Pulaski County Bridge Repair Requires Land Acquisition

Engineers are in the midst of asking for land to build a new bridge on 625 East and Railroad Avenue in Pulaski County. The existing bridge is dilapidated, unsafe and is too narrow to support modern day traffic and needs to be rebuilt. The problem is, the bridge has been designated as an historic bridge by the State and can not be altered.

Land is being acquired adjacent to the existing bridge for the purpose of realigning the road and creating a safer route through that area. The approval for the land acquisition could be complete the week of August 22nd and the project will continue to move forward. Preliminary plans will be submitted soon and bids should be let by next summer. This project has been in the works since 2004.

Washington Township Fire Department Building Training Tower

Gary Dulin, Jerry Fletcher, Harold Welter, Mary Lynn Ritchie, Kirk Bennett, Nathan Marcum, Mike Yankauskas, Superintendent A.J. Gappa

The Knox Community School Board approved a request from the Washington Township Fire Department to build a training tower on the grounds of the old Washington Township school.  Superintendent A.J. Gappa has the background of the initial request:

“At the previous meeting, two of the Washington Township Fire Department members requested from the board the ability to build a training area behind the old bus garage at the old Washington Township property,” said Gappa.

The Board noted that the training tower will be a positive thing not only for the local fire departments, but other fire departments in the area who need to complete training for certification purposes.

Hamlet Yellowstone Trail Festival Begins Today

The residents of Hamlet have their arms wide open welcoming all to the annual Yellowstone Trail Fest. The three day event begins today at the fairgrounds, and ends Sunday with a parade at 3 p.m.

Today the 1840s Rendezvous participants will be setting up camp, and the vendors will be in setting up their booths. The vendors should be ready for business at about 4 p.m., and for those of you who enjoy clogging there will be a demonstration at 6 p.m.

Saturday the fest will start in earnest with a pancake breakfast, car show, a magician, bands, gospel singers, and more. Times for those activities will be available tomorrow. One thing you won’t want to miss on Saturday is the Chili Cook Off. Tasting starts at 12:30 p.m., and for $2 you can sample many chili delicacies.

There will also be a townwide garage sale throughout the festival itself, and Richard Jensen will have his military museum open for all to tour as well.

Starke County Community Corrections to Share Misdemeanor Funds with Sheriff

Community Corrections staff
Left to right: Robert Hinojosa, Shawn Mattraw and Kimberly Kennedy from Community Corrections

Kim Kennedy, the Officer Manager of the Starke County Community Corrections, appeared before the county council this week to discuss the misdemeanor funds received from the state. Those funds, which total $16,885 a year, are divided between the Sheriff’s office and Community Corrections.

Community Corrections has only used $2800 of the misdemeanor funds, and she was asked if the unused funds by her office could be released to the Sheriff’s office. Kennedy said she has no problem with the Sheriff using the funds, but requested permission to only bill the auditor once a year.

The misdemeanor funds are to keep prisoners with less than a felony conviction out of the county jail until sentencing. If they cannot afford to go into home monitoring with Community Corrections, those funds are used so they can be enrolled. This lessens the population of the county jail, which, given its high population history, is extremely helpful.

The council asked Kennedy to bill the county on a more regular basis, and she said a bill to be paid out of the fund will be sent to the auditor every two months.

Treasurer Restraining Order Hearing Rescheduled

Linda Belork

A hearing was to have been held today to discuss the temporary restraining order issued by the Starke Circuit Court that relieved Treasurer Linda Belork of her duties. Belork’s attorney Ethan Lowe, of Valparaiso, asked for a change of venue, so the hearing has been rescheduled for Aug. 30.

Lowe and County Attorney Martin Lucas will discuss an acceptable change of venue court for the hearing. Judge Kim Hall indicated he would hold a hearing to help both parties if an acceptable court could not be found.

Belork has been out of the office since Aug. 11, when the commissioners removed her after receiving an audit from the state showing a large number of funding discrepancies.

On another matter, County Attorney Lucas told WKVI Wednesday that a decision has been made by the commissioners to not hold a tax sale this year.

Indiana State Fair Royalty Competition This Week

Miss Pulaski County and Miss Starke County are vying this week for honors at the Indiana State Fair. Stacy Gudas was the winner of the Pulaski County 4-H competition. Lauren Jernas became eligible to enter this competition by virtue of being part of the Starke County Royalty at the Starke County Fair.

When Gudas was named the Queen of the Pulaski County Fair, WKVI’s Ted Hayes caught up with her and asked her reaction to being named the Queen.

“As I was announced, of course I was shocked. You never know if you’re going to win or not, so I was really excited and I’m excited to represent Pulaski County,” said Gudas. “What got me interested in competing was when I was in third grade I got to dance with the Miss Pulaski contestants when I was in hip-hop, and that was a lot of fun. And we’ve always gone to watch it at the fair with my mom.”

Starke County does not have a “Queen” program, but Loren Jernas qualified by being named royalty at the Starke County Fair.

“I was chosen as one of the Starke County 4-H Royalty winners, so I decided to go down to state fair to do the pageant and have fun and meet a lot of different girls from all over the state,” said Jernas.

Jernas explained what the competition will entail.

“We have to do an interview, there’s a formal wear competition. There’s no swimsuit competition, there’s no time competition. There’s one day where we do the County Queen’s fashion show and we get to wear an outfit that we think looks good on us, and it’s not judged so we get to kinda show our personality and our outfits,” said Jernas.

The winner of the state fair queen pageant will be the official hostess for the 2012 fair.

Week 1 Football Predictions

Harold’s Picks: (0-0)

NJSP-21  Glenn-20 (Actual score: Glenn41  NJSP-6)

South Central-27  LaVille-7 (Actual score: South Central-40  LaVille-0)

Culver-21  West Central-13 (Actual score: West Central-26  Culver-21)

Winamac-21  Knox-14 (Actual score: Knox-41  Winamac-0)

Nathan’s Picks: (0-0)

Glenn-28  NJSP-14 (Actual score: Glenn-41  NJSP-6)

South Central-21  LaVille-0 (Actual score: South Central-40  LaVille-0)

West Central-35  Culver-7 (Actual score: West Central-26  Culver-7)

Knox-21  Winamac-14 (Actual score: Knox-41  Winamac-0)

City of Knox Two-Mile Jurisdiction Doesn’t Live Up to Name

Knox City Council (L to R) Linda Berndt, Jeff Berg, Ron Parker, Clerk-Treasurer Jeff Houston, Mayor Rick Chambers, Attorney David Matsey, Ed Blue and Greg Matt

A discussion of Knox’s “two-mile jurisdiction” was held last week at the Knox City Council meeting. City Attorney David Matsey pointed out that the planning jurisdiction and zoning map do not correspond. On the zoning map that is registered in the county recorder’s office, some locations, particularly near the corners, are farther than two miles, and at least one to the west takes in less than a mile.

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ATV Legalization Unlikely in Pulaski County

Pulaski County Commissioner Kenneth Boswell told Commissioners Tracey Shorter and Michael Tiede that he has received requests to legalize the use of ATVs on county roads. There is a state law that restricts the use of ATVs on public roadways and according to state law, all ATVs must be registered through the DNR. Commissioner Michael Tiede was asked about the Board’s decision regarding this request:

“The county attorney said that that probably won’t happen because of the state law says that they’re not licensed vehicles. And also, I don’t know if we need four-wheelers and golf carts driving down the road at a slow pace, especially a golf cart on a road that’s 55 miles per hour,” said Tiede.

Ancilla College Hosting New Student Orientation Today

Ancilla College will be hosting a New Student Orientation today. The orientation will begin at 9:30 eastern time on the grounds of the Ancilla College campus and is open to all new Ancilla College students and their families.

Students and parents will be able to learn about student activities, athletics, financial aid and safety and security. They can also register for classes and receive new student identification cards and parking passes.

They will also offer lunch to all in attendance. If you would like an individual tour of the campus call 574-936-8898 ext. 330.

Pulaski County Prosecutor Requests Sales Tax Reimbursement

Pulaski County Commissioners Tracey Shorter, Kenneth Boswell, Michael Tiede

Pulaski County Prosecutor, Stacey Mrak, asked the Commissioners to reconsider their decision to deny the reimbursement of sales tax on some purchases previously made.  She told the Commissioners that it should be paid and that county tax dollars are not being spent in this reimbursement.  The payment would be less than $20.

Commission President Michael Tiede was asked about their decision regarding Mrak’s request.

“The board was for the office holder to fill out the reimbursement for sales tax and then submit it to the auditor and the auditor will take care of it from there,” said Tiede.

Knox School Board Discusses State Bus Inspection

The Knox Community School Board learned the results of the recent Indiana State Police bus inspection. Superintendent A.J. Gappa has the report:

“Once again, all of our buses have passed inspection. Mr. Jensen and Mr. Croft at the bus barn do a good job of keeping the buses updated. All of our buses are ready to go and that’s a good thing for the corporation,” said Gappa.

Gappa said more buses are going to be added to the fleet.

“We plan on keeping all the current buses and we have one ordered that should be in later this Fall. It will be one of the larger buses. We’re also anticipating possibly buying another minibus to add to the fleet,” Gappa said.

Treasurer’s Office Audit Discussed by Starke County Council

Starke County Council President Mark Smith

The Starke County Council discussed the audit of the treasurer’s office at this week’s council meeting.  The council, at the recommendation of President Mark Smith and 1st Source Bank gave Auditor Kay Chaffins the ability to monitor various bank accounts and checking accounts.  Councilman Smith talked more about this action.

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Knox 4th of July Fireworks In Jeopardy

Knox Mayor Rick Chambers

Is the City of Knox considering getting out of organizing the 4th of July fireworks celebration?   The officials haven’t said they will stop producing  the show, but it’s apparent that something has to be done to help with funding.

At the most recent meeting of the City Council, Mayor Rick Chambers announced that $4200.00 was lost on the 2011 presentation.

“We maybe need to form a committee and try to get Judson and Hamlet and the County on board with us so we can continue this. The city can’t afford to continue paying that kind of money, and time’s only going to get worse from the looks of it,” said Chambers.

The $4200.00 shortfall was taken from the city’s Edit Tax distribution, and the mayor said that absolutely couldn’t happen again.

Ellen Dodge Announces Retirement as Library Director

Henry F. Schricker Library

After five and a half years as director of the Starke County Public Library, Ellen Dodge has announced her resignation. Effective Aug. 31, Dodge’s retirement marks the end of a dedicated 17 years of service to the library.

“When I first came I selected fiction materials and helped people make choices for their recreational reading. I’ve been a reference librarian and was head of the reference department for several years,” said Dodge.

Originally born in Chicago, Dodge spent the majority of her life growing up in Laporte County. She later earned her Bachelor’s in Biology and a Master’s in Library Science, and worked in hospital laboratories and research labs before getting a job at the library.

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Grand Marshals Chosen for Hamlet Yellowstone Trail Fest

Robert and Susan Rowles have been selected as the Grand Marshals for the Hamlet Yellowstone Trail Fest parade this weekend.

Robert has lived in Hamlet since he was 2 years old. Growing up in Hamlet he was very busy; in his lifetime he has worked at his stepfather’s car dealership and the Thompson Smith Company. He also served in several positions with the county, and was a Hamlet Town Board member for 12 years.

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