Local News

Healthcare Foundation Grants Top the Million Mark

(La Porte, IN) - Healthcare Foundation of La Porte announces 33 grants totaling $1,416,149 have been awarded in cycle 2 of 2023. 


Each year, HFL makes grants during two grant cycles to advance the strategic priorities of Healthy Children, Healthy Living, and Healthy Minds.


Additionally, HFL makes Healthy La Porte grants to respond to community needs outside of the strategic priorities that demonstrate a connection to HFL’s mission and vision: empowering La Porte County residents to live healthy and well so that La Porte can be one of the top 10 healthiest communities in Indiana by 2030.  


The 2023 grant cycle 2 brought a diverse array of grant requests for projects and programs.


11 Healthy Children grants totaling $687,423; 7 Healthy Living grants totaling $274,680; 5 Healthy Minds grants totaling $334,300; and 10 Healthy La Porte grants totaling $119,746 were awarded in cycle 2.   


With this latest round of grants, HFL has invested more than $41 million in the community since its first grant cycle in November 2017.  


The latest grants are going to the following:





Friends of the La Porte County Public Library’s Books in the Home of Every Child – Dolly Parton Imagination Library - $45,000 over 3 years ($15,000 per year)  

The Friends of the La Porte County Public Library applied for a grant to expand their community literacy efforts through the Dolly Parton Imagination Library program. The Dolly Parton Imagination Library mails a free book each month to children enrolled in the program from birth through age five, no matter their family’s income. Each book includes parent-reading tips to increase interaction and strengthen family bonds during book time. The 3-year, $45,000 Healthy Children grant will allow The Friends of the Library to increase enrollment from 25% of eligible children to 50% of eligible children in La Porte County.  


The first five years of life are critical for healthy child development. Reading to children helps to build language skills, stimulates their imagination, expands their understanding of the world, and provides an opportunity for parents and children to connect. Through this grant, the Friends of the Library will get age-appropriate books on the nightstands of La Porte County children. 


On behalf of Friends of the Library, Dr. Krystal Simpson stated, “Without funding, this project would not be able to grow and may have been at risk of being discontinued. We are grateful to HFL for helping us with this endeavor so that more children in our area can benefit from this wonderful program.”  


To enroll a child in the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, visit


Dental Equipment for HealthLinc’s new Michigan City Clinic - $75,000 

A $75,000 2023 Cycle 2 Healthy Children grant was awarded to HealthLinc to provide 12 dental chairs for a new state-of-the-art clinic in Michigan City. The new clinic, which is currently under construction, will allow HealthLinc to expand access to care in La Porte County as HealthLinc’s current clinics in La Porte and Michigan City can no longer meet patient demand. With this project, HealthLinc will further implement its services to provide vital dental care to La Porte County patients and families.   


This project aligns with HFL's strategic priority of Healthy Children and the work of Partners for Healthier Babies as research suggests that there may be a link between oral health and premature birth and low birth weight, which are associated with higher infant mortality risk and increased risk of long-term health issues for baby.  


“Many of our patients lack access to quality dental care, which is vital to preventing serious health issues,” states Beth Wrobel, CEO of HealthLinc. “We are grateful for the generous support from the Healthcare Foundation of La Porte.” 


The new HealthLinc clinic is located at 200 Alfred Avenue, Michigan City, and is scheduled to be completed in early 2024. For more information about the HealthLinc Michigan City clinic, contact Jodie Wexelberg at jwexelberg@healthlincchc.org.   





Knapp Elementary All “IN”clusive Playground - $192,794 

HFL awarded a grant to Michigan City Area Schools (MCAS) to support Knapp Elementary’s All “IN”clusive Playground. Knapp serves 383 students and is home to a developmental preschool and two Autism programs. Although many of the students at Knapp have physical, sensory, or cognitive challenges, neither of Knapp's two existing playgrounds, one for younger children and one for older children, are ADA-compliant nor inclusive.  


The HFL grant will support the revamping of both playgrounds. The project includes replacing the school’s existing playground for older students and building it closer to the school to increase safety and security. The project will also add inclusive playground pieces to the playground for younger children to increase accessibility. Finally, pour-in-place rubber surfacing will be installed for both playgrounds, making the playgrounds accessible and safe for all children. 

The goal is to break ground in the summer of 2024 with all projects completed before school resumes for the 2024-25 school year. 


“As Knapp lies within the city limits, it is enjoyed daily not only by Knapp's students but the surrounding community members as well,” said Chris Kiser, MCAS Occupational Therapist.? “Becoming an inclusive playground with updated safe, and stable equipment will benefit the physical and mental health of many residents. The staff, students, and families of Knapp Elementary are excited for this endeavor to come to fruition soon.” 





Citizens Concerned for the Homeless Sand Castle Shelter for Homeless Families Renovation Project, Phase 2 - $50,000 Challenge Grant

Citizens Concerned for the Homeless (CCH) received a Challenge Grant for phase 2 of the renovation project of the 110-year-old Sand Castle Shelter for Homeless Families building. Sand Castle Shelter is a residential facility that serves homeless families and single women in La Porte County.  


Phase 1 of the renovations focused on exterior improvements, with a new roof, complete tuckpointing, and a new concrete driveway and patio. The work of Phase 1 was completed in summer 2023. 


Phase 2, set to begin in early spring 2024, will focus on the building's interior, upgrading plumbing and electrical, remodeling four bathrooms and the kitchen, and restoring all original floors and woodwork within the building.  


This $50,000 award is a Challenge Grant, meaning Citizens Concerned for the Homeless needs to raise $50,000 from the community in support of the project to receive the grant funds from HFL. CCH plans to launch a fundraising campaign to unlock this opportunity and a dollar-for-dollar match for the project. 


CCH Executive Director Jim Musial said, “HFL has been an unbelievable partner to CCH. In addition to funding CCH with general operation support, HFL helped us launch our food rescue program, helped us purchase a refrigeration truck, funded the build-out of a teaching kitchen at CCH's Grace Learning Center, and many other projects. HFL is much more than just a funding organization. They are a proactive community partner and one we are proud to call our friend.” 

New Evidence Alleges Intent to Kill

(Michigan City, IN) - A more serious charge is now faced by a Michigan City woman who fatally struck her husband with a motor vehicle.


Miranda Eggleston Suarez, 34, was originally charged with Level 4 felony Leaving the Scene of an Accident Causing Death in connection with the October 2nd incident.


New evidence in the case, presented in La Porte Superior Court 1 on Wednesday, illustrated how her actions were allegedly intentional.  Judge Jamie Oss found the new evidence was sufficient enough for Suarez to have to answer to the more serious allegations. 


As a result, Suarez is now facing the additional Level 2 felony charge of Voluntary Manslaughter, which carries a sentencing range of 10 to 30 years.


Kyle Suarez, 24, was found unresponsive in the parking lot of the Tall Timbers apartment complex on Springland Avenue, just west of Indiana 212.


Police said he was involved in an altercation in the parking lot where his spouse, wanting to leave, drove into her husband before fleeing the scene, later returning, and being taken into custody.

Death from Drugs Appeal Unsuccessful

(Indianapolis, IN) - A LaPorte man convicted of Drug Dealing Resulting in Death has lost his appeal.


Devante King, 31, was sentenced to 30 years in prison for selling the heroin that caused the March 6th, 2020, overdose death of 26-year-old Anthony Comeno, who was found dead in the bathroom of his grandparents' home in Michigan City, according to court records.


In his appeal, King argued that prosecutors failed to present sufficient evidence to convict him of drug dealing, resulting in a death and a drug dealing charge.


However, the appeals court ruled King and Comeno exchanged text messages on their phones to arrange the heroin buy, and that other evidence showed that King and Comeno met at a gas station to complete the deal.


"A reasonable jury could have readily concluded from the state's evidence that King delivered heroin to Comeno as charged," the court said.


King still can ask the Indiana Supreme Court to consider reviewing his case. Otherwise, his earliest possible release date from prison is in October of 2042.


La Porte County Prosecutor Sean Fagan applauded the ruling of the appellate judges.


"Good, strong evidence is what convinces juries and wins trials. The Court of Appeals saw that and upheld the conviction,” he said.


Fagan also credited members of his staff for presenting a solid case. 


“I was proud of the job my team did back in March when we got the guilty verdict and this is just further proof,” he said.

Mayor Vows to Keep Pushing for Change

(La Porte, IN) - La Porte Mayor Tom Dermody vowed to be just as aggressive during his next term in trying to get the city where it needs to be during his annual State of the City speech.


During his half-hour presentation Thursday night, Dermody largely touched upon what he cited as achievements this year, in areas like new housing construction, infrastructure upgrades, code enforcement, and quality of life.


Dermody, elected to a second term in a landslide on November 7th, also promised to not let up on the gas pedal to keep narrowing a wide gap on what needs addressing.


“We’ve accomplished a lot but we are not done.  I believe we have restored hope and confidence in what La Porte can be and if we all are relentless we will succeed. Together we are La Porte proud,” he said.


Dermody noted that the accomplishments of his administration this year included over five miles of new sidewalks, separating stormwater and sewer lines on I Street, filling 5,600 potholes compared to 3,800 in 2022, along with additional new housing construction at all price ranges to draw more residents.


Dermody referred to a study showing that just 20 percent of current homes in the city were built after 1980.


“We need a minimum of 900 for sale market-rate housing units and at least 750 rental housing units. We have work to do but we are making progress,” he said.


Among the new housing construction scheduled to begin in 2024 is a development called Beechwood Lakes, consisting of 100 or more high-quality homes surrounding the municipally owned Beechwood Golf Course.


Another 28 housing units will be constructed soon by Steiner Homes on 18th Street.


He also revealed that work to convert a former Coca-Cola bottling plant on Rumely Street into 16 housing units for people transitioning from homelessness is scheduled to begin in May.                         


The industrial and commercial successes this year cited by Dermody included another spec building under construction at the Thomas Rose Industrial Park, as well as the openings of Biggby Coffee, Pizzeria Uno, and a restaurant overlooking Pine Lake called The Drift.


Dermody brought up other highlights this year, including access throughout the city to even higher speed internet through a partnership with provider Surf Internet in addition to hiring more police officers and taking actions like cracking down on drug dealers.


“We will continue to make drug traffickers in our community uncomfortable and unwelcome,” he reassured.


Dermody said 3,500 citations were written this year for code violations, which reflects his ongoing commitment to improving the appearance of shabby-looking homes and other structures.


He also praised code enforcement and the police for working together to shut down the former La Porte Pantry convenience store at 102 Lincolnway, describing the business as a longtime “crime hot spot” before shutting its doors several months ago.


“We will not look the other way,” he said.


Dermody also gave high marks to the city’s annual dumpster program, which is free to the public for discarding unwanted items like old mattresses and furniture.


“We have dumped almost two million pounds of trash this year,” he said.


After the speech, La Porte County Councilman Randy Novak praised Dermody for the speed at which positive things are happening in the city.


He said other mayors have tried, but fallen short of the pace of change that is needed.


“When he talks La Porte proud, there’s no better champion for that. He really, really talks the talk and walks the walk. He’s got things going. He puts LaPorte first in everything,” he said.


The speech, given at the La Porte Civic Auditorium, was attended by roughly 200 people.

Not Guilty Verdict in Child Seduction Case

(La Porte, IN) - A former LaPorte High School coach has been found not guilty of inappropriately touching one of the students in the Winter Guard program.


The verdict was delivered on November 28 by a jury, following a two-day trial in LaPorte Circuit Court.


Medrano was accused of inappropriately touching a 16-year-old female student at LaPorte High School during the 2019-2020 school year, with charges being filed against Medrano the following year after the girl came forward with the allegations.


He was the Winter Guard coach and she was one of the student performers.


In a prepared statement, Medrano said “I am so grateful to the jury for seeing the truth. I feel vindicated but also saddened because I can never get back the last two years of my life.”  


Despite the verdict, he said “I will probably never coach again. It’s unfortunate because I was very proud of my work, and it had brought me so much joy and fulfillment for over 30 years.”


Medrano was employed by LaPorte High School for more than two decades, serving as a coach for the school’s Color and Winter Guard programs.


He commuted her from Chicago.


According to court documents, the girl told police his hands were placed strictly on the outside of her clothing and it happened often before and after practice when nobody was around during the 2019 season.


The investigation also found a then 61-year-old Medrano allegedly had the girl try on several low cut V neck outfits and told her things like “you’re hot."

Upcoming Food Drive for Holidays

(Michigan City, IN) - There will be a food drive in Michigan City this weekend to help families during the Christmas season.


The Salvation Army is hosting its annual Stuff-A-Sleigh food drive at both Al’s Supermarket locations in Michigan City on Saturday.


Major Dale Simmons, of the Michigan City Salvation Army, said that demand for food assistance has gone up by about 20 percent since last year.


“We’ve been serving more than 500 local families every month through our different programs.  We haven’t seen these kinds of numbers since the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said.


The Stuff-A-Sleigh program is this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.


Customers are invited to purchase pre-packed bags of food for $7 per bag to donate to the Salvation Army food pantry.  Each bag will contain pantry staples like pasta and sauce, vegetables, canned tuna fish, beans, soup, and macaroni and cheese. Monetary donations can also be made at the register.


Anyone wanting to volunteer for this and other future events can contact the Salvation Army of Michigan City at (219) 874-6885 ext. 1003.

New Truck Stop Opening Soon

(La Porte County, IN) - A new truck stop just outside of Michigan City should be opening next month.


Love’s Travel Stop, which has more than 600 locations in over 40 states, is on U.S. 421, just south of Interstate 94.


Construction was made possible by extending water and sewer lines underneath the interstate to the site, close to the old Waste Management landfill.


Matt Reardon, who’s in charge of economic development for the La Porte County government, said construction plans were first submitted several years ago, but it took time to veer around unexpected roadblocks in the development.

“It’s a challenging site. I mean it’s hard to identify people that want to build next to a landfill, but this is right off the highway and fairly appropriate for that location,” he said.


The closest Love’s Travel Stop locations to La Porte County are in Gary, Plymouth, De Motte, and South Holland, Illinois.


Love's Travel Stop is expected to open its new location in mid-December.

Havens Vying to Replace Retiring Judge

(La Porte, IN) - After maintaining a longtime presence in courtrooms, La Porte County Deputy Prosecutor Julianne Havens is now vying for the seat La Porte Circuit Court Judge Tom Alevizos is vacating after serving the final year of his three six-year terms on the bench in 2024.


Alevizos, a former city council member in Michigan City and former state representative, chose not to seek reelection.


Havens, citing her extensive trial experience, recently announced her candidacy for the position. The 1991 graduate of the Valparaiso University School of Law said she has prosecuted cases before at least 20 different judges in northern Indiana since becoming a deputy prosecutor in La Porte County in 1992.


She continued her prosecuting career in St. Joseph County and Starke County before returning to practice law as a public defender in La Porte County in 2011 and working with the La Porte County Prosecutor’s Office since 2015.


During her career, Havens said she has formulated unique insights into the qualities that make an effective judge and vowed to be guided by the values of honesty, fairness, and hard work that had been instilled into her by her parents.

State of City Speech Tonight

(La Porte, IN.) - La Porte Mayor Tom Dermody will give his annual State of the City speech tonight.


Several hundred people are expected to attend.


La Porte Economic Advancement Partnership Executive Director Bert Cook said the mayor will discuss the successes of his administration this year, and paint a picture of what’s planned in 2024.


“There’s quite a bit there. We got a lot of important initiatives that will continue on,” he said.


The State of the City speech is scheduled from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. this evening at the La Porte Civic Auditorium.

Gunman, 16, Charged as An Adult

(Michigan City, IN) - A teenager is being charged as an adult in connection with recent gunfire in Michigan City.


Ja’Narri Garrett-Coleman, 16, has been accused of shooting a home in the 1900 block of Tennessee Street on November 20th. There were reportedly people inside the structure, but nobody was injured.


That same day, gunshots were also fired at a home where Garrett-Coleman resides in the 600 block of Russell Street. The boy returned fire at the gunman, who was inside a motor vehicle driving by the residence, per authorities.


Police have noted that Garrett-Coleman is a gang member who has been the target of several gun-related incidents this year.


He has been charged in La Porte Superior Court 1 with two counts of Criminal Recklessness and Child in Possession of a Firearm, all Level 5 felonies. 


Last year, the boy was found guilty in juvenile court of Dangerous Possession of a Gun.


La Porte County Prosecutor Sean Fagan said the decision to try the case in adult court was made over concerns about the juvenile’s criminal history. His office has, earlier this year, also taken a tougher stand on gun-related offenses to try and help reduce the number of shootings in Michigan City in recent years.


“If people are alleged to have done certain crimes then we need to step up our enforcement to stop this behavior. It’s not acceptable,” he said.

Zoo in Michigan City Open Saturday

(Michigan City, IN) - While the return to summer isn’t here just yet, you can still enjoy a day at the Washington Park Zoo this Saturday, December 2nd from 10:00 am until 3:00 pm for the first Wild Winterland event.


Visit the Zoo during the off-season to see some of your favorite animals, enjoy the fresh air, and even visit with the staff for "Keeper Chats" throughout the day to experience some of the education ambassadors up-close like the armadillo, corn snake, hedgehog, mini horse, and chinchilla.


Be sure to bring your camera and your warm holiday sweater for a photo with one of our costume mascots from 11:00 am until 2:00 pm in the classroom or swing by the Peacock Cafe for hot cocoa, and be sure to browse through the Treehouse Giftshop for some zoo-terrific gift options.


Due to the limited visibility for some of the tropical animals, admission is reduced for this very special day:


Adults: $ 5.00

Children ages 3-11 years: $4.00

Children under 2:  Free

There is no cost for members of Washington Park Zoo.


For more information on this event and zoo updates, please visit the Washington Park Zoo’s Facebook page and website.


Photo:  The Three-Banded Armadillo will be one of the featured “Keeper Chats” during the event.

Michigan Near Top for Christmas Trees

(Durand, MI.) - About two-thirds of Christmas trees in the U.S. come from just two states, but Michigan is the next largest producer.


According to the United States Department of Agriculture, Oregon harvested 4.7 million Christmas trees last year while just over four million trees finding a home during the season came from North Carolina. Michigan ranked third, producing slightly more than 1.5 million Christmas trees in 2022.


Coming in at no. 11 is Indiana, with about 150,000 Christmas trees harvested last year.


Amy Start, Executive Director of the Michigan Christmas Tree Association, said the Great Lakes state ranks high because of its climate and having a lot of ground ideal for raising Christmas trees. Christmas trees grow best in soil that drains well from being hilly and containing a higher percentage of sand. Start spoke further, saying that the roots on Christmas trees are prone to rot if exposed to a high moisture content in the dirt.


“Christmas trees don’t like to have their roots wet.  You’ll have to pick a different crop if you live in an area with good soil,” she said.


The largest Christmas tree-producing area in Michigan, and one of the leaders nationwide, is Missauke County, located in the northern Lower Peninsula of the state.


According to the USDA, more than a half million Christmas trees come out of Missauke County near Cadillac each year, while the nearby Wexford County harvests about 170,000 trees annually. Montcalm County, northeast of Grand Rapids, produces slightly more than 100,000 Christmas trees in a season while over 70,000 trees are harvested in Oceana County along the eastern shoreline of Lake Michigan near Ludington,


A decent amount of Christmas trees also come out of the southwest corner of Michigan, with the largest producer in that part of the state being Allegan County with more than 60,000 cut annually.


About 9,000 of the trees in Michigan come yearly from Berrien County.


“A lot of parts of our state have that kind of soil that just makes growing Christmas trees the perfect thing,” Start said.

Fleeing OWI Driver Charged

(La Porte County, IN) - Problems keep mounting for a driver who was allegedly impaired and fled on foot from a crash near Michigan City.


Yvonne Noe, 28, has been charged with Operating a Vehicle while Intoxicated, Driving as a Habitual Offender, and other counts.


A week ago, La Porte County Police said Noe drove into a ditch in the 5300 block of North County Road 400 West. She reportedly then fled on foot, but officers soon found her hiding in the backyard of a nearby residence.


Her alleged blood alcohol level was close to three times the legal limit.


Two of her charges were upgraded to Level 6 felonies because of her being convicted of OWI just three months ago, in addition to Driving as a Habitual Offender.


Noe is still being held in the La Porte County Jail without bond.

U.S. Senate Honors Knight

(Washington, D.C.) - The U.S. Senate has passed a resolution honoring the life and achievements of former Indiana University basketball coach Bob Knight.


The resolution was sponsored by Indiana Senators Todd Young and Mike Braun.


“Coach Knight embodied so many Hoosier values: perseverance, accountability, and above all hard work. Coach Knight will always be remembered by Hoosiers, and it was an honor to be able to commemorate his life and success with this Senate resolution with Senator Young,” Braun said.


The resolution celebrates Knight’s achievements during 29 years at Indiana University. Those accomplishments mentioned in the resolution include three NCAA titles, 11 Big Ten Conference championships, 24 trips to the NCAA tournament, and coaching the last team to go undefeated and win the NCAA tournament during the 1975-76 season.


“Some of my best memories growing up in an IU family were watching games with my Dad, from IU-Purdue nailbiters to Big Ten and NCAA title runs. Bob Knight was a basketball genius who made a tremendous impact on the players he coached, the IU community, and the entire state of Indiana. I’m proud to join with Senator Braun to pay tribute to the life and legacy of The General, who will be remembered on and off the court for generations to come,” Young said.


Knight passed away on November 1st at 83 years old.

Leaf Pick-Up Resumes Today

(La Porte, IN) - Leaf pick-up resumed today in the City of La Porte after being brought to a halt due to light snow yesterday.


La Porte Street Department Director Jeff Batchelor said the plan is to complete all three of the originally scheduled passes through the city, as the second round of pick-ups could be completed early next week given that most of the leaves have already fallen.


“We’ll do the second round. Finish up with it sometime next week and go right into the third round,” he said.


Mayor Tom Dermody gave thanks to citizens for their patience and cooperation with the leaf pick-up.


“People have done a great job raking all of their leaves off and making sure we can get them,” he said.


It looks like Mother Nature will be cooperating with the leaf pick-up, with temperatures over the next seven days expected to rise into the upper 30s and into the 40s.

New Police Chief for New Year

(Michigan City, IN) - Michigan City will begin the New Year with a new police chief, as Marty Corley will take charge of the police department beginning January 1st.


Current police chief Steve Forker will replace Corley as assistant chief.


Corley, a 23-year veteran of the department, said his priorities will include adequate staffing of patrol officers and additional staffing in the investigative division, along with more officers working in community policing.


The move is part of the new administration being put together by city councilwoman Angie Nelson Deuitch, who will be sworn in as mayor on December 30th.


Deuitch soundly defeated current mayor Duane Parry in the November 7th election.

Northwest Health Closing Two Clinics

(Porter County, IN) - Northwest Health may be closing urgent care clinics, but not the ones in La Porte and Michigan City.


The health care system is shutting the doors on urgent care facilities in Portage and Valparaiso, beginning December 1st.


“We continually review how patients access our services as well as opportunities to operate more effectively to meet community needs,” said Northwest Health spokeswoman Kelly Credit.


Credit said employees at the urgent care clinics are being offered roles elsewhere within the health system.


"As always, we will continue to look at how we can most effectively serve patients and our community moving forward," she said.  


Credit also noted that there are no plans to shutter the urgent care clinics in La Porte and Michigan City.


“Those are not, and will not, close,” she said.

Driver Involved in Death Charged with Selling Drugs

(Michigan City, IN) - It appears a La Porte man was the driver of a vehicle involved in a death related to a recent drug deal gone wrong in Michigan City.


Jordan Glancy, 19, has been charged with Dealing in a Schedule 1 Controlled Substance and Dealing in Marijuana.


According to court records, he agreed to sell an ounce of marijuana and some chocolate psilocybin mushroom-based drugs to Mykel Trice, whom Glancy told investigators he knew from high school but had never sold drugs to previously. 


Early Saturday, Glancy reportedly pulled up to a home where Trice resided to carry out the exchange. However, Glancy told investigators Trice and 18-year-old Jermaine Carter unexpectedly got into his vehicle and, while driving, Trice pointed a gun at him and demanded everything he had in his possession.


Glancy then lost control of the vehicle on purpose to avoid being shot, which led to Trice winding up pinned beneath the drug dealer’s Chevy Tahoe, which came to rest on its side in a front yard in the 400 block of Walker Street.


Carter was shot in the leg during the shootout that followed with Glancy.


Carter, who was wearing a mask at the time, has been charged with Murder and other counts in connection with the death.


Glancy could face an up to 30-year sentence on the most serious of the counts, which is a Level 2 felony.

Death from Drug Deal Gone Bad

(Michigan City, IN) - A Michigan City man is still being held on charges in connection with a possible gang-related shooting and death.


Jermaine Carter, 18, has been charged with Murder and other counts.


According to authorities, Carter and Mykel Trice got into a vehicle over the weekend after the driver therein agreed to sell them an ounce of marijuana and psychedelic mushrooms. However, one of the men pointed a gun at the driver’s head, demanding everything he had in his possession. 


The investigation reportedly shows that the driver flipped the vehicle multiple times in the 400 block of Walker Street to avoid being shot. Trice, an alleged gang member, was ejected in the process and found dead underneath the vehicle. Carter was shot in the leg during a gunfire exchange with the driver and taken to the hospital by the mother of the victim.


Court records show Carter has a prior criminal record as a juvenile.


He's in the La Porte County Jail currently awaiting the outcome of the case on a 1 million dollar bond.

Alleged Fentanyl Dealer Posts Bond

(Michigan City, IN) - A Michigan City man has been accused of selling fentanyl. Devante Byrd, 28, was allegedly caught selling the deadly drug at his home in the 3200 block of Dody Avenue


The first transaction, made in May, involved $300 for 20 fentanyl pills. The following month saw 10 fentanyl pills sold for $200. On one occasion, police noted, there was a toddler present during the exchange.


Currently, Byrd is waiting for the case to be decided at home after having posted $2,500 cash bond last week.


If convicted on both counts, he would face anywhere from a five to 28-year sentence.

Santa Gearing Up for Michigan City

(Michigan City, IN) - Michigan City is readying to roll out the red carpet for Santa Claus, who will be featured in the Festival of Lights Parade slated for this Saturday beginning at 5 p.m. at 9th and Franklin Streets.


The parade, featuring jolly Saint Nick, will proceed northbound on Franklin St. to 4th Street, leading to a tree lighting ceremony outside the Michigan City Public Library and the following activation of the lights covering much of the grounds at Washington Park.


Registration is still open to be part of the parade at no cost, per officials.


Before the parade, the Festival of Lights Chili Challenge, pitting city departments against local organizations in judging for the best chili, will occur.


The competition will take place at four local businesses in the Uptown Arts District.   They are Good News Vintage, Barker Hall, Canterbury Summer Theatre, and Up4Movement. People can pay $5 to taste and vote for their favorite chili, with all proceeds going to Meals on Wheels of La Porte County.


“We are so excited to get the season started,” said Mayor Duane Parry.

Deer Freed of Plastic Pumpkin

(La Porte, IN) - A deer just outside La Porte is now free of the plastic pumpkin stuck over its face while roaming the countryside for about two weeks.


After numerous sightings, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources contacted a veterinarian who sedated the deer with a tranquilizer gun Friday night in the 300 block of Bordeaux Drive.


There were growing concerns about the adult-sized doe’s ability to survive, due to her mouth and snout being totally inside the hollow plastic jack-o’-lantern.


Dr. Larry Smith, who examined the deer after firing a tranquilizer into it from about 35 feet away, said the animal was a little underweight but still in “relatively good shape" and did not appear dehydrated.


DNR Conservation Officer Tyler Brock said there was some water at the bottom of the orange bowl-shaped pumpkin when it was removed from the head of the deer.


That led Brock to believe the deer bobbed her head into nearby Pine Lake or a stream to fill the container with water, noting that water could have seeped in from the gaps between her face and the upper rim of the pumpkin for her to drink at the bottom.


He didn’t see how it would be possible for the deer to have eaten much, if anything, from her mouth covered by what was essentially a muzzle.


After awakening a few minutes later as the effects of the tranquilizer wore off, the deer stood up on its own before scampering away.


“I’m sure it had a good meal quickly after,” Brock said.


Brock said the plastic handle on the pumpkin, normally what some children use to collect Halloween candy, was draped over the top of the deer’s forehead, creating just enough tension to keep the container from slipping off her face.


“The relief, the happiness I can’t even describe,” said Gretchen Worley, who lives at 1714 North Rustic Drive


Her home is near the heavily wooded subdivision just outside the city limits where the deer was tranquilized and most often spotted.  On most days, Worley said, she spent hours at a time searching for the deer hoping to get close enough to remove the plastic pumpkin with a four-foot-long hook pole.


She spotted the deer on several occasions and once got as close as 25 feet from the animal, but each time it ran off.  Worley also noted that she worked with a couple that made the drive from Jasper County to assist in the search with a drone.


Out of habit, Worley said she caught herself trying to spot the animal from inside her vehicle while driving home the night after the deer was set free of the pumpkin.


“I had to tell myself that it’s over. I don’t have to be on pins and needles. I don’t have to have my binoculars glued to my eyes. I got accustomed to it,” she said.


Brock said the deer’s ability to survive was probably helped by the fat wild animals put on this time of year to feed off of when food is not as plentiful during the winter. He also illustrated how only veterinarians in the state are licensed to tranquilize wild animals as long as a conservation officer is present.


Smith said it was getting dark when he fired the tranquilizer gun from the backyard of a home while conservation officer Alex Toth kept his flashlight on the deer inside a wooded area.


He said the orange pumpkin, shining in the light above the shoulders and neck of the deer, helped provide him with a target through the slight clearing between the trees.


“Luckily, I was able to take a shot and hit it on the first shot,” he said.


Brock said deer winding up with plastic pumpkins over their heads doesn’t happen very often, but also is not uncommon as wild animals like raccoons and opossums sometimes wind up with things like bags and boxes over their heads.


He noted how the objects usually work themselves loose from the animals before conservation officers have to get involved.


Regardless of the outcome, he feels there’s a lesson for the public to learn each time.


“It’s just an example of being aware of what we’re leaving out and how that can affect wildlife,” he said.

La Porte Welcomes Santa into Town

(La Porte, IN) - Santa Claus was given a warm welcome in downtown La Porte over the weekend, first appearing in the city's annual Santa Parade before addressing the crowd gathered at Plaza 618 at Lincolnway and Monroe Street for the tree lighting ceremony, as well as Christmas caroling and other festivities kicking off the holiday season.


His trademark “Ho, ho, ho” filled the chilly air to the cheers of many enthusiastic children.


“Thank you all for showing up. This is amazing. Beautiful,” he said.


Amid the buzz of the crowd, a child shouted “Let’s go Santa!"


Santa Claus, in a sleigh on a float, was the last of more than 30 units in the parade which also included Mayor Tom Dermody waving to the crowd on State Street on top of a fire truck.


“Who wouldn’t enjoy Santa coming to town?” he said.


After speaking briefly to the audience, Santa Claus took a seat inside his chalet to visit with children, standing with loved ones in a line stretching roughly 200 feet long.


Amy Wallisa of La Porte came with her nine-year-old daughter, Mikaela, and the girl’s father, Jose, to enjoy the festivities.


“It was wonderful. It brings the community together and it brings Christmas spirit. We need that right now. I think everybody does,” she said.


Her daughter presented a list of items she wanted for Christmas to Santa Claus.


“She’s been a very good girl. Hopefully, Santa is good to her,” she said.


Other units in the parade included a fresh-out-of-the-factory-looking 1948 Ford pick-up truck.


“I polish it and take really good care of it,” said Robert Alt, who borrowed the truck from his mother to drive in the parade. The La Porte area man said the dark green truck, with 164,000 miles on the odometer, is still very dependable.


“Love it. It starts every single time,” he said.


 Eden Riley, 12, also of La Porte walked the parade route with a 23-year-old miniature horse.


“She’s very sassy sometimes but everybody loves her. She’s good. She’s very good,” she said.


Among the other dignitaries in the parade was State Representative Jim Pressel of Rolling Prairie, who was dressed as one of Santa’s elves.


“What a great turnout. Merry Christmas to everybody!” he said.


The conditions were almost perfect for getting into the Christmas spirit, with temperatures close to freezing, very little wind, and plenty of sunshine.


“It’s crisp but it feels good,” said Amy Johnson, a member of Crossroads Christian Center which had a float in the parade.


La Porte Events Coordinator Brett Binversie said he was definitely pleased with the turnout and effort from volunteers in making the festivities possible.


“We’re very happy. We love our community. Happy to see everyone out having a wonderful time,” he said.

Fleeing Shoplifter Located in Bathroom

(La Porte, IN) - A suspected shoplifter is facing charges after being caught hiding in a bathroom stall in La Porte.


About two weeks ago, 45-year-old Bonnie McGriff, of Michigan City, reportedly put on a pair of black boots at the Walmart in La Porte and stuffed other merchandise from the retailer into her purse.


She then was confronted by a security officer for not paying for the items before allegedly running inside the nearby McDonald's. There, officers found her hiding in a bathroom stall at the fast food restaurant still wearing the stolen pair of boots alongside the unpaid-for merchandise.


McGriff also has been accused of having about a gram of methamphetamine inside her purse. She has been charged in La Porte Circuit Court with Theft, Possession of Methamphetamine, and Unlawful Possession of a Syringe.

One Dead, Two Arrested in Michigan City

(Michigan City, IN) - One teenager is dead and two others are in jail following an incident in Michigan City early Saturday morning.


According to Michigan City Police, a patrol officer heard multiple gunshots in the Eastport neighborhood around midnight. The city’s Flock Safety Raven gunshot detection system pinpointed the shots to the 400 block of Walker Street.


Upon arrival, officers found three vehicles involved in a crash. 18-year-old Mykel Trice of Michigan City was found dead and pinned underneath a vehicle that had overturned. 19-year-old Jordan Glancy of La Porte, who was determined to be the driver of one of the vehicles, was taken into custody while police investigated.


Moments later police were called to Franciscan Health Michigan City for a patient with a gunshot wound. Investigators encountered 18-year-old Jermaine Carter Jr. of Michigan City, who was being treated for a non-life-threatening gunshot wound to the right leg. After his release from the hospital, Carter Jr. was detained.


Police have not released any further details on what transpired. According to a statement issued by MCPD:


“Numerous articles of evidence were collected, and multiple witnesses were interviewed during this investigation. Investigators from the Investigative and Traffic Divisions continue to interview witnesses, search for video surveillance in the area and collect additional evidence.”


Glancy has been charged with Dealing a Schedule I Controlled Substance (Level 2 Felony) and Dealing Marijuana (A-Misdemeanor). He was issued a $50,005 cash bond.


Carter Jr. has been charged with Attempted Murder (Level 1 Felony), Attempted Robbery With a Deadly Weapon (Level 3 Felony), Criminal Recklessness (Level 6 Felony) and Unlawful Carrying of a Handgun (A-Misdemeanor). He was issued a $100,005 cash bond.


Both men have a hearing scheduled for November 28th at 8:30 a.m. in La Porte County Superior Court 1.


The Michigan City Police Department would ask anyone who may have witnessed this incident, has any additional information, or has video surveillance/cell phone video of this incident, to contact Detective Sergeant Lendell Hood at (219) 874-3221 (ext. 1074) or via email at lhood@emichigancity.com.


The public can also use Facebook Messenger, the crime tip hotline number of 219-873-1488, or the WeTip Hotline for General Crime (800) 78-CRIME and possibly receive a reward upon an arrest and conviction. All WeTip call information is sent directly to the LaPorte County Prosecutor’s Office, and anyone providing information can remain anonymous.

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