Tuesday, July 31, 2018

8/8/2018 Kindergarten "Get Acquainted Day"

Made a slight change on the North Judson-Wayne Township Library's website this year hoping to include news from both of the school systems in town. We've changed the webpage "NJ-SP School News" to "NJ Schools News" and have included the web address for St. Peter's Lutheran School. There is also a NEW activities calendar in that section for St. Peters, which is also included in the North Judson Schools Calendars on the home page of our website.




Quote of the Month - August 2018

Happy Birthday, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley!
August 30, 1797 

Mary was an English novelist, short story writer, dramatist, essayist, 
biographer, and travel writer, best known for her Gothic novel 
Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus.

CASA Classes Starting Soon

Monday, July 30, 2018

Don’t Miss Your Chance to be on the Map for this Year’s North Judson Town Wide Yard Sale

Posted on July 28, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

North Judson residents who wish to participate in the annual town wide yard sale need to sign up as soon as possible! The event will be held, rain or shine, on Saturday, August 4th from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m.

To participate a permit must be received from Town Hall, located at 310 Lane Street. In order to appear on this year’s map, individuals need to be signed up by 4 p.m. on Tuesday, July 31st.

There will be no exceptions to the deadline. Residents are encouraged to bring a list of their top five ‘hot ticket’ items so those can be included on the map.

As they do every year, Town Council members voted to reduce the cost of a yard sale permit from $10 to $5 for the event. Permits can still be acquired after Tuesday, however, the residence will not be listed on the map. Maps will be available at various local businesses, as well as Town Hall.

Town officials noted that the town wide yard sale is not limited to home-owners only; church groups and other non-profit organizations are encouraged to set up in Norwayne Field to sell food to shoppers and businesses are urged to conduct side-walk sales in conjunction with the event.

Clerk-Treasurer Andrew Rowe and Billing-Clerk Jennifer Vanek said they’re hoping more people come to Town Hall before next Saturday since not many permits have been issued so far. If you have any questions, contact the Clerk-Treasurer’s Office at 574-896-3340.

Starke County Court Services Director Reports Smooth Transition, Following Merger

Posted on July 30, 2018
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

The process of merging Starke County Community Corrections with the County Probation Department has been a smooth one, so far. That’s according to Shawn Mattraw. He’s the director of the new entity, known as Starke County Court Services. “Some of the concern some folks have shared is they felt maybe the Probation side might be swallowed up by Community Corrections, that we just want to take over everything, and that’s not the intent,” he says. “The intent is we want to make sure that we can provide our probation officers more resources to do their job more effectively.”

He says the recent hire of a full-time corrections field officer will help with that effort. “Part of his responsibilities, of course, he’ll check on individuals sentenced to probation, community corrections, pretrial release monitoring,” Mattraw explains, “and that gives our probation officers somebody in the field that can assist with compliance checks and take some of the load off their plate, as well.”

Mattraw adds that the merger has led to more evidence-based sentencing recommendations, especially the use of risk assessments for criminal defendants. He says additional employees have been trained in the system, and Court Services is working with defense attorneys and the Prosecutor’s Office to streamline that process. “So that way, you have a defendant that comes over here, gets evaluated,” Mattraw says. “We can let everybody in the judicial system know, ‘Here’s his risk level. Here’s what we recommend in terms of supervision, and here’s what we recommend in terms of treatment.’ It’s not a crapshoot. It’s not a guess. It’s a more precise and scientific evaluation, specifically based on the risk score of that defendant.”

Over the long term, Mattraw believes the changes will help Starke County focus its resources on the high- and moderate-risk offenders who need it most.

He credits the county’s Probation and Community Corrections staff with making the merger a smooth process.

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Friday, July 27, 2018

Frankenstein Friday #27 - Chapter 21

It’s Frankenstein Friday! Join us as we read the next chapter of Frankenstein: https://indianahumanities.org/frankenfridaychap21

Starke County Inmates Successfully Complete Chemical Dependency and Addiction Program

Posted on July 27, 2018
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI 

Eleven inmates in the Starke County Justice Center recently successfully completed the fifth Chemical Dependency and Addictions program. Eight men and three women graduated from the separate education sessions.

The Chemical Dependency and Addictions program, led by Porter-Starke Services Therapist Leo Smith, provides counseling services and substance abuse education to those who are incarcerated on drug-related crimes. The 14-week program focuses on self-awareness and self-improvement through individual commitment to change criminal thinking and addictive behavior. Stress management and anger and craving suppression skills are developed along with ways to deal with triggers. Critical reasoning and decision-making skills are taught.

Those participating in the program who reaches the graduation stage write a goodbye letter to the drug of their choice. Guests who attend the graduation are encouraged to support the individual’s recovery and their transition into society.

In addition to Therapist Leo Smith’s 27 years of experience working with rehabilitating substance abusers, the effort to host this program is shared with Jail Warden Phill Cherry, Jail Commander Nathan Caudill, Starke County Circuit Court Judge Kim Hall, the Starke County Prosecutor’s Office, and Starke County Court Services.

Deadline to File for North Judson At-Large Seats is Approaching

Posted on July 27, 2018
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

Two at-large seats on the North Judson Town Council will be on the Starke County November General Election Ballot. The deadline to file for candidacy is Wednesday, Aug. 1.

Clerk Vicki Cooley told the Starke County Election Board members on Wednesday that Incumbent Democrat John Rowe has filed for a seat on the North Judson Town Council. Incumbent Republican Josh Brown filed Thursday morning for an at-large seat.

If more than two Democrats or two Republicans file for the two seats available, a town convention will be scheduled with a date prior to Aug. 21. So far, action to schedule that is not needed.

Candidates may file in the Starke County Clerk’s Office. For more information, call 574-772-9160.

As previously reported, the North Judson Town Council members did not pass an ordinance by Jan. 1 to indicate that those seats would be included in the May Primary Election. Those candidates will now be determined this fall.

The HealthLinc Back-to-School Health Fair is Happening Today!

Posted on July 27, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

In recognition of National Health Center Week and the back-to-school season, HealthLinc in Knox is hosting a free community event this afternoon.

Cost-free school and sports physicals will be offered for uninsured individuals and HealthLinc officials will be handing out free backpacks with school supplies, while materials last.

In addition to those free opportunities, there will be games, prizes and snacks. Local vendors will be set up and there will also be a DJ on-site.

HealthLinc’s annual back-to-school health fair will run from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. at the facility, located at 104 E. Culver Road.

If you have any questions about the event or if you’d like to schedule an appointment with the health center, call 574-772-7400 or 1-888-580-1060.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Merit Foundation to Host Radio-a-Thon at WKVI Tomorrow!

Posted on July 26, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

This Friday, citizens will have a chance to donate to a local cause that’s driven to shift Starke County’s health statistics from “Worst to First”. The Merit Foundation will be hosting their first annual radio-a-thon here at WKVI from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. tomorrow.

This organization focuses specifically on the national healthy community rankings outlined by the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation. Officials note that Starke County has consistently been near the bottom of the Indiana State rankings for many years and they want to change that.

During the event, organization representatives will highlight their mission and discuss ways to work toward community improvement. Donations will be collected throughout the day to help the Foundation achieve their goal of moving the county up in the rankings.

Pledges can be made in a few different ways. Listeners can donate online at facebook.com/themeritfoundation or they can pledge over the phone by calling in at 574-772-6241.

You can also make your pledge in person by coming into the WKVI Radio Station, located at 400 W Culver Road in Knox.

The event will be hosted by the Merit Foundation’s Executive Director David Weinberg, creator of the app “Artunity” Jay Weinberg and Kankakee Valley Broadcasting’s General Manager Lenny Dessauer.

Live guests will include Knox Mayor Dennis Esok, Starke County Sheriff Bill Dulin and Melanie Walker with the Indiana Youth Institute.

Be sure to tune in to K99.3 tomorrow to learn more about the organization. If you have the means, please donate to the cause to assist this organization focused on not only improving the health of Starke County residents but also changing the overall perception of the community internally and externally.

Starke County Election Board Discusses Candidate Late Financial Reports

Posted on July 26, 2018
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

The Starke County Election Board members finalized paperwork concerning late financial reports submitted by candidates for the May Primary Election.

The board members had a question about whether fines should be assessed on the deadline set by the state or when the resolution was approved by the local election board. Upon information given to Clerk Vicki Cooley by an election division official, the fines are to be assessed by the state deadline date of Apr. 20, 2018.

There are eight candidates who filed late financial reports. Some of the reports were filed in the clerk’s office just hours after the deadline time of noon on Apr. 20, but a fine still applies which is $50 a day. The fines for the candidates vary in each case which range from $50 to $900.

Candidates will receive a letter notifying them that the fines are to be paid by Monday, Aug. 10. They can send their payment in and indicate on the return paper that they are not going to appeal their fine. If candidates want to file an appeal, that action must be done in person at the clerk’s office. The Starke County Election Board will hold hearings on Aug. 20. More detailed information will be given in the formal notices sent by the clerk’s office.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

8/4/2018 North Judson Town Wide Yard Sale

Community Services Vacancies on Board of Directors

Starke County Economic Development Foundation Discusses Projected Population Loss

Posted on July 24, 2018
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

Starke County’s projected population decline continues to draw concerns from local officials.

During last week’s Hamlet Town Council meeting, Ron Gifford with the Starke County Economic Development Foundation presented population projections broken down by various age groups. “The concern we would have if this proves to be true is that in 2050, we would be down in every single age category, except for 65-plus,” he explained. That would mean about 1,300 fewer school-age children, and 2,400 fewer people of working age, according to Gifford.

He pointed out that the county’s population decline appears to be outpacing projections. But he also noted that Starke County is not alone, with most rural counties experiencing similar losses.

Gifford also told the Hamlet Town Council that State Representative Jim Pressel and Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority Executive Director Jacob Sipe will be in Starke County Monday, to discuss housing needs with local officials. He noted that the IHCDA has financing available to help communities. Hamlet officials have recently expressed a desire to bring new housing into town.

Unemployment Up in Starke, Pulaski Counties

Posted on July 24, 2018
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

Unemployment rates moved higher during the month of June. Starke County’s unemployment rate stands at 4.3 percent, according to the latest report from the Indiana Department of Workforce Development. That’s half a percent higher than the previous month and four-tenths of a percent higher than the same period last year.

Pulaski County’s rate remains lower, but it saw similar increases. The county reported 3.4 percent unemployment last month, up from 2.9 percent the month before and 3.1 percent in June of 2017. But there were almost 30 more people employed last month, compared to the same period last year.

Both Starke and Pulaski counties saw their labor forces increase slightly. The state as a whole saw an unemployment rate of 3.6 percent during the month of June, while the national rate was 4.2 percent.

Starke County Council Approves Jail Sergeant Positions

Posted on July 24, 2018
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

The Starke County Council members took action last week to approve jail sergeant positions at the Starke County Justice Center.

Sheriff Bill Dulin previously requested the creation of the positions during the second Starke County Commissioners meeting in June. He mentioned that one person will be appointed jail sergeant during the day shift and another during the night shift. Those positions will be paid an additional 45 cents an hour with the funding to come from Therapeutic Community line item.

No new employees will be hired for these positions. A person already working the shifts will be appointed to supervise the jail and the staff members during those shifts.

The Starke County Council members approved the position to be added to the salary ordinance, as recommended by the commissioners. A job description will be added.

Jennifer Norem Headed to World Food Championship

Posted on July 24, 2018
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

A Knox woman is taking her culinary skills to the national level.

Jennifer Norem will be participating in the World Food Championship in Orange Beach, Alabama this November. She entered the contest by taking eye-catching, mouth-watering pictures of food through a mobile app. The photo entry is based on perceived taste. Through this contest, she was chosen to participate at the national level.

According to Norem, the contest focused on each state’s signature foods. Indiana is known for pork tenderloins, so she created her own masterpiece, “Breaded Queen Hoosier Pork Tenderloin.”

“It’s just a cut of a pork tenderloin that you have to beat down because you have to have it thinned out,” detailed Norem. “I have a breading that’s kind of like a Cajun breading you coat it with and that gets fried in a pan. I made a chipotle/lime mayo. Actually, when you put it together it’s got a good taste to it. You’ve got a little bit of heat and you’ve got a little bit of tang. I topped that with bacon and an over-easy egg, fresh tomato and avocado. I also added a splash of lime and salt and pepper.”

She will get to prepare her dish during the time allotted during the World Food Championship event. If she is chosen to move forward from the initial stage, she will be able to prepare a dish with a specified ingredient. She will be competing with contestants from all over the world and fans who attend can watch the preparation of the food.

She said that this is like a dream come true. The reality of it hasn’t hit her yet, but she’s ready for the challenge. She encourages others to chase their dreams.

“Anybody out there thinking about doing things like this or is not positive or sure they’re going to make it, but they have a dream and want to go for it…go for it! You never know!”

She will be busy preparing dishes from now until the contest Nov. 7-11. She claims that she has plenty of taste-testers, but she’ll probably have enough to share.

Waterworks and Sewer Project Ordinances Considered by North Judson Town Council

Posted on July 24, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

North Judson Town Council members took a major step with their Waterworks and Sewer projects when they met last Monday.

Two ordinances related to the projects were considered at last week’s meeting. These documents laid out various details, including all the entities involved as well as certain requirements and responsibilities related to the projects and how they’re being financed.

Members considered and approved the Waterworks Project Ordinance on first reading. A motion was then made to suspend the rules in order to forgo the other two readings and adopt the ordinance as presented. That motion passed unanimously.

Board members repeated that process with the Sewer Project Ordinance. It was also passed with unanimous approval.

Town Attorney Justin Schramm mentioned that the lengthy ordinances were prepared by Dennis Otten, a partner with Town’s corporate bond counsel, Bose McKinney & Evans. He added that Otten would take care of publishing the official notice that these documents were adopted.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Would You Like to Host an Exchange Student?

Would you like to host an Exchange Student for this school year? This can be a great opportunity for you!

If so, please contact Jamie Le Donne, International Cultural Exchange Services Field Manager (219-229-0271).  Website: www.icesusa.org

View our available students at http://icesusa.org/meet-our-students/

North Judson Town Council Addresses Property Classification Concern

Posted on July 23, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

North Judson Town Council members addressed a property classification concern when they met last Monday.

Don Ward and Gus Curran came before council members last week to ask whether they knew if a particular piece of property was zoned within the town limits or if it fell in the county’s jurisdiction.

He added that they were looking to get some kind of definitive statement from the council as soon as possible since Curran is attempting to sell the property and already had one client turn away due to the zoning complications.

Ward noted that there was some question about whether the property was annexed into the town back in the late 1990s when the school was annexed. However, he said after checking with the County Recorder, everything they found stated that it was zoned within the county. The Recorder reportedly told them that there was no official documentation about it being annexed into the town.

Clerk-Treasurer Andrew Rowe said he and Billing Clerk Jennifer Vanek looked over town records from the last several decades and the area in question was considered county property in everything they found as well.

He reminded council members of the matter they recently resolved regarding an alley that wasn’t technically vacated for decades because it wasn’t officially recorded. He said something like that could have taken place with this property as well.

After hearing the public input and considering what Clerk-Treasurer Rowe had to say on the matter, members asked Town Attorney Justin Schramm what their next course of action should be.

Schramm noted that it wouldn’t really make sense to draw up an ordinance or resolution on the matter to state that the piece of property doesn’t belong within the town limits. Instead, he suggested issuing a declaration that would reflect what had been found.

Schramm provided an example of what the declaration could entail. He said they could potentially say: “The piece of property at issue, based upon our findings of the question presented, is not within the corporate boundaries of the incorporated town of North Judson, therefore it was never annexed and lies within the County’s zoning.”

The council members made and passed a motion to that effect. They also unanimously approved a motion that allows Council President Wendy Hoppe to sign the declaration once it’s completed by Town Attorney Schramm.

Starke County Commissioner Dissolves Rumor

Posted on July 23, 2018
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

Starke County Commissioner Kathy Norem addressed those in attendance during the county council meeting last week about a rumor that piqued interest of county residents.

Norem said she was approached at the Starke County 4-H Fair about the new ALS Non-Emergency Transport Vehicle. The person to whom she spoke said that EMS Director Travis Clary purposely blew up the engine out of his county-issued, handed-down Dodge Charger he was previously using and got a brand new vehicle as a result of his action.

Norem said that is false. The “new” vehicle is a retired police vehicle from the Starke County Sheriff’s Department with over 100,000 miles and by law it had to be painted as it featured two different tones of paint. Only law enforcement vehicles are legally allowed to have that kind of paint scheme on a car. The vehicle is certified as an ALS Non-Emergency Transport vehicle through the state.

As for the Dodge Charger, Clary drove it the Starke County Highway Garage last week to include it in the county’s equipment auction.

Clary uses the ALS Non-Emergency Transport vehicle as a department vehicle and in the event he can respond more quickly to a medical emergency. He has necessary life saving equipment to assist a patient with an immediate cardiac problem, overdose or respiratory distress.

Kid’s Closet Ministry to Host ‘Pack-a-Backpack’ Event Tonight and Tomorrow

Posted on July 23, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

Starke County students who need some assistance securing supplies before they head back to school can swing by the Pack-a-Backpack event.

The Kid’s Closet Ministry will be hosting their annual event tonight and tomorrow night at the North Judson United Methodist Church fellowship hall from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. on both evenings.

In order to be eligible for the program, students must receive free or reduced lunch during the school year. Parents are required to have their child or children with them at the time of the supply pick-up.

They should also bring along an ID to demonstrate that they reside in the area and/or school registration forms to show that their student attends a Starke County school.

The way distribution works is that volunteers will be equipped with supply lists from the different schools and grade levels. Students will be able to select the list that applies to them and then a bag will be filled with all the supplies they need, according to Director Linda Lewandowski.

She added that while attending the event, parents can sign up to receive an in-home delivery of clothing.

Lewandowski said after the Pack-a-Backpack event, there will be approximately 350 children across the community signed-up to receive clothes through the program.

Due to the number of kids being assisted, there is a chance some deliveries won’t be made until October or November, depending on how many volunteers they have assisting with the process.

If you want to help out with the Kid’s Closet Ministry, you can assist in a number of ways. Volunteers are responsible for sorting through donations for the best quality clothing, doing laundry, folding, packing and making the deliveries.

Interested individuals can contact the North Judson United Methodist Church at 574-896-5927 and enter extension 4 to reach the Kid’s Closet line.

Friday, July 20, 2018

North Judson-San Pierre Officials Prepare for First Year with E-Learning

Posted on July 20, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

North Judson-San Pierre Superintendent Dr. Annette Zupin took some time during Tuesday night’s school board meeting to discuss how E-Learning will be utilized in the upcoming school year.

In the first year of its implementation, there will be two pre-planned E-Learning days, rather than the kind that are held when inclement weather strikes.

The first will be held on February 18, 2019, and the second one will be determined and announced at a later date.

Until the first E-Learning day arrives, Zupin said teachers and students will be practicing both inside and outside of the classroom. In the fall, students and teachers will utilize the week of October 22nd through the 26th to familiarize themselves with procedures.

Board Vice President Derrick Stalbaum provided a good summary of what the E-Learning practice days will entail.

He explained, “The point of an E-Learning day is that education continues, so what you’re doing is you’re still learning and you’re still going through curriculum even on those practice days, you’re just doing it in a more digital format.”

Dr. Zupin stressed that school officials did not come to this decision overnight. She explained that conversations started back in February when they began consulting with the Department of Education, as well as gauging how teachers and administrators felt about the potential implementation.

Officials spent time researching the program throughout the months of March, April and May as conversations with the D.O.E continued and surrounding schools were consulted about their methods.

Zupin stated that during the months of June and July, the focus has been on professional development, as well as creating and finalizing policies and procedures for the program’s implementation. Officials are still discussing various aspects, such as how to effectively measure attendance and what a student would do if they don’t have access to the internet at home.

Dr. Zupin noted that there will be a three day grace period for students to submit E-Learning assignments after the initial date is held. She also mentioned that since there will be pre-planned days this year, students and parents can make arrangements to utilize the library or another place in town that has access to free Wi-Fi.

Officials also suggested potentially opening the lab at the school on the pre-planned E-Learning days where weather conditions would not prevent travel.

Zupin said during this transition, school officials will continue to provide as much information about the program as possible. If you have any questions about the E-Learning at NJSP, feel free to contact the Administration Office at 574-896-2155. Click the following link to download the power-point presentation provided about the NJSP E-Learning Program.

North Judson Town Marshal Discusses Glock Buyback Opportunity

Posted on July 20, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

North Judson Town Marshal Kelly Fisher informed town council members about buyback special being offered by the Glock fire-arms company.

She noted that North Judson police officers currently carry 357s and they’re about 20-year-old models. Marshal Fisher stated that the NJPD could trade in their old guns and the company would provide the force with 9mm guns, equipped with night site, for a discounted price of $110 each.

She noted that in addition to the new guns being able to fit in their existing holsters, the ammunition that 9mm guns require would cost about half the price of what they use in their current guns.

Council President Wendy Hoppe asked if Glock would include the old ammunition in their buyback. Fisher said she’s still in the process of researching what exactly the opportunity entails but she thinks that option would be available.

No official actions were taken but Fisher said she will continue to keep the town council members posted with any additional information she gathers.

Starke County Council Approves Dehumidifier Purchase

Posted on July 20, 2018
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

The Starke County Council members approved the purchase of dehumidifiers for the basement of the Starke County Annex Building No. 2 in Knox.

Council President Brad Hazelton said it was during the Starke County 4-H Fair where the issue was brought up in a conversation. He said it is “moist” in the basement and it needs be taken care of for health reasons and to prevent mold. The problem could cause more issues in the building that was recently renovated. Hazelton added that there was even an issue with the copier where the paper was too wet to go through the copier.

The HVAC system was not replaced in the renovation effort as there wasn’t a need to replace it. The county officials may look at that soon.

Maintenance Director Jim Coad will research quotes for two dehumidifiers. They will be placed on both ends of the basement to remedy the issue.

The commissioners are anticipated to pay for the purchase out of capital funds.

Starke County Justice Center F.A.R.M Program to Open Farm Stand to the Public

Posted on July 20, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

Community members are invited to attend the opening day of the Starke County Justice Center Farm Stand this Saturday.

Therapeutic Community Coordinator and Jail Warden Phil Cherry said the stand will be set up tomorrow from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. in front of the Justice Center, located on State Road 8.

Cherry noted that earlier this week, the trustees in the F.A.R.M (Foster a Recovery Mentality) Program picked more than 1,000 lbs of produce that will be available at the farm stand. From cucumbers to zucchini, the warden said they have more than 10 different types of produce that they grow and there will plenty to choose from.

Aside from a plethora of produce and other plants, wood pallet art that the trustees created will also be available. Cherry said the painted pallets feature a variety of things such as flowers, cartoon characters and other designs.

Additionally, honey from the hives that were recently added to the garden area will be available at future events, once the first batch is ready to be extracted.

From now through September, Cherry said the Jail will host a farmer’s market every Saturday from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. The events will usually be held in front of the Justice Center, with the exception of next Saturday, July 28th, when they will have a booth set up at the Bass Lake Fest.

In a previous interview, Warden Cherry shared that the money raised from these farm stand events will help fund the facility’s Therapeutic Community programs.

Frankenstein Friday #26 - Chapter 20

Happy Frankenstein Friday! Come read with us.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Back to School Info Shared at North Judson-San Pierre School Board Meeting

Posted on July 19, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

Some vital back to school information was shared at Tuesday night’s North Judson-San Pierre School Board meeting.

Superintendent Dr. Annette Zupin noted that registration will be held in both buildings starting on July 30th running through August 3rd. It will be held from 9 a.m. until noon and from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m. on those days.

She mentioned that the registration nights are not a requirement for all NJSP students.

“We registered current students in the spring, via mail,” she explained, “so the only students who need to come to registration are new students to our school corporation.”

Dr. Zupin also shared that an Elementary School Open House will be held from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m. on Monday, August 6th. NJSP Students will have their first day of class on Wednesday, August 8th.

North Judson Town Council Authorizes Insurance Assessment

Posted on July 19, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

The existing insurance policy for the Town of North Judson will be receiving a thorough assessment, following a decision made by town council members Monday night.

Representatives from ONI Risk Partners provided a presentation to the town council, alerting them of a cost-free opportunity where they take a look at the town’s existing property and liability insurance and compare it to other programs that are offered.

They emphasized that they won’t push their policy if it isn’t the best fit for the town and explained that the purpose of their assessment is to find strengths and weaknesses within the existing policy to help the town officials identify areas where they may not be getting the most cost-effective option available.

Council President Wendy Hoppe mentioned that the town’s policy will be up at the start of next year. The representatives were asked about how long the process would take. They noted that in order to do a full assessment and comparison it could take anywhere from 90 to 120 days.

Since the assessment would be provided at no cost to the town, the members agreed that the sooner the process starts, the better. They cast a unanimous vote to allow the company to do their assessment. The representatives noted that they’ll be in contact with Clerk-Treasurer Andrew Rowe to work out the details so they can begin as soon as possible.

Starke County Highway Superintendent Discusses Budget with County Council

Posted on July 19, 2018
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

Starke County Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler discussed some changes the Starke County Council members may see when the 2019 highway budget is presented during the budget workshop.

He said the department will see less money the second half of the year because gas prices went up and not as many people are filling up their gas tanks. Gas taxes come into the county to be used to improve local roads, streets and operations. This will trickle into next year’s budget as well. Ritzler said the state auditor estimates that about $283,000 less will be available this year while about $370,000 less will come to the county in 2019. On the flip side, the county will see a $399,000 surplus to help cushion the loss.

Ritzler noted that because of the county’s asset management plan they are able to move some items around to accommodate this loss in funding. He stressed that local services will NOT be cut. Ritzler commented that it is because of the asset management plan that the budget is able to have flexibility and that the highway department has not had to ask for money outside of their operating budget for the past five years, even with the flooding event that occurred in February.

The Starke County Council members planned their budget workshop for Monday, Aug. 6 beginning at 8 a.m.

Hamlet Council Joins Starke County’s Stellar Communities Application

Posted on July 19, 2018
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

The Town of Hamlet is joining Starke County’s effort to become a Stellar Community. The county government plans to team up with the county’s three incorporated municipalities to apply for a regional Stellar designation in 2019. The Hamlet Town Council voted Wednesday to move forward with the process, along with the rest of the county.

Council member Brian Earnest said he read about the program and discussed it with community members, as well as Knox Mayor Dennis Estok. “It seems to be that every town and even some of the different people are going forward with this within the community,” Earnest said, “and I think it’s something that the whole county should be behind, honestly.”

A Stellar Community designation would likely bring millions of dollars in state funding to the county, through grant opportunities with a smaller local match. Before joining the application, though, Hamlet would have to complete a five-year comprehensive plan. That’s expected to cost the town about $5,000.

Meanwhile, the Starke County Economic Development Foundation plans to hold a second informational session for local officials on August 15, according to Special Projects Coordinator Ron Gifford. “Gerry White from OCRA, our representative there, is bringing somebody else from OCRA that deals just with Stellar Communities to talk about what the next steps are, what to expect, what’s needed from each one of the communities that’s involved,” Gifford told the Hamlet Town Council. “And we’ll just talk about where everybody is in the process.”

In addition to Hamlet, the Starke County Commissioners and the North Judson Town Council have also taken action to join in the application. The Knox City Council has not taken a formal vote yet.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

7/19/2018 Blood Drive @ St Peter Lutheran Church

You can schedule an appointment online at https://www.redcrossblood.org/give.html/donation-time. Enter our zip code - 46366, click on the words St Peter Lutheran Church, then click on the time and type of donation you want to give.

7/23-27/2018 NJ-SP Bluejay Summer Football Camp

Starke County Commissioners to Open Elevator Bids Today, Auction at Highway Garage Tomorrow

Posted on July 18, 2018
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

The Starke County Commissioners will open bids for the replacement of the elevator in the Starke County Courthouse today. The county was awarded a grant to conduct the work, but getting bids for the project has been a challenge.

Bids were supposed to be opened last week, but one contractor asked for an extension in order to better prepare the bid with a change in specifications. Commissioner Kathy Norem said Monday night that she received communication that the delay was requested, and she said that would be fine since no bids were received last time, but she did not get a reply. So, she assumed that the bid opening date was still last week. When there wasn’t anyone in attendance to open the bids on Thursday, it was realized that the date was moved to today. Norem apologized for the miscommunication and stressed that the bid opening is set for today at 2 p.m. in the meeting room in the Starke County Annex Building No. 1 in Knox.

In the meantime, Starke County Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler reminded county officials that 10 pieces of equipment will be sold in an auction at the Starke County Highway Garage on Thursday morning beginning at 9:30 a.m. Anyone who would like to view what’s for sale can go to the highway garage today.

USDA Announces Approval of Multi-Million Dollar Loan for the Town of North Judson

Posted on July 18, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

More than 100 rural infrastructure projects across the country, including one here in Starke County, are being funded thanks in part to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program.

The Town of North Judson received a $3,892,000 loan from the USDA to assist with their sewer improvement project. According to an announcement released this week, the Rural Development investment will be used to convert a portion of the town’s combined sewer collection system into separate sanitary and storm sewers.

The loan terms state that the Town will pay the money back over the next 40 years at a rate of 2.125 percent.

NJ Clerk-Treasurer Andrew Rowe noted that he received a confirmation on Monday, stating that the loan was officially approved. He added that the loan money has not been received yet and that it will not be provided until the end of this year or the beginning of next year.

Altogether, the USDA invested $277 million dollars in 103 infrastructure projects in 35 states. The funds can be used to finance drinking water, stormwater drainage and waste disposal systems for rural communities with a population of 10,000 residents or less.

North Judson-San Pierre Superintendent Delivers Capital Project Update

Posted on July 18, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

Projects at the North Judson-San Pierre Schools are coming along nicely, according to Superintendent Dr. Annette Zupin.

During the superintendent’s report Tuesday night, Dr. Zupin shared some of the progress that’s been made thus far. She said that lighting work is nearly complete, with the company pulling some of their workers at this point. The only areas that still need to be finished are the atrium and auditorium.

She added that the sidewalks at the Elementary school have been poured and the ones for the Jr-Sr High will come next. Zupin also noted that the new doors for the secure entrances at the Jr.-Sr. High have been installed and work on securing the Elementary school began yesterday.

Dr. Zupin said that the fence posts for the tennis courts will be installed this week, with fencing to come next. The dugouts for the baseball and softball diamonds have a solid foundation and structure built and they will soon affix the roofs.

As far as the pool project goes, Zupin said that crews will begin filling it today. She stated that the balancing of the chemicals and filtration will be monitored for about a week or so. She mentioned that a temporary dehumidification unit will be utilized in there until the permanent unit is installed.

North Judson-Wayne Township Fire Chief Provides Figures for Potential Signs

Posted on July 18, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

Funding for some potential new signs for the North Judson-Wayne Township Fire Department was discussed at Monday night’s town council meeting.

Fire Chief Joe Leszek told council members that the Fire Department recently held a business meeting and came up with a solid figure that they would be able to pledge towards the purchase of three new signs.

“For our proposed signs, if and when we’re ever ready to pull the trigger, the department would like to donate $3,500”

Councilman John Rowe asked Chief Leszek how much of the cost would be left if the Department provided their amount. Leszek said his research indicated that the overall cost would be around $9,000, so an additional $5,500 would have to come from the Town.

Clerk-Treasurer Andrew Rowe noted that he has been working to include the expenditure in the 2019 budget. Council members also proposed holding a fundraiser of some kind to raise additional funds for the purchase.

Members have not taken any official action on this matter yet, but discussions will continue in future meetings.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

NJSP Elementary and 7 & 8 Grade School Supply Lists

If your child will be in grade 7 or 8 next year, those supply lists are on the website.

Just go to http://www.njsp.k12.in.us and then look in the top left-hand corner for the "Our Schools" pull-down menu. Choose NJ-SP Jr-Sr High School and then you can see the list.

Students in high school are encouraged to attend class to learn what is needed for each class. They usually need paper, pencil, and a couple of 3-ring binders, but since all students do not all take the same classes, it is impossible to provide a complete supply list.

The first day of school is WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 8th!

St Peter Lutheran School School Supply List

The school supply list for all grades is available on our website at www.stpeternorthjudson.org/parents. This year we are offering a new online ordering option. You can print the list or you can order online directly by grade. Be sure to watch for items that are not available online.

North Judson Town Council Approves Lease Agreement with Fourway Computer Products

Posted on July 17, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

The North Judson Town Council members approved a lease agreement with Fourway Computer Products when they met on Monday.

The lease agreement permits Fourway Computer Products to utilize the Town’s water towers to install new equipment that is supposed to help improve internet coverage and capabilities in town.

To provide some context, North Judson had an existing agreement for internet services with the company N.I.T. Line. However, when that company was taken over by Fourway Computer Products, President Roland Houin came before the council to inform them about what his company had to offer since they would be providing internet services to the town from now on.

At a meeting in June, Houin asked the council to consider upgrading the existing equipment that is installed on the town’s water tower next to Norwayne Field. He added that any redundant or unutilized electronics could be removed to make better use of the space.

Another part of the proposal included expanding coverage and increasing speed by installing equipment with the same capabilities on the West water tower. A lease agreement with those suggestions was drawn up and brought before the council at their first meeting in July.

Town Attorney Justin Schramm reviewed the document and made one suggestion. He asked to add in some language that states Town would not be liable for any unintentional damage caused to the equipment while the water tower improvement projects are being completed or while routine maintenance is conducted.

With that amendment made, council members felt comfortable moving forward with the agreement and it was approved with a unanimous vote Monday night.

Monday, July 16, 2018

8/11/2018 Kid's Closet Fish Fry

Many members of the NJ United Methodist Church are selling tickets, or you can call 574-339-1942.

7/19/2018 Blood Drive @ St. Peter Lutheran Church

Frankenstein Friday #25 - Essay: Stealing From the Womb

This Frankenstein Friday we're taking a break from the book to read an essay by one of our Frankenstein Scholars! Check it out here.

7/23 & 24/2018 Kid's Closet Ministry Pack-a-Backpack

8/18/2018 SCYC Rainbow Splash

The Starke County Youth Club Rainbow Splash is a colorful way to support kids during the Yellowstone Trail Fest! Sign up for the 5K color run race or participate in the Family Fun Run/Walk (it's just over a mile)!

Every entry fee received by August 3rd gets a Tshirt and Color Pack.

5K Cost: $20 / Adult, $10 / under 18
Family Fun Run Cost: $10 / Adult, $5 / under 18
Kids Under 8 are FREE for both!
Make checks payable to SCYC.

On site sign up: 8:00 AM CST ( Hamlet Fire Department, 15 W Indiana Ave, Hamlet, Indiana 46532) or sign up online / download forms:  thescyc.org/ways-to-give

Paper forms and payment can be mailed to:
     P O Box 442
     Knox, IN 46534

Starke Park Board Discusses Stellar Communities Application, Bass Lake Beach Restrooms

Posted on July 16, 2018
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

A Stellar Community designation could be a way to bring improvements to the Bass Lake Beach. That was the suggestion given to the Starke County Park Board last week.

It came up when board member Butch Gerstandt asked if there were any plans to remodel the bathrooms in the beach house. Assistant Manager Larry Clarich and Board President Roger Chaffins felt that any such upgrades would be up to the county rather than the facility’s operator.

That’s when Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler suggested that the park board may want to get involved with the county’s Stellar application. He pointed out that the park board already has a five-year plan, and that the designation would bring grant opportunities with a smaller local match.

County Attorney Marty Lucas said the effort will depend on the results of a county income survey that began last week. “Really, we won’t know whether we’ll be able to go any further. We’re hopeful on that,” he said. “It seems like we should qualify. It’s hard to believe that there’s a grant for which Starke County is too wealthy. But officially, so far, it is. So we have to actually prove that it’s not.”

In the meantime, board member Rosemary Rose said there may be other resources available to upgrade the Bass Lake Beach House restrooms. “Places like Lowe’s and so forth, they will – if you fill out an application, if you need your bathroom set up for handicap accessibility,” she said. “They redid the bathrooms in the North Judson Legion, they redid the bathrooms in the Knox Legion, anything that’s nonprofit. Lowe’s and Menards both have those available, and it doesn’t have to come from the county. They will donate the money.”

County officials are eyeing a regional Stellar Community application for the 2019 designation cycle.

Policy Guidance for Graduation Pathways Unanimously Approved by State Board of Education

Posted on July 16, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

In order to provide some clarification about the Graduation Pathways Policy that was passed by the State Board of Education in December of 2017, a policy guidance document was approved last week.

The policy guidance approval apparently follows six months of outreach that included meetings with educator and administrators, state agencies and officials, members of the business community, national education and workforce organizations and higher education leaders.

It will be utilized by the Indiana Department of Education as well as schools across the state to implement the Graduation Pathways Policy that will soon be required, starting with students in the graduating class of 2023.

According to the SBOE, the policy guidance provides information such as how to complete Indiana’s new diploma requirements, how to maximize students’ employability experiences with internships and other experiential learning opportunities and how to identify postsecondary options that empower students to best prepare for their goals after high school.

The State Board of Education reports that the Graduation Pathways policy is meant to ensure that every Hoosier student graduates from high school with a broad awareness of their individual career interests and options and a strong foundation of academic and technical skills.

It also reportedly aims to help graduates demonstrate employability skills that will lead to meaningful opportunities such as entering the workforce, enlisting in the military and earning a college degree or industry-recognized credentials.

Click the following link to download more information about the Policy Guidance for Graduation Pathways.

In Need of Volunteers, Director of Kid’s Closet Ministry Discusses Program with Local Officials

Posted on July 14, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

The Kid’s Closet Ministry provides helpful resources such as clothing, hygiene products and school supplies to children across Starke County and it takes a lot of kind, dedicated people to make this possible.

Director Linda Lewandowski recently provided presentations to both the Knox City Council and the North Judson Town Council, explaining the specifics of the program as well as highlighting the need for more volunteers.

She shared that they provide resources to children ranging in ages from newborn babies all the way up to 17-year-olds.

To provide an example of how vital the organization is to kids around the county, Lewandowski shared that when the program started out and they held the first Pack-a-Backpack event, they assisted approximately 100 kids. They now provide anywhere from 400 to 450 students with the supplies and clothing they need to go back to school.

She said the program grew and they now supply clothing, shoes, coats and even beds and bedding to children who are referred to the program by their school, the Department of Child Services or by personal requests.

Lewandowski explained that it takes a lot of work to provide this level of county-wide assistance. She said they desperately need more volunteers to help sort, launder and fold clothing as well as people willing to do the deliveries.

She added that it also takes a good deal of funding to keep things running. The Pack-a-Backpack event alone costs about $6,000 to put on. Lewandowski said she applies for grants and they get some funds from local donors and fundraisers.

A fish-fry fundraiser is planned for August 11th at the North Judson-San Pierre High school and Lewandowski said she’s currently brainstorming fundraiser ideas that could be held in Knox.

Gently used donations can be dropped off at the North Judson United Methodist Church located at 210 Central Ave in North Judson. To learn more about the program or to volunteer to help out, contact the church at 574-896-5927 and enter 4 to reach the Kid’s Closet extension.

More information from Lewandowski’s presentation will be included in this week’s Kankakee Valley Viewpoints Program, airing Sunday at noon on K993 WKVI.

Bid Opening for Starke County Courthouse Elevator Project Moved to Next Week

Posted on July 13, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

The bid opening for the Starke County Courthouse elevator project has been moved to Wednesday, July 18th, according to County Commissioner Kathy Norem.

One of the timeline requirements associated with the $500,000 OCRA grant awarded to the county was that a bid opening be scheduled for May 31st. Commissioners fulfilled that requirement by holding the special session but no bids were presented at that time.

After no bids came in during that the first session, another bid opening was set for Thursday, July 12th. Auditor Kay Chaffins, Attorney Marty Lucas and Commissioner Charlie Chesak as well as Maintenance Director Jim Coad and Court House maintenance man Mike Gerhart were present in the Annex Building meeting room at 2 p.m. when the special session was scheduled to start.

The officials waited for approximately 15 to 20 minutes before deciding to end the session since no bidders were at the meeting and nothing was submitted ahead of time.

Commissioner Norem said there was a small miscommunication. She reported that after one of the interested contractors asked for additional time to complete their bid, revised specs were sent out that rescheduled the opening for 2 p.m. on July 18th.

Norem said she didn’t see the modified specifications so she was unable to notify Auditor Chaffins or the other commissioners of the date change prior to yesterday’s meeting.

The matter will likely be discussed further when the Starke County Commissioners hold their regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, July 16th.

Additional Upgrades Planned for Bass Lake Beach Gate House

Posted on July 13, 2018
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

The Bass Lake Beach gate house may soon be getting some more upgrades. Much of the structure had to be repaired after a pickup truck reportedly crashed into it back in November.

Bass Lake Beach and Campground Assistant Manager Larry Clarich told the Starke County Park Board Tuesday he was able to get the gate house back in usable condition by the time the beach opened for the year. Now, he says he wants to redo the other side once the season ends. “I’d like to remove all the bricks and do it the same way we did the other side,” he explained. “It’s going to be very expensive to do all the bricks. I’d like to replace all the windows and make that building so it’s there for the next 30 or 40 years, so that way we don’t have any problems or the county won’t have any issues with it.”

None of the three board members in attendance Tuesday opposed the plan. The county got a $2,500 insurance settlement for the damage.

Meanwhile, the beach house is getting some cosmetic improvements. Clarich said he planned to have his staff power wash the building this week, so they could start repainting it.

Friday, July 6, 2018

7/27/2018 Health Fair @ HealthLinc

7/21/2018 Back to School Health Fair

North Judson Town Council Approves Updated Fee Schedule Ordinance

Posted on July 6, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

An ordinance updating the Town of North Judson’s schedule of fees was brought before the council members for consideration Monday night.

The fee schedule was originally adjusted to include a gas-line inspection fee of $50, at the request of Building Inspector Jeff Abrams. Some additional changes were made to the document after Town Superintendent Marshall Horstman noted that the fees for the utility crew haven’t seen an update for many years.

He proposed adjusting the fee for labor hours from $30 to $50 and the rate for after-hours labor from $75 to $100. Those changes were made and presented in the most recent version of the ordinance.

Members voted to forgo the rules and consider the ordinance on all three readings. It was passed unanimously. Clerk-Treasurer Andrew Rowe noted that the changes will not go into effect until 30 days after a notice is posted in the paper.

Frankenstein Friday #24 - Chapter 19

It's Frankenstein Friday! Join us as we read Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Moving Starke County Forward Walking Challenge Underway

Posted on July 5, 2018
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

The 6th annual Moving Starke County Forward Walking Challenge began July 1 and continues through Oct. 31.

The goal of this year’s campaign, Starke County Moon Walkers, is to improve the health of residents in the Starke County community. Participants are encouraged to walk, run, bike or actively participate in any physical activity of their choice – just log your miles for a chance to win prizes. Those under the age of 18 will win a pair of shoes if they sign up before July 15. Adult participants will be entered into a single random drawing for a Fitbit at the end of the campaign on Halloween.

Sign up anytime online at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/RegMoon.

Participants are encouraged to participate in the Knox Mayor’s Fest on Saturday, July 7 at Wythogan Park. A family walk is sponsored by the Starke County Youth Club at 3 p.m. Moving Starke County Forward will also invite residents to be part of their entry in the parade on Saturday, July 7 with registration at 12:30 p.m. at the Knox High School parking lot.

Lieutenant Governor Discusses Regional Approach to Stellar Communities Program

Posted on July 5, 2018
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

The State of Indiana hopes to encourage collaboration with this year’s round of Stellar Community designations. Each year since 2011, the program has designated two cities or towns as Stellar Communities, making them eligible for millions of dollars in seed money from the state and federal government, to improve quality of life. This year, the state’s taking a slightly different approach, picking two regions, instead.

Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch oversees the program. She says the idea is to follow the model set by the Regional Cities Initiative. “We wanted to do the same thing with our Stellar Communities Program,” she explains, “and so we call it – I don’t know if we even have an official name. I like to refer to it as the Regional Stellar Communities Program. So this year, for the first time, we required two or more communities – and it could be a city and a city, it could be a county and a city, it could be a county and a county, it could be a town and a town, but more than one local entity – to come together.”

Crouch says the regional approach appears to be opening the program up to communities who may not have considered applying on their own. “The Town of Vincennes put in an application with the Town of Bicknell, which is a very small community about 15 minutes from Vincennes,” she says. “And so it’s an opportunity for those larger communities to elevate the smaller communities also, within a near vicinity.”

As part of the shift, the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs plans to provide $4.5 million to each of the two Stellar regions, compared to the $2 million it’s given to individual communities. Crouch says that seed money often leads to a ripple of local investment. “That encourages local communities, local governments, to also invest money, and then the private sector because it becomes contagious, that excitement.”

Locally, Marshall County Crossroads is one of the six finalists for the first regional round of Stellar Communities Designations. It’s made up of the county itself, along with its six municipalities. Officials in Starke County are working on a similar effort for 2019.

Lieutenant Governor Crouch discussed the program during her visit to Culver last week.

Lease Agreement Between the Town of North Judson and Fourway Computer Products to be Amended

Posted on July 5, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

North Judson Town Attorney Justin Schramm asked for some language to be added to a lease agreement between the Town and Fourway Computer Products during Monday night’s town council meeting.

At a previous meeting, the President of the company, Roland Houin, asked the council to consider upgrading the existing equipment installed on the town’s water tower next to Norwayne Field and removing any redundant or unutilized electronics to make better use of the space. He also proposed expanding coverage and increasing speed by installing equipment with the same capabilities on the West water tower.

A lease agreement was drawn up and it was reviewed by Clerk-Treasurer Andrew Rowe and Town Attorney Schramm.

When council members met on Monday, Schramm asked if some language could be added that states the town would not be responsible for moving the equipment or for any damage that could potentially occur during the town’s water tower improvement projects in 2019.

Houin was present at the meeting and said there would be no issue with adding Schramm’s recommendation into the agreement. The attorney said other than that one suggestion, he had nothing else to add and the document looked good.

Clerk-Treasurer Rowe added that once he makes the addition, the agreement can be considered by the council at their next meeting on Monday, July 16th.

Starke County Highway Department Anticipates Visit from FEMA

Posted on July 5, 2018
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

FEMA representatives will be visiting the Starke County Highway Department for a site visit next week to assess paperwork and damage repair from flooding that occurred in February.

Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler told the commissioners on Monday night that it should be a good visit.

“They will be meeting us at our office on July 10 at 10 a.m. CT,” said Ritzler. “We will know better then, but it’s optimistic. It looks like we’re getting a pretty good reimbursement. I hate to tell you how much because I’m not sure yet, but it sounds good.”

Ritzler said the crews are working hard to get repairs done prior to the visit.

“They revised our estimates. They told us that all of the work that we have completed already they’re not going to come and inspect. So, they’re only going to inspect the roads we haven’t done yet. We have been busy doing those roads. As of the phone call, we had about 60 percent of the road repairs completed. As of today, we’re about 75 percent. By the 10th, we hope to be at about 90 percent so they’ll only have a couple of roads to inspect.”

While Ritzler is hesitant to give out any reimbursement figures, he believes it will be healthy.

“We can either submit a reimbursement for direct administrative costs with the actual hours or five percent of our damages and our damages total almost $1 million. We’d get about $50,000 which is good. We put in a lot of time but not quite that much time so that could be a good reimbursement as well.”

The flooding event closed 63 miles of roads in Starke County while 18 culverts were damaged. Nine of those culverts are now repaired. No bridges were damaged.

With the department’s concentrated effort to complete flood damaged areas, normal paving operations are a bit delayed. Ritzler expects to turn to the second phase of paving in the next few days.

Starke County Probation Department, Community Corrections Merge

Posted on July 5, 2018
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

The recent merger of Starke County Community Corrections with the County Probation Department will result in better services, as well as cost savings. That’s according to Shawn Mattraw. He’s the director of the new entity, known as Starke County Court Services. “Well, the big difference is that it’s going to [be] a cost savings,” he says, “The past structure, when we were separate entities, we had a director in Community Corrections and a chief probation officer. Those positions were funded pretty nicely. Now, those positions have been eliminated, and it’s just me.”

Starke County Court Services is made up of three divisions: Probation, Community Corrections, and Pretrial. Along with Mattraw, the senior leadership team includes two supervisors, one for Probation and one for Community Corrections.

Mattraw says one of the main goals is to give probation officers a more manageable caseload. “A big thing is, by merging both divisions, increased accountability, and we’re going to be able to provide greater levels of supervision to the community for probationers, folks on Community Corrections, folks on pretrial release services because, traditionally, probation officers have had pretty high caseloads in Starke County.”

To help alleviate that problem, Mattraw says Corrections case managers will now become certified probation officers. “When they have an offender start supervision, generally, they serve six months to a year on home detention, and then they’ve got a year or two on probation to follow,” he explains. “So what this will do, this will allow that same case manager that started with that individual on home detention to be his or her supervising probation officer now, throughout their term of probation.” The restructuring will also allow the county to provide more group programs and other services, including some new resources to assist Knox City Court, according to Mattraw.

He says Starke County is the 18th in Indiana to complete such a merger. “Former Chief Probation Officer John Thorstad and myself have been looking at the possibility of a merger for about the last year now,” he says. “We had looked at other smaller counties similar to Starke County that had completed the merger and had success with it, and kind of used that as our stepping stone.” Mattraw thanks the judges, county commissioners, and Community Corrections Advisory Board for their support with the process.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

NJ Town Council Establishes Way to Cover Preliminary Project Costs Prior to Bond Issuance

Posted on July 3, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

North Judson Town Council members considered a couple of ordinances Monday night related to the future water and wastewater projects.

Since the Town won’t be issued bond funds until the start of next year, officials have to establish a way to pay for preliminary project costs in the meantime.

Clerk-Treasurer Andrew Rowe and Town Attorney Justin Schramm recently consulted with the town’s bond counsel and financial advisors. They were told that about $100,000 will be needed for preliminary costs related to the water project and $250,000 is estimated to go toward initial costs related to the sewer project.

Schramm explained that one ordinance before the council would allow an interdepartmental loan transfer. Essentially, this permits the council to transfer up to $100,000 from the Cumulative Railroad Revenue Fund and use it for the water project. He said the ordinance specifies that they have five years to put the money back but they won’t need all that time since they’ll receive the bond money in less than a year.

Clerk-Treasurer Rowe added that to pay for a portion of the sewer project, there’s a chance they will utilize some money from the General Fund. However, if it starts to deplete the fund too much, he said they may acquire some bond anticipation notes. Those would allow them to borrow the money, with the promise that the funding source would be reimbursed once the bond sale goes through.

Additionally, members considered an ordinance creating separate funds for both projects; a Water Construction Fund and a Sewer Construction Fund. Money will be transferred into and expended out of these accounts as CommonWealth Engineers and other entities involved in the process start to bill the Town for various aspects of the projects that are conducted prior to the bond issuance.

Rules were suspended so each ordinance could be considered on all three readings. They both passed unanimously during Monday’s meeting.

Starke County Economic Development Foundation Touts Progress in Educational Attainment

Posted on July 3, 2018
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

Starke County residents are steadily becoming more educated, according to Ron Gifford with the Starke County Economic Development Foundation. “We’ve gone from 854 people in the county in 1990 with a bachelor’s degree or higher, and we more than doubled it up to 1,840 in 2016,” he told the Hamlet Town Council last week. “We also increased higher than the national average for people who had some college or an associate’s degree.”

Gifford said the percentage of residents with higher levels of education has consistently been going up, while the percentage of those with just some or no high school has been going down. He explained that from an economic development standpoint, educational attainment can be a deciding factor when it comes to attracting industry to the area.

Starke County Court Services to Help Fund CAD System

Posted on July 3, 2018
Author Anita Goodan, WKVI

The combined offices of the Starke County Probation Department and Starke County Community Corrections are helping to fund a new Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system for the Starke County Sheriff’s Department.

Starke County Court Services Director Shawn Mattraw made the announcement during the Starke County Commissioners meeting on Monday night.

“Commissioners, I’m pleased to announce that Starke County Court Services will be making a one-time monetary donation in the amount of $45,000 to go to the Starke County Sheriff’s Department to be used to defray the cost of the CAD system,” said Mattraw. “I’d like to publicly acknowledge Probation Supervisor Chuck Phillips and Community Corrections Office Manager Jennifer Strickland for their respective roles in allocating these funds to assist the Sheriff’s Department.”

A portion of that allocation is from grant money while the other is coming from the CTP fund within the Starke County Community Corrections budget.

Sheriff Bill Dulin and IT Director Richard Franks are still working out the details to secure the program and more work is being done to gather the funds to purchase the Caliber CAD system. The quote is around $250,000 and that quote has been extended from the end of June.

Dulin said he will talk to the company this week to let them know that financing is still in the works. Starke County EMA Director J. Nier added that she’s also submitted a grant to help fund the purchase, but the award notification may not be for another 60-90 days.

A fund will be included in the budget as money comes in for the CAD system.

Monday, July 2, 2018

No Trespassing "Purple Paint Law"

(In case you have missed it) Indiana has finally passed the “Purple Paint Law”. No more vandals tearing down your “NO TRESPASSING” signs.

Indiana property owners will soon able to legally paint their property to indicate it’s a no trespassing zone. It’s known as the purple paint law and Governor Eric Holcomb signed it into law last week.

It goes into effect this July. Landowners will be able to paint vertical paint lines on trees and posts to indicate it’s a no trespassing zone.

That means anyone caught crossing the line can be prosecuted. This also minimizes a property owner’s liability if someone trespasses and gets hurt.

Indiana is the 15th state to adopt this kind of law.

Fireworks Safety Tips for Residents and Display Operators

Posted on July 2, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

Independence Day is just around the corner and there’s a chance you or your neighbors may have already broken out the fireworks. There’s nothing wrong with celebrating a little early, as long as you’re doing it safely.

In 2017, there were more than 90 fireworks-related injuries reported in Indiana on the Fourth of July, with one-third of those involving someone under the age of 18. Indiana Fire Marshal Jim Greeson has a few tips to ensure that preventable accidents don’t ruin your holiday.

It’s very important to read directions carefully and handle everything cautiously. Always keep a fire extinguisher or water nearby and never try to relight a firework that fails. Fireworks should only ever be used outdoors, in a clear, open area.

Greeson stated that citizens are responsible for any damage their fireworks may cause so be sure to check weather conditions to ensure that wind and other elements won’t impact the trajectory.

The Fire Marshal mentioned that the most common types of fireworks they receive injury reports about are sparklers, firecrackers and bottle rockets causing burns to the hands or fingers. He notes that kids shouldn’t handle or light firework. As a safe alternative, Greeson suggests letting little ones play with glow sticks instead.

Additionally, there are a couple of tips that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has for display operators. Prior to putting on a display, be sure all required inspections have been conducted and all necessary licenses and permits have been acquired.

All personnel should be competent and well trained. Have all those handling the fireworks wear protective eye gear and proper clothing and prohibit accidental ignition sources. Also be sure to maintain display site security and accessible communications at all times.

If you have any questions, Indiana Fire Marshal Greeson can be reached at 1-800-669-7362 and you can contact the Occupational Safety and Health Administration at 1-800-321-OSHA.

FEMA Officials Urge Residents to Protect Homes from Flooding

Posted on July 2, 2018
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI

There are just a few days left to register for federal disaster assistance, following February’s floods. The deadline is Thursday, July 5. You can apply online at DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362.

At the same time, FEMA urges residents to protect their homes from future flooding. Outside your home, make sure all gutters and downspouts are clean, so water flows away from the building. Keep debris away from storm drains and drainage ditches. FEMA officials also recommend improving your lot grading, to make sure storm water drains away from the house.

Seal basement walls and any cracks in your home’s foundation. Install a sump pump to protect your house from basement seepage and flooding.

FEMA also urges homeowners to buy flood insurance, noting that an inch of floodwater can cause more than $25,000 in damage.

NJ Town Council to Continue Discussion Over Potential Internet Upgrades

Posted on July 2, 2018
Author Jacque Ryan, WKVI

North Judson Town Council members will discuss a request submitted by Fourway Computer Products in a previous meeting when they meet tonight.

At a meeting in early June, members heard a proposal from the company about installing equipment on the town’s water tower for potential internet expansion and upgrades. Members will continue their discussion of that possibility this evening.

Starke County Economic Development Foundation Executive Director Larry Wickert will provide a monthly progress report and Linda Lewandowski from the United Methodist Church will present about the Kid’s Closet Ministry.

Members expected to consider an ordinance amending the town’s schedule of fees, as well as another ordinance that would create a local road and bridge matching grant fund, a water construction fund and a sewer construction fund.

The meeting will be held in North Judson Town Hall at 6:30 p.m.