Garbage Truck Hits Pole, Causes Power Outage in Knox

IMG_3651A garbage truck caused a major power outage in the City of Knox this morning.

Mayor Rick Chambers said the garbage truck was pulling out of the city parking lot when it caught a power line and snapped the pole in two.

“I just talked with the NIPSCO guys and they’re pretty much going to be all day to get this repaired. It did a lot of damage,” said Mayor Chambers.

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U.S. 35 Railroad Repairs to be Conducted in April

Work will begin soon to repair the railroad crossing on Heaton Street or U.S. 35, in Knox.

Mayor Rick Chambers told the city council this week that he received several emails in the past two weeks from the Indiana Department of Transportation and Norfolk Southern Railroad. They’re waiting until the asphalt plants open up in April in order to form a plan of attack. There is no timeline of when the work will be complete.  They want to repair the crossing with a hot asphalt mix instead of applying cold patch. The hot mix will ensure a more permanent fix.

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Knox Street Department Ready for Next Winter Storm

 The salt shed is full, and the Knox City Street Department is ready for the next snow event.

Street Superintendent Jeff Borg told the Board of Public Works members on Wednesday that they had used 80 percent of their contract for salt. Since January, 32 inches of movable snow has been recorded by the street superintendent. He said the department should be good for the rest of the season, and all equipment has been maintained and updated.

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Knox Public Hearing Held for Proposed Grant Application for Water Line Upgrades

The Knox City Council held a public hearing Monday night to gather opinions on a proposed grant application for a water line project this summer.

K-IPRC Executive Director Edwin Buswell said the City of Knox will be applying for an Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) grant in the amount of $350,000 for the project. The local match will be 20 percent or $70,000.

Mayor Rick Chambers explained that Water Superintendent Todd Gardner and the engineers are looking to improve water flow in areas of the city.

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Knox City Council Members Table Dumpster Ordinance

Knox City Council

Knox City Council

The Knox City Council members again tabled the second reading of the dumpster ordinance last night.

City Attorney David Matsey was able to pare down the ordinance, so it suits the city and focuses on the residential district. Matsey said the ordinance restricts the use of dumpsters in areas zoned R-1, R-2, R-3, and R-4 on the public right of way. As the discussion went on, the council wanted to go further to include the dumpsters on private property. Mayor Rick Chambers suggested allowing dumpsters on private property as long as they are behind the front of the house in a fenced area and permitted to be there by a building permit. The dumpster may be placed on the property for ten days out of a 30 day period once a year. Discussion also surrounded proper registration by the contractor placing the dumpster on the property.

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Knox City Council Approves Lease to Purchase Truck

Knox City Council

Knox City Council

The Knox City Council members entered into a lease to purchase a truck for the street department.

The Board of Works approved quotes for the truck $118,808.75 in December but papers could not be signed until after the first of the year. It will be financed through Republic First National Bank at 3.11 percent interest. The quotes for the truck and for the interest rate came in lower than originally thought.

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Knox Comprehensive Plan Draft Expected in January

City_of_Knox_LogoKnox City officials will have a better idea after the first of the year how a five year downtown revitalization plan will look. A second public meeting was held last night to gather information from residents, merchants, community leaders and others about a vision for the comprehensive plan. Continue reading

Knox City Council to Consider Community Center Use

Nancy J. Dembowski Community Center

Nancy J. Dembowski Community Center

The Knox City Council members will meet tonight where they will resume a conversation pertaining to the use of the Nancy J. Denbowski Community Center by church groups to serve free meals without paying the rental fee.

The request to host the meals was made several months ago by Deb McIntire who explained in a letter to Mayor Rick Chambers that different church groups would cook and serve meals in the community center for the general public. The center would be used one day a week for four hours.

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Knox Crews Gearing up for Winter Season

City_of_Knox_LogoKnox crews are making the transition into the fall and winter seasons.

Street Superintendent Jeff Borg told the Board of Works members this week that crews are prepping the leaf vac for leaf pickup beginning Oct. 14. The street sweeper will be operation for just a little while longer before they need to winterize the machine for storage during the off season.

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Knox City Council Approves Grant Match for Blight Elimination Program Grant

Knox City Council

Knox City Council

The Knox City Council approved a 10 percent match to attempt to get a grant to rid the city of some unsafe homes.

It’s part of the Blight Elimination Program which would assist the city in purchasing homes that are listed as unsafe and blighted and demolish them. The majority of the homes that would be considered for this grant are in the Parkview Heights area.

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Knox City Council Discusses 2015 Salary Ordinance

Knox City Council

Knox City Council

The Knox City Council held more discussion on the 2015 salary ordinance during their meeting this week.

Councilman Don Kring had concerns about the budget and making cuts to the budget. He expressed that he wants to see a raise for the employees but he would hate to see things in the budget that would have to be cut because of the raise.

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Fireworks Show a Success in Starke County

 The fireworks show at the Starke County Airport held one week ago today was well attended, according to Knox Mayor Rick Chambers.

Chambers told the Knox City Council members this week that with the fireworks committee’s fundraisers, gate collections, donations from the three county commissioners, several monetary donations from businesses and individuals, the town of Hamlet and a generous donation from the town of North Judson, the only loss the city of Knox will realize is $767. The show was $8,550 and $7,783 was collected.

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Loose Ends Remain with Water Line Project

The Knox City Council last week received an update on the Henry Drive water extension project.

Mayor Rick Chambers stated that while the project is complete there are several loose ends that need to be tied.

“The Henry Drive water line is complete. The street has been paved and one homeowner was not happy with the way his yard was left and I’ll take care of that. Territorial Engineering is still working with Milo to move that original water line because the water superintendent didn’t like the way it was placed. Territorial will be paying that bill. They want to wait until later on this summer when the water levels drop a little bit. That will be taken care of,” explained Chambers.

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Knox City Council Discusses Property Acquisitions

Knox City Council

Knox City Council

The Knox City Council agreed to wait on a request to acquire a property in Parkview Heights.

Mayor Rick Chambers got a call from a resident who stated she inherited a trailer from her father’s estate and she moved into it but no longer wants it. She wants to sell the trailer and the property to the city.

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Concrete Bid Approved for 50/50 Sidewalk Program in Knox

The Knox Board of Public Works members approved a bid for the 50/50 sidewalk program in a special meeting on Thursday morning.

The board approved the lowest conforming bid from Covenant Concrete in the amount of $22,395. That includes all 12 properties and the ADA compliant accessible curbs for properties at 55 E. Lake Street, 53 E. Water Street and 707 S. Shield Street. The city is responsible for paying for the ADA accessible curbs.

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Five Residences Still Suffering Frozen Pipes in Knox

Knox City Council

Knox City Council

With the cold temperatures this March, it doesn’t quite feel like spring. That’s especially true for five homes in Knox that still suffer from frozen pipes after the harsh winter, and one resident approached the city council this week asking for some kind of solution to her ice-clogged pipes.

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Knox Fire Department Hoping to Extend Sidewalk

The 50/50 sidewalk replacement project for the city of Knox may include some work for the fire department’s sidewalk near Five Star. Mayor Rick Chambers told the city council this week that the city has received several applications for the sidewalk replacement project, and the fire department recently asked him if the city would consider extending the sidewalk on the west side of the fire department.

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Knox Council Approves Revised Fee Ordinance on Second Reading

Knox City Council

Knox City Council

The Knox City Council approved an ordinance revising fees for the Planning Commission this week on its second reading, leaving just one more reading to be approved for the ordinance to take effect. Mayor Rick Chambers told the city council that he recently met with Charles Weaver, executive director of the Starke County Economic Development Foundation, to discuss the proposed maximum commercial permit fee of up to $7500.

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Knox Sidewalk Replacement Program Application Deadline April 16

The application deadline is just over a month away as the city of Knox gears up for their 50/50 sidewalk replacement program. Apply before Wednesday, April 16 for the program that offers a chance for residents to have their sidewalks repaired at half the cost. Any residents suffering from some problematic areas on their sidewalks would benefit from this program, and Mayor Rick Chambers is accepting replacement requests now from homeowners and business owners.

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