Starke County Council Freezes Drug and Tobacco Free Funds, Innkeepers Tax

The Starke County Council discusses the issue of misappropriated funds

The recent revelation of misappropriated money from Drug and Tobacco Free Starke County and Starke County Tourism has caused embarrassment to members of several interlocking boards, and consternation on the part of county government officials. Those government officials expressed anger and frustration at this week’s Starke County Council meeting.

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Starke County Council Reorganizes, Makes Appointments

David Pearman

After serving five years as the Starke County Council President, Mark Smith announced before yesterday’s reorganization meeting that he would not stand for reelection. David Pearman was elected the President and Mitch Semans the Vice President. Attorney Martin Lucas was retained as the council attorney.

In appointments:
Mitch Semans accepted both the Starke County Economic Development position and the Council’s seat on the Kankakee-Iroquois Regional Planning Commission.
Tony Radkiewicz was named to the Solid Waste Board.
Judy Benninghoff remained on the Planning Commission.
Ken Wallace was reappointed to the Alcohol Beverage Commission Board.

IU Health Starke Hospital Contract Could Endanger County Ambulance Service

IU Health Starke Hospital officials met yesterday with county officials to discuss a potential problem that could scuttle plans for upgraded EMS services in the county.

The potential problem is the hospital’s plan to contract with an outside ambulance service to provide transfers from here to other medical facilities for advanced care. As hospital CEO Linda Satkoski said, “We many times need ALS-equipped vehicles with paramedics to make those runs.” The problem is that any private company wants all transfers, advanced and basic.

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Treasurer’s Office Audit Discussed by Starke County Council

Starke County Council President Mark Smith

The Starke County Council discussed the audit of the treasurer’s office at this week’s council meeting.  The council, at the recommendation of President Mark Smith and 1st Source Bank gave Auditor Kay Chaffins the ability to monitor various bank accounts and checking accounts.  Councilman Smith talked more about this action.

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Incumbents Re-Elected in City of Knox Primary Election

Rick and Marlene Chambers

Knox City Democrats went to the polls yesterday and re-elected Mayor Rick Chambers, Clerk-Treasurer Jeff Houston, and City Councilman Ron Parker in the contested races.

Chambers defeated challenger Mark Smith 401-288 in the mayoral race, and at party headquarters, he thanked his supporters.

“It’s been an exciting four years and I’m just humbled by the public coming out and voting and supporting me,” said Chambers. “We’re here to support the public. I’ve got to thank my family. My Mother-in-Law, my kids, everybody else that helped me, and the City workers who have made me look good for the past four years. We’ve got to thank them.”

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Mark Smith Seeking Candidacy for Mayor of Knox

Mark Smith

We continue today with our interviews with the Knox city candidates for elective office in the spring Primary on May 3rd.

Mark Smith is the President of the County Council and has been coroner in the past. He is the owner of M.C. Smith Funeral Home in Knox.

Smith noted the improvements made in past administrations, including the highway project through Knox, Gateway Project, renovation of the old depot, and others. He said he feels we’re not progressing now, as we did then.

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Knox Mayor up for Election in City Primary Election

Knox Mayor Rick Chambers

It’s two weeks before the Primary Election in Knox. Today, we will begin a series of interviews with candidates running in contested races.

Rick Chambers is completing his first term as Mayor of Knox. The Mayor sat down with us recently to talk about that four year term.

“The first term was very exciting,” he said. “I like dealing with industry. We had industry move into our Industrial Park every year I’ve been Mayor. We added about 80 jobs, we did six tax abatements for industry that either expanded or built new. It was very exciting seeing that Industrial Park grow.”

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Mark Smith Talks about Candidacy for Mayor of Knox

Mark Smith

Mark Smith for Knox Mayor. That was news a couple of weeks ago when Mark Smith, local funeral home operator, signed to run in the Democrat Primary against Rick Chambers.

Yesterday WKVI got a chance to talk with Smith about why he was running.

“I’ve had an interest in the Mayor’s office in Knox for the past two or three elections,” stated Smith. “Two elections ago I had committed to the Democrat Central Committee that if Oscar Cowen were elected as Sheriff, that would vacate two years worth of his seat on the County Council and I committed to that seat and I did not want to go back on my word.”

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Mark Smith Announces His Candidacy for Mayor of Knox

Mark Smith

Knox resident and local businessman, Mark Smith, has announced his intention to seek the office of Knox Mayor. Smith is the owner of the M.C. Smith Funeral Home and the current President of the Starke County Council as well as a very active member of the community.

He says, “The fiscal condition of the City of Knox has traditionally been good, however, with the changes that we have been handed, close attention must be given to the finances of the City if we are to continue the level of service currently being provided to our residents.”

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