Local News

Local Charges Over Taylor Swift Obsession

(Michigan City, IN) - A Long Beach man was still being held Wednesday in the LaPorte County Jail on allegations that include being stopped multiple times by security in his bid to reach superstar recording artist Taylor Swift.


Mitchell Taebel, 36, of 2020 Golden Gate Drive is charged in LaPorte Superior Court 1 in Michigan City with Level 5 Felony Stalking and Level 6 Felony Intimidation (along with Invasion of Privacy and Harassment), both of which classify as misdemeanors.


The man was returned to the jail Tuesday following his initial hearing, after Judge Jamie Oss denied his request to be released on his own recognizance. Taebel is currently being held on $15,000 cash only bond.


The 33-year old Swift is in the midst of her wildly popular Eras Tour, which included three recent performances at Soldier Field in Chicago and upcoming shows this Friday and Saturday in Detroit.


According to court documents, his alleged criminal activity beginning on March 25th included sending a voice message to her official Instagram account stating that he "would happily wear a bomb if he cannot be with his soul mate.”


The following day, he allegedly left a message for Swift’s father claiming to be her “soulmate" then sent her a picture the following week on Instagram of someone firing a handgun at a gun range, with a message threatening harm to Swift and all of her dancers.


In another message to the pop artist, he said “Y’all get ready you thugs because we’re going to cancel this damn tour and still destroy you."  Attached to that message was a picture of a man holding an AR-15 rifle.


In the weeks that followed, there were also messages from Taebel expressing a desire to meet with the artist, for them to be together, and to then “shoot ourselves if we had to,” per further evidence from the court.


On May 5th, police said Taebel traveled to some luxury condominiums in Nashville, Tennessee believing Swift was there and, while claiming to be a “popular TV host," asked security to let her know he was in the lobby.


He allegedly fled when police were called, before heading to Nissan Stadium in Nashville where Swift was scheduled to perform that evening.  He was near a VIP area inside the stadium upon being recognized from a list of security threats and then removed for safety reasons.


After returning home, he allegedly posted a message wishing death upon those who think it’s illegal to go to where somebody lives to see if they want to meet.


Authorities state Taebel also maintained thoughts of him being elected President and Swift becoming his First Lady.


According to court documents, Swift’s management team obtained a temporary restraining order, which was served to Taebel on May 13th. He allegedly violated the order by posting more messages about Swift and tagging her on social media, having accounts dedicated to Swift on both YouTube and Facebook.

Auditor Defends Himself Against Emails

(La Porte County, IN) - More political fireworks erupted at today’s La Porte County Commissioners meeting, where La Porte area resident Patrick Meany presented emails that he claims show La Porte County Auditor Tim Stabosz has weaponized his office.


The emails are about an $11,000 payment the commissioners approved for services provided by former county government attorney Shaw Friedman. Stabosz, though, still has possession of the check.


Meany said the recent emails revealed Stabosz is not mailing the check until county government pays his current legal bills from a lawsuit filed against him by Friedman over withholding payment from him on previous checks approved by the commissioners.


“Basically, what we have here is an auditor who is using his office as a tool to withhold payment to bills that have been approved by the commissioners.  Vindictive,” he said.


Stabosz said past payments he withheld from Friedman were over services he questioned as valid while auditing his invoices.   


He said Friedman never provided the information he sought for him to try and justify those services. Stabosz would not say if he has any questions about the billings from Friedman he’s presently withholding payment on.


However, Stabosz said he’s being sued personally by Friedman over the previous billings when he should actually be sued in his capacity as auditor. He said the county council should be paying his legal tab since he was acting as auditor in the scrutiny he applied to Friedman’s billings to make sure tax dollars are spent properly.


His unpaid legal tab currently stands at $9,600.


“It’s inappropriate for the auditor not to have the support of the finance authority, the council, and the commission when he’s trying to protect La Porte County from a rogue vendor."


Commissioner Rich Mrozinski threatened to adjourn the meeting if Stabosz continued to speak but Stabosz insisted he would resume speaking once the meeting was called back into session.


He was allowed to have his entire say. 


Stabosz was often accused of targeting Friedman for political reasons, allegations he still steadfastly denies. 


In an out of court settlement reached with the county commissioners late in 2021, Stabosz agreed to pay Friedman more than $26,000 from payments he withheld but not the $2,500 he questioned on that billing statement.


Friedman is suing Stabosz personally over the previous billings, claiming his actions as auditor are driven by his personal feelings against him. However, Stabosz said some of the work listed on his invoices fell outside the scope of his duties as county attorney in areas like politics.


Friedman maintains all of the work on his invoices came under the wide range of his responsibilities as county attorney. 

Alligators and Snakes Popular at Zoo

(Michigan City, IN) - There are currently three alligators on display at the Washington Park Zoo in Michigan City, but another has escaped the enclosure and is on a mission: to teach the public.


Julia Cole, an education curator at the lakefront zoo, has been presenting the fourth, roughly two-year-old alligator to help educate schoolchildren and the public at large about these often misunderstood creatures, as well as other reptiles the facility houses, like snakes. 


Cole brought the young gator into our studios recently to "appear" on the Sound Off radio program (in addition to other residents of the zoo, including a snake).


During the program, the alligator, feeling threatened, made noises akin to a duck call. In the wild, Cole noted, the sound alerts the mother who responds by carrying her babies from the nest to a good hiding spot for protection from predators.


“She stays nearby so if something is coming like another alligator or birds or raccoons or anything coming to get the baby alligators, they would make that sound and mom would come running to defend them,” she said.


Among the other reptilian creatures on display include corn snakes, which Cole described as being not venomous yet able to squeeze their bodies in order to kill prey.


Currently, the Washington Park Zoo is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. seven days a week, where attendance last year purportedly exceeded 100,000 people.

Man Survives Train Crash

(Berrien County, MI) - A driver somehow survived being struck by a train while inside his vehicle in southwest Michigan late Tuesday morning near U.S. 12 outside Galien.


Police say the driver southbound on Pardee Road veered around the crossing arms and was hit by the westbound train.


The 44-year-old Three Oaks man, whose name was not released, was taken to Memorial Hospital in South Bend. He was reported in serious but stable condition.


The car was virtually left in two separate pieces along the rails.


Berrien County Police said the collision remains under investigation.

Online Auction for Historic Civic Seats

(La Porte, IN) - The public will get a chance to own some of the original wooden seats in the near century old Civic Auditorium in La Porte as a one-week online auction for the seats is scheduled to begin at 7 a.m. on Friday and will end at 12 p.m. on June 16th.


Civic Auditorium Director Brent Binversie said 270 of the 1,382 seats in the building where the late comedian Bob Hope once performed, will go out for bid. There are just three single seats in the building, while the rest come in sections of mostly 13 seats held together on a single steel frame.


Just the single seats and sections of two to seven seats along with a handful of 13 seat sections will be available for bidding. Binversie said the rest of the seats will be turned over to Larson Danielson Construction, the LaPorte based company hired to take out the seats as part of the final stage of a $6 million modernization of the building.  Larson Danielson was involved in constructing the Civic Auditorium completed in 1929.


“We’re very happy to have them involved in the renovation project here in 2023,” he said.


Work on removing the old seats is scheduled to begin June 12th. They will be replaced with plastic seats that are two inches wider with cushions and cup holders. In turn, the seating aisles and steps will be widened. Hand rails in the aisles are also going to be installed.


Binversie said the idea is for the audience to feel more comfortable and safer while attending concerts, sporting events and other functions.


He said the upcoming improvements, which include air conditioning, will better position the Civic Auditorium booked more for entertainment by the city in recent years for hosting additional events particularly during the summer.


Binversie believes there will be a good response to the auction because of the history of the seats. He said the seats also carry sentimental value for people who used to attend LaPorte High School basketball games years ago when the facility was the home of the Slicers or some other major event or special occasion.


“We have received a lot of calls about when they are going up for sale,” he said.


The bidding will start at $50 for single seats and climb until reaching $350 for 13 seat sections. Money collected from the auction will be placed into the general fund of the Park Department, which oversees the Civic Auditorium.


Big names acts who performed there in more recent times include country music superstars Randy Travis and Clint Black along with the late Davey Jones of the Monkees.


Park Department Superintendent Mark Schreiber said Charlie Finley brought his World Series champion Oakland A’s to the Civic Auditorium for a banquet in the early 70’s.


Finley, who died in 1996, lived just outside LaPorte.


“I think it’s a great opportunity for those who want a piece of LaPorte history to be able to own it,” he said.


The public can find the auction at laportecivicauditorium.com or on the Facebook pages of the Civic Auditorium, the Park Department and the City of LaPorte.

Orchestra Undergoing Leadership Change

(La Porte, IN) - There’s going to be a new person in charge of the La Porte County Symphony Orchestra.


The LCSO Board of Directors has named Emily Yiannias as its next Executive Director, beginning on June 22nd. She will succeed Tim King, who’s retiring July 16th after five years as Executive Director.


Yiannias, a resident of Valparaiso, is a former Adjunct Music Faculty member of both Valparaiso University and the University of Notre Dame and is now affiliated with Opportunity Enterprises. She earned her Bachelor of Music degree from DePauw University and her Master of Music degree from Northwestern University Bienen School of Music. 


Yiannias is also a vocal soloist, performing with many ensembles in the NW Indiana and Chicago regions. 


“I’m thrilled and honored to join the LCSO, an organization that is central to the cultural fabric of Northwest Indiana and its surrounding communities,” she said.


King said he was happy with the choice of his successor.


“She possesses the combination of musical knowledge, fundraising experience as well as the temperament to lead the LCSO into the next era,” he said.


Yiannias will work side by side with King for four weeks to ensure a smooth transition, LCSO officials said.

City Proceeds Toward Annexation

(La Porte, IN) - The City of La Porte is moving forward in the process of annexing the 39 North Conservancy District as last night, the city council voted to accept the signatures on a petition from property owners asking to be annexed.


Signatures were obtained from more than 51 percent of owners with taxable property in the district as required under state law to move forward, per City Attorney Nick Otis.


Otis also told council members accepting the petition is one of the legal steps that must be taken in what’s going to be at least a several month process.


“Per statute, this needs to be filed with the city and, by accepting it, you’re deeming it filed with the city of La Porte,” he said.


Otis said other steps must now be taken in the coming weeks and months before the city council can officially vote on whether to annex.  He said the requirements include a public hearing before the city council makes its decision.The district consists of close to 1,000 acres along Indiana 39 between Severs Road and the Indiana Toll Road.  


During the public comment portion of the meeting, 39 North Conservancy District resident Jody Slabaugh claimed the city was in violation because it was following a not-as-strict state law governing voluntary annexation. He alleged the city initiated the effort and, therefore, must follow the law governing that approach, which has more requirements such as the presentation of a fiscal plan on providing services and more public outreach meetings.


“It is my hope that 39 North quits negotiating with the city and proceeds to court.  It’s not a voluntary annexation,” he said.


Otis said copies of the fiscal plan once approved by the city council will be mailed to every property owner in the district.


“The city is not hiding anything.  We are following the statute.  We have nothing to hide,” he said.

Circus Coming to LaCrosse

(LaCrosse, IN) - The Culpepper & Merriweather Circus is coming to LaCrosse on June 8th.


The tented, one-ring circus will perform two 90-minute shows att 5:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.


“No seat is further than 40 feet away from the ring, so you don’t have to worry about missing any of the action,” officials said.


The circus will include Big Cats presented by Trey Key, Simone on the trapeze, the 10th-generation Loyal Bareback Horse Riders, the Perez Daredevil Duo on the Tight Rope and Wheel of Destiny by Elizabeth Ayala juggling with her feet.


Tickets can be purchased online at https://cm-circus.square.site/, while discounted advance tickets can be purchased in LaCrosse at The Hangar, Heinold & Feller, and the LaCrosse Public Library and in Westville at Old Time Country Market, officials said.


Online discounted tickets are also available until 10:00 p.m. the night before the circus arrives. On the day of the show, tickets can ONLY be purchased at the box office at full price.


Advance tickets are $13 apiece and $8 for senior citizens. Tickets for children under 2 are free.


The circus is sponsored by the LaCrosse Lions Club, which will keep a portion of the proceeds.

OWI Arrest in Chase

(La Porte County, IN) - An alegedly impaired driver was chased by police into La Porte County earlier this morning.


According to La Porte County Police, the pursuit began in St. Joseph County when the driver, spotted driving erratically, ignored an officer’s attempt to make a traffic stop. The officer, following the fleeing driver into La Porte County, lost sight of the vehicle near Hudson Lake.


A La Porte County Police officer, upon being given a description of the vehicle, located the suspect westbound on U.S. 20 near Rolling Prairie.  After witnessing the vehicle drifting over the center and fog lines several times, the officer then tried stopping the vehicle, which kept going at speeds ranging from above 60 mph to more than 90 mph.


Eventually, the driver was caught when stop sticks flattened the tires on the fleeing vehicle just west of U.S. 20 and Indiana 39.


Police said Armon Braswell, 22, of Chicago was arrested for Operating while Intoxicated after refusing a certified breathalyzer test, as well as for Resisting Law Enforcement.


There were allegedly four partially-consumed alcoholic beverage containers in the vehicle.

Slicer Athlete Now Head Football Coach

(La Porte, IN) - La Porte High School has signed on another head football coach who, as fate would have it, is a veteran of the local gridiron. 


Austin Epple, who been an assistant football coach for the Slicers since 2018, was approved by The La Porte School Board to act as interim head coach for the upcoming season during a meeting on Thursday. He replaces Bob James, a former longtime assistant football coach who served as interim head coach  last season.


“We are very excited to have Austin lead our football program.  He has a contagious energy about him and will be a great motivator and communicator,” said LPHS Athletic Director Steve Santana.


Epple will be formally introduced during the school board meeting on June 12th.


The 2012 LPHS graduate excelled in football and track as a Slicer athlete, going on to play football at Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice.


Currently, Epple is a school resource officer in La Porte working on behalf of the La Porte County Sheriff’s Office.

OWI Crash at Family Express

(La Porte County, IN) - A police officer witnessed a single vehicle crash last night at a Michigan City area convenience store and ultimately the driver for being impaired.


The incident ocurred outside the Family Express at U.S. 20 and Johnson Road.


La Porte County Police said the driver was traveling slowly through the intersection when she abruptly turned southbound on Johnson Road before quickly heading into the parking lot of the Family Express. After some more erratic driving in the parking lot, she struck a metal barrier next to one of the gas pumps.


Athena Green, 37, of Niles, Michigan told the officer she had two Moscow Mules at a brew pub in New Buffalo about two hours prior to the crash. However, her blood alcohol level was more than two times the legal limit.

Recall Effort Fails to Clear First Hurdle

(New Buffalo, MI) - Another attempt to recall the mayor of New Buffalo has failed to clear the first hurdle.


The Berrien County Election Board on May 31st failed to approve the language on a petition seeking to recall John Humphrey over the dramatic increase in water and sewer bills.


The board felt the language stating the reason was not clear enough for voters to understand when deciding whether to remove Humphrey prior to the end of his four-year term.


The petition stated Humphrey should be recalled because of his decision at a city council meeting on June 20th, 2022 where he voted to approve updating the schedule of water and sewer rates effective August 1st, 2022.


The board felt the language was not factual because it sought to recall Humphrey as council member and mayor.


Humphrey was elected to the city council in November of 2020 and later appointed mayor by a majority of the city council.


The board also cited typos in the language that make it unclear.


“I thought they did a thorough job in review the petition and language based on state statute,” Humphrey said.


Humphrey said the language on the petition also made it seem as if he acted alone in raising the water and sewer rates.


He said the vote by the city council was unanimous after following the standard process used in decision making.


“We showed a tremendous amount of due diligence in how this decision was made. To act like this was an individual action or something I did by myself or took lightly is completely untrue,” he said.


During the hearing, Humphrey presented language he believed was more well-rounded for voters to make an educated decision on a petition.


His proposed language states the increase in water and sewer fees was a unanimous decision by the city council and came at the recommendation of the city manager and the city’s financial advisors to comply with the city’s legal requirements as a member of the Galien River Sanitary District Sewer Authority.


The election board did not respond to the language he suggested.


Humphrey said most of the rate hike is from increasing the ready to serve fee on sewer service from $14 to $60.


He said the increase was needed because rates hadn’t been raised enough since the late 1990’s to keep up with the city’s share of the rising cost for operating and maintaining the waste water treatment plant.


New Buffalo, New Buffalo Township, Chikaming Township, Lake Township and Bridgman form the Galien River Sanitary District, which operates and maintains the plant also serving Weesaw Township.


Humphrey said the city’s fund used for plant operation and maintenance had more than $300,000 in red ink annually in recent years because of inflation outpacing the amount collected in sewer fees.


Property tax revenue was allocated to cover the yearly sewer fund deficits, he said.


Humphrey said the sewer fund now has a surplus, which frees up property tax dollars once servicing the deficit to go toward roads and other projects in the city.


The recall petition was filed by New Buffalo resident and business owner John Taylor.


Taylor said chances are the language will be revised on another recall petition in hopes of gaining approval from the election board.


“I think we’ll have another run at it. I believe that to be the case,” he said.


Election board approval of language on any recall petition in Berrien County opens the door to a signature drive.


A required number of signatures from registered voters in a community where a recall is sought must be obtained by petitioners and validated by the election board for a special election to be called.


Taylor said Humphrey did not formally act alone in deciding to raise water and sewer rates but it’s his agenda a majority of the city council seems determined to put through ever since he was elected.


He said a ban on additional short term rentals in residential areas is one of Humphrey’s agenda items the council adopted last year. Taylor helped obtain signatures in a recall attempt of Humphrey last year over his support of the new the short term rental cap.


The drive fell short when the Berrien County Clerk’s Office threw out enough signatures to cause the amount to fall below the 219 verified signatures required for a special election.


Taylor said a lot of people, including business owners, are struggling from increases of 50-percent of more on their bi-monthly utility bills.  He said a better decision would have been to phase in the increase over a several year period to prepare water and sewer customers now left suffering from “sticker shock.”


Time is running out for opponents of Humphrey to have him removed from office early. In Michigan, elected officials in Michigan cannot be the target of a recall during their first year and final year in office. Humphrey will begin the final year of his current term in November, and has not decided whether to seek reelection.


Taylor said a lot of citizens are upset with Humphrey and his “cavalier attitude” on decision making despite how the public feels.


“There’s a fairly large ground swell of volunteers who want to see this go forward,” Taylor said.

Driver Flees Building Crash

(Westville, IN) - A hit and run driver crashed into a building in Westville over the weekend on Friday night at Parkman Storage Units.


La Porte County Police said it appears the vehicle turned from Indiana 2 onto Coulter Road, before immediately leaving the roadway.


The vehicle then traveled across a rock-filled ditch before crashing into two units and damaging others due to the vehicle making contact with interior walls once inside the structure.


“There’s probably at least five units up there that have damage from this one hit,” he said.


The vehicle traveled at an angle for about 50 feet before making impact with the storage building.


Parkman said the vehicle was traveling fast enough to drag more than a dozen limestone rocks measuring six inches in diameter out of an eight foot wide ditch to a nearby parking area.


He estimated the cost of repairs at about $7,500. 


So far, no suspects have been reported.  Parkman said he’s willing to give $500 to anyone with information leading to the driver.


It’s believed the crash occurred sometime between 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

Stranded Jet Skiers Recued

(La Porte, IN) - Two stranded jet-skiers were safely pulled from the water in La Porte when, at around 8 p.m. last night, a caller reported a capsized jet-ski a good distance from the shoreline on Pine Lake.


La Porte firefighters, using a rescue boat docked at Unity Park, went out and located the jet-ski along with two men in the water.  They were wearing lifejackets, fortunately, and placed on the rescue boat.


The jet-skiers, in their late teens-to-early 20’s. were described by firefighters as cold, tired, and scared.  They refused medical attention.


La Porte Fire Chief Andy Snyder said both individuals were on the same jet-ski when it overturned due to lake water somehow finding its way into the engine compartment.


“They noticed they started having mechanical problems with the jet-ski. It died on them and then it began taking on water,” he said, noting they were probably in the water for about 30 minutes.


Firefighters towed the jet ski back to the launch, where the victims put it back on their trailer for the ride home.

Cougars Advance to State, Robakowski Breaks Record

(Monticello, IN) - New Prairie is heading to the girls’ softball state finals following back-to-back wins at the Twin Lakes semi-state on Saturday.


In their first game, the Lady Cougars pounced on Hanover Central. Tied at one, New Prairie broke the game open in the third with a six-run barrage. The lead continued to grow, with New Prairie winning 12-2.

The highlight of the game came in the fifth inning with senior Abby Robakowski’s 23rd home run. The bomb to center field set the state record for most home runs in a season. Robakowski and junior Emily Mrozinski led the team with three RBIs each. Sophomore pitcher Eva Geyer struck out twelve batters in five innings.


In the regional championship, New Prairie clawed their way to a 1-0 win against Leo High School. It was underclassmen who came through with great plays in a clutch situation. After Geyer reached first with a single in the fourth inning, fellow sophomore Mya Dobrucki entered the game as a pinch runner. Following another Cougar hit by Mrozinski, sophomore Ella Chelminiak put down a perfect bunt to score Dobrucki for the game’s only run. Geyer gave up only two hits and one walk, with nine strike outs in yet another dominant pitching performance.


New Prairie will travel to Purdue University for the state championship game at Bittinger Stadium. The Lady Cougars will face the Lady Bruins of Tri-West Hendricks (27-5) on Friday, June 9 at 7pm Central time.

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.

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