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

Starke County Commissioners Set Rate for Dedicated Ambulance Service

Organizers of events like this weekend’s high school rodeo in Grovertown can pay the county to have a dedicated ambulance at their event the entire time. The Starke County Commissioners Monday approved a $500 charge to cover the cost of the truck and personnel to staff it. That same option is available to any event or organization that would like to ensure medical personnel are on site at all times. Continue reading

Starke County Not Considering Wheel Tax Yet

starke-county-courthouseThe Starke County Highway Department still has plenty of money to keep up with planned road maintenance this year. Superintendent Rik Ritzler told the county commissioners last night that includes nearly 30 miles of paving this summer and crack sealing an additional 10 miles roads. Some chip sealing work will also be done. Continue reading

Several Monthly Reports on Starke County Commissioners Agenda

starke-county-courthouseThe Starke County Commissioners will get monthly reports from the EMS director, county highway superintendent and economic development foundation executive director when they meet this evening. Other items on their agenda include establishment of a county maintenance director position, a request from the county building commissioner to re-plat Cedar Pointe Park and scheduling dates for the county tax sale. Deputy coroner Kris Rannells is also on the agenda for a follow-up on a coroner’s item. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. at the county annex building.

Starke County Commissioners Approve CenturyLink Agreement for New Jail

starke-county-courthouseThe CenturyLink equipment used by the Starke County Sheriff’s Office will be upgraded when they move into the new jail east of town. The county commissioners Monday approved an agreement for $1,431 for one-time upgrades and a monthly fee of $5.75 for the next three years. IT Director Joe Short advised the communications company is recommending new equipment at the new facility. Continue reading

Starke County Commissioners Reiterate Support for Veteran Grave Flags, Markers

The Starke County Commissioners want to make sure every veteran who is buried in the county has an American flag and grave marker for Memorial Day. They’ve agreed pay for both if the American Legion posts in Knox, North Judson and Hamlet will take care of placing the orders and putting them on graves. Commissioner Don Binkley has tried without success to reach the commander of the Knox American Legion to discuss the process and find out how many flags and markers need to be ordered. Auditor Kay Chaffins says she’s spoken with officials in North Judson, and their order has been placed. Hamlet officials have yet to place theirs. Continue reading

Commissioners to Discuss Memorial Day Flags

The Starke County Commissioners hope to settle what has become a contentious issue when they meet this evening. Historically the county has purchased flags to place on the graves of veterans each Memorial Day. They coordinate the project with the local veterans service organizations. This year questions arose about how funds would be distributed. The commissioners have stressed their commitment to the tradition in prior meetings and have vowed to ensure every veteran in the county has a grave marker during the upcoming holiday. Continue reading

Starke County Commissioners Hit Brakes on Road Improvements

starke-county-courthouseA request for funds to further improve Klockner Drive through the Knox Industrial Park hit a speed bump in Monday’s Starke County Commissioners meeting. Starke County Economic Development Foundation Executive Director Charlie Weaver asked for a significant appropriation from the county economic development income tax fund to rebuild the intersection with Division Road. The project carries an estimated cost of $343,000. Continue reading

Starke County Highway Department Shifts Focus to Spring Projects

The Starke County Highway Department’s focus has shifted to spring and summer projects now that the last of the snow is gone. Superintendent Rik Ritzler says drivers are making repairs to roads in their areas that were damaged by thawing frost over the winter. He says they’re patching for now, but a more permanent fix will be made in the next few months as weather allows. Continue reading

Starke County EMS Still Seeking Part-Time Paramedics

Starke County EMS still needs a few part-time paramedics to ensure county-wide advance life support coverage around the clock. Director Keith Emigh told the county commissioners Monday the base in Knox is always fully staffed to meet ALS requirements, and the base in North Judson is between 95 and 98 percent of the time. He says a few more are needed to pull shifts in Grovertown. Continue reading

Starke County Sheriff Raising Funds for Second K9

Starke County Sheriff's Department BadgeStarke County Sheriff Bill Dulin hopes to raise enough money through donations to add a second drug and search dog to his department. The county commissioners Monday gave him permission to proceed with fundraisers to cover the cost of a dog, training for the animal and its handler. Money will also go toward veterinary expenses, food and equipment for the county’s existing dog. Continue reading

Commissioners to Consider Starke County Sheriff’s Request for a Second K9

starke-county-courthouseThe Starke County Commissioners could consider Sheriff Bill Dulin’s request for a second K9 when they meet this evening. Dulin previously asked the commissioners for their blessing to raise funds through donations to buy a dog capable of detecting drugs and tracking people. He says the dog would only be purchased if enough money was raised to do so. Continue reading

Starke County Government Offices to Close for Jail Dedication

starke-county-courthouseStarke County government offices will close so employees can attend the dedication ceremony for the new jail. It’s scheduled Friday, May 22. Last week the county commissioners agreed to close the courthouse, annex and other county offices from 11:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. Continue reading

Starke County Commissioners Bless Inmate Work Crew, Defer Action on K9

Starke County Sheriff's Department BadgeInmates at the Starke County Jail could soon be picking up trash along county roadways under the supervision of a corrections officer. The Starke County Commissioners last night blessed Sheriff Bill Dulin’s plan to establish an inmate road crew of between three and five people to bag up debris for the county highway department to collect. Superintendent Rik Ritzler says it shouldn’t be a problem if the inmates stay in one area and Dulin coordinates schedules with him in advance. The road crew will not cost the county any additional money. The commissioners agreed it will be beneficial to the county in terms of beautification and making the inmates work. Continue reading