The Porter County
Board of Commissioners adopted a resolution last week naming a courtroom
after long-time Porter Circuit Court Judge Mary R. Harper, who retired last
Governor Eric J.
Holcomb appointed Republican Mary DeBoer to finish Harper’s term when Harper
retired last year after 23 years as Porter Circuit Court judge.
According to the
resolution detailing Harper’s accomplishments, Harper became Porter Circuit
Court Judge in 1996. Before that, she was the first female deputy prosecutor
and chief deputy prosecutor in Porter County from 1975 to 1981. She then
served 12 years after being elected Porter County’s first female superior
court judge. Upon her retirement, Harper was the longest serving female
judge in Indiana history, says the resolution.
Part of the
resolution, read into the record by Assistant to the Commissioner’s Curt
Ellis, is as follows:
her tenure as judge of the circuit court, Judge Harper initiated many new
and innovative programs to serve juveniles and their families, including but
not limited to the juvenile and family drug court, family court, mental
health diversion program, juvenile detention alternative initiative, free
divorce and paternity mediation services, and truancy court; and,
Porter County Board of Commissioners wishes to recognize Judge Harper’s 40
years of groundbreaking and exemplary service to the people of Porter
“Therefore, be it
resolved, that the Porter County Commissioners hereby designate and name the
courtroom at the Porter County Juvenile Services Center as the Honorable
Mary R. Harper courtroom, effective this 28th day of January in the year
The Board greenlit
the Porter County Agricultural Society to replace the horse barn, which Dave
Bagnall of the Fair Board said is one of the oldest buildings on the
fairgrounds, with two smaller barns, one for horses and one for poultry.
Bagnall said the move will better equip the 4-H program for their growing
goat and poultry programs, since larger animals are now more expensive and
less popular to raise.
The total cost of
building two barns with electricity and 60 horse stalls and demolishing the
old barn is estimated to be approximately $435,000, to be paid for by the Ag
Society. The horse barn and the other buildings at the Fairgrounds besides
the Expo Center were built by the Ag Society and continue to be maintained
by the Ag society, but were given to the County, according to Bagnall.
Projects on the buildings require the Commissioners approval, per a lease
agreement. Bagnall also suggested the Commissioners and the Ag Society
revisit the lease agreement soon for routine updates, since parts of it are
The Board also
approved Memorial Opera House Director Scot MacDonald to enter a service
agreement with ZFX Flying Effects for a manual flying track system for
$6,925 so actors can fly during the Opera House’s run of “Mary Poppins.”
MacDonald said ZFX will handle take-down and install for a temporary flying
track and train the Opera House staff and volunteers who will be using it.
ZFX has worked with historical buildings before, and came highly recommended
by many theatre professionals MacDonald talked to at a recent conference, he
The Board approved
the Sheriff’s Department to buy a new bomb suit from MED-ENG, LLC for
The Board approved
on second reading two ordinances to create funds for the receipt of grants
for the Porter County Park Department’s acquisition of 35 acres adjoining
the Brincka-Cross Gardens in Pine Township. The two funds are for a $150,000
Lake Michigan Coastal Program Grant and a $179,000 Conservation Fund grant.
Park Board Vacancy
In other Park
Department business, the Commissioners have not yet made their Democratic
appointment to the Park Board since a 2019 change in State law gave them an
additional appointment to the Park Board. They now have two appointments,
who must be of opposite political parties. The Commissioners said at their
last meeting that they were re-advertising for more applicants and would
make an appointment Jan. 28.
911 Director Tony
Stua reported he’s created a proprietary training manual for Porter County
911. Having the manual will help the Department provide consistent training
and establishes protocols for emergency services that are unique to Porter