Starke County Commissioners Take Infrastructure Plan Under Advisement

starke-county-courthouseInvestment in infrastructure is critical in order to see future growth in Starke County. That’s the assessment Starke County Economic Development Foundation Executive Director Charlie Weaver shared with the county commissioners last night. He and Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler jointly presented a five-year strategic infrastructure plan to the body. It includes an overview and timeline of bridge and road projects and justification for plans still on the drawing board. Continue reading

Starke County Commissioners Award Bridge Bid

starke-county-courthouseA LaPorte-based construction company will replace the bridge on 100 East wet of 500 South in Starke County. The commissioners unanimously accepted the low bid of $319,175 from LaPorte Construction. It’s $13,000 under the engineer’s estimate for the project. Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler notes they’ve done the last three bridge projects for the county and have done a good job. Continue reading

Starke County Highway Department Readies for Winter

 It’s only the first week of August, but officials with the Starke County Highway Department are already planning for winter. Superintendent Rik Ritzler told the county commissioners this week the county’s salt cost has gone down significantly over last year. The county piggybacks on the state’s bid and is able to realize considerable savings as a result. Ritzler says the price per ton has gone down from $73.62 to $65.32. If this winter is comparable to last year’s, he says that will save the county about $10,000. Continue reading

Starke County Council to Consider Jail Commander Pay

starke-county-courthouseThe Starke County Council will decide tonight whether to increase the salary for the jail commander. Sheriff Bill Dulin’s request to boost the pay for the position to reflect the additional responsibilities at the new jail got a favorable recommendation from the county commissioners. Dulin told them he can transfer money from within his budget to cover the extra expense. Continue reading

Starke County Council Approves Salary Ordinance Amendments

starke-county-courthouseThe Starke County Council last night approved two amendments to the salary ordinance to reflect changing job duties. The county highway bookkeeper/clerk will work eight hours per day instead of seven. Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler says the first and last hours of the work day are the busiest, and this will ensure efficient work flow. He adds the department administrator has taken on more responsibilities due to internal restructuring and needs the additional hour to get everything done. 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 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 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