Local News Archives for 2023-02

Firefighters In Oven Like Temperatures

(Kingsbury, IN) - There was a fire this morning at the Kingsbury Industrial Park where firefighters in protective suits worked in 400 degree temperatures.


There was no structure damage at Precoat Metals where steel coils are taken to be cleansed and painted before use in making products. 


La Porte County Hazardous Materials Coordinator Jeff Hamilton, who’s also firefighter, said a flash fire in the paint room sent flames from an oven heated to about 700 degrees into the metal ventilation ducts at the plant.


The flames kept burning from the fumes and other forms of flammable residue that can build up inside the duct work, which is not unusual for such an operation.


Hamilton said an automatic fire suppression system using carbon dioxide to extinguish the flames worked as designed.  There were still hotspots inside the duct work, though.  Firefighters climbed inside the duct work and cut holes in the duct work to allow them to access hoses for dousing the hot spots with water.


Hamilton said the inside of the duct work in some parts of the structure exceeded 400 degrees.


Protective gear providing a shield against the heat was worn, but firefighters had to be rotated in and out of the duct work every ten minutes for relief from such extremes.


“That takes a toll on a person and you can’t work for long periods of time. You have to take breaks,” he said.


Firefighters were at the scene for close to three hours.

Early Start to Dumpster Program

(La Porte, IN) - The City of La Porte has resumed its annual dumpster program early because of the mild winter.


Normally, two dumpsters are placed beginning in the spring outside the water department at 1119 Lake Street and at the street department at 1206 2nd Street  They’re available for public use at no cost to dispose of unwanted items such as couches and mattresses.


Code Enforcement Director Jeff Batchelor said a single dumpster was placed outside the street department for now because of the favorable weather conditions.


The dumpster will be taken back in if the weather becomes more seasonable again then placed back out when more spring-like conditions return.


“If the snow comes back then, of course, we’re going to take it back and just hold off.  We see the need for it so I did take and get it out there and get is started,” he said.


Eventually, both dumpsters will be out. 


Residents are asked not to place their unwanted items beside the dumpster if it’s full.  Instead, the city requests then return with the items after the dumpster has been emptied.


No paint or any other liquids are allowed to be disposed of.


A $50,000 grant from the city’s Urban Enterprise Association helps make the program possible, officials said.


The dumpster program is part of the strategy the city has undertaken the past few years to clean up the city to keep it looking nice.

Suspect in Chase Awaits Court Date

(La Porte County, IN) - A man grabbed at the La Porte County Jail during a dangerous pursuit is scheduled to make his initial court appearance on Friday.


Christopher Rodriquez, 31, is charged in La Porte Circuit Court with multiple counts including Resisting Law Enforcement and Possession of Methamphetamine.


La Porte County Sheriff Ron Heeg said the man probably didn’t know it was at the jail that he was possibly trying to use as a hideout after crashing his vehicle during the high speed chase.  


According to court documents, the early morning pursuit on February 24th began when he refused to pull over after caught speeding on U.S. 20 near Fail Road. At one point, he nearly caused several head-on collisions while traveling in the opposite lanes of U.S. 20 at more than 100 miles per hour near Michigan City.


Eventually, police said the fleeing driver headed toward La Porte on U.S. 35. He was near the city limits when at least one of his tires was flattened by stop sticks beside Pine Lake. Nevertheless, he suspect continued at more than 80 miles per hour toward downtown. He was on Perry Street when crashed into the Norfolk Southern tracks where the street comes to a dead end, police said. 


According to court documents, Rodriquez fled on foot beside the tracks until crossing Washington Street to the La Porte County Complex.  He was trying to open a door on the building when grabbed by a police officer with help from a K-9 dog.


The complex houses the county jail, Sheriff’s office and county government offices.


Police said more than 20 grams of methamphetamine along with a loaded firearm were recovered from his vehicle.


Heeg said the man, in his rush to get away, likely didn’t know he was at the jail since he’s from outside the area and, perhaps, had his judgement clouded by drugs.


Rodriquez lives about 70 miles away in Rensselaer, In.


“I think it’s just a case of, I’m not going to say mistaken identity but he just obviously didn’t know where he was at,” Heeg said.


Rodriquez is still being held on $20,000 bond pending his arraignment before Judge Tom Alevizos.

Convicted Child Predator Charged Again

(La Porte, IN) - A convicted child sex offender from La Porte is behind bars facing similar but more serious allegations.


Curtis Adams, 45, is charged in La Porte Circuit Court with two counts of Level 1 Felony Child Molesting and two counts of Level 3 Felony Child Seduction.


He was taken into custody on February 23rd at his home in the 600 block of Clay Street.


According to court documents, a 13-year old girl told investigators Adams molested her for three-years several times a week.  One of the pieces of evidence in the case is the girl identifying a mark on the suspect’s body that police described as similar to what she described after Adams removed his clothing for an inspection.


During questioning, Curtis denied the allegations then told investigators “lock me up and throw away the key.”  When asked why he would say such things if he’s innocent, police said Adams responded “it was better that way.”


According to court records, Adams was given a six-year prison sentence and four-years on probation in 2002 on a sexual misconduct with a minor conviction.


That charged was downgraded from child molesting under terms of a plea agreement.


Adams could now face up to 40-years on each of the two most serious counts filed against him.

OWI Arrest in Watery Crash

(La Porte County, IN) - A La Porte area man was arrested early today following a single vehicle crash.


Ron Francis, 50, is charged with Class A Misdemeanor Operating while Intoxicated.


About 2:30 a.m., La Porte County Police responded to the area of U.S. 35 and 400 West and found a 2011 Chevy Malibu in a water-filled ditch after striking a tree, police said.


Police said Francis left on foot and was about a half mile away from the crash site when discovered walking in extremely wet clothing in the 4500 block of Schultz Road.  


He was taken in a patrol vehicle to Northwest Health where a blood sample was drawn and tested. The test results showed an alleged blood alcohol level more than three times the legal limit.


Francis was being held on $600 bond.  He could face an up to one-year jail sentence. 

LaPorte County an Example of Conservation

(La Porte, IN) - Indiana is a leader nationwide in being friendly to Mother Nature through best land management practices.


Helping Indiana achieve noticeable results for the environment is LaPorte County, which ranks third statewide in the number of acres used for cover crops.  That’s according to Trevor Laureys, Director in the Division of Soil Conservation for the Indiana State Department of Agriculture.


Laureys, a 2010 graduate of New Prairie High School, was the featured speaker February 23 at the annual meeting of the LaPorte County Soil and Water Conservation District Board. He said Indiana at 52,000 acres is ranked behind only Texas and Iowa in the amount of acres used for cover crops the last two-years.


Laureys felt Indiana would be highest if the rankings were based on percentage of land having cover crops since the other two states are physically much larger.


“With a little bit of math, I think we would be number one,” he said.


He said LaPorte County is a major player in the state’s ranking considering 21-percent of its row crops have cover or slightly double the percentage statewide.


“LaPorte County is kicking butt,” he said.


Laureys said the amount of cover crops like winter wheat planted during the off season can also reflect the amount of participation in other best land management practices such as no-till or reduced-till farming.


“Cover crops is kind of a good indicator for what’s going on with conservation in an area,” he said.  


Laureys said there were more than 31,000 conservation practices statewide in 2021.


As a result, Laureys said 1.6 million tons of sediment was kept from entering Indiana’s lakes and streams that year or enough to reach the height of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco if stacked on a football field. He said keeping that much sediment out of bodies of water also prevented 3.5 million pounds of nitrogen and 1.7 million pounds of phosphorus from entering the state’s lakes and streams.


Too much nitrogen and phosphorus from nutrient rich sources like fertilizer applied to the soil can result in lakes becoming too polluted from storm run-off and developing algae blooms, which can be harmful to exposed humans and animals.


Laureys also revealed LaPorte County’s share of the sediment kept out of Indiana’s lakes and streams came to about 5,000 tons.


Slightly more than 20,000 pounds of the nitrogen and phosphorus kept out of waterways statewide came from LaPorte County, which drains into Lake Michigan and the Kankakee River, he said,


Laureys also revealed 12.5 percent of the conservation practices in the 10 counties beside the Kankakee River are out of LaPorte County.


“You’re carrying more than your share,” he said


Laureys reported 64-percent of the land in LaPorte County is used for agriculture while the average size of a farm here is 336 acres.


In comparison, he said the average size of a farm statewide is about 100 acres less.


“LaPorte County has some big farms,” he said.

New Trash Provider for City

(La Porte, IN) - City of La Porte residents will see different trash trucks servicing their neighborhoods this week.


Beginning Wednesday, Waste Management will take over as the city's contracted trash vendor.


City Engineer Nick Minich said the switch includes many positive changes, such as the distribution of 96-gallon containers.  Minich said there will also be no changes to the pick-up schedule but there could be a slight variation at the beginning as Waste Management makes the transition.


"After many calls and messages from residents regarding trash pick-up issues over the last three years, we are very happy to be moving forward with Waste Management," he said.


Waste Management is a former longtime trash disposal provider in the city.


"This organization provided decades of high-quality service to the City in the past, and we have no doubt that they will continue to build upon their reputation,” Minich said.


Minich said it may take up to four weeks for the new trash containers to be delivered.  In the meantime, he said residents should continue using their existing containers.


“Though we anticipate a fairly smooth transition, pick-up times may fluctuate a bit from the norm while drivers adjust to their new routes. We appreciate the patience of our residents as we make this necessary change," Minich said.


According to the mayor’s office, dates for yard waste pick-up and the now once-annual city-wide clean-up date will be released soon.


Residents with questions may contact the city’s Engineering Department at 219-362-2327.

Water Dispute Leads to Mooning

(La Porte County, IN) - A dispute between neighbors in La Porte County resulted in a woman being mooned.


The mooning happened on Thursday in the 8600 block of West 125 South, according to the La Porte County Sheriff’s Office.


Police said a woman complained a neighbor was pumping water from his pond onto her property.


Upon arrival, an officer discovered the hose attached to the pump was on the man’s side of the property but the water was running onto the complainant’s property close to the foundation of her pole barn. In addition, the woman told police she was looking at the man through her sliding glass rear door when he noticed her. The woman alleged he began making a “humping” gesture toward her with his arms and hips.


She said he then turned around and dropped his pants then bent over with his buttocks exposed, according to police.


According to police, the man confessed and defended his behavior.


He said it is not his fault that she “watches him while he is on his property and should look away if she doesn’t want to see what he is doing." The man also said he was returning the woman’s storm water with the pump.


Authorities state he blamed construction of her pole barn for disrupting the natural water flow and causing it to run from her property onto his property.


The officer advised the woman to seek a protective order against the man if she feels she needs one.  The woman told investigators she also called police the previous day and they were able to get the man to stop pumping water onto her property.

Tornado Warning Until Noon

(La Porte County, IN) - The National Weather Service has issued a tornado warning for La Porte County.


The warning issued before 11:15 a.m. was due to expire at 12 p.m.


A severe thunderstorm with the potential for a tornado was located near LaCrosse, according to the National Weather Service.


The storm was moving to the northeast at 25 miles per hour and was expected to pass over other communities like, Wanatah, Union Mills and Kingsford Heights.


Just prior to the tornado warning, farmer Matt Shafer of LaCrosse said the skies to the west were dark.


Over a half inch of rain has fallen in the city of La Porte today.  According to the water department, the rain started about 4 a.m. and by 11 a.m. nearly six tenths of an inch of rain had fallen.


A tornado watch is in effect until 3 p.m. 


Shafer said flooding was not an issue yet mostly due to a lack of frost allowing the ground to soak up some of the water.

La Porte Residents Unnerved by Late Night Gunfire

(La Porte, IN) - Some La Porte residents were still shaken up today over gunfire in their usually safe neighborhood over the weekend.


Occuring late Friday night on Toronado Drive in a subdivision on the city’s south side, the sound of five gunshots apparently from a passing car were captured on video from a home surveillance system.


Dee Kehoe said it appears the gunshots were fired at a house across the street from her residence.  Nobody was injured but Kehoe is not taking the situation lightly.


“My next door neighbor who is a teenager came home four minutes, five minutes before the shooting.  They could have been out there.  My neighbor on Mustang Dr. across from my driveway, their teenage daughter was coming home about seven minutes before the occurrence.  This could have been deadly,” she said.


Three days later, Kehoe said the sound of gunshots fired rapidly were still fresh in her memory.


“I can’t stop hearing it. It’s been how many days and I sit here and bawl.  It’s terrifying.  It really truly is terrifying that can happen in our town.  We’re scared,” she said.


Kehoe said the home surveillance video posted on social media had generated more than 9,000 views by late Monday morning.


So far, police have not commended on the incident.


“This is unacceptable.   It’s an active investigation,” said Mayor Tom Dermody, who paid a visit to the neighborhood Saturday morning.


“I told police I want this top priority and we will catch these punks that did this,” he said.


Kehoe said it was difficult to see the car because of the darkness but it appeared black in color and possibly a sedan.

Alcohol Related Crashes Keep La Porte EMS Busy

(La Porte County, IN) - Two serious accidents, both thought to be alcohol related, kept La Porte County first responders busy Saturday night.


The first occurred on County Road 1000 N. in Kankakee Township. La Porte County EMS reports that they were assisted at the scene by Kankakee Fire, Laporte County Sheriff, and both Memorial Mediflight and Samaritan Air. Two occupants were extricated. One extrication took first responders two hours to complete.


Minutes later, EMS was called to the scene of another accident at US 35 and Schultz Road. That response required three ambulances for four patients, two adults and two children. Two medical helicopters were also called to that scene. However, one of them was called off so a patient could be rushed to a local hospital for attempt to stabilize. One of the children involved, a seven-year-old girl, later died from her injuries.


Further information about the first accident have not been released. Deatils regarding the second accident can be found in this story at HTNN.


Alcohol is believed to be a factor in both crashes.

Child Dead in Crash, Alcohol Believed a Factor

(La Porte County, IN) - A Saturday late-night auto accident outside La Porte claimed the life of a little girl.


Just after midnight, La Porte County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the scene of a single vehicle crash near US 35 and Schultz Road.


Officers determined that a tan 2000 Chevy travelling south on US 35 left the roadway for unknown reasons and struck two trees before coming to rest in a wooded area.


The driver was 42-year-old Dawn Coleman of Walkerton. The front seat passenger was identified as 45-year-old Alfred Jones of Chicago. Alfred’s children, an 8-year-old boy and a 7-year-old girl were in the back seat.


Coleman was transported to a local hospital, then transferred to a regional facility for treatment of serious injuries. Jones was airlifted to a regional hospital with critical injuries.


According to police, both juveniles were transported to a nearby hospital. The boy sustained minor injuries and was later released. The girl sustained fatal injuries and died at the hospital.


Alcohol is believed to be a factor in the crash, but no further information is being released at this time.

Slicers Rout Clay 85-45

The La Porte boy’s basketball team travelled to South Bend Clay Friday night looking to win their seventh straight game and ruin Clay’s Senior Night. Mission accomplished.


The Slicers won the opening tip and Kyle Kirkham hit a top of the key three pointer to give LP the lead, which they never gave up. La Porte led 23-8 after one led by Malik Corley and Tommy Samuelson with 6 points each. Kirkham had 5 points and Rylan Kieszkowski added 4.

La Porte outscored Clay 22-14 in the second quarter and took a 45-22 advantage into the locker room at half time. Samuelson had 8 second quarter points and had 14 at the break. The Slicers outscored the Colonials 23-16 in the third to lead 68-38 then cruised in the fourth quarter to the 40 point win.

Samuelson, who was named the Salisbury and Spence Edward Jones Player of the Game, finished with 21 points and was a monster on the boards. Corley had 15 points, Dylan Salisbury came off the bench to hit three 3 pointers and 5 of 6 free throws for 14. Ja’Meriyon Cross scored 10,Kirkham 9, Kieszkowski 7, Nic Spence 5 and Brogan Riley chipped in with 4 points. 

Amir Harris led Clay with 18 points and Brad Hicks scored 12. The Slicers held freshman Tyrese Jones to 1 point, 10 points under his season average. 


La Porte got rim shaking dunks from Kieszkowski, Samuelson and Kirkham. Corley was 2-2 from the free throw line making him 45 for 50 on the season, an astounding 90%.


The Slicers wrapped up a successful regular season at 17-6. They were 4-3 in the DAC, good for a third place tie. Sectional play opens Tuesday at Slicer gym when Michigan City and South Bend Adams face off at 5:30. Plymouth and South Bend Riley will tangle at 7:00. La Porte drew a bye and will face the winner of Michigan City and South Bend Adams at 5:30 on Friday. South Bend Riley will play the Plymouth/Mishawaka winner in the second game. The Championship game will be Saturday night at 6:30. All of La Porte’s tournament games can be heard on 96.7 the Eagle.




Matt Miller’s Junior Varsity Team broke open a close game in the second half, pushing their lead to as many as 20 points, before coasting to a 64-51 win over Clay. Sawyer Tonagel scored 20 points, Javelle Broome had 19, Eli Taylor 11 and Kevin Konieczny 8 for La Porte. The JV team finishes their season at 10-12. 

Suspect Leads Police on Chase Straight to Jail

(La Porte, IN) - It’s almost like he was doing police a favor. A fleeing fugitive led officers on a lengthy car chase that ended at the back door of the La Porte County Jail.


It started just after 2:00 a.m. Friday morning with an attempted routine traffic stop on US 20 west of Fail Road. The speeding vehicle refused to stop, and Deputy Matthew Disbrow pursued. The chase went westbound along 20, including a detour along Wilhelm and Springville Roads. The vehicle eventually turned westbound on I-94. For various reason, police say, Disbrow slowed his pursuit and followed at a safe distance.


The fleeing vehicle soon made a U-turn, heading back toward La Porte, and police resumed the chase. At the intersection of US 35 and Johnson Road, the vehicle struck a set of tire deflation devices that had been deployed by La Porte City police officers.


The vehicle exited Pine Lake Avenue onto Perry Street, where it crashed into Norfolk Southern Railroad Tracks. The driver, later identified as 31-year-old Christopher Rodriguez of Rensselaer, fled east on foot along the tracks. Rodriguez approached a door of the La Porte County Jail and attempted to get in, when a Michigan City police officer and his K-9 companion apprehended him.


Rodriguez was treated for a dog bite and was escorted back to jail. He currently faces the following charges:


• Possession of Methamphetamine, L4 Felony

• Unlawful Carrying of a Handgun, L5 Felony

• Resisting Law Enforcement, L6 Felony

• Resisting Law Enforcement, A-Misdemeanor

• Aggressive Driving, A-Misdemeanor


Rodrigues is being held on a $20,005 cash-only bond through La Porte Circuit Court.

Police Investigating South County Bank Robbery

(La Crosse, IN) - Police are investigating a Friday afternoon bank robbery in La Crosse.


Just after 3:00 p.m. Friday La Porte County police were dispatched to the 1st Source Bank on Washington Street in La Crosse in response to a hold-up alarm.

Here is the description of the incident from the Sherrif's Office: 

"The initial on-scene investigation found that at 2:55 PM, a white male subject approached the rear of the bank on foot. The subject walked to the front of the bank, enters the lobby and approaches the teller counter where an employee was present."

"The subject verbalized specific instructions to the employee. After a brief exchange, the subject exited the bank with an undisclosed amount of currency. He fled on foot in a southwest direction before disappearing between some nearby residences."

"Further investigation determined that after fleeing on foot from the bank, the subject entered a white or silver passenger vehicle that had been parked on North Zabeth Street near West Dominic Street. The vehicle was last observed traveling south on North Zabeth Street."

The robber is a white male, thought to be approximately 35 years of age with a thin to medium build. He was wearing light colored blue jeans and a blue jacket. At the time of the robbery, his face was covered with a surgical mask.

Anyone with information related to this incident should contact Detective Aaron Banic at (219) 326-7700, ext. 2407 / abanic@lcso.in.gov.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is also assisiting in the investigation.

Graduation Day for Two New Deputies

(South Bend, IN) - Two new La Porte County police officers graduated from basic training Friday in South Bend.


The 228th Basic Training Session of the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy came to a close with a graduation ceremony. Captain Derek Allen of our Sheriff’s Department was one of the speakers at the graduation.


Two of the 21 graduates will be patrolling La Porte County. They are Jared Buford and Margarita Velazquez. The officers completed 17-weeks of intense paramilitary based law enforcement training. According to the Sheriff's Office, "The academy consisted of training that included blocks of instruction in emergency vehicle operations, physical tactics, firearms, criminal and traffic law and many other areas of law enforcement."


Buford and Velazquez join four other recently hired deputies who already have law enforcement experience.

Burn 'Em Breaks Ground on New Location

(Michigan City, IN) - A popular brewery in Michigan City is eyeing new digs a little closer to downtown.


Burn ‘Em Brewing held a groundbreaking Thursday at a new location on E. 2nd Street, not far from Blue Chip Casino.


The new brewery will include an event center, taproom space, patio and full-scratch kitchen, in addition to expanding the company’s production and distribution capabilities.

Head brewer Steve Murray started the business with some friends in 2014. Murray says they hope to moved from their current location on Freyer Road by the end of the year and could add 20-30 new jobs.


Clarence Hulce of Michigan City's Economic Development Corporation was one of the many community members in attendance at the groundbreaking.  “The city is growing as we continue to see progress in so many arenas throughout Michigan City,” he said. “Projects like this really highlight how our community has partners and collaborators who will come together to create the lively and eclectic spaces that truly make our community special and unique.”


Work has already begun at the site on the corner of F Street and E. 2nd. Hulce and Murray were joined by Michigan City Mayor Duane Parry and representatives of Tonn and Blank Contruction to put shovels in the ground and make the project official.


Guns Seized on Interstate in La Porte County

(La Porte County, IN) - An out-of-state violent felon was caught in La Porte County with two handguns and some drugs.


On Thursday morning an Indiana State trooper pulled over an SUV for speeding and tailgating. The stop occurred on I-94 near the U.S. 20 exit.


A subsequent search of the vehicle turned up two handguns in the center console along with 50 grams of suspected marijuana.


The driver, 37-year-old Darrell N. Moore, of Roseville, MN, was found to be a convicted violent felon through two different states. Moore was then booked into La Porte County Jail.


Double Duty for State Trooper

(La Porte County, IN) - One Indiana State trooper scored two sizable drug busts on the interstate in La Porte County last weekend.


Last Saturday morning, a trooper stopped a car on I-94. The driver, 24-year-old Daniel New from Colorado, allegedly had a pound of marijuana on his front seat. Police also recovered 60 grams of cocaine, 96 Xanax tablets and 76 Adderall tablets from in the vehicle.


Later in the day, the same trooper attempted to stop a gray SUV on I-94, but the vehicle fled. A police pursuit continued west to SR 49. The SUV eventually crashed near the entrance to the Indiana Dunes just north of U.S. 12.


17 pounds of suspected marijuana as well as a bag containing over $10,000 in cash were discovered inside the vehicle. The driver, 28-year-old Michael P. Lopez from Aurora, IL, was transported to the La Porte County Jail.

Local Farmer Tapped by Governor

(La Porte County, IN) - A La Porte County farmer is taking his work in best land management practices to the state level.


Gene Schmidt was appointed by the governor to the State Soil and Water Conservation Board.


Schmidt has been a member of the La Porte County Soil and Water Conservation District Board since 1983.  He also served as chairman of the board about a dozen times during his tenure.


Schmidt said it’s a privilege to be appointed by the governor to play a role in soil and water conservation in all 92 counties in the state.


“You take pride in that,” he said.


Schmidt said the conservation board at the state level provides oversight of state dollars going to the local districts for programs and activities guiding the conservation movement throughout Indiana.


He raises corn, soybeans and wheat on about 1,700 acres south of Hanna.


“We’re strictly row crop,” he said.


Schmidt has been a farmer for nearly a half century.  His father was a farmer in central Illinois before Schmidt found his way to La Porte County.


“I’ve been pretty fortunate. Indiana has been good to me,” he said.

Cheers for Meer in Comeback Attempt

(Michigan City, IN) - About 100 people turned out for a campaign fund raiser last night for former Michigan City mayor Ron Meer.


Meer told his supporters at Shoreline Brewery he can accomplish at least as much as he did previously as mayor if elected again to the city’s top post.  He pointed to noticeable progress in economic development and other things like historically low crime during his eight-years in office.


“We delivered. We delivered. I can’t stand here and tell you tonight I can get elected on what I did in the past in that delivery, but I can deliver again and we can deliver even more than we did before,” Meer told the crowd, which erupted in applause.


Meer said things under the current administration have been stagnant but progress is still being made mostly because of the work of his and prior administrations.


During a close to five minute speech, his promises included resuming the fight against blight by doing things like tearing down dilapidated structures.


“We’re going to start demolishing buildings again in the city.  There hasn’t been a demolition in three and a half years. That’s disgraceful,” he said.


He also vowed to restore enthusiasm and dedication to the position.


“You got to get out in the streets.  You got to get out in the neighborhoods.  You got know what needs to be done and ambitiously, ambitiously see it through,” Meer said.


Meer also told supporters he’s not looking past the May primary to a rematch with current mayor Duane Parry in November.


There are four other candidates seeking the Democrat Party nomination for mayor. They are city councilpersons Angie Nelson Deuitch and Michael Mack, La Porte County Councilman Mark Yagelski and former city councilman Johnny Stimley.


Parry is running unopposed for the Republican Party nomination.


“There’s a primary race and we want to win that race.  I'm thinking I'm back,” he said.

Charges in Early Morning Meth Bust

(Michigan City, IN) - A shots-fired complaint on Valentine’s Day resulted in a sizable drug bust in Michigan City.


Police said 32-year old Bryley Langford was in a car fleeing the area of 10th Street and Willard Avenue where the gunshots were reported about 3 a.m.


During a traffic stop, police said it appeared the car was stolen judging by a screw driver in the ignition.


A short time later, just over eight grams of methamphetamine inside a plastic bag were allegedly found in the vehicle.


According to court records, Langford has multiple drug related charges filed recently still undecided.  He also has a long history of convictions and arrests for alleged crimes involving drugs, guns and other illegal acts such as Battery.  

More Details in Police Gun Scare

(Michigan City, IN) - A Michigan City Police officer found himself face to face with a man constantly pulling the trigger of a handgun pointed at him.


This happened after the gunman had already fired shots at officers.


Those are the latest details to emerge in the criminal allegations leveled against Joshua Mohamed, 46, of Michigan City.


Mohamed is charged with Level 1 Felony Attempted Murder, Level 5 Felony Criminal Recklessness and Class A Misdemeanor Pointing a Firearm stemming from the February 17th incident at the suspect’s home.


According to court documents, Mohamed, who has a history of threatening suicide, called 911 asking for help.


Officers Michael Petrie and Scott Paull receiving no answer after knocking on the door forced their way inside the residence at 1504 Barker Ave.  They heard Mohamed from a bedroom saying “help me” and claiming someone was trying to shoot and kill him, according to court documents.


Police said it took longer than usual to reach Mohamed because of numerous items stacked and scattered everywhere in a “hoarder-like manner.”


Attempts were being made to talk Mohamed into coming out from underneath a bed when a gunshot was fired.  The round flew to the right of the officers, who left the bedroom but kept trying to speak to Mohamed from behind the corner of a wall, court documents revealed.


Police said three to four more gunshots were fired from underneath the bed. Officers left the residence and evacuated surrounding homes as a safety precaution.


According to court documents, members of the SWAT team were dispatched and using a shield went inside the residence.  They moved items out of their way to clear a path to the bedroom.


Officer Mark Raymond was looking underneath the bed when he spotted Mohamed constantly pulling the trigger of a gun pointed at him.


The semi-automatic weapon was no longer loaded, police said.   Officer Raymond grabbed the gun and put Mohamed in handcuffs.


Mohamed was transported to Franciscan Health and Thursday was transported to the La Porte County Jail where he was being held on $100,000 bond.

Board Member Resigns Due to Job Conflict

(Union Mills, IN) - A member of the South Central School has stepped down with over two-years left on his term.


Al Stevens of Hanna said he stepped down because he was not allowed to be on the school board and serve as La Porte County Highway Department Superintendent at the same time.


He cited a clause in the state constitution prohibiting anyone from holding dual positions defined by the constitution as “lucrative.”


“I have to give up one of the positions,” he said.


Stevens was appointed La Porte County Highway Department superintendent in January by the La Porte County Commissioners after a long career with the Indiana Department of Transportation.


The South Central School Board has 30 days from his resignation effective February 15 to fill the board vacancy.  Stevens had been a school board member for the past 14 months.


In his letter of resignation, he recommended Rachel Brown as his replacement.


The Hanna woman is active in the community with children attending school in the district.


Stevens is also the La Porte County Republican Party chairman. 

Local Townships Dodge Bullet for Now

(Indianapolis, IN) - Township governments in LaPorte County are no longer threatened at least for now.


La Porte County has been removed from legislation aimed at encouraging townships to merge in some areas of the state.  The House Ways and Means Committee voted to remove LaPorte County from House Bill 1355.


There was no discussion prior to the vote.


The amended bill paves the way for downstate Blackford, Crawford and Switzerland counties to merge all or close to all of their townships to improve government efficiency.


La Porte County has the most townships of any county in the state with 21.


Opponents to merging townships argue it would lower the quality of service for constituents and create a feeling of a more distant local government.


Locally, opponents are hoping La Porte County is not put back into the legislation if it passes the house and moves to the senate where the possibility exists of it being amended again.

Roll of Dice Encounters on Same Road

(La Porte County, IN) - A law enforcement officer is detailing two life-threatening decisions just seconds apart from each other this afternoon by drivers in what seems to be happening more frequently on the roads.


Mike Kellems said he was off-duty in his pick-up truck on 500 West near Johnson Road and being tailgated by a vehicle just inches from his rear bumper.


He said another driver coming up from behind on the two lane road passed both of them on a blind hill in a curve at a high rate of speed.


Kellems said the driver then passed another car from behind and ran the stop sign at Small Road without slowing down before turning into the parking lot of a factory in Pinola.   The tailgating driver behind Kellems also passed him on a blind curve on 500 West at 20 to 30 miles per hour above the speed limit.


“Had there been a car coming the other way, I can’t imagine what the results would have been,” he said.


Kellems, who’s been a police officer for over 30-years, said a noticeable increase in drivers nowadays seem to be making very daring decisions without regard, apparently, to the potential for taking the lives of innocent people and themselves. 


“They’re becoming very, very impatient,” he said.


Kellems said drivers should plan in advance to leave a bit early for their destinations to help avoid being in such a hurry.


For whatever reason, he said more drivers just seem to have little to no respect for other motorists.


“It’s me.  It’s my car.  It’s my road.  Get out of my way.  I got places to go and you’re holding me up,” he said.

More Details on Mental Health Outreach

(La Porte, IN) - The City of La Porte has created a new position aimed at more effectively addressing problems with mental health and substance abuse in the community.


A mental health professional/social worker position was approved at a yearly salary of $59,000 by the city council on Tuesday.  


Mayor Tom Dermody said the new position is “a first step” toward better serving the public and cutting back on police involvement in matters best handled by a social worker.


Dermody said the savings in time for law enforcement can be invested on things like catching more drug dealers.


“With as many mental health calls for service and as many overdoses as we’re getting, we need to do something different as we look to the future of policing,” he said.


La Porte Police Chief Paul Brettin said the greatest benefit will be getting people the help required to overcome their struggles.


“This person will get them the resources they need,” he said.


Brettin said a mental health or substance abuse issue can emerge in a wide variety of calls ranging from threats to commit suicide, overdoses, domestic violence and motor vehicle accidents.  He said the social worker will step in as soon as a situation is made safe, provide immediate counseling and make arrangements for any treatment.


Currently, Brettin said officers stay to assist as much as they can but they’re not trained in handling depression and other mental health issues.  They must also respond to the next call.


Brettin also said officers don’t’ have time later to do the work required to get people help for an extended period.


“People fall through the cracks.  This is to prevent them from falling through the cracks,” he said.


Brettin said law enforcement agencies nationwide in response to what seems to be a spike in need are beginning to include mental health and social work into their approach.  For example, he said the emerging program here was modeled after ones in Valparaiso and Griffith.


Brettin said the new position will also be used to help police officers deal with their emotions after responding to a traumatic situation.


“It’s a win, win.  There’s no downside to it,” he said.


Human Resources Director Andrea Smith said the person filling the position she described as “well needed” will be required to be on call.


“You never know when a mental health crisis can happen,” she said.


Smith said the salary will be paid with a grant from HealthLinc, an organization providing free and reduced cost health care based on income at clinics throughout Northwest Indiana.


If the one-year grant is not renewed, she said the city is dedicated to funding the salary and benefits package into the future.  She also revealed more social workers could be added at some point depending on how things under the initial effort work out.


Smith said the city is working with Purdue University Northwest, which has a social worker degree program, on crafting the job description, qualifications and looking over the resumes from applicants.


“They’ve been an invaluable resource,” she said.


The new position will be housed inside the police station.

Local Man Badly Hurt in Crash

(Berrien County, MI) - A Michigan City man was seriously hurt in a collision involving a semi-truck Wednesday in southwest Michigan.


According to Michigan State Police, a preliminary investigation reveals the driver of a semi pulled out onto US-12 from Bakertown Rd into the path of a westbound passenger car.


The 48-year old driver of the car from Michigan City was unable to avoid the collision and struck the trailer. Police said the injured man, whose name was released, was transported to South Bend Memorial in critical condition.  The driver of the semi, who is in his early 60’s, was not injured.


Both lanes of U.S 12 near Buchanan were closed before later reopening once the wreckage was removed and the investigation of the crash at the scene was completed.

Plans for Two Way Travel on Franklin Street

(Michigan City, IN) - Motor vehicle travel in both directions could return to Franklin Street in Michigan City’s downtown in the very near future.


Plans have emerged to switch from the current one-way travel from Fourth to 10th Streets.  Angled parking with wider spaces are also included in the plans.


Mayor Duane Parry said motorists traveling in both directions to generate more economic activity downtown has been on the drawing board since at least 2010.


“It’s important to me for the public to understand this is not a knee jerk reaction.  This is not something I thought of yesterday.  This has been on the table for a long, long time,” he said.


“It’s time we do something.  It’s very good for the downtown area,” he said.


Converting that stretch of Franklin Street to two-way travel could happen before Memorial Day.


Two-way travel existed when downtown was thriving a half century ago. After years of decline, though, downtown reached a low enough point to where that stretch of Franklin Street was closed to travelers.


Franklin Street, years later, reopened for one-way travel.


Downtown has since made a noticeable comeback over the last decade or so with help from creating what’s now referred to as the “Uptown Arts District” featuring things like statues, apartment living for artists along with trendy shops and restaurants. 


Even more of a resurgence is expected from travel time to and from Chicago being reduced by 30 minutes in each direction by train when construction of the double track for the South Shore Railroad commuter line is finished.


Work on adding a second track from Michigan City to Gary is expected to be done in 2024.


There are currently plans to construct three high rise buildings containing apartments, hotel rooms and commercial space in the downtown area to take advantage of the increase in visitors and residents expected from shorter travel times by train.

New Officer Bringing His Canine Dog

(La Porte, IN) - A newly-hired police officer will be hitting the streets in La Porte soon.

Currently, Rico Simpson is the Assistant Police Chief in North Judson.  La Porte Police Chief Paul Brettin introduced Simpson during last night’s La Porte City Council meeting.

Brettin also revealed the new officer is bringing his K-9 dog to La Porte to help with law enforcement duties here.


“We’re honored to have him,” he said.


Simpson, who’s from Knox, got his start in law enforcement 12-years ago as a jail officer in Starke County.  Three years later, he became a police officer in North Judson where he’s been a canine handler for the department the past five years.


“I’m really excited to be here.  I really appreciate you guys allowing me to be a police officer here,” Simpson said.


Simpson also said he plans to purchase a home in La Porte.


After a brief presentation, Simpson was invited to greet and take pictures with Mayor Tom Dermody, members of the city council and other city officials. 

Spotlight Shines on Business Community

(Michigan City, IN) - Two businesses in Michigan City have earned blue ribbons for their operations.


GAF was named Large Business of the Year while Duneland Landscape was designated Small Business of the Year.


They were announced as the winners during an annual dinner and awards celebration hosted February 17th by the Michigan City Chamber of Commerce.


RL Roofing was given the Community Impact of the Year award.


Seth Spencer of Sera Group was named Young Professional of the Year while Ambassador of the Year honors went to Michele Gustin with Barker Mansion.


Chamber President Katie Eaton said the chamber has added 70 new members and also completed its new strategic plan.  


Purdue Northwest Community and Economic Development Director Don Babcock challenged members to think boldly and big for new developments and ideas to continue growing the community.

Governor Meets with Mayor in La Porte

(La Porte, IN) - The governor was in La Porte yesterday.


Eric Holcomb stopped by City Hall Tuesday to pay a visit with Mayor Tom Dermody.


Dermody said he informed the governor about some of the positive things happening here like construction of new housing and efforts to upgrade the workforce.


What the mayor’s administration is doing to grow the economy, increase population and how the governor can help were other things discussed during their time together.  Dermody said he also pointed out the reasons why the state should help the city as much as possible given the assets here to capitalize on.


“We have the best quality of life with our lakes, our parks and being an hour from Chicago,” he said.


Before the governor left, he put on a pull over jacket containing the city’s new “Livin’ the Lake Life” logo given to him by the mayor.


“The interesting thing is when we walked out of city hall he said La Porte just seems to have a new vibe.  I appreciated that,” Dermody said.


Several months ago, Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch during her visit with Mayor Dermody here was given a t-shirt containing the same logo and modeled it for a picture taken at the statehouse.


Dermody during his 10-years as a state representative worked with Holcomb during his two terms as Lt. Governor and early during his reign as governor.  He also worked with now former governors Mitch Daniels and Mike Pence earlier in his career in the state legislature.


City Asked to Display Christian Flag

(La Porte, IN) - The City of La Porte is being asked to display the Christian flag, which was presented to the mayor last night.


The request was made by La Porte resident Donna Johnson during Tuesday night’s La Porte City Council meeting.  Johnson asked the flag be displayed during April to commemorate the nation’s Christian heritage.


“The flag was adopted by the Federal Council of Churches in 1942.  It flies next to the American flag in places of worship throughout the country,” she said.


Johnson said the red, white and blue Christian flag is a symbol of hope along with the sacrifice and struggle for a nation’s freedom.  She said it’s also a symbol of “the sacrifice of Christ in the hope of freedom and peace for all nations in the future.”


There was no mention from the mayor or any city council members on whether the Christian will be placed on display.


In June of 2021, a gay pride flag was presented to the mayor and city council by members of the LGBTQ community.  The flag came with a request to fly it outside City Hall.


It was decided later to place what’s also referred to as the rainbow flag inside a glass display case in the lobby of City Hall.

La Porte Addresses Mental Health/Drug Crisis

(La Porte, IN) - The City of La Porte has created a new position to try and address mental health and drug addiction more effectively.


The La Porte City Council Tuesday night voted to add a social worker to the staff.


Officials said the social worker will handle cases involving people needing help with mental health and substance abuse.  Right now, some of those responsibilities fall on the police department.


Mayor Tom Dermody said the new position will free up time for officers to go after more drug dealers and perform other law enforcement duties.


“With as many mental health calls for service and as many overdoses as we’re getting, we need to do something different as we look to the future of policing,” he said.


The social worker, who has not yet been hired, will be paid an annual salary of $59,000. Human Resources Director Andrea Smith said she doesn’t expect the new position to be easy.


“He or she will probably be on call because you never know what time of day a mental health issue will occur.  It’s a great responsibility for this position, but we need it.  It’s so well needed in our community,” she said.

Smith said a grant from HealthLinc will go toward the salary.  She said more social workers could be added in the future with help from Purdue University Northwest, which has a social worker training program.

Still a Champion in Defeat

(La Porte, IN) - A La Porte High School state championship wrestler will be hitting the mat at a Division 1 college not too far from home next season.


Ashton Jackson has accepted a scholarship offer from Purdue University.


After winning the state championship in wrestling the last two seasons, Jackson moved up to the 120 pound weight class and was undefeated going into the state finals match Saturday in Indianapolis.


He lost a 6-3 decision.


Jackson, though, did come home from the state finals with the mental attitude award.


For two consecutive years, Jackson was 50-0 entering the state finals. He finished his high school career at 170-10.


“That’s just unprecedented In terms of what he’s done here,” said La Porte High School Athletic Director Steve Santana.


Santana said Jackson would sometimes explain to him before each match how he planned to attack his opponent.


“He’s a hard worker.  Very personable.  Very likeable kid.  He’s got a great personality,” he said.

Charges in Large Cocaine Seizure

(Michigan City, IN) - A Michigan City man could be going back to prison on major drug and gun related charges.


Demetrius Roberson, 49, of 431 East 7th Street is charged in La Porte Superior Court 1 with Dealing Cocaine as a Level 1 Felony punishable by anywhere from a 20-to-40 year sentence.


He’s also charged with being a Serious Violent Felon in Possession of a Firearm, a Level 4 Felony that could bring him an additional 3-to-16 years.


According to court documents, Roberson was taken into custody during a recent raid at his residence where nearly one pound of cocaine was found in the bedroom and kitchen. His girlfriend and their three children were inside the home during the early morning raid brought on by a long term investigation into his alleged narcotics dealings.


A loaded pistol and digital scale were also seized from the residence.   


Police said it was illegal for Roberson to have a firearm because of a prior Dealing Cocaine conviction from a case filed in 2011.

OWI in Tree Stump Collision

(La Porte County, IN) - An arrest for driving impaired was made after a Chevy Suburban hit a tree stump near Kingsbury.


Rodney Pineda, 31, is charged operating while intoxicated.


According to La Porte County Police, officers at about 2 a.m. on Monday responded to U.S. 35 near 400 South on a report of a single vehicle crash.


Upon arrival, a tow truck was called to remove the 1996 Chevy Suburban off the tree stump.  A short time later, police said Pineda, who lives in the Kingsbury area, was found walking along 400 South near 150 East.


Pineda, showing symptoms of alcohol consumption, told officers he had consumed four beers, authorities noted. After a portable breathalyzer test recorded a blood alcohol level of more than twice the legal limit, Pineda was arrested when he refused to submit to a certified blood alcohol test.

Public Invited to Hear the Issues

(La Porte, IN) - The public is invited to learn first-hand about some of the major issues having an impact locally.


The La Porte Economic Advancement Partnership is hosting the 2023 Third House Session on Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. at the Performing Arts Center at La Porte High School.


Members of the public are welcome to attend the annual event and hear from a panel of state and local elected officials who will discuss important topics having an impact on the City of La Porte, La Porte County and the state.


The panelists include State Senator Mike Bohacek of Michiana Shores, State Representative Jim Pressel of Rolling Prairie, La Porte Mayor Tom Dermody, President of the La Porte County Commission Joe Haney.


Other panelists will be La Porte City Council President Pro Tem Tim Franke and County Councilman Adam Koronka.


This event is free but anyone wanting to attend must register in advance, LEAP officials said. 


To register, visit laportepartnership.com or email lindsayk@laportepartnership.com.

Maple Syrup to be Celebrated at Lakefront

(Porter County, IN) - Enjoy a sweet taste of spring during Indiana Dunes National Park’s annual Maple Sugar Time festival.


The historic Chellberg Farm will feature self-guided tours and maple sugaring activities from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm on Saturday March 11th and Sunday March 12th. National Park entrance fees are suspended for the weekend of the festival.  

In addition to the tours, maple-themed products will be available for sale, including maple glazed pork belly sandwiches from the Wood, Stock, and Grill food truck. Maple desserts will also be for sale from Scoops A’ more, which is serving maple flavored gelato atop waffles. 


Indiana produced maple syrup and related products like maple-flavored popcorn will also be for sale during the event.


People can also learn how to make maple syrup at home and how modern maple sugar farmers make syrup today.   

During the weekend, rangers and volunteers will be stationed along the farm trail to explain how Native Americans first boiled maple sap into sugar and how early settlers used large iron kettles to make syrup.


People walking along the maple trail will pass by the sugar shack where sap is still boiled down the way the Chellberg family did it back in the 1930’s.  Kids can learn how to tap a tree at the Maple Fun Zone and meet some of the farm animals while enjoying a maple syrup snow cone.     

Chellberg Farm is located on Mineral Springs Road between U.S. Highway 20 and U.S. Highway 12 in Porter.


For more information on this or other programs at Indiana Dunes National Park, call (219) 395-1882 or visit the IDNP  website, and the IDNP Facebook page.

Students Recognized for Time at Statehouse

(Indianapolis, IN) - Two local students who served as Senate pages at the Statehouse last month were recognized for their efforts by Indiana State Senator Mike Bohacek of Michiana Shores.


Theodore Clingenpeel is a home schooled student from Walkerton.


Chase Collins is a student at La Porte High School.


Pages spend a day at the Statehouse touring the historic building, observing debates from the Senate floor and interacting with their state senator.


"The Senate Page Program offers an immersive experience allowing Hoosier students to learn about state government," Bohacek said.


Students in grades 6 through 12 participate in the page program on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays during the legislative session.  Groups serve on Wednesdays.


"This is a valuable experience, especially for students like Theodore and Chase who dedicated time to make the drive down to Indianapolis to witness the legislative process," Bohacek said. 


To learn more about the Senate Page Program visit www.IndianaSenateRepublicans.com/page-program.  

Alleged Meth Dealer from New Buffalo

(New Buffalo, MI) - A New Buffalo man is looking at potential time in prison for allegedly selling methamphetamine.


Mark Wingard, 45, is charged with Dealing Methamphetamine, Maintaining a Drug House and Engaging in Illegal Drug-Related Activity Close to a School.


He was arrested February 16th at his home at 1305 Bell Avenue, which is just a short walk from New Buffalo Middle School-High School.


Berrien County Police Deputy Shawn Yech said enough methamphetamine to distribute for sale was confiscated during a search of the residence. Other items seized were used syringes and used smoking pipes along with a digital scale, packaging material, and some processed marijuana, he said.


Yech said Wingard was dealing methamphetamine to support his habit and profit financially.


“It appeared like most people that Mark Wingard was using and selling drugs,” he said.


He said the investigation began late last year in response to anonymous concerns about heavy vehicular traffic at his residence and information about his alleged dealings surfacing in other unrelated drug cases in Berrien County.


Yech said his activities were not on a large scale but he did have customers from a fairly wide area in places like Galien and Michigan City, In.


“There was quite a few people buying and selling for Mark Wingard,” he said.


Yech said the investigation will now focus on trying to determine his supplier.

Winter Drive on Beach Turns Sour

(Michigan City, IN) - A driver apparently with an early case of Spring fever Sunday went for a drive on the beach in Michigan City and became stuck in the sand.


A tow truck was called to Washington Park about 5 p.m.


Michigan City resident Bob Johnson said he went to the lakefront to enjoy the 50 degree late February temperatures with his dog when he spotted the car near the water’s edge behind the senior citizens center.


Johnson said towing straps from the tow truck in the parking lot were taken to the car and hooked to the frame.  The tow truck drove forward on the black top surface until the car behind it was in the parking lot.


“I think people have spring break fever right now,” he said.


Johnson continued, saying there were two people in the car who remained inside until the vehicle was pulled out of the sand.


He estimated there were 50 vehicles or more in the parking lot closest to the beach and lighthouse pier along with people getting out to enjoy the unseasonable weather.


The lake was relatively calm because the somewhat brisk winds were out of the south.


“There were some people walking around out there with t-shirts on,” he said.


Johnson said he wore a sweatshirt to keep from becoming chilly.


“People were acting like it was a spring day,” he said.

Slicers Survive Portage 56-54

For the second game in a row the La Porte Boy’s Basketball team saw a double digit second half lead melt away before hanging on for a 2 point victory. The Slicers led at all of the quarter breaks 16-11, 32-23 and 45-41 before surviving 56-54 over conference foe Portage. 


The win, LP’s sixth in a row, gives the Slicers a 16-6 record on the season and they finish 4-3 in the DAC. The Slicers finish their DAC schedule in a third place tie. This is the first time since 2017 that the Slicers have reached the 16 win mark. That team finished 19-7. La Porte finished the 2014 season with 16 wins. 


La Porte jumped out to a 16-11 first quarter lead. Ja’Meryion Cross and Tommy Samuelson each had 5 points in the opening period. La Porte hit three 3 pointers in the quarter.

The Slicers outscored Portage 16-12 in the second period to hold a 32-23 halftime lead. Kyle Kirkham hit two three pointers in the quarter and had 9 points at the half. Cross had 8 at the break. 


La Porte stretched their lead to 11 points early in the third quarter before Portage came storming back. Michael Wellman scored 12 of his game high 28 points in the quarter as the Indians cut the Slicer lead to 45-41. Kirkham scored 11 of LP’s 13 third quarter points, single handedly keeping LP ahead. 


The end of the fourth quarter was wild. La Porte had a 54-48 lead at the 2:00 minute mark on an RJ Anglin 3 pointer. Portage got a basket from O’Mari Evans to cut the lead to 54-50. La Porte got a layup from Kirkham on a beautiful out of bounds play to give the Slicers a 56-50 lead. Josiah Mabon hit 2 free throws and Jaelyn Johnson hit a layup after a Slicer turnover to cut the Slicer lead to 56-54 at 55 second mark. 


La Porte beat the Indian press but Anglin’s contested layup lipped out at 30.9 second mark. Portage got the ball to Wellman, who missed a short inside shot. Kirkham corralled the rebound and was fouled immediately. He missed the front end of the one and one leaving the Slicers clinging to a 2 point edge. Portage moved the ball into the front court and called a time out with 7 seconds left. The Indians got the ball inside to Wellman, who again missed a short, contested shot. Portage’s Mabon got the offensive rebound and was fouled on the put back with 2.6 seconds left. Mabon missed both free throws, the second intentionally. The Slicers couldn’t rebound the second miss. Portage missed two point blank shots to tie the game before time expired and LP escaped with the win.


The game turned into a shootout between Wellman who scored 28 for Portage and Kirkham who had 25 for the Slicers. La Porte hit twelve 3 pointers in the contest, six by Kirkham.

Kirkham was named the Salisbury & Spence Edward Jones Player of the game. Cross finished with 11 points, Samuelson 7, Anglin 6, Malik Corley had 5 while Nic Spence had a basket for 2 points. 


La Porte will finish the regular season at South Bend Clay Friday night. Varsity tip scheduled for 6:30 Central Time. The JV game will begin at 5:00.


The IHSAA tournament draw will be held Sunday at 4:00 pm. La Porte will host this year’s sectional whose field includes Michigan City, Mishawaka, Plymouth, South Bend Riley, South Bend Adams and the Slicers.




The La Porte JV team trailed throughout and fell to a talented Portage squad 52-40. Sawyer Tonagel had 15 for the Slicers, Kevin Konieczny 14, Eli Taylor 4, Javelle Broome 3 and Vann Warner with 2.

Jake's Memory Alive in Pending Legislation

(Indianapolis, IN) - A proposal that will require every school in Indiana to have a portable AED device has taken a step closer to becoming law. Three local women have been down in Indianapolis helping to make it happen.


Tonya Aerts, a biomedical science teacher at New Prairie and Teresa Mago, whose son Zac died of sudden cardiac arrest in 2018, joined La Porte’s Julie West in supporting Senate Bill 369.


The trio testified before the State Senate last week. They have tried several times to get legislation passed to require AEDs in schools. “It’s so frustrating because other states do this,” said Aerts. “This isn’t a new concept or something. It happens in other states; Indiana is just not there yet.”


West, whose son Jake died suddenly in 2013, was present for the Senate vote Thursday. It was an emotional experience, as, prior to the vote, Senator Linda Rogers referenced Jake’s story on the Senate floor. “I was up in the balcony and Senator Rogers happened to look up,” West said. “Our eyes just met. I felt her emotion and I know she felt mine. I had tears in my eyes. It was just an emotional time.”


SB 369 passed the Senate vote unanimously. The bill will now go to the House. Local State Representative Jim Pressell has been assigned to carry it forward.


West says the recent situation with NFL player Damar Hamlin has brought attention to unexpected sudden cardiac arrest, and lawmakers are paying more attention.


SB 369 requires every school to have an AED at every athletic event as well as a cardiac emergency plan. Sudden cardiac arrest is the leading killer of student athletes and the top cause of death on school campuses.

Coach Gumm Finalist for National Award

(New Carlisle, IN) - An area high school football coach is in the running for a nation-wide coaching award.


Following the football season, New Prairie Assistant Coach Bill Gumm was named Indiana’s Assistant Coach of the Year. This week he was notified that he is a top 8 finalist for National Assistant Coach of the Year.


The award is presented by the National High School Athletic Coaches Association.

Gumm will travel to Lincoln, Nebraska in July for the national convention where the winner will be announced.

South Bend School Brawl Gang Related

(South Bend, IN) - Arrests have been made in connection with the halftime fight at a South Bend Washington High School basketball game last week. Police say the melee was gang-related.


Five males between the ages of 18 and 20 have been charged with Battery and Disorderly Conduct in the February 2nd brawl that began in the bleachers and spilled onto the floor during halftime. Two other juveniles were also involved.


Police say the participants have ties to three different gangs in South Bend.


Last Friday’s game between Washington and South Bend Riley was Senior Night. Reports indicate college scouts were on hand to scout a few players. The second half of the game was cancelled and will not be rescheduled.

Cameras in the Courts

(Indianapolis, IN) - Cameras may become commonplace in Hoosier courtrooms.


The Indiana Supreme Court has approved a rule to allow news media to record, photograph and broadcast non-confidential court proceedings.


Previously, news coverage was allowed only by permission of the High Court. Now local judges will determine media access on a case-by-case basis.


The new policy will take effect beginning May 1.

Michigan City Police Dodge Bullets During Wellness Check

(Michigan City, IN) - Three Michigan City Police Officers were shot at while conducting a welfare check early Friday morning.


At about 5:25 a.m. Laporte County Regional Dispatch received a 911 call from a male caller asking for help.


Michigan City Police Officers Michael Petrie, Scott Paull and Anthony Brown responded to 1504 East Barker Avenue. Officers heard a man calling for help and entered the residence. According to police, the officers followed the voice to a back bedroom where gunshots whizzed by in their direction.


Officers took cover and called for backup from SWAT personnel. 46-year-old Joshua Mohamed was eventually taken into custody without any shots being fired by officers.


On Friday afternoon, Superior Court I Judge Jamie Oss issued the following charges: two counts of Attempted Murder as Level 1 Felonies, one count of Criminal Recklessness as a Level 5 Felony, and one count of Pointing a Firearm as a Class A Misdemeanor.


Mohamed is being held on a $100,000 cash-only bond.

Open House Planned at PNW near Westville

(La Porte County, IN) - Prospective students are invited to come and look closely at what the Purdue University Northwest campus near Westville has to offer.


The event is scheduled March 2nd.


Information about undergraduate course offerings, the admissions process, paying for college and more will be provided.  Admissions counselors will be on hand to assist and answer questions.


Tours will also be given to help students get a feel for campus life.


Registration can be completed by visiting pnw.edu/westville-preview.


PNW officials said the event begins at 4 p.m. and will last about three hours. PNW’s Westville area campus at 1401 S. U.S. 421 offers academic programs leading to in-demand careers on a 250 or more acre campus.


To learn more about the campus, visit pnw.edu/westville.

Clean Up at Burned Out Factory Site Ongoing

(La Porte, IN) - Work continues where an old factory building was pretty much destroyed by fire several months ago in La Porte.


Crews have been hauling materials from the old American Rubber site for proper disposal over the past two weeks.


La Porte City Code Enforcement Director Jeff Batchelor said the work is slow going because all of the necessary safety precautions being taken. For example, he said the materials are sprayed with water to prevent any asbestos from the old structure from blowing into the air during transport.  


“They’re doing it the right way so there is no hazard for the citizens or the people in the county,” Batchelor said.


He estimated it would take about six months to complete the clean-up if what remains of the building on Brighton Street is demolished and hauled away.


The fire in October required millions of gallons of water to extinguish. 


La Porte Fire Chief Andy Snyder said the cause has been linked to human involvement.  Whether it was set by accident or on purpose has not been determined, he said.


Over the years, there was evidence of people breaking into the huge building used recently to store large amounts of expired alcohol based hand sanitizer.  Officials said the hand sanitizer caused the fire to spread rapidly and cause as much damage as it did.


Before the fire, the hand sanitizer was held there until it could be taken for proper disposal. 

Auditions for Hoosier Star

(La Porte, IN) - Auditions for the 18th annual Hoosier Star vocal competition in La Porte are scheduled next month.


Amateur singers can take part in the try outs March 18th from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and March 19 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Bethany Lutheran Church at 102 G Street


People can compete individually or as a duet, said officials with the La Porte County Symphony Orchestera, which hosts the event and performs the music on stage for the 10 finalists in the contest.


The 10 finalists in the youth and adult divisions will perform on September 9th at the Civic Auditorium for cash prizes of up to $1,000 in each division.  Audience members and a panel of judges will choose the first and second place finishers in each division.


Audition forms can be found at www.hoosierstar.com


Contestants are encouraged to pre-register for a guaranteed time slot. 


The registration fee for the audition is $20 per person or duet.  If a competitor would like to audition as a soloist and a duet, the competitor must submit two separate audition forms, including separate fees, LCSO officials said. 


Audition applications must be received by March 15th in order to be eligible and to receive a guaranteed time slot. Walk-in auditions will be available at the end of each day.

ZOOM Rule Enforced on Commissioner in Florida

(La Porte County, IN) - An elected official was present on ZOOM but stripped of his voting authority during the La Porte County Commissioners meeting on Wednesday because he wasn’t physically in his seat.


Commissioner Rich Mrozinski has been living at a second home in Florida for about the past six weeks.


Before leaving, a new policy allowing each commissioner to attend one meeting a year by ZOOM without recuperations was supported by his colleagues on the three member governing body Joe Haney and Connie Gramarossa.


A commissioner will lose their ability to vote on matters during any other sessions they attend on ZOOM, according to the policy.


No action was taken until Mrozinski attended his third consecutive regularly scheduled session of the commissioners this year on ZOOM.


Haney motioned his right to vote during the meeting be taken away.   His request was supported by Gramarossa.


Mrozinski citing primarily a medical condition argued he should be exempt from the policy and state law and granted a waiver for medical reasons.  He referred to right to privacy laws for not revealing details of the medical condition he blamed for his extended period of time in Florida.


Mrozinski, who saw combat duty in the Vietnam War, did say he received treatment for his condition at a Veterans Administration medical facility.


Haney didn’t believe the claims from Mrozinski, who has spent recent winters at a second home beside the Atlantic Ocean near Orlando.


“I will not recognize snow birding as a valid medical excuse for you not to be here this evening,” Haney said.


Haney then ordered the public record show Mrozinski not present for the meeting.


Mrozinski also questioned whether such authority was legal considering he was elected to represent the public.


“You’re not my boss,” he said.


In addition, he said Haney was not qualified to make a ruling on his medical issue since he’s not a physician.


La Porte County Attorney Andrew B. Jones said the action reflected what’s allowed under a new state law.


“He has the power to make that determination as the chair of this meeting,” he said.


Indiana Public Access Counselor Luke Britt said a state law adopted in 2021 gives local governing bodies permission to adopt rules governing attendance.


Coming out the pandemic, Britt said state lawmakers did not want elected officials continuing to rely on ZOOM to attend meetings as they did previously for good reason to reduce exposure to COVID-19.


Britt said the intent of the legislature was to “avoid situations where you’re legislating from a far, but they also wanted to give flexibility.  One of the concerns was the snow bird part of it.  They frowned upon that and they wanted to set the parameters,” he said.


Under state law, Britt said waivers from physical attendance can also be granted to deal with death of a relative, military service, injury or threatened injury to a person or property. He said the chairman of the local governing body has authority to grant or deny a request for a waiver.


Britt said right to privacy laws regarding health apply only to a select number of people such as doctors. He said patients can provide their own medical information or instruct their doctors to do it to back up their claims for having to attend meetings remotely.


After the policy was passed, Mrozinski alleged it was retaliation by his political opponents to try and cost him his winters in The Sunshine State.


Haney said the policy was designed to better serve citizens he felt prefer hearing from or engaging physically with their elected representatives.


“We don’t want people raising taxes from a beach in St. Petersburg,” Britt said.

Home Grown Courtroom History

(La Porte, IN) - History will soon be made in the courts in La Porte County.


Erika C. Stallworth will become the first ever African American judicial officer in La Porte County on April 21.

The appointment will be made by La Porte Circuit Court Judge Tom Alevizos, who made the announcement.


She will assume the duties of juvenile magistrate upon the retirement of W. Jonathon Forker, who has served as both magistrate and juvenile magistrate since 2011.


Stallworth is currently the Executive Director of the LaPorte County Juvenile Services Center, a 24-bed emergency shelter care and detention facility for at-risk children in need of services.


She grew up in Kingsford Heights and is a 1996 graduate of LaPorte High School.


Her post-secondary achievements include earning a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Michigan and a Juris Doctorate degree from the Loyola University Chicago School of Law.


Officials said Stallworth also has legal practice experience in criminal record expungement and family law matters.


Currently, Stallworth is secretary/treasurer of the LaPorte County Bar Association.

Pharmacy Technician Classes Starting

(La Porte, IN) - The La Porte School Corporation is becoming a training ground for pharmacy technicians.


Registration is now open to begin an in-person Pharmacy Technician Training Program through a partnership between the School Corporation and Indiana University at South Bend.


School officials said the short-term training program will prepare students to sit for the Certified Pharmacy Technician Exam. Students who pass the national exam become Certified Pharmacy Technicians (CPhT).


Evening classes will start on March 16th and take place on Mondays and Thursdays at the Educational Services Center inside the former Boston Middle School building.  The classes will run through the beginning of June.


“This would be a great opportunity for high school seniors looking to go into the medical field or anyone with a high school diploma interested in a career as a Certified Pharmacy Technician,” school officials said.

Parents Charged in Drowning

(Michigan City, IN) - Charges have been filed against the parents of a three year old autistic girl who drowned in a nearby lake after wandering away from her home in Michigan City last year. 


Andrew Allen, 35 and Breanne Smith, 33, are charged in La Porte Superior Court 1 with neglect of dependent resulting in death.  The level 1 felony offense carries a potential 20 to 40 year sentence.


Court documents reveal both parents were home but not properly supervising the girl, Ivy Allen, when she went out the back door of the residence on May 12th at 401 Long Beach Cove just north of U.S. 12.  The girl was found unconscious in Lake Clare about 45 minutes after her father reported her missing, police said.  She was taken to a hospital and later died.


According to court documents, there was a history of the girl leaving the home unattended and prior involvement by the Indiana Department of Child Services because of her straying from the residence.


The couple has two other young daughters, one with autism and the other with spina bifida, police said.


Smith told investigators that after Ivy returned to watching television in the living room, she went into a bedroom.  About 15 minutes later, Smith discovered the patio door was open, police said.


A short time later, a police officer from nearby Long Beach spotted a woman, who resembled Smith, near the small lake.  “It appeared that the woman was looking for someone,” said Michigan City Police Detective Anna Painter in her report submitted to the court.


According to police, Allen said he was asleep at the time of her disappearance.


Emergency responders were contacted about three hours after her parents were unable to find the child.


Allen said the girl opened doors often to venture outside but, they usually found her quickly.  However, he said this was the longest Ivy had disappeared, court records disclosed.


A few months prior to the girl’s death, police said child welfare authorities gave the parents a home alarm system designed to go off whenever a door opened. The parents hooked up the alarm system but it was not properly installed, police said.


The court documents explained that in 2016, child welfare authorities first became involved with the family after Smith delivered a baby testing positive for THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.  Five years later, they were contacted again when Smith gave birth to a child testing positive for THC and Subutex.  The baby was showing signs of withdrawal from the Subutex, often used to treat heroin and other forms of opiate dependence, authorities said.


A month after the drowning, police said Allen tested positive for amphetamines and methamphetamines while the same drugs, along with THC, were found in Smith’s bloodstream.


After taken into custody Wednesday, Allen and Smith were ordered to be held in the La Porte County Jail on $100,000 bond pending their initial court hearings.

Juvenile Arrested for Burglary Spree

(La Porte, IN) - An arrest has been made for burglaries at two La Porte businesses.


The name of the suspect charged with breaking into the establishments was not released because of being a juvenile.


According to police, the burglaries happened between August of last year and February of this year at La Porte Pantry at 102 Lincolnway and Glass House Smoke Shop at 206 Lincolnway.


“Both businesses were victimized twice by the same suspect,” police said.


La Porte Police Chief Paul Brettin commended his detectives for working hard to compile enough evidence to bring about charges.


Police would not reveal the items taken in the break-ins and other specifics about the crimes.

Bicycle Fleeing Burglar Reeled In

(Michigan City, IN) - A Michigan City woman returned home to find a burglar who fled on her bicycle.


Those are the allegations against Jeremy Teutemacher, who’s charged with burglary, theft and battery.


According to court documents, the woman found the man inside her home last month at Tall Timbers Apartment Complex on Springland Ave. on the city’s east side. While confronting the man coming down her stairs, police said he grabbed her by the arms and moved her out of his way.  Teutemacher allegedly fled out the back sliding glass doors and peddled away on her mountain bike.


Reported stolen was an Xbox game system, $250 in cash and her late father’s watch.


The investigation indicates the suspect has a history of using meth and heroin and possibly traveled to Michigan City by train from New Carlisle where he was living with a girlfriend, according to court documents.

Arrest for Gunfire at Housing Complex

(La Porte, IN) - Charges have been filed for alleged gunfire at a La Porte housing complex.


Luis Santana Contreras, 23, is charged in La Porte Circuit Court with Level 6 Felony Criminal Recklessness while Armed with a Deadly Weapon.


According to court documents, officers during the early morning hours of January 29 responded to reports of shots fired 10 minutes apart from each other at Maple Tree Apartments at 1405 West 18th Street


One of the reports indicated the gunfire originated at the rear of the apartment complex.


A short time later, Contreras was detained and transported to the La Porte County Jail where a concealed handgun was allegedly found on his possession. Police said the gun was jammed and had no indication of ever having a serial number.

Speeding Leads to Drugs and Gun Discovery

(La Porte County, IN) - What started as a seemingly routine traffic stop in La Porte County resulted in drug arrests and seizure of a military style weapon.


Cody Marlar, 30, and Kristyn Ford, 29, were in a vehicle stopped by Indiana State Police early Monday for traveling 87 miles per hour in the eastbound lanes of the Indiana Toll Road.


According to ISP, suspicions of the trooper were raised by the presence of a glass smoking pipe containing burn marks and residue inside the vehicle.

Officers from the La Porte County Sheriff’s Office and Westville responded to calls for assistance.


Police said recovered from inside and beside the vehicle was over 12 grams of methamphetamine in separate packages.  Officers also found in the vehicle a loaded Aero Precision LLL-AR-15 rifle, which strongly resembles a machine gun.


There was one round in the chamber and six additional rounds in the magazine of the rapid firing designed rifle, police said. 


Both suspects from Oklahoma are charged with multiple drug related counts.

Season to Remember, Remembered

(New Buffalo, MI) - Memories of last year’s spectacular boys’ high school basketball season in New Buffalo were stirred during the presentation of a banner reflecting the team’s district championship.


New Buffalo High School Principal Tracy Ripley presented the banner along with trophies for the 2022 conference and district titles to Head Coach Nate Tripp and three players from the squad.


The brief ceremony was held on the home court prior to the start of Tuesday night’s game against Marcellus.


One of the players showing up for the presentation was Kaden Parmley, who graduated last year after becoming the all-time leading scorer for boys in the New Buffalo High School basketball program.


Zack Forker and Austin Semenchuk were the other former players showing up from a team with just one loss until defeated in the Class D regional championship game.


The team going into the post season was also ranked No. 1 in the state for Class D and in the top 10 for all schools nationwide in scoring by averaging more than 80 points a game.


“It was such a memorable season with that team.  It was such a high scoring offense and those kids had been playing together for a while,” said New Buffalo High School Athletic Director Matt Johnson


Tripp and each of his former players shared a warm hug during the ceremony.


Johnson said he hung the banner reflecting other district and conference titles for boys’ basketball in recent years in the gymnasium shortly after the presentation.


He said the trophies will be placed into a larger trophy case being made for the athletic program once it’s delivered.


“We’ve run out of room,” he said.


Johnson said the new trophy case will be used for holding awards earned at the district, regional and state levels of competition while the current trophy case will be reserved for conference honors.


It was the third district title in four years for the team under Tripp.


Johnson said last year’s team and the squads making it to the regionals in Class C in 2014 and 2015 “were probably the best ones I had ever seen.”


The core of the team from last year was Parmley, Forker, Mark Shaw, Anthony Lijewski, Jeremiah Mitchell and Anthony Anderson. 


The top players on the squad from nearly a decade ago included Marques Artz, Jarek Hotwagner, Elijah Dryden, Zack Workman and Travis Maddux.


Johnson wouldn’t predict which team would win, though, if they happened to play each other.


“That’s a tough one.  That’s like asking who’s better? Kobe or Michael or Michael or Lebron,” he said.

Slicers Subdue Goshen 66-64

The La Porte boys basketball team pushed leads into double digits on several occasions Tuesday night only to have Goshen storm back.  The Slicers then hung on to win 66-64 on Senior Night at Slicer Gym.


Coach Jordan Heckard started five seniors. Normal starters Ja’Meryion Cross, Kyle Kirkham and Tommy Samuelson were joined by RJ Anglin and Brennan Balka. This group led 10-8 at the 3:30 mark when Rylan Keiszkowski and Malik Corley checked in. The added quickness and aggressive trapping defense sent the Slicers on a 9-2 end of quarter run giving LP a 19-10 edge. Kirkham had 8 points, Cross 5 and Kieszkowski 4 for La Porte.


Goshen cut the Slicer lead to 28-26 in the second quarter before a senior led 9-0 run to end the half. Senior Brogan Riley hit two free throws and a fast break layup then his classmate Anglin drilled a 3 pointer. Keiszkowski, a junior, finished the run with a buzzer beating layup. La Porte led 37-26 at the half. Kirkham had 10 at the break, Cross 8.


La Porte led 47-35 at 4:03 mark of the third but the Redhawks finished the quarter on a 10-1 run. Cross scored 7 of La Porte’s 11 third quarter points. It was LP 48 Goshen 45 after three periods. 


The fourth quarter was nip and tuck. Goshen never led, but tied the Slicers at 50, 55 and 57. Cross hit two free throws at the 1:22 mark and shot with 1 minute left to give La Porte a four point edge. Kirkham hit a runner and a free throw in the final minute and Samuelson an open layup on a press breaker. Goshen got a huge three pointer from Gage Worthman and a layup at the buzzer to make the final 66-64. 


All seven Slicer Seniors scored in the game. Cross finished with 19, Kirkham 16, Samuelson 6, Riley 4, Anglin 3, Balka 3, and Dominic Thomson 1. Kieszkowski, finished with 12 points including three breakaway dunks. 


Cross was named the Salisbury and Spence Edward Jones Player of the Game. 


La Porte improves to 15-6 on the season and have a five game winning streak. They are 3-3 in the DAC and will finish conference play Friday when Portage comes to town.




The Slicer JV team, like their varsity counterparts, led throughout the game, often by double digits before hanging on for a 49-45 win over the Redhawks.


La Porte led at all of the quarter breaks 9-6, 31-19, and 43-37 before holding on for the four point win. Freshman Sawyer Tonagel stayed hot with 15 points, Kevin Konieczny 12, Javelle Broome and Eli Taylor each finished with 6. Vann Warner and Gage Raymond pitched in 5 each.


The JV team will host Portage Friday night with tipoff at 5:30. The varsity game will be a bit later than the usual 7:00 tip as the Hubner Hall of Fame will induct new members between games.

Motorcycle Involved in Serious Crash

(Michigan City, IN) - Police are still investigating a serious injury collision between a motorcycle and sport utility vehicle in Michigan City last evening.


Just after 5 p.m., emergency responders were called to U.S. 20 and Hitchcock Road. At least one person was seriously injured with a medical helicopter dispatched to the scene, per authorities.


Police said the driver of an eastbound SUV making a left hand turn collided with the motorcycle.  So far, more details on how the crash occurred have not been released. They’re currently waiting for the results of toxicology tests to determine if alcohol or drugs were involved.


The names of the people involved were being withheld until family members are notified about the crash.

New Hospital Board Members in La Porte

(La Porte, IN) - Northwest Health - La Porte recently welcomed four new members to the hospital’s board of trustees.



  • Jackie Dermody is the Chief Executive Office for Family Advocates, a non-profit agency advocating in the best interests of children and families. She has served on several local boards and is the past board chair of the La Porte Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.




  • Laura Francesconi is a retired partner withMeridian Title Corporation and the current campaign coordinator for Economic Development Investors for both La Porte and Michigan City. She serves on several community boards and has been involved in numerous local fundraisers over the years.




  • Benjamin Tonagel is the assistantsuperintendent for the La Porte Community School Corporation. Prior to that, he was the principal for La Porte High School for seven years. Tonagel is very involved in the local La Porte community and also a member of the Ivy Tech Michigan City Board of Trustees.



  • Neil Wangstrom, M.D., is an otolaryngologist – an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist with Northwest Medical Group. He is board certified in otolaryngology, performs a wide variety of ENT surgeries and is a member of the medical staff at Northwest Health – La Porte.


“Our Board of Trustees is a highly committed group of leaders who are dedicated to our mission and vision to deliver quality healthcare to our community,” said Keith Nichols, Chief Executive Office for Northwest Health - La Porte.

“We look forward working together this coming year to better meet the healthcare needs of our community,” she said.

For more information about Northwest Health – La Porte, visit NWHealthIN.com.

Not So Clear Picture for Corn

(West Lafayette, IN) - The stage could be set for Brazil to overtake the U.S. in corn exports this year.


That was a possibility discussed by a panel of agriculture economists from Purdue University in their monthly Corn and Soybean Outlook presentation on February 10.


Jim Mintert, Director of the Center for Commerical Agriculture at the West Lafayette campus, said corn exports in the U.S. have dropped from a USDA projected 2.75 billion bushels to 1.92 billion bushes this year.


In comparison, projected exports from the nation’s top 5 major competitors Brazil, Argentina, South Africa, Ukraine and Russia have risen from a combined 3.68 billion bushels to 4.5 billion bushels the past two years.


“It looks like Brazil is potentially going to overtake the U.S. with respect to exports,” Mintert said.


Michael Langemeier, Associate Director of the Center for Commercial Agriculture, said Brazil has been adding acres for “second crop corn” while increasing the amount of acres for soybeans.


He said Brazil has also experienced a higher percentage of yield growth from becoming more experienced at raising corn.


“It’ll be interesting to see how that plays out as we get into the summer,” Mintert said.


Mintert said the biggest factor for U.S. corn growers, though, could be what happens with the crop in Ukraine because of the ongoing war with Russia close to entering its second year.


USDA is projecting Ukraine will produce about 900 million bushels of corn this year or slightly below last year’s total.  Mintert said he would be somewhat surprised if Ukraine hits the mark given reports the country is having difficulty obtaining fertilizer and some trouble acquiring seed.


“I’m not going to say it’s not going to happen.  They did manage to move more corn than probably anybody thought they could immediately following the invasion,” he said.


“Certainly, their production is going to be a wild card this year,” Langemeier said.



Robbed While Naked Arrest

(La Porte, IN) - Charges have been filed in connection with a man robbed after forced to strip naked at a La Porte housing complex.


Kyron Burks, 19, is charged with robbery in La Porte Circuit Court.


The La Porte man could face anywhere from a 3-to-16 year sentence on the Level 3 Felony count.


According to court documents, the incident happened Friday at Carriage House Apartments at 1700 Andrew Avenue on the city’s west side.  The investigation indicates the victim and Burks were involved in a matter involving a female possibly cheating on her boyfriend.


At one point, it appeared the situation was becoming heated when more individuals with guns showed up.  Burks allegedly ordered the victim to strip naked and once in his birthday suit apologized to a person videotaping the incident.  The victim then got into a vehicle and fled.


Police said the investigation shows Burks removed a wallet from the pants of the victim left at the scene.  The victim said the wallet contained $1,000 in cash, according to court documents.


Burks was being held without bond pending his initial court hearing, which is scheduled Friday. 

License Plate Reader Nails Car Thief

(La Porte County, IN) - Within minutes, a license plate reader helped police capture a suspected La Porte car thief and return the vehicle to its owner.


Daquarius Crump, 22, of South Bend is charged with Level 6 Felony Theft in La Porte Circuit Court.


According to court documents, a man started his 2013 Chevy Impala to let the engine warm up on February 9 in the 500 block of Talley Street.  The man went back inside his residence and returned about 20 minutes later to discover his car was gone.


Immediately, the man called 911.


Police said license plate information and description of the car were entered into a data base and soon a license plate reading camera detected the plate on Indiana 39 just north of the city limits. Responding officers located the car outside the nearby Family Express at Indiana 39 and U.S. 20 and stopped the driver identified as Crump in the store parking lot. 


According to court documents, Crump explained he was allowed to use the vehicle by a friend to get gasoline and cigarettes.  Crump also said he did not know the car was stolen.


Officers, not believing his claims, arrested Crump, whose unidentified girlfriend was also driving a vehicle reported stolen in La Porte County.

Charges in Near Deadly Attack

(Michigan City, IN) - A Michigan City woman could face significant prison time for her alleged life threatening attack with a baseball bat.


Tina Benton, 52, is charged with Level 3 Felony Aggravated Battery.


According to court documents, Benton on December 4th was a house guest of the victim who woke up in her living room to the suspect standing directly above her.


Benton was also yelling and holding a baseball bat, authorities said. Benton immediately began striking the woman who suffered several hairline fractures to her skull, face and hand.


According to police, the victim was lucky to have survived the attack.


The investigation revealed Benton allegedly fled the home in the 200 block of Village Road after her husband began rendering aid to the victim and called police.  Police said all of the people involved were longtime friends.


The investigation determined mental illness fueled by drug use was mentioned as a possible explanation for the suspect’s act of violence.


She could face anywhere from a 3-to-16 year sentence. 

Campus Shooter Identified

(East Lansing, MI) - Authorities have identified the gunman in a mass shooting last night at Michigan State University.


43-year-old Anthony McRae shot himself to death when confronted by police miles away from the campus.


Right now, authorities are trying to determine a motive. The gunman was not a student or employee. He also had no affiliation with the university, officials said. 


Three people were killed and five others critically wounded in the shootings, police said. 


Last year, reports indicate there were more than 600 shootings where at least four people died or were injured in the U.S.

Inflation Not Spoiling Valentine's Day

(Washington D.C.) - It’s likely going to cost more to purchase something for your special someone on this Valentine’s Day.


According to the National Retail Federation, the average person will spend just over $190 for the holiday. That’s a $17 dollar increase over last year.


Despite the rising costs, consumers are not expected to cut back.  Experts say one reason some people spend so much on Valentine’s Day is they also buy gifts for friends, co-workers and even pets.


Only Mother’s Day compares to the amount of business generated on Valentine’s Day, according to the NRF, which is based in Washington D.C.

Lakers on Winning Streak

(La Porte County, IN) - The girls’ basketball team from La Lumiere School has won four games in a row.


The Lakers defeated Lake Forest, Ill. at home 70-51 on Saturday, February 11th.  


On February 10th, La Lumiere jumped out to a big lead and held on to win 63-56 at home against the Capital Home School Academy Program.  La Lumiere praised early in the game by head coach Matt Marvin for their execution in moving the ball on offense led 17-3 just before the end of the first quarter.


The Chariots (17-4) from East Lansing, Michigan cut the lead to six points, though, early in the second quarter.


The Lakers (11-11) regained the momentum on two quick buckets then extended the lead to 15 points from scores by Ashlynn Shade and Shena Fleming.  The lead dropped to 11 points until La Lumiere scored the last three buckets during the last 30 seconds of the first half.


Mary McClintock nailed a three point shot from the baseline and Shade dribbled coast to coast for a lay-up before Fleming sank a long three point shot at the halftime buzzer. The lead grew to 19 points early in the third quarter but the Chariots pulled to within 9 points with over six minutes left in the game.


Marvin said the comeback attempt happened after he put in the game several bench players, including three freshmen, to give them some quality time on the court.


CHAP didn’t get much closer once all five starters returned and stayed in for the remainder of the game.


Shade, who made several short turn around jump shots with plenty of hang time, led the Lakers with 27 points.


Simmons, a 5’7” junior guard, added 11 points.


The Lakers have three games all on the road left in the regular season.  Marvin said the team has improved significantly and is much better than what their record reflects.


What he described as the toughest schedule of any girls’ high school program in the nation has included recent losses at home to South Bend Washington and Fremd High School outside Chicago.


Both of those opponents were ranked No. 1 in their respective states going into the match-ups with La Lumiere, who exchanged leads with both squads until the second half.


He said his players have improved noticeably from playing against tough competition is more ways than one. 


“They grew and got better not only on the court but also off the court, which is really cool to see,” he said.


Seven of their players are from La Porte, Michigan City, South Bend and Granger.  The rest of the players are from Indianapolis, Noblesville, Vermont and Poland.


A few years ago, the girls’ basketball program began accepting from outside the area student athletes who perform well academically in an effort to one day, perhaps, compete on a national level.


Shade is viewed as easily the best player recruited since the program was upgraded.


“I think we can build on that and continue to grow and have a great program,” he said.

Jail Possible for Truck Driver Passing Bus

(La Porte County, IN) - A truck driver hauling grain could face jail time for allegedly passing a stopped school bus on a four lane stretch of highway in La Porte County.


Brad Zolvinski, 21, is charged with Class A misdemeanor reckless driving.


According to La Porte County Police, he was driving a truck loaded with grain Thursday afternoon on U.S. 35 near 300 South.


Police said a school bus was stopped with its flashing lights activated and stop arm extended when the truck passed it from behind in the left hand lane.  A police officer spotted the moving violation and soon pulled over the truck.


According to police, the driver from Zolvinski Farms apologized for passing the school bus and said his truck and load of grain combined weighed 80,000 pounds.


However, the officer feeling that was not a valid excuse cited him for reckless driving.   Zolvinski was not arrested but given a summons to appear February 15 in La Porte Superior Court 3 to answer the allegations.


Under Indiana law, he could face up to one-year in jail and up to a $5,000 fine.

Jersey Another a Ray of Sunshine for Shade

(La Porte County, IN) - A girls’ basketball player from La Lumiere School was again living a dream when presented with her commemorative McDonald’s All American jersey.


Ashlynn Shade was given the jersey on her home court during halftime against the Capital Home School Academy Program out of East Lansing, Michigan.


Shade transferred to La Lumiere for her senior year after leading Noblesville to the Indiana state championship in Class 4A last season.


Every high school player chosen as a McDonald’s All American receives a jersey containing the last two numbers of the year they were chosen to participate in the prestigious game.


Shade first realized her dream when among the members of the East and West squads chosen last month from over 700 players nominated throughout the nation.


Head Coach Matt Marvin said members from each roster will receive their actual game jerseys prior to the match-up at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas on March 28th.


“I’m just proud of her.  She’s earned it.  She’s worked so hard for this,” he said.


Marvin said Shade is the first player in the history of the girls’ program at La Lumiere to be named a McDonald’s All American.


“It’s not very common so we’re pumped,” he said.


Three players in the history of the boys’ program have been selected as McDonald’s All Americans.


The boys’ program, which has several former players in the NBA, began recruiting student-athletes from across the nation and other countries more than a decade ago.


Marvin said the girls’ program at the college prep school in northern La Porte County began moving in that direction a few-years ago.  Currently, their schedule includes some of the best teams primarily from Indiana and Illinois.


Shade, who’s committed to playing next season at the University of Connecticut, said her decision to transfer was difficult but one she felt was best for her personal growth.


Specifically, she wanted to prepare academically and athletically for life on campus and one of the best women’s college basketball programs in the nation.  Shade said she also wanted time away from her family to learn how to become more independent as part of her desire for a smooth transition to college.


Shade, a 5’11” play making and shooting guard, said she misses not playing in her hometown but has no regrets about her decision.


“I’ve never been happier and with this group of girls it makes it even more special.  It’s been a super great experience for me,” she said.


Shade said making the McDonald’s All American team was a goal she set for herself beginning as a freshman.


“It’s such an honor to be part of that list because it’s so, like, historically amazing,” she said.

South Central Defeated in Regionals

(Union Mills, IN) - The South Central High School girls’ basketball team fell short in their bid for the Class 2A  regional championship. The Lady Satellites were defeated by Central Noble 64-52 at Winamac on Saturday.


Central Noble (25-2) was ranked in the top 5 in Class 2A while South Central (23-4) was unranked, but the Lady Satellites stayed within striking distance pretty much the entire game.


Head Coach Ben Anderson said his squad trailing by 11 points at halftime was down five points in the fourth quarter but missed some opportunities to pull even closer.


“It was a pretty competitive game throughout.  We just couldn’t quite get over that hump,” he said.


Anderson said he felt the biggest factor in the game was his team’s poor three point shooting.  The team hit a couple of three point shots in the fourth quarter but nailed just one shot out of of more than a dozen attempts from beyond the three point line during the first half.


“That’s pretty uncharacteristic of us,” he said.


South Central has brought home three sectional titles in the last four years.


The team is losing three senior starters, but Anderson said there will be enough talented players left from this year's squad and coming up from the ranks to definitely have a chance at another sectional title next season.

Next Symphony Concert in Michigan City

(La Porte, IN) - The La Porte County Symphony Orchestra’s next concert will be performed in Michigan City.


Piano soloist Michael Chertock will be a guest performer during the concert March 12th at the Holdcraft Performing Arts Center at 1200 Spring Street. Chertock, who has performed with orchestras in major cities like Philadephia, Atlanta, Baltimore and Toronto will be the soloist on Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto #1, officials said.


Chertock has been a faculty member at the University of Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music since 2004 where he currently serves as Chair of the Piano Department.


Tickets for the 3 p.m. concert can be purchased at www.lcso.net or by calling (219) 362-9020.  Tickets are also available at Roxy Music in downtown La Porte.


The LCSO is celebrating its 50th anniversary season.

Slicers Win 84-75 Shootout at Merrillville

The La Porte boy’s basketball team travelled to Merrillville Friday night winning 84-75 in a fast paced, highly entertaining DAC conference game.


The Slicers, who have suffered through horrible starts on trips to Lake County this season, came out red hot in this one. LP hit 6 three pointers in the opening quarter running to 23-22 first quarter lead. The Slicers led 23-18 late in the period but a missed block out on a free throw, a turnover, and a buzzer beating reverse layup allowed the Pirates to cut the lead to one.

The first few minutes of the second quarter were back and forth before the Slicers got hot and outscored Merrillville 15-4 to take a 43-31 edge into halftime. La Porte hit 2 second quarter threes and got a layup each from Tommy Samuelson and Brennan Balka on gorgeous pick and rolls. 


Rylan Kieszkowski had 13 points at the half, Kyle Kirkham 8 and Samuelson 7. Merrillville’s Darrin Weaver had 12 points at the break. 


La Porte stretched its lead to 62-46 after three quarters with six different Slicers scoring in the period. A highlight of the third quarter was a Kieszkowski breakaway dunk. 

LP got their lead to as many as 20 points in the fourth quarter. Hitting four more three pointers.  Merrillville used an aggressive, trapping press to cut the lead to 7 points in the final minute but that was as close as they would get. 


The Slicers put five players in double figures. Kieszkowski, who was named the Salisbury and Spence Edward Jones player of the game, had 23 points. The steady Kirkham finished with 16, Samuelson 14, RJ Anglin and Malik Corley had 11 each. Samuelson, who may have played his best game of the year, was great on the boards and on defense. The versatile Anglin, who hit 3 threes gave the Slicers a solid floor game.


This is LP’s second win in a row over the Pirates. The Slicers won 67-66 at Slicer gym last year. It is La Porte’s first win at Merrillville since 2011. 


La Porte’s record improves to 14-6 on the year they are 3-3 in the DAC and are on a four game winning streak. The Slicers will be back in action Tuesday for a Valentine’s Day battle with Goshen. Varsity tip will be at 6:00. The JV game will start at 4:30. It is Senior Night.  As always the varsity game will be broadcast on 96.7 the Eagle pregame around 5:45.




Matt Miller’s Slicer JV team just couldn’t get over the hump in Friday night’s 62-59 loss to Merrillville. La Porte trailed at each quarter stop 18-14, 28-25 and 53-47.  


La Porte had an opportunity in the closing seconds of the game. With the Pirates leading 60-57 with 6.9 seconds remaining, Sawyer Tonagel got a clean three pointer off. The ball just rimmed out with Merrillville grabbing the rebound. The Slicer quickly fouled and M’ville’s Arjae Johnsonh it two free throws to make it 62-57. As the Slicers hurried the ball up court the Pirates inexplicably fouled Javelle Broome with four tenths of a second remaining. Broome hit both free throw to make it 62-59.  The Pirates threw the inbounds pass away with no on touching it and La Porte got the ball underneath their own goal. The Slicers ran Tonagel off of several picks and got him the ball on the left wing but with no time to set his feet the potential game tying shot fell short.


La Porte put four players in double figures led by Tonagel’s 19. Kevin Konieczny and Broome each had 11 and Eli Taylor finished with 10.


Images courtesy of Susan Anglin.

A Night to Shine in La Porte

(La Porte, IN) - On Friday night a special prom for some special people took place at La Porte’s First Church of God on East Lincolnway.


The memorable evening, five months in the planning, was made possible by the Tim Tebow foundation and a host of local volunteers. Organizers said it’s the first time La Porte has hosted the nationwide program, known as a Night to Shine.


Kelly Zigler, whose husband Jeff is the pastor at First Church of God, explained the event: “It is a prom that was founded by Tim Tebow, and it’s completely faith-based.” The red carpet was literally rolled out for prom-goers from several local special needs organizations, such as Paladin, Sharing Meadows, and the Zeilbeck Group.


Zigler said the turnout was almost overwhelming. By Friday night, the church was able to accommodate about 165 participants, but there was still a waiting list. “We opened it up to 150 guests, and we filled up in a day and a half, so it’s a huge need,” said Zigler.


The evening included catered food, photographers, karaoke, of course music and dancing, and even limo rides. And in keeping with prom tradition, there was a king and a queen—165 of them, actually. Each participant received a prom crown or tiara.


(Cover photo courtesy of Jenna Blue)

New Prairie Schools Earn Another Health Distinction

(New Carlisle, IN) - Students and staff at New Prairie proved again Friday that they have a heart for public safety. Rolling Prairie Elementary became the first elementary school in Indiana to achieve Heart Safe certification. New Prairie Middle School also earned the designation, becoming the state's first middle school to do so.


Wisconsin-based Project ADAM issues the certification based on a checklist of medical emergency precautions.


The certification has been spearheaded by New Prairie Biomedical Science Teacher Tonya Aerts. She said each school conducted a live drill on Friday to prove they could handle a sudden cardiac arrest situation. "I was so happy that we were able to coordinate with EMS and 911 dispatch to do the real call," she said. "911 stayed on the phone with them, walked them through steps, asked them some questions, just really simulated it." LaPorte County Sheriff's deputies and representatives from Project ADAM also took part. "It was just a nice community endeavor to see these two schools reach this accomplishment," said Aerts.


New Prairie High School was the first school in Indiana achieve the designation in 2021. Currently only five schools in the state are Heart Safe certified. Three of those schools are in the New Prairie school district.


Sudden Cardiac Arrest is the leading cause of death among high school athletes in America. Aerts says her school’s efforts are in part a tribute to Mark Mayfield, a New Prairie senior who died of sudden cardiac arrest in a school hallway back in 2017. Since then, the district has become a leader in preparedness. Aerts says about 300 New Prairie students have become CPR certified over the past few years.

South Bend Schools Weighing Options to Downsize

(South Bend, IN) - The South Bend Community School Corporation is relying on a consultant to help it figure out how to properly downsize. Nearly one-third of its students have left the district over the last 17 years.


The district is trying to achieve a better balance, especially at the high school level. They are currently 2,400 high school students below capacity. Three of the four South Bend high schools are only about half full. Yet South Bend Adams High is over capacity.


The district is looking at three scenarios. Keeping all four South Bend high schools as-is would cost nearly $300 million per year. Paring down to two high schools would save over $2 million a year and still only operate at 87% capacity.


Keeping three high schools and closing one is also an option. All the scenarios involve streamlining the elementary and middle feeder schools to better serve the high schools equally.


Community meetings have already started to get feedback on the options. No changes will be made before the 2024-25 school year.

Fatal Crash on I-94

(LaPorte County, IN) - Traffic on eastbound I-94 was limited Thursday night due to a fatal car accident.


According to Indiana State Police, a collision happened just after 10:00 p.m. approximately two miles west of the Michigan City/LaPorte exit. Police say a 2007 BMW ran off the roadway for unknown reasons and rear-ended a 2021 Volvo semi parked on the shoulder.


The driver of the BMW was declared dead at the scene by the LaPorte County Coroner’s Office. The identity of that driver has not been released pending notification of family. The driver of the semi was uninjured.

The right two lanes of I-94 were closed for about two and a half hours for scene investigation and vehicle removal.

OWI for Driver in Prior Alcohol Related Fatality

(La Porte, IN) - A La Porte man with a drunk driving death on his record is accused of driving impaired again.


Ryan Flotow is charged with Operating while Intoxicated in La Porte Circuit Court. Authorities said he was clocked speeding about three weeks ago on Indiana 2 near 300 East. The officer also noticed the driver having difficulty staying in his lane of travel and pulled him over.


Police said Flotow admitted to having a few drinks at a bar in New Carlisle.  He was arrested with an alleged blood alcohol close to three times the legal limit.


In 2013, a then 22-year old Flotow was living in North Liberty when he crashed into some trees on 875 East outside Mill Creek. His 21 year old brother, Kyle, was a passenger who later died from injuries sustained in the accident.


Police said Flotow's blood alcohol level at the time was nearly twice the legal limit.


Flotow was later sentenced to one year in the La Porte County Jail and two years on probation.


The current charge was upgraded to a level 5 Felony because of having a death caused by Operating while Intoxicated on his criminal record. He could face anywhere from a one-to-six year sentence on the charge. 

Jersey Tonight for Local All American Hoopster

(La Porte County, IN) - Super-sized excitement will be on the menu for a local high school girls’ basketball player tonight.


Ashlynn Shade, a senior at La Lumiere School, will be presented with her McDonalds All American jersey.


Head Coach Matt Marvin said McDonalds officials will give her the jersey during a presentation between the first and second quarters of tonight’s game against Capital Home School.


Shade said she was pumped when recently selected to one of the two national squads.  It was a long time dream for her to be chosen as a McDonald’s All American.


“I think I called my brother after school. My twin brother.  We’re super close,” she said.


Shade said her parents and other family members and friends then contacted and congratulated her.


“It was super cool,” she said.


Shade transferred from Nobleville after leading her team to the Indiana state title last season. She said her decision to attend the college prep school in northern La Porte County was made to help her adjust academically and athletically to life at the University of Connecticut in the fall. Shade has committed to the school, which has one of the top girls’ collegiate basketball programs in the nation.


She’s averaging about 24 points a game this season for La Lumiere, which upgraded its program to play high level competition mostly from Indiana and Illinois a few years ago.

A Move Up in Robotics World

(La Porte, IN) - The La Porte High School Robotics Team recently took part in Valparaiso University’s First Robotics Design Review Day.


Students presented their preliminary designs and received advice from engineering students and faculty.


“The Valparaiso University faculty and engineering students were impressed with our teams’ designs,“ said LPHS teacher Todd Hutson.


He said the opportunity was a great experience for students interested in engineering, because they were also invited to tour the engineering department and participated in robotic football activities with the Valparaiso University Robotics Team.


“Our team was very impressed with the engineering side of the college and some of us would like to go there,” said LPHS student, Aubrey Tanksley.


Mental Health Bill Passes with Flying Colors

(Indianapolis, IN) - A local state lawmaker is seeing tremendous progress on his proposal aimed at reaching more offenders with better mental health and substance abuse treatment. 


The legislation offered by State Representative Jim Pressel of Rolling Prairie moves to the Senate after gaining unanimous approval in the Indiana House of Representatives.


According to the Indiana Department of Correction, nearly 80% of inmates in jails statewide have an addiction or mental health condition, and 75% of those who return to prison have a substance use disorder.


House Bill 1006 would empower law enforcement to apprehend and transport individuals suffering from mental illness or temporary impairment from drugs and alcohol to the nearest facility providing mental health treatment. Individuals would also be protected from early release due to inability to pay for services.


Pressel said the legislation builds on efforts to connect more Hoosiers to critical mental health resources while maintaining public safety.


“Our hardworking law enforcement officers routinely deal with these issues and overcrowded jails and this legislation will provide another option to get people the help they need,” he said.


Supporters believe treatment in a professional facility is more effective than what offenders receive in jails and prisons.



Cameras Lead to Shoplifting Arrest

(Michigan City, IN) - Within minutes, a La Porte woman allegedly pushed two shopping carts full of merchandise out of Walmart without paying for the items.


It took a couple of days, but police were able to make an arrest.


Danielle Faulkenburg, 33, is charged in La Porte Superior Court 4 with Level 6 Felony Theft.


According to court documents, each shopping buggy contained more than $500 dollars in merchandise from Walmart in Michigan City.  Police said typical store products such as laundry soap, cat food and kool aid were taken along with more expensive things like a window air conditioner.


A surveillance picture of the suspect posted on Facebook along with an image of the license plate number on the getaway vehicle resulted in her arrest.


Faulkenburg after pushing one of the full shopping carts out of the store immediately returned for the other shopping buggy of items.


She could face up to 30 months in prison on the shoplifting allegations.  By getting arrested, the woman also allegedly violation probation on a previous narcotics-related conviction.

Fourth Graders Discover Farm to Fork

(La Porte, IN) - If they didn’t know already, elementary school students throughout La Porte County learned that food just doesn’t magically appear in grocery stores or their favorite fast food restaurant.


More than 700 fourth graders were given quick lessons on everything from dairy, beef and poultry to farm machinery during Ag Days on Wednesday and Thursday.


The event at the La Porte National Guard Armory was hosted by Purdue Extension, La Porte County Farm Bureau, Inc. and La Porte County Row Crop Food Producers.


“I think it’s really important that kids who don’t have a lot of experience with farming get to know a little bit about what we do so they can understand where their food comes from and how we’re doing it,” said Bill Bohling, one of the volunteer instructors.


He raises corn and soybeans, cattle along with specialty crops on about 4,000 acres outside LaCrosse.


Emily Glasgow, who grew up on a dairy farm, informed each of her student groups on how milk gets from a cow to the supermarket.


One of the specific things she touched on was pasteurization where milk is heated to about 160 degrees to kill any harmful bacteria prior to bottling and chilled for purchase.


“It doesn’t deter from the taste or nutritional value and, actually, gives it a longer shelf life,” Glasgow said.


Glasgow, who now lives on a corn and soybean farm with her husband, John, in southern La Porte County, said one point she tried emphasizing the most was the precautions taken for both the consumer and welfare of farm animals.


“We always want to provide a safe product and do what’s best for the animal,” she said.  


Michele Kenaga said she enjoyed watching the faces of her fourth graders at Rolling Prairie Elementary School light up with interest during the presentations.  Most importantly, she said her students, especially the ones who’ve never been to a farm, learned about some of the happenings outside of their inner circles.


“How did it get to the grocery store.  How did it get to their table.  It’s enlightening,” she said.


Another volunteer instructor was Jeff Mitzner, who raises corn, soybeans, wheat and cattle on his farm in Wanatah.           


Mitzner said he felt it was also important for the students to discover what happens to turn fresh produce like tomatoes into ketchup and pickles into cucumbers.


“A lot of them think you just go to the grocery store and the grocery store makes the milk for you or it comes from a brown cow.  They actually got to realize where stuff comes from and how the process is.  That’s what we’re trying to teach them,” he said.


Students were also given a chance to pet a chicken and rabbit during their two hour stay.


La Porte County Farm Bureau President Mark Parkman of Westville said Ag Days has been held annually for at least 40-years.


Parkman said Ag Days the previous two years was cancelled, though, because of COVID-19.  He especially appreciated watching students raise their hands with questions about what they were being taught.


“The kids are engaged.  It really reinvigorates you when you’re here and you see the kids soaking it up like they are,” he said.


Representatives from Future Farmers of America branches in high schools from La Porte, South Central and Westville also participated in the event.


“It’s really nice everybody is working together,” Parkman said.

Charges in Reality Show-Like Arrest

Michigan City, IN) - A recent drug-related arrest in Michigan City must have resembled something from a police reality TV show.


Everything from a foot chase and use of a taser gun to the seizure of a counterfeit $100 bill was involved in the apprehension of a man showing no signs of cleaning up his act. According to police, what looked just like two handguns that fire strictly B.B.’s were also part of the early morning drama in a higher crime area of the city.


Rickey Bentley, Jr., 35, is charged with Possession of Cocaine, Resisting Law Enforcement, Possession of Marijuana and Possession of Paraphernalia along with Driving on a Suspended License.


Police officers on January 31st recognized Bentley behind the wheel of a 1999 Mercury Grand Marquis on Lafayette Street.  Police knowing he had warrants out for his arrest stopped the vehicle. Bentley allegedly fled on foot and with officers running behind him began throwing items onto the ground, according to court documents. 


Police said Bentley was running up a staircase leading to his apartment in the 200 block of East 8th Street when tasered, which helped in placing him in handcuffs. Among the items confiscated were 3.6 grams of cocaine, 4.6 grams of marijuana, a smoking pipe, digital scale, several knives along with two B.B. guns identified as replicas of a Glock 19 handgun, court documents revealed.


Bentley is still facing undecided charges like Battery and has prior convictions mostly related to Theft.   

Another Suspected Fentanyl Dealer Charged

(La Porte, IN) - Another suspected fentanyl dealer in La Porte has been taken into custody.


Kylie Armstrong, 21, is charged in La Porte Circuit Court with Level 4 Felony Dealing in a Narcotic Drug. The La Porte woman is accused of selling 10 fentanyl pills on September 8th on the city’s west side.  The alleged transaction occurred at 5th and Wabash streets.


Police said the fentanyl pills came from Mexico.


The investigation also revealed Armstrong along with her unidentified boyfriend were involved in the sale of the deadly, highly addictive drug.


According to court records, Armstrong was sentenced to 20 hours of community service in 2020 following her arrest on charges of Residential Entry and Criminal Mischief.

Grappling with Higher Cost of New Prison

(Indianapolis, IN) - Plans to construct a new prison in Westville have come in way over-budget.


The State Budget Committee learned in December the projected cost of demolition and constructing a new prison at the site had increased from $400 million to $1.2 billion.


State Representative Jim Pressel of Rolling Prairie said he hopes a new prison is redesigned to bring the cost closer to the original estimate.  Pressel said there’s a need for a new prison but he’d feel more comfortable about supporting a cost of about $600 million.


“My hope is that we find some common ground, get some more dollars in there and send it back out to see where we can save dollars,” he said.


Originally, the prison was built in 1951 to house mental health patients.

Pressel said the cost of repairs might not be worth renovating the facility.


“It needs a lot of work.  It’s to the point where we’re going to put a lot of money into it to repair it or we’re going to something that’s new and really up to date.  I think the option for me is let’s take a look and see how do we get a new facility there,” he said.


Indications are the state legislature might be willing to pay the extra cost as it’s currently projected because the governor last month included an $800 million appropriation for the prison project in his 2024-25 state budget proposal to supplement the expense.


Pressel said a decision by the Indiana House of Representatives should come within the next two weeks.

Public Hearing on Proposed Round-About

(Westville, IN) - Another round about is proposed for Westville. A public hearing is scheduled to discuss the plans.


The Indiana Department of Transportation is proposing a round-about at the east junction of U.S 421 and U.S 6. According to INDOT, the purpose is to reduce crashes at the intersection.


The public hearing is scheduled next Wednesday at Westville High School at 6 p.m. An open house for the public to review drawings of the proposed round-about and ask questions from INDOT officials is planned at 5 p.m.


Recently, a round-about was put in by INDOT at the nearby intersection of U.S 6 and Indiana 2.

Local Food Drive Before Kick-Off

(Michigan City, IN) - People can donate food to the Salvation Army in Michigan City without getting out of their vehicles.


A drive-through food drive is planned Saturday from 9 a.m. until noon to help restock food pantry shelves at the organization at 1201 Franklin Street.


Major Dale Simmons said he felt such an event the day before the “Big Game” between the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles would be a good way to keep the issue of hunger at the forefront.


“This year we thought it would good time to remind our community that it takes a village to tackle hunger but we can do it together as a team,” he said.


Simmons said people should place donations of food in the trunk of their vehicles so it can be removed by volunteers when they pull up to the back door.


“We will remove the donations and close their trunk,” he said.


The Salvation Army is seeking donations to help restock food pantry shelves after serving nearly 600 local families with Christmas assistance.   Suggested items for donation are canned fruits and vegetables, spaghetti sauce, cereal, jelly, canned meat, paper products, dish detergent, hygiene products and diapers.


Businesses looking to get involved in the effort are invited to contact the Salvation Army at (219) 874-6885.

School Corporation Addresses Schreiber Field

(La Porte, IN) - The La Porte Community School Corporation says tearing down or relocating Schreiber Field has not been raised in discussions related to facilities.


In a statement released today, the school corporation responded to public interest generated recently by a story based on remarks from La Porte School Board President Jim Arnold.


Arnold mentioned relocating Schreiber Field as an idea to consider as an option for creating space to construct a new field house for the landlocked high school if there was ever a decision to expand the current fieldhouse or build a new one.


“Throughout our facility assessment and strategic planning efforts, the topic of tearing down or relocating Schreiber Field has not been discussed, planned or considered,” school corporation officials said.


Arnold also suggested tearing down Kiwanis Field as an idea to consider if the expense of renovating the historic high school football stadium ever came in as cost prohibitive.


Threats of a lawsuit to stop any attempt to remove either facility were soon made by local attorney Shaw Friedman, president of the La Porte High School Class of 1977.


In its statement, the school corporation also indicated a public outreach would follow any proposal that would have a good-sized physical impact on the baseball or football facilities.


“When major building projects are proposed and agreed upon by the board and administration, a formal public engagement process occurs, which includes the presentation of rationale and illustrations, securing necessary funding, a public remonstration process, and if the project is approved and funding secured, a collaboration with adjoining property owners,” school officials said. “We understand the place that many of our facilities hold in the hearts of our Slicer community and we are committed to following the process outlined above when building projects are being considered."


Arnold also said any formal talks about expanding or building a new field house may or may not happen over the next few years. If it does, he said ideas on making room for such construction should be entertained and decisions based on what’s best for the future. 


Schreiber Field is named after the late head coach Ken Schreiber, who guided seven La Porte High School baseball teams to state titles in his 38 years at the helm of the program.


Scott Upp, who took over after Schreiber retired, has a state high school baseball championship from 2000 on his head coaching resume.

Arrest in House Hit by Gunfire

(Michigan City, IN) - Charges have been filed in connection with gunshots striking a Michigan City residence several weeks ago.


Ti Yon Riley, 23, of Gary is in custody. 


Michigan City Police said the investigation shows Riley from the front passenger seat of a car shot over the vehicle and struck a house five times.  This occurred on December 1st in the 600 block of York Street on the city’s north side.


There were no injuries.


Police noted that one of the bullets, though, wound up in a bedroom where a woman and her four-year-old son were sleeping.


According to authorities, video surveillance helped solve the case. Within minutes, the driver of the car in the video was stopped in the area of York Street and East 9th Street. Quickly, it was learned Riley had allegedly just stepped out of the vehicle before it was pulled over.


Riley, who was booked into the La Porte County Jail just over a week ago, is charged with Criminal Recklessness and Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Serious Violent Felon.

Charges in Crash and Manhunt

(La Porte County, IN) - Charges are filed in connection with a motor vehicle crash near Michigan City and tracking of the driver, who fled on foot. Noah Scheetz, 21, of South Bend was allegedly driving a stolen vehicle when the collision happened on Interstate 94 in late January.


According to Indiana State Police, footprints in the snow and a K-9 dog led searchers into a wood line near a horse barn.  The footprints kept being followed for about two hours until reaching U.S. 421.


Soon, officers responding to a 911 call about a subject matching the description of the fleeing driver found Scheetz inside a bathroom at the nearby Speedway station. His shoes were wet and dirty from walking through snow and water.


Scheetz was also found to have warrants out for his arrest in Saint Joseph County on charges of burglary and resisting law enforcement.  Police said he was also taken into custody on charges of auto theft and identity deception for not correctly identifying himself when first approached by officers.


According to authorities, the vehicle was reported stolen out of East Chicago earlier that same day.  There were no injuries in the traffic accident.

OWI Arrest in Rollover

(La Porte County, IN) - A man with a history of driving impaired was arrested yesterday after rolling his vehicle outside La Porte.


Jesus Bermudez-Gomez, 44, suffered only minor injuries in the crash in the 2500 block of East Indiana 4. Police said a female witness traveling behind him saw his pick-up truck veer into a ditch and return to the two lane highway.  She said the vehicle then crossed the center line. Responding officers then found the truck in the roadway on its passenger side.


According to authorities, Gomez said one of the tires on his vehicle popped but nothing appeared to be wrong with any of his tires. Gomez also claimed to have consumed four beers.  The driver allegedly refused a certified blood alcohol test after blowing into a portable breathalyzer that recorded a .178 blood alcohol level.


He was arrested for operating while intoxicated and driving as a habitual traffic violator, which are both Level 6 Felonies. Prior records show Gomez has had “numerous” prior OWI convictions with his last being in February of last year.

New Slicers Basketball Academy

(La Porte, IN) - The La Porte Community School Corporation Future Slicer Basketball Academy recently wrapped up their first year.


For the past ten weeks, 84 boys ranging from third through sixth grade participated in a weekly basketball skills clinic at La Porte High School.


Jordan Heckard, Head Varsity Coach, started the program to give future La Porte athletes the opportunity to work on foundational skills with the current Slicer basketball team.


As a perk of the program, the participants received a jersey and season pass to Slicers games to cheer on the players they worked with throughout the clinic.


"We are are very excited to give these young athletes an opportunity to experience the camaraderie that comes from being a Slicer athlete. To see our high school players coaching, officiating and working alongside 80+ future Slicers was an awesome experience. The community involvement has been outstanding and we look forward to seeing how the program grows next year," Heckard said.

Boy's Nothing But Net Fund Raiser

(Westville, IN) - A handful of students raised money to have new nets on the basketball rims at their school in Westville.


Julian Torres, 10, spearheaded the effort after growing tired of not hearing the ball swish through the bare rims at the outdoor basketball court at K-12 school.


Sasha Betancourt said her fourth grade son went to his principal at Westville Elementary about getting new chain nets on the rims.


She said Julian was told if he raised enough money for one net, Principal Brian Ton would pay for the nets on the other three rims.


Torres and two classmates, Adonis Vogel and Knox Schonover, made and sold the rubber band-like bracelets in various colors until reaching their goal of having enough money to buy the net costing $24.


Betancourt said they made 50 bracelets but it only took 20 of the bracelets to sell to have enough money.  She hopes the nets go up by the end of the week.


“I was pretty proud of him.  He’s a good kid,” Betancourt said.


Torres said he and his friends were already making bracelets for themselves when he suggested offering the bracelets for sale to benefit the school.

Study Confirms Need for New Housing

(La Porte, IN) - La Porte needs to add close to two thousand or more new housing units to its current supply of homes built mostly before 1940. That’s according to a recently completed study conducted by Chicago based SB Friedman Development Advisors.


The study, which began last summer, also came up with a framework to guide stakeholders in crafting a plan for addressing the housing needs in the city of about 22,000 residents.


Mayor Tom Dermody, who made new and updating current housing for all income levels a top priority, said a dent has been made in the problem since he took over in 2020 but there’s a lot more work to be done. He said new housing is key to increasing the city’s population and making residents out of people coming here for employment.  New members of the local workforce have long commuted from places like Valparaiso and Chesterton or Saint Joseph County after going there to find desired housing because of the fewer options here.


“We have a team that’s ready to work.  We have a community that wants to see it. It’ll happen,” he said.


The study proposes adding more than 900 homes for ownership and over 750 rental housing units over the next few years.


Lance Dorn, a partner with the consulting firm, said only 20-percent of the housing stock in La Porte was constructed since 1980 and that’s created other issues in areas like condition and safety.


“Those are impacting neighborhoods really throughout the community but there’s a concentration of that in the downtown area,” Dorn said.


The study also points to a need to renovate existing residential structures.


For quicker results, reaching out to more housing developers, including firms specializing in active senior housing along with workforce and rent-restricted housing for people with special housing needs, is also proposed. Recent successes include the opening of 200 resort type apartments near Clear Lake, ongoing expansion of Whispering Meadows subdivision and complete revamping of a once condemned 40 unit apartment house at 701 Maple Avenue.


Plans are also in the works for building more affordable homes in the near future at the former Tibma Bakery site on Woodward Street and an undeveloped site on 18th Street near Kesling Park.


Bert Cook, Executive Director of the La Porte Economic Advancement Partnership, said construction of more upscale housing should also begin this year beside Beechwood Golf Course.


Cook said he believes the numbers reflect not just a major current need but also what has to be done to achieve Dermody’s goal of raising the population to 30,000 by 2030.


He also believes the amount of new housing the study recommends in a relatively short period time presents a challenge but is attainable especially under the right economic conditions.


“It is a significant goal to try and reach but it’s one we’re positioned for and I think it’s something that’s desperately needed here,” Cook said.

Man Hit with More Drug Dealing Counts

(La Porte, IN) - Drug dealing charges are mounting against a La Porte man. Pedro Burgos, Jr., was recently arrested on a Level 4 Felony charge of Dealing in a Narcotic Drug.


Police said Burgos was involved in a $300 transaction for pressed fentanyl pills in La Porte in June of last year.  He allegedly met a buyer outside a gas station on the city’s west side and carried out the exchange inside his vehicle. The buyer contacted Burgos about obtaining drugs on Facebook messenger.


According to the authorities, the fentanyl pills sold by the suspect came from Mexico.


Court records also revealed Burgos has three charges of Dealing in a Schedule II  Substance from 2021 still undecided in La Porte Circuit Court.   Those counts are Level 2, Level 3 and Level 5 felonies.

Girls Praised for Competing Against Top Programs

(La Porte County, IN) - The La Lumiere girls’ basketball team gave another No. 1 ranked team a run for their money in a losing effort at home.


The Lakers were defeated 55-44 by Fremd High School outside Chicago on February 3. The Vikings are ranked No. 1 in Class 4A in Illinois.


La Lumiere, led by McDonalds All-American senior Ashlynn Shade, exchanged leads with the Vikings often during the first half. Other players for La Lumiere factored into the scoring more often than Shade, who was double teamed and pressured in other ways on defense throughout the game.


Her first bucket came from a driving lay-up with about three minutes left in the first quarter.  Shade later nailed a three point shot in the second quarter to pull the Lakers to within two points.


The Vikings started the third quarter with two quick buckets to pull ahead by seven points but the Lakers quickly came back when Shade dished the ball to junior Shena Fleming for a lay-up.  Shade then sank a 10 foot jump shot after grabbing an offensive rebound to cut the lead to three points.


However, Fremd later went up by 12 points but the three point shooting of Fleming helped keep the Lakers in striking distance. The Lakers trailed by eight points with less two minutes to play but couldn’t get any closer.


La Lumiere (9-10) bounced back the following night by defeating Joliet West on the road 59-52.


The previous week, the Lakers had a second quarter lead against South Bend Washington ranked No. 1 in Indiana and No. 7 in the nation.


The Lakers wound up losing that game by 16 points.


Head Coach Matt Marvin praised the effort of his players in both games against teams with several players heading to major college basketball programs next season.


“I’m really proud of this team. They work so hard every single day.  They leave nothing out there,” he said.


Shade, who transferred from Noblesville, Ind., is committed to playing for the University of Connecticut next season.


Marvin said one of his other players, Gabi Hoover, a 6’2” senior forward, is beginning to draw some interest from collegiate programs.

Popular Local Zoo Tiger Passes Away

(Michigan City, IN) - A tiger who had spentnearly his entire life at Washington Park Zoo in Michigan City has died. The male tiger, Stars, had recently been suffering from chronic kidney disease when the zoo decided to euthanize him. 


He was 18.


According zoo officials, chronic kidney disease is a common cause of illness and death in older feline species including tigers.  Stars was diagnosed with the disease a few weeks ago and had been closely monitored and treated with medications to keep him comfortable, but his activity and appetite continued to slow. The decision to euthanize Stars was necessary based on his extreme medical condition before his quality of life declined any further.


Officials said the tiger was a “favorite of guests and staff.”


The life span of tigers in the wild is usually between 10 and 15 years. In human care, or on rare occasions in the wild, a tiger can live up to 20 years.


Stars was born at a zoo in Iowa on October 15th, 2004. He had been at the zoo with his brother, Stripes, since 2005. 

Driver in Ravine Charged with OWI

(La Porte County, IN) - La Porte County Police found a motor vehicle in a ravine over the weekend and arrested the driver for consuming too much alcohol.


Emergency responders about 3 a.m. Sunday were called to U.S. 35 near 400 North.


Upon arrival, police noticed the driver, Cleveland Broome, III, was outside the vehicle talking on a cell phone. The driver claimed he ran off the road to avoid an oncoming vehicle in his lane of travel, police said.


The 49-year-old La Porte man also claimed he had two beers and a shot about two hours prior to the accident. However, authorities said he had a blood alcohol level of slightly more than .17-percent, which is slightly higher than two times the legal limit for operating a motor vehicle.

Slicers Run Past Kankakee Valley 86-54

The La Porte Boys Basketball team overcame a slow start and overwhelmed Kankakee Valley 86-58 Saturday afternoon at Slicer Gym. 


The Kougars, playing without leading scorer Camden Webster (18ppg), surprised LP, jumping out to an 8-0 lead to start the game. Rylan Kieszkowski got the Slicers on the board with a three pointer. La Porte trailed 22-20 after the entertaining, high scoring opening period. Ja’Meriyon Cross scored 7 points in the quarter and three different Slicers hit three pointers. Kankakee Valley hit five threes in the quarter.


La Porte took the lead, which they never relinquished, on a Kieszkowski three early in the second quarter. LP scored the first 10 points of the period and never looked back. The Slicer defense was superb holding the Kougars to just 6 second quarter points. La Porte led 42-28 at the half and had three double digit scores at the break, Cross with 12, Kyle Kirkham 11 and Kieszkowski with 10.


The third quarter saw both the Slicers and Kougars at their best offensively. La Porte outscored KV 25-19 in the period led by Malik Corley’s 15 points. LP’s relentless press forced several KV turnovers and led to easy baskets. Kankakee Valley’s sophomore guard Bobby LaLonde scored 9 of his team high 16 points in the third.

La Porte outscored KV 19-9 in the fourth quarter making the final 86-58. Both coaches emptied their benches in the fourth.


Cross and Corley were named co Salisbury and Spence Edward Jones Players of the Game. Cross led the Slicers with 20 points while Corley scored 19, 17 in the second half. Kirkham finished with 13, Kieszkowski 12, Dylan Salisbury 8, Tommy Samuelson 7, Nic Spence 5 and RJ Anglin 2.


La Porte turned the ball over only three times while forcing Kankakee Valley into 19.


Freshman Sawyer Tonagel dressed for the varsity game and saw fourth quarter action. Tonagel is a rare third generation Slicer. His grandfather Hugh was a Slicer standout in the late 1960’s and father Ben was a star on the 1997 Final Four team.


The Slicers (13-6) will travel to Merrillville Friday night to take on the Pirates in a DAC battle scheduled to tip at 7:00. That game can be heard on 96.7 the Eagle. Pregame is scheduled at approximately 6:45.


16-0 RUN SPARKS 48-37 JV WIN


The La Porte JV team and Kankakee Valley were tied at 28-28 near the midway point of the third quarter Saturday afternoon. The Slicers scored the last 11 points of the third period and the first 5 points of the fourth quarter on their way to a 48-37 win.


The game was back and forth in the first half with KV leading 11-9 after one and the Slicers up 25-22 at the half. Sawyer Tonagel stayed red hot from the three point line hitting five on his way to a game high 17 points. This comes on the heels of his six three pointers vs Valpo on Thursday.  Vann Warner scored 7 while Mike Montoya and Gage Raymond each had 6.  Kevin Konieczny pitched in 5 and Javelle Broome finished with 3. Broome was great on the boards against the taller Kougars.


The JV team is now 8-10 on the season. They will travel to Merrillville Friday night with tip off scheduled at 5:30.

Close Call in Crash into Office

(Trail Creek, IN) - A business owner in the Michigan City area had a very close call with a motor vehicle over the weekend.


The vehicle took out a NIPSCO pole early Saturday afternoon before crashing into the office at Amish Structures on U.S. 20 in Trail Creek.  A natural gas leak was created when the vehicle took out a gas meter at the business.


Coolspring Township Assistant Fire Chief Warren Smith said the vehicle apparently left the highway twice before crashing into an Amish Structures owned pick-up truck.


Smith said the truck owned by the business then crashed into the office building and stopped about 10 feet from the owner of the company.  He said a roughly 15 foot wide by 9 foot tall hole was left in the outside wall of the office structure.


“He was sitting in the office right behind where the impact came in,” Smith said.


Smith said the owner could have been seriously injured or killed had the vehicle not hit the truck and plowed straight into the office.


“It’s a good thing his truck was in the way,”  he said.


Smith says the driver was being looked over by medics.  We’ll provide more details once they become available.

South Central Repeats as Sectional Champs

(Union Mills, IN) - South Central won their second sectional title in a row in girls’ high school basketball Saturday night


The Lady Satellites defeated LaVille for the sectional crown 52 to 40.


South Central plays Central Noble from Albion in a one game regional next Saturday at Winamac.  Game time is noon. (CST).


The Satellites (23-3) haven’t lost a game since the New Year.


South Central has two returning starters from last year’s team, which was undefeated until losing to Andrean in the regional championship game.  It’s the third sectional title in the last four seasons for the Lady Satellites.        


“We have some really talented young ladies who’ve been playing basketball their whole lives and this is kind of a culmination of their hard work over the years,” said Head Coach Ben Anderson.                                        


Central Noble is ranked No. 3 in Class 2A while South Central is unranked. 


“I think we’re comparable in a lot of ways and I think we can compete with them.  We’re playing our best basketball of the season right now,” he said.

Grammy Awards Have Local Connection

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


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


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


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

State Police Introduce New K-9 Teams for This Region


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



They are:

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


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

Knox High School Rattled by Noisy Muffler

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


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


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


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

Brawl Spoils Senior Night in South Bend

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


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


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


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

Both Mayors Unopposed in Primary

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


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


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


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


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


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


The filing deadline expired today at 12 p.m. 

Charges in Crow Bar Robbery Attack

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


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


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


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


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

Car Takes Out Pole at Hammer's

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


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


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


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


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


We’ll provide more details as they become available.

Slicer Defense Keys 50-47 Win Over Valpo

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


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


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


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

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


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


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


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

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

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


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


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



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


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


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


Photos courtesy of Susan Anglin.

Dumpster Diving Lands Man in Jail

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


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


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


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


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


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

Charges in Junk Food Theft

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


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


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


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


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


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


Court records show he has several prior theft related convictions.

Mayor Standing Up to NIPSCO

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


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


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


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


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


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

Lawsuit Vowed if Schreiber Field is Threatened

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


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


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


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


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

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


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

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


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


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


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


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


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

Board President Clarifies Stance on Schreiber Field

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


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


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


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

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


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

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


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


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


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


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



He died in 2017 at the age of 83. 

Space Heater Blamed for Fire

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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


“Everybody did a great job,” he said.


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

Groundhog Predicts Extended Winter

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


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


No shadow means an early spring.


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


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


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

Local Man Charged in Fatality

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


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


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


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


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

Active Hit and Run Driver Search

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


The suspected vehicle was described as a white Dodge Charger.


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


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

Suspected OWI in SUV Rollover

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


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


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


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


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


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


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

Indoor Grow Operation Bust

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


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


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


Child welfare authorities were also called to the residence.


Authorities said the case remains under investigation.

Fair Lands Second Rising Music Act

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


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


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


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


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

Arrest Stems from Same Day Overdoses

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


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


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


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


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

Active House Fire

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


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


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


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


We’ll provide more details as they become available.

Death of Child Ruled Natural

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


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


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


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

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