The biggest story of 2000
may not be written until 2001, when and if the gathering storm clouds
It's about Duneland's tax base, the school corporation's
backbone, Porter County's largest employer. It's about Bethlehem Steel
Corporation and its slide toward the abyss. Not long into the new year,
rumors of imminent bankruptcy or a hostile acquisition began to ripple
through the company. Those rumors could get traction because they made
sense, after five consecutive quarters of net losses totaling $207
million. In the first half of 2000 that trend was reversed, barely. But
the third quarter saw yet another net loss, this one of $35 million.
Bethlehem stock has lost 80 percent of its value, the 110 inch plate mill
at Burns Harbor Division was idled, and the slab facility there was closed
permanently. At a teleconference which accompanied the release of the
third quarter report, industry analysts wanted to know what company
officials intended to do to save Bethlehem. Their answer was a tepid one:
stay the course. Paul Gipson, president of United Steelworkers of America
Local 6787, has made this dire prediction: of Bethlehem, National, LTV,
and Birmingham, two are very likely not long for this world.
the impact of the loss of Bethlehem might mean to Duneland became a little
clearer just this month, when Burns Harbor Division filed an amended tax
return which claimed a reduction in the assessed valuation of its personal
property of almost $100 million. Westchester Township Assessor Candy Crone
has estimated that a reduction of that magnitude could deprive such taxing
bodies as the Duneland School Corporation, Porter County, and the Town of
Burns Harbor of a total revenue of $6 million to $7 million, a shortfall
which would fall squarely on the shoulders of every other property
The fate of Bethlehem,
accordingly, lends a certain urgency to the efforts made in 2000 by
entities both public and private to expand the tax base. Gary Neale of
NiSource Inc. and Jerry Mobley of the Lake Erie Land Company have long
advocated the need to lure light industry to Duneland. To date Coffee
Creek Center has attracted only the Steel Family Health Care Center and
the Hilton Garden Inn, both of which broke ground this year. Each will
generate jobs. Each will also generate substantial revenues for the Town of
Chesterton's tax increment financing district--finalized in May--as will
the new Jewel-Osco complex, which broke ground as well in 2000. But
neither is the sort of cornerstone venture which would freshen the tax
base of Chesterton or high-tech headquarters which could plug the brain
drain in the region.
Thus the announcement by Natural Ovens Bakery
of Manitowoc, Wis., of its plans to build an $8 million plant in
Valparaiso--and the subsequent report of an appointment made, then broken,
with Lake Erie Land, to which neither elected officials nor business
leaders were invited--caused a certain amount of consternation among
members of the Chesterton Town Council. The upshot: an economic
development summit sponsored by the Duneland Economic Development Company.
Another has been scheduled for 2001.
Whether Chesterton residents
even want economic development is an open question, however. The results
of a survey conducted this summer by the DEDC reveal not only their desire
for more retail and better choice but also the fear of a deterioration in
the quality of their lives. A fear, that is, of increased congestion on
Duneland's already clogged roadways.
was never far from anyone's mind this year in Chesterton. Police Chief
George Nelson continued his quixotic attempt to obtain some crumb of
satisfaction from the LaPorte District of INDOT, while the district
continued in its dilatory and obfuscating ways. At the moment, according
to the district's project schedule, bids will not be let on the
construction of a non-grade interchange at Ind. 49 and Indian Boundary
Road until July 15, 2007. The district did re-pave Ind. 49 this
summer. And this fall.
On the upside, Lake Erie Land began
construction of Rail Road along the abandoned Wabash Railroad
right-of-way, an underpass which should relieve some of the pressure on
Duneland's roadways were as dangerous as ever. At least
11 people died in seven accidents, two of them triple fatals. And three
school buses--two of them Duneland school buses--were involved in separate
accidents on U.S. Highway 6.
an election year marked by the passions of a presidential contest, the races
in Porter County seemed in contrast lethargic. In the only contested
primaries of interest, Republicans Karen Conover, Bill Carmichael, and
John Ruge were the top vote-getters for the three at-large seats on the
County Council, while Porter County Coroner and Republican John Evans beat
Robert Walstra--who had by that time withdrawn his name--for the seat of
North County Commissioner.
The general election also had a bit of
the ho-hum to it, although heavy turnout on Election Day itself and
exceedingly late returns made for something like excitement. Conover,
Carmichael, and Ruge swept. State Reps. Ralph Ayres, R-Chesterton, and
Duane Cheney, D-Portage, and Duneland School Board Member Janice Custer
waltzed easily to re-election. Evans trounced Democrat Jack Clem. And
Democrat Dave Burrus squeaked by Republican Brian Gesse for the seat of
South County Commissioner.
For a good soap opera, on the other
hand, one couldn't have done better than the saga of the Porter Memorial
Hospital and its Board of Trustees. Early in the year the County
Commissioners created an ad hoc Research and Advisory Committee to review
PMH operations. Its conclusions were harsh: among them, the hospital puts
profits before the community and the trustees have "detached and
One of the trustees, Dr. Chen Sun, had
already announced his resignation from the board. But another, Eugene
Kopczak doggedly sought re-appointment. County Commissioners Gesse and Jim
Biggs, R-North, shot him down. They also accepted the resignations of
Suzanne Perkins and Harley Snyder. All four were eventually replaced.
Meanwhile, PMHS braced itself for a $9 million loss in 2001 and
announced an increase in the rate of surgeries of 8 percent. But the
hospital had enough to offer CEO Wiley Carr, who announced his resignation
as well, a golden parachute worth around $1.5 million over two years.
Chesterton High School closed its doors in June, to
re-open them at a spanking new facility in August. But the Trogems, Winter
Guard, and Winter Percussion Ensemble made the last academic year at the
old CHS a memorable one, when on the same weekend in March they all
garnered state titles. For its part the debate team won its eleventh state
title and its ninth in 12 years, while Golden Gator Jenni Anderson
successfully defended her titles in the 50 Free and 100 Back at
the IHSAA tournament in March
Fall at the new CHS proved equally
exciting, as the girls' soccer team clawed and fought its way to the state
championship match, only to lose it to powerhouse Carmel. The Trojans
played superb football as well and won their first DAC title since 1971,
although they quickly lost their sectional opener to East Chicago
Duneland Superintendent Ken Payne retired, to be replaced
by H. Steven Hewlett, who decided to suspend the random drug testing
policy at CHS after the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled a similar program
in Howard County to be unconstitutional.
Tippecanoe County jury deliberated less than three hours before convicting
Westchester Township resident David Malinski of the murder of Center
Township resident Lorraine Kirkley. Porter County Superior Court Judge
Roger Bradford later sentenced Malinski to the maximum term possible: 155
years. He's serving it just up the road in Michigan City. But Reggion
Slater has yet to face his trial for the murder of 1999 CHS graduate
Kathryn Pokorny. Bradford has continued it twice, most recently to July
23, almost exactly two years after Pokorny was shot to death during a
robbery of the Marathon where she was working.
The Town of Porter
saw murder twice this year. Richard Pinkerton was shot to death as he
answered his door bell one night in May; Christopher Matson is charged
with that murder and is set to stand trial March 19. And David Wahoske was
shot to death in his kitchen as he was making a strawberry pie on a
morning in October; his killer remains at large.
The biggest story in 1999 was the biggest non-story
in 2000: Y2K.
And at 12 a.m. Monday the purists can at last
celebrate, as the Third Millennium truly begins.
Bethlehem Steel Corporation revises its stockholders' rights plan to
lower the threshold at which its poison pill mechanism activates. The
Porter County Commissioners agree to conduct a study of Porter Memorial
Health System. Porter County Prosecuting Attorney Jim Douglas withdraws
his request to seek the death penalty against Westchester Township
resident David Malinski, charged with the murder of Center Township
resident Lorraine Kirkley.
The Chesterton Police Department
conducts its second climate survey in five years. The first update in 17
years begins of Porter County's comprehensive land use plan, thoroughfare
plan, and master park plan. The State Board of Tax Commissioners grants
the Town of Chesterton an excess levy of $213,838 to hire three new
The Town of Chesterton wins a $9,700 Urban Forestry
Grant from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. The LaPorte
District of the Indiana Department of Transportation rejects the request
of the Town of Burns Harbor for a traffic signal at the intersection of
Ind. 149 and U.S. Highway 12. Officer Matt Edwards of the CPD is named
1999 Officer of the Year.
Chesterton High School senior Juli Marie
Williams is awarded a Wells Scholarship at IU Bloomington. CHS Golden
Gators win their first Duneland Athletic Conference title in 15 years. A
Highland motorist dies when his vehicle collides with the gatehouse at
Indiana Dunes State Park.
PMHS announces that it closed 1999 with
an operating income of $518,000, significantly less than the $8.7 million
which it originally projected. The Chesterton Utility Service Board
approves the creation of one sewer district for the Lake Erie Land Company
and the expansion of an existing one. The Chesterton Town Council approves
improvements at the intersection of South Calumet Road and C.R. 1100N,
including the installation of a pork chop and the prohibition of left
The Chesterton Fire Department announces a record number of
calls in 1999: 635, 19 more than in 1998. Bethlehem Steel Corporation
announces a net loss of $37 million or 37 cents per diluted common share
for the fourth quarter of 1999. The CPD is awarded a $9,999 grant by the
Indiana Criminal Justice Institute for the purchase of a van to be
converted into a mobile communications center.
Prosecutors in the
murder trial of David Malinski present in their opening statement Polaroid
photographs of a bound, gagged, and partially nude Lorraine Kirkley. The
CHS boys' swim team wins its fourth consecutive DAC title. The Duneland
Chamber of Commerce names Rick Hokanson Citizen of the Year and Sue Edds
succeeds Neal Mortensen as president of the Chamber.
The Town of Burns Harbor begins the process of
establishing a tax increment financing district. Bethlehem Steel announces
a workforce reduction of more than 500 employees or 15 percent
corporate-wide by Jan. 31, 2001. Bill Smriga announces his resignation as
executive director of the Porter County Convention, Recreation, and
Bethlehem Steel Burns Harbor Division
announces plans to construct a primary health care facility in the Fourth
Addition to Coffee Creek Center. The Porter County Community Foundation
pledges $10,000 toward the purchase of 20 acres in Morgan Township for the
creation of a new county park. The CHS boys' basketball team defeats
Merrillville 56-52 in its last game at Goldsborough Gym.
Golden Gators win the sectional title and break three sectional records.
The CHS debate team wins its 11th state title and ninth in the last 12
years. The Duneland School Board votes to adopt a $93,000 wireless remote
security system at the new CHS.
A Tippecanoe County jury
deliberates two hours and 10 minutes before finding David Malinski guilty
of the the murder of Lorraine Kirkley, two counts of burglary, and one
each of criminal confinement, criminal deviate conduct, auto theft, and
arson. The CHS girls' basketball team beats Griffith 44-37 in its last
game at Goldsborough Gym. Rumors ripple through Bethlehem Steel Burns
Harbor Division of an imminent Chapter 11 consolidation or hostile
CHS students Sarah Penrose and Adam Wagner named
co-champion soloists in the show choir competition in Mt. Zion, Ill. The
CHS Golden Gators finish sixth at the IHSAA state tournament and Jenni
Anderson successfully defends her titles in the 50 Free and 100 Back. The
State Board of Tax Commissioners disburses $213,838 in the excess levy
granted the Town of Chesterton among a number of departments and leaves
the CFD only enough money to hire one new firefighter.
Chesterton Town Council votes 4-1 to restore the flashing red light at the
intersection of Broadway and Calumet Road to full capability after
residents voice concerns about pedestrian safety. The CHS Trogems finish
their two-year stay at Bailly Elementary School undefeated by beating
Portage. The climate survey of the CPD reveals morale to be high but
points to a lack of communication.
Chesterton resident Ron Chango
is named the new president of Bethlehem Steel Burns Harbor Division,
succeeeding Walt Bargeron. The CHS boys' swim team wins the sectional
title at LaPorte. Lake Erie Land resurrects plans for a constructed
wetland sewage treatment facility at Coffee Creek Center.
boys' swim team finishes seventh at the IHSAA state tournament. Columbia
Energy Group, a natural gas distribution and pipeline company
headquartered in Herndon, Va., agrees to its acquisition by NiSource Inc.
in a deal worth $6 billion.
William B. Mullin,
retired Duneland teacher and Chesterton Town Council member, dies at 92.
The Kathryn Pokorny Memorial Scholarship, named for the 1999 CHS graduate
murdered in August 1999 during a robbery of the Marathon at U.S. Highway 6
and Meridian Road, is created with the $10,000 award offered by Luke Oil
Company, owner of the station. The Lake County Convention and Visitors
Bureau proposes a merger with the PCCRVC.
Billy Jean Donovan and
her son Joseph, both of Porter, and Anthony Dovichi of Chesterton are
killed when their car is struck by a tractor-trailer at the intersection
of Ind. 49 and Indian Boundary Road. The CHS Trogems win the sectional
title. The Porter County Commissioners give the ad hoc Research and
Advisory Committee 60 days to review PMHS operations and governance and
The Burns Harbor Town Council finalizes a
TIF district. SkyeNet acquires Northwest Indiana Internet Access. The CHS
Trogems finish second at the Valparaiso regional. The CPD and Indiana
State Police determine the cause of the triple fatal accident at the
intersection of Ind. 49 and Indian Boundary Road to have been Billy Jean
Donovan's illegal left turn at a red light.
Stormwater Management Board floats an $885,000 bond issue to finance a
package of four drainage projects. Porter County Superior Court Judge
Roger Bradford sentences David Malinski to 155 years in prison for the
murder of Lorraine Kirkley and six other crimes. The PMH Board of Trustees
pronounce the hospital to be in sound financial condition, an assessment
which the Advisory and Research Committee will review.
Trogems, Winter Guard, and Winter Percussion Ensemble all win state titles
in the same weekend. The Duneland School Board approves re-naming the old
Chesterton High School Chesterton Middle School. The CHS Singing Sands is
named a Gold Medal publication by the Columbia Scholastic Press
Association for the fourth consecutive year.
CHS teachers Hilda
Demuth-Lutze and David Keammerer win $7,500 Teacher Creativity Fellowships
from Lilly Endowment Inc. CHS student Megan Smith is one of 12 winners
nationwide of the Hoops and Heroes essay contest sponsored by
Indiana-American Water Company. The Beverly Shores Town Council votes 3-2
to accept the proposal of the Humane Society of the United States to begin
a three-year deer contraception study in the summer and to identify those
deer which could be culled with little impact to the study.
Kirkley, husband of murder victim Lorraine Kirkley, files a civil lawsuit
against convicted murderer David Malinski and his wife Kelley which seeks,
among other things, damages from the Malinskis and 90 percent of any
proceeds from the sale of their story to the media. St. Anne of the Dunes
Catholic Church celebrates its 50th anniversary.
Inc. announces a decrease in net income of $21.7 million or 17 cents per
share in 1999, with a decrease in earnings per share of 31 cents or 19
percent. More than 600 firefighters from Indiana and across the Midwest
attend the 10th annual Duneland School of Emergency Response, hosted as
always by the CFD. NICTD awards $2.7 million contract to Superior
Construction Company of Gary to replace two South Shore bridges, one at
Burns Waterway in Portage and the other at Bethlehem Steel Burns Harbor
Porter County Superior Court Judge Roger Bradford
continues to Oct. 23 the trial of Reggion Slater, charged with the murder
of Kathryn Pokorny. Peter Drescher is named executive director of the
PCCRVC. Gov. Frank O'Bannon appoints Porter Town Attorney Bob Kennedy to
the bench in Porter County Superior Court 4.
A deer cull in the
Town of Dune Acres nets 19 deer in eight days. the Porter Town Council
votes 3-2 to award Signature Graphics a 10-year tax abatement on real
property and a 10-year abatement on personal property. Alexandra Newman is
named Community Editor at the Chesterton Tribune.
Township resident Bonnie Berg dies in a fire at her home in Elmwood
Trailer Park. Porter County Superior Court Judge Roger Bradford orders
Coroner John Evans to issue a death certificate for murder victim Lorraine
Kirkley, whose body has never been found. The Chesterton Police Commission
authorizes the purchase of a van, at a cost of $12,500, for conversion
into a mobile communications center.
Porter County Superior Court
Judge Julia Jent fines trucker Keith Lintz of Niles, Mich., $4,035 for
overloading the steel hauler involved in the fatal collision with a South
Shore train in 1998. The Duneland School Board names Westchester Middle
School Principal Jim Ton the principal of Chesterton Middle School.
Bethlehem Steel announces a net income of $3 million in the first quarter
The Town of Chesterton receives its fourth consecutive
Tree City U.S.A. title. CHS student Craig Hyatte receives the Eagle Scout
award. The Porter County Council authorizes Sheriff Dave Reynolds to
pursue a contract for long-term use of the new jail for housing federal
prisoners. More than 400 people participate in Christmas in April in
NiSource Inc. announces plans to install
the first full-scale test unit of a residential fuel cell energy package
in a residential home at Coffee Creek Center. Lake Erie Land announces
plans for a 125-room Hilton Garden Inn in the First Addition to Coffee
Creek Center. NiSource Inc. announces the sale of $1 billion in non-core
businesses to raise cash to pay for its acquisition of Columbia Energy
CHS student Megan Smith is named the winner of a $2,000
National Merit Scholarship. Karen Conover, Bill Carmichael, and John Ruge
are the top vote-getters in the Republican primary race for the three
at-large seats on the Porter County Council. Porter County Coroner John
Evans wins the Republican primary for the seat of North County
The PCCRVC awards $43,793 Challenge Grant for a BMX
track under construction in Portage. Commercial diver Matthew Worczek of
Lockport, Ill., dies after being sucked into an intake pipe in Lake
Michigan while performing maintenance for Bethlehem Steel Burns Harbor
Division. CHS student Matthew Gregoline wins Wells Scholarship at IU
The Chesterton Redevelopment Commission finalizes the
TIF district. The Chesterton Police Commission demotes Sgt. Jamie Nale of
the CPD to officer first class for failing to respond to a report of an
underage drinking party. The CHS girls' track teams finishes second at the
CHS student Melissa Buford, editor-in-chief of
Sandscript, wins the W.R. Canright Outstanding Senior Journalist
Award. The CHS boys' track team finishes third at the DAC championship.
Bailly Elementary School student Kristin Kalita wins the fifth grade essay
contest sponsored by the Indiana Troopers Association.
students Megan Smith, Bryan Cooley, Jessica Squires, and Rachel Mariani
are the winners of the first awards of the Kathryn Pokorny Memorial
Scholarship. The CHS girls' track team defeats Michigan City and wins the
sectional title. Lifelong Chesterton resident Marvin Dille dies at 90.
Lake Erie Land proposes to build a 34.6 acres industrial park between Ind.
49 and U.S. Highway 20 in Porter.
The PMH Board of Trustees forms
a nominating committee to submit names to the Porter County Commissioners
for appointment to the two seats held by Eugene Kopczak and Dr. Chen Sun,
the former of whom seeks re-appointment, the latter of whom announces his
retirement. Lifelong Chesterton resident Alvin C. Slont Sr. dies at 70.
Bethlehem Steel wins the General Motors Supplier of the Year Award for the
fifth consecutive year.
Joe Ello is named King of the Year in
bowling for the third time. The CHS boys' track team finishes eighth at
the Valparaiso regional and only Steve Vrska in the 3,200 meter run,
qualifies for state. Richard Pinkerton, Porter resident and owner and
president of P&P Pinkerton, is shot to death when he answers the door
bell at his home.
CHS Mathletes win the Chesterton Invitational
Tournament. CHS debate and speech teams wins the Founders Award of
Excellence in Speech at the Catholic Grand National Tournament in
Rochester, N.Y., for the second time in three years.
Lifelong Chesterton resident Melvin Weidman dies at 99. CHS students
Nick Bachman and Carolyn Chase are named Male and Female Athletes of the
Year at the Spring Sports Award Night. Students and faculty bid farewell
to the old Chesterton High School.
The Research and Advisory
Committee reports that PMH suffers from a severe public relations problem
caused in part by nepotism, that its trustees have "detached and
insular attitudes," and that it puts profits before the community.
Duneland School Corporation Director of Media and Technology John Corso
announces his retirement after 33 years of service. High fuel costs take a
bite out of county budgets.
The price of Bethlehem Steel common
stock continues its downward trend. Porter County Commissioner Brian
Gesse, R-South, joins Commissioner Jim Biggs, R-North, in annoucing his
opposition to the re-appointment of Eugene Kopczak to the PMH Board of
Trustees. Christopher Matson is arrested in Prescott, Ariz., in connection
with the murder of Richard Pinkerton.
Chesterton resident Betsy
Bobel is crowned Miss Indiana. Duneland School Superintendent Ken Payne
bids farewell to the Duneland School Board and wishes well his successor,
Steve Hewlett. Margaret Larson's memoirs go on sale at the Westchester
Township Historical Museum.
PMHS releases its response to the
Research and Advisory Committee's report and agrees to change the
executive bonus plan, to support term limits on the Board of Trustees, and
to meet annually with the Porter County Commissioners. PMH Trustee Suzanne
Perkins and Harley Snyder offer their resignations, while Trustee Eugene
Kopczak ends his tenure by ripping into his critics and Porter County
Commissioner Brian Gesse in particular. The South Shore Board of Directors
approves $3.6 million in consulting contracts to study the modernization
of the line.
Porter resident Jerry Newsome Jr, Valparaiso resident
Demaso Albanice, and Hammond resident Melissa Philmont die in a head-on
collision on U.S. Highway 6 in Liberty Township. A Chicago resident dies
in a four vehicle accident on the Indiana Toll Road in Liberty Township
and Jackson Township resident Ernest Mazurkiewicz tests positive for
alcohol after crossing the median and hitting the Chicagoan's vehicle at
the Portage Toll Plaza. Lake Erie Land begins construction of Rail Road,
under Ind. 49, along the abandoned Wabash Railroad right-of-way.
The Porter County Commissioners appoint Chesterton
resident and Democrat Robert Parks to the PMH Board of Trustees.
Christopher Matson is charged with the murder of Richard Pinkerton. State
Rep. Ralph Ayres, R-Chesterton, secures the approval from INDOT of a
comprehensive engineering study of the intersections of Ind. 49 at Porter
Ave. and C.R. 1100N with a view to the installation of left-turn
The Duneland Millennium Celebration Committee buries a
time capsule at the Indiana Dunes State Park. Christopher Matson pleads
not guilty to the murder of Richard Pinkerton and trial is set for Nov.
20. CHS student Stephanie Kendall is one of two Indiana girls to be
selected to attend the annual Girls Nation in Chevy Chase, Md.
Chesterton Town Council rejects the offer of AT&T Wireless to rent
space at the planned new fire station for the construction of a wireless
telecommunications tower. The Porter County Commissioners appoint
Valparaiso resident and Republican James Spanopoulos to the PMH Board of
Trustees. Women in Leadership awards $1,500 Seagull Scholarships to
Katherine Hurley and Rose Hoffman.
The Duneland School Board names
Randall Eckley to be director of media and technology for the Duneland
School Corporation. Valparaiso resident Joshua Cohen dies when his car is
struck by a CSX train on C.R. 200W in Liberty Township. The Porter County
Commissioners agree to accept two new appointments to the PMH Board of
Trustees to replace Suzanne Perkins and Harley Snyder.
considers cost-cutting moves to brace itself for a $9 million loss in
2001. Westchester Township resident Herb Read is named Ted Falls Memorial
Environmentalist of the Year by the Indiana Division of the Izaak Walton
League of America. Texas Christian University golfer Stephen Polanski wins
the Northern Amateur Tournament at Sand Creek Country Club.
resident Rachel Stevens is named Queen of the Porter County Fair.
Bethlehem Steel announces a net income of $10 million in the second
quarter of 2000 but a loss per share of 1 cent. U.S. Steel and National
Steel announce plans to join Bethlehem Steel Burns Harbor Division in the
construction of the Steel Family Health Care Center at Coffee Creek
The Duneland Chamber of Commerce presents the Senior
Service Award to Margaret Doyle and the Athena Award to Westchester
Township Trustee Suzanne Philbrick. Gov. Frank O'Bannon's office awards
the PCCRVC a $500,000 grant for the construction of a new visitor's
center. The Porter County Relay for Life raises $156,709 for the American
Ground breaks on the first
project at Coffee Creek Center, the Steel Family Health Care Center in the
Fourth Addition. A tree-killing storm turns hundreds of trees in
Chesterton into kindling. Jackson Township resident Jesse Lively dies in a
one vehicle accident on Greening Road in Jackson Township.
Street releases the preliminary results of a survey conducted by the
Duneland Economic Development Company on the attitudes and preferences of
Chesterton residents and shoppers: more retail is wanted and less traffic.
The Duneland School Board votes 3-2 to hire Peter Morikis as assistant
superintendent of the Duneland School Corporation. Indiana Dunes National
Lakeshore sends crew of 19 National Park Service employees to fight
wildfires at Bitterroot National Forest in Montana.
The CHS girls'
volleyball team christens the new gym with a win over Hammond Morton. Work
begins on lowering the hill on Meridian Road north of C.R. 700N. Academic
year 2000-01 begins at the new CHS.
Dr. Brian Solmos dies in a
helicopter crash near Ind. 2 and U.S. Highway 30 two miles from Porter
County Municipal Airport. The Duneland School Board opts not to change the
current drug-testing policy for CHS students after learning five of the
188 randomly tested during the previous academic year tested positive for
marijuana and four of those five for nicotine. Duneland Superintendent
Steve Hewlett makes the decision to suspend the drug-testing policy at CHS
after the Indiana Court of Appeals rules the Howard County school
corporation's similar policy to be unconstitutional.
Trojans christen the new stadium with a win over Northridge. Bethlehem
Steel Burns Harbor Division idles the 110 inch plate mill. The Northern
Indiana Public Service Company warns of steep price hikes in the cost of
natural gas in the winter as a result of temporary imbalances in the
market. Oak Tree Village and Burns Harbor Estates mobile home parks agree
to pay a fine of $765,000 for dumping untreated sewage into tributaries of
the Little Calumet River. Construction begins on the new Jewel-Osco
complex at the intersection of Indian Boundary Road and Ind. 49.
Porter resident Alice Wesson dies from injuries
sustained in two vehicle accident at Division Road and Ind. 2. Work
continues on a natural gas pipeline which runs across Meridian Road in
Liberty Township as it makes its way from Dawn, Ontario, to Joliet, Ill.
In its 1999 audit the State Board of Accounts faults PMHS for poor
bookkeeping and non-compliance with state laws and guidelines.
new CHS is dedicated. Jean Nelson, founder of the Oz Festival, announces
the sale of the Yellow Brick Road Shop. The Chesterton Town Council
rejects a proposed connection of the Prairie Duneland Trail and Calumet
Trail, planned by the Town of Porter, by means of a North Jackson Blvd.
link. CHS students Sara Baughman, Megan Bergauff, Alex Bishop, Erika
Brownlee, Marissa Flaxbart, Steven Hodge, Stephanie Kendall, and David
Odefey are named National Merit Scholarship semi-finalists.
Porter Town Council votes 3-1 to give each council member a $500 raise in
2001. The Oz Festival opens with the Munchkin Celebrity Family Picnic.
Yost Elementary Principal Ken Miller, Bailly Elementary Principal Narcine
Shep-Lohse, and Liberty Middle School Principal Fonda Rhea announce their
retirements at the end of the academic year.
Lawrence Lee Swanson,
former pastor for 17 years of Augsburg Lutheran Church in Porter, dies at
78. Bethlehem Steel opens a new cold sheet mill at its Sparrows Point,
Md., division. The PMH Board of Trustees approves a rate hike of 8 percent
A Duneland school bus collides with a
tractor-trailer at U.S. Highway 6 and Meridian Road. A deadline set by the
Beverly Shores Town Council expires for the secural of a scientific study
permit from the DNR for a deer contraception study by the Humane Society
of the U.S. The CHS Trojans defeat Portage in football for the first time
The Porter Town Council agrees not to construct a
connection of the Prairie Duneland Trail and Calumet Trail by means of a
link through any portion of the Town of Chesterton. The LaPorte District
of INDOT schedules bids for a non-grade interchange at the intersection of
Ind. 49 and Indian Boundary Road to be let July 15, 2007. Jane
Walsh-Brown, assistant director of the Westchester Public Library,
celebrates 25 years of service to the WPL. A school bus transporting 32
East Chicago second-graders collides with a pickup at U.S. Highway 6 and
Hobart hands the CHS Trojans their
first defeat of the season. The CFD takes delivery of its new Class A
pumper. The Duneland Working Women's Club names Jean Kohler Woman of the
The CHS boys' cross country team finishes second at the DAC
championship and CHS runner Steve Vrska has the best overall time, and the
CHS girls' cross country team finishes second as well. The Chesterton Town
Council votes 3-2 to reduce one component of the sewer tap-on fee by 50
percent, from $497.68 to $248.84. Jackson Township motorist Christy
Franiak is critically injured in collision with Duneland school bus at
U.S. Highway 6 and C.R. 400E.
The Dune Acres Town Council agrees
to seek a permit for another deer cull. Natural Ovens Bakery of Manitowoc,
Wis., flirts with Lake Erie Land, then announces its plans to locate an $8
million plant in Valparaiso. Porter resident David Wahoske is shot dead by
an unknown assailant in the kitchen of his home.
cuts 800 jobs nationwide to reduce redundancies created by its acquisition
of Columbia Energy Group. Dune Acres resident Margaret Doyle, winner of
the 2000 Duneland Chamber of Commerce Senior Service Award, dies at 86.
The CHS Trojans win their first DAC title since 1971 win a win over
The CHS boys' cross country team finishes second at
the sectional tournament. The CHS girls' soccer team wins its first
sectional title with a win over LaPorte. The CHS boys' soccer team loses
the sectional title to Portage.
The Porter County Commissioners
vote 2-1 to name Dr. William Kelley, a Jackson Township resident and
Republican, and 3-0 to name Mary Beth Schultz, executive director of The
Caring Place and a Democrat, to the PMH Board of Trustees. The CHS Trojans
lose their football sectional opener to East Chicago Central. The CHS
girls' soccer team advances to state with wins over Lake Central and
The CHS girls' cross country team finishes
second and the boys' cross country team finishes third at the regional
championship. The Porter County Council agrees to review cellular
telephone use by county employees after Porter County Commissioner Jim
Biggs, R-North, exceeds his maximum allotment. Bethlehem Steel announces a
net loss of $35 million or 34 cents per diluted share in the third quarter
Steel analysts ask Bethlehem Steel officials how they
plan to save the company in a teleconference from which the media are
excluded from asking questions. Porter County Commissioner Jim Biggs,
R-North, announces his intention to reimburse the county for cell phone
charges which exceed his maximum allotment, then decides not to repay
after discovering those charges total more than $2,600.
girls' soccer team loses the state championship to Carmel after advancing
with a win over Evansville Memorial. The CHS girls' cross country team
finishes second the boys' cross country team finishes fourth in the
semistate championship and both advance to state. Porter County Superior
Court Judge Roger Bradford continues the trial of Reggion Slater, charged
with the murder of Kathryn Pokorny, to July 23, 2001, while Porter County
Superior Court Judge Thomas Webber continues trial of Christopher Matson,
charged with the murder of Richard Pinkerton, to March 19.
PMH paramedic Robert M. Samanas dies at 52.
Ground breaks on Hilton Garden Inn in First Addition to Coffee Creek
Center. Eleven property owners file challenge to Town of Porter's 2001
proposed tax rate hike of 38 cents. The re-paving of Ind. 49, begun in the
summer and continued at the contractor's convenience through the fall, is
The CHS girls' cross country team finishes eighth at
IHSAA state tournament and the boys' cross country team finishes 14th. The
Porter Town Council defends a proposed tax rate hike by citing the need
for additional sewage capacity at a cost of $300,000 to $400,000 and a new
or renovated town hall at a cost of $750,000.
Heavy voter turnout
and late returns mark Election Day: Republicans Karen Conover, Bill
Carmichael, and John Ruge sweep the race for Porter County Council, State
Rep. Ralph Ayres, R-Chesterton, and State Rep. Duane Cheney, D-Portage,
win reelection, as does Duneland School Board Member Janice Custer;
Democrat David Burrus and Republican John Evans win seats on the Porter
Lifelong Chesterton resident Melvin C.
Christopherson dies at 100. Bethlehem Steel announces plans permanently to
close the slab mill at Burns Harbor Division and to cease ingot making
operations there. The Chesterton Town Council leases the old New York
Central passenger depot to the Duneland Chamber of Commerce. The
Chesterton Town Council challenges the removal of guardrails, authorized
by the LaPorte District of INDOT, from Ind. 49 north of Indian Boundary
Porter Building Commissioner Donald "Doc" Whisler
retires after five years in the position. Hunters take 91 deer in first
phase of deer reduction program at Indiana Dunes State Park. PMHS
announces the stablization of its finances and a doubling in patient
Liberty Township resident Bjorg Nelson dies
in two vehicle accident at U.S. Highway 6 and Meridian Road. The delivery
of auxiliary power units for 10 new South Shore cars is delayed
indefinitely. Burns Harbor residents circulate a petition in support of
Town Marshal Lawrence Shinneman and Street Commissioner Lonnie Penrose.
The Beverly Shores Town Council secures a permit from the DNR for a
deer contraception study and votes 3-2 to cull up to 75 deer. The
Chesterton Utility Service Board agrees to grant a sanitary sewer
connection to the Chesterton Montessori School, located on unincorporated
and unannexable property in Jackson Township. Burns Harbor Town Council
President Cliff Keppen is ticketed for parking in a handicapped space in
front of the town hall.
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore obtains
$1 million in additional funding, nearly enough to complete its
outstanding land acquisitions. Porter-Starke Counseling Centers lay off 23
employees to offset year-end loss of $314,283 caused mainly by state
funding cuts. John Bostick is picked by the Chesterton and Porter town
councils to replace Helen Boothe as the Tri-Town representative on the
Hunters take 11 deer in the final phase of the deer
reduction program at Indiana Dunes State Park. PMHS President Wiley Carr
announces his resignation and is given a gold parachute which includes two
years of his $264,000 salary and memberships at the Sand Creek and
Valparaiso country clubs.
The Humane Society
of the U.S. appeals permit for a Beverly Shores deer contraception study
issued by the DNR on the grounds that it is too restrictive. Porter County
Commissioner Brian Gesse, R-Center, criticizes severance package of PMH
President Wiley Carr. Chesterton resident Msgr. Ralph Hoffmann dies at
Rev. Dr. Christoph Armiger retires from the pastorship of
Bethlehem Lutheran Church after nearly 15 years there. Chesterton
Tribune cub reporter Kevin Nevers wins first place for Best Ongoing
News Coverage in the Better Newspaper Contest of the Hoosier State Press
Association. The Porter County Council agrees to ask the State Board of
Accounts to audit the cell phone records of Porter County Commissioner Jim
Biggs, R-Chesterton. The Porter Fire Department takes delivery of its new
Class A pumper.
The Save the Dunes Council backs the DNR in its
issuance of a restrictive permit to the Humane Society of the United
States for a Beverly Shores deer contraception study. Frequent and heavy
snow falls mire Duneland and squeeze street department budgets. Cpl. Dave
Cincoski of the CPD is named 2000 Officer of the Year.
Police Commission Member Jim Ton announces decision not to seek
re-appointment. Chesterton resident Georgiana E. Tierney dies at 101. The
Duneland School Board names Mike Grubb principal of Bailly Elementary
Weather delays the completion of the covered bridge on the
Calumet Trail. Westchester Township Assessor Candy Crone rejects a claimed
$97 million deduction filed in an amended property tax return by Bethlehem
Steel Burns Harbor Division. PMHS President Wiley Carr gets a lump sum
severance payment of $933,307 in addition to a total two-year salary of
$559,193. The PMH Board of Trustees approves a rate hike increase of 8
percent for 2001 while hospital employees get raises averaging 4
PMH leaves the Westchester Neighborhood Food Pantry off
an original list for $14,000 in area food pantry donations because
hospital officials did not know the Westchester Neighborhood Food Pantry
exists. The Burns Harbor Town Council, amid cat calls,votes 4-1 not to
re-appoint Town Marshal Larry Shinneman, Street Commissioner Lonnie
Penrose, and Building Commissioner Gene Weibl. At a Republican party
caucus, Roger Kleist of Morgan Township, was named to take over Jan. 1 as