Chesterton Tribune



Burns Harbor ambulance proposal near: rain garden/swale grant sought

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Burns Harbor is in negotiations with Porter Countyís contracted advanced-life-support ambulance service to take over ALS coverage from the local Fire Department.

Town councilman Mike Perrine said representatives of Porter Regional Hospitalís ALS, which serves much of Porter County, is reviewing a proposed contract with Burns Harbor. As soon as the hospitalís made a decision, Perrine said the contract will be given to the council for consideration.

Porter Hospital ALS has an ambulance station in Chesterton but Burns Harbor decided to start its own service because of delays in response time if the rigs were already out. Burns Harbor officials said the Fire Department ambulance saved lives in its 14 months of operation, but the town canít continue to subsidize its $250,000 annual operation not covered by trip fees.

A special council meeting could be called to vote on the contract, especially with decisions also pending on bids for a new Street Department plow truck and hiring a deputy marshal to fill a vacancy.

The Burns Harbor Fire Department will continue to offer residents and mutual aid calls its ALS service until a new provider is in place.

Last month the council said itís their desire that the new provider operate an ambulance out of the town fire station under a lease arrangement.

Rain garden proposed

Councilman Gene Weibl reported Wednesday that consultant Weaver Boos is finalizing its proposal for Burns Harborís community improvement and transformation using green-development alternatives. It could be ready for presentation to the townís Redevelopment Commission soon.

Weibl said even though the town has no public lakefront, it wants to identify and market itself as a Lake Michigan community.

To that end heís researching grant opportunities and recommended applying for an MS4/Stormwater Management grant to install a planted rain garden and bioswale as a demonstration project at the town hall. The local match would be $15,000 but Weibl said he believes he can raise that amount through donations.

He also said there are more grant opportunities if the town has the type of plan Weaver Boos is preparing.

2013 remaining business

The council entered into the record the approved encumberances that allow purchases using leftover 2013 funds across all departments. They included a new police car, fire bunker gear and Street Department bulk materials.

Town marshal Mike Heckman reported police handled 240 incidents in December and responded to 10 vehicle crashes. Six misdemeanor arrests were made and police cars traveled 5,864 miles. Burns Harbor fire chief Bill Arney said last month firefighters responded to 69 calls spending 51 hours 17 minutes at emergency scenes and 18 hours in training. Fire vehicles traveled 1,400 miles.

By a 4-0 vote with Weibl having left due to illness, the council gave final adoption to a 2014 Park Department salary ordinance.

Park Board president Marcus Rogala reminded residents of the January programs available at Lakeland Park. A list can be found at under Events.

The sessions include making and sharing bracelet ideas Jan. 10 from 6 to 8 p.m.; Legos Club (Legos supplied) from 1 to 3 p.m. Jan. 11; a Coffee & Canvas art workshop also Jan. 11 for age 16 and up from 6 to 9 p.m. (a fee and pre-registration required); and a family movie night, ages 4 and up, from 6 to 8 p.m. Jan. 25.

For more information about park activities contact 787-8126.

Conflict of interest disclosures for 2014 were announced: clerk-treasurer Jane Jordan that her husband Kurt may work as a computer consultant for the town; Perrine that his wife Leeann is a member of the Park Board; and councilman Jeff Freeze that his wife Tracy is a member of the Board of Zoning Appeals.

Responding to a question from the audience, council president Jim McGee said nothing is final what will be done with or to the former Westport Community Club building/grounds the town acquired last year as a donation. The center is being checked regularly, McGee added.


Posted 1/9/2014