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

Starke County Officials Seeking Redevelopment Commission Candidates

starke-county-courthouseStarke County officials are looking for members to serve on the long-dormant county redevelopment commission by appointing new members. It was established in 2006 to oversee a tax increment financing district set up by the county as part of the effort to bring Sysco to Hamlet. Continue reading

Turner Files Age Discrimination Claim Against County Commissioners

Former Starke County Veterans Service Officer Terry Turner has filed an age discrimination claim against the county commissioners over his recent termination. He was fired during the June 15th county commissioners meeting. Turner, 67, advises WKVI News he filed a claim on Friday, July 10th with the state civil rights commission office in South Bend, and it has been forwarded to Indianapolis for review. Continue reading

Starke County Commissioners Gathering Landfill Mowing Quotes

starke-county-courthouseThe Starke County Commissioners are gathering quotes for mowing at the old county landfill. Some trees also need to be cut at the site on 750 East north of State Road 10, and vegetation needs to be removed from the clay cap. Continue reading

Starke County Commissioners Reaffirm Support for Redevelopment Commission

starke-county-courthouseThe Starke County Commissioners hope to revive the long-dormant county redevelopment commission by appointing new members. It was established in 2006 to oversee a tax increment financing district set up by the county as part of the effort to bring Sysco to Hamlet. Continue reading

Starke County Commissioners Adopt Purchasing Policy

starke-county-courthouseStarke County government now has a purchasing policy in place aimed at supporting local businesses and ensuring greater oversight into expenditures. The policy adopted by the commissioners Monday night prohibits departments and officials from opening any retail accounts without authorization by the commissioners granted in a regular board meeting. If any accounts are approved, they will be in the name of Starke County Government. Continue reading

Starke County Commissioners to Discuss Employee Grievance Tonight

starke-county-courthouseThe Starke County Commissioners will discuss a grievance filed by an employee they fired at their last meeting when they meet tonight. Terry Turner was relieved of his duties as county veterans service officer on June 15. After the meeting, president of the commissioners Kent Danford said he has received several complaints about Turner’s job performance. Continue reading

Government Offices Closed So Employees Can Pay Respects

starke-county-courthouseStarke County government office will be closed for a few hours today so employees can pay their respects to a colleague. The commissioners have authorized the closure from 10:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. so staff members can attend county sanitarian Chris Dalton’s funeral. He died last Thursday of a sudden heart attack. Visitation for Dalton is this morning from 9 until 11 a.m. at Braman & Son Memorial Chapel in Knox, followed by the funeral at 11. The courthouse and annex will reopen at 1 p.m.

Embattled Veterans Service Officer Files Grievance Against County Commissioners

starke-county-courthouseA Starke County employee who was relieved of his duties during Monday’s commissioners meeting has filed a grievance seeking to be reinstated. The commissioners voted 2-0 to replace Veterans Service Officer Terry Turner with Mark Gourley. Commissioner Don Binkley made the motion to terminate Turner, and President of the Commissioners Kent Danford seconded it. Commissioner Kathy Norem did not vote.

After the meeting Danford said he has received several complaints about Turner. Continue reading

Starke County Commissioners Approve Use of Force Policy for Community Corrections

Starke County Community Corrections officers who choose to undergo initial and continuing education training can carry firearms on duty after action Monday by the Starke County Commissioners. Program Coordinator Shawn Mattraw says the community corrections board approved a use of force policy, which was also reviewed by county attorney Marty Lucas.

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EMA Director Worries About Effect of Rain on Crops

IMG_5011The continued rains have left many area farmers up a creek, so to speak. Starke County Emergency Management Agency Director Ted Bombagetti told the county commissioners last night many have sustained significant losses as a result of standing water. He adds it will be too late for them to replant by the time their fields dry out. Bombagetti has made a formal request for “saturated soil” assistance to the Indiana Department of Homeland Security and is waiting for a response.  Continue reading

Starke County Commissioners Replace Veterans Service Officer

starke-county-courthouseStarke County has a new veterans service officer after action last night by the county commissioners. They voted to terminate Terry Turner from the position and replace him with Mark Gourley. President of the Commissioners Kent Danford says he’s a veteran with experience filing claims for servicemembers in LaPorte County. After the meeting, Danford said he’s received several complaints about Turner.

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Starke County Council to Consider Jail Commander Pay

starke-county-courthouseThe Starke County Council will decide tonight whether to increase the salary for the jail commander. Sheriff Bill Dulin’s request to boost the pay for the position to reflect the additional responsibilities at the new jail got a favorable recommendation from the county commissioners. Dulin told them he can transfer money from within his budget to cover the extra expense. Continue reading

Starke County Commissioners Hire Auctioneer

starke-county-courthouseNorth Judson auctioneer Ben Osinski will conduct the Starke County surplus property auction on Wednesday, June 29. The county commissioners voted Monday to offer him the opportunity to run the sale. D and N Auctions in Hamlet also expressed an interest in doing the sale. The commissioners noted both have done work for the county in the past and suggested they use them on a rotating basis. The auction time and location have not been announced.

Longtime Starke County Courthouse Custodian Retires

Longtime Starke County Courthouse custodian Carl Goodrich prepares to cut his retirement carrot cake, which was a gift from the county commissioners.

Longtime Starke County Courthouse custodian Carl Goodrich prepares to cut his retirement carrot cake, which was a gift from the county commissioners.

An employee of Starke County for more than four decades retired yesterday from what was supposed to have been a temporary job. Gerald Ford was in the White House and gas was 55-cents a gallon when Carl Goodrich took over as courthouse custodian on Nov. 26, 1974. Continue reading

Starke County Commissioners Set Building Emergency Sealing Policy

Crime Scene – Do Not Cross

Starke County now requires the emergency sealing of structures destroyed or damaged by fires. The county commissioners passed a Monday at the recommendation of building commissioner Terry Stephenson. He says sealing a building preserves the integrity of the fire scene for an insurance company investigation. If a structure is no longer standing, Stephenson says safety tape should be used to cordon off the area. Continue reading

Starke County Receives Favorable Bridge Inspection Report

starke-county-courthouseStarke County’s bridges are in good shape overall, according to a recently completed inspection. Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler says no new bridges were deemed structurally deficient. Repairs are continuing on the bridges identified three years ago. Continue reading