By MARGARET L. WILLIS
Chesterton Tribune reporter Kevin Nevers received the Community Service
Award at Wednesday’s Duneland Chamber of Commerce summer awards banquet.
Nevers’ writing provides the community with “excellent news coverage and
commentary that educates and empowers local citizens,” said presenter Jeff
“His commitment to the Duneland community can be read five days a week,
almost 52 weeks out of the year,” Trout added.
Nevers’ background as an English instructor at Eton College in Berkshire,
England; followed by graduate work at the University of Virginia and as
assistant professor of English at Wittenberg University in Springfield,
Ohio, was all writing intensive, Trout said.
“He brought all of his writing skills and talents here to Duneland,” Trout
Nevers won the first place in Best Ongoing News Coverage from the Hoosier
State Press Association in 2000, and second place in both best Ongoing News
and Best Economic/Business Coverage in 1999.
“Many of these articles relate to issues which directly affect our lives,”
The award was not about professional recognition, but about recognition of
one person’s passion to be a community advocate and “use his God given
writing skills” to help citizens develop community knowledge and
involvement, said Trout.
The award was not a criticism of other newspapers which provide coverage of
Duneland, Trout said, but a way of recognizing a “thorough approach and
unique dedication to the Chesterton community. Tonight we’re saying thank
you to someone who has become an important component of the glue that holds
this unique and wonderful community together.”
Nevers said he was honored and humbled by the award. “I’m just doing my
job,” he said, adding much credit goes to the Canright family for hiring him
and supporting him in his efforts.
“My editor [David Canright] doesn’t ask me what my lead is, he asks me how
many stories I have and how much space I need. He winds me up and points me
in the right direction,” Nevers added.
“He told me when he interviewed me the Chesterton Tribune is a ’newspaper of
record,’ Nevers said. The award is for the Tribune, he said, not him as an
individual. The community owes a great deal to the paper and vice versa, he
added. The paper benefits from the “loyalty of Dunelanders and their
community mindedness,” Nevers said.
Nevers also thanked his wife Meredith, who puts up with his late-night
writing and bad humor after long meetings.
Renovation and New Construction
Renovation and expansion of existing structures earned notice at Wednesday’s
The YMCA’s addition of 5,000 sq. ft. to its facility this year, included two
multi-purpose rooms. The wellness center was expanded and office space and
two washrooms added. Interior renovations of the daycare rooms was done,
which now total 2,000 square feet.
Accepting the award was interim YMCA director Bob Rhoda.
Renovations of Porter’s Hawthorne Park ball field also earned an award.
State Representative Duane Cheney helped secure $75,000 in Build Indiana
Funds and the Porter Park Department paid the remainder of the $90,000
The infield was sodded, running paths and fielding areas established, a
handicapped accessible ramp installed along with new aluminum bleachers and
new water lines to the field and concession building. New trees and grounds
work will complete the project this fall.
Parks Superintendent Jim Miller accepted the awards on behalf of the Park
A new 24,000 sq. ft. warehouse added at Signature Graphics earned the third
renovation award. Signature Graphics is a QS9000 certified company with
sales last year of $32.5 million dollars.
Current customers included Ace Hardware, Coors Brewing, Daimler Chrysler,
Dunkin’ Donuts, General Motors, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., Marathon Oil,
Meijers Inc., True Value and Yellow Light Freight Systems, Inc.
Located in Porter, their manufacturing facility has over 120,000 sq. ft. and
is equipped with the finest technology and equipment available in the
Paul Godfrey, president of Signature Graphics, Inc., accepted the award.
For new construction, the Steel Family Health Care Center topped the list,
followed by Williams Travel Center, Eagle Services Corp., Duneland Group,
Small Fri Academy and Venturi Business Park.
Steel Family Health Care Center opened Feb. 1, 2001. It is a 15,000 sq. ft.
facility built under a partnership between Bethlehem Steel, National Steel
and United States Steel. Located at 2022 Kelle Drive on approximately 2
acres within Coffee Creek Development, the Steel Family Health Center is a
full service medical facility.
The building was designed by Design Organization and general contractor was
Tonn & Blank. The facility is managed by CHD Meridian, a national healthcare
The facility employs over 30 people and is staffed by physicians of Porter
Memorial Hospital, offering an in-house pharmacy, radiology services,
on-site lab, mammography, minor surgery and other services.
Accepting the award were Dr. Angela Wheeler, of SFHC; Heidi Schwab, of CHD
Meridian; Barbara Jasinski, SFHC administrator; Clarence Ehlers, of
Bethlehem Steel and Mark Seaman, National Steel Corp, Midwest Division.
Williams Travel Center, which opened in January 2001, earned a new
construction award. The 17,000 sq. ft. facility was constructed by Shields
Sexton of Indianapolis, on 20 acres just off I80/94 on Rt. 20.
The full service facility provides employment for 70 area residents and
gives travelers a restaurant and deli, ice cream shop, T.V. lounge, laundry
and shower facilities and a complete convenience store.
Accepting for Williams Travel Center was Scott Coburn.
Eagle Services Corp., located at 290 W 1050 N, was also a recipient of a new
construction award. Eagle Services Corp., provides filter pressing, sewer
cleanings, video inspections and pit/pond/lagoon cleaning. The 50,000 sq.
ft. building houses office and service space on seven acres just south of
Rt. 20 on St. Rd. 149 in the Tech Business Center.
Their services are used by steel mills, corn and food processing plants,
refineries, light and power generation plants and automotive production as
well as water treatment, and local, state and federal institutions
throughout the Midwest.
Sam Reich, III, president of the company, accepted the award.
Duneland Group, the local engineering and surveying firm, was presented with
an award for their new offices at Venturi Business Park. The 4,800 sq. ft.
brick and steel structure was designed by the firm and built by Chester,
Duneland Group has 28 employees and is the first unit completed in the
Venturi Business Park.
Charlie Ray, director of the Duneland Group, accepted the award.
Another Venturi development business, Small Fri Academy, was given a new
construction award. Small Fri was designed and built by Chester and is 7,400
sq. ft. The building houses a comprehensive child development center with a
trained and certified staff of 11.
Tony Schifino, owner and operator of Small Fri Academy, accepted the award.
A 4,234 sq. ft. professional building, still available for lease, won the
final award. One of the three available spaces is occupied by Quality
Search, which also houses the regional transfer equipment of SkyeNet, a
major Internet service provider.
The remaining two spaces available feature tiled entryways and bathrooms,
high-efficiency heating/cooling units and professional landscaping by the
Lawn Care Company.
Jim Jeselnick, owner of the building, accepted the award.
President Bob Crone thanked the Chamber staff and volunteers for their
efforts in putting on the event and executive director Laurie Franke-Polz
thanked the chamber board and organizational committee.
Indiana Oak Resort and Spa provided complimentary champagne for diners and
held a raffle for a spa day at the closing of the event.
Lorelei Weimer, executive director of the Porter County Convention,
Recreation and Visitors Commission won the drawing for a 50 minute massage,
a facial, manicure and pedicure.