Local News

Local Food Drive Before Kick-Off

(Michigan City, IN) - People can donate food to the Salvation Army in Michigan City without getting out of their vehicles.

 

A drive-through food drive is planned Saturday from 9 a.m. until noon to help restock food pantry shelves at the organization at 1201 Franklin St.

 

Major Dale Simmons said he felt such an event the day before the “Big Game” between the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles would be a good way to keep the issue of hunger at the forefront.

 

“This year we thought it would good time to remind our community that it takes a village to tackle hunger but we can do it together as a team,” he said.

 

Simmons said people should place donations of food in the trunk of their vehicles so it can be removed by volunteers when they pull up to the back door.

 

“We will remove the donations and close their trunk,” he said.

 

The Salvation Army is seeking donations to help restock food pantry shelves after serving nearly 600 local families with Christmas assistance.   Suggested items for donation are canned fruits and vegetables, spaghetti sauce, cereal, jelly, canned meat, paper products, dish detergent, hygiene products and diapers.

 

Businesses looking to get involved in the effort are invited to contact the Salvation Army at (219) 874-6885.

School Corporation Addresses Schreiber Field

(La Porte, IN) - The La Porte Community School Corporation says tearing down or relocating Schreiber Field has not been raised in discussions related to facilities.

 

In a statement released today, the school corporation responded to public interest generated recently by a story based on remarks from La Porte School Board President Jim Arnold.

 

Arnold mentioned relocating Schreiber Field as an idea to consider as an option for creating space to construct a new field house for the landlocked high school if there was ever a decision to expand the current fieldhouse or build a new one.

 

“Throughout our facility assessment and strategic planning efforts, the topic of tearing down or relocating Schreiber Field has not been discussed, planned or considered,” school corporation officials said.

 

Arnold also suggested tearing down Kiwanis Field as an idea to consider if the expense of renovating the historic high school football stadium ever came in as cost prohibitive.

 

Threats of a lawsuit to stop any attempt to remove either facility were soon made by local attorney Shaw Friedman, president of the La Porte High School Class of 1977.

 

In its statement, the school corporation also indicated a public outreach would follow any proposal that would have a good-sized physical impact on the baseball or football facilities.

 

“When major building projects are proposed and agreed upon by the board and administration, a formal public engagement process occurs, which includes the presentation of rationale and illustrations, securing necessary funding, a public remonstration process, and if the project is approved and funding secured, a collaboration with adjoining property owners,” school officials said. “We understand the place that many of our facilities hold in the hearts of our Slicer community and we are committed to following the process outlined above when building projects are being considered."

 

Arnold also said any formal talks about expanding or building a new field house may or may not happen over the next few years. If it does, he said ideas on making room for such construction should be entertained and decisions based on what’s best for the future. 

 

Schreiber Field is named after the late head coach Ken Schreiber, who guided seven La Porte High School baseball teams to state titles in his 38 years at the helm of the program.

 

Scott Upp, who took over after Schreiber retired, has a state high school baseball championship from 2000 on his head coaching resume.

Arrest in House Hit by Gunfire

(Michigan City, IN) - Charges have been filed in connection with gunshots striking a Michigan City residence several weeks ago.

 

Ti Yon Riley, 23, of Gary is in custody. 

 

Michigan City Police said the investigation shows Riley from the front passenger seat of a car shot over the vehicle and struck a house five times.  This occurred on December 1st in the 600 block of York Street on the city’s north side.

 

There were no injuries.

 

Police noted that one of the bullets, though, wound up in a bedroom where a woman and her four-year-old son were sleeping.

 

According to authorities, video surveillance helped solve the case. Within minutes, the driver of the car in the video was stopped in the area of York Street and East 9th Street. Quickly, it was learned Riley had allegedly just stepped out of the vehicle before it was pulled over.

 

Riley, who was booked into the La Porte County Jail just over a week ago, is charged with Criminal Recklessness and Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Serious Violent Felon.


Charges in Crash and Manhunt

(La Porte County, IN) - Charges are filed in connection with a motor vehicle crash near Michigan City and tracking of the driver, who fled on foot. Noah Scheetz, 21, of South Bend was allegedly driving a stolen vehicle when the collision happened on Interstate 94 in late January.

 

According to Indiana State Police, footprints in the snow and a K-9 dog led searchers into a wood line near a horse barn.  The footprints kept being followed for about two hours until reaching U.S. 421.

 

Soon, officers responding to a 911 call about a subject matching the description of the fleeing driver found Scheetz inside a bathroom at the nearby Speedway station. His shoes were wet and dirty from walking through snow and water.

 

Scheetz was also found to have warrants out for his arrest in Saint Joseph County on charges of burglary and resisting law enforcement.  Police said he was also taken into custody on charges of auto theft and identity deception for not correctly identifying himself when first approached by officers.

 

According to authorities, the vehicle was reported stolen out of East Chicago earlier that same day.  There were no injuries in the traffic accident.

OWI Arrest in Rollover

(La Porte County, IN) - A man with a history of driving impaired was arrested yesterday after rolling his vehicle outside La Porte.

 

Jesus Bermudez-Gomez, 44, suffered only minor injuries in the crash in the 2500 block of East Indiana 4. Police said a female witness traveling behind him saw his pick-up truck veer into a ditch and return to the two lane highway.  She said the vehicle then crossed the center line. Responding officers then found the truck in the roadway on its passenger side.

 

According to authorities, Gomez said one of the tires on his vehicle popped but nothing appeared to be wrong with any of his tires. Gomez also claimed to have consumed four beers.  The driver allegedly refused a certified blood alcohol test after blowing into a portable breathalyzer that recorded a .178 blood alcohol level.

 

He was arrested for operating while intoxicated and driving as a habitual traffic violator, which are both Level 6 Felonies. Prior records show Gomez has had “numerous” prior OWI convictions with his last being in February of last year.

New Slicers Basketball Academy

(La Porte, IN) - The La Porte Community School Corporation Future Slicer Basketball Academy recently wrapped up their first year.

 

For the past ten weeks, 84 boys ranging from third through sixth grade participated in a weekly basketball skills clinic at La Porte High School.

 

Jordan Heckard, Head Varsity Coach, started the program to give future La Porte athletes the opportunity to work on foundational skills with the current Slicer basketball team.

 

As a perk of the program, the participants received a jersey and season pass to Slicers games to cheer on the players they worked with throughout the clinic.

 

"We are are very excited to give these young athletes an opportunity to experience the camaraderie that comes from being a Slicer athlete. To see our high school players coaching, officiating and working alongside 80+ future Slicers was an awesome experience. The community involvement has been outstanding and we look forward to seeing how the program grows next year," Heckard said.


Boy's Nothing But Net Fund Raiser

(Westville, IN) - A handful of students raised money to have new nets on the basketball rims at their school in Westville.

 

Julian Torres, 10, spearheaded the effort after growing tired of not hearing the ball swish through the bare rims at the outdoor basketball court at K-12 school.

 

Sasha Betancourt said her fourth grade son went to his principal at Westville Elementary about getting new chain nets on the rims.

 

She said Julian was told if he raised enough money for one net, Principal Brian Ton would pay for the nets on the other three rims.

 

Torres and two classmates, Adonis Vogel and Knox Schonover, made and sold the rubber band-like bracelets in various colors until reaching their goal of having enough money to buy the net costing $24.

 

Betancourt said they made 50 bracelets but it only took 20 of the bracelets to sell to have enough money.  She hopes the nets go up by the end of the week.

 

“I was pretty proud of him.  He’s a good kid,” Betancourt said.

 

Torres said he and his friends were already making bracelets for themselves when he suggested offering the bracelets for sale to benefit the school.

Study Confirms Need for New Housing

(La Porte, IN) - La Porte needs to add close to two thousand or more new housing units to its current supply of homes built mostly before 1940. That’s according to a recently completed study conducted by Chicago based SB Friedman Development Advisors.

 

The study, which began last summer, also came up with a framework to guide stakeholders in crafting a plan for addressing the housing needs in the city of about 22,000 residents.

 

Mayor Tom Dermody, who made new and updating current housing for all income levels a top priority, said a dent has been made in the problem since he took over in 2020 but there’s a lot more work to be done. He said new housing is key to increasing the city’s population and making residents out of people coming here for employment.  New members of the local workforce have long commuted from places like Valparaiso and Chesterton or Saint Joseph County after going there to find desired housing because of the fewer options here.

 

“We have a team that’s ready to work.  We have a community that wants to see it. It’ll happen,” he said.

 

The study proposes adding more than 900 homes for ownership and over 750 rental housing units over the next few years.

 

Lance Dorn, a partner with the consulting firm, said only 20-percent of the housing stock in La Porte was constructed since 1980 and that’s created other issues in areas like condition and safety.

 

“Those are impacting neighborhoods really throughout the community but there’s a concentration of that in the downtown area,” Dorn said.

 

The study also points to a need to renovate existing residential structures.

 

For quicker results, reaching out to more housing developers, including firms specializing in active senior housing along with workforce and rent-restricted housing for people with special housing needs, is also proposed. Recent successes include the opening of 200 resort type apartments near Clear Lake, ongoing expansion of Whispering Meadows subdivision and complete revamping of a once condemned 40 unit apartment house at 701 Maple Avenue.

 

Plans are also in the works for building more affordable homes in the near future at the former Tibma Bakery site on Woodward Street and an undeveloped site on 18th Street near Kesling Park.

 

Bert Cook, Executive Director of the La Porte Economic Advancement Partnership, said construction of more upscale housing should also begin this year beside Beechwood Golf Course.

 

Cook said he believes the numbers reflect not just a major current need but also what has to be done to achieve Dermody’s goal of raising the population to 30,000 by 2030.

 

He also believes the amount of new housing the study recommends in a relatively short period time presents a challenge but is attainable especially under the right economic conditions.

 

“It is a significant goal to try and reach but it’s one we’re positioned for and I think it’s something that’s desperately needed here,” Cook said.

Man Hit with More Drug Dealing Counts

(La Porte, IN) - Drug dealing charges are mounting against a La Porte man. Pedro Burgos, Jr., was recently arrested on a Level 4 Felony charge of Dealing in a Narcotic Drug.

 

Police said Burgos was involved in a $300 transaction for pressed fentanyl pills in La Porte in June of last year.  He allegedly met a buyer outside a gas station on the city’s west side and carried out the exchange inside his vehicle. The buyer contacted Burgos about obtaining drugs on Facebook messenger.

 

According to the authorities, the fentanyl pills sold by the suspect came from Mexico.

 

Court records also revealed Burgos has three charges of Dealing in a Schedule II  Substance from 2021 still undecided in La Porte Circuit Court.   Those counts are Level 2, Level 3 and Level 5 felonies.

Girls Praised for Competing Against Top Programs

(La Porte County, IN) - The La Lumiere girls’ basketball team gave another No. 1 ranked team a run for their money in a losing effort at home.

 

The Lakers were defeated 55-44 by Fremd High School outside Chicago on February 3. The Vikings are ranked No. 1 in Class 4A in Illinois.

 

La Lumiere, led by McDonalds All-American senior Ashlynn Shade, exchanged leads with the Vikings often during the first half. Other players for La Lumiere factored into the scoring more often than Shade, who was double teamed and pressured in other ways on defense throughout the game.

 

Her first bucket came from a driving lay-up with about three minutes left in the first quarter.  Shade later nailed a three point shot in the second quarter to pull the Lakers to within two points.

 

The Vikings started the third quarter with two quick buckets to pull ahead by seven points but the Lakers quickly came back when Shade dished the ball to junior Shena Fleming for a lay-up.  Shade then sank a 10 foot jump shot after grabbing an offensive rebound to cut the lead to three points.

 

However, Fremd later went up by 12 points but the three point shooting of Fleming helped keep the Lakers in striking distance. The Lakers trailed by eight points with less two minutes to play but couldn’t get any closer.

 

La Lumiere (9-10) bounced back the following night by defeating Joliet West on the road 59-52.

 

The previous week, the Lakers had a second quarter lead against South Bend Washington ranked No. 1 in Indiana and No. 7 in the nation.

 

The Lakers wound up losing that game by 16 points.

 

Head Coach Matt Marvin praised the effort of his players in both games against teams with several players heading to major college basketball programs next season.

 

“I’m really proud of this team. They work so hard every single day.  They leave nothing out there,” he said.

 

Shade, who transferred from Noblesville, Ind., is committed to playing for the University of Connecticut next season.

 

Marvin said one of his other players, Gabi Hoover, a 6’2” senior forward, is beginning to draw some interest from collegiate programs.

Popular Local Zoo Tiger Passes Away

(Michigan City, IN) - A tiger who had spentnearly his entire life at Washington Park Zoo in Michigan City has died. The male tiger, Stars, had recently been suffering from chronic kidney disease when the zoo decided to euthanize him. 

 

He was 18.

 

According zoo officials, chronic kidney disease is a common cause of illness and death in older feline species including tigers.  Stars was diagnosed with the disease a few weeks ago and had been closely monitored and treated with medications to keep him comfortable, but his activity and appetite continued to slow. The decision to euthanize Stars was necessary based on his extreme medical condition before his quality of life declined any further.

 

Officials said the tiger was a “favorite of guests and staff.”

 

The life span of tigers in the wild is usually between 10 and 15 years. In human care, or on rare occasions in the wild, a tiger can live up to 20 years.

 

Stars was born at a zoo in Iowa on October 15th, 2004. He had been at the zoo with his brother, Stripes, since 2005. 

Driver in Ravine Charged with OWI

(La Porte County, IN) - La Porte County Police found a motor vehicle in a ravine over the weekend and arrested the driver for consuming too much alcohol.

 

Emergency responders about 3 a.m. Sunday were called to U.S. 35 near 400 North.

 

Upon arrival, police noticed the driver, Cleveland Broome, III, was outside the vehicle talking on a cell phone. The driver claimed he ran off the road to avoid an oncoming vehicle in his lane of travel, police said.

 

The 49-year-old La Porte man also claimed he had two beers and a shot about two hours prior to the accident. However, authorities said he had a blood alcohol level of slightly more than .17-percent, which is slightly higher than two times the legal limit for operating a motor vehicle.

Slicers Run Past Kankakee Valley 86-54

The La Porte Boys Basketball team overcame a slow start and overwhelmed Kankakee Valley 86-58 Saturday afternoon at Slicer Gym. 

 

The Kougars, playing without leading scorer Camden Webster (18ppg), surprised LP, jumping out to an 8-0 lead to start the game. Rylan Kieszkowski got the Slicers on the board with a three pointer. La Porte trailed 22-20 after the entertaining, high scoring opening period. Ja’Meriyon Cross scored 7 points in the quarter and three different Slicers hit three pointers. Kankakee Valley hit five threes in the quarter.

 

La Porte took the lead, which they never relinquished, on a Kieszkowski three early in the second quarter. LP scored the first 10 points of the period and never looked back. The Slicer defense was superb holding the Kougars to just 6 second quarter points. La Porte led 42-28 at the half and had three double digit scores at the break, Cross with 12, Kyle Kirkham 11 and Kieszkowski with 10.

 

The third quarter saw both the Slicers and Kougars at their best offensively. La Porte outscored KV 25-19 in the period led by Malik Corley’s 15 points. LP’s relentless press forced several KV turnovers and led to easy baskets. Kankakee Valley’s sophomore guard Bobby LaLonde scored 9 of his team high 16 points in the third.

La Porte outscored KV 19-9 in the fourth quarter making the final 86-58. Both coaches emptied their benches in the fourth.

 

Cross and Corley were named co Salisbury and Spence Edward Jones Players of the Game. Cross led the Slicers with 20 points while Corley scored 19, 17 in the second half. Kirkham finished with 13, Kieszkowski 12, Dylan Salisbury 8, Tommy Samuelson 7, Nic Spence 5 and RJ Anglin 2.

 

La Porte turned the ball over only three times while forcing Kankakee Valley into 19.

 

Freshman Sawyer Tonagel dressed for the varsity game and saw fourth quarter action. Tonagel is a rare third generation Slicer. His grandfather Hugh was a Slicer standout in the late 1960’s and father Ben was a star on the 1997 Final Four team.

 

The Slicers (13-6) will travel to Merrillville Friday night to take on the Pirates in a DAC battle scheduled to tip at 7:00. That game can be heard on 96.7 the Eagle. Pregame is scheduled at approximately 6:45.

 

16-0 RUN SPARKS 48-37 JV WIN

 

The La Porte JV team and Kankakee Valley were tied at 28-28 near the midway point of the third quarter Saturday afternoon. The Slicers scored the last 11 points of the third period and the first 5 points of the fourth quarter on their way to a 48-37 win.

 

The game was back and forth in the first half with KV leading 11-9 after one and the Slicers up 25-22 at the half. Sawyer Tonagel stayed red hot from the three point line hitting five on his way to a game high 17 points. This comes on the heels of his six three pointers vs Valpo on Thursday.  Vann Warner scored 7 while Mike Montoya and Gage Raymond each had 6.  Kevin Konieczny pitched in 5 and Javelle Broome finished with 3. Broome was great on the boards against the taller Kougars.

 

The JV team is now 8-10 on the season. They will travel to Merrillville Friday night with tip off scheduled at 5:30.

Close Call in Crash into Office

(Trail Creek, IN) - A business owner in the Michigan City area had a very close call with a motor vehicle over the weekend.

 

The vehicle took out a NIPSCO pole early Saturday afternoon before crashing into the office at Amish Structures on U.S. 20 in Trail Creek.  A natural gas leak was created when the vehicle took out a gas meter at the business.

 

Coolspring Township Assistant Fire Chief Warren Smith said the vehicle apparently left the highway twice before crashing into an Amish Structures owned pick-up truck.

 

Smith said the truck owned by the business then crashed into the office building and stopped about 10 feet from the owner of the company.  He said a roughly 15 foot wide by 9 foot tall hole was left in the outside wall of the office structure.

 

“He was sitting in the office right behind where the impact came in,” Smith said.

 

Smith said the owner could have been seriously injured or killed had the vehicle not hit the truck and plowed straight into the office.

 

“It’s a good thing his truck was in the way,”  he said.

 

Smith says the driver was being looked over by medics.  We’ll provide more details once they become available.

South Central Repeats as Sectional Champs

(Union Mills, IN) - South Central won their second sectional title in a row in girls’ high school basketball Saturday night

 

The Lady Satellites defeated LaVille for the sectional crown 52 to 40.

 

South Central plays Central Noble from Albion in a one game regional next Saturday at Winamac.  Game time is noon. (CST).

 

The Satellites (23-3) haven’t lost a game since the New Year.

 

South Central has two returning starters from last year’s team, which was undefeated until losing to Andrean in the regional championship game.  It’s the third sectional title in the last four seasons for the Lady Satellites.        

 

“We have some really talented young ladies who’ve been playing basketball their whole lives and this is kind of a culmination of their hard work over the years,” said Head Coach Ben Anderson.                                        

 

Central Noble is ranked No. 3 in Class 2A while South Central is unranked. 

 

“I think we’re comparable in a lot of ways and I think we can compete with them.  We’re playing our best basketball of the season right now,” he said.

Grammy Awards Have Local Connection

(Los Angeles, CA) - A La Porte restauranteur is in Los Angeles working at the Grammy Awards.

 

Tu Bloom is known around here as the owner of the new downtown Vietnamese eatery Bon Viet. He is also a professional chef in Chicago. But this weekend Bloom is living up to his name as a floral designer. He’s the botanical artist responsible for beautifying the sets of the 65th annual Grammy Awards.

 

Bloom was recently interviewed from the Red Carpet about his role by Chicago WGN’s Dina Bair. “The goal is to complement the Red Carpet, not take over,” he told Bair. Bloom is in charge of designing and cultivating live botanical arrangements so they look their best for the cameras at the star-studded event. Bloom said he has been handling floral designs at the Grammys for the past 15 years.

 

At the end of his interview with WGN, Bloom gave La Porte and his restaurant an enthusiastic shout-out and plugged the broadcast of the Grammy Awards, which will air Sunday evening on CBS at 7 p.m. Central.

State Police Introduce New K-9 Teams for This Region

 

(Lowell, IN) - Northwest Indiana has three new K-9 police teams among the State Police ranks. Three troopers and their K-9 partners recently graduated from the Indiana State Police K-9 Academy in Indianapolis.

 

 

They are:

  • Trooper William Carlson and his partner Cooper, a German Shepherd. Carlson is a seven-year veteran of the State Police.
  • Trooper Benjamin Beers and his partner Zero, a Belgian Malninois/Shepherd mix. Beers patrols the tollway, and he led the state in O.W.I. arrests in 2021.
  • Trooper Logan Hensley and his partner Kai, a German Shepherd. They are also assigned to the Toll Road. Hensley's former partner Zeus passed away last year. Kai is short for Kairos, who was Zeus' youngest son in Greek mythology.

 

The K-9 Academy is 12 weeks long and includes over 400 hours of training for trooper and K-9. They receive training in obedience, tracking, area search, building search, article search, apprehension, and narcotic detection.  The Indiana State Police currently has 34 patrol K-9 teams and six explosive detection K-9 Teams.

Knox High School Rattled by Noisy Muffler

(Knox, IN) - A faulty car exhaust sparked a security check at Knox High School.

 

On Thursday morning the school was placed on lockdown, as a precaution, when school officials heard a loud bang outside.

 

Police investigated only to find out the sound was that of a car’s exhaust backfiring as it left the school parking lot.

 

Parents were notified of the lockdown, and school officials chalked it up to good practice.

Brawl Spoils Senior Night in South Bend

(South Bend, IN) - A basketball game on South Bend’s west side was abruptly halted when a fight broke out midway through the contest. It happened Thursday night as South Bend Washington hosted Riley High School in boys’ basketball.

 

Senior Night was spoiled when a halftime brawl in the stands spilled onto the court, causing the second half to be canceled. According to South Bend Police, about 20 officers eventually intervened, including the entire 2nd shift and officers from nearby jurisdictions. An ambulance was called, but no injuries were reported.

 

According to Washington boys’ basketball coach Ryan Varga, the melee had nothing to do with action on the court but resulted from non-students bringing their drama into the gym.

 

No arrests have been made in connection with the altercation. The IHSAA says no sanctions will be levied against South Bend Washington because proper security measures were in place and proper procedures were followed to de-escalate the situation. The second half of the game will be rescheduled. 

Both Mayors Unopposed in Primary

(La Porte, IN) - The filing deadline for candidates in the May primary has passed with La Porte Mayor Tom Dermody running unopposed for the republican nomination.

 

The only democrat in the primary race is Ron Zimmer, who was defeated for the party nomination in a landslide by then mayor Kathy Chroback in 2011.

 

Dermody, who’s seeking a second term, is a former five term state representative and once a member of the La Porte School Board.

 

There are five candidates seeking the democrat party nomination for mayor in Michigan City.  They are former mayor Ron Meer, city council members Angie Nelson Deuitch and Michael Mack along with former city councilman Johnny Stimley and La Porte County Councilman Mark Yagelski.

 

Michigan City Mayor Duane Parry is running unopposed in the primary for the republican nomination.  Mike Walker is running for mayor as a libertarian.

 

Meer was seeking a third term when defeated by Parry in 2019 by less than 100 votes.  

 

The filing deadline expired today at 12 p.m. 

Charges in Crow Bar Robbery Attack

(Michigan City, IN) - Charges have been filed in connection with a robbery and beating at a Michigan City area motel. About three weeks ago, police responded to the Dunes Inn along U.S. 421 near Interstate 94.

 

Briene Henderson, 33, allegedly went inside a room and had a brief conversation with the guest. Authorities state that he then pulled a crowbar out of coat pocket and began striking the man on the head.  The victim ran into the bathroom and was followed by Henderson who allegedly worked him over some more with the metal bar.

 

Police said Henderson didn’t leave until he took a Playstation game console, two cell phones and a backpack full of laundry.

 

The victim was treated at the scene by paramedics and transported to the hospital.

 

According to police, Henderson is also charged with taking various items from vehicles in the Michigan City area during the overnight hours about a week ago.

Car Takes Out Pole at Hammer's

(La Porte County, IN) - A motor vehicle striking a NIPSCO pole resulted in several hundred power outages in the Michigan City area late this morning.

 

At about 11 a.m., emergency responders were called to the area of U.S. 20 and Johnson Road. Witnesses say a NIPSCO pole was broken in two and the upper half of the pole was dangling above the ground from the power lines.

 

“We do have a NIPSCO pole that is completely taken out here,” one of the responding police officers stated.

 

According to witnesses, the vehicle came to rest beside Hammer’s restaurant.

 

So far, we don’t know if there were any injuries.  NIPSCO reported over 400 customers were without power after the collision.  

 

We’ll provide more details as they become available.

Slicer Defense Keys 50-47 Win Over Valpo

Valparaiso came into Slicer Gym Thursday night led by 6’7 Indiana All Star Candidate Mason Jones (21 ppg) and 6’1 sophomore Jack Smiley (15.3 ppg). The pair scores nearly 65% of the Vikings 56 points per game. 

 

Slicer coach Jordan Heckard put together a great defensive scheme, adding a diamond and two zone to the Slicers current zone and man to man packages. The idea was to force players other than Jones and Smiley to score. Kyle Kirkham was assigned to cover Jones and Rylan Kieszkowski chased Smiley.

 

La Porte jumped out to a 13-11 lead after the first quarter. Four different Slicers hit 3 pointers in the period and Tommy Samuelson added a free throw. Jones had 3 points in the quarter and Smiley was held scoreless. Caden Crowel stepped up for Valpo and scored 8 in the period for the Vikings.

 

Midway through the second quarter Jones picked up his second foul and went to the bench for the remainder of the half. The Slicers failed to take advantage of his absence and trailed 25-21 at the break . Malik Corley and Kirkham each had 7 points after two quarters.

Valpo scored the first basket of the third quarter to take a 6 point lead. The Slicers promptly ran off the next 7 points to take the lead by one. Ja’Meriyon Cross scored 8 points and Kirkham 5 in the third as the Slicers led 35-34 heading into the fourth quarter.

 

La Porte led 46-44 heading into the game’s final minute. Valpo fouled Cross with 44 seconds remaining. The senior, who was 1-4 from the free throw line up to that point, stepped to the line and calmly hit both shots to give the Slicers a 48-44 edge. 

 

Valpo pushed the ball up the court, missed a shot but the rebound was tipped to Smiley who drilled a 3 pointer to make the score 48-47 with 29 seconds left.  The Slicers inbounded the ball to Corley, a 90% free throw shooter, who was promptly fouled. Corley hit the pair to make it 50-47.  

 

The Slicer defense kept the ball out of the hands of Jones and Smiley on Valpo’s ensuing possession. Conner McCall missed a corner three pointer that was rebounded by Kieszkowski. He was fouled at the 13 second mark. The 6’5 junior came up short on the front end of the one and one giving Valpo one more chance. Again the Slicers did not let Jones or Smiley get a look. Michael Ridley was forced to take a well defended, off balance, corner three. Kieszkowski pulled down the rebound and the Slicers had a 50-47 win. 

Kyle Kirkham, who was named the Salisbury and Spence, Edward Jones Player of the Game led all scorers with 20 points. He was also the primary defender of Jones. Cross finished with 14 points, Corley 10 with Samuelson and Kieszkowski each adding 3 points. La Porte got hardnosed defense and rebounding from the trio and RJ Anglin, Brennan Balka and Dylan Salisbury. 

Smiley finished with 14 points and Jones had 11.  No other Viking reached double figures.

 

This was La Porte’s first win over Valparaiso since a 44-41 holiday tourney win in 2013. It was their first regular conference game victory over the Vikings since December 2007. The Slicers improved to 12-6 on the season and 2-3 in the DAC. Valpo falls to 9-11 and 2-3.

 

La Porte will host Kankakee Valley Saturday afternoon with tipoff scheduled at 1:30. As always the game will broadcast on 96.7 the Eagle pregame is scheduled at 1:15.

 

JV TEAM FALLS SHORT 53-46

Matt Miller’s Slicer Junior Varsity team lost a tough back and forth 53-46 contest to Valpo in Thursday evening’s opener.  The Vikings led 12-9 after one quarter, the Slicers had a 24-20 half time lead. Valpo jumped to a 35-30 heading into the final quarter. La Porte tied the game at 41 in the fourth but were outscored 12-5 to end the game.

 

Freshman Sawyer Tonagel hit six three pointers for 18 points. Eli Taylor and Vann Warner each scored 8.  Kevin Konieczny and Javelle Broome had 5 points. Gage Raymond finished with 2 points.

 

The JV team will tip off against Kankakee Valley at noon on Saturday in Slicer Gym.

 

Photos courtesy of Susan Anglin.

Dumpster Diving Lands Man in Jail

(Wanatah, IN) - A man could face prison time after allegedly caught with narcotics while dumpster diving in La Porte County.

 

Benjamin VanVyckt, 39, is charged in La Porte Circuit Court with Level 6 Felony Possession of Methamphetamine.

 

According to court documents, La Porte County Police on January 24th were called to the American Legion in Wanatah and found VanVyckt inside a dumpster outside the building.

 

Police also discovered a warrant out for his arrest for violating probation in Whitley County.

 

Investigation disclosed just over two grams of methamphetamine and several smoking pipes were located in his vehicle. Also found in the vehicle was a winter jacket with actual South Bend Police Department patches on both arms of the jacket He told investigators he found the jacket inside a dumpster “while dumpster diving” in South Bend.

 

Prior records show the warrant was for violating probation on convictions of Operating while Intoxicated, Operating a Vehicle After Judged an Habitual Offender and Failure to Appear in Court.

Charges in Junk Food Theft

(La Porte, IN) - A La Porte man with a history of stealing is in trouble again for allegedly helping himself to some junk food.

 

Ryan Dunfee, 38, is charged in La Porte Circuit Court with Level 6 Felony Theft.

 

According to court documents, the man on January 18 was caught inside the BP Station at 1302 Lincolnway with an open bag of cheddar fries, a pack of cupcakes with one cupcake missing and an unopened bag of Cheetos.

 

The gas station manager followed him to nearby Northwest Health where he was confronted by officers inside the hospital. Dunfee told officers he went there because he was feeling suicidal and treatment for what appeared to be a badly infected big toe. He wound up being admitted to the medical facility.

 

Police said Dunfee claimed he took the snack food items from his mother’s house. Dunfee was warned in writing that he could be arrested if he ever returned to the gas station.

 

He could face anywhere from a six month-to-30 month sentence on the latest theft charge. 

 

Court records show he has several prior theft related convictions.

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