Anthony Copeland

Our headlines frequently are awash with examples of people doing the wrong things for the wrong reasons.

In contrast, it's why East Chicago Mayor Anthony Copeland deserves a call-out for showing leadership recently when the most direct beneficiary of his efforts weren't even himself or his city.

If you've been traversing major roads in East Chicago since the spring, you likely know the U.S. 12 bridge has been closed for construction.

This posed a problem for the glut of traffic expected to wind its way to neighboring Whiting this weekend as estimated thousands arrive for the annual mania that is Pierogi Fest.

It's one of the Midwest's biggest festivals and has acclaim well outside of Northwest Indiana and the state.

Copeland recognizes the importance of the festival and the traffic and tourism it draws to all of Northwest Indiana, even if Pierogi Fest doesn't occur within his city.

By all accounts, the U.S. 12 bridge would have remained closed for the festival had Copeland not decided to do what good leaders do.

Pierogi Fest and city officials said Copeland initiated a meeting with Indiana Department of Transportation officials, making a case for the importance of an open U.S. 12 traffic artery in time for the festival.

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INDOT spokesman Adam Parkhouse confirmed that as a result, agency officials met with Copeland Thursday.

The end result: U.S. 12 bridge will be open, with at least one lane in each direction, in time for the festival's Friday kickoff.

"He really saved the day," Pierogi Fest organizer Tom Dabertin said. "He's one of those mayors who thinks regionally and understands what's best for the area."

The bridge will remain an active work zone, so drivers should exercise caution and consideration in the area.

Now a bridge, which had been closed since March to allow crews to replace the deck, largely will remain open for the duration of the remaining construction, except when workers are present.

In this case, a Region leader stepped up and did the right thing for the right reasons.

Our Region is reaping the refreshing benefits.


Members of The Times Editorial Board are Publisher Christopher T. White, Editor Marc Chase, Deputy Editor Kerry Erickson, Assistant Local News Editor Crista Zivanovic and Regional News Editor Sharon Ross.