Pete Phenis

Funeral services for 69-year-old Pete Phenis of Walkerton, Indiana will be Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014 at 11 a.m. ET at the Rannells Funeral Home, Koontz Lake Chapel.  Visitation is Monday from 4 p.m. to 8 pm. ET and Tuesday one hour prior to services at the funeral home.  Military graveside services will be conducted.  Memorial contributions may be made to the family.

Cause of Monday Night Fire to be Investigated Today

20140128_075539The cause of a house fire on Toto Road near Fletcher’s Carpet will be investigated by a representative of the Indiana State Fire Marshal’s Office today.

Firefighters from the Knox-Center Township Fire Department and Bass Lake Fire Department were called to the scene Monday night and extinguished the fire after three hours of battling sub-zero temperatures and frozen water valves. Crews were called back to the scene at 3:45 a.m. Tuesday for a rekindle. Fire Chief Kenny Pfost told WKVI that heavy fire was visible in both instances.

No injuries were reported.

Knox Council Approves Fire Contract for Center Township

The Knox City Council this week approved the fire contract for Center Township but tabled the contract between Center and Jackson townships for fire service. Fire Chief Kenny Pfost was present at the city council meeting Tuesday night and reviewed the contracts at the request of Mayor Rick Chambers, and said he found a problem in the agreement between the townships.

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Travel Watches in Effect for Northwest Indiana

All of the counties in the WKVI listening area are under an “orange level” travel watch this morning. That means only essential travel, such as trips to work and school, is recommended. More snow is set to move into the area this afternoon. Tomorrow’s forecast calls for a mixture of snow and sleet. As always, we’ll bring you the very latest on the air and online at If you haven’t already done so, be sure to bookmark our closings and delays page. That’s where you’ll find a link to the Indiana county travel advisory map and more.

Additional $5 Million Allocated to Low Income Energy Assistance Program

With nearly 10 percent of Hoosiers utilizing propane for their residential heating, the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority recently allocated an additional $5 million in funds to assist low-income families with their energy needs. The funds were released to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, to be funneled to local service providers who cover all 92 counties.

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Concert Scheduled to Share Drew Shearin’s Music

A Knox resident is spearheading a movement to bring the late Drew Shearin’s music to life in a unique concert at the Culver Academies.

Kemble Manning, a senior at Culver Military Academy, and his classmate Denver Blackson from Washington, have presented the music to the Culver Academies Theater and Music Departments to prepare a concert featuring Shearin’s music.

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It’s Tax Season; Get Prepared To File

Tax season is upon us and many people have already received their W-2 statements for 2013, giving just under three months to get those taxes filed before April 15. Michelle Bachtel, senior tax adviser for H&R Block, said there haven’t been many big changes in the tax laws for individuals this year.

“As far as individuals are concerned, there are not a lot of changes on the tax laws. Some of our credits have been extended, such as the energy credits, the child tax credit, charitable distribution credit – some of those have been extended through 2017. They were originally set to expire for this year, but they’ve extended those on,” said Bachtel.

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Starke County Unemployment Figures Improve

Indiana’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped 0.4 percent to 6.9 percent in December and is now at the lowest point since October 2008 at 6.8 percent.

According the Indiana Workforce Development, Indiana’s unemployment rate is declining as people return to the work force. The labor force has increased by nearly 6,000 in December and has grown by over 21,000 in three months.

Starke County ranks tenth in the state in terms of unemployment at 7.7 percent, which is higher than the state percentage. Starke County dropped a half of a percentage point in the rate in December from November. Pulaski County ranks 74th at 5.4 percent, Marshall County is ranked 32nd at 6.8 percent, LaPorte County is fourth with 8.3 percent, and Porter County ranks 30th with 6.9 percent unemployment.

Cold Weather Could Kill Off Significant Emerald Ash Borer Population

Emerald Ash Borer

Emerald Ash Borer

The cold weather may be miserable, but it does have some benefits. According to Steve Whitaker, district forester at the Jasper-Pulaski Tree Nursery, prolonged periods of very cold weather has been shown to slow down the population growth of the emerald ash borer, an invasive species that is now considered the most destructive forest pest ever seen in North America.

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Hunter Education Course Offered Feb. 8

Aspiring hunters will soon have the opportunity to take a hunter education course to allow them to obtain their hunting license. Ray Rausch told WKVI that a hunter education class will begin on Saturday, Feb. 8 at the Pulaski County Highway Garage. The 10–12 hour class must be completed for anyone born after Dec. 31, 1986 to obtain a hunting license.

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4-H Enrollment Deadline is Today

Today is the deadline to sign up for 4-H for the upcoming year.  It’s a youth enrichment program for youngsters in grade school through high school. The traditional 4-H program starts in 3rd grade and goes until a member is in 12th grade or 10 years. Younger children can take part in “Exploring 4-H.” It’s open to youth in kindergarten through 2nd grade. 4-H is open to all rural and urban youth who fall into the program’s age parameters. Exploring 4-H members are limited to one project per year, but traditional 4-H members can take as many projects as they are comfortable juggling. Starke County Extension Director and 4-H Youth Development Educator Elisabeth Smith says the program offers something for everyone. Continue reading

Marshall County Elevates Travel Advisory Level to Watch

The Marshall County Commissioners earlier this evening made the decision to elevate the travel status from its previous advisory level to a watch level beginning at 6 p.m. Thursday night. A press release from the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office indicates strong winds and blowing snow will make drifting roads a significant issue for travelers by tomorrow morning.

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Residents Reminded to Let Faucets Drip During Cold Weather

freeze-alert-mdThe Town of North Judson reminds residents and business owners to let water run constantly in a stream about the diameter of a pencil whenever temperatures are below 32 degrees. This helps keep water meters and pipes from freezing. Town utility crews have responded to several frozen pipe and meter calls, and in most cases water had not been left running. Town officials say the first call is a courtesy, but there is a charge of $100 for the second call. Fees are even higher for third and subsequent calls.

David Heineman, Sr. Sentenced to Six Years on Meth Charge

David Heineman

David Heineman, Sr.

David Heineman, Sr.  was sentenced in Starke Circuit Court Wednesday morning.

Heineman, Sr. pleaded guilty to a a Class B felony charge of Possession of Methamphetamine within 1,000 feet of a school. Heineman, Sr. admitted in open court that on Apr. 7, 2012, he did possess the drug while at his residence on Lake Street, which is less than 1,000 feet from the Marshall/Starke Head Start school.

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Four Plea Agreements Rejected in Starke Circuit Court

Starke Circuit Court Judge Kim Hall

Starke Circuit Court Judge Kim Hall

Starke Circuit Court Judge Kim Hall rejected plea agreements in four cases yesterday.

Judge Hall rejected a plea agreement for 18-year-old Martin Noble because he didn’t pay his $100 public defender fee and he didn’t have the paperwork filed for his evaluation into community corrections in time for his hearing. His case was set for a status hearing for Friday, Feb. 7 at 9 a.m.

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Knox Man Arrested on Meth Charges

A search warrant executed by police Wednesday resulted in the arrest of a Knox man.

Officers from the Starke County Sheriff’s Department went to a home in the 9700 East block of County Road 50 South in Knox where they reportedly found two one-pot methamphetamine labs, an HCL generator, precursors, drug paraphernalia, other items used in the manufacture of meth, and the finished product.

Glenn Joseph was arrested on preliminary charges of Manufacturing Methamphetamine, Possession of Chemical Reagents or Precursors, Possession of Methamphetamine, Maintaining a Common Nuisance, and Possession of Paraphernalia. He has an additional charge of Possession of Marijuana under 30 grams.

Knox City Police Department officers assisted the Starke County Sheriff’s Department in this case as well as the Indiana State Police Clandestine Team.

Knox City Council Authorizes New Sgt. Position for Police Department

Knox City Police Chief Clint Norem

Knox City Police Chief Clint Norem

The Knox City Council authorized the creation of a new rank for the Knox City Police Department. During their regular meeting Tuesday night, Mayor Rick Chambers explained to the council that police chief Clint Norem is requesting another rank of sergeant in the department, making a total of two sergeant positions.

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