Starke Commissioners Amend Unsafe Building Ordinance

starke-county-courthouseThe Starke County Commissioners adopted amendments to the county’s unsafe building ordinance last night amid enthusiastic support from members of the public. Koontz Lake residents in particular attended the meeting and expressed frustration with the prevalence of visible junk vehicles, trash and other debris they say are driving down property values and affecting quality of life. Concerns were also raised about trash that’s not properly disposed of attracting rodents and potentially spreading diseases. Continue reading

Council to Discuss Additional Transportation Funds

starke-county-courthouseThe Starke County Council will consider a proposal from the highway superintendent with regard to additional state transportation funds when they meet this evening. Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler assembled a road funding committee to discuss options for the one-time appropriation from the state. He also hopes to come up with the required local match to draw down additional funds in order to free up $1 million for additional uses throughout the county over the next five years. Continue reading

Starke County Commissioners Approve Overtime Policy for Sheriff’s Employees

Starke County Sheriff's Department BadgeThe Starke County Sheriff’s Office can keep a better budgetary handle on overtime for sheriff’s deputies, investigators and correctional officers thanks to action this week by the county commissioners. They adopted an ordinance to modify their pay periods for the purpose of overtime to 48 hours instead of 40. County attorney Marty Lucas says federal law provides a partial overtime exemption for uniformed, plainclothes and corrections officers because of the way their hours are typically structured. Continue reading

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