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Construction Work on the Phoenix House More Than Halfway Done

The Phoenix House construction project is moving along.

Bob Alloy from Territorial Engineering appeared before the Knox Board of Works members to present a pay application for the construction done. The amount of $82,269 was approved for Chester Construction.

Alloy said about 65 percent of the construction is done. There is $140,000 left to complete the project.

The construction project began in mid-January with site preparations beginning in December. The Phoenix House suffered flooding and grant money was sought by K-IRPC to aid in the construction project. The garage is being expanded to include a storage area, a group meeting room, a library and computer area.

Synthetic Substance Bill Moves to Governor’s Desk

Indiana Governor Mike Pence

Indiana Governor Mike Pence

Final legislative approval was given this week to a bill that would improve Indiana’s laws against synthetic drugs.

The bill, sponsored by State Sen. Ron Alting, would make it illegal to possess or deal look-alike synthetic drugs. Current state law only prohibits substances identified as synthetic drugs based on their chemical makeup.

Senate Bill 536 would also clarify the definition of “intoxication” to allow law enforcement officers to arrest and prosecute individuals driving under the influence of synthetic drugs.

Senate Bill 536 now moves to Gov. Mike Pence’s desk to be signed into law.

SCILL Center Vocational Welding Students Serving Internships

Jerry Gurrado

Jerry Gurrado

The SCILL Center vocational welding students are diligently working to improve on their new trade, and Executive Director Jerry Gurrado explained that 10 of the 16 vocational welding students have earned their certifications – something Gurrado said he’s very thrilled about. The students are currently about six months ahead in their training and Gurrado attributed their success in their studies to instructor Andy Odle.

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2013 Lilly Endowment Community Scholar Announced

Bailey Masterson

Bailey Masterson

The Starke County Community Foundation this week announced the recipient of the 2013 Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship. Bailey Masterson, an Oregon-Davis High School student, will receive a full-tuition, four-year scholarship to the Indiana college of her choice as well as a $900 year stipend to cover the costs of required books and equipment.

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Unemployment Report Released for February

According to the recently released unemployment report for February 2013, the unemployment rate in Starke County and all its surrounding counties decreased since January. Starke County’s rate dropped by 0.1 percent, giving the county the sixth highest unemployment rate in the state.

Meanwhile, Pulaski County’s unemployment rate dropped 0.3 percent to 8.1 percent, ranking them the 76th highest county for unemployment; Marshall County dropped by 0.6 percent to 9.7 percent, ranking them 43rd; LaPorte County’s rate remained at 12 percent for a rank of eighth highest; Fulton County’s rate dropped by 0.2 percent to 10.3 percent, ranking them 33rd; St. Joseph County also dropped by 0.2 percent to 10.6 percent for 28th place; and Porter County dropped by 0.3 percent to 9 percent, making them the 57th highest county for unemployment.

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IU Health LaPorte Offering Educational Session on Immunization Practices

For those whom administer immunizations or are interested in learning more about vaccine-preventable diseases, an IU Health is offering an educational session covering all aspects of immunization practices. “Immunizations from A–Z” will take place on Saturday, April 20 from 8 a.m. to noon CT at IU Health LaPorte Hospital in the lower level auditorium.

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Patrick Doyle

Patrick Doyle, 96, of Plymouth, Indiana passed away Tuesday March 26, 2013.  Funeral services will be Tuesday, April 2, 2013 at 11:00 a.m. ET at the St. Patrick Church in Walkerton.  Visitation is Monday from 5:00-8:00 p.m. ET and Tuesday from 10:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at the Rannells Funeral Home, Koontz Lake Chapel.  A prayer service will be held Monday at the funeral home at 7:30 p.m.  In lieu of masses, memorial contributions may be given to the church or to St. Gabriel Church in Chicago, Illinois.

Pedestrians Treated and for Minor Injuries After Being Hit by a Truck

Two women who work in the Marshall County building were treated at a local hospital for minor injuries sustained yesterday as they were struck by a truck while walking to work. The incident occurred just before 8 a.m. at the corner of Jefferson and Center Streets in downtown Plymouth. Police there say Timothy J. Patterson, 42, of Plymouth, was blinded by the sun as he was turning left from Center Street onto Jefferson Street and did not see the women crossing the street. Catherine A. Hamman of Plymouth was treated at St. Joseph Regional Medical Center in Plymouth for a concussion, Angela L. Wilson of Plymouth received stitches to her face for some minor cuts. Hamman told the police officer she and Wilson were talking as they crossed the street with the light and did not see Patterson’s truck before it hit them.

Public Hearing Set for Small Livestock Ordinance Discussion in Hamlet

Another public hearing concerning the discussion surrounding the making of a proposed small livestock ordinance for the town of Hamlet is scheduled for Tuesday, April 2 at 6:30 p.m. CT at the Hamlet Town Hall.

Hamlet Clerk-Treasurer Kristina Pitts had earlier reported that the proposed ordinance would allow residents in the town limits to house chickens on their property. She stated that several people have been in favor of the ordinance.

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Knox Council Approves Sewer Project Appropriation

Knox City Council

Knox City Council

The sewer project for the city of Knox is moving along as officials look to put in a new lift station near the South Side Fire Station. Clerk-Treasurer Jeff Houston explained to the city council this week that the additional appropriation approved for the project last year expired at the start of the new year, and Houston said they would now have to approve the appropriation once again.

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SCILL Center Gearing Up to Begin Third Adult Welding Class

Jerry Gurrado

Jerry Gurrado

For those interested in picking up a new skill, the SCILL Center is now taking applications for their next adult welding class, which Executive Director Jerry Gurrado said is right around the corner. The class kicks off on May 6, and Gurrado said that the local WorkOne office has already received a number of applications. Applications can be obtained by calling the SCILL Center or WorkOne, and Gurrado strongly encourages everyone to contact WorkOne to take advantage of training dollars available to lessen the expense.

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UV Bulb Purchase Approved by Knox BOW

Knox Board of Public Works

Knox Board of Public Works

The Knox Board of Public Works approved an expenditure of $5,528 for the Waste Water Treatment Facility.

Superintendent Kelly Clemons explained that the UV lights at the plant have run about 13,395 hours and the warranty on the lights is good for 20,000 hours. She is looking to buy bulbs to have on hand when those lights need to be replaced.

April 1 is the start of the disinfecting season and the UV lights help kill certain bacteria that is present during the sanitation process. The lights are needed in order to be in compliance with standards set forth by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.

The Board of Works approved the purchase of 16 bulbs at $333 apiece, plus shipping and handling, for a total cost of $5,528. When the new bulbs are installed, the company will come to Knox and pick up the old bulbs for recycling purposes.

Court Filing Seeks Release of Names of Kenny Becker’s Accusers

Pulaski County Commissioners Larry Brady, Vice President Terry Young, and President Tracey Shorter

Pulaski County Commissioners Larry Brady, Vice President Terry Young, and President Tracey Shorter

The legal battle over longtime Pulaski County Highway Superintendent Kenny Becker’s firing continues. He was reappointed by the county commissioners on January 7th, suspended with pay on January 22nd so allegations raised by a current and a former employee could be looked into and reinstated as highway manager on February 4th following an investigation by an outside consultant. Commissioner Larry Brady served as interim superintendent, and Becker was subsequently fired by the commissioners on March 4th. He’s since hired an attorney and filed a $500,000 notice of tort claim against the county commissioners for slander and defamation of character.

Pulaski County attorney Kevin Tankersley reluctantly released a copy of the consultant’s investigation report after being ordered to do so by the state Public Access Counselor’s office but redacted the names of Becker’s accusers. The new filing seeks to force the release of that information, noting “the Commissioners have failed to comply fully with the requirements of the Open Door Law.” It also states the names are necessary for possible legal action by Becker for slander and defamation of character.

 

 

 

Deep Study to be Conducted on Lake Maxinkuckee

Lake Maxinkuckee beach in Culver.

Lake Maxinkuckee beach in Culver.

A deep study to determine the amount of nutrients, algae and other elements in Lake Maxinkuckee in Culver, and its history, will be conducted on April 22.

The Lake Maxinkuckee Environmental Council predicts this comprehensive study will make officials better understand how much change the lake has undergone since its last deep study done in 1984. One issue the scientists will be looking at is the amount of phosphorous in the lake.

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North Judson Town Board Approves Quote for Highland Cemetery Signs

Highland Cemetery in North Judson will soon be sporting some new signs, as the town board this week signed off on a quote of $860 for two new signs, one of which will be posted at the main entrance while a smaller sign will be posted at the secondary entrance. Clerk-Treasurer Donna Henry explained the larger sign will highlight the recently amended cemetery rules and regulations; the smaller sign, she said, will direct visitors to the main entrance sign.

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Town of Culver Soon to Accept Sidewalk Program Applications

The town of Culver will soon be accepting applications for the 2013 Sidewalk Program, giving homeowners the opportunity to be reimbursed a portion of the expense involved in replacing sidewalks or curbs. The applications will be available Monday at Town Hall, and each completed application for the program will be reviewed in the order they’re received, so get those applications in early.

Interested applicants will need the measurements for their sidewalk, curb, or both that they would like to replace in order to complete the application process. If the application is approved, sidewalk work will be reimbursed $2.75 per square foot, curbing at $14 per lineal foot, and curb and sidewalk combinations at $26 per lineal foot.