CROWN POINT | Lake County Surveyor George Van Til has found shelter from the political storm that has erupted over his head in recent weeks.
Only last month, FBI agents raided his offices for documents, although he has been accused of no wrongdoing.
Democratic party boss Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. pleaded unsuccessfully with Van Til to drop his re-election campaign and spare the party the embarrassment of having him on the Nov. 6 ballot.
Van Til's Republican opponent, Eric Krieg, is soliciting votes from Democrats to oust Van Til for dragging the county's reputation "through the mud with regularity."
But in the calm of the monthly meeting of the county drainage board Wednesday, Van Til had the floor and talked of successes at intergovernmental cooperation on stormwater management with many his staff in the room to provide support.
Van Til said groundbreaking takes place Monday for $564,000 in improvements to dams and waterway stabilization near Lake Dalecarlia, an 82-year-old resort community of about 500 homes north of Lowell.
The surveyor's office passed an Indiana Department of Environmental Management audit last month with flying colors. He received good marks for putting plans in place to reduce water pollution.
He said his office is removing beaver dams and debris blocking drainage ditches near Crown Point and Oak Ridge Prairie near Schererville and safeguarding the environment by overseeing work Enbridge Inc. is doing on underground pipelines and work by CSX on its railways.
Van Til's office and Commissioner Gerry Scheub, D-Crown Point, are working to assist the First Baptist Church of Lowell, 333 Mill St., Lowell, in avoiding a fine after being cited by IDEM for creating an unauthorized obstruction in a floodway of Cedar Creek, which runs near the church.
Van Til said $25,000 of work by his office and the county highway department has lessened standing water in the Westlong subdivision, just outside of Crown Point.
Commissioner Roosevelt Allen, D-Gary, a drainage board member, thanked Van Til for recent work on Ranburn Woods in Calumet Township. Its 350 homes weathered a recent storm without the flooding that plagued its past.
Van Til said, "I've learned that if your heart is in the right place, you can be forgiven."