Volunteer Fair this Saturday in Knox

The annual Volunteer Fair is this Saturday, April 30th from 9:00 a.m. to Noon at the Knox High School. The Volunteer Fair is sponsored by the Community Services of Starke County, Northwest Indiana Action Corporation, United Way of Porter County and Healthlinc.

Do you know where you can volunteer in Starke County? Over fifteen agencies will be present with volunteer opportunities for persons of all ages.

Public Speaks Out Against Monterey Elementary Closure

Emotions were running high at the Culver Community School Board meeting this week, as supporters of the Monterey Elementary school vehemently defended the school in the face of possible closure. This issue was discussed because of a need to reduce expenses in order to meet budget cuts from the state level in the amount of $855,928 over two years.

Culver School Board
Culver Community School Board Members (from left to right) Jack Jones, Ryan Seiber, Ken Vandeputte, Brad Schuldt, Eugene Baker, Marilyn Swanson, and Ed Behnke.

The Culver Community School Corporation has a number of options to explore in order to meet this new budget. Some of the options mentioned included increasing revenue through a referenda, in which the school tax rate would be raised $0.11  per $100; the use of the Rainy Day Fund, which has a current balance of $980,000; and decreasing expenses through budget reductions, such as closing Monterey or cutting positions.

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2011 General Assembly Required to End April 29th

State Senator Ed Charbonneau

Yesterday Ed Hasnerl talked with State Senator Ed Charbonneau to inquire about the deadline for ending the 2011 Indiana General Assembly.

“We’re required to end the session this Friday, April 29th,” said Senator Charbonneau. “Things are ratcheting up and there will a lot done between now and midnight Friday. The big issue is the budget. The other issue that still needs to be voted on are the redistricting maps. That seems to be moving very close to finalization.”

Later in the week, Senator Charbonneau will talk in detail about the boundary lines of his newly re-drawn district in which he will represent voters in only a portion of Starke County but all of Pulaski County.

Starke County Treasurer Struggles with Handling Tax Payments without Second Deputy

Starke County Treasurer Linda Belork

Starke County Treasurer Linda Belork says she is struggling with handling a flood of tax payments and inquiries without a second deputy to assist her in the office.

“It makes it impossible for us to answer every phone call. In a day’s time, we get a hundred messages left on the phone and we try to contact the caller the next morning and things just get backed up,” said Belork. “We have a lot of farmers that come in with many parcels and they’re having to wait. It kind of puts everybody behind. I don’t know if it’s to do with our second Deputy that we’ve been asking for that’s the biggest topic, or if it’s the carpet in here that’s got the wrinkle that several people have tripped on. They don’t feel that’s an emergency item, but it’s an emergency to me in case one of my taxpayers does fall here.”

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Voters Question Eligibility in the Knox City Primary Election

Some residents around the edges of Knox seem to be confused about if they are eligible to vote in the 2011 City Election, since campaign posters are appearing all over the County, well beyond the city limits. County Clerk, Evelyn Skronski, says potential voters should have been notified by mail.

“We sent out 2,855 letters to all the registered voters in Centers 1, 2, 3, and 4,” said Skronski. “Some of them came back to us as ‘unknown’ so some of the voters may not have gotten a notice. Those that we could relocate, we sent out letters. There are jagged precinct lines throughout these four precincts so the best thing to do is call the Clerk’s Office at 772-9160 and see what precinct you are in.”

Voters in all 4 Knox precincts will cast their primary ballots in the downtown Knox Community Center.

Food Donations Needed at Starke County Food Pantry

Cecilia Torres

The Community Services of Starke County Food Pantry is running low on food items and Cecilia Torres, Services Coordinator at Community Services of Starke County, says now is the time to donate.

“Right now, we’re in dire need of food,” said Torres. “We have been serving over 250 families a month. As fast as we get food on the shelves, it goes right back out. In addition to regular canned goods and non-perishables, we could also use money. It’s been about every week or so that we’ve been ordering meat and it’s really adding up. We do need any help that we could possibly get.”

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Starke County Safety Partnership to Participate in Truck Seatbelt Enforcement

The Starke County Traffic Safety Partnership will be conducting a Rural Demonstration Project beginning Friday, April 29th through Sunday, May 15th. This is a special grant to be used for truck seatbelt enforcement.

During the Traffic Safety Partnership’s last enforcement blitz, 10 officers spent 41 hours on increased traffic patrol. 4 seat belt citations were given, 1 misdemeanor DUI arrest was made, 1 criminal misdemeanor arrest was made, 1 criminal felony arrest was made and 14 speed violations were recorded. 47 traffic warnings were issued with a total of 65 vehicles being stopped. The enforcement ran from February 26th through March 4th.

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Starke County Youth Club Radiothon Set for May 6th

Irene Szakonyi

The Starke County Youth Club will be holding its annual Radiothon on Friday, May 6th from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. CT. Youth Club volunteers will be taking pledges at the WKVI studios to help support the after school program.

“We are a youth development organization serving children and families since 2001,” said Irene Szakonyi. “We’re really excited about our fourth annual Radiothon coming up on May 6th. The phone lines will be open from 7:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. CT for you to call in your pledge to support Starke County children.”

National Day of Prayer Breakfast Scheduled in Knox

The 60th Annual National Day of Prayer is on Thursday, May 5th. A prayer breakfast will be held at the Knox Community Center for those to gather and turn to God in prayer and meditation.

The event in Knox will be from 7:00-8:00 a.m. CT and Pastor James Adcock will be the guest speaker. A full breakfast will be served for $8.00 per person. Tickets are available at the Knox Mayor’s Office. Call (574) 772-4553 for more information. The event is sponsored by the City of Knox and Love Inc. of Starke County.

Two Knox Residents Arrested on Burglary, Theft

Patrick Sobieck
Richard Selva

Several thousands of dollars worth of railroad metals were retrieved from the Starke County Recycling Company this morning after Knox City Police and the Norfolk Southern Railroad Police officers executed a search warrant at that location. This is part of an ongoing investigation of a theft report that was filed Saturday night and led to the arrest of Patrick Sobieck and Richard Selva.

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Sentencing Date Scheduled for Kimberly Hitchens

Kimberly Hitchens

Kimberly Hitchens will be sentenced Tuesday, April 26th, at 11:15 a.m. CT in Starke Circuit Court. She faces a charge of Assisting a Criminal, a Class D Felony.

Right before she was to stand trial, on April 8th, the State of Indiana dropped two charges she was facing from events surrounding a police shootout at Bass Lake in February 2010. Those included: Conspiracy to Commit Armed Robbery and Possession/Manufacturing of a Destructive Device.

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Culver Community School Board to Discuss Future of Monterey Elementary Tonight

Culver Community School Superintendent, Brad Schuldt

When the Culver Community School Board meets tonight, the future of the Monterey Elementary school will be one part of a larger discussion planned for the meeting as “possible” budget cuts at the state level. In spite of much discussion in the community, Superintendent Brad Schuldt says nothing has been decided yet. But he says the Board will have an item on the agenda to begin cutting expenses.

Monterey Elementary, which includes kindergarten through 6th grades, has in recent years, enrolled between 135 and 180 students. Closing the school would result in an increase of about six students per classroom at the Culver facility if they were transferred there. The school at Monterey is listed as the second smallest Kindergarten through 6th grade building in the State of Indiana.

Absentee Voting is Available to Knox Residents Throughout this Week

Starke County Clerk Evelyn Skronski

Starke County Clerk Evelyn Skronski reminds residents of the City of Knox that only a few more days remain to vote an absentee ballot in the Primary Election.

“Monday, April 25th, we will be open from 8:00 a.m. to Noon and from 1:00-4:00 p.m. and that will be daily, Monday through Saturday,” said Skronski. “Evening hours will be on April 28th from 5:00 until 7:00 p.m. We will conclude our absentee early voting on May 2nd and you may vote from 8:00 a.m. until Noon.”

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Property Tax Collection Underway in Starke County Treasurer’s Office

Starke County Treasurer Linda Belork

The deadline date for paying the first installment of personal property taxes is just two weeks away, May 10th. Starke County Treasurer, Linda Belork, says the service in her office could be more efficient in the final rush days before the deadline, but currently, most taxpayers have not been too inconvenienced by long waits.

“Right now, taxes are coming in really well for us and most taxpayers, surprisingly, are paying for the whole year,” said Belork. “We do have some lines, but again we’re still trying to work with the County Council and the Commissioners to have our second Deputy in. They verbally gave me the approval and then at the public meeting, they backed off of it. I guess that’s an issue we’ll have to take up at budget time.”

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Ron Parker Seeks Another Term on Knox City Council

Ron Parker

With just a few days left before the spring Primary Election in Knox, the candidates are out trying to get their message across to the voters.

Ron Parker is a Democrat City Councilman, and he stopped by WKVI recently to talk about his campaign. Parker first talked about the accomplishments of the Council.

“One of the things that we have seen is improvements in our Knox Industrial Park,” stated Parker. “With Charlie Weaver from the Starke County Economic Development Foundation, we’ve seen some major moves there and we’re going to see another major move and that is J.W. Hicks. They’re going to move their Corporate Headquarters here. That’s a big deal.”

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