by Natalie Johnson, Executive Director, Save the Dunes

On December 6, Save the Dunes will host its Annual Meeting and Holiday Potluck at its office on 444 Barker Road in Michigan City. This meeting is a great opportunity to learn more about our current projects and what’s in store for 2019. It also features the presentation of the Paul H. Douglas Memorial Award for outstanding service to the cause of preserving and protecting the Indiana dunes. Furthermore, the meeting concludes with a holiday celebration – a time for members and friends to enjoy good company and celebrate over h’orderves, wine, and beer. Members are free to attend; nonmembers may attend with a $10 donation. The meeting begins at 6:00PM with the holiday celebration concluding at 9:00PM. We encourage you to bring a dish and a friend!

Most importantly, the Annual Membership Meeting is a time for members to cast their vote for Save the Dunes’ Board of Directors. In order to be eligible to vote, please consider renewing your membership before the December meeting. All membership, whether individual, family, or organizational, shall be limited to (1) representative and one (1) vote.

This year, we are excited to introduce you to our Board of Directors Nominees:



Vern Beck is a native of Northwest Indiana. After graduating from Boone Grove High School in 1978, he started working for Nipsco, passing the 40 year seniority mark with Nipsco in July of 2018. He is currently in his third term as union president of the 1,500 Nipsco field workers of USW Local 12775. Vern is a vice president on the Indiana State AFL-CIO Board. He is also the vice chairman of the Board of Directors for the Northern Indiana Federal Credit Union.
Vern has been married to Lisa Beck, a local attorney, for the past 37 years and has two daughters, Natalie and Katie.
When his daughters were younger, they would camp at the Dunes, fighting off the raccoons, and when his daughters were older, they would use the Dunes to condition for cross-country while attending Andrean High School.
After watching the documentary, Shifting Sands, Vern saw the importance of protecting the Indiana Dunes delicate eco-systems.

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Scott Bozik was born in Valparaiso, Indiana, in 1974 to James and Dorothy Bozik.  He graduated from Chesterton High School in 1993; the University of Notre Dame in 1997; and the University of Arizona’s James E. Rogers College of Law in 2001.  Prior to attending law school, Scott was a member of AmeriCorps VISTA stationed at the Arizona Children’s Home in Tucson, Arizona.  While in law school, Scott was a member of its Environmental Law Society and the Vice-President thereof for one year.  Scott also worked for the Law School’s Child Advocacy and Tribal Law clinics as a student.  Following law school, Scott entered private practice in Arizona, and then later practiced in Chicago, Illinois, before returning to join the law firm of Blachly, Tabor, Bozik & Hartman, LLC in Valparaiso in 2010.  He continues to be active in various pro bono legal service projects involving both environmental law and probate law matters.  In his free time, Scott enjoys, hiking, playing guitar, and spending time with his Springer Spaniel, Luna.  Having grown up a beneficiary of the incredible Indiana Dunes ecosystem, he eagerly looks forward to becoming more involved with Save the Dunes and helping with its important mission.


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Paul Labus is the Northwest Indiana Region Director, The Nature Conservancy, Indiana Chapter. Responsibilities include developing and implementing strategic plans and conservation programs for northwest Indiana.  Paul Labus has worked for The Nature Conservancy in the Calumet Region for the 24 years, and has extensive experience managing local natural areas. During that time he has also served on IDEM’s Grand Calumet River Area of Concern Remedial Action Plan Advisory Board and co-chaired its Habitat Sub-committee, working with government agencies, industry as well as other NGOs to develop a conservation vision and restoration plan for the Grand Calumet River and surrounding landscape.  During that time he has helped identify the best opportunities to protect, restore and manage fragments of the native dune and swale ecosystem; set conservation goals for the restoration of highly degraded habitats; develop a regional invasive species management plan; and planned for long term ecological management of restored habitats.

We are thrilled to have received nominations for the above individuals. We ask that you consider voting for them on December 6 for a two-year term beginning 1/1/19.

Several current Board of Director members are also up for reelection. Please join us in voting on the following for a two-year term beginning 1/1/19:

  • LYNN DUTTLINGER (President & Finance Chair) – With nearly 30 years of experience in public accounting with public accounting firms in the region, Lynn Duttlinger has extensive knowledge in the areas of taxation and planning. She joined CLH in 2003 and has worked with clients whose work spans a wide range of industries, including manufacturing, construction, retail, wholesale and personal service. Lynn has CPA certification in both the State of Indiana and the State of Illinois. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, including the tax and personal financial planning sections, as well as the Certified Public Accountant Societies in both Indiana and Illinois. Though she grew up on the Eastern seaboard, she earned her Master of Science in Taxation from Northern Illinois University. There, Lynn was a teaching assistant and a writer and proofreader for the CPA Examination Review and GAAP: A Transactions Approach. Today, she continues to use her experiences at NIU by educating clients to understand their accounting systems. Lynn is actively involved with the local Alzheimer’s Association, principally with fundraising (for the 2nd year in a row she was first in individual fundraising).  Currently, Lynn serves as the Secretary/Treasurer of the Michigan City Yacht Club.  Lynn was instrumental in establishing the sailing school of the yacht club as a separate 501(c) 3.  She is now treasurer of the newly formed South Shore Nautical Education Foundation, Inc.  In the past, Lynn served as vice president and treasurer of the Northwest Indiana Regional Bus Authority. When she’s not engrossed in accounting and tax analysis, Lynn enjoys being outdoors, especially when she’s sailing, gardening, or walking her dog, Frankie. Lynn has two sons with whom she enjoys traveling to explore new places.

  • MELLI HOPPE (Secretary) – Melli Hoppe has a B.A. in dance from Columbia College in Chicago and a MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College in Vermont. She was the Artistic Director of Susurrus, an Indianapolis based not-for-profit performance group, from 1993-2013. She has choreographed and directed performances in Indiana, New York, L.A. and Ireland including collaborations for the annual Spirit and Place Festival, which received the NUVO Cultural Vision Award. She was selected as regional artist for the Lewis and Clark ArtsCorps, and was awarded a Creative Renewal Fellowship from the Arts Council of Indianapolis which gave her the opportunity to perform in Italy. Melli taught stage movement at Butler University and Columbia College in Chicago and is a Teaching Artist with Arts for Learning, the Indiana Affiliate of Young Audiences.  She received a Teaching Artist Certificate from Teacher’s College at Columbia University and a Young Audiences Arts for Learning National Teaching Artist Credential. Melli was the vice-president of the Indianapolis Theatre Fringe Festival, on the board of NoExit Performance and on the program committee of Young Audiences of Indiana before moving from Indianapolis to Michigan City. She is currently on the boards of Save the Dunes and South Shore Dance Alliance and is on the education committee of the Lubeznik Center for the Arts.

  • SHEM KHALIL –Shem Khalil is a professional land surveyor and the President of Global. He has over 20 years of experience in all phases of municipal engineering. Prior to founding Global, he was the Director of Engineering for the City of LaPorte, Indiana.  He manages all work flow within the company and reviews project progress and all completed design work, serving as a sounding board for all design questions both from his staff and his clients. He prides himself on providing quality work while remaining actively involved in the local community, serving on multiple committee and board positions throughout his career.

We hope to see you on December 6. Get your tickets here.

Interested in joining the board? Nominations must be received 90 days prior to the Annual Membership Meeting. If you're interested in joining or nominating someone for 2020, please submit your nomination to no later than September 6, 2019.

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