Today's News

Enjoy a Historic Tram Tour of Bass Lake This Weekend

The popular song "Let Me Call You Sweetheart" was written at the Center View Hotel at Bass Lake.

The popular song “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” was written at the Center View Hotel at Bass Lake.

Take a slow ride around Bass Lake this weekend on a historic tram and learn about the colorful history of the popular Starke County attraction. Jim Nierman says the tours only take place during the Bass Lake Festival. He and the other guides point out 40 or so attractions on the 90 minute rides. Nierman has been studying the history of Bass Lake for the past 60 years. He says parts of “The Wizard of Oz” and the book “Ben Hur” were written at the lake. So was the song “Let Me Call You Sweetheart.” It was composed at the Center View Hotel.  Bass Lake was also a favorite vacation spot for Chicago mobster Diamond Joe Esposito in the 1920s. The Starke County Historical Society is a co-sponsor of this year’s tours.

They leave from the Bass Lake Property Owners Association building Saturday, July 26 at 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Sunday tours depart at 9 and 11 a.m. Tickets are $4 for adults and $3 for children ages 12 and under.

Local Kids Compete in the Bass Lake Pageant Today

pageantThe Bass Lake Festival is next weekend and but the fun starts early this weekend with the annual pageant.

Boys and girls from ages 3 to 6 will be competing for the title of Little Miss or Little Mister Bass Lake. Ladies from the ages of 14 to 18 are vying for the title of Miss Bass Lake.

The pageants are this afternoon at the Bass Lake Property Owner’s Association Building. Contestants must be there at 3 p.m. Doors open to the public at 4 p.m for the Little Miss and Little Mister Bass Lake Pageant and the Miss Bass Lake Pageant starts at 6 p.m.

For further information contact pageant coordinator Jill Piunti at 219-365-9148.

Cold Weather Possible Culprit for Widespread Power Outage

Kankakee Valley REMCLast night’s sub-zero temperatures are likely to blame for a widespread power outage that left more than 1,300 Kankakee Valley REMC customers in the dark. The initial outage was reported around 6 p.m. in the Bass Lake and Monterey areas and affected more than 450 members. REMC crews identified the problem but had to cut power to additional customers in order to safely make repairs to the damaged source that was feeding an REMC metering point. Kankakee Valley REMC spokeswoman Amanda Steeb told WKVI news The cold makes the metal wire contract or shrink and break at a weak point or where a prior repair has been made. The Bass Lake Fire Station opened last night as a temporary warming shelter for affected residents. IU Health Starke Hospital is the county’s permanent warming center for the duration of this cold snap. The hospital lobby is available 24 hours to anyone who needs to get in out of the cold.

 

Fire Destroys Bass Lake Home; No Injuries

A fire at a Bass Lake summer residence destroyed the home but caused no injuries, according to Bass Lake Fire Chief Les Jensen. He told WKVI that the fire occurred at a residence in the 3700 block of South County Road 210, on the north side of the lake between Boa Shores and the Shore Club.

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Boa Shores Issue Raised at Starke Commissioners Meeting

A Boa Shores resident approached the Starke County Commissioners at their meeting this week with a complaint against a fellow resident of Boa Shores. Guy Tardi told the commissioners that another resident has been claiming the “Boa Shores park,” an area technically part of the county right-of-way, as his own private property, preventing residents from using it for picnics and other events.

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Starke Commissioners Approve Boa Shores Addition

The Starke County Commissioners this week approved a motion to allow an addition to be made to the Boa Shores area near Bass Lake. The Woodland Shores subdivision does not include lake access and is located off of County Road 625 East, and according to a representative of the planning commission, the drainage requirements of the county have been met and a public hearing was previously held with no objections voiced.

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Indianapolis Teens Arrested for Bass Lake Boat Thefts

A holiday weekend joyride around Bass Lake in two stolen boats ended with a trip to the Starke County Jail for at least two Indianapolis teenagers. ABC 57 reports two homeowners at the lake woke up Sunday morning to find their boats were missing from a public dock. They later learned three teenagers had stolen the watercraft the previous night and taken the boats for a ride around the lake and that witnesses to their late night sail had called the police. The teens reportedly ditched the boats and took off into a nearby campground. They were spotted the following day by officers from the Chicago Police Department who had seen them the previous evening. The off-duty cops tried holding them until the Starke County Sheriff’s Department arrived, but one of the boys ran away. It’s unclear whether he was captured, but the other two were arrested.

 

Melody Drive In Owner Hopes to Reopen Soon

Wind from Friday's storm reduced screen one at the Melody Drive In to a pile of rubble.

Wind from Friday’s storm reduced screen one at the Melody Drive In to a pile of rubble.

The Melody Drive In should be back in business by the weekend. Co-owner Fred Heise, Jr. tells WKVI news the goal is to open with movies on screen two Friday, a week after strong winds ripped down screen 1 and caused extensive damage to the ticket booth at the popular Bass Lake attraction. Meanwhile, Heise is waiting for an insurance adjuster to assess the damage before the piles of debris can be hauled off. Nobody was injured.

Heise says his long-term goal is to replace the damaged screen, but until then he says movies will rotate through on the remaining one.

“We’re going to have to shuffle a little bit as far as the types of movies and when we’re going to play certain movies, so if people can just be a little patient we will play everyone’s movies. We may have to wait on a few of them, but we will eventually get around to them,” Heise says.  Before opening for the season, the Melody Drive In underwent a digital upgrade. Heise says the past weekend has been quite trying for his parents. He adds the entire family will be fine, and says they appreciate the outpouring of support from friends and neighbors.

 

Foul Play Not Suspected in Death of Bass Lake Man

Foul play is not suspected in the death of a Bass Lake man who was found dead in his home Saturday morning. Starke County Coroner Kris Rannells says they won’t have a conclusive cause of death for at least four to six weeks as the official autopsy report is compiled and processed, but he says they do not suspect foul play at this time.

The body of 52-year-old David Griffin was discovered by his brother Saturday morning when he had gone to check on Griffin because nobody had heard from him in several days. The body was found in a Bass Lake home and was reported to be badly decomposed, indicating that he had been deceased for some time.

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Identity of Deceased Bass Lake Man Released; Cause of Death Not Yet Announced

The identity of the deceased man discovered in a Bass Lake home has been released. Starke County Coroner Kris Rannells says 52-year-old David Griffin was found dead inside his residence by his brother, who had gone to check on him because nobody had heard from Griffin in some time.

The Starke County Sheriff’s Department, Starke County Coroner, Indiana State Police, and LaPorte County Sheriff’s Department all responded to the scene to conduct investigations. A forensic autopsy was performed yesterday at the Northeast Indiana Forensic Center in Fort Wayne, although no cause or manner of death has been announced.

Rannells says the cause of death will be released when the autopsy report is finalized, but he noted that there does not appear to be any signs of foul play regarding Griffin’s death. The man was found dead in a Bass Lake home Saturday morning, and the body was said to be badly decomposed.

Decomposed Body Found In Bass Lake Home, Police Investigating

The Starke County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the mysterious death of a Starke County man who was found in a home along Bass Lake Saturday morning.

Just after 9 a.m., police found a dead body in a Bass Lake home. While his identity has not yet been released, his body was reportedly badly decomposed, indicating that the man had been deceased for some time in the home.

Foul play has not been ruled out, and the Sheriff’s Department has launched a death investigation that will begin Monday with a forensic autopsy.

Endangered Aquatic Plants In Danger Near Bass Lake

Keith Wildeman

The Indiana Division of Nature Preserves is asking you to help protect a state endangered aquatic plant at Bass Lake.

Conservation Officer Keith Wildeman said the plants have been exposed in areas where the water level has dropped and DNR officials have identified off-road and motor vehicle tracks over these plants.

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Crews Still Working To Clean Up Storm Aftermath

Scenes like this one in North Judson were all too common in the wake of weekend storms.

Crews are still working diligently to clean up the damage from last weekend’s series of storms, but Bass Lake Fire Chief Les Jensen says the clean up efforts are going very well. The Starke County Highway Department has been removing branches from roads and power lines, and Jensen says the roads around Bass Lake that were previously closed are now open. However, some branches are still close to the road because cleanup crews had focused on getting the roads cleared and open, but those branches will soon be removed.

The NIPSCO Outage Center reports that only one customer in the Knox area is still affected by outages, with a total of 97 NIPSCO customers affected in Northern Indiana. KVREMC crews are also making efforts to clear lines and undo damages caused by the storm.

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Report Storm Damages Online To Department of Homeland Security

It wasn’t a tornado went through the area on Friday, but strong straight-line winds that caused power outages across the listening area and extensive damage to homes and boats at Bass Lake and several other locations.

If you sustained damage caused by severe weather Friday or Sunday, report it to the Indiana Department of Homeland Security by going online to www.myoracle.in.gov/hs/damage. If you don’t have internet access, contact a friend or neighbor for help, or go to the local library and someone can help you with you in this process.

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Drought Affects Water Levels; Beware Hidden Obstructions

Keith Wildeman

The drought is affecting everyone from farmers to outdoor enthusiasts.

Conservation officer Keith Wildeman said that because of the drought conditions, water levels are low in public freshwater lakes, rivers, and streams. You should be prepared to run into issues while visiting your favorite lake or river because of the low water levels.

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Boater Stumbles Upon Old Bass Lake Diving Board

Do you ever remember diving off the diving board at Bass Lake? What year was it? Well, you might never dive off of it again, but because of the low water at Bass Lake the old diving board and platform have been discovered. A boat struck the items in about four feet of water, and although at first no one knew what it was, it was soon discovered that the platform had four polls on each corner and a rug on top of the deck.

On another note, Starke County’s most famous bridge – the one that went over Eagle Creek – has been removed. The wooden bridge was the site of a near-tragic event that occurred in April 1996 when a runaway school bus went over the bridge before a student, John Waldron, stopped it in a field.

The bridge has recently been taken out and a culvert installed. Highway workers brought the old wooden bridge to the highway garage property. It’s not known if it will be sold, scrapped, or used for parts.

Parts Of Bass Lake To Be Treated With Herbicide

Selected areas of Bass Lake will be treated with an EPA-registered aquatic herbicide on or after May 21. The herbicide is being applied for the control of Invasive Eurasian Water Milfoil.

The treatment is being funded by the Bass Lake Conservancy District under an IDNR permit, and according to a news release, there are no restrictions on fish consumption or body contact.

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Bass Lake Residents Request Pier Placement at Shewski Road

Starke County Commissioners: Kathy Norem, Dan Bridegroom and Jennifer Davis

Several Bass Lake residents got the answer they were seeking at the recent Starke County Commissioners meeting. The residents, who have placed a pier into the water at the end of Shewski Road in the past, petitioned the commissioners to allow them to do so again this year.

One of the sticking points was that the pier would be three feet over the access point in the lake. After several of the residents made points to the commissioners, a motion was made by Commissioner Jennifer Davis to allow the pier to be put in this year, and it will be studied and evaluated before the next season. That motion was approved unanimously as the room rang with applause.

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From the WKVI Archives

Knox native Jerry Johnson played in the 1969 NCAA Basketball Final game on this date. His Purdue Boilermakers lost to UCLA 92-72.

Chicago gangster, Diamond Joe Esposito, who owned a cottage at Bass Lake, was shot and killed in a gangland slaying in the Windy City. He had his hand in bootlegging and prostitution. He was killed on this date in 1928.

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From the WKVI Archives

It was on this date in 1928 that it was announced that Bass Lake would be the home of the largest and most beautiful Fish Hatchery in Indiana. The Indiana Department of Conservation purchased five acres of land surrounding the present hatchery. The hatchery would then cover ten acres of land.

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