Koontz Lake Dam Construction Project Approved

State Representative Nancy Dembowski

State Representative, Nancy Dembowski (D-Knox), said the State Budget Committee approved a $5.8 million project for the major reconstruction of the Koontz Lake Dam.

The committee gave its approval during a Tuesday meeting at the Statehouse. The project will correct water seepage problems as well as upgrade the spillway to meet current standards.

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Knox City Council Discusses the Budget at Recent Meeting

Knox City Council #2
Back Row: Mayor Rick Chambers, Ed Blue, Clerk-Treasurer Jeff Houston, Greg Matt and Attorney David Matsey. Front Row: Linda Berndt, Jeff Berg and Ron Parker

The Knox City Council learned that the budget order came back from the State and the Council will need to cut $71,932 from the 2011 budget.  During the Council meeting Tuesday night, Clerk-Treasurer, Jeff Houston, recommended that the Council cut the purchase of a new backhoe that was put in the budget for 2011.  That budgeted item was approximately $72,000 and the Council unanimously approved Houston’s recommendation.  Houston added that the budget is at the “bare bones” and spending will be tight in 2011.  Election costs had to be added to the 2011 budget as well.

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WKVI Crew has Lunch at Kostas in Winamac

(L to R) Nathan Welter, Gus Ress, Deb Ress, Lenny Dessauer, Patty Norwick, Kay Gudeman, Anita Goodan, Harold Welter, Chris Milner, Ed Hasnerl, and Tom Berg

The WKVI staff took a trip to Winamac, Wednesday, for a scrumptious lunch at Kostas Restaurant. We’d like to thank Gus Ress and his friendly staff for hosting us. It gave the staff a chance to greet restaurant patrons, including Mr. and Mrs. David Bennett, Bill Webb, Sheriff Mike Gayer, and Deputy John Rogers.

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State Health Officials Offer Tips for Removing Snow Safely

Knox Mayor Rick Chambers uses a snowblower during a January winter storm

Snow can be fun to play in, but removing it can pose a risk to safety. State health officials are urging Hoosiers to exercise caution when shoveling snow, using a snow blower and walking on snow and ice this winter.

Injuries can happen while shoveling snow, including sprains and strains, particularly in the back and shoulders.

The good news is that shoveling snow can actually be good exercise if done correctly. Here are some simple tips that can prevent injury when clearing the way:
* Warm up by stretching and doing a few exercises before shoveling.
* Avoid smoking or eating a large meal before shoveling.
* Dress warmly in layers with a hat. Be sure to cover your neck.
* Wear shoes or boots that have slip-resistant soles to avoid falls.
* Plan before shoveling snow. Shovel heavy snow in stages. Start by skimming off the snow from the top, and then remove the bottom layer. Don’t overload the shovel.
* Avoid a rush and allow enough time to do the work. Follow a slow and steady pace and take frequent breaks to stand up and stretch.
* Watch what you are shoveling/blowing. Don’t let a hat or scarf block your vision. Watch for ice patches and uneven surfaces.
* Use a shovel that’s comfortable for your height and strength. Don’t use a shovel that’s too heavy or too long for you. Space your hands on the tool grip to increase your leverage.
* Push the snow instead of lifting it. If you must lift, do it properly. Squat with your legs apart, knees bent, and back straight. Lift with your legs. Do not bend at the waist.
* Do not throw the snow over your shoulder or to the side as it could stress your back.
* Breathing cold air dehydrates the body, so drink water during breaks.

For more information about winter weather safety, including health tips and helpful links, visit the Indiana State Department of Health website.

North Judson Street Crews Plow 28 Inches of Snow, Citizens Asked to Uncover Fire Hydrants

North Judson Utility Superintendent, Dan Anderson, reported to the North Judson Clerk’s Office that street crews have plowed 28 inches of snow. Citizens are asked to remove snow from around fire hydrants in case of an emergency. If the North Judson-Wayne Township Fire Department was called to a fire and the fire hydrant was covered with snow and not visible, firefighters would be delayed in putting out a fire.

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John Loftus Jr. Trial Begins Today in Starke Circuit Court

John Loftus, Jr.

A jury trial will begin in Starke Circuit Court today. John Loftus Jr. was arrested on August 19th by the Starke County Police and the Prosecutor’s office has filed five charges against him for which he has plead not guilty. He is charged with Attempted Robbery, a Class C Felony; Domestic Battery with a Child Present, a Class D Felony; Resisting Law Enforcement, a Class A Misdemeanor; Battery, a Class A Misdemeanor; and Battery, a Class B Misdemeanor.

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Statehouse Christmas Trees Delivered to Indianapolis

Crews get ready to cut down the first tree. Picture provided by Hensler Nursery

John Hensler, of Hensler Nursery near Hamlet, Indiana, followed the trees he sent to Indianapolis, Monday.  The trees make it on time for the ceremony, but the inclement weather prevented him from attending the affair.  The ceremony for the tree provided for the Rotunda was hosted by Governor Mitch Daniels and the one for Lieutenant Governor Becky Skillman’s office was hosted by the Lieutenant Governor herself.

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Starke County ABATE Helps Families in Need this Christmas

ABATE members unload the truck

Many churches and other organizations pitch in to help the less fortunate at Christmas time. Ted Hayes talked about two that were distributing toys and gifts Saturday, and that’s CLASP down at Winamac, and ABATE at Bass Lake.

Ted was at ABATE’s party on Saturday where the Bass Lake Country Club was packed with parents and children. Deb Young was there early signing in parents who were to receive gifts.

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Starke Co. Commissioners Go to Level Two Weather Warning

Starke County Highway Superintendent Steve Sidell has announced that the County is now under a Level Two Snow Warning.

A level two warning states that “Conditions are threatening to the safety  of the public.  Only essential travel is recommended, (to and from work, emergency situations etc.)   Emergency action plans have been or should be implemented by businesses, schools, government  agencies and other organizations.

Sidall advises against travel and ask for the Counties patience as they  work to remove the snow from the roads.

Commissioners Question Prosecutors Expenditures

Prosecutor Julie Ann Haven and the county commissioners are in a skirmish over money that has been promised from funds out of Starke County Prosecutor Julianne Haven’s office.

The commissioners have held up over $60,000 in claims to find out if the funds can be used for what the prosecutor is using them for. For instance firearms, at least one car, light bars, and some office equipment has been promised to various law enforcement departments.

In a special meeting Friday night, it was discovered that some of the money has already been spent. At least $12,000 has been spent on firearms and ammo.
Hamlet Police Chief Jeremy Patrick, and Deputy Don Ferguson with the Starke County Sheriff’s Department said the firearms cannot be returned as new equipment because they have already taken possession of them.

Appearing before the commissioners Havens said she wasn’t aware that the claims would be finalized before the December 20th. meeting, and may have changed funding sources before that meeting if she had known they were acting upon those claims at this time.

Starke Circuit Court to Hold Swearing In Oath of Office Ceremony

There will be a ceremony for newly elected officials in Starke County to take their oath of office on December 28th, 2010, at 5:00 p.m.   Starke Circuit Court Judge Kim Hall said that all elected officials are invited to attend and be sworn in during the ceremony in the courtroom.

The courthouse will be open to everybody and photos will be permitted.

There will be refreshments following the ceremony.