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

Starke County Sheriff to Discuss Request for Second K9

starke-county-courthouseStarke County Sheriff Bill Dulin will discuss the acquisition of a second K9 with the county commissioners when they meet this evening. Last year the county bought a dog from the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department after one of their K9 handlers left for personal reasons. K9 Terror is a certified drug and tracking dog and has already assisted with numerous drug-related investigations since joining the force in December. Dulin will also talk to the commissioners about establishing a county inmate road crew, according to the advance agenda for tonight’s meeting. It starts at 6 p.m. at the annex building. Continue reading

Starke County Commissioners Maintain Annual Golf Cart Inspections

Owners of golf carts who want to operate them on Starke County roads will still need to have them inspected annually. The county commissioners last week briefly discussed changing the inspection requirement to every two or even three years. A golf cart owner raised the issue, noting the carts have to be loaded onto a trailer and taken to the sheriff’s department. Continue reading

Starke County Commissioners Bless County Technology Purchases

 Starke County IT Director Joe Short can replace a network server and several computers that pose security threats to the network. The county commissioners Monday authorized him to spend $24,000 from the cumulative capital fund on the technology upgrades. Continue reading

Starke County Highway Superintendent Makes Case for Additional Mechanic

starke-county-courthouseStarke County Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler has the blessing of the county commissioners to seek funds for a third mechanic. Right now the two mechanics maintain 106 county-owned vehicles and pieces of equipment, with top priority given to those used by EMS and the sheriff’s department. Highway vehicles are third on the list, and those used by other departments are fourth. All of the money for repairs comes from the highway department’s budget. The mechanics are also responsible for completing all of the necessary paperwork. Continue reading

Starke County EMS Anticipates Significant Savings With New Oxygen Vendor

A change of oxygen vendors is expected to save Starke County EMS a significant amount of money. Director Keith Emigh told the county commissioners Monday he’s been comparison shopping from several suppliers. The county presently uses Praxair from South Bend for tank rentals and refills. However, Emigh says Plymouth-based American Welding charges quite a bit less for the same supplies. The county will save $225 per month on portable oxygen tank rentals and will also realize a savings on M and K tanks. Over the course of a year the savings will total nearly $3,000. Continue reading

Starke County EMS Still Searching for Paramedics

Starke County EMS Director Keith Emigh is still trying to hire enough paramedics to staff all three bases around the clock. He told the Starke County Commissioners Monday many paramedics pick up shifts at departments all over the northern third of the state. As a result he says coordinating schedules is challenging. Continue reading

Starke County Highway Department Well Stocked to Wrap Up Winter

 The Starke County Highway Department has plenty of salt and sand on hand to finish winter operations. Superintendent Rik Ritzler says even with the significant amount of snow that fell in February they’ve used considerably less than last year. Continue reading

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