Bid for Emergency Bridge Repair Comes in Over Budget

The lone bid to replace this bridge over the Yellow River on 700 East came in significantly over budget.
The lone bid to replace this bridge over the Yellow River on 700 East came in significantly over budget.

The lone bid to fix the bridge on Starke County Road 700 East over the Yellow River came in significantly higher than county officials had anticipated. LaPorte Construction bid $106,872 for the emergency repair. Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler says that figure is between $50,000 and $60,000 more than he had budgeted for the work. As a result, repairs that were to begin today and be finished by Aug. 15 have been delayed indefinitely. Continue reading

Man Died of Accidental Drowning


The body of a man was found in the Yellow River Thursday evening.

An autopsy to find the cause of death was conducted Friday. The preliminary cause of death is accidental drowning.

Kayakers notified the Plymouth Police Department on Thursday evening that they found a body in the Yellow River by Oakhill Avenue in Plymouth. The deceased man was recovered by the effort of officers from the Plymouth Police Department, Marshall County Sheriff’s Department, Indiana Conservation officers, Plymouth Fire Department, and the Marshall County Coroner.

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Significant Rainfall, Minor Flooding Reported in Marshall County


Minor flooding is occurring in Marshall County after significant rain fell there last night. Emergency Management Agency Director Clyde Avery says the rain gauge at the emergency operations center recorded 2.31 inches of rainfall last night. Most of the flooding is in fields in the Plymouth and Bremen areas. Avery says the Yellow River is still well below flood stage and does not anticipate any problems. Storm spotters reported several funnel cloud sightings last night near Bremen and Culver, but Avery says there are no indications of damage consistent with a tornado touchdown. Anyone whose property sustained storm-related damage is asked to call the Marshall County Emergency Management Agency at 574-936-3740.


Marshall County EMA Director Still Concerned About Flooding

The Yellow River and the Tippecanoe River in Marshall County have crested and are receding, but Emergency Management Agency Director Clyde Avery worries that may only be temporary.

Avery said with the three-quarters-to-an-inch of rain expected Tuesday, the rivers may rise above flood stage again. The ground is still saturated with the rain received last week and that will cause creeks, streams, ditches and rivers to swell.

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Flood Warning Issued For Tippecanoe and Yellow Rivers

Flood warningFlooding is likely in the WKVI listening area due to the recent heavy rainfall. The National Weather Services has issued a flood warning for the Tippecanoe River in Ora and above Winamac and for the Yellow River at Knox and Plymouth. The most immediate concern is the Tippy in the Monterey area, which is approaching the flood stage of 12 feet. It’s expected to rise above that stage tonight and crest at 13 feet around 8 a.m. EDT Sunday. At 13 feet the river begins to affect streets and homes in downtown Monterey. This crest compares to the May 18, 2009 flood when the Tippecanoe crested at 13.3 feet. Continue reading

Yellow River Cleanup Project To Begin Soon

Efforts to clean up the logjams and other debris from the Yellow River will soon be underway. Starke County Surveyor Dennis Estok says the county commissioners this week signed the contract with the company that will handle the cleanup, Thomas Excavating and Welding, and the work can proceed as soon as the contractor is ready.

Estok says the project will be paid for by a grant through the Disaster Recovery Act that the county had applied for previously through the Office of Community and Rural Affairs, which provided the county with $190,000 to be used to remove the fallen trees and debris from the river. However, Estok noted that after engineering fees and other expenses, they’re left with only $160,000 – but he says that’s more than enough to pay the company, which presented a bid of only $118,000 for the cleanup.

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Police Recover Meth Trash from Yellow River

Police removed this trash left from a meth lab from the Yellow River

Methamphetamine trash was recently removed from the Yellow River in Marshall County by members of the Indiana State Police Meth Suppression Section and the Underwater Search and Rescue/Recovery Team.

A local fisherman reported seeing several suspicious items floating in the Yellow River near Peach Road and 14th Road that he believed could be trash from a meth lab. Officers searched nearly three miles of the Yellow River and Indiana State Police Sergeant, Trent Smith, said the amount of meth trash the officers found “would make your stomach turn”.

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Contracts Signed for Debris Removal along Yellow River

Yellow River

Contracts were signed last week by the Starke County Commissioners for work to be done by the Kankakee-Iroquois Regional Planning Commission for debris removal work on the Yellow River.

“We’re going to start at the Marshall-Starke County line,” explained Commissioner Dan Bridegroom. “We’ll GPS all of the log jams, those will be bundled, and that’s the work they will bid on.”

Only recently more debris has gone into the river.

“We do know there was one big tree that fell in during the last big storm we had about three weeks ago. Since then, five more trees have gone into the water.”

The $150,000 grant to do the work is coming from the stimulus money offered two years ago. Territorial Engineering is now preparing the bid specifications and work will hopefully begin sometime this summer.

Yellow River Tree Removal in Progress

The Yellow River tree removal project is moving along. Starke County Surveyor Dennis Estok said this week that he is in the process of forming a three-man committee to interview and score the various engineering proposals.

Estok said he is on track to present contracts for signing by May with work scheduled for this summer and fall. Work cannot be done in April or May as this is the spawning season.

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Debris Removal, Sediment Control Planned for Yellow River in Knox

Along with debris clean up along the Yellow River in Knox up to the Marshall County line, Starke County Surveyor Dennis Estok said that more work is planned for the Yellow River.

The projects on the drawing board include sediment control along the Yellow River and work on the Yellow River at Wythogan Park. Last summer, a drowning occurred at the U.S. 35 bridge on the Yellow River, and Estok said that area is really dangerous.

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Grant Received to do Work on Yellow River

Starke County is the recipient of a grant for debris removal on the Yellow River in the amount of $190,000. The grant money came from the Disaster Recovery Fund.

Starke County Surveyor, Dennis Estok, said there has been no removal of trees or debris in the Yellow River.

“That’s our main concern,” said Estok. “From Highway 35 in Knox going to the Starke/Marshall County line hasn’t been touched. In talking with some of the land owners, I don’t think it’s ever been touched. What we will do with this money, since it was for debris removal, we’re going to take the fallen trees and logs out of the river which will help tremendously.”

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Debris Removal Project for Yellow River Approved

Starke County Commissioners: Kathy Norem, Dan Bridegroom and Jennifer Davis

Edwin Buswell, Executive Director of the Kankakee-Iroquois Regional Planning Commission, approached the Starke County Commissioners and informed them of a grant they are seeking from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs to fund debris removal from the Yellow River, from the Knox area to the Marshall County line.

“Back in 2008, the state got funds from the disaster recovery program to take care of debris that is clogging rivers and causing erosion on the ditch banks,” said Buswell.

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Starke County Coroner Completes Autopsy in Drowning Incident

Starke County Coroner Kris Rannells has released the preliminary autopsy report on the victim of the drowning incident in Knox early Sunday morning.

Rannells said preliminary cause of death is being ruled as asphyxiation because of drowning.  Mercan Lyncook, of Parma, Ohio, drowned after jumping off the abandoned train bridge near the historic Depot located on State Road 35.

18-Year-Old Drowns After Jumping From Yellow River Bridge in Knox

The treacherous Yellow River has claimed another life. Mercan Lyncook, of Parma Ohio jumped from the abandoned train bridge near the depot at 12:00 midnight Sunday morning, and because of limited swimming ability never made it back to shore. The 18-year-old man’s body was found by the Marshall County Dive Team at 2:00 a.m.

The Knox Police Department and Indiana Conservation Office received a call from Lyncook’s friend that he did not surface after diving into the water.

Assisting in the search were the Knox Volunteer Fire Department, Bass Lake Fire Department, Starke County Sheriff’s Department, Washington Township Fire Department, and Starke County EMS.