Starke County government offices will be closed on Columbus Day in 2015. That’s in addition to the other holidays typically observed by governmental bodies. They include New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Veterans Day, the long Thanksgiving weekend and Christmas Day. The commissioners considered taking Martin Luther King Day off in January, but opted to keep county government open. That decision was a two-to-one vote, with President of the Commissioners Jennifer Davis voting for the closure. The county has never observed the Martin Luther King holiday in January.
The voting machines and ballots from the four Wayne and lone Railroad Township Precincts in the Nov. 4 General Election have been impounded to facilitate recounts in two very close races. Republican Party officials sought a recount on behalf of 4th District Council candidate Don White. He lost to Democrat Pamela Stalbaum by two votes in the race to succeed Marvin McLaughlin. That seat represents Wayne and Railroad Townships.
Incumbent Democrat Railroad Township Trustee Roger Chaffins Sr. has also filed a recount petition in his race. He lost to Republican Mandy Thompson by three votes. Continue reading
Houston, Texas-based Sysco Corporation’s planned merger with Rosemont, Ill.-based U.S. Foods could bode well for Starke County. Sysco bought 320 acres of land south of U.S. 30 in 2007 after announcing plans to build a redistribution center near Hamlet. At the time the company said the expansion would create 500 local jobs. The project stalled in 2009 due to the weak national economy. Starke County Economic Development Foundation Executive Director Charlie Weaver told the county council this week Sysco still plans to develop the site but has not announced a timeline for doing so. Continue reading
The fate of two contested races in the November General Election is in the hands of the Starke Circuit Court. Starke County Republican Party Chair Brenda Stanojevic filed a recount petition in the 4th District Council seat on behalf of candidate Don White. Democrat Pam Stalbaum edged him by two votes in the contest for the open seat currently held by Marvin McLaughlin. That district is comprised of the four Wayne Township precincts as well as the one in Railroad Township. Incumbent Democrat Railroad Township Trustee Roger Chaffins Sr. is also seeking a recount after losing to Republican Mandy Thompson by three votes.
Campsite patrons at the Bass Lake Campground can breathe easier after action by the recently-appointed Starke County Park Board. They voted unanimously last night to allow seasonal campsite leases to continue. Camping season starts over Memorial Day weekend and concludes around Halloween. Overnight camping is not allowed during the winter months since the campground does not have running water or sewers after the lines are cleared and winterized. Continue reading
Pulaski County EMS Director Nikki Lowry told the commissioners Monday night that she has hired seven part-time personnel to help with the shortage of staff and training is ongoing this week.
While that helps cover shifts, Lowry explained that only one of those hired is a paramedic. All of the other new hires are basic life service trained only. One may move to a full-time position. She said at least one paramedic is needed per shift and there is one on each shift now.
The Starke County Commissioners have scheduled a certificate sale for Monday, Feb. 17, 2015 to rid the county of properties not sold at tax sale. Treasurer Kasey Clark will review the list of properties with county attorney Marty Lucas prior to placing the advertisements. Adjacent property owners will also be notified in case they want to make a purchase. Continue reading
The Marshall County Commissioners held a public hearing during their meeting Monday morning concerning an ordinance regulating building setbacks at Pretty Lake.
Plan Director Ralph Booker explained that the Pretty Lake Homeowners Association approved a change where new construction at the lake would need to be a 45 foot setback from an 789.0 elevation line. The plan commission also approved the ordinance with one commission member against.
Starke County Highway Superintendent Stephen “Rik” Ritzler
The Starke County Commissioners will revisit whether to offer a long-term contract to Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler when they meet Dec. 1. Commissioner Kent Danford previously raised concerns about the precedent such an action would set. He says possibly offering Ritzler a contract is a “test case” and adds he will say no to anyone else who requests a long-term employment contract until he sees how this works. Continue reading
The old bowling alley in Radioville will soon be demolished.
Pulaski County Building Administrator David Dare explained to the commissioners last night that the structure is unsafe as the roof has caved in and the building can’t be salvaged. According to the demolition order, the building must be demolished by Dec. 30.
Bruder explained that she has some circumstances that won’t allow her to get the building torn down in that timeframe. She noted that the Countryside Bowling Lanes, Inc. is in her name but she needs to work out details with the other owners of the building which hasn’t been occupied in many years.
The recently-formed Starke County Park Board will consider whether to allow seasonal camping at Bass Lake Campground when they meet this evening. The five-member board has been tasked with oversight of the beach and campground, Starke County Forest and other non-municipal recreational areas in the county. Continue reading
The Starke County Commissioners will resume their discussion of whether to offer Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler a long-term contract when they meet this evening. His is one of the jobs that is appointed annually by the commissioners. President Jennifer Davis is leading the charge to change that. She says doing so would ensure the long-range plan Ritzler has in place for road and bridge improvements is carried out. Making the change requires a unanimous vote of the commissioners. Kathy Norem is in favor of offering Ritzler a long-term contract, but fellow commissioner Kent Danford is not. He said in a previous meeting it could open a “can of worms.”
Work continues on the generator for the Pulaski County Health Department.
Pulaski County Maintenance Director Jeff Johnston told the county council this week that the electrician is working on obtaining a small transformer to change the voltage for the generator. A gas line also needs to be ran in order for the generator to be fully operational.
The Starke County Clerk’s office has not yet received any notice from candidates to request a recount in close races in last week’s General Election.
Three races were decided by a matter of votes. In the County Council District 4 race, Democrat Pamela Stalbaum won the seat by two votes over Republican Don White. Republican Mandy Thompson had three more votes than incumbent Roger Chaffins, Sr. in the Railroad Township Trustee race. The Oregon-Davis School Board District 1 race was decided by three votes. Christopher Lawrence kept his seat on the school board. Annette M. Ferch challenged Lawrence in the election.
Nathan Origer talks to the county council
Pulaski County Community Development Commission Executive Director Nathan Origer asked for the county council’s support in overturning legislation to free up money for the CEDIT fund for economic development.
Origer explained that the CDC board recently discussed how the special CAGIT tax is used and believes it could be used in a different fashion. The lease of the jail bond is currently being paid for out of the CEDIT fund at a total of $261,000 per year.
Pulaski County Justice Center
Pulaski County Maintenance Director Jeff Johnston brought the county council up to speed on the justice center equipment repairs and replacement.
He explained that the water heater replacement is already underway due to a directive from the Indiana Department of Homeland Security.
“Right now they’ve got one water heater doing the work of two and it’s on its last leg,” said Johnston. “They’re halfway through the installation process for the new system. The total cost for the water heaters is $65,790. That includes the system and all new piping. As we were taking the insulation off the large copper pipes up there, there were leaks and cracks throughout.”
Pleasant View Rest Home
Discussion surrounding the Pleasant View Rest Home was held during the Pulaski County Council meeting last night.
Larry Rausch, who is a county home board member, said their number one priority is keeping the county home open and realizes there is some work that needs to be done. He said if the county home is deemed a historical structure, grants would be available to assist the county in getting these repairs done. He also had another option.
Pleasant View Rest Home
Two members of the Pleasant View Rest Home Board of Directors and several residents approached the Pulaski County Council last week to discuss the elimination of the county home’s funding from the 2015 budget.
Larry Rausch and Michelle Roudebush explained to the council that 1,640 signatures were gathered on petitions to keep the county home open.
Property taxes are due today in the Starke County Treasurer’s Office.
Treasurer Kasey Clark said you may visit the office on the ground floor of the Starke County Annex building Monday today from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. to make a payment. A drop box is also available outside the office. If you taxes are postmarked with today’s date, they will be accepted.
Property taxes may also be paid online at www.starketax.net. Follow the instructions carefully.
Jefferson Street bridge
It will take a couple of more days to open the Jefferson Street bridge in Plymouth.
Marshall County Supervisor of County Highways Jason Peters told WKVI News that weather has delayed the completion of bridge work. The projected reopening date is now Wednesday.
Bart Trester from USI Consultants told the Marshall County Commissioners last week that the remaining items on the checklist include sidewalks and curbs. Crews also want to reseal the bridge deck to complete the project.