Chesterton Tribune



Chesterton baby box on hold until state law amended

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The Town of Chesterton won’t be getting a Safe Haven baby box any time soon, at least not until Indiana’s Safe Haven law has been changed.

As Fire Chief John Jarka reported at the Town Council’s meeting Monday night, under the current law--which permits a mother to surrender an unwanted newborn child anonymously and without fear of prosecution--baby boxes may only be installed at hospitals.

The boxes currently in place at the Coolspring Township Fire Department in LaPorte County and Woodburn FD were both grandfathered in, Jarka said.

The developer of Safe Haven Baby Boxes, however, Woodburn resident Monica Kelsey, expects the current law to be amended to include fire-department installations by the General Assembly in its next session. “With the proven success of the location at Coolspring Fire, she has had overwhelming responses for new boxes to be installed--in Gary, Dyer, Hammond, and several other places--so the belief is the bill will pass successfully,” Jarka said.

The cost of a baby box could be as high as $10,000, Jarka noted, although Kelsey has several “committed sponsors” of the program, including the Knights of Columbus, which has pledged to pay for 100 boxes throughout the state. Should a sponsor assume the cost of installation, the only ongoing expenses would be monitoring-- the Coolspring Township FD found an alarm company which is donating the monthly cost--and electric for the box’s heating and cooling units.

Riverfront District Application

In other business, Town Manager Bernie Doyle announced that the owner of the old salon at 420 Broadway is applying for an alcohol license under the town’s officially designated riverfront district--within the boundaries of which a dining establishment may receive an alcohol license exempt from local quotas--extending 3,000 feet on either side of Coffee Creek between Woodlawn Ave. and the Indiana Toll Road.

Doyle had no further information but said that he was hopeful he will have an update in the near future.

Several restaurants have benefited from the riverfront designation, established in 2009, including Villa Nova Pizzeria & Bistro, The Octave Grill, Ivy’s Bohemia House, Gastro 49, and--most recently--Volstead.

Downtown Directional Sign

Meanwhile, Street Commissioner John Schnadenberg reported that a new LED-illuminated directional sign has been installed at the intersection of 1100N and 100E. That sign directs out-of-towners westbound or eastbound on 1100N--en route, for instance, to or from events at CHS or Dogwood Park--clearly to the Downtown.

A companion sign was installed earlier this fall on East Porter Ave., just east of South Calumet Road.

“It looks great, both ways, either east- or westbound,” said President Jim Ton, R-1st.


Ton took a moment at the end of the meeting to offer his and his colleagues’ condolences to the family of Chesterton resident David Jones, 24, who died on Saturday after being struck by a semi while he was trying to bicycle across Ind. 49.



Posted 12/13/2017




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