This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Highlights from 2014

Another year fades into history, but it had its moments.

It started with an unusually cold winter. On several bright, clear mornings displays of sundogs greeted us at dawn.

The heavy snow and subzero temperatures made driving hazardous at times. One of the casualties of the harsh weather was the Rensselaer Library, which suffered serious flooding from frozen pipes and was closed for weeks. (Posts here, here, here and here.) To make sure the problem would not reoccur, the Library had a new roof installed with several inches of insulation, so there were still posts in the summer derived from what happened in the winter.

One event that promised to be huge and caused a lot of discussion never got off the ground (so to speak), the South Shore Air Show scheduled for early July. Heavy rains made fields at Fair Oaks Farms unsuitable for parking, so the event was canceled. The threat of the event moving south of the Kankakee seems to have energized people in Lake County and next year the event will be back in Gary after a couple years absence.

I visited Fair Oaks Farms a couple times but not enough to keep up with all the things that are happening there. A new restaurant and conference center opened, along with a bakery and market. Construction began on a new Pork Education Center, which will open in a few months. (Below is a peek in the window taken a few days ago.) I am confident that 2015 will be another interesting year at FOF.

There were several construction projects that I enjoyed watching. At the I-65/SR 114 intersection a new Taco Bell opened, and posts are here and here. Rensselaer got a new solar  panel farm, though I doubt if it has generated much electricity lately with the cloudy skies we have had in December. I was hoping that they would have an open house or dedication ceremony, but they never did. (I thought that the 69K project upgrading Rensselaer's connection to NIPSCO was finished, but at the last city council meeting I learned that it was still not in operation.)

It was fun watching a new Dollar General store being built and opened (here, here, here, here, and here.) A few blocks further east the installation of a a new culvert by Brookside Park snarled truck traffic for a week or so last summer.  MacAllister began a new building just to the east of the airport, and as the year ends, it is still under construction.

The Babcock Quarry closed and for much of the year has been filling with water.

Even though no stone has been removed from the quarry for months, the company is still selling stone, though now the piles are getting pretty small.

Another of the old township schools was removed from landscape.

A highlight for almost all Rensselaerians was a state championship by the RCHS football team. It was the first state championship in any sport for Rensselaer High.

There were a couple of posts that I really enjoyed doing. One was the tour of IBEC, and another was the Dine and Discuss event.

As the year neared its end, this blog passed the 2000 post mark. When the blog reached 1000, I was able to make that post coincide with my father's 100th birthday. Unfortunately, I was not keeping close tabs on the number so I missed the opportunity to do something special for the 2000th post.

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