You could call George Rogge the mayor of Miller.
Rogge cares deeply about the Miller section of Gary and is president of the Miller Citizens Corp.
He has done much for his community and now wants to do more.
A few weeks back, Rogge proposed creation of an entity to take over the three Gary Community School Corp. schools in Miller. They include the Wirt-Emerson High School, Banneker Achievement Center and Marquette Elementary School.
Rogge obviously wants to rescue the three schools from the failing Gary school system. No one has told him he can’t do it.
Rogge said the Miller neighborhood is well equipped with the kind of professionals needed to operate its own school district.
Miller also is the most well-heeled of all the city’s neighborhoods.
I don’t know if Rogge’s idea is doable. But I suspect he’s dead serious about finding out.
Rogge’s thoughts are in keeping with those that have emanated from Miller for decades.
Miller residents never have really thought of themselves as part of Gary. And many never have wanted to be linked to Gary. And don’t tell some of them that they live in Gary.
Ask them where they live and they will say, “Miller Beach.”
It used to be the case — and perhaps still is — that a letter addressed to Miller Beach, IN 46403 would get delivered.
Identifying with Miller is easy. It has dunes, a spacious park, the beach and, of course, the lake. What’s not to like. And, yes, Miller was home to baseball great Ron Kittle.
It’s a little more difficult identifying with Gary, which has steel and other heavy industry and once was known as the murder capital of the country.
It would be fair to say Miller is Gary’s strongest link.
Given what the city has allowed to happen to a once-proud school system, it’s hard to blame Rogge for thinking about going in a new direction.
If there ever was a time, it may be now that the state has taken over operation of the school system because of massive debt and poor performance.
And the state is looking for answers.