Starke County Looks to Expand WorkOne Partnership

 The Starke County Commissioners hope to expand their success with a WorkOne job training program to other departments within county government. Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler was the first to take advantage of the agency’s offer of free help to teach young people so-called “soft skills” like showing up to work on time, following directions and adhering to a schedule. WorkOne pays the employees to hone their job skills, and there is no cost to the county. Continue reading

Truck Route Implementation Moves Forward

Knox Truck OrdinanceThe GPS systems used by over-the-road truck drivers should soon be updated to reflect the truck routes in Knox and North Judson. Starke County Economic Development Foundation Executive Director Charlie Weaver told the county commissioners last night 26 separate GPS providers have accepted the revised routes, but he doesn’t have an implementation schedule just yet. 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

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

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

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

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

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