Forced to fight NIPSCO again

Here we go again. This sounds a lot like 2002 when NIPSCO suddenly decided to close five maintenance hubs in Northwest Indiana and both the Steelworkers (of which I’m a member) and La Porte County had to fight, and we won in front of the Indiana Supreme Court and those maintenance hubs are open to this day.

Now NIPSCO – after other utilities moved to renewables a decade ago – makes the abrupt decision late last year to close their entire coal fleet that we ratepayers have spent $1 billion cleaning up with scrubbers, and they’re going to shift to all wind and solar, but they’re not going to invest any of it here.

Let me get this straight – NIPSCO ratepayers, who pay the second-highest rates in the state, will see the Michigan City generating station close, losing a couple hundred good-paying jobs and millions in tax revenues, and the company is doing nothing about siting replacement generation in the county?

Anybody who thinks the city is going to be able to use that contaminated site is dreaming. Take a look at NIPSCO’s Mitchell coal-fired station that was taken off-line in 2002 in Gary. They demolished it 14 years later in 2016 and are still cleaning up the site.

Why not look at tearing down the cooling tower and coal conveyor belts and convert that MC Station to wind or solar rather than buying expensive purchased power from outside NIPSCO’s service territory? I understand NIPSCO was considering building a natural gas-fired generating station in La Porte County near a major gas pipeline, then abruptly dropped the plan. Why?

Thank you La Porte County Commissioners for intervening in the rate case and asking tough questions. We deserve answers.

– Paul Przybylinski,

Michigan City

 

Palombizio checks all the boxes

With respect to the upcoming hiring of a new boys head basketball coach at Michigan City High School, this paper recently ran a story and quoted Athletic Director Craig Shaman as having a “two-item check list” for the process.

Mr. Shaman was quoted as saying “A quality candidate is … somebody who’s going to walk into a room and have instant credibility!” and said “It’s also somebody who’s going to go the extra mile for the kids. That’s it. That’s what I want for the basketball program.” Mr. Shaman went on to say “All that entails doing it the right way, getting the community involved, building a program at the lower levels.”

These are worthy criteria without question. I am a former high school and college head basketball coach in Indiana and I have served on several basketball search committees so I am quite familiar with the process. In the interest of full disclosure I need to point out that I am friends with Dan Palombizio, a candidate for the position, but I also want to make clear that Dan did not ask me to write this, I do so because I know how passionate Dan is about Michigan City basketball and the Michigan City Community.

As far as “instant credibility,” Dan was the 1981 Indiana Mr. Basketball and was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers out of college. He took over a struggling New Buffalo basketball program and turned things around quickly there. In my opinion, Dan passes the check list!

– Brian Vukodinovich,

Wheatfield

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