Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Porter County asked to support Lakeshore Dark Sky designation

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By JEFF SCHULTZ

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.

Silvestri, who 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.

Commissioner 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.

Silvestri said National Lakeshore Superintendent Paul Labovitz in onboard with the effort, along with NIPSCO Economic Director Don Babcock.

The International 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.

Wildlife sanctuary gate

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.

Commissioner Jim 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.

While in 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.

“Let’s communicate. 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.

Animal Shelter website

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.

Ellis, accompanied 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.

The Commissioners 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.

Also, the Commissioners approved a quote of $15,809 from Apex for surgical and exam room equipment for the Shelter.

Good congratulated the new shelter on being the recipient of a community improvement award from the Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce.

Commissioner Laura 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.

 

Posted 7/20/2017

 
 
 
 

 

 

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