Starke Commissioners Amend Unsafe Building Ordinance

starke-county-courthouseThe Starke County Commissioners adopted amendments to the county’s unsafe building ordinance last night amid enthusiastic support from members of the public. Koontz Lake residents in particular attended the meeting and expressed frustration with the prevalence of visible junk vehicles, trash and other debris they say are driving down property values and affecting quality of life. Concerns were also raised about trash that’s not properly disposed of attracting rodents and potentially spreading diseases. Continue reading

Park Board Officials Question Beach and Campground Improvements

Bass Lake CampgroundThe Starke County Park Board’s frustrations with Bass Lake Beach and Campground manager Richard Callahan are growing. They’ve asked county attorney Marty Lucas to attend their meeting this evening to answer questions about the difference between capital improvements and maintenance. Callahan’s lease with the county allows him to deduct capital improvements from his rent payments. However Park Board President Roger Chaffins recently told the county commissioners none of the work has been permitted or inspected and questioned whether it is safe for the public. Continue reading

O-D Superintendent Contract Hearing Set for Tonight

Oregon-Davis School Board members (seated) Andrea McIntosh, Shirley Budka. (standing) Christopher Lawrence, Kurt Hayes, Lee Nagai
Oregon-Davis School Board members (seated) Andrea McIntosh, Shirley Budka. (standing) Christopher Lawrence, Kurt Hayes, Lee Nagai

The Oregon-Davis School Board will solicit input on a proposed superintendent contract during a public hearing this evening.

It includes a base salary of $95,000 for each of the next three years, along with health, dental, vision, long-term disability and term life insurance. Continue reading

Council to Consider N.J.-S.P. Appropriation Request

BluejayThe next procedural step in the North Judson-San Pierre High School’s bond refinancing will take place during tonight’s Starke County Council meeting. The board is taking advantage of $1.43 million in available bond capacity to pay in arrears $600,000 worth of utility bills from the past couple of years that were paid out of the general fund. The rest of the money will be used to upgrade the lighting system in the middle and high schools and rework the HVAC control systems in both buildings. Those measures are expected to save money in the long run. Continue reading

Council to Discuss Additional Transportation Funds

starke-county-courthouseThe Starke County Council will consider a proposal from the highway superintendent with regard to additional state transportation funds when they meet this evening. Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler assembled a road funding committee to discuss options for the one-time appropriation from the state. He also hopes to come up with the required local match to draw down additional funds in order to free up $1 million for additional uses throughout the county over the next five years. Continue reading

Knox Council Approves Community Center Roof Replacement

Nancy J. Dembowski Community Center
Nancy J. Dembowski Community Center

The Knox City Council voted Tuesday to hire a Warsaw-based company to repair the roof on the Nancy J. Dembowski Community Center. Clerk-Treasurer Jeff Houston says multiple local contractors have tried unsuccessfully to patch the leaky rubber roof. The building’s ceilings, carpets and electrical system have sustained extensive water damage as a result of the problems. Continue reading

Knox Prepares to Apply for State Housing Grant

City_of_Knox_LogoThe City of Knox plans to apply for a grant to help homeowners make repairs to their homes. Grant administrator Cathy Miller says Knox has previously received two Community Development Block Grants for owner-occupied repairs. Funds can be used for roofing, gutters, electrical and plumbing repairs, as well as new doors, floors and furnaces. New siding and windows are no longer covered, as they are considered more aesthetic. Continue reading

Sleepy Drivers Blamed for Morning Crashes

LaPorte Crash 1
The driver of this Chevrolet Tahoe was taken to LaPorte Hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries. Photos provided by the LaPorte County Sheriff’s Department.

Patrol deputies from the LaPorte County Sheriff’s Office say sleepy drivers were to blame for a pair of single-vehicle crashes this morning. The first happened around 6:15 a.m. at the intersection of U.S. 35 and Johnson Road. Continue reading

Knox Council Approves Band Stage Funding

City_of_Knox_LogoThe City of Knox did not receive a grant to build a band stage at Wythogan Park, but that doesn’t mean the project will be scrapped. Mayor Dennis Estok told the city council last night the city has received a $10,000 anonymous donation for the project. The Knox Redevelopment Commission has also set aside $40,000 for it. Continue reading

North Judson Physician Spearheads Pioneer Cemetery Project

Phase 1 of the project involves the restoration of the stone terrace at the north end of Pioneer Cemetery
Phase 1 of the project involves the restoration of the stone terrace at the north end of Pioneer Cemetery

A local physician and his wife are spearheading efforts to restore a once-proud piece of North Judson’s history to its former glory. Dennis and Margaret Dalphond’s beautification efforts at Pioneer Cemetery on Talmer Avenue behind Norwayne Field are actually a continuation of the family legacy. Norwayne Field was a WPA project during the Great Depression, and Margaret’s grandfather, Joseph Pacilio, Sr., helped to build it. Continue reading