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2 CURRENTS 4 Spirits, Music, Wheels, and Caffeine WAVES 15 MAKING Duneland Chamber Events LAUNCH PAD 20 Welcoming New Members INSIDE STORY Inked

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ON THE COVER Nic Bender, South Shore Tattoo

MEET THE TEAM

DUNELAND TODAY IS PUBLISHED BY Duneland Chamber of Commerce 220 Broadway • Chesterton, Indiana 46304 www.dunelandchamber.org 219.926.5513 Publisher/ Duneland Chamber of Commerce Contributing Editor/ Heather Augustyn Managing Editor & Graphic Designer/ Beth Kelly, Duneland Chamber of Commerce Photographer/ Kyle Telechan Copy Editor/ Kelly Sieman

TO ADVERTISE: Contact us at 219.926.5513 or info@dunelandchamber.org

Heather Augustyn / Contributing Editor Heather Augustyn is a Chesterton native. She is a continuing lecturer of composition at Purdue Northwest and was a newpaper journalist for 12 years. She has published seven books on ska music and lives in Chesterton with her husband and their two sons, Sid and Frank.

Kyle Telechan / Photographer

Kyle Telechan, photographer, has done freelance work for the Times of Northwest Indiana since graduating from Indiana University in 2007 and has over 11 years of experience in photojournalism. His interest in nature, architecture, and urban decay drives much of his non-photojournalistic work. Kyle currently lives in Portage with his wife, Elise. Beth Kelly / Managing Editor & Graphic Designer Beth has over 16 years of experience in the design and publishing industry. A lifelong resident of northwest Indiana, Beth currently lives in Chesterton with her children, Jacob and Everly.

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All the care you need. Even if it’s just a smile.

At StoryPoint Chesterton, from a simple smile to helping you get ready for the day, our flexible care services are designed to meet you where you’re at — wherever that may be. For a limited time, take advantage of exclusive seasonal savings! Call today to get started! 219-979-6695 | StoryPoint.com StoryPoint Chesterton 700 Dickinson Road, Chesterton, IN 46304

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INSIDESTORY

South Shore Tattoo owner Nic Bender works on a tomahawk tattoo for customer Mike Cherkis.

INKED

Meet Nic Bender of South Shore Tattoo

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hen Nic Bender opened his own shop in Chesterton, he realized a personal dream. As a life-long resident of Chesterton, it was only natural for him to select his hometown to build his business, South Shore Tattoo, located at 1505 S. Calumet Road. Bender says he has always been an artist and has developed his skill over the years. “Even as far back as middle school I was into comic books and considered myself a cartoon artist. I attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Chicago and then did an apprenticeship at Blue Bird Tattoo in 2004 and worked there for many years. But there was no room to grow anymore and everybody gets to a point in their careers where they want to

do it for themselves,” says Bender. That opportunity came in 2019 and Bender says Chesterton was the place to be. “It’s the first tattoo shop to open in town and Chesterton has just been such a good place for my family. It’s a source of pride,” he says. “The building itself is an old medical building so it’s not a distracting shop. I’m the only one tattooing so there’s not a lot of chaos and phones ringing. It’s a very personal experience for clients here.” Bender specializes in traditional and illustrative tattooing which he describes as "classic, like sailor stuff, anchors, daggers, and hearts with banners. Clients are all ages, all demographics, and I have clientele from Chicago as well as lo-

cals.” Bender says he works closely with clients to design the perfect piece. “It’s similar to getting fitted for a nice piece of clothing. We go over the client’s idea, looking at styles and examples of what they like and this can be done in person or via email or Zoom. I’ll then do a sketch and we’ll go back and forth until it’s right. It’s a pretty easy process,” he says. On September 13th of this year, Bender celebrated his second anniversary of opening and says he is thankful to the community. “It’s just great to be in Chesterton. It’s a life goal and it’s good to be here.” To see Nic Bender’s work at South Shore Tattoo, visit his Instagram and Facebook pages. DUNELAND TODAY

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CURRENTS

Duneland Distillery owner Vernon Brown holds out a jar of "Duneshine Moonshine".

DUNELAND DISTILLERY Spirit of the Region, Spirit of the Nation

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ew people you will ever meet during your lifetime will able to make the claim that Vernon Brown can make. As an owner of the newly-opened Duneland Distillery in the old Westchester Lanes Bowling building at 8th and Wabash, and an owner of Chesterton Brewery at 1050 Broadway, it’s a claim that suits his occupation well. “I am the sixth generation of distillers in my family but the first legal one!” he says. Distilling spirits 4

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like vodka, gin, whiskey, and moonshine is in Brown’s blood. But it wasn’t always his occupation. Brown served in the U.S. Marines and calls upon that history too when he dedicates a portion of all sales to local heroes and veterans organizations, just as he does at Chesterton Brewery which has been open since 2019. To turn a long-time bowling alley into a distillery was no small undertaking. “The entire building has been demoed, all the way down

to the outside walls. Basically, it’s a complete rebuild on the inside,” Brown says. “Due to the nature of our process, which is spirits, a vodka will come off as 95% alcohol and we don’t have a sprinkler system, so we are limited to an occupancy of 49. We tore down a corn crib/ barn and used that wood in the distillery as our wall cover. Our bar top is made from reclaimed hackleberry wood from the hackleberry tree which is a nifty fact. It’s very rustic with whis-


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key staves on the front of the bar.” The variety of stills are exposed for viewing and tours says Brown. “We have a 125 gallon hybrid still and we can run it as a whiskey or a vodka still,” says Brown. That vodka, named Seventy Six Vodka, is commandeered by business partner Eric Liss. Liss explains, “We are big into veterans causes and very patriotic so we named our vodka in honor of the revolution. The flag and stars are on the label and it’s a nod to the Revolution of 1776. This is the reason we are all here and why it all started. We will continue to name our spirits in that same spirit. It’s important to us so we reflect that in our product.” Liss says they will also offer whiskey and bourbon dedicated to the region. “Our whiskey line will be a Three Dunes Rye named after the Challenge at the Indiana Dunes State Park, and we will also be bottling the South Shore Bourbon, named after the region and trainline. We will dive pretty deep into whiskey so will do some small batch runs and move to the next thing and experiment a little bit.” Brown says they will also distill gin that is much different from anything in a store-bought bottle. “I’m a gin lover but this isn’t grandpa’s gin. You’re not swallowing a pine tree! We have a citrus burst gin with lemon lime and grapefruit. We plan to take people who don’t like gin and turn them into gin lovers. We’ve had a great response. We also have a moonshine line of regular moonshine, and then we have butterscotch moonshine, caramel apple moonshine, peach moonshine, and apple pie moonshine. We also will be offering pickles soaked in moonshine, and peaches in moonshine.” The moonshine in particular brings Brown back to where it all started in his family. He says, “Moonshine is something that our pioneers ran in the backwoods illegally and did not pay taxes on it. My great-great grandfather, Happy Jack, who was a Baptist minister, ran moonshine back during the Prohibition Era. My grandparents are probably rolling over in their graves that I’m paying taxes on it! But I do this to give back to those in need and local heroes.”

TOP: Duneland Distillery owner Vernon Brown shows off a work-in-progress painting in his new distillery location. BOTTOM: Duneland Distillery owner Vernon Brown points out features on a still in his new distillery. DUNELAND TODAY

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CURRENTS

Tina Brewer and Bob Hines, of The Golden Leaf Cigars and Spirits.

THE GOLDEN LEAF CIGARS & SPIRITS Respite in the Region

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t is said that Mark Twain smoked 22 cigars a day. It’s hard to imagine such consumption, but perhaps Twain was onto something. For Twain, it was likely a ritual, a way to reflect and have his own space and compose. That tradition runs deep at The Golden Leaf Cigars & Spirits, 3093 Village Point. And at this location, which opened in April 2021, cigar culture is about much more, says owner John Rogers. “It’s quiet and relaxing here. It’s elegant and we hear all the time about what a good vibe this place has,” he says. Rogers owns two other locations, one in Hobart and one in Michigan City, but in Chesterton he has a three-way liquor license and serves food. “We have a lot of cigars here that cigar stores just don’t have. We also

have four beers on tap, 15 in bottles or cans, and an excellent selection of top-shelf liquor including 25-year Macallan, Louis XIII Cognac, which no one around the region has. We don’t serve shots here—we’re not that kind of place. It’s cigar and a drink,” says Rogers. For those who don’t like to smoke cigars, or don’t like to smell the smoke of cigars, Rogers has taken special care to consider the needs of the cigar smokers’ guests. He says, “We only seat 38 here and we have a filtration system that filters the air every 6.7 minutes. It’s not smoky at all. We have comfortable chairs and six televisions, and we serve a selection of fine foods including smoked salmon, pulled pork, paninis, and charcuterie trays.”

TOP: Cigars sit on display in the humidor at The Golden Leaf in Chesterton. BOTTOM: Tina Brewer, bar manager at The Golden Leaf, puts the finishing touches on a "Tina's Old Fashioned". DUNELAND TODAY

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NITCO Fiber – Great for Business! NITCO is the selected partner for services over the Chesterton Fiber Optic Network (CFON). NITCO Fiber Internet, Voice, & TV services are ideal for every business, from home-based offices to large scale corporations! With our 99.999% guaranteed uptime, NITCO Fiber is your business’ most reliable option. Learn more at

www.nitco.com/CFON NITCO is proud to be the Internet provider for The Town of Chesterton and The Duneland School System.

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Meet Ahna Campos, your Chesterton NITCO representative. She is looking forward to chatting about your business needs! TALK TO AHNA ABOUT FIBER

219-996-0213

or email her at ahna@nitco.com


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Local band Stealin' the Farm performs at Leroy's Hot Stuff in Chesterton.

LEROY’S HOT STUFF Dining, Drinking, and Jamming

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ost region natives know that Leroy’s Hot Stuff at 333 W. Hwy 20 in Porter is the go-to place for super authentic Mexican food. But those who aren’t regulars might not realize that Leroy’s is also a destination for live music—and we’re talking nationally-known live acts here. Growing up in the 1970s, owner Leroy Flores says it was just a given to have an appreciation for music. “I’ve always loved live music and I just like to book music I like. I support a lot of local bands and many of them have gotten their start here,” he says. Leroy’s is home to live music every Friday and Saturday night and karaoke each Tuesday and Thursday, and over the past quarter century, the bar and restaurant has seen some notable acts. Flores says, “We have Nawty, which is popu-

lar and has a very good following. They are a dance/rock band that plays a lot of Top 40. We have jam bands like Chester Brown, Stealin’ the Farm, Dead to Rights, and The All Good Things Band. Kinsey Report, the famous blues band, plays here often. Steepwater has been playing here ever since they started—they were my house band for a year; Derek Caruso & The Blues Fuse started playing here; and Funky MojoDaddy was my Sunday night band for 12 or 13 years and that’s how they got their start. We have a fairly new band called the Howlin’ Hoosiers, we have the Positive Vibe Technicians, and Through the Blue. Duke Tumatoe plays here, we have Corey Dennison, Jerry Porter, Ken Kinsey, Johnny V, and a big band called Together which is about 10 to 12 musicians like

conga players and keyboard, all playing Motown music. We have another 10-piece band called Heavy and new for us is a country band called Honky Tonk Attitudes.” Flores says that many bands and musicians with national notoriety have played at Leroy’s over the years. “People who are no longer with us, like Lonnie Brooks; Big Daddy Kinsey; Phil Guy, Buddy Guy’s brother; and Matt “Guitar” Murphy who played Aretha Franklin’s husband and the cook in the Blues Brothers movie have all played here. The Stoney Curtis Band plays here once a year, Sugar Blue, who has played on three Rolling Stones songs, Rick Deringer, Pat Travers, and the Franklin Brothers play here, too. A lot of people have come through here over the years.” DUNELAND TODAY

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The Place to Be for Chesterton kids. Duneland Boys & Girls Club offers a safe, fun place for kids after school. Only $40 a year! Membership scholarships available to those who qualify. Rock climbing wall, full-size gym, STEM and art rooms, teen center, tutoring, athletic leagues and more! 521 W. 1100 N. • Chesterton, IN 219-926-9770 • bgcgreaternwi.org

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CURRENTS

Mel's Detail owner, Bradley Pikula, and employees specialize in exceptional customer service.

MEL’S DETAIL Wheels of Steel

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or over 20 years at the location on 105 Brown Ave. in Chesterton, Mel’s Detail owned by Bradley Pikula has been specializing in professional detailing, paint correction, interior cleaning and repair, ceramic and polymer paint coatings, window tinting and more. Pikula, a Chesterton native, says he has serviced cars at every car dealership in the area and has developed a reputation for excellence among his customers. “We are well known for our free pick up and delivery. I cater to my customer’s needs, which means I don’t open right at 9 a.m. and I don’t close right at 5 p.m. We adapt to what our customers need. We pick up cars from the train station for clients who work in Chicago, they come back home and their cars are back at the train station, detailed. Over the years I have picked cars up from the homes of my regulars, their kids answered the door and now those kids are grown and I detail their cars. We do RVs, boats, jet skis, Harleys, all kinds of motorcycles, snow mobiles, and we’ve had cases where a squirrel has jumped through the moonroof and

caused all kinds of chaos, or windows that were left open during a snowstorm. We had a semi here today. We clean everything and we’re booked two weeks in advance throughout most of the year.” Pikula has been a car buff ever since he was a kid, and he continues that love through his business, and through his support of events and the community. He says, “My dad put a wrench in my hand when I was eight years old. Now my children work here part time and my dad still stops by to help. My crew has worked here for years and we’re all very close, like family. I keep as much of my business as I can in this town. I buy lunch for my crew and it’s always local. I support fundraisers and events here. I also run the Chesterton Cruise-In car show downtown, simply because I love what I do and I love cars. In 2019, I became the official sponsor of the Chesterton Cruise-In. This event has been going on for 10 years. I know what I do is work, but I never feel like I’m coming to work here. I am very lucky.”

TOP: Pikula and his crew organize the Chesterton Cruise-In each summer. BOTTOM: Classic cars line the streets in Downtown Chesterton. DUNELAND TODAY

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CURRENTS

Alison and Charles Scates, owners of FLUID Coffee Bar. Valparaiso Bosco location of FLUID Coffee Bar.

FLUID COFFEE ROASTERS Cup of Joe

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ith locations in Valparaiso, Michigan City, and Crown Point, FLUID Coffee Roasters is now proud to offer a few of their beverages through Running Vines Winery at 101 Broadway in Chesterton. FLUID procures their beans from farms and producers that practice sustainability and ethical treatment of humans and they roast these beans meticulously in Michigan City on a German “probat” roaster.

FLUID owners Chuck and Alison Scates began their business in 2015 and since then have become known for exceptional quality. “This is specialty coffee where quality comes first and foremost,” Chuck says. “This is high-grade coffee, sourced from farms in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Columbia. We’re happy to bring our coffee to Chesterton through our friendship with Nicki Caylor, owner of Running Vines. We have done a wine and coffee collaboration

with her before and we have been wanting to expand our coffee with a wholesale business, so this was a perfect partnership.” FLUID Coffee Roasters will be supplying Running Vines with kegs of coffee on tap which will be blended with cream and a house made maple for the Rocket Fuel drink. Caylor has installed a commercial brewer for hot coffee and will also have a regular cold brew and a nitro cold brew. DUNELAND TODAY

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Porter County

COMMUNITY F O U N D AT I O N Est. 1996

Celebrating 25 years of helping you maximize the impact of your generosity.

Mike Anton

Jim Anton

Serving Chesterton for over 60 years. Customized insurance coverage for all of your needs and now part of one of the largest independent agency families, with access to over 200 carriers. 155 S. Calumet Rd., Chesterton | 219.926.8681 2600 Roosevelt Rd., Valparaiso | 219.465.6530

antoninsurance.com

YOUR COMFORT IS OUR PRIORITY MOST OF THE CALLS WE GET ARE FOR EMERGENCIES. But calling the first company that shows up on your internet search doesn’t necessarily mean skilled, honorable technicians or a fair price. So, allow me to introduce you to KENT HEATING & AIR CONDITIONING. Since 1954, we’ve offered our community top-notch heating and cooling services at a fair price. We stake our reputation on quality and integrity. You’ll find every member of our staff to be courteous and professional, from the person you speak to on the phone to the technicians that provide service in your home. Whether you just need a tune-up or actually need to replace your heating system, we’re here to keep your family comfortable. Just call (219) 464-9181 and let us know how we can help. When you call before NOVEMBER 30, you’ll enjoy a $33 savings on any service including a repair part. We’re looking forward to serving you!

(219) 464-9181 14

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WE GIVE TO SUPPORT SCHOLARSHIPS FOR PORTER COUNTY STUDENTS.

Kent & Holly Mishler

It’s easy. Tell us what you love, discover your options, make a powerful gift that lasts!

www.pccf.gives | 219.465.0294


MAKING

WAVES DRIVING FOR DUNELAND

Jenny Stall, Susan Ayala, and Monica Jenczalik of Centier Bank

Don Hadley of Bosak, Dr. Lauren Hansen and Dr. Stephen Koveck of Advanced Dental Concepts

Jessica Watts, Jerry Del Real, Tricia Lahey, and Jim Magera of 1ST Source Bank Chesterton

Don Schoenbeck of NITCO, Kurtis Iseminger of Modern Woodmen of America, Jeff Trout, and Ahna Campos of NITCO

Mike Trout of Trout Glass & Mirror, Gregory Babcock, Attorney at Law, Kent Mishler, and Bill Meyer of Horizon Bank DUNELAND TODAY

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WHY WAIT? BOOK AN APPOINTMENT AT CENTIER.COM You’ve just had an accident! Don’t have a second, let us repair your vehicle.

Chesterton Location 219.926.8203

Valparaiso Location 219.462.0405

www.mandscollision.com

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Proud member of the Duneland Chamber of Commerce


MAKING

WAVES CORKSCREW & BREW

Gerry Hundt Trio jamming at the event.

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MAKING

WAVES

DUNELAND CHAMBER COMMUNITY AWARDS & NEW TEACHERS RECEPTION

2021 Service Person of the Year winner John Jarka with his wife, Christy Jarka of Duneland School Corporation

2021 New Construction Award winner David Ales of David's Lawn Care with his son, Jace Ales

2021 Duneland Distiguished Woman, Heather Compton, with Chad, and Dakota Compton

New Yost Elementary School teachers

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New Duneland School Corporation teachers at Sand Creek Country Club


MAKING

WAVES

RIBBON CUTTINGS

Smith Legal Group :: May 28

Fidelity National Title Insurance Co :: August 25

BUYING OR SELLING? Tami Bianco 219-508-9703

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(219) 926-4204 | www.dunelandymca.org/forchetti DUNELAND TODAY

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LAUNCHPAD Help us welcome the newest members of the Duneland Chamber of Commerce community. We look forward to a prosperous and profitable future.

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Cleveland-Cliffs Burns Harbor

CLEVELAND-CLIFFS IS STEEL Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. is the largest flat-rolled steel producer in North America. We serve a diverse range of markets due to our comprehensive offering of flat-rolled steel products, and are the largest steel supplier to the automotive industry in North America. Headquartered and founded in Cleveland, OH since 1847, ClevelandCliffs employs approximately 25,000 people today across its mining, steel and downstream manufacturing operations in the U.S. and Canada. We are a major employer in Northwest Indiana and an engaged partner in communities where we operate. We focus on providing a safe, environmentally-responsible work environment and quality jobs for our employees, and we partner with stakeholders who live and work around us to support healthy, vibrant communities.

WE ARE HIRING! Find your future in steel. View our current career offerings at careers.clevelandcliffs.com.

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CHECK-UPS ARE ANNUAL

FOR A REASON. There’s a good reason to keep your health care on schedule. Your family. When it comes to keeping your family healthy, annual wellness visits with a health care provider are key. Routine exams and screenings can identify potential health issues early, when they are most treatable. And if you or a loved one gets sick, seeing a doctor is even more important. We know some people are afraid to seek medical care right now. But we are taking extra precautions to provide a safe environment, including screening everyone, social distancing, requiring masks, cleaning frequently and limiting wait times.

Make your appointment today. In-person and telehealth visits are available.

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