New Graduation Pathways Approved by Indiana State Board of Education This Week

On Wednesday, the Indiana State Board of Education(SBOE) approved several new graduation pathways for Hoosier high school students beginning with the 2019 freshman class.

Though these changes have been a topic of contention lately, the Board states that they were designed to give all students the skills and experiences they will need to take the next step in their educational journeys and to secure good jobs. Continue reading

North Judson Fire Chief Shares Ways The Department is Raising Funds for the Town

North Judson Fire Chief Joe Leszek presented council members with a few different ways the fire department is helping bring money into the town at Monday’s town council meeting.

Leszek shared that the fire fighters host a number of fundraisers which prove successful and added that the volunteers also go out of their way to apply for grants. They recently received $8,000 worth of grant funding

“We got a $3,000 dollar Starke County Community Foundation Grant, no match, it’s $3,000 of free money for us. We also got a $2,500 REMC Grant and then we also got a $2,500 Monsanto Grant.”

Leszek explained that the grant funds will be put toward the purchase of brush fire gear for all members and will also be spent to upgrade some leaky tanks on a couple of trucks. Continue reading

Knox Parks 5-Year Master Plan Public Hearing Tonight

Knox Mayor Dennis Estok will be holding several meetings today as a part of the process for amending and renewing the 5-year Parks Master Plan.

The purpose of today’s meetings is to gather community input about the various concerns and any recommendations that people have about the parks in Knox.

The first meetings will be conducted with stakeholders. Mayor Estok said that at 1:30 p.m. he will meet with Starke County Youth Club representatives. Then starting around 4:30 p.m. representatives from Moving Starke County Forward, the Starke County Chamber of Commerce and the Young Professionals Group will meet with the mayor to discuss individual group concerns.

At 6 p.m. a public hearing will be held at City Hall, where community members can weigh in on what they’d like to see at Wythogan Park, Sandy Acres and Heritage Park. Everyone is encouraged to attend to have their voice heard and their suggestions considered. Continue reading

WKVI Food Drive Sites In Pulaski and Starke Counties This Friday

Tomorrow morning, get into the giving spirit with some of Kankakee Valley Broadcasting’s best and brightest. This Friday, from 9 a.m. until noon (CT), members of the KVB staff will be stationed in Starke and Pulaski County, collecting food items and monetary donations.

WKVI’s Morning Show Host Charlie Adams is teaming up with MAX’s Morning Show host and sportscaster Tony Ross for a remote broadcast at Five-Star in Knox. They will be there collecting donations for Community Services of Starke County.

Meanwhile, WKVI’s father-son sports broadcast duo, Nathan and Harold Welter will be at Sanders Foods in Winamac collecting donations for Human Services of Pulaski County. Continue reading

Knox Plan Commission Meeting Includes Heated Conversation Over Project Concerns, Results in Verbal Resignation

The Knox Plan Commission met last night to hold a public hearing and discussion over a subdivision of property for the purpose of developing a Dollar General Store in the area at the request of Mark Matthew.

The commissioners ultimately approved the subdivision but prior to and following the decision, the meeting continuously erupted into conversations over site planning and safety concerns, resulting in one commissioner submitting verbal resignation and leaving the meeting prior to adjournment.

Commission president Jeff Berg began by running over the purpose and protocol of the meeting and hearing, saying that Mr. Matthew was seeking permission to divide a lot at the corner of U.S 35 and County Road 200 S. Planning Administrator Kenny Pfost added that a notification of the hearing was publicized and all neighbors within a 500 foot radius of the project were sent letters about the plans. Continue reading

North Judson Town Council Considers Proposal to Add K-9 Officer to NJ’s Full-Time Police Force

Town Marshal Kelly Fisher presented a request to purchase a dual-purpose K-9 officer during Monday night’s North Judson Town Council meeting.

Fisher addressed the fact that one of their part-time officers, Scott Beishuizen, does have a K-9 but she feels having one on the full-time force would be advantageous.  She explained that after conducting some research, she found that the Peru-based organization Vohne Liche Kennels has the best available training program. She also mentioned that Vohne Liche dogs are less likely to be involved in law suits due to the level of training they have. She presented council members with booklets detailing what the organization offers.

Fisher said, “The course teaches the K-9 and the handler the proper techniques to be a successful team and what we what we thought would fit best and what would give us the most for our money would be to get a dual-purpose K-9.” Continue reading

Christmas at The Center at Donaldson This Sunday

Center at Donaldson will be hosting their Christmas event on Sunday, December 10th. The event will kick-off with the children’s choral performance at 3 p.m. ET, followed by family activities from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m.

Children will have the opportunity to have their picture taken with Santa and can even decorate a frame for their picture. Other activities include face painting and cookie decorating. Continue reading

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Provides Winter Tips for Motorists

As winter weather approaches driving conditions will become more hazardous with an increase of snow and ice on the roadways during the coming months. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has a few tips to keep in mind, to ensure all motorists have a safe holiday travel season.

Be sure to check that your vehicle’s battery, windshield wipers, tires and heating system are all in proper working order before severe winter weather hits. NHTSA also advises drivers to clean snow, ice or dirt from all windows, sensors, headlights and taillights before taking off in a vehicle. Continue reading

North Judson Town Council Approves Town Employee Health Insurance Policy

North Judson Town Council members reached a decision about town employee health insurance during last night’s town council meeting.

The town’s insurance broker John Howard with Wealth Care Group informed the council that the request submitted to National General was denied. The remaining options came from their current provider United Health Care.

He presented them with a few different plans explaining that one option only allowed for coverage by a specified network of health care providers. He said that while a majority of local physicians would fall into this category, but if an employee needed to seek medical attention by a specialist or someone outside of the community, it would not be covered under the insurance.

The other option, what he called AU63, allowed for coverage outside the network for an additional fee. He also said that option is the closest to what they currently have. Continue reading

SCEDF Helps Knox Officials Get to the Bottom of a CEDIT Account Deficit

Starke County Economic Development Foundation Executive Director Charlie Weaver spoke with Knox City Council members about an estimated deficit in the city’s CEDIT account at their meeting last Tuesday.

Back in October, Clerk-Treasurer Jeff Houston mentioned that he received a notification from the Department of Local Government Finance indicating that there would be a projected loss of revenue of $34,908 for next year. He told members that sometimes those figures can be off but also assured them that the SCEDF was working with representatives from Umbaugh to get to the bottom of it.

At the most recent council meeting, Weaver informed members that after speaking with the city’s financial advisor Todd Samuelson of Umbaugh and Associates, he had a better understanding of why next year’s numbers are lower than the figures from  2017. Continue reading

There’s Still Time to Sign Up for Some Local Holiday Decoration Contests

One perk to the sun setting sooner around this time of year is having more time to appreciate all the decorations and lights that people put up in their yards and on their houses. A few communities will be hosting decoration contests during the month of December to decipher whose homes best capture the holiday spirit.

In Starke County, the city of Knox is hosting a holiday decorating contest. The judging will take place on Wednesday, December 13th from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. Participants should be sure to have their lights turned on during this time. Third prize will be $25, second prize is $50 and the first prize winner will receive $100. Continue reading

North Judson Town Council Meets Tonight

At tonight’s North Judson Town Council meeting Nancy Capouch will provide a public presentation pertaining to a sewer/water issue on John Street. Members will also continue to deliberate about the most cost effective town employee health insurance option.

At the last meeting, the town’s insurance broker John Howard alerted members that their current plan with United Health Care would not allow for the addition of 1099 employees, such as the town attorney and the council members. He said there is a more lenient plan through National General that would accept 1099 employees, but he needed to obtain additional employee information before he could get quotes. Continue reading

Knox Officials in the Process of Finalizing Humane Society Agreement

The agreement between the Humane Society and the City of Knox is nearly complete, according to Mayor Dennis Estok.

In an October meeting, Mayor Estok informed members that steps were being taken to deal with the stray animal population within the city. This agreement designates the humane society as the place to house the those animals.

During last week’s Knox City Council meeting, Mayor Estok told members that a few additions need to be made to the contract before it is finalized. He added that he will bring the agreement before the council at their next meeting since there is currently no line item for this purpose. Continue reading

Annual Christmas Cantata Scheduled for This Sunday

This Sunday, more than 40 singers from various churches around the community will perform at the Knox United Methodist Church as a part of the annual Community Christmas Cantata.

Members of the choir have been rehearsing nearly every Thursday since September. The singers will perform ‘And it Came to Pass, Emmanuel’ twice, with the first performance at 2 p.m. and another at 6 p.m. Continue reading

Don’t Miss Winamac’s Winter Wonderland Event

The annual Winamac Winter Wonderland event kicks-off today with Breakfast with Santa at the Pulaski County Elementary School. Various vendor booths will also be set up there from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. ET.

Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce representative Judy Heater explained that some of the vendors will have baked goods and additional types of food while others will feature different kinds of crafts. The Indiana Adoption Program will also have a booth set up where individuals can learn more about Hoosier kids in need of homes and the specifics of the adoption process.

Heater said that the ExPress Choir will sing at courthouse around 10 a.m. and then they’ll head over to the Pulaski County Public Library to join Judge Michael Shurn for cookies and cocoa. Judge Shurn will be at the library from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. and the library will also have another visitor; Santa Claus will be there from noon until 2 p.m. Continue reading

Nancy J. Dembowski Community Center HVAC Upgrades Complete, Training to Take Place Soon

At the Knox City Council meeting on Tuesday night, Clerk-Treasurer Jeff Houston alerted members that upgrades to the HVAC system at the Community Center are complete.

Houston said, “They’re going to do a little bit of training with people in the city to make sure that we’re aware of how to control the heating and air condition but I’m pretty happy with the way it’s working over there now.”

Houston added that the final invoice for that project has been submitted. Back in July, the Knox Board of Public Works awarded the bid for the project to McGrath Refrigeration. In the past, Mayor Estok stated that this new system will be far more efficient than the old one. Continue reading

Washington Township Fire Results in Countywide Cooperative Effort

The Washington Township Volunteer Fire Department responded to a call about a structure fire in the 8,000 block of 50 South shortly after 11 a.m. on Friday.

Washington Township Fire Chief Dave Pearman reported that all seven of the county’s volunteer departments assisted with the incident. Knox-Center Township, Hamlet, Bass Lake and Koontz Lake departments helped on the scene while North Judson Wayne-Township and Rail-Road Township departments helped cover neighboring districts to ensure that no areas were without assistance.

Chief Pearman said that crews utilized positive pressure ventilation to blow smoke out of the house and reported it took approximately one hour to take control of the fire. Continue reading

North Judson Town Council Authorizes List of Additional Appropriations

North Judson Town Council members approved appropriations for several funds when they met last Monday. Town Council President Wendy Hoppe explained that it was determined that more money is now needed than was originally established in the annual budget.

President Hoppe read from the proposed resolution before listing the accounts in need of appropriations, “Be it ordained, resolved by the Town Council, the civil town of Starke County that the expense of the tax units of the following additional sums of money are hereby appropriated out of the funds named and for the purpose of specified subjects to law governing the same.”

President Hoppe went on to list amounts requested to be approved in the specific funds, stating that $3,500 was requested for the unsafe building fund to be used for the cost of demolition and excavation on a blighted Lane Street building. She also said $1,035 was requested for the continuing education fund and $3,938 was requested for the IPP safety grant fund. Continue reading

Holiday Essay Contest Winners to Participate in Knox Peppermint Parade

Mayor Dennis Estok acknowledged the winners of this year’s “What Christmas Means to Me” essay contest at Tuesday night’s Knox City Council meeting.

He said there were approximately 120 essays submitted from 6th graders and about 280 from 4th and 5th grade students. Ten essays were chosen from each grade, resulting in thirty essays being reviewed to find the contest winners. Out of those essays, 1 grand prize winner and 9 finalists were selected.

All of the essay winners have a chance to play a part in the Peppermint Parade this weekend. Continue reading

City of Knox Park Survey Opens Today, Public Hearing Scheduled for Next Week

Knox officials are working to update and renew the city’s 5-year Park Master Plan.

At Tuesday night’s city council meeting, Mayor Dennis Estok announced that a public hearing is scheduled for Thursday, December 7 at 6 p.m. in Knox City Hall. Community members will have a chance to provide their input about what they’d like to see implemented at the parks over the next few years. Continue reading