Local News

The SOUND OFF Podcast: South Bend Cubs President Joe Hart

(LAPORTE, IN) - We have a special guest today on SOUND OFF! Since 2012, he’s been the President of the South Bend Cubs (formerly the Silver Hawks) and has helped lead a strong resurgence of Minor League baseball in the region and economic development in South Bend. He was twice named Midwest League Executive of the Year. Our guest today was South Bend Cubs President Joe Hart. 

 

Topics included the MLB trade deadline, congressional support for Minor League Baseball, growth of the South Bend Cubs franchise, and much more. Listen to the full episode below: 

 

 

CREDITS: Nate Loucks (Host), Joe Hart (Guest), Dennis Siddall (Producer), Jeff Wuggazer (Editor)

 

SOUND OFF is a community conversation show that airs every Monday and Friday on 96.7 the Eagle in LaPorte County, Indiana. SOUND OFF is a Spoon River Media production.

Bad Crash Linked to Drugs

(La Porte, IN) - A Michigan City man is charged with a bad motor vehicle crash in La Porte County last year. 39-year-old Sean Van Meter was allegedly driving a vehicle while on methamphetamine.

 

In September, police said he veered over the center line on Johnson Road in the Waterford area and struck an oncoming vehicle head-on. According to court documents, the other driver, Hannah Musgraves, suffered a broken ankle. Van Meter had to have surgery because of internal injuries.

 

After the crash, police said Van Meter revealed he’s a drug addict. While being transported to the hospital, police said he was given Narcan because he seemed to be overdosing.

 

Van Meter could receive anywhere from a one to six-year sentence if convicted of driving impaired causing serious bodily injury. Charges were filed in La Porte Circuit Court. 

Another Charge for Alleged Escapee

(La Porte, IN) - A La Porte man is charged after allegedly escaping from two correctional officers in La Porte. 41-year old Jacob Borders made his initial court appearance Friday on a burglary charge.

 

Authorities say he and the two correctional officers were at the Family Express on J Street over two months ago. Borders was allowed to use an ATM then fled on foot. Authorities say Borders walked inside a home in the 700 block of 4th Street and asked to use the telephone. Soon, two people showed up at the residence. Borders left with them in a vehicle. He was arrested six weeks later in St. Joseph County.

 

Authorities said he’s charged with burglary from walking inside the unlocked doors of the home without permission. The two correctional officers are also charged with aiding or assisting in the escape. David Winter, of Valparaiso, and Carly Searing, of LaPorte, are charged in LaPorte Circuit Court with level 5 felony aiding, inducing, or causing escape; assisting a criminal, obstruction of justice; and official misconduct, all level 6 felonies, and Class A misdemeanor false informing.

 

According to authorities, they should not have stopped at the store while transporting Borders from the work release center to the county jail and failed to chase after Borders once he started running.

Historic Draw Bridge Working Again

(Michigan City, IN) - The draw bridge in Michigan City was stuck open yesterday when the beach was packed from the hot and humid conditions. La Porte County Commissioner Rich Mrozinski said Marquiss Electric was there in ten minutes and soon had the bridge working again.


The LaPorte County electric contractor was recently awarded a no-bid contract to do some permanent emergency repairs on the historic bridge during the winter.


Commissioner Joe Haney voted against the job not going out for bids. He raised questions and refused to accept explanations from his colleagues on the reason for awarding the contract outright to Marquiss Electric. 


Mrozinski said Marquiss Electric had been the caretaker of the bridge for many years and demonstrated why they were given the job exclusively. Another company from Chicago, Mrozinski believes, would not have been able to get the bridge working again in such short order because nobody is as familiar with the aging bridge as Marquiss Electric.


“We had a little controversy about that at our last meeting from our new commissioner who doesn’t understand how business is done in La Porte County. This is a good example of how lucky we are to have this situation with Marquiss,” Mrozinski said.


The main route to and from the beach, Washington Park Zoo, and the marina is over the draw bridge. Mrozinski believes that a bridge stuck open for a long time would lead to a huge traffic bottleneck from people using a little-known alternate route nestled in the dunes to and from the beach.

High on the Hog with Pigs at Fair

(Valparaiso, IN) - Judging by the laughter from the crowd, pigs doing tricks had Porter County fairgoers Sunday living high on the hog.

         

Xavier Emmons, 7, of Cedar Lake, was allowed into the show arena to help sing the popular nursery rhyme “Old McDonald Had a Farm.”

         

A pig next to him loudly grunted when it was time for the porker to sing the “oink, oink” portion of the song.

         

“I liked it,” Emmons said.

         

“He loves pigs. That’s why he wanted to come out,” said his father, Josh Emmons.

         

“Cousin Grumpy’s Pork Chop Revue” is a 20-minute show presented several times a day near the free entertainment tent at the fair, which runs through Saturday.

         

The show features tricks ranging from a pig pushing a baby stroller containing a baby pig and a pig walking through a tunnel. There were also goats walking a narrow platform five feet above the ground.

         

Beverly McCann of Chesterton said a llama jumping high through a hoop is what she liked best. She was there with her husband, Eric, their children, Amelia and Emma, ages five and one. They had their pictures taken with the animals following the 1:30 P.M. show. 

         

“We thought it was great. The kids loved it. It was cute,” McCann said.

         

The ringmaster is Les Kimes, who took over for his father, Boyd, who started the traveling show in 1956. His father made such a name that he occasionally appeared with his trained animals on late-night television shows like The Tonight Show and the Ed Sullivan Show. Then, when he was two, Kimes became part of the show, then at 14, took over when his father passed away.

         

He also found fame with performances on television shows like Animal Planet and America’s Got Talent, where he advanced to the quarter-finals. Kimes, 56, said he mostly travels to fairs and festivals but sometimes theme parks, circuses, boats, recreational vehicles, and pet shows.

         

He’s been to every state except for Alaska. 

         

“Our motto has always been no matter what the gig, think pig,” he said.

         

During his spare time, he and his wife, Nina, live near Tampa, Florida, where they have a hobby farm for their dozen or so animals. Kimes said the animals are kept in a climate-controlled environment when they all hit the road together.

         

“These guys are our family. We adopt them. They stay with us their entire lives,” he said.

Charge Increased to Murder in La Porte Shooting

(La Porte, IN) - A suspect in a fatal shooting in La Porte now faces the potential of significantly more prison time.


Davion Jones was originally charged in La Porte Circuit Court with Level 5 felony reckless homicide. However, prosecutors on Friday upped the charge to murder. The 22-year old Chesterton man is charged with killing 20-year-old Tyler Terusiak last year in the 1400 block of Jefferson Ave.


According to authorities, Jones, during a disturbance, fired a gun several times. Terusiak was shot in the heart by one of the rounds. In addition, 21-year old Stanley Henderson was shot multiple times and survived.


Originally, Jones was facing the possibility of one to six years on the reckless homicide charge. Now, he could face anywhere from a 45 to 65-year sentence for murder. Jones is also charged with attempted murder and aggravated battery.

Rat Problems in Rolling Prairie

(Rolling Prairie, IN) - Forget cicadas; In Rolling Prairie, it's a rat invasion they're worried about this summer. Many Rolling Prairie area residents have reported large rats, in the dozens or more, making themselves at home.

 

The rodent onslaught isn’t exactly of Biblical proportions, but it is a problem. Amanda Runion is spearheading an effort to report the vermin activity to the county. She says the health department identified the pests as Norway rats, which can be sixteen inches long from head to tail. Runion started noticing the large pests a few weeks ago. Others say the rats have been around since March or longer. One resident who lives on State Road 2 south of town claims to have caught nearly 50 rats, while another in-town resident says she has spent hundreds of dollars having them professionally trapped.

 

Some residents blame the municipal sewer system that recently went through town, but county officials say that isn’t likely. County Commissioner Rich Mrozinski says he investigated that possibility. "I talked to the Sewer Board about it. They said absolutely not. The sewer line's got absolutely nothing to do with the rat problem. Period."

 

Others link the problem to a couple of recently demolished grain silos. Steve Mrozinski, with the LaPorte County Co-op, says the county health department visited their facility Thursday and found no rats. The Co-op, Mrozinski says, has not stored grain for over six years, nor has it dismantled any silos.

 

Commissioner Mrozinski offers a different theory. He thinks garbage and debris left by county residents in yards and roadways are inviting a pest problem. In addition, he has received numerous complaints about untidy properties. "There's a lot of people here that are in need of a wake-up call from code enforcement," Mrozinski says. "Maybe that's got something to do with the rats. I don't know." Mrozinski has been outspoken in recent years about enforcing stricter property maintenance standards in the county.

 

Whatever the cause, Mrozinski says they’ll get to the bottom of the problem as more information is collected. "We're going to find out what's going on; we'll get to a conclusion because you don't want rats. That's not a good thing."

 

For now, county health officials need a tally of rat sightings. Runion has created a form to collect data and turn it over to the health department next Friday.

 

For the survey tracking vermin activity in Rolling Prairie, follow this link:

https://forms.gle/Be874vUx3NN2tMCH9. Your identity does not have to be disclosed, as long as general information about the problem can be collected.

Regional Refs Get Local Preseason Training

(New Carlisle, IN) - High school football season is just around the corner. LaPorte and New Prairie kick off their seasons against each other in less than a month. Michigan City will open up against South Bend Riley on August 20.

 

Practices and scrimmages are already underway.

 

But it’s not just players who are gearing up. During a three-team scrimmage at New Prairie this week, a herd of zebras also took the field. Football officials from across the area got some training in too.

 

Jeff Dunham of the St. Joe Valley Officials Association was leading the training for about twenty referees. "This is an active certification clinic," he said, "where we coach the officials through their positions that they officiate, and we go through rule interpretations and other points of emphasis for 2021." While football players from New Prairie, Michigan City, and Mishawaka worked on their plays, the referees worked on their calls. "We're going through drills, and we're working our five-man mechanics as if it's a Friday night game," Dunham said.

 

Multiple training sessions and a 100-question written test are required to qualify to referee state tournament games. This week's training drew referees from all over northern Indiana. But, according to Dunham, a 23-year veteran of officiating, it's the first time they've met at New Prairie.

 

Dunham says the IHSAA has a shortage of football referees so far this year. As a result, some schools may have to reschedule a traditional Friday night game due to a lack of officials. Dunham says the shortage is not COVID-related; just not enough young officials are stepping up to replace the many that have retired.

Michigan City Lifeguards Back on Duty

(Michigan City, IN) - Effective immediately, lifeguards will be back on duty in Michigan City, according to the Washington Park Lifeguard Facebook page. Lifeguards are expected to resume this weekend. 

 

This follows an executive order issued two weeks ago by Mayor Duane Parry raising wages for Michigan City lifeguards by nearly $10 an hour. Lifeguards will now be on duty Monday through Friday from 10 AM to 5 PM and on weekends from 10 AM to 6 PM.

The SOUND OFF Podcast: A Conversation with Dr. Vidya Kora & Dr. Dafer Haddadin

(LAPORTE, IN) -  Joining the show today was Drs. Vidya Kora and Dafer Haddadin to answer any questions and respond to myths about the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccines. Questions were asked about masking, long-haul systems, schools, and more. 

 

Dr. Vidya Kora is a Franciscan Physician Network member specializing in Internal Medicine and Northern Regional Board of Franciscan Alliance. 

 

Dr. Dafer Haddadin is a member of the Franciscan Physician Network specializing in Infectious Disease.

 

Listen to the full episode below: 

 

 

CREDITS: Nate Loucks (Host), Jeff Wuggazer (Producer/Editor), Dr. Vidya Kora (Guest), Dr. Dafer Haddadin (Guest)

 

SOUND OFF is a community conversation show that airs every Monday and Friday on 96.7 the Eagle in LaPorte County, Indiana. SOUND OFF is a Spoon River Media production.

Mucho Mas Details in Mucho Mas Burglary

(La Porte, IN) - Drugs could be linked to a downtown La Porte restaurant burglary that happened nearly two weeks ago.


22-year old Mykl Cheffer is charged in La Porte Circuit Court. According to police, two laptops, a cash drawer, and a credit card were among the items taken from Mucho Mas at 609 Lincolnway.


According to police, a major break in the case came when Cheffer tried using the stolen credit card at a nearby gas station. He was captured on video. Police say he was also captured on video at several other locations where he used the credit card.


When arrested a few days later, police say he was found smoking a pipe and with more than four grams of methamphetamine. The La Porte man was still being held in the La Porte County Jail to face the charges.

Trial Scheduled for Murder Suspect

(Michigan City, IN) - A trial date has been set for a man who allegedly shot two people within minutes of each other in Michigan City.

 

Joshua Cornelison, 40, of Michigan City is charged with murder and attempted murder in La Porte Superior Court 1 for the July 13 shootings.

 

He is also charged with burglary, theft and criminal mischief.

 

Aaron Luncsford, 39, died from a gunshot wound to the head suffered inside a residence at 1116 Buffalo St, according to court documents.

 

According to court documents, Cornelison rang the doorbell and Luncsford after coming to the door was shot.

 

Paul Jones was inside a parked car when shot in the neck outside his home at 116 W. Homer St.

 

About one-hour later, police said officers were called to The River of Life Church at 516 Decatur Street.

 

A basement door was kicked-in and Cornelison found inside was taken into custody at gunpoint.

 

Police said Cornelison bared a strong resemblance to the tattooed and scruffy looking man described as the suspect in both shootings.

 

He was also riding a red Harley Davidson motorcycle described as the vehicle spotted where both of the shootings occurred.

 

According to court documents, Cornelison told investigators he went to the church to shoot the pastor he remembered as a child.

 

The pastor, though, was no longer alive.

 

Cornelison also revealed he was going to kill another man next but police showed up before he left the church, according to court documents.

 

Police said a motive was not clear.

 

Cornelison, though, cried while stating “these people probably did nothing wrong,” according to court documents.

 

He was appointed a public defender and ordered to remain held without bond during his initial court hearing on July 20.

 

Cornelison was also given a December 20 trial date.

Political Friction Flaring Up Again

(La Porte County, IN) - Some local public officials are butting heads again, adding to a longstanding and dramatic governmental feud. 

 

La Porte County Auditor Tim Stabosz was sued several months ago by County Attorney Shaw Friedman. Friedman is alleging defamation of character against Stabosz, who alleges Friedman oversteps his roles as the county attorney. No decision has been made on the lawsuit which was filed in St. Joseph County.

 

During the La Porte County Commissioners meeting this week, Shaw Friedman’s judgment as an attorney was questioned by Stabosz over a $1.5 million no-bid contract for repairing the Franklin St. bridge in Michigan City. No-bid contracts are allowed by state guidelines under certain conditions, which Friedman claims fits this situation. 


The attorney asserts that the repairs being an emergency and the bridge having a major economic impact on Michigan City are among the qualifiers for a no-bid contract.


Stabosz asked Friedman if the attorney had ever dealt with the state no-bid contract guidelines before. But, while Friedman was responding, Stabosz kept interrupting him with other statements and questions, adding to the moment's frustration. 


"We do our due diligence. We provide our best advice to the county. We've done that. We've given a basis to move forward," Friedman said. 


Commissioner Joe Haney, a supporter of Stabosz, also questioned Friedman’s legal ruling.


The two other commissioners, Rich Mrozinski and Sheila Matias, along with La Porte County Council President Randy Novak, agreed with Friedman's evaluation.


The contract was awarded to an engineering firm and local company, Marquiss Electric.


Commissioner Rich Mrozinski said Marquiss Electric has been the caretaker of the bridge for many years and has significant experience working on the bridge. Mrozinski believes that hiring another company to perform emergency repairs with no experience with the bridge did not make sense, could be more costly, and lead to a longer downtime for the bridge. 

Medical Use Again for Old Hospital

(Michigan City, IN) - A dedication was held Thursday for part of the old Franciscan Health hospital in Michigan City that will be put back to medical use.

 

About two-thirds of the former hospital at 301 West Homer Street is currently being demolished.

 

The over 100,000 square feet of remaining space will be used by Franciscan Health for prenatal care, inpatient behavioral health, and adult medical daycare. According to hospital officials, the cost of demolition scheduled to be completed in December and repurposing what is left of the facility is $20 million.

 

“This is going to be a nice, vibrant, beautiful hospital.  Smaller but beautiful and doing a great job,” said Sister Jane Marie Klein, Chairman of the Board of Franciscan Alliance.

Dean Mazzoni

Dean Mazzoni, President of Franciscan Health in Michigan City, said the 14-bed inpatient Behavioral Medicine Unit would be open later this summer. A Program for the All-Inclusive Care (PACE) for the Elderly will open in the fall, then soon after that, the Prenatal Care Unit will begin operating.

 

Mazzoni said that the need for those services was the determining factor in deciding to use the old hospital abandoned in January of 2019 when Franciscan Health opened a new hospital outside Michigan City along Interstate 94. In addition, the Behavioral Health Unit (BHU) will be for individuals who need a higher level of psychological care in areas like depression than what can be provided as an outpatient. The BHU used to be at the former hospital then moved to the new facility.

 

Mazzoni said the mental health facility is moving back to create room at the new hospital for adding a medical-surgical unit.

 

PACE will be for 55 and over who need care during the day while a loved one taking care of them at home is typically at work. Those patients will be given the care and medicine they need by trained professionals while being in a social setting before returning home in the evening. Franciscan Health has two other PACE facilities in Indianapolis and Lafayette but had none in this area.

 

“It’s a higher level of care, but it still keeps people at home in their communities and able to stay out of a nursing home a little longer,” he said.

 

Dr. Vidya Kora, a member of the Northern Indiana Regional Board for Franciscan Health, said the prenatal care unit would offer expanded services than what’s currently provided. Expectant mothers at high risk of a “bad outcome” will be targeted and given the care needed to elevate their chances of giving birth to a healthy baby. Pregnant women qualifying financially will also be enrolled in Medicaid, he said.

 

Kora stated the program is especially needed in LaPorte County, which ranks near the bottom in the state for infant mortality and low birth weight babies. “I think it’ll be good for our community,” he said.

 

Forty to sixty new jobs are expected to be created from putting a portion of the facility back to use, officials said. The site was a provider of medical care since 1904.

Vintage Plane Rides Coming to La Porte

(La Porte, IN) - A week-long celebration of the airport in La Porte is coming up.

 

Beginning the 9th of next month, rides and tours will be offered on a B-25J Mitchell “Maid in the Shade” vintage aircraft. The plane is scheduled to arrive on Monday the 9th. Tours and rides will be offered every day until the following Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

 

Other things will be happening like an antique car display, food trucks, and pancake breakfast on August 14 and 15.

 

The La Porte airport was established 75 years ago. For more information, visit laporteairport.com. 

Contract Awarded to Fix Draw Bridge

(La Porte County, IN) - Repairs will be made to the Franklin Street Bridge in Michigan City this Winter.

 

Last night, the county commissioners approved the $1.5 million contract. Marquiss Electric out of Michigan City will be involved in the project.

 

No bids were sought for the work.

 

The repairs being an emergency given the importance of the bridge to Michigan City and Marquiss Electric being the historical caretakers of the bridge were among the reasons cited for the project not going out for bids. County Attorney Shaw Friedman says those are among the reasons permitted by state law for awarding no-bid contracts.

 

Commissioner Rich Mrozinski said the draw bridge would continue to operate throughout the summer and fall. However, the bridge will be closed for the work to occur during the winter to reopen in the spring, he said.

 

Commissioner Joe Haney voted against awarding the contract after questioning whether the circumstances met state guidelines for awarding no-bid contracts.

Local Vaccination Rate Above 50-percent

(La Porte, IN) - More than half of the residents in La Porte County are now vaccinated, according to Amanda Lahners, administrator of the LaPorte County Health Department.

 

Lahners says 51.6 percent of local citizens are fully protected, above the 50 percent Indiana state average.

 

The health department continues to operate the vaccination clinic at the former La Porte Hospital building. However, beginning August 1, Lahners said the clinic would be open on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays.

Trail Extension for Clear Lake

(La Porte, IN) - Clear Lake is becoming more of a centerpiece in LaPorte from an upcoming trail extension and other improvements to the shoreline. The work scheduled to begin in October is the latest in a series of projects turning the lakes in the city into more of an economic driver.

           

A trail on Lakeshore Drive beside Stone Lake and a nearby kayak launch along with a boardwalk on the southern edge of Clear Lake are among the recent water-related enhancements. Others include the Chessie Trail that begins at Pine Lake, which has long been a major attraction for recreational boating and fishing.

 

“We want to be the capital of quality of life in Indiana,” said Mayor Tom Dermody.

 

Dermody said Clear Lake would play a significant role in the ongoing transformation of the city built on manufacturing because of its proximity to the downtown.

 

Two hundred resort-type apartments beside Clear Lake are presently going up. In addition, plans include a pedestrian bridge over the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks from Clear Lake to downtown.

 

“Between our natural resources, our parks, our trails, we will be the destination for anyone looking to enjoy the great outdoors and live a healthy life,” Dermody said.

 

City Engineer Nick Minich said the current trail going about one-third of the way around Clear Lake would be extended to form a loop around the entire body of water. The trail extension will have a mostly asphalt surface with signs containing information about the history of Clear Lake and the surrounding area once dominated by heavy industry. He said the loop trail will also be connected to the Chessie Trail, which now ends at nearby NewPorte Landing.

 

Eventually, the Chessie Trail will be extended to the downtown and double back toward Soldiers Memorial Park. Minich said fishing piers in different spots around Clear Lake and native species planted along the shoreline are included in the project.

 

Park Department Superintendent Mark Schreiber said Clear Lake has never been regarded as highly as Pine and Stone lakes, but that is changing. The lake was once a source of discharges from Allis Chalmers, which closed in the 1980s and is too shallow for motorboats.

 

“It’s just very gratifying to finally see us loving Clear Lake just as much,” he said.

 

The enhancements would not be possible without a $2.2 million grant from the Healthcare Foundation of LaPorte paying the entire cost. Maria Fruth, President and CEO of the Healthcare Foundation of LaPorte, said the project reflects the group’s mission of LaPorte County being among the 10 healthiest counties in the state by 2030 from encouraging people to get outside and engage in physical activity. She said nearly $6.5 million had been awarded by the foundation for similar projects in the city since 2017.

 

“These investments keep bringing us closer to the goal,” Fruth said.

Wild Chase at La Porte Bakery

(La Porte, IN) - Police arrested a man at a factory in La Porte last night during a more than half-hour foot pursuit.

 

According to LaPorte City Police, the man was stopped for a traffic violation and punched the patrol officer several times in the head, then fled on foot to Lewis Bakery on the city’s east side. Chief Paul Brettin said the man at one point climbed on the roof and fell then went back inside the plant where he was apprehended. Brettin said the man was admitted to the hospital with injuries suffered in the fall and from his other actions at the company.

 

“He was going berserk inside the factory, from falling off the roofs, jumping over things.  I mean, there’s a lot of sharp metal. It was dark. You can imagine what kind of injuries he would have. None of them were from the officers,” he said.

 

Brooke Gearheart, who works in shipping at the bakery, said she was just an arm’s length from the man who never threatened her. “He took off and ended up on top of our office building and decided to climb on the pipes, and he was trying to break the pipes," Gearheart stated.

 

So far, the name of the suspect has not been released. Brettin said the officer assaulted suffered a concussion and is on leave indefinitely until he’s ready to return to work. A La Porte County Sheriff’s Deputy also suffered a badly sprained leg.  

Scholarship Eligibility for Renters Proposed

(Michigan City, IN) - There was more discussion last night about opening a scholarship program to additional students in Michigan City. Currently, families must live in Michigan City and own a home to qualify. Adding renters who live in the city is now being proposed.

 

City Councilman Angie Nelson Deuitch said adding renters makes good sense considering how they contribute to the community. “I just think it should be open to any resident of Michigan City as long as they go to school within Michigan City,” she said.

 

Resident Andrew White said he’s a lifelong renter, and renters should not be treated any differently. “Unfortunately, I’ve never been able to own a home, but there are a lot of us that have lived in this community for a long time, and I think that there’s a lot of us who’ve done a lot to contribute to this community,” White said.

 

Allowing students from parochial schools in Michigan City to qualify is also proposed.

 

Just a tiny percentage of students have been awarded scholarships since the program began four years ago. The $5,000 per year scholarships for high school graduates with a grade point average of 2.5 and higher are paid for with funds from Blue Chip casino.

Mayor Vows to Catch Graffiti "Idiots"

(La Porte, IN) - The public is being asked to help law enforcement catch people who vandalized the skate park in La Porte. The amount of graffiti was extensive at the skate park at Fox Park.

 

Mayor Tom Dermody asks citizens to contact the police if they have any information that could produce leads in the case. “We had idiots that went out and graffitied the skate park. We will catch them, and we will ask the public for support,” the mayor said.

 

Park Department Superintendent Mark Schreiber said the vandalism was discouraging but won’t stop the city from undertaking what he expects to be a large clean-up at the facility. So far, no suspects have been reported.

 

Anyone with information is asked to contact La Porte Police at 219-362-9446.

Door Opens for Possibly More Sewers

(La Porte County, IN) - More homes in La Porte County could be served by sewers.

 

On Tuesday, the La Porte County Regional Water and Sewer Board voted to extend sewer lines from Rolling Prairie to Saugany Lake and Hudson Lake.

 

La Porte County Commission President Rich Mrozinski said extending sewer lines to those locations will now be formally looked at with cost estimates for the work and financial impact on residents to pay for the project being part of the upcoming review. Mrozinski said running sewer lines to Saugany Lake and Hudson Lake might be ready to start happening sometime next year. He said there are more than 1,000 homes in Saugany Lake on septic systems.

 

Fortunately, Mrozinski said the water quality of Saugany Lake remains high despite the high number of septic systems. The most recent work in connecting more homes to sewer lines in Rolling Prairie is wrapping up.

Police Department Back to Full Strength

(La Porte, IN) - The La Porte Police Department is back to full strength. It’s been years since there have been 44 officers in the city, according to LaPorte Mayor Tom Dermody.

 

During Tuesday's Board of Public Works and Safety meeting, Mayor Dermody said the numbers were restored from 31 officers in just over a year. He credited Police Chief Paul Brettin and other members of his administration for the additional officers. Dermody made law enforcement one of his top priorities and found the dollars needed to hire the additional officers.

 

The latest to join the department, Taylor Atkinson, was sworn into his patrol officer position yesterday.

New Buffalo High School Expanding

(New Buffalo, MI) - Robotics students at New Buffalo High School will have their own facility in a building going up soon across the street. A 10,000 square foot structure will be constructed on a narrow strip of land between Clay St. and the railroad tracks.

           

New Buffalo Area Schools Superintendent Jeff Leslie said the facility is also for the Performing Arts Center. Leslie said current conditions are too cramped for the robotics class and some of the work related to the Performing Arts Center.

 

“We’re just really crushed for space,” he said.

           

During the peak of their school year activities, Robotics students are moved into the library to provide the room needed for projects and prepare for competitions. The robotics students for the rest of the school year occupy one of the science classrooms.

 

Leslie said the new facility would also contain a woodshop and metal shop used by robotics students and Dwayne Whitmyer, Director of the Performing Arts Center. Whitmyer now uses the back of the stage to build sets and furniture for plays and musicals.

 

“It’s just not an acceptable space for him for what he’s trying to accomplish,” Leslie said.

 

The new facility also includes plenty of room for storage by the Performing Arts Center.

 

“As these programs grow, we just got to have the space to grow along with them,” Leslie said.

 

Leslie said a retention pond about half the size of the building would also be constructed for drainage because of how high the water table is in that part of the city. He said the metal-sided building should begin going up in October, with completion likely next summer.

 

The work also includes constructing six pickleball courts in a grassy area between the existing tennis courts and the school district transportation building. Leslie said the three existing pickleball courts used heavily in a sport growing in popularity would be replaced by an expanded basketball court and skate park.

 

The current basketball court will have two goals at each end, and a soft sport court surface will also be laid over the existing concrete. A pavilion with restroom facilities and drinking fountains will also go up close to the new pickleball courts.

 

Leslie said the price tag for all of the work should be about $4 million.

Lakefest Includes 5K Run

(La Porte, IN) - A 5K run/walk sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of LaPorte is part of the first-ever Lakefest in La Porte. The 5K run/walk is scheduled to start at 8 a.m. on July 31st.

 

It will begin and end at the Dennis Smith Amphitheatre at Fox Park. Sign-ups for the run/walk will begin at 7 AM. People can also register in advance at laportelakefest.com

 

Proceeds of the 5K run/walk will help fund Kiwanis Club projects benefitting local youth.

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