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Lorain Bell remembered as town leader; Porter OKs money for new police dog

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By PAULENE POPARAD

The Porter Town Council voted 4-0 Tuesday to use $14,845 in CEDIT money to purchase a police dog from Faus K-9 Specialties of Elkhart. The cost includes two weeks of officer training with the dog.

Porter Police officer Scott Cornelison’s former K-9 partner of three years, Nicky, died in August of a twisted stomach; Nicky was recuperating following surgery for a bulging disk and was thought to be doing well.

Porter Police chief James Spanier said the department also received a proposal for nearly the same price from Vohne Liche Kennels of Denver, IN west of Fort Wayne, but five weeks training would have been required. The town incurs additional costs to pay another officer to fill Cornelison’s duty rotation.

Cornelison estimated with Faus he could have his new dog and be certified late next month; he was thanked by the council for his willingness to take on another canine partner.

Spanier said he’s looking into the possibility of getting life/disability insurance on the new police dog. The town’s insurance agent is researching options.

In other business, the council set Trick-or-Treat hours for Halloweeen night Oct. 31 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., the same hours observed by other Duneland communities. Spanier reminded motorists to use caution when children are present. “A couple minutes being late is better than an accident.”

Superintendent Jim Miller said the Park Department hosts its annual Boo Bash children’s party for ages infant to 13 Sunday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Hawthorne Park. The costume contest begins at 2 p.m. The Halloween fun is a free family event.

Town heroes remembered

The council opened the meeting with a moment of silence to honor the late Lorain Bell, who passed away Oct. 19 and was buried today. Members also heard a request to rename a street in Hawthorne Park to honor Spc. James Butz, who died Sept. 28, 2011 while serving as a combat medic in Afghanistan.

Council president Greg Stinson, a personal friend of Bell, said, “The Town of Porter lost a giant with the passing of Lorain Bell on Friday. In many ways Lorain exemplified what it means to be a leader in town.”

Bell was one week shy of having served on the Porter Plan Commission for 28 years. He also was a long-time member of the Porter Board of Zoning Appeals.

“I miss him deeply already,” said Stinson. “We didn’t always agree, but I knew Lorain always had the best interest of the Town of Porter at heart. I’m going to miss those exchanges and dinners and arguments (we had). The Town of Porter is a much better place for having had Lorain as a resident.”

Later during public comment, Jeffrey Bailey proposed renaming a street leading to the war memorial at Hawthorne or another interior park street the James Butz Parkway.

After the meeting Bailey told the Chesterton Tribune he was Butz’s Cub and Boy Scout leader. “Many times he stood in formation in front of that war memorial when we had the Scouts out, and he played baseball there at Hawthorne.” Bailey added that Butz’s parents would be honored to have a street named for their son.

Bailey noted Ackerman Drive through the park is named for former Porter resident Robert Ackerman, who died with the U.S. Army in 1943 in North Africa.

Stinson said Bailey’s suggestion is a wonderful idea and it will be considered.

Sewer bill questioned

David Schroeder of Hunters Glen said he was floored by the amount of his sewer bill and inquired how his and his neighbors’ bills are computed compared to subdivisions that do not have municipal water service. Clerk-treasurer Carol Pomeroy provided the explanation.

Schroeder questioned whether it was fair to charge homes not served by Indiana American Water Co. a flat rate; Stinson said the rate is based on high estimated usage.

Pomeroy said the Town Council could talk to IAWC about extending more water lines, but residents need to pay the cost of a line from their home to the water main and that can run into the thousands of dollars.

In other business, assistant fire chief Jay Craig said the Porter Fire Department won $250 for raising the most money per capita during a recent Fill the Boot day for Hoosier Burn Camp; the prize money was donated to the camp. Together, over $50,000 was raised by firefighters in Lake and Porter counties.

Craig also noted that during the recent Fire Prevention Week, firefighters met with over 800 children in grades K-4 at Yost Elementary and Discovery Charter schools. Craig’s rescue/recovery dog Harley was a hit with the kids.

Council member Elka Nelson commended Craig and Harley for helping find a missing elderly South Haven man last week.

Also Tuesday, Public Works superintendent Brenda Brueckheimer said a sewer force main will be installed in downtown Porter and some temporary road and lane closures will be required. She also asked residents to trim back overgrowth to 3 feet off the roadway to a height of 10 feet or town employees will do it.

Director of Development Mike Barry asked residents, visitors and businesses to take a new survey regarding accessibility on the wwwtownofporter.com website as part of the town’s compliance plan for the Americans with Disabilities Act. A workshop will be scheduled at a later date.

With member Jeannine Virtue absent, by a 4-0 vote the Town Council adopted a resolution preliminarily approving an expansion of Porter’s TIF district to take in 32 acres at Waverly Road and U.S. 20 including the former Splash Down Dunes waterpark. The resolution also approved amending the town’s economic development plan as approved last week by the Porter Plan Commission.

Adoption of the resolution paves the way for the Porter Redevelop-ment Commission to conduct a Nov. 27 public hearing on the expansion before returning to the Town Council for final approval. The RDC is awaiting a tax impact study being prepared by a consultant.

 

 

Posted 10/24/2012