idea gets no help from city
By Andrew Steele
Star Managing Editor
CROWN POINT - If a Dillinger Days festival is ever held in Crown
Point, it won't be with the backing of city officials.
City Councilman James Wirtz, R-at large, opened
Monday's council meeting lamenting the fact that the Lake County
Convention and Visitors Bureau is advertising their John Dillinger
museum on U.S. 231, and criticizing the idea to hold a Dillinger
festival in Crown Point.
"Is our city that desperate for tourism
dollars?" he asked.
Though supporters of capitalizing on the Dillinger
story say their message is "crime doesn't pay," "we sure
are wanting to make money of his crimes," Wirtz said.
"Imagine," Wirtz continued facetiously,
"a contest with kids whittling guns - maybe it could be sponsored
by the NRA."
Or perhaps, he added, a reenactment of a police
officer being killed as Dillinger's gang escapes.
Wirtz noted that residents were just as afraid of
Dillinger 70 years ago as current residents were afraid one year ago of
the fugitives loose in south Lake County.
Mayor James Metros told Wirtz not to worry about the
city supporting the Dillinger Days idea, which was resurrected recently
by local realtor Roger Pace.
And, Metros said, local business groups are not as
supportive of the idea as has been suggested.
"Both the (Main Street) Merchants Association
and the Chamber (of Commerce) have said they are not in favor of putting
any criminal in the limelight, and the (city) administration feels the
same way," Metros said.
The Dillinger issue came up again when the council
considered granting a zoning variance that would allow a new billboard
to be put up on the Helix Hydraulics property at 1503 N. Main St.
The billboard will be 10 feet high, 30 feet wide, and
will reach 35 feet from the ground. It will have a rotating face to
allow for three advertisements on each side. The sign replaces one that
was taken down in 1999.
Just before the council approved the variance, Wirtz
said his support depended on the sign never including the visitors
center's Dillinger ad.
Though there are legal problems with such
prohibitions, Metros said he would inform Prime Outdoor, the billboard
owner, of the city's wishes. He expressed confidence they would comply.
By Sean McNab
Star Staff Writer
LOWELL - C&D Development had its day in front of the residents of
Lowell on Jan. 31 and it wasn't a kind one.
In the midst of possibly passing a permit for the
subsidiary of Allied Waste to operate a construction demolition
landfill, representatives from C&D heard repeated displeasure as to
why a packed house of 300 would rather the establishment conduct its
business somewhere else.
Zoned back in 1997 by the Lake County Council to
operate a landfill, Feddeler bought and used the landfill the last four
years for waste disposal - of which approximately 63 percent originated
outside the state of Indiana.
With the sale to C&D, representatives explained
that approximately 20 acres of the 94-acre site will be used for solid
"We plan on using a portion of the landfill for waste
disposal with over 80 percent of all the debris delivered to it
originating from Lake County," said Jim VanWeelden, the Regional
Vice President of Allied Waste.
Skeptical that VanWeelden was embellishing the facts,
residents asked if he would put the number down in writing.
"If it makes the rest of the residents in the
town more comfortable, I and my associates will sit down with town and
county officials and come to a number close to that percentage,"
Most important to those in attendance was the issue
of safety, specifically for those families with young children.
"We need to make sure this community is safe and
look at ways in which to best protect our children," interjected
The problem that many residents see surfacing in the
coming years is the probability of some of the contaminants leeching to
the town's water source resulting in contaminated water.
"We will use the best technology available to
make sure that doesn't happen. We will make sure that hazardous
contaminants are not deposited in this landfill so that there are no
chances of sacrificing the safety of the town," VanWeelden
Town residents did not buy his response as factual
data refuted that every landfill eventually leaks some of its
Along the same lines the issue of past fines assessed
to the company was asked.
"We have over 100 landfill acquisitions located
in 42 states throughout the country. We have acquired a number of
subsidiaries and I would probably guess that at least one of them has
had a fine levied against them over the years," commented
As VanWeelden was trying to paint a picture to the
town that his organization was unlike all the others in terms of safety
precautions, resident Joe Bender put the entire team of representatives
on the spot by questioning the social consciousness of each.
"If you are so concerned about the health and
safety of those surrounding your sites, why would you seek to operate a
landfill site right in the middle of a small town? Don't you think it
would be better to create a landfill away from a residential area out in
the middle of nowhere?'
Another public hearing is scheduled for Feb. 7 at the
Lake County Government Center. The topic will be rezoning this piece of
property from the proposed landfill site back to agricultural
The Indiana Department of Environmental Management
will accept written comment on the issue up through Feb. 23. Written
comments may be sent to IDEM, Attn.: Jeff Sewell, 100 North Senate
Avenue (N1154), P.O. Box 6015, Indianapolis, IN 46206.