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Feature Stories for June 8, 2000

The STAR is distributed every Thursday.  
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Crown Point makes tax a tougher deal
City ties benefits performance to future abatement passage

By Andrew Steele 
Star Managing Editor

CROWN POINT - City officials have begun tightening the screws on businesses that want tax abatements, expecting them to follow through on the benefits they promise to bring to the city.   
 On Monday, the City Council renewed an abatement for a mini-warehouse business for a third year, but warned the owners that this would be the last year they would receive an abatement if their business did not have its promised payroll of $120,000. 
   Next month, the council expects to start applying a new standard to businesses that request abatements. Different kinds of businesses will receive different length abatements, and the annual renewal of an abatement will not be as routine as in the past.
    "This is the beginning of the end of this kind of abatement," Councilman William Condron (R-4th) said of the mini-warehouse abatement. 
    In the past, 10-year abatements were granted routinely to businesses within the city's economic revitalization area, which is the industrial zone and surrounding area on the city's east side. 
    Abatements give property owners a 100 percent local property tax discount the first year, and then a declining discount over 10 years until the owner is paying the full taxes. 
    The new standard, being written by financial consultant Greg Guerrettaz, will provide a bracket that will show what kind of abatement, if any, a particular type and size of business will get. 
    The council voted to renew Richard McEvoy's abatement on a mini-warehouse at 700 Madison St. because the renewal for a third year will likely fit the new standard. 
    "I think we would probably say a mini-warehouse should be a three-year abatement," Councilman Michael Conquest (R-at large) said. 
    Also on Monday, the council approved an abatement for a fiber optic cable splicing company that Jerry and Laurie Burrow plan to open at 811 Industrial Boulevard. 
    While all council members approved of granting an abatement for the 20-plus employee business, Councilman James Wirtz (R-at large) expressed reservation because the application said the property will also house a motorcycle repair shop. 
    Wirtz said he does not support abatement for service businesses. 
    "It's like we're giving somebody an advantage," he said. But Councilman Robert Corbin (R-5th) said the city should be careful considering the competition issue when granting abatements. If a business meets the criteria for an abatement, the council can't turn it down because it will compete with an already established business. 
    In other business, the council gave final approval to the rezoning of 87 acres between 113th and 109th avenues about one-quarter mile east of Broadway. 
    The land is owned by Joseph Beckman, who will operate Home Lumber on a portion of the property east of Hubinger Landscaping on 113th. 
    Three parcels with frontages on 113th and two with frontages on 109th will be zoned B-3 business; the bulk of the property will be split into 20 I-1 industrial lots. 
    A north-south road through the property will be an extension of the new Delaware Street, which will run through the entire I-65 and U.S. 231 interchange area. 
    Beckman will appear before the Plan Commission Monday to discuss development of the site.  

Walking for a cure

Cancer Society holds its annual 24 hour benefit

By Sean McNab 
Star Staff Writer

CROWN POINT - Over 1,500 people perish everyday from this disease with over one million new cases expected to be diagnosed this year alone. It is the second leading cause of death in the United States and approximately 8.2 million Americans alive today have a history of it. 
    Yes - it is cancer, and this past weekend at Crown Point High School (CPHS) the American Cancer Society (ACS) presented the "3rd Annual Relay for Life". 
    The purpose was to raise funds (by getting pledges for walking laps around the CPHS track) and awareness to fight cancer in the community. Moreover, it's a celebration of life honoring those who have survived the disease. 
    "This event really pulls the whole community of Lake County together and recognizes those that are survivors. Last year we had approximately 70 teams participate in the event with this year hoping for more than 80!" stated Ruth Kernagis, the Chairperson of the event. 
    The event itself began back in 1992 when the founder, Dr. Gordon Klatt, raised funds by walking all night long at Washington State University for the cause. 
    "From there the event has mushroomed all over the nation. 60 percent of the monies donated go to research facilities, 10 of which are located in Indiana and Michigan, with the other 40 percent going to local area programs," explained Stacy Brown, the Community Development Director for the ACS. 
    Janice Waugh, a breast cancer survivor for over five years, is a full-time volunteer on the behalf of cancer research. 
    "I am a member of the Ahepha Senior Circle of Friends support group for cancer survivors." 
    The group, located in Merrillville, consists of approximately 150 members, many of which live together in the apartment complexes located within the town. 
    Waugh spends most of her time throughout the year doing presentations at local hospitals for those suffering from cancer along with raising funds for the cause. 
    "I just got donations from Bryan's Florist and The Patio this past week," added Waugh. Luminaries were placed in and outside the track with the names of loved ones who had perished from the disease on each. 
    "It keeps the memories of the person alive," commented Waugh. 
    Two "home-town" teams that provided support for the event were in response to seven-year-old Crown Point resident Andy Carpenter. Entitled "Andy's Army," Team 1 was sponsored by his parents with the other headed by the Southlake Christian Church in Crown Point. 
    "ItŐs great to see so many people at this event," stated Andy, a Lake Street Elementary student who has been fighting leukemia for the last four years. 
    Kevin, Andy's father interjected, "Each year this event get bigger and bigger. Everyone in some way is going through or knows someone that is affected by cancer." 
    The ACS will be hosting another "Relay for Life" this weekend at Donald. E. Gavit High School in Hammond starting at 3 p.m. Friday. 
    Kevin Carpenter concluded, "The progress that the medical field has made in the last 20 years has been remarkable. For in 1980, Andy would have had only a 30 percent of survival but now in the year 2000, the rate has climbed to 70 percent. I have confidence that they will find a cure for cancer in my lifetime!" 
    For any additional information on ACS call 793-1030 or visit them on the web at .


Winfield water issue still burns

By Sean McNab 
Star Staff Writer

Winfield - Emotions ran high on Wednesday, May 31, during the special Plan Commission meeting called for possible approval of Unit II of the Hidden Creek subdivision. 
    The petition submitted by the Lasco Development Corporation proposed 49 single family lots on the easternmost part of the present Hidden Creek subdivision.  Included would be two 30-inch pipes located off of 103rd and 101st Avenues that would flow into a 36-inch pipe which would divert the water flow down Deer Creek and out to the town of Merrillville. 
    The issue of contention with most of the residents in attendance was the ill relationship that they had with the developer of Hidden Creek, David Lasco. 
    "I have spent thousands of dollars with hopes of getting a proper water supply into my home. I presently have a whirl-pool tub that has never been filled to capacity. It all just causes homeowner aggravation and headaches," explained Rick Anderson. 
    The reason for his complaint is that most of the Hidden Creek subdivision has an inadequate water supply because of dry well taps. 
    In contrast, the Trees subdivision, the other subdivision adjacent to the proposed new units, carries too much water resulting in the flooding of homes. 
    Town Engineer Kim Hodnik said, "By accepting this proposed petition, Hidden Creek II will help alleviate some of the excess flow into Hidden Creek I and to other neighboring towns (Merrillville)." 
    Plan Commission member Paulette Skinner suggested that best avenue "for the town was through 'hook-up' by public septic through Lake Michigan water or by using Winfield utilities within the town." 
    "The crux of the problem here is that the residents of Hidden Creek have a communication and trust problem with Mr. Lasco because of situations that have happened in the past," commented Marilyn Leonian, a homeowner who is technically not a resident of Winfield. 
    Because of the severity of the water problems, the question was brought up as to whether a hydrologist has ever been hired to measure the amount of flowage from one subdivision/town to the other. 
    Since this has never taken place, Plan Commission member Greg Lightfoot said, "It seems that there are a lot of questions here that have been responded to with only nebulous answers. We need to take the lead on this issue so that it can be resolved." 



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