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Starke County Commissioners Approve Jail Hiring, Bless Vehicle Purchases

Starke County Sheriff's Department BadgeStarke County Sheriff Bill Dulin will hire two additional part-time jail officers for now in anticipation of the new jail opening in a few months. They may eventually be promoted to full-time once the facility is online and the county is housing more prisoners.

Dulin is also looking to hire a part-time maintenance person for the new jail soon. The position will require quite a bit of technical expertise to handle the state-of-the-art correctional facility. Applications for that job close Friday. Dulin says he’s already gotten a dozen or so resumes. He plans to review them all with the commissioners in an executive session after the application deadline. Continue reading

Starke County Officials Preparing for Jail Opening

Starke County Courthouse

Starke County Courthouse

Starke County Sheriff Bill Dulin will discuss the staffing needs for the new jail with the county commissioners when they meet this evening. The facility east of Knox on State Road 8 is scheduled to open in June and will house nearly twice as many inmates as the existing jail. The advance agenda for the 6 p.m. meeting indicates Dulin will ask for permission to hire two more full-time jail officers. He will also review the revised listing of needed equipment with the commissioners. Continue reading

Starke County Commissioners Fill Out Convention and Visitors Bureau Board

starke-county-courthouseThe Starke County Convention and Visitors Bureau Board of Directors is fully populated for the first time since its establishment in 2011. The Starke County Commissioners appointed Mary Jane Bendt of Knox and Pamela Bush of California Township to the board for two-year terms.
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Starke County Officials to Discuss Staffing at New Jail

starke-county-courthouseStarke County Sheriff Bill Dulin will present the amended staffing report for the new jail to the county council and commissioners this evening. The facility east of Knox is scheduled to open in June and will require additional staff to handle the increased inmate capacity. Dulin will present the report to the council during their 5:30 p.m. meeting and to the commissioners when they meet at 6. Both sessions will take place at the county annex building. Continue reading

Starke County Commissioners Name Two CVB Members

starke-county-courthouseThe Starke County Commissioners have filled two of the four vacant seats on the county’s Convention and Visitors Commission Board of Directors. The nine-member panel was established according to state guidelines, which outline the political balance and other qualifications to serve. Continue reading

Starke County Commissioners Accept 4-Way Stop Recommendations

4-way_stop_signThe Starke County Commissioners have authorized the addition of a four-way stop at a county intersection based on traffic surveys conducted by Purdue University. Signs will be added at the intersection of 350 East and 250 North due to the lack of sight distance that cannot be remedied by trimming trees and other growth. The report indicates one accident has occurred there and numerous complaints have been lodged. Continue reading

State Approves Starke County Budgets

starke-county-courthouseThe State Department of Local Government Finance has approved the Starke County General Fund budget as presented. Auditor Kay Chaffins shared that news with the county commissioners Monday evening. She says the 100-percent approval is a testament to the hard work done by the county council and department heads to hold the line on spending. Continue reading

Starke County Commissioners Bless Revised EMS Job Description

Starke County EMS Director Keith Emigh has the blessing of the county commissioners to revise a job description within the ambulance service to create an EMS 2 position. That person’s job responsibilities will include hiring and training new staff, oversight of all medics and handling many of the day-to-day operational duties of the service. He or she will report directly to Emigh, who told the county commissioners the new position will ease his workload considerably. The position was posted earlier this week, and Emigh will interview the candidates and do the hiring. He did need the commissioners’ approval of the revised job description. Continue reading

Starke County Commissioners Bless Addition of Second Shift Detective

Starke County CommissionersStarke County Sheriff Bill Dulin plans to add a detective sergeant to work second shift Monday through Friday. He told the county commissioners doing so will give the department a third person to respond to calls and will cut down significantly on overtime. Right now any detective calls outside of the day shift incur overtime wages. Continue reading

Starke County Commissioners Approve Sheriff’s Vehicle Purchase

Starke County Sheriff's Department BadgeThe Starke County Sheriff’s Department will soon have a 2015 Ford Police Interceptor All-Wheel Drive sport-utility vehicle to add to the fleet. It will replace the Dodge Durango currently used by the Starke County K-9 officer. That truck will be repainted and given to Starke County Coroner Adam Gray to transport bodies. Continue reading

Starke County Seeking Convention and Visitors Bureau Board Members

starke-county-courthouseThe Starke County Commissioners are struggling to fill out the county’s Convention and Visitors Commission Board of Directors. The nine-member panel was established according to state guidelines, which outline the political balance and other qualifications to serve.

Knox Mayor Rick Chambers is the city’s lone representative. The other eight members are appointed by the Starke County Commissioners. State law requires a simple majority, in this case 5 members, be engaged in convention, visitor or tourism business or be involved in promoting conventions, visitors or tourism. If available and willing to serve, at least two members must be engaged in the business of renting or furnishing rooms, lodging or accommodations as described in state law. Additionally, not more than one member may be affiliated with the same business entity, and no more than a simple majority of members may be affiliated with the same political party. Also, each board member must live in Starke County. Continue reading

Starke County Commissioners Continue Discussion of Vehicle for Coroner

Starke County CommissionersThe former Starke County Sheriff’s Department prisoner transportation van may be road-worthy in the mechanical sense, but it doesn’t provide the most dignified means of transportation for the recently deceased. That’s the consensus of the Starke County Commissioners after further discussion Monday night. Recently-elected coroner Adam Gray has access to a Starke County EMS vehicle on an as-needed basis but will eventually need something more permanent. The commissioners want to give him the Dodge Durango used by the Starke County Sheriff’s Department if it has adequate cargo space to meet his needs. Continue reading

Starke County Commissioners Award Jail Courtroom Bids

This building on SR 8 at CR 550 E is part of the new Starke County Sheriff's Office and Detention Center.

This building on SR 8 at CR 550 E is part of the new Starke County Sheriff’s Office and Detention Center.

Work on the courtroom at the new Starke County Jail east of Knox should start the first week of February and be done by the end of April. The county commissioners awarded bids for the project during their meeting last night. Continue reading

Starke County Commissioners, Building Corporation to Award Jail Courtroom Bids

This building on SR 8 at CR 550 E is part of the new Starke County Sheriff's Office and Detention Center.

This building on SR 8 at CR 550 E is part of the new Starke County Sheriff’s Office and Detention Center.

The Starke County Commissioners are expected to award bids this evening for the interior build-out of the Starke County Jail Courtroom. The commissioners received eight bids for general services and four each for mechanical and electrical work. Representatives from Skillman Corporation took them under advisement at the Jan. 8 bid opening and have reviewed them to make sure they meet the specifications outlined in the project documents. Base bids range from a low of $167,500 to a high of $227,250, with five alternates each. Continue reading

Starke County Commissioners Exploring Vehicle Options for Coroner

Starke County CommissionersStarke County Coroner Adam Gray will either have the old sheriff’s department prisoner transport van or former Starke County Sheriff Oscar Cowen’s Dodge Durango for use as a body transport vehicle. He broached the subject to the Starke County Commissioners last week. President Kent Danford is checking into whether the van is road-worthy before a decision is made. Continue reading

Starke County Creates Sheriff’s Department Receptionist Position

The Starke County Sheriff’s Department will soon have a receptionist in addition to the full-time matron after action last week by the Starke County Council and Commissioners. Sheriff Bill Dulin sought permission to add an employee to process civil papers, answer the telephone, greet visitors and provide general clerical support to the department. Some of that work has been done by dispatchers in the past, but Dulin advised the council and commissioners the state jail inspector could cut funds to the 911 center if they are caught doing work not that’s not part of their statutory job description. The county council discussed the issue and decided it’s not worth the risk, especially since funds for the new position are already in the sheriff’s budget. Dulin also noted the floor plan for the new jail is different, and 911 center and main entrance are in separate parts of the building. The matron will continue handling sheriff’s sales and processing payroll and claims for the sheriff’s department. Continue reading

Starke County Council, Commissioners Reorganize

Starke County Council members Bob Sims, Jennifer Davis, Pam Stalbaum, Freddie Baker, David Pearman, Bryan Cavender and Brad Hazelton

Starke County Council members Bob Sims, Jennifer Davis, Pam Stalbaum, Freddie Baker, David Pearman, Bryan Cavender and Brad Hazelton

Democrat members of the Starke County Council banded together and elected a new president during a special-called organizational meeting. Freddie Baker replaces Republican Dave Pearman in that role. Councilman Bob Sims nominated Baker, and recently elected Democrat members Jennifer Davis and Pam Stalbaum voted for him. Councilman Bryan Cavender nominated Pearman, but nobody stepped forward to second his motion. Pearman was elected vice-president of the council. Continue reading

Starke County Highway Superintendent Breaks Down Snow Removal Expenses

 Winter has finally arrived, and it is keeping the Starke County Highway Department extremely busy. Crews have been spreading salt and plowing roads for the past week. In spite of the uptick in activity, highway superintendent Rik Ritzler says the county’s snow removal costs remain significantly lower than last year’s at the same time. He told the commissioners yesterday the department is still working on its first load of salt and has only used 200 tons. By this time last year, Ritzler says they had already used more than 1,000 tons of salt. Continue reading

Starke County Commissioners Open Courtroom Bids

This building on SR 8 at CR 550 E is part of the new Starke County Sheriff's Office and Detention Center.

This building on SR 8 at CR 550 E is part of the new Starke County Sheriff’s Office and Detention Center.

Bids for the courtroom build-out at the Starke County Sheriff’s Office and Detention Center are under advisement. The county commissioners opened eight bids for general trades and four each for mechanical and electrical work. The project design engineer is reviewing all to make sure they meet specifications prior to a special-called Starke County Building Corporation meeting on Monday, Jan. 19. The building corporation will make formal recommendations to the Starke County Commissioners, who are also scheduled to meet that evening. Continue reading