Chesterton Tribune



Porter: No money donation for fireworks; Duneland: No buses this year

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The Porter Town Council for a second year in a row voted not to give a monetary contribution towards the Lakeshore Fireworks display at Indiana Dunes State Park put on by the Duneland Chamber of Commerce.

However, like last year, the Council voted 5-0 to provide an in-kind donation, lending its Police and Fire departments for protection at the event, an estimated value of $2,500 in staff salaries.

“All we are doing is providing a service and in all honesty as the event is going on, we are going to have to have personnel down there anyway because it is on our property, so this is a formality,” said Council President Greg Stinson.

Chamber President Maura Durham was present at Tuesday’s meeting to make the request for the in-kind donation and for any monetary donation. The Town had given in years past up to $3,000 but last year the Council felt they wanted to have money for the Town’s own 4th of July celebration and fireworks at Hawthorne Park.

Council member Brian Finlay made the motion for no contribution, telling Durham he’d “rather have the Council give to their own fireworks.” The rest of the Council agreed with a vote of 5-0.

The Lakeshore Fireworks event will be on June 29, Durham said, with a rain date of July 5. She said there will not be a large change in logistics this year but there will be a major change in operations. Due to insurance changes, the Duneland School Corporation will not be providing buses this year to get people to Porter Beach.

Stinson asked Police Chief Jamie Spanier if the discontinuation of buses would cause problems. Spanier said it shouldn’t as there were no buses the first few years of the event. This would require less manpower by the police department because there wouldn’t be so many officers directing buses, Spanier said.

DEDC business grant

In another matter, Durham also asked the Council encourage businesses to apply for the Duneland Economic Development Company’s exterior improvement grant. The DEDC will match 80 percent on grants ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 for exterior rehabilitation with a 20 percent match by the business. The grant applications will be accepted until the end of business on Friday.

Parks maintenance

The Council, under new business, amended the 2017 Town Employee Salary Ordinance 5-0 to change the parks full-time maintenance position from salaried to hourly to make it more comparable to all the other maintenance positions in the Town which are hourly.

The position will now pay $15 to $17 per hour.

Parks Director Brian Bugajski said Tony Baruffi has been hired as the new employee, replacing Jim Miller who will retire on Friday after serving 27 years with the parks department.

“We would like to thank Jim for all he has done for the department and wish him a relaxing retirement,” Bugajski said.

Baruffi has had the experience of being head of maintenance of the Westchester Public Library System, Bugajski said.

Bugajski asked that the public be patient in the next few weeks as they will spend time training Baruffi. “It may take a couple more hours to get to phone calls and the grass may look a little shaggy but we will be up to speed in the next couple of weeks,” he said.

Volunteers still needed

Also, the Hawthorne playground installation on Thursday, May 4 and Friday, May 5 could use more volunteers, Bugajski said. Anyone interested in helping may call the parks department at 921-1687. He also asked that if businesses in the area would like to sponsor a lunch, that will be appreciated as well.

The installation days will start at 8 a.m. and go until 5 p.m.

Earlier in the meeting, the Council held a public hearing for an appropriation for $5,000 in the parks donation fund for playground equipment. No one from the public spoke. The Council then voted 5-0 in favor of the appropriation.

Spring cleanup closing

In department reports, Public Works Director Brenda Brueckheimer said May 4 will be the last day for leaf pickup until the fall. The last for chipper and brush yard waste pickup will be a week later on May 11.

“Make sure to get out this weekend and put the final spring cleanup items out there. Please follow the brush pickup rules. If you need assistance, please give us a call at 926-4212,” Brueckheimer said.

For ornamental grasses, residents should bundle them in groups not too exceed 50 pounds. Stinson said that residents should be sure those are clean of debris so that no objects damage the equipment.

Brueckheimer said she has also received a lot of phone calls on construction debris. Her department does not handle construction debris and questions on how to get rid of those items should be directed to Able Disposal at 1-800-828-2253, she said.

Dogs on leashes

In Council comments, Finlay asked that residents at Porter Beach be considerate in keeping their dogs leashed. He said his wife was “charged by five dogs” on the beach and one of them bit her deep enough to break the skin.

Finlay said he doesn’t know who the owner of the dog was but stated, “Please, keep your dog on a leash. This could have been a lot worse than what it was.”

Spanier said that any resident who sees a dog outside without a leash can contact the police department so they can notify animal control and make record of it.

Also, Finlay expressed his condolences to the family of Nicole Gland who was the victim of a homicide in Chesterton last week and thanked police and emergency responders for their work.


Posted 4/26/2017






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