By Sean McNab
Star Staff Writer
CROWN POINT - Last month John Desmaretz presented a site development
plan to the city's Plan Commission that was deferred because of
unanswered questions regarding his property.
Desmaretz's return Monday brought revisions and
changes to his wine and cigar shop at 513 N. Main St, but it still did
not satisfy commission members.
But commission members thought there would not be
enough parking spaces for Stogies Cigar Shop customers.
"At the last meeting I did not have clear-cut
figures as to how many parking spaces we would need or be using. Through
talks with my engineer we have constructed 19 spaces," said
City Engineer Jeff Ban negated three of the proposed
spaces because they were in front of the store and were illegal.
Desmaretz then explained that he may be able to use
an adjacent parking lot in order to conform to city regulations.
"I am looking at using Levin Tire's parking lot
during our peak hours. It is going to be a give and take relationship in
that if I need to use his parking lot I can as well as him using mine
when he needs to."
Trying to reassure the commission that his business
would not congest the central part of Main Street, Desmaretz did a study
over the past couple of weeks to figure out when the times were busiest
around his establishment.
"The highest traffic pattern around my business
seems to be in the morning when people get early breakfast. We will not
be open at that time."
Neighboring businesses voiced their displeasure
because of the possibility that their parking lots could be used to
house his customers vehicles.
"I do not want anyone using my parking lot
except my tenants or customers. I know that may sound selfish but I pay
the taxes on the property and the upkeep," stated attorney John
Sorbello, whose property is adjacent to Desmaretz.
Desmaretz said that that would not be an issue.
But White Hen Pantry owner Bill Filter refuted that
by saying, "Today I had to ask two of your employees to move their
vehicles out of my parking lot and move them back into your lot. They
didn't even ask if they could park in my lot."
Desmaretz added that once he is able to finally
develop the land, the shop will be an asset to the community raising the
property values of all establishments surrounding it.
"To me it really doesn't matter whether my
property value increases or not, what matters to me is the problem we
are going to have with the parking. Right now this property is on the
bare minimum of having enough parking spaces to operate. What if this
business really takes off? This will directly have an adverse effect on
all the neighbors around it," commented Edward Grimmer, a neighbor.
The commission deferred the site plan until its April
10 meeting with Desmaretz needing to have written documentation of an
agreement to use Levin Tire's parking lot, a state highway curb
cut approved to ease traffic and a permit from the Alcohol Beverage
teacher is tops with Dole
By Andrew Steele
Star Managing Editor
CEDAR LAKE - A MacArthur Elementary School teacher and her class were
honored at Monday's School Board meeting for their efforts to encourage
consumption of fruit and vegetables.
The Dole Food Company presented teacher Mary Lou
Thompson with its "Creative 5 A Day Teacher of the Year Award"
for incorporating good nutrition into the curriculum of her
kindergarten-to-first-grade transition class.
Lorelei DiSogra, vice president of nutrition and
health for Dole, flew in from Oakland to present the award. Also on hand
was Judy Rose of the Indiana Department of Health, who presented a
commendation award from Gov. Frank O'Bannon.
DiSogra said Thompson won the award because of her
concern for her students' nutrition.
"She decided to design her own curriculum"
encouraging consumption of at least five servings of fruit and
vegetables per day.
"It's a year-long curriculum," DiSogra
noted. Students try new fruits, sing songs about fruit, and visit local
orchards as part of the curriculum.
Ten of Thompson's students were also on hand for the
Thompson, each of her students, and school
corporation Food Services Director Shirley Walter received fruit baskets
School Board President Byron J. Hubbard, a former
principal at MacArthur, congratulated Thompson.
"No one knows it more than I do - every day's a
special day in your classroom," Hubbard said.
have say on grade issue
By Andrew Steele
Star Managing Editor
CEDAR LAKE - One month after receiving the administration's
recommendation, the School Board listened Monday to the thoughts of
residents on how the school corporation's buildings should be used once
the new high school is complete.
The bulk of those comments were critical of the
administration's recommendation for Taft Middle School to be converted
into a fifth- and sixth-grade school and the current high school to be
converted into a seventh- and eighth-grade middle school.
Instead, critics said the School Board should stick
to the original plan of using both Taft and the high school as sixth-
through eighth-grade middle schools.
Karen Schrum presented a statement to the board
listing a variety of studies claiming that grouping sixth- through
eighth-grade students is better than putting fifth- and sixth-graders
Also, Schrum said her research showed keeping
students in a building three years is better than two years.
With the administration's proposal, "our
students will be in four buildings in five years," she said.
"The research I cited clearly states that this is detrimental to a
student's performance and well-being."
Mary Jo Klepsch urged the board to stick to the
school corporation's original plan of two 6-8 middle schools.
"It was a strong component of the (facility)
project," she said.
She said many of the arguments in favor of the 5-6,
7-8 arrangement were not convincing.
Crowding at the elementary schools is not so bad as
to require removing two grades from them, she said.
Also, the argument that using Taft and the high
schools as middle schools would create "unequal" schools is
flawed, Klepsch said.
The high school facility is superior to Taft in ways that aren't
relevant to academics, she argued.
"There is no curriculum delivered in a pool,
stadium, or auditorium."
Both Schrum and Klepsch delivered much of their
statements in written form because the board's five-minute time limit
for comment did not allow them to complete their presentations. Both had
been led to believe last month that they would have as much time as
needed to present their case, but board president B.J.
Hubbard enforced the five-minute rule.
Schrum, Klepsch and others also mentioned issues like
Spell Bowl and other student activities, in which the number of students
able to participate would drop under the 5-6 configuration.
Several people spoke in favor of the administrations
Judy Katz said she did not want to see sixth-graders
in the same school as eighth-graders.
Also, the two middle school configuration "would create division
and competition," she said.
Bringing fifth-graders together in one school would
allow for a more uniform curriculum, she said, and make band and
orchestra classes easier to incorporate into the school day.
Tom Toering said the problems with a 5-6 school are
"I think if we have a 5-6 school it will be a
great school, because the staff will make it a great school," he
Leann Michalik, a member of the task force that
recommended the 5-6, 7-8 configuration, said the elementary schools did
face crowding, and would face more if all-day kindergarten is
Also, "our kids are stronger than we
think," and can handle the transitions from one building to the
next, she said.