Consul General of Mexico Visits Starke County

Eduardo Arnal

The new Consul General of Mexico visited Starke County this week. Eduardo Arnal, visited with Starke County Development Director Charles Weaver in his Knox office. The northern part of Indiana is under Arnal’s jurisdiction, and he was visiting several counties to offer the services of his office with any questions officials might need answered.

Arnal said sooner or later the United States needs to have immigration reform. He said, “It’s simple. The U.S. needs our workers, and right now the laws make it almost impossible to enter legally.”

Weaver said the Mexican population in Starke County is small, but thought the residents here would be surprised at how many are working in our factories.

“Starke County has an Hispanic population of about 3.3 percent,” explained Weaver. “80 percent of that population are of Mexican ancestry. There are a number of Mexican population working within some of the businesses in Starke County. The majority of those workers are working here from other counties and then they return home. So, what we’re going to see as far as a population shift, I have no idea.”

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Local Attorney Suspended for Violating Code

Knox Attorney, Todd Wallsmith, has received disciplinary notice from the Indiana Supreme Court for violating the Indiana Professional Conduct Code. In the notice, the court informed Wallsmith that he is suspended from the practice of law for 180 days. The term of the suspension begins September 30th, 2011, with 45 days actively served and the remainder stayed subject to completion of 24 months probation. Wallsmith will not be permitted to practice law from October 1st to November 15th.

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Monterey Days Festival and the Blueberry Festival Begin Today!

Two big area festivals begin today!

The Blueberry Festival in Plymouth begins today. The Festival will open at 5:00 p.m. ET today and will feature the opening ceremony at the Jefferson School Stage. The Blueberry Idol Karaoke Contest will be at 7:00 p.m. at the Amphitheater. The Festival gets into full swing tomorrow with all of your favorite sporting events, the arts and craft booths, and of course, the food!

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Starke County Officials to use Tools from Corrections Conference to Make Decision on Jail

Starke County Jail

Are the taxpayers in the mood to consider some expensive building programs in the near future? The Knox Community School Corporation has a committee put together to consider remodeling the Palmer Wing at the Elementary building, the Starke County Library Board wants to remodel a portion of the Henry F. Schricker Branch Library and the County Commissioners are still considering a new or remodeled county jail.

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Starke County’s Private School Receives One New Student on Voucher

Weeks after Indiana began the nation’s broadest school voucher program, thousands of students have transferred from public to private schools. This has caused a spike in enrollment at some Catholic institutions that were only recently on the brink of closing for lack of pupils.

John Elcesser, Executive Director of the Indiana Non-Public Education Association, said it’s not surprising that Catholic Schools are receiving so many of the vouchers. Most Catholic schools already have state accreditation, which some private schools lack.

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Pulaski County United Fund Begins Fall Campaign

The Pulaski County United Fund Fall 2012 Campaign will kick off this month. Donations received in this year’s campaign will be used to award grant funding to 10 local non-profit agencies. The goal is $40,000.

You may donate with a direct money donation, or you may have the option of deducting money from your payroll check as your pledge. Many businesses offer employees the opportunity to give through payroll deduction and many will match employee contributions dollar for dollar. For more information, contact your Human Resources Department or call United Fund at (574) 946-7320.

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One-to-One Computer Initiative Running Smoothly at Knox Community Schools

Students in the Middle and High Schools in Knox have been participating in the one-to-one computer initiative and Superintendent, A.J. Gappa said that it’s going well so far.

“As we look at it today, two weeks into the school year, because all of the computers are wireless, it was not letting everybody on at the same time for a couple of days,” he said. “We had the experts that installed the wireless system in our schools come back and work through some glitches and the second week has gone much better. Kids are engaged, teachers are engaged and things seem to be going well at this point.”

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Open House Planned at Washington Township Community Building

Volunteers and community service workers have been working to renovate the Washington Township Community Building. The entire interior has been cleaned and painted, doors refinished and floors have been scrubbed and finished. The improvements have cost less than $1,000.

Township Trustee, Shelly Kemble, said an Open House is planned so the community can see all of the improvements.

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Two Suspects Arrested on Arson Charges

Ryan Taylor
Kenneth K. Wallace

Two men were arrested Tuesday after they were found to have set a vehicle on fire on the Gurley residence in Monterey.

Police were called after a witness saw a vehicle leaving the scene of a vehicle fire. Police approached the suspect vehicle and found Knox residents 35-year-old Ryan Taylor and 34-year-old Kenneth K. Wallace inside. The officer said that he was investigating a vehicle fire and told Taylor that it was his mother’s 2002 Pontiac Grand Am that was on fire. He said that the vehicle was in town at his grandmother’s house and it had been there for some time and it needed transmission work.

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Nearby Court to Host Case Involving Former Starke County Treasurer

Linda Belork

A court appearance by attorneys who represent Starke County and Linda Belork was vacated yesterday. Starke Circuit Court Judge Kim Hall will sign an order today establishing the procedure for selecting a nearby court to hear Belork’s case in which she disputes being dismissed from conducting her duties as the County Treasurer. Belork’s attorney had asked for a change of venue from Starke County.

The suit was brought against the County to determine if officials had the legal right to relieve her of the Treasurer’s duties.

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300 Sign Petition to Deannex Tippecanoe Township from Culver Schools

Monterey Elementary School

Over 300 signatures have been collected to deannex Tippecanoe Township from the Culver Community School District. The effort was made in response to the closing of the Monterey Elementary School.

At the time of the announcement of the closing, many in the township expressed their extreme displeasure, claiming it was promised that Monterey Elementary would stay open permanently. School officials in Culver said it was necessary to close the school as a cost cutting measure.

Monterey Elementary went through an extensive remodeling project 10 years ago.

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Knox School Board Meets with Constituents to Discuss Palmer Wing

This spring, the Knox Community School Board met with a committee to discuss issues with the east end of the Elementary School, known as the Palmer Wing. The committee has found that there are some issues that need to be fixed with the 60-year-old infrastructure and building. The infrastructure is not built for today’s technology needs in terms of electric capacity and space. and water lines need to be replaced.

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Oregon-Davis Senior Class Joins Pop Tab Collection Effort

The Oregon-Davis Senior Class of 2012 has joined the Ronald McDonald House “Collect-A-Million Pop Tabs” Club in honor of their former classmate Christina Rotering who lost her battle with cancer in April.

The Ronald McDonald House serves families whose children require care at an Indianapolis area hospital by offering them a home-like atmosphere where they can get the rest and renewal they need to be most supportive of their sick or injured child.

The goal is one million pop tabs collected by May 1st, 2012. Pop tabs are being collected at the Jr/Sr High Office from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. CT daily. For information on how the tabs collected will help the Ronald McDonald House, click here.

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INDOT to Stripe Highways

The Indiana Department of Transportation urges drivers to be extremely cautious around wet paint on the road as LaPorte District crews apply pavement markings. About 5,600 lane miles will be re-striped in the LaPorte District now through October.

When encountering a road striping crew, use a generous following distance, avoid driving over the newly painted markings and never recklessly pull in front of or pass a striping operation. If drivers do get paint on their vehicles, they should attempt to wash the paint off as quickly as possible. Fresh paint will often come off easily with soap and water. However, after it dries only a specialist can remove it.