Local News

Lakers Toy with Upset in Defeat

(La Porte, IN) - The La Lumiere School girls’ basketball team leading late in the second quarter lost to No. 1 ranked South Bend Washington over the weekend.

 

McDonald’s All American, Ashlynn Shade, had 16 of the Lakers first 21 points in the first half.

However, the Panthers trailing by two points scored the last nine points during the final 90 seconds of the second quarter to go into halftime leading 28-21.

 

South Bend Washington continued to pour it on in the third quarter for a 21 point advantage going into the final period.  The momentum changed drastically after the undefeated Panthers began double teaming Shade, who was held to just nine second half points.

 

The Panthers also forced a lot of turnovers leading to points in the second half by putting more pressure on the ball when it was in the hands of other Lakers players.

 

La Lumiere outscored the Panthers by five points in the fourth quarter in the 60-44 loss.

 

Head Coach Matt Marvin said he wasn’t surprised about the run from the Panthers, who seemed to surge in the second quarter and early in the third quarter in all of their previous games this season.

 

“We blinked and the next thing I knew it was 40-23,” he said.

 

Marvin said his players also put up and missed too many three point shots instead of trying to work the ball for a better shot against the defensive pressure.

 

“Washington is really, really good,” he said.

 

The Panthers are also ranked No. 7 in the nation.

 

Marvin said he congratulated his players for giving 100-percent against one of the best teams in the nation before a packed home crowd.

 

“I don’t believe in moral victories, but I’m really, really proud of how they conducted themselves and left it all out there until the end,” he said.

Talk of Schreiber Field Tear Down

(La Porte, IN) - For the first time ever, perhaps, talk about eliminating hallowed Schreiber Field in La Porte has entered the public arena.

 

School Board president Jim Arnold said there’s been talk about the need for a field house for student athletes at the high school.

Arnold said Kiwanis Field, another high school sports landmark, needs considerable work and might not be worth the cost of a renovation.  If Kiwanis Field remains, Arnold said the only room near the high school to construct a field house is on Schreiber Field.

 

The baseball diamond is named after the late Ken Schreiber, who coached seven state championship teams in the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.

 

On Sound-Off Friday on 96.7 The Eagle, Arnold said it’s just an idea he wanted to throw out for discussion to begin the process of arriving at the best solution.

 

Arnold said he knows what Schreiber Field and Kiwanis Field where the high school football team plays mean to the community.  However, he said decisions sometimes have to be made for what’s best financially for the school corporation and future of the high school sports programs.

 

“Unfortunately, a lot of people sometimes are in the past, but it’s progress,” he said.

 

If there was ever a decision to remove Schreiber Field, Arnold said the new baseball diamond could still carry the legendary coach’s name.

 

Schreiber was 83 when he passed away in 2017.  He had over 1,000 victories in his long career as head coach of the Slicers and just over 200 losses. 

Heroin Dealer Dealt Loss on Appeal

(Indianapolis, IN) - A Michigan City heroin dealer wanting his prison sentence reduced has lost his appeal. Devante King was given a 10-year prison sentence in November of 2020 for selling 2.7 grams of heroin.

 

The Level 4 Felony Offense has a sentencing range of 2-to-12 years.

 

King argued the sentence was extreme because the crime involved no brutality and the sentencing Judge Michael Bergerson in La Porte Superior Court 1 gave too much weight to his past convictions in determining punishment.

 

However, the Indiana Court of Appeals today upheld the sentence.

 

The appellate judges pointed out his prior convictions were for Aggravated Unlawful Use of a Weapon in 2011; Robbery in 2013 and Unlawful Transport of a Firearm in 2017. The judges also cited King being on supervised release from federal custody at the time he was caught selling heroin.

 

King was found guilty by a jury, which was not able to reach a verdict on a similar drug dealing charge and allegations the drugs he sold caused the death of Anthony Comeno.

 

Currently, King is serving his prison sentence while awaiting a retrial on the allegations that resulted in a hung jury.

Shade Has It Made on Hardwood

(La Porte County, IN) - She makes everything on a basketball court from shooting to running a fast break almost look easy.

           

Ashlynn Shade, a 5’ 11” senior at La Lumiere School, has been named a McDonald’s All American.

           

Shade said she was in class using an iPad when notified in a text message on January 24 of her selection from more than 700 girls nominated from across the country.

 

She clicked the link and up on the screen came a video about her being chosen to participate in the most celebrated post season high school All American girls’ basketball game.

 

Shade said it was surreal to think she was viewed in the same light as some of the best girls’ basketball players who ever played.

 

“It’s such an honor to be part of that list because it’s so, like, historically amazing,” she said.

Shade, who has committed to the University of Connecticut, will play for the 12 member East squad on March 28 at the Toyota Center in Houston.  Joining her on the Huskies next season is KK Arnold of Germantown, Wisconsin chosen to play on the West team.

 

Shade said she knew the players were going to be announced that day but went to school trying not to think about it or get her hopes up too high.

 

“I’m just glad to be part of it.  It was just like totally unexpected,” she said.

 

Shade led Noblesville to the Indiana High School girls’ basketball state championship last year and was considered the overwhelming favorite to be named Indiana Miss Basketball for 2023.

 

Since La Lumiere outside La Porte is a college prep school, the Lakers are not eligible to compete in the state tournament.   Shade is also not eligible for Indiana Miss Basketball.

 

Nevertheless, Shade said she made the right choice to attend La Lumiere and live in a dorm on campus away from her family about 30 miles north of Indianapolis.

 

She said the decision was tough but one she felt was best for her growth academically and on the basketball court.  Shade said she also believes the move has helped her to become more independent to further help in her transition to college.

 

“I had a lot of great friends on that team.   We built a lot of great memories, but I’m super happy about the decision I made and I don’t have any regrets about it,” she said.

 

The Lakers (8-9) are in their fourth season of upgrading the program to compete against top competition mostly from Indiana and Illinois.

 

Shade scored 25 points Saturday in a loss against undefeated South Bend Washington, which is No. 1 ranked in the state and No. 7 ranked in the nation. Earlier in the season, she poured in 44 points against No. 13 ranked in the nation, The Webb School outside Nashville, Tennessee.

 

“We’ve played the hardest schedule in the country and feel confident in saying that,” said Lakers Head Coach Matt Marvin.

 

Shade is averaging 24 points, 9 rebounds and five assists a game.  She’s shooting 55-percent from two point range and 40-percent from beyond the three point line.  

 

“She doesn’t miss open shots.  It’s pretty incredible to watch,” Marvin said.

 

He also cited her physical strength, instinct and unselfish play as among her other strong points on the court.

 

In second grade, Shade said she actually hated basketball when she first competed on a boys’ team coached by her father, a physical fitness instructor.  She tried other sports before returning when her elementary school later started a girls’ basketball program.

           

Shade said it’s been a labor of love ever since with a hard work ethic passed down from her parents.  She also credited her success to coaches, teammates and friends over the years.

 

“Obviously, I put in the work and put all of the time and effort into it, but it’s not an individual thing for me. It’s a family thing.  It’s a circle thing,” she said.

Prison Outcome of Sexual Relationship with Teen

(La Porte, IN) - A La Porte area man has received prison time stemming from a sexual relationship with a teenage girl. Justin Bryan, 23, was sentenced in La Porte Circuit Court Friday to 13 years and four months in prison and one-year on probation for Child Molestation and Possession of Child Pornography.

 

He pleaded guilty to the allegations.

 

Police became involved in January of 2022 when a La Porte woman discovered sexually explicit images of her then-13-year old daughter on the girl’s cell phone. The girl and Bryan told investigators separately they were in a sexual relationship since July of 2021, court documents revealed.

 

Bryan said there were numerous sexual encounters and he requested several of the explicit images from the girl sent to him electronically. Bryan also said other girls that he knew sent him sexually explicit photos of themselves electronically.

 

He was ordered to spent his time on probation in a sex offender rehabilitation program.

Slicers Bounce Back with 58-34 Win Over Concord

Friday night the La Porte boys' basketball team fell behind Crown Point 15-0 in the first quarter leading to a disappointing 68-51 defeat. Saturday night the Slicers flipped the script on Concord, scoring the game’s first 10 points on their way to a 20-8 first-quarter lead and a 58-34 win.

 

Kyle Kirkham scored 16 of his game-high 22 points in the opening period to lead the Slicers. He had a three-point basket and three old-fashioned three-point plays in the quarter. La Porte’s 1-3-1 three-quarter court trap led to several Concord turnovers and easy scores. 

 

The Minutemen, who had won seven of their last eight games, began the second quarter with an 8 to 2 run cutting LP’s lead to 22-16. That is as close as Concord would get. La Porte led 30-20 at the half then extended their lead to 46-29 after three.

 

Nine different Slicers scored in the game. In addition to Kirkham’s 22 points, Rylan Kieszkowski scored 11 and Ja’Meriyon Cross 8. Malik Corley and Nic Spence each had 4 points, RJ Anglin had 3.  Tommy Samuelson, Dylan Salisbury, and Brennan Balka all had 2 points.

 

Corley was 2 for 2 from three lines starting a new steak. The Slicer point guard missed two free throws in the season opener against South Bend Riley then hit 39 in a row until missing his final charity toss at Crown Point Friday.

 

Kieszkowski had impressive dunks in each of the first two quarters. The Slicers played aggressive trapping defense throughout the game. Cross was in the middle of all of it forcing several turnovers and deflections.

 

Kirkham was named the Salisbury and Stence, Edward Jones Player of the Game.

 

The Slicers improved their record to 11-6 on the year. Concord fell to 9-7.

 

La Porte will host Valparaiso Thursday night at Slicer gym, Varsity tipoff is 7:00, and JV at 5:30. Saturday afternoon Kankakee Valley will visit the Slicers. JV will start at noon and varsity at 1:30.

 

SLICER JV TEAM DROPS 52-50 HEARTBREAKER

 

Matt Miller’s Slicer JV team led 11-10, 26-22 and 42-36 at the quarter stops before live ball turnovers and poor free throw shooting caught up with them in a 52-50 loss to Concord. 

 

The game was tied at 50 when Javelle Broome missed the front end of a 1 and 1 with 13 seconds left. Concord took advantage,  Char’rese Breveard hit a shot with 4.1 seconds remaining. The Slicer could not complete a full-court pass and the Minutemen escaped with the two-point win.

 

Sawyer Tonagel led the Slicers with 16 points, Van Warner had 13, Eli Taylor chipped on 7. 

Ice Sculptors Add Crown Jewels to Winter Fest

(La Porte, IN) - A fresh blanket of snow added just the right touch to La Porte’s annual Winter Fest, and beautiful ice sculptures now adorn Plaza 618 like crystal jewels.

 

On Friday afternoon ice sculptors unveiled their creations at the corner of Lincolnway and Monroe.

 

Howard Busfield of South Bend was one of the carvers. He created a pinball machine and a ticket booth. “We had somewhat of a circus theme today,” he said. Other sculptures include a lion, circus wagon, and a juggler. “It’s actually a little warm for carving,” Busfield said, as temperatures hovered around freezing. “But everything should hold up for people to see it.”

 

Busfield has been carving ice for about 18 years. But Matt Patton is new to the craft. “This is my second weekend,” said Patton as he was packing up his tools. “I carved one last weekend, and this is my second one. I’m a lot happier with this one than the first one. So far everyone has been able to tell what it is, so that’s a good thing.”

 

Patton carved an elephant on a ball. He works for City’s Pure Ice, which provides the raw material for the sculptures. NIPSCO and Full Tilt Arcade also sponsored the ice carving.

 

City’s Pure Ice owner Bud Lies, a longtime ice carver himself, sat this year out nursing an arm injury. But he found a protégé in Patton. “Last week he was guiding me and coaching me," said Paton of his mentor. "He lets me know when the carvings are coming up and where to be, and I’m looking forward to getting better each time.”

 

The carved ice is on display at Plaza 618 in downtown La Porte.

Bulldogs Bite Slicers 68-51

Coach Jordan Heckard stressed the importance of a good start before Friday’s game at Crown Point. He got the opposite. La Porte was held scoreless until the 3:13 mark of the first quarter while the Bulldogs were scoring the game’s first 15 points. La Porte ran off the next 5, cutting the lead to 10 but that was as close as the Slicers would get all evening falling 68-51. 

 

Crown Point sharpshooter AJ Lux scored 14 of his game-high 26 points in that first period, hitting 4 of his 6 three-pointers in the opening quarter. La Porte trailed 24-9 after one.

 

The game evened out in the second and third quarters with CP leading 35-18 at the half and 50-31 after three quarters. Both coaches substituted liberally in the fourth period.

The Slicers were led in scoring by Ja’ Meriyon Cross’ with 10 points. Kyle Kirkham, saddled with foul trouble before fouling out halfway thru the fourth, had 9 points. Malik Corley and Dylan Salisbury each finished with 8, RJ Anglin chipped in 5 while Tommy Samuelson had 4 points. Brennan Balka, hit a three-pointer and Dominic Thomson hit both of his free throws.

This was Crown Point’s ninth straight win over La Porte. The Slicers last defeated the Bulldogs 58-53 in 2014. LP’s last win at Crown Point was in 2010.

 

The Bulldog’s Conner Cotton had 9 points. He is the son of Slicer baseball Hall of Famer and basketball standout Jason Cotton.

Crown Point honored their 1998 regional championship team, the first year of class basketball. They are the only Bulldog team to win a regional. La Porte was in that semi-state, falling to Elkhart Central in the morning game. Crown Point lost to Marion in their semi-state opener.

 

Dylan Salisbury was named the Salisbury and Spence Edward Jones Player of the Game. 

The Slicers, who are 10-6 and 1-3 in the DAC, get right back into it tonight at Slicer gym. The Concord Minutemen come to town JV tipoff is 5:15.  The Varsity game follows with a scheduled 6:45 start.

JV TEAM FALLS 66-40

 

The Junior Varsity game was a preview of the Varsity game. La Pore fell behind 21-4 after one quarter and never challenged before falling 66-40. Kevin Konieczny led LP with 10 points, Sawyer Tonagel had 9, and Eli Taylor finished with 8.

 

Photos courtesy of Susan Anglin.

Internet and Tech Discounts Available

(Washington, D.C.) - You may qualify for reduced internet service and/or a computer discount and not even know it.

 

The Federal Communications Commission offers the discounts through the Affordable Connectivity Program. The benefit provides up to $30 off internet service and a one-time discount of up to $100 for a computer or tablet purchased through a participating provider.

 

A household can qualify for the program in one of the following ways:

 

  • if your household income is 200% or less than the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
  • if someone in your household participates in a federal assistance program, such as SNAP (Food Stamps), Medicaid, WIC, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), federal housing assistance, free or reduced school lunch.
  • if someone in your household receives a veteran's pension or survivor benefits.
  • if you qualify for tribal benefits.

 

Go to AffordableConnectivity.gov to submit an application.

Cubs Go to Bat for More State Funding

(South Bend, IN) - The South Bend Cubs are pitching a proposal to state lawmakers to further fund improvements to Four Winds Field.

 

Senate Bill 326 would earmark up to $100 million over 20 years for arts and recreation development. $50 million would go to Four Winds Field improvements. The other half would benefit facilities like the Morris Theater and the Century Center.

 

The Cubs already benefit from local tax revenues. Senate Bill 326 would more than double that.

 

Possible stadium improvements include an upper deck, small convention space, and a new scoreboard.

Hutchens Found Guilty in New Carlisle Murder

(South Bend, IN) - Guilty was the verdict handed down to 16-year-old Anthony Hutchens of New Carlisle on Thursday afternoon.

 

After many legal road bumps over the past two years, Hutchens was tried and convicted this week in the molestation and death of 6-year-old Grace Ross behind their New Carlisle apartment complex in March of 2021.

 

Hutchens could receive anywhere from 48-to-81 years in prison for the crimes. But as a juvenile, he could also be released in 2-to-6 years.

 

Sentencing is scheduled for March 31st. Hutchens’ defense lawyers have said they plan to appeal the verdict and push for the case to go back to juvenile court.

Pancake Breakfast for 4-H

(La Porte, IN) - The Kiwanis Club of La Porte will fire up the griddles this weekend for the return of their popular All-You-Can-Eat Pancake Breakfast to raise money for La Porte County 4-H youth programs.

 

In its 102nd year, the Kiwanis Club of La Porte will offer pancakes, eggs, sausage, coffee and juice for an optional donation at the La Porte Armory from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Sunday.

 

The armory at 2391 Indiana 2 is on the west side of La Porte.

 

“This is a great opportunity to serve the community and give to an organization that lives up to our mission of improving the world, one child and one community at a time while also enjoying a great breakfast provided by dedicated volunteers,” said Mark Manering, chairman of the event.

 

The fundraiser will provide support for the Purdue Extension GEM (Get Experience in Mindfulness) curriculum run by La Porte County 4-H, officials said. 

 

The Kiwanis Club of La Porte welcomes new members wanting to serve their community. Information about becoming a member is available on our website at www.kiwaniscluboflaporte.org, through messaging the group’s Facebook page or by attending their bi-monthly meetings.

Inspection to Reveal Condition of Courthouse

(La Porte, IN) - The county courthouse in downtown La Porte will be given a professional examination in response to concerns about the condition of the 1890’s structure.

 

La Porte County Commission President Joe Haney said problems with water in the basement have been allowed to linger under previous administrations.  An inspection has been ordered to find out if the water has caused any structural issues.


Haney went further, stating there are no obvious signs of major deterioration but that he feels it’s important to find out for certain for the short term and long term.

 

“We have to know for sure. We have to do our due diligence,” he said.

 

Haney asserts that properly maintaining the courthouse must be given high priority.

 

“That is such an historical building. It’s the seat of county government.  It’s what people see when they come here and it’s one of the most building courthouses in the state,” he said.

 

Courthouse renovation is planned once the financing of the recent expansion and renovation of the Michigan City courthouse is retired.  That could be 10-years or more from now or sooner depending on how fast purse string holders want to pay down the debt.

 

Haney said another reason for the inspection is to determine how long the La Porte courthouse renovation can wait before the work has to be done. 

 

Local Hoopster a McDonald's All American

(La Porte County, IN) - A girls’ basketball player attending school in La Porte County has been chosen to play in the 2023 McDonald’s All-American Games.

 

Ashlynn Shade is from La Lumiere School, a college prep school with a regional schedule and talent from outside the area.

Shade transferred from Noblesville, IN. to play her senior year in high school at La Lumiere on Wilhelm Road north of U.S. 20.

 

She is committed to playing next year at the University of Connecticut.

 

Shade, a 5’ 11” guard, was selected to play in the girls’ game from more than 700 players nominated by some of the nation’s top analysts, prep scouts, media, and coaches.

 

This year’s McDonald’s All-American games are scheduled for March 28 in Houston. The girls’ game is scheduled at 6:30 p.m. (ET) and will be televised on ESPN2.

Weather Possible Factor in Fatality

(Berrien County, MI) - Road conditions could have been a factor in a fatal head-on crash Thursday with a semi-truck in Berrien County, Michigan. The late morning accident happened on U.S. 12 between Galien and Buchanan.

 

According to the Berrien County Sheriff’s Office, an eastbound sport utility vehicle was attempting to a pass yhrsemi-truck from behind on the wet and slushy surface. Police said the driver of the SUV lost control and ran off the roadway to the left.  The driver after regaining control of the vehicle was hit head-on by an oncoming semi. The semi came to rest on its side in a ditch on top of the SUV.

 

So far, the name of the deceased operating the passenger vehicle has not been released.

 

The accident remains under investigation.

New Pilot in Economic Development Cockpit

(La Porte County, IN) - All new faces and a different approach have been placed behind the wheel to steer LaPorte County quicker into a more prosperous future.

           

AME Consulting out of LaPorte is in charge of what’s now called The Center for Economic Development, Planning and Government Affairs.

Members from the company have moved into what used to be the La Porte County Office of Economic and Community Development.  Paul Vincent, principal owner and director of engineering for the firm, is in charge of the office at the La Porte County Annex building at 555 Michigan Ave.   

 

The La Porte County Commissioners under new leadership parted ways with the firm once responsible for creating new jobs and former executive director of the office, Tony Rodriguez.

 

County Commission President Joe Haney said AME Consulting has the resources to perform the multiple tasks involved in attracting new companies and helping existing firms succeed and grow.  AME Consulting will also operate under a new structure bringing county departments with various roles to play in economic development seamlessly into the process.

 

For example, Haney said everyone previously involved in areas like recruitment, infrastructure development and planning worked separately, which caused delays in getting projects started and completed.  The hope now is to save a considerable amount of time by having all key players together under one umbrella.

 

“LaPorte County has languished for too long.  Now, for the first time in a long time, we’re finally opening the county up and making a much more conducive environment for business, growth and expansion,” he said.

 

One of the directives given to the new economic development team is to pursue more grants to help offset the cost to taxpayers and the private sector on new investment and maintaining roads.

 

Haney said he also wants to increase the amount of grants secured for providing more access to high speed internet.

 

He feels LaPorte County can do better than it did last year in placing 62nd out of 92 counties in state funds secured for broadband extension.  Haney said another hope is to work on economic development more with all of the municipalities.

 

The contract with AME Consulting is for six months, which can be renewed based on performance.

 

In comparison, Rodriguez and his personnel worked under a one-year deal in each of the four years they were in the office.

 

Haney also noted AME Consulting will be paid about $50,000 less than the previous firm if their contract is extended for the rest of the year.

 

“It’s time for LaPorte County government to start thinking more like a private company where we need to see results. We need to see things more focused and not tolerate some of the stagnation and just poor performance,” he said.

$100,000 Gift for New Youth Center

(Michigan City, IN) - A $100,000 donation has been made to help construct a new facility for the Boys and Girls Clubs of La Porte County.

 

The funds given by the 1St Source Foundation will go toward the purchase of real estate to construct a 35,000 square foot building in Michigan City.

 

The Boys and Girls Clubs branch in Michigan City will relocate there from the old Elston High School building where it currently operates from a section of the former school.

 

“We are extremely grateful to 1st Source Foundation for their early support of our capital campaign and expansion efforts,” said Michelle Shirk, Executive Director of the BGCLPC.

 

The new facility will include a full court gymnasium, cafeteria and spacious program areas for several different age groups.  A dedicated Teen Center will also be provided.

 

Shirk said the new facility will house up to 350 children. In comparison, the existing space can accommodate no more than 200 children and doesn’t provide a gymnasium.

 

The foundation is an entity created by 1st Source Bank to enhance and strengthen the social, economic and cultural fabric of communities served by the financial institution.

 

The BGCLPC has expanded in recent years into La Porte, Westville and Kingsford Heights in response to a growing need for such facilities for children after school and during the summer. 

Watch Collection Thief Could Face Time

(La Porte County, IN) - A woman could do some time for allegedly taking a collection of watches and other items. Ashley Sheets, 28, is charged in La Porte Circuit Court with Level 5 Felony Burglary.

 

According to court documents, she and Matthew Rancatore, 34, were hired to complete drywall and painting work on a newly remodeled home in the 5700 block of West 300 North.  They were fired on December 16th for not completing the work on schedule.

 

The next day, police were called to the property because of items stolen from a barn and garage during break-ins. Among the missing items were two cases containing more than 70 watches.

 

Police were later informed Sheets of Chesterton sold one of the stolen watches to a pawn shop and tried selling other watches to the store, all matching the description of the ones taken in the burglary.

 

According to court documents, police are still investigating to determine if Rancatore was involved in the burglary and whether he maintained a storage unit possibly containing stolen items.

 

Rancatore of La Porte was recently arrested in Kingsford Heights after allegedly found with fentanyl inside a syringe along with methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana.

Meth Bust from Reckless Driver Complaint

(Michigan City, IN) - A driver traveling on the wrong side of the roadway in Michigan City was stopped and allegedly found with a large amount of methamphetamine. Craig Hahn, 45, was pulled over Monday night in the area of 6th and Pine streets.

 

According to police, an officer responding to a complaint of a reckless driver with no headlights on noticed Hahn exhibiting symptoms of possible impairment during the traffic stop. Hahn, though, denied using any foreign substances.

 

With help from a K-9 dog, two plastic bags containing just over 5 grams of methamphetamine were recovered from the vehicle.  Also found was a plastic tube Hahn admitted to using for ingesting methamphetamine through his nostrils. The officer also observed a case of beer in the vehicle.

 

The Minnesota man was charged with Level 5 Felony Possession of Methamphetamine and Class C Misdemeanor Possession of Paraphernalia.

All New Faces in Party Ranks

(La Porte County, IN) - The Democrat Party in La Porte County is now under totally new leadership. For about two months now, the party has had a new Chairman, Angie Henzman of Michigan City. 

 

Wednesday night, the party, during a caucus of precinct committeepersons countywide, elected the rest of its officers.

 

Bryant Dabney, a City Councilman in Michigan City, was elected Party Vice Chairman.   Corey Campbell was elected Treasurer and Izabelle Galvin was chosen as Secretary.

 

Doctor Vidya Kora, the former Democrat Party chairman and all other party officers, resigned following a near-Republican sweep in La Porte County in the November election.

 

Some Republicans have described the party as in disarray.

 

Henzman, though, said the resignations were voluntary and views the changes within the party as a “new day.”   

 

“So people feel like it’s a very dark time and I feel like it’s a time that we have great opportunity to create and to building something. I’m excited about it,” she said. 

 

More Thefts from Vehicles Reported

(La Porte County, IN) - Police are hoping to solve a recent string of thefts from motor vehicles outside La Porte.

 

According to La Porte County Police, deputies since January 1st have investigated 12 thefts of miscellaneous items from motor vehicles parked in subdivisions and neighborhoods near Crichfield Elementary School and in rural Center Township.

 

The doors were not locked on some of the vehicles, but windows were shattered to get inside vehicles that were locked, police stated further.

 

It appears all of the thefts and acts of vandalism have occurred during the overnight hours. 

 

In one of the cases, an estimated $1,650 in power tools and other belongings were removed from a take home work vehicle of a NIPSCO employee on County Road 350 North, according to a police report.

 

A wallet containing $100 in cash and three credit cards were removed from a vehicle parked close to a residence after both side windows were shattered in the 600 block of Holton Road. According to police, two other reports filed the same day on January 21 involved thefts of items such as $45 in cash, a portable Blue Tooth speaker and Playstation also on Holton Road and the 100 block of Williams Avenue.

 

Authorities are encouraging area residents, along with any visiting family members and friends, to remove all valuable property from inside their motor vehicles and lock the doors.  People should also call 911 immediately if they observe any suspicious individuals and vehicles or hear any unusual noises.

Once Dangerous Intersection Now Safe

(La Porte County, IN) - It used to be one of the most dangerous intersections in La Porte County, but that’s no longer the case. La Porte County Sheriff Ron Heeg said U.S. 20 and Indiana 2 has even dropped the top ten most dangerous list.

 

A few years ago, the traditional state highway intersection once guarded by traffic lights was converted into something similar to a roundabout to eliminate the risk of vehicles crossing into the path of oncoming traffic.

 

Originally, Heeg said experts closely involved with the reconstruction believed the number of accidents at that location near Rolling Prairie would not be reduced but there would be a reduction in fatal and serious injury crashes.

 

Heeg said he’s surprised that hardly any accidents have occurred there since the change.

 

“It’s a great thing,” he said.

 

Heeg said U.S. 20 and Indiana 39; Lincolnway and Indiana Avenue in downtown La Porte and U.S 20 and U.S. 35 are still among the most dangerous intersections in La Porte County.

 

He also said rumble strips put in by the Indiana Department of Transportation on center lines and fog lines has reduced the number of accidents on highways where they have been in installed in recent years.

Man Rolls Snake Eyes at 7-Eleven

(La Porte, IN) - The numbers were not lucky for a suspected narcotics user during a drama-filled bust at the 7-Eleven store in La Porte. Michael Schackart, 55, is charged in La Porte Circuit Court with Possession of Methamphetamine and Operating a Vehicle while Intoxicated.

 

The La Porte man was stopped late in the night on January 9 for having a false license plate and driving left of center.  After he pulled into the gas station convenience store, the officer noticed signs of drug impairment like slurred speech, stuttering at times and dilated eyes, police said. 

 

Schackart kept asking if he could go inside to use the bathroom and cash what he described as winning lottery tickets.  However, the officer told him to remain and he complied with his orders.

 

Police said the officer also spotted inside his vehicle about a dozen or more social security and debit cards belonging to other people.  According to court documents, he began stuttering even worse when asked about the cards and claimed he was having an anxiety attack.

 

Suspecting he had drugs, the officer shook his pants only for bag of methamphetamine to fall from his pantleg. 

 

The officer was trying to place Schackart into his police vehicle when he began shaking seemingly uncontrollably and claimed to be having a stroke.  He was taken to the hospital then to the La Porte County Jail after receiving medical clearance several hours later.

Jailed Again for Marijuana

(Michigan City, IN) - A suspected drug dealer was arrested and a wad of cash seized during a traffic stop in Michigan City. Ian Williams, 20, of Michigan City is now charged.

 

According to police, Williams on January 19 was stopped for failing to use a turn signal in the area of Pine and Franklin streets, where the approaching officer was met by an overwhelming smell of marijuana despite a can of air freshener in the vehicle.

 

A plastic bag stuffed with one ounce of marijuana along with several cartridges containing THC oil were allegedly seized during a search of the vehicle.  Police said two bundles of cash and money from his wallet totaling more than $1,300 were also confiscated. A scale and a large amount of clear plastic bags were among the other items turning up in the search.

 

According to court records, Williams already has two marijuana related convictions within the past six months.

Federal Lawsuit Against New Prosecutor

(Hammond, IN) - A federal lawsuit alleging wrongful termination has been filed against the new La Porte County Prosecutor. The legal action was taken at U.S. District Court in Hammond by two employees of the former prosecutor, John Lake.

 

Nancy Hawkins and Anthony McClintock allege they were let go by current prosecutor, Sean Fagan, because they were supporters of the former prosecutor in last year’s campaign.

 

Fagan, a Republican, defeated Lake, a Democrat, by nearly 1,000 votes in the November election and officially took office on January 1st.

 

According to the lawsuit, Fagan violated the former employees’ freedom of speech rights under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution by retaliating against them for supporting the candidate of their choice during the campaign. Fagan, during the campaign, filed a police report alleging intimidation against a Michigan City man for his words on Facebook. McClintock, a retired Michigan City Police officer, was an investigator for the prosecutor’s office at the time. McClintock looked into the allegations and ruled there was no intimidation.  The lawsuit alleges that was another reason for McClintock being terminated.

 

The Plaintiffs are seeking no less than $500,000 in damages apiece and a return to their former positions. When contacted, Fagan said he could not respond to the lawsuit since the case is still pending before the court.

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