Local News

Grammy Awards Have Local Connection

(Los Angeles, CA) - A La Porte restauranteur is in Los Angeles working at the Grammy Awards.


Tu Bloom is known around here as the owner of the new downtown Vietnamese eatery Bon Viet. He is also a professional chef in Chicago. But this weekend Bloom is living up to his name as a floral designer. He’s the botanical artist responsible for beautifying the sets of the 65th annual Grammy Awards.


Bloom was recently interviewed from the Red Carpet about his role by Chicago WGN’s Dina Bair. “The goal is to complement the Red Carpet, not take over,” he told Bair. Bloom is in charge of designing and cultivating live botanical arrangements so they look their best for the cameras at the star-studded event. Bloom said he has been handling floral designs at the Grammys for the past 15 years.


At the end of his interview with WGN, Bloom gave La Porte and his restaurant an enthusiastic shout-out and plugged the broadcast of the Grammy Awards, which will air Sunday evening on CBS at 7 p.m. Central.

State Police Introduce New K-9 Teams for This Region

(Lowell, IN) - Northwest Indiana has three new K-9 police teams among the State Police ranks. Three troopers and their K-9 partners recently graduated from the Indiana State Police K-9 Academy in Indianapolis.


They are:

  • Trooper William Carlson and his partner Cooper, a German Shepherd. Carlson is a seven-year veteran of the State Police.
  • Trooper Benjamin Beers and his partner Zero, a Belgian Malninois/Shepherd mix. Beers patrols the tollway, and he led the state in O.W.I. arrests in 2021.
  • Trooper Logan Hensley and his partner Kai, a German Shepherd. They are also assigned to the Toll Road. Hensley's former partner Zeus passed away last year. Kai is short for Kairos, who was Zeus' youngest son in Greek mythology.


The K-9 Academy is 12 weeks long and includes over 400 hours of training for trooper and K-9. They receive training in obedience, tracking, area search, building search, article search, apprehension, and narcotic detection.  The Indiana State Police currently has 34 patrol K-9 teams and six explosive detection K-9 Teams.

State Police Introduce New K-9 Teams for This Region

(Lowell, IN) - Northwest Indiana has three new K-9 police teams among the State Police ranks. Three troopers and their K-9 partners recently graduated from the Indiana State Police K-9 Academy in Indianapolis.


They are:

  • Trooper William Carlson and his partner Cooper, a German Shepherd. Carlson is a seven-year veteran of the State Police.
  • Trooper Benjamin Beers and his partner Zero, a Belgian Malninois/Shepherd mix. Beers patrols the tollway, and he led the state in O.W.I. arrests in 2021.
  • Trooper Logan Hensley and his partner Kai, a German Shepherd. They are also assigned to the Toll Road. Hensley's former partner Zeus passed away last year. Kai is short for Kairos, who was Zeus' youngest son in Greek mythology.


The K-9 Academy is 12 weeks long and includes over 400 hours of training for trooper and K-9. They receive training in obedience, tracking, area search, building search, article search, apprehension, and narcotic detections.  The Indiana State Police currently has 34 patrol K-9 teams and six explosive detection K-9 Teams.

Knox High School Rattled by Noisy Muffler

(Knox, IN) - A faulty car exhaust sparked a security check at Knox High School.


On Thursday morning the school was placed on lockdown, as a precaution, when school officials heard a loud bang outside.


Police investigated only to find out the sound was that of a car’s exhaust backfiring as it left the school parking lot.


Parents were notified of the lockdown, and school officials chalked it up to good practice.

Brawl Spoils Senior Night in South Bend

(South Bend, IN) - A basketball game on South Bend’s west side was abruptly halted when a fight broke out midway through the contest. It happened Thursday night as South Bend Washington hosted Riley High School in boys’ basketball.


Senior Night was spoiled when a halftime brawl in the stands spilled onto the court, causing the second half to be canceled. According to South Bend Police, about 20 officers eventually intervened, including the entire 2nd shift and officers from nearby jurisdictions. An ambulance was called, but no injuries were reported.


According to Washington boys’ basketball coach Ryan Varga, the melee had nothing to do with action on the court but resulted from non-students bringing their drama into the gym.


No arrests have been made in connection with the altercation. The IHSAA says no sanctions will be levied against South Bend Washington because proper security measures were in place and proper procedures were followed to de-escalate the situation. The second half of the game will be rescheduled. 

Both Mayors Unopposed in Primary

(La Porte, IN) - The filing deadline for candidates in the May primary has passed with La Porte Mayor Tom Dermody running unopposed for the republican nomination.


The only democrat in the primary race is Ron Zimmer, who was defeated for the party nomination in a landslide by then mayor Kathy Chroback in 2011.


Dermody, who’s seeking a second term, is a former five term state representative and once a member of the La Porte School Board.


There are five candidates seeking the democrat party nomination for mayor in Michigan City.  They are former mayor Ron Meer, city council members Angie Nelson Deuitch and Michael Mack along with former city councilman Johnny Stimley and La Porte County Councilman Mark Yagelski.


Michigan City Mayor Duane Parry is running unopposed in the primary for the republican nomination.  Mike Walker is running for mayor as a libertarian.


Meer was seeking a third term when defeated by Parry in 2019 by less than 100 votes.  


The filing deadline expired today at 12 p.m. 

Charges in Crow Bar Robbery Attack

(Michigan City, IN) - Charges have been filed in connection with a robbery and beating at a Michigan City area motel. About three weeks ago, police responded to the Dunes Inn along U.S. 421 near Interstate 94.


Briene Henderson, 33, allegedly went inside a room and had a brief conversation with the guest. Authorities state that he then pulled a crowbar out of coat pocket and began striking the man on the head.  The victim ran into the bathroom and was followed by Henderson who allegedly worked him over some more with the metal bar.


Police said Henderson didn’t leave until he took a Playstation game console, two cell phones and a backpack full of laundry.


The victim was treated at the scene by paramedics and transported to the hospital.


According to police, Henderson is also charged with taking various items from vehicles in the Michigan City area during the overnight hours about a week ago.

Car Takes Out Pole at Hammer's

(La Porte County, IN) - A motor vehicle striking a NIPSCO pole resulted in several hundred power outages in the Michigan City area late this morning.


At about 11 a.m., emergency responders were called to the area of U.S. 20 and Johnson Road. Witnesses say a NIPSCO pole was broken in two and the upper half of the pole was dangling above the ground from the power lines.


“We do have a NIPSCO pole that is completely taken out here,” one of the responding police officers stated.


According to witnesses, the vehicle came to rest beside Hammer’s restaurant.


So far, we don’t know if there were any injuries.  NIPSCO reported over 400 customers were without power after the collision.  


We’ll provide more details as they become available.

Slicer Defense Keys 50-47 Win Over Valpo

Valparaiso came into Slicer Gym Thursday night led by 6’7 Indiana All Star Candidate Mason Jones (21 ppg) and 6’1 sophomore Jack Smiley (15.3 ppg). The pair scores nearly 65% of the Vikings 56 points per game. 


Slicer coach Jordan Heckard put together a great defensive scheme, adding a diamond and two zone to the Slicers current zone and man to man packages. The idea was to force players other than Jones and Smiley to score. Kyle Kirkham was assigned to cover Jones and Rylan Kieszkowski chased Smiley.


La Porte jumped out to a 13-11 lead after the first quarter. Four different Slicers hit 3 pointers in the period and Tommy Samuelson added a free throw. Jones had 3 points in the quarter and Smiley was held scoreless. Caden Crowel stepped up for Valpo and scored 8 in the period for the Vikings.


Midway through the second quarter Jones picked up his second foul and went to the bench for the remainder of the half. The Slicers failed to take advantage of his absence and trailed 25-21 at the break . Malik Corley and Kirkham each had 7 points after two quarters.

Valpo scored the first basket of the third quarter to take a 6 point lead. The Slicers promptly ran off the next 7 points to take the lead by one. Ja’Meriyon Cross scored 8 points and Kirkham 5 in the third as the Slicers led 35-34 heading into the fourth quarter.


La Porte led 46-44 heading into the game’s final minute. Valpo fouled Cross with 44 seconds remaining. The senior, who was 1-4 from the free throw line up to that point, stepped to the line and calmly hit both shots to give the Slicers a 48-44 edge. 


Valpo pushed the ball up the court, missed a shot but the rebound was tipped to Smiley who drilled a 3 pointer to make the score 48-47 with 29 seconds left.  The Slicers inbounded the ball to Corley, a 90% free throw shooter, who was promptly fouled. Corley hit the pair to make it 50-47.  


The Slicer defense kept the ball out of the hands of Jones and Smiley on Valpo’s ensuing possession. Conner McCall missed a corner three pointer that was rebounded by Kieszkowski. He was fouled at the 13 second mark. The 6’5 junior came up short on the front end of the one and one giving Valpo one more chance. Again the Slicers did not let Jones or Smiley get a look. Michael Ridley was forced to take a well defended, off balance, corner three. Kieszkowski pulled down the rebound and the Slicers had a 50-47 win. 

Kyle Kirkham, who was named the Salisbury and Spence, Edward Jones Player of the Game led all scorers with 20 points. He was also the primary defender of Jones. Cross finished with 14 points, Corley 10 with Samuelson and Kieszkowski each adding 3 points. La Porte got hardnosed defense and rebounding from the trio and RJ Anglin, Brennan Balka and Dylan Salisbury. 

Smiley finished with 14 points and Jones had 11.  No other Viking reached double figures.


This was La Porte’s first win over Valparaiso since a 44-41 holiday tourney win in 2013. It was their first regular conference game victory over the Vikings since December 2007. The Slicers improved to 12-6 on the season and 2-3 in the DAC. Valpo falls to 9-11 and 2-3.


La Porte will host Kankakee Valley Saturday afternoon with tipoff scheduled at 1:30. As always the game will broadcast on 96.7 the Eagle pregame is scheduled at 1:15.



Matt Miller’s Slicer Junior Varsity team lost a tough back and forth 53-46 contest to Valpo in Thursday evening’s opener.  The Vikings led 12-9 after one quarter, the Slicers had a 24-20 half time lead. Valpo jumped to a 35-30 heading into the final quarter. La Porte tied the game at 41 in the fourth but were outscored 12-5 to end the game.


Freshman Sawyer Tonagel hit six three pointers for 18 points. Eli Taylor and Vann Warner each scored 8.  Kevin Konieczny and Javelle Broome had 5 points. Gage Raymond finished with 2 points.


The JV team will tip off against Kankakee Valley at noon on Saturday in Slicer Gym.


Photos courtesy of Susan Anglin.

Dumpster Diving Lands Man in Jail

(Wanatah, IN) - A man could face prison time after allegedly caught with narcotics while dumpster diving in La Porte County.


Benjamin VanVyckt, 39, is charged in La Porte Circuit Court with Level 6 Felony Possession of Methamphetamine.


According to court documents, La Porte County Police on January 24th were called to the American Legion in Wanatah and found VanVyckt inside a dumpster outside the building.


Police also discovered a warrant out for his arrest for violating probation in Whitley County.


Investigation disclosed just over two grams of methamphetamine and several smoking pipes were located in his vehicle. Also found in the vehicle was a winter jacket with actual South Bend Police Department patches on both arms of the jacket He told investigators he found the jacket inside a dumpster “while dumpster diving” in South Bend.


Prior records show the warrant was for violating probation on convictions of Operating while Intoxicated, Operating a Vehicle After Judged an Habitual Offender and Failure to Appear in Court.

Charges in Junk Food Theft

(La Porte, IN) - A La Porte man with a history of stealing is in trouble again for allegedly helping himself to some junk food.


Ryan Dunfee, 38, is charged in La Porte Circuit Court with Level 6 Felony Theft.


According to court documents, the man on January 18 was caught inside the BP Station at 1302 Lincolnway with an open bag of cheddar fries, a pack of cupcakes with one cupcake missing and an unopened bag of Cheetos.


The gas station manager followed him to nearby Northwest Health where he was confronted by officers inside the hospital. Dunfee told officers he went there because he was feeling suicidal and treatment for what appeared to be a badly infected big toe. He wound up being admitted to the medical facility.


Police said Dunfee claimed he took the snack food items from his mother’s house. Dunfee was warned in writing that he could be arrested if he ever returned to the gas station.


He could face anywhere from a six month-to-30 month sentence on the latest theft charge. 


Court records show he has several prior theft related convictions.

Mayor Standing Up to NIPSCO

(Michigan City, IN) - Michigan City Mayor Duane Parry is stepping up to the plate to argue against a proposed NIPSCO rate increase.


Parry said he will attend the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission Rate Increase Hearings in Indianapolis beginning March 13.


Parry said he felt an increase of 16.5% or $19.00 a month for average residential electric customers would be  inappropriate and unfair.


If approved, the increase will begin in September of 2023.


Parry said such an increase would have a tremendous adverse impact on “citizens currently struggling to make ends meet.”


He will be asking the IURC to hold the current rate structure through 2025.

Lawsuit Vowed if Schreiber Field is Threatened

(La Porte, IN) - A lawsuit is promised to try and stop any attempt to relocate Schreiber Field or Kiwanis Field in La Porte.


Attorney Shaw Friedman said he and other members of the community will band together in court, if necessary, to maintain “cherished local landmarks that provide a special character and unique quality to living in a community like LaPorte,” he said.


Friedman, president of his La Porte High School Class of 1977, said both facilities need upgrades and refurbishing but money should not be an issue no matter what the cost.


In a letter to members of the school board and legal counsel for the school corporation, Friedman requested under the Freedom of Information Act copies of any and all architectural and engineering studies commissioned in the past five years on both Schreiber Field and Kiwanis Field.


He also requested copies of any cost estimates for such modernization work along with any cost estimates for demolition.

Friedman is also seeking copies of any emails, memoranda and correspondence sent by or to school corporation administrators or board members on the matter.


“I can indicate to you there will be adamant opposition by myself and many of my classmates to any notion of demolishing or destroying either Schreiber Field or Kiwanis Field as opposed to performing needed refurbishing and upgrades at both facilities,” he stated in his letter.

Last week, La Porte School Board President Jim Arnold said there might be at some point a need for a new field house that could be placed at either Kiwanis Field or Schreiber Field due to lack of available land around the high school.


Arnold said Kiwanis Field needs a lot of work that could be too costly for an aging facility and Schreiber Field might be an option to place a field house if Kiwanis Field was renovated.


He said such a decision would be a tough but sometimes the future has to be chosen over the past if it means progress.


Friedman said Schreiber Field and Kiwanis Field set La Porte apart from the “cookie-cutter cutout athletic complexes in so many communities.”


He said landmarks such as those provide a special character and unique quality to living here and people who appreciate what they offer should not be viewed as “tied to the past.”


“I submit his view is not “progress.”  It’s wrongheaded and is most certainly not what is “best for the future” of this community,” Friedman said.

Board President Clarifies Stance on Schreiber Field

(La Porte, IN) - Schreiber Field in La Porte is not going anywhere any time soon and could very well be here for a long time.


That’s according to La Porte School Board President Jim Arnold, who recently cast seeds of doubt on the future of the prestigious high school baseball field named after the late legendary coach Ken Schreiber.


Last week, Arnold said a new field house that might be needed for the athletic program at the high school could be placed at either Schreiber Field or Kiwanis Field since there’s no other land available around the high school in a residential neighborhood.


Arnold said Kiwanis Field needs to be renovated but questioned whether a considerable sum of money should be spent on preserving the aging facility.

If Kiwanis Field is renovated at some point, Arnold said relocating Schreiber Field is another option to at least examine for placement of a new or expanded field house.


Today, Arnold emphasized what he previously stated was just an idea and there has been no talk about a new or expanded field house or relocating athletic facilities.  

“There are no discussions going on,” he said.


Arnold also said any talks regarding a field house and how that might impact Kiwanis Field or Schreiber Field is “sort of in the distant future if and when they’re ready to discuss it.”


“It isn’t happening right now so there really is no need for people to get alarmed,” he said.


Schreiber was head coach of seven state championship baseball teams in La Porte during his 38-years in the dugout.


He retired from coaching in 1998 with a record of 1,010 wins and 217 losses.



He died in 2017 at the age of 83. 

Space Heater Blamed for Fire

(La Porte County, IN) - A space heater has been identified as the cause of a house fire Wednesday near LaCrosse.


LaCrosse Fire Chief Aaron Rust said an elderly man woke up to see the space heater and his bedroom on fire.  The man, who was the only person inside the burning structure, made it outside safely with help from emergency responders as he was coming out of the home. 


Rust said he was transported to a hospital for evaluation and treatment of moderate smoke inhalation.


Firefighters from multiple agencies just after 7 a.m. responded to the blaze along U.S. 421 north of County Road 2300 South.  Rust said the fire was contained to the southwest side of the roughly 2,500 square foot single story residence.


He said the space heater was centrally located in the bedroom and seemed far enough away from anything in the bedroom that could have ignited from the heat.


What caused the space heater to catch fire was still being looked into, he said.


“That’s still part of the ongoing investigation,” he said.


Rust said firefighters from departments such as Westville, Cass Clinton Township, Morgan Township and Kouts in Porter County, Knox, North Judson and San Pierre in Starke County assisted with the blaze.

He said help from so many agencies was sought primarily to supply enough water in tanker trucks to extinguish the blaze and provide relief to firefighters needing to warm up for a while in a heated trailer brought to the scene because of arctic like temperatures.


“Everybody did a great job,” he said.


Rust said the house suffered moderate damage and is salvageable.  Firefighters cleared the scene close to three hours after receiving the call.

Groundhog Predicts Extended Winter

(Punxsutawney, PA.) - A late spring is forecast on this Groundhog day.


Punxsutawney Phil, the celebrated groundhog from Pennsylvania, saw his shadow when he emerged from a hole in a tree during annual heavily attended festivities. 


No shadow means an early spring.


Groundhog day originated from a Pennsylvania Dutch superstition that if a groundhog emerges from its burrows on this day and sees its shadow, the animal retreat to its den and winter will go on for six more weeks.


If it does not see its shadow, spring will arrive early.


According to statistics, the groundhog has only been accurate in its forecasting 39-percent of the time since the 1800’s.

Local Man Charged in Fatality

(South Bend, IN) - A Michigan City man is charged with fatally striking a pedestrian several months ago following a Notre Dame football game.


Authorities say fans were walking from the stadium in South Bend when 33-year-old Donald Culpepper was turning onto Indiana 23 and struck the man crossing an intersection on foot.


Thomas Keyser succumbed to his injuries a week later after the collision in September.


Police said a traffic light at the intersection was turning yellow when Keyser began making the turn. Test results showed methamphetamine and marijuana were in his bloodstream. Police also revealed his driver’s license was suspended and he has a prior OWI conviction.


Culpepper could face anywhere from a 2-to-12 year sentence.

Active Hit and Run Driver Search

(La Porte, IN) - Police are looking for a vehicle that fled a two-vehicle collision in La Porte at a high rate of speed this afternoon.


The suspected vehicle was described as a white Dodge Charger.


According to police, the crash about 3 p.m. involved two vehicles on Pine Lake Avenue. Initial reports indicate a witness was following the fleeing driver, who apparently fled northbound on Indiana 39 then eastbound on McClung Road.


It appears the other driver complained of lower back and neck pain.  We’ll provide more details once they’re made available from local authorities.

Suspected OWI in SUV Rollover

(La Porte County, IN) - Charges are being pursued in connection with an alleged alcohol-related single vehicle injury accident outside La Porte early Tuesday.


Officers at about 4 a.m. were called to U.S. 35 near Schultz Road where an SUV overturned off the highway. 


Police said the female driver was standing in a wood line with blood covering her face and the front of her body, telling officers was on her way home from work at a downtown La Porte bar when she swerved to avoid a deer.


Authorities noted she claimed to have consumed “roughly three shots” about three hours prior to the crash.  However, a portable breathalyzer test measured her blood alcohol level at .25-percent or more than three times above the legal limit.


The woman was transported to a hospital for treatment of her injuries.


Since the results of a portable breathalyzer test are not admissible as evidence in court, a blood sample was taken from her at the hospital for testing, but no results have yet been obtained. In the meantime, a warrant is being sought to charge her with Operating While Intoxicated.


According to police, the charge would be upgraded to a Level 6 Felony due to her having a prior OWI conviction from 2017.  Her name will not be disclosed unless formal charges are filed in the case.  

Indoor Grow Operation Bust

(Starke County, IN) - Arrests have been made in connection with an alleged marijuana growing operation in Starke County.


Authorities said nearly 50 marijuana plants were found inside a home Monday in the Bass Lake area. The plants were in various stages of growth.


According to police, arrested were 30-year-old Nichole Whitfield, 37-year-old Joseph Givens and 38-year-old Jennifer Zuniga.  They are being held pending the filing of formal charges.


Child welfare authorities were also called to the residence.


Authorities said the case remains under investigation.

Fair Lands Second Rising Music Act

(La Porte County, IN) - Another rising country music star is coming to this year’s La Porte County Fair. Jordan Davis is scheduled to perform on the fair stage in the grandstands on July 11th.


Among his hit songs is “Buy Dirt,” a duet with Luke Bryan that hit No. 1 on the charts in 2021 and was named the Country Music Association song of the year.


Tickets will start going on sale Friday at 10 a.m. at lpfair.com, according to fair officials, who made the announcement on the Morning Mayhem show this morning on 96.7 The Eagle.


Also coming to perform during the fair this year is young country music superstar Lainey Wilson.


Tickets are nearly sold out for her show set for July 12th, fair officials noted.

Arrest Stems from Same Day Overdoses

(Michigan City, IN) - Police say a Michigan City man is in custody after overdosing twice in the same day.


In late November, 33-year old Michael Cunningham overdosed for a second time at a home in the 500 block of West William Street on the city’s north end.


Police said he was conscious and talking but not making any sense.  He was transported to the hospital where three syringes inside a white envelope were later found in his hospital room between the dresser and wall.


Police said it wasn’t long before Cunningham claimed that he was going to be released and asked his mother on the phone to bring him his wallet.  His mother did not bring it to him, though, after finding cocaine in his bill fold.


According to authorities, Cunningham has a prior criminal record and was on parole at the time. He was booked into the La Porte County Jail on Monday and held on $755 bond on two Level 6 Felony charges of Possession of Cocaine and Unlawful Possession of a Syringe.

Active House Fire

(La Porte County, IN) - Firefighters were at the scene of a house fire in southern La Porte County earlier this morning. At about 7:15 a.m., firefighters from several agencies were called to the burning structure on U.S. 421 near LaCrosse.


Indications are a man inside made it out safely and was being looked over by medics battling the bitter cold. 


Emergency responders at the scene reported a corner of the house with a flat roof was engulfed by flames as trucks carrying water were in route.


Firefighters from agencies such as LaCrosse, Westville and Cass-Clinton Township were assisting.


We’ll provide more details as they become available.

Death of Child Ruled Natural

(Michigan City, IN) - A police investigation in Michigan City has determined a child died recently from natural causes. On January 20th, emergency responders were called to a home in the 800 block of West 6th street.


According to police, a three year old child was found unresponsive. Despite life-saving efforts from immediate family members, first responders and medical professionals,  the child ultimately passed away.


Last evening, authorities revealed the death was from natural causes.


“There was absolutely no foul play or wrongdoing found,” police said.

Lakers Send Message in Rout

(La Porte County, IN) - The boys’ basketball team at La Lumiere School with five slam dunks cruised to victory at home on Saturday, January 28th.


The Lakers defeated Saint Francis, a college preparatory school from Wheaton, Illinois 80-36.


Kaleb Glenn, a 6' 7" forwarsd committed to the University of Louisville, put the Lakers ahead 14-5 with a slam dunk midway through the first quarter.


La Lumiere began putting the game out of reach in the second quarter when sophomore Danny Murray sank a three point shot from the baseline followed by three point buckets from beyond the top of the key by junior Isaiah Henderson and senior Trenton Walters.


The Lakers led 46-24 when 6’4” senior guard Zaide Lowery sank a 40 foot shot at the halftime buzzer.


Glenn after grabbing a pass started the third quarter with his second slam dunk of the game then later dished the ball to 6’9” center Gus Yalden, who went up for a slam dunk.


A short time later, Glenn raced down the court for another slam dunk to increase the lead to 30 points.


In the fourth quarter, there was no let up from the Lakers in their offensive fireworks capped by Lowery when he dribbled in for thunderous slam dunk to make the score 72-33 with just three minutes left on the game clock.


Head Coach Pat Holmes said he was pleased with his team’s performance against a squad featuring a number of solid players.


“I thought our guys did a pretty good job playing selfless and trying to make a play for their teammates, which has been the point of emphasis all year,” he said.


The defense held the Spartans to just 12 second half-points.

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