Chris Dalton Named New Starke County Sanitarian

Starke County Courthouse

Starke County has a new Sanitarian working out of the Health Department. Chris Dalton of rural Knox was selected from 20 applicants to fill the position of David Singleton who recently retired.

According to Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Alexander, Dalton has installed septic systems, and is familiar with reading codes. He is already on the job having spent the first couple of days with the Building Inspector. Today, he will be going over procedures with the Indiana Department of Health Regional Resource officer.

Alexander said she was “pleased” that the office has been able to hire such a qualified and personable applicant.

North Judson Police Investigate Vandalism at Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum

The North Judson Police Department investigated vandalism and damage to property at the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum.

On Wednesday, April 6th, officer Dennis Fornelli located three juvenile males on the grounds of the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum, in and around the train cars. After a short time, the three were picked up and transported to their respective parents. The following morning, the volunteers at the Museum reported to officer Joe Budner that several train cars, the building, and equipment had been vandalized and damaged. Many windows were broken out as well. Police returned and conducted interviews with the three juveniles and learned they had done the damage. A complete investigative report was furnished to the Starke County Probation Department and the Prosecutor’s Office requesting charges and restitution from the juveniles.

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Starke County Environmental Management Assessment Bills to be Sent Today

Workers prepare computers for transport during last year's environmental collection event

The staff at the Starke County Environmental Management Office will be sending out annual assessment bills today. A coupon for the environmental collection event April 27th-30th will be included with the notice.

The event will be held at the Starke County Highway Garage on U.S. 35, north of Knox. Appliances, computers, computers, televisions, hazardous waste, medications, fluorescent lamps and PCB ballasts and tires will be accepted at this event. Visit the ad on this website for specific times and product limits. The event is for Starke County residents only.

If you have not received your bill by Tuesday, April 19th, call the Starke County Environmental Management Office at (574) 772-7865.

Knox City Police Chief Warns Citizens of Scam

Knox City Police Chief, Clint Norem, warns us of a scam that is going around the City.

A caller claiming to be from Texas called a Knox resident to say that his granddaughter was arrested in Texas after she was involved in an accident and she needs bail money to get out of jail. A woman got on the phone and using the name of his grandchild, asked for a money order for bail money. The woman really wasn’t his grandchild. It was a scam.

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The Shore Club to be Featured on this Week’s ‘Ted Hayes Remembers’ Program

Ted Hayes
Ted Hayes

Although we have not received particulars yet, there’s information that the famous Shore Club at Bass Lake will be re-opening. Everyone has memories of The Shore Club – the parties, the events, political speeches, and delicious food.

This week on “Ted Hayes Remembers”, Ted will take us back in time with a most famous Bass Lake couple, Louise and the late Alt Williams. Be listening for that program this Friday, April 15th, at 12:20 and 5:30 p.m. CT.

Indiana Redistricting Maps Presented

Yesterday, Representative Eric Koch (R-Bedford) and Representative Kathy Richardson (R-Noblesville) presented the boundaries of State House and Legislative and Congressional Districts for the next 10 years.

Locally, Representative Nancy Dembowski (D-Knox) is being knocked out of District 17 to be placed into the 20th District. That move would pair her with Republican Tom Demody. In the new 20th District, parts of Starke County will be split, with Center, Davis, Jackson, Oregon, Railroad and Washington One going into the new 20th District.

California, North Bend, Wayne, and Washington Two would be going into a new 16th District. That new district takes in those Starke precincts, all of Pulaski County, a small part of Fulton County, parts of Jasper County and parts of Newton.

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Starke and Pulaski County Property Tax Statements to be Sent out to Residents

Property tax statements in Starke County will be sent by mail this week from the Treasurer’s office. Treasurer Linda Belork said that the deadline dates will be May 10th for the spring installment and November 10th for the fall installment.

Pulaski County Treasurer, Cheryl DeGroot, told WKVI that the property tax statements there will be sent out this week or next week. She said the deadline dates will be May 10th and November 10th as well. Some property owners will see a big increase in taxes and others will see a decrease.

Remember When to Call 9-1-1

Robin Banks

This week is National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week. Emergency services dispatchers are the first to hear of your emergency and they are responsible for getting police, fire, and EMS out to help you in your time of need.

Robin Banks has been a dispatcher at the Starke County Sheriff’s Department for 19 years. She says it’s important to be sure to answer all questions so they can give emergency personnel the information they need.

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Vaccinations a Contributing Factor to Autism?

This is Autism Awareness Month. Linda Trent of Toto has two grandchildren who are autistic, and she is helping us understand the needs of autistic children, their parents and grandparents.

One controversy that has raged for the past few years is that vaccinations cause autism. Even though much research has been done on the correlation between the vaccinations and the disease, most medical experts dispel it as untrue.

“Most people I talk to that have had autistic children, they are not opposed to vaccinations,” said Trent. “What they’re opposed to is giving a child eight or ten in a row. When you think about it, when we were younger we had a few and some we didn’t get. We didn’t get the massive amounts and we didn’t them as infants and small children. Now, if you don’t have a certain quota of vaccinations by the time the child is in Kindergarten, they’ll throw your child out of school. We’re not saying don’t. We’re saying maybe the vaccinations could be done differently.”

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April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

April is Child Abuse Prevention month.

In Indiana alone, 25,000 substantiated cases of child neglect and abuse were investigated in 2008. During National Child Abuse Prevention month, Prevent Child Abuse Indiana and Prevent Child Abuse Starke County are raising the awareness of this issue, while providing educational opportunities to help change the way we value and support the well-being of our children and families.

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North Judson-San Pierre Band Earns All-Music Award

The North Judson-San Pierre High School Band participated in the ISSMA High School Organizational Contest this past Friday night at Lowell High School. They earned a Gold Performance Rating. With this Gold rating, they also earned the ISSMA All-Music Award for Band. In order to win this award, a band has to win Gold ratings at the ISSMA Marching Band Contest, qualify a minimum of one soloist and one ensemble to the State Solo and Ensemble contest, and receive a Gold at the ISSMA Jazz Festival and Concert Festival.

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John Brooke’s Trial Underway

The trial of John Brooke is underway in Starke Circuit Court.  In this mornings proceedings the State and Defense both gave opening statements.  The Prosecution called three police officers to the stand who were on the scene during the alleged shoot-out at Bass Lake in February of 2010.
Taking the stand were officers Don Ferguson, Ken Pfost, and Bill Dulin.   At one point Officer Ferguson presented emotional testimony stating that” he thought he would never see his wife again.”
Entered as exhibits were weapons, body armor, bullets, and ammo magazines that were taped together.
Brooke, who has several counts against him, was reportedly at work when he heard that police had arrived at his residence to arrest his friend Michael Drogosz.  He drove home, and allegedly put on body armour  and while armed attempted to come up the back-way to his house.  He was eventually taken into custody.
The trial is expected continue all week in Starke Circuit Court.

Ober Savanna

Savanna – Now what is that? You have heard of savannas in Africa, but here in Indiana? Yes, right here in Starke County. In fact, there are several in Northern Indiana. For the most part, savannas occurred in Indiana’s main prairie region in the northwestern part of the state. The plant geography of Indiana is a transition between the wide open prairies of Iowa and Illinois and the deciduous forests of Ohio and Pennsylvania. Early Indiana had prairies (almost 15 percent of the state) and forests. Savannas were interspersed between and shared some characteristics of both prairies and forests. Savannas have trees like a forest and many of the same grasses and wildflowers as a prairie. Typical trees are black and white oaks with scattered wild black cherry and sassafras. Typical shrubs are winged sumac, blueberries, and huckleberries. Wildflowers in the savannas are very different from the typical forest ones. They are more of the prairie type flowers. Lupines, puccoons and bird’s-foot violets welcome the spring, while coreopsis, sunflowers, blazing star and butterfly weed accent the summer. Fall is heralded by asters and goldenrods. Prairie grasses are also highlighted in the landscape. We probably have several small savannas in Starke County, isolated on some of the sand ridges, but one that gets all of the attention is the Ober Savanna.

Ober Savanna – Located just west of Ober, Indiana, this 59-acre parcel is owned by The Nature Conservancy and contains a high-quality remnant of a black oak savanna. Clusters of large black oaks grow among prairie grasses and wildflowers, such as little and big bluestem, Indian grass, porcupine grass, June grass, and puccoons. The rare prickly pear, yellow wild indigo, globally endangered fame flower, and wild indigo are found here, as are some rare, prairie-specific butterflies.

To find the Ober Savanna, drive west of Ober on 200 S., cross the RR tracks, and within a few hundred feet there is a small parking area on the north side of the road with the Ober Savanna sign. Follow the instructions on the sign. See attachment.

Jim Shilling
Starke County Historical Society

Two Arrested after Traffic Stop in Knox

Two Starke County residents were arrested this morning after a routine traffic stop.

A Knox City Police officer pulled over a vehicle on 300 E. and 250 N. in Knox. During the course of the traffic stop, a K9 was deployed to search for drugs. The K9 indicated that drugs were the vehicle and methamphetamine was seized. After an investigation, the officer found a handgun in the vehicle. Traci Jacobs and Paul Higdon were then arrested on preliminary charges of Serious Violent Felon in Possession of a Firearm and Possession of Methamphetamine. They are currently being held in the Starke County Jail.

Power Outages Reported in Knox

Knox residents were without power this morning after a storm blew through the area overnight. At one time, 795 residents were without power in Knox. According to, all power has been restored. Power outages were also reported in Pulaski County and in Culver this morning.

John Brooke’s Trial to Begin Today


The trial of John Brooke, who was reportedly involved in an incident at Bass Lake in February of 2010, begins today in Starke Circuit Court. Brooke is facing seven charges against him. The trial begins at 9:00 a.m. in Judge Kim Hall’s courtroom. A jury of eight men and four women was seated on Friday.

Brooke was supposed to be on trial with Kimberly Hitchens but in a surprise development, Hitchens had charges of Conspiracy to Commit Armed Robbery and Possession/Manufacturing of a Destructive Device dismissed by the State of Indiana. She plead guilty to one charge of Aiding and Assisting a Criminal, a Class D felony. A sentencing hearing has not been set at this time.