A social media post that centered around an incident reportedly involving individuals from the Windy City Tours utilizing the Tippecanoe River was discussed during the Winamac Town Council’s August meeting.
Councilwoman Judy Heater informed members of a lengthy post she saw and wanted to bring to their attention. She shared information from the apparent incident that was described in the post.
She explained, “To let them do this, when they are going down the river, drinking, cussing, swearing, throwing anything they want to off of whatever they’re floating on into the river, with no regards at all to that and then beating this man up because he asked them to quit throwing stuff.”
It was noted that the post was originally made on August 5th. Heater explained that from what she saw, others responded to it stating that they have also had negative experiences with river-goers.
She said that the council may be limited in what they can do about it but presented a potential solution.
Heater told members, “Maybe we can’t regulate them being on the river but at least we don’t have to let them go from the town park.”
Councilman Dave Schambers shared his experience with living toward the end of the route, “With me being on the river all the time, I was outside pretty much all day on Saturday and there were thousands of them floating by.”
He continued, “Honestly, I don’t ever have any problems with people floating by, I mean, maybe I’m just not seeing it. There definitely is some loud profanity.”
Schambers acknowledged that has just been his own personal experience and added that the matter is worth looking into.
Town Attorney Justin Schramm said he was unsure of whether or not the Town still has a contract with the business but reminded members that in the past, officials did make contact with representatives when there were complaints of excessive littering in the park and said such an effort could be made again.
Schramm stated, “If they operate under contract, which is my assumption but I didn’t see it this year, you know, we had to threaten them through the Park Board a couple of years ago so maybe some updated language that says if this happens again we’re going to terminate your contract. I mean, it’s not my call to make it would be your guys’ and the Park Board.”
Town Manager Brad Zellers said as far as trash in the park goes there has been a noticeable difference this year and noted that he’s witnessed people making an effort to keep things clean there.
In the response to situation Heater described, Zellers said it was horrible if they did that to somebody and later added that it’s a shame that a few people can ruin things for everybody.
Officials explained that the DNR conservation officers have jurisdiction over the river and Town Attorney Schramm added that the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office has a boat they utilize to patrol it as well.
Council President Tom Murray and Councilman Alvin Parrish recommended possibly reaching out to the DNR about increasing patrols on the weekends when the majority of people are floating.
Town Marshal Mark Hoffman said the Winamac PD was not notified about the incident Heater described. However, at the recommendation of Council President Murray, Hoffman noted he would look into the matter further to see if anything was filed with the authorities.