Local News

Police Dog Calling It a Career

(LaPorte, IN) - A four legged member of the La Porte County Sheriff’s Office is retiring.  Jager, a K-9 dog with the department for eight-years, will be retiring in the coming weeks due to health issues, LaPorte County Sheriff John Boyd said.

 

Boyd’s request for $15,500 to purchase a new dog along with equipment and training was unanimously approved Monday night by the La Porte County Council.

 

Boyd said the german shepherd is about 10-years old.

Tax Abatement Granted in Exchange for Jobs

(La Porte, IN) – A Tax Abatement has been granted for a manufacturer expecting to bring up to 350 jobs to La Porte County.  On Monday night, the La Porte County Council voted unanimously in favor of the 10-year tax abatement for Corsicana Mattress Company.

 

One of the leading makers of mattresses in the U.S. could hire as many as 350 people in three to five years, said James Booth, Chief Operating Officer for the Dallas, Texas based firm.  The tax abatement is on $8.5 million to be invested on renovating and repurposing a 165,000 square foot assembly plant at Indiana 2 and 500 West at Pinola.  The building has been empty for about the past 20-years.

 

Tony Rodriguez, executive director of the La Porte County Office of Economic and Community Development, said the average worker salary will be about $15 per hour.  The company, listed by Furniture Today as among the top ten largest makers of mattresses in the U.S., employs about 950 people at eight other locations in Texas, North Carolina, Florida, Tennessee, Arizona, Washington, Connecticut and Illinois.  Booth said the plant here is being added to meet an increase in demand partially driven by online sales during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

He said LaPorte County was chosen because of its available workforce and close proximity to customers in markets like Chicago and Detroit who now can receive same day product delivery.  Corsicana Mattress Company was founded in 1971.

Honey Maker Blames Mosquito Spraying for Loss of Bees

(La Porte County, IN) - A honey maker from La Porte County is blaming last week’s mosquito spraying by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources for half of his bees dying.

           

Phil Janik, Jr., also known as “The Hoosier Bee Man,” said losing that many bees will put a dent in his fall honey crop.  He’s working hard to try and get his remaining bees in his 75 hives, at his home near Michigan City, to repopulate fast enough for him to have a decent harvest of honey in the spring.  “Trying to get it built back up is my mission right now,” Janik said. 

 

The September 22 spraying of mosquitos was in response to a human case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis in La Porte County and suspected cases of EEE in horses in La Porte, LaGrange and Kosciusko counties, according to DNR.  The aerial spraying took place over some 375,000 acres in parts of La Porte, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Elkhart and Noble counties, DNR said.

 

Janik said about half of the dead bees never returned to their hives as they always do prior to nightfall after the 5 p.m. spraying began.  He said the rest of the bee casualties were from heat exhaustion after closing the hives several hours later to keep any of the pesticides from getting inside.

 

Janik said he was informed in advance about the spraying but felt not enough prior notice was given for him to adequately prepare for protecting his bees.  "It’s like the old saying. A day late and a dollar short. I’m a dollar short right now,” he said.

  

All of his hives were ready to start collecting what promised to be a strong fall honey crop.  “I had them geared up and ready for the winter.  I had honey supers on everything trying to capture that last blast of goldenrod and aster honey coming in for the winter,” Janik said.

 

Janik, 57, grew up in Valparaiso but after retiring in Florida moved back to Northwest Indiana about five-years ago to help take care of his parents.  He then started making honey because of his interest in bees dating back to when he was a child.  Janik said he and his brother, as a game, used to catch and place bees in glass jars and whoever got stung was punched in the arm.

 

His bees usually produce about 6,000 pounds of honey annually but without much of a fall crop the volume this year could be reduced by as much as 50-percent.  Most of his sales are from people showing up at his doorstep while the rest is done online at hoosierbeeman.com.

 

“It’s not a good situation but I’ll get through it,” he said.

 

DNR officials have been contacted by HometownNewsNow.com but could not be immediately reached for a response to the allegations.

New Prairie Moving to Full Time School Attendance

(New Carlisle, IN) - New Prairie students will be returning to in-person instruction within the school buildings on a full time basis.  The New Prairie United School Corporation Board of Directors voted Monday night to go from 50 percent to 100 percent attendance in all of the K-12 buildings. 

 

Schools Superintendent, Paul White, said a recent survey revealed 66 percent of parents with children in the elementary schools wanted 100-percent in-person attendance in the buildings.  He indicated more than 50-percent of parents of students at the middle school and high school wanted students back in the buildings full time.

 

Grades K-5 are scheduled to return to school on October 12 with secondary, grades 6 through 12, returning on October 19.

Fire Destroys Farm Combine

(Wanatah, IN) - A farm combine being used in a field was destroyed by fire near Wanatah.  Johnathan Rosenbaum, 23, was operating his father’s 2004 John Deere combine Saturday in a 30 acre field of soybeans at 1350 South and 900 West, according to La Porte County Police.  Rosenbaum told investigators he did not realize the combine was on fire until the harvesting machine stopped about 7 p.m. and he saw the flames.  He unsuccessfully tried putting out the fire with a portable extinguisher, police said.

 

Upon arrival, Deputy Tyler Oberholtzer said the combine, about 400 yards out in the field, was fully engulfed in flames reaching high enough to touch some overhead electric transmission lines.  “Definitely a scary site that’s for sure,” said Rosenbaum, who was not injured.

 

Rosenbaum said there were no interruptions in electric service that he was aware of but the power lines were charred by the flames.  “They were charcoaled. I was pretty impressed with how strong those lines are,” he said.

 

Todd Rosenbaum is the owner of the farm consisting of about 1,800 acres of soybeans and corn in La Porte, Porter and Starke counties.  Mr. Rosenbaum said he doesn’t know what caused the fire but speculated a spark from a faulty bearing may have ignited the dust and stems from the soybeans being harvested by the machine.  He said the soybeans being collected had a moisture content of less than nine-percent from a recent lack of rainfall.  The desired moisture content of soybeans after drying is 13-percent.

 

“We don’t know actually what caused it but generally it’s a bearing that’s going out and that’s what ignites that bean dust,” Rosenbaum said.  He and his son managed to bring in about 140 acres of soybeans over a two-day period before the fire, which he believes started in the engine compartment.  “We were pushing pretty hard with the combine trying to get as much beans out as we could,” he said.

 

Despite the bad timing for losing a combine, Todd Rosenbaum said he’s not expecting any delays in his harvest.  He’s working with his insurance company on replacing the combine and if one can’t be obtained quickly he’ll rent a machine to resume bringing in the crop.

Open Burning Leads to Barn Fire

(Union Mills, IN) - A barn in La Porte County was destroyed by fire on Sunday.  Firefighters after 3 p.m. responded to the 6100 block of S. 400 West.

 

According to La Porte County Police, a 40-year old woman was burning unwanted items in a fire pit and walked away for a couple of minutes.  When she returned, the fire somehow spread from the pit to the barn and the woman attempted to extinguish the fire with a garden hose but the flames had grown too intense, police said.

 

Police said a smaller barn nearby caught fire but firefighters managed to save that structure.  The larger barn collapsed shortly after the fire was extinguished.

 

According to police, the woman was cleaning out the home of her grandmother who passed away recently.

 

Photo Credit:  VFR Drones

SOUND OFF - Trumps Taxes

(La Porte, IN) - SOUND OFF is a community conversation forum on 96.7 The Eagle.  Every Monday on SOUND OFF, host Nate Loucks leads a debate about a topic of public interest.  Today, that topic was Trump's Taxes and if they should be a factor as a political issue.  You can stream this edition of SOUND OFF here:

 

 

 

 

 

 

SOUND OFF, with host Nate Loucks, airs every Monday and Friday from 12:30p to 1:00p on 96.7 The Eagle.  Hear previous episodes of SOUND OFF by following this link to our Podcast Page (link).

Bison Stampede in Football

(New Buffalo, MI)  - Something special could be in the making for the New Buffalo High School football team, which began the season with consecutive blow out victories. 

 

On Friday, September 25th, The Bison defeated Eau Claire on the road 68-0.  The score was 52-0 at the end of the first quarter.  The Bison scored five touchdowns on their first 10 plays from scrimmage.

 

“I feel like we had a really good game plan and the kids executed it very well and when that happens the results speak for themselves,” said Head Coach Matt Johnson.

 

Quarterback Michael Bombin started things on offense for the Bison with a 55 yard touchdown run.  Brenden Tanksley on the next series of downs ran the ball into the end zone from 70 yards.  Other highlights included a 50 yard touchdown run by Anthony Lijewski and two receiving touchdowns by Stephen Margaritis.  Ben Lijewski led the Bison on defense with 11 tackles and a fumble recovery.

 

New Buffalo opened the season the previous week with a 52-8 win at Bangor.  Johnson said he believed a factor in both lopsided victories was competing against programs that just converted to 8 man football this year.  New Buffalo made the transition from the 11 man game last year.  “There’s a learning curve that they’re going through and we were able to take advantage of it,” he said.

 

Johnson said the next two games against programs more established in the 8 man game will shed more light on how far the Bison have come since winning one game last season with a squad of mostly underclassmen.

 

New Buffalo hosts Wyoming Tri-Unity Christian School Friday at 7:30 p.m.  The Bison play at Bridgman on October 9 at 7 p.m.

 

“Right now, we’re a nice shiny new Corvette.  We’re fast and we look good on the outside, but these next two weeks will tell us what type of engine we actually have underneath the hood,” Johnson said.

Arrest in Fatal Shooting Six Weeks Ago

(Michigan City, IN) - An arrest has been made for a fatal shooting in Michigan City last month.  19-year old Demario Williams-Anderson was taken into custody Friday in Indianapolis, according to Michigan City Police.

 

Police said he was located by local and federal authorities once information developed that he had fled to that area.  He’s accused of fatally shooting Darius Mitchell on August 11th at the Pinetree Court apartment Complex on the city’s south side.

 

Williams-Anderson, of Michigan City, is being held in the La Porte County Jail on $1 million cash

bond, pending an initial hearing Tuesday on a charge of murder in La Porte Superior Court 1. 

Franciscan Health Building Another Hospital

(Crown Point, IN) - Another new Franciscan Health hospital is going to go up in Northwest Indiana.  Groundbreaking is scheduled Thursday on a $200 million dollar facility along Interstate 65 near Crown Point.  Construction is expected to take about two and a half years, hospital officials said.

 

Franciscan Health opened a new hospital along Interstate 94 outside Michigan City about two-years ago.  They also teamed up with Beacon Health Systems on a new miniature hospital in La Porte along State Road 2 on the city’s west side.  The La Porte facility recently opened several weeks ago.

Reward in Unsolved Hit and Run Fatality

(Michigan City, IN) - A reward is being offered by the family of a woman killed by a hit and run driver in Michigan City earlier this month.  46-year old Tara Stevens was crossing Michigan Boulevard on foot when struck by a vehicle on September 12.  Stevens was on life support until she died six days ago.

 

According to Michigan City Police, her family is offering $4,000 for information on the identity of the driver or vehicle involved in the hit and run.  Police said investigators have received numerous tips in the case but none have led to the name of the driver or vehicle.

 

Anyone with information is asked to contact Michigan City Police.

Sound Off with Senator Mike Bohacek - September 25, 2020

(La Porte, IN) - 96.7 The Eagle and Nate Loucks hosted State Senator Mike Bohacek on SOUND OFF this past Friday (9/25).  They discussed state budget funding, the mask mandate, public school education, and more.  You can stream this edition of SOUND OFF here:

 

 

 

 

 

SOUND OFF, with host Nate Loucks, airs every Monday and Friday from 12:30p to 1:00p on 96.7 The Eagle.  Hear previous episodes of SOUND OFF by following this link to our Podcast Page (link).

 

 

Food Bank Visits La Porte County

(Michigan City & Hamlet, IN) - The Food Bank of Northern Indiana will be in La Porte County again next week.  On Tuesday, September 29 volunteers will be handing out bagged and boxed food.  Enough for 400 households, while supplies last.

 

The giveaway will be at the Marquette Mall outside of the old J.C. Penney from 10 a.m. until noon.
The Food Bank will also be setting up down in Hamlet on Thursday.  That giveaway will take place at the Davis Township Fire Department from 10-noon.

 

School COVID Numbers

(Indianapolis, IN) - Starting next week, COVID-19 numbers from Indiana schools will be made public on a regular basis.  State Health Commissioner, Dr. Kris Box, says over 70% of Hoosier schools have reported their health statistics to the State over the past week.  So far, over half of schools have reported COVID-19 cases.

 

Sometime next week, numbers will be uploaded to the State's COVID-19 tracking website.
The dashboard will show reported cases for students and staff. It will also be searchable by school.

La Porte County Week in Review - Week of 9/20/20

(La Porte, IN) - When news happens in La Porte County, HometownNewsNow.com is there to bring you the story as it happens.  And, with NO subscription required to read the article!  Here are links to the Top Local News stories of the week on HometownNewsNow.com during the period of September 20th through September 26th:

 

#5:  Demonstrations Providing Comedy Relief to Political Strife

 

#4:  La Porte Hospital Being Renamed

 

#3:  60-Years for Killing Grandmother

 

#2:  Ground Breaking for Resort Type Housing

 

#1:  Major Spending Cuts Begin in La Porte

 

Powered by the News Department at 96.7 The Eagle and Rock 106.5, HometownNewsNow.com is the new #1 Source of News and Information in La Porte County.  Please bookmark and LIKE us on Facebook and we'll keep you up to date with the latest News and Information in La Porte County.

New Prairie Weighing Attendance Options

(New Carlisle, IN)  - New Prairie school officials are weighing their next steps towards full attendance.  Currently, students are attending school in-person two days a week and doing the rest online. That plan expires in two weeks.

 

Parents were surveyed this week to get their feedback, and the school board will host a public meeting Monday night to get more comments and report on the COVID-19 status throughout the district.  Parents can still fill out the online survey through Sunday evening.

 

Monday’s meeting will start at 6 pm in the high school auditorium.  It will also be broadcast live on the district's Facebook page.  School Superintendent, Dr. Paul White, says the results of the survey and the school board's final decision will be communicated to families sometime after Monday's meeting.

Phone Scam Wipes out Woman's Bank Account

(Michigan City) - Scammers have struck again in Michigan City.  The Michigan City Police Department reports that a resident was recently conned out of $500 over the phone.  The victim received a call from a Maryland area code with a message that her SSN number had been compromised.

 

Upon calling back, the victim was told her identity was being used by someone in Texas for drug dealing.  To protect her assets, the scammers told her to empty the contents of her bank account onto a gift card and text them a photo for verification.  She complied, and the money quickly disappeared.

 

Police, as always, advise ignoring robocalls, avoiding immediate payment requests via gift cards and money orders, and reporting suspicious phone requests.

Slicers at Home in Football Tonight

(La Porte, IN) - The Slicers Football team takes on the undefeated Merrillville Pirates at home tonight.

 

La Porte looked great in getting their first win of the season last week against Lake Central.  Chip Jones, our very own voice of the Slicers, said Merrillville will be tough to beat due to their size and speed.  But, La Porte has shown noticeable improvement and made some changes that seem to be working on offense.

 

Kick off at Kiwanis Field is 7 p.m.  The game will be broadcast live on 96.7 The Eagle beginning at 6:45 p.m. with the pregame show by Chip Jones and Steve Manering.

Groundbreaking for Resort Type Rentals

(La Porte, IN) - Groundbreaking was held Friday on what many believe will bring major economic revitalization to LaPorte.  200 resort type apartments, called “The Banks”, are going up at New Porte Landing near Clear Lake.

 

Mayor Tom Dermody said the former Allis Chalmers site, once the heart of industry and jobs in the city, will now become what drives the local economy once again. 

 

Flaherty and Collins Properties out of Indianapolis has developed other higher end residential properties nationwide, including some as close as Mishawaka and Elkhart.  David Flaherty, owner and CEO of the company, said the upscale housing has a track record of attracting mostly young professionals with disposable income to spend in the community and talent highly desired by local employers.  He said a lot of interest is already being expressed by local residents as potential tenants, but feels people from places like Valparaiso and Chicago will be attracted there as well since the development is unique to the area.

 

“The Banks” will feature amenities like a swimming pool and bicycle storage along with granite countertops and stainless steel kitchen appliances inside the unit.  Monthly rent for the one and two bedroom units will range from $900 to $1,500.  Construction is expected to take 18 months.

New Fire Station Dedicated in La Porte

(La Porte, IN)  - It seems like the stars lined up for construction of a sorely needed new fire station in La Porte.  Fire Chief Andy Snyder said the $1.7 million facility at 710 Daytona St. was largely made possible when the cost, thanks to creative engineering, was slashed by more than half the original estimate.

 

He said the new fire station, built mostly from steel, sits on a four acre parcel the Indiana Department of Transportation donated to the city in 2008.  INDOT abandoned the site when moving its La Porte District headquarters to the southern edge of the city at 315 E. Boyd Boulevard.

 

Also helping make this project possible was the $375,000 a developer recently paid to tear down the old fire station on the city’s east side and replace it with a Popeye’s restaurant.  “All of these things together solidified that we have a win, win situation,” Snyder said.

 

The fire station, which was recently put into service, was dedicated Thursday when Snyder along with Mayor Tom Dermody and former Mayor Mark Krentz helped unscrew two hoses stretched in front of the building.

 

Snyder said the new, twice as large fire station, has practically everything the old facility along Indiana 2 did not have like an exercise room and the department’s first ever training facility.  Other features include a gear room for firefighters returning from a call to decontaminate without tracking potential toxins into other parts of the building. 

 

Snyder said there’s also room outside and in the rafters above the four bays to accommodate his plans for adding more training equipment.  “When we talk about training so that our firefighters are prepared for anything that comes their way this is the building to do that,” said LaP orte mayor Tom Dermody.

 

Fire trucks also don’t have to pull forward into a busy intersection then back into their bays like they did at the old station on a less than half acre parcel.

 

Snyder said the move was a long time coming from a station only halfway completed due to cost when constructed in 1966.  “We’re happy to be in here and we’re looking to serve the community,” he said.

Free Pumpkins, Popcorn and Prayer

(Michigan City, IN) - The Salvation Army in Michigan City is having an event to help people during these challenging times.  Free pumpkins, popcorn and prayer will be offered next month.

 

Major Dale Simmons says the idea is to be there for people during what’s been an especially challenging year because of COVID-19.  He says the need for services has increased dramatically during the pandemic.  “Sometimes we don’t think about the folks in our community who were already suffering from poverty, homelessness and hunger before the pandemic even began. These people are the ones who were impacted the most and we want to let them know we are here for all of their needs,” he said.

 

The free pumpkins, popcorn and prayer is scheduled October 11 from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. at the Salvation Army headquarters at 1201 S. Franklin St.  People are asked to remain in their vehicles for social distancing purposes and if they show up on foot keep six feet of distance from other individuals.

60-Years for Killing Grandmother

(La Porte, IN) - A 60-year prison sentence was given Thursday to a Michigan City man for the beating death of his grandmother in La Porte.  Anthony Carter, Jr., 28, maintained his innocence prior to being sentenced for murder, robbery, aggravated battery and theft.  He was convicted by a LaPorte Circuit Court jury on August 6.

           

“Condolences to my family. I wish them to find peace at a time of need and, in time, God will show them I did not do this,” Carter said.

 

Beulah Biege, 75, was found inside her Warren St. home two days after the assault in February of 2019.  She died of a brain injury eight days later, authorities said.

  

According to prosecutors, Carter was living with Biege until she kicked him out of her residence.  He later showed up asking for the keys to her SUV.  She refused, then while being attacked, tried defending herself and fell to the floor where she was kicked on the left side of her head, according to prosecutors.

 

Prosecutors said Carter took her vehicle and other belongings like jewelry then went to a home in Michigan City occupied by people who testified seeing him bloody with rings on his possession.

 

La Porte County Deputy Prosecutor, Atley Price, said he later told someone “I caused the injuries that caused her to die.”  Price, citing the nature of the killing along with Carter’s seven prior convictions for past crimes, asked for no less than a 65-year sentence.  “It was a prolonged, agonizing death. She never regained consciousness,” he said.

 

Cherlinda Carter described her mother as “a woman of God” who did everything for her grandson ever since he was a child.  “You took a beautiful soul. The only woman who ever cared about you. Why did you do that,” she said.

Hunter Badly Hurt in Tree Stand Fall

(Porter County, IN) - A deer hunter is recovering after falling from a tree stand in Porter County.  According to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, the man from Kouts suffered a

serious leg injury Tuesday evening.

 

He fell from a tree stand 10 feet off the ground near Kouts, DNR officials said.  The man was taken by off road vehicle to an ambulance.  DNR is advising people in tree stands to use a safety harness to keep from falling.

Ground Breaking for Resort Type Housing

(La Porte, IN) - A ground breaking ceremony is scheduled Friday on 200 resort type apartments in La Porte.  The development, which includes retail space, is going up at New Porte Landing near Clear Lake.  Work preparing the ground for the pouring of footings and foundations started a few weeks ago.

 

Bert Cook, executive director of the La Porte Economic Advancement Partnership, said it’s an exciting time because of the years of work involved in getting the former industrial property ready for new development and the economic infusion the higher end housing should bring to the city.

 

Mayor Tom Dermody called the project “a game changer” for the community.  The ground breaking is scheduled at 10 a.m.

 

The over $30 million dollar development is expected to take 18 months to complete.  Cook said another 50 apartments could be constructed later depending on demand.

Woman Struck by Fleeing Vehicle Dies

(Michigan City, IN) - A woman struck by a hit and run driver in Michigan City has died.  46 year old Tara Stevens was on life support until she passed away on Tuesday night.  Her brother, Joel Stevens, told WNDU TV out of South Bend her kidneys were donated to two individuals.

 

Police said the woman was crossing Michigan Boulevard when hit by a vehicle at Warnke Road just before midnight on September 12.  The investigation shows the victim was with a male companion when hit by a dark colored SUV suspected to have damage to the front passenger side.

 

No arrests have yet been reported.  Anyone with information is asked to contact Michigan City Police.

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