Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Year in Review: Citizens spoke out in 2019

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By KEVIN NEVERS

2019 was an ireful year in Duneland.

Especially in Chesterton--but in Porter, Liberty and Pine townships, Valpo, and Portage too--folks flocked to public meetings and Facebook alike to unload on policy makers surprised, perhaps, to find that their constituents really, really don’t want duplexes or storage units in their backyards.

Don’t want a Dollar General in their neighborhood.

Don’t want food trucks at the European Market.

Don’t want a couple of dozen mature trees cleared at Dogwood Park.

Don’t want a tattoo parlor on South Calumet Road.

Don’t want backwash from a clogged drainage ditch pooling on their property.

Don’t want train horns blasting into their bedrooms.

Don’t want luxury apartments on the site of the old Splash Down Dunes.

Don’t want golf balls from the Brassie hitting their homes.

Meanwhile, on the Chesterton Tribune’s Facebook page, a small cadre of the usual suspects basked in their Schadenfreude while unburdening themselves of a bellyful of beefs: a lack of leadership in Chesterton; the proliferation of nursing homes and senior living facilities at the expense of local shopping opportunities; the announcement, touted in May by Town Manager Bernie Doyle but never materializing, of a major commercial development on the property of the shuttered Kmart.

It may well be, then, that--up to their eyeballs in this toxic Zeitgeist--Chesterton Town Council members Jim Ton, R-1st, and Lloyd Kittredge, R-2nd, should count themselves lucky they faced no opposition in this year’s municipal primary and general elections. Clerk-Treasurer Stephanie Kuziela did, however. So did council members Dane Lafata, D-3rd, and Emerson DeLaney, R-5th. All three were handily defeated.

The anger wasn’t limited to Chesterton, Porter, or Pearson Road residents, though. Nor was it limited to the public at large.

In Pine Township, Assessor Tammy Watkins and the Township Board can barely stand to be in the same room together, after Watkins tried to bludgeon board members into rubber-stamping a fire protection contract with the Pines FD, whose chief is her husband and assistant chief her son. The board refused, she awarded the contract anyway, and the board went to court.

Porter County Commissioner Jim Biggs, R-North, actually leapt from his seat at a meeting to confront an atheist clamoring for a permit for an event on the Courthouse grounds.

Porter County Election Board J.J. Stankiewicz was caught on video screaming at Porter Clerk Jessica Bailey. Stankiewicz, panned by everybody, quickly resigned.

The Duneland School Board severed its relationship with the Damon Run Conservancy District after Valparaiso City Utilities acquired Damon Run’s sanitary sewer infrastructure and at year’s end was seeking--along with Porter Regional Hospital--to save some money by connecting to Chesterton’s system. Damon Run’s residential customers, wondering what in the hell just happened, are now looking over their shoulders, waiting for the City of Valparaiso to land-grab them.

The Portage Port Authority and the Marquette Yacht Club, among others, floundering in 3,000 stinking fish killed by ArcelorMittal when it released cyanide and ammonia into the East Branch of the Little Calumet River, raged and gnashed and wasted no time in filing notice of their intent to sue the company. ArcelorMittal apologized for the spill but what it didn’t bother to do--according to IDEM--was issue timely notifications of the Aug. 11 discharge or of an earlier one, on Aug. 4.

On the Bright Side

The CHS gymnastics team won its second consecutive state championship, while the school’s other athletic and academic teams continued their sterling record of high achievement and superb performance. Voters, in a May 7 referendum, overwhelmingly cast their ballots in favor of renewing the seven-year property-tax supplement to help the Duneland Schools make ends meet.

The Porter Town Council finally approved an expenditure for new playground equipment at Kids Cove Park. Volunteers gathered twice in Coffee Creek Park to clear brush and tend the boardwalks.

Chesterton, Porter, and Burns Harbor all accomplished major re-paving projects funded by matching Community Crossings state infrastructure grants.

Farewell and Godspeed

Among those passing this year in Duneland: Charlotte and Herb Read, two of the Dunes’ greatest advocates; Bob Dunbar, civic-mindedness encoded in his DNA; and Ray Poparad, the Rock of Burns Harbor.

January

The New Year opens with scores of Dunelanders--employees of the National Park Service, U.S. Geological Survey, Environmental Protection Agency, and other agencies--furloughed after the government shut down on Dec. 22. The 112-unit Residences of Coffee Creek senior living facility opens with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

CHS gymnastics team beats LaPorte 110.15-89.20 in its Duneland Athletic Conference opener. U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-1st, releases his schedule for his 2019 town forums; for the first time in 20 years at least, Visclosky will not hold one in Chesterton. Porter County Auditor Vicki Urbanik reports that property-tax rates for all but six taxing districts will increase in 2019, none of the six in Duneland. The Duneland School Board welcomes Interim Superintendent Judith Malasto and newly elected member Alayna Lightfoot Pol.

CHS boys swim team remains undefeated with 129-57 DAC win over Lake Central. The Porter Town Council seeks quotes for an engineering firm to design an accessible ramp at Lake Pratt. CHS boys soccer head coach Lucas Sabedra is named United Soccer Coaches Association Coach of the Year for the large schools in the Great Lakes Region, after the Trojans won their first state title with a 21-0-2 season in 2018.

Some 800,000 federal employees are due to miss their first paycheck since the government shut down on Dec. 22; more than half of them are still working. CHS wrestlers Brock Ellis and Evan Bates win individual titles as the team finishes fourth at the DAC meet. Franciscan Health Michigan City moves patients from its old hospital to the new facility at 3500 Franciscan Way. The Westchester Public Library Board agrees to close the Thomas Branch at 6 p.m. on Fridays, beginning in May.

The Chesterton Town Council endorses a liquor license application under the Riverfront District designation for Las Mamacitas, a new restaurant planned in the space formerly occupied by Volstead and Popolano’s, at 225 S. Calumet Road. Capt. Timothy Manteuffel, a 16-year veteran of the Porter County Sheriff’s Police, is named Sheriff Dave Reynolds’ new Chief Deputy. The Duneland YMCA, Red Cup Cafe, Val’s Famous Pizza, and Don Quijote begin offering deals for federal employees left without a paycheck during the government shut-down. Report: building activity in the Town of Chesterton falls by 38 percent in 2018.

The Westchester Migratory Bird Sanctuary reports several incidents of vandalism. The Duneland Resale Shop, the Westchester Township Trustee’s Office, and local Duneland clergy work together to assist federal employees impacted by the government shut-down. Report released by the Indiana Department of Education: Duneland School Corporation’s state and federal waiver graduation rates are the lowest of all Porter County public schools.

CHS freshman Madeline Rearick wins the 98-pound state wrestling title at the Girls Wrestling State Tournament sponsored by the Indiana High School Wrestling Coaches Association. Jackie Ruge-Perkins is named the new President and CEO of Porter Bank.

CHS students Gavin Dooley, Sarah Harmon, and Libby Gibson perform with the prestigious 2019 Indiana American String Teachers Associations’s All-State Orchestra. The CHS boys swim team wins its 23rd consecutive DAC title. The CHS wrestling team wins its fifth consecutive sectional title, with six individual titles. The No. 2 CHS gymnastics team posts the state’s highest score this season with a 114.80 to win the CHS Invitational.

The CHS debate team comes within half a point of extending its state championship streak to six consecutive titles, after finishing second to West Lafayette. The federal government shut-down ends on Jan. 22, the longest in history. Two exhibits--“Quilting Gone Wrong” and Frontline Foundation Inc.’s “Unbroken and (A)live”--will open at the Chesterton Art Center. Attorney Connor Nolan is named a new parter at Harris Welsh & Lukmann.

The Chesterton Tribune announces that it will not publish on Jan. 30 due to sub-zero temperatures and bitter wind chills in the forecast; the main reason is the danger posed to walking route carriers; meanwhile, the South Shore commuter line, the U.S. Postal Service, Republic Services, and Westchester Public Library all suspend service because of the cold. U.S. Steel Corporation announces a net profit in 2018 of $1.115 billion.

February

The Izaak Walton League of America presents its 2018 Honor Roll Award to the Friends of the Indiana Dunes. The CHS girls swim team wins 10 of 12 events in sectional competition. The CHS girls basketball team loses its sectional opener to Michigan City 29-24. The No. 1 CHS gymnastic team beats No. 2 Valparaiso 114.675-111.725.

The Duneland School Board votes unanimously to put to the voters, in the form of a referendum in the May 7 primary municipal election, the question of whether to renew for another seven years the supplemental property-tax levy passed by a slim margin in 2012. ArcelorMittal reports a net income in 2018 of $4.56 billion.

The Duneland School Board decides to reduce to three the number of eLearning Days during the 2019-20 academic year. CHS wrestlers Evan Bates and Brock Ellis both win titles at semistate competition. The CHS girls swim teamtakes ninth at the state championship.

The municipal primary election in Duneland on May 7 will feature only a single contested race: that between Chesterton Town Council Member Dane Lafata, D-3rd, and challenger Robert Allison. The National Park Service reports that amended plans for Pavilion Partners LLC’s remodeling of the Pavilion at Indiana Dunes State Park do not trigger a conversion of use under the Land and Water Conservation Act. The South Shore commuter line suspends service and the Duneland School Corporation cancels classes after an ice storm leaves roadways glazed and perilous.

The Chesterton Town Council approves the purchase of in-car and body cameras for all police patrol officers, at a total five-year cost of $212,900. The Porter Town Council agrees to sell an extra 100 parking permits for Porter Beach, for a total of 700, when they go on sale March 11. The No. 1 CHS gymnastics team beats No. 4 Portage 112.575-111.675 to close its undefeated dual meet regular season.

The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor opposes NIPSCO’s proposed 12-percent electric rate hike. The Duneland Schools administration, in the first of four public information sessions on the May 7 referendum, responds to pushback from property-tax payers. The Chesterton Tribune raises its subscription rate, for the first time since 1996, from $6 per month to $8.

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is officially re-named Indiana Dunes National Park, the 61st in the country, as part of the Fiscal Year 2019 Omnibus Appropriations legislation. CHS wrestler Evan Bates finishes third at 182 pounds and Brock Ellis fourth at 152 pounds at the state championship. The CHS boys swim team wins its 21st consecutive sectional title. The No. 1 CHS gymnastics team wins the DAC title.

International Association of Fire Fighters Local 4600, representing the career firefighters of the Chesterton FD, files a lawsuit against the town in federal court, alleging among other things that the town failed to compensate firefighters appropriately for nine years of overtime and failed to negotiate their 2019 contract in good faith. The Duneland School Board realizes months after the fact that, in August 2018, it voted to close the district to transfer students without knowing it was doing so.

NiSource Inc. reports a net loss of $65.6 million, including $888 million in expenses associated with the disastrous natural-gas explosions on Sept. 13, 2018, in Greater Lawrence, Mass., in a system owned by one of its subsidiaries. The CHS debate team qualifies six for the national tournament in June at the Northwest Indiana District Tournament: Azeez Lakhani, Emily Krygoske, Grace Whah, Sofia Winski, Gianna Galante, and Madi Simms.

CHS Japanese Olympic team finishes runner-up in the second-year division at the state championship. The Chesterton Advisory Plan Commission once again continues a public hearing on John Nekus’ proposed planned unit development behind the Chesterton Post Office and east of Westchester South, as neighbors increasingly complain about density, drainage, and traffic.

The CHS boys swim team finishes fourth at the state championship. The CHS gymnastics team wins the sectional title, beating second-place finisher Lake Central 114.675-110.825. HomeSnacks.net names Chesterton as one of the “10 Best Places to Raise a Family in Indiana.” The Duneland School Board commences its search for a new superintendent, following the abrupt resignation of Ginger Bolinger in December.

The Porter Fire Department’s new K-9 partner, Jakob, handled by Fire Chief Jay Craig--successor to the late great Harley--has his first find, after a Liberty Township boy went missing and the Porter County Search & Rescue Team was mustered. The CHS speach team finishes second in sectional competition. The Chesterton-Porter Rotary Club donates $1,000 to Rebuilding Together Duneland.

March

At a special meeting of the Duneland School Board, eight speak in favor of Duneland’s being an open school district and six in favor of its being a closed district. The CHS boys basketball team beats Valparaiso 35-30 to win the sectional title, the first time in 32 years. The No. 1 CHS gymnastics team beats runner-up Lake Central 114.45-110.875 to win the regional title.

Twenty-three CHS students win 24 medals at ISSMA’s Solo & Ensemble Event for Winds, Percussion, and Strings in Indianapolis. Porter County Animal Shelter Director Toni Bianchi reports record levels of adoptions. Report: in January the Chesterton Building Department issued permits for a new restaurant, Las Mamacitas at 225 S. Calumet Road; a farm-to-table eatery, Fuel, at 420 Broadway; and a craft beer pub, 219 Taproom, 109 S. Third St.

The CHS Alumni Association is launched; its non-profit status is pending. CMS eighth-grader Riley Hawksworth is one of the semifinalists eligible to compete in the 2019 National Geographic GeoBee’s Indiana state competition.

The CHS speech and debate team qualifies seven more to compete in the National Speech and Debate Tournament in Dallas, Texas, in June: Rebecca Mueller, Lily Roberts, Anekah Fish, Indigo Loving, Anna Sanders, Alan Stirling, and Max Winski. The Chesterton Park Board announces that the skate park off South 15th Street will be open for the 2019 season.

The Chesterton Park Board names an assistant superintendent, for the first time ever: Shane Griffin, who comes to the Park Department from Indiana Dunes National Park. The CHS cheer team places first in the High School Varsity Advanced Co-Ed Division at the MCDA Cheer and Dance Championship at Hobart High School.

Westchester Intermediate School fifth-grader Michael Shumate is one of the semifinalists eligible to compete in the 2019 National Geographic GeoBee’s Indiana state competition. The CMS Drama Club will present two one-act comedies, This is Your Brain on Social Media and 10 Ways to Survive the Apocalypse.

CHS gymnastics team wins its second consecutive state championship, beating runner-up Fort Wayne Carroll 113.875-110.975; the team is the first since 1981 to produce a winner in all four individual events, with Jordan Bush finishing second in the all-around and winning the Mildred M. Ball Mental Attitude Award. CHS boys basketball team drops its opener in regional competition to No. 9 Penn 49-42.

The Duneland YMCA announces the purchase of the former Chesterton Montessori School facility, 200 E. Burdick Road, to be the new home of the Y’s early learning programs. The consolidated Chesterton and Porter 911 dispatch center goes live with new radio equipment.

CHS seniors Bella Nash, Jon Sumita, and Anna Parkinson are selected to be speech finalists at the 33rd annual Japanese Language Speech Contest at the Japanese Information Center at Japan’s Chicago consultate. The CHS speech team finishes fourth overall at the state finals; eight of the team’s entries advanced to final rounds, and four of those placed in the top three.

Former U.S. Senator Birch Bayh, author of the Title IX law, dies at home in Indianapolis at 91. Special Olympian Jerritt Covington, 19, of Liberty Township, swims for two gold medals at the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor and Indiana American Water Company reach a settlement in the water company’s pending rate case, under which it agrees to additional annual revenues of less than half the amount it originally sought.

Porter County Election Board President J.J. Stankiewicz resigns his seat after a video emerges of him shouting at Porter County Clerk Jessica Bailey; 15 county officials subsequently called Stankiewicz’s behavior unacceptable. The Chesterton Utility Service Board recommends a rate hike of 3 percent, which would increase the average Chesterton residential customer’s bimonthly bill from $85.84 to $88.42. The Porter County Commissioners approve permanent increases to poll workers’ pay, in an effort to attract more poll workers and to keep pace with other counties.

ArcelorMittal seeks a tax abatement from the Burns Harbor Town Council related to $163 million in capital improvements which the company plans over the next three to four years. CHS basketball player Jake Wadding, only the fifth player in the school’s history to eclipse 1,000 career points, is named to the Indy Star Indiana Boys Junior All-Star Team.

A report released by the Indiana Secretary of State’s Office calls for the resignation of Democrat Director of Voter Registration Kathy Kuzuszek and Election Board Member J.J. Stankiewicz and blames the 2018 general election fiasco on a toxic atmosphere which they and Porter County Clerk Karen Martin fostered. The Chesterton Advisory Plan Commission heeds neighbors’ remonstrations and split-votes 5-2 to forward John Nekus’ post office planned unit development to the Town Council with an unfavorable recommendation.

The Burns Harbor Redevelopment Commission dedicates additional funding to staff the town’s ambulance. For the first time in its history, the Duneland Swim Club takes second place at the Indiana Age Group Championship Meet in Indianapolis.

United Way of Porter County taps attorney Todd Leeth as its 2019-20 campaign chair. The CHS softball team wins its season opener by crushing Hobart 16-1. The Town of Porter is awarded a 75/25 $623,697.30 Community Crossings state infrastructure grant for paving.

April

President Trump backtracks on his attempt to gut the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative of $300 million. Residents of the Pere Marquette subdivision, remonstrating before the Chesterton Board of Zoning Appeals, speak against the proposed construction of four storage units at 100 Brown Ave.; Richard Neal needs a variance for the buildings because his company’s main office is located not at 100 Brown Ave. but elsewhere. The CHS boys baseball team wins its season opener against Hammond Gavit 2-0.

CHS Japanese student Anna Parkinson wins the the Bonjin-sha Award and Isbella Nash the Illinois Association of Teachers of Japanese Award at the 33rd annual Japanese Speech Contest in Chicago. WDSO-FM 88.3 holds its 29th annual Radiothon at CHS during High School Radio Week. At a third information session on the property-tax referendum hosted by the Duneland School Corporation, more supporters of the referendum attend than opponents.

INDOT announces that the re-surfacing of U.S. 12 from Ind. 249 to roughly Ogden Dunes is about to begin; the project is expected to conclude by the end of June. The Chesterton Town Council votes unanimously to reject John Nekus’ proposed post office planned unit development. The Town of Chesterton and the Duneland School Corporation split the $6,000 cost of installing button-activated LED warning flashers for the crosswalk at the intersection of West Porter Ave. and South 11th Street.

The CHS girls track team opens its season with an impressive 68-64 DAC victory over Crown Point. The Horton Children’s Center at Sunset Hill Farm County Park will be ready in time for summer camps and the Spring Out to Sunset Festival. Early voting begins in the run-up to the municipal primary election on May 7.

The Duneland Chamber of Commerce voices its support of the Duneland Schools property-tax referendum on the ballot in the municipal primary election on May 7. The Chesterton Town Council eyes the purchase of the house at the southeast corner of Porter Ave. and South Calumet Road, so as to acquire right-of-way for reconfiguring the intersection. The CHS Student Government is recognized for the fourth consecutive year as a 2019 Natonal Gold Council of Excellence by the National Association of Student Councils.

The Burns Harbor Fire Department unveils its new engine at a wetting ceremony and ribbon-cutting. The CHS girls tennis team opens its dual meet season with a loss to Plymouth; the team’s only winner is Peyton Martinson. The Westchester Public Library Board authorizes Director Lisa Stamm to seek an additional appropriation for improvements, including new sidewalks at the Thomas branch. The CHS boys track team takes eight titles and the girls track team four titles at the Chesterton Relays. The CHS boys golf team wins its first title of the season with a 13-stroke victory at the Michigan City Marquette Invitational.

Porter Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Clymer rejects a motion for a change of venue by the accused murderer of Nicole Gland, Christopher Dillard. The Indiana Public Access Counselor releases its formal opinion on the Duneland School Board’s inadvertent closing of the school system to transfer students in August 2018: the board was “asleep at the wheel.” The CHS baseball team splits a double-header against Valparaiso, winning the first game 2-1 but losing the second 0-6.

The Burns Harbor Town Council approves a tax abatement for ArcelorMittal in advance of $163 million woth of capital improvements. A Discovery Charter School student makes what the Porter Police Department determined to be a non-credible threat to “shoot up the school”; at the time of the PPD’s report, the student was not attending classes. Report: Chesterton First United Methodist Church is in talks to sell the Methodist Activity Center (The MAC), 135 Lincoln Ave., to the new operator of the Chesterton Montessori School.

NIPSCO awards the Town of Chesterton an environmental grant for a riparian restoration project at Coffee Creek Park; and one to the non-profit which administers the Westchester Migratory Bird Sanctuary for an Eagle Scout project. The 162-unit StoryPoint Senior Living facility on Dickinson Road officially opens its doors.

The Chesterton Town Council votes unanimously to develop a request for proposals for an engineering feasibility study of a railroad quiet zone in the Downtown. Neighbors as well as the Westchester Public Library push back loudly against the Duneland Chamber of Commerce’s notion of expanding the European Market’s footprint to make room for food trucks.

The Chesterton Town Council unanimously votes to approve a 3.0-percent increase in sanitary sewer rates for Chesterton customers; a 5.22-percent increase for the Town of Porter; and a 5.21-percent increase for the Indian Boundary Conservancy District. The Chesterton Town Council eyes the possibility of widening the sidewalk on the south side of Broadway between Second and Third streets, to create space for al fresco dining and shade-making trees. The CMS band program is the recipient of ISSMA’s All-Music Award for the 2018-19 school year.

The Duneland School Board once again votes to close the district to transfer students, this time not by accident but on purpose. Over 100 people attend the final of four information sessions hosted by the Duneland School Corporation on the property-tax referendum on the ballot in the municipal election on May 7.

The Porter Town Council instructs Park Director Brian Bugajski to begin improvements at Hawthorne Park, including replacing a pair of HVAC units at the Community Building and installing new basketball courts. The Indiana Court of Appeals upholds the Department of Natural Resources’ authority to hold controlled deer hunts at state parks; the Center for Wildlife Ethics Inc. had challenged that authority. Richard Neal withdraws his petition before the Chesterton Board of Zoning Appeals for a variance to build four storage units at 100 Brown Ave.; but will build them anyway, after establishing an office on site.

Pavilion Partners LLC resumes construction on the Pavilion at Indiana Dunes State Park. Motorcyclist Douglas Coslet, 33, of Chesterton, dies in an accident on Burdick Road in Westchester Township. Former U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar dies at 87 at a hospital in Virginia.

Scores of volunteers put their backs into the annual Rebuilding Together Duneland, at homes and civic sites throughout the community. The Chesterton Street Department observes Arbor Day by planting a tree at South 15th Street and Lincoln Ave. Tiger Martial Arts claims several gold, silver, and bronze medals at the 2019 Samurang Games in Palatine, Ill.

May

The Porter County Commission-ers award bids for three major re-paves partially funded by Community Crossings state infrastructure grants: North Calumet Ave. from the Valparaiso city limits to U.S. 6; Meridian Road from the Valpo city limits to U.S. 6; and Sturdy Road from the railroad crossing to U.S. 30. The Duneland School Corporation celebrates its 50th anniversary, after the consolidation of the school facilities in Westchester, Liberty, and Jackson townships and a portion of Pine Township in 1969.

A micropantry built by Angel Berg, 18, of Porter, opens outside the Porter Police station, 50 Francis St., to give food-insecure Dunelanders 24-hour access to nonperishable food items. Porter County Clerk Jessica Bailey announces that she’s found more than $72,000 in outstanding expenses from the 2018 election since she took office in January. The DNR gives Pavilion Partners LLC a Aug. 1, 2020, deadline by which to complete construction on the Pavilion at Indiana Dunes State Park and obtain occupany permits; should the LLC miss the deadline, the DNR has the option of terminating the lease agreement.

U.S. Steel Corporation posts a first-quarter profit of $54 million. Charlotte Johnson Read, who spent the greater part of her life living among and fighting for the Indiana Dunes, dies at 90. Nearly four and a half inches of rain fall over five days, beginning on April 26. The Indiana state budget bill officially puts the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District’s Board of Trustees under the purview of the Governor’s Office; the bill cuts the NICTD board to five members, all to be appointed by the governor; but also dedicates $205 million in funding to the West Lake Corridor project and the Double Track project.

The CHS boys track team wins the Valparaiso Relays. Local 4600 of the International Association of Fire Fighters--representing Chesterton’s career firefighters--endorses Democrat Bob Allison in the Town Council primary election; Allison is challenging incumbent Dane Lafata for the latter’s 3rd District seat. CHS will host the 46th annual All that Jazz festival in the auditorium.

The CHS softball team rallies to beat Valparaiso 7-6. The 19th annual A.C.E. (Accepting the Challenge of Excellence) Award is presented by the Duneland Exchange Club to CHS senior Ellias Hanna. The CHS girls track team wins two titles and finishes second in the DAC meet at Valparaiso. The CHS baseball team wins its second walk-off victory in a row, 3-2, against LaPorte.

Dunelanders overwhelmingly vote to renew a property-tax referendum for another seven years, with 73 percent in favor, 3,389 yes votes to 1,241 no votes; the first time around, the referendum won by only a 151-vote margin; meanwhile, the Duneland School Board pledges to keep the community more involved in, and informed about, the way in which referendum funds are spent.

In the only contested municipal primary race in all of Duneland--the one for the 3rd District seat on the Chesterton Town Council, held by Democrat Dane Lafata--challenger Bob Allison wins comfortably, with 54 percent of the vote to Lafata’s 46 percent.

ArcelorMittal reports a first-quarter profit of $414 million. CHS sprinter Dimitri Nicholson wins the 100 as the boys track team finishes fourth in the DAC meet at Lake Central. The splash pad at Chesterton Park is closed indefinitely after heavy rains cause hydrostatic pressure to push the pad’s control vault up and out of the ground, shearing the pipes below the vault right off. The Town of Burns Harbor is awarded two grants from the DNR--in amounts of $1.78 million and $168,000--to fully fund the town’s portion of the Marquette Greenway Trail.

An unnamed man is banned from the Westchester Public Library for at least a year after an apparent heroin overdose in a Thomas Branch restroom.The Chesterton Town Council makes its position clear: it will not permit the expansion of the European Market to make room for food trucks.

Chesterton Street Commissioner John Schnadenberg declares war on a pair of beaver dams blocking the westerly flow of drainage in the old part of town, a monster at Griffin Lake and a second at the headwaters of the Peterson Ditch. The CHS girls track team wins the sectional title. The CHS girls tennis team beats Boone Grove 5-0 in sectional semifinals.

CHS sprinter Dimitri Nicholson breaks a 36-year-old sectional record in the 100 meter dash, as the boys track team finishes second overall. The CHS girls tennis team ends its season with a 5-0 loss to Valparaiso in the championship match of the Portage sectional. The CHS boys golf team wins the DAC meet at the Brassie and ties for the conference title with Crown Point and Valparaiso.

CHS graduate Lucas Davison earns a berth on Team USA for the United World Wrestling Junior World Championships in Estonia. The 129th commencement at CHS will be held outdoors in the football stadium. At the Portage regional the CHS girls track team qualifies its 1,600 and 3,200 relay teams and 3,200 runner Bailey Ranta for state competition. The Porter County Commissioners approve the $4.5-million renovation of the old jail in Downtown Valparaiso.

The CHS baseball team falls 2-1 in extra innings to No. 1 Crown Point in its sectional opener. The CHS softball team beats Portage 14-2 in the sectional semifinal. CHS Senior Athletes of the Year are Marney Sisson, Shelby Bullock, and Jack Eaton.

The CHS softball team blanks Hobart 10-0 for the sectional championship. The CHS boys track team qualifies its 3,200 and 400 relay teams and sprinter Dimitri Nicholson for state competition.

Chesterton Town Manager Bernie Doyle tells the Chesterton Tribune that a major announcement is in the works about the old Kmart site on Indian Boundary Road, but declines to confirm a rumor that an Aldi’s is in the property’s future. The CHS softball team falls to Crown Point 2-0 in the regional championship game.

The Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission awards the Town of Chesterton a $1.2-million grant for Phase III of the Westchester-Liberty Trail. The body of a missing kayaker, Jacob Sandy, 23, of South Bend, is found 10 days after he went missing at Porter Beach, about a quarter mile east of where he went into the water. Porter County Commissioner Jeff Good, R-Center, is appointed by Gov. Eric Holcomb to represent the county on the newly reconstituted NICTD Board of Trustees.

CHS boys and girls swim coach, Kevin Kinel, hangs up his stop watch after more than 40 years at poolside; among other achievements, his girls teams boast 24 Top-10 finishes at state, his boys teams four state championships and one national championship. A smoker at Sweenie Todd’s Smoked Meats, 139 S. Calumet Road, overheats, causing a fire in the kitchen only days before the restaurant was scheduled to open for the season.

June

CHS sprinter Dimitri Nicholson finishes seventh in the 100 meters at state, the boys 400 relay team places 14th, and the 3,200 relay team 20th. CHS runner Bailey Ranta, the No. 22 seed in the 3,200, captures 10th place at state, the girls 3,200 relay team takes 15th, and the 1,600 relay team 12th. The CHS boys golf team finishes second to Valparaiso in sectional competition.

Allure on the Lake, 526 Indian Boundary Road, burns to the ground, with estimated damage at $1 million; the cause of the fire remains undetermined. CHS senior Branden Wong is named a National Merit Scholarship winner. Jean Bargeron’s oil painting, “Dunes by Knife,” is Best in Show at the 68th annual Chesterton Woman’s Club Art Show.

A bill signed into law strips circuit court judges of their authority to appoint a member of a county park board, gives county commissioners two appointments instead of one, and gives another park board appointment to an elected county official who is neither a commissioner nor a council member. Report: total rainfall in May was 8.12 inches, with rain events recorded at the Chesterton wastewater treatment plant 24 days out of 31, including 10 consecutive days May 21-30.

CMS Principal Michael Megyesi and Jackson Elementary Principal Linda Rugg submit their resignations, effective June 12. CHS boys golf team finishes eighth in regional competition, with Sean Elliott falling one stroke short of a berth at state. The Burns Harbor Redevelopment Commission pledges an additional $25,000 in TIF moneys to fund ambulance staffing payroll.

2002 CHS grad Eddie Wineland picks up another UFC octagon victory with a knockout of Girgorri Popov in Chicago. Porter County Assessor Jon Snyder is sentenced to probation after pleading guilty in federal court to a single misdemeanor count of failure to supply information to the Internal Revenue Service, in connection with his private business, Shoreline Appraisals Inc. of Portage.

Porter Park Director Brian Bugajski announces that two-thirds of a planned one-mile trail leading to the Little Calumet River from Hawthorne Park has been cut and cleared. The Duneland School Board holds a meeting to take public input on a proposed new superintendent’s contract: base salary $147,500 for a 260-day work year; $6,000 annual car allowance; and a bonus of $4,500 or $6,500 per year depending on the outcome of annual evaluations.

Bill Laster, a resident of Oakwood Drive, presses the Chesterton Stormwater Management Board about backwash in his rear yard, which he suspects is being caused by a clogged ditch west of South 11th Street, east of the headwaters of Peterson Ditch. U.S. Steel announces the idling of two domestic blast furnaces--including the south blast furnace at Gary Works--as well as the idling of a European blast furnace, in response to a softening market; the company says that it doesn’t at the moment expect any layoffs at Gary Works.

IOSHA fines ArcelorMittal Indiana Harbor $10,000 for lead and cadmium violations. The Chesterton Advisory Plan Commission hears a pitch for a Dollar General on the site of the old Lipinski Automotive property, 1300 Broadway; the construction of a Dollar General would require a re-zone of a portion of the property from I-1 to B-3. The CHS speech and debate team has one Top 60 finish at the National Speech and Debate Tournament in Dallas, Texas: Max Winski and Indy Loving in Duo Interpretation.

Brandon Jones, 11, Drew Pacilio, 12, and Lucas Anderson, 11, take first, second, and third respectively at the annual MS4 Kids Fishing Derby at Indian Springs Park in Porter. Chip Pettit--formerly principal of Crown Point High School--is named the new superintendent of the Duneland School Corporation.

The Shirley Heinze Land Trust adds to its holdings 34 acres of wetlands and floodplain along the Little Calumet River in Chesterton. The Chesterton-Porter Rotary Club installs Bob Kolar as 2019-20 president and names Bonny Hildebrand Rotarian of the Year.

The Steel Barrel Tavern, 212 Lincoln St. in Porter, celebrates its grand opening. The Porter County Chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America honors Norman and Pat Hellmers with the 2019 Environmental Achievement Award for their work opposing Pavilion Partners LLC’s remodeling of the Pavilion at Indiana Dunes State Park and its plans to build a banquet center there.

July

The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission orders a two-phase rate increase for customers of American Indiana Water Company; the impact on residential customers using 4,000 gallons of water each month will be an additional 34 cents per month after Phase I goes into effect, then an additional $2.22 per moth when Phase II is implemented.

Beach access to the Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk site at Indiana Dunes National Park is restored following completion of a new trail to replace the one destroyed by storms in the fall of 2018. The constitution of the Porter County Election Board is changed, after a new law goes into effect meant to improve the county’s election process; the board goes from three members to five, comprised of the Porter County Clerk and two members each appointed by the Republican and Democrat party chairs.

The Chesterton Park Board learns that 25 mature trees at Dogwood Park will be removed by a NIPSCO contractor to protect the power lines which they’ve overgrown. Three train cars on the Norfolk Southern line jump the tracks near the North Jackson Blvd. grade-crossing; no one is hurt.

Porter County Coroner Cyndi Dykes reports that 12 confirmed fatal overdoses occurred in the first six months of the year, with six more suspected ODs, compared to 16 in the year-ago period. Report: the remodel of the former Methodist Activity Center, 135 Lincoln Ave., by the new owner of the Chesterton Montessori School, leads the list of June building permits. A concrete deadman slab weighing 28 tons is poured for the splash pad at Chesterton Park, intended to anchor it securely underground and resist hydrostatic pressure in the event of another heavy rainfall.

Porter Police Lt. John McMahon is honored by the American Legion as Law Officer of the Year at the district level. The 12th annual Bark in the Park, sponsored by the Duneland Business Initiative Group, is held at Thomas Centennial Park. Rogue, the Porter County Sheriff’s Police K-9 unit, makes a quick job of finding Sheriff Dave Reynolds at the European Market, in a demonstration of Project Lifesaver’s capability. A Florida gator expert succeeds in capturing a four-foot long alligator in Chicago’s Humboldt Park lagoon.

Chesterton Town Council Member Emerson DeLaney, R-3rd, will be challenged in the Nov. 5 municipal election by Independent attorney Jennifer Fisher. CHS student Jack Eaton is the 2018-19 Gatorade Indiana Boys Soccer Player of the Year, the first ever selected from CHS.

Samuel Marshall is named the new principal at Jackson Elementary; Michael Hamacher, the new principal at CMS. The National Weather Service issues an excessive heat warning, with heat indices forecast in excess of 100 degrees.

Winners at the Duneland Chamber of Commerce’s annual Awards Luncheon: Duneland Distinguished Woman, Shirley Peffers; Humanitarians of the Year, Dr. John and Linnea Forchetti and DeShawna Neal; Volunteers of the Year, Jeff Larson and Elizabeth Marks; Golden Achievement, Janet Ryan; Serviceperson of the Year, John Schnadenberg; Business Renovation, Three Moons Fiberworks, Prepared Services, and Moth Wings Studio; New Construction Award, Biggby Coffee and Residences at Coffee Creek.

The Porter Advisory Plan Commission recommends reducing the minimum square footage requirements for hew homes; under the change, a single-family home would have to be at least 1,200 square feet, down from 1,500 square feet. The Chesterton Advisory Plan Commission grapples with the definition of “retirement village,” after John Nekus proposes to build one on the 11.28 acres behind the Chesterton Post Office, just a few months after planners rejected his planned unit development on the same property.

The nation celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. The 168th Porter County Fair gets under away at the Expo Center and Fairgrounds. The Chesterton Redevelopment Commission green-lights the conversion of parallel parking on the north side of West Indiana Ave. to angled parking in the 100 and 300 blocks. The Park Department re-buries a newly secured splash pad control vault at Chesterton Park; tests on the system are proceeding.

ArcelorMittal is fined $14,000 following the death in April of a steelworker in a train accident at the Indiana Harbor facility. The Porter Town Council split-votes 4-1 to oust Public Works Director Brenda Brueckheimer; no reason is given for the move. The owner of the house at the southeast corner of Porter Ave. and South Calumet Road pleads with the Chesterton Redevelopment Commission to decide quickly whether to buy it or not, as she’s unable to do anything with the property while an intersection reconfiguration project is up in the air; meanwhile, Town Engineer Mark O’Dell questions the feasibility of the project.

A drywall subcontractor, Mattias Francisco Miguel-Baltazar, 35, dies after falling off a ladder at the Eagle Crossing Apartments worksite at Coffee Creek Center. Survey results: 71 percent of respondents favor the creation of a railroad quiet zone in Downtown Chesterton. The Chesterton Board of Zoning Appeals unanimously grants a use variance for a tattoo parlor at 1505 S. Calumet Road, over the strongly voiced objection of a remonstrator who tells members that “Tattoos aren’t the image the Town of Chesterton wants to portray.”

The Chesterton Board of Zoning Appeals tells petitioner Derek Serianni he needs to define what he means by a “special events center” before members would consider granting him a use variance for the old Pioneer Lumber Building at 505 Grant Ave. CHS graduate Mitch Davis wins the 44th annual Northern Amateur at Sand Creek Country Club with a tournament record 12-under-par.

The Festival of Magic is held in Downtown Chesterton, sponsored by Running Vines Winery and Aftermath Cidery. At long last the splash pad at Chesterton Park is opened to the public. Brandon Howard, 32, of Constantine, Mich., drowns in the waters off Indiana Dunes State Park. The accused murderer of Nicole Gland, Christopher Dillard, seeks his immediate release from the Porter County Jail, pending his trial, on the ground that he was not brought to trial in a timely fashion. NiSource Inc. posts a second-quarter profit of $283.1 million.

August

ArcelorMittal posts a second-quarter loss of $447 million. The Pine Township Board and Pine Township Trustee Tammy Watkins clash over a fire-protection service contract which Watkins wants to award to the Pines FD, whose chief is her husband and whose deputy chief is her son.

The 61st annual Chesterton Art Fair is held at Dogwood Park. U.S. Steel posts a second-quarter profit of $68 million. The Northwest Indiana Croquet Association returns to the Porter County Park Board, seeking the construction of a championship pitch at Sunset Hill Farm County Park; but the group wants to restrict public access to the pitch.

The Duneland School Board hires Robert McDermott as assistant superintendent; McDermott most recently served as Director of Student Services and School Safety for the Crown Point Community School Corporation. The Duneland School Board green-lights the reconfiguation of the CHS auto shop into a “flex lab” where students will get hand-on experience with sophisticated manufacturing equipment.

Porter County Sheriff Dave Reynolds is named Sheriff of the Year by the Indiana Sheriff’s Association; while PCSP Officer Nathan Graff is named Deputy Sheriff’s Officer of the Year. The Porter County Animal Shelter reports that the euthanization rate has been reduced for the fourth consecutive year.

Shoplifters hit the CVS at 505 E. 1100N three times in the space of three days, stealing roughly $2,000 worth of razors and antacids. Work begins on the conversion of parallel parking into angled parking on the north side of West Indiana Ave. in the 100 and 300 blocks.

Local law enforcement agencies are awarded a grant by the Indiana Criminal Justice Insitute to crack down on school bus stop-arm scofflawism; officers will follow select Duneland buses to and from school, watching for motorists who fail to stop for activated stop-arms. The Porter Town Council adopts a resolution naming the area west of the fire station the Lewis T. Craig Sr. Heroes Memorial Garden. Can anyone remember when Babe Poparad wasn’t cross-guarding kids to safety on their way to Yost Elementary on the first day of school?

ArcelorMittal blames a mechanical failure for the release of cyanide and ammonia nitrogen into the East Branch of the Little Calumet River, just east of the Shadyside Mobile Home Park in Burns Harbor, in sufficient quantities to kills thousands of fish; beaches are closed as a precaution, as is Indiana American Water Company’s pumping and treatment facility in Ogden Dunes. A lightning strike ignites a fire in an attic of a house in the 400 block of West Indiana Ave. in Chesterton; meanwhile, 5,000 homes and businesses in Duneland lose power during the storm.

A proposed Dollar General on the site of the old Lipinski Automotive, 1300 Broadway, draws both support and opposition at a meeting of the Chesterton Advisory Plan Commission. ArcelorMittal apologizes for the chemical spill which killed thousands of fish; monitoring reveals that levels of cynanide and ammonia are falling in the East Branch of the Little Calumet River; but Portage Mayor John Cannon blasts the Indiana Department of Environmental Management for waiting three full days to notify the City of Portage after receiving the first reports of dead fish.

The CHS boys soccer team cruises to a 12-0 win against Boone Grove in its season opener. The CHS volleyball team beats Hammond Morton 25-12, 25-11, and 25-9 in its season opener. The accused murderer of Nicole Gland, Christopher Dillard, is denied release from the Porter County Jail pending his trial. New children’s art instructors Emily Blossom and Jen Aitchison join the Chesterton Art Center. CHS grad Lucas Davison wins a silver medal at the UWW Junior World Wrestling Championships in Estonia.

The first ADA-accessible kayak launch at Indiana Dunes National Park--on the East Branch of the Little Calumet River off Howe Road--is opened at a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Portage attorney Thomas Dogan announces that he’s filed a notice of intent to sue ArcelorMittal for violations of the Clean Water Act, following the company’s release of cyanide and ammonia into the Little Calumet River; joining that suit, among others, are the Marquette Yacht Club and the Portage Port Authority.

The CHS football team beats Hobart 21-13 in its season opener. The CHS boys cross country team opens its season with a win in the 11/12 Division in the NIC Stomp and a second-place finish in the 9/10 Division. The CHS girls cross country team wins the 9/10 Division in the NIC Stomp and takes second place in the 11/12 Division.

The annual Babapaloosa Music Festival, sponsored by the Chesterton-Porter Rotary Club, is held at Sunset Hill Farm County Park. The Chesterton Redevelopment Commission opts not to purchase the property at the southeast corner of Porter Ave. and South Calumet Road, after concluding that the amount of infrastructure already in the ground would make the reconfiguration of the intersection difficult, if not altogether unfeasible.

The CHS girls soccer team blanks Valparaiso 4-0. After years of complaints from Duneland Cove residents, the Porter Town Council approves a quote of $53,209 for new playground equipment at Kids Cove Park. The CHS boys soccer team beats Valparaiso 4-2.

Residents of Pearson Road in unincorporated Liberty Township blast the Brassie Golf Club for years of errant golf balls, hit from the driving range, striking their homes and endangering their lives. The Duneland Chamber of Commerce hosts the annual Taste of Duneland in Thomas Centennial Park.

September

The CHS volleyball team pulls out a tough victory against Valparaiso, 25-21, 25-22, 24-26, and 25-18. Residents of Pearson Road in unincorporated Liberty Township ask the Porter County Commissioners for relief from errant golf balls hit from the Brassie; the Commissioners are noncommittal. A fugitive driving a stolen maintenance truck in the direction of police officers on the Indiana Toll Road, immediately south of Abercrombie Woods, is shot in the leg by a Porter County Sheriff’s deputy; during the manhunt for the fugitive and his two companions, Duneland School buses loaded with students and heading for Abercrombie are re-routed to Westwood Manor.

The CHS boys tennis team wins its first match of the season with a 5-0 DAC victory over Portage. Report: all Duneland Schools came out ahead of state averages on the new ILEARN standardized test--which replaced ISTEP--but not a single one of them exceeded 60 percent proficiency in English and math.

Two-thousand Duneland School students will converge on Indiana Dunes National Park in attempt to break the Guiness World Record for largest field trip. The Chesterton Town Council tells Pearson Road residents that there’s nothing it can do to stop errant golf balls hitting their homes from the Brassie, because they live in unincorporated Liberty Township.

In the battle of the final two undefeated DAC girls soccer teams, CHS takes it on the chin, losing to Crown Point 2-0. CHS students and staff place 2,977 flags on the lawn in front of the football stadium, in memory of the martyrs who died on Sept. 11, 2001. Twelve CHS seniors are named National Merit Scholarship semifinalists: Joseph Adcock, Jenna Aguilar, Calvin Anders, Gavin Dooley, Dylan Draves, Ryan Herr, Gabriel Kroeger, Aidan Li, Reagan Morton, Zachary Mullins, Xavier Pittman, and Joshua Sweet.

Residents complain to the Chesterton Town Council about train horns near their homes; meanwhile, the council appoints an ad hoc committee to review quiet zone engineering proposals submitted by three consultants.9. The CHS football team wins its homecoming game decisively by beating LaPorte 29-7. Homecoming Royalty: Chad Berdine, Duke; Molly Hadenfelt, Duchess; Gazelle Hood, Queen; Alex Dzugas, King; Avary Gonzales, Princess; and Conner Mathis, Prince.

The CHS girls cross country team wins the Bob Thomas Invitational, led by Bailey Ranta’s runner-up finish. The CHS boys cross country team takes second at the Bob Thomas, led by Will Shook’s third-place finish.

The Porter County Council wants to know why the Westchester Public Library has reserve funds, as WPL Director Lisa Stamm tells the Chesterton Tribune that a Porter County Council member--whom she declines to name--made an impromptu visit and whose tone she characterized as “challenging” and one of “constant questioning.”

The CHS girls golf team finishes fifth overall at the DAC meet, with Lake Central taking the team title. The fourth annual Indiana Dunes Apple Festival is held at Indiana Dunes National Park’s Chellberg Farm site. The Chesterton Stormwater Management Board moves to purchase a flail mower to expose the old ditch west of South 11th Street which Oakwood Drive resident Bill Lasters thinks is blocked and causing backwash into his rear yard.

The CHS Trojan Guard marching band takes first in its class at the annual Goshen High School Crimson Marching Invitational. U.S. Steel projects an adjusted diluted loss per share in the third quarter of 35 cents, sending its stock price sharply down. A volunteer luncheon held by the Duneland Resale Shop celebrates 10 years at 801 Broadway. Over the impassioned objections of some neighbors, but making others very happy, the Chesterton Advisory Plan Commission votes unanimously to endorse a re-zone of the old Lipinski Automotive, 1300 Broadway, to allow the development of a Dollar General on the site.

The CHS football team falls to No. 2 Valparaiso 40-6. The CHS girls tennis team finishes second in sectional competition at the Valparaiso Country Club, losing to Valpo 365-395. The CHS boys tennis team wins the eight-school Portage Invitational. The Westchester Migratory Bird Sanctuary unveils its new sign at a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The U.S. Army redacts details of its investigation into the deaths of nine solders in 2016--including that of 2014 CHS graduate and U.S. Military Academy Cadet Mitch Winey--when the truck they were riding in was swept into a rain-swollen river at Fort Hood; the Army still refuses to explain how its investigation was conducted or who ordered the training exercise to proceed despite the heavy storm.

CHS students walk out of classes as part of the Global Climate Strike. A NIPSCO contractor begins the removal of 25 mature trees at Dogwood Park, to protect the power lines which they’ve overgrown. CHS Principal Brent Martinson says that students who walked out of classes as part of the Global Climate Strike will be marked truant but that no other disciplinary action has yet been decided.

The Chesterton Town Council awards a $71,000 contract to CTC Inc. of Fort Worth, Texas, for a railroad quiet zone feasibility study. CHS social studies teacher Bob DeRuntz and Anna Zervos hold their annual Civil War encampment in the CHS courtyard.

The Porter County Chapter of the Izaak Walton League will hold the Read Ride bicycle tour honoring the late Dunes advocate Charlotte Read. The Westchester Township History Museum opens a new exhibit: “The Rest of the Story: Local Women 1860-1920.” The Chesterton Board of Zoning Appeals grants a use variance of a special events center at 505 Grant Ave. The CHS football team spoils Portage’s homecoming game with a 26-7 win.

The CHS girls golf team ends its season with a 14th place finish in regional competition. The CHS girls cross country team finishes second in the 16-school Highland Invitational, with Libby Boster the team’s top finisher. A total of 5.18 inches of rain falls over the weekend in Duneland with lightning strikes damaging a vacant Liberty Township home and a house in Tamarack. The Northern Indiana Historical Power Association holds its 43rd annual Fall Harvest Festival at Sunset Hill Farm County Park.

October

The Chesterton Art Center begins an exhibit entitled “In Our Nature,” featuring pastels by Mary Ann Pals and mixed media pieces by Larry Jensen. Volunteers at the Duneland Community Church sort and pack 26,000 donated bras for the non-profit Free the Girls.

U.S. Steel announces a joint-venture partnership with Big River Steel, to acquire an interest in the company’s mini mill. The CHS boys tennis team wins its sectional opener 5-0 over Portage. The CHS Trojan Guard takes third place at the Concord Invitational in Elkhart.

The CHS boys soccer team finishes its regular season unbeaten with a 7-0 victory over LaPorte and a DAC championship. The CHS boys tennis team loses 3-2 to Valparaiso in the sectional finals. Chesterton MS4 Operator Jennifer Gadzala is named an Influential Woman, while Porter County Auditor Vicki Urbanik is named Overall Up and Coming Woman of the Year, by the Northwest Indiana Influential Women’s Association.

The CHS girls soccer team finishes its regular season by blanking Griffith 7-0. Westchester Intermediate School and Chesterton Middle School are closed after the bacterium which causes Legionnaire’s disease is found in the water supply. A Chicago developer seeks to build between 250 and 318 luxury apartments on the site of the old Splash Down Dunes water park in Porter.

The CHS boys cross country team finishes third at the DAC championships; the CHS girls cross country team finishes fourth but just six points out of first. WIS and CMS are re-opened after steps are taken to rid their water supplies of the bacterium which causes Legionnaire’s disease; but a student at the YMCA Early Learning Academy--housed at CMS--tests positive for Legionella.

NICTD is cleared by the Federal Transit Administration to begin the design and engineering of the West Lake Corridor. The CHS girls soccer team cruises to a 12-0 win over Merrillville in sectional competition.

Customers of the Damon Run Conservancy District push back after Valparaiso City Utilities announces plans to purchase Damon Run’s sanitary sewer infrastructure; residents fear a future land grab by the City of Valparaiso. Lisa Apato, a former president of the Discovery Charter School’s Parent Advisory Council (PAC)--a non-profit operated by parents and not affiliated with the school’s administration--is charged with the theft of nearly $60,000 from the PAC.

Valmere Farms of Jackson Township is the recipient of the Porter County Soil and Water Conservation District’s Conservationist of the Year Award. The No. 3 CHS boys soccer team beats No. 7 Crown Point 4-0 in sectionals. Garry Nallenweg is honored for 20 years as CHS Athletic Director.

The CHS girls soccer team beats Portage 7-2 in the sectional semifinal. The 19th annual Duneland Community Prayer Breakfast is held, with Henrietta Ngenga as keynote speaker. Porter County Commissioner Jim Biggs, R-North, says that he should not have gotten out of his seat and into the face of an atheist during a heated exchange on the subject of a request by the Northwest Indiana Atheists to use the courthouse lawn on the same day of Valparaiso’s Holly Days event.

The CHS boys cross country team finishes second behind Valparaiso in sectional competition; the girls team also finishes second behind Valparaiso, with Bailey Ranta overall runner-up. The CHS boys soccer team wins the sectional championship with a 5-0 victory over Merrilville; the girls team loses the sectional final to Valparaiso in penalty kicks. The Chesterton Town Council approves a 2-percent raise for full-time municipal employees in the 2020 budget.

Porter County Attorney Scott McClure announces that the Brassie Golf Club will use its off-season to explore ways to mitigate the threat to homes on Pearson Road posed by errant golf balls. The Town of Chesterton is awarded a 50/50 Community Crossings infrastructure grant of $168,000 to re-pave Broadway from Eighth Street to 19th Street; and 1100N from South Fifth Street to 100E. The Chesterton Town Council takes the first step in demolishing the abandoned house at 507 Wabash Ave. by declaring it an unsafe building.

Bailly Elementary School wins this year’s World School Milk Day’s contest, sponsored by the American Dairy Association Indiana. The CHS debate team begins its season by winning six of eight events at the Concord Invitational. The Caring Place opens a new 48-bed domestic violence shelter in Valparaiso.

The CHS girls cross country team finishes third in regional competition; the boys team finishes second behind Valparaiso. The CHS boys soccer team ends its defense of its 2018 state championship with a 2-0 loss to Northridge in regional competition. The CHS football team ends its regular season with a 27-20 loss to No. 7 Merrillville.

USS Indianapolis, the Navy’s newest littoral combat ship, is commissioned at the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor. Liberty Township resident Ron Stone blasts the proposed sale of the Damon Run Conservancy District to Valparaiso City Utilities at a meeting of the Chesterton Utility Service Board. Gusty winds topple trees on Wabash Ave., Pearson Road, and in an alley north of Lincoln Ave.

In the opening arguments of Christopher Dillard’s murder trial, prosectuors say that Dillard confessed to his murder of Nicole Gland to a cell mate and in recorded calls. A delinquent tax sale nets Porter County $1.3 million. The Indiana Department of Environmental Management finds that Arcelor-Mittal was in seven different violations of its NPDES permit, in connection with a chemical release which killed thousands of fish in the East Branch of the Little Calumet River in August.

The Duneland School Board unveils its two-year contract with the Duneland Teachers Organiza-tion, featuring raises for teachers in each year. Dillard trial witness: Christopher Dillard had a crush on murder victim Nicole Gland. The CHS boys cross country team qualifies for state with a third-place finish at semistate; the girls team narrowly misses a berth with a seventh-place finish. Dillard trial witness: Christopher Dillard said that the Upper Deck bartenders “will get theirs.”

The Chesterton Utility Service Board formally challenges Valparaiso City Utilities’ proposed acquisition of the Damon Run Conservancy District’s sewer infrastructure, in two filings before the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission. The Chesterton Town Council votes unanimously to approve the re-zone of a portion of the old Lipinski Automotive property, 1300, clearing the way for the construction of a Dollar General on the property. Dillard trail witness: Christopher Dillard asked a Danny O’s bartender how much she makes and whether she walks to her car alone at the end of the night.

CHS senior Sid Augustyn urges the Chesterton Town Council to declare, by resolution, a “climate and ecological emergency.” NiSource Inc. posts a third-quarter net loss of $7.2 million and reports that costs associated with a subsidiary’s natural gas explosion in Greater Lawrence, Mass., in September 2018, so far total $1.68 billion. CPD: the sign celebrating the CHS boys swim team’s state and national championships, posted at the intersection of 1100N and 100E, is stolen.

November

U.S. Steel posts a third-quarter net loss of $84 million. Report: International Association of Fire Fighters Local 4600--representing Chesterton’s career firefighters--donated $2,190 in cash and in-kind donations to the campaign of Independent Jennifer Fisher, who is challenging incumbent Chesterton Town Council Member Emerson DeLaney, R-5th; and $2,460 in cash and in-kind to the campaign of Democrat Courtney Udvare, who is challenging incumbent Clerk-Treasurer Stephanie Kuziela.

The CHS football teams falls to Warsaw 35-28 in the opening round of sectionals. Dillard trial testimony: Christopher Dillard’s DNA was found on Nicole Gland’s clothing. The CHS speech team boasts 11 champions at its annual Skeffington Memorial Speech Invitational.

Municipal election results: In Chesterton, Courtney Udvare easily defeats incumbent Clerk-Treasurer Stephanie Kuziela, 954-712; and Jennifer Fisher dispatches incumbent Town Council Member Emerson DeLaney, 876-732. In Porter: Democrat David Phillips beats Republican Jim Burge 326-276 for the open 4th District Town Council seat. In Burns Harbor: incumbents Nicholas Loving, Toni Biancardi, Ray Poparad, and Eric Hull all win, along with challenger Roseann Bozak, for the five at-large seats on the Town Council.

U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-1st, announces that he will not seek re-election in 2020. Christopher Dillard’s defense calls two witnesses, then rests its case; approximately 10 hours later, the jury finds Dillard guilty of the murder of Nicole Gland. ArcelorMittal posts a third-quarter net loss of $539 million.

CHS and CMS teacher Akiko Tsugawa is named Japanese Teacher of the Year and Secondary World Language Teacher of the Year by the Indiana Foreign Language Teachers Association. The Chesterton-Porter Rotary Club uses matching grant funds for a new handicap accessible viewing deck at the Westchester Migratory Bird Sanctuary.

A Westchester Intermediate School robotics team wins the Excellence Award at competition in Crown Point, earning a berth at state. Winter comes early to Duneland, with a temperature of 17 degrees at 8 a.m. Nov. 12 and three inches of blowing, drifting snow; a two-hour delay is called by the Duneland Schools. The Chesterton Town Council adopts a climate emergency resolution championed by CHS senior Sid Augustyn.

The Chesterton Town Council tells Superior Air-Ground Ambulance Service to hit the bricks, after Superior demands an immediate subsidy of $150,000 to continue ALS service in town. The CHS speech team wins eight of 14 events in competition at Valparaiso. The CHS girls swim team wins its season opener over Highland 143-38.

The federal lawsuit filed by International Association of Fire Fighter Local 4600 against the Town of Chesterton prompts complaints from other municipal workers about the four additional paid days off which Local 4600 members receive. Twenty Duneland Schools teachers travel to Indianapolis as part of the Red for Ed Action Day at the Statehouse. Ashley’s Jewelry by Design, 221 Broadway, is hit by a smash-and-grab burglar.

The Pine Township Board files a motion to intervene in Pine Township Trustee Tammy Watkins’ decision to unilaterally award a fire protection contract to the Pines FD, whose chief is her husband and whose assistant chief is her son. The National Park Service announces that the pavilion at the Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk site is open and safe for use, despite the erosion of a sand dune located directly west of the pavilion. The Chesterton Utility Service Board agrees to provide sanitary sewer service to a proposed subdivion in unincorporated Liberty Township, located immediately south of the Brassie Golf Course, west of Pearson Road, and north of C.R. 1050N.

The Burns Harbor Redevelop-ment Commission hears a concept presentation for a mixed-use planned unit development proposed for the Westport site. State Rep. Mara Candelaria-Reardon, D-Munster, announces that she will run for the open seat in the U.S. House currently held by U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-1st, who is not running for re-election.

Robert G. “Bob” Dunbar dies at 90; Dunbar was prominent in the community, a long-time member of the Chesterton-Porter Rotary Club, a Paul Harris Fellow, and a Sagamore of the Wabash. The Chesterton Advisory Plan Commission votes unanimously to approve the primary plat for John Nekus’ retirement village, to be developed on 11.28 acres located behind the Chesterton Post Office and immediately east of Westchester South.

The Porter Plan Commission endorses the re-zone of the old Splash Down Dunes Water Park property for a luxury apartment project, over the objections of dozens of residents. Vandalism at the Westchester Migratory Bird Sanctuary is reported to Chesterton Police. Four of six bats listed as state-endangered are found in the Valparaiso Chain of Lakes Watershed, near Spectacle and Loomis lakes. The Chesterton Town Council, responding to municipal employees’ complaints about the four additional paid days off received by firefighters, undertakes a review of the Personnel Policy as a first step in resolving the conflict. Chesterton Fire Chief John Jarka submits to the Town Council a proposal for the establishment of ALS ambulance service.

CHS boys soccer player Seth Conway is named to the First Team All-State by the Indiana Soccer Coaches Association. The CHS girls basketball team beats Lake Central 57-53 in double overtime. A family dog perishes in a house fire at 800 Park Ave. in Porter; the family succeeds in evacuating safely. Residents attend a Porter Town Council meeting to continue voicing their opposition to a proposed luxury apartment complex on the site of the old Splash Down Dunes Water Park.

December

CHS boys basketball team beats defending 2A state champion Andrean 61-48. The CHS wrestling team takes three individual titles and the team title at the Ted DeRouse Invitational in Antioch, Ill. CPD: a Grinch brazenly steals a box and two bags of Christmas greens left on the sidewalk along Broadway by volunteers decorating the Downtown.

The Chesterton United Methodist Church holds its 27th annual Cookie Walk. The Duneland School Board votes to cancel its contract with the Damon Run Conservancy District--which serves Liberty Intermediate and Elementary--following the announcement of the proposed acquisition of the Conservancy District’s infrastructure by Valparaiso City Utilities.

The CHS boys swim team opens up DAC competition by beating Crown Point 135-51; the girls team beats Crown Point 137-48. The Porter County Commissioners adopt a new policy regarding requests to use the courthouse grounds, following a contentious meeting in October at which an atheist group asked to use the grounds on the same day as Valparaiso’s annual Holly Days event.

The CHS wrestling team opens DAC competition by beating Portage 53-22. NIPSCO’s average residential customers will pay an extra $6 per month for electric service starting in 2020; but the flat monthly customer charge will be dropped by 50 cents

The Porter County Park Board votes unanimously to enter into lease negotiations with the Northwest Indiana Croquet Association, which wants to build four championship pitches at Sunset Hill Farm County Park. The CHS wrestling team wins the Covington Duals 5-0. The 47th annual Madrigal Dinners are held in the Chesterton High School cafeteria; the Lord and Lady of the House are Eric Ailes and Jackie Neely; one of the violinists in the orchestra, Kate Nevers.

A deckhand serving on a Great Lakes ore boat falls off the dock at ArcelorMittal in Burns Harbor and drowns. The Chesterton Town Council makes itself clear: any ALS ambulance service operated by the Fire Department would have to be self-funding.

David Welter, recently appointed president of the Porter County Board of Elections and Registration, is found dead on Bullseye Court in Valparaiso; Coroner Cyndi Dykes said that there are no indications of foul play. The No. 11 CHS wrestling team falls to No. 4 Crown Point 39-34. The scrappy CHS girls basketball team wins another game in double overtime, beating Plymouth 58-51.

The Environmental Law and Policy Center and the Hoosier Environmental Council file a lawsuit in federal court against ArcelorMittal, alleging that the steelmaker violated the Clean Water Act after chemical discharges from its Burns Harbor facility killed thousands of fish in the East Branch of the Little Calumet River. The Rock of Burns Harbor, Ray Poparad, dies; he served multiple terms on the Town Council and also for many years as Fire Chief. Erosion forces the National Park Service to close a portion of the parking lot at Lakeview Beach as well as access to the beach itself.

Chesterton Police Sgt. Randy Komisarcik--Officer Randy, for years the school resources officer at CMS--will retire from the department, effective Jan. 31. CHS Congressional debaters Savannah Hutchinson, Sid Augustyn, and Mark Jewison qualify for next year’s national tournament in June in Albuquerque, N.M.

The Duneland School Corpora-tion and Porter Regional Hospital -- customers of the Damon Run Conservancy District--seek to connect to the Chesterton Utility’s sanitary sewer system, after Valparaiso City Utilities purchases Damon Run’s infrastructure. The Porter County Commissioners declare a state emergency along the whole of Porter County’s Lake Michigan shoreline, following severe erosion in Beverly Shores which threatens the integrity of Lake Front Drive. Democrat Ryan Farrar announces his candidacy for the open seat of U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-1st.

President Donald Trump is impeached by the U.S. House, accused of abuse of power and obstruction. The Westchester Public Library hosts the annual Jingle Bell Jamboree at the Hageman Branch. The No. 6 CHS wrestling team beats No. 15 Merrillville 47-23. The National Park Service seeks to put all of Dunewood Campground on a reservation system and to set entry fees for some festivals, like Maple Sugar Time.

The Duneland Resale Shop endows a new fund with the Porter County Community Foundation: the Duneland Resale CHS Scholarship Fund. The Chesterton Tribune announces its Christmas coloring contest winners: Monroe Snell, 4; Miko Byrd, 6; and Julia Marquez, 9. The back-to-back state championship CHS gymnastics team wins its season opener against LaPorte, winning every event and the all-around. The Beverly Shores Town Council approves $360,000 to combat the beach erosion threatening the integrity of Lake Front Drive.

The demolition of the old Kmart on Indian Boundary Road commences, Chesterton Town Manager Bernie Doyle reports to the Town Council, but he remains unwilling to identify the business interested in locating on the property, owned by a New Jersey real estate firm. The Chesterton Town Council amends the Personnel Policy Handbook to give all municipal employees the same number of hours of annual personal leave, after department heads reported a restiveness among their workers prompted by news that career firefighters receive four more paid days off per year than they do.

The Porter County Commission-ers announce that they will name the courtroom at the Juvenile Service Center in honor of retiring Circuit Court Judge Mary Harper, to recognize her 40 years of service.

Herbert Read, defender of the Dunes, dies at 93, only months after his wife and partner in activism, Charlotte Read, passed in May. The National Parks Conservation Movement files a brief urging the U.S. District Court in Hammond to reject a consent decree related to U.S. Steel Corporation’s April 2017 release of hexavalent chromium into Burns Waterway.

Richard Friday, 97, is honored as a 75-year member of Chesterton’s Calumet Lodge 379 of the Free and Accepted Masons.

 

Posted 12/31/2020

 
 
 
 

 

 

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