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Bidding begins on school project

BY ANDREW STEELE
Star Managing Editor

CROWN POINT - The School Board on Thursday authorized its construction manager to solicit bids for the bulk of the new high school project.
     A total of 26 bid packages will be advertised for the construction, equipping and furnishing of the 465,000 square foot school.
     The project includes 28 total bid packages. The first two, for preliminary site work and foundation, and for steel work, were awarded earlier this year.
     The bids authorized on Thursday will be opened May 2.
    Architect Ken Grabow of Armstrong, Torseth, Skold and Rydeen told the board the bid specifications largely reflect the original plans developed last year.
     "There weren't very many major changes," he said. "It tells me we were on the right track (from the beginning)."
     The only recent change is in the auditorium, Grabow said, where the orchestra pit was originally designed to be open on top.
     After consulting with high school staff members, the pit has been deepened and the stage extended over it, "so you don't have that feeling ... basically of a hole, especially when you're not using it for the orchestra," Grabow said.
     Some design decisions remain to be made, Grabow added, including the color of brick to be used on the building's exterior.
     That has been narrowed down to three colors, all on display at the new school site on Burrell Drive.
     Bidders on that part of the project will be asked to provide prices for all three, Grabow said.
     Work began earlier this month on the $68 million project, which is expected to be completed in time for the 2003 school year.
     Also at Thursday's meeting, the board approved a policy for dealing with change orders that arise during the new school project.
     The policy details which officials' approval is needed at various monetary levels.
     "Change orders" are requests from contractors for payment for unexpected work or materials needed during the course of a construction project.
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BZA shoots down gun sales permit

BY SHAWN MCNAB
Star Staff Writer 

CROWN POINT -  One of the more controversial petitions hit the council chambers this past Monday, March 27. Richard Rocha, a resident in the Niles Creek subdivision, requested a Special Use (R-1) Home Occupation permit by the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) to sell and buy semi-automatic firearms in his place of residence.
     "As a gun hobbyist, I would like to turn a little bit of a profit by establishing a mail order business in my home. While much of it will be taken up through the Internet, UPS and Federal Express will be shipping one to two firearms per month to and from my residence," explained Rocha.
     Rocha added that it is illegal to ship firearms through certified mail with penalties ranging in that of huge fines, felony convictions, and/or possible jail sentences. Noted though was the fact that in order for a firearm transaction to take place, Rocha would have to physically hold the firearm in his possession for at least a couple of days in order to file the proper paperwork.
     BZA member Alda Velluntini interjected, "I am reluctant to permit any business within a residential area, especially something like this."
     Rocha reassured that his “business would not generate any local traffic except for an occasional parcel service drop-off. Also, my home has a state-of-the-art ADT Wireless Security System inclusive of shock sensors on all doors and the garage. If for some reason the phones went out, I have it coordinated to fall back on my cellular phone system."
     BZA President Dan Rohaley questioned, "If your business ever flourished to say 20-30 transactions per month, what would you do then?"
     Rocha responded, "First, this is not a booming business unless you are well-known in the industry. But, if for some reason my transactions reached that level, I would by a storefront to conduct my business."
     BZA member David Uran followed by asking Rocha “how many loaded weapons will you carry in your residence at one time?"
     
"With regards to my business, none of my firearms will ever be loaded. I do have a few personal guns of my own, but they are locked up in a completely different part of the house. What should be known is that if this petition is passed, I will lose my fourth Amendment rights under the Constitution and the government will have free reign to "search and seizure" anything within my house," commented Rocha.
     Nick Tarailo, who has adjacent property to Rocha stated, "I don't like the idea of guns stored or shipped in our subdivision. What happens if Mr. Rocha is not home and the UPS ships a firearm to his house? The box could sit on his porch for hours and a child could take hold of it or it could fall into the wrong hands and something serious could happen."
    Wife Kathy Tarailo added, "Mr. Rocha never approached us about the issue of petitioning. All we got was a flyer in the mail about what he wanted to do and, honestly, I really do not know very much about him. In that respect, I am a little disappointed."
     David Neisis, a neighbor who lives directly across the street from Rocha, commented, "I have lived in this neighborhood for 8 years and I understood then that the developers wanted to this community to be more agricultural. Accepting this petition would deviate from this premise and I strongly feel that he should conduct his business somewhere else."
     Both families also had reservations because of the fact that each had children.
     BZA Vice President Patt Patterson requested a denial on the basis that there was no commercial development within one mile radius of Mr. Rocha's property.
     "He should have no problem finding a storefront for his business commercially," stated Patterson.
    The motion was passed unanimously 4-0 to deny the residential business from operating.
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