Indiana Conservation Officers Seek Public Assistance in Retrieving Stolen Snowmobiles, Offer $1,000 Reward

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources just a press release today, seeking public assistance in finding two stolen Law Enforcement Snowmobiles that were taken from Potato Creek State Park near the town of North Liberty.

The snowmobiles were stolen on or around December 15, 2017. Indiana Conservation Officers are offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and/or the recovery of the snowmobiles. Continue reading

Nine Flu-Related Deaths Reported by Indiana Department of Health

The latest Weekly Influenza Report from the Indiana Department of Health shows that flu activity increased sharply in the final weeks of 2017, resulting in multiple flu-related deaths.

The report from December 21st stated that the influenza-like-illness (ILI) activity code was minimal with only 2 deaths reported. On the very next report from December 29th, the ILI activity code had been changed to high with a total of 9 deaths reported. Continue reading

North Judson Town Marshal Proposes Changing Unused Board Room into Training Site

(photo provided by Peggy Bohac)
North Judson Police Department Full-Time Force

North Judson Town Marshal Kelly Fisher came before town council members on Tuesday, seeking permission to turn the police station’s board room into a training site.

Marshal Fisher explained that she hasn’t seen the room utilized for meetings in quite some time. She mentioned that many officers have various instructor qualifications so that unused space is holding some untapped potential.

Fisher said, “We could open it up to host classes and bring some money in for the police department, kind of broaden our training.” Continue reading

Knox City Council Members Agree to Light Up Lake Street with New LED Bulbs

After realizing the advantages of having more illumination on Main Street in downtown Knox, city officials have decided to purchase more LED lights for other spots around town.

When city council members met last week, Mayor Dennis Estok said an additional six lights will be purchased for Lake Street and suggested purchasing three lights for the community center parking lot. The mayor mentioned that each light and globe costs approximately $250, meaning that nine more bulbs and globes would be around $2,250.

Council members came to the conclusion that lighting in the parking lot is not really a priority right now, so they opted out of getting an extra three bulbs for that area. Continue reading

Individuals Urged to Join the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Blue Campaign

January is recognized as National Human Trafficking Prevention month and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security established “The Blue Campaign” back in 2010 to bring visibility to the prevalent, but often under reported and over looked, global issue.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, annually, millions of women, men and children are trafficked in countries around the world, including the United States. It is estimated that it’s a $32 billion per year industry that includes domestic servitude, sexual trafficking and forced labor. Continue reading

North Judson Town Council Members Make Additional Appointments and Agree to Advertise for Open Positions

North Judson Town Council members voted unanimously to retain Wendy Hoppe as the town council president when they met Tuesday night.

As a part of their new bylaws, members also needed to establish a vice president. Councilman John Rowe was nominated and council members collectively agreed to appoint him to the position. Members also voted to retain Justin Schramm as their town attorney.

Additionally, members discussed remaining appointments. Clerk-Treasurer Andrew Rowe will serve as the town representative for Kankakee-Iroquois Regional Planning Commission and Wendy Hoppe volunteered to serve on the Rail Road Committee. Continue reading

Knox City Council Members Approve Proposal for IT Infrastructure Enhancements, Estimated to Cost More Than $17,000 in First Year

The Knox City Council members amended their meeting agenda to include a proposal for enhancements to IT infrastructure, when they met last Wednesday.

Mayor Dennis Estok informed council members that the City of Knox is not currently equipped with any “off-site backup”, which is a state-mandated requirement. He said that means that all city documentation, emails and additional information would be unsaved if their main system was to experience any major problems. Continue reading

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Offers Tips on How to Avoid Grant Scams

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is warning citizens to be aware of scammers who see the New Year as the perfect opportunity to prey on unsuspecting individuals looking to replenish funds after the holidays. Fraudulent grant offers are particularly pervasive,so HHS representatives have a few tips to keep in mind in order to protect yourself from tricksters.

First of all, no legitimate federal government employee would ever call to say you qualify or you’ve been approved for a grant you never applied for. Representatives say to look out for people who target individuals since all government grants involve an application process to carry out projects with a public purpose and are not intended for personal use. Continue reading

City of Knox Officially Pays off General Obligation Bond of 2010

Last Wednesday, Knox Clerk-Treasurer Jeff Houston informed city council members that the final payment for the general obligation bond of 2010 was made earlier that day.

Houston added that the bond was taken out to purchase a fire truck which is now officially owned by the city. Mayor Dennis Estok reminded members that paying off the bond contributed to the deficit of more than $30,000 in Knox’s CEDIT account for this year. Continue reading

North Judson Town Council Members Meet Tonight

The North Judson Town Council members will make an appointment to the Kankakee-Iroquois Regional Planning Commission and discuss the Starke County Economic Development Foundation appointment when they meet tonight.

Department heads will deliver updates to the council members and there will be some time allotted for public presentations and recognition of guests.

The meeting will take place in North Judson Town Hall at 6:30 p.m. tonight.

North Judson Town Council Approves Encumbrance for Norwayne Field Wall Repairs

North Judson Town Council members encumbered funds for repairs to the wall at Norwayne Field when they met Tuesday night. Clerk-Treasurer Andrew Rowe explained that the wall that runs along Highway 10 is missing stones in some spots and there are places where it is crumbling.

A total of $4,400 that was left over from building improvements was encumbered to pay Schamber Masonry for work on the Norwayne Field wall. Continue reading

Knox Mayor Dennis Estok Reminds Residents to Take Care of Animals in the Winter Months, Announces Tree Pick-Up Date

Mayor Dennis Estok addressed a couple of reminders during his report at this week’s Knox City Council meeting. Mayor Estok announced that pick-up for live Christmas trees will begin on Tuesday, January 2nd.

He stated, “Basically, you dispose of them the same way you do with brush, you know front of the curb, front of the house, where we would routinely pick up brush during the summer.” Mayor Estok specified that the trees should not be bagged and they must be bare.

Additionally, the mayor issued a reminder about winter pet safety at Wednesday night’s meeting. He wants Knox residents to be aware that the city has ordinance that allows officials to enforce the humane treatment of animals. Continue reading

Knox City Council Holds First Reading over Ordinance Eliminating Obstructions

Knox City Council members held the first reading over the amended ordinance regulating obstruction of sidewalks, streets and railroad crossings for the City of Knox when they met Wednesday evening. Clerk-Treasurer Jeff Houston mentioned that the ordinance was created by taking their existing sidewalk obstruction ordinance and combining it with additional specifications that are addressed in state statute.

The majority of feed back from council members was specifically about the section regarding placement of vehicles. Certain members were seeking clarification about the section which indicates that vehicles cannot be within fifty feet of the nearest rail of a railroad crossing. Continue reading

North Judson Town Council Members Choose Not to Encumber Funds for Utility Tractor

North Judson Town Council members refrained from encumbering funds for a new tractor for the utility department when they met Tuesday night. Council members conferred that they were under the impression they were waiting until springtime to take any action on that purchase.

Councilman Josh Brown stated he’d like to know what the intended purpose for the tractor would be before they establish a specific amount intended for the purchase. Brown said he wasn’t aware of any reasons the tractor would be a necessary piece of equipment. Continue reading

Year-End Tax Tips from the Internal Revenue Service

For most tax payers, December 31st is the last day to take actions that will impact 2017 tax returns, according to the IRS.

For instance, charitable contributions are deductible in the year made. This means donations charged to a credit card before the end of the year count for the 2017 tax even if the bill isn’t paid until 2018 and checks made to a charity count for 2017 as long as they’re mailed by the last day of the year.

Taxpayers are urged to refrain from preparing their tax returns until all necessary forms and documents are received. Needed documentation includes W-2 forms from employers and 1099 forms from banks and other payers. Continue reading

North Judson Town Council Members Address Appointments at Year-End Meeting

North Judson Town Council members appointed Councilman James Young as the council representative of the Starke County Economic Development Board, at their meeting Tuesday night.

Town Council president Wendy Hoppe also asked if any members were willing to volunteer as the representative for KIRPC or the Kankakee-Iroquois Regional Planning Commission. Councilwoman Jane Ellen Felchuck added that they could nominate a citizen, if no members are interested in filling the position. Since Councilman John Rowe wasn’t present during last night’s meeting, they decided to table that appointment until their meeting on January 2nd. Continue reading

North Judson-San Pierre School Board Held First Reading Over Policy Revisions

North Judson-San Pierre school board members held the first reading over a few different policies when they met last Tuesday. Superintendent Dr. Annette Zupin explained that the proposed policy revisions were a result of the spring 2017 legislative session. She said a majority of the changes had to do with correcting typos and adapting language in some places.

However, she highlighted a few that included more details including polices over child neglect/abuse education, suicide prevention and background checks. One proposed change deals with background checks. Other than asserting that checks must be conducted on an annual basis, the policy also indicates that the specific school corporation is responsible for the cost of the background checks, once the person is an established employee. Continue reading

North Judson Town Council to Hold Final Meeting of the Year Tonight

North Judson Town council members will convene tonight at 6 p.m. to tie up any loose ends during an end-of-year session. Clerk-Treasurer Andrew Rowe will fill council members in on the town’s current financial standings and alert them of any actions that must be taken before the year’s end.

One topic up for discussion will be board appointment suggestions. Though the representatives won’t be officially decided until after the first of the year, Council President Wendy Hoppe said they will be considered during this session. Continue reading

Indiana Tobacco Quitline Can Help Guide New Year Resolution Plans

As the year draws to a close, many people may already be establishing their new year’s resolutions. If giving up tobacco is on your 2018 to-do-list, the Indiana Tobacco Quitline is a good resource to utilize.

The free, phone-based counseling service can assist a variety of tobacco users including expectant mothers, former smokers seeking relapse prevention and tobacco users in any stage of readiness to quit. The telephone service can also assist friends and relatives of tobacco users who wish to offer support to their loved ones.

When someone calls into the service, a trained Quit Coach will provide an assessment of readiness to quit, a customized quit plan, motivation and problem-solving advice and up-to-date information about nicotine replacement therapy. Continue reading