Aiming to curtail
the streak of personal injury and fatal vehicle accidents at the
intersection of McCool Road (C.R 400W) and Robbins Road (C.R. 875N), the
Porter County Commissioners approved the installation of an amber LED light
blinker beacon and red LED blinker stop signs on Tuesday.
Biggs, R-North, said he became interested in improving safety at that
intersection following comments made on social media regarding a fatality
there last spring. He said he contacted the Sheriff’s Department to do a
traffic study and learned that nearly 100 accidents have occurred since
2007, the vast majority resulting in personal injury.
“It’s hard to
figure out why there are so many accidents out there. It’s got good sight
lines. It’s very flat. A lot of it is speed and driver impatience. We can’t
do anything with the impatience but maybe we could do something with the
speed,” Biggs said.
Rather than putting
up the large cost of installing a traffic light, which would require
electricity and acquiring the right-of-way, County Highway Department
Superintendent Andy McKay said there was money leftover in cable franchise
funds to install a solar-powered blinking light and stop sign.
The cost for the
new lights and signs will be $10,083. This would be the same kind of
improvements the county made a little over a year ago at the intersection of
Meridian Road and C.R. 700N in Liberty Township, which McKay said was
McKay said the
Indiana Department of Transportation announced plans to close Ind. 149 from
U.S Highway 6 to U.S. Highway 20 starting after Labor Day for a bridge
replacement, which means more motorists will be driving through that
intersection next month as a detour.
September will be
Childhood Cancer Awareness Month in Porter County, by proclamation of the
Director of the
Northwest Indiana Cancer Kids Foundation Donna Criner provided the
proclamation, which states that, in the last year, 19 children in Northwest
Indiana were diagnosed with cancer and five more have lost their life. It
remains the largest disease related death in American children. One in 285
persons will be diagnosed by the age of 20 and the Federal Drug
Administration has only approved four drugs to treat childhood cancer.
“The lack of
childhood cancer research has a tremendous impact to kids and significant
cost to society, now and in the future,” the proclamation said, read by
County Commissioner President Jeff Good, R-Center.
Biggs said he will
ask the County Building Department to put up posters and for information
about the program to be placed on the County’s website.
Criner said she
appreciates if the Commissioners could encourage citizens to participate in
cancer awareness activities throughout the month. Commissioner Laura Shurr
Blaney, D-South, said every year the NICK organization is doing more.
“I think you are
making an impact. It’s sad to me that we see the same kind of statistics
every year,” Blaney said.
Time and Attendance
In other business,
the Commissioners opted 3-0 to approve a contractual agreement with Right
Stuff Software to implement a new payroll and timecard scheduling software,
contingent on funding approval by the County Council.
Vicki Urbanik said the committee looking into the software determined that
just three physical time clocks, worth $2,000 each, will be needed for the
County Highway Department. All other departments will be using computers to
clock in, she said.
The one-time cost
for the installation of the software is $40,000, plus $3,000 monthly for
Urbanik said that
she is also working to sync up the paydays for all the departments so there
is less confusion. After Oct. 20, everyone will be in line for when their
pay day is and when their vacation time, sick time and leave time.
approved a contract with Engstrom Auctions for the Sheriff’s Department to
hold an auction in October for surplus vehicles from its fleet at the County
Highway Dept. The Voters Registration Office said it also has items it is
would like to sale.
Whatever money is
generated from the sale goes back to the county fund which originally
purchased the item, Urbanik said.
also featured the introduction of Mike Brickner, who will lead the 911
Communications Center and the Emergency Management departments which are to
“I think we have
some outstanding people who are working in our 911 system and our EMA. Let’s
take a great organization and make it better,” said Brickner, who begins his
role on Monday after retiring as chief of Valparaiso Police.
Biggs gave kudos to
the Kouts and Hebron Fire Departments who were able to get a $750,000
federal grant to purchase radios in preparation of the county’s transition
to an 800-megahertz system, mandated by the state. He also thanked
Valparaiso, Portage and Chesterton for taking the initiative to buy their
“As the Board of
Commissioners, we are very impressed and really appreciate the hard work
that all of you did to apply for that grant because not all the departments
have done that. This is less burden on the taxpayers,” Biggs said.
Biggs said the
board met with Motorola last week and should have pricing with rebates for
the new system to be ready in the next 60 days.
In other actions
* The Commissioners
appointed former Pine Township Trustee/Assessor Nancy Kolasa as their
representative to the Property Tax Assessment Board of Appeals.
* Approved a list
of employees who will have County take-home vehicles. The list is available
in the Commissioners’ office for anyone who wishes to see it, Good said.
* Paid an
installment of $88,321 to Larson-Danielson for construction of the new
Animal Shelter. Also signed was a certificate of substantial completion.
* Approved a county
employee to receive 90 home care visits instead of the maximum of 60 on the
County’s health plan, as recommended by servicing agent RE Sutton. County
Attorney Scott McClure said this will be a cost savings for the County.
* Contracted with
Boyd Construction of Valparaiso to seal coat and stripe the parking lots at
the Porter County Jail and Juvenile Services Center. Facilities Manager Matt
Stechly said to his knowledge, both lots have never been seal coated before
and the work is needed.
agreements for the bridge over Salt Creek on Old Porter Road to have
* Terminated an
ongoing contract with Dave Burrus, who had been assisting with drainage
improvements, now that the Stormwater Management Department is undertaking