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Today's News

Starke County Residents Ready to Take Another Step Forward

Another-Step-Forward-2014Starke County residents have signed up to take another step forward in improving the health in Starke County.

The kick off event for Moving Starke County Forward’s “Another Step Forward” walking challenge was held Saturday where a ceremonial first lap around Wythogan Park was taken by those in attendance.

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Binkley Beats Dembowski in Commissioners Primary

 Former Knox Mayor and state representative Nancy Dembowski will not be making a political comeback as a member of the Starke County Board of Commissioners. She lost to fellow Democrat Donald Binkley by 126 votes in the primary.

“It’s just important, I think, for everyone to work together on the county level to make certain we have one goal in mind, and that’s the benefit of the people who live in Starke County,” Dembowski said.

So far Binkley is unopposed in the November 4th General Election. Continue reading

Moving Starke County Forward Looks Deeper into Health Rankings Report

The Robert Wood Johnson County Health Rankings report came out this week and Starke County ranked in the bottom ten of all 92 counties in the state.

Moving Starke County Forward leader Nancy Dembowski said the organization began working to improve the numbers last year and noted that it takes a while to get things moving in the right direction. She said it’s going to take time and effort to overturn the numbers.

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Moving Starke County Forward to Tackle Prescription Drug Abuse Issue in Starke County

The Moving Starke County Forward organization met recently to over what 2013 had to offer the residents of Starke County and what to focus on in 2014.

Nancy Dembowski said one interesting item that the organization will look at in 2014 is prescription drug abuse.

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Moving Starke County Forward Honored by IPHCA Award

Nancy Dembowski

Nancy Dembowski

Moving Starke County Forward – a health coalition working to improve the quality of life for Starke County residents through the encouragement, creation and advocacy for a healthy Starke County – was recently heralded for their efforts. HealthLinc was given the Special Exemplary Project Award by the Indiana Primary Health Care Association for their role in creating the organization, and according to Beth Wrobel, CEO of HealthLinc, Moving Starke County Forward is “emblematic of community groups coming together to focus not only on improving health outcomes, but also identifying the social determinants that lead to poor health.”

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Moving Starke County Across America Campaign Urges Residents to Get Moving

Nancy Dembowski (middle) presented Anita Goodan (left) and Jerry Curtis (right) with a pedometer to kick off the campaign.

Nancy Dembowski (middle) presented Anita Goodan (left) and Jerry Curtis (right) with a pedometer to kick off the campaign.

A startling statistic in Starke County has incited an initiative to get residents off the couch and moving. Ted Hayes, marketing and media representative for IU Health Starke Hospital, and Nancy Dembowski of Moving Starke County Forward said a statistic released last year listed the health rankings of counties in Indiana and revealed that Starke County came in second-to-last, ranking 91 out of 92 counties for healthiness. As a result of that, the county has received a grant from the Indiana Department of Health to study the issue and find out how to improve health in the county.

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Moving Starke County Forward Organization Focuses on Health Issues

moving starke county forward logoThe Moving Starke County Forward organization met in a public session Thursday afternoon and Coordinator Nancy Dembowski said the focus of the meeting was to examine the issue of health in Starke County.

“The idea was just to examine the issue, which is Starke County ranks 91 out of 92 counties in health issues,” said Dembowski. “We wanted to see if we could find some achievable projects or things that could help begin to address the situation.”

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Starke County Health Advocacy Group to Hold Public Meeting Tomorrow

Nancy Dembowski

Nancy Dembowski

A group advocating for a healthy Starke County is holding a community discussion on Thursday in an effort to raise awareness of a number of issues, including the county’s low health ranking, local drug abuse, and the necessity of a preschool project.

A number of local governmental entities have announced their support of Moving Starke County Forward, having declared 2013, “A Year of Health in Starke County.” The North Judson Town Board signed the proclamation in January, while the Starke County Commissioners and Knox City Council had done the same two weeks prior.

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Knox City Council Proclaims 2013 Year of Health

With the approval of the city council, Mayor Rick Chambers signed the proclamation, declaring 2013 a "Year of Health" for Knox.

Continuing her efforts to raise awareness of the health problems in the county and the newly-formed coalition, “Moving Starke County Forward,” former state representative Nancy Dembowski appeared before the Knox City Council asking them to proclaim 2013 a “Year of Health” for the city of Knox.

Dembowski explained that because the county had come in second-to-last place for health rankings in the state, she said it’s time to see what can be done to improve health in Starke County. She said that a proclamation from all county governments would help spread the word, and she said the organization is also planning a number of county-wide health contests. On top of that, Dembowski said the group is hoping to hold a drug symposium in the spring to raise awareness of the harmful effects of drugs.

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Starke Commissioners Proclaim 2013 “Year of Health” For County

Nancy Dembowski

This year has been proclaimed a “Year of Health” for Starke County, after former State Representative Nancy Dembowski approached the Starke County Commissioners with the proclamation – the first of many efforts of the newly-formed organization, “Moving Starke County Forward,” to increase awareness of health issues in the county.

Dembowski explained that because the county had come in second-to-last place for health rankings in the state, she said it’s time to see what can be done to improve health in the county. She said that a proclamation from all county governments would help spread the word, and she said the organization is also planning a number of county-wide health contests. On top of that, Dembowski said the group is hoping to hold a drug symposium in the spring to raise awareness of the harmful effects of drugs.

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Open House Held for Nancy Dembowski

Nancy Dembowski

With family, governmental officials and friends in attendance, former State Representative Nancy Dembowski was honored for her years of service at an open house yesterday.  The celebration was held in the building that now bears her name, the Nancy J. Dembowski Community Center.

Emcee Ted Hayes brought up several people to speak including Starke County Economic Development Director Charles Weaver; Councilmen Linda Berndt, Jeff Berg and Greg Matt; plus County Democrat Chairman Kenny Wallace.  Knox City Clerk-Treasurer Jeff Houston and his wife Michaelene also thanked Dembowski for representing Starke County so well.

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Nancy Dembowski Honored Today At Community Center

Nancy Dembowski

Nancy Dembowski will be honored for her many efforts on the state and local level in an Open House tomorrow from 2-4 p.m. CT at the newly renamed Nancy J. Dembowski Community Center in Knox.

One of the first community activities Nancy was involved in was the introduction of the peppermint candy canes as Christmas decorations for the City of Knox. She reminisces about that time.

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Knox City Council Renames Community Center In Honor of Dembowski

Nancy Dembowski

In honor of Nancy Dembowski’s unwavering dedication and service to the city of Knox, the city council this week passed a motion authorizing the renaming of the Knox Community Center to the Nancy J. Dembowski Community Center.

The council originally discussed the idea of honorarily renaming a portion of Main Street, beginning at Claybaugh Drive extending south to County Road 150 South, to Dembowski Drive, but after a lengthy discussion, the council decided to rename the community center instead. Chambers said this was due to Dembowski being instrumental in its construction years ago.

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Former Representative Dembowski Continues To Work With Starke County

Nancy Dembowski

With his win in the General Election, Tom Dermody took over the seat formerly held by Nancy Dembowski as she chose not to run again in this year’s election, but she won’t be standing idly by.

“Well, I’ll still work with the Starke County Economic Development Foundation which is something that I’ve worked with almost from its inception and it’s made such an incredible contribution to this county. As long as they want me to do that, I definitely will be there for that. I’m also involved in some health organizations that I hope will make some real contributions to the county, too,” said Dembowski.

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Representative Dembowski Attends Democratic National Convention

State Representative Nancy Dembowski

Democrat State Representative Nancy Dembowski, of Knox, is one of six-thousand delegates at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.

She said First Lady Michelle Obama’s speech Tuesday night was emotional.

“It was just an incredible speech by the First Lady,” commented Dembowski. “It was just so sincere and so emotional I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house. We saw some other just incredibly good speeches. The whole convention seems to be, or least much of Tuesday night, was about inclusion and how the party stands for everyone.”

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Bauer Ousted As Indiana House Minority Leader

State Representative Nancy Dembowski

Patrick Bauer was voted out as the Indiana House Minority Leader in a caucus Thursday afternoon. State Representative Nancy Dembowski participated in the caucus and talked about the discussion.

“I was in attendance at the caucus and we met with the intent to discuss what type of leadership is needed to best serve our constituents, our districts and the State of Indiana in the future and as we move forward,” said Dembowski.

Linda Lawson was voted in as the Interim Leader by a majority vote. She will serve in the interim position until the General Election in November.

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Starke County’s Health Ranking Problematic for Industry

State Representative Nancy Dembowski

According to the second of a two-part forum last Thursday night at Bass Lake, a county’s health ranking can impact many different areas– one of which is industrial attraction. State Representative Nancy Dembowski said that “quality of life” is one of the issues that arises when industry considers Starke County, because being ranked next-to-lowest in the state’s health ranking is definitely not a postive.

At the forum Thursday night, Dembowski pointed out a number of areas to work on, as the assembled members separated into groups.

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2012 General Assembly to Convene Wednesday

Indiana Statehouse

The 2012 Indiana General Assembly convenes Wednesday with a contentious labor bill topping the legislative agenda.

GOP lawmakers and Governor Mitch Daniels say the law is needed to make Indiana more attractive to companies looking for a place to do business.

Union leaders and Democrats call it a transparent attempt to dismantle organized labor and say such a law drives down wages.

Some Republican Senators with many union members in their districts are placed in a tough spot going into an election year. One of those Senators, Ed Charbonneau of Valparaiso, has said that he is going to study the bill long and hard before placing a vote one way or the other.

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A Recap of the Top 10 Stories of 2010

Story #10

Tony Kerby Memorial at the Yellow River

Tony Kerby lost his life in the Yellow River attempting to save his younger brother’s life. The good looking boy went in the treacherous waters to save his 8-year-old brother Dominick when the youngster slipped off a rock. Dominick was saved when a person in the park pulled him to safety, but Tony could not swim to the banks.

Community members were so saddened by the death that a cross was put at the site to honor his efforts and his life. The memorial was created by Shelby Clemons of North Judson, his wife, Danielle, and Misty Baldridge of Knox.

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Top 10 Stories of 2010; Story #4

The number four story of 2010 is the Republican resurgence in Starke County.

Long a bastion of Democrat government, the Republicans rode the wave of national sentiment to local success. The major impact will be felt on the Starke County Council where the Republicans won three of four seats up for election. Tony Radkiewicz defeated longtime council member Chuck Estok, Mitchell Semans defeated Becky Ferch in a seat that had been held by Dan Awald, and Dave Pearman defeated E.J. Rogers in the seat held by Bill Dulin.
Judge Kim Hall beat back a challenge by former Judge David Matsey by a wide margin.

The state races went Republican, as did the U.S. Senate Race that saw Dan Coats return to the senate by a wide margin. Democrat Representative Joe Donnelly was returned to his seat with a narrow victory over Jackie Walorski, and Democrat Nancy Dembowski got by Frances Ellert for the 17th District House seat. Both candidates, though, blamed the votes that went to the Libertarian candidates for their defeats.

The Republicans gave notice in Starke County that the GOP Party is back, and to be reckoned with in the future.