It was a
betwixt-and-between sort of year in Duneland.
either taking a deep breath or waiting to exhale, listening for the other
shoe to drop or tossing the first one in the air.
In Chesterton, work
continued on Urschel Laboratories’ new manufacturing facility and corporate
HQ at Coffee Creek Center. By year’s end most of the heavy-lifting was done,
including construction of the four-lane bridge over Coffee Creek,
essentially an extension eastward of Gateway Blvd. But Urschel isn’t
expected to begin moving its operation from Valparaiso until sometime in the
first quarter of 2015 or to be fully on line at the new facility until the
The Ind. 49 utility
corridor was finally completed this year, officially opening Ind.
49’s trans-Toll Road stretches to commercial development. But no project
taking advantage of the brand-new infrastructure has yet been announced and
it’s likely that the corridor’s first two customers won’t even be located
on the corridor but instead off Meridian Road and U.S. 6. Both the Fox
Chase Farms subdivision and the Whispering Sands Mobile Home Park signed an
agreement in 2014 with the Chesterton Utility, under which the latter will
provide each with sanitary sewer service, via a line flowing wastewater to
the corridor’s dedicated lift station built north of C.R. 900N.
Meanwhile, a great
deal of work was done this year on the 1.2-million gallon storage tank under
construction at the Utility’s wastewater treatment plant--the linchpin of a
federal mandate to reduce sewage bypasses into the Little Calumet River--but
that colossus won’t be commissioned into service until mid-2015.
In Porter, the
Redevelopment Commission has only just begun discussing the construction of
a new public works building on a Brickyard site at Beam Street and Sexton
Ave. Stay tuned.
In Burns Harbor,
the Redevelopment Commission retained a consultant to draft an RFP for the
design of a master plan to implement the town’s Comprehensive Plan. The
commission later hired four temporary staffers, then extended their
contracts, specifically to cull the best proposal from those submitted. Stay
The Porter County
Council and the Commissioners, for their part, agreed to create a joint
committee tasked with researching the feasibility of a charitable endowment,
for the purpose of investing a portion of the principal of the Porter
Memorial Hospital sale proceeds. Stay tuned.
Hanging fire this
year, still hanging fire: the FBI’s (presumed) ethics investigation,
begun late in 2013 and pursued--so far as anyone can tell, off and on--in
2014. This year agents sought 2013 payroll information for the Porter County
Expo Center and campaign finance reports from Portage Mayor James Snyder.
The Winter of Our
So 2014 was a year
of proposing and mulling, staging and mustering, hurrying up and waiting. A
lot of groundwork was laid this year but the fruits of few labors were
harvested and hardly anyone will remember 2014 for any particular
remember it, though, for the Forever Winter: four months--was that all?--of
driving, drifting, disheartening white. Of weeks on end without a
thaw--shelf ice, black ice, ice in the marrow--followed by rapid potholing
melts. Of blizzards and blackouts, slide-offs and pile-ups, frozen pipes and
It’s possible to
calculate last winter’s economic impact: the spiking price of natural gas;
municipal budgets bled white by overtime expenditures and road-salt
consumption; the productivity and wages lost on snow-days; the hit taken by
brick-and-mortar businesses when shoppers couldn’t bear the idea of leaving
the house to spend money.
It’s less possible
to calculate the impact on people’s spirits, when day after day of bitter
cold and creeping snowpack made even waking up in the morning, getting the
kids off to school, and driving to work an accomplishment one could be proud
The winter of our
discontent was not, unfortunately, redeemed by a glorious summer.
Temperatures were coolish--a lingering effect, perhaps, of the near complete
ice coverage of the Great Lakes--and there was a fair bit of rain, at least
early on, when June became the single wettest month in more than three
years, with nearly eight inches of precipitation.
This year’s various
holding patterns notwithstanding, there were moments of decisiveness
and definitiveness in 2014.
The Porter County
Council agreed to begin Porter Regional Hospital’s 10-year property-tax
abatement in pay-2013, after the hospital agreed to accept a $130-million
AV. Sounds simple but it wasn’t.
The CHS boys swim
and volleyball teams, the debate team, and a boys track relay team all won
Seven Peaks Fun
Center--formerly Westchester Lanes--was closed, apparently forever this
time, and the property put up for sale.
Community Club, for the better part of half a century the cultural center in
Burns Harbor, was demolished, after officials decided it would be
prohibitively expensive to rehab the building.
At year’s end
Duneland was a little poorer, with the loss of three who contributed much to
the vibrancy and culture of this community.
67, for 25 years the Chesterton Clerk-Treasurer.
Ed Gustafson, 84,
author of countless Voices of the People.
And Warren H.
Canright, 88, publisher of the Chesterton Tribune.
Farewell to all,
Porter Health Care
System CEO Jonathan Nalli announces his resignation to accept a position as
president and CEO of St. Vincent Health in Indianapolis. A new pony joins
Mr. T at Sunset Hill Farm County Park: Sedona, thought to be a quarter
horse. Frigid temperatures sweep into Northwest Indiana; folks figure it’s
just a temporary cold snap and will pass.
Services methadone clinic is robbed of cash at gunpoint. The Porter County
Council approves a hiring freeze--under which no hires may be made unless a
position opens due to retirement, resignation, or termination--after
learning that county budgets are $2.8 million in the red, the result of
smaller than expected state revenues.
A blizzard blasts
the region and for the first time in years the Chesterton Tribune is
unable to publish a paper, on Monday, Jan. 6. The extreme cold causes INDOT
plows to malfunction and fail and a travel ban is put into effect in Porter
County. Motorists already stranded on Ind. 8 between Kouts and Hebron must
be rescued by the Indiana National Guard.
U.S. Rep. Pete
Visclosky, D-1st, admits he was “wrong”--but stops short of apologizing, as
President Obama did--when he said that folks who like their health insurance
would be able to keep it under the Affordable Healthcare Act. The Duneland
School Board adopts a resolution objecting to Gov. Pence’s proposal to
eliminate the business personal property tax in Indiana. Report: a Christmas
data breach at Target snagged the personal data of up to 70 million
A fire causes an
estimated $150,000 in damage to a home in the 200 block of Papillon Drive in
Liberty Township; the cause is undetermined. A brief thaw following a spell
of bitterly cold temperatures prompts INDOT to issue a pothole warning.
Brian Tyman, a former Portage middle school teacher, is sentenced to 120
days in jail after pleading guilty to sexting ex-students; Porter Circuit
Court Judge Mary Harper had previously rejected a plea deal under which
Tyman would have done no jail time at all.
The Duneland School
Corporation receives a 2013 accountability grade of B from the Indiana
Department of Education: a 3.45 on a 4.0 scale, compared to the 3.15 which
it was given in 2012. Porter Public Works Director Brenda Brueckheimer asks
residents to be patient in the severe weather crises, after some residents
thought it a good idea to be verbally abusive to plow drivers. Eleanor Boyle
wins the geography bee at St. Patrick Catholic School to advance to state
competition at IUPUI in Indianapolis.
A payloader used by
a contractor to remove snow along Lakefront Drive in Beverly Shores does
damage to the foredunes, after snow and cold put the contractor’s regular
plows out of service. A fire causes an estimated $120,000 in damage to a
house in the 300 block of Mount Jackson Ave. in Jackson Township; the cause
is undetermined. A human skull is uncovered by a crew working on the
Enbridge pipeline in Liberty Township, about 500 feet west of Meridian Road;
the find temporarily brings the job to a halt, after the skull is determined
to be of pre-1940 origin and therefore a matter for the DNR’s Division of
Historic Preservation and Archaeology.
Sue McLaughlin is
named the new Youth and Family Coordinator at the Duneland Family YMCA.
While the sun shines in Porter County, eight to 10 inches of snow fall in
Lake County, bringing traffic on I-80/94 to a standstill. Classes are
interrupted at Purdue University in West Lafayette, where police say Cody
Cousins, 23, fatally shot teaching assistant Andrew Bolt, 21, inside the
Electrical Engineering Building.
Sheriff Dave Lain
says that Pod B at the Porter County Jail could be opened by April 1, so
long as funds are released to make necessary improvements. The Porter County
Community Foundation guarantees, by means of a proposed endowment fund, a
return of 5 percent on a $100-million investment of the proceeds from the
Porter Memorial Hospital sale; currently the $159-million principal is
generating a return of less than 1 percent. The Indiana Natural Resources
Commission approves the sale and consumption of alcohol at the Pavilion in
Indiana Dunes State Park; the NRC previously authorized the DNR, in 2012, to
enter into negotiations with a potential restaurant concessionaire.
Scott Mundell of
Franciscan Alliance is installed as the 2014 chair of the Duneland Chamber
of Commerce. The brutally cold weather causes the price of natural gas to
spike 25 percent in only two weeks. The Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor reports
2013 to have been its best year since 2006 and second best since 1998, with
a total of 2.5 million tons of cargo handled, 17 percent more than in 2012.
weather-related pile-up on I-94 in Michigan City, involving 45 vehicles
including 18 semis, kills three and injures more than 20. LaPorte Circuit
Court Judge Thomas Alevios upholds the new Porter County Council districts
as re-drawn by the Commissioners--and rejects the suit brought by Council
Member Jeremy Rivas, D-2nd, who was re-mapped out of his district--but
orders the Commissioners to correct errors in the ordinance.
Indiana-American Water Company files a petition with the Indiana Utility
Regulatory Commission for a rate hike of 6.75 percent.
49, of Michigan City, is struck by a train and killed while walking along
the Norfolk Southern line 200 feet east of the 15th Street grade-crossing.
The Chesterton Town Council releases $30,000 in CEDIT funds for the purchase
of more road salt. U.S. Steel posts a net loss in 2013 of $2.064 billion or
$14.27 per diluted share, compared to a net loss of $124 million or 86 cents
The Chesterton and
Porter police departments eye a merger of their dispatch operations and
their detective bureaus. CHS debaters Abby Burke and Eric Zhong in
Lincoln-Douglas and Matt Eggers in Public Forum qualify for the NFL national
tournament in June in Overland Park, Kan. Chesterton Street Commissioner
John Schnadenberg announces that winter’s relentless assault is bleeding the
Street Department’s overtime budget white: to save money, the town will no
longer plow cul-de-sacs in subdivisions after snows of two inches or less.
The Indiana House
of Representatives passes a modified state constitutional ban on gay
marriage, leaving open the possibility of same-sex civil unions. PCSP Sgt.
Jeremy Chavez is honored for saving the life of an infant in December in
Liberty Township; Chavez was previously honored for saving the life of a
choking woman while working as the school resource officer at Boone Township
High School. Another rapid thaw, following a 50-degree temperature swing,
prompts INDOT to issue a second pothole warning.
The Burns Harbor
Town Council approves an agreement under which a Porter Regional Hospital
ambulance will be based at the fire station 24/7. The Indiana Senate okays
cuts in business equipment and corporate income taxes, causing concerns
among the state’s public-school and municipal officials. Chesterton Town
Council Member Jim Ton, R-1st, is elected Treasurer of the Northwestern
Indiana Regional Planning Commission’s Executive Board.
Gov. Pence says
that he wants language blocking civil unions restored to the proposed state
constitutional amendment which would ban gay marriage in Indiana. The CHS
debate team wins the title at the IHSFA state tournament, beating defending
champion West Lafayette by 92 points to 76.5; it’s the 24th state title for
CHS. The Duneland School Board announces that of the five snow days missed
in January, two have been waived by the Indiana Department of Education but
three will have to be made up.
Among the Duneland
teachers retiring at the end of the 2013-14 school are CHS math teacher
Stephen Kearney, with 44 years’ service; and Yost Elementary PE teacher
Connie Hamilton, with 42.5 years’ service. NIPSCO: January 2014 was 34
percent colder than January 2013, natural-gas consumption was 34 percent
greater, and monthly bills averaged $19 more than had been projected.
Through Feb. 6, 54
inches of snow had fallen in Duneland, compared to an average winter’s
total snowfall of 37 inches. The Porter County Park Board announces its
2014 priorities: a new south county park north of Kouts; the Raise-the-Barn
education center at Sunset Hill Farm County Park; and the expansion of the
Brincka-Cross Trails and Garden. ArcelorMittal reports a net loss in 2013 of
$2.545 billion or $1.46 per share, compared to a net loss of $3.352 billion
or $2.17 in 2012.
The National Park
Service announces that more than 60 “anomalies” were found on the Mt. Baldy
sand dune by ground-penetrating radar at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore,
where the previous summer a 6-year-old Illinois boy survived being buried
alive in an 11-foot deep hole; NPS is unable, however, to identify the
anomalies as voids or anything else. The Northwest Indiana Regional
Development Authority commits an annual $8 million to a proposed Lake County
spur of the South Shore commuter railroad. Westchester Township resident and
Dunes birding authority Ken Brock is a 2014 recipient of the American
Birding Association’s Ludlow Griscom Award honoring outstanding
contributions to regional ornithology.
NPS names Paul
Labovitz--currently superintendent at Mississippi National River and
Recreation Area--the new superintendent at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.
Porter Hospital LLC files an appeal with the Indiana Tax Board of Review of
the 2012 values assigned to the old hospital property and the new one by the
Porter County Tax Assessment Board of Appeals. A woman’s body is found in a
snow-covered car in the Valparaiso Target’s parking lot; the plate returns
to a reportedly suicidal Mishawaka woman who went missing nearly a month
Commissioner John Schnadenberg--a Chesterton Police Department reserve
officer for 26 years--is presented with the 2013 Community Service Award of
the Year by the Indiana Associations of Chiefs of Police. The Indiana
Department of Local Government Finance certifies 2014 budgets and tax rates
in Porter County: Jackson Township’s tax rate dips the most in Duneland,
with a decrease of $0.0212 per $100 of assessed valuation; Portage
City-Westchester’s rate rises the most, with an increase of $0.1191.
School science teacher Samantha Joll is honored for her innovation in the
classroom by the Hoosier Association of Science Teachers. The Porter County
Advisory Plan Commission--with planner and County Council Member Bob Poparad,
D-at large, dissenting--endorses the creation of a tax increment financing
district centered on the Porter County Regional Airport. Report: the Great
Lakes are nearly completely covered by ice.
The CHS debate team
qualifies six more for the NFL tourney in Overland Park, Kan.: Tim Vincent,
Alex Genetski, Joel Peterson, Zack Bogich, Andrea Drygas, and Mikaela Meyer.
A Porter County maintenance worker mistakenly paid $17,000 more than he
earned in 2013--courtesy of a glitch in the payroll system--is ordered to
repay the amount. The Indiana Senate votes to amend the state constitution
by banning gay marriage but it will be 2016 at the earliest before the
measure might appear on a statewide ballot.
NiSource Inc. posts
a net income in 2013 of $532.1 million, compared to a net income of $416.1
million in 2012. The IURC okays the Northern Indiana Public Service
Company’s $1.1-billion seven-year plan to upgrade electric infrastructure,
funded by a surcharge on bills averaging 0.9 percent per year. The
homeowner’s insurance company of Elliott McCowan, father of convicted
murderer Dustin McCowan, files a suit in federal court seeking a judge’s
ruling to the effect that it has no obligation to cover either father or son
for any claim which might arise from the wrongful death suit brought in 2013
by the parent’s of Dustin McCowan’s victim, Amanda Bach.
tuition at Notre Dame University will increase to $46,000 in academic year
2014-15. The CHS Science Olympiad Team wins regional competition at Indiana
University Northwest and advances to the state tournament at IU in
Bloomington. Richard Whitman, the groundbreaking U.S. Geological Survey
scientist who made the Dunes the cutting-edge site in the country for the
study of E. coli and beach health, announces his retirement from the
Lake Michigan Ecological Research Station in Porter.
Butterburger fame announces plans at a Chesterton Advisory Plan Commission
meeting to build a restaurant north of the Speedway off Gateway Blvd. at
Coffee Creek Center. Five Lake County men are arrested on multiple charges,
after a high-speed pursuit which began at Virk’s Mart in Pine Township and
ended at Shelton Fireworks in Porter.
The CHS Japanese
Olympiad Team wins the state title in one division and second place in two
other divisions. PTABOA hears Porter Regional Hospital’s appeal of its
$242.8-million assessment. Community Health Systems Inc., owner of the
Porter Health Care System, names Stephen Lunn Porter’s new CEO.
The CHS boys swim
team wins its second consecutive IHSAA state championship in Indianapolis
and the fourth title in seven years; the quartet of Aaron Whitaker, Jack
Wallar, Blake Pieroni, and Gary Kostbade sets a state record and a national
public school record in the 200 Medley Relay, while Whitaker sets a state
record in the 100 Fly. Duneland Chamber of Commerce President Heather Ennis
announces her resignation, to accept the position of president and CEO of
the Northwest Indiana Forum.
The Duneland School
Board is forced to add a fourth make-up day, following another snowstorm in
February. The CHS speech team qualifies 28 for the IHSFA state tournament in
Indianapolis. Report: 1.8 million visitors to Indiana Dunes National
Lakeshore in 2012 spent $75 million locally.
The CHS Drifters
take second place at the 21st annual Chicagoland Showcase. Porter County
Council Member Jim Biggs, R-1st, wonders out loud who exactly owns the
60,000-square foot medical office building on Porter Regional Hospital
property, as the council begins setting the terms of a 10-year property-tax
abatement. Westchester Intermediate students take first place in their
division at the statewide math bowl hosted by Boone Grove Elementary School.
The CHS Academic
Bowl wins the Purdue University North Central Invitational. The Porter
County Park Department finalizes the purchase of 46 new acres at Brincka-Cross
Gardens in Pine Township. The Maple Sugar Festival is held at the Chellberg
Farm site at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. The CHS speech team dominates
North East District competition by taking eight of 12 national qualifying
spots: Justyn Lantz and Jami Ritchea, Mikaela Meyers and Galen Wong, Shawn
Adams and Victoria Hooten, Liz Green, Andrew Caratini, Carley Lowe, Nate
Burris, and Tim Vincent.
Council Members Dan Whitten, D-at large, and Karen Conover, R-3rd, give
Porter Regional Hospital a choice: either agree that the hospital building
is worth at least $130 million in value or abandon the 10-year property-tax
abatement. The Chesterton Clerk-Treasurer’s Office re-locates to the
municipal complex at 1490 Broadway; its space at the town hall is given to
the CPD and PPD combined Detective Bureau.
The FBI requests
copies of building permits for Porter Regional Hospital and the
60,000-square foot medical office building on adjacent property. At least
five customers of the Chesterton Utility find their water service shut off
by Indiana-American Water Company, despite the fact that their Utility
accounts are up to date. The Forever Winter continues with another snow
storm, this one leaving more than 20,000 without power; the Duneland School
Corporation calls another snow day.
The CHS Jazz Band
wins Gold in Group I at the annual ISSMA Jazz Festival at LaPorte High
School. The Democrat Director of Porter County Voters Registration accuses
Republican Clerk of Courts Karen Martin of playing politics, after Martin
orders the door locks changed at the Voters Registration office. Lambda
Legal challenges Indiana’s new ban on same-sex marriage in a lawsuit filed
on behalf of three lesbian couples, including couple Bonne Everly and Linda
Judkins of Chesterton. PTABOA denies Porter Regional Hospital’s appeal of
its $244.5-million assessment in 2013.
The CPD is forced
to close intersections on Ind. 49 to allow the Street Department to clear
snow from the traffic signals, whose new LED technology does not generate
enough heat to melt snow blown onto the lights. The CHS speech team places
third at the IHSFA state tournament at Fishers High School. Former Duneland
realtor Don Johnson is charged with 14 felonies related to the sale of
securities, following an investigation by the CPD and the Indiana Secretary
of State’s Securities Division.
Dr. James C.
McGrogan, 39, a 1993 CHS graduate, is reported missing in Eagle County,
Colo., after he disappears during a hike with friends north of Vail; a
snowstorm forces officials to suspend, after three days, an intensive
search-and-rescue operation. CMS/CHS Japanese teacher Aki Tsugawa is named
the Indiana Foreign Language Teachers Association’s Best of Indiana. The CHS
Sandpipers are judged Grand Champion and the Drifters First Runner-Up in
their divisions at The Classic, the final competition of the season, at
Lawrence Central High School in Indianapolis.
WDSO News Director
Brooke Sauter and TV2 student Lily Jablonski both take firsts at the IASB
competition at the University of Indianapolis. The Duneland School Board
schedules a make-up day on a Saturday in April. The FBI wants to know what
kind of computer equipment is used by the Porter County Advisory Plan
A trail in the
southern reaches of the Coffee Creek Watershed Preserve is temporarily
closed as Urschel Laboratories Inc. begins construction of a four-lane
bridge over Coffee Creek.
A dog and a cat
perish in a house fire in the 200 block of South 14th Street; another cat is
saved by Porter Deputy Fire Chief Jay Craig’s use of a special oxygen mask
designed for pets.
The Chesterton Town
Council declares April 11 Joanne Lewis Day in town, after Lewis, an employee
of the Clerk-Treasurer’s Office for 25 years, announces her retirement.
Maura Durham is named president of the Duneland Chamber of Commerce.
Steelworker Robert Watts, 62, of Westville, dies of scald injuries sustained
in an accident in February at ArcelorMittal’s Indiana Harbor facility in
East Chicago. IOSHA fines Pangere Corporation of Gary $3,500 for an accident
at ArcelorMittal’s Indiana Harbor facility which killed Michael Samuelson,
39, of Valparaiso.
Steelworkers International confirms Mike Millsap’s victory over incumbent
Jim Robinson in the November election for District 7 Director, after
Robinson protested Local 6787’s conduct of the election. Porter Coroner
Chuck Harris reports a 78-percent increase in fatal heroin overdoses in
2013. PCSP Jeremy Chavez, honored earlier in the year for saving an infant’s
life, saves another child’s life in South Haven, when he clears the airway
of a choking 1-year-old girl.
Town Council President and cobbler Frank Sessa dies at 72. The Board of
Directors of the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District formally
endorses the West Lake Commuter Train Extension of the South Shore line.
The old Wilbar
Manufacturing facility on Park Ave. at Taft Street is demolished to make way
for duplexes. The Chesterton Tribune marks 132 years as a community
newspaper. The DNR erects two 30-foot osprey nesting platforms at Indiana
Dunes State Park, one by the Trail 8 boardwalk, the other along Kemil Road.
Intermediate holds its 37th annual Turtle Week and Olympics. ArcelorMittal
is named a GM Supplier of the Year. The CHS Science Olympiad Team takes
third place at state competition in Bloomington. CHS qualifies 12 students
at the Business Professionals of America state contest to qualify at the
Dr. James C.
McGrogan, 37, is found deceased at the bottom of an ice fall below Booth
Falls in the Colorado Rocky Mountains; cause of death is determined to be
injuries sustained in an accidental fall. Frontline Foundation Inc., a
substance abuse treatment program headquartered in Chesterton, showcases its
new Conduit Center, a visual and performing art venue for young adults in
The body of Teleka
Cassandra Patrick, 33, of Kalamazoo, Mich., is recovered from Lake Charles
in Porter, four months after her abandoned car was found early in December
along I-94 roughly 1,500 feet east of Lake Charles. USS Gary Works gets a
delivery of iron ore but ice on the Great Lakes continues to hinder shipping
despite the efforts of both the U.S. Coast Guard and the Canadian to clear
pathways for ore haulers. The Friends of Indiana Dunes holds its 18th annual
Native Plant Sale at the Pavilion at Indiana Dunes State Park.
The FBI shows
interest in 2013 payroll information for the Porter County Expo Center. A
federal judge orders the State of Indiana to recognize the out-of-state
marriage of a gay couple before one of the women dies of cancer. Liberty
Intermediate fifth-grader Matthew Shaffer and his family collect 1,450 rolls
of toilet paper for Housing Opportunities in Valparaiso, to celebrate his
Elementary, and St. Patrick Catholic School are all named Four-Star Schools
for 2012-13 by the Indiana Department of Education. The Porter County Parks
Foundation announces plans to restore a wetland west of 11th Street into a
migratory shorebird habitat. The CHS Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band earns
a Gold Superior rating at the ISSMA concert band competition at Kankakee
Valley High School.
The Porter County
Highway Department puts the cost of the winter at $1.8 million in labor and
supplies. The Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor opens the 2014 salty season as it
always does, by offloading a ship carrying imported steel from Holland
destined for Midwest manufacturers. The Chesterton Advisory Plan Commission
grants primary plat approval for Stone Meadows, a 25-lot single-family
subdivision on 1100N across the street from Dogwood Park.
Department of Local Government Finance reports that Porter County is
expected to lose roughly $2 million in property-tax revenues due to tax-cap
impacts. Porter County Council Member Jim Biggs, R-1st, saying he’s tired of
Porter Regional Hospital’s “shenanigans,” attempts to make a motion to
withdraw its 10-year property-tax abatement; the council does not act on the
motion. Home-schooled senior Jennette Sink is named a National Merit
The Indiana Court
of Appeals upholds the murder conviction of Dustin McCowan, found guilty by
jury in the September 2011 shooting of Amanda Bach; meanwhile, McCowan’s
father, Elliott McCowan, files for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in federal court.
The Town of
Chesterton celebrates Arbor Day by planting 200 trees at the Coffee Creek
Watershed Preserve; on the same day, Rebuilding Together Duneland rehabs
four homes and eight community sites, the latter including the Westchester
Neighbors Food Pantry. The Chesterton Town Council raises the CPD’s
mandatory retirement age from 60 to 65, after three CPD officers aged 58 or
older retired within the previous four years. NiSource Inc. posts a net
income in the first quarter of $206.2 or 85 cents basic earnings per share,
compared to $260 million or 84 cents in the year-ago.
U.S. Steel posts a
net income in the first quarter of $52 million or 34 cents per diluted
share, compared to a net loss of $73 million or 51 cents in the year-ago.
The Chesterton Utility Service Board agrees to extend sanitary sewer service
to Fox Chase Farms and the Whispering Sands Mobile Home Community in Liberty
Township, both of whose sanitary systems are failing.
greenlights NIPSCO’s $713-million seven-year plan to upgrade its natural-gas
infrastructure, funded by annual rate increases averaging 1.4 percent over
the life of the program. NIPSCO reports that the winter of 2014 was 20
percent colder than the previous one, prompting chilly customers to consume
18.5 percent more natural gas than they did in the winter of 2013. The
Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor formally opposes
Indiana-American Water Company’s proposed $19.6-million annual increase in
operating revenues; the OUCC instead recommends a 5.5-percent decrease
in those revenues.
burglar steals $15,000 worth of video games from TNT Gaming at 209 Broadway
in Chesterton. Lynn R. Williams, who led the United Steelworkers as its
international president during a turbulent decade, 1983-94, dies at 89 in
Toronto, Canada. U.S. Steel confirms that employment levels are being
reduced as part of a belt-tightening strategy dubbed The Carnegie Way,
intended to return the company to profitability; USS declines to say how
many positions are being cut, where, or how.
competitive Democrat race, turnout is low in the midterm primary election,
with only 10.99 percent of registered voters casting ballots in Porter
County, compared to 15.35 percent in the last midterm primary, in 2010. On
the Democrat side, Dave Reynolds beats Harold Lush to win his party’s
nomination for Sheriff. On the Republican side, Jeff Good ousts incumbent
Nancy Adams for his party’s nomination to the Center District seat on the
Porter County Commissioners; and incumbent Jim Biggs fends off the challenge
of Kyle Yelton--by 11 votes--in defense of his 1st District seat on the
Porter County Council.
a net loss in the first quarter of $205 million or 12 cents per share,
compared to a net loss of $345 million or 21 cents in the year-ago. The CHS
Supermileage Club takes first place in competition at Lucas Oil Raceway Park
in Indianapolis, sponsored by the Indiana Math, Science, and Technology
Alliance. CHS student Zachary Barnes wins the 13th annual ACE (Accepting the
Challenge of Excellence) Award, presented by the Duneland Exchange Club. CFD
Chief Mike Orlich announces his retirement, after 31 years of service to the
Town of Chesterton.
The Chesterton Town
Council agrees to issue $1.5 million in general obligation bonds to finance
a raft of paving projects, including 23rd Street from Washington Ave. to
1100N and 1050N from C.R. 200W to Ind. 149. The Chesterton Town Council also
authorizes the CFD to prepare specs for a new engine, with an estimated
price tag of $450,000. Kennedy Brown, 15, of Chesterton, is selected to
represent the U.S. in the upcoming International Ballet Competition,
considered the Olympics of the ballet world, in Jackson, Miss.
A vehicle fire at
Arnell Kia in Burns Harbor caused an estimated $200,000 in damage. The Burns
Harbor Town Council applies for $4 million in federal trail grants and asks
the RDA for the required 20-percent match. The Porter Town Council
appropriates $6,500 for a garden at Hawthorne Park, fulfilling the wishes of
the late Bud Tilden, twice the Porter Citizen of the Year, who bequeathed to
the Park Department a donation to develop a garden in memory of his parents,
William and Margaret.
Highway Superintendent Al Hoagland retires after 34 years with the Highway
Department. The Westchester Township History Museum holds a grand opening
reception for the new permanent exhibit: “Westchester Township: Our Story.”
The Boys and Girls Club of Porter County reports the loss and apparent
embezzlement of $33,000 to the Valparaiso Police Department. The CHS boys
volleyball wins the IBVCA state title.
The CPD re-locates
its dispatching operations to the Porter PD station, while the latter’s
investigations unit merges with the CPD’s Detective Bureau in the former
Chesterton Clerk-Treasurer’s Office at the town hall. CHS senior Emily Dyrek
wins a $500 art scholarship from the Association of Artists and Craftsmen of
Porter County. The Porter Redevelopment Commission transfers $400,000 to
Porter County for paving a portion of the Calumet Trail, from Dune Acres to
a point east.
Taylor Ricks, a
local artist making ends meet waitressing at Wagner’s Ribs, participates in
a custom motorcycle build on the Discovery Channel’s #BikerLive,
chipping in with an awesome handpainted gas tank.
NICTD okays a
20-year strategic business plan with a price tag of $1 billion, an
expenditure deemed necessary to increase ridership and improve service.
Ron Wood Jr. 29, of
LaPorte, drowns in Lake Michigan off Mt. Baldy, after leaving his boat in an
attempt to save two other swimmers who had floated away from the boat. U.S.
Steel announces plans to idle tube operations in Pennsylvania and
Texas--furloughing 265 workers in the process--prompting the United
Steelworkers to blast U.S. trade policies on illegally subsidized imports of
oil country tubular goods.
CHS Senior Athletes
of the Year are named: Kristen Homme, Erin Socha, Andrew Ralph, and Cole
Teal. The Duneland Soccer Club hosts a regional spring tournament at Dogwood
Park, with 48 teams playing on six fields non-stop for six hours. The 124th
annual CHS commencement exercises are held outdoors in the football stadium.
A Liberty Township
man named Thompson is released from the Porter County Jail, altogether
exonerated, 10 days after he was arrested by a Drug Task Force agent who
incorrectly identified him as a cocaine dealer. The Marram School announces
plans to serve the homeschooling community at the Methodist Activity Center,
former home of the Duneland Unit of the Boys and Girls Club of Porter
County. Mike Bucheit, a maintenance and repair technician at Indiana Dunes
State Park, is presented with the DNR’s top civilian honor, the Col. Richard
The Duneland School
Corporation increases the cost of student lunches in all categories by 10
cents. The Porter County Council unanimously adopts a “preliminary
determination” that Porter Regional Hospital is failing to comply with the
terms of its 10-year property-tax abatement, citing the hospital’s
unwillingness to accept a property assessment of at least $130 million.
New felony charges
of forgery and theft are filed against former Duneland realtor Don Johnson,
alleging that he forged a dead woman’s name on an insurance check and then
stole the check. The CHS boys 4x800 Relay team wins the IHSAA state title at
Indiana University. Winning at the Chesterton Woman’s Club annual art show
are Larry Jensen’s “Anise Sculpture,” Best of Show 3D; and Dawn Fetty’s “Her
Majesty,” Best of Show 2D.
Teamsters Local 142
tells the Chesterton Town Council that it wants to bid on the CPD officers’
health insurance. Save the Dunes announces that more than 1,000 acres of
black oak savanna habitat in Duneland are to be restored, after Save the
Dunes, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Indiana Dunes State Park, and DNR
receive funding. The Shirley Heinze Land Trust acquires 80 acres next to the
old Meadowbrook Girl Scout Camp in Liberty Township, which it purchased in
2013; together the two pieces, totaling 154 acres, will be managed as a
Michael Doman is this year’s winner of the $10,000 scholarship raffled by
the Duneland Education Foundation. The Burns Harbor Town Council approves a
three-year contract with Superior Ambulance, which will provide 24/7 ALS
service to residents from an ambulance based at the fire station and--once a
collections threshold is reached--split a portion of its revenues with the
town. The Burns Harbor Redevelopment Commission proposes to become the first
in Porter County to allow the Duneland School Corporation to share the
revenues from a planned expansion of its TIF district.
Public Library Board votes to commission a South Shore poster of the Brown
Mansion. Porter Fire Department divers fish a mystery truck--a 1999 Ford
F-150--out of Lake Charles. Matthew Petrovich of Boy Scout Troop 908 at St.
John’s United Church earns the Eagle Scout rank.
Westchester Lanes bowling alley, re-named the Seven Peaks Fun Center, closes
again, not quite 12 months after Seven Peaks took a crack at operating it;
the owners of the property, Tony and Evelyn Ello, put it up for sale, saying
that Seven Peaks was not abiding by the terms of a lease-purchase contract.
Eight pistols, five
rifles, and ammunition are stolen in the burglary of the Disappear Gear gun
shop at 1050 Broadway; the CPD quickly makes arrests--Devin Fuller, 18,
Dillon Evans, 19, and Corey Murillo, 21, all of Chesterton, are charged with
burglary--and recovers the stolen firearms. Pod B of the Porter County Jail
opens for business. AJ’s Pizza announces plans to build a restaurant
immediately east of the Speedway gas station, near the new Culver’s, on
Gateway Blvd. at Coffee Creek Center.
CHS graduates Taryn
Trusty and Andrew Hurst are named 2014 National Merit winners. CHS speaker
Jamie Ritchea is the runner-up in Storytelling at the National Forensic
League’s national tournament in Overland Park, Kan.
agrees to pay $90 million to settle a class-action lawsuit, filed on behalf
of “domestic steel consumers” and alleging a price-fixing conspiracy;
ArcelorMittal denies culpability and says it settled just to make a
distraction go away. The McDonald’s lift station on Indian Boundary Road
explodes, after residual gasoline in the soil, left by an underground
storage tank at the Amoco across the street, leaches into the sewer system
and is ignited; no one is injured.
A federal judge
strikes down Indiana’s ban on same-sex marriage in a ruling that immediately
allows gay couples to wed. Dr. Karl Speckhard, former Duneland School
superintendent, dies at 87 in Cottage Grove, Minn. Thousands lose power as a
storm dumps 1.57 inches of rain on Duneland, to make June easily the wettest
month in at least three years, with total precipitation of 7.68 inches.
Independence Day celebrations gear up, with the Family 4th Fest at Hawthorne
Park, the annual fireworks extravaganza at Indiana Dunes State Park, and the
75th annual running of the Lions Club Turtle Derby. The Chesterton Town
Council votes to formally reserve the right to provide wastewater treatment
service to any areas in Duneland located within four miles of the town’s
corporate limits and not currently being served by another provider.
ArcelorMittal $7,000 in connection with the fatal scalding in February of
Steelworker Robert Watts, 62, of Westville, at its Indiana Harbor facility
in East Chicago. The Porter Town Council is unable to muster a second on a
motion to amend the Zoning Ordinance to permit backyard chickens.
The Porter County
Advisory Plan Commission votes unanimously not to endorse the rezoning of
property at 50 E. U.S. 6 in Liberty Township from single-family residential
to moderate commercial, after folks at Tanner Trace remonstrate. The new
superintendent of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Paul “I’d Be Nuts Not to
Want this Job” Labovitz, begins to heal the frayed relationship between the
park, its stakeholders, and the Duneland community at large.
Citizens wanting to
protest the Duneland School Board’s decision not to renew CHS girls soccer
coach David Galloway’s contract for the upcoming season get really angry
after learning that the board doesn’t permit public comment at its meetings.
Porter County Treasurer Mike Bucko announces his resignation well before the
expiration of his term in 2016.
Laboratories continues work on the four-lane bridge over Coffee Creek, the
Lake Erie Land Company begins replacing the brick pavers on Gateway Blvd.
east of Ind. 49 with an asphalt surface. The Porter County Council and
Commissioners form a joint committee to discuss the creation of the county’s
own charitable foundation for the investment of the Porter Memborial
Hospital sale proceeds. Movoto Real Estate reports: Chesterton is the ninth
safest community in Indiana, based on the FBI’s 2012 Uniform Crime Reports.
The Porter County Fair begins its 10-day run.
Chesterton-Porter Rotary Club awards CHS track and cross country coach Steve
Kearney its Paul Harris Fellowship to mark the 45 years of his storied
career. The FBI requests copies of Portage Mayor James Snyder’s campaign
finance reports. CPD: 2-year-old Bentley Mihal dies after reportedly falling
off a trampoline in his yard in the 1000 block of Woodlawn Ave.
Honored by the
Duneland Chamber of Commerce at its annual awards luncheon: Heather Ennis,
Duneland Distinguished Woman; Pat Amstutz, Golden Achievement; the National
Park Service, Putting Duneland on the Map; Strack & Van Til, Business
Renovation; Jocelyn Hibshman and Judy Alders, Humanitarians of the Year; and
Janenne Stuber, Volunteer of the Year.
employee health insurance premiums are found to be six weeks in arrears;
Auditor Bob Wichlinski takes the heat for it but tells the County Council
that it left insurance underfunded in the 2014 budgets which it approved. A
Lake County judge strikes down the 2012 so-called “right-to-work” law, on
the ground that it violates the Indiana Constitution’s protection against a
person’s services being demanded without just compensation.
A Democrat caucus
elects Michelle Clancy as Porter County Treasurer, to serve the remainder of
Mike Bucko’s term. The Chesterton Town Council approves a 3-percent raise
for all employees except council members. The Izaak Walton League of America
honors Herb & Charlotte Read with its Hall of Fame Award, in recognition of
their commitment to conservation.
NIRPC awards a
second grant, this one in the amount of $547,000, to the Town of Chesterton
for the engineering and construction of a sidewalk along 1100N from Rose
Hill Estates to Fifth Street; a year earlier NIRPC had awarded the town an
initial grant of $405,834. U.S. Steel reports a net loss in the second
quarter of $18 million or 12 cents per diluted share, compared to a net loss
of $78 million or 54 cents in the year-ago.
reports a net income of $78.2 million or 25 cents earnings per basic share,
compared to a net income of $71.7 million or 23 cents in the year-ago. Three
homes on C.R. 700N, just east of Meridian Road in Liberty Township, are
burglarized in a single morning.
a net income in the second quarter of $52 million or 3 cents per share,
compared to a net loss of $780 million or 44 cents in the year-ago. The
Duneland School Corporation shows improvement in ISTEP scores, with 86.8
percent of students passing the English portion (84.6 percent in 2013) and
90 percent passing the math portion (86.8 percent in 2013). NICTD considers
raising the surcharge on a one-way cash ticket purchased aboard South Shore
commuter trains, to discourage that option.
Evangelical Lutheran Church welcomes its new pastor, Erik Grayvold. The
Porter County Community Foundation awards a $10,000 grant to Rebuilding
Together Duneland. Indiana’s first human West Nile virus case in 2014 is
reported in Porter County.
Victoria Brock of
Westchester Township urges the Chesterton Town Council to improve the
accessibility and visibility of businesses on Indian Boundary Road east of
Ind. 49. Chesterton Street Commissioner John Schnadenberg reports spiking
road salt prices, up 50 percent in the wake of the Forever Winter. The FBI
requests contracts, payroll information, sales disclosures, and other
documents related to the Promenade in the City of Valparaiso, between
Lincolnway and LaPorte Ave. north of VU.
Westchester Public Library Director Phil Baugher is to receive the Lifetime
Achievement Award from the Indiana Library Federation. Geologists remain
confounded by voids in the sand dunes of Mt. Baldy, which NPS declares will
stay closed until the phenomenon is better understood. Gayle Polakowski, for
25 years the Chesterton Clerk-Treasurer, dies at 67.
Chamber of Commerce holds its annual Party in the Park at Thomas Centennial
Park. Community Health Systems Inc., owner of Porter Regional Hospital,
discloses that a cyber attack on its computer systems exposed the personal
information of more than 4 million patients earlier in the year; a group in
China is suspected; CHS offers free ID theft protection services.
Enterprises President and CEO David Stupay resigns; an interim CEO is named,
Ellen DeMartinis. Two hogs perish in a barn fire in the 1600 north block of
C.R. 600E in Pine Township. The Porter County Commissioners pass an
ordinance creating a Stormwater Management Board for unincorporated county;
a fee structure will be determined after a four-member board is appointed.
The Chicago Street Theatre in Valparaiso opens its 60th season.
interpretive naturalist at Indiana Dunes State Park, is a recipient of the
2014 Hoosier Hospitality Award from the Indiana Office of Tourism
Development. The Porter Board of Zoning Appeals denies the petition of
Charles Welter for variances needed to build an addition and garage on his
home in the 2900 block of Dudley Drive at Porter Beach, unwilling to allow
an already non-conforming home to be made even bigger. The Porter Fire
Department is awarded a $4,977 grant for the purchase of equipment by USDA
Porter County 911
Director John Jokantas announces his resignation in September. John Jarka is
appointed permanent Fire Chief by the Chesterton Town Council. Bruce and Tom
Ruge announce their retirement and the closure of Ruge & Sons Meat, for
nearly 68 years an institution in Liberty Township. The Chesterton Town
Council renews Able Disposal’s three-year contract for refuse and recycling
collection, with the 2015 rate unchanged from 2014 and 2.5-percent increases
in each of 2016 and 2017. Chesterton Feed & Garden celebrates 34 years in
business. WDSO begins its 38th year of broadcasting.
The Porter County
Council votes 5-2 to use $972,000 from the interest on the hospital sale
proceeds to pay for the employee health care plan from July through August.
The Porter County Convention, Recreation, and Visitor Commission agrees to
allow for-profit private-sector businesses to apply for grants funded by the
innkeepers tax, formerly reserved for not-for-profit groups. The seventh
annual Taste of Duneland is held in Thomas Centennial Park. Discovery
Charter School acquires five acres of land south and west of its Canonie
Drive campus, opening the possibility of future direct access to U.S. 20.
The CHS boys
swimming team is named Best in the Nation by Swimming World Magazine,
edging Granada High School in Livermore, Calif., by a single point, in a
mythical meet based on times posted at all 50 state finals. The Burns
Waterway access to Lake Michigan is blocked after torrential rains leave
trees and debris lodged under a bridge. The Porter County Commissioners
agree to allocate $2 million in CEDIT moneys to the employee health
insurance plan, as they also did in 2013.
A 3K run/walk is
scheduled to benefit the children of the region’s fallen and disabled
heroes, in memory of the six members of the 713th Engineer Company,
headquartered in Valparaiso, killed during the unit’s deployment to
Afghanistan in 2012. A federal appeals court upholds the ruling which
declared Indiana’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional.
Amer Rustum, 54, of
Willowbrook, Ill., goes missing after falling off his yacht in Lake Michigan
east of the Pavilion at Indiana Dunes State Park; divers from Duneland’s FDs
participate in the search. Eclipse Performing Arts’ success on the national
competition dance circuit leads to an appearance on the Dance Moms
reality TV show. Augsburg Pre-Kindergarten celebrates 50 years of service to
The Chesterton Town
Council awards a 188,000 contract to American Structurepoint Inc. to
engineer the sidewalk along 1100N from Rosehill Estates to Fifth Street.
Local FOP lodges 152 and 141, along with Sand Creek Country Club, sponsor a
benefit spaghetti dinner for CPD Reserve Officer Greg Duda, who’s undergoing
treatment for non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The sixth annual 911 Tribute Concert is
held at the Coffee Creek Center amphitheater, while CHS students place 2,977
U.S. flags, one for each soul martyred in the attack on the U.S., along 11th
Street outside the football stadium.
announces an $88-million investment at its Burns Harbor facility, a project
prompting the Burns Harbor Town Council to grant a 10-year property-tax
abatement on new equipment. The Burns Harbor Town Council also votes to
demolish the former Westport Community Club building--a social and fraternal
hub since 1959--after it’s deemed too expensive to rehab.
CHS seniors Abigail
Burke, Alisha Dziarski, and David Eggers are named 2015 National Merit
Scholarship semi-finalists. The CHS girls volleyball team wins the CHS
Invitational. Rodney Owen, 46, of Burns Harbor, dies of injuries sustained
in February in what Coroner Chuck Harris calls an “attack” at the Shift
residents express their dismay that the Chesterton Utility, not the Damon
Run Conservancy District, will be providing sanitary sewer service to Fox
Chase Farms and the Whispering Sands Mobile Home Community. The CHS Trojan
Guard Marching Band takes second at the Crimson Invitational at Goshen High
School. The Chesterton Utility Service Board votes to maintain essentially
the same rate schedule in 2015-16.
U.S. Steel opts to
abandon an ambitious but costly coke replacement project at Gary Works, as
part of its ongoing strategic belt-tightening. NPS listens to the public and
abandons a cobble-berm plan in its final Shoreline Restoration and
Management Plan for Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. The 26th annual
Celebration of the Arts is held at the School House Shop in Furnessville.
The Porter County
Council votes 4-3 to reject a motion to cut funding for the livestock
program at Sunset Hill Farm County Park. Plans are presented to the
Chesterton Advisory Plan Commission for a 100-lot subdivision, dubbed
Brassie Estates, on 44 acres northwest of the Brassie Golf Course. The Board
of Directors of the Porter County Recycling and Waste District votes to
increase the annual recycling fee from $15 to $20 and for the first time to
assess the fee to businesses. The CHS Trojans beat the Vikings 23-7 at
The Indiana Toll
Road Concession Company files for bankruptcy; Gov. Pence promises motorists
that they’ll see no changes in the Toll Road’s daily operations. The
Chesterton-Porter Rotary Club and Boy Scout Troop 998 team up to rehab the
baseball diamond at West Porter Ave. and South Fifth Street. Felix Duron is
charged with neglect of a dependent and aggravated battery in connection
with the death of Bentley Mihal, 2, in July; Duron initially told
investigators that his girlfriend’s son had fallen from a trampoline.
A natural-gas leak,
caused when a truck overturned and struck a gas main, forces the overnight
closure of U.S. 6 east of Ind. 149. The third annual Hooked on Art Festival
is held in the Chesterton Downtown to benefit Frontline Foundation’s
substance abuse treatment program. The Chesterton Board of Zoning Appeals
votes to deny the petition of the Bross family to operate an open-air market
in its parking lot at South Calumet Road and East Morgan Ave.; the Duneland
Chamber of Commerce, which operates its own open-air market, the European
Market, had opposed the petition.
School applies for a new five-year charter from Ball State University. Lindy
Wilson, 64, of Liberty Township, is struck and killed by a vehicle in the
crosswalk at Morgan Blvd. and Lincolnway in Valparaiso; motorist Rachel
Marvin, 23, faces multiple charges after Valparaiso Police say that she was
under the influence of a controlled substance.
announces plans to spin off its natural-gas pipeline subsidiaries into a
stand-alone publicly traded company. Natalie Iatarola and Joey Petrovich are
crowned CHS Homecoming Queen and King. Albert Green, 74, of Merrillville,
dies of injuries sustained when he fell off his bicycle on Waverly Road just
south of U.S. Highway 12.
Dr. Virgil Gassoway,
a longtime Chesterton dentist, is honored by the Academy of General
Dentistry for his commitment to the field. St. Patrick Catholic School is
named a National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education, one
of only 50 private schools in the country so honored. The Westchester
Township History Museum opens a new exhibit: “Indiana Dunes Prairie Club
Brian Kovach, 31,
of Gary, is charged in connection with a series of burglaries in
unincorporated Duneland, after being apprehended by CPD Officer Larry Powell
in a high-speed pursuit on I-94. Michael Noland, 54, a former METRA
official, is named the South Shore commuter line’s new general manager.
Porter County Auditor Bob Wichlinski calls a campaign e-mail sent on a
county computer by his deputy an “honest mistake.”
For the first time
since 1969, the CHS boys tennis team wins the IHSAA sectional title. The
U.S. Supreme Court refuses to hear appeals from five states--including
Indiana--seeking to ban same-sex marriage. NIPSCO forecasts winter heating
bills 4 percent lower than the 2013-14 season’s and 16 percent less
natural-gas consumption. Heather Augustyn, a Chesterton author and world
authority on ska, releases her latest book: Songbirds: Pioneering Women
in Jamaican Music.
The CFD holds the
third annual Lights and Sirens Parade to mark National Fire Prevention Week.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is awarded a $3.2-million contract for
ecosystem restoration at the Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk site at Indiana
Dunes National Lakeshore. Glasses are raised at the fourth annual Perfect
Pint Festival at Hawthorne Park in Porter.
Gary Varvel, a
national award-winning editorial cartoonist, is the keynote speaker at the
annual Community Prayer Breakfast at Sand Creek Country Club. The No. 1
ranked CHS boys soccer team wins its second consecutive IHSAA title. The CHS
Trojan Guard Marching Band wins the Superior Gold rating and advances to
ISSMA scholastic state finals competition.
De-watering at the
Chesterton wastewater treatment plant is blamed for the drying up of two
private wells on Waverly Road in Porter. The Porter County Board of Zoning
Appeals grants variances to Liberty Bible Church for an electronic LED sign,
over neighbors’ objections. Warren H. Canright, publisher of the
Chesterton Tribune, a decorated U.S. Army veteran of World War II, and a
stalwart of the Duneland community, dies at 88.
Judy Gregurich, for
30 years executive director of the Chesterton Art Center, retires. Hundreds
of trick-or-treaters throng to businesses in the Chesterton Downtown, a week
before Halloween, in an event sponsored by the Duneland Chamber of Commerce.
U.S. Steel posts a net loss in the third quarter of $207 million or $1.42
per diluted share, compared to a net loss of $1.791 billion or $12.38 in the
The CHS Trojan
Guard Marching Band takes fifth at the ISSMA state championship at Lawrence
Central High School at Indianapolis. Kyanna Otero, 19, of Portage, a
passenger in an SUV driven by Charles Stilley, 18, also of Portage, dies
when Stilley crashes the vehicle on U.S. 6 in Liberty Township. Porter
County Sheriff David Lain announces that PCSP patrol officers are going to
be issued naloxone opiate rescue kits to treat heroin OD victims.
Cody Cousins, 24,
serving a 65-year sentence for fatally shooting Drew Boldt, 24, in January
on the campus of Purdue University in West Lafayette, apparently commits
suicide at the Indiana State Prison in Michigan City. NiSource Inc. posts a
net income in the third quarter of $31.4 million or 10 cents basic earnings
per share, compared to $48.1 million or 16 cents in the year ago. Sand Creek
Country Club is acquired by Concert Golf Partners, a boutique private club
owner-operator based in Newport Beach, Calif., which pledges to make
numerous capital investments in the facility.
The Porter County
Election Board, at an “emergency meeting” on the Friday before Election Day,
gives Dave Reynolds, Democrat candidate for Sheriff, three weeks to respond
to County Republican Committee Chair Michael Simpson’s complaint about
Reynold’s fundraising reports; Reynolds’ attorney accuses the
Republican-dominated board of trying to “wrongfully disparage” Reynolds by
calling a meeting to hear the complaint in the final hours of the campaign.
The DNR announces that Indiana Dunes State Park will close twice for this
year’s deer kill, for two days later in the month and for two days in
the polls, where neither a surge of angry Republican voters nor one of
anti-incumbents is demonstrable. The results: Democrat Dave Reynolds beats
Republican Mike Brickner, to win his third (non-consecutive) term as
Sheriff; Republican incumbent Brian Gensel defeats Democrat Stacey Whitten
in the Prosecuting Attorney’s race; Republican Jeff Good posts a convincing
victory over Democrat Sylvia Graham in the race for the North District seat
on the County Commissioners; Democrat Vicki Urbanik turns the tables
decisively on Republican incumbent Bob Wichlinski--who four years earlier
beat Urbanik--in the Auditor’s race; incumbent non-partisan Mike Trout edges
out Rich Whitlow by the narrowest of margins--by 75 of the 3,677 total
ballots cast--in the race for the at-large seat on the Duneland School
Republican incumbent Karen Martin beats Democrat Kathy Kozuszek in the Clerk
of Court’s race; Republican incumbent Chuck Harris buries Democrat Chuck
Scheuer in the Coroner’s race; Republican incumbent Jon Miller defeats
Democrat Scott Williams in the Recorder’s race; Duneland incumbent
legislators all win, U.S. Rep. Pete. Visclosky, D-1st, and State Reps. Ed
Soliday, R-Valparaiso, and Chuck Moseley, D-Portage; Republican incumbents
John Canright and Barbara Stroud and Democrat challenger Robin Chubb win the
three seats on the Westchester Township Board; and Republican incumbent Beth
Underwood is re-elected Liberty Township Trustee.
WIS Principal Shawn
Longacre is named 2014 Middle School Principal, District 1, by the Indiana
Association of School Principals. The Indiana Department of Education awards
A grades in school accountability to the Duneland School Corporation, St.
Patrick Catholic School, and Discovery Charter School.
The CHS Singing
Sands yearbook and the Sandscript newspaper are both recognized
for their excellence by the Indiana High School Press Association.
a net income in the third quarter of $22 million or a cent per share,
compared to a net loss of $193 million or 12 cents in the year-ago. Girl
Scout Brownie Troop No. 30154 collects over 365 cans of food for the
Westchester Neighbors Food Pantry.
Julia Laron and
Lucy Novreske are co-winners of the Chesterton Lions Club Peace Poster
Contest. Channel 7 News in Chicago is Johnny-on-the-spot to cover a sexting
incident at CHS. Marcus Key asks the Chesterton Town Council to amend Town
Code to allow folks to keep egg-laying hens in their backyards.
NPS invites farmers
interested in leasing fields at the Chellberg Farm site at Indiana Dunes
National Lakeshore to submit proposals. The Burns Harbor Town Council begins
the process of making property-tax breaks available to ArcelorMittal should
the company request them. The CHS debate team dominates rivals West
Lafayette, Valparaiso, and Munster at its home meet.
Jerry Hanas, the
longest serving general manager of any commuter railroad in the country,
retires after 37 years with the South Shore. Bill Sexton, one of two Porter
residents whose private well dried up during a de-watering program at
Chesterton’s wastewater treatment plant, tells the Utility Service Board
that, as he predicted, cold weather froze the jerry-rigged hose providing
water from a neighbor’s house.
CHS students Addie
McElfresh, Alex Fine, Madison Ghoreishi, Nicholas DeRico, and Anjali
Dziarski are named to the 2014 Indiana Bandmasters Association’s North
All-Region Honor Band. The Porter County Commissioners elect not to join a
coalition of Northern Indiana counties pooling their reserves to bid on the
Indiana Toll Road lease.
The Porter County
Commissioners vote to extend the current ambulance contract with Porter
Health Systems for another five years; the contract was not due to expire
for another year but Porter offered to hold the contract at $750,000 per
year instead of increasing it to $1 million in the contract’s last year, as
planned. CPD K-9 partner Igor breaks his leg during training. Dan Plath of
the Northwest Indiana Paddling Association is honored as Paddler of the Year
by the U.S. Canoe Association.
Under a proposed
settlement with the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor,
Indiana-American Water Company’s proposed 9.8-percent increase in operating
revenues--which would have spiked the average household’s monthly rate by
6.75 percent--is slashed to a 2.55-percent increase. Bill Sexton gets his
water back, after the Utility installs a new well pump. Ed Gustafson,
autodidact, geologist, freethinker, Swede, proud U.S. Army veteran, and
frequent contributor of VOPs to the Chesterton Tribune, dies at 84.
WIS spellers take
first place in their division of the Purdue Academic Spell competition at
Washington Township School. Announced: Danielle Chisko of Chesterton will
dance in The Joffrey Ballet’s 27th annual production of The Nutcracker
at Roosevelt University in Chicago.
The annual Twilight
Christmas Parade, sponsored by the Duneland Chamber of Commerce, is held on
Thanksgiving Saturday for the first time, to kick off the holiday and
gift-giving season. A spray-paint vandal defaces the manger scene in the
The Porter County
Commissioners select a location for the new Animal Shelter: the former
Porter County Expo Director’s homesite on Ind. 49, formerly used as the
prosecutor’s advocacy office and for museum storage.
The Chesterton Park
Department announces that it will install a 100’ x 100’ Little Tikes
playground next spring at Dunes Friendship Land, after removing the
remaining children’s play structures there.
Chaz McIntosh, 26,
of Kouts, is charged with the rape of a Portage woman, Elizabeth Oswald, 24,
in the hours before her death; a determination of both the cause and manner
of her death is pending the results of toxicology and pathology tests. The
20th annual Duneland Community Advent Festival is held at St. Patrick
Catholic Church, featuring the music ensembles of seven churches, Duneland
Resale, and CHS.
A search for two
men who fled the scene of a hit-and-run crash on I-94 prompts a lock-out at
Yost Elementary in Porter. The Indiana Bicentennial Trust awards the Porter
County Park Department $300,000 for the purchase of 137 acres of additional
park land in Pine Township. The 42nd annual Madrigal Dinner is held at CHS,
sponsored by the Music Department.
Trout announces the resignation of his 2nd District seat on the Town
Council, after he and his wife move to a house in a different district in
town. The Indiana State Board of Accounts rips the record-keeping of Beverly
Shores Clerk-Treasurer Laura Sullivan and orders her to pay $6,696.91 in
penalties, interest, and late fees; she resigns. Volunteers celebrate
Christmas the Swedish way at the Chellberg Farm site at Indiana Dunes
The Chesterton Town
Council enacts the chicken ordinance, making it legal for folks on all sized
properties in town to keep up to four hens in their backyards. Report:
shipments at the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor are projected to exceed the
2013 total by more than 25 percent.
Barb Plampin of
Dune Acres, educator, preeminent Dunes botanist, and tireless advocate of
land preservation, is honored by Save the Dunes with its highest honor, the
Paul H. Douglas Award.
Assessor Jon Snyder says that four municipally owned ambulance garages
leased to the Porter Healthcare System will be added to the tax rolls.
Parents as Teachers holds the eighth annual Cookies with Mrs. Claus at the
Waterbird Banquet Center.
18, of Porter, is charged in connection with the fatal shooting of Alex
Tapia, 36, outside Tapia’s Portage home, where police say that Reichler was
caught in the act of stealing from Tapia’s car; police also say that
Reichler shot Tapia with a handgun stolen three days earlier from an
unlocked vehicle parked on North Calumet Road in Chesterton. The Porter
County Council votes 4-3 to use $2.52 million in interest money from the
hospital sale to cover the remaining costs this year of the employee health
18, of Portage, is charged with five felonies, including reckless homicide,
after he crashed his car on U.S. 6 in Liberty Township in October, in an
accident which killed his passenger, Kyanna Otero, 19, also of Portage.
PCSP Det. Matt
Boone uses a newly issued naloxone kit to save the life of a 21-year-old
woman who had overdosed on amphetamines in South Haven. A sixth copper theft
is reported in Dune Acres, where since September five residential
air-conditioning units have been stolen, for a total loss of $19,900.
Estimated cost of
adding “eye-popping” displays and exhibits at the Dorothy Buell Memorial
Visitor Center: $1.6 million, according to a consultant hired by the Porter
County Convention, Recreation, and Visitor Commission; the PCCRVC has yet to
make a funding commitment, as has the National Park Service, with which it
shares the space under a five-year lease.
Council President Sharon Darnell, D-4th, announces that she will not seek a
fifth term when her current term expires at the end of 2015.
Edward Cahill, 40,
of Portage, is killed in his home by his pet pitbull. The Westport Community
Club building in Burns Harbor is demolished. Beverly Mitchell, 47, pleads
guilty to battery, in connection with her fatal shooting of her ex-husband,
Donald Crouse, 45, in her Porter home in 2011; under the proposed plea
agreement, she would not be sentenced to jail time.
Redevelopment Commission greenlights a consultant to draft preliminary plans
for a new 12,000-square foot public works facility, to be built across the
street from the current one on Beam Street.