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Feature Stories for November 9, 2000

The STAR is distributed every Thursday.  
The Crown Point Network offers a sneak preview of weekly cover stories.

Lowell voters choose to keep town status
City status rejected by 6 to 1 margin; Schliessle easily retains board seat

By Kathie Godfrey 
Star Correspondent

LOWELL - The town's city referendum was resoundingly trounced almost six-to-one here while Tri-Creek School Board member Mark Schiessle easily fended off challengers John Domka and Morris Livengood amid a record voter turnout of more than 60 percent of registered voters. 
    South County Democratic Committee Chairman and Lowell Town Councilman Joseph Mika, D-5th--one of three councilmen who opposed the change to city government--said he was pleased with the referendum's defeat as well as strong voter participation Tuesday. 
    "How can people vote for something when they don't know what it will cost?" said Mika in explanation of the 2,002 to 462 tally against the referendum. "I think the small group of people who supported city government have gotten their final answer." 
    Councilman Ray Talarek, R-1st, was also glad that the change to city government will not take place. 
    "I feel great," Talarek said when the final tally was totaled "I think city government would give too much control to one person. I've always been against it and I'll vote against it again if it comes up." 



    Councilman Larry Just, R-4th, said he had been quietly opposed to the change and was waiting to see what residents wanted to do. 
    "I couldn't see any real benefit to it," Just said. "People want the personal attention they receive with a town council. A mayor would be removed from the people." 
    But Town Council President Bob Hatch, R-2nd, who said he regretted that he had not more actively campaigned on behalf of the referendum, said city government would be more efficient than council government and that issues that require immediate attention would be better addressed by a full-time mayor. 
    "I was disappointed at the misinformation and false statements expressed as fact by people who wanted to defeat the measure," he said. Hatch said the opposition had employed scare tactics--such as claims that city government would result in a doubling of property taxes and a hike in residential water bills--that were completely false. 



Kuzman going to Indy for third term
Incumbent declares victory after going up 1,400-plus votes in Lake

By Andrew Steele 
Star Managing Editor

CROWN POINT -  Democratic State Rep. Robert Kuzman waited and waited for Porter County vote totals Tuesday night at the Hall of Justice, but finally decided to declare victory over Ron Johnson just after 9 p.m. 
    Kuzman, according to Democratic calculations, was up more than 1,400 votes at that point. Having won Porter County the last two elections, he felt confident to declare victory to the approximately 100 boisterous supporters gathered in the Main Street ballroom and bar. 
    Kuzman attributed his win to a positive campaign. 
    "In the last three elections we've been very successful staying on point and running a positive campaign," he said. 
    Kuzman thanked his family and political "fathers" Mayor James Metros and John Mullins. 
    Kuzman won in the city of Crown Point by 4,376 to 3,507. That was followed up by victories in Winfield, Merrillville, and Lowell. 
    Johnson showed strongly in unincorporated areas. 
    Metros said Kuzman overcame a negative campaign to win reelection.


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