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Feature Stories for Thursday, June 28, 2001

The STAR is distributed every Thursday.  
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Hopes bouyant for lake water

By Kathie Godfrey
Star Correspondent

LOWELL - Thanks to the recent passage of new guidelines for exporting Lake Michigan water beyond the Great Lakes watershed and the advocacy of Gary Mayor Scott King, officials here say Lowell might still get lake water, if the price is right.
    Rick Dal Corobbo, Lowell's Director of Administration, said the new criteria for lake water export approved June 18 by the Council of Great Lakes Governors should make it easier for Lowell to get Lake Michigan drinking water.
    The passage of new guidelines by the Governors Council follows the June 8 meeting of the International Association of Great Lakes and St.     Lawrence Mayors, of which King is past president, at which the group offered its unanimous endorsement of Lowell's need for lake water when King presented the town's case.
    Dal Corobbo said King's actions followed the May 29 meeting of the Northwest Indiana Coalition of Cities and Towns at which he and council members Karen Brooker, R-2nd, and Ray Talarek, R-1st, discussed the town's water predicament in detail.
    In support of Lowell's proposed request for lake water, the association of mayors presented a list of special circumstances that qualify the town to export lake water including its establishment nearly 150 years ago; the town's continued pursuit of alternative water sources; the high flouride and sulfide concentrations in the town's deep well water and its location just five miles outside the Great Lakes basin.
    Although a formal request for lake water has yet to be made, the council on May 14 authorized geologist Robert Blattert of Indianapolis to study the feasibility and costs associated with lake water export to Lowell.
    The results of Blattert's study are expected next month. Council members say they'll weigh the town's future water options when the figures are in.
    "We need a plentiful water source so that Lowell can continue to grow," said Brooker during a recent discussion of the town's water woes. "We'll go over the pros and cons and especially the cost."







    Talarek said the town was forced to switch from deep to shallow wells to avoid high fluoride concentrations that were discoloring the teeth of residents.
    "But the shallow wells don't produce water at a high enough rate," he explained, adding that a free-filter program to mitigate the rust-making effects of the town's well water was established for residents this spring.
    But Dal Corobbo said while the town is also considering the costs of piping surface water from Critser Co. limestone quarry offered by the Lowell Group, it still owes $5.5 million on its current wellfield south of town.
    "All those costs will have to be evaluated," he said.
    Dal Corobbo said the town lost its bid for lake water in 1992 when Michigan Gov. John Engler vetoed its request without explanation.
    But under the new proposal which makes allowances for Lowell's unique water situation, the town could stand a better chance of getting lake water, if they want it.
    "I think the new guidelines will help our case significantly," said Brooker.



Solon principal resigns

By Andrew Steele
Star Managing Editor

CROWN POINT - The School Board on Monday accepted the resignation of an elementary school principal and approved the hiring of a new assistant principal for the high school.
    The board also approved the purchase of new school buses.
     Superintendent H. Steve Sprunger announced the resignation of Solon Robinson Principal Bob Harris and said the administration is actively engaged in securing a successor.
    Harris is returning to the Warsaw school system, Sprunger said. The resignation was effective Monday.
The new high school assistant is Ryan Pitcock, who will begin Aug. 1.
    He replaces Larry Shrader, a long-time assistant principal at Taft and the high school, who has retired.
    Also Monday, the board spent $320,192 on school buses. The purchases include four 72-passenger buses, one 35-passenger bus, and one special-needs wheelchair bus.
Transportation Director Pat Gregory said the purchases were made according to the school corporation's bus replacement plan.
    The five regular buses come with Cummins diesel engines. That sparked the concern of the school corporation's mechanic, Gregory said, because all its other engines are International.
    The mechanic was concerned the schools' existing diagnostic equipment would not work on the new engines, but Gregory said the school corporation will be given the necessary equipment.
Gregory also said the buses are equipped with "child reminder" switches. If drivers do not go to the back of the bus and flip the switch at the end of their routes, the bus horn will start honking.
    This forces them to walk through the bus to make sure no children have been left on board.
    "We may have some horns blowing the first couple days once we get the new buses, but I think it's worth it," Gregory said.
    In other business, the board gave the administration the go-ahead to apply for and accept a $314,050.32 Title I grant and to pursue membership for Taft Middle School in the North Central Association, an accreditation program for schools.
    The board also commended student Ethan Sumner for being chosen a Dole "5-A-Day" student ambassador.


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Crown Point, IN 46307
(219) 663-4212

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