House Bill That Would Affect Bidding Process Faces Opposition from NJ Town Council

A proposed House Bill was brought to the attention of North Judson Town Council members during a special meeting Monday night.

Council President Wendy Hoppe informed council members that House Bill 1313 is currently being considered by the House of Representatives. She explained that if enacted, it would affect the bidding process.

Hoppe said, “What the state is trying to say is the bidder can bid it and we have no way that we can check their background; who they are, what they are, what their work is. Where now we do have that [capability] and that in a nutshell is what that bill is about.” Continue reading

Current Healthy Indiana Plan Extended Through the End of February

The current Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP) program, which was originally set to expire today, has received an extension to continue operations through February 28th.

The extension was granted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Governor Eric Holcomb stated that as a result, the more than 400,000 HIP participants will see no change in service, for now. Continue reading

Electric Cord Installation on Baseball Diamonds Discussed during Knox Park Board Meeting

Starke County Baseball and Softball League President Travis Markin discussed installing some electrical cords on a few of the diamonds in Wythogan Park during last week’s Knox Park Board Meeting.

Markin explained the league wants to put cords on diamonds two in three and said the electric lines are needed for pitching machines. Markin stated that the league would incur the cost of installation and said they want to bury the cords in order to prevent a tripping hazard.

Park Superintendent George Byer explained that sometimes field maintenance can interfere with such installations. Continue reading

North Judson Town Council Approves Purchase of K9 Vehicle for Police Department

During a special meeting Monday night, North Judson Town Council members permitted Town Marshal Kelly Fisher to proceed with the purchase of a vehicle for the Police Department.

The vehicle is for Officer Rico Simpson and the police dog that he will be picking up next month. Members approved the purchase of a black 2014 Ford Explorer, with all-wheel drive that was requested by the town marshal. Marshal Fisher explained that it’s had routine maintenance so it is in very good condition. Continue reading

Factors Impacting Crude Oil Prices and Ways to Save on Fuel Provided by Senior Petroleum Analyst Senior Petroleum Analysts Patrick DeHaan and Dan McTeague collaborated on a fuel price outlook for 2018.

Though the men did predict an expensive year ahead when they issued the prediction on January 3rd, McTeague said conservative figures were utilized in order to avoid making any assumptions that could have been considered too high. Five weeks into the New Year even the maximum predictions have been surpassed.

McTeague explained that one factor currently contributing to dwindling crude oil inventories is a leak to a frequently used pipeline. Continue reading

Knox Park Board Approves Requests for Summer Concession Stand Operations

Knox Park Board members approved two requests about summer concession stand operations when they met Thursday night.

Starke County Youth Baseball and Softball League President Travis Markin was permitted to continue operating out of the concession stand near the basketball court, while Knox City Police Chief Harold Smith received permission to continue running the other existing concession stand.

Park Board members also considered what to do when the new concession stand is built. Continue reading

Senior Petroleum Analyst Expects High Gas Prices to Continue in 2018

For the last 10 weeks, the United States has consecutively seen a steady decline in crude oil inventories, according to Senior Petroleum Analyst Dan McTeague.

In January of 2017, the cost of a barrel of oil was around $52. McTeague shared that right now, we’re seeing prices closer to $66. That is a $14 difference and he said it may increase as the year goes on with high demand at the national and international level, increased exports and stalled production continuing to impact costs. Continue reading

NJ Town Council to Hold Special Meeting to Consider K9 Vehicle Purchase Tonight

A special meeting to consider the purchase of a K9 vehicle will be held by the North Judson Town Council tonight at 6:30 p.m.

Town Marshal Kelly Fisher initially proposed the purchase when town council members met on Monday, January 15th.Fisher explained that the department has $10,000 worth of funds available that was initially intended to buy a mode of transportation for the town’s code enforcement officer.

However, rather than purchasing a new vehicle for that purpose, she suggested handing down Officer Rico Simpson’s current car so they can utilize the money for something that could be equipped with the K9 travel kennel. Continue reading

Next Public Hearing Over Knox Parks 5-Year Master Plan to be Held in February

Last week, Mayor Dennis Estok established a date and time to hold the next public hearing over the Knox Parks 5-year Master Plan.

Estok explained that this second hearing will be held in order to go over the draft master plan that was submitted to the DNR earlier this month. The results of the online survey, which garnered more than 250 responses, will also be covered. Continue reading

Damage to Wythogan Fence Included in Park Superintendent’s Report

Knox Park Superintendent George Byer informed Park Board members about damage caused to about 40-feet of a fence in Wythogan Park.

During his report Thursday night, Byer explained that a few weeks ago, the fence around baseball diamond three sustained damage from an automobile.

“We had a hit-and-run about two weeks ago, during the last snow storm.” He said, “I happened to be there around 11 and everything was fine but I made another pass through around 12:30 and the damage was done.” Continue reading

Knox HS Counselor Receives $12,000 Creativity Fellowship to Hep Recreate College Study-Abroad Trip

Knox Community High School Counselor Terri Schmidt will soon be embarking on a journey with her college classmate thanks to the 2018 Teacher Creativity Fellowship Program.

Director of Curriculum Peggy Shidaker shared that Schmidt, who has 21 years of experience at KHS, was one of 100 educators in the state to receive a $12,000 grant awarded by the Lilly Endowment.

Her program proposal “You Can Go Back” suggested a reunion trip to revisit places that she and her classmate once toured during a six-month study-abroad at the London Campus of Lawrence University. Continue reading

Whereabouts of Missing Knox Woman Remain Unknown

Detectives and officers with the Knox City Police Department are still investigating the disappearance of 37-year-old Barbara McCurdy, of Knox.

Barb McCurdy was reportedly last seen Sunday, January 14th wearing a pink Carhartt-style jacket and blue jeans. Police believe she was driving a black 2006 Chevy Cobalt with an Indiana license plate number of CK3142.

Knox Police Chief Harold Smith she’s been missing for about two weeks and, as far as they know, no family or friends have had any contact with her. He reported that during their investigation, the Knox Police Department has been coordinating with the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department as well as the Indiana State Police. Continue reading

Mayor Provides Blight Elimination Update at Knox City Council Meeting

Knox Mayor Dennis Estok provided a brief update about the Blight Elimination Program when Knox City Council members met Tuesday night.

He stated that bids for work on the structure at 202 N Pearl Street will be opened during a special Board of Works meeting on February 5th at 9 a.m. Mayor Estok commented on the process of arranging to have the house taken down and stated that it went much quicker than past projects. Continue reading

Umbaugh Rep Presents Knox City Council with Financial Option for Fire Truck Purchase

At Tuesday night’s Knox City Council meeting, members heard a presentation about obtaining a bond to purchase a new fire truck. Fire Chief Kenny Pfost told council members that the vehicle they’re looking to replace is a pumper truck that is nearly 30 years old.

John Julien from Umbaugh provided the presentation and stated that the projected cost of the truck is approximately $600,000 and Umbaugh’s service charge would come in at about $50,000. Continue reading

Blood and Platelet Shortage Has Reached a Critical Level, Donors Needed

Recent severe weather conditions have resulted in multiple blood drive cancellations, causing the Red Cross to declare that the blood and platelet shortage has reached a critical level.

According to a press release from the organization, no matter the weather is like, every day the Red Cross has to collect more than 13,000 blood and platelet donations to help meet the needs of patients. Due to the winter weather conditions in January, more than 550 blood drives were forced to cancel causing over 16,500 blood and platelet donations to go uncollected.

Red Cross Communications Manager Rodney Wilson said currently, blood and platelet donations are being distributed to hospitals faster than they’re coming in. Continue reading

Knox City Council Approves Grant Administrator Agreement with KIRPC

Knox City Council members considered a grant administrator agreement with Kankakee-Iroquois Regional Planning Commission on Tuesday night. KIRPC representative Shawn Cain told the council that the agreement would be to assist the city with the OCRA grant they recently received for the Knox Parks 5-Year Master Plan.

Cain said the agreement would allow KIRPC reps to assist the clerk-treasurer with reports and claims and they’d also be available to answer any questions that the council members may have in the future. Cain added that there is a $2,000 charge for their services. Continue reading

North Judson-San Pierre to Host 2nd Annual Blue Jay Show Case Tomorrow, Residents Invited to Share Their Stories

North Judson-San Pierre will be hosting the second annual Blue Jay Showcase during Friday night’s girls’ basketball game versus Triton at the Jr/Sr High School.

Superintendent Dr. Annette Zupin invites all community members to come out and see the various things that NJSP students have been working on this year.

“It’s an opportunity for our students and teachers to display or demonstrate student work and programs.” Zupin explained, “So in the cafeteria, during the ball game, we will have just a variety of student work and programs.” Continue reading

Motorists Beware! Current Weather Conditions Ideal for Pothole Formation

As the weather continues to fluctuate between warm and cold, it can unfortunately cause ideal conditions for pothole formation.

Starke County Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler explained why the damp, dynamic conditions can result in these unwanted road hazards.

Ritzler said, “Potholes generally form from water on the road and it gets into the cracks on the roadway and then as the water turns to ice and it expands and then contracts and that expansion and contraction over time, causes the structure of the pavement to deteriorate.” Continue reading