Rubble in Building Collapse to be Removed Monday

Sportsman bar second dayWork continues to secure an area in Monterey where a building collapsed this week.

The structure that once housed Sportsman’s Bar and Grill gave way around 5 p.m. ET on Thursday. The building was vacant at the time of the incident. No injuries were reported.

Pulaski County Building Administrator David Dare told WKVI news that work has been ongoing to move the rubble into a central location for removal next week. Efforts are being coordinated to remove the remaining debris beginning on Monday. Dare said fencing and caution tape surrounds the area to create a safer environment. Dare mentioned that several Monterey residents assisted officials in clean-up and securing the area.

Continue reading

Downtown Monterey Building Collapses

Sportsman bar

Sportsmans BarThe building that housed a former Monterey business collapsed Thursday night.

Pulaski County Commission President Larry Brady told WKVI News that Sportsman’s Bar and Grill at the corner of Walnut and Main Streets in downtown Monterey fell at about 5 p.m. ET. The building was vacant at the time and there weren’t any injuries reported. A few bricks had fallen from the structure earlier in the day.

Continue reading

New Trial Date Set in James Campbell Case

 An October trial date has been set for the owner of a Knox business destroyed by fire last March, but that may change.

A jury last month in Starke County Recycling owner James Campbell’s arson trial deadlocked after 12 hours of deliberations. Chief Deputy Prosecutor Mary Ryan and Campbell’s attorneys agreed to set aside two weeks for a new trial starting Oct. 19. However Campbell’s attorney says he has not been paid yet and may withdraw as counsel if payment isn’t made within 30 days. If that happens a new trial date will be set. Campbell was ordered to appear at the next status conference on May 27.

Dog Credited with Saving Homeowner from House Fire

A dog bite may have been the difference between life and death for a Bass Lake man. Fire Chief Les Jensen says his department was called to a house fire in Boa Shores around 3:30 Saturday morning. The homeowner was asleep when the fire started. Continue reading

Lack of Funding Delays Pulaski County Road Maintenance

 Pulaski County officials may receive the same information relayed to the Marshall County government bodies concerning funding for county roads.

Pulaski County Highway Department General Foreman Terry Ruff told the commissioners the county will have to scrap regular maintenance this year in order to fix roads damaged by the frost line. He says doing both would cost the county an additional $200,000. Ruff says 20 miles of roads will be worked on this year in the southern part of the county. Chip and seal work will be done, and severely damaged roads will be ground up and reconstructed.

Continue reading

Drug Search Conducted at Knox Middle School

 Starke County K9 Terror with handler Rob Olejniczak, along with other K9 officers from Pulaski County, Marshall County and Plymouth, conducted a drug sweep of the Knox Middle School this week. Additional officers were asked to join the Starke County K9 unit due to the size of the middle school.

According to the Starke County Sheriff’s Office, the K9s swept lockers in addition to vehicles in the parking lots. No illegal substances were found on school grounds.

Continue reading

North Judson-San Pierre High School Graduation Rate Soars

 The North Judson-San Pierre High School principal attributes the uptick in the graduation rate at the corporation to the efforts of determined students, staff, and counselors.

The rate has only gone up slightly each year for the past few years, but Annette Zupin told the school board this week that it means a lot to see students improve. Zupin believes an 11 percent increase in the graduation rate between 2013 and 2014 is due to the determination of students to graduate. The graduation rate was at 84.7 percent in 2013 and 95.8 percent in 2014. The school board members are hoping for the same or better results this year.  Continue reading

Starke County Council Authorizes Mailing of Inkeepers Tax Letters

starke-county-courthouseStarke County inkeepers taxes are now payable to the county treasurer’s office each month. The forms that need to be submitted with those payments are available on the county’s website, and any questions can be directed to the treasurer’s office. Payments were previously submitted to the state. Continue reading

Knox Fire Hydrant Replacement Plan Presented

HydrantSeveral fire hydrants will be replaced in Knox this spring.

Water Superintendent Todd Gardner said the hydrants on John Street in front of the apartment building will need to be changed out. He said they are over 100 years old and are not functioning. He’s concerned because there isn’t adequate fire protection in that area if a structure fire were to occur. Another hydrant on the corner of John and Prettyman Streets will be replaced, as it is broken off at the ground.

Continue reading

Local Grower Places Hopes in Hops

HopsStarke County is generally known for growing three crops: corn. soybeans and peppermint. A local man plans to join a dozen or so other Hoosier farmers that are now planting hops – a main ingredient in beer that could become a major local crop.

Typically grown in the Pacific Northwest, there are half-a-dozen varieties adapting to Hoosier weather.  Hops are essentially flowers that grow on a vine. The crop requires a tall trellis system about 20 feet tall and then every year you have to tie strings to the top of the trellis and anchor them down. Continue reading

Plea Hearing Set in Attempted Murder Case

Benton Chrisopher Howard

Benton Christopher Howard

A plea hearing has been set in Starke Circuit Court for a man accused of stabbing a Knox resident in the early morning hours of Sunday, Nov. 30.

According to the affidavit of probable cause, Benton Christopher Howard and Brandon Davidson got into an argument at a home in Knox which escalated to a physical confrontation. Howard allegedly unsheathed a knife and stabbed Davidson in the chest. Davidson was taken to the hospital with a collapsed lung and damage to his heart.

Howard is charged with attempted murder as a Level 1 felony and aggravated battery as a Level 3 felony.

Continue reading

Requests Increase for Transportation at Marshall County Council on Aging

The Marshall County Council on Aging continues to cater to more and more patrons with transportation needs.

Executive Director Jackie Wright gave the Marshall County Commissioners an annual report this week and said they have been turning down requests for transportation as they aren’t able to accommodate all of the requests. About 60 denials were given in each quarter in 2014. She explained driver and vehicle availability and hours in the operation day were the main reasons why those requests were denied. The agency has nine vehicles with 15 drivers.

Continue reading

March County Unemployment Rates Reflect Two Extremes

The March unemployment rates in Starke, LaPorte and Jasper Counties are well above the state average, while Marshall and Pulaski Counties are slightly under that number. That’s according to figures released by the Indiana Department of Workforce Development. Continue reading

Winamac Industry Recognized for Employment Efforts

Dawn Winebrenner, Ben Schneiner and Department of Workforce Development Commissioner Steven J. Braun

Dawn Winebrenner, Ben Schneiner and Department of Workforce Development Commissioner Steven J. Braun

A Winamac industry has been recognized for efforts to create employment opportunities for residents.

Officials from Galfab, Inc. received a WorkOne Achievement Award this week during a ceremony at the Indiana Statehouse.

Galfab, Inc. is a premier designer and manufacturer of waste equipment of all types. They partnered with WorkOne to utilize hiring services, along with the WorkKeys skills assessment and interviewing processes to locate, assess and identify individuals with the right skills for positions. According to the Indiana Workforce Development, over 40 welders have been hired in this partnership and over 20 young adults have received valuable work traits and industry knowledge through work experiences.

Continue reading

Summer School Classes Approved for North Judson-San Pierre Students

North Judson-San Pierre High School

North Judson-San Pierre High School

North Judson-San Pierre students can attend summer school classes that have been offered in the past, or they can take new classes.

Superintendent Lynn Johnson said summer school classes will be meet Monday through Thursday starting June 8th and continuing through June 25th.

Continue reading

Income Surveys Needed for Pulaski County Planning Grant

Pulaski County CourthouseMore income surveys are needed to help Pulaski County obtain a planning grant for a new EMS building.

Pulaski County Community Development Commission Executive Director Nathan Origer told the county commissioners this week that 500 surveys are needed, and only 100 have been returned.

Continue reading

North Judson Town Board Approves Mowing Contract, Issues Sewage Reminder

North Judson Water TowerThe lone contractor to submit a timely cemetery mowing bid to the town of North Judson will do the work this year. Clerk-Treasurer Donna Henry says the town council awarded the bid to Shef’s Lawn Care Services. Their $15,000 bid includes mowing of Highland and Pioneer Cemeteries and other miscellaneous lawn care around town. Continue reading

Starke County Council Approves Mower Purchase for Jail

Starke County Sheriff's Department BadgeStarke County officials have opted to do their own lawn maintenance and snow removal at the new jail in an effort to contain costs. On Monday the county council approved the purchase of a mower with a commercial grade deck for the facility. It will be paid for with tax money set aside for construction of the building east of Knox on State Road 8. Continue reading

Knox Board of Public Works Approves Loan of K9 Kennel

 The Starke County Sheriff’s Office will have a vehicle kennel for another K9 when the time comes to purchase another dog.

The Knox Board of Public Works agreed to loan the city-owned kennel to the county to help reduce the county’s costs toward another K9 unit. Mayor Rick Chambers explained that the Knox City Police Department no longer has a K9 unit and had the kennel in storage. Sheriff Bill Dulin requested the use of the kennel and the request was granted Wednesday morning.

Continue reading