By Andrew Steele
Star Managing Editor
CROWN POINT - The Lake County Auditors office was continuing
Tuesday to review a remonstrance petition submitted last week by opponents of the new high
An auditors office employee said Tuesday that a decision on the
validity of the petition was expected Wednesday morning.
The petition, if it contains enough valid signatures, would force a
petition race between supporters and opponents the new school that will determine the
future of the project.
The auditors office originally expected the petition to be
certified Monday, but we have a little problem, a staff member said Tuesday,
declining to specify the cause of the hold-up.
If the auditors office certifies the remonstrance, the full
petition drive will start 30 days after the school corporation posts a legal advertisement
notifying residents of the procedure.
Once the petition drive starts, supporters and opponents of the
project each will have 30 days to collect the signatures of as many Center and Winfield
township property owners as they can. If supporters collect the most, the new school
project may proceed; if opponents do, the project will be delayed at least one year.
New school opponents needed 250 signatures of property owners on the
Michel Nikolich, a former School Board member and a leader of the
opposition to the new school, said he and about 10 volunteers turned in around 475
They held back several pages of signatures that were not notarized or
had not been filled out correctly, he said.
Nikolich said about one-third of the signatures were from people the
group knew, and the other signatures were collected by going door-to-door.
The people who signed it were concerned mainly about the increase in
taxes the project would bring, Nikolich said, and they dont believe estimates school
corporation consultants have prepared.
These people are down and out, Nikolich said of project
opponents. They cant afford another $300 to $400 on their tax bills.
Nikolich said project opponents planned to meet this week to discuss
their approach to the petition race. He said the group will likely go door-to-door and
also set up locations where project opponents can stop and sign the petition.
Meanwhile, new Superintendent Steve Sprunger said he has been thrilled
by the number of people who have called asking how they can help support the pro-build
side of the petition drive.
Sprunger said he is confident the new school will be built, pointing
to the fact that the last two School Board elections have produced a pro-build majority
and that the 1997 community preference poll supported the project.
Sprunger said the school corporation will be involved in the petition
drive, but we believe it will be more of a grass-roots effort.
As planning for the petition drive gets underway, planning for the new
school continues, Sprunger said.
We are continuing on with finalizing the architectural plans,
working with the city on the annexation process (and) on the project infrastructure,
The project has not been deterred or slowed down, he said.
We anticipate breaking ground this fall.
Paul Gerst of Lowell, center, operates a saw mill with a 56-inch blade at the
Antique Power and Steam Show held over the weekend at the Lake County Fairgrounds.
The show, sponsored annually by the South Lake County Agricultural Society, featured
exhibitions of antique tractors and other farm implements during three days of perfect
Farming's past on display at show
CROWN POINT Delores Koopman didnt mind being in the hot
seat on Saturday.
It was an unseasonably cool July day and Koopman was drawing warmth
from the wood-powered engine in the replica model of an old threshing and plowing machine
that she was seated in.
This is a toy. Mommas back home, the Pontiac, Ill.
area woman was saying to the crowd gathered around her as she fed more wood into the
already hot fire.
Every once in a while the fire would get a little too hot and let off
some steam, which drew applause from the kids and adults alike surrounding the machine.
Koopman and her machine were part of the 15th Annual Antique Power and
Steam Show held at the Lake County Fairgrounds Friday through Sunday. The event was
sponsored by by the South Lake County Agricultural Historical Society Inc.
Koopman said while the machine she was in looked old, it was actually a
replica of an older machine that was probably made around 1950. She said
momma, a real 1908 machine with wheels as high as the entire replica, was back
at home in Illinois.
My husband bought momma in Ohio, but we never use
it, Koopman said.
The family takes it to shows like the one in Crown Point, where
non-farmers and farmers alike can see how farm and other machinery has progressed through
the years. At the Crown Point show, there were machines of all types and makes scattered
around the fairgrounds. They included a large selection of J.I. Case machines, as well as
some of the typical John Deeres dating back to the 1920s, 30s, 40s and
50s and some by companies that have since closed.
Some of the machines looked their age, rusted and lacking paint. Others
looked almost new, with a new coat of paint and lettering making them look much younger
than their actual age.
A special event included a parade of some of the machines.
But there was more than farm machinery at the event. Housewives could
appreciate the modern washing machine after looking at the old Maytag and woodworkers
marveled at an old steam-run sawmill in operation.
It took seven men and several machines to cut one-inch thick pieces of
wood from a large oak trunk and stack them onto a neat pile. The sawdust was collected via
a large overhead pipe that dumped the dust into a large bin.
There also were a farm toy show, tractor pull and working blacksmiths
to entertain the crowd.