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Webster new school board chief

By Andrew Steele
Star Managing Editor

CROWN POINT - Jackie Webster was chosen to preside over the School Board during the board's annual reorganizational meeting on July 1.
   The meeting was also the first for new Superintendent Steve Sprunger.
   Webster, beginning her fourth year on the School Board, replaced a relieved Charles Kleinschmidt in the chairmanship of the board.
   "That's the seat I've longed for for two years,"joked Kleinschmidt as he took a chair as a regular board member.
   The board elected Byron Hubbard its vice president and reelected Bart Aiello secretary.
   The board also approved the administration's recommendation to hire the law firm Spangler, Jennings and Dougherty as school corporation attorney. The firm's Richard Mayer will serve as school attorney.
   Sprunger said the administration's recommendation followed intensive interviews conducted by Assistant Superintendent Thomas Dabertin and Business Director Kimberly Fox.
   The attorney position pays $110 per hour.
   Mayer replaces David Wilson as school attorney.
   In other business, the board authorized Building and Grounds Director Jim Burggraf to spend up to $75,000 to upgrade the public address and telephone systems at Crown Point High School.
   Originally, Burggraf hoped that work could be part of future major renovation work at the school, but "we've come to the conclusion that this is a safety matter," he said.
   Some classrooms, he said, have no way of contacting the main office. Also, administrators want more security features on the phone system.
   Burggraf estimated the new systems would cost between $50,000 and $70,000. The work was included in the 1999 capital projects plan, Burggraf said.
   In order for Burggraf to proceed, the School Board had to waive a policy prohibiting the expenditure of more than $25,000 without going through the bidding process.
   The policy was passed in 1990 to match a state law requiring sealed bids for expenditures over $25,000. The state has since raised that amount to $75,000, and Sprunger recommended the board review its policy and consider realigning it with state law.
   The board's next meeting will be at 7 p.m. July 26. The July 12 meeting was cancelled.

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Keeping cool was the order of the day during Crown Point's annual Fourth of July parade, this year entitled "Memories Never Fade."  At top right, Dorothy Peterson of St. John tries to keep the sun's rays off her daughter Kathryn, 5.  At left, General Ulysses S. Grant, the 18th president of the United States, and his wife Julia (a.k.a Larry and Carolynn Werline) were dressed in the warm attire of the 1800s as they collected donations to offset the cost of the parade and fireworks show.   Michelle Hamnik, 3, makes a donation to the cause.

Heat can't dampen annual parade
By Kathie Godfrey
Star Correspondent

CROWN POINT - Tradition-loving spectators of the last 4th of July parade of the century Sunday staked-out prime viewing spots along the searing hot Main Street parade route early in the day.
   The good-natured holiday crowd was prepared to make the best of the stifling heat, waiting patiently for the parade in their web lawn chairs, folding chairs and director's chairs so that any little breeze that might happen along could reach them.
   Linda Kaste of Merrillville had the idea to bring boat seats to clamp over the concrete wall that surrounds the Old Courthouse on the square.
   "They're small and lightweight," Kaste said of the tiny seats.
   Kaste, husband Chris and daughter Amy were looking for daughter Amber who would appear with the Southlake YMCA Indian Guides less than a quarter of the way through the parade program's roster of 122 entries.
   Similarly, Rose Jostes had planted her web chair in a sunny spot near the reviewing stand more than an hour before the parade was to begin. Her daughter, freshman Nicole Coros, would be performing a swing dance routine with the Crown Point High School Dance Team.
   "I'm going to videotape it," Jostes said. "They'll be dancing right here."
   Jim and Debbi Lanigan brought fancy folding nylon chairs to sit in as they waited for their daughter to perform with the CPHS Poms.

   And traditional parade-viewing etiquette started young for Katelyn, 6, and Robin Frank, 3, who sat in child sized yellow, green and purple folding chairs - each sporting its own matching sun umbrella. Naturally, the girls were armed with hot dogs and pop to refresh them while they waited for the parade.     
   But parade viewing traditions such as these could face a new wrinkle. Although few spectators appeared to be aware of it, Sunday's Crown Point 4th of July parade was probably the first local parade in Indiana to be transmitted over the Internet.
   Thanks to the efforts of Merrillville Internet provider Jeff Wahlberg and Web Page Master and 4th of July Celebration Committee member Brian Jessen, five-second snapshots of each parade entry were transmitted live over the net during Sunday's parade.
   "We designed the web site last year," explained Wahlberg from his spot on the reviewing stand. He was near the camera that would transmit the images via a phone link to the Crown Point Chamber of Commerce.
   After setting up the site, Jessen and Wahlberg used it to help organize the parade entries and streamline check in for the parade committee, thereby saving themselves a great deal of time.
   Wahlberg said server log entries had indicated that people from as far away as California, Colorado and Hawaii had logged on to the parade's website at www.cpjuly4.com in order to watch the parade from afar.
   "Next year we plan to have live video with sound," Wahlberg said.


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