plan draws criticism
By Sean McNab
Star Staff Writer
CEDAR LAKE - The owner of the old Saleisan property
on Cline Avenue has presented plans to construct a senior citizens
village on the site that will include a variety of living arrangements.
Representatives of the Golden Age Retirement
Home presented the layout to the Plan Commission on Aug. 1.
The property is owned by Damir Missbrenner.
Included in the plans are single-family detached homes in the far
northwest corner of the property, townhomes three to four units in
density south of that, and a four-story residential building near the
front of the 36-1/2 acre property.
With most members impressed with the design,
the only remonstrance came from Fire Chief Dennis Wilkening, who
expressed concern about the safety concerns of the four-story building.
"We are not equipped to service a
four-story builidng," Wilkening said. "I talked with other
towns that had assisted living establishments. Dyer just recently had
one open up and in the past seven days the emergency services have taken
Wilkening complemented the plans in terms of
the structural content of the buildings and the sprinkling systems used
on the sites, but felt that certain fires could not be controlled,
specifically in the four-story building.
"Most of the fires that take place in
large structures like that are room and content fires and because they
start up so quickly they usually cannot be put out right away,"
"What happens is that a small fire starts
and the person runs to the window usually trapping themselves inside. I
do not have a big enough ladder to get up to the top stories of the
Plan Commission member Dennis Scaggs agreed
with Wilkening suggesting that the project should be approved excluding
the four-story building.
Wilkening concluded by saying, "We are
putting people at risk if this large building is approved. I am
definitely not in favor of it."
Because this was only a work session no
decision was made on the development.
A public hearing on the proposal is scheduled for 7 p.m. Aug. 15.
get initial approval
By Andrew Steele
Star Managing Editor
CROWN POINT - The City Council on Monday gave
first-reading approval to the 2002 salary ordinance for appointed
The ordinance reflects a 3 percent raise for
most employees, though the Parks and Recreation director, Civil Defense
director, judge's employees, chief deputy clerk-treasurer, and Electric
Board members will receive larger raises.
The most significant raise would go to Parks
Director Betty Wells, who "started off at a pretty minimal
salary," Mayor James Metros said.
"We've been trying to get her to about the
same place as some of the other parks directors," he said.
Wells' salary will increase from $40,000 to
$44,000. Many other parks directors in the area make in the $50,000s.
That led to a discussion of the police chief's
salary, which would be about $50,700 according to the proposed
That figure, though, is 'the lowest or second
lowest' in the area, Metros said.
Councilman William Condron, R-4th, said the
council should consider increasing the chief's salary.
"I think our police force is at least as
good as the best in the county," he said.
Councilman James Wirtz, R-at large, argued that
not only should the chief make more money, but officers should too.
"I just don't think that 3 percent a year
for a police officer is enough," he said.
Metros said he agreed in principle but giving a
particular department higher raises could cause problems in other
"I hate to start singling out
departments," he said.
Police Chief Michael Valsi said he would bring
a proposal from the Fraternal Order of Police to the mayor that creates
larger pay distinctions between ranks. He suggested this might solve
some of the problem of low pay in the department.
Metros also told the council that he is
investigating creating different pay levels for regular Public Works
There would be four levels, Metros said, based
on the number of defined 'jobs' an employee is qualified to do.
This would reward employees with more skills,
and encourage others to increase their qualifications.
Metros said that the full budget process is
going well. The council will have special meetings Aug. 15 and 22 to
The mayor also said financial consultant Greg
Guerrettaz will assist officials in creating a long-term capital