Starke Commissioners to Continue Courthouse Renovation Talks

starke-county-courthouseThe Starke County Commissioners will continue their discussion of renovation plans for the old jail and courthouse when they meet this evening. Last week officials met with representatives from the Starke County Historical Society to review the plans and get their blessing, since the courthouse is the oldest building in the county. Work is scheduled to start in July and wrap up by the end of the year, according to a previously announced timeline. Continue reading

WorkOne, Starke County Highway Department Team Up to Offer Worker Training

 Young people looking to gain work experience will have an opportunity to do so this summer after action Monday night by the Starke County Commissioners. They approved a partnership between the county highway department and the local WorkOne office. County Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler says it will give young people between the ages of 16 and 24 who are not in high school or college a chance to learn “soft skills” like arriving at work on time and showing up for scheduled shifts. Continue reading

Starke County Officials Finalize Truck Routes

Knox Truck OrdinanceTrucks heading to and from the Knox Industrial Park will have to use State Road 8 for access from all directions. Starke County Economic Development Foundation Executive Director Charlie Weaver met recently with Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler to discuss truck routes. Ritzler says neither County Road 300 East south of Culver Road nor County Road 200 South, which connects to U.S. 35 near Kem-Co, are rated for excessive truck traffic. Continue reading

Commissioners Promise Meeting Before Hospital Deal is Finalized


Negotiations between Starke County government officials and the owners of Starke Hospital regarding a new lease on the existing facility are continuing, according to information shared during Monday’s county commissioners meeting. Starke Hospital officials are hoping to build a new hospital on the current site at the intersection of U.S. 35 and State Road 8 in Knox. The county owns the building and land on which it sits, and the hospital’s lease on the site is almost up. Both sides agreed last month to a 90 day extension of the notice period should the hospital decide not to renew. That pushes their deadline to reach a new deal out to the end of June. Continue reading

County Proceeding With Courthouse, Old Jail Renovations

starke-county-courthouseRenovations to the Starke County Courthouse and former jail in downtown Knox are on track to start in July and conclude by the end of the year. The county commissioners last night approved design and development documents for the project. Plans call for the old jail to be renovated into office space for Starke County Community Corrections, the probation department and Purdue Extension.

The courthouse will be reconfigured to accommodate the prosecutor’s office on the first floor and give the clerk’s office additional space on the second level. Public access to the building would be restricted to one door, and metal detectors would be installed. Continue reading

Renovation Plans on Starke County Commissioners Agenda

starke-county-courthouseThe Starke County Commissioners will review the final draft of plans for renovations at the old jail and courthouse when they meet tonight. The architect and contractor who designed and built the new jail east of Knox are on the agenda to provide details. The former jail will become office space for Starke County Community Corrections, the probation department and Purdue Extension, according to discussion at previous meetings. The prosecutor’s office will move into the courthouse, and the clerk’s office space will be reconfigured. Continue reading

Knox Council Discusses Truck Route GPS Updates

Knox Truck OrdinanceMaking necessary updates to GPS systems to reflect truck routes is a more involved process than City of Knox and Starke County officials initially realized. Last month Knox started enforcing its truck route ordinance, which prohibits through traffic weighing more than 10 tons with more than three axles from using Culver Road and other surface streets to get from U.S. 35 to the Knox Industrial Park on 300 East/Klockner Drive. Continue reading

Hospital CEO Reaffirms Commitment to New Facility


The CEO of Starke Hospital says the new owners of the local facility would prefer to construct a new building on the existing site at the intersection of South Heaton Street and Culver Road. The county owns the land and the building, but Tennessee-based Community Health Systems now owns 80-percent of the hospital. IU Health has retained 20-percent ownership, and a subsidy of CHS is running the day-to-day operations. The name change to simply “Starke Hospital” reflects the shift, and a new branding symbol is in the works. Continue reading

Highway Superintendent Talks Truck Routes

Knox Truck OrdinanceThe Starke County Highway Department is keeping an eye on alternate routes trucks are taking to access the Knox Industrial Park while planning for a long-term solution. The City of Knox recently started enforcing a truck route to keep tractor-trailers off Culver Road and other residential streets. The marked truck route uses State Road 8 to 300 East. Starke County Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler says some over-the-road drivers are also turning by Kem-Co and taking 200 South. Continue reading

Additional Repairs Needed for Grovertown Ambulance


The Starke County EMS ambulance based at Grovertown is down for repairs again. The county just spent $17,000 to have Jim Dobson Ford in Winamac install a new diesel motor in the 2009 Ford. EMS Director Keith Emigh told the county commissioners last night it was back on the road for two days when an oil leak was spotted. It was traced to a leaky valve cover and was repaired at no charge under the warranty. Continue reading

Starke Highway Safety Plan Results in Fewer Wrecks

starke-county-courthouseThe safety program implemented in March 2013 by the Starke County Highway Department is apparently paying off. Superintendent Rik Ritzler cites crash data from the state.

“Our crashes in the past two years have dropped dramatically. It was at 196 in 2012, 154 in 2013 and 128 in 2014. We believe it’s even lower than that in 2015. They should be getting those statistics out sooner this year because they have it more automated than they’ve had in the past.” Continue reading