2017 was a banner
year for building in Duneland.
Begin with several
high-profile municipal projects: the completion this summer of Phase II of
the Westchester-Liberty Trail, which continued the eight-foot sidewalk along
1100N from the Rosehill Estates subdivision to South Fifth Street; the
installation of brand-new playground equipment at both Dogwood Park in
Chesterton and Hawthorne Park in Porter; the construction of a hugely
popular splash pad at Chesterton Park; and the reconfiguration of Gateway
Blvd. immediately east of the intersection of Ind. 49, to eliminate the
bottleneck which caused traffic stacking during rush hour.
broke on the following commercial projects in Coffee Creek Center: the
Residences at Coffee Creek, a 110-unit, $20-million senior living facility
south of Sidewalk Road and east of Ind. 49; Eagle Crossing, a 170-unit,
high-end apartment complex south of Rail Road and east of Kelle Drive;
and--late this year--a strip mall complex featuring a roof-top restaurant
(estimated value: $1.4 million) at the northeast corner of Village Point and
And yet more at
Coffee Creek Center: over the summer the Lake Erie Land Company removed the
old brick pavers at Coffee Creek Center and re-surfaced the roadways with
asphalt, while late in the year Urschel Laboratories Inc. was issued a
building permit for additions to its facility and headquarters valued at
On the residential
side, the developers of Easton Park, located at East Porter Ave. and 250E,
completed the installation of infrastructure last winter and houses have
been going up slowly but steadily throughout the year. On build-out, Easton
Park will be the largest subdivision ever developed in Chesterton, with 342
In a blow to
convenient shopping in Duneland, the Chesterton Kmart was shuttered in
March, one of scores across the country to suffer the fate. The building has
remained vacant since then, although Town Manager Bernie Doyle has said that
its owner is interested in finding a new tenant, not in demolishing it.
In a boon to
Downtown Chesterton, Richard Riley, owner of Riley’s Railhouse at 123 N.
Fourth St., completed the purchase last spring of the long vacant buildings
at 402 Broadway and 101 Broadway. Both had been eyesores and 402 was facing
possible demolition, after the Town Council found it to be “unsafe.” Riley
has been busy rehabbing the pair and at last word was looking to lease them.
Work continued this
year on the Westchester Migratory Bird Sanctuary, off South 11th Street,
and--in a sign of the project’s huge success--responsibility for the
development of the property passed last spring from the Porter County Parks
Foundation to a not-for-profit, the PorterCo Conservation Trust.
Work, however, did
not continue on the rehab of the Pavilion at Indiana Dunes State
Park. Although a spokesman for Pavilion Partners LLC announced in the spring
that the rehab would resume in September--and that plans were in the works
for a “family-friendly” restaurant to take occupancy on completion of the
work--at year’s end the Pavilion remained just as gutted as it did when
crews left the site in September 2015.
At year’s end, the
sales office for the StoryPoint senior living facility on Dickinson Road
officially opened. The three-story complex features 162 residential units,
120 for independent living and 42 for enhanced.
In April a
mechanical malfunction at U.S. Steel Corporation’s Portage facility resulted
in the dumping of a large quantity of a known carcinogen--hexavalent
chromium--into Burns Waterway. Although subsequent water sampling found no
detectable levels of the chemical in Lake Michigan waters, area beaches were
closed and the Indiana American Water Company temporarily ceased operations
at its pumping station in Ogden Dunes. Late in the year it was revealed that
a second spill occurred in October, which U.S. Steel asked the Indiana
Department of Environmental Management to keep secret.
Also in April,
Nicole Gland, 24, a bartender at The Upper Deck, was found stabbed to death
in her car behind the offices of the Chesterton Tribune. Three days
later Christopher Dillard, 50, a bouncer at The Upper Deck, was charged with
her murder, after he admitted killing Gland in a taped conversation with his
girlfriend at the Chesterton Police station.
In May the Porter
County Health Department ordered Seven Peaks Waterpark in Porter closed,
after multiple children sustained chemical burns in the kiddy pool. A
subsequent inspection determined that the facility’s automated disinfectant
feeder was malfunctioning. The waterpark remained closed for the rest of the
In July the Strack
and the Van Til families outbid Jewel Food Stores to purchase 20 Strack &
Van Til grocery stores from their majority owner, the bankrupt Center
Grocers Group of Illinois. Although Jewel Food Stores had previously
announced that it had no intention of closing any of the stores, should its
bid prove the high one, on the face of it that pledge seemed implausible,
given the fact that the Chesterton Strack & Van Til is located less than a
mile from the Chesterton Jewel on Indian Boundary Road.
mourned this year.
In April, Malcolm
Anderson, World War II veteran, long-time attorney, and prolific contributor
of Voices of the People, 97.
In June, Dale
Engquist, for nearly 24 years the superintendent of Indiana Dunes National
Lakeshore; and Thomas Bush, former Chesterton Police Commissioner, 77.
In July, Harold
McCorkel, retired Detective Lieutenant of the Chesterton Police Department,
In August, Harold
“Red” Shrader, also an inveterate writer of Voices of the People, 82.
In September, Will
Lee Lewis Jr., former Chesterton Postmaster, 83.
Elizabeth “Betty” Canright, publisher of the Chesterton Tribune, 90.
In December, Paul
Tharp, former member of the Chesterton Redevelopment Commission and
enthusiastic booster of the town, 70; Anne Hokanson, former Duneland
teacher, 105; and Dirk Baer, retired superintendent of the Duneland Schools,
U.S. Sen. Joe
Donnelly, D-Ind.: Improve the Affordable Care Act, don’t repeal it. The
owner of Kmart, Sears Holdings Corporation, announces the permanent closure
in March of the Kmart at 750 Indian Boundary Road in Chesterton, one of 78
Kmart and 26 Sears stores across the country to shutter in the most recent
round of closures. Chesterton Police Department report: A custodian at St.
Patrick Catholic Church accidentally discharges a loaded revolver after
finding it on church property.
The Chesterton Park
Board agrees to pursue the rehabilitation of Waskom and Kipper parks. A
Republican Party caucus elects Burns Harbor Town Council Member Andy Bozak
to the open North District seat on the Porter County Council, vacated after
its incumbent, Jim Biggs, was elected in November 2016 to the Porter County
Porter County Parks
survey: 74 percent of respondents are “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with
the park system, but 78 percent feel it is at least somewhat important for
county government to fund park improvements in comparison to other
priorities, such as roads and public safety.
U.S. Rep. Pete
Visclosky, D-1st, at his annual Chesterton town forum: after the election of
Donald Trump to the presidency, it’s time to “look for areas of agreement
where we can move the nation forward,” although Visclosky voices his
opposition to any repeal of the Affordable Care Act and to any reductions in
Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare benefits.
The Porter County
Commissioners agree to pursue a $1-million upgrade of the Administration
Building, 155 Indiana Ave. in Valparaiso. Approximately 25,000 NIPSCO
customers lose electrical service in high winds. The Porter County
Commissioners elect Jeff Good, R-Center, their president. The Porter Town
Council elects Greg Stinson its president. The Chesterton Town Council
elects Jim Ton, R-1st, its president.
Indiana Commuter Transportation District cancels all South Shore train
service at mid-morning following a heavy overnight icing; some 400
passengers are stuck for five hours on a train stopped west of Hegewisch.
Duneland Schools Superintendent Dave Pruis announces his retirement,
effective June 30. The Duneland School Board--three months after ratifying a
one-year contract with the Duneland Teachers Association which gave
educators their first raise in seven years--votes to give raises to
A foul odor in the
area of Haglund Road and Westport Road in Burns Harbor is blamed on
off-gassing in the town’s sanitary sewer system. The CHS girls swim team
wins its 18th consecutive conference title. The CHS wrestling team finishes
second at the conference meet. Two CHS debaters at Concord HS competition
qualify for the National Speech and Debate Association’s national tournament
in June: Creighton Gaff and Paul Petro.
No one is injured
in a fire which causes $70,000 in damage to a house in the 500 block of Park
Ave. in Chesterton. Duneland Swim Club members Eric Carlson, Alejandro
Kincaid, Lucas Piunti, and Isabella Smith achieve personal records at the
Mid-States All Star Tournament, while Team Indiana beats Teams Ohio,
Kentucky, Michigan, and Missouri Valley. Chesterton Police Officer Aaron
Miersma is honored as Porter County’s No. 1 OWI enforcement officer in 2016,
with 38 arrests.
The Shirley Heinze
Land Trust acquires 42 acres along Sand Creek in Westchester Township. The
Indiana Natural Resources Commission officially adopts a rule change under
which the Department of Natural Resources may obtain a three-way permit from
the Alcohol and Tobacco Commission to allow alcohol service at Dunes State
Park. The third annual Alley-Oop for Autism is held between basketball games
in the CHS gym.
Sheriff Dave Reynolds unveils the “One County One Protocol” school-safety
plan. Four CHS students are named 2017 Rising Stars of Indiana: Molly
Grimes, Abigail Koster, Karlyn Lawrence, and Nolan Poczekay. Report:
Building in the Town of Chesterton went through the roof in 2016, with the
total value of all projects increasing by 60 percent over 2015 and the total
number of permits issued increasing by around 33 percent.
Donald Trump is
elected as this nation’s 45th president. Ten CHS debaters qualify for the
national tournament in June at Northwest Indiana District competition:
Hannah Geiss, Katrina Balon, Mark Wilcox, Hayden Hodge, Nate Scheerer,
Katelyn Balakir, Sydney Ghoreshi, Keagan Wong, Dustin Bucher, and Madison
The old Chesterton
post office at 402 Broadway is declared “unsafe” by the Town Council and
Town Engineer Mark O’Dell is authorized to begin the abatement process,
under which owner George Manning would be required to repair, rehab, or
demolish the structure at his own expense. A Republican Party caucus elects
Kevin Tracy to the open seat on the Burns Harbor Town Council, created when
an earlier caucus elected the seat’s incumbent, Andy Bozak, to the Porter
The Porter County
Council elects Mike Jessen, R-4th, its president. The No. 1-ranked CHS
gymnastics team defeats No. 2-ranked Valparaiso HS. The Indiana Court of
Appeals denies--without comment--the interlocutory appeal filed by former
Duneland real estate broker Don Johnson, who sought the dismissal of eight
of the 19 felony charges filed against him on the ground that the statute of
limitations had expired.
Chesterton Fire Department responded to 12 percent more calls in 2016 than
it did in 2015. The CHS debate team wins its fourth consecutive state
championship, beating West Lafayette HS 95 points to 74; it’s the team’s
27th title overall and its 18th in the last 20 years.
The CHS boys swim
team wins its 21 consecutive conference championship. The CHS wrestling team
wins its third consecutive sectional championship. The CHS gymnastics team
wins the CHS Invitational. Report: South Shore commuter line ridership was
down 3 percent in 2016.
Commissioner Jim Biggs, R-North, votes against the establishment of a park
fund into which to deposit $58,125 in matching grants for the purchase of
five additional acres at Brincka-Cross Gardens in Pine Township, saying that
he opposes the acquisition of more park property which would go unused but
still require maintenance. U.S. Steel Corporation narrows its 2016 net loss
to $440 million or $2.81 per diluted share, compared to a net loss of $1.6
billion or $11.24 in 2015.
The Porter County
Sheriff’s Police reports that alcohol- and substance-related
arrests--excluding OWI arrests--jumped by 66 percent in 2016 while
burglaries spiked by 33 percent; most of the latter involved the theft of
prescription medications and most of that of opioids. Porter Health Care
System donates a decommissioned ambulance to Porter County Search & Rescue.
The CHS wrestling team finishes second in regional competition.
Jim Starin of
Starin Marketing is installed as the 2017 Board Chair of the Duneland
Chamber of Commerce. Asplundh Tree Expert Company, NIPSCO’s contracted tree
trimmer, begins pruning its way through the Town of Chesterton. A telecom
contractor installing fiber-optic conduit bores through an eight-inch
sanitary sewer force main at 23rd Street and West Porter Ave.
The CHS speech and
debate team hosts the annual Skeffington Memorial Invitational and dominates
it, winning 11 of 14 events. Six Duneland Schools teachers with a combined
168.5 years of experience announce their retirement at the end of the school
year: Music Director Tom Schnabel (32 years), Jackson Elementary teacher
Elaine Krause (31), Chesterton Middle School teacher Amy Otto (21), CHS
business teacher Rebecca Gierke (20), Liberty Elementary teacher Gayle
Sandquist (16), and CHS business teacher Donna Wilke (10).
The Duneland School
Board okays the sale of an unused 25.6-acre school site in the area of
Haglund Road and Ind. 149 to the Town of Burns Harbor. After nearly half a
century of use, the old playground equipment at Dogwood Park is removed, to
make way for a new set. CHS grads TJ Jaeger and Hunter Huddleston’s short
film Lost Dog wins a screening at the Cannes Film Festival in May.
of Chesterton celebrates her 100th birthday at the Duneland YMCA. The CHS
gymnastics team sets a new school record in a conference win over
Merrillville HS, earning 114.175 points to better the old record of 113.575.
Trucker John James, 57, of Foley, Minn., dies in a crash on the Indiana Toll
Road in Jackson Township.
reports a net income in 2016 of $1.77 billion or 62 cents per share,
compared to a net loss of $7.94 billion or $3.43 in 2015. Bob and Becky
Dunbar make a $50,000 gift to the Duneland Education Foundation to
strengthen its endowment, funds from which are used to improve the quality
of education in the Duneland Schools.
Auditor Vicki Urbanik reports lower 2017 tax rates in all but two of the
county’s 30 taxing districts, Union Township and Portage (Westchester
Township). CHS senior Ashley Heilmann is a finalist for the Distinguished
Young Women of Indiana Scholarship. Chesterton Town Manager Bernie Doyle
reports that the owner of the Kmart building intends to lease the space--not
demolish it--when the Kmart closes in March.
The Porter County
Convention, Recreation, and Visitor Commission is told by its contracted
consultant, Certec Inc. of Versailles, Ky., that between 2013 and 2015 the
economic impact of tourism in Porter County grew by 3.5 percent, from $386
million to $413 million.
The CHS gymnastics
team wins the conference title for the first time since 2003, defeating
defending champion Valparaiso HS. The CHS boys swim team takes its 19th
consecutive sectional title. The CHS wrestling team wins the semi-state
title. The CHS girls swim team takes second at the state finals.
Report: The Ports
of Indiana handled nearly 11.3 million tons of cargo in 2016, the second
highest volume in its history. Porter County Commissioner Jim Biggs,
R-North, reverses his vote on a second reading of an ordinance establishing
a park fund into which to deposit $58,125 in matching grants for the
purchase of five additional acres at Brincka-Cross Gardens in Pine Township,
saying that he voted against the motion on first reading “to send the right
message to the parks,” which would be that there’s a limit to what county
government can do.
CHS wrestler Andrew
Davison wins the state championship at 195 pounds, while the team finishes
second overall. NiSource Inc. posts a net income in 2016 of $331.5 million
or $1.03 base earnings per share, compared to $302.1 million or 90 cents in
2015. The Town of Burns Harbor unveils an historical marker in Shadyside
Park at the boundary which formerly marked the border of the Michigan
territorial line, before that line was moved 10 miles to the north.
Management of Chesterton is named one of the Top 100 Best Places to work in
the state by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. CPD report: A man injures his
arm in a beaver trap set by an unknown person near the playground at Coffee
Creek Park; officers are unable to locate any other traps in the area.
The CHS boys swim
team finishes third at the state finals. The CHS gymnastics team wins its
first sectional title since 2003. The CHS speech team takes second at
sectional competition. The Chesterton Redevelopment Commission reports that,
later in the year, the Lake Erie Land Company will replace the brick pavers
at Coffee Creek Center with asphalt.
Rain totaling 2.59
inches falls on Duneland in 24 hours, forcing the Chesterton wastewater
treatment plant to divert 600,000 gallons of flow into its 1.2-million
gallon storage basin. The CMS Science Olympiad team qualifies for state
competition by placing second in field of 17 teams at regional competition.
Porter Cove residents ask the Porter Town Council to fund the purchase of
new playground equipment at Kids Cove Park; in response President Greg
Stinson tells them that “money is tight all over.”
Clerk-Treasurer Stephanie Kuziela recovers from kidney transplant surgery,
after donating one of hers to Randy Darnell, husband of former Chesterton
Town Council member Sharon Darnell; both are nicely on the mend. The annual
Maple Sugar Time event opens at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore’s Chellberg
Farm site. The Duneland School Board begins its search for a new
The St. Patrick
Catholic School Science Olympiad team sends two teams to regional
competition, where one places first in its division and qualifies for state
competition. The CHS gymnastics team finishes second at regional competition
and qualifies for the state meet. The CHS speech team qualifies 12 for the
national tournament: Izzy Portugal, Allen Smith, Karly Carden, Paige
Donovan, Natalie Beglin, Noelle Friel, Josh Hogan, Logan Summers, Bryn
Jackson, Angel Smith, Connor Wantuch, and Ryan Day.
Patty Linson, 52,
of South Bend, dies in a one-vehicle accident on U.S. Highway 20 in Burns
Harbor. The CHS Science Olympiad team places second in its division at
regional competition and qualifies for state competition. The CHS Jazz
Ensemble wins Superior Gold at the annual Jazz Festival at LaPorte HS.
The Burns Harbor
Redevelopment Commission approves a $9,320 budget for Food Truck Square,
earmarking--among other things--$700 for licensing for movie night and $900
for a tent for the blues festival. A faulty light ballast in a storage room
at CMS is blamed for a light haze of smoke which forces the evacuation of
the entire school. CPD report: Amanda Daler, 35, of North Webster, Ind.,
admits to using heroin, crack, Ecstasy, and synthetic marijuana when
interviewed by officers at the BP on Indian Boundary Road.
The CHS Japanese
Olympiad team wins its third consecutive state championship in the
fourth-year division and takes second place in the third-year division.
Porter County Coroner Chuck Harris reports a record number of fatal opioid
overdoses in 2016: 36, doubling the 18 in 2015. Daniel R. Evans, 37, of
Terre Haute, is hit by a semi and killed while standing outside his vehicle
on I-94 about a mile east of Chesterton.
CHS gymnast Sophie
Hunzelman wins the All-Around title at the state meet, while her team
finishes third overall. Chesterton Pop Warner’s Brook Redman, a fifth-grader
at Liberty Intermediate, is named Top 5th-grade Boys Scholar at the annual
Mid-America Little Scholars Banquet in Schaumburg, Ill. The CHS speech teams
wins the state championship.
CHS junior Lucas
Klein codes a mobile app game--Impossible Orbit--and places it in the
iPhone App Store. Richard Riley, owner of Riley’s Railhouse at 123 N. Fourth
St. in Chesterton, announces his intention to purchase and rehab the
buildings at 402 and 101 Broadway from their current owner of record, George
Manning; 402 Broadway was previously declared “unsafe” by the Chesterton
Kate Nevers places second in the regional spelling bee at Wheeler HS, after
being bested by PURBLIND. Chesterton Town Engineer Mark O’Dell
reports that the Holiday Inn Express project at the southwest corner of
Indian Boundary Road and Ind. 49 is dead, leaving only an empty slab. The
Porter County Commissioners adopt an overlay district for development along
U.S. Highway 6, six years after beginning the process.
NIPSCO pledges to
replace five trees left lopsided at Chesterton Park, following pruning by
its contracted trimmer, Asplundh Tree Expert Company. Sheriff Dave Reynolds
takes command of the Drug Task Force, which since 1994 has been under the
direction of the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. None of the 25 occupants of
a Duneland Schools bus involved in a three-vehicle chain-reaction accident
on South 11th Street is injured, but three other persons are; the driver of
the passenger vehicle which caused the crash is cited for following too
Agency of Chesterton resigns as Porter County government’s insurance
servicing agent, effective April 1, after 25 years of serving as its agent.
The CHS Sandpipers and their band, The Business, earn Grand Champion honors
and sweep the caption awards in competition in Herscher, Ill., while the
Drifters are third runner-up.
The CHS Financial
Analyst team of Alexys Hanas, Nia Weems, and Drew Vesling qualify for the
National Business Professionals of America Leadership Conference; also
qualifying in Fundamental Accounting is Haydn Malackowski. Nathan Legler,
19, of Jackson Township, dies in a one-vehicle accident on U.S. 6 in Jackson
Township. Chesterton Town Council President Jim Ton, R-1st, reports that the
proposed merger of the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission and
the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning is dead.
Ground is broken on
a new splash pad at Chesterton Park. Cassie Kiegan is named the new program
director for the Duneland Unit of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Porter County.
The Porter County Council votes 4-2 to approve nearly $40,000 in raises for
three senior deputy prosecuting attorneys, with Members Jeremy Rivas, D-2nd,
and Sylvia Graham, D-at large, voting against the motion.
Tribune begins its 134th year as the community newspaper of Chesterton
and Duneland. The Jo Winey Babcock Memorial Endowment, created to support
the Duneland YMCA, closes to within $6,500 of its $50,000 goal; those funds
will be matched dollar for dollar by the Porter County Community Foundation.
Flooding closes Central Ave. Beach and Beverly Drive, west of U.S. Highway
12, in Beverly Shores.
Work continues on
the Westchester Migratory Bird Sanctuary--a genuine sweat-equity
project--off South 11th Street, opposite the rear entrance to Westchester
Intermediate School. The Porter County Commissioners approve an amendment to
the ambulance service contract with Porter Regional Hospital, after PRH
agrees to cut the county’s annual cost from $750,000 to $450,000. The Porter
County Commissioners approve the installation of panic buttons at the Admin.
Building in Valparaiso, the North County Complex in Portage, and the Expo
The Porter County
Park Board adopts a new five-year master plan which highlights trail
development and environmental protection. The Duneland School Board approves
a veterans memorial for erection at the CHS stadium, in memory of CHS
graduate and West Point Cadet Mitchell Winey, who died in a flash flood
while training at Fort Hood, Texas, in 2016. The Chesterton Town Council
finds that work done to 402 Broadway by new owner Richard Riley has rendered
the structure no longer “unsafe.”
Director Brian Bugaski reports that work to remove the old playground
equipment at Hawthorne Park has begun, in advance of the installation of new
equipment sometime in May. Chesterton Feed & Garden celebrates its 37th year
of business. The Duneland School Board announces more retirements: CHS
guidance counselor Jennifer Thoms (40 years), health services supervisor
Lorie Skimhorn (20+), and Director of Safety and Security Steve Rohe.
INDOT lets the
contract for Phase II of the Westchester-Liberty Trail--along 1100N from
Rosehill Estates to South Fifth Street--to Walsh & Kelly Construction, whose
low bid of $547,049 was significantly lower than the engineer’s original
estimate of $700,000.
Corporation’s Midwest Plant in Portage accidentally spills a known
carcinogenic chemical--hexavalent chromium--into Burns Waterway following an
equipment failure; a first day of water testing detects no evidence of the
chemical in lake waters, although its presence is found in Burns Waterway;
the Midwest Plant ceases all operations, Indiana American Water Company
closes its pumping station in response, and eventually West Beach, Ogden
Dunes Beach, the Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk site, and Cowles Bog Beach
are all closed; Save the Dunes blasts the state’s “emergency spill response
actions and associated responsibilities” as “quite lax,” the Porter County
Chapter of the Izaak Walton League says that regulations are “either too
weak or are not enforced,” and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel accuses USS of
“reckless conduct”; after a week of testing shows either no detectable or no
hazardous levels of the chemical in lake waters, the pumping station and
beaches are re-opened and--under the oversight of the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency--USS begins a re-start of its Midwest Plant.
CHS radio station
WDSO holds its 27th annual Radiothon. INDOT lowers the speed limit on Ind.
149 in the area of Burns Harbor Food Truck Square from 55 miles per hour to
45 mph. Lifelong Duneland resident, World War II veteran, and longtime
Chesterton attorney Malcolm Anderson dies at 97. The third annual Autism
Awareness 5K run/walk is held at CHS.
the Westchester Migratory Bird Sanctuary spins off from the Porter County
Parks Foundation, under the aegis of the not-for-profit PorterCo
Conservation Trust, after the project outgrows the foundation’s mission and
resources. Upper Deck bartender Nicole Gland, 24, of Portage, is found
stabbed to death in her car behind the offices of the Chesterton Tribune;
three days later, Upper Deck bouncer Christopher Dillard, 50, of Hobart, is
charged with Gland’s murder, after he tells his girlfriend, in a recorded
interview room at the CPD, that “I killed that girl, I didn’t mean to.”
Sally Gabric is
named School Age Director at the Duneland YMCA. The CHS Symphonic Band earns
the Gold Superior rating in district competition at Elkhart Memorial HS. Boy
Scouts Christopher Sexton and Evan Ekblaw of Troop 908 earn the Eagle Scout
rank. The Indiana Department of Local Government Finance cuts the Town of
Chesterton’s 2017 budget by $800,000, following a miscalculation in 2016 by
the Clerk-Treasurer’s Office.
USS reports a net
loss in the first quarter of $180 million. A ribbon-cutting ceremony is held
to celebrate the opening of the expanded Duneland Unit of the Boys & Girls
Clubs of Porter County. The PorterCo Conservation Trust, not-for-profit
operator of the Westchester Migratory Bird Sanctuary, adds 10 acres in the
Coffee Creek watershed to its holdings with a gift from Holladay Properties;
the land is located south of Indian Boundary Road and north of the Norfolk
Southern railroad right-of-way.
nature playground opens at Discovery Charter School. The CHS Sandpipers and
their band, The Business, are third runner-up at the FAME National Finals at
Arie Crown Theater in Chicago. As always the community rises to the
occasion, to rehab and build, during the 26th annual Rebuilding Together
The re-paving of
Ind. 49 from the Indiana Toll Road to U.S. Highway 30 commences, and
Chesterton is not unaffected, as lane closures for the project begin well
north of the Toll Road, congesting rush-hour traffic. Indiana Toll Road
operator ITRCC announces that a subsidy program which kept tolls low under
the 2006 lease agreement will expire on June 1, when EZPass users will then
begin paying dramatically higher tolls.
The Duneland School
Board names Vince Arizzi the new Director of Music for the 2017-18 school
year; he succeeds long-time director Tom Schnabel, who previously announced
his retirement at the end of the 2016-17 school year. The attorney for
Frederick Fegely, 69--charged with the arson-murder of his mother in her
Ogden Dunes home in 2015--files a notice of insanity defense.
NiSource Inc. posts
a net income in the first quarter of $211.3 million or 65 cents basic
earnings per share. BreeAnna Suitor is named the Duneland Exchange Club’s
2017 recipient of the ACE (Accepting the Challenge of Excellence) Award.
Retiring Duneland Schools Superintendent Dave Pruis is made a Paul Harris
Fellow by the Chesterton-Porter Rotary Club.
The CHS Wind
Ensemble earns two Gold Superior ratings at ISSMA’s Northern State
qualifying competition, hosted by CHS. CHS Senior Erik Rudolph is named a
2017 Academic All-Star by the Indiana Association of School Principals.
Central Grocers Group Inc., majority owner of Strack & Van Til, files for
Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The National Park Service announces that
the Mt. Baldy beach--but not the dune--will re-open in the summer.
State Park Little
League umpire Michelle LaFreniere is tapped to umpire in the Little League
Softball World Series. The Upper Deck closes, following the murder of
bartender Nicole Gland. The Porter County Park Board gives the Illiana
Garden Railroad Society a home at Sunset Hill Farm Park. Chesterton native
Megan Adamczewski is named Legislative Director for U.S. Rep. Pete
CHS hosts the 44th
annual All That Jazz concert, this year featuring the Jim Widner Quintent.
The Dunes Learning Center brings back livestock to the Chellberg Farm site
at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. U.S. Steel CEO Mario Longhi tenders his
resignation; he is succeeded by Dave Burritt. Porter County Assessor Jon
Snyder announces that reassessment has begun in Westchester Township.
a net income in the first quarter of $1 billion or 33 cents basic earnings
per share. The Westchester Public Library Board of Directors votes in renew
the annual non-resident fee of $175 per person for borrowing privileges.
Jewel Food Stores enters into a stalking-horse agreement with Central
Grocers Group Inc., under which it bids $70 million for 19 Strack & Van Til
stores--including Chesterton’s--and $30 million for inventory; Jewel Foods
says that it has no plans to close any of the Strack & Van Til stores.
The Duneland School
Board names Dr. Ginger Bolinger its new superintendent; a day after the
Chesterton Tribune runs an interview with her, disgruntled parents and
teachers at her current superintendency, of Madison Consolidated Schools in
Southern Indiana, begin slinging mud on social media; the smear doesn’t
deter the School Board from making her appointment official a week later,
and a Duneland Teachers Association rep tells the Tribune that
faculty will be happy to give Bolinger the time and space she needs to hit
the ground running.
The CHS boys
baseball team demolishes LaPorte HS 16-1 to claim a share of the conference
title. The 34th annual W.R. Canright Outstanding Senior Journalist
Award--presented by the Chesterton Tribune--is given to Erin Grimes,
Sandscript, and to Kaitlyn Szprychel, Singing Sands; while the
17th annual Kathryn Elizabeth Pokorny Student Press Memorial Scholarship is
awarded to Grimes, Szprychel, and Celeste Coughlin.
CHS wrestler Andrew
Davison is named the recipient of the Dave Schultz High School Excellence
Award for Indiana by the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. The CHS boys track
team places second at sectional competition, with five event titles. CHS
graduate and Purdue University junior Makaela Myer is named the 2017 Truman
Scholar by the Harry S Truman Foundation.
U.S. 6 between
Mander Road and C.R. 500E in Jackson Township is closed for the duration of
the summer for bridge work. CHS pole vaulter Zoi Heideman qualifies for
state competition by placing second in regional competition. A grand opening
is held for the new Porter County Animal Shelter, off Ind. 49 north of the
Fairgrounds. The CHS boys golf team places second at its conference meet.
CHS girls tennis
player Hannah Nabhan wins the sectional title and qualifies for regional
competition. The CHS boys track team wins the regional title. U.S. Marine
Corps veteran Bob Bergren recalls his Korean War and his recent Honor Flight
in an interview with the Chesterton Tribune. Liberty Elementary and
Intermediate schools and St. Patrick Catholic School earn the 4-Star rating
from the Indiana Department of Education.
CHS dedicates its
new veterans memorial at the stadium, in memory of CHS graduate and West
Point Cadet Mitchell Winey, who died in 2016 during a flash flood at Fort
Hood, Texas; other CHS graduates who gave their all and are remembered at
the ceremony are William Lee, U.S. Navy, 1967, Gulf of Tonkin; Spc. Mark
Taylor, U.S. Army, 1971, Republic of Vietnam; S/Sgt. Thomas Thorstad, U.S.
Marine Corps, 1981, Beirut, Lebanon; and Spc. James Butz, U.S. Army, 2011,
CHS seniors Owen
Hallas (soccer and baseball) and Cara Kroeger (golf and swimming) are named
Athletes of the Year. A spokesman for Pavilion Partners LLC principal Chuck
Williams reports that work is expected to resume on the rehab of the
Pavilion at Dunes State Park in September; he also reports that Pavilion
Partners expects to announce “soon” a “partnership with a well-known
family-friendly restaurateur to occupy both the first floor and rooftop
spaces next summer.”
Court Judge Roger Bradford sets a Nov. 7 trial date for Don Johnson, the
former Duneland real estate broker charged with 19 felonies, most of them in
connection with the sale of securities. The 127th annual CHS commencement is
held outside in the stadium. St. Patrick Catholic School opens Meade Park,
named for Father James Meade, who has served St. Pat’s since 2001.
CHS speakers Izzy
Portugal and Karly Carden place fourth in the nation in duo interpretation
at the National Catholic Forensic League’s national tournament in
Louisville, Ky. The CHS boys golf team finishes second in sectional
competition. Dale Engquist, for nearly 24 years the superintendent of
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, with a career in the National Park Service
spanning 53 years, dies.
Anthony Condeni, 98, is awarded the French Legion of Honor for service with
the U.S. Army in France during World War II, in a ceremony at the French
consulate in Chicago. Winners in the 66th annual Chesterton Woman’s Club Art
Show include Best of Show, Kristina Knowski for her watercolor “Flicker”;
and First Place, Kathy Los-Rathburn for her acrylic “Insights on Industry.”
Porter Zip Foods on
Franklin Street is robbed at gunpoint; David Andrew Graham, 24, with an
unknown address, is subsequently charged with the robbery. Chuck Lukmann,
Chesterton Town Attorney since 1980, is the recipient of the Longevity of
Service Award from the Indiana Municipal Lawyers Association. Andrew
Dicharia, 49, of Chicago, and Kimberly Raines, 29, of Bolingbrook, Ill., are
found dead in a van in the parking lot of the BP on Indian Boundary Road;
Coroner Chuck Harris suspects fatal drug overdoses.
CHS boys golf Mitch
Davis qualifies for state with a 76 in regional competition at Battle Ground
Golf Course. For the fourth consecutive year the Duneland Soccer Club hosts
the Northwest Indiana Soccer League’s annual championship tournament at
Dogwood Park. CPD report: The Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless stores
on the Indian Boundary Road commercial strip are all victims in a single
night of smash-and-grab burglaries.
The CPD hires
Alexias DeJesus and Kaitlin Bruning as probationary officers. The Shirley
Heinze Land Trust adds 70 acres to the Meadowbrook Nature Preserve in
Liberty Township, bringing the total amount of protected land in the
preserve to 224 acres. A brand-new playground opens at Dogwood Park. CHS
golfer Mitch Davis finishes 20th at state.
No one is injured
in an attic fire at a residence in the 300 block of U.S. 20 in Burns Harbor
but total damage is estimated at $200,000. Dunes State Park Property Manager
announces that the Trail 2 boardwalk--much of it under water or washed away
and for several years now closed--will be replaced by an elevated structure,
with $400,000 appropriated for the project by the DNR; Baughman thanks
Friends of the Dunes for making $1,600 available for the crucial preliminary
The Porter County
Health Department Administrator Keith Letta closes Seven Peaks Waterpark--four
days after it opened for the season--after receiving multiple reports of
children’s having sustained chemical burns in the kiddy pool; Letta says
that investigators found that the facility’s automated disinfectant feeder
had failed and that employees were adding chlorine to the water manually;
the park never re-opens in 2017; Seven Peaks apologizes, in half-page ads
published in the Chesterton Tribune and other publications, but also
calls media coverage of the incident “fake news.”
Boy Scout Logan
Bell of Troop 908 earns the Eagle Scout rank. Grounds breaks on Phase II of
the Westchester-Liberty Trail, extending the eight-foot side along 1100N
from Rosehill Estates to South Fifth Street. The Boys & Girls Club of Porter
County and the Boys & Girls Club of Northwest Indiana--the latter serving
Lake County--announce their merger.
23, of Chesterton, dies in a motorcycle accident on Ind. 49, south of U.S.
6. The CHS speech and debate team fails to qualify for a team award at the
national tournament in Birmingham, Ala. Despite heavy rain at times, the
ninth annual Fireworks at the Lakefront, sponsored by the Duneland Chamber
of Commerce, is a great success.
The annual Fourth
of July Parade, the Family 4th Fest, and the 78th annual Turtle Derby are
all held in the Town of Porter. Ron Ranta is named the new director of the
Duneland Unit of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Porter County; Angie Barber, its
new program director. The new splash pad at Chesterton Park opens to wide
acclaim and scads of kids.
Harris reports that a 12-year-old Chicago boy drowns in the swimming pool at
Fairhaven Baptist Church in Westchester Township. Boy Scout Max Witt of
Troop 908 earns the Eagle Scout rank. The Liberty Township Volunteer Fire
Department takes delivery of its new 2016 Spartan pumper, which replaces the
department’s 1993 GMC Topkick.
The Porter County
Park Board considers scaling back on plans to build the Raise the Barn
education center until sufficient funds can be raised and instead erect a
smaller building in which to offer programming at Sunset Hill Farm Park. The
Chesterton Town Council extends its refuse and recycling contract with
Republic Services--d.b.a. Able Disposal--for three more years; in 2018
households will pay the same rate as in 2017, with the rate increasing by 2
percent in each of the next two years.
The Strack and the
Van Til families outbid Jewel Foods to buy 20 Strack & Van Til groceries
from bankrupt Central Grocers Group Inc.; the purchase price isn’t released
but it would have to be in excess of the $100 million which Jewel Foods bid
under a stalking-horse agreement; the purchase prices includes a $3 million
breakup fee and $500,000 in expenses to be paid to Jewel Foods.
Business Initiative Group holds its annual Bark in the Park in Thomas
Centennial Park in Downtown Chesterton. The CHS Trojan Guard marches in the
International Lions Club’s 100th annual Parade of Nations in Downtown
Chicago. The Town of Porter is named the eighth safest municipality in
Indiana by home security company SafeWise; the Porter Town Council
attributes the rank to the vigilance of the town’s police officers and its
Dunes State Park
interpretive naturalist Brad Bumgardner leaves the DNR to accept the
position of executive director of the Indiana Audubon Society. ICARUS, the
world’s largest liquid argon neutrino detector is offloaded from M/V
Frieda at the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor, en route from Antwerp,
Belgium, to the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Ill.
Honored at the
Duneland Chamber of Commerce’s annual Awards Luncheon: Duneland
Distinguished Woman, Meg McCarel; Golden Achievement Award, Mike Anton;
Humanitarian of the Year, Dawn Ruge; Volunteer of the Year, Keith Davison;
Serviceman of the Year, Master Trooper Steve Caylor; Putting Duneland on the
Map, Blake Pieroni, Indiana Dunes Birding Festival; Renovation Award, the
Duneland Boys & Girls Club, Fireflies; New Construction Award, the
Chesterton and Porter park departments, Serenity Salon & Spa.
The PCCRVC reports
a 9-percent increase in visits to the Dorothy Buell Memorial Visitor Center,
attributable to an influx of seniors purchasing Lifetime Senior Passes to
the National Park System, in advance of a price increase, effective Aug. 28,
under which the cost of a pass will go from $10 to $80. The annual Porter
County Fair opens for its 10-day run.
The Chesterton Town
Council adopts an ordinance requiring the installation of carbon monoxide
detectors in all new residential construction. U.S. Steel posts a net income
in the second quarter of $261 million or $1.48 per diluted share. Porter
County Sheriff’s Police Sgt. Matt Edwards and his K-9 partner Joker find
five kilos of cocaine--while off duty--in a vehicle stopped on the Indiana
Toll Road by Officer Jacob Kerwin.
Council Member Dan Whitten, D-at large, rips tax increment financing as a
“backdoor tax,” saying it diverts revenues from other government units and
drives up property-tax rates. The Porter County Commissioners pick retiring
Valparaiso Police Chief to lead a merged county E-911 and Emergency
Management Agency, in the interest of making government more efficient.
ArcelorMittal posts a net income in the second quarter of $1.32 billion or
$1.30 basic earnings per share.
The Porter County
Council approves the purchase of body cameras for use by PCSP officers. CHS
wrestler Eli Pokorney goes 5-0 with two pins and a technical victory to win
the 285-pound Greco title at the USA Wrestling Fargo Nationals in South
Dakota. The Porter County Council approves the expenditures of $400,000 in
innkeepers’ tax revenues for the renovation of the Dorothy Buell Memorial
Tom Lee of Liberty
Township remembers the loss of his identical twin brother, William, while
both were serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the aircraft carriers USS
Forestal, on the 50th anniversary of the catastrophic fire which claimed
the lives of 134 sailors. A cupola is added to the shelter at the
Westchester Migratory Bird Sanctuary, thanks to the generous support of
Porter County Commissioner Jim Biggs, R-North. VFW Post 2511 in Porter
celebrates 73 years of service to veterans and the community.
Dillard, accused slayer of Upper Deck bartender Nicole Gland, seeks to
suppress the recorded statement which he made to his girlfriend in the CPD
interview room--“I killed that girl, I didn’t mean to”--on the ground that
he invoked his right to an attorney on multiple occasions during his
interview with Police Chief Dave Cincoski. NiSource posts a net loss in the
second quarter of $44 million or 14 cents basic earnings per share.
The fourth annual
Chrissy Hill Benefit for Overdose Awareness is held at Frontline
Foundations’ Chesterton headquarters, with live performances by The Sure and
Frontline’s own The Salt Exchange. An American flag which once flew over the
U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C. is raised at the Dunes Learning Center in
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore in honor of Dunes environmentalist Lee
The 59th annual
Chesterton Art Fair is held at Dogwood Park. The Prairie Magic Music
Festival is held at Sunset Hill Farm Park. More than 800 attend the annual
Babapaloosa at Sunset Hill Farm Park, benefiting the See Change Foundation
in Nepal. The CHS Sandpipers sing on stage with Foreigner at Chicago’s
Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island, performing the single finest,
most heart rending rock ballad ever written, “I Wanna Know What Love Is.”
Former PCSP deputy
Roger Bowles, 56, of Hebron, is charged with possession of child pornography
and furnishing alcohol to a minor. The Porter County Auditor’s Office
certifies the county’s total net assessed value at $9.49 billion for 2018
property-tax bills, a year-over-year increase of 2.5 percent; it certifies
Duneland’s total net assessed value at $2.96 billion, an increase of 1.01
Classes start for
Duneland Schools 2017-18 academic year, with few snafus to report. Under the
leadership of Chesterton Town Council President Jim Ton, R-1st, members vote
to re-establish the long dormant Chesterton Economic Development Company, a
not-for-profit arm whose mission is to revitalize the Downtown by making
low-interest loans available to businesses for facade and other
Stipanovich, late of Chesterton, is posthumously inducted into the Amish
Acres Arts and Crafts Festival Hall of Fame. The Porter County Commissioners
seek to have an audit performed of the county’s IT system, with President
Jeff Good, R-Center, calling it “old,” “slow,” and “archaic.” The Town of
Burns Harbor celebrates its 50th anniversary in Lakeland Park.
The Porter County
Board of Zoning Appeals split-votes to permit a greyhound shelter in Liberty
Township, at the intersection of the CSX line and C.R. 100W; Member Marvin
Brickner votes against the motion. An undetermined number of guns is stolen
from Blythe’s Sporting Good in Valparaiso in a smash-and-grab burglary.
Virtually everyone in Duneland but the staff of the Chesterton Tribune
go outside to watch the solar eclipse.
resident Blake Lange introduces a plan to raise $250,000 for the rehab of
Kids Cove Park; the Porter Town Council is unenthusiastic. Chesterton Police
Chief Dave Cincoski wants it to be known, after receiving numerous calls,
that the monument sign at the southwest corner of Third Street and
Broadway--now featuring the Resist message--is on private, not
public, property, and is in no way sponsored or endorsed by the Town of
The Porter County
Council okays a $20-million bond issue to finance drainage improvements. The
Porter County Council also okays a $30-million bond for capital
improvements, to be re-paid over 20 years using an annual $2.1 million from
the interest earned by the investment of the Porter Memorial Hospital sale
At the Izaak Walton
League’s national convention in Sandusky, Ohio, Elizabeth “Liz” McCloskey is
awarded the Hall of Fame Award, and Susan Swarner of Chesterton and Gary
Brown the Conservation Award.
of Gateway Blvd. begins, a $168,948 project pursued by the Chesterton
Redevelopment Commission to remove the bottleneck in the westbound lanes,
caused by the median traffic islands, which frequently stacks motorists for
two or three cycles of the traffic signal at Ind. 49. Joe Wagner, owner of
Joe’s Towing Inc. of Chesterton, loads as many pallets of bottled water as
he can on two flatbed wreckers, then transports them to flood-ravaged
Houston, Texas, where he remains for two weeks moving abandoned vehicles.
The U.S. Surface
Transportation Board puts the kibosh on a plan by Great Lakes Basin
Transportation to build a 261-mile railroad--with 110 trains per day--which
would traverse southern Porter County. CHS girls CX runner Shelby Bullock
sets a school record at the Marion Invitational at Indiana Wesleyan. PCSP
report: A Chicago resident’s handgun is stolen after being left unattended
in a designated safe area at the North Porter County Conservation Club in
All nine Duneland
Schools earn the 2017 Gold Star School Counseling Award from the Indiana
Department of Education. Chester Inc. presents a concept drawing for an
educational programming building at Sunset Hill Farm Park; shaped like a
grain bin, it would not replace the proposed Raise the Barn Center, planned
for well over a decade.
The PCSP reminds
folks that target shooting is not illegal in unincorporated areas of the
county but urges residents to call 911 immediately with safety concerns,
after two people target-shooting in Jackson Township with an inadequate
backstop hit a house and a moving vehicle. Students and faculty at CHS,
under the direction of staffer Mary (Nallenweg) Whitmer, place 2,977
American flags in the lawn outside the stadium in honor of the martyrs of
9/11, continuing a tradition begun by the O’Keefe Family.
Tribune reporter learns a hard lesson about law enforcement’s use of
deadly force, on a firearms simulator made available to the CPD by the
town’s insurance underwriter, Bliss McKnight. The Porter Town Council to
Porter Cove residents: Don’t expect the rehab of Kids Cove Park anytime
Six CHS students
are named National Merit Scholarship semifinalists: Raymond “CJ” Connors,
Tristran Dooley, Karlyn Layman, Bryan Pamintuan, Nolan Poczekay, and
Kristina Stevenson. The second annual Dunes Apple Festival is held at
Chellberg Farm in Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. CHS girls golfer Elyse
Stasil wins the individual sectional title at Valparaiso County Club, while
the team finishes runner-up and advances to regional competition.
School raises $3,143 for brain tumor research. The CHS Trojan Guard takes
second at the Concord HS Minuteman Invitational. The CHS boys tennis team
wins the conference title. A ribbon-cutting is held for the new Easton Park
subdivision at the terminus of East Porter Ave. and 250E, which when built
out will be the largest subdivision ever developed in Chesterton, with 346
The Jim Bonfield
Memorial Benefit Ride is held in Valparaiso, a fundraiser established to
help the Bonfield Family; Bonfield, a retired Indiana State Police detective
and the Duneland Schools Director of Transportation, was killed in a
motorcycle accident in 2016; his wife, Karla, was grievously injured and has
undergone numerous surgeries. Frontline Foundations Inc. holds the sixth
annual Hooked on Art festival in Downtown Chesterton, a fundraiser
benefiting its not-for-profit substance abuse treatment program for adults.
Steve Grimaldi, the
new proprietor of Byron’s Barbershop at 121 S. Calumet Road in Chesterton,
continues a 125-year-old tradition in the Downtown. Mike Brickner, director
of the newly merged 911 communications and emergency management services
department, names his deputy in charge of EMA: Lance Bella, former chief and
master chief at U.S. Gary Works.
CHS girls golfer
Elyse Stasil takes the individual title at regional competition. Alex Lopez,
21, of Plainfield, Ill., drowns off Porter Beach when his kayak capsizes;
the Porter Fire Department reports that Lopez was not wearing a life jacket.
Boy Scout Lucas Huffman of Troop 908 earns the Eagle Scout rank. The Town of
Chesterton is awarded a $379,000 50/50 grant from the State of Indiana’s
Community Crossings program, to fund paving and infrastructure work.
The CHS girls
soccer team wins the outright conference title, beating LaPorte HS 2-0.
NIPSCO announces that it’s seeking a natural-gas rate hike from the Indiana
Utility Regulatory Commission which would raise the average household’s
monthly bill by $10 or 20 percent. The Porter County Council votes on second
reading to approve a $30-million bond issue for capital improvements,
including the renovation of the North Porter County Complex in Portage;
Portage officials and businesses had hoped the county would opt instead to
construct a brand-new building.
The CHS boys tennis
team wins its fourth consecutive sectional title. The Chesterton Fire
Department reports that a witch burned at The Flower Cart. Six CHS students
are named Commended Students by the National Merit Scholarship Program:
Aaron Brookhouse, Laura Estridge, Joshua Guzek, Jason Hebblethwaite,
Tanaykumar Murarka, and Andrew Smenyak.
CHS boys XC runner
Jacob Kintzele wins the conference title, leading the team to a third-place
finish. CHS girls XC team finishes second at the conference meet. CHS girls
golfer Elyse Stasil finishes seventh at state finals. No one is injured in a
fire which destroys a garage and damages a home in the 1800 block of Elgin
Street in Chesterton; total damage is estimated at $60,000.
Royalty is announced: King, Aramis Solis; Queen, Aysha Moore; Prince, Jack
Ward; and Princess, Madison Wrigley. Porter Police credit 219 Taxi cabbie
Tonya Gonzalez with foiling a scam targeting a senior. Boy Scout James Dean
Cory II of Troop 928 earns the Eagle Scout rank.
A ceremony is held
to celebrate the opening of a water trail along the East Branch of the
Little Calumet River, developed and funded by the Northwest Indiana Paddling
Association, the National Park Service, the Shirley Heinze Land Trust, and
Save the Dunes. The 16th annual Community Prayer Breakfast is held at St.
Patrick Catholic Church, with the keynote address delivered by Mark Heckler.
Department of Education releases school grades, based on ISTEP scores: the
nine Duneland Schools average grade drops slightly to 3.1 or a B for the
2016-17 academic year, compared to a 3.3 or B+ for the 2015-16 academic
The CHS girls
soccer team beats Valparaiso HS 3-2 to win the sectional title. CHS XC
runner Jacob Kintzele wins the sectional title, leading the team to a
second-place finish. CHS girls XC runner Shelby Bullock wins the sectional
title, leading the team to a third-place finish. CHS boys tennis double Chad
Whelan and Blake Ellen win the sectional title.
The Duneland School
Board and Duneland Teachers Association peacefully negotiate a new two-year
collective bargaining agreement. The CHS Trojan Guard earns the Gold rating
in preliminary competition, advancing to the ISSMA finals. NIPSCO projects
that winter heating bills are expected to stay flat this season.
Porter Health Care
System CEO Stephen Lunn resigns to accept a position in Nashville, Tenn.
Porter Town Council Member Ross LeBleu tells Porter Cove residents to raise
money for Kids Cove Park improvements, not ask for handouts. CHS XC runner
Jacob Kintzele wins the regional title, leading the team to a third-place
finish. The CHS girls soccer team falls in the regional semifinal after an
outstanding season. The CHS volleyball team falls in the sectional
CHS girls XC runner
Shelby Bullock takes second in regional competition, as does the team. A
total of 3.31 inches of rain falls on Duneland, filling the storage tank at
the Chesterton wastewater treatment plant to 5 percent of capacity. Sheriff
Dave Reynolds announces his intention to seek re-election in 2018.
Canright, publisher of the Chesterton Tribune, dies at 90. CHS XC
runner Jacob Kintzele finishes second at the semistate meet, as the team
qualifies for state finals. The CHS girls XC team qualifies for state finals
with its sixth-place finish in semistate competition. No one is injured in a
fire which badly damages a home on Knoelke Drive in Porter; damage is
estimated at $250,000.
A total of 2.78
inches of rain falls on Duneland and fills the Chesterton wastewater
treatment plant’s 1.2-million storage tank, forcing the plant to discharge
into the Little Calumet River after an ongoing rehab of its clarifiers
reduces the plant’s capacity by 33 percent. CHS senior Amera Abu hakmeh, 17,
dies in a head-on car crash on U.S. 20 on her way to school, after Gayle
Brown, 85, of Greencastle, Ind., crosses the center line; Brown is also
killed and Amera’s sister, a seventh-grader at CMS, is badly injured.
CHS boys XC runner
Jacob Kintzele takes seventh at state, while the team finishes 20th. CHS
girls XC runner Shelby Bullock takes 13th at state, while the team finishes
16th. Gov. Eric Holcomb appoints attorney Jeffrey Clymer to the bench of
Porter Superior Court No. 2, vacated by the retirement of Judge Bill Alexa.
Keegan Whaling, 20,
of Valparaiso, goes missing on Long Lake when his canoe capsizes; heavy
vegetation in the water impedes the search for his body. The Duneland
Chamber of Commerce’s annual business trick-or-treat fills the Downtown with
hundreds of kids and families.
U.S. Steel posts a
net income in the third quarter of $147 million or 83 cents per diluted
share. NiSource posts a net income in the third quarter of $14 million or 4
cents basic earnings per share. The Porter County Commissioners adopt an
ordinance requiring the installation of carbon monoxide detectors in all new
The operator of the
defunct ValpoLies.com website, David Wichlinski and his company Hyperion
Consulting, apologizes to Pavilion Partners LLC principal Chuck Williams and
acknowledges that certain statements about Williams posted to the website,
Facebook, and Twitter were untrue, as part of a settlement of Williams’
defamation lawsuit against Wichlinski.
The U.S. House
passes legislation authored by Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-1st, which would
re-designate Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore as a national park. The
Indiana Court of Appeals rejects the appeal of Thomas Reichler, 20, a former
Porter resident convicted of murder in the 2014 fatal shooting of Alexius
Tapia, 36, in front of his wife and children at their home in Portage.
The Town of Burns
Harbor is awarded an Indiana Arts Commission grant, under which it will
receive 50 hours of placemaking consulting services for Food Truck Square.
The Shirley Heinze Land Trust acquires 43.5 acres along the Little Calumet
River in Westchester Township, west of Brummitt Road and south of Brummitt
Elementary. The Nov. 7 trial of Don Johnson--the former Duneland real estate
broker charged with 19 felonies, most of them related to the sale of
securities--is canceled after his attorneys withdraw from the case.
Judge Pro Tem Thomas Webber Sr. rules that accused murderer Christopher
Dillard’s statement made to his girlfriend in a recorded CPD interview
room--“I killed the girl”--will be admissible as evidence when Dillard
stands trial for the slaying of Upper Deck bartender Nicole Gland. The
Chesterton Park Board hears a plan to retrofit an old railroad boxcar as a
public restroom--and a caboose as a warming center--for installation in
Thomas Centennial Park.
a net income in the third quarter of $1.2 billion or $1.18 basic earnings
per share. After weeks of trying to persuade a municipal employee or
official to apply for a vacant seat on the Advisory Plan Commission, the
Chesterton Town Council appoints one of its own to the seat--Member Nate
Cobbs, R-4th--instead of a second 11th-hour applicant, Deputy Fire Chief
Foundation, a not-for-profit advocating for clean water, files notice in
federal court to sue U.S. Steel Corporation for repeated violations of the
Clean Water Act, in connection with the accidental release in April of a
known carcinogen into Burns Waterway, following an equipment failure:
meanwhile, the University of Chicago’s Abrams Environmental Law Clinic finds
documents which indicate that U.S. Steel released 57 more pounds of the
chemical in October, following a second equipment failure, and then asked
the Indiana Department of Environmental Management to keep its release
Branding Leadership Team unveils a brand-new brand at a Town Council
meeting: “Celebrating the Art of Life.” Valparaiso University Law School
responds to a funding crisis by canceling its 2018-19 first-year class. The
Westchester Public Library Board of Directors begins a search for an
assistant director. Ryan Smiley, president and CEO of the Boys and Girls
Clubs of Porter County, is tapped to serve in the same positions of a merged
organization, when on Jan. 1, 2018, the Porter County and Lake County units
are formally consolidated.
The body of missing
canoeist Keegan Whaling is recovered from Long Lake, three weeks after his
craft capsized. The Duneland Chamber of Commerce’s annual Hometown Holiday
Celebration is held in Downtown Chesterton, coinciding with Small Business
Saturday, the day after Black Friday. Heather Augustyn, Chesterton resident
and the world’s foremost authority on Jamaican ska, releases her latest
book, a collaboration with Adam Reeves: Alpha Boys’ School: Cradle of
The Chesterton Town
Council instructs Police Chief Dave Cincoski and Fire Chief John Jarka to
investigate the feasibility of obtaining and installing a Safe Haven Baby
Box on municipal property, following the discovery of a newborn infant’s
afterbirth in a portable restroom on the Prairie Duneland Trail;
investigators speculate that the discovery may be related to a newborn left
in a baby box the day before in Coolsprings Township in LaPorte County.
Reynolds makes Ruth “Babe” Poparad an honorary Sheriff’s Deputy, to mark her
33 faithful years as a crossing guard at Yost Elementary. Work begins on the
Town of Chesterton’s new 13.8-mile fiber-optic network, one month after the
Chesterton Redevelopment Commission entered into a $1.23-million contract
with CSU Inc. to build it, and a revenue-sharing contract with Nitco to
Porter PD report:
$60,000 is missing from the accounts of the Discovery Charter School’s
all-volunteer not-for-profit Parent Advisory Council (PAC); the school’s
administration says in an e-mail to parents that the “person responsible for
the missing deposits and inappropriate cash withdrawals and debit
transactions is no longer affiliated with PAC and does not have any access
to PAC bank accounts.” NIPSCO agrees to pay $900,000 to settle a complaint
filed against it by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission in connection
with 261 violations relating to its obligation “to timely and accurately
locate its underground facilities.”
The CHS Music
Department holds the 45th annual Madrigal Dinner in the Great Hall. The CHS
girls basketball team improves to 8-0 with a win over Michigan City HS. The
Chesterton Park Board votes unanimously to authorize Town Engineer Mark
O’Dell to begin the procurement process for a boxcar to be retrofitted into
a restroom and installed at Thomas Centennial Park.
from the PCSP and Valparaiso PD participating in No-Shave November raise
$11,000 for the United Way of Porter County. Don Johnson, the former
Duneland real estate broker charged with 19 felonies--most in connection
with the sale of securities--is appointed a public defender, or as court
records put it, “Indigent Counsel at County Expense.”
Dunes Action! is
named Frontline Advocate of the Year by the Hoosier Environmental Council
for its opposition to plans to build a banquet center at the Indiana Dunes
State Park beach. The CMS Chess Club takes second place at the Chess
Invitational hosted by Morton HS in Hammond. Kramer & Leonard, founded in
Chesterton in 1983, is acquired by Des Plaines Office Equipment.
CFD report: Three
separate natural-gas lines are ruptured by excavators, after NIPSCO’s
contracted locating service mislocates them, or fails to locate them at all;
the breaches occur one week after NIPSCO agreed to pay a $900,000 fine
related to 261 faulty locates in 2015-16. The Indiana Department of
Education’s newly approved graduation requirements--scheduled to take effect
in 2023--are a cause of concern to the Duneland School Board, whose members
worry that students may be forced to make premature career decisions in
their freshman year.
last of the Wise Men to religiously attend Chesterton Town Council
meetings--dies at 70; he previously served on the Redevelopment Commission
and the Tax Abatement Advisory Committee, diligently policed the recycling
site at the municipal complex, and was an outspoken booster of the Town of
Chesterton who regularly chided and praised the council as he saw fit.
David A. Jones, 24,
of Chesterton is struck and killed by a semi while attempting to cross Ind.
49 on a bicycle in the early morning hours during a snowfall. The CHS girls
basketball team improves to 10-0 with a win against Portage HS. The former
offices of Gerometta & Kinel Architects at 1200 N. Ind. 49 in Westchester
Township are demolished; new property owner Vic Gerhardt eyes the
development of a restaurant on the site.
Lt. Joe Christian tells the Town Council that officers’ low wages impact
public safety, having prompted 14 over the last 20 years or so to leave the
CPD--and leave it short-staffed--for greener pastures with other
departments. The Chesterton Town Council is told that a peculiarity in the
state’s Safe Haven law means that no baby box may be installed until the
statute is amended.
A train stopped for
at least 90 minutes on the Norfolk Southern lane blocks all at-grade
crossings in Chesterton and turns the Downtown into a parking lot. The CHS
boys basketball team improves to 5-0 on the season with a win against East
Chicago Central HS. The CHS boys swim team stays perfect for the season with
a win over Valparaiso HS.
Coroner Chuck Harris reports that the 22 fatal opioid overdoses recorded
through September already exceed the total number recorded in 2016: 20.
Porter County Commissioner Jim Biggs, R-North, announces that flashing
caution lights will be installed early next year at the intersection of
Meridian Road and C.R. 950 in Liberty Township. The Porter County Park Board
makes it a priority to find a permanent home for the farm animals at Sunset
Hill Farm Park.
CPD Dispatcher Mary
Conder receives a commendation for her highly professional response to the
theft of a Town of Chesterton municipal vehicle, leading directly to the
arrest of a suspect and the recovery of the vehicle. Tyler Brock is named
2017 District 10 Conservation Officer of the Year. Centier Bank donates
$25,000 toward the construction of a new Caring Place facility.
The Porter County
Commissioners approve plans to demolish a decommissioned Sheriff’s
substation on C.R. 700N in South Haven and replace it with a new Highway
Department substation, to improve snow-plowing efforts in the winter. The
Porter County Commissioners are told that moving from a commission-based to
a fee-based model for insurance coverage earlier this year has saved the
county $76,323 or 6.4 percent from what it paid in 2016.
The CHS boys
basketball team improves to 6-0 while the girls team drops its first of the
season, to Valparaiso HS. The Chesterton Tribune announces the winners of
its annual Christmas Coloring Contest: Megan Fischer, 4, of Porter; Stella
Stewart, 7, of Chesterton; and Andersen Himan, 9, of Westville.
Addison Agen, 16,
of Fort Wayne, takes second place on The Voice; Addison is the daughter of
Morrison (Nobles) Agen, CHS grad (Class of 1992). Taltree Arboretum &
Gardens in Union Township, founded by Damien and Rita Gabis, is donated to
Purdue University Northwest, which will assume operations of the 300-acre
property early in 2018. The Duneland Chamber of Commerce is awarded a $1,375
contract to coordinate the Town of Burns Harbor’s 2018 Food Truck Square.
The Chesterton Town
Council finds sufficient funds in unspent CEDIT moneys to award all
full-time non-elected municipal employees a $1,500 bonus. United
Steelworkers Local 6787 puts Christmas under the tree for more than 40
families--and 100 kids--in need, by providing parents with $100 per child
for a spree at the Valparaiso Target and a $25 Strack & Van Til gift card.
After 45 years in
the fire service, Lewis Craig Sr. retires as Porter Fire Chief. Anne
Hokanson, for years a teacher in the Duneland schools, dies at 105. Dr. Dirk
Baer, who served the Duneland Schools for 26 years--11 of them as
superintendent--dies at 62.