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Indiana DNR address lake residents' concerns over aggressive patroling

Steve Kesler makes his living off Lake Tippacanoe; but lately, his pontoon renting business just isn't the same.

"They're (customers) just out trying to have a good time," Kesler said. "And then they come back, totally shocked by what's occured out on the lakes."

He owns the Tippy Ballroom Marina, and says, DNR officers have been 'harrassing' his customers all summer long. So much so, that they're returning their boats hours early or they're not going out at all.

"Thirty five percent less than last year... In a summer that should be gangbusters, because of the heat," Kesler said.

But he and others had the opportunity to turn the heat right back around on Saturday. The Syracuse Lake Association, along with State Representative Rebecca Kubacki, hosted the meeting in an effor to bring the two groups together.

"I'm trying to find the medium, and what I wanted to do today, is to bring the DNR to answer questions, and let the constituents air their complaints," the Republican legislator said. "I think between the two, the goal is to enjoy the lakes safely."

For Lieutenant John Karris, safety his is primary concern. He understands people's complaints, but says over the last couple of years, the number of people arrested for boating while intoxicated has gone up.

"There is some cultural acceptance on using alcohol in a watercraft, and recreating on the bodies of water, more so that what we traditionally see in a motor vehicle nowadays," Karris said.

But for Kesler, that just isn't cutting it. He said officers have been pulling over boats to check tags, but end up using the stop as an excuse to search for alcohol instead.

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