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Annex request
crosses hurdle

By Andrew Steele
Star Managing Editor

CROWN POINT - The City Council’s Annexation Committee sent a favorable recommendation to the full council Tuesday on the Crown Point Community School Corp.’s request for the annexation of the 118-acre site on which it wants to build a new school.
   The matter now goes to the full council, which will consider the request at a special meeting at 6:30 p.m. next Tuesday.
   During the committee meeting, school officials told city officials that the financial impact on the city caused by the annexation would be negligible.
   “We really don’t see there are any major associated costs to the city at all,” school attorney James McNiece said.
   The annexation would not affect police, fire, or paramedic services, nor would it significantly impact the Public Works Department, according to the school corporation’s financial impact statement.
   Discussion focused on the impact on traffic and sewer utilities.
   The new school site is on Burrell Drive — formerly 125th Avenue — just east of the Main Street intersection.
   A traffic report prepared by Cole Associates, a Hammond engineering firm, made several recommendations on how to deal with the added traffic a new school would bring.
   First, the study recommends creating a four-way stop at the intersection of Main Street and Burrell Drive. Currently, Main Street terminates at Burrell, but the school plan calls for Main Street to be extended south.
   Also, the plan calls for various left turn lanes and passing blisters at entrances to the new school and at the intersections of Burrell Drive and Indiana Avenue and Burrell Drive and Court Street.
   Some city officials expressed concern that the traffic study did not call for a traffic light at Burrell Drive and Indiana Avenue, which is a state road.
   We all need to be working on pushing the state for a traffic signal,” Mayor James Metros said.
   While traffic volumes may not meet the state standard for a light, hills obstruct the view on Indiana Avenue, and afternoon school traffic may pose safety problems, he said.
   Extension of sanitary sewer lines would be done at the expense of the school corporation.McNiece said the school is currently seeking a grant that will pay the cost of the one-mile sewer line extension.
   “We have reasonable expectation of success” in receiving the grant, he said.
   The city has estimated the project will cost a little more than $1 million.
   While the issue before the council now is annexation, some planning issues were discussed Tuesday.
   One of them was parking.
   “I think you’re going to really have to look a lot at your parking,” said City Planning Director Curt Graves. He pointed out that the 759 blacktop parking spaces would likely not be enough if the 4,500-seat football stadium filled up.
   School officials pointed out that parking at the new school will greatly outnumber that at the current school.
   “This plan more than doubles what we currently have,” Superintendent Steve Sprunger said. “Plus we have the overflow parking down at Eisenhower (Elementary School).”
   The extension of Main Street was also discussed. If the road is extended straight south, a 40-foot easement would be needed from St. Matthias Church.
   The length of that easement can be minimized, though, by curving Main Street westward.
   “The important thing is that the interchange line up,” Metros told St. Matthias representatives.
   Eventually, city officials want Main Street extended south to intersect with an extended 129th Avenue.
   The parking and road issues will be dealt with when the Plan Commission takes up the new school issue.
   Next week, the City Council will only consider the schol corporation’s petition for annexation and the financial impact plan, which City Attorney John Kopack said will meet state statute with only several minor revisions.

Donnita Armstrong of Crown Point leafs through a cookbook in anticipation of one she is putting together in memmory of her daughter Tara C. Reilly, who was murdered two years ago by a former boyfriend.  The book is entitled "Food and Thoughts for the Spirit, Body and mind." 

Tara and some of the pages in the book.

Book cooks up memories of Tara

By Andrew Steele
Star Managing Editor

   CROWN POINT — Two years after the murder of 18-year-old Tara Reilly by a former boyfriend, a new cookbook published in her memory will help raise funds for programs that could help prevent similar future tragedies.

   Tara’s mother, Donnita Armstrong, said she has collected more than 700 recipes, along with information on stress-relieving activities and domestic violence, for a 300-page book. Proceeds from the book will benefit the Southlake YMCA and St. Jude House, a shelter for victims of domestic violence.
   Tara, a 1996 graduate of Crown Point High School, was killed on Feb. 3, 1997, by a former boyfriend who then took his own life.
   “After my daughter had been killed, a friend of mine suggested I do a cookbook,” Armstrong said, but “I just couldn’t do it at that time.”
   Last Thanksgiving, though, she decided to start work on the book, which is entitled “Foods and Thoughts for the Spirit, Mind and Body.”
   “I got recipes from all over the U.S.,” Armstrong said. The recipes come from a variety of groups, including the YMCA and St. Anthony Medical Center locally, and from a variety of Armstrong’s friends, co-workers and relatives.
   “They’re fabulous,” Armstrong said of the recipes. “I tried them for my son’s open house.”
   Help on the book also came from Crown Point High School’s Home Economics Related Occupations — or HERO — group.
   “That was one group my daughter was involved with,” Armstrong said.The book also includes artwork by children in various age groups.“
   The cover was designed by one of my co-workers’ daughters,” she said. Other artwork was done by “people meaningful in Tara’s life.”
   Armstrong said she sent page proofs to the publisher last week, and expects the book to go to print in about two weeks.
   Part of the cost of producing the cookbook has been paid by local businesses who have purchased advertisements in the book, Armstrong said.
   The finished book will cost $15 and will be available at the Southlake YMCA and at the St. Jude House’s booth at the Lake County Fair next month.
   Armstrong said since her daughter’s death, many people have come to her with various domestic problems.
   “I have sent a lot of people over to St. Jude House for counseling,” she said.
   Armstrong hopes proceeds from the book will help St. Jude continue that sort of work, for which it does not charge.


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