afterbirth was discovered in the tank of a portable toilet on the Prairie Duneland Trail, one day after a newborn infant was left in a Safe Haven Baby
Box at the Coolspring Township Volunteer Fire Department.
It will never be
known whether that discovery was actually connected to the CTVFD rescue, but
at the time it prompted Town Council Member Jim Ton, R-1st, to call for the
installation of a similar baby box at the Chesterton Fire Department, and
Fire Chief John Jarka was duly instructed to investigate the ways and means
of procuring one.
But confusion about
the legalities of baby boxes threw a monkey wrench into matters, until--on
July 1--new legislation took effect which clearly permits the placement of
such boxes at any Indiana fire station which is manned 24/7.
So it was at
Monday’s council meeting that Ton once again called for the installation of
a baby box at the CFD. As Ton noted, Monica Kelsey, founder and president of
Safe Haven Baby Boxes (SHBB), previously toured the CFD station and found it
a feasible location for a box and, together with Jarka, identified a likely
site: at the station’s southeast corner.
Town Attorney Chuck
Lukmann, for his part, has reviewed and greenlighted a contract with SHBB,
under which the box will be purchased at a cost of $10,000. An additional
monthly expense, related to the SHBB subscription and alarm company
services, is estimated at $100 to $140, while the installation itself will
be done in-house by the CFD, Ton said.
“Chief Jarka has
done the heavy lifting throughout,” Ton added, while “Chuck Lukmann has
worked tirelessly to craft a suitable contract with SHBB’s legal
explained how the box works, much like a depository at a bank, as it turns
out: once it has been opened and then closed, it cannot be re-opened until
the CFD has re-set it from inside. There are three alarms: the first is
activated automatically when the box is opened; the second, when a baby is
placed on the pad (which is either heated or cooled depending on the
season); and the third time, when--if--the person leaving the baby elects to
The infant will
then be placed into the custody of the Indiana Department of Child Services,
which will work to adopt it out. Ton noted that both infants which have been
left in the CTVFD baby box have already been adopted out, and Coolspring
Township firefighters proudly display photos at their station of the babies
with their new families.
“This is for people
in crisis,” Ton said. “They have a child and don’t know what to do. It’s a
matter of sanctity of life. We don’t want a child put in harm’s way because
the mother is in crisis. Babies can’t do anything about their situation but
Kittredge, R-2nd, concurred. “I think this is a wonderful thing for the town
to do,” he said.
voted 5-0 to enter into a contract with SHBB.
Folks interested in
donating funds to the cost of the baby box may make a check out to the Town
of Chesterton and write “Baby Box” in the memo.
In other business,
Town Manager Bernie Doyle reported that an updated version of the town’s
municipal website will go live on Thursday, Sept. 6.
“It’s a very
sophisticated but user-friendly system,” he said.
ahead--thinking way ahead--the organizers of the annual Chesterton Art Fair
got their promotional banner request for next year’s event in early.
Commissioner John Schnadenberg reported, the organizers would like to place
two banners promoting the Chesterton Art Fair on Aug. 3-4, 2019, at the
usual locations: on East Porter Ave. and at the intersection of North
Calumet Road and Indian Boundary Road. The banners will be placed two weeks
in advance of the event, July 17, and removed immediately at the conclusion
of the event. Members voted unanimously to approve the request.
At the request of
the Chesterton Branding Leadership Team, members also voted unanimously to
hold a special meeting at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 17, in the auditorium of
the Dorothy Buell Memorial Visitor Center.
The purpose of
meeting: to screen a 60-minute video on ways to facelift and promote