story in 2015--unquestionably--was the lease agreement struck by Pavilion
Partners LLC with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.
Call it, for
shorthand, the Pavilion story, although it was always less about the
Pavilion than about the banquet center which the lease entitles the LLC to
Needless to say,
the Pavilion story, in all of its hurry-up-and-wait lurchiness, promises to
make periodic headlines well into the New Year. In the wane of 2015, folks
were wondering pointedly, for instance, what piece of property DNR is
looking to acquire, under the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965,
to swap for the square footage on which Pavilion Partners is going to put
the banquet center.
which the New Year presumably will answer:
Williams’ appeal of the local ABC’s decision to deny the LLC an alcohol
permit--later upheld by the IATC--prove successful? Would an unsuccessful
appeal force Williams to abandon his plans and if so what provisions would
be made by DNR to cover the LLC’s expenses to date? And what would become of
the Pavilion itself under those circumstances, gutted as it is and in need
of a costly rehab to be made minimally functional?
will Cardno JFNew complete its environmental assessment of the Pavilion
project--another requirement of the LWCF Act--and what conclusions will it
as the project is behind schedule by at least half a year--a food concession
was originally supposed to open on the Pavilion’s ground floor last Memorial
Day weekend and the rooftop restaurant sometime later in the 2015
season--will the LLC resume construction at the Pavilion, halted since
The other top story
of the year--and for a lot of Dunelanders one that hit them squarely in the
pocketbook--was the besiegement of the U.S. steel industry.
The plunge in oil
prices--to which U.S. Steel Corporation, with its extensive tubular
operations, was especially vulnerable--in conjunction with a record flood of
imported foreign steel, driven not only by a strong dollar but, according to
USS and ArcelorMittal, by unfair and illegal trade practices, left the
domestic steelmakers reeling and hemorrhaging red ink.
Over the first four
months of the year USS issued WARN notifications of possible or impending
idlings or closures to more than 9,000 employees--about a quarter of its
global workforce--roughly 900 of them at the company’s East Chicago tin
mill, which it idled, and at the Gary Works coke batteries, which it
permanently shuttered. Arcelor brought the total number of regional
steelworkers laid off or pink-slipped to more than 1,000, when it idled its
East Chicago long carbon facility.
There was more
unnerving news in the second half of the year, when USS announced the
permanent closure of its Fairfield, Ala., Works steelmaking ops, impacting
1,100; and then the postponement of its electric arc furnace project, also
at Fairfield, until such time as the market could sustain it.
In the midst of
this crisis the United Steelworkers began negotiating new master contracts
with USS and Arcelor, both of which--pointing to the appalling market
conditions--went into the talks seeking concessions from the union,
especially with respect to healthcare coverage. The Steelworkers’ response:
Nuts. No way, the USW said repeatedly, would it fritter away 50 years
of hard-fought gains to give the companies a leg up during a temporary
On Sept. 1 the
Steelworkers’ contract expired without a new deal. The union agreed to talk
and work. The companies were happy, no doubt, to hear that. So too was
anyone who lives in a steel community. Because the alternatives were too
awful to think about.
Throughout the fall
precious little progress was made, at least none either side was willing to
discuss in public. Early in September Arcelor’s team walked away from the
table, only to return a couple of weeks later. The union’s USS committee
walked in October, went home to the locals, and stayed there well into
December. Then, only a week after talks resumed in Pittsburgh--and just
before they were set to break for the holidays--the USW and USS announced a
tentative agreement, though without revealing any details. How that deal
might affect negotiations with Arcelor in the New Year is unclear.
There were other
headlines of interest in 2016:
The FBI continued
to make unannounced visits to county offices; the Assessor’s, the Auditor’s,
The East Porter
Ave. bridge over Coffee Creek was replaced by the Porter County Highway
Department; for the better part of seven months, motorists were forced to
thread their way through Morgan Park to get into or out of town.
Laboratories Inc. officially changed its address to Chesterton. Just north
of Urschel’s brand-new plant and HQ, on the other side of Coffee Creek,
ground broke on the Symphony of Chesterton, a major assisted living,
post-acute care, and rehab facility whose doors should open early in 2016.
Cobbs beat Democrat Scott McCord by a single vote in the race for the open
4th District seat on the Chesterton Town Council. Oh wait, he didn’t, they
Meanwhile, a number
of long-standing officials stepped down, leaving very large shoes to fill:
Paul Gipson, president of USW Local 6787; Phil Baugher, director of the
Westchester Public Library; Bob Taylor, coordinator of the Porter County
Drug Task Force; and Sharon Darnell, D-4th, for 16 years a member of the
Chesterton Town Council.
And there were two
grievous losses: Judy Chaplin, owner of Shady Lawn Florists and for years an
active member of the Duneland Chamber of Commerce, who passed in May; and
Jim Bonfield, director of transportation for the Duneland Schools, who was
killed in a motorcycle accident in July.
reporter Paulene Poparad announces her retirement after 38 years in the
business, all but four of them with the Trib. The Chesterton Fire
Department blames an overloaded electrical circuit for a house fire in the
200 block of South Calumet Road; bottles of unlabeled chemical found in the
house are later taken into custody by hazmat teams for identification and
The season’s first
two measurable snowfalls, two days apart, drop maybe five inches on Duneland,
but frigid windchill temperatures of -10 to -14 prompt Duneland Schools to
cancel classes; two days later the windchill drops to -31 and classes are
canceled again. An Enbridge 68 mitigation grant enables the Porter County
Chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America to buy a 40-acre farm in Pine
Township, near Michigan City, for inclusion in its Little Calumet
A Republican caucus
elects Lloyd “Buck” Kittredge to the 2nd District seat on the Chesterton
Town Council vacated by the resignation of Jeff Trout, who in December had
moved to a home in Chesterton’s 3rd District; meanwhile, filings begin in
the Chesterton and Porter municipal primary races. Fire destroys a home on
Dodge Court in Jackson Township. Free-falling oil prices prompt U.S. Steel
Corporation (USS) to idle tubular operations in Ohio and Texas, impacting
Jeff Trout declares
his candidacy for the 3rd District seat on the Chesterton Town Council,
currently occupied by his former colleague, fellow Republican Jim Ton; Ton,
for his part, files for re-election. Bary and Robbin Bostic of Michigan
City, who admitted stealing more than $100,000 from an elderly blind
Chesterton widow, petition the court to lower their monthly restitution; he
owes $110,230, she $52,690, but they’ve paid less than 2 percent of the
restitution owed to date; apparently it’s hard for convicted felons with
only high school educations to get good-paying jobs.
The Duneland School
Board changes its policy to permit public comment at board meetings, but
only on items of new business on the agenda; the board calls it “patron
participation.” Porter County Sheriff Dave Reynolds names Det. Com. Jeff
Biggs his Chief Deputy. Report: the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor set a
cargo-handling record in 2014, with a 30-percent year-over-year increase in
total tonnage, a 35-percent increase in ocean-going vessels, and a
25-percent increase in river barges.
use of marijuana and heroin between sixth- and eighth-grade spikes in Porter
County by 600 percent, according to the Indiana Prevention Resource Center
at IU’s School of Public Health. Sam Stemler of Boy Scout Troop 928 earns
his Eagle Scout rank. Gary M. Pilipovich, 30, a resident of the home in the
200 block of South Calumet Road damaged in a New Year’s Day fire, is charged
with possession of an explosive device, after bags of ammonium nitrate are
found in his residence; Pilipovich is a Lake County Sheriff’s Police officer
on paid leave, put there after he was arrested on multiple drug charges in
Portage in 2012.
For the first time
in Chesterton Middle School history, three eighth-graders will represent the
school in the 2015 Indiana Junior All-State Band: Madison Ghoreishi,
Madeline Joesten, and Holly Kittredge.
23, is fatally shot in her home on Ind. 149 in Center Township. Tyler
Potter, 19, of Michigan City, is killed when the unlicensed driver of a car
in which Potter is riding crashes into a tree in Pine Township; the driver
is not identified; the Porter County Sheriff’s Police blames speed, alcohol,
and illegal drugs.
Justice Eiden of
Chesterton earns his Eagle Scout rank. The Porter County Commissioners hear
the conclusion of a consultant’s study: three of the four sites in the
county large enough and suitably located for a $17-million softball /
baseball / soccer / football facility are in Duneland.
USS idles its East
Chicago tin mill and announces the permanent closure of the Granite City
Works coke facility, impacting 545. ArcelorMittal idles the East Chicago
long carbon facility, impacting 300. USS announces a “temporary adjustment
in operations” at two more tubular facilities in Texas and Alabama; the
company blames the plunge in oil prices and a spike in cheap imports.
USS posts a net
income of $102 million in 2014 or 69 cents per diluted share; the company
attributes its best year since 2008 to the belt-tightening strategy dubbed
the “Carnegie Way.” The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission authorizes
Indiana American Water Company (IAWC) to implement an 11.5-percent rate
hike, less than the 17-percent hike sought by the company, as part of a
settlement agreement with the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor;
under that agreement, IAWC is banned from filing any new general rate case
president of 1st American Management Company, is installed as the Duneland
Chamber of Commerce’s 2015 Chair. The Chesterton High School Sandpipers win
first place in the Large Mixed Division at the Silver Spotlight Invitational
at Fishers HS; the Drifters take the third runner-up’s trophy in the Women’s
Division. The PCSP reports that property crime hit a 10-year low in the
unincorporated townships in 2014; meanwhile, there was a downtick in traffic
enforcement and an uptick in traffic accidents.
The CHS debate team
wins the district championship and qualifies 10 for the NSDA national
tournament in Dallas, Texas, in June: Abby Burke, Eric Zhong, Matt Eggers,
Nathan Burris, Savannah Tipton, Eric Richardson, Tim Vincent, Joel
Patterson, Katherine Bolek, and Nadio Mario. Seventeen inches of white wet
cement fall in the season’s first significant snow event; Street
Commissioner puts the cost of clearing it at $1,000 per inch in man-hours
The Duneland School
Board reports that the district is receiving ADM support of $5,211 per
student in academic year 2014-15, compared to average ADM support of $5,736
per student for conventional public schools and $6,567 for charter schools.
CHS senior Emma Stricker and Rob St. Pierre are elected the 2015 basketball
homecoming queen and king. Retiring at the end of the school year are
Jackson Elementary fourth-grade teacher Deborah Pope, with 41 years’
service; CHS social studies teacher Linda Curry, with 21 years’; and Yost
Elementary art teacher Pam Adamik, with 16.5 years’.
Reynolds creates the Heroin Overdose Response Team, tasked with
investigating all ODs for the purpose of identifying, arresting, and
prosecuting those responsible for providing heroin to the OD victims. The
CHS debate team wins back-to-back state titles, squeaking by West Lafayette
HS 89 to 87.5; Abby Burke is named winner of the IHSFA Brittain Award for
Kari LaFreniere serves as an Indiana House Page during the General
Assembly’s 2015 session. Dave Kasarda is named the Duneland Family YMCA’s
new executive director; he brings nearly 30 years of Y experience to the
job. Beverly Mitchell, 47, of Porter, is sentenced to four years of formal
probation after she pleads guilty to battery; in September 2011 Mitchell
fatally shot her ex-husband, Donald Crouse, after she said he became
physically abusive to her while staying in her home on Michigami Trail.
Steven Lee Lindsey,
35, now living in Jackson Township, is charged with the murder of his wife,
Melinda Lindsey, 23, in their Center Township home in January; Lindsey says
the murder was committed by an intruder who first subdued him, then shot
Melinda. The Chesterton Stormwater Management Board buys a new streetsweeper
for $182,175, paying cash on the barrel. ArcelorMittal posts a net loss in
2014 of $1.086 billion or 61 cents per share, a big improvement over tthe
company’s 2013 net loss of $2.545 billion or $1.46 per share.
NiSource Inc. posts
net revenue in 2014 of $530 million or $1.68 per share, compared to $532.1
million or $1.70 in 2013. The Duneland School Board votes to issue a
$7.5-million general obligation bond to finance building and grounds
projects; the owner of a $150,000 house will pay, beginning in 2016, $6.98
more per year to service the Duneland Schools’ debt; the bond will finance
asphalt work at each school, CHS stadium repairs, CHS and CMS building
control upgrades, and the purchase of back-up generator for CHS.
Rachel Fredenburg wins the Indiana Bookmark Contest, sponsored by the
Geography Educators Network of Indiana. Chesterton sets an apparent record
low for Feb. 19 of -2 (with a -21 windchill), according to Intellicast.com;
Duneland Schools calls a two-hour delay. The CHS Japanese Olympiad team wins
the state title in the second- and fourth-year divisions and third place in
the third-year division; since its establishment the CHS Japan Bowl/Japanese
Olympiad program has won 18 state championships and three national
Blake Fletcher serves as an Indiana House Page in the General Assembly’s
2015 session. The CHS Sandpipers are named Grand Champion at the Show Choir
Invitational at El Paso-Gridley HS in El Paso, Ill. USS announces the
permanent closure of the Gary Works coke facility, impacting 300, one month
after the company decides to shutter the Granite City coke facility.
The gutting of the
Pavilion at Indiana Dunes State Park commences; the Department of Natural
Resources reports that Pavilion Partners LLC will be putting a fine-dining
restaurant inside and on top of the Pavilion and building a banquet center
just to the east of it; the LLC’s spokesperson, Deb Butterfield, says that
the Pavilion’s rooftop restaurant should be completed sometime in 2015.
Intermediate School Math Bowl team wins its division at the annual Purdue
University M.A.T.H. Bowl at Boone Grove HS, with 27 out of a possible 32
points, the highest total at the contest site and the 14th highest total
throughout the state. The annual Maple Sugar Time is held at the Chellberg
Farm site at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. The Porter County
Commissioners vote to increase the jail inmate booking fee from $25 to $75.
Rosina (Rose) Rosetti Davison Schubert celebrates her 100th birthday.
Clayton Gatewood of the Hoosier Daddy racing motorcycle land speed team is
awarded the 2014 American Motorcyclist Association’s National No. 1 plate
for his class at the Bonneville speed trial; sponsored by Harley-Davidson,
Gatewood hit a speed of 92.427 mph.
The Porter County
Park Board gives its preliminary okay to a deer bow-hunting program in
isolated areas of three of its properties: Brincka-Cross Gardens, Brookdale
Park, and the former DOC farm in Pine Township; the Park Board also agrees
to purchase ducks, turkeys, and rabbits for Sunset Hill Farm Park.
The CHS Jazz Band
is awarded Superior Gold at the annual ISSMA Jazz Festival at LaPorte HS.
The CHS Winter Guard wins top honors in the Open Class at the Midwest Color
Guard Invitational at Lake Park HS in Roselle, Ill. CMS seventh-grader Ben
Hoham and Discovery Charter School eighth-grader Liam Monroe are state
semifinalists in the National Geographic Society’s 2015 Indiana National
Geographic State Bee.
overall in IHSFA sectional competition, the CHS speech team qualifies 32 of
39 for the state tourney in Indianapolis. The CHS Drifters are named
Champion of the Women’s Division, the Show Choir Band is named Best Band,
and the Sandpipers are first runner-up in the Large Mixed Division, at the
Lawrence North Midwest Vocal Showcase.
Division of the Izaak Walton League of America is the first organization to
go on the record in opposition to a planned banquet center at Indiana Dunes
State Park beach; while voicing support for the rehab of the Pavilion,
Porter County Chapter President Jim Sweeney is unwilling “to trade some of
the public beach for a private conference center.”
IFM Investors of
Australia enter into an agreement to buy the 75-year lease from the bankrupt
Indiana Toll Road (ITR) Concession Company for $5.725 billion; meanwhile,
top ITR execs share $2.45 million in bonuses. USS announces the permanent
layoff of 83 probationary employees at Gary Works, in a move which the
company says reflects “market conditions and operational requirements.”
Indiana Commuter Transportation District debuts the South Shore commuter
line’s new limited-stop Sunrise Express service between South Bend and
Chicago; the Dune Park to Millennium run is cut to just under an hour, 20
minutes faster than the current fastest run. Report: the Mt. Baldy site at
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore will remain closed as the dune-hole
investigation continues. The CHS speech team qualifies nine for the NSDA
national tournament in Dallas, Texas, in June: Carley Lowe, Emily Coleman,
Ayesha Khan, Lexi Justak, Izzy Portugal, Michael Stone, Galen Wong, Hayden
Hodge, and Sam Lee.
Donald Gish, 59, of
Liberty Township, is killed after losing control of his pickup truck on U.S.
Highway 20 near C.R. 200E. The St. Patrick Catholic School’s Science
Olympiad team qualifies in regional competition for the state tournament.
LLC releases the names of its principals: Valparaiso businessman Chuck
Williams; Tom Collins Jr., senior vice-president of Luke Oil; Ryan
Richardson of County Line Orchard, which is owned by Luke Oil; Peter Kaiafas,
owner of Avalon Manor in Merrillville; and project architect Scott Virtue.
The LLC’s timeline: comfort stations to open by Memorial Day; the rooftop
restaurant to open sometime during the 2015 season; the second-floor
Pavilion restaurant and the banquet center to open sometime during the 2016
The Porter Board of
Zoning Appeals grants a use permit to Seven Peaks Waterpark allowing
year-round paintball, electric go-carts, and ice-skating. Mitchell Smith,
14, of Chesterton, earns his Eagle Scout rank. The Shirley Heinze Land Trust
unveils its first-ever capital campaign--“Take a Walk with Shirley”--the
goal of which is to raise $3.5 million to continue its mission of protecting
important habitats in Northwest Indiana. The Chesterton Police Department
reports that 2014 saw the department’s third highest number ever of calls
for service, which is likely why total traffic stops dropped by 26 percent.
Indiana Regional Planning Commission awards the Town of Chesterton a
$120,000 grant for Phase II of the Westchester-Liberty Trail, in addition to
two previous grants, of $405,000 and $547,000. East Porter Ave. between
South Calumet Road and Ind. 49 is closed to through-traffic for the
duration--at least until October--as the Porter County Highway Department
begins its replacement of the bridge over Coffee Creek, just west of
USS announces the
possible idling of Granite City Works, impacting 2,080. The Indiana Supreme
Court upholds the murder conviction and sentence of Dustin McCowan, found
guilty of fatally shooting Amanda Bach at his home in Union Township in
September 2011. The CMS Science Olympiad team takes second place at the
state tournament at IU in Bloomington, in a field of 30 qualifying teams.
The CHS speech team takes third place at the IHSFA state tournament in
Save the Dunes
cites a “lack of transparency” in Pavilion Partners LLC’s plans to build a
banquet center at Indiana Dunes State Park beach but takes no position,
pending an open house hosted by the DNR scheduled for April.
Water Company ends bimonthly billing; going forward, customers will receive
12 statements a year. USA Today readers pick Indiana Dunes State Park
as the seventh best state park in the nation; the Porter County Chapter of
the Izaak Walton League of America is quick to note that Dunes State Park is
the seventh best in the nation without a banquet center.
The Great Lakes St.
Lawrence Seaway’s 57th shipping season opens. Gregory J. Sebahar, 53, of
Schererville, is found dead at the bottom of an elevator shaft at
ArcelorMittal’s Burns Harbor mill; Sebahar was an employee of a private
contractor, KONE Elevators & Escalators of Chicago. Ground breaks at Coffee
Creek Center on the Symphony of Chesterton, an assisted living, post-acute
care, and rehabilitation facility.
A large crowd
attends an open house at the Dorothy Buell Memorial Visitor Center to ask
questions and get answers from the DNR on its lease with Pavilion Partners
LLC; many criticize the format, under which only reporters have the
undivided attention of DNR Director Cameron Clark and Director of State
Parks & Reservoirs Dan Bortner; when asked by a Chesterton Tribune
reporter why the DNR made banquet service a minimal expectation in its
prospectus, Bortner says that over the years many folks have expressed an
interest in getting married on the beach; the day after the open house, Save
the Dunes joins the Ikes in objecting to the lease arrangement and urges the
DNR to stop construction pending a full public discussion of the project.
Bob Urschel, former
president of Urschel Laboratories Inc., donates a nine-foot concert Steinway
& Sons piano to CHS; a special concert is planned for the fall to debut the
Steinway. The Porter County Commissioners name Pamela Courtney as the
county’s new human resources director; she formerly served as the HR
director of Ottawa County, Ohio. CHS junior Brooke Sauter is the best Live
Radio News Anchor and the best Live TV News Anchor in the 12th annual IASB
competition in Indianapolis.
The Burns Harbor
Town Council grants three separate 10-year tax abatements to ArcelorMittal
for $51.2 million worth of projects planned for the next two years. The
Indiana Court of Appeals quashes part of NIPSCO’s $1.2-billion seven-year
electric modernization program, saying that the IURC erred in approving the
program without knowing specific details about the projects planned for the
final six years. The Westchester Public Library Board taps Thomas branch
librarian Leea Yelich to succeed the retiring Phil Baugher as WPL director.
Dunes Action!, a
grass-roots citizens group, is organized to launch a petition campaign
opposing Pavilion Partners LLC’s plans to build a banquet center at Indiana
Dunes State Park beach; it collects 1,200 signatures in the first week.
Chesterton Town Council Member Jim Ton identifies himself as a member of the
other, not-for-profit, group which responded to the DNR’s prospectus, and
voices concerns at a council meeting about the transparency of the process
by which the DNR reviewed the two proposals.
The DNR holds a
second public session on the Pavilion project, in response to criticism of
the open house; two persons speak in favor of the banquet center; somewhere
in the neighborhood of 50 speak in opposition to it; DNR Director of State
Parks Dan Bortner says, in all candor, that public input was not solicited
prior to the DNR’s inking the lease with Pavilion Partners LLC because “we
felt we would never get to that if we started out with public meetings”;
Bortner adds, “We don’t allow pubic hearings (on concession agreements), we
can’t manage by committee.”
Wanda Maxine Wunder,
94, dies in a fire in her Ogden Dunes home. The Porter County Election Board
votes 2-1 to order electronic poll books for the municipal primary election
in May; the Republican members out-vote the Democrat, Kathy Kozuszek. The
Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor opens its international shipping season the way
it usually does, with the arrival of a saltie loaded with imported foreign
steel, in this case the M/V Irma, carrying 9,400 tons of steel coils
loaded in Holland.
Michael P. Clemens,
20, of Chesterton, is charged with intimidation and false reporting in
connection with a hostage hoax which shut down the Valparaiso University
campus and prompted a massive police response. The Porter County
Commissioners dismiss Animal Shelter director Jon Thomas; Commissioner Laura
Blaney, D-South, says she can’t discuss Thomas’ termination because
personnel issues are confidential.
After serving more
than 30 years as president of United Steelworkers Local 6787, Paul Gipson
opts not to run for re-election; he’s succeeded by his long-time
vice-president, Pete Trinidad Sr., who runs unopposed for the office. Some
500 volunteers pick up hammers and rakes and converge on 13 homes and four
community sites as part of the annual Rebuilding Together Duneland. St.
Pat’s Catholic School and Jackson Elementary are named Four-Star Schools by
Indiana Superintendent of Public Education Glenda Ritz.
USS posts a
first-quarter net loss of $75 million or 52 cents per diluted share; the
company cites a flood of cheap imported steel in a bleak report. Seth Fickel
of Boy Scout Troop 998 earns his Eagle Scout rank.
Report: over the
first four months of the year, more than 9,000 USS employees--about a
quarter of the company’s global workforce--receive WARN notifications of
impending or potential layoffs or idlings. In the Chesterton municipal
primary election, incumbent Town Council Member Jim Ton, R-1st, easily
survives the challenge of his former colleague, Jeff Trout; Republican Nate
Cobbs beats Kevin Jakel in the 4th District race; and Democrat Dane Lafata
beats Rory McMahan in the 3rd District race. In the Porter municipal primary
election, incumbent Clerk-Treasurer Carol Pomeroy fends off the challenge of
fellow Republican Zathoe Sexton.
Commissioner John Evans, R-North, pushes for a healthcare deductible in 2016
three times higher for employees who don’t participate in the county’s
wellness program. ArcelorMittal posts a first-quarter net loss of $728
million or 41 cents per share. A new exhibit opens at the Westchester
Township History Museum: “Lost to Time: Duneland Ghost Towns.”
Environmental Council, the Hoosier Sierra Club, and the Citizens Action
Coalition pile on, releasing a joint statement opposing a banquet center at
Indiana Dunes State Park beach.
CHS seniors Abigail
Burke and Alisha Dziarski are National Merit Scholarship winners. The
Chesterton Town Council rejects all seven bids for a new fire engine after
several bidders confuse the specs.
Council Member Jim Ton, R-1st, urges his colleagues to take a stand on the
DNR’s lease with Pavilion Partners LLC, specifically with respect to the
issue of transparency and that of the appropriateness of a banquet center at
Indiana Dunes State Park beach.
closes its Georgetown, S.C., wire rod plant, impacting 226; the company says
it can’t compete with what it calls unfairly traded foreign wire. USS lays
off another 285 more workers, both represented and salaried, at Gary Works.
the Town of Burns Harbor for 43 years, attorney Bob Welsh of Harris Welsh &
Lukmann--on behalf of the whole firm--resigns. A NorthShore Health Center
facility opens at 407 W. Indiana Ave., the former home of Lakeside Wealth
Management, to serve Duneland’s un- and under-insured. CHS head baseball
coach Jack Campbell notches his 700th career victory with a 2-1 win over
Korey Izynski, 19,
of Porter, is sentenced to time served after pleading guilty to theft, with
the understanding that he will testify against Thomas Reichler, accused of
fatally shooting Portage resident Alex Tapia with a handgun which police say
Izynski stole four days earlier from an unlocked car in Chesterton. The
Porter County Election Board once again split-votes 2-1 to certify the
results of the primary election, in which electronic poll books were used;
Democrat Kathy Kozuszek refuses to certify because of a discrepancy between
the number of ballots counted by the tabulation machines, 10,618, and the
number of voters who signed the poll books, 10,284.
At the 33rd annual
WDSO Awards Night, Sean Virden is named Most Outstanding DJ, Brooke Sauter
Most Outstanding Newscaster, and Laura Hoover Most Outstanding Sportscaster.
CHS reporter Gregory Mochen is the recipient of the Warren R. Canright
Outstanding Senior Journalist Award. The Porter BZA votes 3-1 to extend some
deadlines by which Seven Peaks Waterpark must complete a stormwater
pollution prevention plan, implement drainage controls, reconfigure the
parking lot, and install fencing.
Report: the Karner
blue butterfly is not observed this spring at Indiana Dunes National
Lakeshore, leading U.S. Geological Survey ecologist Ralph Grundel to
speculate that the Dunes’ population may have perished from a loss of the
wild lupine plant, on which the Karner blue caterpillar feeds.
Delays in Pavilion
Partners LLC’s construction of a new comfort station at Indiana Dunes State
Park beach prompts the DNR to install a line of portable toilets; meanwhile,
the Chesterton Town Council opts to take no position on a banquet center but
does instruct Town Attorney Chuck Lukmann to draft a letter of inquiry to
DNR Director of State Parks Dan Bortner.
Judy Chaplin, owner
of Shady Lawn Florist and active in the Duneland Chamber of Commerce, dies
The Boys and Girls
Club of Porter County announces the biggest capital campaign in its history,
for a major expansion of its Duneland facility; the goal is $4 million, with
nearly $3 million of that sum raised at the time of the BGC’s announcement.
Indiana Superintendent of Public Education Glenda Ritz visits the Discovery
The Izaak Walton
League of American asserts that the DNR is violating the Land and Water
Conservation Fund Act of 1965, by entering into an agreement with Pavilion
Partners LLC to convert public land at Indiana Dunes State Park to private
use; the Ikes ask the National Park Service to stop the project.
NICTD’s Board of
Directors votes to enact an across-the-board South Shore fare hike to take
effect July 1; the hike will increase the price of a ticket from Dunes Park
to Millennium by 75 cents or 10.3 percent.
CHS Senior Natalie
Petro is the Duneland Exchange Club’s--as well as the Northern Indiana
District Exchange Club’s--Youth of the Year. CHS Senior Claire Johnston wins
the Duneland Exchange Club’s ACE Award (Accepting the Challenge of
Excellence). CHS holds its 125th annual commencement outside, in the
Duneland Pizza of
Chesterton and The Rolling Stone Baker of Beverly Shores are finalists in
Pizza Wars, a contest to crown the best pizza maker in Porter County. The
Burns Harbor Town Council names Clay Patton of Osan & Patton as the new town
attorney. The Visiting Nurse Association of Porter County sells its home
healthcare unit--including skilled nursing care and therapy--to Porter
Health Care System Home Health; the VNA will continue to provide in-home and
in-patient hospice care.
Woman’s Club holds its 65th annual art show: Fred Holly’s acrylic “It’s
About Time” takes Best of Show; Jenn Head’s watercolor “The Gorge” wins
first place. The beach access stairs at Lakeview Beach at Indiana Dunes
National Lakeshore in Beverly Shores are closed after a washout caused by
high waves; the picnic area remains open. The Burns Harbor Fire Department’s
ladder truck is damaged in a traffic accident while en route to stand-by
duty in Portage.
Council Member Jim Ton, R-1st, calls the condition of property at 101 and
402 Broadway “an embarrassment” to the town. St. Pat’s Catholic School
eighth-graders Julia Miller and Thomas Pampalone are honored with the
President’s Award for Academic Excellence. For the second time in less than
two weeks, a NIPSCO contractor replacing underground wire in the Chestnut
Hill subdivision hits a natural-gas line which the locate company failed to
The annual Relay
for Life Duneland is held at the CMS track. Report: accused VU hoaxer
Michael Clemens is the victim of someone else’s hoax two days after the VU
incident when someone calling himself Michael phones the PCSP land line,
gives the Clemens address in Chesterton, and says he’s feeling suicidal and
wants to hurt his parents; responding Chesterton Police officers determine
that Clemens could not have made the call himself.
president of United Way of Chesterton, announces her retirement at the end
of the year, after 14 years in the position. A black bear wanders from
Michigan across the state line into Indiana; the first seen in the state
since 1871, the black bear is spotted in St. Joseph County, then in LaPorte
County, then in Michigan City.
The Porter County
Alcohol Beverage Commission votes 2-2 in the matter of Pavilion Partners
LLC’s liquor permit, needed for alcohol service at the Pavilion restaurants
and the banquet center; the LLC’s petition goes to the Indiana Alcohol and
Tobacco Commission to decide. The Porter County Community Foundation
purchases 170 naloxone opiate OD rescue kits, enough to issue one to every
patrol officer in every police department in the county.
Nate Cobbs is
installed as the Chesterton-Porter Rotary Club’s new president; David
Hiestand is named Rotarian of the Year; and Bill Dean, Jody Klein, and Dan
Amling are presented with Paul Harris Fellowships. The Porter County
Commissioners refuse to comment on reports that the FBI visited their
offices, on the advice of County Attorney Betty Knight.
Pavilion project is subject to the regulations of the Land and Water
Conservation Fund Act, which would mean that any public land converted to
private use would have to be replaced with a purchase of new public land;
the LWCF would also require the DNR to conduct an environmental assessment
of the project.
An electric vehicle
charging station is installed on Broadway in the Chesterton Downtown; NIPSCO
provides the $7,000 station free of charge, after the town undertakes to pay
half the cost of installation. The Porter Health Care System reports a
workforce reduction of 70 employees or 3 percent, “to align resources and
support the most utilized and growing clinical areas.” Dena Wright and Dan
Gresham win an $18.7-million Hoosier Lotto jackpot with a ticket bought at
the Red Carpet Smoke Shop on Broadway; they elect to receive their winnings
as a 30-year annuity, not in an $11.6-million pre-tax lump-sum payment.
The Chesterton Town
Council votes to increase the Utility Superintendent’s salary by 18 percent,
bumping Super I from $72,100 to $85,000, to attract more qualified
candidates to replace the current superintendent, Terry Atherton, who plans
to retire in December; the Utility Service Board subsequently gives the nod
to Dave Ryan, like Atherton a veteran of Indiana American Water Company. The
CHS speech and debate team wins the School of Honor Award at the NSDA
national tournament in Dallas, Texas, presented to those schools which rank
40th to 21st in the country.
Solstice is celebrated at Chellberg Farm. Porter County Storm, Babe Ruth
Baseball 16-18, retires the late Coach Alex Miloshoff’s No. 36. Porter
Police officers Marty Gonzalez and Scott Cornelison; Indiana Dunes State
Park lifeguards Sean Partart, Jon Arlow, and Evan Mazurkiewicz; and citizens
Joel Poling, Eli Muller, and Sarah Drexler save the lives of three girls
drowning at Porter Beach.
Gregory Mochen, CHS
2015 and Sandscript editor-in-chief, wins second place in the Hoosier High
School Columnist Contest for his column “Tobacco outside of school none of
school’s business.” The Rev. David Pearson is the new priest at Saint
Francis Episcopal Church in Chesterton. The Chesterton Stormwater Utility,
the Porter Public Works Department, and the Porter Park Department hold the
first Kids Fishing Derby at Indian Springs Park; more than 30 perch and
bluegill are caught.
Foundations Inc., the substance abuse treatment center headquartered in
Chesterton, closes its Valparaiso location in a centralizing move. PCSP
Officer Paul Czupryn goes on a wild ride at Valplayso, hanging onto the
outside of a speeding Jeep and succeeding in keeping its driver from
crashing into a crowd of people waiting for an Independence Day fireworks
show to begin; Spencer T. Sovich, 20, of Valparaiso, is charged with OWI,
criminal recklessness, resisting law enforcement, and minor consumption of
alcohol, while Czupryn is honored for his heroism by Sheriff Dave Reynolds.
Five in Boy Scout
Troop 929 earn their Eagle Scout rank: Trevor VanNostren, Damien Thomas,
Micah Nord, Jordan Sweet, and Michael Smith. Report: South Shore commuters
spend 85 percent less than Northwest Indiana residents who drive to work in
Chicago, a finding which is the centerpiece of NICTD’s “Life is Hard, The
Train is Easy” campaign. Indiana Dunes State Park officials seek volunteers
to help clear beaver dams which are causing the flooding of the Trail 2
The Town of Porter
is No. 18 on the list of Top 30 Safest Cities in Indiana, compiled by
Safewise.com, a clearinghouse of information on home security. One-hundred
Burns Harbor residents attending a presentation by master development and
revitalization consultant LiveWorkLearnPlay hear that “Burns Harbor can be
an iconic small town, maintain its charm, and have a bright future” but that
it will depend on the “care quotient” of those who want to see it succeed.
re-organizes: Capt. Dave Lohse is named assistant police chief and Sgt.
Chris Swickard is tasked to Chesterton High School as the CPD’s second
school resource officer. Large waves buffeting the shoreline erode what
little is left of the Central Ave. Beach at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
in Beverly Shores; the continuing high-water levels of Lake Michigan make
the beach’s re-opening anytime soon unlikely.
emergency-patches the badly potholed Ind. 49 in Chesterton, in advance of a
complete re-surfacing of Ind. 49 between I-94 and the Indiana Toll Road on
tap for 2016. Dunes Action! objects to the rules on public input set by the
Porter County Convention, Recreation, and Visitor Center prior to a meeting
at which Pavilion Partners LLC is scheduled to make a presentation. The
Northwest Indiana Forum endorses a banquet center and calls Indiana Dunes
State Park beach an “under-utilized asset.”
circuit breaker--under which a property owner’s tax liability is limited to
1, 2, or 3 percent of the property’s gross AV--is tripped in the Town of
Chesterton, leading to a 10.5-percent reduction of the town’s general fund.
The Chesterton Town Council is hit by sticker shock, when members discover
that the true cost of the animal control service provided by the PCSP isn’t
$3,120--an amount they’d already approved--but actually $31,120.
Before a standing
room only crowd at the Memorial Opera House, the PCCRVC votes 7-1 to endorse
a banquet center at Indiana Dunes State Park beach; Member Jesse Harper’s is
the only No vote, while Member Chuck Williams, a Pavilion Partners LLC
principal, recuses himself; meanwhile, Peter Kaiafas, owner of the Avalon in
Merrillville and also an LLC principal, dissolves his relationship with the
director of transportation for the Duneland Schools, dies in a motorcycle
accident while on vacation in Arkansas; his wife, Karla, is seriously
injured; Bonfield accepted the position in May 2002, after retiring from the
Indiana State Police. The Speedy Mart at 1175 Broadway is robbed at gunpoint
in the early morning hours. The Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission kicks
Pavilion Partners LLC’s petition back to the local ABC with instructions to
convene a “complete hearing” on the matter, after noting that it had
received 264 emails in opposition to the petition and four in favor of it.
Chamber of Commerce holds its annual awards luncheon: Laurie Wehner-Evans
and the late Judy Chaplin, the 2015 Duneland Distinguished Women; Jerry Ruge,
Golden Achievement; Lori St. Pierre, Humanitarian of the Year; and Bruce
Mathias, Volunteer of the Year. Felix Duron, 27, is sentenced to 30 years in
prison after pleading guilty to neglect of a dependent, in connection with
the death of his girlfriend’s 2-year-old son, Bently Mihal of Chesterton;
Duron admits to shaking the boy in a fit of anger, then telling the police
Bently fell off the trampoline.
USS posts a
second-quarter net loss of $261 million or $1.79 per diluted share. The
Porter County Council votes to retain the 10-year tax abatement granted to
Porter Regional Hospital, although President Dan Whitten, D-at large,
promises that he will vote to rescind the abatement if the hospital fails to
honor its hiring commitments; the abatement will save PRH around $12 million
over its lifetime.
Herb and Charlotte
Read are honored by the Izaak Walton League of America with the 54 Founders
Award for their work on behalf of the Dunes. Burns Harbor Town Council
Member Greg Miller resigns his seat after moving to Valparaiso; Porter
County Democrat Chair David Chidester appoints Eric Hull to fill the seat.
The Waters of
Duneland on Beverly Drive changes its name to Chesterton Manor, after its
former management company, Infinity Health Care Management, is succeeded as
of Aug. 1 by Ide Management Group. The 57th annual Chesterton Art Fair is
held at Hawthorne Park in Porter. The NICTD Board of Directors approves a
pilot program under which three older rail cars will be equipped with
bicycle racks; beginning in April 2016, two of the three cars will run on a
normal weekend schedule from South Bend to Chicago, but the trains will only
stop at high-level platforms for the ease and safety of bicyclists.
Chase Froese of
Carol Stream, Ill., 20, drowns in high waves at Porter Beach at Indiana
Dunes National Lakeshore. ArcelorMittal posts a second-quarter net income of
$179 million or 10 per share. Report: about 1,220 fewer Hoosiers and 330
more out-of-state residents have been accepted at Purdue University since
the school froze tuition at 2012 levels. NiSource reports a second-quarter
net loss of $36.4 million or 11 cents per share.
The Porter County
Chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America buys 49 acres from Sandra
Bedenkop at 1167N 575E in Jackson Township, with assistance from The
Conservation Fund, among others. The FBI seeks documents from the Porter
County Assessor’s Office related to the AV appeals of commercial property
between 2012 and 2013. Babapaloosa, hosted by the Chesterton-Porter Rotary
Club and benefiting Eric Bouchard’s See Change Foundation, is a huge success
at Sunset Hill Farm Park.
reports: emails obtained by Dunes Action! show that the DNR and Pavilion
Partners LLC principals discussed the Pavilion project before the DNR
released its prospectus. The United Steelworkers accuses both ArcelorMittal
and USS of trying to force large concessions on the membership--in
particular, “sweeping cuts” in benefits--as the deadline to reach a new
collective bargaining agreement rapidly approaches.
edition of the Northwest Regional Sheriff’s Camp at Indiana Dunes State Park
introduces 57 day campers to law enforcement. The FBI visits the Porter
County Auditor’s Office; Auditor Vicki Urbanik confirms that an agent did
speak to her staff but doesn’t disclose the topic of the conversation.
Eclipse Performing Arts dancers take the National Champion title at the
World Series of Dance in Virginia Beach, Va, in five different divisions.
The Porter Town
Council votes to modify a ban on dogs at Porter Beach: dogs are now allowed
on the beach west of State Street. The Town of Burns Harbor is recognized by
the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns for “outstanding achievement,
successful innovation, and steady leadership in municipal government.” Maria
S. Contreras, 45, of Portage, is shot to death by her estranged husband,
Miguel, who then fatally shoots himself. Tom and Candy Davison, formerly of
Chesterton, celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.
CPD Officer Erik
Herbert is honored for using CPR to save the life of a man suffering a
cardiac event; Herbert was off duty at the time but driving his marked squad
car in Portage when he was flagged down. USS announces the permanent closure
of the Fairfield, Ala., Works, impacting 1,100. The winners of the Democrat
town convention in Burns Harbor: Craig Barnes, Eric Hull, Raymond Poparad,
Marcus Rogala Sr., and Nathan Tumblin; ousted were incumbents Gene Weibl and
immediately west of Gelsosomo’s Pizzeria on Indian Boundary Road is
clear-cut by its new owner, Aetna Development Corporation of Chicago, for a
new strip mall to be occupied by a Dollar Tree and an auto parts store. The
Duneland Schools begin the 2015-16 academic year without a hitch. The Porter
BZA gives Seven Peaks Waterpark a month to fix a drainage issue, after a
delay in getting engineering plans from the Duneland Group prompts the park
to try--without success--to remedy the problem in-house.
dedicates a section of the gardens at the Dorothy Buell Memorial Visitor
Center to the late Judy Chaplin. The USW recalls its history at a rally in
Gary, one week before its contract with ArcelorMittal and USS expires. A
member of USW Local 6787, Kenneth Gish, 61, of Wanatah, dies in a fall at
the BOF at ArcelorMittal’s Burns Harbor facility.
The William G. and
Margaret E. Tilden Memorial Garden is dedicated at a formal ribbon-cutting
at Hawthorne Park. The 2015 Lieutenant Governor’s Hoosier Hospitality Award
is awarded posthumously to Judy Chaplin. Chesterton Street Commissioner John
Schnadenberg earns his Master Road Builder certificate through the Indiana
Local Technical Assistance Program at Purdue University.
Indiana Dunes State
Park celebrates its 90th birthday with cake on the beach. The Chesterton BZA
grants a variance permitting an 85-foot “monopine”--a cell tower designed
improbably to resemble a tree--at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, over the
objections of its neighbors in the Rose Hill Estates subdivision. Report:
Porter County’s total assessed valuation for real and personal property
rises to $8.96 billion in 2015, an increase of nearly $300 million over the
2016 AV. A ribbon-slicing, -dicing, -milling, -stripping ceremony is held at
the new global headquarters of Urschel Laboratories Inc. at Coffee Creek
the USW and ArcelorMittal and USS fail to reach a new basic labor agreement
by the Sept. 1 deadline; the union agrees to talk and work as negotiations
with both companies continue; meanwhile, thousands of Steelworkers march
from the Local 6787 union hall to the East Gate in a show of solidarity.
Jon Costas makes race an issue after a Burns Harbor Police officer working a
gang task force arrests a former VU athlete who refuses to identify himself
following a traffic stop in Valparaiso; Burns Harbor Police Chief Mike
Heckman, Sheriff Dave Reynolds and Fraternal Order of Police lodges 165 and
152 vigorously defend the officer.
Lodge 162 and Women of the Moose 846 each donate $668.50 to the CPD for the
outfitting of each officer with a tactical “go-bag.” Seven CHS seniors are
National Merit Scholarship semifinalists: Christine Craig, Keely Ellman,
Jared Gallina, Frederic Owens, Joel Peterson, Nathan Poczekay, and Hunter
Warren; also a semifinalist is Jackson Township homeschooler Adam Chesak.
USW Local 6787
rallies at dawn: “No contract, no peace.” The Porter County ABC votes 3-1
against Pavilion Partners LLC’s petition for an alcohol permit; changing his
vote from a Yes to a No is Ralph Levi; over 500 attend a
public hearing on the petition held at the Porter County Expo Center.
away from the bargaining table, after the USW submits a “comprehensive
proposal” which it says will meet members’ needs but save the company
“millions in expenses and liabilities”; the USW and USS are still talking
but committee remembers return home to consult with their locals. CHS Trojan
Guard wins the Open Class “A” competition in its season opener at the Goshen
HS Crimson Invitational.
The Chesterton Town
Council enacts an abandoned building registry, triggered by vacant buildings
in ongoing, unremedied code violation or delinquent in their property taxes.
The Duneland Resale Shop celebrates its sixth year at 801 Broadway. Arson is
the likely cause of a fire which destroys an old Jackson Township barn and
outbuilding on 1050N, the Liberty Township Volunteer Fire Department says.
The Porter County Commissioners approve a trap-and-neuter-and-release
program for feral cats.
Lindsey Proper, 33,
of Chesterton, dies after her vehicle hits the guard rail on the Indiana
Toll Road. CPD Cpl. Joe Kantowski is arrested after his wife accuses him of
pointing a handgun at her in the course of an argument; Kantowski is placed
on administrative leave without pay. The Indiana Secretary of State’s Office
blames humans, not electronic poll books, for technical problems reported in
May’s municipal primary election.
The National Park
Service announces a Youth Art and Poetry Contest to celebrate Indiana Dunes
National Lakeshore’s 50th anniversary in 2016. The USW announces that
ArcelorMittal is returning to the bargaining table and contract talks will
resume. Sixty chalk artists--nearly double last year’s number--participate
in the fourth annual Hooked on Art Festival in Downtown Chesterton,
benefiting Frontline Foundations Inc.
The Chesterton Town
Council endorses Gastro 49’s petition for a “riverfront district” alcohol
license. It’s become obvious that a burglar has been targeting businesses
along the Indian Boundary Road/Calumet Road commercial corridor since at
least July: among the victims are Verizon Wireless, Kathy’s Antique Store,
McGue Dentistry, Zale Eye Center, Spike & Buddy’s and Di la Bella Salon.
Display cases to house memorabilia of Chesterton High School’s 125-year
history are built by Jeff Larson’s students and funded by the children of
the Duneland Schools’ two attorneys, Mox Ruge and Mike Harris.
A Porter County
mosquito pool tests positive for the West Nile virus, the first positive
result in the county this year. NIPSCO seeks the IURC’s authority to
implement an 11.5-percent electric rate hike, which would increase the
average household’s monthly bill from $91.63 to $102.53. The International
Longshoremen’s Association Local 2038 ratifies a new contract with the
Russian-owned NLMK Indiana--the old Beta Steel--after its 275 members at the
plant in Portage work without a new contract for nearly two months after the
old one expired on July 1.
USW President Leo
Gerard blasts the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact: it “threatens the
future of production and employment” and would “deal a critical blow to
workers and their standard of living in the United States.” Lia Lombardini
and Nate Dawson are elected queen and king of the CHS fall homecoming.
Report: a pilot Wi-Fi program on select South Shore commuter trains is
proving popular. The Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission finds that the
local ABC did not act arbitrarily or capriciously in denying a liquor permit
for Pavilion Partners LLC and accordingly upholds the body’s decision to
reject the petition; the LLC has 15 days to appeal.
announces, in response to media inquiries, that it is re-assessing its USA
“footprint” with regard to an “asset optimization plan” but that no final
decision has been made. NIPSCO projects lower winter heating bills this
season; the average household is expected to pay $344.94, compared to the
$495.15 last winter. Mona Purdy of Share Your Soles is the keynote speaker
at the 14th annual Duneland Community Prayer Breakfast.
Horseshoe League holds its awards banquet at which many are honored,
including the late Carol La Tour, who was instrumental in creating the
women’s horseshoe league. The construction crew at the Pavilion removes its
equipment and construction fencing and breaks camp, while an environmental
assessment of the project is conducted. The Republican candidate for the 3rd
District seat on the Chesterton Town Council, Aaron Adcock, withdraws from
the race; the Democrat candidate, Dane Lafata, wins by default.
The USW reports
something like progress with ArcelorMittal but something like an impasse
with USS. CPD K-9 Kahr undergoes a successful hernia surgery. The Chesterton
Town Council approves a $1.2-million park bond to finance, among other
things, a splash pad and new playground equipment at Dogwood Park. The
Chesterton Town Council also approves amendments to two old PUDs, to
greenlight a pair of significant developments: the 346-lot Easton Park
subdivision of single-family homes east of 250E; and the 170-unit
Conservancy Point high-end apartment complex east of Kelle Drive and south
of Rail Road in Coffee Creek Center.
The Duneland School
Board names Cathy Forszt as transportation director, to succeed the late Jim
Bonfield; Forszt previously served as route coordinator. The Porter Fire
Department’s search-and-rescue K-9, Harley, undergoes surgery to correct a
birth defect; an outpouring of financial assistance helps Deputy Fire Chief
Jay Craig--on the hook himself for the medical bill--to pay the tab. East
Porter Ave., and the new bridge over Coffee Creek, opens to through-traffic,
one day before the contractual deadline to do so.
dune-holes on Mt. Baldy at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore are the remnants
of a “ghost forest;” 11 holes have been located but there are probably more.
Juan Luis Lamarr III, 19, of Hobart, dies after losing control of his
vehicle on U.S. Highway 6 in Jackson Township. Jack R. Forbes, 38, of
Portage Township, dies after crossing the center line and colliding with a
semi-tractor tanker on U.S. 6 in Jackson Township.
Historical Society remembers F.M. Goldsborough, who served as principal of
the old Westchester (now Chesterton) HS and died while teaching a math class
at CHS in 1954.
LLC appeals the ITAC’s ruling; principal Chuck Williams tells the AP that
the State of Indiana will owe him millions of dollars if setbacks conspire
to scuttle his lease agreement with the DNR. Roughly 1.6 new miles of
walking trails are opened at Brincka-Cross Gardens, a county park in Pine
owners of Dimensions School of Social Dance, earns one of the Top Ten
Teacher awards at the Chicago Harvest Moon Ball Championship as well as
national recognition in one of the oldest dance competitions in the country.
The CHS Trojan Guard wins the ISSMA Scholastic Class “A” state championship
in Indianapolis. Dean Stainko, 45, of Chesterton, dies in a motorcycle crash
on U.S. Highway 20 in Porter.
A consultant’s plan
for the Calumet Connection--that stretch of South Calumet Road from Porter
Ave. to the Chesterton Post Office--calls for a traffic-calming narrowing of
lanes, from 14 to 10 feet. The USW blasts ArcelorMittal for beginning open
insurance enrollment without input from the union. Both the Porter and
Chesterton town councils nominate Lisa Wodrich to the PCCRVC seat vacated by
the death of Judy Chaplin; Wodrich and her husband own Lemon Tree
Mediterranean Grill and Third Coast Spice Cafe.
The Porter County
Commissioners approve a “design-build” approach to a new animal shelter near
the Fairgrounds and Expo Center; the hope is to break ground in the spring
of 2016. The USW remains on a break from contract talks with USS. Congress
acts to extend the deadline to Dec. 31, 2018, by which railroads must
install positive train control; the NICTD Board had previously voted to
suspend operations on Jan. 1, 2016, if Congress failed to extend the
deadline by the end of this year.
Coroner Chuck Harris rules the death of Wanda Maxine Wunder, 94--who
succumbed in a fire in her home in Ogden Dunes--a homicide; Ogden Dunes Town
Marshal Jim Reeder declines to discuss his investigation pending a review by
the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. Christopher Glenn Rogers, 50, of Burns
Harbor, is sentenced to one year in the Indiana Department of Correction
after he pleads guilty to reckless homicide; Roger admitted punching his
friend in the parking lot of the Shift Change Tavern, causing his friend to
fall to the ground and sustain a fatal head injury.
National Lakeshore celebrates its 49th birthday with a cake party at the
Dorothy Buell Memorial Visitor Center. NiSource posts a third-quarter net
loss of $4.9 million or 2 cents per share. USS posts a third-quarter net
loss of $173 million or $1.18 per diluted share.
The result of the
Chesterton municipal election: Republican Nate Cobbs beats Democrat Scott
McCord in the race for the 4th District seat by a single vote. In Porter the
Democrats sweep, with William Lopez upsetting Republican Rob Pomeroy by two
votes for the 3rd District seat; Erik Wagner beating Levi Mele for the 1st
District seat; and Ross LeBleu beating Kimberly Fowler for the 4th District
seat. In Burns Harbor, Republicans Tony Biancardi and Andy Bozak and
Democrats Eric Hull, Marcus Rogala Sr., and Ray Poparad are the five top
vote-getters, while incumbent Democrat Clerk-Treasurer Jane Jordan beats
Republican challenger Timothy Canfield.
Neither McCord in
Chesterton nor Pomeroy in Porter expresses an interest in a recount. But
wait: four provisional ballots were cast in the Cobbs/McCord race; those
four voters have until Nov. 13 to present themselves at Voter Registration
with proper identification to make those votes count.
Jesse Harper announces his bid for the Democrat nomination to the 4th
District seat in the Indiana House, currently held by Republican Ed Soliday.
ArcelorMittal posts a third-quarter net loss of $717 million or 40 cents per
share. The Prairie Duneland Trail is officially made a part of the
designated U.S. Bicycle Route between Illinois and Michigan.
Joshua Williams of
Boy Scout Troop 908 earns his Eagle Scout rank. The DNR says that it will
winterize the Pavilion after holes in the roof, left by the removal of an
old kitchen exhaust apparatus and the installation of a elevator shaft, have
been letting rainwater into the building’s interior. The Porter Town Council
enacts an off-street parking requirement in the town’s subdivision, to take
effect during snow events so that plows and emergency vehicles can more
easily access the subdivisions.
teacher Jordan Nelson is presented with the Rising Star Award by the Indiana
Chapter of the American Association of Teachers of French. The Porter County
Election Board certifies all four provisional ballots in the Cobbs/McCord
race for the 4th District seat on the Chesterton Town Council, plus one
other vote, cast by email by a serving member of the U.S. military; the
result--a 401-401 tie, to be broken by the members of the Chesterton Town
Lions Club honors Mariah England with first place in the Peace Poster
Contest. The USW remains on a break from contract talks with USS, while the
company warns retirees of likely “substantial premium increases” for
benefits in 2016. The Chesterton Utility Service Board agrees to provide
sanitary sewer service to a 93-lot subdivision at the southeast corner of
C.R. 1050N and C.R. 50W in unincorporated Liberty Township, being built by
Red Fish Development LLC.
Chesterton Feed &
Garden is the latest burglary victim in a rash of forced entries which has
continued into the fall; also hit are Lemon Tree and George’s Gyros Spot;
during the latter, the suspect is believed to have cut his hand while
breaking the drive-through window. The Porter County Commissioners approve a
new stormwater fee: agricultural properties will be charged a flat fee of
$2.75 per acre per year; any residential property over 20 acres will be
charged a fee of $150 per year.
Tiara T. Thomas,
35, is fatally shot in her apartment on Old Porter Road in Portage.
Announced: up to 100 members of the CHS orchestra will perform at historic
venues in Nashville, Tenn. The NICTD Board mulls a possible fare hike in
2016 to fund capital projects, after an $80-million bond issue floated to
finance the positive train control mandate exhausts NICTD’s self-funding
The Chesterton Town
Council votes 3-1 to break the tie for the 4th District seat in Republican
Nate Cobbs’ favor; it’s a party-line vote, with Member Nick Walding not in
attendance. USS announces the temporary idling of Granite City Works,
impacting 2,000. The Chesterton Town Council enacts a 4-percent raise for
municipal employees to take effect Jan. 1. The Chesterton branch of the
First State Bank of Porter at 429 N. Calumet Road is robbed at gunpoint.
Shirley Ann Walton,
63, dies in a fire in her home in the 800 block of Chestnut Blvd.; the CFD
determines the fire to be accidental, caused by an electrical malfunction in
the wall. The Duneland Chamber of Commerce holds the annual Twilight
Christmas Parade in Downtown Chesterton; as always, Santa rocks the CFD
Charter School says it’s set to close on a $7-million bond issue at the end
of the month; the proceeds will be used to buy the school property from the
Charter Schools Development Corporation, build a 16,720-square foot annex,
and consolidate its debt. The Porter County Commissioners ratify the
nomination of Lisa Wodrich to the Duneland seat on the PCCRVC.
Kevin Campbell, 31,
of Hobart, is charged with the murder of Tiara Thomas in her Portage home;
Campbell, a former Hammond Police officer, is the father of Thomas’ three
children. Ground breaks on the Holiday Inn Express at the southwest corner
of Ind. 49 and Indian Boundary Road, behind the Walgreen’s. The FBI once
again visits the Porter County Auditor’s Office; this time, Auditor Vicki
Urbanik says, the FBI is interested in documents related to the county
employees’ health insurance plan.
Chuck Williams, a
principal in Pavilion Partners LLC, sues the operator of the valpolies.com
website, David Wichlinski and Hyperion Consulting, for defamation, alleging
that “fake statements” posted on the site have “irreparably damaged his
reputation and business ventures.” The Northside Diner and Round the Clock
are the latest burglary victims in the Indian Boundary Road/Calumet Road
Eight CMS students
are selected to the All Region Orchestra: eighth-graders Joe Adcock, Maris
Robinson, Charlie Skube, and Ben Hoham; and seventh-graders Emma Ghoreishi,
Jackson Fleming, Kate Nevers, and Katie Hansen. Four CMS students are
selected to the All Region Band: Nick Hanson, Maddie Figg, Carly Sparacio,
and Grace Whah. The 43rd annual Madrigal Dinner is held at CHS.
United Way of
Porter County names Kim Olesker its new president and CEO; Olesker is
currently serving as regional director of Early Childhood Initiatives. The
Symphony of Chesterton, an assisted living, post-acute care, and
rehabilitation facility under construction at Coffee Creek Center, says it
could begin accepting patients as soon as Dec. 28. Glenn Coppage, 52, of
Valparaiso, dies in a two-vehicle accident on I-80/94 in Lake County.
Northwest Indiana regional director of The Nature Conservancy, is the 2015
recipient of Save the Dunes’ prestigious Paul H. Douglas Award. The Burns
Harbor Town Council votes to replace “town conventions” with primaries in
the next municipal election; it also votes to purchase a new ALS ambulance
Public Library Board adopts a new logo: two partly open books in the form of
a “W.” Jane M. and Frank V. Zemaitis of Porter celebrate their 75th wedding
anniversary. The Town of Chesterton closes on a $2-million park bond, with
an interest rate of 2.54 percent over 10 years. Report: Kahr, the CPD K-9
partner, is set to return to active duty in January, after making a good
recovery from hernia surgery.
Save the Dunes
acquires 100 acres in Hobart to donate to Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore;
a good chunk of that acreage is located in the National Lakeshore’s Prairie
Grove site but is not yet actually owned by the National Park Service. The
USW reaches a tentative three-year labor agreement with USS; the proposed
contract must still be ratified by the membership.
Daryll Coleman, 29,
of Gary, is indicted in federal court charged with robbing the First State
Bank of Porter at gunpoint. Burns Harbor Police Officer Tim Lucas leads all
officers in Porter County with 45 OWI arrests this year; Chesterton PD
Officer Aaron Miersma and Porter PD Officer Tawni Komisarcik lead their
conditions lead USS to postpone construction of its electric arc furnace at
Fairfield, Ala., Works. The Chesterton BZA grants the Chesterton Bicycle
Station at 116 S. Fourth St. a variance permitting its owner to expand the
business with a 975-square foot addition. Chesterton Street Commissioner
John Schnadenberg, who’s been dreaming of a green Christmas, gets his wish.
A wintry mix of
ice, sleet, rain, and snow liberally coats Duneland on the first day back to
work after Christmas. Mitchell Willis of Boy Scout Troop 929 earns his Eagle
Scout rank. DNA evidence links Milton B. Gilmer Jr., 44, of South Haven, to
the burglary in November of George’s Gyros Spot, one in a series of more
than a dozen smash-and-grabs committed in Chesterton since early summer;
Gilmer is arrested on a charge of burglary, one count only. Bob Taylor,
coordinator of the Porter County Drug Task Force, retires after 21 years.