Local News

Cougars Fall Short But Optimistic About Future

(Plymouth, IN) - In Saturday’s Class 3A regional game between New Prairie and Andrean, both teams scored in bunches, but Andrean scored one bunch more to end the Cougars’ season.


Andrean grabbed a commanding lead early, putting up five runs in the second inning. Undaunted, New Prairie scored four of their own two innings later, but that was all they could muster. Andrean answered right back with four more, resulting in a final score of 9-4.


New Prairie finished the season with a record of 22-8-1 and a sectional championship. They lose six seniors: Grady Kepplin, Evan Haws, Francisco Bibian, Dallas Ryans, Ethan Hixon, and Gavin Gonzalez. But head coach Mark Schellinger says his team has a promising future.


“We have a real good mix of young and old,” he said. “We start four seniors, but we also start multiple juniors, one sophomore, and one freshman. I think we’ve gotten to a point in the program where we’ve got a good thing going. I think our program is heading in a good direction. Our seniors did a great job of setting the tone this year. And our young guys have done a great job of stepping up, and are very capable of performing at the varsity level.”


Next season the Cougars look to build around the talents of ace pitcher Tyson Greenwood and offensive leaders Mason Braun and Reed Robinson.

Penn Ends Slicer Season in La Porte Regional

(La Porte) - Defending 4A State Champion Penn banged out thirteen hits while allowing the Slicers only one, defeating La Porte 6-2 in Saturday’s Regional Championship Game at Schreiber Field.  Lake Central defeated Valparaiso 3-0 in the morning game and will face Penn in a four team 4A semi state at a location yet to be determined next Saturday.


The Slicers were the visiting team and got off to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Leadoff man Ben Dubbs dumped a single into center. Kade Flores laid a sacrifice bunt down in front of home plate. Penn catcher Zach Pelletier didn’t pick it up cleanly and Flores was safe at first putting runners on first and second for La Porte. After Drew Catron struck out, RJ Anglin hit a hard grounder to Penn third baseman RJ Cromartie. Penn got the force out at second but second baseman Colton Hudnall’s throw was wild to first allowing Dubbs to score giving the Slicers a 1-0 lead.


Penn came right back in the bottom of the inning. Cooper Hums singled up the middle and stole second. Slicer starter Anglin struck out Cam Dombrowski. Hums moved to third on a pass ball and scored on an Evan Tuesley base hit to tie the game at 1-1. Carter Moses threw out Tuesley trying to steal for the second out. A two out walk to Cromartie and a single to right by Pelletier put runners on the corners. Penn starting pitcher Adam Lehman singled to right to knock in Cromartie. It was 2-1 Penn after an inning.


La Porte went one two three in the top of the second and the Kingsmen picked up right where they left off. DH Casey Finn singled to lead the inning off. He was bunted to second by Hudnall and Hums flew out for the second out. The Kingsmen got an RBI single by Dombrowski, an RBI double by Tuesley and an RBI single by Cromartie to make it 5-1. Cody Ryden came in to relieve Anglin and got the final out of the inning.


Lehman had it on cruise control for Penn. He retired the Slicers in order in the third and fifth. In the fourth he hit Tommy Samuelson with a pitch but La Porte could not capitalize.


Penn picked up their sixth run in the bottom of the fifth inning. Ryden gave up a leadoff single to Hunter Morrett. Morrett advance to second on a ground out and scored on Hudnall’s RBI single making it 6-1.


The Slicers picked up an unearned run in the top of the sixth. Kade Flores reached on a two base throwing error by Cromartie. Lehman threw the ball into center field trying a pickoff, moving Flores to third. Catron bounced out to short driving in Flores making it 6-2.


Grant Olson entered the game for Ryden and tossed a scoreless bottom of the sixth. He gave up a single and struck out two.


In the Slicer seventh, pinch hitter AJ Mrozinske drew a walk with one out. DH Jax Land hit into to a 4-6-3 double play to end the game and the Slicer season.


Penn had a great offensive game plan against Slicer starter Anglin. They concentrated on hitting the ball to the opposite field as the touched up La Porte’s ace for five runs and seven hits in 1 2/3 innings. Though they had several solid hits they also dropped in several bloopers. All nine starters for Penn had at least one hit. Tuesley was 3-4 with a run and two RBI.


The Slicers, who were victims of a perfect game by Penn in the March season opener, managed only Dubbs’ single in the first. Both La Porte runs were unearned. The Kingsmen committed four errors.


Penn moves to the semi state with a 24-8 record. La Porte finishes 20-10. Ryden was named the Salisbury and Spence Player of the game on 96.7 The Eagle. He kept the Slicers in the game pitching 3 1/3 innings of one run, four hit baseball.


HTNN Editor Note:  We'd like to thank Chip Jones and Steve Mannering for not only calling the Slicer Baseball games on 96.7 The Eagle this season, but for also covering the major plays of the game for HometownNewsNow.com this season.   Thank you!

Cougars Capture First Boys' Golf Title

(La Porte, IN) - The New Prairie golf team made history by bringing home the school’s first sectional championship Friday.


New Prairie tallied a 343 total, beating second-place La Porte by 13 strokes. Hunter Zdyb paced the Cougars and the field with a 76, with Cole Shelton posting an 87. Owen Chalik (97), Gavin Goodman (91), and Brock Sinka (89) contributed in the victory.


As the other top-three finishers Friday, La Porte and John Glenn also advance to regionals, which will take place at Sandy Pines Golf Course in DeMotte on Thursday.

Summer Readers Off to Storyland

(La Porte, IN) - The La Porte County Public Library is taking local readers on a trip though Storyland this summer. The annual Summer Reading Program is taking flight, and a launch party is happening Saturday afternoon.


“We’re calling our Summer Reading Program ‘A Trip Through Storyland,’” said youth librarian Jen Lux. It’s based on an interactive display on loan from the Minnesota Children’s Museum. The traveling exhibit immerses visitors in the world of three beloved picture books: The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter, The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats and Where's Spot? by Eric Hill.


As usual, prizes for reading are a feature of the program. Readers keep track of their reading time on something like a bingo card. “Every time you track minutes and unlock a challenge,” says Lux, “you earn tickets.” Readers can place tickets into drawings for various prizes, which will be raffled at the end of the program in August.


To launch the program, a Summer Reading Block Party will happen Saturday afternoon. It’s an outdoor celebration of reading at the new Reading Wi-Fi Garden on the south side of the main branch. It takes place from 2-4 p.m. Kids can sign up for the reading program, get a free book, and even walk the red carpet. Because summer readers are superstars!

Accidents on 20 Mar Thursday Commutes

(La Porte County, IN) - Two accidents slowed traffic along US 20 in La Porte County Thursday—one in the morning and one in the afternoon.


Just after 7:00 a.m. first responders arrived at an accident across from the Family Express in Rolling Prairie. Police say a silver sedan and a black SUV collided when one of them pulled into traffic from the gas station. Officers at the scene say morning sun glare could have been a contributing factor.


Both vehicles came to rest off the roadway. Two people from the SUV were transported to a South Bend hospital with serious but not life-threatening injuries. The occupants of the sedan walked away unharmed.


Later in the afternoon, another collision took place on 20 near the US 35 intersection. Westbound traffic was stopped for a time, but police say that accident was not as bad.

Bidding Opening Soon for Civic Seats

(La Porte, IN) - Admirers of the historic Civic Auditorium in La Porte will have the opportunity to own a piece of it forever.


The city will be accepting bids on the original seats being replaced soon with new, more comfortable seats.  Bids will start at anywhere from $50 to $350 for seats that come in sections ranging from one to 13 seats.


Although some people may be sad to see the old seats go, the new ones replacing them will make the building handicapped accessible and allow more people to experience the building and its charm, said Civic & Events Director Brett Binversie.


"As the Civic continues to host new events and welcome larger crowds, we must do what we can to accommodate all who walk through our doors," Binversie said.


He cited other reasons for replacing what some people believe help keep the history of the building alive.


"The new seats will provide more comfort for patrons and allow for the installation of handrails to make navigating the building safer and easier. Additionally, becoming ADA compliant opens us up to new funding sources which would empower us to grow and improve even more."


The link to the online auction will be posted on Civic Auditorium’s Facebook page and at laportecivicauditorium.com at 7 a.m. on June 9th.


Binversie said the bidding will end at noon on June 16th.


Anyone with questions may contact the Civic at 219-362-2325.

Pushback on Mayor's Annexation Bid

(La Porte, IN) - La Porte Mayor Tom Dermody received pushback today after declaring the city has enough signatures to move forward with the process of annexing the 39 North Conservancy District.  This morning, the district board seemingly told the mayor "not so fast" if victory is what he’s trying to declare.  


Dermody made the announcement about having the necessary signatures the day after a city imposed May 31st deadline expired for property owners in the district to sign a petition in favor of annexation.


“We are excited to partner with the conservancy board and its residents to improve the infrastructure in this area and position the 39 North community for future growth,” he said.


In response, during their regularly scheduled meeting on Friday, the board voted not to further discuss permission to annex unless they're provided a fiscal plan on how the city will deliver services to district residents in the three years following annexation.


“The fiscal plan is required under statute so that both this board and the city council knows what’s the cost of taxpayers,” he said.


The city has offered $2 million to purchase the water and sewer lines the district paid $5.2 million to have installed over 20-years ago in exchange for the board approving a consent agreement for the city to annex.


The infrastructure worked to bring more industrial and residential growth to the district whose boundaries extend along Indiana 39 from the city limits to the Indiana Toll Road.


However, the district can no longer grow unless the water lines are replaced with larger ones to meet demand from more customers.  The city has presented a plan to finance what would be an over $10 million cost for adding water capacity to the system.  Currently, the district lacks the funding to pay for such improvements.


To return to the bargaining table, the board also wants to know if proceeds from a sale of the infrastructure can be given to district property owners in the form of credits on their water and sewer bills as compensation for their investment.


District Attorney Shaw Friedman said there is some reason to believe the funds might have to go to county government judging from a previous case law decision related to annexation.


“This board and the city council needs to know where’s that money go. Can it go out and be paid out as discounts to the freeholders of this district as I think folks would like to see or can it not,” he said.


Friedman also said he’s not been presented with any of the signatures Dermody claims to have obtained.  The signatures on a petition must be filed in court by October 1st.  Once filed, Friedman said they can be challenged to make sure they meet the requirements during a verification process, he said.


Under state law, municipalities have to acquire support from either a majority of property owners or property owners representing 60-percent of the assessed valuation to annex targeted areas. 


The effort in La Porte has turned bitter recently with people opposed to annexation criticizing Dermody for taking a heavy handed approach.  He’s been called a “bully” and portrayed as one in drawings posted on social media.  Dermody said it’s unfortunate some people took things personally since his push for annexation began three years ago.  He said the effort was strictly about doing what’s right for both sides.


Dermody said district residents would have better services without an increase in  property taxes while the city would expand to an area ripe for more growth once upgrades are made to the water system.


“What’s best for these residents and business owners has always been at the heart of this discussion and we are happy to have their support to move forward,” he said.


Friedman said litigation is an option for the district if Dermody were to move forward in the annexation process without a consent agreement.

La Porte Residents at Drug House Arrested

(Michigan City, IN) - A La Porte man is looking at potential time in prison after apparently driving to Michigan City to obtain illegal drugs. John Schadowsky, 44, is charged with Possession of Methamphetamine and Possession of a Syringe.


According to court documents, his vehicle was parked at a suspected drug house under surveillance on May 25th in the 900 block of York St.  After leaving the residence, the vehicle was pulled over several minutes later for running a stop sign at Ohio and 10th streets. Methamphetamine, heroin, and marijuana as well as a glass smoking pipe were located in the vehicle with help from a K-9 dog.


Some of the methamphetamine along with the pipe allegedly belonged to Hollie Lachapelle, who also was arrested.  Lachapelle, 47, is also from La Porte.


Both suspects are still being held in La Porte County Jail to await the outcome of their cases.

Search Warrant Nets Dealer and Cash

(Michigan City, IN) - A suspected drug dealer, along with guns and a large amount of cash, were removed from a Michigan City neighborhood recently as Joseph Milsap, 32, has been charged with Dealing Cocaine.


A search warrant for his home was executed May 23rd after he was caught selling cocaine on multiple occasions. He was found laying on a couch with two loaded guns nearby when officers entered the residence in the 2000 block of Elston Street.


Court documents also revealed $1,800 in cash and another large amount currency, all in $20 bills, were located in the home during the search as well as an undisclosed amount of pills.


Milsap was prohibited from having a firearm under the conditions of a protective order issued against him by the court.


He is still being held in the La Porte County Jail on $2,500 bond.


Milsap could face anywhere from a three-to-16 year sentence on the Level 3 Felony charge.  Currently, he has a Drug Possession charge filed in 2020 that remains undecided in the courts.

Storm Described as Being Like a Monsoon

(La Porte County, IN) - A massive amount of rain in a very short period of time came down in La Porte yesterday alongside hail and strong winds, making an early afternoon storm look like a monsoon.


Emergency responders were called on several reports of fallen trees and power lines out in the county, with one report indicating a tree fell on a car at 500 West and 150 North.


La Porte County Highway Department Superintendent Al Stevens said damage to the car must have been minor because the vehicle and driver had already left when crews arrived.


“It was coming down in buckets,” he said.


Stevens said he was on Pine Lake Avenue on the city’s north side when, suddenly, the skies opened up.


“It’s been a long time since I’ve seen that much rain come down at once,” he said.


Nate Martin, an operator in training at the La Porte Water Department, said more than a half an inch of a rain fell in a roughly 15 minute time period. He was at a water department substation on Indiana 39 when sprinkles turned into sheets of rain, and once-calm winds kicked up.


“Very monsoon-like.  Insane winds and insane amounts of water out of nowhere,” Martin said.

Not So Fast Mayor on Desire to Annex

(La Porte, IN) - The 39 North Conservancy District says it’s way too early for La Porte’s mayor to declare any sort of victory if that’s what he’s trying to do in his annexation effort.


Mayor Tom Dermody said he has the necessary amount of signatures following a May 31st deadline and looks forward to partnering with the conservancy district board and residents to improve the infrastructure.


39 North Conservancy District Attorney Shaw Friedman said he hasn’t been shown any signatures from property owners asking to be annexed.


He also said signatures can be thrown out if deemed not legitimate during a review process and the amount could fall below the necessary threshold if enough are ruled ineligible.


Friedman said other requirements governing signatures must also be met.


“It’s not a simple question when it’s a hostile annexation,” he said.


In addition, Friedman said the city has failed to meet the demands outlined by the board for members to grant a consent to annex agreement.


One of the demands is for the city to grant a $2.5 million credit to district property owners on their water and sewer bills to compensate for the investment they made in having the water and sewer lines put in over 20-years ago.


Currently, the mayor's original $1.5 million offers stands at $2 million, he said.


“There are a number of items that have to be hit before anything can move forward,” he said.


Friedman said the state must also grant approval on a number of matters in any annexation effort before it can materialize in a process that could take years if there are disputes and litigation.


Friedman said the city has also not provided a fiscal plan as required by state law on how it’s going to pay for capital and non-capital improvements in the district.


“We can’t say there’s a deal in place when key elements are still missing at this point,” he said.

Waiting Game Now for Battery Plant

(New Carlisle, IN) - Tax abatement has been approved for a proposed electric vehicle battery making plant that would employ a projected 1,600 people outside New Carlisle.


It’s now up to General Motors and Samsung to decide whether to go ahead with the estimated $3.5 billion investment.


“We’re just kind of in a waiting game,” said St. Joseph County Economic Development Corporation Director Bill Schalliol.


The St. Joseph County Council on May 23rd voted unanimously in favor of tax abatement on the development proposed on a close to 700 acre site on Indiana 2 in Olive Township.


Schalliol said that is the same site General Motors and LG Energy Solution single out last year for building an over $2 million dollar electric vehicle battery making operation with a projected similar sized workforce.


The plans were scrapped when LG Energy Solution broke away from the partnership but later revised when General Motors and Samsung joined hands to construct a facility to make batteries for electric vehicles.


To his knowledge, Schalliol said the New Carlisle area site consisting of all farmland is the only location being looked at for the proposed three million square foot development about four miles southeast of New Carlisle.


“We’re just waiting for them to finalize the decision.  We anticipate that will happen here in the next month or so,” he said.


If constructed, Schalliol said he doesn’t expect any problems with finding enough workers despite the tight labor market, citing a development agreement that calls for the average salary at the plant to be no less than $24 an hour.


The goal is for the plant to be operating in 2026.


“We believe it’ll be a pretty popular place to apply and work when they get up and running,” he said.


Bert Cook, Executive Director of the LaPorte Economic Advancement Partnership, said a plant that size would have a positive impact on the community located about 20 miles west of the site.


He said how much of an impact is difficult to predict but there would be LaPorte residents working there and bringing more money back for the local economy if they’re paid more than they’re making currently.


“I think those would be terrific wages for individuals and that would represent great opportunity for many people here,” he said.


Cook said additional businesses like suppliers to the plant would likely go up near the facility, creating more jobs for residents in the area.


“It’s a big project for sure.  Absolutely,” he said.


Schalliol said purchase agreements have been struck with all of the present land owners who agreed not to farm this year.


General Motors and Samsung want to begin construction before the end of the year and don’t want to compensate the farmers for their losses if dirt started being moved prior to the fall harvest.


“If they choose to move forward they can without having to buy out crops or anything,” he said.

Mayor Declares Majority Support for Annexation

(La Porte, IN) - La Porte Mayor Tom Dermody says enough signatures have been obtained for the city to annex the 39 North Conservancy District.


The city established a May 31st deadline for property owners in the district to sign a petition in favor of annexation. If enough signatures were not obtained, the city planned on dropping matter and pursuing other projects, instead.


Late this morning, Dermody revealed the goal of his administration to acquire the necessary signatures was achieved.


However, Dermody said the city will “determine the appropriate path forward” after the regularly scheduled 39 North Conservancy District meeting on Friday.


Dermody said the city decided not to take the next step until the meeting was held at the request of the 39 North Conservancy District Board.


“We are excited to partner with the Conservancy board and its residents to improve the infrastructure in this area and position the 39 North community for future growth. What’s best for these residents and business owners has always been at the heart of this discussion and we are happy to have their support to move forward,” he said.


The board is scheduled to meet at 8 a.m. at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers  at 2751 Indiana 39.


A settlement agreement containing possible compensation from the city for infrastructure the district paid to have installed over 20-years could be presented to the board for its consideration as part of the city's annexation attempt. 


If both sides don’t come together on a settlement, the stage could be set for a potential legal battle.

Chase Ends in Arrest of Fugitive

(Michigan City, IN) - Charges have been filed in connection with a recent police chase that ended with a crash in Michigan City.


Late Saturday afternoon, an officer spotted a vehicle reported stolen out of Chicago and tried pulling it over on Ohio Street on the city’s south side. This prompted the driver to flee, but it wasn’t long before he crashed near Franciscan Health hospital.


The driver took off running from there, before disappearing into a wooded area.


Another police officer with K-9 dog in tow arrived and announced he would release the animal if the suspect did not come out of hiding. Soon, the heavily tattooed driver emerged from the trees.


25-year-old Genesis Gavidia of Whiting was taken into custody, having also had warrants out for his arrest for probation violations on previous crimes of Battery and Theft.

OWI Arrest Follows Crash

(La Porte County, IN) - La Porte County Police say alcohol was involved in a vehicle crashing off Interstate 94 outside Michigan City last night.


26-year-old Joseph Barrette was arrested for OWI, claiming he was traveling at about 40 miles per hour but was appartently fast enough to shear an I-beam used to support a traffic sign. His vehicle flipped and slid more than 200 feet before coming to rest in some trees about two miles from the Michigan state line.


The Valparaiso man was treated for minor injuries before being taken to the La Porte County Jail with an alleged blood alcohol level of about .12 percent.


According to police, Barrette said he was trying to pull into a rest area when he lost control of the vehicle.

Bison Ousted from Post Season

(New Buffalo, MI) - Two hard-hit singles to start the game by Our Lady of the Lake proved to be an indication of the drubbing New Buffalo was about to take in the high school baseball post season opener on Tuesday.


The Lakers won 11-1 in the District 4 tournament hosted this year in New Buffalo.


The first two batters for the Lakers, Owen McLaughlin and Matt Lage, led off the first inning with crisp line drive singles to left field off starting pitcher Gio Sanchez-Perez.  McLaughlin trying to score from third base got caught in a pickle but crossed the plate on a throwing error.


Lage trying to take third base on the overthrown slid safely underneath the tag and scored when the next hitter laid down a sacrifice bunt.


The next batter struck a screaming line drive caught by third baseman Nicholas Wolfe but Sanchez-Perez began struggling with his control.  He hit a batter who scored following a single, a walk then a wild pitch.


The Bison pulled to within 3-1 in the bottom of the first inning after Vaugh Nikkel reached base on a walk and scored on a deep sacrifice fly ball to right field by Ethan Lijewski.


Our Lady of the Lake scored again in the second inning on a bloop single followed by a fielding error by Lijewski at shortshop.  The Bison ended the inning when Sam Wendel-Suppa after catching a deep fly ball to centerfield made a strong throw to second base to nail the runner trying to get back to the bag.


Two more runners crossed the plate for the Lakers in the 4th inning after a hit batsman and two more line drive smash singles to left field.


The Bison threatened to score again with one out in the bottom of the fourth inning after Wolfe reached base on a throwing error to first base by the shortstop and an infield single by Wendel-Suppa.


The next two batters, though, flew out to center field and struck out.


Lijewski pitching in relief gave up no runs in the 5th inning.  Wendel-Suppa pitching for the Bison in the 6th inning hit a batter who scored on a fielder’s choice.  Another batter reached base on a fielding error and scored on a triple.


Three more runners scored for the Lakers in the final inning after the first two batters drew walks and scored on a double to the left center field gap by Lage who crossed the plate on a single to left field.


Lage, the ace of the Lakers pitching staff, recorded nine strikeouts while giving up just three walks.


The Bison, who won four of their first six games of the regular season, finished with a record of 8-10-1.

High Honors for La Porte Choir

(La Porte, IN) - The La Porte High School Choir has received the Indiana State School Music Association All-Music Award for the 2022-2023 school year.


Under the direction of Choir Director Tom Coe, the Slicer performers were presented a special banner from the Indiana State School Music Association recognizing their outstanding musical accomplishments this year.  The achievements included gold ratings for all three choirs at the April contest, as well as gold ratings in sight reading as well. 


“This year's Chorale, made up of mostly Seniors, has been the brightest spot of my day all year long! I'm going to miss them very much next year and they are leaving some BIG shoes to fill for the underclassmen!,” Coe said.   


Seniors Morelia Robles, Addysen Morros, and Monica Camarillo-Duran said participating in the choir for four-years made a great impact on their lives.


“I became more confident in myself and appreciate the support we received throughout the community,” Morros said.



Wrong Way Pursuits Ends Safely

(La Porte County, IN) - La Porte County Police arrested a driver who led them on a pursuit in the opposite lanes of U.S. 30 this morning.  Lena Miller, 57, of Valparaiso was booked into the La Porte County Jail for resisting law enforcement.


Originally, an officer encountered Miller parked on the shoulder in the area of U.S. 30 and Indiana 39 earlier in the night.  She had run out of gas and exhibited no signs of being impaired.  Later, the officer recognized the same vehicle traveling eastbound in the westbound lanes of U.S. 30 near 450 West.  The vehicle was traveling directly toward the officer, who swerved to avoid a head-on collision.


During the pursuit, Miller remained in the opposite lanes while traveling about 45 to 50 miles hour and nearly causing several collisions, police said.  They reported three of her tires were flattened with stop sticks near 100 West but she kept going into Starke County until officers boxed her in and forced her to slow down until coming to a stop.


Miller said she was looking for her son but failed to provid specifics.  She then began making statements that did not make any sense, according to police.


Charlie Finley Mansion For Sale

(La Porte, IN) - The former home of one of the most famous team owners in major league baseball history is on the market for over $1.4 million just outside LaPorte.


The Oakland A’s won three straight World Series titles in the early 1970’s when the late Charlie Finley owned the team and lived in the mansion at 3855 West Johnson Road.


Zach Coulter of Blackrock Real Estate Services said the 10 acre site was put up for sale over a week ago by the current owners, Kevin and Rhonda Spence.


“There’s been a few showings.  Definitely, an intriguing property,” he said.


Coulter said an offer for at least $1 million was turned down, at least for right now.


He said the well-kept, mostly still original, mansion built in 1942 features seven bedrooms and 12 bathrooms along with other unique characteristics like Georgia marble fireplaces.  There’s also a three bedroom, three bathroom guest house constructed in the 1880’s and several barns including one with five stalls for horses.


Coulter says updates to the property such as new roofs in recent years were for maintenance purposes.


“A lot of the charm and character remains the same as it was when the Finley’s lived there. It’s a cool property for sure,” he said.


The colorful Finley, who made his fortune in the insurance business at Chicago, was 77 when he passed away in 1996.   He spent part of his childhood in Gary and moved to the mansion outside LaPorte in 1956.  Finley obtained a controlling interest in the A’s in 1960 and moved the team from Kansas City to Oakland in 1968.


The first of three consecutive World Series titles came four-years later with Hall of Fame players like Reggie Jackson, Jim “Catfish” Hunter and Rollie Fingers.


Finley, who seemed to relish in the national spotlight, also became a familiar name because of his salary disputes with players he replaced with less costly talent.  He was very outspoken in his opposition to free agency and his legal battles with then MLB Commissioner the late Bowie Kuhn.  Finley was also known as an innovator for things like changing the team colors to green, gold and white.


One of his inventions was an orange baseball for players to see better during night games, but the idea never caught on despite his continued sales pitches even on network TV.


Chip Jones, a lifelong LaPorte resident, said he grew up with some of Finley’s eight children, including Martin who was in his grade at school.  Jones said he occasionally went to the property to hang out or play basketball in the gym in the loft of one of the barns.  He also said Finley’s wife, Shirley, would call them in from outside and serve lunch during his visits.


“Mrs. Finley was as nice as can be.  She would feed you your peanut butter sandwich just like anyone else’s mom,” he said.


Mr. Finley was also known for embracing the community.  He would tell national TV audiences how he loved La Porte and do other things like donate baseball equipment for use by local youth.


After the couple divorced, Finley moved to another mansion a short distance away on U.S. 35 where he welcomed people by the thousands annually to see his outdoor Christmas display.


Jones said it was a special period of time to live in La Porte.


“It was kind of two worlds. You thought it was really cool that Charlie owned the Oakland A’s but the Finley kids were just good buddies.  They were just guys,” he said.


Coulter said the current owners put the property up for sale because they’re looking to downsize since their children are now grown.  He said mansion has already generated considerable interest.


“There’s been several showings and receiving an offer is a good sign,” he said.

Cougars Take Regionals in Softball

(La Porte County, IN) - The girls’ softball team from New Prairie High School brought home the regional championship last night.  The Cougars (28-5) defeated Tippecanoe Valley 16-0.  The game was called after four innings under the IHSAA mercy rule.


Freelance photographer, Mike Kellems, said the game at New Prairie featured a few home runs from Cougar batters.


“Tippy Valley is not a bad team at all.  It’s just New Prairie has got all pistons firing right now,” he said.


The Cougars advanced to the Twin Lakes Semi State in Class 3A.  New Prairie is scheduled to play No. 8 ranked Hanover Central Saturday at 12 p.m. (central time).


With a victory, the Cougars would play for the championship that evening at 5 p.m. (Central Time.)






Murder Suspect a Brew Pub Worker

(Michigan City, IN) - A man finished his shift at a popular Brew Pub in Michigan City and then fatally shot a man during an argument a short time later.  Those are among the new details in the case against Jonathan Smith.


Smith, 31, is charged with murder having allegedly shot Joseph Davis in the stomach area at about 6 p.m. on Saturday at 413 York Street.  Police said Davis, 52, died while in surgery.


According to court documents, an argument flared up between the two men after Smith was given a ride home by a woman after he finished his shift at Zorn Brewery. A witness told investigators Davis was videotaping Smith and the woman together and threatened to send the images to “someone else.”


At one point, police said it appeared Davis was inside his house and was being restrained from going outside.  Meanwhile, Smith was outside aggravating an already volatile situation by yelling things. The heated exchange continued despite efforts from other individuals to get both men to calm down.


Police said Smith eventually approached the front porch of the home, pulled out a handgun from his pants, and shot Joseph.  Smith fled from the scene but turned himself in about two hours later at the police station.


According to police, Smith told investigators that Davis was moving toward him and threatening to spray him with mace when he fired.


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

Elderly Couple Attacked by Dog

(La Porte County, IN) - A 67-year-old Michigan City area woman out for a walk with her husband wound up in the emergency room after being bitten by a dog.


According to La Porte County Police, an officer was called Friday just before 6 p.m. to Franciscan Health near Interstate 94 whereTheresa Hanske was being treated at the hospital for broken skin bleeding from her buttocks as a result of the bite.


Hanske told police she and her husband were walking on 200 North and once reaching 950 West they began to head back to their house. The leashed dog, a four-year-old English Mastiff, pulled hard away from her owner and ran toward the couple.  “Daisy” tried biting the man at his waist, then charged toward Hanske and bit her on the back side.


Police said Melissa Novak, 46, told investigators she was in her driveway with the leash in her hand but could not hold the dog when “Daisy” pulled away. She was able to quickly regain control of the dog after Hanske was injured.


According to police, the owner was able to prove her dog was current on her rabies vaccinations.

Alcohol a Factor in House Collision

(Hudson Lake, IN) - A 21-year-old man was allegedly drunk when he drove his sports car into a house in La Porte County early Saturday over in Hudson Lake.


According to police, the driver said he just purchased a 2018 Porsche and was showing off for his friend, who was a passenger in the car. It appears he was traveling too fast for a curve and drove into the yard, before slamming into the side of the house on Bell Avenue.   The impact was hard enough to move the house partially off its foundation, as well as to induce heavy damage on the inside of the structure. 


Two people living there heard the crash and went outside to see the car parked a few hundred feet away. Police said there were no injuries.


The driver, Benjamin Zirkle of Crown Point, had an alleged blood alcohol level slightly above the .08-percent legal limit.  He was charged with Operating while Intoxicated and Reckless Driving. 

One Person Airlifted from Crash

(La Porte County, IN) - La Porte County Police are still investigating a serious motor vehicle crash that occurred around noon last Friday at U.S 421 and 1500 South.  Police said a westbound flat-bed pick-up truck, apparently hauling dirt, collided with a southbound passenger vehicle.


40-year-old Eric Duttlinger of Wanatah told police he stopped for a stop sign, looked both ways, and saw a vehicle off in the distance before pulling out.  His pick-up struck the driver’s side of the passenger vehicle driven by 63-year-old Sandra Holloway.


The Central Indiana woman told police Duttlinger ran the stop sign. She was taken to the hospital in Porter County.  Her passenger, 72-year-old Virgil Holloway also from Central Indiana, was airlifted to a hospital wearing a neckbrace and complaining of pain in his back. Duttlinger was not injured.


So far, police said it appears alcohol was not involved in the accident.

Hearing for Weekend Murder Suspect

(Michigan City, IN) - A suspect in a Michigan City shooting death is scheduled for his initial court hearing today.  Jonathan Smith, 31, is charged with murder.


Police were called Saturday evening to the 400 block of York Street where, according to authorities, 52-year-old Joseph Davis was on the floor of the residence with a gunshot wound to his torso. Davis was flown to Memorial Hospital in South Bend where he died while in surgery.


Investigators said the shooting occurred while the two men were arguing. The suspect turned himself in at the police station nearly two hours after the incident.


Smith is currently being held in the La Porte County Jail without bond pending his initial hearing in La Porte Superior Court 1 at Michigan City.

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