Press Release, City of Valparaiso:

The City of Valparaiso has announced several new appointments to its Advisory Human Relations Council. Established in 2011, the purpose of the Advisory Human Relations Council is to advise the Mayor on ways to promote a better understanding and improve the community’s acceptance of diversity in all its forms. “As a community, we envision a place where diversity is appreciated, differences are respected and all are included,” said Mayor Jon Costas. “Working with city leaders and staff, I sought to empower voices from a diverse background of experience to offer input and guidance to navigate these challenging but important issues,” he said.

The new members to the Advisory Human Relations Council will be:

Alison Quackenbush, Business consultant
Matty Whaling, Sales professional
Elisabeth Cohon, President, Temple Israel
Mark Fesenmyer, Physician
Bianca Villarruel, Executive Business Administrator, Valparaiso University
Debi Sibray, Social Worker, Valparaiso Community Schools

The Advisory Human Relations Council also includes returning members Ellen DeMartinis, Patrick Lyp, Katrina Spence-Smock and Roy Summerville. Police Chief Andrew McIntyre serves as a nonvoting member.

Mayor Costas thanked Mitch Peters for his past leadership of the Council, as well as Michael Bendicsen, Laurie Mullet, Jerome Ezell and Jennifer Wright for their valuable service.

The Advisory Human Relations Council will meet on Thursday, April 4, at 5:30 pm, at Valparaiso City Hall, 166 Lincolnway. To learn more about the Council, visit the City Government tab on the City of Valparaiso website,