on cops' wish-list
By Sean McNab
Star Staff Writer
CEDAR LAKE - Town Councilman Dana Plant was
successful Monday in his second effort to convince his colleagues to
purchase a sport utility vehicle for the Police Department.
The council originally considered - and rejected -
the idea on April 10, but Plant put the item back on Monday night's
agenda with the hopes that the council would reconsider.
"We voted so quickly on it that I really didn't
have time to explain what a benefit to the community it would be,"
One concern of council members was that an SUV would
cost more than a regular squad car.
"Whether we get another vehicle or an SUV, we
have enough money allocated in our budget to acquire either," said
Police Chief Chuck Kouder.
Kouder wants the SUV to advertise the new DARE
program being implemented in the schools by Police Officer Jerry Smith.
Kouder also mentioned that, last year, when the
county was hit by a blizzard, the town of Cedar Lake was basically shut
down until a nearby dealership let the town use its four-by-four
The cost of the SUV would be about $26,000.
Kouder was disgusted at the fact that he heard that
he was wasting the town's money by purchasing an SUV.
"I really take offense to anyone who feels that
I am overspending by asking for an SUV. We are all trying to create a
more progressive image in this town and by getting this SUV we would be
doing that. Just think of the way people would look at this town with a
new sporty looking SUV driving around. If we have the money in the
budget why should I expect getting anything less than the best."
The council voted unanimously to solicit bids for the
wants options on old C.P.H.S.
By Andrew Steele
Star Managing Editor
CROWN POINT - A two and one-half hour bull session
Monday led the School Board to tell administrators to come up with a
demographic study showing where they believe student enrollment growth
will occur, and a feasibility study on various uses for the current high
The information is necessary, board members said, for
them to decide which grade configurations to choose for the school
The administration has recommended that - once the
new high school is completed and the old high school is renovated - the
six elementary schools house grades kindergarten through four; Taft
house grades five and six; and the current high school house grades
seven and eight.
But School Board member Michael McCormick has led
opposition to that configuration, arguing that it would mean too many
school transitions for students; that two-grade schools are less
effective; and that the 5-6 and 7-8 schools would have too many
McCormick said school officials should do everything
they can to maintain traditional kindergarten through sixth-grade
Also, the system should be more "customer
driven," McCormick said. That means, for example, trying things
like a kindergarten through eighth-grade school at the old high school.
McCormick also argued that if grade reconfiguration
is meant to address crowding issues at the elementary school,
demographic projections are needed.
And if the old high school is to be used as a school
- or for anything else - he said, officials must know what work must be
"I think voting (on grade configuration) before
the research (is done) is getting things bass-ackwards," McCormick
He called the decision on grade configuration, and
how to use the old high school, a tougher decision than the one to build
the new high school.
Other board members have been more
supportive of the administration's plan.
Board President Byron Hubbard presented information
on successful 5-6 schools in a Michigan community.
"I'm convinced if you have the right people ...
this kind of configuration works," he said.
Superintendent H. Steve Sprunger said that the
administration is "not wedded" to its configuration
It approached the matter under the assumption that
all school facilities would continue to be used, and looked for the best
configuration educationally, he said.
But, Sprunger acknowledged, administrators are
"scared" about what kind of work may be needed to renovate the
current high school.
"If it's a perfect world we abandon (the old
high school)," Sprunger said.
Board member Bart Aiello proposed the idea of looking into tearing down
the unsalvageable parts of the building and using the remainder for a
If that is feasible, the board would then have to
decide what to do with Taft.
McCormick raised the possibility of abandoning the
current high school as a school, and leaving it for community use.
McCormick asked Sprunger if he could support
committing the high school to community use - spending nothing to
renovate it - and building a new elementary east of Broadway to
Sprunger said he could.
But skeptical board member Thomas Hoffman suggested that wasn't
"If you can sell this community on abandoning
the high school, I'm right there with you," he said.
The feasibility study on the high school should cost
about $35,000, Slrunger said.