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Knox City Council Discusses Agreement for Use of the Community Center

Nancy J. Dembowski Community Center

Nancy J. Dembowski Community Center

Knox City Attorney David Matsey is working on a Memorandum of Understanding between the city and Deb McIntire and between the city and the area churches that will be a part of serving free meals out of the Nancy J. Dembowski Community Center in Knox once a week beginning next year.

There will no rental fee associated with this endeavor.

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Local Memorial Service Planned for Murder Victim

Kristine WilliamsA memorial service is planned Saturday morning in Starke County for the Knox woman believed to be a victim of a serial killer apprehended last weekend in Gary. Police there found the body of Kristine Williams, 36, in an abandoned house on Sunday, Oct. 19. Accused murderer Darren Vann led them to the bodies of six women police say he’s confessed to killing after he was arrested in connection with the strangulation death of a woman at a Hammond motel. Vann has been formally charged in connection with two of the seven deaths. The other investigations, including the one into Williams’ death, are ongoing. Continue reading

Starke County Officials Celebrate Completion of Highway Intersection

Starke County officials cut the ribbon to officially open the intersection of State Road 8 and County Road 300 East.

Starke County officials cut the ribbon to officially open the intersection of State Road 8 and County Road 300 East.

The intersection of State Road 8 and Starke County Road 300 East now has turn lanes, guardrails, acceleration and deceleration lanes. Members of the Starke County Council, County Commissioners and Starke County Economic Development Foundation Board of Directors celebrated the completion of the project with a ceremonial ribbon cutting Monday morning.

“This was extremely dangerous before for trucks and motor vehicles to come to pass. They couldn’t make the turns. If a truck wanted to go toward 35 from 300, they crossed both travel lanes into the berm,” Starke County Economic Development Foundation Executive Director Charlie Weaver said.  Continue reading

Pulaski County Commissioners Approve Equipment Purchase for Justice Center

Pulaski County Justice Center

Pulaski County Justice Center

Pulaski County Maintenance Director Jeff Johnston told the commissioners last week that the opened sealed bids for the HVAC systems for the justice center were investigated to determine the reason for a large gap in pricing. Benchmark in Kokomo and McGrath Refrigeration in Knox both submitted sealed bids.

“I looked at this pretty in-depth and I can’t find a reason for it,” said Johnston. “It seems to me that McGrath’s is the way to go. Their units are comparable. It’s also practically half the cost. It would be my recommendation to go with $74,467 for the HVAC units as opposed to $135,000.”

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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

LaPorte License Branch Damaged by Fire

A fire seriously damaged the LaPorte License Branch over the weekend.

Don Snemis, Commissioner of the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles, said the employees at the branch will be conducting transactions in a mobile unit at the site to handle credential and registration renewals only. All other transactions may be conducted at other branches in Michigan City, Valparaiso, South Bend, Walkerton or Knox.

LaPorte residents can complete transactions online at or call 1-888-692-6841.

Knox City Council to Meet Tonight

Knox City Council

Knox City Council

The Knox City Council will meet tonight where the members will continue in a discussion with the usage of the Nancy J. Dembowski Community Center in Knox by area churches.

At the last city council meeting, the members discussed drafting a memorandum of understanding for Deb McIntire and the churches to sign to make sure that all entities are on the same page regarding the intention and use of the building. That document is expected to be presented tonight. All churches involved would need to provide a certificate of insurance to the city.

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LaPorte Police Department Renews Partnership with ICJI

The LaPorte City Police Department will be continuing in its partnership with the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI) with a $21,150 grant for Operation Pull Over which expires in September of 2015.

Operation Pull Over is an initiative by officers to reduce traffic crashes and related injuries and fatalities with planned enforcement. The officers work toward monitoring dangerous driving behavior such as speeding, sign/signal violations, following too closely, reckless driving, texting while driving, and other unsafe driving behavior to reduce crashes. Police also conduct seat belt and child restraint enforcement to increase restraint use.

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Ancilla College Offers Free Tuition to Valedictorians and Salutatorians

Ancilla College is rewarding high school students who finish at the top of their class. Beginning in 2015, Ancilla College will be offering full tuition scholarships to the top high school graduates from schools in 10 north-central Indiana counties. Ancilla’s Val-Sal Scholarship offers free full-time tuition, as much as $13,500 each year, to local graduates who attend Ancilla. Continue reading

Marshall County Man Arrested After Reported Domestic Disturbance

Audie Bolinger

Audie Bolinger

A Marshall County man ended up in jail there Sunday evening after a scuffle with police responding to a report of a stabbing. Officers were called to a residence in the 7000 block of 11A Road around 4:30 p.m. When they arrived they learned nobody had been stabbed but a fight had taken place between the residents. The police report indicates a knife had been used, but no injuries were visible. The officers asked Audie Bolinger to step outside the house. Continue reading

Starke County Officials Celebrate Completion of Road Project

A major Starke County road project is substantially complete. Members of the county council and commissioners and officials from the Starke County Economic Development Commission will celebrate the reconstruction of the intersection of State Road 8 and 300 East later today. The intersection has been rebuilt to accommodate traffic to and from the Knox Industrial Park. It now features a turn lane and acceleration and deceleration lanes to help trucks more easily navigate the corner. Continue reading

Pulaski County Receives Blight Elimination Grant

Pulaski County is the recipient of a Blight Elimination Program grant from the Indiana Housing & Community Development Authority worth $147,000.

Dave Weber from the Pulaski County Building Administrator’s office said the grant will help rid the county of blighted structures.

“The funds are designed to demolish vacant, blighted or abandoned housing,” Weber explained. “This grant will last for a period of three years. In the grant application, we had to identify an end use. That end use could be anything. It could be the construction of a new home on that same lot or a community garden. At the end of that three year period, we’ll be left with a positive, constructive end use instead of a vacant lot where those abandoned homes once stood.”

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Last Week to Vote Absentee

This is the last full week to vote absentee in the General Election.

So far, Starke County has reported 661 walk-in, mail-in and travel board votes. Marshall County has reported 730 absentee votes and Pulaski County has reported 278 machine votes this far.

In Starke County, in-office absentee voting is today through Friday from 8 a.m. to noon and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the second floor meeting room in the courthouse. The same hours will apply for Saturday, Nov. 1. Evening voting hours are available tomorrow and Thursday, Oct. 30 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. CT.

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State Police Bust Meth Lab in Rochester

Meth BustA man and woman from Rochester each face multiple felony charges after state police reportedly found an active meth lab and drugs at their home early Saturday morning. They discovered them at the residence in the 3100 south block of 150 East in Rochester while serving a search warrant in connection with an illegal narcotics investigation. Continue reading

Racing for Recovery Founder and President to Speak at LifePlex

Todd Crandell

Todd Crandell

Addict turned triathlete Todd Crandall will share his story of overcoming a 13-year addiction to drugs and alcohol with the community during a program tonight at LifePlex in Plymouth. Crandall is the founder and president of Racing for Recovery. It’s a nonprofit organization that strives to save lives and improve the quality of life for addicts and their friends and family by promoting a lifestyle of health, fitness and sobriety. Crandall first tried alcohol at age 13 to cope with the depression and confusion of his mother’s suicide 10 years earlier due to her struggles with addiction. For the next 13 years Crandall says he tried every type of drug he could get his hands on before making the decision to quit.

“By the grace of God – that sounds so cliché, but it’s true – and I wasn’t raised in a religious upbringing, but I do believe that God, and I’m going to say my Mom, had something in there that told me on April 15th of 1993, after getting my third drunk driving charge, that’s it. I wanted something better, and that was all it took was that notion in my head that I wanted something better. Then I put the work into rebuilding my life,” Crandall said. Continue reading

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