Chesterton Tribune



2014 in review: In like a lion out like a lamb as Duneland, county build for the future

Back To Front Page



It was a betwixt-and-between sort of year in Duneland.

Officials were 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 fall.

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 tuned.

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. Stay tuned.

The Winter of Our Discontent

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 achievement.

We will 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 buried driveways.

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 of.

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 state titles.

Seven Peaks Fun Center--formerly Westchester Lanes--was closed, apparently forever this time, and the property put up for sale.

The Westport 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.

Gayle Polakowski, 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, and Godspeed.


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.

The Porter-Starke 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 customers.

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.

A massive 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.

Stephen Grieger, 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 in 2012.

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 earlier.

Chesterton Street 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.

Chesterton Middle 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.

Report: annual 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.

Culver’s of 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.

Porter County 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 Commission.

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.

The United 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.

Former Chesterton 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.

Liberty 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 national level.

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 recovery.

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 11th birthday.

CHS, Jackson 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.

The Indiana 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 Scholar.

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.


The IURC 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.

A smash-and-grab 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.

Without a 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.

ArcelorMittal posts 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.

Porter County 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 Lieber Award.

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 nature preserve.

CMS eighth-grader 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.

The Westchester 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.

The former 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.

ArcelorMittal 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.


Duneland’s 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.

IOSHA fines 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.

While Urschel 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.

The 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.

Porter County’s 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.

NiSource Inc. 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.


ArcelorMittal posts 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.

Bethlehem 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.

Announced: 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.

The Duneland 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.

Opportunity 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.

Brad Bumgardner, 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 Forest Services.

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 community.

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.

Praxair Inc. 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 Change Tap.

Liberty Township 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 Valparaiso.

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.

Discovery Charter 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.

NiSource Inc. 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 Excursions.”

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 year-ago.

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 December.

Ticket-splitters go 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 Board.

More results: 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.

ArcelorMittal posts 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 Chesterton Downtown.


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.

Republican Jeff 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 National Lakeshore.

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.

Porter County 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.

Thomas Reichler, 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 insurance plan.

Charles Stilley, 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.

Chesterton Town 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.

The Porter 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.



Posted 12/31/2014









Search This Site:

Custom Search