Chesterton Tribune



Geof Benson honored by NIRPC as 2020 officers are elected

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The Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission (NIRPC) entered the new decade with the election of its 2020 officers and Executive Board members, and bestowed its award for meritorious service to one of its long-standing members who has had nationwide impact.

At Thursday’s meeting, the Norman Tufford Award for exceptional dedication and service to NIRPC was presented to Beverly Shores Town Council Member Geof Benson. Benson has served as a NIRPC Commissioner since 2008, and served as chair of the Commission in 2012 and again in 2018. He recently served as president of the National Association of Regional Councils, where he is extremely active on the national level.

“There was no hesitation or debate in selecting Geof for this award,” said Ty Warner, NIRPC’s executive director. “It was obvious to the selection committee that Geof has been an example of regional service, and espouses the ideals this award seeks to encourage.”

Norman Tufford was the first executive director of NIRPC from 1966 to 1985. The award named in his honor recognizes NIRPC Commissioners and staff who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and service to the region.

Warner noted Benson’s role as executive director of the Dunes Learning Center is further evidence of his commitment to Northwest Indiana, helping young people come to appreciate the region’s natural assets and environment.

Also during the meeting, Highland Clerk-Treasurer Michael Griffin was elected NIRPC chair for 2020. Griffin served in this capacity previously in 2017.

Elected vice-chair for 2020 was Union Township Trustee George Topoll. Justin Kiel, LaCrosse Town Council President, was elected as secretary; and Merrillville Town Council Member Richard Hardaway treasurer.

Members elected to the Executive Board included Lowell Council Member Will Farrellbegg and Hammond Mayor Tom McDermott, representing Lake County; LaPorte County Commissioner Sheila Matias and LaPorte Mayor Tom Dermody, representing LaPorte County; and Chesterton Town Council Member James Ton and Porter Town Council Member Greg Stinson, representing Porter County.

State Rep. Ed Soliday, R-Valparaiso, continues to serve as the Governor’s appointee to NIRPC. Wanatah Clerk-Treasurer Diane Noll will serve as immediate past president.

Welcomed onto the Commission as newly-appointed representatives of their respective jurisdictions were Lake Station Mayor Bill Carroll; Portage Mayor Sue Lynch; Pottawattomie Park Council Member Janet Beck; Burns Harbor Council Member Eric Hull; Munster Clerk-Treasurer Wendy Mis; Hebron Council Member David Peeler; and Michiana Shores Council Member Daina Dumbrys. Dyer Council Member Mary Tanis was also re-appointed.


Posted 1/17/2020




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