Local Scrap Yard Under Fire For Numerous Violations

A local scrap yard is under fire for allegedly committing numerous Indiana Department of Environmental Management violations, and a hearing was held yesterday in the Starke Circuit Court regarding the allegations. Attorney Steve Dodge appeared in court with Starke County Zoning Administrator Bruce Williams, who presented evidence of numerous violations committed by C&C Salvage, located near the intersection of U.S. 35 and Toto Road.

According to a summary letter of an inspection conducted at the site by IDEM on May 21, there are locations where it is evident that fluids such as oil had been released onto the ground, and at least one location has several vehicle motors sitting on the ground with evidence of standing around them. Further, there are burned trees at the back of the property from a fire, and C&C Salvage Manager Jose Delgado reportedly said a pile of scrap had caught fire. There is also a small pond on the property that is full of debris including railroad ties, tires, trash, and scrap materials.

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Public Hearings Held By Knox City Council

Knox City Council

Several public hearings were held during yesterday’s meeting of the Knox City Council for a number of proposed ordinances.

The first public hearing held was in regards to the reestablishment of the cumulative capital fund, something Clerk-Treasurer Jeff Houston says they tried several years ago but it was never passed. No public comment was heard, and a motion was made to approve the ordinance on the first reading. This motion was passed, and another motion was made and approved to suspend the rules. Finally, a motion was made to approve the ordinance on its second and third readings, which was passed.

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Five Horses Seized In Starke County After Numerous Complaints

Starke County Sheriff's Department

The Starke County Sheriff’s Department this weekend responded to a complaint about neglected horses in the roadway.

On Sunday, officers received a call from a resident informing them that horses were in the roadway on Range Road south of Toto Road, and police noted that this was approximately the 10th call they had received in the last month concerning these horses in the roadway. The complainant told police that the horses appeared emaciated and unkempt, and said they were obviously not being fed and taken care of properly.

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Pulaski County Designated Drought Disaster Area

Pulaski County has been designated as a primary disaster area by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, joining 13 other counties alongside the existing list of 50 counties considered primary natural disaster areas. The USDA on Wednesday also designated 16 contiguous counties as eligible for assistance, bringing the grand total to 80 Indiana counties that now qualify for assistance from the Farm Service Agency.

Representative Tom Dermody of LaPorte says he’s pleased that the USDA expanded their assistance to more counties, because he feels it will be critical to helping Hoosier farmers make it through next year. He says he will continue to advocate on behalf of LaPorte County to make it eligible as well for federal assistance due to the drought conditions.

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Shop With A Cop Event To Be Held In August

Starke County Conservation Officer Keith Wildeman, Jeremiah Patrick, Harold Smith, James Upsall, Rob Olejniczack, Rich Gast, Caitlyn Hinshaw, Melissa Osburn, Sandy Binkley, Hugo Reese, Chris Kisela, and Bob Leffert participated in last year's Shop with a Cop event.

The Kankakee Valley Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #129 will be holding the second annual Shop with a Cop event on Sunday, August 5 at the ALCO store in Knox.

F.O.P. President Chris Kisela talks about the event.

“We get names of children that might need assistance and we take them shopping,” said Kisela. “We spend an average of $100 to $150 per child. This year, we’re hoping to help 40 children.”

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Report Analyzes Effects of Environment on Young Children

With Indiana’s mixture of rural and urban lifestyles, a wide range of environmental hazards exist for children in their constructive years. The Sunny Start program at the Indiana State Department of Health recently released the State of the Young Hoosier Child Environmental Health Report for 2012, which notes these hazards and gives solutions for parents, community leaders, and legislators.

This it the second report on the health of young Hoosiers provided by Sunny Start, with last year’s report focusing on physical health and well-being, social emotional development, school readiness, and family support. Both reports focus on children’s most vulnerable formative years – birth through age five.

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Laws Regulating Mopeds May Soon Be Updated

With the warm weather and high cost of gas, many Hoosiers have taken a liking to mopeds, but an outdated law could prove problematic for two-wheeled enthusiasts looking to travel at a decent rate of speed.

An Indiana Supreme Court ruling in a case for a man busted for going 43 mph on a moped upheld the current state law which states a “motorized bicycle,” which mopeds are classified under, cannot have a maximum design speed over 25 mph.

State Representative Milo Smith says the current “motorized bicycle” laws shouldn‘t even apply to mopeds because of the changes in technology since the law was written 40 years ago.

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Last Day For Art Exhibit At Henry F. Schricker Public Library

Dolinski and Mirza stand near what Dolinski described as one of his most important pieces.

Today is the last day to check out the art exhibit being held at the Henry F. Schricker Public Library in Knox. The exhibit has been on display since July 9, and was collected and put up by artists Wesley Dolinski and Darius Mirza.

Sculptures, photographs, and paintings are on display at the library. Dolinski explained that most of the work was done by he and Mirza, but three or four pieces on display were purchased from art teachers of his past. More than 40 pieces are being displayed.

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Harvest Fest to Be Moved From Devastated Wythogan Park

Wythogan Park suffered a lot of damage from the storms.

Park crews continue to clean up after last week’s storms that caused damage to Wythogan Park as well as the Starke County Airport, the Starke County Courthouse, and the Starke County Sheriff’s Department dispatch tower.

There is such destruction at the park that Knox Park Board President Kurt Snearly says the Harvest Fest will need to be moved elsewhere.

“We met with the Harvest Festival Committee Chairman, Michelle Bechtel, and she had as much concern about holding it in the park as we did,” explained Snearly. “Due to safety concerns, we’re just not so sure we can even have it at the park.”

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Knox City Council To Hold Two Public Hearings Tonight

Knox City Council

The destructive storm on July 24 caused massive amounts of damage throughout Starke County, especially Knox. More than 80,000 people were without power at one time, including most of the city of Knox. As a result, a number of events were canceled and rescheduled, and the Knox City Council meeting was one such event.

As a result, the meeting has been rescheduled for tonight at 7 p.m., and two public hearings will be heard. One hearing is in regard to reestablishing the cumulative capital fund, and the other concerns changes to the city’s water and storm water rates. The council will also hold the second readings of the water rate ordinance and the sewer and storm water rate ordinance.

Discussion of three salary ordinances for appointed employees, the clerk-treasurer’s office, and elected officials is also on the agenda, and they will discuss their appointment to the planning commission.

Road Work Planned For U.S. 35

U.S. 35 between U.S. 6 and U.S. 30 will closed tomorrow and Wednesday for a chip-seal and fog seal operation to repair the road surface. Detours will be clearly marked.

The Indiana Department of Transportation will be pouring a liquid asphalt emulsion on the roadway and covering the liquid asphalt with crushed stone to provide a new surface. Chip-sealing helps extends the life of the highway.

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Starke County Jail Committee Answers Questions From the Community

Starke County Jail

Thursday’s public information meeting regarding the progress of the Starke County Jail Committee answered a number of questions from the community.

One question asked was whether or not prisoners could be used to clean up roads and do other work for the county, and committee member Dave Pearman said that is one possibility that is being considered. However, Pearman pointed out that prisoners need to be supervised at all times, and they also have to factor in the cost of transportation and the chance of escape.

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Community Services of Starke County Will Not Replace Program Coordinator

Community Services of Starke County
Community Services of Starke County

With the retirement of former Community Services of Starke County Program Coordinator Cecilia Torres-Bowman, the organization has been getting by but Executive Director Joan Haugh says it hasn’t been easy.

She says Torres-Bowman will not be replaced, and instead, her responsibilities have been divided up amongst other employees. Coordination of the resource manual, health equipment loan program, quality program, medicaid billing and prior authorization, and many duties of the food pantry have been pushed onto other employees. Haugh says they are fortunate to have an intern from Ivy Tech who has been putting forth a lot of effort with the organization.

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Washington Township Delays Destruction of Elementary School

The Washington Township Board members recently conducted a meeting to open bids for the demolition of the Washington Township Elementary School, but it was decided to hold off on accepting bids.

Washington Township Trustee Shelly Kemble said the board wants to make sure all of the paperwork is in compliance with the Department of Natural Resources requirements concerning debris removal. An attorney will be hired to make sure that paperwork is in place.

The board voted to demolish the old Washington Township Elementary School due to safety reasons. When the project is complete, there are plans to create a use for the space but no specific plans have been approved.

Department of Homeland Security Two-Day Training Exercise Today

The Indiana Department of Homeland Security District Two will be holding a two-day training exercise today and Tuesday at the Pulaski County Fairgrounds.

This will be a Service and Support Field Operations Exercise to better enhance the District Two Task Force.

Emergency responders will be setting up tents, generators and other equipment to get an idea of what everyone has or will need in case of a specific crisis. The task force is responsible for having food, shelter, and housing available to those who need it at a given response site. Electrical, safety, communications and security experts will come together to coordinate efforts.

District Two covers Elkhart, Fulton, Marshall, Kosciusko, Pulaski, Starke and St. Joseph Counties.

Bass Lake Summer Splash Continues With Volleyball Tournament

The Bass Lake Summer Splash continues today with their 40th anniversary celebration, featuring a water volleyball tournament at 10 a.m. at The Shore Club. Six-person co-ed teams will compete in the tournament.

The 5K run and walk will take place at 7:30 a.m. after the 6:15 a.m. registration at the Lion’s Club Building on the east side of the lake, and arts and crafts will be available near the Bass Lake Marina at the south end of the lake from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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Two Hoosiers Sentenced In U.S. District Court

An Indiana woman was sentenced to 66 months in prison and three years of supervised release after pleading guilty to the felony offenses of Theft of Mail and Aggravated Identity Theft. The case was heard in U.S. District Court in Hammond.

Tracey Davis, 39, admitted in a plea agreement that she possessed over 400 pieces of mail addressed to over 100 individuals and businesses located in Porter, LaPorte, Elkhart, Marshall, and Kosciusko Counties. She admitted that she stole the mail from several mailboxes and that the mail she stole contained bank statements, credit card bills, utility bills, house deeds, and various other types of letters. She stole the identities of those residents to purchase merchandise without the knowledge, authority, or permission of the victims. This case was the result of an investigation by the U.S. Postal Service.

Jamie Deal, 33, of Westville, was sentenced to 37 months imprisonment and two years of supervised release after pleading guilty to the felony offense of Bank Robbery. Deal admitted that she stole money from DeMotte State Bank. Deal was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $5,014.

Bauer Ousted As Indiana House Minority Leader

State Representative Nancy Dembowski

Patrick Bauer was voted out as the Indiana House Minority Leader in a caucus Thursday afternoon. State Representative Nancy Dembowski participated in the caucus and talked about the discussion.

“I was in attendance at the caucus and we met with the intent to discuss what type of leadership is needed to best serve our constituents, our districts and the State of Indiana in the future and as we move forward,” said Dembowski.

Linda Lawson was voted in as the Interim Leader by a majority vote. She will serve in the interim position until the General Election in November.

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Culver Announces Decline In Middle School ISTEP Scores

Culver Community School Superintendent, Brad Schuldt

Culver Schools Superintendent Brad Schuldt says their ISTEP results are in, bringing some good and bad news. He says the elementary school grades three through six had the largest gains in scores of any of the 13 middle and elementary schools in Marshall County, and more than 80 percent of the students passed.

Schuldt said that for four consecutive years, the elementary school has increased scores in every category, and a vast majority of students passed both math and language arts sections.

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