Citing tight town finances, the Porter Town Council voted Tuesday to give
$650 of in-kind police coverage and $350 in cash to the Family 4th Fest
celebration in Hawthorne Park July 4.
Last year the council made a $1,000 cash donation and police assisted during
The Porter Park Board and the Duneland Business Initiative Group sponsor the
holiday festival, which includes a parade, vendor displays, a beer tent,
food booths, organized events and a concluding fireworks display.
At Tuesday’s council meeting, Laura Layman of DuneBig explained how her
group receives in-kind police services and the few times it pays for that
coverage. DuneBig also sponsors Bark in the Park and other events in the
Layman said she was hoping Porter again could give $1,000 because private
donations are an uncertain funding source and last year’s level might not be
In 2012 more than $500 in private donations were received soon after the
Town of Chesterton initially balked at making a cash donation to the 4th
Fest; that Town Council later approved a $300 donation.
Layman told Porter officials DuneBig has tightened its belt this year.
Councilman Rob Pomeroy asked if DuneBig generates income from the festival.
Layman said vendors pay a fee but that’s eaten up with insurance,
advertising, portable restrooms and buying fireworks.
Council president Elka Nelson said Porter has an especially tight budget,
too. “Our prayers and hopes for miracles are just prayers and hopes,” she
explained. Council member Jeannine Virtue said the Family 4th Fest is a
wonderful event, but the town has to watch its budget.
Council member Greg Stinson suggested making a minimum $500 cash donation
because the Porter Park Department is a co-sponsor, but the eventual vote on
the $650/$350 was unanimous.
Woodlawn trail on hold
Plans for the portion of the new Orchard Pedestrian Way hike/bike trail that
would run on the north side of Woodlawn Avenue from League Lane west to
Waverly Road temporarily have been halted, said Nelson.
As the federal grant project, almost a decade in the planning, neared bid
letting, Nelson said it became apparent an 8 foot-wide trail with shoulders
along Woodlawn needed a second look before proceeding.
Homes are near the road in that neighborhood and there are no alleys for
alternate access as is the case in downtown Porter.
Town officials have met with consultants from SEH and with representatives
of pedway engineer/project manager Haas & Associates about the layout. An
additional meeting with a trails specialist at NIRPC is scheduled. Being
considered is extending a sidewalk, not a trail, along Woodlawn.
Title: Town or FD?
The night’s longest discussion resulted in 3-2 vote allowing the town to
accept a new F150 truck to be donated by Westchester Township; also donated
will be two automatic external defibrillators commonly known as AEDs.
Virtue, Stinson and Dave Wodrich voted yes; Nelson and Pomeroy voted no. It
later was agreed the motion included that the town, not the separate
incorporated Fire Department, would hold title to and be responsible for the
Assistant fire chief Jay Craig said if the town doesn’t title and insure the
vehicle, the fire incorporation can’t afford to take it.
There was unanimous gratitude expressed to Westchester Township, as well as
acknowledgement that a 1999 Suburban the F150 will replace is in bad shape.
But the fact the F150 will be one of two two take-home vehicles for
firefighters who aren’t full-time employees caused Nelson and Pomeroy to ask
for more time to study the contract between the town and incorporation.
Fire chief Lewis Craig is the only full-time firefighter. He has begun an
approximately six-week medical leave, and Virtue wished him well on behalf
of the council.
Jay Craig said having the two other take-home vehicles available cuts
response time, and the vehicles typically aren’t driven for private use. In
his case Craig’s take-home vehicle carries rescue gear, dive team supplies,
medical equipment and items related to his search-and-rescue dog Harley, who
recently earned additional certification.
In related Fire Department news, Craig said Saturday between 9 a.m. and 1
p.m. firefighters will be soliciting donations for the Hoosier Burn Camp.
Also, the department roster has climbed to approximately 30 members, a full
In other business Tuesday:
* Clerk-treasurer Carol Pomeroy’s office will close Thursday between 9
a.m. and 1 p.m. for on-site training.
* The council approved spending $527 out of CEDIT funds to install a
secure buzzer-entry system on the man door into the clerk’s office from the
town hall lobby.
* An assembly permit was approved for Discovery Charter School to hold
several events May 24 from 1 to 3 p.m. along portions of Canonie Drive and
Tremont Road. About 450 students will participate.
* Police chief James Spanier urged residents to lock the doors to
their vehicles since warm weather has arrived.
* Nelson said approximately 30 people have offered to take the 17
puppies rescued after being dumped along State Park Road over the weekend.
* Park director Brian Bugajski said the annual Memorial Day observance
will take place at 1 p.m. May 27 at the Hawthorne Park monument; also
dedicated will be the Jim Butz Parkway, named after the Army specialist, a
combat medic and Porter resident, who was killed September, 2011 in
* Bugajski thanked coordinator Ryan Groceman and his Rebuilding
Together Duneland crews who undertook several projects at Hawthorne and
Porter Cove parks. Pomeroy said he received compliments about the latter
* Public Works director Brenda Brueckheimer announced work was
completed today on the sewer extension that’s caused traffic problems for
months on Porter Avenue, Waverly Road and Lincoln Street. Restoration has
begun, and she thanked Porter residents for their patience.
* Nelson noted the recent loss of two significant Porter residents.
Richard LaHayne, a town historian among other interests, passed away April
11. Donald ‘Doc’ Whisler passed away April 14. He was a former town building
commissioner active in other areas. Said Nelson, “It was a bad week for
Porter. We’ll all miss both of them in our own ways.”