Local News

Republican Heavyweight Punches Back at Fighting

(Merrillville, IN) - A high-ranking Republican in the state is critical of the attacks on a local elected official from fellow party members.

 

"The recent attacks against Rich Mrozinski are totally inappropriate and serve as nothing more than a distraction when our attention should be focused on policies that improve the economy for working men and women across Indiana," said Dave Fagan, Chairman of the Indiana Lunch Pail Republicans.

 

Fagan is also secretary of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 out of Merrillville.

 

"Elections should be won and lost based on merits, not on cheap attempts at character assassination," Fagan said.

 

Lunchpail Republicans is a group pushing to restore the Republican Party to where it was before the rise of what's been labeled as extremism.

 

Recently, La Porte County Commissioner Rich Mrozinski was removed as an official member of the La Porte County Republican Party. The unanimous decision by over 60 voting precinct committeepersons was believed to be driven by Mrozinski's ongoing support of Shaw Friedman as the attorney for LaPorte County government.

 

Mrozinski and some of his Republican opponents wanting Friedman replaced have clashed often for nearly two years during public meetings filled with tension and even hatred.

 

Fagan, currently appointed by Governor Eric Holcomb to the Indiana Ports Commission, said publicly attacking an individual's morals and work ethic to score political points is not in the best interests of taxpayers.

 

"When appointed or elected as an official, we have an obligation to work with all officials for the betterment of our town, county, and state. Personal attacks for political gain do not serve the public interest. Pointing out policy differences can be fair and appropriate. However, personal attacks only serve a political agenda and do not further the needs or interests of the residents we are sworn to represent," Fagan said.

 

Fagan is a former member of the Portage City Council whose resume also includes two decades on the Indiana Law Enforcement Training Board. Mitch Daniels and other former Indiana governors appointed him to the board.

 

Mrozinski, a veteran and retired union worker for NIPSCO, said he was pleasantly surprised. Mrozinski said local party members don't like him because he reaches across party lines. The former La Porte County Councilman has been elected as both a Republican and a Democrat.

 

"When I get elected, I hang my "R" and my "D" on the door and go to work for the people," Mrozinski said.       

Fire Department Open House Saturday

(La Porte, IN) - The City of La Porte Fire Department will kick off Fire Prevention Week with its annual open house this Saturday.

 

According to Assistant Fire Chief Kelly Burke, the open house is an opportunity for the public to meet their local firefighters and learn about fire prevention and safety. He believes this is especially important as Fire Prevention Week begins on Sunday.

 

"Our department open house is a great way for our residents to get to know us a little bit better and understand more about what we do," Burke said.

 

Burke said the fire this week at the old American Rubber factory building is an example of why the public should be better educated in knowing how to respond to a fire.

 

"The topic of fire prevention and safety is especially timely this week after the fire on Brighton Street, and we want to make sure the members of our community know what they should and shouldn't do in the event of a fire in their own homes or neighborhoods," Burke said. 

 

The open house is scheduled for Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the 809 West 18th Street Fire Station. Free lunch and tours of the station and the EDITH House will be offered.

 

The Lindsey O'Brien Kesling Wishing Tree Foundation will also give away free carbon monoxide detectors.

 

Residents with questions may contact Burke at (219) 362-3456.

 

FOP Endorses Hynek for Sheriff

(La Porte, IN) - The Democrat Party candidate for La Porte County Sheriff has picked up an endorsement. The Indiana Fraternal Order of Police endorsed Andy Hynek.

 

Hynek said he felt the endorsement was significant, given the FOP is the largest organization representing sworn law enforcement officers nationwide.

 

“I am extremely humbled and honored to have the endorsement of my peers. It’s just a really good feeling,” Hynek said.

 

Hynek said his values also reflect the values of the Fraternal Order of Police, ensuring the development, training, safety, and compensation of police officers.

 

“These are the same core values I plan to run the sheriff’s office on once elected,” Hynek said.

 

Republican Ron Heeg is the opposing candidate in the November 8 election.

 

Heeg Endorsed by Sheriff

(La Porte County, IN) - La Porte County Sheriff John Boyd is endorsing one of the candidates in the race for sheriff.

 

Boyd endorsed fellow Republican Ron Heeg. Heeg has been Chief Deputy Sheriff since Boyd was elected nearly eight years ago.

 

“It’s very exciting, and I’m very honored. Sheriff Boyd has been a mentor to me over my career but more specifically over the last eight years as being able to serve as his chief deputy. I’m excited that he’s continued to trust me and to support me as the next sheriff of La Porte County,” Heeg said.

Boyd said Heeg has a “wealth of well-rounded experience” in areas like the jail, patrol division, and detective bureau, along with the temperament needed to be sheriff. Other factors city by Boyd for his endorsement included Heeg’s leadership qualities and strong involvement in the community.

 

Heeg is running against Democrat Andy Hynek. Both men have been with the sheriff’s office for at least 20 years.    

 

Boyd cannot seek reelection because of a two-term limit.

 

“While serving as Chief Deputy, he has helped to run the day-to-day operations of the Sheriff’s Office and assisted in administering a department with a nearly $12 million budget and approximately 170 employees,” Boyd said.

Old Factory Fire Still Smoldering

(La Porte, IN) - A fire destroying an old factory building in La Porte yesterday continues to smolder today.

 

La Porte Fire Chief Andy Snyder said there are hot spots beneath the rubble of the heavily collapsed structure still requiring water. However, Snyder said the fire is well under control and should be completely extinguished before the evening.

 

“As things flare up, they are setting up, spraying it, and trying to extinguish it. We’re in the home stretch right now,” Snyder said.

Firefighters responded to the vast brick structure on Brighton Street at about 12:30 a.m. on Tuesday.

 

The flames spread rapidly and lit up the sky.

 

Snyder said numerous pallets of hand sanitizer were being stored in the building by the current owner. He said the alcohol-based product fueled the flames.

 

Since the fire began, most of the structure has collapsed, but some of the walls still stand. People going by to see the damage are advised to stay at least 30 feet away from the property due to the risk of further collapse.

 

Snyder said the investigation into the cause of the fire will begin today. The Indiana State Fire Marshal’s Office will assist in determining what started the fire.

 

Snyder also said the city would be attempting to gain rights to demolish the remainder of the structure and clear the property as soon as possible because of the risk it poses to public safety.

Man Denies Vote Fraud Allegations

(La Porte, IN) - A complaint about election fraud in La Porte County is now in the hands of Indiana State Police to investigate.

 

The complaint alleges local businessman Jody Slabaugh is registered to vote at an address on State Road 39 north of Severs Road, but he votes while living elsewhere.

 

The issue was brought up at the La Porte County Election Board meeting yesterday afternoon, where Slabaugh denied the allegations he described as not from a credible source.

 

For years, Slabaugh said he’d rented the property, which has a studio apartment. He also operates his repair business at that location.

 

“Everything that I own is in that building. You guys want to turn around and take the word of some guy who’s got an ax to grind with me on Facebook,” Slabaugh said.

Slabaugh also alleged the complaint from resident Rick Kentaft is retaliation for him being outspoken against some local political figures.

 

“People want to try and shut me up because I don’t agree with some of the politics in this county. You ruin my reputation. You run me through the mud, and you want to have a criminal investigation. I don’t care. The cops can come visit me. I can show them my little studio apartment. Whatever you want to do. I don’t care,” Slabaugh said.

Supporters of Slabaugh said the complaint should have been investigated by the election board and then turned over to the police if the allegations had merit. However, election board members explained their job is to run elections, and the complaint was given to the police because they are the experts at investigating.

 

During the meeting, La Porte County Republican Party Chairman Allen Stevens accused election board member Nelson Pichardo of going to the police at the direction of La Porte County government attorney Shaw Friedman.

 

Pichardo is an attorney at the law firm Friedman & Associates.

 

Stevens said it’s not the first time political enemies of Friedman have been targeted.

 

“He’s done it time and time again with Dennis Metheny. He’s tried doing it with Tim Stabosz, and now he’s coming after Jody Slabaugh. It’s a sad state of affairs in La Porte County politics,” Stevens said.

Slabaugh is a supporter of Stabosz, the La Porte County Auditor, and La Porte County Commissioner Joe Haney. Haney and Stabosz have been at the forefront of an ongoing bitter political feud with Friedman and County Commissioners Rich Mrozinski and Sheila Matias.

 

Pichardo said he would go to the police with any election fraud complaint, no matter who was accused.

 

La Porte County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Ron Heeg said the complaint was turned over to Indiana State Police to avoid the appearance of any conflict of interest.

Shot Himself While Picture Taking Charges

(La Porte, IN) - Charges have been filed against a man who accidentally shot himself while apparently trying to take a picture of himself with a gun in La Porte.

 

Majestic Porter, 20, 1202 Clay Street, is charged with Level 6 felony criminal recklessness with a deadly weapon and Class B misdemeanor false informing.

 

According to court documents, responding officers on August 22 found Porter outside his residence with a gunshot wound to his left hand.

 

Initially, Porter told investigators he was purchasing marijuana when the armed drug dealer tried robbing him and then shot him, according to court documents.  

 

During the investigation, police suspected his story did not add up and learned Porter actually shot himself in the house.

 

When confronted at the hospital by detectives, police said Porter explained he was taking pictures while holding the gun in the bathroom. He said he was pulling the gun from his waistband and believed he had ahold of the barrel when the firearm went off.

 

According to court records, Porter was given a one-year, mostly suspended jail sentence last year on a battery charge related to an encounter with police.

 

According to court records, he was also given a similar sentence last year for fraud.

OWI Charge in Vehicle Rollover

(La Porte County, IN) - He escaped injury despite his vehicle flipping several times, but Scott Glick now faces potential time in jail.

 

Glick, 45, of Michigan City, was eastbound on 200 North at about 9 a.m. on Saturday, according to La Porte County Police. Glick told investigators he was running late for work and traveling about 60 miles per hour when he noticed a bend in the roadway.

 

Glick said he took the curve too fast and lost control of his Chevy Silverado, which rolled several times and came to rest on its passenger side in a grassy area just west of Fail Road. However, he managed to climb out of the vehicle before the officers' arrival, who noticed signs of potential impairment.

 

Police said his blood alcohol level was .155-percent or nearly double the legal limit for operating a motor vehicle.

 

He's charged with a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a maximum one-year jail sentence.

Trucker Steals Fuel from Another Trucker

(LAPORTE COUNTY, INDIANA) - Truck drivers are apparently resorting to siphoning diesel fuel from other semis to save on the high cost of filling up.

 

According to La Porte County Police, a truck driver was parked with other semis on September 29  in the truck stop area of Gallops Marathon at U.S. 20 and Indiana 39.

 

The driver said he was getting some rest and woke up during the early morning hours to the sound of another semi-truck pulling a flatbed trailer parking beside him, according to police. He looked out a window, and the driver who had just pulled up waved at him.

 

According to police, the driver who had just arrived left about one hour later.

 

The driver trying to go back to sleep, later noticed his diesel fuel gauge had gone from a quarter tank to near empty after starting his engine. He estimated that 15 gallons of diesel fuel had been stolen from his tank.

Old Factory Blaze Fueled by Hand Sanitizer

(La Porte, IN) - A fire destroyed the old American Rubber plant in La Porte and spread rapidly because it was used to store hand sanitizer pallets.

 

La Porte Fire Chief Andy Snyder said there were numerous pallets of alcohol-based hand sanitizer in plastic bottles inside different areas of the structure.

           

"There were skids of it. They were skid stacked on each other, and they were for the length of the building in a couple of different bays," Snyder said. 

            

People going by to see the fire and extensive damage were advised to stay at least 30 feet away from the structure to avoid possible injury if other parts of the building collapsed. Several walls and much of the roof had already fallen in before sunrise.

           

Firefighters responded just before 12:30 a.m. and were still putting out lingering flames and hot spots well into the morning.    

          

People living nearby claimed seeing individuals frequently breaking into the vacant structure in recent years. 

 

Snyder said whether any homeless people were living there had not been confirmed.

 

"That's something the investigation will have to look into as they move forward," Snyder said.

 

There were no indications yet on what caused the fire, but the Indiana State Fire Marshal's Office was contacted to assist in the investigation.

 

 

Fire Destroys Old Factory Building

(La Porte, IN) - Firefighters from multiple agencies worked through the night to gain control of a blaze that destroyed a several hundred-foot-long vacant factory building in La Porte’s downtown area.

 

Flames once lighting up the sky from the former American Rubber plant at 315 Brighton Street were still visible after sunrise.

 

Kellyanne Harwood of 414 Brighton Street said she was getting ready for bed when she heard the approaching sirens of numerous emergency responders after midnight.

 

Harwood said she looked out her window and saw heavy smoke coming from the building and then flames once she walked to the scene.

 

“I never seen anything like that in my life. They were just blasting the flames with water, and the flames just kept getting higher and coming out of the building,” Harwood said.

 

Harwood said she also heard what sounded like mild explosions.

 

Firefighters were also focused on ensuring the flames didn’t spread to a water tower in the middle of the horseshoe-shaped complex in the residential neighborhood along the Norfolk Southern railroad tracks.

 

Josh Montemayor owns nearby Mickey’s Bar on Tipton Street. He witnessed parts of the fire-ravaged building cave after learning about the blaze from customers walking into his establishment and going to the scene.

 

“The building started collapsing on the front end. Just now, on the back end, it started collapsing,” Montemayor said.

 

Montemayor also complimented firefighters for keeping the fire contained to the property.

 

Ricky Probst of 507 Brighton Street said the size of the fire caught him by surprise after being notified about the blaze on social media.

 

“There were flames coming out the windows and everything else in there,” Probst said.

 

Firefighters from La Porte and other surrounding agencies like Center Township, Coolspring Township, and Kankakee Township responded to the fire.

 

So far, no indications have been given on the cause of the blaze.

 

 

Sand Festival Coming Back to Michigan City

(Michigan City, IN) - The Singing Sands Sand Sculpting Festival, a three-day art festival celebrating Michigan City's beautiful lakefront, will return to Washington Park for its second year.

 

The festival in 2023 is scheduled for June 9-11.

 

"Everyone who attended this great event last year saw the most incredible works of art created from the sand on our beautiful beach. This event will become one of the premiere events on the shores of Lake Michigan," said Mayor Duane Parry.

 

The event's centerpiece is a professional sand sculpting exhibition and competition, drawing some of the world's most talented and well-known sand sculptors.

 

Michigan City Special Events will again partner with The Sand Lovers, LLC, a professional sand sculpting and event management company specializing in major sand sculpting events.

 

Bill and Marianne Knight, both professional sand sculptors, brought this unique art form to Michigan City for the first time and believe the event will continue to grow.

 

"We are so excited to come back to Michigan City. What an incredible setting for the event, and the people welcomed us and made us feel like part of the community," said Bill Knight.

 

Michigan City Special Events Director Terry Greetham said the goal is to keep improving the festival.

 

"We learned a lot in year one and have a lot of great ideas for year two. We want to see this festival grow in size and popularity and make it one of the biggest events on Lake Michigan," he said.

Press Rallying Behind Local Legal Case

(Indianapolis, IN) - The Associated Press and other media organizations are behind a local legal case they believe could restrict the work of journalists if the judges don't rule correctly

 

The action taken by more than a dozen media groups stems from the defamation of character lawsuit Shaw Friedman, the attorney for the La Porte County government, filed against La Porte County Auditor Tim Stabosz.

 

Friedman contends that derogatory and false statements from Stabosz have hurt his reputation and downtown La Porte legal firm.

 

Stabosz failed in his first attempt to have the lawsuit dismissed by a lower court, which cited a lack of sufficient evidence from Stabosz about his claims against Friedman. He's now challenging the decision before the Indiana Court of Appeals.

 

Stabosz maintains that as a public official, Friedman is subject to criticism and must prove the allegations against him were made with malice or total disregard for the truth to keep his defamation suit alive.

 

Stabosz claims he was not acting in malice and wholeheartedly believes his claims to be true.

 

"Friedman's defamation suit against me is a calculated effort to silence legitimate criticism of the unscrupulous way Friedman does business in La Porte County," said Stabosz.

 

Stabosz's claims are based on allegations that Friedman runs the county government by controlling the decisions of elected officials. Friedman has consistently and emphatically denied the claims.

 

Stabosz said the appellate court failing to dismiss the lawsuit would undermine a state law designed to protect free speech and public participation.

 

"I have every right to make these claims about him, as these statements reflect my well-considered judgment, and Friedman is a public figure, who is subject to not just my judgments but those of media editorial boards, or any other member of the public, for that matter," Stabosz said. "The significance of this case extends well beyond the individual actors involved."

 

Other media organizations behind the arguments presented by Stabosz include Gannett, the publisher of USA Today and the Indianapolis Star, the Hoosier State Press Association, and the Indiana Broadcasters Association.

 

Stabosz said courts nationwide require defamation plaintiffs to show malice to keep their lawsuits from being dismissed.

 

"Similarly, my attorneys assert exactly that same point. We ask the appeals court to right this error by reversing the lower court's ruling, not just for my sake, but for the sake of anyone who wants to rightly and legitimately comment on the motivations and actions of any public figure," Stabosz said.

Student and Mother Perish in Freak Accident

(La Porte County, IN) - A 14-year-old boy killed this morning in a freak traffic accident on U.S. 30 was a South Central School Corporation student.

 

Joseph Oehmen and his mother, Angela Oehman, were both pronounced dead at the scene, according to La Porte County Police. A third passenger in their vehicle was transported to an area hospital with an upper-body injury.

 

According to police, a tractor-trailer had just exited the Plaza 30 Truck Stop and began to travel eastbound on U.S. 30 when the trailer separated from the semi. The trailer was in the eastbound driving lane when struck by the 2022 Kia driven by Oehman, who also was traveling eastbound, police said. Her vehicle hit the rear of the trailer.

 

The truck driver, David Sutton, 47, of Fulton, Indiana, was not injured.

 

The investigation of the crash is ongoing.

 

South Central School Corporation Superintendent Ben Anderson is asking for privacy as members of the school community mourn and grieve the loss.

 

La Porte County Coroner Lynn Swanson said her office was called to the scene at about 8 a.m.

Crash Claims Lives of Mother and Son

(La Porte County, IN) - A woman and her son were killed in a motor vehicle collision in the Wanatah area this morning.

 

La Porte County Coroner Lynn Swanson said the crash on U.S. 30 involved a passenger vehicle and semi-truck. Swanson's office was called to the scene at about 8 a.m.

 

Three hours later, the passenger vehicle had still not been removed from underneath the semi-truck. The names of the victims were not released yet.

 

We'll provide more details once local authorities release additional information.

Sentencing in Alcohol Related Crash

(La Porte, IN) - An impaired driver who caused a motor vehicle crash with injuries in downtown La Porte has been sentenced.

 

Jenette Meece of Hobart was given three years on probation for causing serious bodily injury while operating under the influence of alcohol. She’ll have to wear an ankle bracelet for authorities to monitor her whereabouts during the first six months of the sentence.

 

According to court documents, Meece had a blood alcohol level of three times the legal limit when she ran a red light at Lincolnway and Indiana Ave. As a result, her westbound vehicle broadsided a northbound vehicle operated by a 17-year-old boy.

 

Police said the boy underwent surgery for a knee injury sustained in the crash, and staples were used to close a laceration on his head.

 

At least one alcoholic beverage container was on the floorboard of the vehicle driven by Meece, 39, who had a suspended license.

 

Sentencing under terms of a plea agreement was held Friday in La Porte Circuit Court.

The SOUND OFF Podcast: LaPorte County Commissioner Candidates

(LAPORTE, IN) - We continued our 2022 Election Coverage shows with the executive branch of the county government. In the studio were (R) Connie Gramarossa and (D) Sheila Matias, candidates for LaPorte County Commissioner D-1. The candidates discussed their campaign pledges, the proposed economic corridor around the city of LaPorte, the 39 North Water Conservancy, nepotism in county government, and more. 

 

Listen to the full episode here: 

 

Body Recovered from Lake Identified

(Berrien County, MI) - A body recovered from Lake Michigan a few miles outside New Buffalo has been identified.

 

Jason Ryno, 48, of Joliet, Illinois, was identified from a fingerprint, according to the Grand Beach/Michiana Police Department.

 

Police Chief Ryan Layman said how and where the man entered the lake, and the circumstances leading up to his death were unknown, but the case remained under investigation.

 

No light was shed on the cause of death, but foul play is not suspected.

 

Layman was still waiting for the results of an autopsy before commenting on how long the man had been in the water. However, he also revealed the man had not been previously reported missing.

 

According to the Berrien County Sheriff’s Office, emergency responders at about noon on September 27 were called to the 4000 block of Lakeshore Drive on a report of a body floating in the water. The body was described as a white or light skin black male with a medium build and about six feet in height.

 

The body was recovered with help from the New Buffalo Township Fire Department and Michiana Shores Fire Department.

 

Layman said the South Bend Police Department Crime Lab was able to use a fingerprint to make the identification.

Cause of House Fire Ruled Electrical

(La Porte County, IN) - The cause of a fire that destroyed a house outside La Porte remains under investigation.

 

Scipio Township Fire Chief Eric Fenstermaker said the fire started in the attached garage and was electrical in nature.

 

However, investigators have not yet determined exactly where the fire started or how because of the extensive damage.

 

“Due to the total destruction of the garage, I cannot pinpoint it to a single source,” Fenstermaker said.

 

The residence was also considered a total loss.

 

Homeowners Barry and Shirley Pontius were unaware of the late Friday morning fire until a man began pounding on their door at 302 W. 250 South. They safely escaped but were fortunate because of how fast the fire spread.

 

Fenstermaker said the fire spread rapidly because of combustibles like gasoline inside the garage and strong northerly winds. The flames also caught a pick-up truck parked outside the attached garage on fire.

 

Pontius said she was doing paperwork for her husband’s business, “Barry’s Carts,” when they were alerted to the fire. Her husband customizes and restores golf carts.

 

Fenstermaker said there were two golf carts, one running on gasoline and the other powered by electricity, inside the garage. However, he said whether the electric golf cart was plugged into a battery charger could not be verified.

Sheriff Asked to Probe Election Fraud Claims

(La Porte County, IN) - Law enforcement is being asked to investigate possible election fraud in La Porte County.

 

La Porte County Election Board member Nelson Pichardo made a written request to Sheriff John Boyd on Friday in response to evidence presented by resident Rick Kentaft.

 

The evidence alleges local businessman Jody Slabaugh is registered to vote at the address of his repair shop, Discount Computer Warehouse, but doesn’t live there. It asserts that Slabaugh has voted in numerous elections while living at another address.

 

Pichardo said the evidence appears credible and supported the two other election board members, Heather Stevens and Charles Watterson, requesting the sheriff’s office investigate the claims.

 

The sheriff is asked to determine Slabaugh’s legal residency and if any criminal violations were committed.

 

In Indiana, voter fraud is a Level 6 felony punishable by an up to two and a half year sentence.

 

Slabaugh is one of the more outspoken Republicans in the ongoing nasty political dispute that stems from hiring Shaw Friedman as the attorney for the La Porte County government by the La Porte County Commissioners nearly two years ago. Friedman is a member of the Democratic Party. 

 

La Porte County Republican Party Chairman Allen Stevens said the election board has not met to hear the matter.

 

“State code is very clear that this has to go before the election board to decide if there’s enough merit for it to be referred to the sheriff’s department for prosecution. This has not happened. Any assumption by Mr. Pichardo that it has happened is a complete total fabrication,” Stevens said.

Pichardo said he shared the complaint from Kentaft with the election board members.

 

“We decided to forward it to the sheriff’s office,” Pichardo said.

So far, attempts to reach Slabaugh for a response to the claims have been unsuccessful.

Highway Restricted by Resurfacing

(La Porte County, IN) - A stretch of state highway in La Porte County is under a lane restriction beginning today.

 

According to the Indiana Department of Transportation, a three-mile section of Indiana 2 is being resurfaced this week from 400 West to 700 West.

 

INDOT officials said the two-lane highway would be down to one lane, and flaggers would be out directing traffic in each direction.

 

Motorists are advised to slow down, use extra caution and drive distraction-free in and around the work zone.

New Library Reading Garden Ready for the Public

(La Porte, IN) - A touch of natural beauty has been added to La Porte’s downtown in the form of a reading garden at the county library’s main branch. The newly landscaped addition faces Indiana Avenue on the library’s south side.

 

It’s a beautiful outdoor space— ideal, as Shakespeare would say, for the public to walk abroad and recreate themselves.

 

It’s also functional, complete with free WiFi. According to library Director Fonda Owens, “it’s very much like a park, but it is fully equipped with WiFi and charging stations for electronic devices.”

 

Owens said the library plans to host outdoor activities such as movie nights and children’s story time. The center of the garden features a large grassy area for holding group events. Not far from the garden, on the other corner of Harrison Street, a new storage garage has also been recently completed. The garage features a large porch and grassy front lawn. Owens said that area can also be enjoyed by the public.

 

The corner of the reading garden facing Indiana Avenue features a sculptural arrangement inspired by Isamu Noguchi, the internationally acclaimed modern artist who got his start in La Porte. The sculpture was made from the library’s original granite steps which are currently being replaced.

 

All of the recent improvements to the area around the main branch have been paid for using existing tax revenue.

Boy Rescued from Grain Wagon

(Pulaski County, IN) – First responders in Pulaski County rescued a boy from a grain-filled farm wagon.

 

On Tuesday two Pulaski County Sheriff’s deputies were first on the scene following a call for a nine-year-old boy trapped in a grain wagon on a farm west of Winamac.

 

Fortunately, one of the officers, Alec Berger, had previous training in grain bin rescue. He and his partner, Aaron Zimmerman, leapt into action. According to the Sheriff’s Department facebook page, Berger used metal sheets wedged into the grain to stabilize the boy.

 

Madaryville firefighters soon arrived and used a grain cage called the Great Wall of Rescue to remove the settled corn from around the boy and extricate him.

 

According to the Medaryville/White Post Volunteer Fire Department, “We purchased the Great Wall of Rescue a few years back, hoping we would never have to use it,” the post said. “Which now, we are extremely glad we did. This tool helped us to rescue the young boy safely. Everyone at the scene worked so well together.”

 

Pulaski County EMS checked the boy on-scene. No injuries were reported.

 

"Where's Jackie?" President Can't Locate Deceased Congresswoman

(Washington, D.C.) - This week, the President of the United States seemed to forget about the recent untimely death of this area’s Congressional representative.

 

President Biden addressed a crowd on Wednesday as part of a White House conference on hunger, nutrition, and health. While listing elected officials involved in the matter, such as U.S. Senator from Indiana Mike Braun, Biden named Jackie and looked for her in the crowd saying, "Jackie, you here? Where's Jackie? I didn't think she was going to be here."

 

Of course, Walorski died along with three others in a rural Elkhart County car crash on August 3. Biden was at one point well aware of Walorski’s passing. He and his wife issued a statement the same day extending their sympathies to the Walorski family.

 

On Thursday Jackie’s brother Keith Walorski tried to be as gracious as possible, saying the President’s mind probably isn’t as sharp as it used to be and he just feels sorry for him.

 

On Friday Biden signed a bill renaming the VA clinic in Mishawaka in honor of the deceased 2nd District congresswoman.

Layoffs Beginning in Walkerton

(Walkerton, IN) - An area door manufacturer has announced a major layoff of its work staff.

 

Walkerton’s Masonite facility has started laying off between 74 and 84 workers, which is at least a third of its work force.

 

A spokesperson for Masonite Corporation said the layoffs may be permanent due to changing business needs.

 

The company will continue to pay all affected workers through at least Thanksgiving.

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