Key Lawmakers Talk about Making Tax Codes Easier

Nine out of ten Americans will find credits, deductions and exemptions on their tax forms so confusing and difficult they hire someone to fill out their forms.

Now, key lawmakers are talking about making the tax code simpler and fairer.

There is a lot of political support for simplifying the tax code, but in an era of divided government it is unclear whether President Obama has the ability to get it done.

The tax code is 3.8 million works long and growing. The tax codes is also 10 times the size of the Bible.

Two Knox Students Share Unique English Class Project with School Board

Chelsea Whitcraft, Julianna Richie and Mrs. Matysak present the Board with the Facebook project

The Knox Community School Board recognized two students who completed a unique class project over the Christmas holiday for Mrs. Matysak’s class.

“The class had read the Shakespeare story of Macbeth and to do a project to keep up with modern times and technology, two of our students, Chelsea Whitcraft and Julianna Richey had taken characters from Macbeth and placed them on Facebook,” explained Continue reading

North Judson-San Pierre School Board News

North Judson-San Pierre Superintendent Lynn Johnson

The North Judson-San Pierre School Board approved a field trip request from the North Judson-San Pierre Marching Band. The band will perform in the Kentucky Derby Pegasus Parade on May 5th. Superintendent Lynn Johnson said the students have worked hard and are excited to perform in this parade.

The Board approved the 2011-2012 school calendar. The beginning of school for the next school year will be Tuesday, August 16th.

The Board retreat is Thursday, January 27th. The Director of the Indiana School Board Association will facilitate the meeting and he will evaluate the Superintendent and her duties since being in office.

Music Students Do Well in Area Performances

Austin Stacy

Austin Stacy, a Junior from North Judson-San Pierre High School, successfully participated in the Indiana Music Educators Association High School Honor Band weekend. Austin was among approximately 100 band students from around the state that rehearsed and gave a performance at the Embassy Theater in Fort Wayne for the IMEA Convention this past Saturday. The guest conductor for the IMEA Honor Band was Dr. Tim Lautzenheiser.

In other music news:
Congratulations to the Knox High School Winterguard. The KHS Guard was in competition this past Saturday at DeKalb High School where they earned 4th place out of 11 competing units. The KHS Guard will be in competition again on February 5th at Anderson High School in Anderson, Indiana.

Photo provided

Mark Smith Announces His Candidacy for Mayor of Knox

Mark Smith

Knox resident and local businessman, Mark Smith, has announced his intention to seek the office of Knox Mayor. Smith is the owner of the M.C. Smith Funeral Home and the current President of the Starke County Council as well as a very active member of the community.

He says, “The fiscal condition of the City of Knox has traditionally been good, however, with the changes that we have been handed, close attention must be given to the finances of the City if we are to continue the level of service currently being provided to our residents.”

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Sanctity of Life Service Held in Knox

Residents participate in the Sanctity of Life service in Knox

A March For Life Rally will be held in Washington, D.C. today. The rally will begin at the National Mall and ends at the Supreme Court where abortions were made legal in the United States in 1973.

A “Sanctity of Life” service was held in Knox Sunday night. Prayers and hymns began the service at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, followed by a candlelight hymn sing at the Monument of the Unborn and a program at the Knox Community Center.

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State Supreme Court Justice Visits Knox City Court

City Court Judge Charlie Hasnerl (R) welcomes Justice Frank Sullivan, Jr.

State Supreme Court Justice Frank Sullivan, Jr. was in Knox Friday afternoon. Justice Sullivan chairs the Court’s Judicial Technology and Automation Committee which guides courts throughout the state to upgrade it’s technology.

“The Judicial Technology and Automation Committee has many projects, but the single biggest and most important one is providing to each of the courts in Indiana, and there are about 400 of them, a computer system to help those courts keep track of their cases,” explained Justice Sullivan.

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State of the Union Address to Find Democrats and Republicans Sitting ‘Side by Side’

Joe Donnelly
Congressman Joe Donnelly

The President’s State of the Union Message will be presented to a joint session of Congress tomorrow night.

It’s been proposed by THIRD WAY, a moderate political think tank, that members of Congress sit with those of the other party. Democrats and Republicans sitting “side by side”. THIRD WAY thinks it might “restore civility”.

It’s also been offered that choreographed standing and clapping is unbecoming of Congress. If President Obama says something appealing to the Democrats, they all would rise up in unison and cheer. That’s been likened to being comparable to fans at a basketball game.

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Representative Dembowski Hesitant to Vote on School Reform Bill

State Representative Nancy Dembowski

Seventeenth District State Representative Nancy Dembowski (D-Knox) is hesitant to vote for a school reform bill that would allow for tax dollars to flow into private or charter schools at the expense of public schools.

“I think when we being talking about allowing tax monies to support more charter schools and vouchers and tax credits, we undermine the rural public school systems that I represent,” said Dembowski. “I’m very concerned about that. We think in terms of choice and allowing students to go to the schools of their choice, to a degree, and that’s acceptable, but I worry constantly about the private schools that require payment to go there. Tax money will go to support schools that will be done by some corporation who decides that they want to establish a new school that will be the best for your child.”

The Indiana Department of Education has prepared a document: “Indiana’s 2011 Education Agenda-Putting Students First”. The document puts forth a series of issues and problems. They include, among others: An antiquated tenure system, teachers and principals not annually evaluated, and ten percent of students are passing advanced placement exams.

Dr. Tony Bennett and Governor Mitch Daniels are championing school reform in this session of the legislature.

Knox Community School Board Approves Bid for High School Renovation Project

Gary Dulin, Jerry Fletcher, Harold Welter, Mary Lynn Ritchie, Kirk Bennett, Nathan Marcum, Mike Yankauskas, Superintendent A.J. Gappa

The Knox Community School Board approved base bids for the high school renovation project at its recent meeting.

“We had taken bids on the base projects which were the water pipe renovations and also the swimming pool renovation in the ceiling and lighting area,” explained Superintendent, A.J. Gappa. “The Board approved the base bids and the work in the pool. We could not accept the roofing bids because of funding.”

The approved bid went to Brown and Brown General Contractors for $1,567,000. In all, the Board received 15 bids.

Starke County Commissioners Discuss Security at Courthouse

Starke County Courthouse

The Starke County Commissioners had a brief discussion last week on added security at the Starke County Courthouse. In light of violence seen at the political event in Arizona, it seems that everyone is considering security.

Two problems with metal detectors at the Starke County Courthouse immediately were evident. One was the added employment of person, or persons, to man the metal detector and the second was the fact that if a metal detector were installed, it would mean only one entrance into the courthouse could be used as all doors couldn’t be provided with a detector.

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Week in Review for January 17th-21st, 2011

Here is just some of the news that made the news in the Kankakee Valley this week:

Robert "Lynn" Fraine and family

Residents of Koontz Lake and surrounding communities turned out last Saturday to honor 50 year Koontz Lake firefighter Robert “Lynn” Fraine.

The Starke County Health Board is considering combining the Environmentalist position with the Food Inspector’s duties. Meanwhile, Starke County Commissioner Jennifer Davis resigned from the seat she was named to on the Starke County Health Board.

Christina Rotering

Christina Rotering was honored before the Oregon-Davis girls basketball game last Saturday night. Christina is battling a form on non-Hodgskin’s Lymphoma.

The Starke County Commissioners discussed the new burn ordinance at its meeting this week. Questions were fielded concerning enforcement of the new ordinance and if leaf and natural wood burning would be permitted.

Jeffrey Singleton, Sr.

Jeffrey Singleton, Sr., Jeffrey Singleton, Jr. and Sandra Singleton of Knox were arrested on Friday, January 14th, on methamphetamine related charges. Police say a meth lab was found in the Singleton’s garage and paraphernalia was found in the residence.

Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Michael Shurn

Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Michael Shurn has been named this year’s H.J. Halleck Award winner in Pulaski County.

Starke County Prosecutor Nicholas Bourff replaced Todd Wallsmith with Mary Ryan as his Chief Deputy.

Several candidates filed for the 2011 Municipal Election in the Starke and Pulaski County Clerks’ offices.

Steve Cronk

The Knox Community School Board approved the retirement of Middle School Principal, Steve Cronk, at its meeting this week.

Two youngsters were given their wish Thursday by students at Culver Community High School. The Student Council raised over $10,000 to send Chris Webb and Chloe Hough to Disney World and Sea World.

Marvin McLaughlin was honored Thursday night as the 2011 Henry F. Schricker Service Award winner.

Starke Memorial Hospital’s name officially changed Thursday afternoon. It will now be known as Indiana University Health-Starke Hospital.

And that is just some of the news that made the news in the Kankakee Valley this week.

Starke County Hospital Officially Changes its Name

Linda Satoski (L) helps present the new Indiana University Health flag to the community

There is no more Starke Memorial Hospital. Well, there is a hospital at the corner of Culver Road and Heaton Street, but the name of the facility was officially changed Thursday. In keeping with the Clarian change throughout the system Starke Memorial will be known as Indiana University Health-Starke Hospital.

“Talking with Spencer Grove from the Indiana Hospital Association said that this is absolutely the first time we’ve changed the name for Starke Hospital,” said CEO Linda Satoski. “It is an exciting day across the entire State of Indiana, moving to the IU Health name and the assurance that it gives our patients, our communities to quality of care, education and research.”

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Marvin McLaughlin Honored as 2010 Henry F. Schricker Award Winner

Marvin's family Front row: Nancy Leonard, Chuck Leonard, Lynette Altman, Barbara McLaughlin (wife), Marvin McLaughlin, Sarah Altman, Evan Altman. Back row: David Altman, Barbara McLaughlin, Alan McLaughlin

The Honorable Judge Marvin McLaughlin was celebrated last night as the 2010 Henry F. Schricker Service Award winner. With family, friends and dignitaries in attendance, the Judge was praised for living a life of “service before self” which was the motto of the former Governor.

In his acceptance speech, the Judge talked about setting aside politics and working for the good of your community, county, and country.

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News from the North Judson Town Board

North Judson Town Board
North Judson Town Board: (L to R) Dan Anderson, Jane Ellen Felchuk, Wendy Hoppe, Connie Miller (Clerk-Treasurer)

North Judson Town Marshal, Doug Vessely, reported to the North Judson Town Board that the Police Department is short one full-time police officer. The position will need to be filled soon, however the Department is not taking applications at this time.

Vessely reported that the new 2011 Crown Victoria car has been delivered to the Department. The light package and other equipment has not yet been installed in the car so it won’t be in service until next week.

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Frigid Air Moves into the Kankakee Valley

Fast dropping temperatures are here, setting up the coldest day of the year. The Kankakee Valley is only expected to get up to 12 degrees today.

A wind chill advisory is in effect until 11:00 a.m. CT/Noon ET. Wind chills could get as low as -10. When you head out today, wear multiple layers of clothing. Don’t forget to wear a hat as a large portion of heat escapes from the head. Make sure you let the water run in a thin stream so the water pipes don’t freeze.

Bella Vita Representatives Give Presentation to Knox Community School Board

Susanne Lange

The Knox Community School Board heard a presentation about the new Bella Vita pregnancy resource center that will be opening on U.S. 35 in Knox in March.

“David Bullock, one of our former teachers who retired a few years back, has been involved with the non-profit organization called Bella Vita,” explained Superintendent A.J. Gappa. “Mr. Bullock and Susanne Lange, also of Bella Vita, were at the Board meeting just to give an informational presentation to the Board and would like to establish a positive relationship between the schools in Starke County and Bella Vita.”

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