative Discusses Operating System Upgrade in Voting Machines

Posted on April 19, 2018 
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

The Starke County Council members were notified Monday night that the county’s Microvote machines may need an operating system update.

Steve Shamo from Microvote said the upgrade is not mandatory, but he urged the county to consider the update prior to the 2020 Presidential Election.

“The processors you have in your voting machines now are not attainable anymore,” explained Shamo. “We developed a new processor for the voting machines. What we’re doing hardware-wise is we’re replacing the motherboard, the processor, the processing board, and the screen. The screen will now be black with white lettering on it or deep blue with white lettering on it. Basically, everything but the rubber buttons and the case gets replaced. Essentially, the price tag is $1,427 per machine. Within that, the central system is incorporated.”

He did note that the county’s system is quite secure.

If an update occurs, it would take about four weeks to complete.

The council members did not take action on the request. They thought maybe the total update price of $60,000 could be budgeted for 2019. The payment could be made in two installments. The council members may discuss it in a budget work session later this year.

North Judson Town Council Informed About Unresolved Request from the 1980s

Posted on April 19, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

A matter that has gone unresolved for more than 30 years was brought before the North Judson Town Council Monday night.

North Judson Resident and former town council member, Tim Cummins informed the council that even though the North Judson Plan Commission and Town Council took steps to vacate a 16-foot alley between Wilson and Luken Streets back in the 1980s, the final step of sending the documentation to the Starke County Recorder was not completed so the alley was never officially vacated.

He said this information was brought to his attention when he visited the courthouse in order to have his property surveyed. He added that he was surprised to learn this, as he and other property owners were involved in the process the first time around.

He presented council members with a document from a Plan Commission meeting on December 2nd, 1986 where a public hearing was held to consider a request submitted by Richard and Sheila Akers to vacate the aforementioned alley.

It indicates that no negative feedback was provided by anyone in attendance or by neighboring property owners so the Plan Commission members approved the request. He also provided minutes from a town council meeting on January 17th, 1987 that showed council members approved of the request as well.

He said since the Clerk-Treasurer at the time never submitted the paperwork to the courthouse, it wasn’t documented by the Starke County Recorder and thus was not officially implemented.

Cummins said that in order to alleviate this issue, he was told that the current town council would need to pass a resolution or ordinance recognizing the vacation of the alley. They would then submit it to the county courthouse to finalize this process that was started decades ago.

Town Attorney Justin Schramm said that he needs to assess the existing documentation to ensure that all the necessary steps were taken and mentioned that he wants to make sure that no new requirements have been added in recent years.

Members voted to permit the attorney to draw up an ordinance or resolution once he establishes if the proper procedures were followed. The matter will be readdressed at the next town council meeting.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

First National Bank of Monterey Provides Presentation to North Judson Town Council Members

Posted on April 18, 2018 
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

The North Judson Town Council was informed that First National Bank of Monterey is willing to raise the town’s interest rate on their general fund when members met Monday night.

The Town currently has their general account at the First National Bank of Monterey and has recently been considering a switch over to First Farmers Bank and Trust. When members met for their first April meeting, Mike Pazin with FFBT stated that the bank could offer the town an interest rate of 1.34 percent on their general fund if they switched over.

At the time of Pazin’s presentation, Clerk-Treasurer Andrew Rowe had reached out to First National Bank of Monterey and was told they would only be able to raise the town’s current rate of .45 to .7 percent.

However, Bank Manager Brandon Collins appeared before the council this week to report that an even higher raise is possible. He said keeping the town’s business is very important so he arranged for a meeting with the bank president and other officials.

Collins reported, “We were able to come together and move a rate. It was overall a public offered rate, it’s our money market account, and we moved that top tiered rate to the 1.40 percent.”

Collins added that as in the past, the town would continue to have no service charges or transaction fees.

Members didn’t take any official actions on the matter. They agreed that the new information will be taken under advisement before making any final decisions about whether to move the account or keep it where it is.

North Judson-San Pierre Superintendent Highlights Summer School Opportunities

Posted on April 18, 2018 
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

North Judson-San Pierre Superintendent Annette Zupin outlined some summer school opportunities when school board members met Tuesday night.

One thing she highlighted was NJSP’s Countdown to Kindergarten which is an opportunity for incoming kindergarten students to familiarize themselves with the school experience. Dr. Zupin said it will be held for two weeks with students coming in for four days each week. That will run from July 16th through 19th and July 23rd through the 26th.

Additionally, Zupin mentioned that the Starke County Community Foundation provided a $7,000 donation to help fund the Kindergarten Countdown program, as they’ve done for the past few years.

Other summer school opportunities that will be held at North Judson-San Pierre Elementary School include a high ability class from June 4th through the 15th and an IREAD class from June 4th through 7th.

Dr. Zupin explained that students who did not pass the IREAD test when it was given during the school year will have a chance to get some additional help during the class and then they will be re-tested this summer.

Last but certainly not least, Dr. Zupin said that the Starke County Youth Club will be hosting a summer school session at North Judson-San Pierre in June starting on the 4th and ending on the 28th.

If you have any questions, you can contact Dr. Zupin at (574) 896-2155

North Judson Truck Driver Honored to be Guest at White House Rose Garden Event, Finds Hoosier Ties in D.C.

Posted on April 18, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

A North Judson native was chosen from thousands of truck drivers to represent his profession and his company at an event in the White House Rose Garden last Thursday.

Jeff Tetzloff has been a truck driver for 34 years and has been an employee of Crete Carrier for the last 27 years. He has over three and a half million miles of safe driving under his belt, has won driver of the year multiple times and serves as trainer and mentor.

Because of his impressive resume, the CEO of Crete Carrier Tonn Ostergard approached Tetzloff with a unique opportunity to attend an event with “senior government officials.” He said it wasn’t until he received an email from the White House that he realized he would be attending an event where the president would be speaking.

When asked about the topic that was covered, Tetzloff answered, “The event was about the president making remarks about tax cuts for the American workers and what does this means to you.” He went on to say, “When corporations get tax cuts they have more capital and then they can spread it to their employees, buy equipment, build terminals, etc. etc.”

Out of about 10 companies that were being considered, Crete Carrier and Werner Enterprises were the two that were chosen by the American Trucking Association. Tetzloff was one of three drivers who got to tag along in a corporate jet to Washington D.C. Though Werner representatives had a chance to speak on stage, Tetzloff was in the audience but said he was just honored to be a part of the experience.

Aside from attending the exclusive event that was only attended by about 150 other individuals, Tetzloff had a chance to get a picture with Vice President Mike Pence and meet with Texas Congressman Pete Sessions.

When Tetzloff noticed some Texas Tech memorabilia in Sessions’ office, he asked if he was a Bobby Knight fan, as the former IU Basketball coach worked at Texas Tech toward the end of his career.

Sessions answered that he is a fan and then went to his closet, where he fished out a photo of him shaking hands with Bobby Knight. Tetzloff then took a picture with Sessions and the photograph of the famed Indiana coach. Tetzloff explained that he was very excited by the local connections that popped up while he was in D.C.

In an interview with WKVI Tetzloff mentioned, “My high points on this are having Indiana ties; Vice President Mike Pence is from Indiana and then we met Sessions and he had ties with Indiana with Bobby Knight and I thought that was so cool and just unique.”

Tetzloff said a majority of those in attendance were CEOs and other corporation representatives so he was honored to have this opportunity to represent the 5,000 other Crete Carrier truck drivers and the millions of drivers across the country.

Tetzloff’s employer also spoke to him about his Washington D.C. experience. That video along with more pictures from last Thursday’s event can be found on the Crete Carrier Facebook Page.

Vice President/Former Indiana Governor Mike Pence and Jeff Tetzloff

Jeff Tetzloff, Congressman Session holding a photo of former IU Coach Bobby Knight

Tetzloff with Crete Carrier CEO Tonn Ostegard and 
Werner Enterprises CEO Derek Leathers on their way to D.C.

Starke County Commissioners to Put Teeth into Dog Ordinance

Posted on April 18, 2018
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

The Starke County Commissioners will soon revamp the county’s dog ordinance to put responsibility on owners to keep track of their pets.

Commissioner Kathy Norem says she receives phone calls all of the time from residents who have concerns about unattended vicious dogs in their neighborhoods. The concerns are relayed to the sheriff’s department and the prosecutor’s office, but they say there isn’t much that can be done unless the dog kills livestock or if a person suffers injury from the dog.

County Attorney Marty Lucas read from the ordinance concerning loose dogs, but there are some issues with it.

“Any dog found at large beyond its owner’s property is subject to collection by the county animal control officer,” stated Lucas. “An animal collected roaming at large may be dispatched to the Starke Humane Society facility or similar facility. Prior to taking possession the dog owner shall pay the humane society in getting the dog back. If the dog doesn’t have a license then they would need to pay for the license and get a $10 late fee.”

The county does not have an animal control officer due to lack of funds and there isn’t a contract with the Starke County Humane Society to work with the county to house the stray dogs.

Commissioner Norem said something needs to be done.

“I’m sorry to have to say this, but I think we need to have a little more penalties put in there,” explained Norem. “I mean, I live in the country and I’ve got dogs. I’ve got all kinds of animals. The neighbor’s dog was on my property over the weekend and I don’t want that dog around my house. I’d hate to tell somebody to shoot it because it isn’t exactly the wild, wild west. Our job is to do something and provide options for folks.”

Sheriff Bill Dulin also expressed frustration with the current ordinance and would like to see a solution. He did remind the commissioners that while it’s not what they’d like to have happen, a property owner does have a right to defend his or her property. He added that the sheriff’s office receives about three to five calls a day that deal with loose dogs.

Norem suggested a round table discussion.

“Get it on the table with you (Dulin), the prosecutor, maybe Marty, maybe somebody from the health department and see what it is that we can do. Something has to change. We can’t use these ordinances from 2000 because they’re not cutting the mustard.”

Lucas plans to discuss things with the prosecutor as soon as possible and draft a new ordinance for review in the coming months.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Are You an Oatmeal Lover?

We won’t take all the blame, BUT…I think one of the reasons Mother Nature may be delaying Spring is because of us.

You see, Ms. Kelsie is making plans for our Summer Reading Program and is in need of large oatmeal containers for one of the projects.  So if Mother Nature delays Spring that means that more of you might be serving your family some nice hot oatmeal for breakfast.

Or maybe you’re planning on baking some cookies for some event coming up – a bake sale, birthday gift - oatmeal cookies always go well.

When your oatmeal container is empty, please recycle it by donating it to the North Judson-Wayne Township Library.  There’s no need to rush through your current container, unless you or your family are BIG oatmeal fans.  Ms. Kelsie won’t need to prepare them until the end of May so you have plenty of time to eat your share.

North Judson Town Marshal Kelly Fisher Reports Immediate Results from K9 Program

Posted on April 17, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

North Judson K9 Officer Rico Simpson and his K9 Partner Jimy have been very busy now that they’re out of training and patrolling the town. Town Marshal Kelly Fisher provided a brief synopsis of some of the work that the two have accomplished in their first week of deployment during Monday night’s town council meeting.

Since April 9th, K9 Jimy has already assisted with several traffic stops and indicated the presence of suspected narcotics, marijuana, heroin and drug paraphernalia.

Officer Simpson and Jimy also responded to a domestic battery situation on April 11th. Marshal Fisher shared that when they arrived on the scene, the suspect apparently began fleeing from the scene until Officer Simpson simply alerted the individual that he needed to stop or the K9 would be released. The suspect complied with the commands and was later taken into custody by Starke County Sheriff’s Deputies, following an investigation.

Aside from assisting with crime work, Officer Simpson and K9 Jimy have been providing demonstrations to the community.

They were present at the North Judson-San Pierre Elementary School fun fair and did a demonstration for the 4H Club at the NJSP High School. Marshal Fisher shared that she is very happy with Jimy’s temperament in social situations.

She shared, “Rico had Jimy and the kids were able to come up and pet him and he was real calm and I feel real comfortable with him being around the kids.”

During the recent demonstrations, the North Judson Police Department had to borrow a bite suit from the Starke County Sheriff’s Department. Since there will be more public presentations in the future, Marshal Fisher requested permission from the council to purchase a bite suit and helmet for about $1,200. She said the money is available in the K9 fund. Members unanimously approved the purchase.

Additionally, Marshal Fisher expressed her gratitude to everyone who made the NJPD K9 program possible with their generous donations.

Officer Rico Simpson, K9 Jimy & Town Marshal Kelly Fisher
Photo Source: NJ Town Photographer Peggy Bohack

Starke County Commissioners, Council Discuss Jail CAD System

Posted on April 17, 2018
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

Starke County Sheriff Bill Dulin shared information with the Starke County Council and Starke County Commissioners Monday night about the need for a new Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system for emergency services.

Dulin explained that police, fire, EMS, Starke County Probation, Starke County Prosecutor’s Office and Starke County Community Corrections use the CAD system which logs information about all of the calls the county receives. The current system is outdated which is causing several issues for first responders. Sometimes the wrong address is given to officers and emergency personnel because the computer system doesn’t have the right location of the caller. Other times, dispatchers could have one call open, begin another, and the other original call screen disappears. Dulin said an alert to check on officer safety doesn’t update and the system doesn’t code the correct data when it comes to officer badges in specific jurisdictions.

IT Director Richard Frank said the current company no longer provides adequate tech support for which the county pays an annual $12,000 maintenance fee.

Dulin hopes that the county would be able to go with a Caliber branded system, but even the less expensive system with just basic capabilities to be used by the dispatch center, jail and all of the county’s mobile units would cost in the neighborhood of $250,000. Dulin said all police departments, fire departments and the county’s EMS system would have access to the records as well as the prosecutor’s office, probation department and Starke County Community Corrections.

County Attorney Marty Lucas will be looking into proper acquisition of bids for the potential purchase of a CAD system while the county officials encouraged Dulin to seek funding from all of the other jurisdictions that utilize the service to help pay for the system.

No decision was made by the council or commissioners. More information will be brought forward in a future meeting.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Story Time From Space

Imagine Astronauts on the Space Station reading stories to and conducting science experiments for the children of Earth as the world rotates below.

Imagine no more…it’s Story Time from Space!

Starke County Park Board Denied Operation Round Up Grant for Bass Lake Beach Improvements

Posted on April 16, 2018
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

As the Starke County Park Board works to raise the necessary funds for improvements to the Bass Lake Beach, another one of its grant applications has come up short.

County Attorney Marty Lucas says a request for $2,500 from Kankakee Valley REMC’s Operation Round Up program has been denied, but the county was invited to reapply. “There was some information that they wanted in the application, some additional information that they wanted, and that’s going to be supplied, and so it will come up in their next cycle,” Lucas says. “They do cycles quarterly, so that won’t be that long off, before that comes up again.”

The grant application was one of a few that the park board submitted for the project. It would involve buying 80 cubic yards of stone and 500 tons of sand, in an effort to prevent and repair erosion at the Bass Lake Beach.

The total cost was estimated to be just under $15,000. While the park board was awarded a $5,000 Community Support Grant from the Starke County Community Foundation, a request for $5,000 from Arrowhead Country Resource Conservation and Development was denied, along with the Operation Round Up application.

The park board hopes to lower costs by using the Starke County Highway Department’s crews and equipment. The Starke County Park Board does not currently have a dedicated source of taxpayer funding.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Starke County Forest Access Improvement Work to Begin Soon

Posted on April 14, 2018
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

Work is expected to start soon on a new road and parking lot at the Starke County Forest. County Attorney Marty Lucas says an update on the project was given to the Starke County Park Board this week. “The project was delayed a little bit due to the flooding has kept Highway Superintendent [Rik] Ritzler very busy,” Lucas says, “and we hope to get that moving in the next few days.”

The park board was recently awarded $15,000 in grant funding from the Hardesty Memorial Endowment Fund. That will be used to upgrade the existing access trail into a gravel road, which will be called Hardesty Lane. It will lead to a new 10-to-12-car parking lot.

Starke County Community Organizations Active in Disaster Group to Meet

Posted on April 14, 2018
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

A group that will aim to set guidelines for a natural disaster will be meeting in a couple of weeks.

The Starke County Community Organizations Active in Disasters group will be looking at needs in a mass emergency that may have been overlooked during the recent flooding event.

Starke County Council President Brad Hazelton, EMA Director J. Nier and Our Redeemer Lutheran Church Parish Nurse Sharon Krick will be obtaining information on where the county can adequately house people in a natural disaster, donation locations, and chain of command for certain issues.

The public is welcome to attend a meeting on Tuesday, April 24, at 5:30 p.m. CT in the meeting room at the Starke County Annex No. 1 building at 53 E. Mound Street in Knox. Church members, community organizations, elected officials, emergency personnel, and interested volunteers are encouraged to attend.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Frankenstein Friday #12 - Chapter 9

The Creature speaks!  Join us for Frankenstein Friday on this #Fridaythe13th.

5/19 & 20/2018 Maxinkuckee Players Holding Auditions for "Sister Act"

Auditions for the 2018 Maxinkuckee Players production of “Sister Act” will be held at the Culver High School auditorium on:
Saturday May 19th from 9am-12pm, 1pm-5pm, & 6pm-9pm EST
Sunday May 20th from 1pm-5pm EST
Interested persons should be prepared to read from a script provided on site, and to sing a song of their choice (*exceptions stated below). A pianist and a CD player will be available. Performance dates are July 27th, 29th, Aug 3rd, 4th, & 5th. Any questions should be directed to Wendy Wise at 574-780-1344 or For more information go to

*Exceptions if you are auditioning for Sister Mary Robert:
Sister Mary Robert the young postulant. This role requires a person with a Mezza/Soprano range with a belt. Her solo is a “show-stopper”! Please plan on auditioning with “The Life I Never Led” from Sister Act.

Bass Lake Beach Gate House Insurance Settlement Finalized

Posted on April 13, 2018 
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

Repairs to the Bass Lake Beach gate house will soon be able to move ahead. The structure was seriously damaged when a pickup truck reportedly crashed into it back in November.

Now, the Starke County Park Board has finalized an insurance settlement for $2,500, according to County Attorney Marty Lucas. “All the paperwork has been filed, and so it’s just a matter of getting the check in now,” he says.

Park Board President Roger Chaffins initially felt that offer was too low, after Starke County Building Inspector Terry Stephenson determined the gate house was unsafe and called for its removal. The cost of replacing it was estimated to be as high as $15,000.

However, Bass Lake Beach and Campground Assistant Manager Larry Clarich felt the building could be repaired, and the $2,500 figure should be enough to cover the cost.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Public Vet’s Neuter Scooter Will Be in Knox This Weekend

Posted on April 12, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

In order to help control the cat population in the city, Neuter Scooter, a mobile clinic for spaying and neutering cats, will be in Knox beginning on Sunday, April 15th.

At Tuesday night’s Knox City Council meeting, Mayor Dennis Estok informed members that the exact location of the mobile clinic is not revealed until online registration is completed. He said the organization who offers the service, Public Vet, implemented this procedure because they had problems in the past with people dumping cats off at the site without paying for the services.

The cost per cat is $50 for a domesticated cat. Other services such as rabies vaccinations, flea and ear mite treatment and de-worming are also available for an additional fee.

If a cat is determined to be feral by Neuter Scooter Staff, the cost is $20. If you intend to bring in any feral cats, which are animals that are wild – not just cats that simply live outdoors, visit the organization’s website for more information.

Mayor Estok said that so far a total of 30 male cats and 100 female cats have already been registered. Once online registration is complete, owners are given their arrival time, the location of the clinic and all pre-surgery and transporting instructions.

Registration for the clinic can be completed online at If you have any additional questions, contact the Mayor’s Office at 574-772-4553.

Indiana Manufacturers Association Touts Strength of Industry, in Spite of Workforce Challenges

Posted on April 12, 2018
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

Indiana’s manufacturing industry is strong, but if it’s going to stay that way, the state has some workforce issues to solve. That’s according to Brian Burton, the president and CEO of the Indiana Manufacturers Association.

Speaking at the 2018 Pulaski County Economic Development Summit Tuesday, Burton said markets and production are good, but difficulty with finding qualified workers is holding production back. Now, he says business owners and investors are instead turning to technology upgrades, in an effort to increase production. However, he pointed out that Indiana’s population challenges are not as severe those facing Illinois or Michigan.

He said Indiana is the most manufacturing-intensive state, according to Burton, with the manufacturing sector making up 29 percent of the state’s gross domestic product and employing well over half a million Hoosiers. He added that while technology-related jobs often get more of the attention, manufacturing is far more important to the state’s economy and the average wage is similar.

Burton explained that Indiana is benefiting from a growing U.S. economy. He said it has solid momentum, but the past few weeks have seen an increase in market volatility, due to tariff concerns. The tariffs would have a mixed effect on Indiana manufacturers. Burton said it would benefit the state’s large steel and aluminum manufacturing industry, but hurt other manufacturers who rely on steel.

While reviewing the 2018 Indiana legislative session, Burton said several key bills failed to pass before the deadline. One was a federal tax conformity bill, which may be dealt with in a special session next month. A proposal to add regulations for autonomous vehicle development also didn’t pass, but Burton said it could be brought back next year. He warned that it could discourage automakers from making investments in Indiana in the future.

Resurfacing Project Planned for U.S. 35 in Knox

Posted on April 12, 2018
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

A resurfacing project is planned for U.S. 35 in Knox this summer.

According to officials from the Indiana Department of Transportation, road construction crews will install a new surface on U.S. 35 from about a mile south of the State Road 8 east junction to about a mile south of the State Road 8 west junction.

Starke County Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler said a preventative maintenance overlay of hot mix asphalt will be done by Walsh and Kelly crews.

The project is anticipated to begin in May with a contractual completion date of September 7, although the project could wrap up prior to that date. More detailed information will be released in the coming weeks.

Starke County Park Board to Decide on Rent Increase for Bass Lake Beach and Campground Operator

Posted on April 12, 2018
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

The Starke County Park Board is looking to raise the rent on the Bass Lake Beach and Campground, but how exactly that will take place still has to be determined. Callahan Development, LLC’s lease on the property was discussed during Tuesday’s park board meeting. While the original 10-year lease period is up at the end of the month, the company has exercised an option to renew it for another 10 years.

The park board doesn’t necessarily have a say in whether the renewal goes ahead, but County Attorney Marty Lucas says there is one area that may be reviewed. “The discussion is really about the clause in the lease that deals with increases in rents,” he explains, “and the issue is that the clause is somewhat ambiguous and difficult to interpret.”

The lease allows the county to raise the rent by up to eight percent per year. “That’s never been invoked up until now,” Lucas says. “I think they probably will invoke it in some form, but the exact form of how they want to invoke that is what’s being discussed.”

Lucas says that with only three of the five board members in attendance Tuesday, the park board decided to wait until its next meeting before taking official action on the rent increase. “I expect they will vote for some kind of increase, more than zero, and eight-percent or less per year, and they’re also going to discuss some other aspects of it,” he explains. “I think they partly want to see if they can achieve some kind of consensus with Callahan, too, so that we continue to have a positive relationship.”

The park board has been looking for ways to work with Callahan to make improvements to the property and clarify the lease.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Starke County Commissioners Question Coroner Invoices

Posted on April 10, 2018
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

The Starke County Commissioners asked Coroner Dannie Hoffer about some invoices recently submitted.

The invoices were from 2017 and totaled about $10,000.

Hoffer explained that he thought they were turned in, but it turned out to be an oversight on his part. He noted that when he gets bills, he scans them and puts them into his computer and then turns them in to Auditor Kay Chaffins. He said this time it was an error and he will work on a better system to get them turned in on time.

In addition, Commissioner Kathy Norem asked Hoffer to talk to Lake County Coroner Merrilee Frey  about conducting the autopsies at her facility to help cut the cost. The county would pay $1,000 to do the autopsy in Lake County when the county is currently paying $1,800 per autopsy. Hoffer said he’d talk to her about a possible arrangement.

Another cost saving measure would be if the hospital could do a preliminary toxicology screen for suspected overdose deaths, according to Hoffer. He said if the hospital could help in doing those panels, it would give Hoffer an idea on if a toxicology test needs to be done or a complete autopsy. Currently, he said, autopsies are being conducted on all of the suspected overdose deaths because Starke Hospital doesn’t do pre-screen tests. He indicated that could save a lot of money as well.

A meeting may be set soon to discuss those details.

Absentee Voting for Primary Election Starts Today

Posted on April 10, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

Today is the first-day voters may cast an absentee ballot for the 2018 primary election. According to the Secretary of State’s Election Division, absentee-by-mail applications for the 2018 primary election must be received by the county office by April 30th.

There are specific conditions that individuals must meet in order to be eligible to vote absentee-by-mail. These reasons include that there is a specific, sensible expectation that you will be absent from the county on Election Day, you are scheduled to work at your regular place of employment when polls are open or you will have official election duties outside of your voting precinct.

If you’re prevented from voting due to unavailability of transportation, due to religious discipline or holiday during the entire 12 hours the polls are open or if you are a member of the military or a public safety officer, these are other acceptable reasons to vote by mail.

Other conditions that would make you eligible to submit an absentee ballot by mail is if you have a disability, you’re at least 65 years of age, you are a participant in the state’s address confidentiality program, if you’re considered a “serious sex offender” as defined by Indiana Code 35-24-2-14(a) or you will be confined due to illness or injury or you will be caring for an individual confined due to illness or injury on Election Day.

On the other hand, all registered Indiana voters are eligible to vote absentee-in-person at any county election board office. Don’t forget to bring a valid ID with you. Specific dates and locations for absentee voting can be found below:

Pulaski County:
Location: Winamac- Pulaski County Justice Center Lobby
Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Closed 1-1:30 for lunch)
Saturday, April 28 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday, May 5 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Location: Francesville- Fire Station
Friday, April 27 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Closed 1-1:30 for lunch)
Saturday, April 28 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Friday, May 4 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Closed 1-1:30 for lunch)
Saturday, May 5 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
**All Pulaski County Times in Eastern Standard Time**
If you have any questions, contact the Pulaski County Clerk’s Office at 574-946-3313.

Starke County:
Location: First Floor of Starke County Courthouse; 53 E Washington Street in Knox
April 10-April 13: 8:00 a.m. to 12:00. (Break for lunch) 1:00 p.m. To 4:00p.m.
April 16-April 20: 8:00 a.m. to 12:00. (Break for lunch) 1:00 p.m. To 4:00 p.m.
April 23-April 26: 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 (Break for lunch) 1:00 p.m. To 4:00 p.m.
April 27: 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 (Break for lunch) 1:00 p.m. To 6:00 p.m.
April 28: 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 (Break for lunch) 1:00 p.m. To 4:00 p.m.
April 30: 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 (Break for lunch) 1:00 p.m. To 4:00 p.m.
May 1-May 3: 8:00 a.m. To 12:00 (Break for lunch) 1:00 p.m. To 4:00 p.m.
May 4: 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 (Break for lunch) 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
May 5: 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 (Break for lunch) 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
May 7: 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 (Absentee Voting Ends)
**All Starke County Times in Central Standard Time**
If you have any questions, contact the Starke County Voter Registration Office at 574-772-9160.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Starke County Prosecutor Issues Press Release about Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Posted on April 7, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

Sexual violence is a serious public health issue that affects millions of men and women. According to the Center for Disease Control, in the United States alone, 1 in 6 men and 1 in 3 women reported experiencing sexual violence involving physical contact at some point in their life.

As startling as that statistic may sound, it doesn’t capture the true magnitude of the problem as many victims do not tell police, family or friends about the incident. Unfortunately, this is a crisis that individuals may face at any age. Children, adolescents, adults and the elderly can all fall prey to attackers.

In an effort to draw attention to the pervasive problem, April is recognized as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Starke County Prosecutor Nicholas Bourff issued a press release about the topic providing some information and commenting on the seriousness of sexual assault. He said that having respect for all individuals and understanding that it can be offensive to violate someone’s personal space will help eliminate this type of abuse.

The prosecutor added that consent is about respecting and accepting the choices of others in everyday situations. He stated that sexual violence is any type of unwanted sexual contact including actions such as sexual harassment, name-calling, ‘revenge porn’, inappropriate contact and rape.

Bourff mentioned that changing attitudes that diminish the seriousness of sexual assault is another way all people can work to reduce the frequency of such incidents. This starts by discouraging anyone who victim blames or laughs at inappropriate or unwanted comments.

Those looking to speak with someone about a personal situation can contact the Victims Assistance Division of the Starke County Prosecutor’s Office at 574-772-7756. More information and helpful resources can be found on the Center for Disease Control website.

North Judson-San Pierre School Board Covers Corporation Plans and Graduation Pathways

Posted on April 7, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

When the North Judson-San Pierre School Board met in a work session on Wednesday, members reviewed the corporation’s technology, wellness, accountability and strategic plans. Those plans will all be up for approval at the May board meeting.

When discussing recent changes to graduation requirements, the members and Superintendent Dr. Annette Zupin decided it was best to hold off on hosting an informational meeting over Graduation Pathways due to unanswered questions.

Dr. Zupin explained that she was hoping to provide students, parents and community members with information regarding the Graduation Pathways but there isn’t enough clarification on the subject to provide a presentation at this time.

Zupin said the Indiana State Board of Education created the Graduation Pathways to help create an educated and talented workforce and while the concept and theory are sound, there are many question and matters to work through before schools can begin implementation.

Some areas that still remain unclear include how exactly schools will implement the programs, courses and opportunities to meet the requirements, whether the school or state is responsible for the costs of tests and programs and what schools are supposed to do when a student transfers from other schools or states since schools can create different programs and requirements in their pathways.

The superintendent said that while they are frustrated with the uncertainty and unanswered questions, officials feel good about what NJSP offers and provides for students. Dr. Zupin said the SCILL Center will continue to serve as a very important resource to assist students with employability and workforce skills.

She added that when the dust settles and questions are answered, the school corporation will do everything in their power to help students graduate through these pathway options.

Starke County Commissioners Approve Reassessment Bid

Posted on April 7, 2018
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

Starke County Assessor Michelle Snowdon had the chance to review the bid for the reassessment process for the next few years and presented her findings to the Starke County Commissioners this week.

She said the bid seems to be in line with all specifications to conduct reassessments on Starke County properties from 2019 to 2022. The total bid came in at $575,800 which is about $23,000 less than the company’s last bid.

The commissioners approved the bid on Snowdon’s recommendation. Accurate Assessment has worked with Starke County in reassessment procedures since 1999.

Accurate Assessment crews will take the next four years to assess all properties in Starke County. They will 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. This helps the assessor’s office keep up to date on all properties as not all property owners go through the permitting process when updating properties with structures.

Mattraw Named New Chief Probation Officer, Arrests Made in Recent Compliance Check

Posted on April 7, 2018
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

A long-time officer with Starke County Community Corrections is now the chief probation officer in Starke County.

Shawn Mattraw takes the place of John Thorstad who resigned from the chief probation officer position in early March.

Thorstad and Community Corrections Director Robert Hinojosa were recently recognized by the Starke County Commissioners for their dedicated service to the county. Hinojosa’s last day was yesterday. He retired from community corrections after 30 years in the field and nine years as the director of the organization in Starke County.

In a press release, Mattraw said that one of his goals is to ensure that probation officers hold offenders accountable to the terms of probation. In a recent compliance check, Mattraw said officers conducted a search of a home in Hamlet and they reportedly found drug paraphernalia. 45-year-old Roberta Collins and 52-year-old Marvin Collins were arrested on preliminary charges of possession of methamphetamine, possession of paraphernalia and maintaining a common nuisance.

Indiana Department of Revenue Urges Taxpayers to Avoid Mistakes That Could Delay Refunds

Posted on April 9, 2018
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

As the income tax deadline approaches, the Indiana Department of Revenue has a few tips for avoiding refund delays. Department officials say many delays are caused by preventable errors, and an easy way to stop those from happening is to file electronically.

If you decide to use paper forms, make sure you have all the documents in the right order and that the filing is signed and dated. Including your phone number will allow the Department of Revenue to get a hold of you if there are any issues.

Make sure you send your tax filings to the right address. Federal forms go to the IRS, while Indiana forms go to the Department of Revenue. There are also different addresses depending on whether your filing requires a payment or is claiming a refund.

If you’ve moved, update your address with the Department of Revenue, since the post office may not be able to forward certain types of mail. Also, if you’re asked to complete an Identify Confirmation Quiz, do it as soon as possible.

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

Posted on April 9, 2018
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

The Starke County Commissioners signed a proclamation Monday naming the month of April as Child Abuse Prevention Month in Starke County.

Larry Harris representing the Starke County Coalition Against Domestic Abuse presented the proclamation for approval last week. The document stresses the need to address the issue as it’s a community problem where child abuse is preventable. Children in abusive situations often become involved in criminal and risky behavior, participate in substance abuse, and experience health problems.

Commissioner Kathy Norem read the proclamation aloud into the record last week with this conclusion.

“…Therefore, we do hereby proclaim April as Child Abuse Prevention Month in Starke County, Indiana, and call upon all citizens, community agencies, faith groups, medical facilities and businesses to increase participation in our efforts to support families, thereby preventing child abuse and strengthening the community in which we live,” read Norem.

To seek assistance, call the Starke County Coalition Against Domestic Abuse at 574-772-7200.

North Judson Town Council Considers Switching General Account to Another Bank

Posted on April 9, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

After realizing the advantage of a potential bank switch, North Judson Town Council members will officially consider moving the town’s general account from First National Bank of Monterey to First Farmers Bank and Trust during a future meeting.

FFBT Representative Mike Pazin provided members with a presentation when they met last Monday. Pazin came to speak with the council at the request of Clerk-Treasurer Andrew Rowe after he received some intriguing news from Pazin while discussing interest rates.

Initially, when conversing with the Clerk-Treasurer about increasing community involvement and what the bank could provide to the town, Pazin presented a potential interest rate of about 1.22 percent. At the meeting, Pazin informed members that the rate had gone up and the bank was offering an even higher group interest rate of 1.34 percent for their public fund account.

Compared to the town’s current rate of .45 percent with First National Bank of Monterey, members recognized that a change would make for quite a substantial increase. Clerk-Treasurer Rowe noted that he did speak with those bank reps who said they could potentially raise the town’s rate to about .7 percent, which would still fall short of the offer from First Farmers.

Councilman John Rowe mentioned that it seemed like a pretty self-explanatory decision when you compare the percentages and other council members agreed. However, rather than taking action Tuesday night, members decided to hold off until First National Bank of Monterey could have a chance to respond.

After speaking with representatives at First National Bank of Monterey again on Friday, Rowe confirmed that the highest rate they could provide in this circumstance is .7 percent.

Clerk-Treasurer Rowe said the switch will officially be considered at the next town council meeting. He also mentioned that due to a State Board of Accounts recommendation to refrain from keeping all funds in one bank, the town’s Utility Clearance account will remain at First National Bank of Monterey.