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Feature Stories for Thursday, April 26, 2001

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

Council wants more $

By Kathie Godfrey
Star Correspondent

LOWELL - Town Council members asked representatives of - who are hoping to place an antenna atop the town's water tower in Evergreen Park for a little bigger slice of the pie Monday.
    Following a lengthy discussion of the lease agreement, which would net the town's water utility a $21,000 lump sum payout the first year and $1,800 per month in rental fees with three percent annual increases, Town Council President Robert Hatch, R-3rd, said he'd like to see a five percent annual increase during the 25-year term of Sprint's lease with the town.
Councilman Larry Just, R-4th, agreed.
    "We should consider the higher rate because of the town's eventual expansion and growth," he said. "This is an opportunity for Sprint."
    But Sprint attorney Patti Bernhard and site location specialist Mark Dudeck said only a very few antenna sites had been offered annual increases in excess of the two percent average.
Bernhard said the town of Gurnee, Ill. - home to the Great America theme park and Gurnee Mills outlet mall - was receiving just $1,750 per month with three percent increases.
    Dudeck added that that Hyatt Hotel in Chicago's Loop was receiving four percent annual increases because of the enormous size of the market in that area.
    "We would not be able to justify that expenditure in a small rural market," Bernhard said.
    Asked what Sprint would do if the Lowell antenna site doesn't go in, Bernhard said radio frequency engineers could redesign their two existing sites located at Route 2 and I-65, and at Route 41 and Belshaw Road - to accommodate the gap in coverage.
    Hatch said the extra percentage point would only amount to "chump change" at $216 the first year and asked what would happen if the town insisted on a four percent increase.
    "It will probably be shot down at the corporate level," Dudeck said.
    The council asked Sprint representatives to forward their counteroffer to Sprint officials.
Dudeck said their answer would be ready for the May 14 council meeting.
    In other business, the council named Dan Myers as Water Treatment Plant superintendent and Barry Davis as Street Department superintendent.
    Myers and Davis had held positions as acting superintendents since the departure of Brian Tucker in November, 2000, and the council's removal of Al Bachman in January.
    The council also awarded their portion of Lake County's Hotel/Motel tax funds to the following organizations, in the following amounts: the Sesquicentennial Committee, $1,800; the Lowell Labor Day Organization, $1,300; the Lowell Chamber of Commerce, which sponsors the Oktoberfest event, $1,300; and the Lowell Downtown Merchants Association, $1,300.
    At the committee's request the council also requested that $1,000 be given to Halsted House Historical Association from the town's Community Relations Fund.


New school progressing 'smoothly'

By Andrew Steele
Star Managing Editor

CROWN POINT - New high school project manager Scott Cherry told the School Board on Monday that 'construction is progressing along rather smoothly' on the building at Burrell Drive and Main Street.
    "As the summer comes along we anticipate a lot of things taking shape," Cherry said.
The steel frame of the classroom section - the eastern wing of the building - is nearing completion, and roof work will begin soon, Cherry said.
    Workers recently began putting exterior brick on the auditorium, but have moved to the courtyard to complete that while access is easy.
Masonry work on bearing and perimeter walls continues, but in response to a question from board member Thomas Hoffman, Cherry said "we wish that the brickwork was going better," though some of the weather-related delays are understandable.
    Cherry said he has talked to the masonry contractor, Gough, Inc., about supplying more workers, "but I think (Gough) is at (its) optimum level."
    The number of masons on site ranges from 24 to 30, and 'supposedly' will peak around 40, Cherry said.
    "We're hoping the masonry will be complete by fall," he added.
    Besides structural work, mechanical and electrical roughing are going well, Cherry said. Also interior concrete slabs are being poured throughout western wings, and will start to be poured in the classroom wing "in the next week or so."
    Site work, especially the filling of the athletic fields, continues as weather permits, Cherry said.
    Hoffman raised a potential problem concerning site work. Ponds at neighboring Youche Country Club, he said, have filled up with muddy water.
Cherry said he would investigate that.
    Also Monday, the board approved $86,877 in change orders for the project, covering a variety of minor revisions.
    To date, $386,786 in change orders have been approved, though Building and Grounds Director Jim Burggraf noted that cost-cutting measures have resulted in the project's contingency fund - from which change order are paid - is actually $8,745 higher than at the start of the project.



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