North Judson Code Enforcement Officer Provides Update to Town Council, Suggests Removing Outdated Ordinances

North Judson Code Enforcement Officer Joe Leszek provided an update about the code enforcement program that was implemented in mid-July.

Leszek said that they’ve seen good results and they continue to make improvements. He alerted council members that Town Marshal Kelly Fisher is currently working on a procedure to “put a little more teeth” into the abandoned vehicle policy.

He also mentioned that for the first few months, they were being more lenient by giving warnings and allowing people a few weeks to deal with citations. However, he said now that they’re more than six months into the code enforcement program, they’ll cut that down to 48 hour warnings and then ticketing if the issue is not handled.

North Judson’s town photographer Peggy Bohac presented a concern that she received from a fixed-income resident who was worried that stricter code enforcement could result in fines that would potentially be unmanageable.

Marshal Fisher responded, saying as long as citizens are making a noticeable effort to correct the violation, then they will not be continuously fined. Continue reading

Winamac Town Council to Hold Public Hearing Over Water Rates Tonight

A public hearing will be held over adjustments to water rates in Winamac prior to the regularly scheduled town council meeting tonight. The council’s regular session will commence immediately following the public hearing which is set for 6 p.m. ET.

During the clerk-treasurer’s report, the council will hold the second reading over the water rate ordinance. Adjustments to the water rates are being proposed in order to help cover costs for the town’s water project. Continue reading

Culver Community School Students Receive Career Pathway Presentations

Last week, while Culver Community Schools were conducting NWEA testing, they concurrently held career pathway presentations for some junior and senior high school students.

Superintendent Karen Shuman shared that one of the speakers was school board member Bill Sonnemaker. He came and spoke to students about working as an engineer for 40 years. He told them how he worked in the aero-space industry and provided some details about particular projects he tackled within that field.

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Be a Santa to a Senior this Year

This holiday season, Home Instead Senior Care is giving you the unique opportunity to be Santa to elderly individuals who may otherwise go without gifts.

The ‘Be a Santa to a Senior’ initiative intends to bring holiday cheer into the lives of local senior citizens who may not have family around this time of the year. If you bring in a donation to the Plymouth or LaPorte locations today around 10 a.m. ET, you will have a chance to enjoy some soup and chili thanks to Home Instead Senior Care staff.

Some gift suggestions include hats, scarves and gloves as well as blankets, robes socks and slippers. Some other potential present ideas are stationery, pens, stamps, puzzles, word searches and playing cards. Monetary donations may also be made to help cover the cost of big ticket items.

The deadline for drop-offs has been extended; donations will now be accepted through December 18th. Continue reading

U.S. Marshal Phone Scam Alert

If you receive a call from someone claiming to be a U.S. Marshal, be wary of their instructions. The Federal Trade Commission is warning people about a recent scam involving impostors threatening individuals with arrest in order to get money from them.

Consumer Education Specialist Bridget Small said that U.S. Marshals do a lot of things, they protect the federal courts, track down dangerous fugitives and transport thousands of prisoners. What they don’t do is make calls and threaten to arrest people or fine them for missing jury duty. Continue reading

North Judson Town Council Members Receive Update About Addition to Norwayne Field

The ball is rolling on a new addition to Norwayne Field, according to North Judson Clerk-Treasurer Andrew Rowe.

Prior to her resignations, former Clerk-Treasurer Alicia Collins alerted town council members that the $12,000 raised by the community center committee would go toward a cover for the stage at Norwayne Field.

During the clerk-treasurer’s report at Monday’s town council meeting, Rowe explained that he received the preliminary plans for the stage cover and now the North Judson Park Board will be working with them to finalize decisions. Continue reading

Starke County Youth Club Seeks Funds to Expand Programs

The Starke County Youth Club is able to provide after-school programs to students K-12 across the county thanks to grant funding.

One grant the club utilizes is the 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant. SC Youth Club Executive Director Irene Szakonyi said they’re reapplying for that grant this year and the deadline for it is coming up soon.

Szakonyi explained that and a part of the grant process, Youth Club representatives are working with their partners to determine particular needs. She said their partners include all the county schools, the public library system, the Starke County Economic Development Foundation and Purdue Cooperative Extension Services.

“We really do work together to make sure that there are high quality programs for kids in this community that address academic outputs, and personal success for kids.”Szakonyi continued, “Things like homework help and tutoring, science, technology engineering, and math, life skills, college and career readiness. All of those things that make sure that a kid is prepared to be successful in school and in work and in life.” Continue reading

Pre-K Program at Culver Community Schools Will Not Be Implemented in January, Could Possibly Start Next School Year

A decision has been made to not move forward with a Pre-Kindergarten program at Culver Community Schools in January of next year. However, according to Superintendent Karen Shuman that doesn’t mean it is completely out of the question.

Shuman said, “We do hope to come next school year, when we do kindergarten round-up we’ll be doing a pre-k round-up at the same time.” The superintendent explained that they’ll determine whether or not to implement a program depending on the number of people who attend the round-up for children who would be heading into preschool. Continue reading

First Public Hearings Held over Knox Parks 5-Year Master Plan

Despite a fairly small turn out, last night’s public hearing resulted in several notable suggestions for the Knox Parks 5-Year Master Plan. Knox currently has three parks, Wythogan Park, Sandy Acres and Heritage Park and last night it was revealed that a fourth park is being proposed across from Wythogan on U.S. 35.

The public hearing was led by Landscape Architect Mike Reese from the Troyer Group. He explained that the Troyer Group is the firm facilitating the planning process. He said they also helped install the performance stage in Wythogan Park and assisted Starke County with their 5-year master plan. Continue reading

North Judson Town Council Members Approve Purchase of New Camera for Utility Department

North Judson Town Council members approved the purchase of a new push camera at the request of Town Superintendent Marshall Horstmann during Monday evening’s town council meeting.

Horstmann explained that a push camera is an inspection tool that can be utilized for their fee ordinance where water and sewer lines are inspected at the request of homeowners for a $100 fee. He added that it could also be used for checking the town’s lines in general.

He said the current camera is more than 10 years old and they’ve had consistent problems with it not turning on. He added that there were also issues with the way that material was recorded and stored on to discs. Continue reading

Culver Community School Board Establishes System to Review Policies

Policies adoption was the main focus of the Culver Community School Board meeting that took place Monday night.

Superintendent Karen Shuman said that some of the policies and procedures were already in place but the board needed to have a first reading in order for them to be entered into the system. She said one policy that was noticeably changed had to do with background checks.
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Salvation Army Bell Ringers Needed!

Salvation Army Bell Ringers are still needed in Starke County! Starke County Bell Ringer coordinator Joe Lopez stressed the fact that funds collected at the local collection centers remain in the area.

Lopez explained, “The money does not go out of the county, all the money collected is spent here in Starke County and it helps a lot of people that need help during the holiday so we really appreciate any help we can get.”

The two Starke County Bell Ringer locations are Bailey’s Discount Center in North Judson and Five Star in Knox. Lopez mentioned that there is a special perk to working these spots.

“I know that a lot of people watch the Salvation Army Bell Ringers out in the cold,” he said, “we’re fortunate to have Bailey’s indoors and Five Star also indoors so you’re not standing out in the weather freezing.” Continue reading

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