An advocate for
clear night skies, Larry Silvestri came to Tuesday’s Porter County
Commissioners meeting requesting to be on the agenda next month to present a
resolution in support of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore becoming and
International Dark Sky Park.
identified himself as mayoral appointee to the Michigan City Redevelopment
Commission and Park Board, said the Commissioners approved a resolution in
October 2010 endorsing the reduction of light pollution or excessive outdoor
lighting in Porter County. He said since then there have been advances and
research and he urged the Commissioners to consider reaffirming the
resolution and providing a letter of support for the Lakeshore’s nomination.
President Jeff Good, R-Center, said having only known about this on Tuesday,
he would refer the information to County Attorney Scott McClure to review to
see if a resolution can be made.
National Lakeshore Superintendent Paul Labovitz in onboard with the effort,
along with NIPSCO Economic Director Don Babcock.
Dark Sky Places conservation program began in 2001 and 16 parks, eight
reserves and seven communities have since been designated, including the
Town of Beverly Shores which was named a Dark Sky Community in 2014.
Also at the
meeting, the Commissioners asked County Highway Department Superinten-dent
Andy McKay to see if his department can repair the gate at the Zona Wildlife
Sanctuary on CR 950N in Jackson Twp.
Biggs, R-North, said he visited the property and saw that someone had backed
into the pole that the gate is attached to and currently the gate is
inoperatble due to the damage.
“It’s probably a
relatively inexpensive fix but it has to be fixed or else they can’t close
it,” Biggs said.
Good told Wildlife
Advisory Board member Larry McAfee that the Highway Department may be able
to make the repair.
discussion, Biggs mentioned that the Commission members in the past had
given a subsidy each year to the Sanctuary. Instead of that, he and Good
said they would rather have the Sanctuary be in communication with them and
bring matters like this to their attention when needed.
I think we can get more done smartly that way,” Biggs said.
In a second matter,
the Commissioners agreed for an invoice of $4,187 to be paid to Michiana
Rental for tables, tents and chairs to be set up for the Wildlife Advisory
Board’s annual Celebrate Wildlife event at Sunset Hill Farm Park on
Saturday, Oct. 7.
McAfee said it’s
the largest attended event they have during the year. He also introduced
Stephanie Kadletz who is the director of the Moraine Ridge Wildlife
Rehabilitation Center located in unincorporated Washington Twp.
“You can’t believe
how much this wildlife center helps veterinarians in Porter County. I think
it is one of the best in the state,” McAfee said.
Kadletz said the
center has rehabbed over 1,100 animals so far this year. Most of the animals
taken in come from Porter County properties, she said.
The Porter County
Animal Shelter will be getting a more functional and user-friendly website.
“Now that the
Shelter has a brand new physical home, we think it’s time to have a brand
new digital home as well,” said Curt Ellis, a paid consultant who handles
publicity for the Shelter.
by Shelter Director Toni Bianchi, asked the Commissioners to approve a
contract with Civic Plus for the website. The fees will be $8,000 for the
site’s launch but that will be paid with the money collected by the Porter
County Community Foundation during the Hounds Around Town fundraiser for the
Shelter a few years ago instead of using tax dollars, Ellis said. There will
then be an annual maintenance fee of $1,500.
approved the contract 3-0.
“I think a new
website is going to be very powerful for that place,” said Good. Ellis said
it will be easier to access from mobile devices.
Commissioners approved a quote of $15,809 from Apex for surgical and exam
room equipment for the Shelter.
the new shelter on being the recipient of a community improvement award from
the Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce.
Shurr Blaney, D-South, also lauded the staff for taking in about 100 animals
last weekend from the Portage pet store owner who was charged with animal
neglect. She said the situation was handled “extremely well,” working with
various rescue groups.