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

County Officials Extend Hours for Jail Tours

Starke County Sheriff's Department BadgeTours of the new Starke County Sheriff’s Office and Detention Center will be offered until at least 6 tomorrow evening. The public is invited to the grand opening and building dedication of the state-of-the-art facility on State Road 8 at 550 East. Tours will be offered after the noon formal program and memorial garden ceremony. They were originally scheduled until 4 p.m., but the county commissioners and Sheriff Bill Dulin have agreed to extend them so people can stop by after work. Tours will be offered as long as people are in line waiting to see the inside of the building. Dulin and his command staff will also be on hand to answer questions. Food will also be served. Continue reading

Starke County Commissioners Hire Courthouse Custodian

starke-county-courthouseThe Starke County Courthouse will soon have a new custodian. The county commissioners Monday hired Mike Gerhart to fill the opening created by the retirement of longtime caretaker Carl Goodrich. His last day with the county is June 4, which was previously proclaimed “Carl Goodrich Day” by the commissioners in honor of his more than 40 years of service. Continue reading

Starke County Commissioners Want Formal Bid Process for Courthouse Repairs

starke-county-courthouseThe two quotes for tuckpointing at the Starke County courthouse are so widely varied in terms of price the commissioners have decided to go through a formal bid process for the work. They plan to ask the contractors who are completing the new jail to put together bid packets for the scope of the project. It includes masonry repair from the top of the clock tower to the basement, electrical and plumbing upgrades and the remodeling of space on the second floor to accommodate the prosecutor’s office. It’s currently in the basement of the existing jail across the street. That building will be remodeled after the inmates move out and will eventually be home to Starke County Community Corrections and the probation office. Continue reading

Courthouse Repairs on Starke County Commissioners Agenda

starke-county-courthouseThe Starke County Commissioners should have a better idea how much repairs to the courthouse will cost after their meeting tonight. They’ve asked for quotes on tuckpointing the brick in order to set a budget for the work. Fixing the masonry is one of several repairs that need to be made to the historic structure. Wiring needs to be upgraded, and the roof needs to be fixed as well. Continue reading

Starke County Commissioners Set Auction Date

Starke County Courthouse

Starke County Courthouse

The Starke County Commissioners have set a date for the annual surplus auction. It will take place Wednesday, July 29, but a time and location have yet to be determined. The commissioners asked James Coad in the county maintenance department to gather quotes from licensed local auctioneers interested in conducting the sale.

Starke County Commissioners Slice Red Tape for Some EMA Grants

Starke County Courthouse

Starke County Courthouse

Starke County’s emergency management agency director can apply for some reimbursable state grants without waiting for formal approval from the county commissioners. Ted Bombagetti told them Monday the state frequently advertises reimbursable grants with short application deadlines. The commissioners agreed he can apply for grants of up to $25,000 without formal action in a meeting. Continue reading