The Town of Medaryville has a new council member. Clerk-Treasurer Judy Harwood swore Corrie Hauptli in this morning. She was appointed by the Pulaski County Democratic Party Chairman to replace longtime council president Gene Payne, who recently stepped down. Derrick Stalbaum was recently elected president and was present at the swearing-in ceremony. Carolyn Hagar will serve as vice-president. The appointment was made in accordance with state law. All three Medaryville council seats are up for reelection in 2015.
Starke County Council members want more information about proposed wheel tax rates, types of vehicles that would be taxed and how any funds generated would be used for road improvements before making any decision about implementing such a tax. County Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler will chair a committee comprised of council members Marvin McLaughlin, Freddie Baker and Bob Sims and Commissioner Kathy Norem. After they discuss the details, a public input meeting will be scheduled to further explain the process. Ritzler has streamlined the highway department’s operations since taking over but says efficiency can only go so far. “Our limiting factor is the oil and stone that we use to improve roads. We have a certain amount of funding sources, we used them all. The only way of increasing is a user tax that is available to us, a user fee. 47 of the 92 counties in Indiana have it. Of the counties that don’t have it, many have an additional source of funding that’s not available to us, and that’s riverboat gambling money. We are in the bottom fifth of road conditions in the state,” Ritzler told the council. Read the rest of this entry »
The interlocal agreement with Marshall County and the City of Plymouth was signed by the commissioners which will go on to the county council to be signed. County Attorney Jim Clevenger explained that a local board will need to be formed to oversee operations. A commissioner, city council member, county council member, and a representative from the private sector will need to be appointed to this board.
The Knox City Council will meet in regular session tonight.
Senator Jim Arnold will have a legislative update, Charles Weaver from the Starke County Economic Development Foundation will discuss the 300 East construction project, and Brian Trappe will have a Toll Brothers tax abatement update.
The Starke County Sheriff’s Department investigated two accidents on Sunday.
At 11:20 a.m., officers responded to a call of a vehicle in a water-filled ditch on State Road 8 and Range Road. The car landed on its roof in the ditch. The driver, Kaitlyn Vukelich of Schererville, and her four-year-old daughter were pulled from the vehicle by a passerby.
Motorists traveling between Knox and Winamac on U.S. 35 can avoid taking the long way around during the next few weeks of road work. INDOT has closed the highway from 850 S. to the Starke/Pulaski County line in order to replace a culvert. The state’s marked detour sends drivers west on 10, south on 39 and back east on 14 because INDOT can only use roads maintained by the state to divert traffic. Starke County Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler says drivers heading south on 35 can turn left on 800 S., right on 600 East and right on 900 S. to get past the construction and back to U.S. 35. Northbound motorists can follow that route in reverse. Ritzler says those roads are paved and are more suited to heavy traffic. He says several drivers have used 850 S. and 400 E. to get around the construction. Those roads are gravel and are becoming rutted. The project should wrap up by the end of the month, weather permitting.
The Indiana State Police and the Drug Enforcement Agency will be collecting unused, unwanted or expired prescription drugs at any state police post on Saturday, April 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. local time. The state police toll road post will not be able to accept these items.
A LaPorte man may face criminal charges after reportedly passing out in the front seat of his car in a restaurant parking lot after apparently overdosing. The police report indicates he had a metal spoon in his lap when first responders arrived at the Buffalo Wild Wings on Pine Lake Avenue. When officers from the LaPorte Police Department got there, he was reportedly conscious but unable to walk without assistance and was sweating heavily. The police report indicates he admitted to ingesting heroin before emergency personnel arrived. Police reportedly found several items of drug paraphernalia inside his car, which was seized as evidence. He was taking by ambulance to IU Health LaPorte Hospital. The LaPorte County Prosecutor’s Office is considering charges.
The new Municipal Building in Walkerton is complete.
According to Walkerton Building Commissioner Phil Buckmaster, the building is situated at 301 Michigan Street and is twice the size of the old office building on Roosevelt Road. The building holds the offices of the clerk-treasurer and the economic development director as well as the town courtroom/city council meeting room and the police department.
Unemployment numbers went down in March, according to statistics released by the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.
Over the past year, the state’s unemployment rate declined two percent which is the third largest decrease in the nation.
Starke County’s unemployment rate fell one point to 8.2 percent from February’s rate, while the state’s rate fell .2 percent to 5.9 percent.
Authorities in Marshall County believe speed and possibly alcohol were factors in a Saturday afternoon wreck that sent the driver and a front seat passenger to South Bend Memorial Hospital via helicopter. A 1995 Mercury driven by Nicholas Walker, 22, of Plymouth was northbound on Tulip Road from 9C road in Plymouth, lost control and hit a tree, according to a crash report from the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office. Walker was pinned in the car but conscious when sheriff’s deputies arrived. A passenger, Matthew Gaines, was also in the vehicle and was in and out of consciousness, according to authorities. Both had to be cut from the wreckage. A young girl in the back seat was not hurt. A formal criminal case is being prepared and will be sent to the Marshall County Prosecutor’s Office for review.
The North Judson-San Pierre School Board is looking to implement a Wifi system at the corporation this summer.
Superintendent Lynn Johnson said the move will be big for students and for visitors to the school. The board is currently seeking quotes for the upgrade.
Superintendent Dan Foster explained that only two school corporations in the state operate on a fiscal year budget and Eastern Pulaski is one of those two schools. The board recently approved a measure to move the school from a fiscal year budget to calendar year budget to come in line with state software and other advantages. He said the switch may get a little tricky.
The Oregon-Davis School Corporation will participate in the Summer Food Service Program again this year.
Free meals will be available to all children 18 years of age and under and to anyone over the age of 18 who is enrolled in a state-approved educational program for the mentally or physically disabled. There will be no discrimination in the course of the meal service.