New Partnership Aims to Bring High-Speed Internet to All Hoosier Students

Governor Eric Holcomb and Indiana State Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Jennifer McCormick have announced a partnership that aims to give all Hoosier students access to the tools and resources needed for digital learning with high-speed internet in every classroom.

The state is teaming up with Education Super Highway (ESH), the nation’s leading non-profit focused on upgrading internet access in every public school classroom in America, at no cost to tax payers. ESH will work with the Indiana Department of Education and local school districts to determine need, whether that’s fiber infrastructure, greater and more affordable bandwidth or Wi-Fi upgrades. Continue reading

North Judson Man Arrested on Arson Charge

A North Judson man is currently being held at the Starke County Jail on a preliminary charge of arson, a Level 4 felony, after he allegedly confessed to starting a fire at the old Craven’s factory back in September.

According to information disclosed by Starke County Sheriff Bill Dulin, on Monday, October 23rd detectives with the Starke County Sheriff’s Office were in the process of conducting interviews with possible suspect(s) about numerous burglaries within the county.

During questioning, 19-year-old Jacob Carter allegeldy confessed to starting a fire at a building in North Judson. Carter reportedly admitted to lighting a fire which led to a large pile of tires burning, according to the release. Continue reading

Starke County Chamber of Commerce Announces Award Recipients

Members of the Starke County Chamber of Commerce met earlier this week to officially decide the winners of Business of the Year, the Above and Beyond Award and the Henry F. Schricker “Service Before Self” Award.

Starke County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jessica Craig reported that the winner of Business of the Year is the North Judson-based company First Choice Insurance owned by Carrie Block.

The winner of this year’s Henry F. Schricker Award is Jim Kersting. Craig said that Kersting was a recipient of the Business of the Year award back in 2015 but he has been nominated for the Schricker award three years in a row. Henry F. Schricker Award Committee members, as well as past winners, decided to grant Kersting with the award this year for his continued service to the community.

The winner of the Above and Beyond award is Starke County A.B.A.T.E. This award can go to an individual, a business or an organization. This year the award when to the Starke County American Bikers Aimed Toward Education for their countless fundraising efforts and immersive community involvement. Continue reading

Knox School Board Met Monday for 2018 Budget Adoption

On Monday evening, the Knox School Board met briefly in order to adopt the school corporation’s 2018 budget. Superintendent Dr. William Reichhart said board members voted unanimously to adopt the budget as advertised.

By doing so, the Knox School Board has effectively adopted their budget prior to the November 1st adoption deadline. The last day that 2018 budgets, tax rates and tax levies can be submitted to Indiana Department of Local Government Finance through Indiana Gateway is November 3rd.

The Knox Community School Corporation has total budget estimate of $20,662,696. To view the entire budget notice posted to Indiana Gateway, follow this link.

Knox City Council Votes to Shed Some Light on Reported Darkness Downtown

The downtown area in Knox will be getting a little bit brighter thanks to a decision made by the Knox City Council last night. The council members voted unanimously to approve Mayor Dennis Estok’s request to replace 10 bulbs in the downtown area with new LED bulbs.

Mayor Estok started looking into new lighting options after receiving continuous complaints about the darkness downtown. He has been working with a representative from Herrman and Goetz, discussing the best route to take.

Estok started by installing one bulb on Main Street to have council members weigh in with their opinions. They all agreed that there was a noticeable difference. Estok said now that they know the bulbs are brighter, he wants to test out more in order to see how multiple bulbs would illuminate the area. Continue reading

Knox and Koontz Lake Firefighters Assist Hamlet Fire Department With Railroad Street Fire

State Fire Marshal Fred Sumpter has officially ruled the cause of a structure fire that took place in Hamlet last week as undetermined.

Hamlet Fire Chief Brad Hazelton reported that on Friday, October 20th the Hamlet Fire Department received a call about a fire at a vacant structure located on West Railroad Street around 2 a.m. The fire was extinguished but the house was significantly damaged.

Chief Hazelton said that the State Fire Marshall conducted an investigation. Hazelton determined that it was too dangerous for the firefighters involved to enter the crawlspace under the house so the cause was established as undetermined.

Hazelton also reported that thanks to the use of their alarm system, Knox and Koontz Lake Firefighters we called out to assist with the incident. He said the departments often assist one another when they’re in need of more firefighters and to utilize equipment that one department may have access to that another does not. Continue reading

This Saturday is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

This Saturday, individuals have the opportunity to help prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous, expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs. The Indiana State Police and the Drug Enforcement Agency are holding the 14th Prescription Drug Take Back on Saturday October 28th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

This service is free, anonymous and there are no questions asked. The initiative addresses the prevalent public safety and health issue of prescription drugs being obtained from family and friends in order to be abused or sold. In the past 13 drug take back events, the DEA and its partners have taken in over 8.1 million pounds of pills, which is more than 4,000 tons. Continue reading

Knox City Council Meets Tonight

Knox City Council meets tonight, where members will discuss the replacement of downtown streetlights.

This topic has been talked about during meetings in the past. Mayor Dennis Estok had one experimental bulb installed and has been asking for council feedback about it over the last few months. Council members reported seeing a significant difference in brightness between the old lights and the new bulb.

The council will also hear from Ron Gifford with the Starke County Economic Development Foundation.

The council members will meet in Knox City Hall at 7 p.m. tonight.

Knox Water Department to Start Hydrant and Waterline Flushing Wednesday

The Knox Water Department will begin flushing waterlines and fire hydrants tomorrow morning.

Knox Water Superintendent Todd Garner said this procedure is performed to test the working order of the fire hydrants and to keep the water mains clean. Gardner said the work will be done during the day and should be completed, at the latest, by Tuesday of next week.

Keep an eye out for Knox Water Department crews while driving around town this week.

Preliminary Investigation Results of Three Vehicle Accident on State Road 8 Released

Shortly after 4 p.m. on Sunday, October 22nd, the Starke County Sheriff’s Department, Knox City Police, Starke County EMS, Knox Fire Department and Washington Township Fire Department responded to a traffic accident on State Road 8 near 600 East.

According to the police report, the accident involved three vehicles. The preliminary investigation indicates that a male juvenile was driving a 2004 Pontiac Grand Am traveling east on State Road 8 when he veered across the center line, striking a full-size handicap Ford van, occupied by a male and female traveling west on SR 8. Continue reading

Three Vehicle Accident on State Road 8 Remains Under Investigation

The Starke County Sheriff’s Department Dispatch Center was able to confirm that a three vehicle accident took place in the vicinity of County Road 600 East and State Road 8, Sunday evening. Two medical helicopters were called to the scene and an unspecified number of individuals were transported to Starke Hospital for treatment.

The accident remains under investigation. More details pertaining to specifics will be released as that information becomes available.

Goal Met for Culver Plastic Cap Project, Collection Continues for Future Additions

Representatives from the Culver and Lake Maxinkuckee Visitor Center are working with the organization Green Tree Plastics to transform ordinary plastic bottle caps that often get discarded into extraordinary additions for the Culver community.

Executive Director of the Visitor Center, Becca Pazin, said initially the project was focused on getting two new benches for the walking and biking trail that is currently being developed through the Stellar Designation program. She said it takes approximately 400 lbs to make one bench and currently the center has collected more than 1,000 lbs of caps.

They plan to keep collecting caps in order to make more benches for the path and other areas around town but Pazin said they’re also looking into different options that Green Tree offers such as converting the caps into waste receptacles, picnic tables and water stations.

Members of the Culver Boys and Girls Club are helping with sorting the caps and the Marshall County Recycle Depot assists with weighing and storage. Pazin said the project has brought the entire community together. Continue reading

Red Ribbon Week Starts Today

According to National Family Partnership, children of parents who talk to their teens about drugs are 42 percent less likely to use drugs than those who don’t, yet only a quarter of teens report having these conversations. Today kicks off the start of Red Ribbon Week, a campaign that aims to educate youth about the dangers of drug, alcohol and tobacco use and to promote prevention.

From October 23rd through the 31st, educators, parents and citizens are encouraged to look at the ways they can help stomp out drug and alcohol abuse in our communities. Since it’s inception in the 1980s, the Red Ribbon program has helped educate millions around the world. Continue reading

North Judson Town Council Receives Update About Community Center Committee Funds

The North Judson Town Council held the final reading of their 2018 Budget when they met earlier this week. Following the reading, the council adopted the budget which has an estimated total of $983,546 according to Indiana Gateway.

Additionally, the clerk-treasurer at the time, Alicia Collins informed the council members where the $12,000 of funds raised by the Community Center Committee will go now that the project is no longer being pursued. Continue reading

North Judson-San Pierre School Board Receives Quarterly Enrollment Report

The quarterly enrollment report for North Judson-San Pierre was discussed during the NJSP School Board meeting on Tuesday. Superintendent Dr. Annette Zupin said the enrollment stayed pretty consistent with the Average Daily Membership count that was taken back in September, which was around 1,030 students.

Superintendent Zupin stated that she has been keeping a close eye on enrollment trends since last year. This year the elementary school had 46 student withdrawals. Dr. Zupin broke that down into specific categories; 1 student left to be home-schooled, another left for virtual schooling and 35 students moved out of the district.

The superintendent said the remaining 9 elementary students still live within the district but their parents chose to have them transferred. Dr. Zupin broke that down even more, stating that three transferred to Knox, two went to Eastern Pulaski Schools, two left to go to St. Peter’s Lutheran School and one more transferred to West Central.

She went on to describe the report from the Jr./Sr. High School where 41 students withdrew.

Continue reading

West Side of North Judson Proposed as Ideal Spot for Future Industrial Development

Starke County Economic Development Foundation Board President Larry Wickert provided the North Judson Town Council with a report when they met earlier this week.

Wickert’s report began with an update about the SCEDF Ag-Initiative. He said as a part of the initiative to advance agriculture industry in the area, foundation representatives have been researching alternative crop options that would be more profitable for local producers. Continue reading

NJSP Superintendent Provides a Peek at Some Preliminary Work Being Done on Lease Rental Bond Projects

North Judson-San Pierre Superintendent Dr. Annette Zupin had a plethora of project updates to provide to the school board when they met Tuesday night.

Dr. Zupin informed the board that although they won’t be receiving money from their lease rental bonds until January, plenty of preliminary work has been done so far. She stated that quotes are out for the bathroom partition replacement portion of the project and she anticipates that work to be completed over Christmas Break while students are out of the building. Continue reading

New North Judson Clerk-Treasurer Scheduled to be Sworn-In Friday Morning

Tomorrow morning at 7:30 a.m. Andrew J. Rowe will be sworn in as North Judson Clerk-Treasurer. Rowe was voted in during a democratic caucus last Thursday and a resolution to appoint him to the position received unanimous council approval at a North Judson Town Council meeting on Monday night.

The resolution also states that Rowe is granted the authority to be the signature of all bank accounts, accounts payable, accounts receivable and all other financial records required by the office of clerk-treasurer. Continue reading

2% Increase to Base Salary Included in North Judson-San Pierre Master Teacher Contract

The North Judson-San Pierre Teacher’s Master Contract was ratified by the teacher’s association on Thursday of last week and received board approval during the NJSP school board meeting on Tuesday night.

Superintendent Dr. Annette Zupin stated that the contract is a 2 year agreement which will be retroactive to the beginning of this school year. She shared that some of the highlights include that the beginning teacher base pay was raised to $35,000.

Dr. Zupin said that a two percent increase was applied to existing teacher salaries. She went on to thank the teachers, “They’ve been patient through our financial issues and they are here because they are loyal and committed to North Judson-San Pierre so they deserve what we were able to work together to accomplish.” Continue reading