State Senator and Representative Meet with County Officials About Flooding

On Sunday afternoon, Starke County officials met with State Representative Jim Pressel (District 20) and State Senator Mike Bohacek (District 8) to discuss the recent devastation caused by flooding and what steps to take next.

Local officials who were present included Starke County EMA Director J. Nier, Surveyor Bill Crase and Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler as well as Engineer Lee Nagai and County Commissioners Kathy Norem, Donnie Binkley and Charles Chesak. Continue reading

Starke Commissioners to Reorganize, Make Appointments Tonight

The Starke County Commissioners will reorganize for the year when they meet this evening. Republican Kathy Norem returns for another term, alongside Democrat Don Binkley. He was elected two years ago. Republican Charles Chesak will take over the third seat on the county’s executive body. He replaces fellow Republican Kent Danford, who did not seek reelection. Continue reading

Embattled Veterans Service Officer Files Grievance Against County Commissioners

starke-county-courthouseA Starke County employee who was relieved of his duties during Monday’s commissioners meeting has filed a grievance seeking to be reinstated. The commissioners voted 2-0 to replace Veterans Service Officer Terry Turner with Mark Gourley. Commissioner Don Binkley made the motion to terminate Turner, and President of the Commissioners Kent Danford seconded it. Commissioner Kathy Norem did not vote.

After the meeting Danford said he has received several complaints about Turner. Continue reading

Starke County Commissioners Replace Veterans Service Officer

starke-county-courthouseStarke County has a new veterans service officer after action last night by the county commissioners. They voted to terminate Terry Turner from the position and replace him with Mark Gourley. President of the Commissioners Kent Danford says he’s a veteran with experience filing claims for servicemembers in LaPorte County. After the meeting, Danford said he’s received several complaints about Turner.

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Starke County Commissioners Hit Brakes on Road Improvements

starke-county-courthouseA request for funds to further improve Klockner Drive through the Knox Industrial Park hit a speed bump in Monday’s Starke County Commissioners meeting. Starke County Economic Development Foundation Executive Director Charlie Weaver asked for a significant appropriation from the county economic development income tax fund to rebuild the intersection with Division Road. The project carries an estimated cost of $343,000. Continue reading

Starke County Commissioners Discuss Contract for Highway Superintendent

Starke County Highway Superintendent Stephen "Rik" Ritzler
Starke County Highway Superintendent Stephen “Rik” Ritzler

A philosophical disconnect between the Starke County Commissioners may keep them from offering county highway superintendent Rik Ritzler a long-term employment contract. His is one of the jobs appointed each year by the commissioners. President of the Commissioners Jennifer Davis would like to change that.

“This is to our advantage to have a contract with our current highway superintendent, because of the job that he has demonstrated that he has done. I hope that we will be able to consider that at our next meeting,” Davis said during the Monday, Nov. 3 Starke County Commissioners meeting.

That will require a unanimous vote. Commissioner Kathy Norem supports the notion, but Commissioner Kent Danford does not. Continue reading

Local Women Nominated for Influential Recognition Award

MusialNoremTwo members of the Starke County Economic Development Foundation Board of Directors were named finalists for the 2014 Influential Women of Northwest Indiana recognition award. Carla Musial and Kathy Norem both were nominated by the Foundation for their work in Starke County. Musial was one of five finalists for Influential Woman in the Finance category, while Norem was one of three finalists for Up and Coming Woman in Government.

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Starke County Commissioners Weighing Beach Options

starke-county-courthouseThe Starke County Commissioners will have some pointed questions for Bass Lake Beach and Campground Manager Richard Callahan and his attorney, David Wallsmith, when they meet tonight. They attend the evening meetings each month and give a management report. During the July 7 commissioners meeting, several residents complained about the conditions at the beach and campground over the Independence Day weekend. Continue reading

Starke County Building Corp. Hears Water Line Update

This building on SR 8 at CR 550 E will soon house the new Starke County Jail.
This building on SR 8 at CR 550 E will soon house the new Starke County Jail.
The Starke County Building Corporation yesterday morning heard an update regarding the water line project for the construction of the Starke County Sheriff’s Office and Detention Center. Commissioner Kathy Norem said the work on the water line seems to be languishing; work was done in late December and was paid off, but the contractor has not done any work since.

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Starke County Officials Discuss Coroner Space

Starke County Commissioner Kathy Norem
Starke County Commissioner Kathy Norem
Starke County officials are going to have to find morgue space within the next year. A committee comprised of council president Dave Pearman, auditor Kay Chaffins and president of the commissioners Kathy Norem met recently with coroner Kris Rannells and former coroners directors Doug O’Donnell and Mark Smith to discuss the needs of the office. President of the Commissioners Kathy Norem says that was one of the big issues they raised.

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