Today's News

Pence Education Agenda Draws Mixed Reviews

North Judson-San Pierre Admin buildingGov. Mike Pence’s education agenda for the upcoming legislative session draws mixed reviews from a local school administrator who is looking to the General Assembly for meaningful reform. North Judson-San Pierre Superintendent Lynn Johnson agrees with some of the things the governor is suggesting, such as accountability that takes into account student growth.

The North Judson-San Pierre School Corporation has lost millions of dollars due over the past several years due to a combination of state funding cuts, declining enrollment and unfunded mandates. During a Tuesday night public forum, Johnson said the legislature needs to increase the amount of money it pays corporations per enrolled student. That’s also among the items on Pence’s agenda. Continue reading

N.J.-S.P. Officials Looking to Legislature for Education Reform

North Judson-San Pierre Admin buildingA combination of declining enrollment, cuts in state funding and unfunded service mandates has North Judson-San Pierre School Corporation officials facing some difficult choices. They’ve already had to cut $800,000 from their budget this school year. Superintendent Lynn Johnson says eight staff members have been notified they will not have jobs after the school year ends. She says the corporation is looking to the Indiana General Assembly for meaningful education reform when the legislature convenes in January. Continue reading

Recount Commission Reaffirms Vote Totals

Starke County IT Director Joe Short, Democrat James A. Henriott and Republican Marilyn Folkers review vote totals in the two races in which challenges were filed.

Starke County IT Director Joe Short, Democrat James A. Henriott and Republican Marilyn Folkers review vote totals in the two races in which challenges were filed.

The three-member commission charged with reviewing vote totals in two close Starke County races found no discrepancies in either contest. The certificate they will file with the Starke County Clerk’s office finds Democrat Pamela Stalbaum beat Republican Don White by two votes in the fourth district county council race. By the numbers, Stalbaum got 707 votes to White’s 705 for the seat currently held by Marvin McLaughlin. Continue reading

Recount Commission Members to Meet Today

The three-member recount commission appointed last week by Starke Circuit Judge Kim Hall to review the votes cast in two recent General Election contests will meet this morning at the courthouse. They’re looking into the outcome of the fourth district county council race between Democrat Pam Stalbaum and Republican Don White. The Republican Party filed a recount petition on White’s behalf after Stalbaum eked out a two-vote victory in the race to succeed Democrat Marvin McLaughlin. Incumbent Railroad Township Trustee Roger Chaffins, Sr. also filed a petition for a recount after losing to Republican Mandy Thompson by three votes. Continue reading

Pay it Forward on Giving Tuesday

Get into the spirit of the holiday season tomorrow with Giving Tuesday. Starke County Youth Club Executive Director Irene Szakonyi says the local nonprofit has joined the movement.

“It really does inspire people to take action for their local community to give, whether it’s giving a gift of money, of time, of making a donation of another sort,”Szarconyi  said. “We really want to encourage and join what is now actually a global movement to give on Giving Tuesday, which is Dec. 2nd.” Continue reading

Judge Appoints Recount Commission Members

Starke Circuit Judge Kim Hall has appointed a three-member recount commission to review the votes cast in two recent General Election contests. A petition seeking a recount was filed in the fourth district council race on behalf of Republican Don White, who lost to Democrat Pamela Stalbaum by two votes in the race to succeed Marvin McLaughlin. Incumbent Railroad Township Trustee Roger Chaffins, Sr. also filed a petition for a recount after losing to Republican Mandy Thompson by three votes. Continue reading

Voting Machines and Ballots Impounded, Judge Considering Recount Commission Members

The voting machines and ballots from the four Wayne and lone Railroad Township Precincts in the Nov. 4 General Election have been impounded to facilitate recounts in two very close races. Republican Party officials sought a recount on behalf of 4th District Council candidate Don White. He lost to Democrat Pamela Stalbaum by two votes in the race to succeed Marvin McLaughlin. That seat represents Wayne and Railroad Townships.

Incumbent Democrat Railroad Township Trustee Roger Chaffins Sr. has also filed a recount petition in his race. He lost to Republican Mandy Thompson by three votes. Continue reading

Two Recount Petitions Filed in Starke County

The fate of two contested races in the November General Election is in the hands of the Starke Circuit Court. Starke County Republican Party Chair Brenda Stanojevic filed a recount petition in the 4th District Council seat on behalf of candidate Don White. Democrat Pam Stalbaum edged him by two votes in the contest for the open seat currently held by Marvin McLaughlin. That district is comprised of the four Wayne Township precincts as well as the one in Railroad Township. Incumbent Democrat Railroad Township Trustee Roger Chaffins Sr. is also seeking a recount after losing to Republican Mandy Thompson by three votes.

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North Judson-San Pierre School Board to Discuss Balanced Calendar

TCalendarhe North Judson-San Pierre School Board will discuss several items tonight when they meet in the central office at 7 p.m. CT.

The balanced calendar will be discussed. Superintendent Lynn Johnson has previously stated that the calendars need to be similar with Knox and Oregon-Davis to accommodate students in the JESSE and vocational cooperative programs. Corporations normally adopt school calendars by January and the school board could adopt a calendar tonight.

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Starke County Schools Considering Balanced Calendar

CalendarThe Knox and Oregon-Davis School Boards could vote tonight to adopt a balanced school calendar for the 2015-2016 school year, and the North Judson-San Pierre School Board will consider one when they meet tomorrow. A balanced calendar still features the state-mandated 180 classroom days. The school year starts earlier in August and includes longer breaks in the fall and spring. They can be used for either remediation for students who are struggling or enrichment for higher-achieving pupils. Continue reading

North Judson-San Pierre School Board Celebrates Improved Test Scores

Michael Shireman, Jim Menis, Larry Lambert Marsha Reimbold and Patricia Goin

Michael Shireman, Jim Menis, Larry Lambert
Marsha Reimbold and Patricia Goin

The effort teachers at North Judson-San Pierre schools have put into preparing students to take ISTEP tests is paying off. Superintendent Lynn Johnson says test scores from 2009 to 2014 reflect steady gains. Math scores have gone from 62-percent proficiency in 2009 to 81 percent in 2014 for grades 3 through 8. During that same time period English/Language Arts scores have improved from 66 to 77 percent. Continue reading

North Judson-San Pierre Board Approves Updated Test Security Protocol

Michael Shireman, Jim Menis, Larry Lambert Marsha Reimbold and Patricia Goin

Michael Shireman, Jim Menis, Larry Lambert
Marsha Reimbold and Patricia Goin

The standardized tests given to North Judson-San Pierre students are locked in a room that cannot be accessed by anyone else during the school day. That is one of the 17 state-mandated safety protocols the corporation is required to follow to ensure the integrity of the tests they administer. The school board this week approved an amended test security policy. Continue reading

North Judson School Photos Find New Home

North Judson Water TowerThe class composite and group photos of North Judson and North Judson-San Pierre High School graduates will soon have a new home. They were recently displaced from Grand Central Station in downtown North Judson after a church took over that space. North Judson-San Pierre Superintendent Lynn Johnson told the school board this week those photos will be on display at the new North Judson Town Hall when it opens later this year. Continue reading

North Judson-San Pierre Schools Brace for More Budget Cuts

Michael Shireman, Jim Menis, Larry Lambert Marsha Reimbold and Patricia Goin

Michael Shireman, Jim Menis, Larry Lambert
Marsha Reimbold and Patricia Goin

North Judson-San Pierre School Corporation officials are bracing for more budget cuts. Superintendent Lynn Johnson says enrollment is down 40 students from last year.

“We have made a lot of cuts already, but obviously we need to make more and look at future plans,” Johnson told the school board Tuesday night. “One of the major expenditures we have is special education, which keeps growing and growing and growing. I would say we probably spend $1 million a year on special education.” Continue reading

North Judson-San Pierre Board Questions Balanced Calendar Alignment

Michael Shireman, Jim Menis, Larry Lambert Marsha Reimbold and Patricia Goin

Michael Shireman, Jim Menis, Larry Lambert
Marsha Reimbold and Patricia Goin

North Judson-San Pierre School Board members raised a question about the balanced calendar during their meeting last night. The proposed calendar moves the start of school to the first of August, adds longer breaks in the fall and spring that can be used for remediation if necessary and ends the school year the first of June. The first semester would still end in December before the two week Christmas break as it presently does.

Board members wondered what the earlier start to the school year would do to high school students who work for Pioneer detassling corn during their summer vacations. Continue reading

North Judson-San Pierre Agenda Includes Balanced Calendar Discussion

Michael Shireman, Jim Menis, Larry Lambert Marsha Reimbold and Patricia Goin

Michael Shireman, Jim Menis, Larry Lambert
Marsha Reimbold and Patricia Goin

The North Judson-San Pierre School Board will consider adoption of a balanced calendar for the 2015-2016 school year when they meet this evening. They are one of several area corporations considering the approach. School would start earlier in August and get out the first of June. Continue reading

Starke County Commissioners Seeking Health Board Nominee

The Starke County Commissioners are looking to fill a health board vacancy. Nurse Taylor Davis resigned. By law, her replacement must be a health care professional and a Democrat. Prospective nominees can contact the Starke County Auditor’s Office at 574-772-9101 for more information.

Commissioners Prepare Packets for Park Board Members

The five members of the Starke County Park Board will have plenty of reading material prior to their first meeting. The Starke County Commissioners are sending them welcome packets, which will include copies of the state statute under which the board was formed and the state law pertaining to camping on public properties. One of their first challenges will be to decide whether to allow year-round camping at Bass Lake Beach and Campground. The park board members will also get a copy of the management lease between the county and Richard Callahan. The board is charged with oversight and management of the Starke County Forest and other county-owned public lands.

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Starke County Highway Department Sets Road Improvement Record

Starke County Highway Superintendent Stephen "Rik" Ritzler

Starke County Highway Superintendent Stephen “Rik” Ritzler

The Starke County Highway Department is wrapping up road improvements for the year. Superintendent Rik Ritzler says they’ve improved more than 120 miles of roads through a combination of chip and fog sealing, asphalt paving and wedging and crack sealing. That’s the most road miles improved in a single year by the Starke County Highway Department. Continue reading

Voter Registration Ends Monday

The General Election is Tuesday, Nov. 4 and in order to cast your important vote you need to be properly registered.

Voter registration is open this week at all county clerk’s offices. The last day to register to vote is Monday, Oct. 6. You must be registered by the end of the business day on Oct. 6 in order to vote in the November election.

If you need to register to vote or have questions about your current registration, call the Starke County clerk’s office at (574) 772-9160, the Pulaski County clerk’s office at (574) 946-3313 or the Marshall County Clerk’s office at (574) 936-8922. Election and registration information can also be found on the state’s website.

Absentee voting in all three counties begins Tuesday, Oct. 7.