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INSIDE STORY Welcoming a Familiar Face: Chesterton Town Manager Dave Cincoski
CURRENTS Duneland is Home to New Businesses and New Constrution
LAUNCH PAD Welcoming New Members
ON THE COVER Dave Cincoski, Chesterton Town Manager
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 Luncsford, Duneland Chamber of Commerce Photographer/ Kyle Telechan Copy Editor/ Kelly Sieman
TO ADVERTISE: Contact Linda Crawford at 219.926.5513 or firstname.lastname@example.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 Luncsford / 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.
Town manager David Cincoski has been serving the town of Chesterton since 1998.
WELCOMING A FAMILIAR FACE Chesterton Town Manager Dave Cincoski
he proclamation from State Rep. Chuck Moseley, D-Portage, said it all: “Whereas, Bernie Doyle has faithfully served the people of the Town of Chesterton. His service began in 2009 when he became town manager.” Though Bernie Doyle retired from his position at the end of 2020, his legacy lives large. During his 11 years as town manager, Doyle established a connection with department heads, employees, businesses, residents, and visitors. As Moseley stated, “Bernie was instrumental in creating economic development, attracting Urschel Laboratories Inc., Addison Pointe Health and Rehabilitation, StoryPoint Senior Living, the Residences at Coffee Creek, and the Chesterton Fiber Optic Network, among others …
[he] worked to create continuity for operational stability and safety in Chesterton. Bernie oversaw the digitization of sensitive and historic town records, ensuring their preservation for posterity.” In short, Bernie Doyle made Chesterton a better place to live, work, and play. Now the town welcomes a familiar face to step into that role of town manager—Dave Cincoski, former police chief and life-long Porter County resident. Though he has some large shoes to fill, Cincoski brings his own set of skills and ideas and is more than suited for the job. “I grew up in Kouts and was there until I moved to Duneland in 1994,” says Cincoski who attended Purdue University to study criminal justice. He worked for a number of years for the Porter County
Adult Probation Department before joining the Chesterton Police Department in 1998 as a patrol officer. He was promoted to corporal in 2001, lieutenant in charge of investigations in 2003, and in 2010 he was appointed to the post of police chief. “What I really enjoyed about being a police officer was coming into work, starting my day with a clean slate and not knowing what was going to happen. Every day was different. I might focus on doing business checks downtown, running traffic on S.R. 49, working with the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts on a project—it was something new every day,” Cincoski says. During the 23 years that Cincoski was with the police department, he witnessed and was also responsible for a number of changes. “I
INSIDESTORY saw us grow by a total of three officers and the town’s growth contributed to that. There was certainly much more technological advancement—from zero technology to a laptop computer in every car, and state laws indicating that we had to wear and be provided with body armor. Two years ago, we instituted the body camera and in-car camera program, and by state law we had to merge some services with the Town of Porter, combining radio communications and investigations. There were a lot of advancements during my time with the department and these are the bare bones,” he says. Cincoski is certainly dedicated to serving the people of Chesterton and he has offered that service in many ways. He says, “Prior to becoming chief I was on the Chesterton Town Council for four years. I took over for another member when he resigned and served for the remaining two years of his tenure. I was then elected to a four-year term but then when I was appointed police chief, I had to resign that council position.” But during Cincoski’s tenure on the council, the position of the town manager was established, and he saw the need and potential
of this important work. After Doyle announced his retirement from that position 11 years later, Cincoski felt the time was right for him to take on this effort. “I wanted to continue Bernie’s legacy. I wanted to continue to push for smart growth. This was written as an ordinance before I took over, for smart economic growth, and having been part of the community for so long, I wanted to direct my attention there,” he says. When asked about his goals for the position, Cincoski’s vision is clear. “The first-year goal is to stay afloat. It has been a very good wild ride so far since stepping into this position in January and I’m familiarizing myself with what is going on. Having been a department head, I knew what was going on, but I didn’t know the intricacies so I’m immersing myself in that. The biggest learning curve for me will be the economic development aspect of the work, so the first-year goal is to familiarize myself with this aspect of the job. I want to establish and continue relationships with the businesses and community, consider ways to attract business, and develop a strategic plan to hunt out smart growth that the town council wants. I am inter-
ested in finding out what will be a good fit for our community and seeking those groups out that fit with our zoning and land use,” he says. “My five-year goals,” says Cincoski, “are ones that continue the legacy of making Chesterton a Northwest Indiana destination; putting our own stamp on the uniqueness of our community and what it draws; and continuing to advance growth in the Riverfront District areas. We have the Chesterton Branding and Leadership team, and I am looking forward to working with them to advance what the community wants Chesterton to be. Of course, I will also continue those programs that Bernie worked on, like the quiet zone project, and we’re in the midst of reevaluating and amending the comprehensive plan. The last time it was rewritten was 2010.” Clearly, Cincoski has hit the ground running and he admits the change has been “bittersweet.” He says, “I enjoyed my time with the police department, and I know I have some big shoes to fill. But like my work with the police department where every day was something different, that’s the same attraction here. It’s an open book. I like open books.”
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Courtney Smith, with Smith Legal Group, opened her newly renovated office at 802 Wabash in Chesterton in January 2020.
Living, Working, Serving Chesterton Smith Legal Group Establishes a Home in Duneland
ourtney Smith and her team are no strangers to Duneland. Not only have they all been raised, educated, and reside in the region, but they all are intensely involved in the community through service and action. “Building a legal business in Chesterton, therefore, has been a little like coming full circle and being made whole,” says Smith. “I wouldn’t want to work outside of the area where I live and play. It is vital that if we want this community to thrive, we have to give back. The Duneland Chamber of Commerce, the Chesterton Town Council, the businesses don’t work by themselves—we have to work as part of the community.” Smith officially opened her legal practice at 802 Wabash, Suite 100 in Chesterton in Janu4
ary 2020. She had left a large regional firm to establish her own practice in August 2019 in a smaller space in Chesterton, but she quickly outgrew it. Smith Legal Group now boasts a 3,500 square-foot space with three attorneys and an additional staff of six employees. “This building used to be occupied by TLC trucking and we did a big buildout. This was a wide-open space. We built nine office spaces upstairs, put in a kitchen, remodeled two bathrooms upstairs, and downstairs we put in an ADA compliant bathroom for our clients because there was no bathroom on the main level. We have three conference rooms—two are designated for clients, and one is designated for children since we do guardianship ad litem work. The building was built in the 70s or 80s and there was really nothing done to
it. The interior is now grey with white trim, a marble-style floor in the kitchen and bathrooms, and so it is a very comfortable space for us and for our clients,” she says. Courtney Smith’s practice involves working closely with her clients to provide services for dissolutions of marriage, post-decree issues, or other family matters. Courtney advocates for families in need of guardianships over protected adults and minor children. Barbra A. Stooksbury is a deputy Prosecuting Attorney for the LaPorte County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. Barbra is the deputy appointed to the LaPorte County Veteran’s Treatment Court and Problem Solving Court. Ms. Stooksbury is also of counsel at Smith Legal Group, LLC, where she concentrates in family law, including guard-
ian ad litem appointments. Both Smith and Stooksbury are registered family law mediators in the State of Indiana. Kim Kass is a Professor Emerita of Law at Valparaiso University where she taught lawyering skills and bar examination preparation courses. Kass practiced family law and insurance defense law in Northwest Indiana prior to joining Smith Legal Group. Kim Kass says that being part of the Chesterton community is a natural fit. “I graduated from Chesterton High School in 1994 and I have spent the last twenty years of my legal career in the region. It feels great to be back in Chesterton, in my hometown, practicing law and giving back to the Duneland community,” Kass says. Kass, whose work involves Estate Planning, Medicaid Planning, and Guardianships says that the aging population and the increase in senior communities in the area has increased the need for these specific legal services. “We provide our services at an affordable cost. I encourage everyone to have an estate plan in place. No one knows what the future holds and there is a peace of mind that comes in knowing that your family will be taken care of when you pass away. The best part of my work is talking with my clients and determining what is important to them and then creating an estate plan that meets those wishes. I have had clients who want to make sure that their grandchildren or a nephew inherit some of their wealth when they pass away. It is rewarding to create estate plans that meet my client’s needs. Many times, it is the adult children who come to the office seeking help for their parents when they begin to notice the reality that mom and dad are not 50 anymore—they are 70 and 80 years old and need assistance.” she says. All members of the practice give back to the community. “Kim and I give back by helping with Rebuilding Together Duneland. I am a Duneland Chamber of Commerce ambassador, and I have been involved in Rotary Club as a guest. We look forward to becoming more involved in the coming years as we continue to grow our roots in Duneland,” Smith says.
Renovations to the new space at 802 Wabash in Chesterton enable clients and staff of Smith Legal Group to meet and work in comfort.
Tonya Fugate, owner of Gilly's Dog House, with two of her dogs, Zara, on left, and Lilly.
A TAIL-WAGGING GOOD TIME
Gilly’s Dog House Finds a Home in Chesterton
onya Fugate and her daughter Devin Moser have been involved with dogs their entire lives. They currently own four standard-sized poodles and they have experienced the world of master grooming through their dog breeder in Las Vegas. As residents of the region, it is only natural then that they would seek to extend their expertise and passion for grooming and dog care to others who seek the same level of love for their pooches. So in the winter of 2020, they opened their doors to Gilly’s Dog House—a business that has really gone to the dogs. “We opened this for the dogs. Period. We love them and we are just passionate about dogs. It took me forever to find the right place
because we wanted to be downtown, but we needed to have a lot of space for the dogs. When we found this location, we felt it was perfect and we have done a lot of renovating this space to accommodate the dogs,” says Fugate. That location at 102 Brown Avenue in Chesterton offers grooming, daycare, retail, and a bakery. "When the dogs come in, there is the bakery so they smell the treats. There’s space for them to play and run through an obstacle course, play with tennis balls, and just get comfortable before their grooming. There are seats and windows for the owners to stay and watch which also helps the dogs stay comfortable. Our tub for washing the dogs is on a lift that lowers to the
ground to avoid injury, and our grooming tables are the same way. Our driers are quieter and we hand-dry while petting and talking to the dogs to really bond with them. We can also do fun things like dye the dog’s hair and paint their toenails! We have a photo area for after grooming where the dogs can sit on a little settee with backdrops and a chandelier and then my daughter posts the photos on Facebook,” she says. Gilly’s Dog House’s retail shop offers many locally-source products like treats, birthday cakes, and scarves and Fugate says they will soon offer events for adoption in the future. She also plans to open a second location for overnight boarding and a dog park. DUNELAND TODAY
Shady Creek Winery is open during construction.
RAISE A GLASS!
Shady Creek Winery Celebrates New Ownership and Expansion
stablished in 2008 at 2030 Tryon Road in Michigan City, Shady Creek Winery is the proud home to new owners who have embarked on an impressive new expansion that will long bear fruit for the region. The Schwartz family took ownership of Shady Creek Winery in January 2019 and they immediately began to transform the business and property into a state-of-the-art winery destination within the Midwest. “Our family is really passionate about wine and we wanted to have the opportunity to make great wines and offer our hospitality to people in the Midwest,” says J.T. Schwartz, president 8
and owner. “During the first six months we changed the inside with a new interior design palette, finished the roof, added lighting, added an oak stave wall, made the fireplace a two-way fireplace, added a new production space, a new warehouse, and then we began on our expansion,” he says. That expansion will include an event space, barrel room, private tasting rooms, retail shopping, exterior lounge spaces, and a complete site redesign. The new building connecting the existing with the production facility will feature heavy timber construction and the winery will remain open during construction. Schwartz
says, “The exterior lounge spaces will include a large tasting bar in the back yard. We’re also adding a large tasting bar on the second floor of the new building and a rooftop outdoor patio overlooking the yard. We will add a lot more lounge seating in the back yard and fireplaces.” These spaces will allow the opportunity to experience the wine and the beauty of the region in celebration with friends. For those who want to learn more about wine production, the new facility will foster education and tours. “We are adding a barrel room and two private tasting rooms. Next to the barrel room we will have over 100 barrels and when
CURRENTS we bought it there were seven. That means we can increase the amount and the quality of our wines, the red wines specifically. They just didn’t have the space before so they had to bottle it right away but now we can allow it to age and aerate and oxidate for a better quality. We will also have more varietals. We will have a viewing deck to look into the barrel room because we want an educational and fun experience for people. You can have a tour and enjoy the wine, so it is more of an all-encompassing experience around wine,” he says. The Northwest Indiana region is an ideal location for growing a wine destination and J.T. Schwartz says that his family is excited to toast to the future. “We think that there is an opportunity to bring more people in to enjoy wine and food. We really care about providing a wonderful customer experience. As much as we love wine, we just want to share that love in the most inclusive way we can in this area. We want to be a regional draw,” he says.
A vineyard-themed dome is one of three featured in the outdoor area at Shady Creek Winery.
Photo by Jon Hendricks
José Padilla, new president of Valparaiso University, speaks on his first day, March 1, 2021.
VALPO UNIVERSITY HERALDS A NEW ERA
or more than 150 years, Valparaiso University has been a pillar in the Northwest Indiana region. Since its founding in 1859 as one of the nation’s first coeducational colleges, the university has seen a number of changes. Having been first named the Valparaiso Male and Female College, it was then renamed the Northern Indiana Normal School and Business Institute in 1873; Valparaiso College in 1900; and finally, Valparaiso University in 1906. Though the institution has seen countless other changes over the decades, the reputation as a premier Midwest university that combines a thorough grounding in the liberal arts with solid professional training has never wavered. Now Valparaiso University will see two new changes to propel the school forward upon solid ground. NEW DIRECTION On March 1, 2021, Valpo University welcomed their 19th president, José Padilla, who steps into the role after a long and successful career in higher education. Most recently, Padilla served as
vice president, university counsel and secretary to the Board of Regents of the University of Colorado system. Prior to that, he served 15 years in a number of senior leadership roles at DePaul University in Chicago, the most recent role as vice president, general counsel and secretary. Padilla says he is thrilled to call Valpo University home. “I chose Valpo University because it is a faith-based institution and although I’m the first non-Lutheran, I’m catholic, I realized that I missed being a part of an institution where faith underpins what we do—every action we take, every question we ask. That attracted me. Plus, Valpo has a great academic reputation and it’s a small intimate institution where I can get to know everybody—the students, faculty, and staff. When I was at Colorado University, we had four campuses with 65,000 students and it was hard to get to know people. Also, it’s just great to be back in the Midwest,” Padilla says. After growing up in Toledo, Ohio, Padilla received his undergraduate degree in his home state before attending law school at the University of
Michigan, practicing law for seven years in Chicago and then working in Washington, DC for then-Senator Lloyd Bentsen and in the Clinton Administration. For the past 23 years, however, Padilla has dedicated his life to higher education and he intends to bring his experience to the region. “I believe that Valpo is the best Lutheran university in the nation and I will continue to promote that legacy. Our graduates have produced great leaders for our country,” he says. Looking forward, Padilla plans to grow that legacy. He states, “Like any small university such as ours, a private university, we have to grow enrollment. We are tuition dependent and we have to grow tuition income from enrollment and that will help any financial issues. I also want to continue to be solid academically, giving students careers as well as lives worth living so they can become force multipliers in society. Ultimately, I want Valpo to be a great contributing neighbor in Northwest Indiana so that the area can count on us for an educated workforce that contributes in many ways.” DUNELAND TODAY
CURRENTS José Padilla and his wife of 34 years, Hilda Padilla, have two grown children—Jacob, a college lacrosse coach, and Camille, a former political media consultant who is now working on a startup. NEW LOOK In addition to a new president, Valpo University will also soon be home to a new mascot and logo. Last February, Interim President Colette IrwinKnott announced that the university had retired its existing mascot, the Crusader, and they would soon be seeking a new mascot more representative of the school. The decision was made after a decades-long debate that had intensified during the past several years since the Crusader imagery related to the Crusades has been embraced and displayed by hate groups including the Ku Klux Klan. “The negative connotation and violence associated with the Crusader imagery are not reflective of Valpo’s mission and values, which promote a welcoming and inclusive community,” IrwinKnott said. “The university has carefully evaluated this matter, including establishing a task force to conduct due diligence and garner feedback from the entire campus community, alumni, parents and other key stakeholders. This is the decision that best reflects our values and community.” The Faculty Senate and Student Senate passed resolutions calling on the university to retire the mascot. Steinhiser added, “The Student Senate feels that the purpose of a school mascot is for school spirit and to represent Valpo values, and the Crusader does not do that effectively.” Additionally, the Valparaiso University alumni board of directors passed a resolution calling for the review of the use of the mascot, its appropriateness and alignment with the university’s values.
José Padilla visits with students and staff on his first day as president of Valparaiso University, March 1, 2021.
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CURRENTS THE END OF AN ERA AND DAWNING OF A NEW DAY
he Chesterton Tribune was a beloved institution in the Duneland community. Most residents are still mourning the loss and will continue to for days, weeks, years to come. The little hometown rag was something of a rarity in modern times as the newspaper industry succumbed to conglomeration and technology. Founded in 1884, the Chesterton Tribune had been owned by three generations of the Canright Family who dedicated their lives to the mission of the paper—an informed public. On December 30, 2020, they stopped the presses and published the last copy of the cherished newspaper. Over the course of its 136 years, the Chesterton Tribune reported on presidential elections and homecoming queens; sewers and sidewalks; blizzards, tornados, heatwaves, and floods; expansions and bankruptcies; state senate, county councils, and plan commissions; war and peace; births and deaths; the accomplishments of our children and the struggles of our neighbors. The Ches-
terton Tribune was an informer, a connector, a watchdog known as the fourth estate. The loss is large for our community, but we are so grateful to have had that sweet inky paper delivered to our homes for as long as it lasted. Thank you, Canright Family, for believing in the importance of journalism and devoting your blood, sweat, and tears to the people of Duneland. We are profoundly grateful.
David Canright, former editor, and Margaret Willis, former publishers of the Chesterton Tribune.
Aptly called a news legend by fellow journalists, Kevin Nevers, a reporter for the Chesterton Tribune for the past two decades, will continue to inform Chestertonians with a digest-version of his crackerjack writing. Look for Nevers’ spry wit and transcendent linguistics as he transforms the everyday into a thing of art on the Town of Chesterton’s Facebook page and website. Nevers was appointed Public Affairs Liaison by the Chesterton Town Council in December 2020 and as such, Nevers will ensure that residents and visitors are informed of the town’s activities, meetings, and announcements. He will also engage with the public, department heads, and local groups and agencies. Welcome to a new position, old friend.
* Don L. Hurd of Hoosier Media Group has recently announced that he has purchased the Chesterton Tribune and plans to continue publication. More information is coming soon!
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