Donation to fund new ambulance for EMS

September 23, 2018

La PORTE — La Porte County EMS will increase its fleet of ambulances thanks to an anonymous donor.

EMS Administrator Andrew McGuire told the La Porte County Board of Commissioners at Wednesday’s meeting that someone had donated $196,110 for the purchase of a new ambulance.

“We have been two years in the making looking into a new ambulance,” McGuire said. “We were given a good price by the manufacturer, hoping to get a bid in before a 5 percent increase in 2019. Then we were approached by an anonymous woman.”

Commissioner Dr. Vidya Kora called it “an extraordinary gift” as the board unanimously granted permission to purchase the new vehicle.

The woman, McGuire said, had been following the progress of the EMS ambulance request, and decided to make the large donation to allow the purchase.

According to previous reports, EMS has been facing a dramatic increase in call volume for three years, and in tracking for four years straight. Calls per year have increased by nearly 2,500 over that period, adding stress and fatigue to EMTs and paramedics who run six 24/7 rigs stationed in Michigan City, La Porte and Wanatah.

While the EMS will get a new ambulance, there is still now decision on a new La Porte base of operations. On Wednesday the commissioners again tabled the matter of where to move the base.

An environmental exam is underway and results are expected later this week.

Previously, a land swap was proposed by La Porte Hospital, which would’ve had the county giving up its current property on the corner of Tyler and State streets in exchange for the hospital’s parking lot property behind Roxy Music and Lucky Bar in downtown La Porte.

The parking lot – located between Madison and Parry streets, and north of Jefferson Avenue – would’ve theoretically been used as the site for a new EMS base. The current base sits in the path of the to-be-constructed new hospital.

That proposed location was met with opposition from both elected officials and residents.

The current EMS base is three years old.

In other La Porte County Board of Commissioners business last week:

• The matter of turning a former Michigan City landfill into a park was passed on to the Redevelopment Commission for further evaluation. Kora suggested an environmental attorney should examine the issue. La Porte County Planner Mitch Bishop spoke of the possibility of running zip lines around the hills of the former Deercroft Landfill near I-94 and U.S. 421, which has been filled to capacity since 2003.

• Chief Deputy Ron Heeg of the La Porte County Sheriff’s Department asked for a lease agreement on a 3D forensic scanner, which was approved. The scanner is used to map and measure crime scenes in a much more detailed manner than prior equipment, utilizing laser technology. The scanner is used by the sheriff’s department, which co-ops the device with all other law enforcement agencies in La Porte County.

• La Porte County Coroner Robert Cutler announced a Narcan training session will be held at the Frontline Foundation in La Porte on Tuesday from noon-1 p.m. Those interested will receive a free lunch along with training for the use of Narcan, which can save the life of a drug overdose victim. The Frontline Foundation can be reached at (219) 728-1638. RSVP is recommended.

• The board approved road closures for Grangemouth Drive, Waverly Road, Garden Street, Orr Lake, Small Road and Lake Shore Drive for the Superhero 5K race on Oct. 6. Registration for the event starts at 7 a.m. at Cummings Lodge, with the race beginning at 9 a.m. Participants can pre-register at bikesignup.com/Race/IN/LaPorte/SuperheroFunFest.

• The board approved replacement of a seven-year-old 911 call center server; La Porte County Prosecutor John Espar’s permission to travel to Redmond, Virginia; and a proposed ordinance to amend a La Porte zoning map.

• Commissioner Connie Gramarossa mentioned her Indianapolis trip to the Association of Indiana. She discussed jailhouse overcrowding problems and a possible solution being a regional jail for multiple counties.

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