New Year’s Day, 2013: Congress only just manages to save the nation from
tumbling off the ballyhooed financial cliff, whatever exactly that is. Here
in Duneland, folks sleep late, pop a couple of Alka Seltzer, and watch
parades and college football.
Two months later, in March, federal budget cuts mandated under so-called
sequestration go into effect butÑfor visitors to Indiana Dunes National
Lakeshore, at any rateÑthose cuts are invisible.
On Oct. 1, Congress’ inability to approve a budget, in the face of
Republican recalcitrance over the Affordable Care Act, leads to a partial
government shutdown. On the same day, the portal to the federal healthcare
exchange is revealed to be an unmitigated disaster. No one in Duneland seems
to notice, except perhaps, for the federal workers placed on furlough.
Apathy over the shutdown is quickly replaced by apathy over the impending
national default, which fails to materialize when Congress reaches an
11th-hour deal which fails to prompt dancing in the streets.
Dunelanders, meanwhile, spend the year doing what they’ve always done:
working and playing, raising their families, tending their gardens, happy
perhaps that for now, at least, they can safely ignore the ham-handed
bumbling in Washington.
The fact, however, that the Chesterton Tribune is leading its annual
Year in Review with a story which, for the most part, was simply background
noise in our lives here, goes to the kind of year 2013 was news-wise: there
was plenty to cover but it lacked what newspaper reporters like bestÑthemes,
easy to summarize and quick to digest.
If theme there was, though, it would probably be the continuing vicissitudes
of county government. Porter County Commissioner John Evans, R-North, may
have accused some County Council members, on the subject of finances, of
“Chicken Little” fear-mongering, but ponying up for the $1.5 million needed
for additional medical staff at the jail was like pulling teeth. Another
$1.5 million, which the Commissioners earmarked for the Raise the Barn
activity center at Sunset Hill Farm County Park, the Council in the end just
flat tabled. And the county is still going into 2014 with a projected $1.4
million budget shortfall.
Along the way, the Commissioners floated the unpopular idea of building a
new animal shelter on a memorial meadow at Sunset Hill and voted Council
Member Jeremy Rivas, D-2nd, right out of his district. (See related story on
The year closed with the FBI seizing records from county offices, apparently
as part of an investigation whose point is anybody’s guess.
In Chesterton, 2014 will be remembered as the year in which Urschel
Laboratories Inc. broke ground at Coffee Creek Center, for its new
manufacturing facility and corporate HQ. It will be remembered as well as
the year in which the Wizard of Oz Festival finally gave up the ghost.
Ground was broken as well on the Dunes-Kankakee Trail, and real progress was
madeÑover some objectionsÑon the Orchard Pedestrian Way in Porter.
And Seven Peaks appears to have made itself right at home in Duneland, with
the grand opening of its waterparkÑthe former Splash Down DunesÑas well as
the purchase of Westchester Lanes from the Ellos.
We wished the very best in 2013 to Dirk Baer, Michael Grubb, and Gayle
Polakowski, on their well-earned retirement. And we bade farewell to Doc
Whisler and the Rev. Laurence Heeg, with sadness.
On New Year’s Day, Congress kicks the can down the road, after approving a
compromise intended to avert the nation’s tumbling off the fiscal cliff;
among other things, it raises the top income-tax rate of 35 percent to 39.6
percent; U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-1st, votes against the bill, on the
ground that it adds $4 trillion to the national debt without resolving tax
and spending issues. Report: the Indiana Office of Tourism announces the
results of an on-line survey which ranks the Indiana Dunes second in the
state in the Best Fall Foliage Spot category and third in Best Summer Gotta-Do.
Fredrick Cashner Jr., 56, of Jackson Township, is sentenced to 45 years for
shooting his wife, Cynthia Cashner, 51, to death in April 2011 at her
business in Portage. The Porter County Council elects Member Jeremy Rivas,
D-2nd, to the presidency; Rivas asks his colleagues to make a better effort
at communicating and cooperating with the Porter County Commissioners.
The Porter County Council okays the use of $500,000 in interest from the
hospital sale to allow PACT to purchase the Legacy Banquet Center, with an
eye to reducing the jail population and saving up to $150,000 annually. The
Porter Town Council honors Stephanie Miller for her 20 years of service to
the municipal park system and the community’s children. Duneland Schools
Superintendent Dirk Baer announces his retirement, effective at the end of
the 2012-13 academic year.
The Friends of the Indiana Dunes donates two new ATVs to Indiana Dunes State
Park, to be used for trail and beach maintenance. The Westchester Public
Library launches a free downloadable magazine subscription service.
Representatives of Urschel Laboratories Inc. make their first public
appearance before the Chesterton Town Council and the Economic Development
Commission, to applause, handshakes, and good cheer, after the announcement
late in 2012 that the company is building a new corporate HQ and
manufacturing facility at Coffee Creek Center.
Det. Lt. Dave Adkins of the Chesterton Police Department announces his
retirement, effective April 13, after nearly 30 years of service to the
community. U.S. District Judge Philip Simon rejects Operators Local 150’s
challenge of Indiana’s so-called “Right to Work” law. Lifelong Duneland
resident Edna Agnes Elzene JohnsonÑ“Zeni”Ñcelebrates her 100th birthday.
ArcelorMittal announces plans to close a coke plant and six production lines
in Belgium, threatening 1,300 jobs; the company cites a collapsing demand
for steel and structural overcapacity; Belgian steelworkers protest. Tracy
Freeze is installed as the 2013 President of the Duneland Chamber of
Commerce. A Dune Acres group, the Coalition to Save Cowles Bog, reaches a
temporary accord with the National Park Service; the former agrees to
withdraw its petition for a preliminary injunction against “clear-cutting”
trees in Cowles Bog; the latter agrees to remove no more trees from a
“stipulated” area on the eastern portion of the project area.
The Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District projects a November
completion of a new high-boarding platform at Dune Park Station. U.S. Steel
posts a net loss in 2012 of $124 million or 86 cents per diluted share and a
net loss in the fourth quarter of 2012 of $50 million or 35 cents per share.
Chesterton High School qualifies seven debaters for the national tournament
in Birmingham, Ala.
A midnight hail storm slams Duneland. The Friends of Indiana Dunes donate an
all-terrain wheelchair to Indiana Dunes State Park. Carlos Martinez Jr., 42,
with an address on Gladys Lane, faces 50 years in prison after the Porter
County Drug Task Force says he transacted drug deals within 1,000 feet of
Westchester Intermediate School.
The Shirley Heinze Land Trust purchases the former Meadowbrook Girl Scout
Camp on C.R. 700N in Liberty Township, with plans to operate the 74-acre
property as a natural area and center for environmental education. The CHS
debate team ends its streak of state championships at five, after placing
second, behind West Lafayette, at the tournament in Kokomo. Ryan Schroeder,
27, of Liberty Township, is sentenced to 54 years in prison, following his
conviction late in 2012 on five counts of aiding in child molesting;
according to the Indiana State Police, Schroeder told his girlfriend to
molest a Chesterton boy and record the molestation.
A jury is picked on the first day of Dustin McCowan’s murder trail; Porter
Superior Court Judge Bill Alexa denies the defense’s motion for a change of
venue. ArcelorMittal posted a net loss in 2012 of $3.7 billion or $2.4 per
share and a net loss in the fourth quarter of $3.98 billion or $2.58, the
later including a $4.3 billion non-cash write-down of goodwill due to weak
market conditions in Europe, where steel demand fell by 9 percent in 2012.
In the opening statements of Dustin McCowan’s murder trial, the state
promises that physical evidence and eye- and ear-witness testimony will link
McCowan to Amanda Bach’s murder; the defense responds by calling the police
investigation shoddy and maintaining that there is no “real concrete
evidence” tying McCowan to the crime.
At a public hearing before the Chesterton Economic Development Commission on
the bond issue for the Urschel Laboratories Inc. project, one resident
expresses concern over the 20-year, 85-percent property-tax break on the
table and wants assurances that Urschel will preferentially hire Chesterton
residents; Town Attorney Chuck Lukmann says that steps are already being
taken in that direction; the CEDC subsequently approves the bond issues,
under which Urschel will pay all costs associated with the project with its
own liquidity, then recoup a portion of those costs through the 20-year,
85-percent tax break.
The CHS speech team wins the first tournament of the year, the Munster
Varsity Speech Invitational. The Duneland Business Initiative Group ends its
sponsorship of the Chesterton Wizard of Oz Festival; Machelle Blount of DBIG,
who spearheaded the return of the Oz Fest to Chesterton, cites dwindling
attendance and the sheer time needed to organize the event.
Luke Oil announces the demolition of its gas station at the northeast corner
of U.S. Highway 6 and Meridian Road in Liberty Township and the complete
reconstruction of the facility for a “fresh look”; the Porter County Plan
Commission unanimously votes to re-zone the site to Moderate Commercial
Intensity. Nearly a dozen residents of a four-plex apartment on Annabelle
Court are displaced by a fire in the first-floor utility room, believed to
have been electrical in nature. The CHS speech and debate team qualifies
three more for the national tournament in Birmingham, Ala.; the total now
stands at 10.
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore receives a $193,400 grant to establish
shuttle service from the South Shore commuter line to sites in the park.
NiSource Inc. posts a net income in 2012 of $416.1 million or $1.43 basic
earning per share, compared to $299.1 million or $1.06 in 2011. Fire
destroys a home in the 1200 block of Sunset Ave. in Porter; firefighters use
38,000 gallons of water to douse the blaze, fought in bitterly cold
conditions; damage is estimated at $190,000.
Duneland Schools Business Manager Bonnie Gaston and Bailly Elementary
Principal Michael Grubb are among those who join Superintendent Dirk Baer in
announcing their retirement at the end of the school year. CHS boys swim
team wins its third IHSAA state title. The Chesterton Town Council carves
out 157 acres from the original TIF districtÑscheduled to expire in 18
yearsÑand creates a new one for Urschel Laboratories Inc., whose financing
arrangement with the town has a lifetime of 20 years.
A jury finds Dustin McCowan guilty of murdering Amanda Bach; at a press
conference afterward, Amanda’s father, William Bach, expresses his gratitude
to the jury, the family’s public supporters, the PCSP, and the prosecutors;
Amanda’s mother, Sandra Bach, calls the conviction a “bittersweet victory”
and speaks of the “families destroyed by the acts of Dustin McCowan.” The
Porter Town Council raises 2013 beach parking fees in all classes with one
exception: the $5 resident senior citizen permit for folks 60 and older.
St. Patrick’s School Science Olympiad team advances to state competition in
Bloomington. CHS senior Kaleigh Wilder is named to the 53rd annual all-state
band by the Indiana Bandmasters Association. Discovery Charter School sets
2013-14 target enrollment at 470, up from the current academic year’s
enrollment of 439.
The Chesterton Board of Zoning Appeals grants a use variance to the Duneland
School Corporation, permitting the conversion of the former Instructional
Materials Center at 411 S. Fifth into a wellness center for staff, in a move
which DSC estimates could save $450,000 in health-related costs. The
Westchester Township Historical Museum opens two new exhibits: “Police
Departments of Westchester Township” and “Death in Duneland.” The annual
Maple Sugar Festival is held at Chellberg Farm at Indiana Dunes National
Consultants tout the use of storytelling media to the Porter County
Convention, Recreation, and Visitor Commission, as a way of turning the
Dorothy Buell Memorial Visitor Center into a tourist destination in its own
right. CHS wins its 14th and 15th state titles at the Japanese Olympiad in
Muncie, in the second- and third-year divisions, with the fourth-year
garnering second place. Report: federal sequestration to have minimal
visible impact on Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.
James Lohman III, 50, of Portage, admits to dragging Shift Change bartender
Sheri Jania to her death beneath his car on U.S. Highway 20, in September
2011, and pleads guilty to leaving the scene of an accident and OWI-causing
death; he faces a maximum sentence of 28 years in prison. Ten inches of snow
make the afternoon rush hour in Duneland a mess. A deer cull, using federal
sharpshooters, begins at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, with an
authorized take of up to 345 deer in the first year of the program.
The CHS Jazz Ensemble wins Gold in Division I at the annual Jazz Festival at
LaPorte High School. Ethisphere Institute names NiSource Inc. one of the
World’s Most Ethical Companies, a designation given to 140 firms worldwide
and recognizing a commitment to ethical business standards. CHS senior
Micheala Sosby, editor of Sandscript, is named the State Student Journalist
of the Year by IHSPA.
Lakeshore PAWS opts not to enter into a partnership for a new animal
shelter, after expressing concerns over gray areas in the law concerning the
delegation of responsibility between PAWS and Porter County Animal Control.
By a 4-3 vote, the Porter County Council bounces Member Jeremy Rivas, D-2nd,
from the presidency and replaces him with Member Bob Poparad, D-at large.
CHS junior Nick Moreno, WDSO training director, takes first place in
In-Depth Features at the 10th annual IASB in Indianapolis.
Porter County Coroner Chuck Harris reports that confirmed or suspected
heroin-related fatalities are surging early in 2013, with eight reported,
compared to a total of nine in 2012. Coroner Harris also reports that
suicides reached an 18-year high of 39 in 2012, compared to 19 in 2011. The
Duneland School Board taps Assistant Superintendent of Operations Dave Pruis
to succeed Dirk Baer as Duneland Schools Superintendent.
CHS business students Joe Pejril and Natalie Petro take first place awards
at the State Leadership Conference in Indianapolis. Rick Hokanson and Sharon
Robbins, with a combined 45 years of service, announce their retirement from
the Westchester Public Library Board of Directors. The DNR honors the
Friends of Indiana Dunes with its Partnership of the Year Award, in
recognition of the Friends’ continued and generous support of Indiana Dunes
State Park. Report: a study by the U.S. Geological Survey indicates that a
new EPA rapid water-quality test could prevent unnecessary Lake Michigan
The estimated cost of improving medical services at the Porter County
JailÑ$1.5 million, compared to the current budget of $300,000Ñprompts the
Porter County Commissioners to order a complete audit review of all PCSP and
PCJ expenses. Report: Porter County is the 20th healthiest in the State of
Indiana, Lake County the 81st. The Chesterton Advisory Plan Commission sees
for the first time the concept plan for Urschel Laboratories Inc.’s future
350,000-square foot corporate HQ and manufacturing facility at Coffee Creek
Report: Indiana’s union members comprise 9.1 percent of the state’s
workforce, compared to 22 percent in 1983, a drop in membership attributed
to an aging workforce, changes in the public sector, and shifts in the
political winds. The Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District Board
of Directors awards the contract for a new high-boarding platform at Dune
Park Station to Larson-Danielson Construction Company of Michigan City. The
Coalition to Protect Cowles Bog alleges that the National Park Service has
violated a temporary accord by cutting trees in a so-called “stipulation
The CHS speech team takes second place at the IHSFA state tournament. The
Chesterton Town Council approves a $14.9 million sewer revenue bond issue,
to finance the federally mandated long term control plan to reduce sewage
bypasses into the Little Calumet River. CHS cellist Josh DeVries spearheads
a musical gift to create a “Bridge to Beijing.”
The Porter County Council votes 5-1 to appoint former Chesterton Tribune
reporter Vicki Urbanik to the newly created position of County Financial
Specialist, at a salary of $40,000. Dustin McCowan is sentenced to 60 years
in prison for murdering Amanda Bach, by Porter Superior Judge Bill Alexa.
Unevenly mixed heroinÑresembling nuggets of limestone streaked with layers
of greater and lesser purityÑis blamed for a surge in fatal overdoses by
Porter County Drug Task Force Coordinator Bob Taylor. The Shirley Heinze
Land Trust acquires 38 acres along the Little Calumet River in Chesterton,
to be named the Keith Richard Walner Nature Preserve. The first saltie of
the season, the German tanker Slomen Herakles, opens the 2013 international
shipping season at the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor, carrying on her maiden
voyage a cargo of 12,860 tons of liquid fertilizer.
Local artist Holly Jackson visits Chesterton Middle School, trades art cards
with students, and talks about creating. The PCSP ends its investigation of
Elliott McCowan, father of convicted murderer Dustin McCowan and suspected
of having aided his son in some capacity after the murder of Amanda Bach,
with the decision to pursue no criminal charges against him.
Michele Bartels, co-president of the Duneland Teachers Association, objects
to a 12.5-percent salary increase approved by the Duneland School Board for
superintendent-designate Dave Pruis, on the ground that it’s too much at the
wrong time. A dog barking in the night wakes the owner of a burning barn in
the 1400 block of Tremont Road, in time to evacuate his horses and goats;
the CFD and assisting departments manage to save the barn.
Duneland municipalities enact ordinances intended to protect the dignity of
funerals and the privacy of mourners, by prohibiting pickets and protests
within 300 feet of cemeteries and funeral homes. “Dangerous” structures at
Dunes Friendship Land are removed, leaving intact only the pre-school
section of the playground. Luke Gregurich, an eighth-grader at St. Patrick
School, places seventh at the Indiana State Geography Bee in Indianapolis.
The Duneland School Board appoints CHS Assistant Principal Kevin Zeck to
succeed retiring Bailly Elementary Principal Michael Grubb.
The Duneland School Board approves the use of mandatory breathalyzers at the
Senior Banquet and Prom, under a pilot program. The Westport Community Club
in Burns Harbor dissolves and members express the desire to transfer the
property to the town but a $20,000 property-tax bill complicates the
proposed transaction. Sander Owens, a fourth-grader at the Discovery Charter
School, places 10th at the Indiana State Geography Bee in Indianapolis.
The Porter County Plan Commission approves primary plat for a proposed
senior living community on St. Andrews property, adjacent to Porter Regional
Hospital at U.S. Highway 6 and Ind. 49 in Liberty Township. St. Paul’s
Lutheran Church celebrates its 125th anniversary. CHS senior Liz Benson is
named Academic All State, one of only 40 students in Indiana to be so
Donald “Doc” Whisler, 79, dies; he served for eight years as Porter Building
Commissioner, was active as a Democrat precinct committeeman, and formerly
owned Duneland Heating and United Heating & Cooling. A decomposing body
found in a ditch near Hebron in Boone Township is identified as Ruben
Paredes, 32, of Akron, Ind.; the cause of death is determined to be a
gunshot wound; his car is found abandoned on the South Side of Chicago. The
Porter County Commissioners authorize an expenditure of $1.5 millionÑfrom
interest on the hospital saleÑfor the Raise the Barn education center at
Sunset Hill Farm County Park but the Porter County Council must still
approve the expenditure on its end.
Convicted murderer Dustin McCowan seeks to “correct errors” in his 60-year
sentence, claiming Porter Superior Judge Bill Alexa was prejudiced by the
recording of a jail phone call between McCowan and an unidentified person in
which the latter “arguably made death threats” against the children of the
judge and the prosecutors. The CFD opts not to establish its own advanced
lift support ambulance service; instead, the Town Council approves a
three-contract with Superior Ambulance Service (SAS), under which SAS will
operate an ambulance at the CFD at no municipal cost, respond to all EMS
calls in town 24/7/365, and share on a 50/50 basis with the town all
revenues over and above $450,000.
A proposed TIF district for Porter Regional Hospital is projected to cost
the Duneland School Corporation some $5 million over five years. A 3-2 vote
by the Porter County Council is not enough to authorize a $1.5-million
expenditure for Raise the Barn, with the absence from the meeting of members
Karen Conover, R-3rd, and Dan Whitten, D-at large; members Jim Biggs, R-1st,
and Jeremey Rivas, D-2nd, say they will not approve the expenditure until
questions pertaining to the hiring of additional medical staff at PCJ are
Chesterton Girl Scout Sara Filipek earns the Gold Award for her design of a
concussion prevention program for local coaches. United Steelworkers 6787
and ArcelorMittal resolveÑwithout the need to go to arbitrationÑsafety
concerns related to recently installed automation controls at Nos. 1 and 2
continuous castors. Rebuilding Together Duneland volunteers work on 13 home
sites throughout the community. State computer problems foul ISTEP testing,
as students are “bumped off” the system in the middle of tests, a problem
which the Indiana Department of Education says affected 27,000 students
throughout the state. The Town of Chesterton celebrates Arbor Day by
planting three trees at an Indiana Ave. home as part of the town’s Cost
U.S. Steel posts a net loss in the first quarter of $73 million or 51 cents
per diluted share, compared to a net loss in the fourth quarter of $50
million or 35 cents and a net loss in the year-ago of $219 million or $1.52.
Sridhar R. Mothkur, 62, of Chesterton, dies in a two-vehicle crash on I-94
in Porter County. Tera Ross, 24, of South Haven, dies in a one-vehicle crash
on Ind. 149 in Liberty Township.
NiSource Inc. posts a net income in the first quarter of $260.5 million or
84 cents basic earnings per share, compared to $193.4 million or 68 cents in
the year-ago. The Chesterton Utility Service Board rejects as too high all
bids for Phase I of the long term control plan. The CHS Jazz Ensemble holds
the 40th annual Spring Jazz Concert, entitled “All that Jazz.” The National
Park Service reports that 84 deer were taken during the 10-day cull at
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.
The Porter County Community Foundation awards over $87,000 in grants to 11
non-profits, including the Duneland Family YMCA and the Westchester
Neighborhood Food Pantry. The European Market opens its 2013 season in the
Chesterton Downtown. Porter Superior Court Judge Bill Alexa denies convicted
murderer Dustin McCowan’s motion to overturn his 60-year sentence.
The CHS Fine Arts Academic Super Bowl Team takes the state title in West
Lafayette. Glenn and Lois Nicholson, married at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in
1948, celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary. CHS seniors Elizabeth Benson
and Kevin Fekete are named National Merit Scholars. Kalvin Ravn is named the
Duneland Exchange Club’s winner of the Accepting the Challenge of Excellence
U.S. Army Sgt. Travis M. Derr, CHS 2003, is awarded the Bronze Star for
service in Afghanistan. ArcelorMittal posts a net loss in the first quarter
of $345 million, compared to a net income of $92 million in the year-ago.
Architect Dave Kinel estimates the cost of a proposed brick-and-mortar
restroom facility in Thomas Centennial Park at $226,200. The Lake Michigan
Coastal Program awards the Town of Chesterton a 50/50 grant of $25,000 to
engineer Phase II of the Westchester-Liberty Trail.
Wendy Marciniak is the 2013 Chesterton Woman’s Club 62nd annual Art Show
cover artist. The PCSP investigates the poisoning by antifreeze of three
dogs belonging to a Pine Township resident. CHS senior Micheala Sosby,
Sandscript feature editor, is presented with the 30th annual W.R. Canright
Outstanding Senior Journalism Award. Dr. Dan Keilman is presented with the
2012-13 United Way Success By 6 Service to Children Award.
Boy Scout Logan Castro earns the Eagle Scout rank with his service project:
the cleaning and beautification of the Vietnam Veterans’ Wall at Ind. 49 and
East Porter Ave. The Westchester Township History Museum opens its summer
exhibit, “Saving the Indiana Dunes.” A residence in the 1700 block of Amen
Court Corner sustains an estimated $70,000 in damage, CFD Chief Mike Orlich
says, after a grease fire in a grill built into the side of the house
Report: the Addison Pointe nursing home on Dickinson Road is fulfilling its
promise to hire Chesterton residentsÑafter being granted a 10-year tax
abatementÑwith around 40 of its 103 new hires residing in the Town of
Chesterton. The Northwest Indiana Regional Plan Commission awards the Town
of Chesterton a federal grant in the amount of $405,834 for Phase II of the
Westchester-Liberty Trail. The Porter County Council votes unanimously to
table a $1.5-million expenditure for Raising the Barn. Bob Kindmark and Greg
Schoeneck are presented with the Boy Scouts of America’s Silver Beaver
Award, for distinguished service to Scouting.
Former Porter County Auditor James K. Kopp, 68, of Ogden Dunes, dies; Kopp
also served as president of the Town Board and chief of the Volunteer Fire
Department. The 123rd annual CHS commencement is held in the school
gymnasium. Duneland Schools Superintendent-Designate Dave Pruis expresses
displeasure at the state’s per-student funding formula: DSC received $4,348
in 2013 compared to $4,500 per voucher student, will receive $4,569 in 2014
compared to $4,700 per voucher student.
Duneland Carpet Connection at 900 Broadway celebrates its 25th year in
business. Gas prices in Chesterton spike at $4.35 per gallon, compared to
the state average of $4.16, which is itself 50 cents higher than the
national average. Porter County Commissioner John Evans, R-North, reads a
prepared statement in which he accuses a “Chicken Little” group on the
Porter County Council of spreading “untruthful financial information” to
convince the public that the county is facing a crippling budget shortfall.
Seven Peaks Waterpark Duneland, at Waverly Road and U.S. Highway 20 in
Porter, postpones its opening, after it fails to obtain in time all state
and local health and safety permits. The Best of Show at the 62nd annual
Chesterton Woman’s Club Art Show: Ivan Chermel’s bust of Jane Walsh-Brown,
entitled “JWB Librarian.” Boy Scout Eric Dreischerf of Chesterton earns the
Eagle Scout rank, with his reconstruction of a staircase on the Long Lake
Trail at West Beach in Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.
James Lohman III is sentenced to 20 years in prison for dragging Shift
Change bartender Sheri Jania to her death beneath his car; Porter Superior
Court Judge Roger Bradford says that in 33 years on the bench he has never
seen a more “severe” case of leaving the scene of an accident; after Lohman
testifies that he wants to help other alcoholics like himself, Bradford says
that Lohman will find lots of alcoholics in prison and that he’ll have lots
of time to help them.
1st Source Bank celebrates its 150th year in business. The Summer Safety
Fest is held at Hawthorne Park in Porter. The Burns Harbor Town Council
votes to accept the Westchester Community Club’s donation of its clubhouse
and 4.7 acres at the corner of Ind. 49 and Haglund Road, with the
understanding that, should the town elect to sell the property later, 50
percent of the proceeds will go the Park Board. Duneland dodges a bullet
after a massive line of thunderstorms seems to hit everywhere else; 44,000
NIPSCO customers, but few here, lose power.
The Westchester Township History Museum opens a new exhibit, “Father Knows
Best: A History of Father’s Day.” Motorcyclist John Arama, 64, of
Valparaiso, dies in a crash on I-80 in Lake County. A mystery substance
washing up on Porter Beach and the Indiana Dunes State Park beach is
identified by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management as
containing food additives, including an anti-caking agent, an acidity
regulator, and maple syrup, according to the DNR.
The Chesterton Utility Service Board awards three contracts for Phase I of
the long term control plan, at a total cost of $2,315,828 or $125,072 under
budget, for plant, lift station, and sewer upgrades. The Porter County BZA
rejects Kenneth Price’s petition for a variance which would have permitted
him to sell firearms to law enforcement and personal acquaintances from his
home in the 400 block of Whitewood Drive in Jackson Township.
Nathan Jania, son of Sheri Jania, files a complaint suit against his late
mother’s employer, the Shift Change, in which he alleges that the business
failed to follow necessary security procedures to protect the public on the
premises, on the day a patron, James Lohman III, dragged her to her death
beneath his car. The Indiana Division of the Izaak Walton League of America
voices its support of the National Park Service’s restoration of Cowles Bog
but its opposition to the Illiana Expressway.
The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission slashes by half the revenues which
the Damon Run Conservancy District may legally collect from Porter Regional
Hospital, a ruling which could dramatically increase the special benefits
fee which residents of the district must pay; the IURC also questions the
fairness and reasonableness of Damon Run’s business practices. The
Chesterton Art Center sponsors the fifth annual ARTour, with art
demonstrations at 16 different venues.
The CHS speech and debate team competes in its 42nd consecutive National
Forensic League national tournament, in Birmingham, Ala., with senior
Jennifer Kattalia finishing 18th in the country in Prose Reading and Eric
Dreischerf 24th in Lincoln/Douglas Debate. Duneland most definitely does not
dodge a bullet, as a violent and sudden wind storm pummels it, leaving trees
in the streets and on cars and badly injuring three people in a
weather-related crash at the intersection of North Calumet Ave. and U.S.
Highway 6 in Liberty Township.
The Duneland School Board shuffles administration: Monte Moffett is named
Assistant Superintendent of Operations, a post formerly held by the new
super, Dave Pruis; CHS Principal Jim Goetz is slotted into Moffett’s old
position, Assistant Superintendent for Instruction; and Assistant CHS
Principal Jeff Van Drie succeeds Goetz. Heavy morning rains flood some of
Duneland’s roadways. More than 300 tons of buried farm debris is hauled from
the work site of the Ind. 49 utility corridor, at a cost of $27,343.29.
NICTD forbids alcohol on all South Shore commuter trains due to the planned
celebrations of the Chicago Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup win. The Chesterton
Utility Service Board names Terry Atherton the Utility’s new superintendent;
Atherton formerly served as operations director for Indiana-American Water
Company. The Chesterton BZA rejects a Lamar Advertising Company’s petition
for a bigger and taller LED billboard on Ind. 49 but approves the petition
of James O’Connor Martial Arts for a BB-gun shooting range at its facility
at 534 Broadway.
Seven Peaks Waterpark Duneland opens to the public on July 1. Cody Riffett,
17, of Valparaiso, dies after ingesting a synthetic version of LSD, the PCSP
says; Jeffrie Crucean, 18, of Union Township, who reportedly supplied
Riffett with the substance, is taken into custody. A resident of the 1900
block of Laura Lane in Chesterton reports the theft of $20,000 in jewelry
and Vicodin, the CPD says.
Ground is broken on the Dunes-Kankakee Trail, with a ceremony at Mile Marker
O at Indiana Dunes State Park; when completed, the trail will take bikers
and hikers from the State Park to the Kankakee River near Hebron. The annual
fireworks extravaganza at Indiana Dunes State Park is postponed for three
days after high waves on Lake Michigan are forecast. A cabin at the Sand
Creek Campground at 1000N 350E is destroyed by fire, the Liberty Township
Volunteer Fire Department reports; the cabin was not in use and not
connected to utilities.
Nancy and Russ Adams announce the sale of Strongbow Inn in ValparaisoÑfor 70
years a family-owned businessÑto the Luke Company of Hobart. The Porter
County Jail goes live with 24/7 medical staffing, for the first time in
history, after Correct Care Solutions begins services under a contract
valued at $1.299 million. Porter County Assessor John Snyder files a writ of
production in Porter Circult Court to force Porter Regional Hospital to
submit information which Snyder says is necessary to complete an accurate
assessment of hospital property.
The Chesterton Lions Club holds the annual running of the turtles at
Hawthorne Park in Porter, as part of the Independence Day celebration. The
owners of Westchester Lanes, Tony and Evelyn Ello, announce the bowling
alley’s imminent closure, blaming community apathy. The Lemon Tree Grill at
356 Indian Boundary Road receives its license to sell beer and wine, the
third such restaurant under the Town of Chesterton’s formal riverfront
Frontline Foundations moves its substance treatment facility to the old Rax/video
store/vet’s office on Broadway. The annual Bark in the Bark event, sponsored
by the Duneland Business Initiative Group, is held at Thomas Centennial
Park. The Porter Police Department warns Porter Beachers that it will begin
ordering towed vehicles illegally parked on Dearborn Street.
A federal judge rejects the attempt by the Coalition to Protect Cowles Bog
to stop the National Park Service from cutting trees, as part of a project
to restore Cowles Bog to the condition it was in when ecologist Henry Cowles
first studied it in the early 20th century. The Indiana Department of
Environmental Management honors Chesterton MS4 Operator Jennifer Gadzala
with three certificates of recognition. The Burns Harbor Town Council wants
researched the possible annexation of the Bailly Generating Station.
Tara Tryon, 22, of Wanatah, who molested a Chesterton boy and recorded the
molestation at the behest of her boyfriend, Ryan Schroeder, is sentenced to
10 years in prison; Schroeder is serving a 54-year sentence. The Relay for
Life is held at Chesterton Middle School. Jennie Welch, 25, of Brighton,
Mass., dies after falling off a golf cart in Dune Acres; Jason Pelton, 27,
of San Francisco, Calif., driving the cart, is charged with operating while
intoxicated resulting in serious bodily injury.
Nathan Woessner, 6, of Sterling, Ill., is saved by firefighters after
surviving three hours buried alive in a 11-foot hole in the sand on Mt.
Baldy at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore; Nathan, who managed to find an
air pocket in the sand, is expected to recover; the National Park Service
closes Mt. Baldy to search for other holes, believed to be naturally
occurring and formed after the shifting dunes expose cavities left by rotted
trees. Seven Peaks, which earlier in the month opened its waterpark in
Porter, purchases Westchester Lanes from Tony and Evelyn Ello, with plans to
make it a family fun center and to include it on its Pass of All Passes
A car fire in a garage in the 2200 block of Texas Street causes an estimated
$32,500 damage, the CFD reports. CHS boys swimming coach Kevin Kinel is
named Coach of the Year by the National High School Coaches Association. A
heat wave simmers Duneland. Bary Bostic, 47, and Robbin Bostic, 41, of
Michigan City, are sentenced to time servedÑ16 months and 24 daysÑafter
pleading guilty to stealing more than $100,000 from a Chesterton widow.
The Duneland Chamber of Commerce holds its annual awards banquet: CHS
swimming coach Kevin Kinel and debate coaches Jim Cavallo and Bob Kelly win
the Putting Duneland on the Map Award; the Duneland Business Initiative
Group is Volunteer of the Year; Westchester Public Library Director Phil
Baugher wins the Community Achievement Award; Lorelei Weimer is Duneland
Distinguished Woman; Seven Peaks Duneland wins the Community
ImprovementÑRenovation Award; the Addison Pointe Health and Rehabilitation
Center wins the Community ImprovementÑNew Construction Award; and Amber
Hensell-Hicks and Bud Flick are the Humanitarians of the Year.
A 15-year-old Hobart boy is injured on the Starship ride on the midway of
the Porter County Fair. The 54th annual Porter County Fair Queen is Britta
Ringas, CHS ‘11; Miss Congeniality, Allison McAloon, CHS ‘13; and Miss
Photogenic, Kaitlyn Waltz, CHS ‘13. An abandoned home on C.R. 1050N, west of
Meridian Road in Liberty Township, is destroyed by fire; it was not
connected to utilities and the cause is undetermined, the LTVFD says.
Costa Dillon, the successor to long-time superintendent of Indiana Dunes
National Lakeshore, Dale Engquist, announces his retirement. Porter
residents rap the Orchard Pedestrian Way but the Redevelopment Commission
says that it’s too late to change anything, after hundreds of thousands of
dollars have been spent since 2003. Chesterton Girl Scouts Anule Ndukwu and
Neathie Minesh Patel earn the Gold Award, the former for holding a
journalism workshop promoting creative expression, the latter for presenting
an anti-drug program at Chesterton Middle School.
Porter County Assessor Jim Snyder and Porter Regional Hospital announce
jointly in Porter Circuit Court that they have settled their differences;
PRH says that it will provide most of the information requested by Snyder to
complete his assessment of the hospital property. Gonzola Silva, 37, of
Lafayette, Ind., dies in hospital after being pulled from Lake Michigan off
a beach in Beverly Shores at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. The Porter
Park Department begins a summer dancing and music series at Hawthorne Park.
Boy Scout Riley Buckles earns the Eagle Scout rank, for landscaping the
American Red Cross building in Valparaiso.
ArcelorMittal posts a net loss in the second quarter of $780 million,
compared to a net income in the year-ago of $1.02 billion. The 55th annual
Chesterton Art Fair is held at Hawthorne Park in Porter. Tonya’s Patisserie
in Chesterton is selected to represent Porter County’s cuisine at the
Indiana State Fair in Indianapolis. NiSource Inc. posts a net income in the
second quarter of $71.7 million or 23 cents basic earnings per share,
compared to $69.4 million or 25 cents in the year-ago.
U.S. Steel posts a net loss in the second quarter of $78 million or 54 cents
per diluted share, compared to a net loss in the first quarter of $73
million or 51 cents and a net income in the year-ago of $101 million or 62
cents. The parents of Amanda Bach, William and Sandra, sue their daughter’s
convicted murderer, Dustin McCowan, and his father, Elliott McCowan, under
the state’s Child Wrongful Death law; Count II of the suit hinges on the
case’s enduring mysteryÑwhat firearm was used to shoot Bach and what
happened to it?Ñand alleges that Dustin McCowan used a firearm belonging to
his father and one which Elliott McCowan had a duty to secure properly.
The Westchester Township History Museum recreates the 1913 panoramic photo
of the Chesterton Downtown and invites the public to participate. Wizard of
Oz Munchkin Margaret Pellegrini dies at 89. The newly formatted letter-size
Chesterton Utility bills prompt more than 500 people to call the Utility,
seeking explanations, clarifications, or reassurance. The Duneland School
System says that “quirks” in the new online registration system are a
Wade Breitzke, CHS ‘05, is the Northwest Indiana Small Business Development
Center’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Investigators find a second hole at
Mt. Baldy at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, similar to the one from which
an Illinois boy was rescued earlier in the summer, 10 inches in diameter and
at least five feet in depth and believed to be naturally occurring. Eric
Martin, 45, of Jackson Township, is taken safely into custody after a
nine-hour standoff at his residence, during which the PCSP says he fired at
officers through the walls of his home; Martin is charged with multiple
counts of attempted murder.
PCSP: an elderly Liberty Township man loses $3,725 to a scammer. The Burns
Harbor Town Council hires an agency to collect unpaid billings from the
BHFD’s advanced life support ambulance service, with the agency keeping 31
percent of what it collects. PCSP: Vincent Canzoneri, 15, of Porter
Township, dies in a dirt-bike accident, apparently after hitting a tree on a
trail near his home.
After years of discussion, a stormwater lift station designed to drain the
alley behind Val’s Famous Pizza & Grinders at Broadway and 11th StreetÑthe
lowest point in townÑgoes on line. The Boys and Girls Club of Porter County
Board of Directors announces that the Duneland Unit will remain at the
Methodist Activity Center at 135 Lincoln Ave. in Chesterton for at least one
more year, but that a long-term solution is needed to space and capacity
Eric Martin, accused of shooting at PCSP officers during a standoff at his
Jackson Township home, files notice of an insanity defense. The Porter
County Commissioners propose the construction of a new animal shelter at
Sunset Hill Farm County Park; the response from neighbors and other
interested parties is not positive. Discovery Charter School reports a
first-day attendance of 491 students, compared to 450 a year earlier. Andrea
Lashon Coleman, 34, of ChestertonÑwho admitted selling crack cocaine,
accompanied by her children, in the parking lot of the local Family
ExpressÑis sentenced to four years in prison.
The Duneland School Corporation reports first-day attendance of 5,851, down
from 5,939 a year earlier. Joyce Weaver, 77, of Chesterton, dies at the
University of Chicago Medical Center less than a week after suffering burns
to a third of her body when her clothing ignited; the CFD said that the fire
started when Weaver was smoking while breathing oxygen through a nasal
cannula. In a letter to Porter County Attorney Betty Knight, the American
Civil Liberties Union calls overcrowding at the Porter County Jail
“inexcusable,” urges the opening of the third pod, and suggests the
likelihood of legal action should there be no indication in the next six
months of a “good faith effort” to comply with state staffing standards.
Indiana-American Water Company’s new computer system fails to bill some
customers, with two ripple effects: unbilled customers will face an eventual
reconciliation statement which could be very high; and the Chesterton
UtilityÑwhich calculates its own bills based on water consumptionÑtakes a
hit in revenues. The Porter County Council votes 5-2 to increase the number
of officers at the Porter County Jail by two, to attend to inmates’ medical
needs; Sheriff Dave Lain is requesting the eventual hire of a total of 11
Some 1,800 NIPSCO customers in Duneland lose power during the afternoon and
into the evening, after a main transformer fails and a secondary
transformerÑundergoing maintenanceÑis off line at the time. The Chesterton
Redevelopment Commission hears that the Ind. 49 utility corridor project is
nearly complete; change orders have increased the contract price of
$2,880,865 by only $63,899.73 or 2.21 percent.
Boy Scout Edward Kaczmarek earns his Eagle Scout rank, after volunteering
100 hours at the Paul C. Zona Wildlife Sanctuary, widening trails and
pulling invasive plant species. The Porter County Commissioners pledge
nearly $2 million in CEDIT moneys, to fund new medical personnel at the
Porter County Jail and the E-911 Dispatch Center. The Porter County Park
Board takes under advisement the Porter County Commissioners’ proposal to
build a new animal shelterÑpartially funded with a $1 million anonymous
donationÑat Sunset Hill Farm County Park.
Lakeside Wealth Management of Chesterton kicks off the United Way campaign
in Porter County with a $40,000 donation. A mosquito pool in an undisclosed
location in Porter County tests positive for the West Nile virus, the Health
Department announces. A Lake Superior Court judge strikes down the so-called
“right to work” law, ruling in a suit brought by Operators Local 150. CHS
Principal Jeff Van Drie announces the expansion of the breathalyzer program
The National Transportation Safety Board blames a texting engineer for the
three-train pileup in Jackson Township in January 2012 which caused $5
million in damage. Extreme heat prompts CMS to cancel a football game and
all outdoor athletic practices. The Porter County Drainage Board authorizes
Enbridge Energy to enter Neimer Ditch in Pine Township and establish a
mitigation site, as part of the permitting process for the company’s
210-mile pipeline replacement project.
CHS seniors Andrew Hurst, Taryn Trusty, and Jennette Sink are National Merit
Scholarship semifinalists. CHS students commemorate Sept. 11 by placing
2,977 U.S. flags in the grass outside the school; in the evening a tribute
concert is held at Coffee Creek Center. Porter County Parks Foundation
President Dave Yeager objects to a proposed animal shelter at Sunset Hill
Farm County Park. The third weekend of SeptemberÑhistorically the Chesterton
Wizard of Oz Festival weekendÑdraws out-of-towners who never got the memo
The First Christian Church of Chesterton becomes the CrossPointe Christian
Church of Liberty Township at the southeast corner of Ind. 49 and U.S.
Highway 6. Former Porter County Sheriff Dave Reynolds announced his
candidacy in 2014 for a third term as sheriff. The Porter County Council
indicates its willingness to draw from CEDIT to cover an estimated $6
million shortfall in the General Fund in 2014. The 2014 CHS Homecoming King
and Queen: Connor Smith and Megan Homme. Urschel Laboratories Inc. announces
that Rick Urschel will succeed his father, Bob Urschel, as president and CEO
of the company.
The Duneland Resale Shop marks its fourth year at 801 Broadway. The Porter
County Council cuts more than $2 million from the Porter County
Commissioners’ requested budget, slashing $193,000 from the power line item,
$35,000 from water, $20,000 from equipment. Porter County Expo Interim
Director Ken Blaney resigns. Northwest Indiana Forum President and CEO Mark
The Chesterton Utility Service Board awards low bidder Gariup Construction
Company of Gary the contract for Phase II of the long term control plan, the
chief feature of which is a 1.2-million gallon storage tank. The 25th annual
Celebration of the Arts is held at the Schoolhouse Shop. Work begins on the
Orchard Pedestrian Way in Porter and the topography of Hawthorne Park begins
Duneland Schools’ ISTEP 2013 scores improve: English 84.6 (state average
79.5), up from 82 in 2013; math 86.8 (state average 82.7), up from 85.3. The
Porter County Commissioners announces that they will no longer pursue the
construction of a new animal shelter at Sunset Hill Farm County Park. The
Michigan Department of Transportation reports that all six alternative
routes for high-speed Amtrak will traverse Duneland, that the trains will
travel at speeds of up to 110 miles per hour, and that the ultimate goal is
to create capacity along the passenger line of 56 trains per day between
Chicago and Detroit/Pontiac.
Congress’ inability to reach a budget deal prompts a partial government
shutdown; here in Duneland only the furloughed federal employees notice. The
DNR dedicates the state’s first underwater nature preserve, the J.D.
Marshall Preserve, just off the beach at Indiana Dunes State Park, where in
1911 the steam barge went down, taking the lives of four crew members. Harry
and Diane Petrakis celebrate their 68th wedding anniversary.
The morning rush-hour commute is fouled by a suspicious package at the Van
Buren Street station in Chicago, prompting officials to halt all South Shore
and Metra trains on either side of the station; the all-clear is given 90
minutes later when the package turns out to be someone’s cooler. The Porter
County Council approves the last of 91 2014 budgets and finds itself $1.4
million in the hole, not including the $450,000 needed to hire nine more
Porter County Jail officers. Porter County’s assessed valuation for
2013-pay-2014 is $8.3 billion, a decrease of $52 million attributed chiefly
to successful property-tax appeals.
A private donor pledges $300,000 gift to the Porter County Parks Department
to purchase additional land at the Brinkca-Cross Gardens in Pine Township;
meanwhile, the family of founding Park Board president Art Willig makes a
$300,000 toward Raise the Barn. The Duneland School Corporation’s average
daily membership dips by 43 students from 2012, a slip which under the
state’s tuition support formula will result in a loss to Duneland Schools of
nearly $200,000. The Rev. Lawrence S. Heeg, former pastor at St. Patrick
Catholic Church in Chesterton, dies at 82.
Former Jackson Township residents Byron and Darlene Wilson celebrate their
50th wedding anniversary. Bryce Drew, men’s basketball coach at Valparaiso
University, is the keynote speaker at the 12th annual Community Prayer
Breakfast. The Porter County Commissioners retain DLZ to review the unused
third pod of the Porter County Jail, to assess what needs to be done to make
The Town of Chesterton becomes a “Bird Town Indiana,” through the Indiana
Audubon Society. The CFD holds its second annual Lights & Sirens Parade, to
kick off National Fire Prevention Week. The oldest tree in the Town of
Chesterton, a bur oak in the backyard of a home at Third Street and West
Porter Ave.Ñwith a 17-foot circumference and thought to be more than 200
years oldÑis cut down for safety reasons.
Porter County Assessor Jon Snyder assesses Porter Regional Hospital at
$244,500,000. The Chesterton Tribune publishes the 2013 panoramic
photo of the Downtown, shot earlier in the year; more than 300 folks
participated in the event. NIPSCO announces the removal of up to 17 public
street-trees along Fifth Street between 1100N and Park Ave., as part of an
upgrade of the service in that area. Congress ends a 16-day partial shutdown
and averts default with a last-minute compromise bill.
Bonnie Trout, chief founder of the European Market, is inducted into the
Society of Innovators of Northwest Indiana, sponsored by Ivy Tech Community
College. The Porter BZA and Advisory Plan Commission approve a new Dollar
General store at the intersection of U.S. Highway 20 and Waverly Road.
The Chesterton Advisory Plan Commission endorses the PUD for the Alliance
Business Center at Ind. 49 and 950N, over the vociferous objections of
Liberty Township residents fearful of their traditional rural land uses
being fouled by the development. Porter County Coroner Chuck Harris reports
that fatal heroin overdoses are on pace to nearly double the number
investigated in 2012. The Porter Town Council votes 3-2 to disband the Park
Board and assume full authority and responsibility for operating all parks
Valparaiso Police Chief Mike Brickner announces his 2014 candidacy for
Porter County Sheriff. The Chesterton Lions Club celebrates 80 years in
Duneland. Franciscan AllianceÑwhich operates the ER department on Indian
Boundary RoadÑannounces a 1.4-percent workforce reduction, to eliminate 275
positions across its system. The Porter County Parks Foundation eyes 39
acres of wetlands, located in Chesterton between the Park Place subdivision
and Westchester Intermediate School, for acquisition as a migrant bird
sanctuary. The Boys and Girls Club of Porter County seeks a use variance
from the Chesterton BZA to use the former Lighthouse Christian Center at 521
W. 1100N as its Duneland Unit facility.
The CHS Trojan Guard wins their ISSMA division state championship in
Indianapolis. The Chesterton Town Council approves the PUD for the Alliance
Business Center at Ind. 49 and 950N; there is no actual plan of development
but the PUD allows I-1, I-2, B-3, and R-3 uses. The old Quonset hut at 563
Broadway, first used by the Wilbar Manufacturing Company shortly after World
War II to manufacture car visors, is demolished by its owner, on the order
of Chesterton Interim Building Commissioner Mike Orlich. NiSource Inc.
reports a net income in the third quarter of $48.1 million or 16 cents basic
earnings per share, compared to $19.3 million or 6 cents in the year-ago.
CMS seventh-grader Lindsay Kaurich wins the peace poster competition
sponsored by the Chesterton Lions Club. Porter County Commissioner John
Evans, R-North, instructs Sheriff David Lain to clean the Porter County
Jail’s third pod and prepare it for use; contracted consultant DLZ estimates
the cost of readying the pod at between $146,000 and $158,000. Some CHS
parents are unable to access their children’s report card grades on the
on-line access portal.
ArcelorMittal posts a net loss in the third quarter of $193 million or 12
cents per share, compared to a net loss in the second quarter of $780
million or 44 cents and a net loss in the year-ago of $652 million or 42
cents. The “Missing Man Table,” honoring fallen service members, goes on
display at Hageman Library. The Porter County Park Board forms an ad hoc
committee of animal specialists to advise staff on caring for more farm
animals at Sunset Hill Farm County Park.
Tom and Carole Coslet celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary. Chesterton
American Legion Post 170 commemorates Veterans Day in Thomas Centennial
Park. The CHS Sandpipers place second at the 23rd annual Southmont High
School Show Choir Invitational in Crawfordville, Ind. The price of a gallon
of gas fallsÑbrieflyÑbelow $3 in Chesterton.
The Porter Town Council standardizes sewer rates for residential customers
and waives back billingsÑin some cases totaling $1,300Ñfor affected
households. Carl and Linda Burton of Chesterton celebrate their 50th wedding
anniversary. Andrew Hurst of Chesterton earns the Eagle Scout rank, after
installing mile markers along Chesterton’s stretch of the Prairie Duneland
Contractor Michael Samuelson, 39, of Valparaiso, dies in an accident at
ArcelorMittal’s facility in East Chicago. The Burns Harbor Town Council
approves the use of Tasers by the BHPD for immobilizing out-of-control
persons. The annual Winter Lights Night Festival is held at Sunset Hill Farm
George and Barbara Bolesch of Chesterton celebrate their 50th wedding
anniversary. A massive storm wallops the Midwest, with at least 26 tornados
touching down in Indiana, leaving hundreds of NIPSCO customers without power
here and 75,000 juiceless company-wide. Benjamin M. Willis II, 25, of
Liberty Township, is convicted of neglect of a dependent and battery, both
Class A felonies, in connection with the death of his girlfriend’s infant
son, Keagan Fishel, aged 7 months.
Porter Regional Hospital appeals its assessed value, saying its building is
worth $205 million less than the $242.8 million which Porter County Assessor
Jon Snyder put it at. County Democrats urge the Porter County Commissioners
to be fair and accurate as they reconfigure the County Council district
maps. Delbert and Dianne Wright celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.
Chesterton Town Attorney Chuck Lukmann reports that the Utility’s financing
of the long term control plan to reduce sewage bypasses through the State
Revolving Fund has saved its customers $2.7 million in interest over the
bond’s 20-year lifetime. The FBI seizes documents related to the Porter
County Commissioners’ decision in December 2012 to contract with Porter
Regional Hospital as the county’s new wellness program provider, after
terminating an earlier contract with HealtheACCESS. Chesterton
Clerk-Treasurer Gayle Polakowski announces her retirement for health
reasons, effective Dec. 31, after faithfully serving the town for a quarter
of a century.
The Chesterton BZA approves a use variance allowing the Duneland Unit of the
Boys and Girls Club of Porter County to move its facility to the former
Lighthouse Christian Center at 521 W 1100N; but it postpones final decision
on the proposed expansion of St. Patrick’s Cemetery, after a roomful of
neighbors remonstrate. The annual Twilight Christmas Parade in the
Chesterton Downtown kicks off the holiday season.
The cause of a BOOM heard in Jackson Township, loud enough to shake homes
and activate car alarms, remains a mystery. Wendell and Mary Carlson
celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. The Porter County Park Board
purchases a 46-acre addition to Brincka-Cross Gardens in Pine Township; the
board also buys 63.5 acres between C.R. 605S and C.R. 700S, north of Kouts,
for a new park.
The 41st annual Madrigal Dinner is held, sponsored by the CHS Music
Department. Eight employees of U.S. Steel Gary Work appeal to the U.S.
Supreme Court, arguing that the company should pay them for the time it
takes to don protective gear required by their jobs. The Porter Fire
Department’s K-9 partner, Harley, recovers from successful surgery, after
eating half a tennis ball.
The FBI seizes more records from Porter County offices: conflict of interest
disclosure forms filed by all units of government between 2008 and 2013,
from the Clerk’s Office; and bid proposals for unspecified projects between
2010 and 2011, from the Highway Department. The Burns Harbor Town Council
pulls the plug on the town’s advanced life support ambulance service and
seeks instead a contract with Porter Regional Hospital to staff a rig at the
Frigid temperatures and wind chills prompt the Duneland School Corporation
to call a two-hour delay of classes. Parents As Teachers holds its annual
Cookies with Mrs. Claus event at the Waterbird Banquet Center. Save the
Dunes honors U.S. Geological Survey research scientist Dr. Noel Pavlovic
with the Paul H. Douglas Award. The Porter County Property Tax Assessment
Board of Appeals raises Porter Regional Hospital’s assessment from the
original value of $34.1 million to $117 million.
The Porter County Commissioners vote unanimously to move County Council
Member Jeremy Rivas’ home precinct from the Second District to the Fourth,
represented by Republican Jim Polarek; Rivas, a Democrat, says that he was
“thrown out” of his district “in a purely political move.” PCSP Sgt. Jeremy
Chavez saves a Liberty Township infant’s life by administering CPR, after
the girl is found unconscious and not breathing.
The Chesterton/Porter Rotary Club awards Paul Harris Fellowships to Mike and
Sharon Grubb. A Republican County caucus elects Stephanie Kuziela to succeed
outgoing Chesterton Clerk-Treasurer Gayle Polakowski, who announced her
retirement, effective Dec. 31, after 25 years of service. Patricia Dahlin,
79, of East Chicago, dies of injuries sustained in a three-vehicle accident
at the intersection of Ind. 49 and C.R. 600N in Liberty Township.
The Chesterton BZA approves a variance allowing the expansion of the St.
Patrick Catholic Cemetery but attaches conditions to it. The Chesterton BZA
also approves variances allowing the demolition of the 103-year-old Wilbar
Manufacturing building off South Calumet Road and its replacement by two
A Chesterton resident reports the theft of four rings with a total value of
$33,000. Porter County Council Member Jeremy Rivas, D-2nd, and four citizens
whose voting districts were flipped in the recent redistricting by the
County Commissioners file a lawsuit alleging a legal violation because not
all districts have contiguous precincts.