Starke County Health Officer Asks Commissioners for Fee Changes; Reports on Food Inspections

Dr. Theresa Alexander

New Starke County Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Alexander, came before the County Commissioners at their most recent meeting to ask for two changes. She asked for a change in fee structure and a change in implementing a fine.

On the fee structure, she asked for a reduction in the septic permit fee from $200 to $60 because the future Sanitarian will not be able to conduct a soil sample. That will need to be done by a Soil Specialist, arranged for by the contractor or applicant.

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North Judson-San Pierre and Oregon-Davis Schools Look to Cut Programs; Staff to Solve Budget Issues

North Judson-San Pierre Superintendent Lynn Johnson

North Judson-San Pierre and Oregon-Davis Schools will be in grave financial trouble next school year. North Judson-San Pierre stands to lose $1.2 million and Oregon-Davis  stands to lose $500,000 in funding next school year because of a change in the state funding formula.

They say larger class size, fewer programs offered and teacher layoffs may be the only way to make the necessary budget cuts. According to North Judson-San Pierre Superintendent, Lynn Johnson, and Oregon-Davis Superintendent, Dr. Steve Disney, education reform is making it difficult for public school administrators to provide the best opportunities possible. Mrs. Johnson, for one, is leery of what vouchers will do to her corporation.

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‘Breaking Down the Bars’, Featuring Lisa Owens, Continues Tonight

Lisa Owens

The second segment of the Lisa Owens story on the “Breaking Down the Bars” program will be broadcast tonight at 8:00 p.m. on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN). Owens was convicted and sentenced to 40 years in prison for the shooting death of her husband, Jeff.

In the first segment, Owens met with her sister and they discussed the future after her release from the Rockville Correctional Facility.

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LaPorte County Task Force Arrests Wanted Fugitive

Lydell Hill

The LaPorte County Task Force located and arrested another wanted fugitive in the City of LaPorte.

On Friday, March 11th, investigators began to actively seek 19-year-old Lydell Hill, who resides in East Chicago, Indiana. Hill was wanted for three counts of Dealing Cocaine. One of the counts was a Class A Felony while the remaining two were Class B Felonies. Hill was also wanted in Cook County, Illinois for violation of his probation relating to an Armed Robbery charge.

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Meth Lab Explosion in Plymouth Injures Two

Two residents were injured after a meth lab explosion in Plymouth early Sunday morning.

According to the Plymouth Police Department, Plymouth Police and Fire were dispatched to 707 Pearl Street in Plymouth at 4:00 a.m. ET on Sunday, March 13th in reference to an explosion. A search warrant was executed at the residence where remains of a meth lab were located. Police learned that Dawn Brauneker was dumped at the Plymouth Emergency Room and was severely burned. A second victim, Glenn Linderman, was located later that morning. Both victims were taken to the Fort Wayne Burn Unit.

A suspect in the incident, Scott Davis, was taken into custody and has a preliminary charge of Manufacturing Methamphetamine.

North Judson Police Investigating Break-in at Rays Super Foods

The North Judson Police Department responded to a break-in at Ray’s Super Foods on Lane Street on Friday around 4:50 a.m.

According to North Judson Police Chief, Doug Vessely, a back entry door appeared to have been pried open and a front window was broken out. Unknown subject(s) entered the business taking both cash and merchandise with several tobacco products being taken as well. It is believed the burglar(s) made entry between 3:00 and 4:20 a.m. Police have few leads and are asking for the public’s help by encouraging people who might have any information regarding this incident to call the North Judson Police at (574) 772-5914 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-342- STOP or 1-574-288- STOP.

Chief Vessely reminds residents that if you call Crime Stoppers you don’t have to leave your name and they do not have caller ID.

North Judson-San Pierre, Oregon-Davis Schools to Suffer Huge Budget Cuts in 2011-2012 School Year

North Judson-San Pierre Superintendent Lynn Johnson

“It’s just devastating.” That’s the way North Judson-San Pierre School Superintendent Lynn Johnson and Oregon-Davis School Superintendent Dr. Steve Disney described the cuts these two systems will have to make in the 2011-2012 school year.

Lynn Johnson talked about the cuts to her system.

“We are possibly losing $1.2 million,” said Mrs. Johnson. “For a small school, that is a devastating amount.”

Dr. Steve Disney

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Thom Morin Outlines Handicapped Parking Plan to Knox City Council Members

Thom Morin presents his handicapped parking plan to the Knox City Council

Thomas Morin recently appeared before the Knox City Council and the Starke County Commissioners with a detailed 22 page document that lays out a handicapped parking plan for city and residential parking.

In his presentation, Morin explained to the Knox City Council what he wanted for the downtown Knox business district.

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BraunAbility Dealer Contributes Van to American Idol Contestant and Fiancee

(L to R) Nick Gutwein, President of BraunAbility; Chris Medina; Bill Koeblitz, President/CEO of MobilityWorks; Todd Navarrete, General Manage of MobilityWorks; and Eric Mansfield, Vice President of Sales at MobilityWorks

MobilityWorks, a leading dealer of BraunAbility accessible wheelchair vans and lift systems gifted a 2010 Dodge Grand Caravan with a BraunAbility conversion van to Juliana Ramos last Wednesday. Ms. Ramos is a bride-to-be who now relies on a wheelchair for mobility after suffering traumatic brain injuries as a result of a car accident in October of 2009.

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Starke County Election Board to Meet Today

Starke County Clerk Evelyn Skronski

The Starke County Election Board will meet today at 10:00 a.m. in the second floor meeting room of the Courthouse. The three member board will be conducting a poll worker review for the 2011 Municipal Election, proofing the 2011 primary ballots for the City Election, and conducting other business that might come before the Board.

The 2011 City Election is important since it will be the first since the consolidation of Knox’s four precincts.

“We’re consolidating Center one, two, three and four from their current locations to the Knox Community Center,” said Evelyn Skronski, Election Board Secretary and Election Administrator. “Hopefully this is going to make it more cost effective and voter comfortable.”

Skronski said depending on how well the City Election goes, there might be some other consolidation before the 2012 election.

“We’re considering consolidation precincts in Wayne, Washington, Oregon, and California and relocating a couple of others. This could happen in 2012 for the next Presidential Election.”

Skronski said the consolidation seems to be a good move.

“Voting Centers have been in the news a lot lately and this is just one trial run step towards seeing if consolidation will work.”

We asked her about the set up at the Knox Community Center for the Spring
Primary.

“There will be two inspectors and the judges, clerks and sheriffs. The voters will come in the front door and split off; one and two to the left and three and four to the right and they will continue on just like they would if they were at their regular precincts.”

Congressman Donnelly to Spend St. Patrick’s Day at the White House

Joe Donnelly
Congressman Joe Donnelly

St. Patrick’s Day is Thursday and if you’re Irish, this is your day to celebrate. St. Patrick of course was the patron saint of Ireland, and St. Patrick’s day began as a Catholic holiday. In the past three to four centuries though, it has become more of a secular celebration of Irish culture.

It might surprise you to know that the color blue was originally associated with St.
Patrick, but over the years that has changed to green. It’s said that St. Patrick used the three-leaf shamrock to explain the trinity to the Irish.

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Move Clocks Ahead One Hour Saturday Night before Bedtime

Daylight Saving Time begins Sunday, March 13th, which means everyone will move their clocks ahead one hour. Clocks may be moved at bedtime Saturday night or at 2:00 a.m. prevailing time Sunday morning.

The purpose of Daylight Saving Time is to extend daylight by an hour in the afternoons during spring, summer and much of the fall. While Indiana observes Daylight Saving Time, the state remains divided in telling time. 80 of the 92 counties use Eastern Time while the other 12 use Central Time. Arizona and Hawaii use Standard Time year round.

Week in Review for March 7th-11th, 2011

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

Andrew Glover

Andrew Glover of Knox was arrested Saturday, March 5th after police were called to his residence in reference to a domestic violence incident. Glover engaged in a standoff with police and was eventually taken into custody by a SWAT team. He has preliminary charges of Criminal Confinement, Domestic Battery in the Presence of a Minor Child with a Prior, Intimidation, Battery and Resisting Law Enforcement.

Harold Welter

Knox Community School Board President Harold Welter says that traditional public schools and charter schools are not yet on a level playing field and when that gets ironed out, he doesn’t see a problem with the competition between the two. The says the Knox staff is full of competitors and will do what they can to draw students to their particular class. He also said that the Knox Federation of Teachers and the School Board have always had positive collective bargaining sessions when it comes to discussing salaries and benefits.

Forensic Fluids Laboratories in Kalamazoo, Michigan was contracted by the Starke County Commissioners to conduct oral fluid drug tests on new County employees and 10 percent of current employees.

Lisa Owens

Lisa Owens, who was convicted of shooting her husband Jeff in the shower in their home in Knox, was featured on the “Breaking Down the Bars” program on the Oprah Winfrey Network Tuesday night.

Starke County Sheriff Oscar Cowen informed the Starke County Commissioners that the furnace and air conditioning unit is going out at the Starke County Jail, the roof needs replaced and a water pipe leak caused damage to the lower floor of the Jail where the Prosecutor’s Office is located.

23 people charged with Attending an Animal Fight Contest plead Guilty in Knox City Court Monday evening. 7 others who charged with the same charge plead not guilty. 31 other defendants appeared before Judge Charles Hasnerl Wednesday afternoon.

Adam Lolmaugh of Plymouth was arrested on a charge of burglary after he allegedly confessed to police that he was involved in the act of burglary at People’s Drug Store on February 16th.

Starke County Courthouse

Starke County Courthouse Custodian, Carl Goodrich, says the Courthouse elevator will soon be in the state of repair. The hydraulic system has failed and other repairs will need to be done to bring the elevator up to code.

The British Broadcasting Corporation visited Knox this week to do a story about time zones. They visited the WKVI studios to film how broadcasting to listeners in two time zones often causes confusion.

LaPorte Woman Killed in Train Accident

On Thursday, March 10, 2011 at 11:36 AM, La Porte Police Department officers responded to the Norfolk Southern railroad tracks just east of Pulaski Street in La Porte reference to person being struck by an eastbound train. Upon arrival, officers found that a female victim, age 37, of La Porte had indeed been struck by the train and was deceased.

            A witness, from a distance of approximately 200 yards, saw the woman, who was alone at the time, walking next to the railroad, walk out on the tracks and then sit down facing west toward the eastbound train. The witness could hear a train in the immediate area and then saw the woman get struck by the train. The witness stated that the train was blowing it horn as it approached the area.  Continue reading

WKVI Blood Drive in Progress!

The American Red Cross bus is parked at WKVI ready for donors!

The WKVI/American Red Cross Blood Drive is from now until 4:00 p.m. CT today (Friday). You are encouraged to come to the WKVI Radio station, 400 W. Culver Road in Knox, and give your all important blood donation.

All blood types are needed. If you are 17 years of age, weigh a minimum of 110 pounds and are in good general health, you may be eligible to give blood. Call (574) 772-6241 and schedule a time to give blood.

WKVI's Tom Berg was one of the first to donate blood today!