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Officials:  new school best option
By Andrew Steele
Star Managing Editor
   CROWN POINT - School corporation officials and consultants made their final public pitch for a new high school last week, reiterating their commitment to borrowing only $64 million and expressing confidence the project can be done for a total of $68 million.
   They said the project is affordable, and is the community's only realistic option for addressing its school facility problems.
   School Board President Jackie Webster said "no other option has progressed this far over the last 11 years ... and that is because this is the best option."
   According to Superintendent H. Steve Sprunger, residents should see a total tax increase of 10 to 14 percent, as a result of both the current renovation projects and the new high school project.
   Webster said this would add about 50 cents per day to the average property tax bill, while the alternative - a thorough renovation and expansion of the current school - would add 45 cents. And she said the 45 cent figure does not include the cost of buying additional property around the school.
   So the issue isn't how much money will be spent, Webster argued, but "it comes down to how you want to spend your tax dollars."
   Administrators said the new school will be bigger and better than the current one, with 23 more classrooms; a larger cafeteria, industrial technology department and physical education area; and a better media center and performing arts wing.
   "The design is totally curriculum-driven to meet the needs of all students," Sprunger said.
   "Industrial technology is going to be a state-of-the-art facility," he said.
   The physical education program will add classes and provide fitness and athletic opportunities for all students, he said, and students in interscholastic sports will be able to get out of team practices at a reasonable hour.
   Music areas are expanded greatly, he added.
   The school officials said they held the press conference to clear up public "misunderstandings" about the project.
   The school officials wouldn't say specifically what "misunderstandings" they believe the public may have, or where these misunderstandings came from, but their statements were clearly in response to information put out by the opposition to the new school.
  To see entire story, see page 6A of Star

Bishop Kiril of the Macedonian Orthodox Church joins Crown Point Mayor James Metros (far right) and others at the War Memorial in Crown Point on Saturday.  The ceremony was one of several held during the 25th Annual American Canadian Macedonian Orthodox Church Convocation held in Northwest Indiana over Labor Day weekend.
Macedonian prime minister eyes business opportunities

By Karen Caffarini
Star Editor

   CROWN POINT - About 100 area businessmen and board members of their church gathered at Saints Peter and Paul Macedonian Orthodox Cathedral on Monday morning, anxiously awaiting to embark on what probably would be one of their most memorable events.
   They were about to have a personal meeting with the prime minister of their native Macedonia, Ljubcho Georgievski.
   In Northwest Indiana for the 25th annual American Canadian Macedonian Orthodox Church Convocation, the country's leader utilized the occasion to tout his country's economic growth opportunities and to ask local businessmen to invest in their native land.
   "He's telling the business leaders in our community that Macedonia has a
free market open for businesses. He's hoping that the business people here will invest in that country," said Tomislav Kajmakoski.
   Kajmakoski is president of the Crown Point church and host of the weekend convention that drew about 4,500 people from across America and Canada.
   Boris Velovski, a Crown Point resident, board member of the church and businessman, said the prime minister, who spoke little English, is trying to work with people in this country on exporting and importing products, and establishing businesses and banks in Macedonia.
   "A lot of people here can do something there. A lot more than you know," Velovski said.
   At a press conference later in the day, Georgievski said he is encouraging area businesspeople to invest in his country.
He said the line of communication has been opened and he believes it will show some results.
   Georgievski also talked about how Macedonia is faring after the Kosovo crisis. Many of the Kosovo refugees fled to the small country of Macedonia during the fighting.
   "He said things are getting better and better in the old country. They have no ill feelings toward Americans. They said America was the first to help them," Kajmakoski said.
   Velovski said Georgievski is the first Macedonian prime minister to visit this area. He was in Northwest Indiana Sunday and Monday to attend the convocation dinner and banquet.
   Lake County's Macedonian population is estimated at 10,000 to 15,000. Crown Point, which is home to a number of Macedonians, is a sister city to Resen, Macedonia and hosted the mayor of that city in May 1998.


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