Chesterton Tribune


Knoblock receives Governor's honor at final commissioner meeting

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Departing South County Commissioner Carole Knoblock knew she might receive some sort of recognition for her eight years as part of the board during Tuesday’s Porter County Commissioner meeting, but she never thought it would come from Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels.

Fellow Commissioner Nancy Adams, R-Center, surprised Knoblock with a letter from Daniels announcing her as a recipient of the Governor’s Distinguished Service Medal for her sacrifice and commitment to her County.

Commissioner President John Evans, R-North, remarked that Knoblock has held public office beginning in 1983 as the Porter Twp. Trustee/Assessor. She is also a former member of the County Council, a past treasurer for the Indiana Township Association, and volunteer for the 4-H program.

Knoblock graduated from Boone Grove High School in 1951. She and her late husband Bob had four children.

Evans added that his peer “although small in physical stature” was a “fierce” voice against urban sprawl and tax increases. Other accomplishments include her commitment to preventing drainage and flooding troubles.

“Because you have served, Porter County is a better place to live,” Evans told Knoblock.

Laura Shurr Blaney who replaced Knoblock on the County Council in 2004 will do so again for her Commissioner seat in January.

“I’m looking forward to retirement,” Knoblock said with a laugh. “There have been ups and downs but that’s normal. Thank you for everything.”

Porter Health picked

for clinical services

In business matters, the commissioners opted to sign with Porter Health Care System as its clinical service provider with the County’s new health insurance plan.

The commissioners terminated their three-year contract with HealtheACCESS Clinics earlier this year ,which later was one of the firms considered for the new plan. Evans said the County had a good relationship with HealtheACCESS but the wellness programs were underutilized at 20 percent.

What is preferable about Porter’s plan, according to Evans, is that its contract would charge per visit instead of charging a flat fee as the other firms submitted in their proposals, providing more cost efficiency. It also had capped rates and no contractual obligations for how long the contract would last.

Employees will not need to pay when they use the clinic. Services include lab and x-ray. Wellness programs will be offered at a later time.

Porter has clinics open at its Valparaiso and Chesterton locations. Another will be opening in Portage sometime next year.

In a related matter, the Commissioners approved the monthly COBRA rates in the employee health insurance at $486 for individuals and $1,173 for families.

Support for PACT building

Just as they approached the County Council earlier this week, Sharon Mortensen and Tammy O’Neill from Porter County PACT requested support from the Commissioners in a matter to purchase the Legacy Banquet Center building located at 1356 Lincolnway in Valparaiso for $600,000 using interest monies generated from the hospital sale fund.

PACT, a non-profit which does not receive traditional funding by the County, is looking to sell its two current residences at 254 S. Morgan Blvd. and 207 Brown St. in Valparaiso and expand its monitoring services which could lower the number of inmates at the County Jail.

Like the Council which had a 5-1 straw vote on Monday in support of the matter, the Commissioners took a preliminary vote of 3-0 and will take an official vote next month.

Camera to broadcast

county meetings

The Commissioners approved the purchase of one new video camera which will be placed at the back of the Commissioners Chambers to capture feed of meetings which will be later uploaded to the County website.

The camera will be purchased for $1,136 from Video Tech out of the Commissioners’ CCD funds.

IT Director Sharon Lippens said the camera should be installed later next month but it won’t be until the County launches its new website in July before meetings are broadcast.

Meetings will not be streamed live over the website but will be put on file and made available for viewing later, Lippens said.

In a second IT matter, the Commissioners agreed to increase bandwidth for the County website. A new contract with internet service provider Northwest Indiana Telephone Company (NITCO) will be $1,400 a month which will be paid out of the Commissioner’s telephone fund.

Other Items:

• The Memorial Opera House was given $18,000 for consultant Luke Bouman to help launch a capital campaign for the 119-year-old facility. Interim Business Director Michelle Smith said the campaign looks to raise up to $4 million in a span of two years.

• Emergency repairs will be made to the Sheriff’s garage. Sheriff David Lain and Captain George Gonzalez said extensive rusting from steel beams has caused interior damage. The Commissioners approved up to $12,000 in economic development income tax money for the work. Also approved was $11,400 in CEDIT for x-ray machines at the County Courthouse. Evans cautioned that CEDIT funds for 2013 have not been budgeted or even entertained for a vote by the County Council in wake of an ongoing dispute surrounding next year’s County budget.

• Job positions at the E-911 Communications Center were adjusted. Two current employees will take on additional responsibilities, one as an accreditation manager and the other as a quality insurance manager, with a small adjustment in pay.

• The Commissioners are amending the County’s policy manual for next year. Evans said one amendment will reflect that no part-time employee will be paid more than $35 an hour.

• Plan Commission Executive Director Robert Thompson presented an agreement with the Indiana Department of Transportation for the $1.6 million enhancement to the Calumet Trail. The agency will work with the County on a Request for Qualifications when it comes time to find a construction firm later next year.


Posted 12/19/2012