Today's News

Pulaski County Employees Collect Food for Food Pantry

The employees in the government offices in Pulaski County are collecting food for the Pulaski County Human Services Food Pantry.

Auditor Shelia Garling asked the commissioners for permission to place boxes in the courthouse to collect food for those who are less fortunate this holiday season. A box is located in the courthouse and in the Pulaski County Justice Center.

If you have a donation you’d like to drop off, get those in today by the end of the day to help someone in need at either location. Non-perishable food items are welcome, as well as soaps, deodorant, shampoos, and diapers.

Marshall County Commissioners Split Cost of Conduit with Plymouth

The Marshall County Metronet project is drawing to a close.

The commissioners last week approved a payment agreement between the county and the City of Plymouth for shared conduit installation. The county is to pay half of the cost of the installation and handholds on Lincolnway to State Road 17 on Pioneer Drive, Pioneer Drive to Overmyer Drive and three lateral connections to the three county buildings for a total cost of $37,513.76. The city will pay the same cost for those installation costs.

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Pulaski County CDC Director Discusses Initiation of Redevelopment Commission

Pulaski County Community Development Commission Executive Director Nathan Origer brought forth the idea of a redevelopment commission to the county commissioners during their recent meeting.

Origer explained that there are opportunities the county could be missing out on without a redevelopment commission.

“It allows basically two important things that we cannot do right now,” said Origer. “If ever a town or the county wanted to buy real estate for a downtown revitalization effort because they have absentee owners who are not making buildings usable for potential tenants, the RDC could much more easily purchase that and put any work into it as necessary. They can sell it or lease it to tenants than a municipal entity on its own could. The other thing is setting up TIF Districts.”

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Marshall County Commissioners Approve Agreement for Meals on Wheels

The Marshall County Commissioners recently discussed a Memorandum of Understanding to continue the Meals on Wheels program at the Marshall County Council on Aging.

County Attorney Jim Clevenger stated that the current agreement expires Dec. 31 of this year and it needed to be renewed. The agreement allows the meals to be cooked at the Marshall County Jail at a cost of $3.25 per person. The personnel at the Marshall County Council on Aging pick up the meals at the jail and deliver them to those in need.

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Starke County Commissioners Approve 2015 Holiday Schedule

CalendarStarke 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.


Voting Machines and Ballots Impounded, Judge Considering Recount Commission Members

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

Sysco Merger Could Put Starke County Site Back in Play

 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

Two Recount Petitions Filed in Starke County

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.

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Park Board Approves Bass Lake Seasonal Camping

Bass Lake CampgroundCampsite 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 Still Looking for Paramedics

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.

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Starke County Commissioners Schedule Certificate Sale

starke-county-courthouseThe 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

Marshall County Commissioners Hold Public Hearing on Pretty Lake Setbacks

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.

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Starke County Commissioners Defer Action on Highway Superintendent Contract

Starke County Highway Superintendent Stephen "Rik" Ritzler

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

Radioville Bowling Alley Owner Granted Demolition Extension

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.

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Starke County Park Board to Consider Camping at Bass Lake

Bass Lake CampgroundThe 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

Starke County Commissioners to Revisit Highway Superintendent Contract

starke-county-courthouseThe 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.”

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Generator Work Almost Complete at Health Department

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.

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No Recount Requests Received in Starke County Clerk’s Office

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.

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Pulaski CDC Requests Support of Council for Legislative Change in Use of CAGIT Funds

Nathan Origer talks to the county council

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.

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Pulaski County Council Approves Jail Equipment Purchase

Pulaski County Justice Center

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.”

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