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

Additional Candidates File in Starke County


Friday’s candidate filing deadline brought a flurry of activity in Starke County. A total of six Democrats are seeking their party’s nomination for the Commissioner District 3 seat held by Republican Kent Danford. He is not running again. Candidates include Karen Tibbs, Anthony R. Bailey, Robert G. Manning, Tony Minix, Kenneth Arnett and Joseph Woods. The winner will face Republican Charles Chesak in November. Continue reading

Starke County Highway Department Reports Winter Savings

 The relatively mild winter has resulted in considerable savings for the Starke County Highway Department. The nine winter events recorded last month cost slightly more than $50,000, according to information highway superintendent Rik Ritzler shared with the county commissioners this week. That figure includes money spent on diesel fuel, salt, sand and employee overtime. Last January the county spent more than $86,000, and two years ago January winter operations cost more than $130,000. The savings will be invested in road maintenance. Continue reading

Starke Commissioners Poised to Approve Hospital Lease Assignment

IU HealthThe Starke County Commissioners will clear the way for the sale of IU Health Starke Hospital during a special meeting later today. They will formally approve the assignment of the hospital lease to Knox Hospital, LLC during the special-called 4:30 p.m. session. That’s the limited liability company set up by IU Health and Community Health Systems. The Tennessee-based company is in the process of buying IU Health LaPorte and Starke Hospitals. Continue reading

Economic Development Director to Outline Plans Tonight

starke-county-courthouseStarke County Economic Development Foundation Executive Director Charlie Weaver will present his long-term vision for funds from the county economic development income tax to the county council when they meet this evening. In previous meetings Weaver has expressed a desire to invest in road improvements in the Knox Industrial Park to make it more attractive to businesses looking to relocate or expand. He’s also made mention of improvements in the Hamlet area. Continue reading

Starke County Commissioners Considering Additional Budget Cuts

starke-county-courthouseThe Starke County Commissioners have taken a number of cost saving measures under advisement. The county has already cut more $566,000 in expenditures from the 2016 budget per orders from the state. One concern raised during the budget review process was a lack of money in the county’s cash balance. Auditor Kay Chaffins presented a list of possible cuts to the commissioners Monday evening aimed at shoring those funds up. Continue reading

Starke County Officials Prepare For Building Renovations

starke-county-jail-outsideThe Starke County Council and Commissioners are almost ready to proceed with renovations to the courthouse and old jail building across the street. They’ve got money left from the construction of the new jail east of Knox to make upgrades to both buildings for continued correctional use.

The old jail will become office space for Starke County Community Corrections and the probation department. Community Corrections Director Bob Hinojosa told the county council and commissioners Monday his board has committed $100,000 toward the renovations on the condition that the former sally port can be turned into a conference room. Continue reading

Starke County Officials Slash Proposed Expenditures

starke-county-courthouseBudget constraints have forced the Starke County Council and Commissioners to cut back on proposed big ticket expenditures in the coming year. They met jointly Monday to look at items that can be purchased with money in the cumulative capital development fund. That list included a new ambulance for Starke County EMS, two new patrol cars for the sheriff’s office and three new server computers for the IT department. Continue reading