Here is a look at some of the news that made the news in the Kankakee Valley this week.
No injuries were reported after the storms ripped through the area Tuesday which caused extensive damage at the Starke County Airport. Airport Manager Pam Beharry said five planes were totaled and hangars were damaged and some destroyed. Some airplanes in the hangars were even lifted from the ground up to ten feet in the air. One hangar lost a roof in the storm, but none of the planes in that hangar were damaged. Beharry said that the total amount of damage at the airport won’t be known for a while yet.
The Starke County Courthouse also sustained damage in Tuesday’s storm. Maintenance Director Carl Goodrich explained that Atlas Engineering examined the damage and found nothing structurally wrong, but there was some tile and capping missing from the roof of the Courthouse. A crane will be brought in to complete those repairs. Goodrich was happy to have the help of some Community Corrections workers to help clear debris from the Courthouse after Tuesday’s storms.
The dispatch tower at the Starke County Sheriff’s Department was bent as a result of Tuesday’s strong winds and crews were at the scene Wednesday attempting to straighten the tower and reattach the antennas to gain communication back with the Highway Department. Sheriff Oscar Cowen and the Commissioners are now waiting for the insurance company to look at the damage to determine what will be the best replacement solution. A new tower could cost $35,000. Starke County Highway Superintendent Steve Siddall said all of the county roads are open but there are limbs and other debris along the sides of the road that will take some time to clear.
Knox City Building Administrator Greg Matt reminds you to be cautious when hiring a contractor to conduct repairs on your property. He says all contractors have to be registered in the City before any work can be completed. Ask to see their registration card before allowing them to do any work. If they don’t have a card, tell them to register with the city and come back. If you hire an unregistered contractor and that person leaves the job site and never returns, or doesn’t do the work properly, then you will be stuck and out money in the deal.
The Starke County Jail Committee has decided that building a new jail on a newly-purchased or already-owned piece of property is the option that best suits the needs of the county. A new facility with 108 beds will cost an estimated $14 million. To pay for this project, the county will need to issue bonds with a 20 year maturity of $1.18 million annually. This will mean a tax increase for residents in Starke County. If you have more questions for the Jail Committee, another public meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday night at 6:00 p.m. at the Oregon-Davis High School Cafeteria.
The Bass Lake Conservancy District has been notified of conditions surrounding the the state’s water shortage plan. If the state declares a water shortage emergency, the pumps that pumps millions of gallons of water into Bass lake will be shut off and that will mean all boats in the lake will need to be removed from the lake as the water level will deplete quickly. The state is currently under a water shortage warning. If you need more information, call the Bass Lake Conservancy District at 772-2974 or click on the DNR’s link on this story on our website at wkvi.com.
The sudden illness of four people at the LaPorte County Fair has been diagnosed as the Influenza A virus. Health officials determined that the four had come in direct contact with swine that was infected with the virus. If you have had any contact with swine at any county fair and you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, call your healthcare provider. All four people affected in this incident have recovered.
A new business has moved into the North Judson area. The Agricultural Systems Division of Chester, Inc. has added a structure that will house an inventory of parts needed for irrigation systems it designs and installs. The Agricultural Systems Division services 1500 irrigation systems, mostly center-pivot systems, and they also service grain dryers and drying bins. The President and CEO of the company said their North Judson business is centrally located for their customers in Northern Indiana and Southwest Michigan.
13 to 15 Starke County inmates on average are being housed each day in the Pulaski County Jail to ease overcrowding issues at the Starke County facility. Pulaski County Sheriff Michael Gayer said the arrangement is going well so far. Starke County is paying $20 per day to house the inmates in the Pulaski County Jail which includes meals and medications. While in the Pulaski County facility, the inmates can participate in a number of rehabilitation programs to assist them and Sheriff Gayer says the Pulaski County facility is one of only 14 in the state that offers these programs.