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Feature Stories for June 1, 2000

The STAR is distributed every Thursday.  
The Crown Point Network offers a sneak preview of weekly cover stories.

Rees sues over BZA denial

By Sean McNab 
Star Staff Writer

WINFIELD - Only four months into the new Town Council's tenure, the town's Board of Zoning Appeals had its first lawsuit filed this past April. 
    This writ of certiorari is in regards to the denial by the board of a petitioned variance by the Rees Land Trust #4064 to develop property zoned Public Development by using a private sewer and septic system. 
    The proposed site is located immediately north of the Lakes of the Four Seasons north entrance with the design standards requiring the use of a public water supply and sanitary sewer system. 
    Patti Rees filed a lawsuit through the law firm Sendak, Rominger, & Stanko under the consent of Attorney Anthony De Bonis, Jr. 
    The suit contends that during the public hearing before the Winfield BZA on March 8, the board's denial was 'illegal and contrary to law' on many counts. 
    The first charge was that the board failed to make adequate findings of fact as to refute the variance on the petition. 
    Without proper 'findings of fact' the argument that the 'public health, safety, morals, or general welfare of the surrounding community' is jeopardized is 'unconstitutional.'
    Additionally, the town of Winfield allegedly created practical difficulties on the petitioned property because of the fact that the only public utilities available where substantially distant from the property and, thus, were not economically feasible for the petitioner. 
    Because of this happening, the town directly applied an 'unlawful combination in restraint of trade' on the petitioner because it was unwilling to provide services at a reasonable cost and in a timely manner, according to the suit. 
    The lawsuit contends that the 'highest and best' use of the property would be through the implementation of private water wells and septic tanks 'which, in turn, would adequately protect the public health, safety, morals, and general welfare' of the surrounding community. 
    The lawsuit concluded that the town 'unreasonably, arbitrarily, and capriciously withheld and denied' the petition of which it had 'no substantial evidence or reason ... for denial.' 
    The writ of certiorari is under the advisement of Lake Superior Court Judge James Danikolas in Gary with a pending court case probable in the upcoming months. 
    Representing the town of Winfield will be BZA Attorney Joe Irak.


                       
END


Memorial Day observed

Residents honor city's soldiers under perfect skies

By Andrew Steele 
Star Managing Editor

CROWN POINT - The city's annual Memorial Day ceremony brought nearly 200 people together at Maplewood Cemetery to remember men and women who gave their lives fighting the country's wars. 
    "We are the heirs of those laid to rest here," said the events organizer, Stanleigh Cribben of the American Legion. 
    The traditional event took place in untraditionally good weather, allowing a full program of prayer, speeches and music. 
    Mayor James Metros offered a eulogy that noted that over one million soldiers have died in America's wars. "It's our job to make those who have gone before us proud," he said.   "It's our responsibility to make this an America worth dying for." 
    A poem by Dolores Frahm and the traditional reading of General Order No. 2, which inspired the Memorial Day holiday, by high school Student Council President Lindsey Ciochina was followed by Marvin Forsythe's prayer and patriotic music from the high school band. 
    Retired high school teacher Marion Kellum gave the ceremony's address. 
    In a relatively peaceful world, "it is difficult to recognize the debt we owe those we honor today. "
    We have an obligation, a duty, a debt and we must not fail during this long spring weekend to stop what we're doing and think of them." 
    Pastor John P. Starr offered a benediction before local veterans groups saluted the dead with a laying of flowers, a salute by the Veterans of Foreign Wars firing squad, and taps and echo by high school trumpet players Peter Hagerman and Christopher Horst. 
    The Maplewood ceremony was followed by the raising of the flag at the city's war memorial at Main and Goldsborough streets. 
    Metros presented the American flag to be raised above the World War II tank. The flag had flown over the United States Capitol in honor of Metros' cousin, Carl Metros, who was killed in Vietnam.

END

Bell rings for board of works
New phone system will let city hall phone anywhere

By Andrew Steele 
Star Managing Editor

CROWN POINT - The city will spend nearly $18,000 for a new telephone system at City Hall that will replace a system Mayor James Metros said "is so outdated it's unbelievable." 
    The Board of Public Works approved the purchase at its May 24 meeting. 
    The new Lucent system includes voice mail, a feature the current 11-year-old system does not have. Public Works employee Bill Kozlowski said 100 voice mail 'boxes' will be included. 
    Clerk-Treasurer Janis Flutka said the new system would help her staff deal with the many calls it gets that need to be directed to the county government. 
    Kozlowski also noted that the city's building inspectors - who are part-time employees - currently receive many of their phone calls at home in the evening. 
    Metros said he would still have his secretary answer the telephone during business hours. 
    Net Nitco of Porter County also made a proposal to provide the new telephone system, but Kozlowski said "Lucent fits our paraments and what we're looking for very well." 
    Also at last week's meeting, the board approved a three-year long-distance telephone contract with Midwest Telecom.  The city will pay 6.5 cents per minute, down from the 11.9 cents it pays now. 
    In other business, the board approved a one-year lease for court space at the old courthouse. 
    The lease presented to the board included a four-year term, at a rate of $900 per month, for the third-floor courtroom and office space for the City Court. 
    But Metros suggested that the city look into transferring court to City Hall, now that that building is handicapped accessible. 
    The one-year lease would give officials time to find office space for the court clerk and a Legal Department clerk.

END


 

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