Two Replaced on Starke County Health Board; Former Board President Issues Statement

Last week, the Starke County Commissioners replaced two Starke County Health Board members, Bob Howard and Madge Whickcar. Howard, as previously reported, had served for ten years, eight of them as President. Named to replace the pair were Jennifer Davis and Beverly Fraine. Both were Democrat appointments.

Controversy in the Health Department began with the elimination of the Starke County Environmental Food Specialist position in April of 2009, by the Starke County Council. Judy Jelinek filled the position up to that point. It was proposed that the position go to part-time, but that was slow in being implemented as a question of liability insurance kept the selected part-time inspector, David Kesvormas, from accepting the position. That stumbling block has reportedly been ironed out with the County’s insurance representative, First Source Insurance, finding coverage at an acceptable rate. Most inspections have been done by Sanitarian Dave Singleton since Jelinek was removed from her full-time position.

In a farewell e-mail to his fellow Board members (shared with WKVI news) Howard laid the fact that he and Whickcar were not re-appointed at the feet of Dr. Walter Fritz, the former County Health Officer. He said, “I’ve been told that Dr. Fritz went to the Commissioners and said Madge and I interfered with his professional ability to manage the Health Department.”