Local News

Oktoberfest Returning to Michigan City

(Michigan City, IN) - Michigan City Special Events is proud to announce the entertainment line-up for the return of Michigan City's most requested event, Oktoberfest.

 

The four-day festival in Washington Park over Labor Day weekend will feature over 40 music and entertainment groups, as well as local and regional food, art, craft, and merchandise vendors.

 

"We are so excited to bring back Oktoberfest to our great city," said Mayor Duane Parry. "This event was the highlight of the summer for many years, and I know everyone has missed it as much as I have."

 

Entertainment will be spread over three stages. The NIPSCO Music Tent, the Sunset Pavilion, and the Sunset Rooftop will feature a variety of entertainment options throughout the weekend.

 

Each area will have a full bar, and there will be plenty of food options for all tastes.

 

Terry Greetham, Director of Michigan City Special Events, said he's confident the entertainment line-up will draw great crowds. He remembers when the Oktoberfest was the event of the year in Michigan City. 

 

"It is going to take us some time to build it back up to that level, but I believe this year's event will have a little something for everyone with a wide variety of music and vendors. This first year back will lay the foundation for what I hope is a growing event for many years to come," Greetham said.

 

Oktoberfest will also feature a Kids Sand Zone, with all the tools and toys needed to build sandcastles and daily lessons in sandcastle building by sand sculptor Janet Moore Schrader, winner of the Singing Sands Sand Sculpting Festival Semi-Pro category in June.

 

Well-known caricature artist Roger Hurtado from Chicago will be on hand as well as other kids' activities. Family hours are 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.

 

In addition, the Great Lakers Car Club will also hold a car show on Sunday, September 4.

 

Oktoberfest starts Friday, September 2, and runs through Monday, September 5. Event hours are 12:00 pm to 10:00 pm Friday through Sunday and 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm Monday.

New Strategy to Combat Rise in OWI

(La Porte County, IN) - La Porte County Police are trying something different to try and reduce the number of people driving impaired.

 

Since spring, mugshots of people arrested by the La Porte County Sheriff’s Office for operating while intoxicated and their names are released each month publicly.

 

Sheriff John Boyd said the number of driving impaired cases was going down for a long time but recently started back up.

 

Boyd said there’s also been an increase in motor vehicle crashes involving alcohol or other foreign substances.

 

All mugshots are on a single page for publishing in newspapers and other media outlets.

 

“We’ve tried to have an awareness campaign about this for a number of years.  We’re partnering with a number of agencies to reduce the amount of drinking and driving and driving while impaired. It just doesn’t seem to be working,” Boyd said.

There are 17 people arrested for OWI in July in the latest sheriff’s office roster-type release.

 

Boyd said the idea is not to publicly shame people arrested for operating while intoxicated but to increase awareness about the consequences and better alternatives like designated drivers.

 

“If somebody doesn’t want their picture posted, then they shouldn’t operate a vehicle while impaired. It’s just as simple as that. It’s the best way to prevent that from happening. We’re not making any apologies for someone else’s behavior,” Boyd said.

 

Meer Claims Victory in Case Dismissal

(Michigan City, IN) - Charges have been dismissed against the former mayor of Michigan City, who alleged the case from 2019 was political to cost him a third consecutive term.

 

Meer has agreed to admit guilt about leaving the scene of an accident after leaving office. However, charges of false informing, intimidation and official misconduct against Meer for his behavior following the arrest of his stepson were dismissed on August 8  

 

The case was dismissed by Porter County Judge Jeffrey Thode, who was brought in to handle the criminal proceedings since the politically charged allegations were filed in LaPorte County.  

 

The dismissed charges stem from Meer alleging his stepson, Adam Bray, was targeted by La Porte County Prosecutor John Lake and Meer presenting evidence he felt backed up his claims. Meer also lashed out at the police.  

 

Charges were brought against Meer just days before he lost to current mayor Duane Parry by less than 100 votes.

 

“A lot of effort went into tarnishing my reputation. For 55 years, I was never arrested for anything. Never even had a speeding ticket,” Meer said.

Bray was later convicted of the gun and drug-related charges resulting from a traffic stop in Michigan City.

 

Close to a year after leaving office, Meer struck a vehicle at a stop sign while making a wide turn at Ohio and Henry streets on Michigan City’s west side, police said. Police soon found Meer getting out of his vehicle outside his residence and asked if he wanted to talk about the crash.

 

Police said Meer walked into his home and shut the front door. He talked to the police about the accident the next day.

 

His attorney Scott King said a charge of resisting law enforcement would be dismissed against Meer in exchange for him pleading guilty to leaving the scene of an accident. King said Meer did not resist arrest because the police did not order him to speak to them about the minor collision.

 

“He was requested to come and talk to them and answer their questions, which he and you and I and everybody in America has the right to decline to do,” King said.

The SOUND OFF Podcast: LaPorte County Commissioner Sheila Matias

(LAPORTE, IN) - Sheila Matias, President of the LaPorte County Commissioners, stopped by the 96.7 the Eagle Studios to talk with Nate Loucks about what's happening in LaPorte County. She answered questions about law enforcement shortages, civility, a bypass around LaPorte, and more. 

 

Listen to the full episode below: 

 

Alcohol Related Wood Pile Collision

(La Porte County, IN) - La Porte County Police say a man had too much to drink when he drove into a wood pile. Ethan Mikowski, 22, of Michigan City, is charged with operating while intoxicated.

 

La Porte County Police said Mikowski was northbound Friday night in the 4600 block of South Range Road near Kingsford Heights. His car left the road and traveled nearly 200 feet into a yard before landing on top of a pile of logs.

 

Most of the damage to his vehicle was to the undercarriage, police said. 

 

Mikowski had a blood alcohol level of more than three times the legal limit. Mikowski said he left a bar in La Porte and thought he was traveling back home to Michigan City when he was arrested. 

Meth Ingesting Attempt Fails

(La Porte County, IN) - Charges have been filed against a man who allegedly tried swallowing a bag of meth pulled from a body cavity.

 

La Porte County Police said 42-year-old Michael Bowen was arrested on outstanding warrants in the area of State Road 39 and U.S. 20 last week.

 

While being booked in the county jail, police said the Michigan City man removed a bag attached to a string from his anal cavity and tried swallowing it. Jail deputies recovered the bag allegedly containing methamphetamine, police said.

 

Currently, Bowen has charges involving crimes like theft, drug possession, and escape still undecided in court.

Race Car Like Driver Arrested

(La Porte County, IN) - A 22-year-old woman is facing possible time in prison on allegations of traveling more than twice the speed limit and fleeing police.

 

Mia Dudeck is charged with a Level 6 felony resisting law enforcement and operating while intoxicated.

 

According to La Porte County Police, the northern La Porte County woman was driving a 2018 Ford Taurus when a patrol officer spotted her early Tuesday traveling at an extremely high rate of speed at U.S. 20 and Indiana 39.

 

Police said the officer while attempting to catch up to the car westbound on U.S. 20, was traveling 125 miles per hour but falling further behind the suspected vehicle. At one point, the officer lost sight of the car.

 

Michigan City Police were notified and stopped the car at 10th and Lafayette streets, police said.

 

According to police, Dudeck replied that she didn’t observe the officers when asked why she failed to pull over immediately. In addition, her alleged blood alcohol level was close to two times the legal limit.

 

Her passenger, Jessica Gall, 22, of Michigan City, was taken into custody for disorderly conduct. Police said Gall began screaming at the driver and continued to yell and demand to speak to her despite warnings to tone down her behavior.

"The Hawk" Lands for Adoring Fans

(New Buffalo, MI) - Chicago Cubs Hall of Famer Andre Dawson signed autographs and posed for pictures with members of the public Friday between New Buffalo and Grand Beach.

 

A long line of people was waiting to see the 68-year-old Dawson from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at The Sports Card Shop on U.S. 12.

 

People relished meeting Dawson, who played six seasons at Wrigley Field in a career that began in 1976 with the Montreal Expos.

 

Cody Looney, 24, of New Buffalo, had Dawson sign his Cubs jersey and a baseball, then sat down with his father, Bobby, to eat barbecue beef sandwiches offered to everyone in attendance.

 

Emily Nannfeldt came from Niles to see her all-time favorite player.

 

“He’s probably the only sports figure I would actually come out and see. This is really cool,” Nannfeldt said.

 

“It was really neat,” said Joe Appelget of St. Joseph.

 

Scott Buchanan made the drive from Paw Paw and walked away with a 1977 Topps Andre Dawson rookie card from his collection since childhood signed by the former player nicknamed “The Hawk.”

 

“It was awesome. It was surreal,” Buchanan said.

 

George Colon wearing a Cubs hat and jersey came from La Porte with his wife, Erin, and 12-year-old son, Andrew. When he handed Dawson a baseball to sign, the 56-year-old Colon choked up a bit with emotion.

 

“Even though we’re grown men, we’re still kids on the inside,” Colon said.

 

Dawson, a former eight-time National League All-Star player, is busy nowadays, traveling primarily throughout the Midwest to sign autographs at similar venues. He also owns a funeral home in Miami, Florida, where he grew up and still lives.

 

Dawson said the funeral home landed in his lap as an investor 12 years ago, and he had to decide whether to sell or keep it. He answered what he felt was his next calling and chose to retain ownership.

 

Dawson is actively involved in what’s become a family-operated business.

 

“It’s a product of the community, and I wanted it to stay that way,” Dawson said.

 

Rex Gotcher, who opened the card shop nearly two years ago, said Dawson came here after contacting him about his interest in having a former athlete make an appearance at his establishment.

 

Gotcher said he was given several names to choose from and settled on Dawson, elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York, in 2010.

 

Dawson came the day after he appeared at the “Field of Dreams” game between the Cubs and Cincinnati Reds in Dyersville, Iowa.

 

The game is at a 3,000-seat stadium next to the playing field where the hit 1989 baseball movie was filmed beside a corn field. During pre-game ceremonies, Dawson was among the current and former players emerging from the stalks of corn onto the playing field. He joined other Cubs Hall of Famers, Billy Williams, Fergie Jenkins, and Ryne Sandberg walking out from the corn.

 

Dawson said the last time he swung a bat was in a cage nearly ten years ago while doing some work for the Miami Marlins organization. He quit after two pitches when the muscles in the calves of his legs began tightening.

 

“I leave well enough alone,” Dawson said.

 

Dawson said he still enjoys the game as an outsider and when he puts on a uniform in spring training to help analyze and work with upcoming players in the Cubs organization.

 

He also enjoys his annual visits to Cooperstown for the festivities before a new crop of former players are inducted into the hall of fame.

 

“It’s good to see the guys. The older guys I enjoy for the most part because they have stories to tell, and you enjoy sitting around listening to them,” Dawson said.

More Light Shed on Officer's Arrest

(Trail Creek, IN) - Brandon Wilkerson, a City of La Porte police officer, was arrested and suspended from his job for allegedly having sex beside a vehicle in a parking lot.

 

The 35-year-old Wilkerson is charged in La Porte Superior Court 4 with Class A misdemeanor public indecency and Class B misdemeanor public intoxication.

 

According to court documents, a Trail Creek Police officer patrolled Evergreen Plaza at about 6 a.m. on Friday when he encountered an individual standing in the open doorway of a pick-up truck parked near the entrance to Decoy's Neighborhood Bar & Grill. This person was later identified as Wilkerson. 

 

Police said Wilkerson was naked from the waist down and having what appeared to be sexual intercourse with a woman.

 

After learning about the officer's presence, Wilkerson pulled up his pants from around his ankles. He was then placed in handcuffs, according to court documents.

 

Police said he registered a blood alcohol level nearly twice the legal limit on a portable breathalyzer test.

 

La Porte Police Chief Paul Brettin said Wilkerson was placed on five days of automatic suspension without pay. He said it's up to the La Porte Police Merit Commission to decide on additional job-related punishment.

 

Brettin said Wilkerson was off duty and driving his own personal vehicle. He has been with the department since September of 2013.

 

In June, Wilkerson received the "Medal of Distinguished Service" for safely disarming a man who walked outside and pointed a loaded rifle at officers during a domestic dispute.

 

According to the police, the woman was allowed to go. Still, the investigation findings will be presented to the La Porte County Prosecutor to decide whether to seek a warrant for her arrest on public indecency charges. The woman had no alcohol in her system.

Pets Die in House Fire

(Porter County, IN) - Several pets died in a Porter County house fire over the weekend. The fire happened Friday night in Jackson Township, several miles west of Westville.

 

Upon arrival, authorities said there was heavy fire in the basement.

 

Attempts were made to resuscitate the dogs and cats, but they succumbed to smoke inhalation. One person was taken to the hospital with smoke inhalation, officials said.

 

The cause of the fire remains under investigation. 

Drugs Linked to Store Temper Tantrum

(La Porte County, IN) - A suspected drug user is charged after allegedly causing a scene at a local chain store.

 

28-year-old Nicholas Lemons of Union Mills could face up to 30 months on each of two felony counts of possession of a narcotic and illegal possession of a syringe.

 

On August 2, police were called to Family Express in Kingsbury at 400 South and U.S. 35 on a report of a man being irate and throwing things inside the store. Upon arrival, officers said Lemons was “fidgety” and “picking at his skin.”

 

A search of his car allegedly uncovered a small amount of heroin and a used syringe.

 

According to court records, Lemons has a long history of crimes involving drugs and other offenses like robbery and burglary. In April, he was arrested on allegations of operating while intoxicated.

Sheriff's Department: Down Deputies, Duties Going Up

(La Porte, IN) - The La Porte County Sheriff’s Department is facing extra responsibilities and a lack of manpower.

 

At last week’s Sheriff’s Merit Commission meeting, an increase to the department’s workload was discussed. As of August 1, the Sheriff’s Department has assumed substantial policing responsibilities for the Purdue campus in Westville. The university has decided to suspend campus police services on overnights, weekends, and holidays. Sheriff’s Department patrols will have to pick up the slack.

 

According to Chief Deputy Ron Heeg, the university decided to pare back its policing for budgetary reasons. Even though Purdue is a state school, Heeg said the State Police have not stepped up to offer coverage, in part because they are also understaffed. Heeg said State Representative Jim Pressel has been working with Purdue to find a better solution.

 

In the meantime, calls for service increased 28 percent last month for the midnight shift. According to Heeg, such an increase is not unusual in the summer months, but taking on additional duties at PNW will only stretch the department’s resources thinner.

 

“It just shows you the situation that we’re in right now,” Heeg said. “It’s starting to become almost desperate [as far as] where we’re at, not just here in La Porte County but nationwide. Every department is struggling.” Heeg said La Porte County officers get recruiting calls and emails from other departments, near and far. Heeg gave the example of Phoenix, Arizona, which offers pay of $109,000 plus $10,000 for moving expenses. Heeg said departments are trying to recruit from each other because the next generation of prospective officers just isn’t emerging.

 

Heeg reported that two future officers are ready to start their academy training. Another is currently in field training. However, the department now has four positions to fill. Heeg said only two applications have been received, with the application deadline coming up on August 22.

The Long Road Goes Through La Porte County

(La Porte County, IN) - A couple of retired Marines trekked through La Porte County recently raising money and awareness for various veterans’ causes.

 

On June 6 Justin “JD” LeHew and Coleman “Rocky” Kinzer set out from Boston on an over 3,000-mile cross-country hike along U.S. 20 destined for Newport, Oregon.

 

Their mission is to raise awareness for the 81,000 soldiers since WWII who are missing in action. They also raise money for Gold Star families and other veterans’ charities. They call their effort “The Long Road.”

 

LeHew and Kinzer spent the better part of Thursday walking across La Porte County. A generous supporter bought them beers at an Irish pub in New Carlisle on Wednesday evening, followed the next night by dinner and lodging at a roadside motel west of Michigan City. Several other supporters travelled to various points in between. One former Marine joined their hike for a few miles.

 

The hiking duo is hoping to make it to Chicago by Monday evening, where they are scheduled to throw out the first pitch at a Chicago White Sox game following a pre-game fundraiser.

 

Follow this link to support The Long Road.

Sheriff's Department Losing Two Good Ones

(La Porte, IN) - The La Porte County Sheriff’s Department is losing two outstanding officers—one with lots of muscle and one with lots of fur.

 

At the August 3rd County Commissioners meeting, Sheriff John Boyd announced that K-9 companion Argo will be retiring.

 

Argo is a 9-year-old Belgian Malinois, who has served La Porte County for seven years. Boyd told the commissioners that age is catching up with Argo. “He does have some physical limitations that have forced him to be single-purpose,” Boyd said. Over the years Argo gained a reputation for his apprehension and tracking skills, but recently he has been limited to explosives detection. Boyd said Argo suffers from tendonitis, severe arthritis in his front paws, and calcium buildup in his back causing some discomfort.

 

Unfortunately, Argo’s handler, Deputy Bobby Greer, is also leaving the department after nine years of public service. Greer, who is an accomplished power lifter, is stepping away from law enforcement for a job at a steel mill. Not only is the pay better, but according to Greer an even bigger factor is the health insurance and benefits.

 

At a recent Sheriff’s Merit Board meeting, board president Jim Kimmel lamented the loss of Greer to the department. “Bobby is just one of those guys that’s just a pleasure to have around. He’s very, very professional, gets the job done,” Kimmel said, emphasizing Greer’s positive demeanor. “Bobby was one to go around and bring the troops up when they were down a little bit. He always had a little humor on the side.”

 

August 19 will be the last day on the police force for both Greer and his partner Argo. The County Commission gave approval, as is the custom, for Argo to remain with the Greer family and enjoy a well-earned retirement.

SOUND OFF on Sports: High School Football with Jim Peters

(LAPORTE, IN) - Jim Peters of jimpeterssports.com stopped by the studio to talk about the upcoming football season for the LaPorte Slicers, New Prairie Cougars, Michigan City Wolves, and South Central Satellites, including his season predictions. 

 

Listen to the full episode of SOUND OFF below. And, follow the LaPorte Slicers football games live on 96.7 the Eagle, starting next Friday with the New Prairie vs. LaPorte game. 

 

Current Border Location Seems Accurate

(La Porte County, IN) - There appears to be no need to adjust the Indiana-Michigan border.

 

The border for the past months is being examined to see if it’s still in line with the original boundaries.

 

La Porte County Surveyor Tony Hendricks has been among the professionals venturing into areas like wetlands and brush, locating markers of the border from 200 years ago. The work includes checking the deeds on properties along the border to ensure the coordinates listed on those documents don’t vary from the historic location of the state line.

 

“They’re physically looking at anything they can find. Fence posts, trees, stones, iron pipes, any kind of marker that has been there since anyone can remember,” Hendricks said.

Right now, Hendricks said no changes in the location of the border appear to be needed, at least in La Porte County.

 

“They have not found any evidence that it changed demonstrably. It might be an inch or two there, but it hasn’t been feet,” Hendricks said.

Hendricks said whether there would be any changes to the border won’t be known for sure until the information collected is analyzed. He said the analysis is underway and could take a few years to complete.

 

Both states commissioned the study to make sure no changes are necessary, and the new border location data is stored digitally for much easier reference in the future.

Dedication Set for New Watercraft Launch

(La Porte, IN) - The City of La Porte Park and Recreation Department will dedicate the Stone Lake Small Watercraft Launch.

 

The dedication is scheduled for 1 p.m. on August 21 at Cummings Lodge in Soldiers Memorial Park. The dedication follows the Northwest Indiana Paddling Association Annual Rendezvous, which begins at noon.

 

According to park department officials, food and beverages will be offered for purchase during the rendezvous, along with social time.

 

After the watercraft launch dedication, the public is invited to join NIWPA members in a paddle, including kayaks, canoes, and stand-up paddle boards. A limited number of kayaks would be available on a first-come basis.

 

Construction of the accessible launch began in late 2020 with pouring the walkway and paving of the parking area.

 

Officials said the launch installed in the spring includes an easy-to-use ADA transfer bench and drive-through launch system, which allows people with disabilities, children, or seniors to feel confident transferring into their watercraft independently and provides extra stability when launching and docking.

 

Earlier this summer, a kayak rental unit and watercraft storage lockers were placed near the launch. The launch was primarily funded by the Healthcare Foundation of La Porte.

Arrest Leads to Officer's Suspension

(La Porte, IN) - A police officer in the City of La Porte has been suspended.

 

According to La Porte Police Chief Paul Brettin, the officer was arrested early this morning by Trail Creek Police. So far, the name of the officer has not been released.

 

Brettin said the officer is charged with Class B misdemeanor public intoxication and Class C misdemeanor public indecency.

 

What precisely happened leading up to the arrest has not been disclosed.

 

Brettin said the officer was placed on automatic suspension, and further disciplinary action could be taken depending on the case's outcome.

Cubs Hall of Famer Coming Tonight

(New Buffalo, MI) - A former Chicago Cubs superstar will be in the area this evening.

 

Andre Dawson, a National Baseball Hall of Fame member and eight-time MLB All-Star, is scheduled to be at The Sports Card Shop on U.S 12 just west of New Buffalo.

 

Owner Rex Gotcher said Dawson would sign autographs and take pictures from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. (EST). Dawson will be the first professional athlete to appear in his store, which opened about two years ago.

 

“We’re honored, and we’re excited that he would take time out of his schedule to come visit us over here,” Gotcher said.

Gotcher said admission is free, but autographs will cost anywhere from $49 to $69 depending on what’s presented for Dawson to sign.

 

Dawson played six seasons for the Cubs. He hit 438 home runs and drove 1,509 runs in a career that began in 1976 with the Montreal Expos.

Funeral Saturday for Crash Victim

(La Porte County, IN) - Funeral services are scheduled tomorrow for a New Prairie High School graduate killed in a motor vehicle crash last week.

 

Zachery Potts, 27, worked for Congresswoman Jackie Walorski as district director at the U.S. House of Representatives. They were killed on August 3 in a head-on collision near Nappanee. Another member of the Walorski staff and the other driver also perished in the crash.

 

The funeral service for Potts is scheduled at 1 p.m. at the Calvary Tabernacle at 606 North Elm Street in Three Oaks, Michigan, following visitation beginning at 11 a.m.

 

La Porte County Police Chief Deputy Ron Heeg said he knew both individuals. He reacted to the deaths of Walorski and Potts following a moment of silence for the victims during the La Porte County Sheriff Merit Commission meeting on Wednesday.

 

“I encountered them at several functions and on several occasions, and Jackie would always remember your name and would always be genuinely interested in what was going on, especially in La Porte County and at the sheriff’s office,” Heeg said.

Walorski was laid to rest Thursday in South Bend.

Record Hog Price Goes Higher

(Porter County, IN) - A Wanatah area woman lost her battle with cancer, but she lives on in the hearts of a community shelling out a world record price for her 10-year-old son's hog.

 

What was thought to be the sale price of $102,000 was reached during the livestock auction at the Porter County fair last month, but the amount given for the hog later went up substantially. 

 

There was no competitive bidding.

 

The money was in the form of donations from hundreds of people wanting to contribute to the charitable cause.

 

In response to demand, pledges started being accepted from the public again until the final sale price in the coming days reached $126,000.

 

"It was a world record price for a gilt," said Jonathan Kraft, a professional auctioneer and friend of the family who helped orchestrate the fundraising effort.

Typically, farm animals sold during fairs wind up in butcher shops. In this case, hundreds of financial contributors collectively decided to have the pig returned to the hobby farm of the surviving family members near Wanatah.

 

“It was a pretty awesome experience. He’ll get to breed it and have some little pigs next spring,” Kraft said.

Kraft said the money goes into a scholarship fund to help put Hudson and her other son, Brooks, 8, through college.

 

“Everyone in the community loved her. She did not, not have someone that wasn’t a friend,” Kraft said.

Ashlee Duttlinger, 39, waged a five-year battle with colon cancer. Her final six weeks were spent at home under hospice care. Yet, she painstakingly held on just long enough to watch Hudson show his reserve grand champion pig and learn about the outpouring of support during the auction.

 

Duttlinger made it to the fairgrounds with help from members of her family and other loved ones. But unfortunately, she passed away on July 31 or less than 24 hours after the fair was over.

 

“She said the whole time I just want to make it to the fair. I’m going to see Hudson show again. If that doesn’t speak to the human will, I don’t know what does,” said Haleigh Schoon, 33, of Lafayette.

Schoon said her best friend was always the first to reach out to people needing help and the last to leave no matter the cause. She believes the response to the fundraiser was from her many acts of selflessness.

 

“She legitimately was just the most generous spirit you ever met.  It’s the perfect illustration of people just wanting to give her what she’s always given them,” Schoon said.

 

"Even in her final days, she was still fighting and wanting to help out," Kraft said.

 

According to Kraft, a typical hog sells at auction for six to seven dollars a pound, but this one came to $420 a pound. He said a gilt's previous world record price was $95,000 in Missouri.

 

Schoon feels the frenzy of giving was also a way for the community to show there was no need for Duttlinger to worry about her children or husband, Eric.

 

"I think it was almost in a bigger way a gesture for Ashlee so she could see that these guys are loved. We're going to make sure they're o.k. after you're gone," Schoon said.

 

Schoon and Duttlinger met while showing livestock in the Porter County 4-H program and, in recent years, remained in close touch with each other.

 

She recalled visiting Duttlinger in the spring when she was hooked up to machines in a hospital intensive care unit.

 

Schoon also helped get her to the fairgrounds to see her son with his hog in the show arena one final time.

 

“There just isn’t enough words in the world to describe how much I loved her and how wonderful she was. She never wanted to be the center of attention and never wanted people to worry about her.  Her people came first,” Schoon said.

Pro-Choice Rally on Friday

(Michigan City, IN) - People will be speaking against the state’s new abortion law in Michigan City tomorrow. The Rally for Reproductive Rights will occur at the “You Are Beautiful” grounds along U.S. 12 beside City Hall.

 

Among the event sponsors is State Representative Pat Boy (D) Michigan City.

 

Boy, who publicly denounced the legislation signed by the governor recently, is expected to be among several guest speakers during the rally scheduled to begin at 5 p.m.

 

Brianna Holzer of La Porte organized a pro-choice rally several weeks ago outside the courthouse along Lincolnway. Feeling public sentiment is on their side, Holzer urged pro-choice supporters not to give up on trying to have the new restrictions on abortion overturned.

 

“It’s not representing the people in Indiana who actually didn’t really want this to happen. Now is actually the time to have our voices heard,” Holzer said.

The state’s abortion law, considered one of the most restrictive in the nation, takes effect on September 15.

 

Under the law, abortion is outlawed except when the health of the mother and baby are in question or cases of rape and incest. Abortion in the case of rape or incest, though, is prohibited after ten weeks of pregnancy.

 

Boy said many women, especially the very young, don’t realize they’re pregnant until 12 weeks or longer after fertilization.

Another Driver on Meth Arrested

(Kingsford Heights, IN) - Another driver from Kingsford Heights is accused of driving under the influence of methamphetamine.

 

Jerrod Bratcher, 40, is charged in La Porte Circuit Court with Operating While Intoxicated and Possession of Methamphetamine.

 

According to court documents, a police officer began following a 1997 Lincoln after the car turned right without a turn signal activated last week in the area of Range Road and U.S. 35/U.S. 6.

 

Police said the car veered over the center line and turned left onto Chatfield Road without its turn signal blinking. The vehicle then began traveling down the middle of the road, police said.

 

During a traffic stop, police said Bratcher seemed “jumpy” and showed signs of significant impairment. A bag containing more than 30 grams of methamphetamine was seized from the vehicle. The estimated street value of the drug was over $1,000.

 

57-year-old Philip Seger was also arrested last week in Kingsford Heights on allegations of driving under the influence of methamphetamine. Seger told investigators he consumes a $20 bag of methamphetamine daily several times weekly.

Mom Accused of Abandoning Children

(La Porte, IN) - A LaPorte woman could face time in prison after she allegedly deserted her children.  Jennifer Olsen, 39, is charged with the neglect of a dependent.

 

About a month ago, police responded to the 200 block of State Street, where six children were inside the home.

 

The investigation showed Olsen had been gone for about three weeks to be with a new boyfriend.

 

The kids were being taken care of by some young adults. Police said Olsen occasionally came back to visit for a few hours at a time and sometimes brought food. However, police said there was trash, cockroaches, and other insects throughout the home, along with soiled diapers on the bathroom floor.

 

Police said it also appeared the children had not been given a bath in quite some time.

 

Olsen could face an up to 30 months prison sentence on the level 6 felony charge.

 

In 2015, Olsen was charged with child neglect, but the allegations were later dismissed, according to court records.

Charges in Michigan City Shooting

(Michigan City, IN) - Charges have been filed in connection with a Michigan City shooting. 24-year-old Robert Kelly of Westville is charged with aggravated battery and other felony counts.

 

In March, Kelly allegedly shot a man in the 500 block of Holliday Street. According to authorities, he went to a home where a former girlfriend was and shot the man she was staying with as they walked out the front door.

 

Police said Kelly forced the woman into a car and robbed her at gunpoint of $300 after she withdrew the money from an ATM. He also made her drive him to his mother’s house in Westville. After he entered the residence, the woman drove off and went straight to the police.

 

The shooting victim, Karon Johnson, underwent surgery on his arm fractured by a bullet. A second bullet piercing his arm wound up lodged in his back.

 

Kelly is being held in the La Porte County Jail without bond.  

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