New year, new gov’t

A new prosecutor, new auditor, new recorder and four new county council members were among those sworn-in during ceremonies last week marking changes in county government.
Judge Marvin McLaughlin swore in Democrats on Thursday, Dec. 30, at the Knox Community Center. New leaders taking office include Prosecutor Nicholas Bourff, Auditor Katherine “Kay” Chaffins and Recorder Lisa Liedtky Minix.
Starke Circuit Judge Kim Hall swore in Republicans at the Starke County Courthouse on Tuesday, Dec. 28. Hall himself was sworn in by Superior Court Judge Patrick Blankenship of Pulaski County. Hall then swore in three new Republicans on the County council: Tony Radkiewicz, Mitch Semans and Dave Pearman.
The three Republicans, and Democrat McLaughlin, all give a new makeup to the county council, which still has a Democratic majority. Returning council members who were not up for election include Democrats Mark Smith, Robert Sims and Judy Benninghoff.
Leaving the council were longtime member Chuck Estok, with 24 years experience, Bruce Fingerhut with 12 years experience, and Bill Dulin, who served two years.
Also sworn in at the Republican event were Coroner Kris Rannells, North Bend Township Trustee Rutherford Byron Walters and Washington Township Trustee Shelly Kemble.
Democrats sworn in included Sheriff Oscar Cowen, Commissioner Jennifer Davis, Assessor Rhonda Milner, and Trustees Judy Ahlenius (California Township), Julie Manns (Center Township), Robin Latimer (Davis Township), Marilyn Lockridge (Jackson Township), Mark Allen (Oregon Township), Roger Chaffins (Railroad Township) and Clara Schacht (Wayne Township).
County Clerk Evelyn Skronski was re-elected in November, but was hospitalized at the time of the ceremony. She will be sworn in at a later date.
Also sworn in were members of the township advisory boards from both parties.
Bourff named Todd Wallsmith as the chief deputy prosecutor. Jeff Williams will continue to serve as a prosecutor, and Ryan Bratcher will continue to serve as a part-time prosecutor focusing on domestic violence cases.
Bourff said the majority of the staff will remain, including those in the child support office.

2011 Holidays
Starke County government offices will observe nine holidays in 2011
Friday, April 22 Good Friday
Monday, May 30 Memorial Day
Monday, July 4 Independence Day
Monday, Sept. 5 Labor Day
Friday, Nov. 11 Veterans Day
Thursday and Friday, Nov. 24 and 25 Thanksgiving
Friday, 23 Christmas Eve observed
Monday, Dec. 26 Christmas Day observed
Federal and state holidays may differ slightly from these local schedules.