Valpo premiere of 'Shifting Sands' documentary Monday
VALPARAISO — The locally produced documentary "Shifting Sands on the Path to Sustainability" will have its Porter County premiere at 7 p.m. Monday at the Porter County Administration Center.
The documentary was filmed all along the south shore of Lake Michigan, an area known as the birthplace of ecological science in North America. It describes the 90-year history of the Indiana Dunes State Park as well as the controversy around the designation of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore 50 years ago.
It also focuses on the emerging partnerships between government, business and environmentalist on restoring the dunes and making it sustainable for future generations.
The viewing is free.
A reception and question and answer program will be held following the premiere, at 8 p.m., at Greek's Pizza.
The event is sponsored by the Valparaiso Chain of Lakes Group. For more information, call Walter Breitinger at (219) 462-5821.
I saw this on PBS. It was really interesting.
The key issue is in the title, "shifting sands" the lake level is constantly changing and it has an effect on the environment. I have seen the lake level incredibly low and also at very high levels. There are those who come elsewhere and want to build on the beach and have no idea what a real bad storm can do. Sea Walls are expensive and don't hold up as well as people think.
The beach and dunes move and should be allowed to do so, as this is the natural state of things.
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore receives land donation
PORTER — The Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore has received a donation of more than 30 acres of land surrounding the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Visitors Center.
Officials there plan to protect the wetlands and forest of the donated land and also develop a hiking trail and a nature play zone, said IDNL Superintendent Paul Labovitz.
The donation was announced at a ceremony on Thursday morning at the Visitors Center on Ind. 49 at U.S. 20.
Grace Lee, the executive director of the National Park Trust, said the land was purchased through the National Lakeshore Trust, with a donation from NIPSCO, and will become a permanent part of the park.
An additional 5 acres of land also was purchased and will be split between the National Lakeshore and the neighboring Discovery Charter School, which had fourth-graders in attendance at Thursday’s ceremony.
Benjamin Felton, vice president of power delivery at NIPSCO, challenged the Discovery Charter School students to go to all of the national parks in their lifetimes.
Felton then went on to ask the students about conserving energy and also provided them with advice on how to continue doing so. He said NIPSCO partners with organizations like the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore “to expand and restore properties so that future generations can enjoy it.”
Labovitz thanked NIPSCO, and his co-workers who helped get the donation.
“This ... property is going to add value to this great stop because (it) is the gateway to our national park and our state park,” Labovitz said.
After all the speakers, Discovery School students Zoe Crofton and Meryck Gonzalez presented Felton and Labovitz with dolls of the national parks mascot, “Buddy Bison” for their work.
Then the fourth-graders were presented their park passes as part of the Obama administration’s Every Kid in a Park program. This program gives fourth-graders and their families across the country passes so they can go into national or state parks for free.
Creation of Indiana Dunes State Park:
Very nice WTTW presentation:
Work resumes on state park pavilion restoration; group continues to oppose project
CHESTERTON — Work has begun again on the restoration of the pavilion at the Indiana Dunes State Park.
It is also meeting with continued protests.
"The DNR (Indiana Department of Natural Resources) still hasn’t obtained a Certificate of Approval from the Historic Preservation Review Board,” Jim Sweeney, Dunes Action co-founder, said this week in a news release. "By re-starting construction without one, we believe they are in violation of Indiana law, so we’ve reported this violation to the Porter County Prosecutor."
Tara Wolf, director of communications from the DNR, disagrees, saying the DNR has been issued a letter of clearance.
The prosecutor's office has also declined to act on the latest complaint, she said.
Wolf provided a letter dated Jan. 28, 2015, to Pavilion Partners LLC managing partner Chuck Williams. The letter indicates the Department of Historic Preservation Review Board granted the permit with qualifications earlier in January 2015.
Dunes Action and others groups have been protesting plans to restore the pavilion and the contract awarded by the DNR to Pavilion Partners LLC in 2011 to renovate the deteriorating pavilion and operate food services at the state park. They also object to the construction of a banquet facility at the site.
Although Dunes Action is generally supportive of the pavilion restoration, the group objects to the addition of two balconies, the use of the concrete promenade below them for dining areas, and the addition of a glass-walled bar on the pavilion roof, all of which affect its architectural design and integrity, Sweeney said.
On Thursday, Pavilion Partners member Tom Collins confirmed workers had begun removal of masonry around the windows in preparation for installing new windows which will be reflective of the pavilion's origin. A construction fence has been placed around the area for safety.
Collins said the group received a construction design release from the state Jan. 4 allowing them to continue the renovation process.
Collins said the project is in full swing and will move forward with the goal of completion by May 1, 2020.
The group constructed restroom and shower facilities about three years ago.
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