The Porter Town
Council voted 4-1 in favor of modifying the ban on dogs and pets in general
on the Porter Beach lake front.
ordinance prohibited dogs from the entire beach but the new amendment states
that “no person shall bring upon or cause to be brought upon or possess upon
the lakefront beach property ‘east of State Street’ owned by the town any
domesticated animal or pet.” West of State St., pets are allowed.
Council member Jeannine Virtue.
Virtue asked fellow Council Member Elka Nelson, who had suggested a change
to the ordinance weeks ago, to explain the reason for the amendment.
Nelson said she
knows many residents on Porter Beach who have dogs take them to the beach
all months of the year and are told by National Lakeshore rangers “very
sporadically” that no dogs are allowed on the lakefront. The same goes for
residents outside of Porter who walk their dogs around the beach area and
are told they have to take their dogs off the beach.
But people still
bring their dogs to the beachfront, she said, and the ban is difficult to
“I just think it’s
an anarchic rule,” said Nelson.
Porter Police Chief
James Spanier said at the previous council meeting that there had been a
Porter Police officer who regularly watched the lakefront but funding for
that is no longer available. The police only come to beach when they get
calls, he said.
The east side of
State St. is where most of the public congregates when going to the beach,
while the west side is where residential homes are.
Dogs on the west
side will still be required to be on a leash, as that is the rule for the
entire town, Spanier said.
Virtue said her
concern with having dogs on the beach is that there will be issues with
“I think we are
asking for a lot of trouble with this,” Virtue said.
Nelson said there
is wildlife on the beach which also leave waste, like sea gulls and deer.
“We’re living in a forest,” she said.
Greg Stinson said he feels most dog owners are responsible in cleaning up
after their pets and he doesn’t see it as “being a major issue.”
Voting in favor of
the amendment were Nelson, Stinson, David Woodrich and Rob Pomeroy.
Jay Craig applauded
Later, Nelson said
she wanted to express her appreciation for Town Assistant Fire Chief Jay
Craig’s actions and “professionalism” during the search for the Illinois
woman who drowned near Porter Beach about two weeks ago.
When the woman’s
body was discovered by a Lake County Sheriff’s Police helicopter, Craig led
a rescue team to retrieve the body. Instead of turning directly to the
nearest shoreline where a number beachgoers were present, Nelson said Craig
was “smart enough” to take the body to a less populated section of the beach
near Dune Acres where the family of the drowning victim could identify her.
“I was truly, truly
thankful and I think he deserves credit,” said Nelson.
Craig was not at
the meeting but the Council, department heads and audience members applauded
It was a quiet
meeting for department heads, but Parks Director Brian Bugajski, as usual,
had news bout happenings at Hawthorne Park.
This Friday will be
the last summer outdoor concert and movie put on by the Westchester Public
Library. Harpist Cynthia Shelhart will play at Hawthorne Park’s East Shelter
starting at 7 p.m., followed by the Disney movie “Big Hero 6.”
Next Friday, Aug.
21, at noon will be the dedication of the William G. and Margaret E. Tilden
Memorial Garden, which will take place in Hawthorne Park. There will be a
ribbon-cutting ceremony followed by a small reception with refreshments.
Virtue praised the
parks department for their efforts in transforming the garden, which has
been a two and a half your process. “It looks amazing. I’m so excited.”
Two events are
happening on Wednesday, Aug. 26. The Duneland Seniors Group will host their
annual Health and Wellness Fair at the Hawthorne Park’s Community Center
with free screenings from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Vision screenings will be by LTF
Eye Clinics, ear wax screenings by Accurate Hearing of Chesterton, blood
pressure and glucose screenings by Franciscan Alliance, and blood pressure
screenings by CVS Chesterton.
Walgreens will be giving flu shots. The shots are free to those who bring
their Medicare card or insurance card, otherwise there is a nominal fee.
Park Board member
Rondi Wightman said the health fair is free to attend and open to all ages.
Bugajski said an
acrylic painting class will be from 3 to 5 p.m. on Aug. 26 in partnership
with Porter County Parks. There is a $10 fee for the class.
In other park
matters, the Council voted to waive the rental fee for the Community Center
for the 4 Paws for Luca fundraiser on Sunday, Sept. 27, requested by
Chesterton resident Joellyn Leasure.
The Council also
gave permission to Valparaiso resident and youth baseball coach Michael
Catlin to use the ball fields this fall for his independent youth league.