Special Thanks to Tony Dujmovich
For Our Jail
Plenty of volunteers pay to be
at the new county jail
BY KEN KOSKY Times
Posted on Saturday, June
Officer Mary Gaydos gives a tour to a group of
VALPARAISO -- When Porter County Sheriff David Reynolds offered everyday
citizens a chance to be "inmates" for an evening at the new Porter County Jail
-- complete with an opportunity to wear a striped jail shirt and eat beans and
weenies for dinner -- it was an offer plenty of curious people couldn't resist.
People lined up at the jail entrance for Friday night's "Jailhouse Rock," an
event to show off the new jail and raise money for nonprofit organizations In the first hour alone, about 100 people toured the jail. Many decided to
sit in a cell so they could get a commemorative photo, while others dined on
jail food or listened to the music by the policeman/firefighter band Guns &
Hoses. "A lot of jails don't open it up to the public," Reynolds said. "I think the public has a right to see where their tax dollars are going, and
it seems like everybody's having fun."
The money raised from the $25 ticket price benefited three nonprofit
organizations. People could even pay to have a friend tossed into a cell. Attorney Larry
Rogers, who has made a career out of getting people out of jail, was one of the
first "offenders" people paid to see locked up. "I think it was a fabulous idea," Jane Strayer said of Friday's Jailhouse
Rock. Strayer, a Valparaiso teacher who attended with fellow teacher Cathy Tursman,
added, "We're always up for adventure and this sounded like an adventure." After her tour of the jail, Strayer said she was impressed by how secure the
new jail is. "I'd say we're very impressed," she said. "I know what the old jail looks like (from tours) and this is much nicer,"
Tursman added. Valparaiso resident Betsy Dunevant, who took pledges and
ran the Boston Marathon to raise money for charity, said the Jailhouse Rock was
chance to support The
Caring Place, Opportunity Enterprises and Porter-Starke. "I think we'll bring the kids for the pancake breakfast," Dunevant said,
referring to today's breakfast event for families at the jail. Political candidates Dave Chidester and Dan Whitten, along with Valparaiso
Mayor David Butterfield, were among the public figures attending. "This gives even more people an opportunity to see the place," Butterfield
said. "I wanted to see it for myself. I had heard a lot about it being state of the
art," Whitten said. "This is a world apart. This is really something, having seen the old jail. Even the young people thought it would be a fun way to spend a Friday night.
"It sounded like fun, the whole thing," said Rebekah Kretzmann, 15, who
attended with her twin sister, Rachel, and their friend, 14-year-old Anna
Bremer. Teri Mialkowski of Valparaiso said she was impressed by the jail, especially
how light and bright it is. But she also was surprised to learn the jail earns
money off a lot of the privileges the inmates have, like telephones, television
and snacks. "Once the doors lock, you wouldn't want to be there," she said. Mary Beth Schultz, executive director of The Caring Place, said the Jailhouse
Rock was a creative way to raise funds in advance of the August opening of the
jail. "Once the jail has inmates, we won't be able to do this again," she said.
Calumet College of St.
Joseph sponsored the event that benefited
Porter Starke, Opportunity
Enterprises and The Caring Place
Guns & Hoses Provided The "Jail
Sheriff Reynolds is one of the first "arrestees"
Shirley Remijan from Opportunity Enterprises and
from Porter Starke both seem to be having fun!!
A surprise visit from "The Blues
wait.......isn't that Mary Beth Schultz from the Caring
Make that the "Blues Brothers and Sister"
The Blues Brothers (Left to
Dave Lomaka of Porter Starke, Gary Mitchell of
Enterprises and Mary Beth Schultz of The Caring Place
Sheriff Reynolds and Dave Lomaka from Porter Starke
was In The House!
Sergeant Dave Leuthardt does time after being "arrested"