Knox School Board Ratifies Teacher Contract Resulting in Base Salary Increase for New & Existing Teachers

The teacher document of agreement otherwise referred to as the certified bargaining agreement between the Knox School Board and the Knox Federation of Teachers was ratified by the Knox School Board during their meeting last Tuesday.

Superintendent Dr. William Reichhart said that the decisions that were finalized during the meeting will be retroactive to the start of the 2017/18 school year. He mentioned that some of the highlights included a new teacher base salary of $34,000 and that any teachers who worked for the Knox School Corporation during the 2016/17 school year were given at least a $1,000 increase to their base salary. Continue reading

North Judson-San Pierre School Board Meets Tonight

The North Judson San-Pierre School Board will meet tonight at 7 p.m. in the school corporation’s administrative office.

Items up for discussion and action include a donation from Farm Bureau, the approval of certified handbook modifications and amendments to the non-certified handbook. The approval of the teachers’ master contract and approval of advertising the tax anticipation warrant are also on the agenda for tonight.

Board members will also receive some information about the Wonder Kind Project when they meet this evening.

Here/Hear is Bringing Their Mental Illness and Mental Health Initiative to Ancilla College

Here/Hear is a nonprofit organization, based out of Plymouth, which works with a number of initiatives in order to help with mental illness. This week, the director of the organization Dr. Nate Crawford will be delivering his lecture, “Taking Care of Me: Tips for Living Well” as a part of The Lampen Lecture series at Ancilla College.

The Lampen Lecture series was named for Ancilla’s first president Sr. Joel Lampen and though it is sponsored by the college and the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ, residents of surrounding communities are encouraged to attend the free lecture series any time.

On Thursday, October 19th Dr. Crawford will be speaking in Cana Hall at 12:45 p.m. (EDT). His organization creates content for the web that helps people navigate the issues surrounding mental illness and they speak with students and parents about the affliction. Their mission statement says that they believe music and the arts provide a great way to engage people in conversations about mental illness and mental health.

Community Members Encouraged to Attend Tomorrow’s Starke County Health Fair

Starke Hospital will be holding their annual health fair tomorrow in the Knox Middle School gymnasium. WKVI will be broadcasting live from this free community event which will feature a number of interactive health exhibits, health screenings, healthy snack samples and more.

From 3 p.m. until 7 p.m. a number community vendors will be on site. “Ask a provider” is a feature of the fair where health care professionals from Knox and North Judson will be present to answer various questions.

There also will be CPR and self-defense demonstrations. Free flu-shots for adults will be available while supplies last. They will even hold some for individuals who won’t be able to attend until after 5 p.m.

For more information, visit starkehealth.com or call 574-772-6231.

North Judson Town Council Meets Tonight

The North Judson Town Council is scheduled to hold the adoption of the 2018 budget this evening. During the last town council meeting, members held the public hearing and first reading over the proposed budget which contains an estimated total of approximately $983,500.

Council members will also revisit old business such as the proposed animal ordinance and receive updates from the Town Marshal and Town Superintendent as well as other present department heads.

The North Judson meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. tonight in North Judson Town Hall located at 310 Lane Street.

Knox High School Culinary Crew Provides Samples at Knox School Board Meeting

Knox School Board meetings feature a ‘spotlight on success’ in which students or various school programs are highlighted. Superintendent Dr. William Reicchart said that last week, board members and patrons received a savory surprise of several culinary treats to sample.

The culinary arts teacher Jill McNeil was at the meeting with six of her students to talk about the vocational culinary class offered at Knox High School. McNeil reported that the class contains students from different parts of Starke County. Currently ten students from Knox but there is also a student from North Judson-San Pierre and another Oregon-Davis. Though the majority of students are juniors and seniors, they accepted a few sophomores this year.

Dr. Reichhart said that the students have dubbed themselves the ‘Culinary Crew’ and the class provides post-secondary opportunities. McNeil explained that her class is a part of the vocational cooperative and upon completion the students will receive ServSafe certifications and dual credits through Ivy Tech. Continue reading

Want to be Part of the 2017 Knox Peppermint Parade? Apply Today!

2017 Peppermint Parade Application

Knox’s annual Peppermint Parade will take place on December 2nd this year but the application deadline to be a part of the parade is coming soon. Applications were  originally due on Wednesday, November 22nd but the deadline has been extended to allow more people to sign-up.

There is no registration fee but applicants are required to share their contact information, the name of their organization, a brief description and they must specify whether they are entering as a church, a non-profit, a business or as an individual. This year, the Peppermint Parade will feature a reviewing station and a winner will be selected from each specific category and one will be chosen for best overall holiday spirit.

Continue reading

Eastern Pulaski School Board Holds First Reading Over Arrest Policy

Eastern Pulaski School Corporation representatives recently realized they did not have a standing policy regarding faculty arrests. At their school board meeting on Monday, Superintendent Dan Foster presented the policy to board members who were able to view it through the online agenda provided on the Eastern Pulaski School website.

“This is a policy that we don’t have and it’s kind of caused some issues and concerns lately.” Foster continued, “So we worked with ISBA and got some simple language from some other school corporations and kind of gelled that together. It is a first reading so obviously it’s open to any input.”

Essentially, the policy requires faculty members to report any run-ins with police, whether they result in an arrest or not. If faculty members fail to report, the superintendent or appropriate designee will conduct an investigation and determine the appropriate disciplinary action to take. Continue reading

Knox School Board Receives Official Enrollment Report

Knox School Board members received an enrollment update when they met Tuesday night. Superintendent Dr. William Reichhart reported that the official enrollment count is down 11 students from last spring’s report. The number is currently 1843.37.

A student enrollment report that has .37 may sound strange, but Reichhart explained why that number is included in the enrollment count. He said, “We have a couple of students who are only attending for a period a day and they are home schooled for the rest of the time so that is the percentage of time they are with us in our classes.” Continue reading

LaPorte County Residents Encouraged to Sign-up for Rave Alert to Stay Informed

LaPorte County public safety officials are excited to announce a new free notification service that can keep residents and travelers informed on potentially hazardous situations involving weather, traffic and emergencies as well as other community events.

The service, Rave Alert, enables individuals to receive timely and useful emergency alerts via voice messages, texts or emails that are delivered directly to their cell phone. They can identify when and how they are alerted and communicated with before, during and after the emergencies.

Rave Alert is a trusted service utilized by several state and local authorities, business and educational institutions. Millions of messages are sent daily that help make first responders and residents better informed during emergency situations. Continue reading

North Judson Native Andrew Rowe Appointed to Clerk-Treasurer Position

Pam Stalbaum, Jackie Bridegroom, Andrew Rowe, Kenny Wallace and Paula Eckert

The caucus to determine the new North Judson Clerk-Treasurer took place Thursday evening. Democrat Chairman Kenny Wallace announced that one individual had submitted a letter of interest by the Tuesday deadline. Wallace then introduced the candidate, Andrew Rowe, who provided a bit of background information about himself and why he was interested in filling the open position.

Rowe was born and raised in North Judson. He has experience working with government representatives and economic development officials. He said after speaking with an individual about the importance of generational integrity and hometown pride he felt inspired to return to his roots and work to make the town of North Judson a better place to live, work and raise a family. Continue reading

Knox Community School Corporation’s 2018 Budget is Ready for Adoption

The Knox Community School Board held a public hearing over the school corporation’s 2018 Budget when they met Tuesday night. Corporation Treasurer Sherry Fort provided the board members and the public with a synopsis of the proposed budget for next year.

The general fund is estimated at $12,760,379. The capital projects fund has approximately $1.9 million budgeted and the bus replacement plan is estimated to be $325,000. The total budget estimate is set at $20,662,696. Continue reading

Knox Residents in Need of Fall Lawn Care Assistance Can Call the Mayor’s Office for Help

As the fall season is upon us, leaves will start to scatter across yards all over town. Knox residents who are unable to tend to their lawns due to advanced age or physical disability are able to submit a request for assistance to the Mayor’s Office.

Mayor Dennis Estok announced the start of the call out for the fall leaf pick-up program at the Knox City Council meeting earlier this week. He informed council members that the Mayor’s Office works in conjunction with the SCILL Center to get the leaves raked. The program is carried out on a first come, first serve basis and they’re able to attend to up to 15 properties. Continue reading

Starke County Community Foundation Announces Lilly Endowment Scholarship Finalists

Nearly 30 students applied for the 2018 Starke County Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship and recently, the Starke County Community Foundation announced the five students who were chosen as finalists.

Seniors from Knox High Community School, Culver Community High School and North Judson-San Pierre High School are in the running to receive the scholarship.

The student chosen from Culver was Cody Rieckhoff who plans to study criminal justice. The North Judson-San Pierre finalist is Ashley Rearden who wants to go into business management. Three finalists are from Knox Community High School and they are Elizabeth McEntee, who plans to study neuro-biology, Cassandra Waletzko, who is considering concentrations in biology and forensic science and Daniel Darda who plans to study animation. Continue reading

Starke County Economic Development Foundation Manufacturer’s Day

The theme of this year’s Starke County Economic Development Foundation’s Manufacturer’s Day is “Focus on Your Future”. Students from Oregon-Davis, North Judson-San Pierre, Culver and Knox Community Schools will attend today’s event at Knox Middle School with their sights set on future employment.

More than 350 7th grade students and 200 senior students are anticipated to attend the program which is intended to ensure that students are aware of the available job opportunities within the county and the required skills, training and education needed to obtain a position and keep it.

Representatives from more than ten industries from around the county will be available to share any details about what their jobs entail and what they look for in potential employees. Continue reading

Knox Water Superintendent Announces Completion of Brown Circle Waterline Project

Knox Water Department cutting road to install new 6″ ductile iron waterline to replace the 4″ galvanized waterline

Knox Water Superintendent Todd Gardner announced a milestone in the Brown Circle Waterline Project when the Knox City Council met Tuesday evening.

Gardner told the council members that all the houses that had been hooked up to the old waterline in the area of Brown Circle, were switched over to the new waterline Tuesday, allowing the water department to switch off the outdated system. Three new fire hydrants were also installed as a part of the project. Gardner said when everything was complete, 33 homes were hooked up to the new system.

The Brown Circle Waterline Project was tackled as a preventative measure since the waterline system that was installed in the area in the 1940s was constructed of steel galvanized pipes that had a lifespan of only 40-45 years. The pipes in place were pushing more than 70 years of use and were tangled under residences and yards. Continue reading

Knox Community Schools Partner With Cheryl Lyn Welter Family Charitable Foundation

Harold Welter approached the Knox School Board Tuesday night to discuss how the charitable foundation that was created in memory of his daughter could be a helpful resource to the school corporation. The Cheryl Lyn Welter Family Charitable Foundation was formed in order to assist underprivileged students in grades K-12 with expenses that are beyond what their families are able to afford.

Knox School Board members permitted the principals at each of the buildings to work with the Cheryl Lyn Foundation to process grants that would be provided to disadvantaged students at the elementary, middle and high schools.

Knox was just the first school board that Welter approached. He made plans to speak to the Eastern Pulaski School board in November and is meeting with the superintendent at North Judson-San Pierre later this week to arrange to be put on the agenda for their next board meeting. Continue reading

Eastern Pulaski Community School Board Approves Donation From Gibraltar Design

The Eastern Pulaski School Board scholarship fund got a little bit bigger Monday night after the board approved a donation from Gibraltar Design.

Superintendent Dan Foster explained that in the past, Gibraltar had thanked the school corporation for their business by hosting a dinner or another social function of some kind. However, this year, rather than trying to coordinate with varying schedules the company decided to show their appreciation by sending a $250 donation.

Superintendent Foster said the money will go toward the annual school board scholarship which would bring it up to approximately $10,000.

Caucus to Replace NJ Clerk-Treasurer Scheduled for Tomorrow

A caucus to find a replacement for the clerk-treasurer position in North Judson is scheduled for this Thursday. The current clerk-treasurer, Alicia Collins, announced her resignation during the first North Judson Town Council meeting in October.

Alicia Collin’s last North Judson Town Council meeting will be October 16th and her final day at the office is October 20th. She told council members she will make her self available for training during the transition period. Continue reading

Update About Upgrades to Nancy J. Dembowski Community Center

An update about ongoing renovations to the Nancy J. Dembowski Community Center was provided by Mayor Dennis Estok during last night’s brief Knox City Council meeting.

Mayor Estok told council members that work being done to the heating and air conditioning systems is nearly complete. He said only one compressor still needs to be installed. He went on to say that roofers will be commencing their work this week, possibly as soon as today. Continue reading