Dredging gets county approval
County Council keeps SRI, seeks
sale tax answers
By Andrew Steele
Star Managing Editor
CROWN POINT - The County Council gave final local approval Tuesday to
the Lake Dalecarlia Property Owners Association to construct basins in
which silt will be deposited from the planned dredging of the
The council's action was to rezone the land from
agricultural to a conditional development zoning.
The dredging project is expected to remove 250,000
cubic yards of sediment from the man-made lake, returning it to its
The series of basins will be located next to the
Fairways subdivision, and some residents there were concerned about
contamination of their groundwater supply and the odor that might
emanate from the drainage basins.
Those concerns have been satisfied, though, Fairways
Regional Waste District President Robert Ghidotti told the
The Lake Dale POA hopes to build the basins this
fall, and begin dredging in 2001.
In other business, the council decided to continue
paying the company that is selling tax-delinquent property, but to urge
the commissioners to resolve questions surrounding the tax sales.
The company, SRI, Inc., does the paperwork and runs
the auctions of tax delinquent property the county has confiscated. SRI
is paid through the proceeds of the sales, and through the back-taxes
property purchasers must pay.
But some council members are concerned about the fact
that some of the tax money collected is actually owed to other taxing
bodies, for example municipalities and schools, and that the county does
not have the money to pay these bodies if they should demand it, because
the money is being paid to SRI.
"One day they're going to come knocking on our
door and the pot's going to be empty," said Councilman Larry
Blanchard (R-Crown Point).
Blanchard and Councilman Thomas O'Donnell
(D-Schererville) voted against allocating the $504,875 to pay SRI for
July, August and September.
Other council members voted to release the money, but
also to urge commissioners to get agreement from the local taxing bodies
not to demand their back taxes.
Also Tuesday, the council approved an extra $19,000
for overtime in the Sheriff's Department.
The money was needed to pay officers for work put in
during the Mississippi fugitives incident in June.
A green season
Students learn and grow during program
By Sean McNab
Star Staff Writer
Cedar Lake - In its third year of operation, high school students
from Hanover Central gave something back to the community by landscaping
a portion of the westernmost part of the South Lake County Community
Services, Inc. (SLC) property adjacent to its picnic shelter.
"This program is in coordination with the
Workforce Development Program that focuses on students within the
special education environment or that of low income families. Instead of
these students attending summer school at the high school, they come
here instead," explained Margo Sabato, the Executive Director of
This year's group consisted of 11 students with
educational coursework being divided into two phases. "The first
phase was taught by Hanover High teacher Pam Roberts whose focus
throughout the entire project was on ways for students to sharpen their
skills on passing the ISTEP in the fall," stated Sabato.
Included was the setting up a proper bid for the area
in question to be landscaped, providing a budget for that area, and then
once finalized by Sabato setting up the plotted area to be
Following that, Lorraine Keilman, of Hubinger
Landscaping, provided landscape design techniques for the students so
that they would be able to professionally clear and plant in the
"The students actually designed the landscape
plot to their liking using geometric measurements to graph the
dimensions onto a blueprint," commented Keilman.
Included in the six-week course were numerous field
trips in which the students gained firsthand knowledge as to what they
needed to do for their own plot.
Hanover Central junior Nicole Pawlak stated, "I
felt that the trip to Hubinger Landscaping was where I learned the most
about what we had to do this summer. We had to clear out the excess
weeds and grass by hand in order to plant the vegetation."
Included in part of the class was instructional
tutoring on personal resumes that will hopefully help students gain
future summer employment or possibly make it as a career.
"The experience the students have gained in the
past six weeks are skills that can be useful for future job
opportunities. Each year we have employers who call us to inquire about
possible students who want to work as spring and summer help,"
Similarly, Hanover Central junior Aaron Johnson said
that the most valuable asset he learned from the experience was that of
everyone working together. "As a whole we don't always get along,
but in order to get the job done we had to use teamwork."
However, this year's program funding was
substantially reduced from that of prior years.
"Because we were not able to get as much federal
funding as in years past, we had to scale down what and how much we
landscaped this year," stated Sabato.
This program, entitled the 'Greenhouse Project,' for
the first time will continue this fall at Hanover Central under the
reigns of Botany teacher Scott Campbell with the same focus and goals of
the summer class.
Sabato concluded, "The goal of this program is
to provide high school students with work experience while keeping their
educational processes in tact."
Wellbeing of annexed families to get a
Crown Point to reexamine
property owners annexation concerns, issues
By Andrew Steele
Star Managing Editor
CROWN POINT - City Council members decided Monday they want to get a
better handle on how residents of the recently annexed southeast side
feel about being part of the city.
Councilman James Wirtz (R-at large) brought up the
issue when he proposed investigating the disannexation of the area
between Iowa and Colorado streets.
Four property owners in the area have already
disannexed pursuant to the settlement that ended residents' remonstrance
against annexation two years ago. And some residents of the Niles Creek
subdivision have talked about disannexation. "We know that we
annexed that only because Merrillville was trying to pull a fast one on
us," Wirtz said. The Town of Merrillville attempted to annex land
down to the I-65 and U.S. 231 interchange, but Crown Point preempted
that with a 6.5 square-mile annexation taking in the interchange and
land all the way east to Colorado Street.
Wirtz said it's unlikely that people east of Iowa
Street would see the full benefits of living in the city, including
sewer and water service, "for decades."
"I just don't think we'll be in a position to
service them," Wirtz said.
But City Engineer Jeff Ban said "the city's put
a heavy investment into that area."
The city has repaved Colorado Street, addressed
drainage issues, overseen the planning of the proposed Miller's Farm
subdivision, extended police protection to the area, and plowed snow, he
said. "A lot of people are happy" to be in the city, Ban
Councilmen Paul Bremer (R-1st) and Robert Corbin
(R-5th) added that they have received calls from Niles Creek residents
on both sides of the issue. Some want to disannex, others want to stay
in the city.
Corbin did say Wirtz's idea had merit, and council
members agreed the issue should be investigated further, and residents'
opinions should be solicited.
Also at Monday's meeting, the council gave final
approval to a 2001 employee salary ordinance that gives a three percent
raise to most employees but leaves unaddressed the issue of raises for
Public Works Department employees who joined the American Federation of
State, County and Municipal Employees last year.