The Porter County
Board of Commissioners renewed its emergency declaration for the Porter
County portion of the Lake Michigan shoreline at its meeting yesterday.
previously declared an emergency over the excessive erosion in Beverly
Shores and at the Portage Lakefront at its Dec. 17 meeting.
President Jeff Good (R-Center) said yesterday state law dictates that the
Commissioners can only declare emergencies in 10- or 30-day increments. The
requirement is a way of ensuring that emergency situations are reviewed
periodically and not just declared and left open-ended, he said.
Scott McClure said since the emergency still exists, the Board should extend
its emergency declaration until its Feb. 18 meeting and reassess the
situation then. Emergency Management Agency Director Lance Bella agreed and
said he’s hoping for freezing weather to slow down the damage.
Biggs (R-North) reported residents of Graham Woods came to him with concerns
about drainage and flooding from the nearby lake in their neighborhood. This
resulted in what Biggs called a very productive community meeting where
County Engineer Mike Novotney answered questions and took down concerns from
at least two dozen residents.
Graham Woods is a
housing development in unincorporated Westchester Township on the north side
of Indian Boundary road near Brummitt Elementary School. Biggs said
residents came to him with concerns about water on their properties and
local roads last month. Some theorized beaver dams were backing up water and
causing damage to the stormwater infrastructure in the area.
Novotney thanked a
resident of Graham Woods, Ron Achterhon, who hosted the impromptu community
meeting at his house. “I thought it was a great conversation,” Novotney
said. “We laid out what we’re going to do. We’re working on a plan going
forward with the long-term goal of replacing culverts so we have a structure
that requires less maintenance and will manage water levels better.”
the meeting went well: “I think it did a lot of good for everybody.”
Achterhon and his wife Teri told the Chesterton Tribune that the
County had previously told them the stormwater issues in Graham Woods
weren’t a County issue, but Biggs and Novotney have cleared that up and
affirmed that the County will maintain the culverts in the area.
suggested that beavers are easy to blame, and that residents should also be
mindful of debris in their yards that can be swept into and clog culverts.
She added that Biggs and Novotney were helpful. “They have been great.
They’ve been there every time we called,” she said.
Biggs said he’s
learned and continues to learn a lot about stormwater issues and the County
is better equipped to take residents’ concerns into account thanks to the
County hiring its own engineers.
In other Stormwater
business, County Planner Bob Thompson announced the Department of
Development and Storm Water has brought on Adam McAlpine as Assistant County
Engineer. McAlpine is the former City Engineer for Valparaiso. Novotney and
Thompson said they’re excited to have McAlpine, and he brings a wealth of
knowledge and experience to the Department.
renewed the County’s annual agreement with the Purdue Extension. Porter
County Extension Director Annetta Jones made a reminder that 4-H enrollment
is wrapping up soon, and there are some new offerings.
The Board approved
IT Director Don Wellsand to enter a maintenance agreement with Network
Solutions for trouble calls for the County phone system for $30,800. The
Board also approved a quote for NITCO to provide additional off-site backup
storage for disaster recovery for $199.95 per month.
Ray Cloyd got quotes for fencing at the outdoor kennels at the Animal
Shelter. The Board approved the lowest, responsive bidder, Northwest Indiana
Fence, who offered to replace both the front and back fencing on the kennels
for $9,500. The Board also approved Cloyd to enter an agreement with D.A.
Dodd to provide the County IT server room with a new HVAC unit for $54,801.
The Board of
Commissioners presented a plaque to Doug Crandall, who is retiring from
Animal Control after serving the County in various capacities for 37 years.
According to Animal Shelter Director Toni Bianchi, Crandall started as a 911
dispatcher and moved into being a jail officer, sheriff’s deputy, and
juvenile court bailiff before he came to Animal Control. Crandall worked
under Bianchi for the last few years, since Animal Control has been based at
the new shelter.
Bianchi said, “Doug
has brought a lot to us in terms of knowledge and done a lot to make us a
better department.” She added that he’s taken home more than one animal over
the years, and wished him luck at his new position with the Beverly Shores
Crandall took a
moment to say he appreciates the efforts at the new Shelter. “I have a deep
respect for the quality of work they’ve put into it. It’s been made a place
where animals don’t end up, but in effect, have a new beginning. They work
with them very well to give them new homes,” Crandall said.