and VICKI URBANIK
a number of records and unprecedented events, one thing is clear about 2008:
The year ended on quite a different note than when it began.
Consider President George W. Bush’s declaration in February, when he tried
to assure Americans that “this country is not recession-bound.” But by
year’s end, analysts declared that not only are we indeed in a recession,
but that the slump began nearly a year ago. By year’s end, layoffs and
threatened layoffs dominated the headlines, and the nation’s worst economic
crisis since the Great Depression emerged as the top issue for
President-elect Barack Obama.
drip-drip-drip of bad economic news both locally and nationally was steady
throughout the year, yet you wouldn’t necessarily have known it -- at least,
not during the first half of the year --
by looking at the steelmakers.
Steel in Crisis Again
Arcelor Mittal opened the year by reporting a record net income of $10.4
billion for 2007. U.S. Steel, too, posted colossal profits in the second and
third quarters. Steel orders surged. Union officials accused Arcelor Mittal
of dragging its heels in contract negotiations, and the membership actually
voted in support of the authority to strike. ArcelorMittal lost the game of
chicken and with fewer than 36 hours to go before the deadline agreed to a
Still, by late summer, it became clear that the nation’s credit crisis was
metastasizing into manufacturing and that the demand for steel was falling.
Then plunging. It happened virtually overnight. Orders were suddenly
canceled and the stream of new ones dried to dust.
Steel responded initially by laying off 500 workers at its U.S. facilities,
100 of them in Northwest Indiana, then in December announced
further layoffs of 3,500. ArcelorMittal opted to play chicken again
with the USW, when it announced that it would lay off as many as 2,444 at
Burns Harbor. The union made rumblings about arbitration and litigation, and
once more the company relented, this time agreeing to issue fewer than 500
South Shore Milestone
South Shore passenger service had a bittersweet year. It celebrated its
100th anniversary in June and took possession of the first of 14
long-awaited double-decker train cars. Ridership surged, likely in response
to the oppressive prices at the gas pump, but by year’s end the service
expected to end the year with a 1.5 percent decline in overall passengers, a
drop attributed to the rotten economy.
proposed expansion of the service to Lowell and Valparaiso, along with a
public relations campaign partly funded by taxpayers in support of the
extension, prompted plenty of discord. A plan to capture a portion of the
sales taxes generated in Northwest Indiana to pay for the project ultimately
Property Tax Confusion
Meanwhile, lawmakers hit Hoosiers in their wallets by hiking the state sales
from 6 percent to 7 percent
-- while setting into motion a number of property tax reforms,
including a big boost in a tax credit for homeowners.
it would be quite some time before Porter County homeowners would see that
Throughout 2008, Porter County
officials continued to struggle with longstanding tax billing problems.
Despite spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in consultant fees and
overtime for county staff, Porter County still couldn’t get its tax work
done, ending 2008 with even later tax bills than the year before.
Blue State Indiana
Politically, 2008 was a year for Democrats to shine.
the first time in decades,
Indiana voters found that the
state’s late primary didn’t
really matter because this time, they could still sway the presidential
nomination. Hillary Clinton became the first presidential contender in 40
years to visit Porter County -- not once but twice. And Barack Obama stumped
in Northwest Indiana as well, with stops in Portage, Gary and Highland.
November election solidified the Democrats’ hold on county offices. Not only
did the Dems retain majority control of the Commissioners, but they also won
an unprecedented 6-1 control on the County Council while snatching the
County Treasurer’s post to boot.
Fee Hikes, Rate Hikes
the economy struggling, it’s a bad time to find bigger utility bills in the
mail. But Dunelanders will, beginning on Jan. 1. The Town of Chesterton
raised its refuse and recycling rate by 38 percent and its sanitary sewer
rate by 14 percent. The Town of Porter doubled its refuse and recycling rate
and upped its sanitary sewer rate by 60 percent. And NIPSCO is seeking a
single-phase spike in the electric rate paid by residential customers of
14.36 percent, while proposing a significantly smaller increase for
commercial and industrial customers.
Harsh Winter, Tragic Flood
not the economy tanked, however, 2008 might well have been remembered as the
Year of Bad Weather. It started with a winter so harsh that municipalities
were forced to ration street salt after frequent snows had depleted their
stocks to perilously low levels. Then, in the early morning hours of April
18, an earthquake epicentered west of Evansville rocked Dunelanders awake,
shook the china, and scared the dog.
it was the rains of Sept. 12-14, more than 12 inches in 72 hours, which will
no one will ever forget. They swamped basements, flooded streets, turned
back yards into swimming holes, and overwhelmed the Chesterton wastewater
treatment plant. They also tragically took the lives of two heroes: John
Thanos and his son, Mark, who leaped unhesitatingly into a churning drainage
ditch to save a boy who had been swept away.
bad weather wasn’t quite done. In early November a lake-effect snow dumped
nine inches on Duneland, then Mother Nature got into the ugly habit of
throwing a snow or sleet or freezing-rain event at us every 48 hours or so.
Progress and Plans
Though the local economy suffered -- as reflected in months of declines in
building permit activity -- there were some notable construction projects
begun or announced.
long last, Phase I of the South Calumet Project began. A new North Porter
County Highway Garage opened. Chesterton planners endorsed what could be the
largest commercial project in the town’s history south of the Indiana Toll
Road. Porter officials made real progress in their long-awaited Porter
Brickyard Trail. New housing starts continued in Burns Harbor. The Duneland
School Board purchased 37 acres at 1050N and 250E in Jackson Township for a
possible new school.
Further, Steve and Raymond Brickner built a new Flower Cart in downtown
Chesterton. Harris Bank opened a new branch in Chesterton. St. John’s United
Church embarked on a $1.2 million expansion. Two vacant Chesterton buildings
got a new life: Duneland Resale Shop bought the former WiseWay on Broadway
Avenue while St. Anthony acquired the former Jewel store.
Porter-Starke announced plans for a major new mental health facility in
Portage -- only to put the plans on hold by the end of the year when the
nation’s banking crisis forced changes in the financing.
year opened with a mystery, when the body of Rylan Cotter, a Michigan State
University junior, was found on the Brassie Golf Course in January,
culminating in a ruling by County Coroner Victoria Deppe of suicide.
year closed with the savage murder, less than a week before Christmas, of
Luke Oil clerk Barbara Heckman at the convenience store at U.S.
6 and Meridian Road in Liberty Township. Twelve hours after Heckman’s
body was found, Bruce Guess and
Steven Jorden, both of Liberty Township
were charged with murder
Dunelanders might remember 2008 as the end of an era, or of eras. Lakeshore
Festival Events Inc., the operator of the Wizard of Oz Festival, announced
in November that the Yellow Brick Road has at last come to an end.
Chesterton Fire Chief Warren “Skip” Highwood, a vital member of Porter
County’s fire service for 46 years, announced his retirement, effective
Bill Carmichael, a fixture in local and county politics for a generation
(and a world-class shot with a muzzle loader) died.
Chesterton Tribune provides the following month-by-month summary of
the events of 2008.
Porter County Sheriff’s Police (PCSP) says Randy Swisher, 53, of Jackson
Township, shoots his roommate, Chad Nolan, 21, who returns fire, in a New
Year’s Day incident; both treated for gunshot wounds. NiSource Inc. admits
the outsourcing of business support functions to IBM in 2005—leading to the
elimination of 5 percent of employees corporate-wide—failed to produce
projected cost savings. Dr. James Callaghan, former family physician in
Chesterton, is named new president of Saint Anthony Memorial Health Center
in Michigan City.
Porter County Clerk’s Office restores lunch-time hours. The State Utility
Forecasting Group projects electric rates to increase by 20 percent over the
next five years. A winter rain floods Duneland, swamps basements, closes
roads, and overwhelms the Chesterton wastewater treatment plant. Randy
Swisher is charged with aggravated battery and battery with a deadly weapon
in connection with the New Year’s Day shooting at his residence in Jackson
Porter County Council authorizes Sheriff Dave Lain to hire to additional
patrol officers. Gov. Mitch Daniels appoints former LaPorte mayor and
Republican Leigh Morris to oversee the Indiana Toll Road lease and to chair
the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority (RDA). Former Duneland
School Corporation (DSC) bookkeeper Rogetta Urbahns pleads guilty to one
count of theft in connection with the misappropriation of more than $45,000
from two DSC accounts.
Porter County Commissioners John Evans, R-North, and Robert Harper,
D-Center, call for a voter referendum on the proposed $1 billion South Shore
commuter rail extension. Augsburg Lutheran Church and St. Patrick’s Catholic
Church both celebrate 150 years of Christian services in the Duneland
community. The body of Michigan State University junior Rylan Cotter, 20, of
Okemas, Mich., is found on the Brassie Golf Course.
Porter County Council retains the firm of former Indiana Department of Local
Government Finance (DLGF) commissioner Beth Henkel to ensure that the second
installment of the 2008 property-tax bills are mailed in November.
Chesterton High School (CHS) debate team wins the Ft. Wayne South Side High
School tournament. The Chesterton Town Council approves a planned unit
development ordinance (PUD) for Sand Creek Farms, a 362-unit single family
residential development to be built on 130 acres annexed in 2007 at the
terminus of East Porter Ave. east of Friday Road.
teachers attend a Duneland School Board (DSB) meeting, many of them wearing
buttons reading “Working Without a Contract.” The Porter County Convention
Recreation and Visitor Commission gives its support to the South Shore
extension, with the condition that a bill authored by State Rep. Chet Dobis,
D-Merrillville, is enacted; under that bill the estimated local match of
$350 million would be funded with a Porter and Lake county sales tax, rather
than a new regional tax.
Porter Plan Commission endorses a 595-foot FM transmission tower for WBEZ
radio at the site of the former Andershock’s at U.S. Highway 20 and Tremont
Road. A fire in Beverly Shores leaves at least five people homeless and
kills a cat. Robert Murphy, 49, of Jackson Township, dies in a one vehicle
accident at the entrance to Indiana Dunes State Park (IDSP).
Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission (NIRPC) conditions its
support of the South Shore extension on the Dobis funding formula. The
Porter County Commissioners vote 2-1 to rezone 104 acres of land at the
intersection of Ind. 49 and U.S. Highway 6 in Liberty Township from
Residential-1 to Institutional for the proposed re-location of Porter
hospital. The Porter County Commissioners condemn the use of taxpayer-funds
by the Regional Development Authority on a marketing campaign in support of
the South Shore extension.
Day in the Life of Westchester Township” opens at the Westchester Township
Historical Museum. The Dobis bill on South Shore funding clears the Indiana
House Ways and Means Committee. Aaron Lee Phelps, 17, of Valparaiso, pleads
guilty to charges in connection with a fatal accident in 2007 at the
intersection of Vale Park Road and Ind. 49, in which one of his passengers
was killed while he was fleeing a police officer. RDA Executive Director Tim
Sanders defends the use of taxpayer funds on the marketing campaign in
support of the South Shore extension.
Chesterton branch of 1st Source Bank at 800 Indian Boundary Road is robbed.
The Chesterton/Duneland Chamber of Commerce names Julie Kelchak Citizen of
the Year and honors Walt and Gloria Rector with the Senior Service Award, as
Mark Chamberlain assumes the presidency for 2008, at the annual membership
meeting and installation banquet. Michael Haughee, former Hebron Town
Council president and a prominent Porter County Democrat, is convicted of
sexual battery, criminal confinement, and interfering with the reporting of
Steel reports a net income of $879 million or $7.40 per diluted share for
2007, down from a record $1.37 billion or $11.18 per diluted share in 2006,
as acquisitions impact the bottom line. CHS debate team qualifies Mike
Hadley, Tyler Fabbri, Kurtis Kolb, Riley Golden, Jessica Povlinski, Rachel
Marvin, Alex Steciuch, Greg Gantry, and Tom Geairn for the National Forensic
League (NFL) national speech and debate tournament in June. Pathway Family
Center re-locates to a larger office at 425 Sand Creek Drive in Chesterton.
NiSource Inc. reports a net income of $331.4 million or $1.21 basic earnings
per share for 2007, up from $282.2 million or $1.03 basic earnings per share
in 2006. The Chesterton-Porter Rotary Club awards a Paul Harris Fellow to
Dr. Norm Novak, DDS.
cancels classes after an early morning snowfall. A $46 million INDOT
interchange modification project closes I-94/I-65 ramps for an anticipated
nine months in Lake County. Duneland Xtreme Sports launches an appeal
campaign aimed at local businesses to raise funds for a skateboard park in
amendment to the Dobis South Shore extension funding bill which would
essentially force Porter and Lake counties to remain members of the RDA
draws harsh criticism. The Porter Fire Department reports a record year in
2007 with 551 calls, compared to the old record of 458 set in 2006. The
Porter County Commissioners abolish comp time, the practice of giving paid
time off after employees work more than their standard hours.
Chesterton resident Valerie Brown gets the nod to appear on “The Wheel of
Fortune.” Report: the Indiana Department of Corrections stopped sending
inmates to the Porter County Jail at the end of 2007 due to overcrowding at
the facility. A road salt shortage forces the Chesterton Street Department
to go on emergency rations and stop salting side streets.
Chesterton resident John Poparad is presented the Bronze Star, the POW
Medal, and seven other decorations which he earned during WWII but never
received. Porter County Animal Shelter Director Sandy Ogle resigns in the
wake of complaints that she failed to monitor the condition of horses
previously in foster care before they were returned to former Animal Welfare
Board member Bonnie Frye. The Duneland YMCA Teen Center celebrates its
(Jerry) and Dawn Ruge of Burns Harbor celebrate their 50th wedding
anniversary. The Porter Town Council votes 4-1 to approve a PUD ordinance
for the Trails of Porter, to be developed in the Iron Triangle at the
northeast corner of Wood Street and South Mineral Springs Road, north of the
CSX right-of-way. Porter County Commissioner Robert Harper, D-Center,
testifies in favor of property-tax caps before the Indiana House Ways and
ArcelorMittal reports a record net income of $10.368 billion
or $7.41 basic earnings per share for 2007, up from a pro forma net income
of $7.973 billion or 5.76 basic earnings per share in 2006.
fliers spread the false rumor that the Burns Harbor Town Council, in
executive session, voted to condemn property and pursue eminent domain
CHS Sandpipers Show Choir is named Grand Champion at the Norwell High School
Choir Invitational in Ossian, Ind. Liberty Intermediate School and Jackson
Elementary School are named Four-Star Schools, the Indiana Department of
Education’s highest academic honor. The CHS debate team wins its 18th state
championship, a record.
and Constance Sherrick of Duneland celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.
Chesterton resident Kourtney Pogue tapes an episode of “The Wheel of
Fortune.” Bonnie Frye, former member of the Porter County Animal Welfare
Board, is charged with 10 counts of neglect of a vertebrate animal. Coffee
Creek Development I LLC, the Lake Erie Land Company’s joint development
partner, is fined $9,400 for MS4 violations at the Village Green Townhomes
construction site in Coffee Creek Center.
Chesterton Utility Service Board offers to provide sanitary sewer service to
a new Porter hospital at the intersection of Ind. 49 and U.S. Highway 6 in
Liberty Township. The Chesterton Fire Department reports a record year in
2007 with 1,141 calls, compared to the old record of 1.059 set in 2006.
Associated Press (AP) reports: President Bush assures Americans that “this
country is not recession-bound.”
reports: “The cascading fallout from the subprime loan crisis, barely a
cloud on the horizon a year ago, is now viewed by experts as the economy’s
greatest threat.” CHS Japanese team sweeps all three levels of the Japanese
Olympiad of Indiana at DePauw University in Greencastle. CHS Jazz Band earns
a Superior Gold at the ISSMA’s annual Jazz Fest at LaPorte High School.
Duneland teachers win 3.5-percent pay hike plus a 4.5-percent hike in
academic year 2009-10, under the terms of their new contract. The CHS speech
team takes second at the IHSFA sectional tournament, hosted by CHS.
Engineers estimate the cost of mandated upgrades to the Town of Porter’s
sanitary sewer collection system at between $4 million and $10 million over
Porter-Starke Services Inc. announces that it will break ground in the
spring on a new $1.5 million 8,000-square foot mental health facility in
reports: U.S. home foreclosures hit an all-time high in the fourth quarter
of 2007. Porter County Coroner Vicki Deppe rules the death of Rylan Cotter a
suicide, concluding that she jumped to her death from an electric
transmission tower on the Brassie Golf Course. Michael Haughee is sentenced
to one year in jail after being found guilty of sexual battery, criminal
confinement, and interfering with the reporting of a crime.
Porter County Council accepts the recommendation of consultant Beth Henkel
to hire, at the cost of $72,000, two additional consultants to assist the
Porter County Auditor and township assessors with this year’s property
taxes. The Porter County Community Foundation awards a total of $124,058 to
10 not-for-profit organizations. Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and the
City of Portage form a partnership to create Portage Lakefront Park on 57
acres on former Midwest Steel property at Burns Ditch, the first such
partnership in the country.
Scout Troop 389 of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church wins the Girls Scouts
Bronze Award. The CHS speech and debate team qualifies four more for the NFL
national tournament at the North East Indiana District tourney at Plymouth
High School: Zack Stemer, Jackson Fox, Melissa Penfold, and Samantha
Kattalia. Aaron Phelps, 17, is sentenced to 15 years in prison after
pleading guilty to charges in connection with a fatal accident in 2007.
Porter Town Council opts to investigate the feasibility of selling its
sanitary sewer collection system. Warren Fasone of Boy Scout Troop 908 wins
the Eagle Scout Award. The Liberty Landowners Association files a lawsuit
challenging the Porter County Commissioners’ re-zone of land at the
intersection of Ind. 49 and U.S. 6 for a re-located Porter hospital.
reports: President Bush says that the economy is in “challenging times.”
Nicholas Parry, 20, of Valparaiso, dies in a two vehicle accident on U.S. 6
in Jackson Township. CHS debater Kathleen O’Keefe qualifies for the NFL
national tournament at the Northeast Indiana District Congress Tournament at
Columbia City High School.
Porter County Commissioners name Jennifer Pierce the director of the Animal
Shelter. Former DSC bookkeeper Rogetta Urbahns is sentenced to 60 days of
community service and three years of formal probation after pleading guilty
to theft in connection with the misappropriation of more than $45,000 from
two DSC accounts. CHS Business Professionals of America bring home 12 awards
from the State Leadership Conference in Indianapolis.
private operator of the Indiana Toll Road announces an increase in tolls for
motorists paying cash: from $4.65 to $8 for those who drive the entire
157-mile roadway. Chesterton Middle School (CMS) Principal Jim Ton wins the
2009 John Vaughn Excellence in Education Award from the North Central
Association on Accreditation and School Improvement. The Indiana General
Assembly enacts new property-tax legislation: among other things, the state
sales tax rises from 6 percent to 7 percent, in 2010 a 1 percent cap on
property taxes takes effect, and the duties of township assessors are
transferred to county assessors.
eighth-grader Chance Culp-Rigg qualifies for the National Geography Bee.
Michael Kane, the killer of former CHS student John Trowbridge, is scheduled
to be released to a halfway house from the psychiatric institute to which he
was committed after being found not guilty of murder for the reason of
insanity, under a new Nevada statue—for which Trowbridge’s mother, Robbin
Trowbridge-Benko lobbied the state legislature—requiring Kane to be
carefully supervised. The Porter Quick Stop at 20 E. U.S. 20 is robbed at
death sentence of Odell Corley is upheld; Corley was convicted of murder in
the shooting deaths of tellers Chandler Simpson, 59, and Kay Peckat, 52,
during the botched robbery of the Pines branch of the First State Bank of
Porter. The Chesterton Town Council makes offers totaling $360,475.50 for 16
parcels needed for right-of-way in Phase I of the South Calumet District
project. Chesterton artist Mary Ann Pals is honored by Lt. Gov. Becky
Stillman in the 2008 Celebration of Hoosier Women Artists competition.
Chesterton/Duneland Chamber of Commerce creates the position of managing
director. Lisa Abramson, 35, of Jackson Township, dies in a one vehicle
accident on C.R. 400E in Jackson Township. The Lakeshore Bone & Joint
Institute is honored as the VNA Physicians of the Year for 2007.
Batz of Burns Harbor wins several top honors at the 28th annual Southern
Grand amateur trapshooting competition in Odessa, Fla. CHS sophomore Brianne
Guardiola competes at the World Championship of Irish Dancing in Ireland.
reports: U.S. home-building falls for a record 24th straight month. The
Chesterton Tribune begins its 125th straight year of publication. Eric
Sharpe, 20, of Portage, is sentenced to four years for his role in two of
the burglaries in 2007 of the Chesterton wastewater treatment plant.
CHS speech team finishes second at the IHSFA state tournament at Lafayette
Jefferson High School. The 12th annual Native Plant Sale is held at the
Pavilion at IDSP by the Friends of the Dunes. Public Law 221, an Indiana
Department of Education accountability program, places CHS and Liberty
Intermediate School on academic watch but ranks Brummitt Elementary School,
Bailey Elementary School, and Westchester Intermediate School as
“exemplary,” its highest rating.
Duneland Unit of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Porter County names Joe Juarez
its unit director. The CHS Winter Guard finishes sixth at the championship
competition of the Midwest Color Guard Circuit at Lincoln Way East Highway
School in Frankfort, Ill. The Chesterton branch of 1st Source Bank is robbed
for the second time in less than three months. The Duneland School Board (DSB)
votes unanimously to resume random drug testing at CHS in academic year
2009-10 for students in extracurricular and co-curricular activities.
is selected to begin an International Baccalaureate program. Burns Harbor
Town Council Member and U.S. Marine Reserve Gunnery Sgt. Louis Bain returns
safely from his third tour in Iraq. U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., a
candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, makes a campaign
appearance at Washington Township Elementary School.
Chesterton Economic Development Coordinator Dwayne Williams resigns,
prompting the Town Council to earmark his salary for the position of town
manager. The Chesterton Town Council retains the services of H.J. Umbaugh &
Associates to file a petition with the DLGF seeking an excess levy of
$860,583. AP reports: U.S. bankruptcy filings jumped 38 percent in 2007.
Porter County Commissioners agree to use $67,000 in county income funds to
assist the struggling Portage Adult Education. The Indiana Chapter of the
ACLU names State Sen. Karen Tallian, D-Ogden Dunes, its Legislator of the
Year, The Porter County Board of Zoning Appeals grants seven variances on
signage, curbing, entrance width, parking, and buffers for a re-located
magnitude earthquake centered six miles from West Salem, Ill., and 45 miles
from Evansville, Ind., rocks Dunelanders awake shortly before dawn. CMS math
team wins Grand Championship Prize at the Lake/Porter County Middle School
Conference math contest at Fegely Middle School. MOMS Club of Duneland
cleans Dunes Friendship Land.
Trooper Mike Jones and K-9 partner Boss discover $153,900 in cash in a
vehicle during a traffic stop on I-94 in Westchester Township; the driver
and passenger deny knowledge of the money, which is seized. More than 65
booths participate in the Career/Jobs Fair held at CHS, sponsored by CHS and
the Partners in Education Committee of Chesterton/Duneland Chamber of
Commerce. The Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor opens the 2008 international
shipping season with a load of 8,610 metric tons of steel coils loaded in
reports: U.S. sales of new homes plunge in March to the lowest level in more
than 16 years. Chesterton resident Pearl Warble celebrates her 100th
birthday. Eight homes and the Thomas Centennial Park bandstand are
refurbished during Duneland Rebuilding Together.
Chesterton Tree Committee celebrates Arbor Day by planting three memorial
trees on the east side of CMS on Eighth Street. CHS senior Kevin Nault is
honored by the Duneland Exchange Club with the Accepting the Challenge of
Excellence Award. AP reports: U.S. home prices fell in February at the
fastest pace ever. U.S. Steel reports a net income of $235 million or $1.98
per diluted share for the first quarter of 2008. The Chesterton Town Council
agrees to purchase a new aerial at a cost of $893,815. CHS Symphonic
Orchestra and Wind Ensemble qualify for the State Concert Band Finals in
Indianapolis. AP reports: GMC posts a $3.3 billion loss in the first quarter
Principal Jim Ton named Middle School Principal of the Year for District I
by the Indiana Association of School Principals and the Horace Mann
Companies. U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton make a second campaign stop in Porter
County, this one at the United Steelworkers Local 6787’s Duneland Falls
Banquet Center. Local 6787 member Russell Payne, 60, of Portage, dies in a
crushing accident at ArcelorMittal’s Burns Harbor facility.
NiSource Inc. reports a net income of $99.3 million or 36 cents basic
earnings per share for the first quarter of 2008. Less than two months after
being appointed director of the Porter County Animal Shelter, Jennifer
Pierce resigns, citing differences of opinion with the Animal Welfare Board.
The DSB agrees to purchase 37.8 acres at the northeast corner of C.R. 1050N
and C.R. 250E in Jackson Township for two new school facilities; as part of
the deal, it also agrees to donate $200,000 to the Town of Chesterton for
development of a new park east of Ind. 49. Joshua Don Young, 28, of Lake
Station, is charged with two counts of assault in federal court in
connection with an attack on two National Park Service rangers at the INDU
campground in Beverly Shores.
Sen. Hillary Clinton narrowly wins the Indiana primary election for the
Democratic nomination for president; Jill Long Thompson, the Democratic
nomination for governor; Dale Brewer, the Republican nomination for Porter
County Treasurer; Jim Murphy, the Republican nomination for the South seat
on the Porter County Commissioners; incumbent State Rep. Ed Soliday, the
Republican nomination for the 4th District seat in the Indiana House; Chuck
Moseley, the Democratic nomination for the 10th District seat in the Indiana
House held by Greg Simms; Republicans Jim Burge, Bill Carmichael, and Sandra
Snyder and Democrats Laura Blaney, Sylvia Graham, and Dan Whitten are the
top vote getters for the at-large seats on the Porter County Council.
Honors Economic students advise the Chesterton Town Council, in a
presentation at a special meeting in the CHS auditorium, to give a town
manager the authority to hire and fire, their consensus recommendation
following an in-depth study of the issue. St. John’s United Church announces
Phase I of a proposed $1.2 million expansion.
juniors Jessica Povlinski and Kevin Kokesh receive the Rotary Youth
Leadership Award from the Chesterton-Porter Rotary Club. Indian Boundary
Road from Ind. 49 to North Calumet Road is re-paved at an estimated cost of
$250,000 in TIF funds. The Chesterton Hometown Improvement Project holds its
fifth annual Downtown Cleanup Day.
ArcelorMittal reports a net income of $2.371 billion or $1.69 per share for
the first quarter of 2008. U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-1st, endorses U.S.
Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., for president. The CHS Jazz Ensemble holds the
35th edition of All that Jazz.
Porter County Commissioners disband the Animal Welfare Board and hire Judy
Bonaventura to direct the Animal Shelter. Steve and Raymond Brickner, owners
and operators of The Flower Cart, announce plans to build a new store from
scratch on the site of the old Chesterton Muffler Man site at South Calumet
Road and Indiana Ave. Timothy Shawn Dunn, 48, of Chesterton, is convicted in
federal court in connection with a $60 million tax fraud conspiracy. The
Chesterton branch of Chase Bank is robbed, the third bank robbery in
Chesterton in less than five months.
emerald ash borer, a non-native insect, is identified in young and mature
ash trees on the west edge of Chesterton. Town of Chesterton employees hold
a benefit fundraiser for Street Department employee Phil Criswell, being
treated for esophageal cancer. The Chesterton Redevelopment Commission
awards the contract for Phase I of the South Calumet District project to
Walsh & Kelly Inc., for its low bid of $519,352.84.
celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Prairie Club. Illinois trucker Mark
Flock, 51, dies in a horrific three vehicle accident at the intersection of
Ind. 49 and Gateway Blvd. The Porter Police Department tells the Chesterton
Tribune that investigators are developing new information in the murder of
David Wahoske, shot to death in his kitchen on Beam Street in October 2000.
The Chesterton Town Council informs Able Disposal that it will hold the
company to the terms of the contract, which make no provision for fuel
surcharges, after Able indicates that it plans to add surcharges in the wake
of spiking fuel prices. The European Market opens another season in Downtown
Jackson Township resident Edith Johnson celebrates her 100th birthday.
Jeffry Krafft of Merrillville wins Best of Show and First Award in the 57th
annual GFWC Chesterton Woman’s Club Art Show; the other First Award goes to
Robert D. Williams. The 2008 W.R. Canright Outstanding CHS Senior Journalist
Award is shared by Melissa Kogler and Christine Lambert.
Porter County Treasurer’s Office mails provisional property-tax bills. The
Duneland Key Communicator Committee calls the addition of a new—and
sixth—elementary school the “number-one short-term need” of the DSC. Robert
Kelly, CHS communications teacher and speech sponsor, is inducted into the
National Forensic League Hall of Fame.
reports: U.S. home foreclosures set a record in the first quarter. The
Chesterton Muffler Man building is demolished to make way for a new Flower
Cart. AP reports: the nation’s unemployment rate jumped to 5.5 percent in
May, the biggest monthly rise since 1986, as employers cut 49,000 jobs.
Senior Nutrition Site at Hawthorne Park in Porter to close for lack of
participants. The 118th CHS commencement is held for the Class of 2008. The
Duneland Exchange Club presents the Book of Golden Deeds Award to John and
Dan Johnston, volunteers at the Duneland United Churches Resale Shop.
scene from Public Enemies, starring Johnny Depp, is shot at IDSP.
Thomas Peak, 78, of Westchester Township, dies after his tractor overturns
and crushes him while he is mowing grass along U.S. 20. The Duneland
Business Initiative Group (DBIG) holds Old Fashioned Day at Thomas
sanitary sewer force main fails beneath Porter Ave. between Fifth and Eighth
streets. CHS Club Earth plants nearly 1,000 native plants to restore a
wetland area at Dogwood Park. The Chesterton Utility Service Board votes 3-2
to endorse a single-phase sanitary sewer rate hike of 14 percent, effective
Jan. 1, 2009; members John Schnadenberg and Jim Raffin prefer a two-phase
hike of 7 percent in the first year and 7 percent in the second.
Friends of Indiana Dunes donates $1,000 for three bicycles to be used by DNR
security personnel at IDSP. AP reports: the FBI has arrested more than 300
real estate industry players since March in a crackdown on mortgage fraud.
The Chesterton/Duneland Chamber of Commerce appoints Heather Ennis to fill
the newly created position of managing director.
Twenty-seven local teams participate in Duneland’s third annual American
Cancer Society Relay for Life at the CHS athletic field. The CHS speech and
debate team posts one of its best showings in years at the NFL national
tournament in Las Vegas: the public forum team of Mike Hadley and Tyler
Fabbri finishes 12th of 246 teams, while CHS wins the NFL School of
Excellence Debate Team Award and the Bruno E. Jacob Award for cumulative
rounds of competition. Jeremiah Leffel, 34, of Chesterton, and his father
Joseph Leffel, 59, of Falls River, Idaho, die in a rafting accident on the
Alsek River in Kluane National Park in the Canadian Yukon.
Norris, 48, of Valparaiso, is charged with the murder of his girlfriend,
Elizabeth Lepucki. Liberty Township resident Alan Hewitt resigns his seat on
the Porter County Drainage Board after opposing two new developments, The
Preserve and Timberland Farms, in rural Liberty Township. Porter Superior
Court Judge Bill Alexa acquits Ohio trucker Sampson Boadi of reckless
homicide in connection with a fatal accident in October 2006; Valparaiso
Police said that Boadi ran a red light on Ind. 49 before plowing into
Liberty Township resident Earl Eaton’s vehicle.
Chesterton Board of Zoning Appeals grants variances for a scooter dealership
at 310 S. Calumet Road. What would become the Chicago South Shore and South
Bend Railroad began on June 30, 1908, with service between South Bend and
Michigan City. The Duneland Exchange Club holds its fifth annual Frog Hunt
and Community Picnic at Coffee Creek Watershed Preserve.
Chesterton branch of LaPorte Savings Bank at 651 Indian Boundary Road is
robbed, the fourth bank robbery in Chesterton this year. The Duneland YMCA
launches its 2008 fundraising campaign, with a goal of $40,000 to provide
scholarships to children and families to participate in YMCA programs.
Freddie Mullins, 62, of Michigan City, dies when he loses control of his
motorcycle on U.S. 20 just east of Waverly Road.
William “Bud” Tilden is named the King of Porter’s sesquicentennial
celebration, Ruth “Babe” Poparad the Queen, and Maxine Erickson Rankin—Queen
of Porter’s 1958 Centennial Celebration—returns home to serve as Honorary
Queen. The Independence Day Parade in Duneland is celebrated in conjunction
with Porter Sesquicentennial Parade, while housing development on the west
side of Dogwood Park precludes the traditional July 4 fireworks at that
United Steelworkers, North America’s largest private sector union, merges
with Unite the Union, the largest labor organization in the United Kingdom
and Ireland, to form the world’s first global union. The Burns Harbor
Advisory Plan Commission votes 4-2 to endorse an 18-month development
moratorium, to buy time in the quickly growing town to review, amend, and
possibly overhaul the 1994 Comprehensive Plan, last updated in 2003. Brenda
Brueckheimer is named Porter Citizen of the Year.
Walgreen’s Pharmacy at 580 Indian Boundary Road is robbed of unspecified
controlled substances by a man implying possession of a gun. Four swimmers
narrowly avoid drowning in a rip current off the unguarded Dunbar Beach in
INDU. DeVante Jackson, 14, of Chicago drowns in a rip current off the
unguarded Kemil Beach in INDU. Saint Anthony Memorial Health Center
announces plans to build a $20 million free-standing emergency department on
the site of the old Jewel/Osco on Indian Boundary Road.
Chesterton Town Council approves a beefed up town manager ordinance, which
gives that position a supervisory function and the authority to hire and
fire. The DSB agrees to stop accepting students who do not reside in the DSC
but who pay tuition to attend schools here.
holds Bark in the Park at Thomas Centennial Park. CHS student Ethan Hall
swims 23 of the 29 miles across Lake Michigan to Chicago, battling six-foot
waves to raise money for junior diabetes research. The Chesterton Advisory
Plan Commission votes unanimously to endorse a PUD ordinance which would
permit I-80 Partners LLC to develop what would be the largest commercial
project in the town’s history, on a site immediately south of the Indiana
Toll Road and east of Ind. 49, potentially to include retail space, a hotel,
medical facilities, and a big-box anchor like Wal-Mart, following a public
hearing at which opponents outnumbered supporters.
Porter County Fair opens. The cost of replacing a failed sanitary sewer
force main beneath Porter Ave. is estimated at $450,000. Chesterton Utility
Service Board President Larry Brandt, citing a shortfall in Utility
revenues, calls for more development to increase the number of customers.
Alysha M. Ramos, 17, of Westville, is waived into adult court to face
charges in connection with a crash which killed her passenger, Alisha
Purnick, 17, of Liberty Township; the Porter County Sheriff’s Police say
that Ramos was intoxicated at the time of the accident. Bricklayers Local 4
pickets the construction site of the new Auto Zone on Indian Boundary Road,
protesting Auto Zone’s use of a non-union masonry subcontractor based in
Springfield, Mo. The Porter County Election Board votes 2-1 to deny the
request of the Porter County Commissioners to hold a non-binding referendum
in the November election which would have asked voters if they would support
a new tax for the South Shore extension.
Chesterton/Duneland Chamber of Commerce names Tricia Howe its Volunteer of
the Year, Dan Johnston its Humanitarian of the Year, and Ann Howard the
Duneland Distinguished Woman. Former INDU Superintendent Dale Engquist
receives the U.S. Department of Interior’s Distinguished Service Award. U.S.
Steel reports a a record net income of $668 million or $5.65 per diluted
share for the second quarter of 2008.
Chesterton Town Council votes unanimously to approve the PUD ordinance for
Coffee Creek Crossing, what could be the town’s largest commercial
development ever, to be built immediately south of the Indiana Toll Road and
east of Ind. 49. The Chesterton Police Department says that a man shot and
killed by South Bend Police, reportedly after robbing a bank
there—identified as Brian Szuflita, residence unknown—may have been
responsible for robbing two banks in Chesterton as well as the Walgreen’s
Pharmacy earlier in the year.
picket of the Auto Zone construction site by Bricklayers Local 4 results in
an agreement with the masonry subcontractor under which six members of Local
4 and three members of Laborers Local 81 get jobs on the building.
reports: The U.S. Surface Transportation Board issues a draft environmental
impact statement which states that the South Shore extension is not “a
reasonably foreseeable future action.” AP reports: GMC posts a $15.5 billion
loss in the second quarter of 2008. Raphael Palomar, 13, of Chicago, drowns
in a rip current off the unguarded Porter Beach in INDU, the second child to
drown this summer on a beach in the park not patrolled by lifeguards.
Chesterton Art Fair celebrates its 50th anniversary in Hawthorne Park in
Porter. ArcelorMittal announces plans to build a $600 million
electric-steelmaking facility in Mexico. A two-punch storm blasts through
Porter County, leaving Duneland relatively unscathed but toppling trees and
flooding roads elsewhere in the county.
Ayres announces his resignation as executive director of the Indiana Retired
Teachers Association. AP reports: Fannie Mae posts a $2.3 billion loss in
the second quarter of 2008, as high-risk mortgage defaults rise. The
Chesterton Montessori School celebrates its 25th anniversary.
Porter County Health Department reports a mosquito pool in the county has
tested positive for the West Nile virus. The Chesterton/Duneland Chamber of
Commerce holds its fourth annual Party in the Park in Thomas Centennial
Park. The Porter County Council and the Porter County Commissioners
unanimously re-appoint Gus Olympidis as their representative on the RDA.
United Steelworkers and U.S. Steel reach a tentative four-year labor
agreement covering the 16,000 members at the company’s domestic facilities.
AP reports: U.S. foreclosure filings jumped 55 percent in July. One month
after endorsing an 18-month development moratorium, the Burns Harbor
Advisory Plan Commission asks the Town Council to take no action yet on such
ArcelorMittal reports a net income of $5.839 billion or $4.20 basic earnings
per share for the second quarter of 2008. Sheriff Dave Lain warns the Porter
County Council that a move to rescind overtime pay will take police officers
off the roads and jailers out of the jail. Lance Stroobandt, 37, of Michigan
City, dies in a two vehicle accident on U.S. 20 at Wagner Road, and Brian
Allan Otto, 24, is charged with OWI in connection with the crash.
Swisher is convicted of aggravated battery and battery with a deadly weapon
in connection with a New Year’s Day shooting. Local law enforcement agencies
seize and burn multiple dump-truck loads of wild-growing marijuana from an
undisclosed site on INDU property. A CMS student is arrested on a
delinquency charge of possession of marijuana on the first day of classes.
According to the Indiana Department of Health, Porter hospital reported no
medical errors in 2008. AP reports: U.S. home prices drop by a record amount
in the second quarter. AP reports: the FDIC announces that bank profits fell
by 86 percent in the second quarter. Porter Town Council Member Bill Sexton,
R-1st, resigns his seat to move to Merrillville.
Porter Town Council votes 4-1 to approve a 30-percent increase in the
sanitary sewer hike, with an additional 30-percent hike tentatively planned
to take effect at the end of 2009, to guarantee repayment of a $4 million
revenue bond floated to finance mandated upgrades to the collection system.
All United Steelworkers locals representing steelmakers at ArcelorMittal’s
U.S. facilities vote to authorize International President Leo Gerard to call
a strike if a new contract is not reached by the expiration of the old one
at midnight on the last day of the month.
Porter County Republican Party Chair Chuck Williams breaks a 2-2 tie in a
caucus to tap Todd Martin, a resident of the Town of Porter for only three
months, to the 1st District seat on the Town Council vacated by Bill Sexton.
The United Steelworkers and ArcelorMittal reach a tentative three-year labor
agreement—described as “pattern-plus” by Local 6787 President Paul
Gipson—less than 48 hours before the current contract expires and members
were scheduled to go on strike.
250 employees of Priority Trucking—which began business as KAT Inc. and
opened its Chesterton headquarters in 1983—lose their jobs when the holding
company which acquired KAT in 1999 opts to liquidate its assets. NIPSCO
files a proposal with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission for a
two-phase electric rate increase, under which the average residential
customer’s bill would rise by 8.86 percent in the first phase and by 6.64
percent in the second.
DSC reports that CHS students out-performed the state average on the SAT,
ACT, and GQE. The United Steelworkers ratifies a new four-year labor
agreement with U.S. Steel. Local municipalities are hit by the soaring
price—as well as by the scarcity—of road salt, with the likelihood that
motorists will find roadways slicker than usual during the upcoming winter.
Board of Trustees Chair Mark Yagelski defends the proposed South Shore
expansion in testimony before the U.S. House Transportation and
Infrastructure Committee. INDU Superintendent Constantine Dillon tells the
Chesterton Tribune that it would be “prohibitively expensive” for the park
to hire enough lifeguards to patrol all of the six currently unguarded
beaches in INDU. AP reports: Lehman Brothers, a 158-year-old investment
bank, files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
than 12 inches of rain drench Duneland in 72 hours, swamping the Chesterton
wastewater treatment plant, causing the Gustafson and Pope O’Conner ditches
to breach their banks, flooding basements, and closing roads, in a
catastrophic weather event. Chesterton residents John Thanos, 74, and his
son, Mark Thanos, 48, die as heroes, drowning after leaping in a rushing
drainage ditch in the Westchester South subdivision to save a 10-year-old
boy who had been swept away; the boy survived. The parking lot by the
Pavilion at IDSP collapses into a sink hole after the flooding Dunes Creek
washed away the sand beneath the asphalt. Gov. Mitch Daniels—who pays a
visit to the Chesterton town hall to confer with officials—signs an
executive order declaring a disaster emergency in Porter and Lake counties.
State and federal FEMA agencies rush to establish local relief centers.
Porter County Commissioners reject all three bids for an expansion of the
Animal Shelter and opt to re-bid in the hope of lowering the cost of the
project. Lloyd Ogilvie is the keynote speaker a the annual Community Prayer
Breakfast. AP reports: the Federal Reserve bails out AIG with an $85 billion
injection, in return for which the government takes an 80-percent stake in
reports: U.S. new home construction fell to the lowest level in 17 months in
August. The Northwest Indiana Migratory Bird Association holds a Big Sit
Birdathon at the old Green Tower site at IDSP to raise funds for a new
observation tower at the west edge of the park. Dunes Acres living legends
Ruth Osann, Barbara Plampin, and Harry Mark Petrakis are honored at the
opening of Dunes Acres exhibit at the Westchester Township Historical
Museum. The annual Duneland Harvest Festival is held at INDU.
Duneland United Churches Resale Shop buys the old WiseWay Foods at 801
Broadway and plans to move its operations there early in 2009. Brianna
Cauley, 10, of Madison, Wis., is reported to be in critical condition after
being rescued from near drowning off Kemil Beach in INDU. Former NBC news
anchor Jane Pauley participates in a panel discussion at Local 6787’s
Duneland Falls Banquet Center in support of Obama campaign for presidency.
Fifteen Chesterton residents file a petition with the DLGF objecting to the
Town of Chesterton’s appeal for an excess levy of $860,583. IDSP selects a
design consultant to prepare options for restoring the Pavilion parking lot.
The Chesterton Lions Club celebrates its 75th anniversary.
Tourism consultants Roger Brooks and Monica Dixon urge Duneland officials
and businesses to increase the “curb appeal” of their towns, at a
presentation held at the Porter County Visitors Center and sponsored by the
reports: President Bush warns that “the entire economy is in danger.” Porter
Superior Court Judge Bill Alexa sentences Randy Swisher to 20 years for the
New Year’s Day shooting, after information emerges that Swisher tried to
persuade family members to exact vengeance on persons responsible for his
conviction, including court officials. The financial meltdown stalls the
plan of Porter-Starke Services Inc. to build a new mental health facility in
confirms that it is revising its plans for the $1 billion South Shore
extension and says that it may build one leg at a time, rather then both
simultaneously, although NICTD cannot say whether it will build the
Valparaiso or the Lowell leg first. U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-1st, votes
against the $700 billion bailout of troubled financial institutions; U.S.
Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-2nd, votes in favor of it.
continues to staff local disaster recovery center in the wake of the
September floods. The Cook County, Ill., Medical Examiner’s Office rules the
death of Chesterton area infant Nicholas B. Munden a homicide after he dies
at the University of Chicago Hospital, where he was transported for
“treatment of an unknown medical condition.” David Squires, Chesterton
Postmaster since 2001, retires.
CHS Trojan Guard takes Gold at the ISSMA district competition. AP reports:
the price of oil falls below $90 per barrel, a 40-percent drop since peaking
in July, as the financial meltdown spreads. AP reports: the Dow Jones
tumbles 500 points and falls below 10,000 for the first time in four years.
financial meltdown temporarily delays the DSC’s plan to refinance the bond
used to build the new CHS. AP reports: the staggering economy causes a
scuttling of the plan to build a $62 million ethanol plant in Starke County.
A home built by the CHS building trades program in Jackson Township sells
Indiana Department of Education ranks Jackson Elementary School a Four-Star
School, the state’s highest academic honor. IDSP holds its Fall Funfest and
Storytellers Festival. Bonnie Frye, former member of the Porter County
Animal Welfare Board, pleads guilty to 10 counts of animal neglect and is
sentenced to 30 days of community service and year of unsupervised
National Forensic League honors the CHS speech and debate team with its
Leading Chapter Award in the Northeast Indiana District, recognizing it as
one of the Top 100 in the nation. The Chesterton Lions Club floats its plan
for a two-day Duck Race Festival in June 2009, with events in Thomas
Centennial and Dogwood parks. AP reports: the fear of recession has begun to
trump the fear of inflation.
mid-October more than 1,800 Porter County residents have cast their ballots
in early voting, the Porter County Election Board reports. The CHS Trojan
Guard advances to the semi-state competition after a solid performance at
ArcelorMittal announces the idling of four blast furnaces at its U.S.
facilities and its plans temporarily to reduce the workforce, as part of a
ramp-down in production prompted by the credit crisis. AP reports: Fifth
Third Bancorp posts an $81 million loss in the third quarter. Brianna Cauley,
11, of Madison, Wis., dies of injuries sustained after her near-drowning off
Kemil Beach in INDU.
Lawrence K. Hill, 40, of Chicago, a suspect in a fatal stabbing in Portage
only a few hours earlier, kills both himself and his 2-year-old son after
crashing his vehicle into a police squad on U.S. 20, just east of Beam
Street. Residents ask the Chesterton Stormwater Management Board to
intercede with the Porter County Drainage Board to get the Gustafson and
Pope O’Conner ditches cleaned, in the wake of the September floods. AP
reports: U.S. home foreclosures jump 71 percent in the third quarter.
CHS Trojan Guard ends its season at the ISSMA semi-state competition. A
reportedly intoxicated driver hits a NIPSCO pole on Woodlawn Ave., causing a
power surge which fries the whole of the Chesterton wastewater treatment
plant’s automated computer system. AP reports: consumer confidence falls to
the lowest level ever, since a private research group called The Conference
Board began tracking it in 1967.
Steel sets a record quarterly net profit of $919 million or $7.79 per
diluted share for the third quarter of 2008, yet its projection for the
fourth quarter and beyond is grim. The Chesterton Town Council votes 5-0 to
annex 85 acres south of the Indiana Toll Road, the second trans-Toll Road
annexation, over the objections of unincorporated Liberty Township
Chesterton Town Council awards the next three-year refuse and recycling
contract to Able Disposal, whose low bid nevertheless reflects a 38-percent
increase in the contract price in its first year. CMS Principal Jim Ton is
named Principal of the Year for Northwest Indiana by the Indiana Association
of School Principals. DBIG sponsors the Three Days and Nights of Halloween.
Porter County Highway Department has an open house at its new North County
Garage on C.R. 200E. Mark Easter, 21, of South Haven, is found guilty of
murder in the beating death of Christopher Janus, 15, also of South Haven,
in June 2007. U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., wows the region with a
campaign rally at Wicker Park in Highland.
Amanda Buchta, 20, of LaPorte, is charged in connection with a fatal crash
on U.S. 6 in Jackson Township in September 2008, in which passenger Adam
Candlar, 19, also of LaPorte, was killed. AP reports: U.S. auto sales fall
to their lowest level in 17 years. NiSource Inc. reports a net income of $20
million or 8 cents basic earnings per share for the third quarter of 2008.
DSC reports that 46 students were expelled in academic year 2007-08,
compared to 49 in the previous school year. Jared Altman, 19, of Chesterton,
dies in a two vehicle crash on U.S. 20 in Westchester Township.
ArcelorMittal reports a net income of $3.8 billion or $2.79 basic earnings
per share in the third quarter of 2008, a fall-off in earnings attributed to
a decrease in shipments and sales.
Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., becomes the first Democratic presidential
candidate to win in Indiana since LBJ in 1964, while Democrat Jill Long
Thompson wins Porter County but loses the state to incumbent Republican
Mitch Daniels in the race for governor. In Porter County Democrats romp. The
winners: Mike Bucko, Porter County Treasurer; Carole Knoblock, Porter County
Commissioner, South; Laura Blaney, Sylvia Graham, and Dan Whitten, Porter
County Council, at-large; David Chidester, Porter Superior Court, District
4. The only Republicans to win in county-wide races are incumbents: Roger
Bradford, Porter Superior Court, District 1; and John Evans, Porter County
Commissioner, North. In a non-partisan race Janice Custer is re-elected to
the Duneland School Board. U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-1st, and U.S. Rep.
Joe Donnelly, D-2nd, also win re-election, as does State Rep. Ed Soliday,
R-Valparaiso, to his 4th District seat. Democrat Charles Moseley wins
election to the 10th District seat in the Indiana House.
fatal crashes occur in Liberty Township in less than an hour: Joseph Cusson,
27, of Lake Station, dies in a two vehicle accident on C.R. 900N, and George
Richart, 69, dies in a five vehicle accident on Ind. 49. AP reports: U.S.
joblessness soars to its highest level in 14 years. AP reports: GMC posts a
$2.5 billion loss in the third quarter. The CHS debate team wins the
championship at Munster High School.
Chesterton Town Council proclaims Warren “Skip” Highwood Day in the Town of
Chesterton. The Town of Chesterton posts a job ad for the position of town
manager. Harris Bank opens its Chesterton branch on Ind. 49 and 1100N. The
Porter County Foundation awards nearly $300,000 to 30 not-for-profits.
CHS speech team holds the annual Skeffington Memorial Speech Invitational at
CHS. U.S. Steel lays off 500 United Steelworkers members, 100 of them in
Northwest Indiana. Porter County Coroner Vicki Deppe says that former
coroner and present Porter County Commissioner John Evans, R-North, refuses
to turn over to her office old records in his possession.
fundraising dinner is held for Jim Branham, former chief of the Liberty
Township and South Haven fire departments and director of the Porter County
Fire Investigation Strike Team, as he battles esophageal cancer. AP reports:
Citigroup announces that it will cut an additional 53,000 jobs. The CHS
speech team takes top honors at the Culver Academy Speech Invitational.
CHS debate team dominates the Valparaiso Debate Tournament. A nine-inch
lake-effect snowfall blankets Duneland in a late-fall storm. AP reports:
U.S. wholesale prices dropped a record 2.8 percent in October. The AP
reports: U.S. jobless claims jump to a 16-year high.
and the Chesterton Street Department are sued by the estate of Virginia
Wehner, 76, of Portage, who died in October 2008 in a three vehicle crash at
the intersection of Ind. 49 and Gateway Blvd., after the driver of the
vehicle in which she was a passenger turned left against a red light; the
suit claims that the configuration of the traffic signal was confusing.
United Steelworkers Local 6787 President Paul Gipson calls ArcelorMittal’s
notification of the possible layoff in January of 2,444 members at the Burns
Harbor facility a “gun” held to the union’s “head.” The Chesterton Tribune
celebrates the 50th anniversary of Pigskin Pigs. The DLGF grants the whole
of the Town of Chesterton’s excess levy appeal of $860,583 but phases it
over three years. AP reports: U.S. new home sales fell to the lowest level
in nearly 18 years in October.
ArcelorMittal agrees to reduce the number of proposed layoffs at its Burns
Harbor facility from 2,444 to fewer than 500. The Wizard of Oz Festival is
retired by Lakeshore Festival Events after a 27-year run; the September
floods are blamed as well as the advanced age of the Munchkins. The Hometown
Christmas Parade is held in Downtown Chesterton. The Flower Cart opens for
business at its new location at South Calumet Road and Indiana Ave.
reports: the U.S. manufacturing index drops to a 26-year low. U.S. Steel
announces the idling of three facilities and the layoff of 3,500 workers.
R.V. Sutton Inc. makes of donation of $11,307 worth of lights and light
poles for installation at Dogwood Park.
Hunters harvest a total of 42 deer over four days, in two phases, during
this year’s cull at IDSP. Timothy Shawn Dunn, 48, of Chesterton, is
sentenced to 17 years in federal prison after being convicted earlier in the
year of tax fraud. DSC students beat the state averages on ISTEP results at
all grade levels.
Anthony Miller, 21, of Chesterton, is sentenced to eight years in prison in
connection with a rash of business burglaries in 2007. AP reports: 533,000
jobs were cut in November, the most in 34 years. The CHS Music Department
holds the 36th annual Madrigal Dinner.
William Carmichael, 77, of Chesterton, a fixture in local and county
government for more than 30 years, dies; Carmichael was in his twelfth year
as an at-large member of the Porter County Council and had served 16 years
as a Porter County Commissioner.
Porter-Starke Services Inc. Vice-president Rocco Schirali is named the new
president and CEO after the resignation of David Lomaka. Porter County
property-tax bills are late once again this year and the Tribune reports
that they may not be mailed until the New Year. The Chesterton Town Council
votes 5-0 to raise the refuse and recycling rate by 38 percent and then 3-2
to raise the sanitary sewer rate by 14 percent.
CHS debate team take first place at the LaPorte High School Invitational.
Keith and Gloria Simms re-open Porter Zip Foods. Long-time Porter County
Attorney Dave Hollenbeck announces that he will not seek re-appointment to
that post in the New Year.
Chesterton Fire Chief Warren “Skip” Highwood announces his resignation,
effective Dec. 31, after 46 years in the fire service. A local group
announces that it will try to return a resurrected Wizard of Oz Festival to
Chesterton. The 14th annual Duneland Community Advent Festival is held at
St. Patrick Catholic Church.
Pathway Family Center re-locates to a new site at 804 Canonie Drive in
Porter. The Porter Town Council votes 4-1 to double the current monthly
refuse and recycling fee of $5 and tentatively to increase it to $11 in 2010
and to $12 in 2011. The Save the Dunes Shop celebrates its 35th year of
supporting dunes preservation.
Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-1st, and U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., both vote in
favor of an automaker bailout. The CHS speech team takes first at the
Elkhart Central High School Blazer Invitational. CHS hosts the 17th annual
CHS Debate Invitational. Michael Anton of the Anton Insurance Agency of
Chesterton is named 2008 Director of the Year by the Independent Insurance
Agents of Indiana.
Porter BZA votes unanimously to approve a use variance permitting State Park
Little League to expand its facilities in a residential zone on property
donated by Ron McColley of McColley Real Estate. Congress approves $17.4
billion in rescue loans for U.S. automakers. An ice storm prompts the DSC to
Richard and Helen Henderson of Chesterton celebrate their 50th wedding
anniversary. The Westchester Public Library Board opts not to give raises to
the system’s 70 employees in 2009 and then to name Suzanne Chomel as the new
branch manager at Hageman Library. Bruce Guess, 18, and Steven Jorden, 19,
both of Liberty Township, are charged with murder and robbery after the
Porter County Sheriff’s Police said that they bludgeoned to death Luke Oil
clerk Barbara Heckman, 42, of Portage, while they were robbing the store at
51 E. U.S. 6 in Liberty Township.
NIPSCO amends its rate case before the Indiana Utility Regulatory
Commission; it now is seeking a single-phase hike in the residential
electric rate of 14.34 percent, in place of a two-phase hike of 15.5
percent. The Indiana Court of Appeals reverses Porter Circuit Court Judge
Mary Harper’s vacation in November 2007 of the Chesterton Advisory Plan
Commission’s secondary plat approval of Lot 73 in Rose Hill Estates.
Freezing rain glazes local and regional roads and highways into skating
rinks, bringing early morning traffic to a dead stop.
non-profit organization is formed to support increased funding for adult
education programs. Porter-Starke’s methadone clinic for opiate treatment
receives a three-year accreditation. Porter officials approve a $89,500
software purchase for the police department, while hike the per-household
monthly trash fee 100 percent.