More Oregon-Davis Students Choosing Career Path

 Oregon-Davis students have stepped up efforts to join vocational programs for the next school year.

Superintendent Greg Briles said there were two or three students involved in vocational programs last year. Eighteen students will be participating in Auto Tech, Cosmetology, Criminal Justice, Early Childhood Education, Graphic Imaging, Health Science, Precision Machining, and Welding in the 2015-2016 school year.

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O-D Principal Encourages Prom Goers to Be Responsible

First responders from the Hamlet and Koontz Lake Fire Departments assisted with the mock crash at Oregon-Davis.

First responders from the Hamlet and Koontz Lake Fire Departments assisted with Thursday’s mock crash at Oregon-Davis High School. The Hamlet Police Department and Starke County EMS also took part in the simulation.

Oregon-Davis High School students are off to prom this evening. High school principal Tim Pletcher wants them all to return to school safely Monday morning.

“The last thing I want to do is come in Monday morning and deal with almost 300 grieving kids because something tragic happened,” Pletcher told the students during a Thursday afternoon program. “You can’t control what other people do. You cannot do that, but if you’ve ever been in my office or in Mr. Estok’s office we talk about there’s one thing you can control, and that’s what you do and what you say.” Continue reading

Circuit Breaker Law Means Less Money for City of Knox Budget

 The Knox City Council was faced with a tough decision last night to approve budget reductions made by departments due to the circuit breaker law.

Clerk-Treasurer Jeff Houston explained the reductions made to the budget to the council members.

“The circuit breaker credits equal $261,249.27,” said Houston. “That is 16.39 percent of the certified levy. The certified levy is the maximum amount of money that you can collect from property taxes. You’ll see the General Fund was cut 18.36 percent, and each one of them was cut about 18.36 percent other than our two debt funds, and they were cut .06 percent.”

Circuit breaker credits amount to less money coming into the city’s budget from the tax distribution. More money is required to be cut this year than last year.

Houston said that he went to each department head to ask them to reduce their budget by a certain percentage.

Now that the process is complete, a resolution to transfer funds was drafted. Houston said he checked with the Department of Local Government Finance, and the process he’s recommending includes putting money into a circuit breaker line item within a department’s budget.

“We still want to be able to get our maximum levy. We don’t want to do a budget reduction. We just want to move these appropriations down into an unappropriated area or circuit breaker area so that we don’t spend more money than we have coming in.”

Houston said about $261,000 is the circuit breaker, and that means the city council will need to watch all spending.

“It’s cutting it right to the bone. There’s no doubt about it. We’ll have to be very frugal. We have to do what we have to do.”

In addition to tax caps, the reduction of the assessed valuation of property can be attributed to some of the loss of tax money coming into the city.

The council members agreed that they have no other choice but to approve the resolution presented to them by Houston. The council approved the resolution for the transfer of funds with a unanimous vote.

Preschool Fair Highlights Necessity of Early Learning

 An event designed to enhance early educational opportunities in Starke County will be taking place on Tuesday.

The second annual Starke County Preschool Fair will be offering youth and their parents chances to explore the various pre-K outlets in Starke County, as well as a few of the enrichment activities for children.
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Bella Vita Pregnancy Resource Center Celebrates Five Years

Bella VitaThe featured speaker at the 5th annual Bella Vita Resource Center’s annual banquet was Peggy Rumer, who shared in words and music inspirational and “life changing” events in her life. She told of dealing with the birth of an unexpected baby and her new Christian life style.

The program and dinner was held at the Nancy J. Dembowski Center in downtown Knox. Speakers reported that Starke County holds the 3rd highest rate of teen pregnancies in the State of Indiana. Last year, more than 230 females and 90 males attended parenting classes at the center. Thirteen abortions were recorded by the agency in 2014 –compared to 27 in 2013.

The local pregnancy resource center is headquartered a 52 West Lake Street in Knox; the old post office building. It is a non-profit organization designed to assist those in an unplanned pregnancy situation. It is supported by donations.

Marshall County Law Enforcement Agencies Release Operation Pull Over Results

Plymouth Police and Marshall County Sheriff’s Department officers worked extra shifts last month as part of a crackdown on impaired driving. During the Operation Pull Over blitz, county officers made five criminal arrests for offenses like operating while intoxicated – controlled substance, possession of marijuana, driving while suspended and driver never licensed. They also issued 132 traffic citations and warnings. Continue reading

Starke County Officials Making Bicentennial Plans

Indiana BicentennialStarke County will be participating in Indiana’s Bicentennial celebration with a number of activities. A volunteer group met again last night to continue local planning.

Discussion was held about local celebrations and events throughout 2016, as well as participation in the 2,3000 mile, 32-day Bicentennial “torch relay” when it passes through Starke County in October of 2016. The torch, similar to the Olympic torch, is being designed by students at Purdue Univertsity. Starke County residents are expected to be recruited to participate in the relay. Continue reading

Patricia J. Czerwonke

Funeral services for 75-year-old Patricia J. Czerwonke of Wanatah are Tuesday, April 7th at 11:00 a.m. at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Wanatah. Visitation is Monday, April 6th form 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Wanatah Funeral Chapel. Memorials may be made to Sacred Heart Catholic Cemetery.

Marshall County Commissioners Discuss Lawsuit over Stolen Documents

The Marshall County Commissioners got an update on a class-action lawsuit against a company who allegedly stole thousands of dollars worth of data from the recorder’s office.

County Attorney Jim Clevenger told the commissioners that the lawsuit involves Marshall County and several other counties against Black Knight Real Estate Data Solutions. Recorder Marlene Mahler previously told the commissioners that the company reportedly took 2,700 documents totaling 39,000 pages out of the computer system without going through the proper channels. The recorder’s office would normally charge $1 per page so the company would owe $39,000. The lawsuit seeking damages would triple that amount.

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Starke County Council Approves Sheriff’s Vehicle Purchases

Starke County Sheriff's Department BadgeStarke County Sheriff Bill Dulin can buy two 2016 Ford Interceptor Utility Vehicles. The county council Monday evening approved the purchase, which will cost slightly more than $70,000. The money will come from the county adjusted gross income tax, or CAGIT, certified shares. The equipment list for both was whittled down significantly due to budgetary constraints. Dulin says new light bars need to be purchased for the SUV’s, as the ones on the existing Dodge Charger patrol cars will not fit.

Marshall County Council to Meet Today

The Marshall County Council members will be discussing an additional appropriation for the highway department for equipment.

Jerry Ambrose and Highway Superintendent Jason Peters explained to the Marshall County Commissioners last week that they would like to purchase a more expensive loader that will guarantee better service and reliability. The loader is a Caterpillar brand and is higher than two other bids sent in for consideration.

The commissioners approved the purchase, and the additional appropriation will be requested in today’s county council meeting. The highway department will be asking for $310,000 for equipment and $150,000 for the 7th Road project.

An e-poll book presentation will be made by Mike Miller along with Clerk Deb Vandemark, Sheriff Tom Chamberlin will be before the council for a resolution for sheriff commissary fund expenditures, and Commissioner Kevin Overmyer will discuss Marshall County Economic Development.

The meeting is today at 9 a.m. ET in the second-floor meeting room in the Marshall County Building in Plymouth.

Knox Man Arrested On Warrant For Failure To Register

A Knox man has been arrested after he allegedly failed to register as a sex offender or a violent offender.

A press release indicates that a warrant was issued for 36-year-old Billy E. McKinney III. The outstanding warrant was executed at a residence in the 11-thousand block of Windmill Lane near Westville. He now finds himself facing two counts of the Level 5 Felony.
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Starke County Council Approves Sheriff’s Vehicle Purchase

Starke County Sheriff's Department BadgeStarke County Sheriff Bill Dulin can order one of two 2015 Ford Police Interceptor SUV’s he plans to buy for his department this year and a light bar to go on the vehicle. The Starke County Council last night approved that expenditure. The vehicle will replace the department’s high-mileage Dodge Durango, which will be reassigned to Starke County Coroner Adam Gray for use as a body transport vehicle. The Starke County Commissioners previously approved the purchase, but the council’s approval was needed to spend the money. Continue reading

Ancilla College Officials Finalizing Residence Hall Construction Plans

Ancilla College NEWAncilla College officials hope to break ground on the school’s first residence hall within the next three to four weeks. Vice President of Development Todd Zeltwanger says the school’s board of trustees approved the construction late last year.

“By August we hope to have a three-story residence hall with about 96 beds ready for occupancy for students from all over the area to come and live on campus and experience Ancilla College in a whole new way,” Zeltwanger said. Continue reading

More Snow Headed Toward Northern Indiana

Mother Nature isn’t done with us yet. The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory for the area from noon EST/11 a.m. CST until 7 p.m. EST/6 p.m. CST today. Snow accumulations of between 2 and 4 inches are expected, with locally heavier amounts possible. Visibility may be reduced during periods of heavy snowfall. Motorists should expect snow-covered roads and plan accordingly. Remember, ice and snow, take it slow.

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Travel Watch Remains in Effect for Starke County

Starke County is still under a travel watch. That’s the orange level, and it means only essential travel such as trips to and from work is recommended. Pulaski and Marshall Counties have both downgraded to yellow advisory levels. Starke County Emergency Management Agency Director Ted Bombagetti says county officials will reevaluate the travel status this morning. He warns roads are still slick and hazardous, so be careful if you venture out. Find updated travel advisory information online at

Scalding Injury Risk Increases in Winter

State health officials warn scalding risks increase significantly during the winter months, especially among young children and the elderly. Scalds occur when contact with hot liquid or steam damages one or more layers of skin. Injuries are painful and require prolonged treatment. They can result in lifelong scarring and possibly death. Frequent sources of scald burns include hot tap water, hot food and beverages and steam. Health officials say most burns occur in the kitchen or bathroom. Continue reading