Today's News

Starke County Highway Department Restocks Salt, Regroups

 The Starke County Highway Department has a fresh supply of salt for the next winter weather event. Superintendent Rik Ritzler says 400 additional tons of have been added to the pile. So far this season 447 tons have been used. Last year the county had already gone through more than 1,200 tons of salt by mid-January. The garage foreman has also replenished the sand/salt mixture in anticipation of the next snow. Continue reading

Former Prisoner Transport Van Deemed Suitable for Coroner

starke-county-courthouseThe former Starke County Sheriff’s Department prisoner transport van will soon be converted for use by coroner Adam Gray. President of the Starke County Commissioners Kent Danford tells WKVI news he’s checked the vehicle out and deemed it road-worthy for the coroner. Continue reading

Starke County Officials Preparing for Winter Wrath

starke-county-courthouseStarke County officials are keeping a close eye on the weather and may issue travel restrictions if necessary. Emergency Management Agency Director Ted Bombagetti says the county commissioners have the final say and consider several factors, including the safety of snow plow drivers, first responders and the public in general.

He adds the county highway and EMA have been rehearsing their response to a winter weather emergency since late summer.

“We’re kind of like the fashion stores where in the winter time they’ve got the swimsuits out. We’re always preparing a season ahead. The drivers have been out practicing their areas.” Continue reading

More Snow With Additional Accumulations Possible Overnight

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for the Kankakee Valley tonight into tomorrow morning. Snow is expected to overspread the area this evening and continue overnight, with three to five inches possible. Continue reading

Road Closed for Bridge Sealing

A three-quarter stretch of Starke County Road 800 East will be closed today. Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler tells WKVI News crews will be sealing the deck of the new bridge over Eagle Creek. As a result, 800 East will be closed between 50 South and 25 North. The road will reopen Sunday morning.

Bridge Over Bogus Run Set to Reopen Monday

The new bridge over Bogus Run on Starke County 900 East will open again to traffic on Monday. The bridge just west of 100 West has been closed since August. LaPorte Construction is sealing the deck of that bridge. They also replaced the bridge over Eagle Creek on 800 East just north of 50 South. It reopened recently as well. Continue reading

Starke County Highway Department Adopts Mailbox Repair Policy

 Starke County Highway Department snow plow drivers who take out mail boxes with their blades will have to help repair them. Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler says they will assist the department’s sign repair crew as schedules allow. He hopes it will provide an incentive for drivers to be more careful as they clear roads this winter. Continue reading

Starke County Highway Superintendent Outlines Road Improvement Goals

 The Starke County Highway Department is already making plans for next year’s scheduled road improvements. Superintendent Rik Ritzler says they’ve been hauling in loads of stone and may have it all stockpiled by the end of the year if the weather continues to cooperate. Continue reading

Starke County Highway Crews Ready for Winter

 The Starke County Highway Department is ready for winter weather. Superintendent Rik Ritzler says the county has plenty of salt and sand stockpiled to help melt ice and make roads passable. Also, Ritzler says the necessary winter equipment is ready to go. Continue reading

Starke County Highway Department Notches Safety Milestone

The Starke County Highway Department recently celebrated an accident-free milestone.

The Starke County Highway Department recently celebrated an accident-free milestone.

The Starke County Highway Department got through the summer without any accidents or injuries. Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler says the last one occurred in February of this year. Each employee received a letter of commendation for helping to ensure a safe summer. Continue reading

Starke County Highway Department Celebrates Safety Milestone

Starke County Highway SafetyStarke County Highway Department employees remained accident free this summer. Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler told the commissioners this week there were no reported accidents or injuries between June 21st and September 21st. Highway department employees drove more than 89,000 miles and spent quite a bit of time doing road work that required traffic control during that three month period. Continue reading

Starke County Highway Department Sets Road Improvement Record

Starke County Highway Superintendent Stephen "Rik" Ritzler

Starke County Highway Superintendent Stephen “Rik” Ritzler

The Starke County Highway Department is wrapping up road improvements for the year. Superintendent Rik Ritzler says they’ve improved more than 120 miles of roads through a combination of chip and fog sealing, asphalt paving and wedging and crack sealing. That’s the most road miles improved in a single year by the Starke County Highway Department. Continue reading

Starke County Commissioners Set to Name EMS Director

starke-county-courthouseThe Starke County Commissioners are set to hire a new county EMS director. Keith Emigh has served in an interim capacity since Paul Matthewson resigned in July and was one of the applicants for the position. That hiring is one of the items on their agenda for today’s meeting. Continue reading

Starke County Highway Department Finishes Bridge Maintenance

Starke County Highway Department workers add rip rap to bridges.

Starke County Highway Department workers add rip rap to bridges.

Starke County’s annual bridge maintenance program is almost complete. Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler says the county is awaiting the final inspection on each of the 58 bridges. Crews cleaned the deck and drains on each bridge, sealed all of the concrete decks, made minor repairs and added rip rap to about half of the structures to help prevent erosion. Once the inspections are complete a full report will be posted on the county’s website.

 

 

 

Road Maintenance Continuing in Starke County

Starke County Highway Department crews are busy this week re-stoning gravel roads.

Starke County Highway Department crews are busy this week re-stoning gravel roads.

The Starke County Highway Department is on pace to meet and possibly exceed its road improvement goals for the year. Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler says they paved 10 miles of roadway in August at a cost of slightly more than $21,000 per mile. He says they may add to that total by the end of September. Continue reading

Starke County Highway Department Preparing for Winter Weather

 Starke County Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler is shopping for less expensive road salt to use this winter. He told the county commissioners he’s already got one contract in place through the state bid process but is attempting to negotiate better prices with other suppliers who lost out on the state bid. Continue reading

Starke County Commissioners to Revisit Employee Work Restrictions

starke-county-courthouseThe Starke County Commissioners have asked the county attorney to look into work restrictions for county employees who have been cleared to return to work by their physicians but are still under restrictions. Interim EMS Director Keith Emigh asked about the county’s policy during the most recent regular commissioners meeting and was told employees cannot return to work unless they can perform all of their required job duties. The commissioners last week asked county attorney Marty Lucas to further research the issue and placed the matter on the agenda for their meeting this morning. Continue reading

Bridge Inspector Signs Off on 700 East Repair

A new pile and pier were added to the bridge on County Road 700 East over the Yellow River to replace the ones damaged last spring.

A new pile and pier were added to the bridge on County Road 700 East over the Yellow River to replace the ones damaged last spring.

A Starke County road that has been closed since April is once again open to traffic. The county’s bridge inspector signed off on the emergency repair on 700 East over the Yellow River. A log floating down the river struck the bridge supports, rendering the structure unstable and forcing the emergency closure. A field inspection performed Sunday recommended additional monitoring of the timber piles, as they are starting to deteriorate, but found the bridge is able to handle traffic again.

 

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