Local News Archives for 2020-03

Keep Recyclables Inside Containers

(LaPorte County, IN) - LaPorte County residents are being asked to put all of their

recyclables Inside their containers.

Anything not in the containers will not be picked up right now because

of the coronavirus threat.

Sacha Gee Burns, an educator with the LaPorte County Solid Waste District, said

people can normally place boxes of recycleables beside full containers for

all of it to be picked up.

But, anything outside the containers will not be collected right now because

they don’t want the workers handling recyclables due to the risk of contracting

coronavirus.

Anyone with questions can contact the solid waste district at 326-0014 or

send them an e-mail at sgeeburns@solidwastedistrict.com

Spending Controls Enacted Without Casino Money

(Michigan City, IN) - Steps to control spending have been taken in Michigan City doing without riverboat money since casinos statewide were ordered closed to help slow the spread of coronavirus.

         The task of avoiding red ink could be daunting since 50-percent of the city’s daily operating budget is funded with proceeds from Blue Chip Casino under the 2020 budget approved last year. 

         Mayor Duane Parry, a longtime critic of the past administration for relying too heavily on casino revenue, said there are cash reserves for the city to dip into to get by for now. 

         Borrowing might have to be done, though, if the lockdown on casinos ordered by the governor March 19 runs for an extended period, he said. 

          “We don’t have any idea how long this is going to last.  We have to be cautious now before all of a sudden we run out of money,” Parry said.

         Parry has imposed a hiring freeze.

         He’s also requiring his signature for any capital expenditure request above $1,000.

         Department heads were ordered to try and reduce or eliminate overtime costs.

         “These are difficult times and difficult times require drastic measures that need to be taken to keep Michigan City operating and to come out of this thing healthy,” he said

         Parry said the city collects just shy of $1 million per month in casino money.

         He said some of that funding for March will go into city coffers in April since casinos weren’t ordered shutdown until about two weeks ago.

         There will no monthly casino money after that until the casinos reopen .

         He’s hoping to stretch the money left in reserves until the lockdown is lifted hopefully by summer when the lakefront community relies more on tourism.

         “If it goes on long enough we’ll have to borrow money.  We don’t want to do that if we can.  Our resources are not incredibly deep,” he said

Local Cafe Steps up to Feed First Responders

(La Porte, IN) - Their doors may be closed for eat-in customers, but their hearts are open for our first-responders and doctors and nurses.

 

For the past week, or so, Cafe Trilogy, 150 Legacy Plaza in LaPorte, has been feeding our hard-working first responders.  Chandra Michaels, the owner, made lasagna for the Fire Dept,  soup and sandwiches for LCSD, and Biscuits and Gravy for the ER.  In a Facebook post, she said, "Trying to take care of the ones that take care of everyone else!"

 

Thank you Chandra, you make us proud to have you as part of our community.

 

 

Coronavirus Death Toll Climbing

(Indianapolis, IN) - 35 people have now died from coronavirus in Indiana.

According to state health officials, there are 1,786 confirmed cases

In the state.

11,658 people have been tested.

Six LaPorte County residents have been found with the virus, officials said.

Total cases in Porter County now stands at 15.   There are 36 confirmed

cases in St. Joseph County and 97 in Lake County.

Starke County remains at one case, officials said.

Another Toll Road Marijuana Bust

(Rolling Prairie, IN) - Another major marijuana bust has been made by

La Porte County Police.

Each one the past few months has occurred on the Indiana Toll Road

near Rolling Prairie.

Pablo Cortina was arraigned Friday in LaPorte Circuit Court.

According to court documents, he was stopped for tailgating just over a

week ago.

Police say Cortina in his early 60’s appeared very nervous which led to a search

of his vehicle.

Over 30 pounds of marijuana inside two suitcases were allegedly recovered

from the trunk.

According to court documents, Cortina said he was being paid to transport the

marijuana from Baltimore to California.

36-Years for Child Molester

(LaPorte, IN) - A man who molested a 10 year old LaPorte girl is going to be

locked up for a long time.

36-year old Joshua Morgan was sentenced yesterday.

He received a 36 year prison sentence.

LaPorte Circuit Court Judge Tom Alevizos was found Morgan

to be a restricted felon.

That means he will have to serve no less than 85 percent of his sentence.

Authorities say the Plymouth man was having sex with the girl while

seeing her mother.

He and the girl were also texting and talking to each other on Facebook.

One Person Now Dead in Shooting

(LaPorte, IN) - One of the people shot in LaPorte over the weekend

has died.

LaPorte City Police also revealed a suspect has been charged.

So far, the names of the suspect and victims have not been released.

Police say the shooting happened about 7 p.m. Saturday in the 

1400 block of Jefferson Ave.

Both victims were taken to LaPorte Hospital.

One of the shooting victims later died.  The other was reported in stable condition.

Anyone with information about the shooting is urged to contact 

LaPorte City Police at (219) 362-9446.

What led up to the shooting and other details have not been released.

Free Pizzas Top Previous Mark

(LaPorte, IN) - The number of free Domino’s pizza exceeded the total given away in La Porte from the previous week.

Mayor Tom Dermody said it took less than 30 minutes to hand out 200 pizzas in the parking lot of LaPorte High School on Saturday.

Owner Jim Gronemann brought back another 50 pizzas from his store on J St. and all of those were handed out as well.

It took about 75 minutes to hand out 200 free Domino's pizzas the previous weekend at the high school. 

Dermody said a third pizza give away at the high school parking is likely this coming Saturday.

Full details will be provided later in the week, he said.

Hospital Moves Coronavirus Testing Site

(Michigan City, IN) – Franciscan Health at Michigan City has relocated its

coronavirus testing site.

Testing is now offered at the former hospital site on W. Homer St.

Hospital spokesman Robert Blaszkiewicz says the move was made

to separate people who might have the virus from patients treated

at the current hospital for other medical conditions.

People must have a doctor’s order to be tested and pre-register, he said.

Testing is offered Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

First Berrien County Death from Coronavirus

(St. Joseph, MI) - The Berrien County Health Department is reporting its first death of a resident from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The person who died was a male over the age of 70 who was hospitalized at Lakeland Medical Center in St. Joseph. He did have serious underlying health conditions. The county currently has 32 positive cases of COVID-19, including this reported death. Many of these individuals are recovering from their symptoms at home, and at this time, 10 of those positive cases are known to have fully recovered from their symptoms.

“On behalf of the entire Spectrum Health Lakeland team our deepest sympathies go out to the family and friends of this individual,” said Loren B. Hamel, MD, president, Spectrum Health Lakeland. “We realize this is difficult news for our community and these are unprecedented and uncertain times for all. We have the deepest compassion for our friends and neighbors who fall sick, and for our team members who remain committed to care for our COVID-19 patients and fight this virus together.”

“This is a tragic loss of life and we share our heartfelt condolences with the family,” said Nicki Britten, health officer of the Berrien County Health Department. Britten urges the continuation of social distancing under the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order. “Protecting the health of our community and slowing the spread of COVID-19 is our top priority.”

Injured Eagle Rescued

(Stevensville, MI) - A LaPorte area man has caught hundreds of animals like squirrels, raccoons and groundhogs.

         Professional trapper Mark O’Donnell has just added a bald eagle to his list.

         His efforts quite possibly saved the life of the injured bald eagle turned over to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

         “I’ve handled large birds before but nothing that large or that powerful,” O’Donnell said.

         O’Donnell said he was heading to Benton Harbor, Michigan on Saturday after trapping a squirrel trying to get into the attic of a home.

         The owner of Michiana Wildlife Trapping, LLC outside LaPorte saw two police vehicles with overhead lights flashing and the eagle in the median of Interstate 94 near Stevensville.

         The nearest conservation officer was at least 90 minutes from getting there and given his qualifications was asked to help.

         O’Donnell said the eagle appeared dazed and confused possibly from being hit by a vehicle while swooping down for some food.

         The bird started lashing out as soon as he tried restraining it.   

         “The eagle’s feet were the size of my hands and each one of its claws was like four inches long,” he said. 

         O’Donnell using a catch pole fed a 12-inch loop around the midsection of the eagle and tightened it to keep its wings from flapping.

         He fastened its legs together with zip ties and placed a sweater over the eagle’s head to calm it down.

         O’Donnell placed the bird into the back end of a police vehicle for transport to a MDNR conservation officer, according to Lincoln Township Police, 

         “That bird had some power. It was every bit as strong as me,” he said.

         O’Donnell didn’t know the extent of the bird’s injuries but said its left eye seemed badly damaged.

         “He didn’t have any broken bones that I could tell,” he said.

         O’Donnell helped raise various livestock while growing up on a farm north of LaPorte and started trapping animals damaging homes as a licensed professional in 2018.

         

         “I felt God put that eagle in my path to see what I would do,” he said.

 

Free Fuel For Frontline Workers!

During this pandemic it's great to hear stories of people and businesses helping each other and a

La Porte business is stepping up to help support La Porte's frontline workers.

 

Starting today, Monday, March 30th and ending April 6th, any doctor, nurse, medical staffer, police officer, firefighter or emergency medical services employee can receive free fuel up to $15 and a free coffee or fountain drink at the Phillips 66, 613 Pine Lake Ave., La Porte. To receive this offer the worker just has to show a valid ID to the store employee.

 

“Lucky Ghotra, owner of Pine Lake Expo, is one of our outstanding dealers in the Empire Petroleum network and we have partnered with him to say thanks to our front-line heroes fighting this pandemic for all of us,” said Mike Dove, vice president of operations, east division, Empire Petroleum Partners, Dallas, Texas,

 

“We are going to do this all week until next Sunday. We want to show this community we supporting them and we are LAPORTE PROUD,” Dove told La Porte Mayor Tom Dermody.

Work Begins on Wall

(New Buffalo, MI) - Work has begun on a wall to try and prevent more flooding from the Galien River at New Buffalo’s lakefront.

          Burkholder Excavating out of Sawyer last week began digging a trench for placing concrete blocks weighing 4,000 pounds apiece.

The wall is going up along the east side of the river from the Whittaker St. bridge to the municipal beach parking lot.

         Officials hope the wall will stop Whittaker St. north of the bridge and the beach parking lot from flooding when the river rises from strong northerly winds pushing in water from a record high Lake Michigan.

         The wall to be four feet tall when completed in the coming weeks is costing $5,360.       

         City Manager Dave Richards said additional blocks can be added if the barrier, initially, doesn’t stop the flooding.

LaPorte County Residents with Coronavirus Ticking Up

(Indianapolis, IN) - The number of LaPorte County residents with

coronavirus is up to six.

That’s according to figures released by the Indiana State Department

of Health.

ISDH officials say there are 14 confirmed cases now in Porter County.

32 residents in St. Joseph County have also tested positive.

Starke County remains at just one case.

Officials say there are 85 residents of Lake County now with

the virus.

Joe Diffie Dies from Coronavirus

(Nashville, TN) - A country music superstar has died

from coronavirus.

Joe Diffie had a long string of hits in the 90’s and early

2000’s, including Prop Me Up Beside the Jukebox and

John Deere Green.

Officials affiliated with Diffie said he died of complications

from coronavirus.

Diffie was 61.

Person of Interest Detained in Shootings

(LaPorte, IN) - LaPorte Police are investigating the shootings of two people Saturday night.

         Police did not announce any formal arrests but revealed a person of interest in the case was detained,

         According to police, officers about 7 p.m. Saturday were called to the 1400 block of Jefferson Ave., a residential and light business area on the west side of the downtown.

         Police said officers encountered a very large group of people.

         Assistance in restoring peace which took quite some time was provided by the La Porte County Sheriff’s Office and Indiana State Police.

         Both agencies along with the La Porte County Drug Task Force are helping with the ongoing investigation.

         The names of the shooting victims and their condition were not released but more information will be provided as the investigation takes further shape, police said.

         “We ask that the public not speculate on any aspects of this case and let the detectives work along with the La Porte County Prosecutors office to document the facts,” said LaPorte Police Chief Paul Brettin.

Governor Holcomb Highlights LaPorte's Generosity

(Indianapolis) - LaPorte got a state-wide shout-out Friday from Governor Eric Holcomb.

At the governor’s daily coronavirus press conference, Holcomb bragged about the generosity of folks in the Maple City.

“If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a hundred times, and that is, the number of people that are generously over-tipping,” the governor said. “I read a story in LaPorte,” he went on, “at the Third Base Bar and Grill—had an order for forty bucks and got a hundred dollar bill. That’s just kind of synonymous with what’s happening organically all over the state of Indiana.”

LaPorte: Home of the Big Tippers. It’s not official, but it’s got a nice ring to it.

Parks are Open, but Play it Safe

(LaPorte) - With everyone getting a little stir crazy, an outing to the park seems like a good idea, but is it?

Are the parks even open? Are they crowded because everyone has the same idea?

We talked to LaPorte Parks Superintendent Mark Schreiber. He said he’s been out with a skeleton crew of workers just making sure trash is disposed of and facilities are secured.

“I think where we’re seeing a lot of usage,” he says, “is on the walking trail out at Kesling, the Chessie trail, places where people can get their exercise without violating the social distancing rules that are in place now.”

While he encourages people to use the parks, Schreiber stresses that certain things are off-limits.

“Our parks remain open, but our playgrounds should not be used,” he urges. “There’s just no way to get everything sanitized.”

Schreiber also says the public bathrooms are still closed from the winter and will not reopen until the public health situation clears.

Salvation Army Meals Skyrocketing

(LaPorte, IN) – The number of people showing up for a hot meal at the LaPorte Salvation Army has more than quadrupled since the COVID-19 outbreak started last week.

         The meals are served from a truck inside take home boxes given to people in vehicles to comply with the social distancing happening everywhere to try and slow the spread. 

         LaPorte Salvation Army Capt. Chris Karlin said about 200 meals have been served every evening compared to 40 or 50 when hot food was offered inside.

         “It’s literally a drive-thru,” he said.

         The number of meals climbed Thursday to 290 when chili and apples were handed out.

         Sky Talbert has been coming every evening for hot meals to take home to her daughter, two nephews and her sister.

         Talbert said things are tight since her sister lost both of her jobs and the grocery stores have a limited selection now from demand fueled by the outbreak.

         “It’s hard times and I’m really thankful for them,” she said.

         Chet Patton said he was there to take hot meals to several friends.

         “You got to help friends out and make sure they get something to eat,” he said. 

         Food is offered from the truck brought in from the Salvation Army headquarters in Grand Rapids, Michigan from 5:15 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. every Monday through Friday.

         Karlin said the number of households at the food pantry has also gone up dramatically from 30 to 40 per day to about 80 in just the past week. 

.        He expects the numbers to increase from people just now losing their jobs and finding out where to go for assistance.

         Many of the people showing up to the food truck and pantry are first timers. 

         “They were working up until a week ago or this week and now they’re trying to figure out how they’re going to survive,” he said.

         Karlin said he’s working with food suppliers to try and keep up with demand.

         His biggest concern is having enough money to purchase food when donations of food are not enough.

         The Healthcare Foundation of LaPorte has already given a $10,000 grant to the cause.

         Other financial help has come from the Unity Foundation of LaPorte County and The United Way of LaPorte County.

         Karlin said the unexpected surge is scary but it’s also brought out the best in people.

         “That’s been one of the real blessings from this,” he said.

 

Prison for Father's Heroin Death

(Michigan City, IN) - A five-year prison sentence has been given to a Michigan City area man who gave his father a fatal dose of heroin last year.

27-year old Joshua Wozniak was sentenced for reckless homicide.

In January of 2019, authorities say Wozniak gave his 68-year old father a syringe full of heroin.

It proved fatal.

Evidence shows the father and son had a long history of using drugs together.

Wozniak will receive drug treatment while in prison.

Hospital Moving Coronavirus Testing Site

(Michigan City, IN) - The hospital at Michigan City is moving its coronavirus testing site.

Beginning Monday, Franciscan Health will offer testing 

at the former hospital location at 301 W. Homer St.

Officials say the reason is to have more space for the drive up

testing.

Testing is provided Monday through Friday from 

10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Patients must have an order from a doctor and pre-register.

Healthcare Foundation Offers Emergency Grants

(LaPorte) - One local not-for-profit isn’t waiting around for higher-ups to provide resources for those in need.

In the wake of coronavirus shutdowns, the Healthcare Foundation of LaPorte has launched a grant program to fund organizations that are assisting in local aid.

The foundation’s board voted Wednesday to fast-track applications related to coronavirus relief.

The key thing, says Healthcare Foundation president and CEO Maria Fruth, is getting funds into the local community right away. "We are able to act quickly," she says. "We're promising a 48-hour turnaround. We're not going to make people wait."

Their efforts will roll out in two phases. Between now and May 30, organizations are able to request between $1,000 and $50,000 to support their immediate efforts.

Once the crisis situation subsides, a second phase of grant funding will take place for the community’s long-term needs.

The Healthcare Foundation has also launched a resource hub on its website, which contains COVID-19 data and links to other resources for assistance, including help with food, transportation, and medical treatment. You can find all this information at hflaporte.org.

For a grant application, visit

https://www.grantinterface.com/Home/Logon?urlkey=laporte
For questions and further information, email Maria Fruth at mfruth@hflaporte.org.

COVID-19 Indiana Update

The Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) announced today that 170 Hoosiers have been diagnosed with COVID-19 through testing at ISDH, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and private laboratories. That brings the total number of Indiana residents  known to have the COVID-19 to 645. 

 

Seventeen Hoosiers have died with a total of 4,651 tests that have been reported to ISDH to date, up from 3,356 on Wednesday.

 

Marion County had the most new cases, at 67, while Hamilton, Johnson and Lake counties each had 12. The complete list of counties with cases is included in the ISDH COVID-19 dashboard at coronavirus.in.gov, which will be updated daily at 10 a.m. Cases are listed by county of residence. Private lab reporting may be delayed and will be reflected in the map and count when results are received at ISDH.

Indiana State Tax Due Date Extended

(Indianapolis, IN) - The Indiana Department of Revenue said it is extending the deadlines for filing individual and corporate tax returns by three months because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Since COVID-19 is impacting so many, in addition to the payment extensions announcement by the IRS, we are also extending the associated Indiana tax return filing deadlines," DOR Commissioner Bob Grennes said.

 

The state's moves align with the federal Internal Revenue Service's announcement tax payment and filing extensions for individual and corporate returns.

 

The DOR's announcement occurred as Gov. Eric Holcomb announced new policies and restrictions Thursday — as well as a surge in claims for unemployment insurance — because of the coronavirus pandemic.

 

Now, Indiana residents will have until July 15, 2020, to pay their individual tax returns and payments, along with estimated payments, that were originally due by April 15.

Returns that will be covered by the Indiana filing deadline extension are the IT-40, IT-40PNR, IT-40RNR, IT-40ES, ES-40 and SC-40.

2nd Church Bell Ringing Friday

(LaPorte, IN) - Another church bell ringing in LaPorte is planned Friday.

Dennis Meyer, pastor at Bethany Lutheran Church, rang his church bell for the first time last Friday to show appreciation to all medical and emergency responders.

Meyer is inviting other churches to join in.

He says motorists can also take part by honking their horns…

Meyer will ring the bell tomorrow at 10:08 a.m.

The time was chosen because 10-08 in emergency radio 

code means in-service.

Salvation Army Providing Free Take Home Meals

(LaPorte, IN) - Free take home meals are being served at the

La Porte Salvation Army.

Delivery is from a food truck parked outside the facility

on Monroe St.

Capt. Chris Karlin says about 200 meals a night are

being given out.

He says people are given meals inside boxes handed

to them inside their vehicles while driving up to the truck.

Karlin says the meals are available from 5:15 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Monday through Friday.

Grocery Stores Act to Protect Against Virus

(LaPorte, IN) - Measures are being taken in grocery stores to protect

workers and customers against coronavirus.

Plexiglass partitions at cash registers are up now

in some local supermarkets.

Kroger has also announced workers will be wearing masks and

gloves soon as a precaution.

All Voting by Mail Weighed

(Indianapolis, IN) - All voters in the state could be casting ballots by mail.

The coronavirus has already pushed the primary

to June 2nd.’

Now, state election officials are considering whether

all voting should be done my mail.

A decision is expected sometime in the coming days

or weeks.

Food Assistance Up Sharply

(LaPorte, IN) - Already, more people are hitting the food pantries.

The La Porte Salvation Army is seeing about twice as many people.

Capt. Chris Karlin says the number of families showing up at the pantry

has increased from about 40 to 80 since last week.

But, Karlin says they’re working with their suppliers and doing the things needed

to try and meet the higher demand.

He expects the food pantry to get even busier, though, since job lay-offs

just started.

Karlin said take home meals just recently started being served from a food truck at

the Salvation Army during the evenings Monday through Friday.

He said about 200 families have been showing up every evening.

Real ID deadline pushed back due to the coronavirus

Travelers who have procrastinated making appointments to obtain driver's licenses or state identification cards that comply with the federal government's Real ID law are catching a break.

 

To avoid crowding at state motor-vehicle department offices, President Donald Trump said Monday that the deadline to obtain the enhanced licenses will be delayed. The change is intended to foster social distancing to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

 

President Trump said the new deadline will be announced soon.

Latest COVID-19 Updates

As of 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, March 24th, Indiana saw 115 new cases of the COVID-19 with the count for the state rising to 477 positive tests from 365 in just one day, and a total number of tests jumping to 3,356. Positive tests reflect results from ISHH and results submitted by private laboratories. 

 

Indiana counties leading with positive test results are Marion with 266 cases, Hamilton with 30 cases, Johnson with 24 cases, St. Joseph and Lake with 19 cases.

 

Deaths from the COVID-19 had two additional deaths, bringing the state total to 14 with three of the deaths located in Johnson County. The three people who have died all lived in the Greenwood area, according to the Johnson County Joint Incident Management Team. The last two people in Johnson County who died were age 75 and passed away in the hospital.

 

Franklin County officials reported in a press release that the first person to test positive in that county is now considered to have recovered from the virus after receiving several negative test results. He and his family have been released from quarantine, the release said.

Franciscan Ready for Coronavirus Patients

(Michigan City, IN) – Officials at the hospital at Michigan City say they’re as prepared

as they can be for coronavirus patients.

Right now, Franciscan Health spokesman Robert Blaskowiecz said they have not

admitted any patients with coronavirus, but they’re ready with staffing and equipment

should they have to.

He says the hospital is also prepared to add beds should the number of patients exceed

the over 120 beds now available at the facility for all patients.

Waste Restrictions Imposed

(LaPorte, IN) - The La Porte County Solid Waste District is not accepting

disposals at its compost site and electronic waste drop off

location until further notice.

Officials say curbside recycling is running on schedule, though.

The solid waste district offices due to coronavirus are closed to the public but staff members

can still be reached on the phone or electronically, officials said. 

Teachers Show Students Love at Home

(Westville, IN) - Westville educators shared the love for their students this week.

There was a parade Monday past many of the homes of students out of school since

last week due to coronavirus.

Teachers and school administrators rode in personal vehicles.

Many carried signs telling students things like they miss them and we love you.

There were also a few fire trucks and police vehicles in the parade.

Brian Ton, principal of Westville elementary school, said students were told about the parade

in advance electronically so they could watch it go by.

The students there are taking part in e-learning to make up for not being physically present

in the building.

Free Rides for Essential Travel

(LaPorte, IN) - Starting today, free bus rides are offered in LaPorte.

It’s only for essential travel.

Transporte is also scaling back its hours.

Buses will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Mayor Tom Dermody says free rides are offered to places like grocery stores,

pharmacies and doctor’s appointments.

The changes at Transporte will remain until further notice.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases Rising

(Indianapolis, IN) - 12 people have now died from coronavirus in Indiana.

State Health officials also report 107 new cases.

Total cases now stand at 365.

Close to three thousand people have been tested.

Meals on Wheels Keeps Rolling

(LaPorte County, IN) - La Porte County Meals on Wheels will continue deliveries after

the governor imposed travel restrictions to limit the spread of coronavirus.

The service providing food to senior citizens has been deemed essential, which fits the acceptale category outlined by the governor in his travel restrictions. 

So, deliveries will continue Monday through Friday as usual, Meals on Wheels officials said.

As a precaution, though, officials said volunteers will use gloves and bags to hand out the meals.

United Way Stepping Up to Help with Outbreak

(LaPorte County, IN) - A fund has been created to help local people during the coronavirus outbreak.

The United Way of La Porte County says the fund will go for things like paying bills due to job loss and feeding the hungry.

An anonymous donor will contribute up to $25,000 by matching each monetary contribution from the public to the fund. 

Dave Sisk of the United Way of La Porte County said the money will be given to agencies to meet the needs of people in the coming weeks.

He says the goal is to at least double the size of the fund now containing more than $50,000.

Sisk says government checks to people will help at first but once that money is gone the resources of United Way will be relied on more to get people through anticipated tough times.

Mild Symptoms of CoronaVirus That No One Should Ignore

A report out of the U.K.  says a loss of appetite and of your sense of smell are two of the milder symptoms of coronavirus people should look out for. 

 

It is now almost two months since the first coronavirus case was confirmed in the UK. In the weeks since, most people have become aware that a newly formed dry, persistent cough and a fever are two of the tell-tale signs of Covid-19. However, prior to the telltale fever, dry-hacking cough and difficulty breathing here are more signs that you may be infected by the CoronaVirus.  

 

  • Physical and mental fatigue
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Loss of your sense of smell and taste
  • A stomach ache
  • Sore eyes.

 

Health professionals suggest that you consult your doctor if these symptoms occur or persist.  They also recommend that you quarantine yourself in place before considering heading to your local emergency room.

Giving Back to the Community

As a proud member of our community, Anytime Fitness La Porte will be giving away 100 LUNCHES FOR KIDS on Wednesday, March 25th, 12p-4p. 

We understand this is a difficult time, and we hope this small gesture on our part will help many families in our community. Open to all families in need! No purchase necessary. No strings attached! #togetherwerise

Help us spread the word to those who can benefit within our community

We will be giving away a total of 2,000 LUNCHES FOR KIDS in one single day across all participating locations! 

Other Participating Locations:

Illinois:
Schaumburg, IL (Irving Park Rd)
Lombard North, IL (North Ave)
Lemont, IL
Downers Grover, IL
Frankfort, IL

Indiana (Lake County):
Dyer, IN
Munster, IN
Schererville, IN
Merrillville (West), IN
Merrillville (East), IN
Hobart, IN
Cedar Lake, IN
Lowell, IN
Winfield, IN

Indiana (Porter County):
Chesterton, IN

Indiana (La Porte County):
La Porte, IN
Michigan City, IN

Indiana (White County):
Monticello, IN

Indiana (Jasper County)
Rensselaer, IN

A special THANK YOU to all of our AF staff & members for making this possible. Now more than ever let’s ALL do our part to make healthy happen in our communities! 
 

NIPSCO Working with Customers During Outbreak

(Merrillville, IN) - NIPSCO is not going to cut off your electric or gas during the coronavirus outbreak.

The utility is also suspending late payment charges until the first of May.

According to NIPSCO, they’re also offering flexible payment plans to anyone falling behind as a result of the restrictions imposed during the outbreak.

Sheriff Taking Coronavirus Precautions

(LaPorte County, IN) - The La Porte County Sheriff’s Office is taking

precautions against coronavirus.

Citizens are asked to come to the front desk for necessary

business and jail related matters only.

If you’re not sure about the importance, the public is asked to

contact the sheriff’s office first to discuss the situation.

In addition, Sheriff John Boyd said deputies will respond to all

emergencies and in-progress calls.

Non-emergency calls that don’t require an officer to be physically

present may be handled over the phone, Boyd said.

Boyd said deputies will also be wearing latex gloves and keeping

at least six feet of distance whenever possible to communicate

in open locations.

Customer an Angel to Servers

(LaPorte, IN) - A LaPorte restaurant and its workers are riding on the wings of what appear to be angels.

Five bartenders and waitresses at 3rdBase Bar & Grill were each given $200 checks by a cusomer when laid-off because of the statewide ban on indoor dining to try and slow the spread of coronavirus.

Owner Kent Johnson said demand for takeout orders has been strong enough to keep members of his kitchen staff working.

Their hours were scaled back some but larger tips is helping to make-up the difference. 

Johnson sad one customer, for example, left a $100 bill for a $40 order.

Two orders of french fries came with an $8 tip.

“The tips have been good enough they’re almost getting two days pay for one day so they’re definitely making out,” Johnson said.

Johnson said the checks from the customer were presented the same day he had to send home his bartenders and waitresses because of the indoor serving ban.

The name of each worker was written on the envelopes.

 Johnson said the customer wants to remain anonymous but he described him as a self-made businessman in his early 60’s.

“They know him and he knows them and he’s very generous when he does come in here and dines or has an occasional cocktail,” he said.

Johnson said another customer with a second home in LaPorte gave what amounted to a pretty handy cash advance to help get through this difficult period. 

He purchased a $1,000 gift card to use at his establishment but not until the restrictions are lifted. 

“If someone bought a $1,000 gift card every day and wasn’t planning on using it for a couple of months we’d be doing really good,” he said.

"This town has been very good to us,” said Johnson, who also owns Mom’s Home Café next door across from Pine Lake. 

         

"Stay at Home" Order - What does this mean to Hoosiers?

(Indianapolis) - State of Indiana Governor, Eric Holcomb, announced during an 11:00 AM (CDT) Press Conference that he signed an executive order placing additional restrictions on Indiana Residents during the coronavirus crisis.  Beginning Wednesday,  Governor Holcomb ordered Indiana residents to "Stay at Home", however resident are permitted to conduct business and activities that are deemed "essential". 

 

What does this mean for you?  Here are answers to some of the common questions that you may have:

 

When does the "Stay at Home" order begin and end?

The order becomes effective at 11:59 PM on Tuesday, March 24th and is stated to be in effect until 11:59 PM on April 6th.  The Governor has the authority to modify the end date at any time.

 

How is "Essential" Business and Activities defined?

The Executive Order defined an extensive list of Businesses and Services that are considered "Essential" and were permitted to continue to operate during the "Stay at Home" order.  This list includes grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, police stations, fire stations, hospitals,
health care facilities, doctor / dentist offices, garbage pickup, public transit, airport operations, utilities, convenience stores, pet supply stores, animal shelters, food distribution companies, restaurants (dine in remains prohibited), churches, media, food banks, auto repair shops, banks, insurance companies, hardware stores, real estate firms, manufacturing companies, hotels, funeral homes, public service hotlines, shipping / delivery services (including the Post Office), and educational institutions (however, public and private schools remain closed to students until May 1).

 

What should businesses do that are considered "Non-Essential"?

The order requires any business that is not listed as "essential" to cease operations during the defined period of time, unless employees are able to work from their place of residence.  The order requires the closure of hair salons, fitness centers/gyms, tattoo parlors, spas, and barber shops.  All amusement parks, aquariums, zoos, museums, arcades, children’s play centers, playgrounds, bowling alleys, movie theaters, and entertainment venues will also remain closed throughout the order. 

 

Am I permitted to leave my home to conduct "Essential" activities?

Yes, you may leave home to conduct "essential" activities, however you must comply with "Social Distancing" requirements, to the "greatest extent feasible".  Social Distancing is generally defined as maintaining a distance of 6 feet between you and the nearest person (including while standing in line).

 

Will I be able to have food and supplies delivered to my home?

Yes, delivery services are permitted to continue to operate.

 

Can I exercise or workout outside of the home?
While gyms / fitness centers are required to close, you can still walk, bike, hike and do other outdoor fitness activities, while practicing social distancing.

 

This is a summary, as we interpret the Executive Order that was signed by Governor Holcomb.  For additional information, follow the link to see the full order.

https://hometownnewsnow.com/assets/files/Executive_Order_20-08_(Stay_at_Home).pdf

 

 

 

BMV Announces 2-Week Branch Closure

(Indianapolis, IN)—Today Governor Eric J. Holcomb announced that beginning Tuesday, March 24 all state government offices will be closed to in-person public activity until at least April 7, 2020. This closure includes all Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) branches.

 

On March 19, 2020, Governor Holcomb issued Executive Order 20-05 which in part waived Administrative Penalty Fees (late fees). Today, he further ordered an automatic extension of all state-issued licenses and stated he will advise law enforcement to refrain from issuing citations for a driver’s license or registration that expires during this emergency. Effectively, this extends expiration dates of registrations, driver’s licenses, and identification cards without changing the expiration date printed on documents in an individual’s possession and waives late fees during a future renewal.

Small Business Loans Available in Indiana

With today's Stay-At-Home Order from Governor Holcomb it creates a large impace on local businesses. However, Indiana small businesses are eligible for a financial assistance loan under a disaster designation by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

 

These loans could be used to pay utilities, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that accumulate during this COVID-19 pandemic. Interest rates for these loans are 3.75% for small businesses and 2.75% for nonprofit businesses with repayment terms up to 30 years.

 

In order to qualify for these disaster loans applicants must demonstrate credit history, the ability to repay the loan, proof of working capital losses and proof of physical presence.

 

To apply for loans or to receive more information about the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program visit SBA.gov/Disaster or call 1-800-659-2955. You can also email with questions at disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. Deadline to apply for the disaster designation loans is December 18, 2020.

Stay At Home Order in Michigan

(Lansing, MI) - A stay at home order has been issued for the state of Michigan.  It goes into effect at midnight tonight.  Under the governor’s order, people can only leave their homes for certain reasons and must adhere to social distancing rules.  The order is in effect until at least the 13th of next month.  More than 1,000 individuals have tested positive for coronavirus throughout the state of

Michigan.

Weekend Shooting Arrests

(Michigan City, IN) - Two arrests have been made in connection with a Michigan City shooting over the weekend.

Police say a 19 year old and 16 year old were being held on drug and

weapons charges.

The victim is 20.

Police say everyone involved is male and from Ft. Wayne.

It appears the Saturday night shooting happened in the 300 block of

Lafayette St.

Police say the victim was dropped off at the hospital with what

appeared to be non-life threatening injuries.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Michigan City Police at

874-3221.

Free Pizzas to Help Brace for Coronavirus

(LaPorte, IN) – Well over 100 free Domino’s pizzas were given out in seven minutes Sunday in LaPorte to help with what looks to be trying times ahead from the coronavirus outbreak.

         People backed up more than 500 feet in vehicles were handed pizzas by more than a dozen volunteers in the LaPorte High School parking lot.

         Jim Gronemann, owner of the Domino’s at 325 J St. in LaPorte, brought 200 large cheese pizzas for the cause.

         “We know there’s a lot of people out of work and LaPorte has been very good us. We want to show we’re not just about taking money from people.  We want to also give back in a time of need,” he said.

         The line of vehicles started moving at 2 p.m. toward volunteers holding pizzas in front of the school. 

         “This is what makes LaPorte special,” mayor Tom Dermody said.

         Dermody, his wife, Jackie, along with state representative Jim Pressel and LaPorte Community School Corporation superintendent Mark Francesconi were among the helpers during the giveaway.

         After the rush, the number of vehicles pulling in was more gradual with the last pizza given out at 3:20 p.m.

         The event was advertised by Dermody on his Facebook page.

         Dermody kept his social media followers up to date with video reports of how many pizzas were left at different intervals throughout the event. 

         “Together, we’re making things happen here for the people needing a little food assistance,” Dermody said.

         Francesconi said Gronemann contacted high school principal Ben Tonagel then based on the number of students in need his administration suggested 200 pizzas for the cause.

         “He never flinched at all,” Francesconi said.

         Dermody said another Domino’s pizza give away will happen Saturday at the high school.

         The time and other details have not yet been worked out.

Drive-In Church Service Packed

(LaPorte, IN) - The church Sunday in LaPorte was closed due to coronavirus but the parking lot was full of people staying inside their vehicles to hear the message delivered from an outdoor podium.

         The words of Bethany Lutheran Church pastors Dennis Meyer and Mike Sutton broadcast on WCOE-FM in LaPorte allowed those in attendance to listen on their car radios.

         After the 30-minute service, church deacons wearing masks and gloves walked up to the vehicles offering guests communion.

         Some people like Lois Krider, 72, of LaPorte and Jeff Reynolds, 64, of Michigan City came because their church near Rolling Prairie is closed.

         They feel online services from their Lambs Chapel parish doesn’t fill the void from not being in the physical presence of others.

         “I miss people and I just feel this is a way to get community and to worship together even if it’s in our cars it’s a blessed thing,” Krider said.

         “I miss being with the congregation. This is really unique and it’s nice,” Reynolds said.

         “It’s kind of a community without being too close,” said church member Sue Beebe of LaPorte. 

         Beebe in her 60’s came with her husband, Harry,

         Meyer started the sermon by calling for courage at a time when so many people are afraid.

         He also urged believers to not let coronavirus cast doubt on their faith.

         “God is not a God of confusion. We know we are still loved, still cared for. When sin entered the world so did the brokenness of humanity,” Meyer said.

         Sutton said now is a time to draw near to God ‘for his assurance and confidence.”

         People wanting communion were asked to turn on their headlights so deacons could make their way over with wafers and plastic cups of wine handed to them inside zip lock bags.

         Ada Hoops, 34, of LaPorte removed the mask from her face to take part in communion in the front passenger seat of her mother’s van.

         The lifelong member of the parish said hope is what she received most of all from the drive-in service.

         “Through all of this crap we’re dealing with right now, we need that.  We need hope because if we don’t have hope we have nothing,” Hoops said.

         

State Attributes Covid-19 Case to LaPorte County despite their Absence

(Indianapolis) - The Indiana State Department of Health updated their county by county coronavirus case numbers this morning and the numbers shows that LaPorte County has a second case of the novel coronavirus.  HometownNewsNow has uncovered additional details about the case and the infected person is a LaPorte County resident, but has NOT been in LaPorte County since returning from a trip to Italy.

 

Upon returning to the United States, the infected individual sought testing for coronavirus in the Chicago area, which returned positive for Covid-19.  The individual has remained in isolation at the home of a family member in the Chicago area and has not returned to LaPorte County since returning from Italy.  The person, whose age and sex are unknown, is reported to be doing well and has not been hospitalized.

 

Many questions have arisen on Social Media as to why a case of coronavirus is being counted by the Indiana State Departemnt of Health as a "LaPorte County" case, when the individual has not been in the county since returning from Italy.  The Joint Information Center at the Indiana State Department of Health responded to that question via email stating, "the tracking reflects the county of patient residence".

 

The updated state coronavirus numbers this morning show that 833 people have been tested throughout Indiana, 126 cases have been confirmed, and three deaths resulting from the virus in the state of Indiana.  

 

 

 

 

Church Bell Rings for Responders

 (LaPorte, IN) - A church bell rang for two minutes Friday in LaPorte to honor all emergency responders for putting their lives at risk during the coronavirus outbreak.

Bethany Lutheran Church pastor Dennis Meyer pulled up and down on the rope fastened to the cast iron bell in the steeple of the 1888 structure at 102 G St.

He started precisely at 10:08 a.m. because 10-08 in emergency radio code means “in service.”

Meyer said the bell will ring at the exact same time every Friday until the health emergency subsides.

“If we do this every Friday until we get the all clear it’s just a way of saying thank you every week and we’re all together on this,” Meyer said. 

LaPorte County Sheriff John Boyd said he felt humbled by hearing the bell off in the distance while driving to the church to pick up a crate full of hand sanitizer. 

“It just does so much for our morale and our spirit to know there are others thinking about us and praying for us in these really troubling times,” he said.

Boyd said knowing there’s a deadly virus in a job that can’t be wrapped in a protective bubble can make for restless nights.

He said patrol officers keep hand sanitizer for protection against the virus since they don’t have running water and soap in their vehicles.

Hand sanitizer is in short supply, though, but the church happened to have a few extra bottles to give to his department.

“While some are hunkering down and staying home, we’re continuing to come into work and we’ll continue to do that,” he said.

Meyer said he learned about church bells going off in France to honor emergency responders dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak there and felt it was fitting to do the same thing here. 

A few passing motorists honked their horns as invited during the bell ringing but traffic was light presumably from people staying home due to the virus.

Meyer is hoping other churches and motorists join in as word spreads about the weekly bell ringing to honor responders in the military, hospitals and on the streets coping with the outbreak. 

“I can’t call them and thank every individual but I can do this,” he said.

Shelter in Place Directed by Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker

(Chicago, IL)  — Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued a “shelter-in-place” order for the entire state, beginning Saturday at 5p Central and lasting through April 7th.  The Order commands residents to stay in their homes as the officials take drastic measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus, sources told the Chicago Tribune.

 

Pritzker announced the directive at a 3 p.m. Friday news conference along with Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot.  Residents can still go to the grocery stores, put gas in their cars, take walks outside and make pharmacy runs. All local roads, including the interstate highways and tollways, will remain open to traffic, as well.

 

Illinois will be the second state to impose a shelter-in-place directive after California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued on Thursday night. The San Francisco area was placed under one Tuesday.

Indiana's COVID-19 Cases Increase by 23

(Indianapolis, IN)— Two more Lake County residents have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the countywide total to six.

 

Indiana health officials on Friday reported 23 new positive cases of COVID-19 statewide, bringing to the number of Hoosiers diagnosed to 79. 

 

That's about 14% of the 554 tested across Indiana. Those tests were conducted through the Indiana State Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and private laboratories.

 

No new fatalities had been reported as of Friday morning. In total, two Hoosiers have died.

Tough Little Slicer

(LaPorte, IN) - One little Slicer isn’t letting the coronavirus scare get the best of him.

LaPorte Community School System posted a drawing made by one of its students. The illustration depicts a clenched fist with this caption: “At times like this, it can feel hard. But we need to push though! We need to put back the pieces! I know you can do it!”

 

The inspiring message is the creation of a boy named Busby, who is a third-grader in Mrs. Scroggin’s class at Hailmann Elementary.

 

Way to go, Busby! That’s some Slicer!

"Drive-In Church" - Watch & Listen on the Radio

(LaPorte, IN) - With the need for social distancing during the coronavirus outbreak, many local churches are driving their congregations to worship with a weekly church service via the internet.  Bethany Church, in La Porte, has found a way to bring their congregation together, while continuing to practice social distancing.  They call it, "Drive In Church".

 

Bethany Church has teamed up with local radio station, 96.7 The Eagle, to deliver the first "Drive In Church", this Sunday at 9:00a Central.  It'll work like a drive in theater - park your car and tune your radio to 96.7 FM, but instead of watching a movie, you'll worship with Pastor Dennis Meyer as he delivers his weekly sermon from the front of Bethany Church.  

 

Anyone is welcome to attend the service.  To experierence this service in person, simply park your vehicle in the parking lot at Bethany Church, 102 G St., La Porte prior to the 9:00 AM service time on Sunday.  Communion will be served following the 30 minute sermon by Pastor Meyer. 

 

If you're unable to be present for the Drive In Church service, the service will air LIVE on 96.7 The Eagle, or you can stream the service online by clicking the 96.7 The Eagle "Listen Now" link at the top of this website. 

 

Mechanics Helping Responders

(LaPorte, IN) - Some local mechanics are reaching out to medical and emergency responders.

Cannon’s Automotive and Condon & Christ Automotive are offering free labor

to fix the vehicles of doctors, nurses, firefighters, police officers and paramedics.

Owner Eric Smith says the offer is not for a simple oil change.

It’s for work that will get a car rolling again in these trying times where emergency

responders must be able to reach the workplace.

Smith says the offer is good until the coronavirus emergency is lifted

Local Officer Honored

(Rolling Prairie, IN) - Last weekend, a local VFW took time to honor a police officer.

On Saturday evening, Rolling Prairie VFW Post 9423 presented their Law Enforcement of the Year Award.

The recipient was Captain Pat Cicero of the LaPorte County Sheriff’s Department.

"He’s a really great guy, he does a really great job,” said VFW representative Rich Mrozinski of Cicero. “He’s got a really, really long list of things that he has accomplished, and we want to show our appreciation.”

Mrozinski says Cicero is now automatically nominated for the same honor at the district and state levels.

As for Captain Cicero, he was both surprised and humbled. “I accept this on behalf of our investigative division and our department and the Sheriff’s Office in general,” he said after the ceremony. “I’m not one to accept awards, but I’m really honored.”

Cicero has been a police officer for 24 years. He’ll celebrate 20 years at the Sheriff’s Office in May.

Resources For Parents to Educate Their Children During the Quarantine

 Parents if you need help homeschooling your kids during the COVID-19 Pandemic, here are a couple of resources that may assist you in keeping their attention,

 

The Scholastic Learn At Home program offers three hours of learning per day with up to four weeks of instruction. Users are asked to choose a grade level, separated into pre-K and kindergarten, first and second grade, third through fifth grade, and sixth grade and above. 

 

The courses span the subjects of English language arts; STEM; science; social studies; and social-emotional learning.

 

The aim is for the program to help keep children academically active amid the massive school closures, said Lauren Tarshis, senior vice president and editor-in-chief/publisher of Scholastic Classroom Magazines.  Their link is https://classroommagazines.scholastic.com/support/learnathome.html

 

Also, Google Arts and Culture has partnered with more than 2,500 museums and galleries around the world in order to offer virtual tours and online displays of their collections to children of all ages.  You can learn more by going to this link. https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/tour-2500-world-famous-museums-from-comfort-your-own-sofa/

Local Bank Restricts All Lobbies to Appointment Only For the Immediate Future

(Michigan City, IN) Horizon Bank, the third-largest bank in Northwest Indiana by market share, is restricting the lobbies of all its branches in Indiana and Michigan to appointment only in an effort to stop the spread of coronavirus.

 

The Michigan City-based bank closed branch lobbies to walk-in traffic Thursday, saying it needed to put safety first to reduce the spread of COVID-19. 

 

CEO Craig Dwight said, “At Horizon, there is nothing more important to us than the safety and well-being of our customers, employees, and communities we serve. "We have announced the temporary measure of having our lobbies open by appointment only to do all that we can to ensure a safe environment while serving the financial needs of our customers and community. As we face the unknown impact of the COVID-19 virus, we continue to monitor the situation from credible sources such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state and local public health authorities."

 

 

Customers can still bank with Horizon via drive up, ATM, live video and telephone.

Churches to Ring Bells Friday for Responders

(LaPorte, IN) - Medical and emergency responders will be honored Friday in La Porte.

Bethany Lutheran Church will ring its bell at 10:08 a.m.

Other churches are invited to join in.

Motorists are also asked to honk their horns.

Pastor Dennis Meyer says it’s been done in France to support medical and

emergency responders during the COVID-19 outbreak in that country and felt it would great

to do it here.

Meyer says the time was chosen because 10-08 in emergency responder code

means “in service.”

Gov. Holcomb Announces Small Business Assistance in Response to COVID-19

(INDIANAPOLIS) - Governor Eric J. Holcomb today announced that Indiana small businesses are eligible for financial assistance under a disaster designation by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

 

This declaration is in response to a formal request Gov. Holcomb submitted with the SBA on Tuesday, seeking assistance through the organization's Economic Injury Disaster Loan program for small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak in Indiana.

 

"Small businesses play a critical role in driving Indiana's economy forward, with more than 512,000 employing 1.2 million Hoosiers across the state," Gov. Holcomb said. "These disaster loans will provide much needed financial support to small business owners who are weathering the impact of the coronavirus outbreak."

 

Under the program, small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, and nonprofits across the state are eligible to apply for low-interest loans up to $2 million to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue due to the COVID-19 outbreak. These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills incurred during this public health emergency. The loan interest rates for small businesses and nonprofits are 3.75% and 2.75%, respectively, with terms up to 30 years.

 

To qualify for disaster loans, applicants must demonstrate credit history, the ability to repay the loan, and proof of physical presence in Indiana and working capital losses. Additionally, the Indiana Small Business Development Center, which has 10 regional offices throughout the state, will provide free business advising and application assistance for small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.
 

South Shore Line cancels Kids Ride Free 2020 spring break staycation promotion due to COVID-19 precautions

(CHESTERTON) As the temporary closures of workplaces, events, schools, and other public areas increase, South Shore Line wants to keep the health and safety of all riders at the forefront. As a result, the Kids Ride Free spring break staycation promotion that was scheduled for March 21 - April 6, 2020, is now canceled.  


 "At South Shore Line, the safety of our passengers and employees is always our top priority.  While we are facing this global pandemic, we are doing everything we can to provide transportation for those who need the train while also keeping enough room in each car so that riders can practice social distancing. Many riders who are not working from home are still counting on us to get to their jobs or medical appointments, but we are doing our part to minimize leisure riding," said Nicole Barker, Director of Capital Investment and Implementation. 
 

Bats Silenced by Coronavirus

(LaPorte, IN) - Normally, LaPorte residents would be talking Slicer baseball.

The season is postponed indefinitely, though, due to efforts to slow the

spread of coronavirus.

Head coach Scott Upp says it’s definitely a strange feeling not hearing the

crack of balls hitting bats, but it’s for the greater good.

Upp says it’s possible the season could start in late April depending on how the

situation with coronavirus develops but it’s also possible the season might have to be

cancelled.

Coronavirus Scam Alert

(Michigan City, IN) - Con artists are using coronavirus to try and rip off people.

According to Michigan City Police, new scams playing on fears are emerging in

e-mails and phone calls.

Scams include vaccinations for sale and donations sought to help fund

a vaccine.

Police say emails listing masks and hand sanitizer for sale are among the

other emerging scams.

Millennials Higher Risk for CoronaVirus than Initially Told

Millennials Take Note... The CDC is reporting millennials appear to be at a higher risk of catching coronavirus than anticipated . . . possibly because they're ignoring warnings and not social distancing, thinking the virus doesn't affect younger people. But many young people are getting SERIOUSLY ILL from the virus.

 

New CDC data shows that nearly 40% of the patients who are sick enough to be hospitalized are between 20 and 54. While elderly people have a higher fatality rate, younger people ARE being affected.

Indiana Based Crawford the Cat Teaches Kid Proper Hand Washing

(INDIANAPOLIS) Handwashing can't be stressed enough during this COVID-19 pandemic. An Indianapolis based graphics company provides an immediate solution to teach young children about good hygiene. "Crawford the Cat"  entertains and educates kids through its free library of short animated videos, coloring pages and easy to read e-books designed to teach young children sustainable and healthy habits.  

 

Crawford's messaging includes titles such as "Crawford the Cat Washes His Hands", and "Crawford is a Sneezer Pleaser". The Crawford the Cat website was built as a resource for our youngest citizens to learn a variety of healthy habits.

Senate approves House-passed coronavirus relief measure

(Washington D.C.)  The Senate has approved a House-passed coronavirus relief package that includes provisions for free testing for COVID-19 and paid emergency leave, clearing the measure for President Donald Trump's signature.

 

Passage of the measure will also allow the Senate to devote its full attention to passing the next relief package in response to the coronavirus crisis.

 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Senate Republicans had been critical of the House-passed legislation but emphasized that it is urgent to get relief to the American people amid the coronavirus crisis.

 

McConnell reiterated today that he will not adjourn the Senate until it passes what lawmakers are describing as a "phase three" economic stimulus package in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

 

https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/18/politics/coronavirus-congress-relief-senate-house/index.html

Trump invokes act to marshal private sector against Coronavirus pandemic; Senate OKs bill

(WASHINGTON) --  President Donald Trump announced Wednesday afternoon he will invoke emergency powers to marshal critical medical supplies against a coronavirus pandemic threatening to overwhelm hospitals and other treatment centers. The Senate acted on the economic front, approving legislation to guarantee sick leave to workers sickened by the disease.

Trump described himself as a "wartime president" as virus cases surged and the markets fell, and he took a series of extraordinary steps to steady a battered nation, its day-to-day life fundamentally altered.

Most immediately, President Trump said he would employ the Defense Production Act as needed, giving the government more power to steer production by private companies and try to overcome shortages in masks, ventilators and other supplies.

 

Additionally, the president also said he will expand the nation's testing capacity and deploy a Navy hospital ship to New York City, which is rapidly becoming an epicenter of the pandemic, and another such ship to the West Coast.

Doors on Most County Buildings Now Locked

(LaPorte, IN) - The doors are now locked at La Porte County government buildings.

Only the courthouses have unlocked doors.

Previously, the public was asked to come inside only for essential business.

Some people, though, were still venturing in for matters not serious.

La Porte County Commission president Sheila Matias said locking the doors had to be

done to help with the nationwide effort to slow the spread and protect county employees still

working in the buildings.

Matias says people will be allowed inside on appointment basis only and can still

communicate with county government on the phone, e-mail and other means.

Coronavirus Restricted Border with Canada

(Washington D.C.) - The border between Canada and the U.S.

will close for non-essential travel due to coronavirus.

However, the president say the restrictions will not impact

trade.

He says the border is basically closed to travelers crossing over

for recreation and tourism.

World Health Organization Recommends No ibuprofen if You Have COVID-19

Geneva (AFP) - The World Health Organization recommended Tuesday that people suffering COVID-19 symptoms avoid taking ibuprofen after French officials warned that anti-inflammatory drugs could worsen effects of the virus.

 

The warning by French Health Minister Olivier Veran followed a recent study in The Lancet medical journal that hypothesized that an enzyme boosted by anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen could facilitate and worsen COVID-19 infections.

 

Asked about the study, WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier told reporters in Geneva the UN health agency's experts were "looking into this to give further guidance."

 

It's advised that you check with your family doctor for issues directly related to your condition.  

Drive-Up Coronavirus Testing

 (Michigan City, IN) - Nearly a dozen people were tested for coronavirus during the first three hours drive-up testing opened Wednesday at Franciscan Health in Michigan City.

 People remained in their vehicles in a well-marked area of the hospital’s main parking lot to have their mouths swabbed by a clinician wearing protective clothing.

 It takes about five minutes before people after first pulling up are sent on their way, said Franciscan Health spokesman Robert Blaszkiewicz.

“It’s very simple,” he said.

People will know the results in three to five days when contacted by their physician, Blaszkiewicz said.

Franciscan Health began offering drive up testing at its campus in Crown Point on Monday to help try and slow the spread of the virus.

 Blaszkiewicz said about 100 people had come in for testing in Crown Point by mid-afternoon on Wednesday.

To be tested, Blaszkiewicz said people must receive an order from their physician and pre-register with the hospital then present the doctor’s order when they show up for testing.

“You can’t just drive up and get a test.  They kind of have to go through the proper procedures,” he said.

Blaszkiewicz said each swab is placed into an envelope for delivery to a private laboratory in North Carolina for testing.

The laboratory is operated by LabCorp, a leading health care diagnostics company.

Blaszkiewicz said the results will be shared first with the physician who will then contact the patient.

It’s up to the doctor to decide what to do next for the patient.

“If they were determined to be severely ill enough then they would possibly be hospitalized. But, otherwise, most people will treat this as people deal with the flu.  They treat their symptoms at home,” he said.

Blaskiewicz said there were no coronavirus patients yet at either campus.

“That obviously could change,” he said.

To pre-register, contact the Michigan City campus at (219) 877-1474 or the Crown Point campus at (219) 681-6912.

Like any work, Blaskiewicz said insurance companies are billed for the cost of the test which was not available.

There’s been some talk in Congress about allocating funds to provide free coronavirus testing.

Treasury and IRS to delay tax payment deadline by 90 days

With the normal tax deadline drawing near, Treasury Steven Mnuchin announced taxpayers will get a three-month reprieve to pay the income taxes they owe for 2019. 

 

As part of its coronavirus response, the federal government will give filers 90 days to pay income taxes due on up to $1 million in tax owed, Mnuchin said in Washington. The reprieve on that amount would cover many pass-through entities and small businesses, he said. 

 

Corporate filers would get the same length of time to pay amounts due on up to $10 million in taxes owed, Mnuchin said.

 

During that three-month deferral period, taxpayers won’t be subject to interest and penalties, he said.

 

You should still get your 2019 income tax return in to the federal government as soon as possible, especially if you’re due a refund and need cash.

 

Note this is for federal taxes. Right now the state of Indiana has the regular April 15 tax deadline in place.  

 

 

Nine More Coronavirus Cases Statewide

(Indianapolis, IN) - The Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) today reported nine new positive cases of COVID-19, bringing to 39 the number of Hoosiers diagnosed through ISDH, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and private laboratories.

Two Hoosiers have died.

 The new cases involve residents of Clark (1), Fayette (1), Hamilton (1), Hendricks (1), Jennings (1), Lake (1), Madison (1) and Marion (2) counties. The list of counties with cases is included in the ISDH COVID-19 dashboard at https://www.in.gov/coronavirus/, which will be updated daily at

10 a.m.

Cases are listed by county of residence.

More Coronavirus Restrictions at Hospital

(LaPorte, IN) - La Porte Hospital is taking precautions against coronavirus.

Non-essential activities like childbirth classes are suspended until the

third of next month.

Other non-essential events like support groups, wellness programs and fitness

classes and the first Friday concerts are also suspended.

Already, hospital officials say patients are being screened for coronavirus as part of

a plan to protect everyone at the hospital.

Incentives Extended to Maple Lane Mall

(LaPorte, IN) - Big news appears to be on the horizon for the Maple Lane Mall in La Porte.

This week, the city council voted to provide financial incentives from the

city’s Urban Enterprise Association to Rural King, the owner of the mall.

Rural King bought the mall in 2017 but there’s been no activity since.

Bert Cook is executive director of the LaPorte Economic Advancement Partnership.

He says the incentives will mean new life to the mall with details on what’s going

to happen there coming soon.

Two other properties were extended financial incentives.

They are the houses being torn down on Pine Lake Ave. to make way for

a possible strip mall and the fire station at E. Lincolnway and Boyd Boulevard.

Commercial development is planned for that property once the fire station moves

to a new facility going up right now on Daytona St.

Illinois First CoronaVirus Death is from Chicago

(CHICAGO) – The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today announced this afternoon, the first death of an Illinois resident who tested positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19).  The individual was a Chicago resident in her 60s who tested positive earlier this month and had contact with a known COVID-19 case.  It's believed the victim had a preexisting condition that was compounded when she became infected with the COVID-19.

 

"I am deeply saddened by the news that we've dreaded since the earliest days of this outbreak: the first COVID-19 related death in Illinois," said Governor JB Pritzker. "All of Illinois stands with this patient's family and loved ones in mourning her loss and honoring her memory. May her memory be a blessing. There are going to be moments during the next few weeks and months when this burden feels like it is more than we can bear – this is one of those moments, but we will get through this together.”

Valparaiso Restaurant Offers Their Food to Those Less Fortunate.

With the mandatory closing of restaurants in the state of Indiana,  Franklin House in Valparaiso offers its food to those in need. In a statement on Facebook, Franklin House posted the following:  

 

"This is a surreal time for all of us here at the Franklin House, and we know there are trying times ahead for everyone in our community. Over the next several days we'll be giving away all of the food we have in house to those in need. Tomorrow we'll be opening for carryout food at 11 am, offering corned beef, cabbage, and mashed potatoes. If you have the means to pay for food, we'll donate all the money to a local food bank. If you don't, the food is free of charge, no questions asked. We'll get through this together. Stay safe."

 

We applaud the generosity of Franklin House.  

President Trump proposes sending relief checks directly to Americans

President Trump said during today's press conference, "At my direction, [Treasury] Secretary Mnuchin is meeting today with senators on additional stimulus packages,” Trump said, adding that they are looking at loans for small businesses and flexibility for fast-food workers.

 

Mnuchin announced that the administration is looking at sending checks directly to American households that are hurting – possibly within the next two weeks.

 

https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/government-response-updates-coronavirus-task-force-briefs-15/story?id=69640056

2nd Death in Indiana from Coronavirus

(Indianapolis, IN) - A second Indiana resident has died from coronavirus.

According to state health officials, the victim was over 60-years old

from downstate Johnson County.

The first death was reported Monday.

That person was also over 60 and from Marion County.

Officials say there are now 30 cases of coronavirus in the state.

One is a 55-year old man from the city of LaPorte who was reported

in critical condition Saturday at Porter Regional Hospital near Chesterton.

Franciscan Offering Coronavirus Testing

(Michigan City, IN) - Franciscan Health will begin offering outpatient testing for coronavirus

this week.

Officials say a doctor's order and pre-registration will be required

to get the test.

Tests will be given between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday through

Friday.

A testing trailer will be on the east side of the hospital's main parking

lot and tests will be done in the patient's car, officials said.

Patients should call 219-877-1474 to pre-register. 

Officials said results can be expected within three to four days. 

Casey Introduced to City Council.

(LaPorte, IN) - The new city planner in LaPorte was introduced last night.

Tom Casey was previously involved with Space Center, a development

company that owned and expanded Thomas Rose Industrial Park on the

city’s east side.

At last night’s city council meeting, Casey said he took some time off

after Space Center was sold last year to spend more time with his aging parents.

He was then contacted by mayor Tom Dermody and Bert Cook, executive director of the

LaPorte Economic Advancement Partnership about the job opening.

Casey took over on March 10.

He replaced Beth Shrader, who took a similar position with the city of Valparaiso.

First Death from Coronavirus in Indiana

(Indianapolis, IN) - Indiana has its first death from coronavirus.

Officials say the person was over 60 years old with

a preexisting health issue.

The individual’s significant other also exposed to the virus

was allowed to communicate on an iPad.

Indiana has 24 confirmed cases of coronavirus.

The only one reported from northwest Indiana is a 55 year old man

from the city of LaPorte.

He was being treated at Porter Regional Hospital near Chesterton.

Large Pot Bust Nets Prison Time

(LaPorte, IN) - Another major marijuana bust on the Indiana Toll Road has landed a man in prison.

23-year old Brett Brumfield was given a two year prison sentence Friday

in La Porte Circuit Court.

In September, police say he was stopped for tailgating at the 57 mile marker.

Police say Brumfield was acting very nervous.

A K-9 dog was brought out and helped uncover three bags of vacuum sealed

marijuana weighing 33 pounds from the car.

According to police, it appears Brumfield from Ohio picked up the marijuana in California.

Last month, very large amounts of marijuana were also seized during traffic stops on the

Toll Road in about that same area.

Those suspects are still awaiting trial.

Homeless Shelter Scaling Back

(LaPorte, IN) - The new homeless shelter in LaPorte is no longer putting people up during the night.

Center Township Township Trustee Lisa Pierzakowski says the shelter at First Baptist Church

hasn’t had many people lately.

But, the facility is still staffed during evenings.

So, if someone needs a place to stay during the night, they’re given a ride to the shelter in

Michigan City and a ride back to work, if necessary, in LaPorte.

Pierzakowski says the number of overnight stays has gone down drastically because housing,

jobs and treatment have been found for most of the over 40 individuals who sought help for their

homelessness.

She says the homeless shelter will be staffed until April 15 to get people needing a place to stay to

the shelter in Michigan City.

Governor Holcomb Mandates Carry Out/Delivery Only for Local Restaurants

(Indianapolis) - In response to advice from the Center for Disease ControI and Prevention, Indiana Governor Eric J. Holcomb has announced additional mandates throughout the state of Indiana to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.  This includes not allowing "in-person events of more than 50 people".  As a result, he is requiring all Bars, nightclubs and Restaurants "to close to in-person patrons", however, they may provide take-out and delivery services through the end of March.

 

Currently, 273 School Districts have taken action and closed school building to students, leaving 16 School Districts that remain open.  The press release indicates that the Department of Education is working with those schools on their plans to adhere to the new order.

 

Hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers are being asked to cancel or postpone all "elective and non-urgent surgical procedures immediately", allowing medical facilities to "conserve resources and personnel" so they can be prepared for the emerging health needs.

 

A press conference is scheduled to discuss these measures, and others being impemented/suggested, at 1:30p Central Time.

 

Additional information can be found at this site:

https://calendar.in.gov/site/gov/event/gov-holcomb-announces-more-steps-to-slow-the-spread-of-covid-19/

 

Stay tuned to 96.7 The Eagle and HometownNewsNow.com for the latest information.

Stand Off Ends Peacefully

(LaPorte, IN) - A stand-off in La Porte ended peacefully over the weekend.

Officers early Saturday were called to Maple Tree Apartments at 1405 W. 18th St.

Police say a woman during a domestic dispute left the upstairs apartment and called

911.

Her husband stayed inside with a gun.

LaPorte Police Chief Paul Brettin said the only person the man threatened to harm

during the ordeal was himself.

Brettin says the man came out peacefully close to 12 hours later thanks to the efforts

of negotiators from his department and the sheriff’s office.

No shots were ever fired, he said.

Brettin said the man was admitted for a mental health evaluation to try and get him the help

that’s needed.

LaPorte City Hall Restrictions from Coronavirus

(LaPorte, IN) - La Porte Mayor, Tom Dermody, announced that City Hall in LaPorte will be physically closed to the public through March 31st due to coronavirus.  It will continue to conduct business by telephone and e-mail only.

 

Dermody says residents are asked to pay their water bills online at https://laportein.authoritypay.com/ or drop payments into boxes outside city hall.  Other payment arrangements can be made by calling the billing department (219)362-3175 or by emailing grobles@cityoflaportein.gov .  He says residents with late payments will not have their water disconnected during this period.

 

Tonight’s City Council meeting will go on as scheduled but Dermody expects that meeting

to be short.

LP County Government Responding to Coronavirus

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 3/15/2020

From LaPorte County Board of Commissioners President, Sheila Matias

 

To the citizens of LaPorte County and LaPorte County employees:

 

I have been in constant touch over the weekend with my fellow county commissioners as we track developments and share in your concerns regarding COVID-19.   We are committed to keeping essential public services provided by county government available even as we seek to reduce the risk of transmission both for the public and the valued members of the county employee workforce.

 

That is why, effective Monday, March 16th beginning at 8 am, we ask members of the public to avoid coming to county buildings if at all possible. Please handle your normal interactions with county government via email, fax, Facetime, Zoom, or on the phone.  County government offices including the courts will be open for ESSENTIAL functions only. We need your help to ensure that we are taking all necessary precautions to mitigate potential exposure for members of the public and staff.  CDC guidance is clear that it is critical to reduce in-person contact if at all possible.

 

  • We are asking our department heads and elected officials to be responsible for their department’s plan to determine who in their respective departments can or should be working from home and those who are needed to keep essential business functions operating in our county buildings. 

 

  • We are asking county staff or members of the public to stay at home if they are not well.  This may cause some temporary inconveniences or delays, but this is in everyone’s best interest.  Of course, any emergency situations will be prioritized and handled as promptly as possible.

 

  • If you are experiencing a cold, illness or other symptoms or are self-quarantining, please take preventative measures as recommended by the CDC and stay at home.  We have expanded normal cleaning services of all common areas and are regularly disinfecting all public and common areas such as floors, doorknobs, keypads and elevator buttons.

 

  • While county meetings will continue to be held and other county board meetings will likely be held, we ask that only essential people be present and encourage members of the public to watch at home on ALCO unless it’s absolutely necessary to be present.

 

Please remember – all county departments and elected officials can be reached by phone, fax, text or email. Please use the county’s web site to get phone numbers or email addresses. www.LaPorteCounty.org

 

The LaPorte County Commissioners are committed both to continuing essential public service while working hard to reduce the risk of transmission of the COVID-19 virus across our community. As we face an ever-evolving health issue, we ask for  calm and collaborative assistance from each of you. This is the time for us all to practice common sense, smart yet compassionate behavior while following the CDC guidelines.

 

This is not the time to panic but we all must make prudent adjustments as required by common sense and care for one another.

 

New Prairie School Employee Tested for Coronavirus

(New Carlisle, IN) - In an email Sunday night addressed to the "NPUSC Family", New Prairie Unified School Corporation Superintendent, Paul White, shared the news that one of their "central office" employees became ill over the weekend and has now been tested for coronavirus.  The results are expected back in 2 to 5 days.  He states this employee "has limited exposure to students and staff", however out of an abundance of caution, they've decided to close all New Prairie School building to all employees while facilities are professionally cleaned. 

 

New Prairie Schools annonced Friday that their facilities would be closed to students from Monday, March 16th through Friday, April 3rd.  Teachers were planning to return to work on Monday to prepare lesson plans for E-Learning.  White indicated in his email, "It is possible E-Learning for New Prairie students will be delayed.  An update will go out to New Prairie families by Monday afternoon".  The email also stated that they will be "seeking guidance from the Health Department and DOE tomorrow morning concerning already prepped meals for the New Prairie Students" and they'll update families on those decisions as soon as they are available.

 

Regarding their decision to make this information public, White wrote, "I share this information to be as transparent as possible-we do not know for sure at this time if the employee has coronavirus...our goal is to always keep staff and students safe as possible as we learn new information".

 

The HometownNewsNow team at 96.7 The Eagle will continue to follow this story and will post update to the site as they become available.

LaPorte Man Critical with Coronavirus

(LaPorte, IN) - There’s now a confirmed case of coronavirus from LaPorte County.  LaPorte County Commission president, Sheila Matias, said the patient is a 55-year old man from the city of LaPorte.  She indicated the man was in critical condition at Porter Regional Hospital.

 

Matias was alerted to the confirmed case Friday night after the man developing symptoms was tested.  She indicated that it appears the individuals which he’s had recent contact with are strictly family members at home and at a residence in Joliet, Illinois where he recently traveled.

 

“Every contact that he's had has been examined and they are in quarantine.  We’re doing everything we can to make sure there’s no further transmission,” Matias said.

 

The patient does home repair for a living, from his residence.  “He doesn’t appear to have had a lot of contacts from all of the information we’ve been able to gather,” Matias said.

 

Residents are asked to remain calm and follow advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) like washing hands, covering mouths while sneezing or coughing, and staying away from large gatherings to try and limit the spread of the virus.  “This is a time when the community really has to pull together.  We need to be sure we’re looking out for each other.  This is not a time for panic.  It’s a time for taking care of each other and just hunkering down, being calm, watching movies, playing board games, and reading to your children.  Calmness is the order of the day,”  Matias advised.

 

Stay tuned to HometownNewsNow.com, 96.7 The Eagle, and the new Rock 106.5 for any additional developments in this story.

Coronavirus Lands in LaPorte

(LaPorte, IN) - They said it was just a matter of time, and apparently the time is now.

The first case of coronavirus has been reported in LaPorte County.

That's according to the state's website tracking the pandemic. As of this morning, there are 15 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with a new case listed in LaPorte County.

 

Here is a complete list of the confirmed cases in Indiana:

  • Adams - 1
  • Boone - 1
  • Hendricks - 2
  • Howard - 1
  • Johnson - 3
  • LaPorte - 1
  • Marion - 3
  • Noble - 1
  • St. Joesph - 1
  • Wells - 1

LaPorte Man Charged with Child Molesting

(LaPorte, IN) - An employee at Four Winds Casino was at work dropping hints of wrongdoing and threatening suicide.

That’s according to the evidence contained in the seven counts of child molesting filed against 55-year old Joseph Kuta of LaPorte.

Kuta was being held in the LaPorte County Jail on $100,000 bond.

He’s accused of molesting a 14-year old girl for two-years.

According to court documents, LaPorte Police were contacted on March 4 after the girl told her therapist she had been sexually assaulted by a “family friend.”

The next day, Kuta acting suicidal told several co-workers trying to help that he was involved with a teenager, police said.

He wouldn’t provide specifics but made statements like “you’ll probably see it in the media” and “I’m probably going to lose my job,” police said.

Police said other statements from Kuta included “he could possibly go to jail because of what he did.”

Kuta wound up being taken from the casino to a hospital.

A Pokagon Tribal Police officer concerned he may have committed crime notified LaPorte Police already with Kuta on their radar screens.

Four of the counts filed against Kuta are level 1 felonies each punishable by a 20 to 40-year sentence.

Hook Given to Body Piercing Shop

(Niles, MI) - The hook has been given to a shop for practicing unsafe body piercing.

As a result, select customers at Paparazzi Tattoo & Body Piercing could have been exposed to blood pathogens and should undergo blood tests for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV, according to the Berrien County Health Department.

 The operating license of the business in Niles has been suspended for improper sterilization of metal forceps used in some of the procedures, BCHD officials said.

 The recommendation applies to customers who have ever received piercings to areas like their navel, tongue, nipples and genitals at the facility, officials said.

Recipients of just ear and nose piercings at the shop are not at-risk and don’t require testing, according to BCHD.

Officials said the health department is working to notify people with records of having received the piercings at question from the store to recommend testing and offer guidance.

Testing should be sought from a health care provider, officials said.

Individuals without a primary care provider, though, can be tested at the health department office in Niles every Tuesday and Thursday and every Monday and Thursday at the Benton Harbor branch, officials said.

Health department officials noted they not have identified any case of disease associated with the unsafe practices but the investigation is ongoing and symptoms of an infection may not show up for many years.

A hotline has been established to answer questions or concerns from the public at 1-800-815-5485.

LaPorte Turns to eLearning from Coronavirus

(LaPorte, IN)- No classroom instruction will be given in the LaPorte Community School Corporation for the next three weeks due to precautions against coronavirus.

According to the superintendent’s office, there will be three eLearning days and two off days each week starting Monday.

The altered schedule will run through April 3.

According to the superintendent’s office, the decision was made after the governor provided local school districts 20 days to use without penalty as an option for closing school to guard against the spread of the coronavirus.

Task Force Combating Coronavirus

(LaPorte County, IN) - A task force has been created in La Porte County to address

corona virus.

Officials from various agencies countywide are working together to protect and keep

the community prepared and calm.

Sheila Matias. president of the La Porte County Commissioners, said 911 and EMS working

closely on the situation is an example of the teamwork being established for quick and effective

response.

The latest information about corona virus is also being published on the county’s website.

 “Over 50 leaders representing county agencies, first responders, health department, judicial system, schools and the two cities of La Porte and Michigan City met on Thursday morning to share information, ensure a solid communication plan and explain their response protocols. We are working together on your behalf across jurisdictions to help our community stay healthy, stay calm and be as prepared as possible,” Matias said.

  1. We encourage our citizens to be calm and use common sense while taking necessary, practical precautions: Wash your hands often; don’t shake hands with others.  
  2. If you are not feeling well and are concerned about symptoms of the virus such as fever or cough,      first call your doctor before going to the office.
  3. If you have signs of the virus and want to go to the Emergency Room, please call the Emergency Room at the hospital before you go to the hospital so that they can be best prepared to handle your visit.
  4. Information on the virus will be posted regularly on our web site at www.LaPorteCounty.in.gov
  5. If you are sick, we encourage you not to go to work, to the store, or to a gathering place where others could be affected.
  6. If you are over 60, please consider reducing your risk of transmission by social distancing-staying away from groups and away from large crowds. 
  7. Please consider stocking up on essentials such as food, medical supplies and other household necessities. 

Medical Providers Ready for Coronavirus

(LaPorte, IN) - Local medical providers are prepared to treat potential coronavirus

patients.

Dr. Lars Kneller is with Beacon Health System, which has a medical facility in

La Porte.

Kneller says people who think they might have it should call first so medical staff

can be ready to properly address their situation at low risk of infecting staff members and

other patients.

Kneller says outbreaks of SARS and other corona related outbreaks in the past had

a much higher death rate.

The problem with his strain is no way of treating it has been developed.

Efforts to develop a corona virus vaccine are ongoing worldwide.

Governor Imposes Coronavirus Measures

(Indianapolis, IN) - Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb is imposing measures to protect the public

from coronavirus.

These include limiting non-essential gatherings to 250 people in one room at a time.

Schools will also be given a 20-day waiver of the required 180 days of school that

can be used as needed by the schools for the remainder of the year.

Child and adult care facilities have been instructed to institute social distancing

and keep large gatherings to a minimum.

According to the Indiana State Department of Health, there are 13 confirmed coronavirus cases in the state but no new ones so far today.

"Super Polluter" Here Identified by Environmental Group

(Washington D.C.) - La Porte has a super polluter on its hands.

That’s according to a nationwide group called the Environmental Integrity Project.

The group says it conducted a study of industries across the country and one of the biggest polluters

was Arconic formerly known as Howmet Castings and Services on E. Lincolnway.

The plant with hundreds of workers makes engine parts for jets and commercial aircraft.

The group lists Arconic as one of two “Super Polluters” in the Chicago area and six in the

state of Indiana.

Arconic was ranked 82 out of 100 industrial sites nationwide for pollution.

NCAA March Madness Tournament Cancelled Because of Coronavirus

The NCAA has canceled its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

 

NCAA President Mark Emmert and the Board of Governors on Thursday announced in a statement they had canceled the events, as well as all remaining winter and spring NCAA championships.

 

The NCAA made the unprecedented move on Thursday, after announcing Wednesday that the events would be closed to the public. The spectacle known as March Madness, which was scheduled to begin next week, had been held every year since 1939 for men’s college teams and 1982 for women’s teams.

 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2020/03/12/ncaa-tournament-canceled-coronavirus/

No Clowning Around with Boyzo

(LaPorte, IN) - A man could face time in prison for punching a LaPorte City Police officer

in the face.

18-year old Edgar Boyzo is charged with level 6 felony battery and other counts.

According to police, officers responded to 1003 Jackson St. about two weeks ago.

Police say Boyzo was under the influence of acid and while resisting punched an officer

in the face.

A taser gun was used to help bring the situation under control, police said.

Boyzo could face anywhere from six months to two and a half years on each of the three

felony battery counts against him.

Coronavirus Puts Major Sporting Events on Hold

Just got word the NHL has followed NBA's lead in postponing games because of the Coronavirus. NASCAR will race the next two weekends minus fans in the stands. The NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville has been postponed. It might be fun to watch ESPN for the next few weeks to find out what they can report on. 

Local Investor: Don't Panic Over Market Plummeting

(New York City, NY) - The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down close to 2,000 points late in the

afternoon Thursday mostly due to fears over coronavirus.

Local private investor Tim Stabosz says the best thing to do is not panic.

He feels people are overreacting to coronavirus and the market will stabilize

at some point.

Stabosz said people with IRA’s and other retirement accounts should not pull out of the

market.

He said those folks are in it for the long term and, eventually, the stock market will be on

the upswing again.

Stabosz also said now is an opportunity for private investors like himself to buy stocks hurt by

the downfall and turn a profit when those stocks begin rising again.

Stabosz, a former two term member of the LaPorte City Council, said there have been worse

crashes of the market during his close to 30-years as a private investor and the market rebounded

from those down periods.

Medical Helicopter Called to Crash Scene

(Michigan City, IN) It appears at least one person was seriously hurt in a motor vehicle collision

today in Michigan City.

It was at Franklin St. and Greenwood Ave. about 11 a.m.

What happened remains unclear, but a vehicle hit either a house or a pole based on reports

from people close to the scene and calls to 911.

A medical helicopter responded to the scene for a patient described as a woman about

30-years old with possible internal injuries.

Franklin St. was closed until the wreckage was cleaned up and the accident scene investigated.

Destructive Fire Under Investigation

(Michigan City, IN) – A fire destroying a home in Michigan City remains under investigation.

The fire early Monday was in the 400 block of E. 9th St.

Firefighters arrived to a two-story residential structure fully engulfed in flames.

Everyone inside the home made it out safely, officials said.

Officials say the cause of the fire and where it started were still being looked into.

"Green Streets" a Focus in Michigan City

(Michigan City, IN) - Public meetings involving streets are scheduled later this month in

Michigan City.

According to the mayor’s office, the community is looking at having environmentally

friendly streets under a federal program.

The streets would also feature things like bicycle lanes and sidewalks.

The city is receiving technical assistance from the federal government to help

implement the program.

The meetings are scheduled March 23 and March 24 at Krueger Memorial Hall.

For further information, contact the mayor’s office at (219) 873-1400.

Coronavirus Within Arm's Reach

(South Bend, IN) - Coronavirus is knocking on our back door.

There’s a confirmed case now in St. Joseph County.

The announcement was made yesterday afternoon at the IU South Bend

School of Medicine.

Officials say the patient is a man in his 50’s and is quarantined inside his

home.

Where he lives and other specifics about the individual were not released.

The president last night also announced a ban on air travel to and from Europe to try

and slow the spread of coronavirus along with billions of dollars for medical research.

March Madness will Play Without Fans

March Madness 2020 will be unlike any NCAA Tournament ever.

 

The NCAA announced on Wednesday that both the men’s and women’s NCAA basketball tournaments will be played without fans after consulting with its coronavirus advisory panel.

“Based on [the panel’s] advice and my discussions with the NCAA Board of Governors, I have made the decision to conduct our upcoming championship events, including the Division I men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, with only essential staff and limited family attendance,”

 

NCAA president Mark Emmert said in a statement. The deadly virus was upgraded to a pandemic on Wednesday afternoon, less than a week before the field of 68 was set to tip off with the First Four in Dayton.

 

https://nypost.com/2020/03/11/march-madness-2020-will-be-played-without-fans-because-of-coronavirus/

 

Downtown Housing Incentives Now Offered

 (LaPorte, IN) - The city of LaPorte is offering financial incentives to create more housing in the upper levels of buildings in the downtown.           

 The goal is to capitalize on a trend especially among young people to live within a short walk of restaurants and other destinations without having to maintain a home, said Mike Riehle

 Riehle said interest in downtown living is high but adequate housing is in short supply.

"The demand is crazy,” he said.

Grants of up to $10,000 for each living unit created started being offered recently to help offset what can be a cost prohibitive venture for owners of old buildings downtown.

The funds would narrow the gap between cost of remodeling and rental income generated by the new second and third floor units.

Riehle said the result would be additional traffic for a downtown adding more new businesses like Bare Bones gastropub at 518 Lincolnway and New Age Baking Company at 612 Lincolnway.

“It’s a win, win for everybody,” he said.

Riehle pointed to LOFTS@920 as an example of the success downtown living can have in LaPorte.

The apartments built above Louie’s Café at 920 Lincolnway about 15-years ago consistently are at full occupancy, he said.

200 resort type apartments to start going up beside Clear Lake in the spring and the additional store customers expected from that development adds to the potential of living downtown, he said.  

Riehe said grants of more than $10,000 per unit could be awarded depending on the building plans and other factors driving potential.

Anyone interested in applying for the grants should contact Angela Rose, the city’s downtown coordinator, at (219) 324-8584.

PNW Suspends Classroom Instruction Due to Corona Virus

(Hammond, IN) - Purdue University Northwest announced today classroom instruction has been temporarily suspended beginning Thursday due to concerns over coronavirus.

Chancellor Thomas McKeon said classes will be taught online and through other alternative delivery methods through April 4.

Many on-campus activities have also been suspended during the designated time period.

McKeon said there are no reported cases of coronavirus on the campuses at Hammond and Westville but with confirmed cases elsewhere in Indiana and in Illinois the decision was made as a precaution.

“The health and safety of our entire PNW community is our highest priority," he said.

Corona Virus Cancels St. Patrick's Day Parade in Chicago

(Chicago, IL) - The St. Patrick's Day Parade in Chicago has been canceled due to

coronavirus.

The parade was supposed to be Saturday.

But, fears about the outbreak led to the cancellation.

Officials have been urging people especially the elderly to avoid

large gatherings.

Boston and even Dublin, Ireland have cancelled their St. Patrick’s Day events.

Son Held in Mother's Death

(Michigan City, IN) - A Michigan City man is accused of fatally shooting his mother.

36-year old Whaiun “Juan” Patterson was taken into custody.

Formal charges could be filed today.

Police say 53 year old Sonja Bell was shot to death early yesterday

at Canterbury House Apartments just off Pahs Road.

Patterson was located in the parking lot outside his mother’s residence.

A motive and other details have not been released.

Corona Virus Precautions at Colleges

(Bloomington, IN) - Some college students in the state will have to take their classes online

due to Corona Virus.

Indiana University and Purdue University are each suspending classroom teaching

for two weeks beginning March 23.

Students at each of the universities are going on spring break next week but when they return

courses will have to be taken online to help prevent the spread of the virus.

Downtown Housing Grants Offered

(LaPorte, IN) - Do you want to live downtown???

The city of La Porte is trying to make it happen for more individuals.

Grants of up to $10,000 are being offered by the city’s Urban Enterprise Association

for building owners to convert their upper levels into apartments.

Mike Riehle of the La Porte Economic Advancement Partnership says the LOFTS@920

above Louie’s Café at Lincolnway and Madison St. are an example of the high demand

for downtown living.

He says high demand is generated primarily by young people who prefer to restaurants and other

businesses.

Riehle says some grants could go above $10,000 depending on certain factors like potential.

Contact LEAP for more information at 324-8584.

Fake I.D's Seized

(LaPorte County, IN) - La Porte County Police stopped a driver with a bunch of fake ID’s.

Late Sunday morning, police say the 18 year old driver from Elkhart was stopped for

speeding on the Indiana Toll Road a few miles east of LaPorte exit.  

On the back seat was a duffel bag containing numerous fake ID’s, police said.

The driver told the officer he sells fake ID’s to his friends at college so they can buy alcohol

and get into bars.

Police say the officer confiscated the items but let the driver go.

Near Crash Driver Taken Off Streets

(LaPorte, IN) - He ran another car off the road then was arrested for drunk driving.

That’s according to La Porte County Police, who revealed the suspect had a

blood alcohol level nearly four times the legal limit.

61-year old Arthur Sorg of Mill Creek is charged.

Saturday evening, police say officers responded to a complaint of reckless driving in

the city of LaPorte.

Sorg allegedly ran an oncoming driver off the road near Clear Lake then had

trouble negotiating the roundabout at New Porte Landing.

Police say Sorg claimed to have had one beer but his alleged blood alcohol level was

over .30-percent.

Professional Game Plan for Spending

(LaPorte, IN) - A master plan is being developed for spending in the city of LaPorte.

Mayor Tom Dermody says a private firm is going to project how much money is coming in

over the next four years to help guide expenditures during that same period.

Dermody says it’s a way to make the best use out of the city’s limited dollars.

BakerTilly, a private accounting firm out of Chicago, is putting the spending plan

together.

Cracking Down on Overweight Trucks

(LaPorte, IN) – Drivers of overweight trucks run a greater risk of being caught on county roads.

La Porte County Police now has an officer with scales.

Sheriff John Boyd says it’s paying off especially with the frost melting soon.

Over weight trucks cause more damage to roads especially when the ground

is soft from melting frost;

Boyd an overweight truck ordinance is also being worked to the existing ordinance more teeth

to enforce against violators.

Bison Hoping to Repeat as District 4 Champs

(New Buffalo, MI) - In New Buffalo, the boys are hoping to repeat as district champions

in high school basketball.

In their way is probably River Valley, who soundly defeated the Bison twice during the

regular season.

Head coach Nate Tripp says he welcomes such a district title match up.

He says his team can do it if they work for good shots and play as a single unit in other ways

throughout the game.

The Bison open the district tournament Wednesday.

A victory would likely mean a New Buffalo River Valley championship game

Friday night at Lake Michigan Catholic High School in St. Joseph.

Rash of Michigan City Shootings Ongoing

(Michigan City) -There appears to be no end to a rash of shootings in Michigan City.

The latest one happened early this morning at Canterbury House Apartments not

far from Michigan City High School.

Police say a woman was shot and not breathing when officers arrived.

She was later pronounced dead.

Police say a person of interest has been taken into custody, but no further details were

provided.

For well over a year now, shooting deaths and injuries along with other forms of

gun play have occurred like never before, perhaps, in Michigan City.

In response, the police department has been taking extra measures to try and curb

gun violence.

Ex-Cub Appears at Local Baseball Museum

(Three Oaks, MI) - A former major league baseball pitcher was in Three Oaks

over the weekend.

Dave Gumpert pitched two years each for the Chicago Cubs and Detroit Tigers and one year

for the Kansas City Royals during the 1980’s.

He says the first batter he faced in the big leagues grounded into a double play to

end the game.

Gumpert, 61, was at the Biggest Little Baseball Museum where he signed autographs and

engaged in chit chat with dozens of people strolling into the museum on the second floor of

the public library.

Gumpert is from South Haven, Michigan.

Former major leaguer and former longtime minor league manager Dave Machemer was also there.

Machemer, who played 29 games in parts of big league seasons mostly at second base, is from the

St. Joseph/Benton Harbor area.

Third Corona Virus Case in Indiana

(Indianapolis, IN) - A third case of Corona Virus has been confirmed in Indiana.

The newest case is an elementary student from Avon.

That's just west of Indianapolis.

The two other cases also from central Indiana involve adults who traveled

to Boston for a conference.

LaPorte Code Violations Near 900

(LaPorte, IN) - The number of code violations since the new mayor in LaPorte took over

at the first of the year now stands at close to 900.

That’s according to mayor Tom Dermody our guest Friday on Sound Off.

He said the new code enforcement director, Jeff Batchelor, is working

extremely hard.

Dermody said it’s not about issuing fines and collecting money.

It’s about setting a high standard, the city looking better and portraying a better image for itself.

Batchelor is a former correctional officer and former prison administrator who worked at Indiana State Prison and Westville Correctional Facility.

He was a player on the La Porte High School baseball team in the 80’s.

Turn Out Heavy for St. Patrick's Day Parade

(Michigan City, IN) - People came from all over to celebrate their Irish heritage or simply have a good time at the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade Saturday in Michigan City.

          Bag pipes blaring from three groups of kilt wearing players from places like Chesterton and Shelby were among the highlights of the spirited 90-unit parade on Franklin St. in the city’s Uptown Arts District.

         There was also plenty of green clothing in the large crowd along with people like Jerry McCann-Young dressed as leprechauns complete with green socks and black shoes. 

         He came from Peoria, Illinois to visit his sister, Patricia, in South Bend and go to the parade. 

         McCann-Young also wore a necklace of lighted beer mugs and shamrocks.

         “It’s a time to get together with all of your Irish friends and celebrate the love of Irish people and the holiday of drinking beer,” he said.

         Jim and Donna O’Rourke respectively wearing a green top hat and green wig brought their grandchildren, Esmerelda, 4, and Trent, 7, from Chesterton.

         O’Rourke said he has 27 first cousins in Chicago where his father settled after migrating from Ireland.

         ‘’We’re very Irish. We go to quite a few parades,’’ she said.

         Kayla Fisher of Michigan City did the Irish jig like she does at every parade in her green “Lucky to be Irish” shirt and green felt top hat.

         “It’s a dance that Irish people do when they play the bag pipes ,” she said.

         Brock Kohler of Michigan City wore a kilt belonging to his late uncle to honor him and resume a family tradition ending with his death six-years ago. 

          “It’s the first time we’ve all been back in the parade since he passed away,” he said. 

         Among the dignitaries in the parade was LaPorte Superior Court 1 Judge Michael Bergerson whose roots also extend to Ireland where he’s paid a visit several times.

         A tradition in his family at St. Patrick’s Day is all of them sitting down for a meal of corned beef, cabbage and soda bread.

         “We never forget where we’re from and the traditions that got us here. One way or another, we’re all immigrants,” Bergerson said. 

         The most authentic Irish float was awarded to a white 1966 Chevy pick-up with a large Irish tap hat on the roof draped with green and gold balloons.  

         On front bumper was a stove pipe with pretend white smoke rising from the top and a large shamrock bow tie.

         Riding in the bed were the prince and princess of the parade, Dexter Hart and Rowan Hoener.

         They are classmates in kindergarten at Notre Dame Academy Elementary School in Long Beach.

         “She’s meant to be a princess.  She’s just so sweet and so beautiful on the inside and out,” said her mother, Ellie Hoener.

Serious Injury in LaPorte Building Crash

(LaPorte, IN) - A driver was serious injury when a motor vehicle crashed into a building

in La Porte over the weekend.

Police say the driver was a 20 year old man from the Michigan City area.

He was heading southbound about 7 a.m. Sunday when he failed to negotiate a curve and

SUV plowed into the Super Fireworks building at 425 Pine Lake Ave, police said.

Assistant Police Chief Nathan Thode said the driver was unconscious after the crash

and due to the nature of his injuries he was flown to an outside hospital.

He was the lone occupant of the vehicle, he said.

The name of the driver was not being released.

Thode said whether alcohol or drugs were involved remained under investigation.

Witnesses say the vehicle was halfway inside the fireworks store next to Red Carpet Liquors and

a number of bricks from the structure wound up inside the vehicle.

Pine Lake Ave. was closed to allow a medical helicopter to land.

 

No Injuries in Fire Thanks to Passerby

(LaPorte, IN) - A passerby may have saved the lives of two people from a house fire early Monday in LaPorte.

Cliff Snyder said he was awakened by a man pounding on his front door in the 1700 block of State St. about 2 a.m.

Snyder said he started putting on his clothes then was guided out of the residence by police.

His grown daughter also made it out safely.

Snyder said the fire must have started in the attic because he was on the first floor of the two-story home and didn’t see much, if any, smoke.

His smoke detectors also did not go off, he said.

The flames also heavily damaged an attached garage.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Report Cards for Local Schools

Hoosier school districts got their report cards this week, but the scores mean even less this year than usual.

On Wednesday the Indiana State Board of Education released letter grades for school performance. Usually, the grades are a reflection of standardized test results. But with many students bombing last year’s inaugural ILEARN test, state administrators scrambled to prop up their numbers.

Last month Governor Eric Holcomb signed a low performance bailout, allowing schools to use previous ratings if they were higher than last year’s results.

Initial ILEARN results from last year indicated less than half of Hoosier students were on track for college or career readiness.

As it is, this week’s report card shows 85% of public schools earning a C or better.

Locally, LaPorte, New Prairie, and South Central schools scored similarly in the high B range. Michigan City schools averaged a low C. John Glenn and Valparaiso schools averaged a strong A.

Here is a complete list of area schools:

 

 

New Prairie United School Corp

 

Prairie View Elementary School

A

   

New Prairie High School

A

   

Rolling Prairie Elementary School

B

   

New Prairie Middle School

B

   

Olive Township Elementary School

A

Michigan City Area Schools

 

Coolspring Elementary School

C

   

Springfield Elementary School

C

   

Martin T Krueger Middle School

D

   

Barker Middle School

D

   

Michigan City High School

B

   

Edgewood Elementary School

C

   

Lake Hills Elementary School

C

   

Joy Elementary School

C

   

Knapp Elementary School

A

   

Marsh Elementary School

B

   

Pine Elementary School

D

South Central Com School Corp

 

South Central Elementary School

B

 

 

South Central Jr-Sr High School

A

LaPorte Community School Corp

 

Indian Trail Elementary School

B

 

 

Kesling Middle School

C

 

 

Kingsford Heights Elementary Sch

B

 

 

Kingsbury Elementary School B
 

 

LaPorte High School

B

 

 

Paul F Boston Middle School

C

 

 

Hailmann Elementary School

B

 

 

F Willard Crichfield Elementary

A

 

 

Lincoln Elementary School

C

 

 

Riley Elementary School

A

 

 

Handley Elementary School

D

Valparaiso Community Schools

 

Valparaiso High School

A

 

 

Benjamin Franklin Middle School

A

 

 

Thomas Jefferson Middle School

A

 

 

Thomas Jefferson Elementary School

A

 

 

Central Elementary School

A

 

 

Flint Lake Elementary School

A

 

 

Cooks Corners Elementary School

A

 

 

Heavilin Elementary School

A

 

 

Memorial Elementary School

B

 

 

Northview Elementary School

A

 

 

Parkview Elementary School

A

John Glenn School Corporation

 

Harold C Urey Middle School

B

 

 

John Glenn High School

A

 

 

North Liberty School

A

 

 

Walkerton Elementary School

A

Man Charged with Rape

(LaPorte, IN) - A LaPorte man is charged with rape.

34-year old Earl Moore was being held in the LaPorte County Jail on 25,000 bond.

According to LaPorte City Police, he met the woman at Mickey’s Bar

in December.

Police say she sat down beside him then due to her heavy drinking

Moore helped her out of the bar.

Police say the evidence indicates the alleged rape occurred inside a vehicle

parked in Moore’s driveway in the 500 block of Porter street.

The woman sustained injuries to her face.

Moore could face anywhere from three to 16 years.

His case is before La Porte Circuit Court judge Tom Alevizos.

High Wind and Waves

(LaPorte County, IN) - Be careful out there.

The roads are mostly wet but slick in spots.

The winds are also strong, causing snow to blow over some

stretches of road.

La Porte County highway department superintendent Bob Young says

more than a dozen trees had fallen before 12 p.m.

Young said his crews were on top of the situation.

The strong winds from the north is causing more erosion along the Lake Michigan shoreline.

Brian Flanigan of Service 1 Marine in New Buffalo said the back porches on homes in

Long Beach today were being hit by waves.

The weather is supposed to remain like winter until the weekend when temperatures

are forecast to climb back into the 50’s.

Corona Virus Now in Indiana

(Indianapolis, IN) - Indiana has its first case of coronavirus.

The Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) confirmed it this morning.

The coronavirus patient is in Marion County, said Kristina Box, the Indiana State Health

Commissioner.

Box said the patient is an adult who recently traveled to Boston and had contact with

individuals last week at an undisclosed event where positive cases have

been identified.

Box said the patient is currently in isolation.

The patient will be isolated for 14 days and won’t be released until

testing negative for the virus for two consecutive days, officials said.

Gov. Eric Holcomb has declared a public health emergency for the state to become

eligible for federal dollars set aside to help combat the spread of the virus.

State Champion Baseball Coach a Hall of Famer

(New Buffalo, MI) - A championship baseball coach is a new member of the sports hall of fame in

New Buffalo.

Roger Vink coached the 1983 Class D state champions.

He says the team struggled during the regular season but caught fire when

his players decided to live up to their potential.

Vink, honored Thursday night during the high school boys’ basketball game, is the owner of Oink’s,

the popular ice cream parlor along U.S 12.

He coached baseball in New Buffalo for nine seasons.

Palombizio Recalls Buzzer Beater

(Michigan City, IN) - Hoosier Hysteria continues tonight at Slicer gym.

Michigan City takes on South Bend Adams in the sectional

semi-finals.

Chances are one of the greatest local high school players ever will be

there.

Dan Palombizio dunked the ball at the buzzer to beat South Bend Adams

In 1979.

His team at what was then Rogers High School in Michigan City advanced to

the semi-state when all schools were in the same tournament.

Palombizio says the buzzer beater was probably the fondest memory of his

Stellar high school career.

He went on to lead the nation in scoring in college at Ball State University.

Palombizio, a former Indiana Mr. Basketball, was drafted in the NBA then

had a long professional career in Europe.

Corona Virus Precautions for Riders

(Chesterton, IN) - Riders of South Shore commuter trains can rest

easier.

The railroad is trying to make the cars as germ free as possible

to combat the spread of corona virus.

So far, no local cases have been reported.

But, precautions are being taken.

Sanitizers and disinfectants are being used in areas like

bathrooms, seats and even door knobs.

$25,000 Donation for New EMS Station

(LaPorte, IN) - A new ambulance base in Rolling Prairie has received a financial boost.

LaPorte Hospital is donating $25,000 toward the cost.

The announcement was made by LaPorte Hospital president/CEO Ashley Dickinson during

Wednesday’s LaPorte County Commissioners meeting.

LaPorte County government was recently given land by the state to build the EMS station

west of U.S 20 and State Road 2.

Construction could start later this year.

Commissioner Rich Mrozinski said the first EMS station to serve eastern LaPorte County will greatly lower response times because that area is now served by the ambulance base in the city of LaPorte.

Citizen Wants Crackdown on Junk

(LaPorte, IN) - A LaPorte County man tired of living near an eyesore is calling for action.

James Donnelly wants a countywide code enforcement ordinance.

He says a measure proposed a few years ago to crack down on unsitely properties

countywide was pulled when a lot of residents began screaming.

At Wednesday’s LaPorte County Commissioners meeting, he called for a referendum to decide the

matter to avoid the potential for another public outcry.

Donnelly, who lives on 525 West north of LaPorte, said he approached a new neighbor who

refused to clean up what he described as a junk yard.

Donnelly also pointed to the aggressive stance on code enforcement being taken in LaPorte

under the city’s new mayor, Tom Dermody, as an example for the county to follow.

County attorney Shaw Friedman said there is no provision in state law allowing for a

referendum, though, for such a matter.

He also said there are already existing laws locally to enforce the codes.

Dealing with Drug Abuse Forum

 

(Westville, IN) - Advice on coping with drug abuse will be given this week at the

Purdue campus near Westville.

The event will cover things dealing with substance abuse, recovery, administering

narcan and where to go to get help.

The program called “You’re Not Alone” is scheduled Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

It’s free and hosted by the Purdue Northwest School of Nursing.

Mayor Parry Taking a Polar Plunge

(Michigan City, IN) - The mayor of Michigan City is going to take a polar plunge.

Duane Parry will take a dip in Trail Creek Saturday.

He’s scheduled to do it at 9 a.m. at the kayak launch at Hansen Park.

His act of bravery sort of kicks off the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade in the city which begins

at 1 p.m.

It will proceed northbound on Franklin St. from 11th St. to 4th St. 

Parry says he’s dived into ice cold water a few times before with his son in Milwaukee

and looks forward to his upcoming plunge.

The parade is always held in Michigan City a week or so before St. Patrick’s Day.

St. Patrick’s Day is March 17th.

Foot Pursuit Ends Empty Handed

(LaPorte County, IN) - An individual managed to outrun police yesterday in the Mill Creek area.

About 11:30 a.m., the sheriff’s office responded to a complaint about a

suspicious vehicle at an abandoned property in the area of 750 East and

75 South.

One person fled while another person remained at the scene.

Capt. Derek Allen said a K-9 was used in tracking the individual through woods, waterways and other terrain.

Eventually, Allen said the pursuit ended during the afternoon when the individual could not be

located.

Local Hospitals Prepared for Corona Virus

(LaPorte, IN) - Local hospitals report they’re prepared should they receive a patient

with Corona Virus.

So far, there have been no reported cases locally.

Ashley Dickinson, chief executive officer of La Porte Hospital, was among the medical professionals giving a presentation at Wednesday’s LaPorte County Commissioners meeting.

She said all of the processes for receiving such a patient have been thoroughly reviewed

for action just in case the virus turns up.

Washing hands was among the advice given for protecting yourself from contracting the virus.

Right now, LaPorte County Commissioner Vidya Kora, a physician with a practice in Michigan City,

said testing for corona virus started being done at the federal level.

Kora said health departments at the state level are now doing it in some areas of the nation but

there should be a push to give local health departments the tools to do the testing for quicker

results on people tested for the virus.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 90 thousand cases of corona virus have been reported worldwide and more than 3,100 deaths have resulted.

Wolves Defeat Slicers in Sectional Opener

(LaPorte, IN) - Michigan City defeated LaPorte in last night’s high school boys' basketball

sectional opener.

The Slicers took an eight point lead into the second quarter but

the Wolves went on a 13 point run.

The final score was 70 to 60.

Michigan City is ranked 16th in Class 4 A.

They take on number 10 ranked South Bend Adams Friday night.

The sectionals are at Slicer gym.

The Wolves are coached by Tom Wells, the former longtime Slicers head coach.

A number of Wolves fans wore t-shirts thanking La Porte for not renewing Wells’

contract a couple of seasons ago.

LaPorte to be Featured in TV Show

(LaPorte, IN) - The city of La Porte is going to be featured in a TV program.

WNIT-TV out of South Bend will be doing some filming here in the coming weeks

for its “Our Town” program.

WNIT is a PBS station

Mayor Tom Dermody says his wife, Jackie, helped with generating interest

from WNIT is featuring LaPorte in its program.

Dermody said the network seems especially keen about highlighting the July 4th parade,

the mural at Plaza 618, Slicer baseball and other things making La Porte special.

Dermody says indications are the one hour program will air in August.

New Fire Station Going Up

(LaPorte, IN) - Construction of a new fire station in La Porte is well underway.

The building is at the former state highway grounds on Daytona St.

off E. Lincolnway.

The new fire station will replace the one just east of there near Wall Mart.

Fire Chief Andy Snyder says construction is several weeks ahead of schedule and on

budget,

The fire station is costing about two million dollars.

Snyder says the current station being replaced is more than 50 years old and cramped.

The property is being sold to a developer with proceeds of about $500,000 going toward

construction of the new fire station.

Foot Pursuit in Mill Creek Area

(LaPorte, IN) - La Porte County Police were in pursuit of an individual fleeing on foot this afternoon.

Capt. Derek Allen said officers about 11:30 a.m. responded to a report of a suspicious vehicle at an abandoned property in the area of 750 East and 75 South.

Allen said an individual took off running while another person remained at the scene.

He said a K-9 dog is involved in the pursuit which was still ongoing about one hour later.

“Several additional units have responded to the area to set up a perimeter in that general vicinity,” Allen said.

Allen said officers have been through woods, various waterways and other forms of terrain during their attempt to apprehended the individual.

He emphasized there is no danger to the public at this point since no acts of aggression have been taken against any individual citizen.

La Porte Sectionals Tough to Win

(LaPorte, IN) - It’s La Porte and Michigan City tonight in post season boys’

 high school basketball.

The La Porte sectionals could be one of the toughest in the state.

Last night, Culver Academy ranked 6th in the state in Class 4A easily defeated South Bend Riley.

The first game tonight has 11th ranked South Bend Adams against Mishawaka followed by LaPorte

and 16th ranked Michigan City.

It'll be a homecoming for Tom Wells in his first season of coaching the Wolves after a long career as head coach of the Slicers. 

Renovated School Open House Planned

(Rolling Prairie, IN) - The public is being invited to see the newly renovated

New Prairie High School.

An open house is scheduled March 17 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. central time.

Guided tours and food will be on hand.

About 40 million dollars was spent on renovating the high school and improvements

at other buildings in the New Prairie School Corporation.

"No Mas" for Now at Mucho Mas

(LaPorte, IN) – A popular local restaurant has been shut down by the state.

Mucho Mas closed Monday afternoon in LaPorte and Michigan City.

There’s a sign posted on the front door.

It’s from the Indiana Department of Revenue.

The sign accuses the restaurant of doing business in violation

of Indiana Tax Code.

On its Facebook page, Mucho Mas vowed to reopen but no mention was

made on when that will happen.

Mucho Mas promised to keep its customers updated in future posts.

LaPorte and Michigan City Square Off in Sectional Opener

(LaPorte, IN) - La Porte takes on Michigan City in the boys’ high school basketball

sectionals Wednesday night.

The sectionals featuring seven teams are at Slicer gym.

It’ll be another homecoming for Michigan City head coach Tom Wells.

The former longtime Slicers head coach brings a 16- 6 record in his first season

with the Wolves.

The Slicers are 10-12.

The Wolves defeated the Slicers by three points during the regular season.

 Wells says the post season is always great but even more so this year given the rivalry between the two schools.

Tip off is set for 7 p.m.

The winner advances to the semi-finals Friday night.

Colleges Dealing with Sharp Drop in Students

(LaPorte, IN) - Enrollment has dropped significantly at the Purdue University campuses at Westville and Hammond.

The number of students at both campuses has declined from over 15,000 to slightly more than

10,000 the past five-years.

Purdue University Northwest Chancellor Thomas Keon says it’s happening at many colleges nationwide and cited declining birth rates in the U.S,. as a major reason during a presentation at Monday night’s LaPorte City Council meeting.

Keon says other factors include Ivy Tech taking over some the curriculum regional college campuses used to offer.

Taxidermist Charged with Ripping Off Customers

(Plymouth, IN) - People taking dead animals to have stuffed were taken to the cleaners.

A taxidermist from Plymouth is now charged.

According to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources,

45 year old Cody Leed is charged with nine counts of theft and count of corrupt

business influence.

DNR says he received animal parts and payment but never delivered on his

services.and did not refund the money.

DNR says there were multiple victims and more could be out there.

Anyone with information is asked to contact DNR at 812-837-9536.

New Rescue Boat Sought for LaPorte

(LaPorte, IN) - A request is being made to purchase a new water rescue boat.

The fire department in LaPorte wants to buy a new much faster one with

more capabilities than the existing boat.

Fire Chief Andy Snyder told the city council last night the boat would be docked

at Pine Lake during the warm weather months allowing for one minute response times

from the nearby fire station on East Shore Parkway.

He says the current boat has to be hooked to a fire engine and transported to the water,

a process taking 10 minutes or longer.

He says the new boat would also have additional capabilities like the ability to fight a house

along the lakes.

The cost would be about $100,000.

Approval rests with the city’s board of public works and safety expected to decide the request

March 17.

New Director of Planning Named for LaPorte

(LaPorte, IN) - The city of La Porte has named its new Director of Planning.

Tom Casey is coming out of retirement.

He’s a former vice president of Space Center, a major real estate firm

that owns Thomas Rose Industrial Park on the city’s east side.

He’s replacing Beth Shrader, who’s leaving for an administrative position

with the city of Valparaiso.

Mayor Tom Dermody says it’s exciting what Casey from his wealth of experience in the

private sector brings to the city.

Casey officially begins his new role with the city next Tuesday.

More Police Visibility Reducing Crashes

(LaPorte County, IN) - Traffic tickets issued by the La Porte County sheriff’s office last year

were up dramatically.

Sheriff John Boyd says close to 35 hundred citations were issued,

a 62 percent increase from previous year.

Boyd emphasized there were more than twice as many warning tickets

were issued, though.

The idea is correcting the behavior of drivers without giving issuing a fine in most cases

and increasing police visibility from those traffic stops to reduce accidents.

Boyd said there was a 64 percent drop in the number of alcohol related crashes handled by

the sheriff’s office in 2019.

Buttigieg Ends Bid for President

(South Bend, IN) - The former mayor of South Bend has dropped out of the race for president.

Pete Buttigieg said he set out to make a difference and shattered expectations

from a previously little known political figure from the Midwest.

The decision by Buttigieg, who did not seek a third term mayor, came after winning

 the democratic presidential caucus in Iowa and finishing a close second to Bernie Sanders in

New Hampshire.

Buttgieg did not fare nearly as well in South Carolina on Saturday and faced a grim outlook in the

upcoming Super Tuesday states.

Chase Involved in Alleged OWI

(LaPorte, IN) - A suspected drunk driver allegedly fled in LaPorte over the weekend.

According to county police, the vehicle Friday night did not use a turn signal at Lincolnway

and Pulaski St.

The officer was following when the suspect parked and ran inside a home in the

300 block of Grove St and locked the door.

Taser probes fired at the man for disobeying commands to stop running narrowly missed the

individual, police said.

Police say the suspect later ran back outside then went back inside before coming out with his

hands up.

Police say 28 year old Jonathan Fletcher had a blood alcohol level slightly above the

.08-percent legal limit.,

A hypodermic needle and other drug related evidence was allegedly found in his vehicle, police said.

Swerving Driver Allegedly at .40 BAC

(LaPorte County, IN) - A swerving driver was arrested for being intoxicated Sunday night thanks to a cell phone call to 911 from another driver.

According to La Porte County Police, 47-year old Juan Lopez of Michigan City had a blood alcohol level five times the .08-percent legal limit.

About 8 p.m., the cell phone user and a responding officer each saw the vehicle swerving on U.S 20, police said.

The stop was made near State Road 39.

Police say Lopez also had 10 open containers of Miller Lite in his vehicle.

Wall Going Up to Stop Flooding

(New Buffalo, MI) - A wall will be going up in New Buffalo to help with flooding

caused by Lake Michigan being so high.

The four-foot high wall will run along the Galien River near the beach.

The idea is to keep the river from spilling into the beach parking lot and across

Whittaker St. on the north side of the bridge.

City Manager Dave Richards says the wall will be constructed out of concrete blocks weighing four-thousand pounds apiece.

The river has been running over its banks when strong northerly winds push the high lake water into the channel.

The wall is costing over $5,000.

Waiting Game Now for LaLumiere

(LaPorte County, IN) - It’s a waiting game now for the high school boys’ basketball team

at LaLumiere.

The Lakers are hoping to be among the eight teams invited to the national tournament.

Head coach Patrick Holmes says a strong message was sent by winning every game

the final six weeks of the season.

Who’s invited to the tournament will be released on March 10.

LaLumiere finished second last year in the national tournament sponsored by GEICO and won it

In 2017 when the sponsor was Dick’s Sporting Goods.

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