Chesterton Tribune

Porter credits employees, volunteers for successful fireworks, festival, parades

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By PAULENE POPARAD

It was kudos all around at Tuesday’s Porter Town Council meeting.

Town department heads, employees and volunteers were commended for stepping up in extreme heat to make it an enjoyable Independence Day celebration for the Duneland area.

The July 3 community fireworks at Indiana Dunes State Park, Porter’s July 4 midnight parade, the downtown morning parade, the Family 4th Fest and its evening fireworks --- town Police, Fire and Public Works departments all were congratulated for jobs well done.

Spokespersons for each said other than a few minor injuries, the festivites went off without incident despite thousands of people attending the various events.

Porter officials also thanked police, fire and street services donated by the towns of Chesterton and Burns Harbor.

Todd Allen of Porter Police thanked its officers and dispatchers who provided assistance. Porter assistant fire chief Jay Craig said those volunteers were on duty many hours to make sure events ran smoothly. Craig said one doesn’t often see such coordination and cooperation between departments in a town as small as Porter.

Council member Elka Nelson agreed the combined effort allowed the public “to have fun with no hassle or problems. You can’t do that everywhere.”

Commented Town Council president Greg Stinson, “It’s a real tribute to the (Fire) department to see so many of you out there as volunteers. It’s remarkable to see volunteers that dedicated.”

In addition to thanking others, Porter Public Works director Brenda Brueckheimer sent “a great big kudo out to my staff. What a great team we’ve got here.” Stinson agreed the clean-up needed between the midnight parade and the 9 a.m. family parade was a challenge for the department.

Park Board president Rondi Wightman said of the joint effort needed to pull off the Family 4th Fest in Hawthorne Park, “I thought it was amazing. I heard nothing but great things.”

Stinson said of the hot July 4 weather, “It was miserable. It was brutal out there.” While thanking volunteers, he noted the dedication of Jack Kashak. “He’s a wonderful man and he deserves some recognition. He’s a great asset.”

Nelson thanked Charlie Wilson of The Village Tavern for sponsoring the midnight parade, and those attending for living up to Wilson’s expectations. “It was a brave move on his part. There was nothing inappropriate about it at all.”

The parade was discontinued years ago after the drinking and some spectators got out of hand.

Stinson said if the midnight parade returns as an annual event, in 2013 there needs to be earlier communication and possibly a schedule change for the community fireworks at the State Park co-hosted by Porter. While the town did pull off the back-to-back events this year, said Stinson, “We can’t expect our workers or volunteers to do it every year.”

In other business Tuesday:

• Wightman said tonight at 6 p.m. at Hawthorne, Duneland Ballroom Dancing will give free lessons followed by a 7 p.m. concert by City Lights. Food vendors will be on hand and Ravinia-style picnicing is encouraged.

• Stinson named himself as an interim presidential appointment to the Stormwater Management Board replacing former councilman Bill Cantrell, who resigned.

• On final reading with council member Jeannine Virtue absent, the council adopted an ordinance indicating the town will correct sewer billing errors made during the previous 12-month period by issuing a credit to the user’s account for a period of no longer than 12 months.

• Final adoption was postponed until July 24 for an ordinance establishing a $20 fee for having town employees provide a list of adjacent property owners needed for public hearings for zoning petitions.

• At resident Michael Copollo’s request, Porter building commissioner Michael Barry agreed to investigate why concrete retaining barriers were removed at the gasoline fueling island of the TA travel center on the south side of U.S. 20. Copollo said he was almost run off the road when a vehicle pulled in front of him. Resident Jennifer Klug said it’s her recollection the barriers were installed to make vehicles exit at the stoplight west of TA’s parking lot.

• Todd Allen reported Dan Dickey has left as code enforcement officer at Porter Beach to take another law-enforcement position, but a replacement has been hired.

• Craig said the Fire Department responded to 52 calls in June, 14 more than June of last year, bringing year-to-date 2012 calls to 242 compared to 202 last year. July started busy and continues, he noted. “I hope the month slows down.”

Posted 7/11/2012