Starke County Commissioners Defer Forest Discussion

starke-county-courthouseStarke County Park Board members are encouraged to attend the next county drainage board meeting to discuss their concerns about the marsh in the Starke County Forest. Board member Debbie Mix told the commissioners park board members are looking at other sources of grant funds to cover the cost of constructing a bypass ditch along the south end of the property to alleviate drainage issues. Continue reading

Starke County Commissioners Award Bridge Bid

starke-county-courthouseA LaPorte-based construction company will replace the bridge on 100 East wet of 500 South in Starke County. The commissioners unanimously accepted the low bid of $319,175 from LaPorte Construction. It’s $13,000 under the engineer’s estimate for the project. Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler notes they’ve done the last three bridge projects for the county and have done a good job. Continue reading

Starke County Commissioners Defer Drainage Decision

starke-county-courthouseThe Starke County Commissioners have agreed to wait until after next week’s park board meeting to make a decision about drainage issues in the Starke County Forest. Continued beaver dam activity along the Anderson Ditch is causing drainage problems for neighboring landowners. Several sent a petition to Starke County Surveyor Dennis Estok and to the DNR requesting a solution to the problem. Continue reading

Starke County Forest Dam Discussion Continues This Evening

starke-county-courthouseThe discussion of how to handle drainage issues caused by beavers in the Starke County Forest will continue during tonight’s county commissioners meeting. Surveyor Dennis Estok and representatives from Walkerton-based Territorial Engineering will present a proposal to the commissioners during their 6 p.m. session. The Drainage Board decided earlier this year to open a drainage point in the Starke County Forest. A beaver dam is causing neighboring land to flood. The Starke County Park Board, which oversees the forest, has since stepped in and asked that a long-term solution be found to the problem. Continue reading

Starke County Officials Name Redevelopment Commission

starke-county-courthouseStarke County once again has a populated county redevelopment commission board. The volunteer body was established by the commissioners in 2006 and set up a tax increment financing, or TIF, district near the intersection of U.S. 30 and U.S. 35 in Hamlet. It allows property tax money generated in a specific area to be recaptured for infrastructure improvements in the area. By doing so, the land becomes more attractive to other potential business and industrial tenants. The five parcels of land in the Sysco TIF district have generated $15,427.71 for the county. That money is receipted by the auditor and parked in a special account. Continue reading

IU Health Starke Hospital President Updates Council, Commissioners

Felty, Craig
IU Health Starke Hospital President Craig Felty

IU Health Starke Hospital intends to renew its lease with the county for the current facility. President Craig Felty told the council and commissioners Monday a formal notice will be forthcoming in 30 to 60 days. Right now due diligence is continuing in the proposed acquisition of IU Health Starke and LaPorte Hospitals by Community Health Systems. Continue reading

Former Veterans Service Officer Seeks Hearing, Reinstatement


Former Starke County Veterans Service Officer Terry Turner contends the county commissioners denied him his due process and violated his constitutional right to free speech by not allowing him to speak during a recent meeting. Turner was fired during the June 15th commissioners meeting. He filed a grievance against the commissioners for wrongful termination, claiming President Kent Danford never gave him any oral or written warning about any improper actions. Turner also asked for a list of veterans who have complained about his job performance. The commissioners conducted an executive session grievance hearing with Turner and upheld their action during their July 6th meeting, citing his status as an at-will employee. Continue reading

Commissioners Outline Timeline for Facility Renovations

The former Starke County Jail building will be turned into office space for the probation department, Starke County Community Corrections and Purdue Extension.

Proposed renovations to the Starke County Courthouse and old jail building across the street will start next spring and wrap up by the end of 2016 under a timeline adopted last night by the county commissioners. Plans call for the former jail building to be turned into office space for Starke County Community Corrections and the probation department. Purdue Extension will move from the courthouse into the basement, and space will be incorporated for a county morgue facility. Continue reading

Senator Decries Legislature’s “Education Session”

Senator Jim Arnold
Senator Jim Arnold

A local lawmaker says the recently completed session of the Indiana General Assembly was the most trying and most contentious of his nine-year legislative career. Gov. Mike Pence touted it as the education session. Sen. Jim Arnold, D-LaPorte, agrees this year’s 2.2 percent increase in school funding and next year’s 2.5 percent hike are the largest increases in education funding in history.

“It sounds very good. The downside of that is that the vast majority of our increased money now is going to vouchers and going to charter schools, not going to public school systems,” Arnold recently told the Starke County Council and Commissioners. “The big winners of this are going to be the urban schools. The rural schools such as Knox are going to be the big losers.” Continue reading