Starke County News Items

Possible Tax Sale Announced for Heartland Market Building (8/26)

posted Aug 26, 2016, 9:27 AM by North Judson-Wayne Township Public Library

Posted on August 26, 2016
Author Tyler Maffitt, WKVI 

The building occupied by Heartland Market in North Judson appears to be headed for tax sale.

According to legal notices provided by the Starke County Treasurer and Auditor’s office the properties, located in the 300 block of Lane Street, comprise both the physical grocery store and the parking lot. The site was formerly occupied by Ray’s Superfoods, owned by Ray and Dena Wajda.

Ray’s Superfoods announced in March of 2015 they would be closing. At the time, it was unknown what the future would hold for the store location.

Heartland Market – which had recently opened a location in Francesville – stepped in with the help of a $50,000 revolving loan from the Town of North Judson facilitated by the Starke County Economic Development Foundation. Loan funds were used for updating the interior of the building, but also to prevent a food desert considering the possible store closing in the community in southern Starke County.

Ray Wajda was invited to manage the grocery store while under new ownership. The building itself continues to be owned by the Wajda family, however.   

According to the legal notice, the building and the parking lot carry delinquent taxes in the amount of $7,170 and $1,162, respectively. Provided those back property taxes are not paid, the store location could go to tax sale auction on September 29th. The highest bidder would receive the title to the land under state statute, and provided the requirements of the bid are met.  

The Treasurer and Auditor’s office indicate the owners of the property have until September 12th when the court petition will be filed to judge against the tracts and sell the property.

Moving Starke County Forward Schedules Overdose Awareness Vigil

posted Aug 26, 2016, 9:12 AM by North Judson-Wayne Township Public Library

Posted on August 26, 2016
Author Mary Perren, WKVI 

Starke County is making strides in the war on drugs with regard to overdose deaths. Local health department officials say average of nine drug-related deaths were reported between 2008 and 2013, with numbers ranging between seven and 12 annually. Data from 2014 and 2015 indicates four overdoses, which is a significant drop.

Moving Starke County Forward is hosting its second annual Overdose Awareness Day vigil Sunday evening to raise awareness of the problem. It will take place at 6 p.m. at Wythogan Park’s Shelter 2.

Organizers say it will give the community an opportunity to remember those who have lost their lives as a result of an overdose The event will also celebrate those in recovery who are determined to triumph over addiction. Attendees are encouraged to bring a photo of anyone they would like to honor.

Moving Starke County Forward volunteers have already placed ribbons on the Starke Hospital lawn in memory of each local life lost to an overdose.

Unemployment Down in Starke County, Up Slightly in Pulaski County (8/26)

posted Aug 26, 2016, 9:11 AM by North Judson-Wayne Township Public Library

Posted on August 26, 2016
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI 

Unemployment rates have dropped in Starke County, but are up slightly in Pulaski County. 

According to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development’s July figures, Starke County had an unemployment rate of 5.1 percent. That’s a half of a percentage point down from the same period a year ago and a drop of 0.2-percent from June 2016.

Meanwhile, Pulaski County rose to 4.5-percent unemployment last month. That’s just 0.1-percent higher than both July 2015 and June 2016.

However, the number of people in the workforce has increased from last year, and the actual number of people employed is also up in both counties, compared to July 2015. Additionally, both counties experienced a higher July unemployment rate than the state as a whole. Indiana’s rate was 4.4 percent.

Locally, LaPorte County had the highest July unemployment rate at 5.6 percent. Marshall County was below the state average, with 3.6-percent unemployment in July.

N.J-S.P. FFA Chapter to be Featured on ‘This Week in AgriBusiness’ (8/25)

posted Aug 25, 2016, 9:01 AM by North Judson-Wayne Township Public Library

Posted on August 25, 2016
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI 
The North Judson-San Pierre FFA Chapter will be getting some national recognition this weekend. It will be featured on “This Week in AgriBusiness,” a weekly television program covering agriculture-related news.

N.J-S.P. FFA sponsor Emily DuVall says the recognition is part of a national contest sponsored by Nationwide Insurance. “It’s called the 2016 Nationwide FFA Chapter Tribute contest, and basically you set up an online profile and then people in the community and from the school go and vote,” she says. “And whoever has the most votes by December 15 wins.” The grand prize is $1,000 for the winning chapter, with a second-place prize of $500 and $250 for third place.

On top of that, DuVall says once a week, one of the FFA chapters registered in the contest is recognized on national television. “They look at each of those chapter profiles, and they select one to be featured on RFD-TV’s segment called “This Week in AgriBusiness” and our chapter was selected for that,” she says. During each episode’s one-minute FFA Chapter Tribute segment, co-host Orion Samuelson gives a brief profile of that particular chapter and some of its accomplishments.

North Judson-San Pierre is scheduled to be featured on this weekend’s program. It may be seen on cable channel RFD-TV at 7:00 a.m. CDT Saturday, 5:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Sunday, and 8:00 a.m. Monday. Episodes are also available online at

To cast your vote in the FFA Chapter Tribute contest, visit

NJ-SP FFA Chapter Featured on "This Week in Agribusiness" (8/24)

posted Aug 24, 2016, 12:34 PM by North Judson-Wayne Township Public Library   [ updated Aug 24, 2016, 12:40 PM ]

The North Judson-San Pierre FFA Chapter will be featured on RFD TV's news segment this week!

Air times are (all times central) 7:00a.m. on Saturdays, 5:00a.m. and 5:00p.m. on Sundays, and 8:00a.m. on Mondays. RFDtv is viewed via satellite on either Dish Network Channel 231 or DirecTV Channel 345. You can check the television airing schedule on RFD-TV at

You can also vote for our FFA chapter everyday so we have the chance to win $1,000. Vote everyday until December 15th at

Starke County’s Get Moving Challenge Enters Final Phase (8/24)

posted Aug 24, 2016, 9:12 AM by North Judson-Wayne Township Public Library

Posted on August 24, 2016
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI 

Time’s running out for those taking part in Moving Starke County Forward’s summer walking challenge to log their miles. 

“Starke County Walks to the Moon” wraps up on Labor Day. It gives residents the chance to win prizes by walking, running, biking, or taking part in another physical activity and keeping track of their progress.

So far, participants have accumulated over 9,250 miles, according to the organization. Arlene Noble has the most miles logged individually, while the Toto Trekkers continue to lead the team category. Organizers say that once the challenge ends and the miles are added up, the names of the winners will be placed on a plaque in the Starke Hospital lobby.

Moving Starke County Forward was formed in 2012 to improve the health of local residents. The county has consistently ranked near the bottom in state health rankings. For more information, visit Moving Starke County Forward’s Facebook page.

N.J.-S.P. Board Authorizes Budget Submission (8/23)

posted Aug 23, 2016, 8:20 AM by North Judson-Wayne Township Public Library

Posted on August 23, 2016
Author Mary Perren, WKVI 
The North Judson-San Pierre School Corporation’s annual budget hearing before the Starke County Council will take place during their Sept. 12th meeting. The school board last week authorized the submission of the budget to the council for review. They also approved the advertisement of the 2017-19 capital projects and bus replacement plan in “The Leader” and the “Pulaski County Journal.” State law requires it be published in both counties since townships from both comprise the school corporation.

The corporation is looking to use money in its budget reserves to make upgrades to some aging infrastructure needs like boilers and lighting. In May the school board hired Indianapolis-based Performance Services to evaluate the middle/high school building and offer recommendations. Superintendent Dr. Annette Zupin told the school board last week they should have bids for the work by the end of the month and will be able to review bids in September. She adds several local contractors have submitted bids for the work.

Starke County Commissioners Bless Bicentennial Flag (8/22)

posted Aug 22, 2016, 10:07 AM by North Judson-Wayne Township Public Library

Posted on August 22, 2016
Author Mary Perren, WKVI

Starke County will soon have its own flag to commemorate 200 years of Indiana statehood. Local bicentennial committee representative Melba Shilling told the county commissioners last week the group is putting the final touches on the design. It will reflect the county’s nine townships, the three lost to LaPorte County and the river.

Shilling says the goal is to have the flag ready to display in time for the Oct. 7th Bicentennial Torch Relay. In order to be an official bicentennial flag, it must be approved by the county commissioners. They agreed to the design concept and gave the bicentennial committee their blessing to finalize the artwork and order the flags in order to meet their timeline.

Ancilla Offers Training for Criminal Justice Careers (8/22)

posted Aug 22, 2016, 10:02 AM by North Judson-Wayne Township Public Library

Posted on August 22, 2016
Author Michael Gallenberger,WKVI 

At a time when police officers often face scrutiny from their communities, an Ancilla College professor is making sure officers have the training they need.

Criminal Justice Instructor Steve VanDerAa says there are many misconceptions about police. “It’s interesting the number of perceptions that some of the students have as far as law enforcement, how it works and how things go, why don’t police do this or that, how does this happen how do laws apply to me, how they should respond to police officers,” he says. “I mean, in our society today, the police are making national news, it seems like, almost daily. And young people have a lot of questions about why this happens, and sad to say, a lot of people have a negative feeling towards police, often because of misguided information.”

VanDerAa is a former Indiana State Trooper and has also served Pulaski County in various law enforcement capacities. For about 19 years, he’s been teaching at Ancilla College, currently as a full-time instructor.

Ancilla offers an associate degree as well as a certificate in Criminal Justice. Courses include topics such as Corrections, Criminal Law & Procedure, Criminology, and Juvenile Delinquency.

VanDerAa says the program prepares students not only to become police officers but also for a variety of other job opportunities. “Normally I start the class out and I give them a sheet with about 50 to 100 careers that this can lead into, anything from teaching to being a police officer, a jailer, going into all the federal jobs – just a number of jobs – working in the prosecutor’s office, probation. There’s just numerous fields they can go into with a degree in this.”

VanDerAa also works to make sure students find the career path that’s right for them. “The way I run my classes is I try to get the students involved and make them interactive,” he says. “So I bring in guest speakers in numerous fields to share with them, maybe pique their interest in something. I also have them interview people in the field they want to go into. Say somebody wants to be a probation officer. You need to set up an appointment and go and go through an interview with them. You may say, ‘Hey, this is great. It’s what I want to do,’ or it might change your mind.”

He notes that several of the current officers in Marshall and Starke counties have gone through Ancilla’s Criminal Justice program.

For more information, visit Ancilla College’s website.

N.J.-S.P. Superintendent Seeks Strategic Plan Committee Members (8/22)

posted Aug 22, 2016, 9:58 AM by North Judson-Wayne Township Public Library

Posted on August 22, 2016
Author Mary Perren, WKVI 

North Judson-San Pierre Superintendent Dr. Annette Zupin is still looking for community members to serve on a strategic planning group. She’s accepting applications through the end of the month from people who are interested in helping to market N.J.-S.P., increase community morale and improve communications between the school corporation and the community.

Zupin also wants the group to explore marketing strategies, fundraisers for school programs, establish and maintain focus on long-term planning for future growth and commit to a positive approach to success.

She’s looking for representatives from all of the townships in the school corporation who want to take a positive approach. Applications are available at the central office or on the N.J.-S.P. school corporation’s website.

1-10 of 26