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Feature Stories for Thursday, April 19, 2001

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

Water debate heats up

By Sean McNab
Star Staff Writer

WINFIELD - Numerous residents attended the Water Works Board meeting Monday night causing it to end abruptly after only one hour.
    Mike Stevens, a resident of Trees subdivision, questioned the board, saying, "Does this board have the legal authority to come to a decision and then force its residents to abide by it?"
    Stevens is one of a number of residents within the Trees subdivision upset by the fact that he may be forced to pay approximately $10,000 over the next 20 years in increased property taxes if Indiana American Water Company, Inc. brings Lake Michigan water to the subdivision.
    Town Attorney George Patrick responded that cities and towns do have authority to create services for its residents.
    "This town has the authority and discretion to procure services if needed. Under Indiana Code 8-1.5-3 the town can create a board in a particular area that will benefit its community. Most of the time the money for this need comes out of homeowners' property taxes."
    Allegations were then made that the survey sent out to residents of Trees and Hidden Creek subdivisions were misleading.
    "The survey never asked if we wanted the water to come into the town," stated Stevens. "All it asked was would you tap into the water line when the water was brought."
    Board members explained that they spoke to numerous residents at previous Town Council meetings and gathered information about the water problems within the town.
    Mike Tishma, another resident of Trees, commented, "Who ever decided there was a water problem in the first place? Legally by the county all someone needs 150 gallons of water per person per day. With proper storage of water that comes to one to two gallons of water per hour."
    Up to this point no standard has been set by the board as to what is a sufficient water supply and what is not.
    Board member John Pangere asked those in attendance what they thought would happen if five years down the road all the private wells in the town run dry.
    Stevens responded, "It seems that you are pretty confident that all of our wells are going to run dry sometime in the near future. If that is the case why don't you raise the tap-in price to an astronomical amount in the future, say $50,000, and make your money that way instead of forcing people to pay for something that they do not want?"
    Those against tapping into Lake Michigan water have vowed to create an unbiased survey of their own and hire an attorney to fight the project.   Also, a consultant was suggested to be hired to provide scientific proof that there is a water problem within the town.

END

ABATE takes to the street

By Sean McNab
Star Staff Writer

CROWN POINT - Spring is here and with warmer temperatures more vehicles will be on the road, specifically motorcycles.
    Because of the high risk of injury to motorcyclists, Lake County has again supported the American Bikers Aimed Towards Education - ABATE - training program.
    Begun in 1987 ABATE's goal is to provide instruction in the proper way to ride a motorcycle.
    "There are many goals that we try to teach our riders during the course," said Jeff Gullickson, site coordinator and educator for the class at the Lake County Government Center. "We teach them how to be a proficient rider. One of the most important parts of the course is to educate students of ways to surmount and avoid obstacles while driving."
    ABATE offers two courses, one for novices and for motorcyclists with some experience but hoping to fine-tune their driving.
    The beginner course covers 22 hours over a three-day weekend. It costs $25 for ABATE members and $50 for non-members.
    "Included in the membership is a stipulation that if the course is passed, all tests to obtain a motorcycle license at the license bureau are waived," said Gullickson. "All the rider needs is to have a permit for at least 30 days."
    As for the experienced rider course, Gullickson said he focuses on the mental side of riding.
    "It's a lot easier to deal with someone who has just got a motorcycle because they haven't been around long enough to pick up any bad habits. There are some people that come back to this course after 20 years of riding and they do not want to listen.     After realizing that some of the newer riders are driving better than they are because they are actually listening, they eventually start to mellow out and then are able to learn," said Gullickson.
    Speaking from experience from the standpoint of riding for almost three decades, Gullickson understands the value of an ABATE course.
    "I was one of those guys who thought that I new it all and didn't want to listen to anyone saying that I was driving wrong. I took this course and couldn't believe all the bad habits I had. I really shouldn't be alive with all the close calls I have had."
    According to ABATE, there has been a 65 percent decrease in motorcycle fatalities since the Department of Education became involved in the program in 1986. In addition, over 30,000 people have graduated from the course since.
    Interest continues this year.
"Right now we are booked solid through the middle of July," said Gullickson. "We teach 24 students per class and will graduate 800 at our site alone. Approximately 4,000 people will pass the course annually within the state of Indiana."
    The first course took place last weekend. Classes for beginners are running every weekend through May 6; the first experienced class is May 5. The year's final course is scheduled for Oct. 13-15.
    "We have people from all different age groups taking the course. The youngest anyone has been to take our course was 15 years while the oldest was 82 years. Women now make up approximately one-third of the class," stated Gullickson.
    For more information, call 800-497-9979 or visit the website at www.abateofindiana.

END

Lake property buy considered

By Sean McNab
Star Staff Writer

CEDAR LAKE - The town is investigating acquisition of two abandoned buildings off of Lake Shore Drive in the hopes of creating additional parking and picnic areas surrounding the lake.
    "We want to remove the building formerly known as John's Pharmacy and an adjacent storage building," explained Town Manager Tim Brown. "By doing this we hope to improve the appearance of one of the main entrances of town located at the intersection of Cline Avenue."
    The estimated price of removing the structures is close to $20,000. The entire project will cost much more.
    "With all of the demolition and clean-up costs included in this project the total cost to the town will be approximately $200,000," said Brown.
    The town will need at least two appraisals of the property.
    "In order to make any type of land acquisition in the town, two appraisals need to be made. In order for that to happen a public necessity must be authorized by the town Park Board," commented Town Attorney David Austgen.
    The town has hired appraisers Jeff Bale and Tom Bucknowski and expects to have the results by the end of this week.
    Cedar Lake Enhancement Association President Bob Gross addled his voice to support of the project.
    "We are always trying to improve the community of Cedar Lake. This definitely improves it on the east side of the lake and really opens up an area of leisure for residents within the town," stated Gross.
    In other council news, Town Council President Bob Brannon suffered a heart attack Friday.
    He is currently at St. Anthony Medical Center. It is uncertain when he will be able to resume his official duties.

END

 

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