By KEVIN NEVERS
Motorists stranded in their vehicles on Ind. 8 between
Kouts and Hebron were being rescued by the Indiana National Guard today,
as a state of emergency remained in effect in Porter County until further
notice, the Porter County Sheriff’s Police said.
Ind. 8 “looks like a parking lot,” PCSP Sgt. Larry LaFlower
told the Chesterton Tribune this morning. “We’ve got to get the
abandoned vehicles off the roads so we can open the roads.”
Under the state of emergency, which went into effect at 6
p.m. Sunday, all but emergency traffic has been banned in unincorporated
The good news: as of 8 a.m. today there had been no reports
of casualties due to the weather, LaFlower said.
The stranded vehicles, however, were severely impeding the
progress of the County Highway Department’s plows, withdrawn from the
roads at 6 p.m. Sunday but returned to service at 4 a.m. today. “We’re
running into a lot of stranded vehicles,” Deputy Highway Superintendent
David James said. “They’re in our way and we have to wait for them to be
towed. It’ll take most of the day. As for the subdivisions, I don’t know
when we’ll get to them.”
Folks who live in the Town of Chesterton or the City of
Valparaiso—where many or most main streets are passable—have no idea how
bad the unincorporated roads are, James added. “It’s a whole different
story in the county. It’s like night and day. It’s like Indiana and
In Chesterton, meanwhile, an all-hands effort has succeeded
in opening all roads, Street Commissioner John Schnadenberg said. “We
rotated in 12-hours shifts, with help from the Utility, Park, and
Engineering departments. I’m proud of the teamwork.”
Crews are now concentrating on plowing up to the mailboxes
and clearing cul-de-sacs in the subdivisions. Cul-de-sacs should be
cleared by 2:30 p.m., Schnadenberg estimated.
“I’m surprised the guys were able to do as much as they
did,” he said. “The conditions last night were extremely difficult, with
the blowing snow. We could only drive 10 miles per hour because of
visibility issues. The route to Crocker was the hardest and 1100N and
1050N were also tough. I’m very proud of my men.”
Schnadenberg did attribute part of the victory over the
snow to the Street Department’s “good, reliable” fleet. “Having updated
equipment made all the difference,” he said.
Traveling in town was possible this morning. Getting out of
town, on the other hand, would be a problem, as I-94 from the Illinois
state line to the Michigan remained closed this morning. “It’s been years
since I’ve heard of that,” Schnadenberg said.
In fact, Chesterton Police Chief Dave Cincoski told the
Tribune, Indiana State Police troopers were posted at I-94 on-ramps
precisely to keep motorists off the Interstate.
Here “things are actually pretty quiet,” Cincoski said.
“The roads are snow covered but passable. The Street Department did a very
good job. Officers had a quiet shift last night and people are staying off
the roads. There have been no crashes reported.”
As of 7:15 a.m. today, no one had taken advantage of the
warming shelter at the town hall, 726 Broadway.
The Chesterton Fire Department also had a mostly quiet
night, although firefighters did respond to four medical calls, two of
them requiring transport to hospital, CFD spokesman Nate Williams said. In
those cases a municipal plow led the way and cleared a path for the
None of the medical calls were weather related, Williams
In Porter, plow crews have been on duty continuously, in
12-hours shifts, for the last 72 hours, Public Works Director Brenda
Brueckheimer said. Three Public Works employees worked through Sunday
night, with the result that all of the main roads had two-lane access,
with side streets and subdivisions having one-lane access.
Porter Beach, however, was not accessible at mid-morning,
thanks to seven- and eight-foot snowdrifts. “We’ve got a loader clearing
alleys, then we’ll go out to Porter Beach,” Brueckheimer said.
There was one trip to Porter Beach on Sunday night, though,
when an elderly resident’s furnace gave out, prompting the Porter Fire
Department to respond. “We got her to another house,” Deputy Fire Chief
Jay Craig said—after a path had been cleared by a Public Works plow.
The Town of Chesterton’s municipal offices were open for
So was Hopkins Ace Hardware.
A skeleton crew was manning
the phones at the offices of the Chesterton Tribune, but there will
be no print edition of the paper today, so as not to put carriers in
danger from the bitter cold. A combined Monday/Tuesday edition will be
printed on Tuesday, Jan, 7.