By Sean McNab
Star Staff Writer
CROWN POINT - Residents and officials from south Lake County packed
the County Council chambers last Thursday to witness the council's 5-2
vote approving the construction of sewage basins between Cedar Lake and
In an intricate phase that should help stabilize the
sanitary sewage project in the towns of Cedar Lake and Lowell, many
voiced opposition to the project.
"Everyone keeps saying that this will add to the
quality of life for both the towns. All I can see is the negative impact
it is going to have for the surrounding homeowners," said County
Commissioner Gerry Scheub.
The will be built on seven acres of a 58-acre site
approximately one-half mile south of 159th Avenue on the east side of
Morse Street. Two basins are proposed - one holding 3.75 million gallons
and the other 11.25 million gallons.
Based on previous data, the basins would be used
minimally because of the increased capacity of the Lowell sewage plant
from 2.5 million gallons to four million gallons set to take affect on
April 1, 2001, said Ron Bonar, the town engineer from Cedar Lake.
Town officials said constructing a equalization basin
is the most cost-effective solution to their sewage problem.
"By using the present sewage plant it would
increase the cost of the total project by $13 million to $20 million.
That would increase homeowners' sewer bill in the two towns by $12 to
$20 monthly," stated Bonar.
Residents brought up the possibility of overflow
during a severe rainstorm, or through future town growth.
"There is no chance of an overflow with these
equalization basins," said Cedar Lake Town Council President Robert
Brannon. "If either or both are filled the excess reverts back to
the interceptor which has an eight million line capacity."
The Indiana Department of Environmental Management
has laid out strict guidelines for the project. Cedar Lake, hit the
hardest by IDEM's past sanctions, has agreed to pay $3.5 million of the
project with the hopes that in the future its residential sewer tap-in
ban will be lifted.
Based on the a 20-year life of the two basins, the
expected use of the small basin annually will be 32 days and 16 days for
the large basin.
A final point that was brought up was that the
proposed basins will be the largest created in the state of Indiana with
regards to it being detached from its own sewer plant.
"Something definitely needs to be done but this
option is not the solution. Unlike other cities in Indiana that are
constructed on the same site as its sewage plant, these basins will be
four miles away from the Lowell sewage plant. There are residences
within one-half mile of each side of the basins," commented Rick
Niemeyer, the West Creek Township Assessor.
Resident Nell Fabish expressed the concern of
residents who will live near the basins.
"I have a feeling that more sewage is going to
be dispersed in these basins than what was previously said. I am just
wondering from all the prior problems with getting this sewer situation
resolved, what is going to happen in the future when their is a problem?
Is each town going to place the blame on the other?"
leads man to town
Star Staff Report
LOWELL - Most people move to this community
for its quiet, rural setting.
But Brett Sayers' unlikely path to Lowell was paved by a
Sayers, 31, is a native of New Zealand. He now
teaches harmonica classes in Lowell, and works as a performer and studio
His story began in January 1987, when "my
passion for the harmonica was first ignited ... when I heard the blues
played live at a large Christian concert."
Sayers bought two books on the harmonica, and set to
work learning the instrument.
Soon, he was playing in church and learning the blues
by playing along to Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee tapes in his
In January 1995, he joined a Christian band and
played with it until June 1997, when he and a friend decided to attend
the Cornerstone Festival in Illinois.
The pair flew into O'Hare Airport, and found a ride
to the festival with a college student named Rachel.
After several trips between New Zealand and America,
Sayers proposed to Rachel and they were married in December 1998.
They settled in Lowell, where Rachel taught classes
at the library. Sayers has been teaching harmonica lessons since
"You don't have to read music to learn the
harmonica and it's a great instrument to pull out of your pocket at any
time and entertain," he said.
Sayers, also known as the "Traveling Bluesman,"
will begin an adult class for beginners on March 4. The four-week class
runs from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Sundays. A class for eight- to 17-year-olds
will begin March 17. Hours are 9 to 10 a.m.
Both classes will be held at the art cafe inside the
Art Gallery at 310 E. Commercial Ave., Lowell. To register, call Sayers
at 696-8393, ext. 3.
store plan meets resistance
By Sean McNab
Star Staff Writer
CROWN POINT - The Plan Commission was introduced last week to the
site development plan for the construction of the Stogies Cigar Shop off
of 513 N. Main St., but were unimpressed with the petition due to a lack
John Desmaretz, owner of the present Stogies shop
located in the Old Courthouse building, began by explaining that the
primary use of the facility was for buying cigars but then later
recanted his statement, saying alcohol sales would be the main revenue
"Fifty percent of the shop will be for wine
tasting, 25 percent will be for beer and the rest of the shop will
designated for tobacco," explained Desmaretz.
Because of the fact that the primary use of the
facility had changed, new stipulations were set in place to accommodate
"As a place that will be serving alcohol, it is
mandated that we have on hand a certain amount of food for our
customers. Unlike some establishments (local bars, taverns) we will have
on hand small appetizers that complement the wine or beer that the
customer is sampling. The food will be reheated and not cooked or deep
fried as what is done in other places," said Desmaretz.
Members of the commission had problems with the
present parking layout by Desmaretz because of the fact that his shop
would be in a highly populated area possibly producing a traffic jam at
the adjacent intersection.
With the shop seating approximately 20-24 people at
one time, city ordinance requires at least one parking spot for every
two seats along with handicap accessibility. Presently the shop has five
parking spaces along with one handicap space.
"There are a lot of concerns with the traffic at
this intersection. It seems as if it is going to be a bottleneck with
White Hen Pantry across the street and Levine Goodyear Tire directly
behind it," commented Plan Commission member Bob Rees.
Desmaretz brought up the possibility that during down
hours, which would most likely be in the evening, Levine Goodyear may
let him valet park his customers in its lot free of charge.
Because no written commitments were submitted at the
meeting, the suggestion was not taken seriously.
The facility plan is for a two story building with
the inside look of the salvaged remains of antique bar once located in
Hammond. The first floor is set to be designated with wines and beer
from regional states with the cigar room upstairs inclusive of a humidor
to keep the cigars fresh.
The Plan Commission unanimously deferred the site
plan until its next meeting on March 12.
In other news, the Plan Commission voted to recommend
the City Council change the city's zoning ordinance so that tattoo
parlors could not be located on the downtown square.