Legislation Establishing Interstate Mutual Aid Agreements Passes Senate

State Senator Ed Charbonneau

Senate lawmakers voted 48-0 Tuesday in support of a bill co-authored by State Senator Ed Charbonneau allowing Indiana to call upon and assist emergency response teams in neighboring states.

For example, response teams may need backup when dealing with emergencies like fires or collisions on highways close to state lines. This proposal enables first responders from Indiana to call on or help other responders from neighboring states while clarifying liability and certification issues that may arise when firefighters and police officers begin crossing jurisdictions.

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Winamac Man Arrested on Charges of Attempted Murder and Armed Robbery

Glen Sommers

A Winamac man was arrested, Thursday, February 3rd, on preliminary charges of Attempted Murder and Armed Robbery.

According to the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department log, an unidentified male complainant called police to report that Glen Sommers was at his home and allegedly tried to stab him. The victim defended himself and was cut on the underside of his thumb. Sommers left the residence and it took the victim 20 minutes to call police because his phone lines were reportedly cut and he could not call out. Sommers also allegedly stole the complainant’s guitar.

Sommers is currently in the Pulaski County Jail.

Starke County Highway Department Receives Damage Complaints after Recent Snow Storm

Steve Siddall

Starke County Highway Superintendent, Steve Siddall, appeared before the County Commissioners Monday. One item on Siddall’s agenda was the number of mailbox complaints he has received. He said well over 100 people have complained about mailbox damage. Siddall said it could not be helped during the snowstorms. Most of the damage was from the heavy snow hitting the boxes. Siddall told the Commissioners that he checked with Marshall County and they do not respond to such calls. It’s basically the homeowner’s responsibility to repair the post and box. INDOT also does not repair or replace mailboxes.

On another topic, Siddall said that there is probably going to be a problem with fences at Bass and Koontz Lakes when they start rolling the snow back. The right of way is 40 to 60 feet, and Siddall said there are a number of fences that will probably be damaged because they’re too close.

“In our right-of-ways, yes we are encroaching on people’s yards, but we still own that right-of-way,” explained Siddall. “Where we’re having the biggest trouble or concern is at Bass Lake and Koontz Lake where we can’t stack it any higher and I informed the Commissioners that we might be coming through there with a grader. What we do is what we call benching. If there’s two feet of snow, we may roll a foot of that back so when the snow plow truck comes back through in another big snow event, we have room to put it. Otherwise, it just keeps piling up and we have nowhere to go with it. Another concern was fences or trinkets left in people’s yards that we can’t see. I told the Commissioners that we weren’t going in with a bulldozer and trying to clear property, we were trying not to damage anything.”

Newsman Ted Hayes complimented Siddall on the performance of the highway crew over the winter storm, and he also praised his staff.

“I feel the guys did an excellent job,” replied Siddall. “We have an excellent crew out at the County Highway and I want to give them thanks. I know Scott and Sue and everybody that works out there that are in the offices that weren’t out there battling the elements did a great job. The guys did a wonderful job.”

Mark Smith Talks about Candidacy for Mayor of Knox

Mark Smith

Mark Smith for Knox Mayor. That was news a couple of weeks ago when Mark Smith, local funeral home operator, signed to run in the Democrat Primary against Rick Chambers.

Yesterday WKVI got a chance to talk with Smith about why he was running.

“I’ve had an interest in the Mayor’s office in Knox for the past two or three elections,” stated Smith. “Two elections ago I had committed to the Democrat Central Committee that if Oscar Cowen were elected as Sheriff, that would vacate two years worth of his seat on the County Council and I committed to that seat and I did not want to go back on my word.”

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West Central Continues to Move Forward with Wind Turbine Project

The West Central Technical Review Committee met prior to the School Board’s work session Thursday to review the wind turbine construction proposal, as well as the price proposal presented by Performance Services.

The West Central School Board is looking to erect one wind turbine on the FFA plot on the school grounds. One turbine will power the entire school and there would be some power left over to sell.

No commitment has been make at this time. Further information is needed from Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO) before any contractual agreement can be reached. If an affirmative agreement can be reached in March, it is very possible that the wind turbine can be in operation in November of 2011.

Knox School Board Discusses Impact of Technology at the Corporation

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

The Knox Community School Board discussed technology at its meeting Monday night.

Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Peggy Shidaker, explained to the Board that the current generation of students is all about technology. Schools are turning into a digital learning environment. Students use electronic devices and computers on a daily basis and it is becoming apparent that all students need to have their own computer to use throughout their school career. In the future, it appears that students will be tested on technology knowledge in addition to English and Math on standardized testing.

The Board is looking toward the goal of furnishing each student grades 6-12 with their own computer to use at all times. A team will be assembled to attend a meeting in March with Apple technicians to gain more information on the process and cost of equipping the Middle and High Schools with 1,100 computers for student use. The Board realizes that this is the future of education.

Director of Technology, Jim Landrum, told the Board that the school has the infrastructure capable of supporting this transition. The High School is completely wireless and the Middle School will be wireless before the start of the new school year.

News from the Starke County Commissioners

Starke County Commissioners ( L to R ) Kathy Norem, Dan Bridegroom, Jennifer Davis

In actions before the Starke County Commissioners Monday, they approved the lease for office space for Community Corrections.

The Commissioners tabled a request by Ed Truty to have his medical leave extended from February 27th to April 30th. This request was based on his doctor’s recommendation. Truty fell at home and broke his leg. Since no one was at the meeting to comment and answer questions on the request it was tabled to the February 21st meeting.

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Toll Road Bust Lands California Man in Jail

100 pounds of marijuana worth $500,000 was found during a traffic stop on the Toll Road in Elkhart County

A routine traffic stop on the Indiana Toll Road Friday afternoon led an inquisitive trooper to approximately 100 pounds of marijuana. Indiana State Trooper Ted Bohner stopped a gray Chevrolet Tahoe for following too closely near the Elkhart East exit around 2:30 p.m. on February 4.

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Friday Night Mixed League 02/04/11

Friday Night Mixed League 02/04/11
Team Standings:
1. 4-Alarm Fire 59.0-33.0
2. Alley Aces 57.0-35.0
3. Dolezal Family 53.5-38.5
4. Rollin’ Thunder 51.0-41.0
5. Mariah’s Hill 48.5-43.5
6. Good Friends 48.0-44.0
7. Raiders 45.0-47.0
8. Undecided 42.5-49.5
9. Hard Times 42.0-50.0
10. Baugh Construction 38.5-53.5
11. Feel the Power 37.0-55.0
12. O’s Tap 30.0-62.0
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Lincoln Township Fire Department in Fish Lake Receives Assistance to Firefighters Grant

U.S. Senator Dick Lugar was notified that eight Indiana Fire Departments will receive grants totaling $1,029,612 for operations and safety and vehicle acquisition. The grants are through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program.

The Lincoln Township Fire Department in Fish Lake received $54,480 for Operations and Safety.

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Week in Review for January 31st-February 4th, 2011

Here is just some of the news that made the news in the Kankakee Valley this week:

Paul Begley, Pastor at the Community Gospel Baptist Church in Knox, is in the internet spotlight over his YouTube video concerning the discovery of the dead cows, birds and fish worldwide.

Knox Mayor Rick Chambers notified the Knox City Council that the TIF Fund has grown to just over $151,000. The money can be used within the TIF District for redevelopment, public improvement projects, training, or making bond payments.

Center Township precincts in Starke County will consolidate for the 2011 Primary Election. Voters in the four precincts will vote at the Knox Community Center.

The Knox City Council will be working on a contract between the Knox-Center Township Fire Department to give Knox the authority to grant protection for Jackson Township.

Judge Charles Hasnerl has announced his campaign for re-election to the Knox City Court in the 2011 Municipal Election. Hasnerl has served as Knox City Court Judge since 1996.

The Maxinkuckee Players have announced that plans for the 2011 summer production will be changed due to construction at the Culver High School Auditorium, the usual venue. The Players 30th Anniversary show has also been canceled.

The new name of the Starke County hospital is getting a positive response from the public. Starke Memorial Hospital’s new name is Indiana University Health-Starke Hospital.

Residents in the Kankakee Valley dug out after 12+ inches of snow fell in a blizzard that swept through a big portion of the United States. States of emergency were declared in 17 counties in Indiana. Starke and Pulaski County Highway Departments struggled to keep roads open. The General Assembly canceled Tuesday’s session and Committees did not meet on Wednesday due to the weather.

Starke United

Starke United Executive Director, Edie Hall, has tendered her resignation. Her last day at the helm will be March 20th.

And that is just some of the news that made the news in the Kankakee Valley this week.

North Judson-San Pierre Academic Decathlon Team Headed to State Finals

NJ-SP Decathlon Team Front Row: Hope Harlamert, Rhiannon Millard, Melissa Spears and Jennifer Atkinson. Back Row: Jacob Kieskowski, Steven Miller, Lucus Howard, and Sarah Green

For the sixth time in seven years, the North Judson-San Pierre Academic Decathlon team has qualified for the State Finals in the Small School Division. The NJ-SP competitors scored 25,314.9 points, earning the Blue Jays a 10th place finish in State rankings and the last qualifying spot. The team will compete in the State Finals on Friday and Saturday, February 11th and 12th, at Purdue University in West Lafayette.

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Area Music Students do Well at Recent ISSMA District Solo and Ensemble Competition

(L to R) Brendan Owens, Brittany Shannon, Allie Bulick, Katelyn Peters, Hannah Janson, and Drew Shearin

Congratulations to the Knox MS and Knox HS participants in the Indiana State School Music Association District Solo and Ensemble Competition. The Middle School and High School had nearly a hundred students perform in competition at Valparaiso HS in Valparaiso, Indiana on Saturday, January 29th. They combined for a total of 41 Gold Division Ratings with 8 State qualifiers. Brendan Owens, Brittany Shannon, Allie Bulick, Katelyn Peters, Hannah Janson, and Drew Shearin will compete on February 26th, 2011 at North Central HS for State Gold. Congratulations to all participants and Good Luck State Qualifiers!

The North Judson-San Pierre Bands participated in the annual Indiana State School Music Association District Solo/Ensemble Contest on Saturday, January 29th at Twin Lakes High School. The following ratings were given:

Silver Rating Performances: Connor McBride, Chase Collins, Sarah Green, Paige Madsen, Rachel Brent – woodwind quintet; Matthew Godsey – baritone solo; Sarah Green – clarinet solo; AJ Garay, Katie Farler, Matt Godsey, Austin Stacy – low brass quartet

Gold Rating Performances: Caitlyn Barnes – clarinet solo; Nathan Japkowski, Bohen Strayrook, Corbyn Minix – percussion trio

Gold Rating Performances qualifying for the ISSMA State Solo/Ensemble Contest for February 26th in Indianapolis: Austin Stacy – tuba solo; Rachel Brent-clarinet solo; Carter Tucker – Flugel Horn solo; Rachel Brent, Sarah Green, Paige Madsen – clarinet trio; Matt Godsey, Carter Tucker, AJ Garay, Katie Farler, Austin Stacy – low brass quintet.

Photo provided by Knox High School Principal, Dr. Elizabeth Ratliff.