hopeful for Dunes National Park’
U.S. Rep. Pete
Visclosky, D-1st, released the following statement after deadline on
Thursday, in response to testimony by National Park Service Acting Director
P. Daniel Smith, on the Department of Interior’s objection to re-designating
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore a “National Park,” as proposed by a bill,
H.R. 1488, authored by Visclosky.
by agencies in the executive branch are not an uncommon step in the
legislative process,” Visclosky said. “I remain optimistic that H.R. 1488,
which is cosponsored by every Indiana Member of Congress and unanimously
approved by the House, will become law and our lakeshore will get the long
overdue recognition it deserves and further drive economic activity in our
Among other things,
in his written testimony before the Senate Energy and National Resources
Subcommittee on National Parks, Smith stated that Indiana Dunes National
Lakeshore is neither large enough nor diverse enough to be considered a
national park; that it has more in common with the other three national
lakeshores, Apostle Islands, Pictured Rocks, and Sleeping Bear Dunes, as
well as with national seashores and recreation areas, than it does with the
typical national park; and that the “current designation is appropriate for
the unit and in keeping with our efforts to provide consistency in the
naming of park units.”
USS to receive
state tax credits, TIF in 750M capital investment in Gary Works
Gov. Eric Holcomb
and Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson joined David B. Burritt, president and
CEO of U.S. Steel Corporation (USS), on Thursday as USS announced plans to
make significant upgrades at its Gary Works plant through a $750 million
asset revitalization investment that will increase efficiencies and position
the facility for long-term success in Indiana.
“Today’s news is a
major step forward that will have a lasting positive impact on the city of
Gary, the northwest region and the state of Indiana for years to come,”
Holcomb said in a statement released after deadline on Thursday. “U. S.
Steel has a rich history in Indiana, producing steel for customers around
the world while providing quality career opportunities for Hoosiers and
supporting their families here in northwest Indiana. We look forward to U.
S. Steel’s continued success and growth right here in Gary.”
“We are pleased to
be making this significant investment at Gary Works, which will improve the
facility’s environmental performance, bolster our competitiveness and
benefit the local community for years to come,” Burritt said. “Through the
skill and determination of our employees, support from the state and city,
without which this project would not be possible, and favorable trade
policies with the strong Section 232 national security action on steel
imports, we are experiencing a renaissance at U. S. Steel.”
“With the increases
in investment due to U. S. Steel’s $2 billion asset revitalization program,
a minimum of $750 million in capital investments will be made over five
years to modernize and enhance the company’s flagship operation in Gary,
through building expansion and improvement,” the statement said. “This
includes the installation of new, state-of-the-art production equipment,
machinery, and modernizing technology to better serve customers in the
automotive, energy, industrial, metal building components, home
construction, appliance and container industries.”
“There is no secret
that U. S. Steel’s flagship is located in Gary,” Freeman-Wilson said. “We
are pleased about this investment in the plant and even more encouraged by a
deepened partnership with the company of the city’s origin. This is also
consistent with our development plan which builds on our strong
manufacturing history and allowing us to diversify commerce in the areas of
education and medicine; recreation and gaming; logistics and technology.”
“We are extremely
excited about the $750 million investment at U. S. Steel along the shoreline
in Gary," Gary Common Council President Ronald Brewer said. “Today’s news
couldn’t have come at a better time as we continue to persevere in the
progress of our great city. This multi-million dollar investment
demonstrates U. S. Steel’s renewed commitment to its workers and to the city
of Gary, and we look forward to strengthening this relationship for the
betterment of our great community.”
Subject to the
approval of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors,
the IEDC will offer U. S. Steel up to $10 million in conditional tax credits
over a 10-year period based on the company’s commitment to retain 3,875
Hoosier jobs. This offer of tax credits is also subject to the review of the
State Budget Committee. The IEDC will also offer up to $2 million in Skills
Enhancement Fund (SEF) training grants to support workforce development and
training for Gary Works employees.
In addition, Gary
will offer tax increment financing valued at approximately $35 million over
25 years based on a $750 million investment that will then be ameliorated
through a development agreement in partnership with U. S. Steel to allow the
city, the Gary Community School Corporation, the Gary Public Library, and U.
S. Steel to share the benefit of the company’s investment. “This incentive
and economic development financing method, which is subject to the Gary
Common Council’s approval, will help generate immediate tax revenue for the
city, create a Community Development Fund to further economic growth, and
increase the city’s partnership with U. S. Steel,” the statement said.
operation in Northwest Indiana since 1908Ñis U. S. Steel’s largest
manufacturing plant and the largest integrated steel mill in North America.
Comprised of both steelmaking and finishing facilities, Gary Works has an
annual raw steelmaking capability of 7.5 million net tons. The facility
provides more than 3,800 full-time jobs and manufactures sheet products,
strip mill plate in coils, and tin products.
headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pa., and is an integrated steel producer with
major production operations in North America and Central Europe and an
annual raw steelmaking capability of 22 million net tons. Founded in 1901,
the company has been manufacturing steel for more than 100 years, providing
a wide range of value-added steel sheet and tubular products for the
automotive, appliance, container, industrial machinery, construction and oil
and gas industries.
USW reports little
progress in talks with ArcelorMittal USS
With two weeks
remaining before its contract with ArcelorMittal expires, on Sept. 1, the
United Steelworkers (USW) is reporting “little progress on core issues” in
its latest communiquŽ, released this morning.
The text in full:
continued with ArcelorMittal this week in Pittsburgh, and as has been the
case since our talks began, management continues to be slow to respond to
our proposals while insisting on unnecessary and unreasonable
concessionsÑparticularly in the area of healthcare.
“We have made
little progress with regard to our reasonable wage requests, and the company
still has not responded to our pension proposal or adequately addressed our
concerns about future capital expenditures, the apparently diminishing
emphasis on repair and maintenance spending, and manning issues, all of
which are geared toward improving the long-term security of our jobs.
done very well from a financial standpoint, and should continue to enjoy
favorable market conditions for the foreseeable future, according to nearly
every credible economic forecast.
to talk about the ‘viability’ and ‘sustainability’ of the corporation, but
our negotiations are about much more than ensuring profits for the company.
committee is dedicated to achieving a fair contract that improves the
economic and retirement security of our membership and retirees along with
the viability and sustainability of our lifestyles and our communities.
“Please continue to
focus on working safely and standing together in unity.
“We will continue
working diligently to engage management on these and all other outstanding
issues as our contract expiration date approaches, and with your continued
support and solidarity, we are confident in our ability to do so.
“We know that you
have our backs, and as these negotiations proceed, we pledge to continue to
On Wednesday, the
USW released this one-paragraph statement on the status of its contract
negotiations with U.S. Steel Corporation (USS): “USS made a proposal today
to cut retiree healthcare benefits, yet their executives feed at the trough.
This is unfair and unacceptable!”
Two Iron Workers
Local 395 members indicted
Two members of Iron
Workers Local 395, headquartered in Portage, have been indicted in federal
court on three counts of labor-related extortion offenses.
Williamson, 67, of Schererville, and Jeffrey R. Veach, 55, of Portage, were
arrested on Thursday and each charged with one count of Hobbs Act extortion
conspiracy and two counts of Attempted Hobbs Act extortion.
Veach had their initial court appearances and arraignment before U.S.
Magistrate Judge John E. Martin for the Northern District of Indiana and
were released on $20,000 unsecured bond.
“According to the
indictment, Williamson and Veach used threats of violence and actual
violence against non-union ironworkers in the course of their extortion
plot,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. “The defendants allegedly sought to
extort a labor contract from ‘John Doe No. 1,’ who owned a steelworking
company, and a business contract from ‘John Doe No. 2,’ who owned a
The indictment was
announced in Washington D.C., by Assistant Attorney General Brian
Benczkowski for the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney
Thomas L. Kirsch II for the Northern District of Indiana; Special Agent in
Charge James Vanderberg of the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector
General’s Chicago Regional Office; and Special Agent in Charge Grant
Mendenhall of the FBI’s Indianapolis Field Office.
The case is being
investigated by the Department of Labor Office of Inspector General and the
FBI with the assistance of the Dyer Indiana Police Department.
Chesterton Girls XC
gets started on Saturday
By TR HARLAN
girls cross country team sent a handful of runners to North Carolina this
summer and the dividends have shown in pre-season workouts.
The Trojans open
the 2018 season at the NIC Stomp at New Prairie on Saturday with high hopes.
“We have had a
solid summer of training and the Varsity girls' recent workouts are
evidence,” Chesterton coach Maggie Wolgamot said. “We are excited for this
season and are in hot pursuit of once again making the trip to Terre Haute
this fall for State.”
The top four
returning runners benefited from a trip to the Smoky Mountains in North
Carolina this summer and have returned in top form.
Nalani Malackowski, Kara Krol and Taylor Edwards, along with freshman Bailey
Ranta, appear to round out the top five,” Wolgamot said. “Senior Becca White
is right up there with them.”
Depth should be an
aid for the Trojans with the emergence of Frances Clancy, Peyton Westphal,
Kaitlyn Van Kley, Libby Boster and Kayla Kirchner also competing for varsity
“As most know,
anything can happen when it comes down to the nitty gritty races,” Wolgamot
said. “Considering the current state of our team, I am optimistic that it
will be another exciting season for Chesterton.”
falls at Munster
volleyball team dropped a 25-17, 25-17, 25-15 decision at Munster on
Bowser led the Trojans with eight kills, while Meghan Gaffigan added six
kills. Ariel Rohe (3), Caroline Parks (2) and McKenna Guernsey (2) also
contributed to the attack.
On the service
line, Parks and Lorann Lombardini each had one ace.
Devereaux had a team-high five digs with Lombardini tallying four digs. Vivi
Smilgius and Parks each had two digs.
At the net, Parks
had two block kills, while Bowser added one.
The Trojans return
to the court on Monday when they travel to Andrean for a 5 p.m. junior
Meghan Gaffigan 6 kills, 1 dig; Vivi Smilgius 1 ace, 2 digs; Taylor Bowser 8
kills, 1 block kill; Caroline Parks 2 kills, 1 ace, 2 digs, 2 block kills;
Ariel Rohe 3 kills, 1 dig; McKenna Guernsey 2 kills; Sammy Devereaux 5 digs;
Lorann Lombardini 1 ace, 4 digs; Maris Robinson 1 kill, 1 dig.
CHS Boys Cross
Country begins Saturday
By TR HARLAN
Gone are the top
two runners over the last four years, but don’t feel sorry for Tim Ray.
The Chesterton boys
cross country coach returns enough experience to leave his team competitive
in the Duneland Athletic Conference and a chance at another trip to the
“We bring back some
experience, but they’ve never led before,” Ray said as he team prepares to
open the season at the NIC Stomp at New Prairie. “The guy who was our MVP
the last four years is gone and the guy who ran second isn’t here either. We
have some guys with an opportunity to step up into a leadership role.”
O’Connor was the Trojans No. 2 finisher in the State Finals last season and
should assert himself as the top guy this year.
had taken the lead right now,” Ray said. “He had a great summer and some
guys are just following his lead. Will Shook, Matthew Van Kley, Matthew
Streeter and Kenny Erow would be our top five right now.”
continues to push to the front, it may be a ‘pack’ mentality for the Trojans
“I’m not quite sure
if we’ll have a true front runner just yet,” Ray said. “Nathan is heading in
that direction. He was our No. 2 guy at the State Meet last year and had a
fantastic spring in track.”
A group of five
more will push for a spot in the varsity line-up.
Ethan Mohoi, Dylan Draves, Austin Johnson and Kyler Hynes are the next
group,” Ray said. “We had a four-year drought where I don’t think they
understood what it took to get to the next level. The past two years, the
guys have understood.
“I think the
seniors know what it takes and know how to finish races.”
In a loaded DAC,
the Trojans should be in the mix.
“There are three
teams that are better than everybody else on paper,” Ray said. “We could
finish anywhere from third to sixth in the DAC and that’s good enough to
give you a chance on Semistate day to get to State. It’ll be a battle for
the last couple of spots.”
Department proposes return to in house chip and seal
By LILY REX
The Porter County
Highway Department has proposed that the County acquire the equipment
necessary to chip and seal County roads without hiring an outside contractor
in a purchase that would total $750,000.
Supervisor Rich Sexton and Assistant Supervisor Jim Polarek brought the
presentation before the Porter County Board of Commissioners at its meeting
Tuesday. Sexton reported that Porter County used to do its own chip and seal
on County Roads, but a previous administration opted to move toward using
contractors when the equipment started to reach end of life rather than
Sexton was prepared
to show return on investment. “This equipment’s eventually gonna pay for
itself,” he said, adding that the County would recoup its expenditure on new
equipment in six years or less just by not having to pay contractors for
With this purchase,
the timeline, including start and end dates, of chip and seal is up to the
County rather than at the convenience of a contractor, and it allows for
better quality control, according to Sexton.
Chip and sealed
roads have a lifetime of five years, Polarek said. Paving over a chip and
seal road requires going back to the base and establishing a stronger
foundation for the road. Sexton said this equipment would also allow the
Highway Department to add to the base of the roads.
self-sufficient for chip and seal, the County would need a new asphalt
zipper and chip spreader. Sexton threw in a mower that fits under guardrails
for more efficient maintenance, especially on bridges, where he says some of
his employees have to use individual weed eaters.
The asphalt zipper
mounts on a front loader, which the County already has one of in each
district. The asphalt zipper also allows for the addition of lime
stabilization to form a harder and more durable road. Sexton said the use of
the asphalt zipper by an outside contractor cost $26,000 last year, and
adding lime stabilization would have required the intervention of yet
another company. The last chip spreader the County owned was a 1989 model.
Sexton reports that Porter County spent $91,017.24 to preserve 22.56 miles
of road this year.
Money from the
bridge fund would contribute to the purchase of the guardrail mower. Sexton
also thinks that County-done chip and sealing uses fuel tax dollars more
efficiently. Polarek said the Highway Department receives a share of federal
funding each month, and even though he and Sexton have budgeted to keep a
reserve of around $200,000 in the Highway Department’s coffers at all times,
there will be enough money to fund the purchase. At the time of the meeting,
they asked for an additional appropriation to earmark $750,000 for the chip
and seal equipment, which the Board approved.
Blaney, D-South, said, “This is an investment in ourselves. Money that we
already have, it’s a no brainer.” Blaney also noted that paving
inconveniences residents, and not needing a contractor can reduce
construction time. Sexton said his plan is to do 100 miles of road
preservation next year and going forward, but his crews won’t be in one
Sexton says Newton
County takes advantage of having chip and seal equipment by starting as soon
as possible, and Porter County can do the same. “As soon as the threat of a
heavy freeze is gone, they’re out doing their roads.” Sexton says some roads
could be done in four days from start to finish.
“We’re at the mercy
of the subcontractors now. This way, we’re being proactive,” Good said,
noting the Department would also have the freedom to widen the road and
deepen the base. Good added, “If we have 816 miles of road in this County
unincorporated, I think we need to be in this business,” Good said.
The Board also
approved a traffic study for U.S. 6 between Meridian Road and Calumet
Avenue. Good clarified that this stretch is the last section where U.S. 6 is
a two-lane road in Porter County, starting by Sunset Hill Farm County Park
and passing Ind. 49 and the hospital.
The traffic study
is intended to convince state representatives, who maintain U.S. 6, that
that section of road should be widened. Under the five-year plan for that
area, the state has not listed widening that section. Having analytics will
help convince them.
The Board approved
a contract with American Structurepoint for $22,120 for the traffic study.
Good noted that the Highway Department can conduct its own traffic studies,
but the County has to bring in an outside firm that the state trusts for the
results to have any pull.
Good said, “It’s
becoming a very, very busy corridor, so we need to get some relief up
there,” while Commissioner Jim Biggs, R-North, pointed out that the two-lane
road limits economic growth by limiting further development near the
donating car to SBFD for training
As part of its
ongoing commitment to safety, the South Shore commuter line is donating an
out-of-service train car to the South Bend Fire Department Training Center
to enhance rescue crew responses to railroad service emergencies, the
Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District announced in statement
carÑweighing approximately 134,000 pounds and standing 85 feet long, 10 feet
wide, and 15 feet highÑwill be moved on Friday, Aug. 17, via crane and
flat-bed semi from the South Bend Washington Street train station to the
South Bend Fire Department Training Center.
appreciate the opportunity to partner with South Bend Fire Department to aid
in the training of first responders,” said Michael Noland, president of the
South Shore commuter line. “Although our safety record is excellent, we
remain focused on passenger safety, and familiarizing first responders with
our cars improves preparedness.”
“The use of this
train car will allow multiple agencies including police, fire, and utility
services to collaboratively work together in an emergency situation,” South
Bend Fire Chief Stephen Cox said. “The City of South Bend will serve as a
central location for future multi-agency training scenarios.”
The training center
currently trains first responders from all over Northern Indiana, including
East Chicago, Michigan City, LaPorte and South Bend. “In order to ensure the
safest, most efficient responses, the crews will train on accessing the car
and safely rescuing train passengers during crisis situation,” the statement
said. “Incidents of this nature may include derailments, fires, train/car
collisions, and other in-service emergencies.”