Chesterton Tribune



Porter Parks adopt new liquor rules

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A stricter interpretation of state liquor laws by excise police has prompted the Porter Park Board to adopt a new liquor policy for renters of its facilities including the Hawthorne Park community center and shelters.

Vote on the alcohol policy was 4-0. It is effective immediately and persons/groups with existing contracts for upcoming rentals will be notified, said park director Brian Bugajski.

The Park Department now will solicit requests for proposals from caterers with a three-way liquor license and from approved liquor vendors from which renters may choose; member Ross LeBleu clarified renters still may opt to secure a one-day state liquor permit through a licensed server if they so choose.

Park Board member Jeff Bailey said state excise rules have backed the board into a corner. “We don’t want to restrict rentals. We’re kind of between a rock and a hard place.”

Board president Rondi Wightman said she hopes to keep as many eligible caterers/servers on the new preferred list as possible to give renters more options.

Bugajski said the Park Board’s newly hired attorney Ken Elwood agreed the department’s previous policy was not compliant with excise laws. The board met with him earlier this month in closed executive session to discuss a revised policy.

In a related matter, the Park Board adopted by ordinance new rental rates for park facilities that include special rates for multiple standing rentals and non-profit groups. The board retained its option to waive rental fees if requested.

Members unanimously approved a Hawthorne rental at reduced cost for Susan Calvert of Westchester Intermediate School Fifth Grade. Up to 300 students could participate in the June 4 outdoor lunch; community center use is included.

Also adopted Tuesday was a revised agreement with the Porter Redevelopment Commission for maintenance of town hike/bike trails to include snow removal.

Raffin resignation told

Member Patty Raffin, who’s served more than eight years on the board, resigned effective immediately Tuesday under closing comments. After the meeting she said leaving now gives the Town Council one month to find a replacement.

Raffin said she was honored to have the opportunity to serve on the board and gave her decision serious consideration, however, her other responsibilities and increased commitments outweighed staying. Her current term expires Dec. 31, 2013.

She also said she’s confident that with the Park Department’s new restructuring of staff and Bugajski’s hiring, “They’re in good shape.” Raffin plans to continue her involvement with the Bud’s Buddies friends of the park group.

Raffin has been an especially active member; she was thanked for her Park Board service and involvement.

Full summer schedule

Outlined were a variety of summer programs and events for the public at Hawthorne Park.

Things kick off Monday with a 1 p.m. Memorial Day program at Hawthorne. The ceremony will include dedication of the James Butz Parkway, a one-lane, tree-lined closed portion of Rankin Street south of the baseball diamond. Eventual parkway upgrades are planned.

Amanda Glasser is the new summer park director. She asked for donations of paper towel and toilet paper tubes, as well as newspaper and popsicle sticks. Applications still are being accepted for two arts & crafts assistants.

The Park Program for ages 5 to 10 runs Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. from June 10 through June 28 with a one-week break, then resuming July 8 through July 26. Bugajski announced Nicholas Sufana returns as a season worker, and the director thanked Bob Kremke for his volunteer efforts and Lakeshore Drifters for their annual plantings.

Raffin said the Sounds of Summer concert series at Hawthorne’s east shelter begins June 12 with additional performances July 10, Aug. 14 and possibly July 31. Food vendors and ballroom-dancing exhibitions are included. Robert Vodnoy is musical director of the series. The June 12 concert is sponsored by Westchester Public Library.

June 14 at 5:30 p.m. Porter town departments will host a youth Summer Safety Fest featuring an anti-bullying presentation “Be the Exception” by PATH (Positive Approach to Teen Health).

Wightman also said plans are on track for the July 4 Family 4th Fest. Commented Bugajski, “You name it, we’ve got it.”



Posted 5/22/2013