Knox and North Judson to Receive Grants for Storm Water Infrastructure Projects

Christmas came early for Knox and North Judson officials. Lieutenant Governor, Becky Skillman, announced that 13 Hoosier communities will receive grants totaling almost $11 million dollars for storm water infrastructure projects. These grants are funded by an appropriation for disaster recovery efforts from the federal Community Development Block Grant program.

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News from the Winamac Town Board

Winamac Town Hall

At their recent meeting, the Winamac Town Board members approved the salary ordinances for employees and elected officials. A one-and-a-half percent increase was approved.

Brad Zellers, Wastewater Superintendent, told the Board members that the lack of grass sitting in the streets has made a difference. Earlier this year, the Town Board was concerned about how the clippings were clogging the sewer system, especially during rain events. Zellers said he will be able to determine the true success of that change in the Spring when he and his staff vactor the sewer lines. Zellers reported to the Board that they been repairing several small pumps and will start on building improvements in the remaining portion of the pole building this winter.

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Government Offices Will be Closed for Christmas Holiday

Several government buildings will be closed due to the Christmas holiday.

The Post Office will be open Friday from 8:00 a.m. to Noon CT only. Mail will not be delivered until Monday, December 27th. The Starke County Courthouse and the Pulaski County Courthouse will be closed Thursday and Friday this week. The Bureau of Motor Vehicle branches will be closed Friday and will resume normal hours of operation on Tuesday, December 28th.

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Knox Community Center Damage Over $18,000

Chairs and tables were damaged at the Knox Community Center

The estimated amount of damage done to the Knox Community Center on December 11th comes to $18,713.03. 25 tables and 112 chairs were damaged and the carpets were stained during a wedding reception held at the facility.

The City of Knox continues to work with Nicole Dobson and Brandon Bailey who have reportedly told the City that they are taking responsibility for the damages.

During the December 14th Knox City Council meeting, the Council members talked about increasing security measures at the Community Center to discourage this type of behavior.

Starke County Auditor Michaelene Houston Leaves Auditor’s Office after 22 Years

Michaelene Houston

It is the end of an era in the Starke County Auditor’s office. Michaelene Houston spent 22 years either as a Deputy Auditor, or Auditor herself. She served as Deputy Auditor under Pam Fletcher and Mike Haugh.

“November 30th, 1984, I started as Deputy Auditor for Pam Fletcher and I worked for her for two years and one month and then Mike Haugh became Auditor and I worked for him for four years,” explained Michaelene Houston. “I then ran for the office and I was Auditor for two terms. I couldn’t run for a third consecutive term so I ran for Commissioner and I was Commissioner for four years. Then I ran for Auditor again and now I’m on my second and final term as Auditor.”

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Top 10 Stories of 2010; Story #8

Story number 8 is fresh on our minds. It’s the early blizzard of 2010, and it occurred just a few days ago. With mind boggling snowfall amounts in the Kankakee Valley, all governmental offices, some businesses, and all schools took the day off last Monday, December 13th.

Wanatah had 33 inches of the white stuff to top the charts, although some Starke County locations recorded near 20. Our own Tom Berg and Lenny Dessauer took turns staying overnight at the station to keep everyone informed of the storm’s fury.

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John Brooke Fails to Attain Plea Agreement; Trial Set for February

John Brooke

John Brooke, a suspect in events surrounding a shootout at Bass Lake in February, and his attorney, Dale Allen, told Starke Circuit Court Judge Kim Hall Monday afternoon that they have failed to come to a satisfactory plea agreement with the court so they will move forward to trial.

The trial will begin on Monday, February 21st, 2011 at 9:00 a.m. CT and will last the week. Allen said there could be up to 50 witnesses called to take the stand. A final status hearing will be held on January 26th to ensure all paperwork is prepared for trial.

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Knox City Council Approves Knox Industrial Park Name Change

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

At the recent meeting of the Knox City Council, Starke County Development Foundation Director, Charles Weaver, requested that the Council change the name of the Knox Industrial Park to the Starke County Rail Park. The Council unanimously approved the name change and the proposal will be taken to the Starke County Commissioners for approval. The name was changed to give it a county feel rather than a city feel.

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Hoosiers Can Resume Collecting Unemployment Benefits

Hoosiers are now eligible to resume collecting the federally funded unemployment extensions. Approximately 90,000 Hoosiers who exhausted or were at risk of losing benefits have become eligible again.

In order to qualify for these retroactive benefits, Hoosiers will need to complete their weekly vouchers through Uplink, Indiana’s online filing system. Hoosiers will need to complete a voucher for each week of benefits they want to collect.

About 30,000 Hoosiers saw an interruption in their benefits due to Congressional delay.

There is no increase in the number of potential weeks of benefits. Ninety-nine weeks remains the maximum length of time someone can collect.

Weather Statement

Statement as of 5:19 PM CST on December 20, 2010

Special Weather Statement
… Snow moving into the area…

Snow will spread into Northwest Indiana this evening. The leading
edge of the snow extended from around Rensselaer to Delphi at 615
PM EST… and should move northeast to a Wanatah to Peru line by
815 PM EST. The snow will lower visibilities to around 1 mile and
accumulate about a half inch per hour. The significant
accumulating snow is expected to last about 5 hours before
tapering off to lighter snow late tonight. Roads in the area will
become snow covered and slick overnight… so motorists should use
caution and allow extra time to reach their destinations.

Sunday Morning Mixed League 12/12/10

Sunday Morning Mixed League 12/12/10
Team Standings:
1. The Unknown 71.0-27.0
2. The Smelly Cats 61.0-44.0
3. The Quest 59.0-46.0
4. Split Heads 58.0-47.0
5. WRJN 56.0-49.0
6. S*** Happens 46.0-59.0
7. Lucky #7 45.0-60.0
8. Odd Balls 45.0-60.0
9. Snowdon’s Lawncare 42.0-63.0
10. Strange Brew 42.0-63.0

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Starke United Radio Auction Nets $7,669

Starke United

Here’s good news from Edie Hall, Executive Director of Starke United. This year’s WKVI-Starke United Radio Auction netted $7,669.00. Immediately following the auction, which was held on December 3rd, the final amount was thought to be in the $6,000 range. Hall said other fund raisers are being planned to help attain the $75,000 campaign goal.

Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department Investigates Theft from Monterey Elementary School

The Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department is investigating a theft from the Monterey Elementary School. The incident occurred Thanksgiving weekend, November 28th or 29th.

According to Detective Scott Taylor, some unknown person(s) broke into the Monterey Elementary School and stole 11 iPod touch devices and 2 laptop computers. The items were property of the Monterey Elementary School. The thieves did minimal damage when they broke into the building but took over $5,000 in electronics from the school.

If anyone knows anything about this case, you can provide an anonymous tip to Detective Scott Taylor of the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department by calling (574) 946-6655 ext 239.

Starke County Commissioners, Council To Discuss Prosecutor’s Claims

Julianne Havens

When the Starke County Commissioners and Council get together tonight, they will be questioning Prosecutor Julianne Havens about claims submitted for the purchase of law enforcement equipment. Havens, who will be leaving the office at the end of the month, told the Commissioners in a special meeting December 10th, that she had to “speed up” her commitment to various law enforcement agencies because her timeline had shortened after her defeat in November.

Some of the equipment reportedly has already been purchased without the claims being approved.