Week in Review for July 2nd-6th, 2012

Here is a look at some of the news that made the news in the Kankakee Valley this week:

The proposed golf cart ordinance in Marshall County will be discussed by the Commissioners in a public hearing setting on Monday, July 16th. No time has been set for the hearing, but the Commissioners will be meeting at 10:00 a.m. ET to go over regular business. There are a few residents upset with the ordinance that restricts the use of golf carts around the county’s lakes. The ordinance does not include use on any other roadway. The ordinance also requires a driver to have a driver’s license and proof insurance must be present at all time when operating a cart. Other provisions have also been set and will be discussed during the public hearing.

The Knox City Council passed a motion to adopt a policy regarding conflicts of interest and nepotism in office. The council adopted the minimum provisions required by state statutes for nepotism, prohibiting a person from supervising a direct relative. The law affects future hirings and City Attorney David Matsey said a list of employees will need to be made to identify employees that are related.

The properties not sold in the spring Starke County tax sale will be offered in a commissioners online certificate sale beginning Thursday, July 5th at 10:00 a.m. In order to bid, you need to visit SRI-taxsale.com, select Starke County and view the 100 properties on the list. The winning bidder, or lien buyer, has certain rights and responsibilities, including the completion of the required legal actions to secure a tax deed after the one year redemption period. The online sale ends Monday, July 16th at 10:00 a.m.

Morgan Uceny, a 2003 Plymouth High School graduate, will be in London for the 2012 Summer Olympics. She is the favorite to win Gold in the 1,500 meter run. The won the 1,500 meter U.S. Olympic Trials last night with a time of four minutes and 59 seconds. It’s believed she’s the first Plymouth native to make the U.S. Olympic team.

The burn ban in Starke County was lifted Monday. The Commissioners felt with the recent rains, the ban could be lifted. North Judson-Wayne Township Fire Chief, Joe Leszek asked the commissioners not to lift the ban so soon, but the commissioners were reportedly pressured by others to lift the ban. The conditions will be monitored. The burn ban was also lifted in Pulaski County.

All of the right-of-ways have been cleared through the Indiana Department of Transportation regarding the construction of Bridge 291 in Monterey, but the project has been set back to October. Bids for the project will be opened in October which sets the project back several months. Construction may not begin until November, but only a minimal amount of work can be done at that time. The majority of the project’s construction may need to wait until spring.

21-year-old Caitlin Shidler of Winamac and 25-year-old Steven Decker were arrested Tuesday, June 26th on several charges after police found them almost asleep while parked at a gas pump at the Good Oil Company in Winamac. The employee who called in the complaint said the car had been there for about an hour. Police found Shidler and Decker at the scene with two children in the back seat of the vehicle. They reportedly admitted to shooting prescription medication and a search of the vehicle found controlled substances. The pair were arrested on preliminary charges of Possession of a Controlled Substance, Neglect of a Dependent, Possession of Paraphernalia and Public Intoxication. The children were taken into custody by the Department of Child Services.

Scenes like this one in North Judson were all too common in the wake of weekend storms.

Storm clean-up continues in our area from weather events last weekend. Starke County Commissioner Kathy Norem said that Bass Lake was the hardest hit and Bass Lake Fire Chief Les Jensen said the clean up efforts are going well. Over 40,000 NIPSCO customers lost power during these storms while Kankakee Valley REMC reported 7,000 outages for those customers. If you have damage, you are asked to report it to the Indiana Department of Homeland Security. Go online to www.myoracle.in.gov/hs/damage to report property damage and loss of personal property. This report is not an application for assistance with FEMA. This information will be used to help local emergency agencies assess preliminary damage reports to determine if federal assistance can be pursued.

The state-wide smoking ban is now in effect, but the Starke County Commissioners have decided to take a step further. The Commissioners approved a motion to prohibit smoking on all Starke County government building campuses. This includes the annex building, courthouse, jail, county highway garage, ambulance garages and other county-owned buildings. If you wish to smoke around any of those buildings, you need to be at least to the sidewalk before a cigarette can be lit.

The old Washington Township Elementary School will be demolished as soon as the Washington Township Board approves a bid for demolition. Sealed bids will be accepted during their next meeting on Tuesday, July 24th at 6:30 p.m. CT at the Washington Township Community Building. A preliminary meeting has also been set for Tuesday, July 10th at 5:00 p.m. to discuss the logistics on what the board is expecting for the demolition. The Board plans to renovate the area after the building is gone. For more information, contact Washington Township Trustee Shelly Kemble at 772-7746.

Repair work on the runway at Arens Field in Winamac is needed. Jim McDaniels from Arens field asked the Pulaski County Commissioners for the better solution for gathering estimates as the company usually commissioned to do the job wants an extremely high fee to conduct the work. It was recommended that the county highway department rent a piece of equipment which is used to resurface roads and runways, but the question of who will pay for the repair is up in the air. The Commissioners will seek the use of CEDIT funds to pay for the repair.

Yellow River

Trees will be removed from the Yellow River in a project that will soon get underway – as soon as the Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) releases the grant funds for the project. Starke County Surveyor Dennis Estok said they are moving things along as now is the best time for the project, especially since the water level is so low. Trees will be removed from the river from the U.S. 35 bridge in Knox to the Starke-Marshall County line. The total cost of the project is approximately $160,000.

Curt Pletcher from Umbaugh and Associates recently met with the Knox Facility Study Committee to discuss the financial feasibility of renovating or constructing a new Palmer Wing of the Knox Elementary School. The Committee is trying to decide how this could impact the tax rate of the school district. The committee will meet with an architect in the next two weeks. You are invited to take a tour of the elementary school to assess the structure and help the committee decide which direction to go.

Marshall County Coronor Bill Cleavenger received the toxicology report in the case of a double fatal accident that occurred June 28th. Cleavenger said that the report indicates that alcohol and drugs were not a factor in the crash. 16-year-old Vincent Cody Poczik and 16-year-old Hunter Brandt were killed when Poczik’s car left the roadway on 12 B Road, east of Olive Trail, struck a guardrail and flipped end over end. The pair were killed instantly. The accident remains under investigation with the Marshall County Sheriff’s Department.

No fires or injuries occurred over the Fourth of July holiday in Starke County or in Pulaski County. Controversy surrounded the decision by the Starke County and Pulaski Commissioners on their decision to lift the burn ban especially with the fire risk with consumer fireworks. According to the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, only four counties in the state have lifted burn bans including Starke, Pulaski, Benton and Warren Counties.

And that is just some of the news that made the news in the Kankakee Valley this week.