Local News Archives for 2023-03

Charges in Crash Fatal to Child

(La Porte County, IN) - Charges have been filed in connection with a fatal single vehicle crash nearly a month ago outside La Porte.


Dawn Coleman, 42, of Fish Lake is charged in La Porte Circuit Court.


The most serious offenses filed against here are multiple counts of operating while intoxicated in connection with the death of a seven-year old girl and major injuries to her adult front seat passenger, authorities said.


According to La Porte County Police, Coleman was the driver of a vehicle southbound on U.S. 35 just after midnight on February 26.


Police said Coleman veered off the road to her right and collided with two trees prior to her vehicle coming to rest in a wooded area near Schultz Road.


The front seat passenger was Alfred Jones, 45, of Chicago.  Police said Jones was transported to a regional hospital by helicopter with injuries described as critical.


Coleman’s injuries requiring hospital treatment were described as serious.


Police said an eight-year old boy riding in the backseat with the girl suffered just minor injuries.


An initial hearing in the case is set for March 31 before Judge Tom Alevizos.


Coleman could face anywhere from 2 to 12 years on each of three level 4 felony counts and lesser punishment on the two remaining level 5 felony and level 6 felony counts.


So far, the amount of alcohol allegedly in her bloodstream has not been disclosed.

Police Impersonator Caught in the Act

(La Porte County, IN) - A La Porte man trying to police the roadways was himself picked up during a fake traffic stop.


On Tuesday afternoon, an alert Sheriff’s deputy witnessed an odd roadside interaction on eastbound State Road 2 between Lofgren Rd. and County Road 350 East.


A delivery truck was stopped along the shoulder with a burgundy GMC Yukon parked behind it. Further investigation revealed the Yukon’s driver, 27-year-old Jacob Carder of La Porte, activated a flashing light bar across the front of his truck to get the delivery driver’s attention. He told police he wanted to pull over the delivery truck because of its poor driving.


However, Carder was found to be without a driver’s license. His passenger, 28-year-old Brittany Stewart, also of La Porte, also had an arrest warrant against her for child neglect. She was taken into custody.


Carder’s Yukon was impounded, and he was charged with Impersonation of a Public Servant. He later posted a $755.00 cash bond through La Porte Circuit Court.

New Prairie Trio Named to All-Star Team

(New Carlisle, IN) - New Prairie will be well represented at this summer’s North-South All-Star football game.


Two players were named to the 57th Annual Murat North-South Football All-Star Classic. Offensive lineman Jacob Mrozinski and defensive end Tayvion Ortman will play for the North team. Head coach Casey McKim was also named to the North coaching staff.

The game will take place on July 14th at Decatur Central High School.

Federal Prison Sentence for Local Man

(South Bend, IN) - A La Porte County man has been sentenced to time in federal prison for gun-related charges, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced.


In February 2021, 35-year-old Anthony Sanders allegedly ran from Michigan City police while carrying a loaded 9 mm pistol with an extended magazine.


Sanders had prior convictions for Armed Robbery, Burglary, and Drug-Dealing that prohibited him from carrying a firearm. After pleading guilty, Sanders was sentenced to 15 years in prison followed by three years of supervised release.

Valpo Couple Picked Up for Child Porn

(Valparaiso, IN) - Two Valparaiso residents have been arrested on child pornography charges.


Indiana State Police and FBI agents conducted a month-long investigation centered at a residence in the 500 block of Elm Street in Valparaiso. In January, a raid turned up evidence of production of child pornography.


One of the residents, 33-year-old Veronica Solis, was arrested Tuesday. Her four children, ages 7-13, were placed in foster care.


42-year-old Gerald Brann has also been accused. He was arrested at a New Jersey truck stop while out of state for work.


According to State Police, the alleged crimes against children took place while the couple lived in San Antonio, Texas. They will be extradited to Texas and could face additional charges.

St. Patrick's Day Travel Safety Advice

(La Porte County, IN) - To help keep roadways safe during this year's St. Patrick’s Day festivities, the La Porte County Sheriff’s Office is teaming up with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to spread the message about the dangers of impaired driving.  


“If your plans for the holiday include alcohol, make sure you plan ahead and identify a sober designated driver,” said Captain Derek J. Allen. 


St. Patrick’s Day is one of the deadliest times on our roadways.  During the three day St. Patrick’s Day holiday period from 2016-2020, police said 287 lives were lost nationwide in drunk-driving crashes.  


In 2020 alone, 37 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes in the U.S. over the St. Patrick’s Day holiday period. 


“Those who choose to operate a motor vehicle while intoxicated are a continuing problem on La Porte County roadways.  Don’t be the reason someone — including yourself — doesn’t get home.  Don’t let St. Patrick’s Day become an anniversary of a tragic night,” stated Captain Allen.


According to police, before ever heading out, it’s vital to plan ahead and execute these tips.

  • Before consuming alcohol, designate a sober driver.
  • If it’s your turn to be the designated driver, take your job seriously and DO NOT consume alcohol!
  • If you observe an impaired driver on a roadway, call 911. 

La Porte Students Shine in Contest

(La Porte, IN) - Three La Porte High School students finished close to the top in a recent competition involving more than 700 students.


The Video Production Class at La Porte High School took part in the Indiana Association of Student Broadcasters Competition in the Video Spot Production category.


Placing fourth was an ad for Dawn dish soap created by Hallee Novak, Sara Villa and Joy Defendre.


"I was really proud of these young ladies. The video had excellent production value, great lighting, and editing. I was also impressed with Joy's performance in the video,” said Visual/Digital Communications Teacher Don Varda.


Students from nearly 40 high schools participated in the event.

Stage Set for Legal Fight over E-Mails

(La Porte County, IN) - There could be a legal battle over a request for e-mails by Sean Fagan, the new La Porte County Prosecutor.


The La Porte County Commissioners, by a 2-to-1 vote last night, decided to place his request on the shelf at least for now.  The decision went against the advice of Andrew B. Jones, the attorney for the La Porte County Commissioners.


“I’m not trying to argue with anyone.  I’m really just trying to stop the county from getting sued.  I’m pleading with you,” he said.


Fagan is requesting all e-mails from last year by former prosecutor John Lake and his wife, Mary, who was his chief deputy prosecutor.  All e-mails in 2022 are also being sought from two former employees and one current member of the prosecutor’s office, who stayed on after Fagan took over January 1st.


Fagan said he wants the e-mails to try and fill gaps in evidence from over 40 cases he inherited from the previous prosecutor.


He said the need is from Lake not fully cooperating during the transition to his administration and some paper records at the county complex that could be helpful in evidence gathering being destroyed from a flood around Christmas after a frozen water line busted.


Commissioners Connie Gramarossa and Rich Mrozinski voted to table the request until there's an attempt to obtain more specific information from Fagan on his request.


Gramarossa said she has no problem with giving Fagan e-mails specific to the cases he wants to research, but not all e-mails from last year.


“I have a problem with that.  Let him take us to court,” she said.

Mrozinski expressed a similar view and also alleged Fagan’s motive could be political.


“It sounds to me like a witch hunt,” he said.


In January, two former employees under Lake filed a lawsuit against Fagan alleging he fired them for political reasons.


Prosecutors in all counties in Indiana actually work for the state. However, the prosecutor’s office in La Porte County uses a county government server for internet service.


Nevertheless, Jones said all e-mails from the prosecutor’s office are state property and the commissioners must comply with the prosecutor’s request.


Jones said the decision to table his request is equal to a denial and could result in a stiff financial penalty.


He provided opinions from the Indiana Attorney General’s Office, the Indiana Public Access Counselor and the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council, who ruled the e-mails belong to the prosecutor’s office.


Fagan said he hasn’t decided yet whether to legally challenge the decision.


Commissioner Joe Haney voted in favor of Fagan’s request.


“I would agree with the state here. This is the state’s data and we’re mere custodians,” he said.


Haney also felt all of the e-mails were needed because he might not know which ones are critical to the cases until he opens and reviews all of them. 

Serious Injury Collision Under Investigation

(Rolling Prairie, IN) - Whether alcohol or drugs were involved in a serious injury motor vehicle crash in La Porte County this week remains under investigation.


The accident happened Wednesday about 7 p.m. on U.S. 20 near 350 East.


La Porte County Police said Amanda Runion, 37, was stopped waiting for oncoming traffic to clear so she could turn left into her driveway.


A car approaching from behind slammed into the back end of her SUV. Runion complained of pain, blurry vision and had a large knot on her head.  Her six-month-old baby in a car seat was not injured.


The other driver, Shane Ransom, 42, of La Porte was unresponsive and taken to a South Bend hospital. It appears Ransom was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the incident.


Police said there were no tire tracks left by the Ransom vehicle to indicate he tried braking prior to the collision.

Drug Impaired Driver Collision

(La Porte County, IN) - A driver allegedly under the influence of drugs crashed into a tree near Michigan City last evening.


Officers about 5:40 p.m. were called to the area of U.S. 20 and 300 West.


Police said the driver, Tonnette Logmann, 51, of Michigan City refused to submit to a blood test.


She was impaired, though, judging by her slurred speech, unsteady balance and other symptoms, yet had not been drinking.


Among the items seized from her vehicle were various pills and two plastic bags containing narcotics.


There were no injuries.


Logmann was arrested on charges including Possession of a Controlled Substance and Operating while Intoxicated. 

Date Set for Easter Egg Hunt

Mayor Duane Parry is announcing the return of the Michigan City Easter Egg Hunt.


It’s scheduled Saturday, April 8th in Fedder’s Alley at Washington Park.


“We are extremely excited for this year’s Easter Egg Hunt, as it is such a great event for the children in our community”, said Parry.


Children will be divided into various age groups.  A dedicated handicapped accessible area will be located near the entrance to the event.  Officials said the City will provide each child with a bag to collect plastic eggs filled with candy and prize tickets.


There will be collection boxes for the plastic eggs to be recycled at the end of the event, officials said.


Parking will be in the main Washington Park parking lot (Lot 1) and the Senior Center parking lot.


Gates will open for the event at 11 a.m.  There will be activities until the start of the egg hunt at 12 p.m.


Director of Special Events Terry Greetham said local businesses along with city employees from various departments along with volunteers are working together on the event.


“It is always great when so many people come together for the benefit of our community,” he said.

Lower Cost New Housing Concept Moves Forward

(New Buffalo, MI) - A desire to build new housing within the price reach of average wage earners just outside the city limits of New Buffalo has taken another step forward.


New Buffalo Area Schools Superintendent Michael Lindley agreed during a March 15 workshop to try and get the city and township to join the school district in the potential development viewed as a public-private partnership.


Lindley said he will also attempt to get Berrien County government to contribute to the project in some fashion.


The plan involves construction of 30 townhomes and two apartment buildings containing 32 units on land owned by the school district along Lubke Road across from New Buffalo Elementary School.


Another 15 lots would be reserved for single family houses that would be constructed over time with help from students in the high school’s building trades program.


Currently, the total cost of constructing the 62 units is estimated at roughly $18 million.


Representatives from Progresses, a real estate development company based in Chicago and the Antero Group, a consulting firm also based in Chicago, gave an overview of the project and the steps involved to break ground during the workshop at New Buffalo High School.


Several members of the school board and citizens also attended the session.


Whether the development materializes hinges on acquiring enough financial support from the public or private sectors to reduce the cost of construction enough to bring down the price of the homes to a level average wage earners can afford.


Right now, Lindley said he felt the estimated cost is much too high and any private or public funds that might be available to help offset the expense will be needed to make construction a reality.


“It’s imperative you look for any grant programs out there,” he said.


The homes would go up on about 20-percent of the 35 acre site owned by the school district, which has pledged to donate the land for the development to help offset the cost of the homes.


Local governments will be asked to put in the streets and other infrastructure such as water and sewer lines at no cost or a discount.


Lindley said the idea is to bring in families with children now priced out of the local housing market to reverse declining enrollment.  He said another goal is to attract and retain more teachers by providing homes financially within their reach.


“We got to think outside the box and figure out how do we get these people to live here,” he said.


Lindley said he anticipates the new housing, if constructed, to be available for purchase and rent.  He also emphasized what’s traditionally viewed in a negative light as affordable housing is not what’s being discussed.


School board member Lisa Werner said deed restrictions aimed at keeping the homes occupied by full-time residents in future years should be included.


“We want some control so it just doesn’t turn into a second home development,” she said.


School board member Denise Churchill expressed a similar view.


“I want to protect the integrity, the reason we’re doing this,” she said.


Ed Gausselin, a representative from the real estate development firm, said reaching the desired price level will be a challenge especially from much higher construction costs and rising interest rates.


However, he said the design work is in the very early stages where it’s ripe for cost reduction adjustments typical in major developments.


“There are ways of getting this where it needs to be,” he said.


Eric Neagu, president of the consulting firm, said construction could begin within a year if everything in the process goes right.  He said the next steps should include a surveying of the land early in the spring and decision by the school district on any restrictions desired in the deeds.


Another workshop to further discuss the proposal is anticipated in May or June.

New Location Soon for Brewery

(Michigan City, IN) - Work has begun on a new location for Burn ‘Em Brewing in Michigan City.


Ground was recently broken at the site at 1215 E. 2nd Street.


“This has been a long time coming, and we are happy to be here. Hopefully, we will be open by the end of the year,” said Steve Murray, the head brewer for the company which first opened at 718 Freyer Road in 2014.


“We can’t wait to see you here when we open the doors,” he said.


The brewery is expected to almost double production, expand distribution and create another 20 to 30 full-time jobs at the new location, which will also feature an event center, taproom space along with a patio and full-scratch kitchen.


“This is so good for Michigan City and for Burn ‘Em,” said Michigan City Mayor Duane Parry.


“The city is growing as we continue to see progress in so many areas throughout Michigan City,” said Clarence Hulse, executive director of the Ecomonic Development Corporation Michigan City.


In 2021, the Michigan City Redevelopment Commission approved the concept and vision for the site as well as Burn ‘Em’s purchase of the former warehouse building for its plans costing about $1.6 million.


Skyler York, director of planning and inspection in Michigan City, said advantages of the new location include close proximity to a trail and U.S.12.


“It just makes sense to be here,” he said.

Meeting to Focus on Prison Reconstruction

(Westville, IN) - The South County Community Coalition will hold an informational meeting next week about the planned Westville Correctional Facility construction project.


Prison officials are in the process of planning a complete reconstruction of the prison, which is expected to cost $1.2 billion.


The informational meeting will be held on Monday at 6:00 p.m. at the Westville School cafeteria.   The event is free to attend and open to all members of the public.


The SCCC has organized this event with the Indiana Department of Corrections to help provide clarity to local officials and community members about the impact of the project. The project may begin construction as early as this summer and is expected to create over 1,500 construction jobs.


“We believe this project will bring a good deal of jobs and economic opportunity to the Westville community during construction, and we want locals to have the best chance to prepare for those opportunities,” explained SCCC Vice President Justin Kiel.


The Westville Correctional Facility has a current capacity of 3,400 inmates and employs over 900 individuals. Department of Corrections officials said that the prison, which was originally built as a mental hospital, has exceeded its useful life, and a new facility is expected to be safer for employees and more efficient.


“The Department of Corrections is one of the largest employers in LaPorte County,” said SCCC President Allen Stevens, “and we are thankful for their willingness to engage community stakeholders as they take on this project.”


Representatives from the Department of Corrections will be present on Monday to answer questions about the project at the conclusion of a presentation.

At Least One Hurt in Crash

(La Porte County, IN) - At least one person was injured in a motor vehicle collision last evening in the Rolling Prairie area.


La Porte County Police said two vehicles were involved in the crash on U.S. 20 near 350 East.


It happened after 7 p.m.


Sources say traffic was backed up for a good distance for about one hour. 


So far, further details are not being released because the crash remains

under investigation by authorities.


We'll provide more information when it becomes available. 

Shots Fired at Door-Dash Driver

(Michigan City, IN) - A Door-Dash driver was shot at multiple times in Michigan City last evening.


Police said officers were called after 5 p.m. to Vail and Walker streets on a report of shots being fired.


So far, the investigation shows a 19-year-old female Door-Dash driver stopped her car to make a delivery when numerous gunshots rang out.


Her vehicle was struck by several bullets but she and her male passenger were not injured.


Detectives worked throughout the night collecting evidence and conducting interviews. No arrests were made, but the investigation is ongoing.


Anyone with information is asked to contact the Michigan City Police Department.

Horizon is Money in Bank for Hoosier Star

(La Porte, IN) - Horizon Bank is again a major sponsor of a singing competition that’s become a tradition in La Porte.


The bank provided a $10,000 sponsorship check to the host of the event, the La Porte County Symphony Orchestra.


It’s the 18th year in a row that Horizon Bank has been a Platinum Sponsor for the Hoosier Star competition.


Hoosier Star features five performers in the youth division and five performers in the adult division, who sing to the music played by the orchestra during the live event at the Civic Auditorium.


Over the years, most of the performers come from La Porte County and the entire region but there’s also been talent drawn from downstate and southwest Michigan. The performers are finalists chosen from a pool of contestants who auditioned for a chance at making it onto the stage.


The finalists compete for cash prizes.


The 18th annual Hoosier Star competition this year is scheduled September 9. LCSO Executive Director, Tim King, accepted the check from Horizon Bank NW Region President, Steve Kring.

Family Night at Preschool

(La Porte, IN) - Some preschool students in La Porte recently took part in a St. Patrick’s Day-related project.


Children in the Little Learners Preschool along with their parents created a St. Patrick’s Day sensory bottle together.


The project was part of the Make and Take Family Activity Night at the preschool.Lauren Leren, owner of SensorEE Kits and parent to one of the preschool students, donated her time to provide instruction on making the items.


Little Learners Principal Becky Jeffers said more events like this are planned in the future.


“It was a great night. Parents and students were engaged and everyone loved their finished product,”


The Little Learners Preschool is a part of the La Porte Community School Corporation. The program is available for general education three, four, and five-year olds residing in the Lincoln Elementary School attendance area.


The program also serves South LaPorte County Special Education Cooperative students that live within New Prairie, La Porte, Tri-Township, South Central, or Westville districts, school officials said.

Shoplifter Found with Heroin

(Michigan City, IN) - A La Porte woman after caught shoplifting was found with heroin and other drugs.


Those are the criminal allegations filed against Nikki Daley.


Daley, 27, is charged with Theft and Possession of Cocaine or a Narcotic Drug, both Level 6 Felonies, and Class A Misdemeanor Possession of a Controlled Substance.


According to court documents, officers were responding to Meijer in Michigan City on March on a report of a shoplifter last seen running inside the nearby Aldi grocery store.


Police said Daley was found in a bathroom and inside her backpack was close to $300 in stolen merchandise from Meijer, as well as a small amount of heroin and prescription pills.


The theft charge was elevated to a felony due to her having several prior convictions related to stealing.

Help Required in Arrest

(La Porte, IN) - Police officers were pushed to the brink during their struggle to arrest a man in a store parking lot in La Porte.  Nicholas Lambert, 22, is charged in La Porte Circuit Court with level 6 felony battery against a public safety official and two other counts.


On March 10th, Lambert was alone inside an SUV outside Kroger when approached by officers with a warrant for his arrest.  Police said Lambert sprang out of the passenger seat and tried running past the officers but he was grabbed by the arms.


During a struggle, the La Porte man was taken to the ground but he wouldn’t stop resisting arrest.  Officers were not able to get his hands behind his back to place him in handcuffs until additional officers arrived.


“Nicholas was still trying to get away even after he was handcuffed,” patrolman Brett Fisher wrote in his report.


Lambert during his short trip to the La Porte County Jail also kept trying to open the door and window beside him in the back seat of the police vehicle. Authorities state Officer Fisher was bleeding from wounds on his right hand sustained during the struggle and complained of pain to his right knee.  


According to court records, Lambert has a prior conviction for making physical contact with law enforcement and other crimes.

La Porte Robbery Arrests

(La Porte, IN) - Arrests have been made for a robbery at a La Porte convenience store last week.  All four of the suspects are juveniles.


The robbery happened Thursday at the Mini Mart in the 200 block of Lincolnway.  Police said a store clerk had her cell phone taken from her and was shoved out of the way to rob the place.


The first two suspects were arrested the following day.  Another person was taken into custody the next day.  The final arrest occurred yesterday. 


One of the suspects was wearing a sweatshirt depicting the character “Chuckie” from the Nickelodeon cartoon "Rugrats" on the back.  


The ages and names of the suspects have not released due to them being juveniles. Authorities state no further information will be released at this time.













Jake's Law Moving Again at Statehouse

(La Porte, IN) - A La Porte woman is optimistic her proposal aimed at saving lives at school will be adopted by state lawmakers this year.  The measure, called “Jake’s Law”, would require schools to have automatic external defibrillators within quick access during athletic events.


The devices are used as an attempt to restore a heartbeat by automatically diagnosing a life threatening cardiac arrhythmia then applying electricity to help the heart reestablish an effective rhythm.


La Porte City Councilwoman Julie West helped draft the proposed legislation, which passed the Indiana State Senate recently.  It’s been assigned to a committee in the Indiana House where the proposal died last year from lack of a hearing.  West said she is hopeful of a different outcome.


“It’s a life-saving bill.  I can’t imagine it not going through,” she said.


West says the measure would require automatic external defibrillators be kept where they can be accessed in three minutes or less.  The devices would also have to be regularly maintained because they must be in working order in the event of a medical emergency.  She said the bill also calls for development of an action plan at schools for sudden cardiac arrest.


In 2013, her son, Jake, collapsed at football practice in La Porte and died from an undiagnosed genetic heart condition.  Ever since his passing, West and her "Play for Jake Foundation" raises money to provide free heart screenings every year for students in the area.  Her objective is preventing another child from being dealt the same fate as her son.


West pointed to the recent collapse of Damar Hamblin, a football player for the Buffalo Bills, for the need to assure quick response.  Hamblin’s heart stopped during a game and he might have died had it not been for quick response by medics close to the field.


“I want to make sure we do everything possible to make sure this doesn’t happen to another child or person or a family.  That’s what keeps me going,” she said.

New Ambulance Base Operating

(Rolling Prairie, IN) - The new La Porte County ambulance base is now in service.  The facility at Rolling Prairie began responding to calls Monday at 8 a.m.


EMS Administrator Andrew McGuire said the base will respond to medical calls in the area roughly from Springville north to the Michigan state line and east to Hudson Lake then south to the Mill Creek area.


McGuire said he expects response times to improve dramatically since Rolling Prairie is in the middle of a service area previously covered by ambulances traveling longer distances from the base in City of La Porte.


“Some of those areas up on 1000 North that we responded to all the way from downtown La Porte, you’re talking about a 15 minute, 16 minute response time.  We can cut that down probably to about five minutes from the Rolling Prairie base location,” he said.


La Porte County Commission President Joe Haney said the ambulance base is a longtime coming.


“This has been something the county has been trying to do for well over 20, 30 years now.  When I came on board the commission, I made it a priority item,” he said.

For now, McGuire said one ambulance is operating from the facility staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  He said the facility has two bays for a second ambulance if another one is needed depending on future call volume.


The ambulance base along with a new La Porte County Highway Department garage are on a site that was once an Indiana Department of Transportation owned rest stop near U.S. 20 and Indiana 2.


The cost of constructing of both facilities was over $2 million.


La Porte County Highway Department Superintendent Al Stevens said the new highway garage should be operating within the next few weeks.


Public Advised to be Ready for Severe Weather

(La Porte County, IN) - Sirens sounded throughout La Porte County this morning as part of severe weather preparedness week throughout the state.


The emergency weather sirens went off at 9:15 a.m. and stayed on for three minutes.


Rob Sabie, Director of the La Porte County Emergency Management Agency, said the purpose of activating the sirens was to start preparing the public for responding to extreme weather since tornado season is approaching.


Sabie said the sirens are also turned on once a month on a Saturday to make sure all of them are working properly.  Sirens going off at any other time or day means a tornado warning has been issued or some other type of severe weather is approaching, he said.


Sabie said people should know in advance how they’re going to respond to extreme weather.


“Go over your plan. Know what you’re supposed to do,” he said.


In the event of severe weather, Sabie said people should go to their basements or crawlspaces.  People without a basement or crawlspace should go to the center of their home on the main level because that’s the strongest area of the structure and furthest from windows.


“The weakest part of any building is windows. Those are the things that are going to break first.  With the high winds, most injuries are caused by flying debris,” he said.


There are more than 40 emergency weather sirens throughout La Porte County.

New Youth Club Open for Enrollment

(La Porte, IN) - Online registrations are are now being accepted for the newest Boys and Girls Club of La Porte County location.


The new facility is in La Porte at the Brighton Street Green Space.


BGCLPC is a nonprofit youth development organization operating afterschool Clubs at 8 locations throughout Michigan City, La Porte, Westville and Kingsford Heights, in addition to a popular summer camp.


Other La Porte sites include Lincoln Elementary School and the Kesling Intermediate School/La Porte Middle School campus. All BGCLPC programs are offered completely free of charge to ensure accessibility, officials said.


At the Brighton Street Club, children in kindergarten through fourth grades will enjoy afterschool snacks, academic support, physical activities, arts & crafts and much more from 3:15 PM to 6:00 PM, Monday through Friday.  The facility will operate seasonally from March through May, and reopen when school resumes in August, officials said. 


Officials said the Brighton Street Club’s unique location allows community service opportunities at the onsite gardens, access to a weekly community dinner at the nearby Pax Center and regular visits from the La Porte County Public Library.


“The Brighton Street Club will allow us to bring together children from all over La Porte during afterschool hours.  We have a very exciting programming plan and are ready to get started,” says Michelle Shirk, BGCLPC Chief Executive Officer.


Families with children in kindergarten through fourth grades can begin their Brighton Street Club membership journey by completing an online pre-registration form at https://www.bgclpc.org/registration/.


Space for La Porte families with middle school aged children is available at the Kesling Club.


For information, contact the BGCLP administrative team at (219) 873-2298.

Driver Impaired During Two State Chase

(La Porte County, IN) - A driver was allegedly impaired during a 50-mile high speed chase from Michigan City and through New Buffalo.


Casey Land, 41, is being held in the Berrien County Jail on multiple charges including Operating while Intoxicated after crashing into a roundabout in downtown Benton Harbor.


At about 8 p.m. on Friday, March 10th, Land stole a 2013 Ford Escape in the 700 block of Emily Street in Michigan City. A short time later, a LaPorte County Police officer on U.S 12 near Liberty Trail tried pulling him over for driving erratically but Land allegedly accelerated and refused to stop.


Police said the chase exceeding 100 miles per hour crossed into Michigan on U.S. 12 and while in New Buffalo veered down Barker Street then Michigan Street before continuing southbound on Whittaker Street and eastbound on Interstate 94.


About 15 miles later, police said Land turned onto Red Arrow Highway and continued at high speeds on Lake Street through downtown Bridgman.


The pursuit was on Shawnee Road near Baroda when the fleeing driver turned onto U.S. 31.


According to Michigan State Police, the suspect after stop sticks flattened at least two of his tires continued on for another three or four miles.  The chase ended when the flattened tires fell off the rims and his vehicle crashed at a roundabout at Main St. and Riverview Dr. near the Whirlpool Corporation.


Land drove off with the SUV after the owner started it up and left until the engine warmed up.


Land, of rural LaPorte, is also charged in Berrien County with four other counts including Possession of Stolen Property and Driving Without a Valid License.


Land will be held in Michigan until he answers to charges filed against him in that state.  He’ll then be returned to Indiana to face Auto Theft and other criminal allegations such as Resisting Law Enforcement.


According to court records, Land was sentenced in September to 34 days in the LaPorte County Jail for Possession of Marijuana.   He also served 282 days of incarceration in LaPorte County for Theft and Battery in 2016.

Famous Name to be Placed on Bridge in Michigan City

(La Porte County, IN) - He first found fame by inventing a toy still sold in stores a century later then as an architect in Long Beach.


John Lloyd Wright will have his name placed on a bridge in Michigan City.


La Porte County Commission President Joe Haney said his name in white letters on a blue sign will be attached to the bridge over Trail Creek on East Street near Blue Chip Casino sometime in the spring.


The bridge was chosen because it’s close to where Wright kept an office in downtown Michigan City.  He also lived in Long Beach.


The LaPorte County Commissioners recently accepted the nominations of six deceased individuals whose names will displayed on other bridges in La Porte County under a program established in 2020 to highlight people with great legacies who lived in LaPorte County.


“It’s a recognition of our history and those who have come before us,” said Commission President Joe Haney.


In 1920, Wright obtained a patent for his Lincoln Logs, which are still widely available on the retail market.  The ends of the three quarter inch long wooden pegs resembling timber interlock allowing users to make log cabins and other miniature buildings.


LaPorte County Historian Bruce Johnson said Wright was an architect in training when he came up with the idea for Lincoln Logs while working with his famous architect father, Frank Lloyd Wright, in Japan.


Johnson said interlocking log beams designed by his father were used in the construction of the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo to make the building earthquake resistant.


He said John used the interlocking concept in his design of the toy logs named in honor of the nation’s 16th president, Abraham Lincoln.


Lincoln was born in a one room log cabin in Kentucky and grew up in log cabins in southern Indiana and Illinois where his family migrated.


In 1999, Johnson said Lincoln Logs were inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in Rochester, New York.


“What was said to be one of the first toys promoted for both boys and girls became a huge success,” he said.


Originally from the Chicago area, Wright in 1923 moved to Long Beach where he was commissioned annually to design one or two buildings in the upscale lakefront community.  His residential and public buildings often contained several floors.


“They were built on the hillsides of the dunes or along the shores of Lake Michigan. His architecture reflected the natural beauty of the dunes with the colors of the sand, stone materials and wood shingles,” Johnson said.


In 1946, Johnson said Wright along with his third wife moved to southern California where he continued having success designing buildings in the San Diego area. He was 80 when he passed away in 1972.


Eventually, Haney said information about the people on the signs will be available on the LaPorte County government webpage.


Among the people already honored under the program include the late Charlie Finley, who owned the three time World Series winning Oakland A’s until he sold the major league baseball team in 1980. 


The sign containing Finley’s name is on the bridge above the Indiana Toll Road on Johnson Road near the farm where he used to live just outside LaPorte.


“There have been so many individuals from LaPorte County who have had an impact on the nation and the world itself.  So, it’s good to show and recognize that and kind of put a spotlight on that,” Hagey said.

Trip to Jail Includes Pit Stop at Restroom

(La Porte County, IN) - A La Porte County Police officer stopped at a bathroom to allow a freshly arrested driver to relieve his bladder of the alcoholic beverages he insisted he had not consumed.


Keven Putnam, 36, is charged with operating while intoxicated.


According to police, officers before 7 p.m. on Saturday responded to a report of a car swerving all over the roadway and nearly striking trees while northbound on Johnson Road.


During a traffic stop in the Trail Creek area, police said Putnam expressed his support for one of the candidates for mayor.  He also insisted he had not been drinking when asked more than once about the alcohol detected on his breath.


Police said his blood alcohol level on a portable breathalyzer test was more than two times the .08 percent legal limit.  He was arrested for refusing to submit to a certified test.


While transporting Putnam to the La Porte County Jail, police said he was so convincing about his urgency to use a restroom for the officer to stop at the Speedway station at U.S. 20 and Indiana 35.


After he finished, Putnam was placed back in handcuffs then admitted consuming alcoholic beverages earlier in the evening at a bar in La Porte.


Putnam was also linked to the excessive use of a horn on a car in a Michigan City neighborhood earlier in the day.  He was celebrating, perhaps, judging by his response when asked why he honked his horn so much.


According to police, he told the officer “I’m a Joe Biden supporter.”

Biden is early in the third year of his first term as president of the United States. 

Michigan City a Designated Tree City

(Michigan City, IN) - Michigan City has been nationally recognized for its commitment to urban forestry.


The city was named a 2022 Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation in an announcement released today.


Dan Lambe, chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation, said Tree City USA communities see the positive effects of an urban forest.


“The trees being planted and cared for by Michigan City are ensuring that generations to come will enjoy a better quality of life.  Additionally, participation in this program brings residents together and creates a sense of civic pride whether it’s through volunteer engagement or public education,” he said.


Michigan City became a Tree City USA by meeting four requirements:  


1) Maintaining a tree board or department.

2) Having a tree care ordinance.

3) Dedicating an annual community forestry budget of at least $2 per capita.

4) Hosting an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.


Founded in 1976, Tree City USA is a partnership between the Arbor Day Foundation, the U.S. Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters.


Michigan City is one of more than 3,600 Tree City USA communities nationwide.


“Over the last few years, the value and importance of trees has become increasingly clear. Cities and towns across the globe are facing issues with air quality, water resources, personal health and well-being and energy use.  Michigan City has taken steps to create a brighter, greener future,” Lambe said.

50 Mile Chase Ends in Crash

)Michigan City, IN) - A man was captured after a 50 mile high speed chase from Michigan City over the weekend.


Casey Land, 41, is being held in the Berrien County Jail after a roundabout caused him to crash in Benton Harbor.


Police said Land about 8 p.m. on Friday stole an SUV in the 700 block of Emily Street in Michigan City.


A short time later, a La Porte County Police officer on U.S 12 tried pulling him over but he refused to stop.  Police said the chase exceeding 100 miles per hour on U.S. 12 went to downtown New Buffalo and a few side streets before proceeding southbound on Whittaker St. and eastbound on Interstate 94.


About 15 miles later, police said Land veered onto Red Arrow Highway in Bridgman. Eventually, the chase made it to Benton Harbor where a roundabout caused the fleeing driver to crash.


Police said Land drove off with the SUV after the owner went out and started it to let the engine warm up.


According to authorities, Land will be held in Michigan to answer charges related to the chase before being returned to La Porte County to face Auto Theft and other criminal allegations, such as Resisting Law Enforcement anticipated to be filed against him.

Spirited St. Patrick's Day Parade

(Michigan City, IN) - There was no shortage of Irish spirit and happy faces during the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade in Michigan City.


Irish dancers, several groups of bag pipe players wearing kilts and clowns in green shamrock decorated costumes were among the highlights of the over 50 unit well attended parade on Franklin Street in the city’s downtown.


Doug Vorel of Michigan City wore green glasses with flashing lights on the frames along with green suspenders stating “Irish Proud” while drinking beer from a bottle in the 40 degree temperatures.   Vorel, who also wore a green beer mug shaped hat, came with his cousin, Beth Hesterman.


Hesterman wearing a green sports jacket and a green bow tie on her head caught a flight from Delaware to pay him a visit and attend the parade for her first time.


“We absolutely love it,” she said.


Audrey Brooks of Michigan City was dressed as an Irish princess wearing a green emerald crown on her head. She was with her dog, Lilly, whose body was covered by a green shirt with a shamrock on it.   Brooks said the parade she attends every year is a great way to get out from under winter to be with family members and friends.


“It’s getting together and it’s a good time with good people,” she said.


Michael Bergerson of Long Beach celebrated his Irish heritage wearing an outfit typical of what’s in fashion for men dressing formally in Ireland.  Bergerson also wore a tweed hat and green knit scarf displaying black shamrocks.

He’s been to Ireland a few times and his grown sons are legal residents of both countries.


“I have Irish in my blood that’s for sure,” Bergerson said.


The parade also featured horses with green colored hooves and riders wearing green cowboy hats.


“It’s a fun thing to do and it brings the youth out to see some horses,” said Bradley Hutchinson, who came from the LaPorte area with his majestic looking American Saddlebred horse.


Brenna Lindsey of Michigan City was there with her seven-year old son, Jacob, and other family members.  The joy she feels is what brings her out to the parade every year.


“The kids.  I like to see the smiles on their faces,” Lindsey said.


Many people in the parade also handed candy to children along the route or threw it on the pavement for them to rush over and pick-up.


There were also plenty of soap bubbles flying in the air.  The bubbles were made from a small machine running continuously from the sidewalk in front of 613 Franklin Street


Also in the parade were numerous candidates for mayor and city council shaking hands on both sides of the route.   LaPorte County Councilman Mark Yagelski, one of five democrats seeking the party’s nomination for mayor in the May primary, said the parade is vintage Michigan City.


“I’m having a great time.  It’s an opportunity for the community to get together,” he said.


“We are enjoying ourselves,” said City Councilwoman Angie Nelson Deuitch, who’s also running for mayor as a Democrat.  


Mayor Duane Parry, unopposed for the Republican nomination in his bid for a second term, waved to the crowd while on foot in front of a group of bagpipe players.     


“This is Americana.  This is what we’re about,” he said.

Hooded Thugs Rob Mini-Mart

(La Porte, IN) - La Porte police are investigating a convenience store robbery Friday night.


According to reports, four male suspects robbed the Mini-Mart at 205 Lincolnway just before 7:30 p.m. Friday night. Using surveillance camera footage, police described the sequence of events.


At about 7:16 p.m. a white male entered the store wearing a green Carhart sweatshirt, while having the hood up with it tightened around his face. He purchased a drink, then left the mini-mart.


Moments later a male wearing black clothing, a black mask, a gray backpack, and black glasses entered. This suspect approached the clerk and pushed her out of the way to rob the store.


Another male entered the store wearing a gray “Nickelodeon” sweatshirt with the character named “Chuckie” from the television show “Rugrats” prominently displayed on the back. He was also wearing gray pants with brown boots, a black mask, and carrying a light brown sack.


A fourth suspect was wearing a white mask, a white sweatshirt, black pants, and a black backpack. This suspect ripped the clerk’s cell phone from her hand and threw it away from her.


No weapons were displayed during the robbery.


Police are now seeking assistance from the public to help identify these individuals. Anyone who may have any information regarding this case should contact Detective Jared Schaefer at 219-362-9446 Ext. 208 or via his email jschaefer@lpcitypd.com.

Phone Scam Not Just for the Elderly

(Michigan City, IN) - The La Porte Sheriff’s Department took a report of another financial phone scam. This time, a teenager was victimized.


On Thursday a 19-year-old Michigan City woman told police that she had received a text message about a lost package from FedEx. Her boyfriend, who had ordered something online, responded to a link in the text message and entered the girlfriend’s personal information. Soon the woman’s bank notified her of a suspicious $500 withdrawal.


Recently some elderly citizens have been victims of scams over the phone. Police are reminding people not to give out personal information over the phone or via text without completely verifying the source.

Another South Bend School Brawl Irks Officers

(South Bend, IN) - Another basketball game, another courtside brawl in South Bend.


This time fists were flying Thursday night at Navarre Middle School on South Bend’s west side, just blocks away from Washington High School, where gang members duked it out at halftime of Senior Night a few weeks ago.


Nearly every officer on shift responded to Navarre Thursday night, with multiple altercations involving adults and minors breaking out. One man was arrested, and one juvenile was detained. "It was literally hundreds of people out here fighting," said South Bend Police Chief Scott Ruszkowski afterward. "A lot of kids, a lot of adults, a lot of parents."


According to Ruszkowski, three officers were already at the school as a precaution. They were following a report of someone in the crowd having a gun after the girls' basketball game when the violence started. No gun was discovered, and no shots were fired, but multiple fights broke out, spilling into the parking lot and nearby neighborhood. Sheriff’s deputies and State Police responded to help restore order.


Ruszkowski spoke to reporters at the scene. He was none too happy about recent incidents. "The excuses and the downplaying of these events are atrocious," he said candidly. "I was right here in the middle of this. The disrespect, the violence that was happening not just to other human beings but to police officers... this has simply got to stop."


The visibly upset police chief continued: "These officers are out here doing their job, trying to get everyone out of here safely. And to be mistreated, verbally, physically abused the way they were-- that is not happening again, I'm going to tell you right now."


Ruszkowski laid much of the blame on school administrators, suggesting they partially obstructed police. "I will tell you, there were administrators here, they were trying to assist, but there comes a point in time when assistance becomes hindrance, and that's what we experienced here." Ruszkowski said police can only do so much in terms of protecting the public at school functions. "We have made recommendations before. Obviously, those recommendations, I would assume, fell on deaf ears because that's not what occurred here tonight."


Navarre Middle School is overseen by the South Bend Empowerment Zone, a system of schools within the South Bend Community School Corporation. District school leaders met with Chief Ruszkowski on Friday and released a statement saying they will "strategize ways to eliminate fighting at our athletics events and to ensure the safety of our students and staff."

Funeral Services for Slain State Trooper

(DeKalb County, IN) - Flags are flying at half-staff today in honor of the Indiana State trooper who died in the line of duty last weekend.


Master Trooper James Bailey is being laid to rest today near Auburn, not far from here his life was taken by a reckless driver.


While assisting in the apprehension of a fleeing vehicle, Bailey was run over on I-69 last Friday. A 15-year veteran of the State Police, Bailey leaves behind a wife and two children. He earned numerous awards during his career, including the “Life Saving Award” in 2010, the “Trooper of the Year” award for District 22 in 2012 and the “Action Award” in 2021.


Funeral services for Trooper Bailey are Saturday morning near Auburn, with burial immediately after.


The DeKalb County Prosecutor filed charges against Bailey’s killer, Terry Sands II of Marion. According to charging documents, Sands "knowingly or intentionally turned his car directly towards Master Trooper Bailey." Sands is charged with Resisting Law Enforcement, Operating with a Controlled Substance, and Murder.

Prison Becoming Home for Meth Dealer

(La Porte, IN) - It’s practically like staying home for a man receiving extended prison time for selling methamphetamine in La Porte.


Timothy Applegate, 46, was given a 10-year prison sentence Wednesday in La Porte Circuit Court along with two years on probation.


Judge Tom Alevizos also ordered Applegate into drug treatment.  If he successfully completes the program, Applegate, after serving three-years, can petition the court for a reduction in his sentence.


According to court documents, Applegate was found guilty of selling methamphetamine on two separate occasions at a gas station on East Lincolnway in 2019.


Currently, Applegate is behind bars on past offenses and won’t begin serving his most recent sentence until he completely pays his debt to society for the previous crimes. The New Carlisle man has a long history of convictions on drug-related and other offenses in additional counties including St. Joseph, Porter, Kosciusko and Wabash.

Charge Added in Meth Dealing Case

(La Porte County, IN) - An alleged methamphetamine dealer arrested during a traffic stop in Kingsford Heights is potentially facing additional jail time.


Randall Cannan, 42, of Michigan City was charged last week with Possession of Methamphetamine in connection with a traffic stop last year.


According to court documents, he was found with 12 grams of methamphetamine along with more than $4,000 in cash after pulled over for speeding.   


At the time, he was charged with Dealing in Methamphetamine and Possession of a Controlled Substance for having suboxone.  Police said he didn’t have a prescription for suboxone, which is used to treat opioid dependence by easing withdrawal symptoms.


Further investigation revealed he was also found with a glass smoking pipe containing burnt residue identified as methamphetamine.


Cannan could face up to 30-years just on the Level 2 Felony Dealing Methamphetamine count, which is the most serious of the offenses filed against him.

Charges in Jail Beating

(La Porte County, IN) - Charges are filed in connection with a La Porte County Jail inmate seriously injured in a beating by other offenders.





Paul Redden, QMarion Fisher and DeMarcus Williams are accused in the attack a month ago.


Authorities say they each struck an inmate who was airlifted to an Indianapolis hospital with fractures to his face and eye socket.


According to court documents, the inmate was punched and kicked over allegedly taking a tablet from another offender without permission.


The suspects all from Michigan City were in the jail at the time for alleged crimes like armed robbery, rape and criminal gang activity.


Each of the alleged attackers are charged with Level 5 Felony Battery, which could bring them as much six years of additional time on their sentences, if convicted, of the charges they were originally booked on.

Light Shines on Famous Toy Making Architect

(La Porte County, IN) - A late architect and toy maker who once lived in La Porte County will have his name go up on a bridge.


John Lloyd Wright was one of six people nominated to have their names on signs attached to bridges in La Porte County.


In 1920, Wright obtained a patent for his Lincoln Logs, which are still sold in stores today.  The miniature toy logs interconnect allowing users to make log cabins and other buildings from wooden pegs resembling timber.


La Porte County Historian Bruce Johnson said Wright was an architect in training when he came up with the idea for Lincoln Logs while working with his famous architect father, Frank Lloyd Wright, in Japan.


“During the construction of the Imperial Hotel in Japan, he observed the interlocking log beams that were designed by his father to resist earthquakes. John used the concept to create three quarter inch wooden logs that interlock to create miniature buildings,” he said.


The logs were named after the nation’s 16th president, Abraham Lincoln, because he grew up in a log cabin.


In 1999, Johnson said Lincoln Logs were inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame.


“What was said to be one of the first toys promoted for both boys and girls became a huge success,” he said.


Originally from the Chicago area, Wright in 1923 moved to Long Beach where he was commissioned annually to design buildings, including homes along the lakefront and in the dunes.


His office space as an architect was in the Warren Building on Franklin St. in Michigan City’s downtown.


In 1946, Johnson said Wright moved to southern California where he continued to have success designing buildings in San Diego.  He was 80 when he passed away in 1972.


Wright's niece was Anne Baxter, who was raised in Michigan City and shot to fame as an actress in Broadway plays, Hollywood movies and TV shows.


The La Porte County Commissioners recently accepted the nominations under a program established a few years ago to highlight famous, successful and other deserving individuals who once resided in the county by placing their names on bridges.

Work Ethic Standard Coming for Bison

(New Buffalo, MI) - Future basketball players in New Buffalo should prepare for more of a boot camp-style program following a 2-19 season.


In what was a major rebuilding year, the young and inexperienced crop of varsity players were mostly overmatched but also spectular and crowd-pleasing at times.


The pesky Bison ended their season March 6th with an opening round 59-21 loss in the District 4 tournament to a more veteran and talented Countryside Academy.


Head Coach Nate Tripp said the future looks promising because of the potential shown by his mostly undersized freshmen, sophomore and junior players who had no prior varsity experience.


Tripp said the players, who were solid on defense but lacking on offense, will improve as they physically mature and further develop their skills.


In two weeks, Tripp said he’s starting a year round off-season training program featuring things like weight lifting.  Basketball sessions will be included for players to learn and sharpen techniques in areas like foot work and rebounding.


Tripp said players will also be given skill set assignments to work on at home and must show enough improvement before moving on to the next skill set.  He wants to solve problems with too many players coming into the season behind where they should be in their fundamentals. 


Tripp said he can’t require participation but will expect players to attend.


He praised the effort of his younger players this season but felt a few of his more veteran players sometimes lacked commitment.


If necessary, Tripp said the varsity and junior varsity teams will be combined into one if too many players not liking the higher work ethic standard walk away.  


“We need to make sure the kids are buying into the program if they want us to buy into them.  That’s how life works,” he said.


Before this season, New Buffalo won three district titles in four years but returned none of the core players from the 2021-22 season when the Bison played for the regional championship.


Tripp said his current players have talent. They just need to work harder as their bodies grow to reach a similar level of his former players he described as “basketball junkies.”


“I care only about making the kids the best they can be and that’s not just in basketball.  It’s a life lesson,” he said.


Tripp said one of the bright spots of the season was the effort and, occasionally, spectacular play of his often fun yet frustrating to watch team.


There were too many stretches in games, though, where his players seemed overwhelmed by the size and athletic ability of their opponents.


“It was a good season.  Win, loss-wise it was terrible. They worked hard. They listened.  They gave the best effort they possibly could every single night. We need some changes.  We will not go through another season like this again,” he said. .

OWI Collision Scare for Teen Driver

(La Porte County, IN) - A man impaired by alcohol struck a vehicle on U.S. 20 and fled but he was not able to escape the long arm of the law. That’s the picture drawn by the allegations filed in the case against Christopher Hinojosa.


Hinojosa, 40, is charged with operating while intoxicated and leaving the scene of a property damage crash.


La Porte County Police said an 18-year-old female driver took evasive action to avoid Himojosa after his car swerved across the center line of U.S. 20 near 700 East.


The two vehicles still collided.  The victim’s car wound up leaving the roadway and coming to rest disabled in the middle of the highway.  The eastbound Himojosa was located a short time later on U.S. 20 in the backseat of a New Carlisle Police vehicle.


His car missing the front bumper and having other damage also wound up disabled from a flat tire.


According to police, Himojosa said he had been drinking heavily but his last drop of alcohol was five hours prior to the crash.  The Florida man refused to submit to a blood alcohol test, police said.


Police said there were no injuries in the accident, which occurred about 10 a.m. on Wednesday.

Prison Warden Fined for Law Breaking

(Westville, IN) - The man in charge of the prison at Westville has been fined for misuse of state property.


A report from the Indiana Inspector General found Warden John Galipeau broke state law in several ways in his use of the prison warden’s residence.


He was fined over $2,700 under a settlement agreement and remains the warden.


According to the report, Galipeau periodically allowed his wife and other family members to reside at the warden’s residence for several months at various times in 2021 while he stayed at his residence in Valparaiso.


Under Indiana law, state-owned residences on Department of Correction property are allowed to be occupied strictly by staff, if necessary, to promote the security and maintenance of a facility.


Galipeau was also two years late in signing a lease for the residence and never had rent deducted from his salary as required.


Records show Galipeau continues to serve as warden at Westville, a post he's held since June 2019.  Galipeau began his career at DOC as a correctional officer in 1996.

Charges in Toddler's Positive Meth Test

(Michigan City, IN) - A Michigan City woman could face prison time for her one-year-old son testing positive for drugs.


Amber Saylor, 32, is charged with level 6 felony neglect of a dependent.


According to court records, police became involved at the request of Child Protective Services after her son tested positive for amphetamine, methamphetamine and marijuana.


The investigation alleges the boy was exposed from the drugs being used by his parents.


Police said Saylor told investigators she smokes methamphetamine and the father of the child smokes marijuana inside the residence. Saylor also admitted to smoking methamphetamine in the home prior to the arrival of child welfare workers, who took the boy out of the home.


Saylor, who was booked into the La Porte County Jail on March 3rd, later posted bond.


She could face an up-to-30-month prison sentence.

No Leads in La Porte Gunshots Probe

(La Porte, IN) - The investigation into the firing of gunshots in a usually quiet La Porte neighborhood has, for now, reached a dead end.


Police are now turning to the public to try and generate leads in the case.


On February 24th, five shots from a moving vehicle were fired close to midnight in the area of Toronado Drive and Mustang Drive


A home surveillance system captured video of a car with its headlights on and the sound of gunshots.  Since it was dark, a complete description of the vehicle along with a license plate number were not able to be obtained.


La Porte Police Sgt. Detective Matthew Drangmeister said there were other home surveillance systems in the neighborhood but none of them captured what transpired. He said the vehicle was too far away to active the motion sensors on those cameras. 


Drangmeister said shell casings were recovered, but there was no damage to homes or any other property.


A motive for the gun fire is not known but investigators are thinking it might be horseplay judging from a report of shots fired one hour later in the area of Andrew Avenue


Anyone with possible information is asked to contact Drangmeister at (219) 362-9446 ext. 209.


“Looking for the community’s help. If they know anything, give us a call.  We’ll look into anything they might know,” he said.

Charges in Drug Overdose Death

(Three Oaks, MI) - A Three Oaks woman could face a lengthy prison sentence for the drug overdose death of her husband.


Karina Schroeder, 33, was charged last week with Delivery Causing Death.


Berrien County Assistant Prosecutor Amy Byrd said it’s alleged she provided the heroin and fentanyl discovered in the bloodstream of Jeremy Schroeder after his passing.


According to Three Oaks Police, the 41-year Schroeder was found on November 6 by first responders after they were called to a medical emergency at the couple’s home on W. Locust St.


Three Oaks Police Chief Carl Kraus said officers learned there was use of narcotics while life-saving efforts were being performed on Schroeder, who was transported by ambulance to a hospital where he later died.


Kraus said there was one other person inside the apartment when first responders showed up.  He would not shed light on the individual because of the criminal charges still being undecided by the court.


Bryd said charges were not filed until recently because the test results of a blood sample taken from the body during the autopsy had to be received to move forward.


“We have to have that information to be able to charge,” she said.


Schroeder waived her right for the standard preliminary exam in the case and has since posted bond.


Byrd said Schroeder could face a maximum life sentence.  Her trial is scheduled to begin on June 6th.


Byrd also declined to reveal more details since the case is still pending a decision of guilt or innocence.

Another Victim in Big Money Phone Scam

(La Porte County, IN) - Another victim has fallen for a big money telephone scam police are warning the public about in La Porte County.


According to La Porte County Police, an 89-year-old woman on March 2nd was called by a man claiming to be her nephew.  The imposter told her he was in jail in Indianapolis and needed help but his attorney would call her back with further details and make arrangements.


Police said she later received that call and a man posing as an attorney requested $10,000 for the charges in the case to be dropped.


The Coolspring Township woman retrieved the money from her bank account and returned home where she gave the money to a man walking up to her door under the belief he was going to use the cash to help her nephew.


The next day, police said she was called again by a man pretending to be the same attorney seeking $15,000 this time to lift a gag order in the case and have her nephew released from custody.


Again, the woman went to the bank and as instructed sent the funds to an address in Atlanta, Georgia by Fed Ex.


Police said the woman realized she was scammed when she called her real nephew who told her to call 911.


Last week, a Wanatah woman was taken for $9,000 when told her grandson needed the money to bond out of jail following his arrest for causing a motor vehicle crash with injuries.


A similar looking man wearing dark clothing and sunglasses approached her door and was given the money supposedly to post bond.  Police advise people to avoid falling for a telephone scam to:

  • Be suspicious of strange out of the norm telephone calls.
  • Don’t act quickly; scams are based on fear and urgency.
  • Never reveal personal information.
  • Stop and talk with a trustworthy person.

False License Plate Drug Bust

(La Porte County, IN) - A traffic stop near Michigan City resulted in the arrests of three people and seizure of heroin, methamphetamine, crack cocaine and marijuana.


According to La Porte County Police, a mini-van was pulled over on March 4 for having a license plate registered to another vehicle.


A patrol officer made the discovery on U.S. 421 near 300 North.


According to police, a K-9 dog helped in discovering the drugs inside the vehicle along with hypodermic needle.  The hypodermic needle was found on a snow bank after the individuals were ordered from the vehicle.

Jena Arnett and Kathleen Norris were charged with possessing the drugs while Harold Norris, who has prior drug related convictions, was taken into custody on an outstanding warrant.


Police said the drugs recovered from the vehicle were in not in large quantities.


All of the suspects are from La Porte. 

Back to Jail for Drug Dealing

(La Porte, IN) - A La Porte man is behind bars again for allegedly selling heroin and methamphetamine.


Daniel Turner, 37, of 503 East Maple Avenue is charged in La Porte Circuit Court.


Per prior documentation, two of the alleged drug transactions occurred late in 2021 at his home.  Where he was living at the time was not disclosed.


The other transaction happened early in 2022 after he pulled into the parking lot of Archie’s Restaurant and carried out the exchange from his vehicle. The exchanges combined were for $300.


According to court records, Turner has two prior drug dealing convictions related to cases filed in 2016 and 2018.


Presently, Turner could face anywhere from a 6-to-34 year sentence on all three counts.  He’s scheduled for an initial hearing before Judge Tom Alevizos on Friday.

Arrests in Armed Robbery

(Michigan City, IN) - Arrests have been made in connection with a Michigan City armed robbery.


Brian Young, 23, Daveon Troutman, 21, and Jared Higginbotham, 20, all of Michigan City are charged in the case.


On February 21st, police said a patrol officer in the Eastport area of the city heard someone yelling for help.  A 22-year-man reported he was the victim of an armed robbery at Michigan Boulevard and Ridgeland Ave.


Based on the victim’s description of the suspects and their vehicle, officers about one hour later located the vehicle containing all three of the men in the 600 block of Black Oak Drive, police said.


Two handguns, ammunition and other undisclosed items were recovered from the vehicle, police said.


Young was also charged with unlawful carrying of a handgun.  Additional charges of possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon and possession of marijuana were filed against Troutman.


Each of the men were being held, initially, on $25,000 bond.

St. Patrick's Day Parade Set

(Michigan City, IN) - The St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Michigan City is this weekend.


More than 50 units beginning at 1 p.m. on Saturday will venture northbound on Franklin St. from 9th St. to 4th Street.


The honorary Grand Marshal of the Parade is John Leinweber, president of the Friendship Botanical Gardens.


“I am honored to be named Grand Marshall of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.  Michigan City is a community on the rise for all,” he said.


Mayor Duane Parry called Leinweber “a pillar in our community.” 


“What has has done for Friendship Botanical Gardens is just one example of the commitment he has made to our community,” he said.


Leinweber is also director of the Barker Welfare Foundation National Board and owner of Briar Leaf Golf Course just outside La Porte.


Right now, the parade line-up is as follows:

  1. Michigan City High School Marine Corps JROTC Official Honor Guard
  2. Michigan City Police Department
  3. Michigan City Fire Department
  4. US Coast Guard Station Michigan City
  5. LaPorte County Sheriff’s Office
  6. Kingsford Heights Police Department
  7. Indiana State Police
  8. Pines Volunteer Fire Department
  9. LaPorte County EMS
  10. Mayor Duane Parry & Grand Marshal John Leinweber
  11. Fort Wayne Pipe & Drums
  12. Ancient Order of the Hibernians
  13. Food Bank of Northern Indiana, Inc.
  14. Real Housewives of LaPorte County Canned Food Drive
  15. Great Lakes Grand Prix/LaPorte County Convention & Visitors Bureau
  16. The Guardian Riders
  17. Old Lighthouse Museum/Michigan City Historical Society
  18. Four A’s Car Club
  19. Michiana Clowns
  20. Girl Scouts of Michigan City & New Buffalo
  21. Angie Nelson Deuitch for Mayor
  22. Bradley Hutchinson Horses
  23. Dennehy-Mayer Irish Dancers
  24. The Junkluggers of Greater NW Indiana
  25. Michigan City Black Business Association
  26. Leprechaun
  27. Judah’s Army
  28. Ron Meer for Mayor
  29. Michigan City Commission for Women
  30. LaPorte County Democratic Party
  31. Queen of All Saints Boy Scout Troop/Pack 876
  32. Soc for the Sixth
  33. Arnett Construction
  34. Don Przybylinski Councilman At-Large
  35. Waterford Inn
  36. ORAK Shriners Pipe & Drums
  37. Relay for Life of LaPorte County
  38. Mark Yagelski for Mayor
  39. Michigan City Area Schools Bus
  40. Michigan City High School Athletics
  41. Wolves Soccer Club of Michigan City
  42. Donny’s King Gyros
  43. LaPorte County Republican Party & Friends
  44. Immediate Movers LLC
  45. The Great Escape Spa & Art Shop
  46. Liz Bergeron for Michigan City Council
  47. Planet Fitness LaPorte
  48. John Karczewski Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance
  49. Lee Wrangler Clearance Center
  50. Ivy Tech Community College
  51. Lakeshore Performing Arts
  52. Celtic Guard Academy

Fight Escalating in Annexation Effort

(La Porte, IN) - The gloves seem to be off now in the fight against an effort by the City of La Porte to annex a residential and industrial area.


For well over a year, Mayor Tom Dermody has spearheaded a push to annex the 39 North Conservancy District.


At Monday night’s city council meeting, 39 North Conservancy District Attorney Shaw Friedman urged city officials to renegotiate a water agreement.  Friedman said the considerable growth within the district from the city providing water has been a positive for both sides.


“I’m just as confused as anyone as to why the city would abruptly choose not to come to the table after 26 years of an amicable relationship with good results for both friends,” he said.


Under the agreement, the city provides water to customers in the district along Indiana 39 between the city limits and Indiana Toll Road.


The district owns the water lines.


However, the city alleges the lines no longer have capacity to provide an adequate supply of water to fight a major fire because of higher demand on the system from increased development since the conservancy was formed more than 20-years ago.


In August of 2021, the city council set a deadline of May 4th, 2025 for the district to improve water capacity or the agreement will expire.


Friedman said the district is attempting to obtain grants to help pay for construction of a water tower to increase water pressure.  He also said more water pressure is only needed to service future growth.


“Let us be perfectly clear.  The district’s water system is able to adequately serve current residential, commercial and industrial customers,” he said.


Friedman said more water pressure is not needed to fight a major fire because that service is already provided by the Center Township Volunteer Fire Department.


Dermody said the district keeps dragging its feet on a matter it should have been addressed a long time ago, but the city is already in a position to pay for upgrading the water system in exchange for annexation.


“The only plan they have is to ask us for our plan,” he said.


He believes customers in the district will be served better from the city’s fire department tapping into a system that would provide a more reliable source of water.

The volunteer fire department relies on tanker trucks.


Dermody feels tanker trucks carry a safety risk, though, because they hold only so much water and more have to keep coming in during a major fire to maintain adequate supply.


He also said future growth in the district is not possible because of a city ordinance prohibiting new utility customers from outside La Porte’s corporate boundaries.


The purpose of the ordinance adopted in 2016 was to encourage future development to migrate from just outside the corporate boundaries to inside the city limits.


State law requires municipalities to have majority support of property owners within a targeted area.  Dermody said the city has been talking with customers in the district about the water issue to determine which way they want to go.


“We have to ask the question we ask residents, that we ask business owners.  What is the value of the 39 North Conservancy District now?  Let’s not wait until something happens,” he said.

Big Money Scam Alert

(La Porte County, IN) - La Porte County Police are warning people about a telephone scam where at least one victim was taken for $9,000.


Police said elderly residents are being targeted.


According to police, a Wanatah woman in her 80’s was contacted March 2 by a man claiming to be her grandson, who needed $9,000 to bond out of jail after arrested for causing a motor vehicle collision resulting in injuries.


She then received six more calls from a man claiming to be an attorney, who shared pretend information about the bogus case and falsely informed her a bail bondsmen would show up at her doorstep to collect the money.


Police said the woman went to her bank and withdrew the funds.


After returning home, a man claiming to be the bondsman arrived and she gave him the money to post bail for her grandson.  Police said the woman learned she was scammed after calling her actual grandson, who reported being at work and not involved in any traffic accident.


In response, the woman called the numbers used in the scam listed on her caller ID but was informed they were no longer working numbers, police said.


To avoid becoming a victim of such a scam, police officer Mike Kellems said people should call the police or jail to verify if they had any dealings with their loved one.  He said people can also go online to find out if a loved one is incarcerated.


People can also call a relative to find out if they believe such a story could be true, he said.


Kellems said con artists also like to work fast to try and pull off a scam, but people can take charge by slowing down the conversation and start asking questions.


“Stop, slow down and verify,” he said.

Rivers Tame Despite Heavy Precipitation

(La Porte County, IN) - The heavy precipitation recently has filled drainage ditches and created standing water on farm land in spots but there doesn’t appear to be much concern at least for now.


Farmer Matt Shafer of LaCrosse said there would be a lot more water in the rivers and fields if there if there was the usual late winter heavy frost in the ground.


He said lack of frost due to unseasonably mild temperatures is allowing the ground to absorb some of the water and reduce the amount running off into the ditches and waterways.


Except for a few inches of heavy wet snow on Friday, he also pointed out there has been no sudden melting of a heavy snow pack adding to the surface water.


“We were a little more able to process this if you will,” Shafer said.


It was this time of year in 2018 when farmers in this part of the state experienced record flooding from a major snow melt and torrential rains while frost was still in the ground.


Some acreage beside the Kankakee River then was covered by more than 10 feet of water.


According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the Kankakee River at Shelby in Lake County has been rising but levels on Tuesday were just slightly above minor flood stage and two feet below major flood stage.  Water levels on the Kankakee River were about a foot below minor flood stage on March 2.


In comparison, the Yellow River has also been rising but receding in spots.  Levels on Tuesday at Plymouth were about three feet below minor flood stage and five feet below major flood stage, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.  The Yellow River is about a foot lower than it was on March 2.


Shafer reported similar results in his neck of the woods near the Kankakee River, saying there’s more water in the ditches and fields since the last period of heavy rain, but nothing close from the amount in 2018.


“I’m starting to see water the fields I didn’t see a week ago,” he said.


Currently, Shafer said the standing water is not a problem for farmers except for a handful of producers who started applying fertilizer and weed control chemicals to their soil in advance of spring planting.


Shafer said he typically doesn’t start planting his corn and soybeans until about the middle of April.  For right now, his only concern is having to push back spring planting if the heavy precipitation continues over the next several weeks.


“We’re good on moisture for right now.  We don’t need any more for the moment,” he said.


A number of preventative steps costing about $2 million have been taken in recent years to help keep the Kankakee River and Yellow River from spilling over their banks as quickly.


Scott Pelath, Executive Director of the Kankakee River Basin and Yellow River Basin Development Commission, said log jams are now cleared before a flood to keep the water moving instead of pooling up.


He said trees about to fall into the rivers are taken out before they drop into the water and create a log jam.  Any debris caught on the structures of bridges spanning the rivers are removed so blockages don’t become larger from snagging other materials floating by in the water.


Pelath also said not only are reports of blockages from citizens responded to in advance but the rivers are actively monitored year round to spot and remove any impediments to flows.


Other recent measures include development of a 400 acre flood water storage area in Newton County.  Recently, some of the water from the Kankakee River spilled into what he described as sort of a wetland once reaching minor flood stage.


“That’s something you can do to maybe take a couple of inches off the flood height,” he said.


He said the rivers being low entering the spring thaw season provided additional help to keep the waterways, so far, mostly within their banks.


Pelath would not estimate how much higher the rivers would be without the flood control steps already taken but felt there’s been a positive impact.


“You can’t prevent a flood.  If Mother Nature is going to bring you a lot of precipitation that’s what Mother Nature is going to do, but you can do things and take steps that would make a flood much less worse than it otherwise would have been,” he said.


Long term, Pelath said other flood control measures include rebuilding of banks to reduce sediment build-up in the rivers from erosion.

"Shamrock Shindig" Returning to La Porte

(La Porte, IN) - People in search of plans for St. Patrick’s Day can look no further than the City of La Porte.


The Shamrock Shindig at the Civic Auditorium is back Saturday, March. 18th.  Festivities will include everything from live Irish folk music, green beer to St. Patrick’s Day inspired food specials and cornhole games.


“This event turned out to be a hit last year, and we are excited to bring it back for round two,” said Civic Auditorium & Events Director Brett Binversie.


General admission is $10 while reserved tables with eight seating are $100.


Binversie said those who purchase tables may enter the table decorating contest with winners receiving a $50 gift card to Enzo’s.


Doors will open at 6 p.m. with the band, "Celtic Roots," taking the stage at 7 p.m. There will also be a cash bar.


“St. Patrick’s Day is just a fun time to gather with friends and family, and we’re glad to host such an event at the people’s house. We hope to see many smiling faces next weekend – all wearing green, of course.” 


For more information and to purchase tickets, visit laportecivicauditorium.com.

County Councilman Running for Mayor

(Michigan City, IN) - A longtime elected official is making a run for mayor of Michigan City.


Mark Yagelski is early in his sixth consecutive four-year term as a member of the La Porte County Council.   He’s been a steel worker since graduating from high school and now is a longtime supervisor at the mill.


Yagelski says running for mayor has been on his mind for quite a while and holding the job would allow him to focus more of his energy specifically on where he grew up. 


“I’m from this community, born and raised here.  It’s time for me to move on to something else.  Running for mayor would be a great way to serve Michigan City residents.


If elected, Yagelski said his top priority will be more new housing in a city where the average age of a home is about 80-years.


He felt the west side with some existing space for new housing construction is “ripe for investment” and so is the lakefront where the NIPSCO generating station exists.  NIPSCO plans to close the generating station in the next three to five years to transition more to energy from the wind and sun.  Closing the generating station will open up space for construction of higher end housing once the site is demolished and cleaned up, he said. 


Yagelski also pointed to new housing opportunties from the double track once the South Shore Railroad commuter line project is completed in 2024.  He said new housing will help attract more young professionals with good incomes to the city by reducing travel times to and Chicago by 30 minutes in each direction. 


“We have to be able to help change some of our demographics in Michigan City,” he said.


Yagelski is seeking the Democratic Party nomination in the May primary against former mayor Ron Meer, city councilpersons Angie Nelson Deuitsch and Johnny Stimley.


Current mayor Duane Parry is unopposed for the Republican Party nomination.

Beer Thieves Strike at Family Express

(La Porte County, IN) - La Porte County Police are trying to identify two men who helped themselves to beer and snacks at a Family Express.


According to La Porte County Police, officers were called to the convenience store at U.S. 20 and Indiana 39 about 9 p.m. on Saturday.   The men left without paying for three 12 packs of beer, a container of Dr. Pepper, a bag of cheese crackers and four beef jerky sticks.


One of the men was described as black in his mid-20’s to early 30’s with his hair in dread locks. They were last seen heading eastbound on U.S. 20 in a white Ford Fusion with a temporary license plate and tinted windows.


According to authorities, a store employee busy checking out customers yelled at one of the men that he needed to pay for the beer.  He turned to her and smiled then climbed into the driver’s seat of the car parked next to one of the pumps and fled.


The other suspect, who was a passenger in the car, was described as white and wearing a maroon tracksuit.


The investigation shows Bud Light was taken by the driver while Coors Light was the item of choice for the other shoplifter.

Dealer Convicted in Heroin Death

(Michigan City, IN) - A Michigan City man has been convicted in connection with a fatal drug overdose.


Devonte King was found guilty by a jury on Friday. La Porte County Prosecutor Sean Fagan said it took the jury about one hour to reach its verdict at the Michigan City courthouse. 


King was found responsible for dealing the heroin that caused the death of Anthony Comeno. The case was presented to a jury twice before but each time ended in a mistrial under the previous prosecutor.


King could face up to 40 years for causing the death. Currently, he’s serving a 10-year prison sentence for selling heroin in 2020.


According to court records, he has a prior convictions for crimes such as robbery and aggravated unlawful use of a weapon.

Gun Related Charge in Traffic Stop

A traffic stop resulted in a gun related arrest outside La Porte.


28-year-old Devonce Whitesides was pulled over about 10 a.m. Saturday for traveling 95 miles per hour on the Indiana Toll Road. A pistol was allegedly found in the vehicle.  The Terre Haute man was not supposed to have a gun because of a lengthy criminal record for serious felony crimes, police said. 


He could face an up to 12-year sentence on the Level 4 Felony offense of being a Serious Violent Felon in Possession of a Firearm.


Whitesides is being held in the La Porte County Jail on $20,000 bond.

Michigan City Ends Slicer Season 79-64

Michigan City jumped out to 10-0 lead in the first two and half minutes of the game and held off La Porte 79-64 in Saturday night’s first semifinal sectional game at Slicer Gym.


Kyle Kirkham hit two free throws at the 5:25 mark of the quarter stopping the MC run making it a 10-2 game. Michigan City immediately scored to boost the lead to 12-2. The Slicer finished the quarter strong closing the gap to a manageable 20-15 after one. Kirkham was just about the whole show for LP offensively, scoring 13 of the 15 Slicer points.


La Porte got as close as 3 points in the second period before the Wolves stretched the lead to 9 at the break 33-24. Kirkham had 15 points at the half, Jameer Nelson scored 13 for MC in the first half and Britton Franklin had 10 including three high flying dunks.

The Slicers fought back in the third quarter. Rylan Kieszkowski hit a corner 3 pointer with 4:30 left to tie the game at 41. Kyle Kirkham hit a pair of free throws to give LP their first and only lead at 43-41. Michigan City then went on an 8-0 run to make it 49-41. The third quarter ended with the Wolves on top 51-46. 

The Slicers had to play catchup in the final period but the Wolves were able to match LP basket for basket and maintained a steady 4 to 8 point lead. Michigan City’s outstanding point guard Jamie Hodges Jr scored 10 of his 18 points in the final period but his ball handling ability would not allow the Slicers to force the turnovers they needed to get back into the game. Michigan City hit 8 of 10 free throws in the final period to put the game away and were able to score against LP pressure to make the final score 79-64.


La Porte who relied on the three ball all season hit 6 threes in the game. Michigan City did not hit a 3 pointer. The Slicers were an outstanding 20-23 from the free throw line. The Wolves hit 14-21.


Kirkham finished a standout three year career with 27 points and was named the Salisbury and Spence Edward Jones Player of the Game. Kieszkowski had 15, Tommy Samuelson chipped in 8, Malik Corley 5, Ja’Meriyon Cross 4, RJ Anglin hit a huge 3 pointer in the third quarter, and Brogan Riley had 2. Michigan City was led by Franklin with 22. Hodges finished with 18 and Nelson 17 as the Wolves improved to 17-7 on the year. 

Seniors Cross, Anglin, Kirkham, Samuelson, Riley, Brennan Balka, and Dominic Thomson each played their final game. La Porte finished with an outstanding 16-8 record and finished tied for third in the DAC.  


Michigan City, who has not won a boys basketball sectional since the consolidation of Rogers and Elston in 1996, will face Mishawaka Monday night at 6:30 for the sectional championship. The Cavemen defeated South Bend Riley 71-57 in the late semifinal game.


Photos courtesy of Susan Anglin.

Double Fatality in Saturday Morning Crash

(La Porte County, IN) - Two people were killed in an early morning auto accident near Union Mills.


Shortly before 4:00 a.m. Saturday morning, La Porte County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the 7400 west block of County Road 800 South. That’s about halfway between Union Mills and State Road 421.


There they found a crashed 2002 Chevrolet pickup truck in the front yard of a residence. The driver was identified as 40-year-old Todd E. Williamson of Mill Creek. The passenger was identified as 34-year-old Michelle M. Pacione of Union Mills. Both were pronounced dead at the scene.


Evidence indicates the eastbound truck, for unknown reasons, drove left of center and left the roadway, striking first a utility pole then a large tree.


Toxicology reports are pending. No further information has been released at this time.

Indiana State Trooper Killed in Police Chase

(DeKalb County, IN) - An Indiana State Police trooper was killed in the line of duty by a driver fleeing police north of Fort Wayne.


The tragedy unfolded Friday afternoon around 3:30 p.m., as Fort Wayne police chased a car travelling at a high rate of speed along I-69.


50-year-old Master Trooper James R. Bailey was assisting with traffic backup on the interstate as a result of weather-related accidents south of Auburn. Responding to the oncoming police chase, Bailey was attempting to deploy stop sticks when he was struck by the fleeing vehicle. He was rushed to a nearby hospital where he died from his injuries.


Bailey, of Auburn, was a 15-year State Police veteran. He leaves behind a wife, a son, and a daughter.


The fleeing driver, 42-year-old Terry Dewaine Sands II of Marion, was taken into custody and has been incarcerated in the DeKalb County Jail on a preliminary charge of Resisting Law Enforcement Causing Death to Law Enforcement Officer, a Level 2 Felony. The DeKalb County Prosecutor will determine further legal actions.


“This is a tremendously sad day for the entire Indiana State Police family,” said Indiana State Police Superintendent Douglas G. Carter. “We will band together as we always do in support of Trooper Bailey's family, friends and co-workers.”


The Indiana Fallen Heroes Foundation has established an official memorial fund to honor Master Trooper James R. Bailey.


Donations can be made at this weblink under the "Master Trooper James R. Bailey” section: https://indianafallen.org/fallen-heroes


Donations can also be made on Venmo by sending to: @indiana-fallen-heroes.

Sheriff's Office Releases Crime Data

(La Porte County, IN) - In La Porte County, major crime is up, but violent crime is down. That is part of the findings revealed in the Sheriff’s Department’s annual report, which was released this week.


According to the report, a total of 24,724 calls for service were answered by deputies, a decrease of 14% from 2021. General incident reports also decreased by 6%.


Major cases in 2022 increased by 2%. 560 major cases were investigated. However, investigations of serious crimes such as battery and burglary were down slightly.


Arrests increased 9%. A little over 4,000 people were booked into the County Jail over the course of last year. The average daily jail population was 334 per day. A total of nearly 380,000 meals were served to inmates.


Nearly 2,000 traffic citations were issued, compared to over 4,800 traffic warnings. Regarding traffic patrols, Sheriff Heeg stated, “We are very pleased that deputies are using their discretion to issue warnings, and citations when necessary to correct the driving behaviors of motorists on all La Porte County roadways.”


Crash investigations were down 12%. However, 10 of those were fatalities, and alcohol related crashes went up 7%. As a result, Sheriff Heeg says traffic enforcement right now is one of the department’s top priorities.


The complete report can be viewed at the Sheriff Department's website: www.laportecountysheriff.com.

Yakym to Host Travelling Office Hours

(Washington, D.C.) - The office of Congressman Rudy Yakym has announced a string of pop-up office hours throughout the Second District.


Congressional staffers will be in La Porte County on Monday, March 6. From 1-3 p.m. they will be at the Parks and Recreation Department to talk to the public.


Yakym representatives will also set up in Hanna at the public library there later in the month on March 27. Other pop-up office stops include Knox on March 7, Plymouth on March 15, and Winamac and Hamlet on the 29th.


Here is the list of all the locations and times in this area:


La Porte County

Monday, March 6, 12 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. ET (1:00 p.m. – 3 p.m. CT)

La Porte Parks and Recreation Department 

250 Pine Lake Ave.

La Porte, IN 


Monday, March 27, 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. ET (1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. CT)

Hanna Public Library

108 E. West St. 

Hanna, IN 


Marshall County 

Wednesday, March 15, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. ET

Plymouth City Hall (Mayor’s Office – 2nd Floor)

124 N. Michigan St.

Plymouth, IN


Pulaski County

Wednesday, March 29, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. ET 

Pulaski County CDC/Economic Development (Board Room)

623 W. Eleventh St.

Winamac, IN


Starke County

Tuesday, March 7, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. ET (12:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. CT)

Starke County Courthouse

53 E. Washington St.

Knox, IN


Wednesday, March 29, 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. ET (1 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. CT)

Hamlet Town Hall

10 S. Starke St. 

Hamlet, IN 



State Senate Passes School Censorship Bill

(Indianapolis, IN) - A censorship bill passed the Indiana Senate earlier this week.


Senate Bill 12 seeks to remove books that may be considered inappropriate or pornographic from school library shelves. The bill sets up a procedure for parents to petition for a book’s removal and applies only to K-12 school libraries. The bill would also remove the exception to current obscenity laws for materials deemed to be educational.


Local Democratic Senator Rodney Pol opposed the legislation, saying it will only encourage book banning for political motives.


SB12 passed with a 37-12 vote. Republican Mike Bohacek of Michiana Shores voted yes. The bill now moves to the House, where it will be co-sponsored by Rep. Jake Teshka of South Bend.

Major Felony Arrest at Truck Stop

(La Porte County, IN) - The amount of prison time a suspected child molester could face climbed even higher when allegedly found with methamphetamine.


Ricky Sanders was arrested Thursday night in Hanna.


According to court documents, La Porte County responded to Hank’s Truck Stop along U.S. 30 after learning he had a warrant out his arrest on a level 1 felony charge of child molesting from Starke County.


Police said officers spotted his 2004 Chevy Malibu at the rear of the parking lot and took Sanders into custody at gunpoint.


A plastic bag containing one gram of methamphetamine was allegedly recovered from his vehicle.


Sanders, 45, of Warsaw could face anywhere from 20 to 40 years on the child molesting count and up to 30 months on the drug-related charge.

Drug and Gun Arrests of Brothers

(Michigan City, IN) - Arrests have been made in a case involving drugs and use of a gun in Michigan City.


Cassius Dear is charged with level 2 felony dealing in cocaine or a narcotic drug.


His brother, Antawon Dear, is charged with level 4 Fmfelony possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon and level 6 felony criminal recklessness.


According to police, officers on Wednesday about 7 a.m responded to a report of an altercation between the men at York and Main streets.  One of the men claimed he was shot at by the other man.


When officers arrived, though, nobody was there.


About 30 minutes later, officers were called to a disturbance in the 600 block of East 11th Street where they found the brothers at a residence with evidence of gunfire along, with a vehicle disabled by gunfire.


During a search of the home, police said a handgun, ammunition, an undisclosed amount of narcotics along with packaging materials were seized.


The brothers are being held in the La Porte County Jail on $50,000 and $20,000 bond respectively.

Tonight's Sectional Games Rescheduled

(La Porte, IN) - The sectional semi-finals in boys’ high school basketball tonight in La Porte have been rescheduled due to wintry weather in the forecast.


The games will be played on Saturday.


The first game at 5:30 p.m. features La Porte and Michigan City, who are both 17-6 on the season.


South Bend Riley and Mishawaka will square off next at 7 p.m.


A winter storm warning is in effect until late tonight.


According to the National Weather Service, anywhere from four to eight inches of snow with higher amounts possible in spots is expected along with a mixture of rain and snow at times.


Winds of up to 45 miles per hour are also forecast.


The game between La Porte and Michigan City is expected to be a barn burner not just because of the longstanding rivalry but the level of talent on each team.


The Slicers defeated the Wolves during the regular season by three points.


The sectional championship game has been rescheduled for Monday at 6:30 p.m.


Federal Prison for Cocaine Dealer

(South Bend, IN) - A Michigan City man is back to prison on major federal drug-related counts. Cory Thomas was given a more than 12 year prison sentence in U.S. District Court at South Bend.


Thomas, 49, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute cocaine.  Federal authorities said he transporting over 125 grams of cocaine on his motorcycle when stopped by police.


This was his fifth felony drug dealing-related conviction.


According to authorities, the cocaine equivalent to four ounces was valued at more than $10,000.


The case was investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration with the assistance of the LaPorte County Drug Task Force and the LaPorte County Sheriff’s Office. 

Suspect No Stranger to Bank Robberies

(La Porte County, IN) - It wasn’t the first bank robbery for a man accused of holding up a bank in LaCrosse last week. Charles Rootes, Jr., 64, is charged with level 5 felony robbery, which carries anywhere from a one-to-six year sentence.


Rootes on February 24th took more than $6,000 from 1st National Bank and was arrested Wednesday at Dunes Inn near U.S. 421 and Interstate 94 while on parole for previous bank robberies at the time.


Court documents revealed a license plate reader in the Michigan City area narrowed down the location of Rootes’ car, which was located outside the motel. Officers with an arrest warrant later took Rootes into custody in his motel room where over $4,000 of the stolen loot was recovered.


According to police, Rootes ordered a bank employee to fill a plastic bag with money and used his finger in the pocket of his coat to pretend he had a gun.


Court documents also revealed Rootes was sentenced in 2006 and 2010 for robbing the same bank in Michigan City in the 2000 block of Franklin Street.  He robbed City Savings Bank, which became a La Porte Savings Bank branch prior to him holding up that financial institution four years later. 


Rootes has a criminal history mostly for burglary, theft and robbery dating back to 1979.

Arrest in Bank Robbery

(La Porte County, IN) - An arrest has been made for a La Porte County bank robbery.


Charles Rootes, Jr., 64, was taken into custody Wednesday and formally charged today.


He allegedly robbed 1st Source Bank in LaCrosse on February 24.


La Porte County Police said he verbally gave instructions to an employee and left with an undisclosed amount of money.  So far, police have not revealed what led investigators to Rootes as the suspect.  The Federal Bureau of Investigation assisted with the probe, authorities said.


His arrest occurred in Michigan City.


Rootes was being held in the La Porte County Jail on $15,000 cash-only bond.

He could be arraigned on the robbery allegations as soon as tomorrow before La Porte Circuit Court Judge Tom Alevizos.


Under Indiana law, the level 5 felony charge carries between a one to six year sentence.


Race for Restrooms Before Fair

(La Porte County, IN) - There’s a chance of not having to use portable toilets during the La Porte County Fair this year.


An effort is being made to have a permanent restroom facility constructed before the fair opens on July 8th.


Mark Parkman, a member of the fair board, received permission from the La Porte County Commissioners Wednesday to start the process for trying to speed up the start of construction.


Parkman, who lives near Westville, said drawings for the restroom facility are nearly completed and while the drawings are being considered for final approval, he suggested taking steps now to have the money approved.


Construction could begin right away once the state gives the green light to the drawings if funding for the work is already in place.


Parkman will go before the La Porte County Council to seek approval for the funding.


Portable toilets have been used since the old restroom facility badly in need of repairs was removed three-years ago.  No formal cost estimates have been obtained but a new permanent bathroom facility might take upwards of $300,000 to build.


“We’re trying to promote the fairgrounds and make it more user friendly all year long and so a bathroom back there that’s all season is pretty necessary,” he said.


La Porte County Commissioner Connie Gramarossa also suggested pursuing bids for the project as quickly as possible.


She also requested the final drawings include a few more stalls in the women’s side of the restroom structure to reduce waiting times.


“It would be greatly appreciated,” she said.


Parkman said having the new restroom constructed and ready to use before the fair is no guarantee even if everything goes right in the process.  If not, he said at least it will be ready for other events at the fairgrounds later in the year.

Mrozinski Allowed to Vote on ZOOM This Time

(La Porte County, IN) - Commissioner Rich Mrozinski still in Florida was allowed to vote while attending Wednesday’s meeting of the La Porte County Commissioners meeting on ZOOM.


He was prohibited from voting while attending the previous meeting two weeks ago on ZOOM under a new policy requiring a commissioner be physically present.


The policy adopted by the commissioners six weeks ago prohibits voting after using ZOOM to take part in meetings more than once during a year.  Mrozinski has not been physically present for a meeting since leaving for his second home near Orlando in early January.


Under the policy, the president of the La Porte County Commissioners can grant a waiver to allow a commissioner in violation of the policy to vote if there’s valid reason given for a physical absence.


During the last meeting, Mrozinski verbally cited a medical condition without going into specifics for him being in Florida for an extended period.


Commission President Joe Haney denied the waiver request, believing he was simply “snow birding.”


In recent years, Mrozinski has been spending winter in Florida and Haney cited reports of him doing things like playing golf for not believing his medical claims. This time, Mrozinski provided some medical information in writing electronically to Haney.  


Haney thanked him and granted him a waiver to vote at the beginning of the meeting.


There was no further discussion.


Repeated attempts to reach Mrozinski and Haney for comment, so far, have not been successful.  

Car Thief Nabbed Weeks After Chase

(La Porte, IN) - A La Porte man who got away from police during a high speed chase was captured more than a month later. Sonny Taylor, 22, is charged in La Porte Circuit Court with two counts of Auto Theft and Resisting Law Enforcement.


According to court documents, Taylor on January 28th was discovered in a vehicle stolen out of Indianapolis at the Conoco gas station at 104 East Lincolnway in La Porte.


Leaving the gas station, he allegedly failed stop for an officer trying to pull him over. He fled down several streets at high speeds before veering southbound in the northbound lanes of U.S. 35 and onto Crescent Street and 18th Street where he accelerated to more than 80 miles per hour, police said.


Taylor disregarded several stop signs along the way before heading westbound on Indiana 2 where he began weaving in and out of traffic at close to 100 miles per hour. The officer lost sight of the vehicle after traveling over a curve and hill then terminated the pursuit.


On February 9th, Taylor was staying with a woman on Farrand Avenue for a few days when he stole her car after taking the keys, court documents further revealed.


Taylor, who has a history of prior encounters with law enforcement, is being held in the La Porte County Jail on $15,000 bond.

Banned Driver Arrested for OWI

(La Porte County, IN) - He wrecked his vehicle apparently while drinking vodka and was nowhere staying between the travel lanes. That’s what police are saying in the case against James Mullins.


The 44-year-old Mullins is charged with Operating while Intoxicated and Driving with a lifetime ban on his license.


La Porte County Police at about 4 p.m. on February 21st were called by a woman reporting she was being tailgated by a Jeep also crossing the center line on Indiana 2 near 700 West. A short time later, a responding officer observed his Jeep veer from one side of the road to the other and pulled him over U.S 421 in Westville. 


His Jeep had a flat tire with a piece of wood lodged in the rim and the rear bumper was torn away from the frame on the driver’s side. According to police, it appears he was drinking vodka judging by a bottle without the cap on underneath the driver’s seat.


The Hobart man had an alleged blood alcohol level of more than three times the legal limit.  


He could face an up to six-year sentence on the most serious of the two counts.

Charges in Toothbrush Escape Attempt

(La Porte County, IN) - Dental hygene wasn't the first thing a La Porte County Jail inmate apparently had in mind when he put a toothbrush into his mouth. He could get a stomach ulcer from the additional time behind bars he could receive for what happened after he swallowed the toothbrush.


Daniel Keeling, 32, is charged in La Porte Circuit Court with Escape and Battery.


According to court documents, Keeling was in the La Porte County Jail in late January on charges of Battery and Driving Without ever Receiving a Driver’s License. Jail officers rushed into his cell after Keeling was spotted trying to swallow his jail-issued toothbrush.


The jail officers, though, were not successful in their attempt to keep the toothbrush from going down into his throat. Keeling was transported to Northwest Health to be checked out and restrained to a bed in the emergency room.


Later, a jail officer allowed him to get up from his hospital bed and use the bathroom.  After finishing up, Keeling bolted out the bathroom door and down the emergency room hallway when grabbed by the jail officer and taken to the floor.


Police said Keeling kept fighting, though, forcing the jail officer to strike him four times in the side with his fist.  However, Keeling was able to get away a second time and ran outside through the emergency room exit.


The jail officer caught up to him again and with help from hospital staff returned  him to his bed and placed him back into restraints. The jail officer suffered an abrasion to the side of his head and a scrape to his left forearm.

Drives Home During High Speed Chase

(La Porte County, IN) - A man is accused of leading police on a high speed chase until pulling into his driveway in Union Mills early today.


Just before 1 a.m., a La Porte County Police officer clocked an SUV at 76 miles per hour on U.S. 35 near Kingsbury.  Police said the officer attempted to make a traffic stop but the suspect accelerated to more than 100 miles per hour.


Police said the pursuit veered westbound on U.S. 6 and southbound on 400 West then eastbound on Hamilton Street in Union Mills.  The driver reduced his speed to 35 miles per hour before pulling up to his residence in the 800 block of East 2nd Street.


Michael Lucas, 31, stepped out from behind the steering wheel and was ordered to the ground, per the authorities. A computer records check revealed he’s designated as a habitual traffic violator with a lifetime suspension of his driver’s license.  Lucas also had active warrants for his arrest out of La Porte and Tippecanoe counties.


After the officer detected an odor of alcohol on his breath, Lucas said he consumed “two shots” six hours ago. However, police noted an empty bottle of vodka was located in his vehicle behind the driver’s seat.  He refused to submit to a certified blood alcohol test.


Prosecutors are still in the process of determining charges.


Lucas is being held in the La Porte County Jail without bond on the previous warrants. 

Staff Gutted Fire Department Replenished

(Fish Lake, IN) - A staffed gutted troubled fire department in La Porte County has been more than restored.


Kyle Rensberger has replaced Bill Duttlinger as chief of the Lincoln Township Volunteer Fire Department in Fish Lake.


The three volunteer firefighters remaining at the department were invited to stay but chose not to, said Lincoln Township Attorney Brody Shoffner.  Shoffner said the department now has 14 recently hired volunteer firefighters.


The action taken by township trustee Nancy Morgan elected to her first term on November 8 has created some friction and confusion in the community.


Lincoln Township Board member Steve Holifield said Morgan acted within her legal authority but felt the township board should have been included more in her decision.


“We’re not happy. We’re not being kept in the loop.  She’s doing things without letting us know what she’s doing first,” he said.


Holifield is also early into his first term but served previously on the board about 10-years ago.


Shoffner said the fire department is a separate corporate entity contracted by the township with by-laws giving the township trustee final say over fire department matters.


“That’s what we call a trustee ran department.  She has the right to appoint the chief, get rid of the chief and really do whatever,” he said.


Shoffner said the replacement of the fire chief had to do with a host of clerical mistakes such as not filing business reports every two-years as required to maintain the department’s status as a corporate entity.


He said the Indiana Secretary of State’s Office in 2005 revoked the corporate status after discovering the business reports were not filed since the department was established as a separate entity in the 1950’s.


Duttlinger took over for the Dave Kaufman, the now late former longtime fire chief in charge of the department when the corporate status was revoked.


“They weren’t even authorized to do business in Indiana,” he said.


Shoffner said other irregularities included no receipts in some cases to back up purchases of things like equipment.


“There were some weird things going on with the books.  Honestly, it was just a mess,” he said.


Since the change, Shoffner said the separate entity status has been restored and work is well underway to regaining the department’s lost not for profit status.  He said the department is also more fully staffed again


Holifield said Duttlinger should not have been let go because he feels blame lies more with previous township trustees and township boards for not providing enough oversight of the department.


“They should have been keeping a closer tab over all of this,” he said.


Holifield said he’s also concerned whether all of the new firefighters are certified. 


He said he just received the names of the new firefighters Tuesday night but was still waiting to find out if they are certified and the type of work they’re certified to perform.


Shoffner said he didn’t want to speak to the abilities of Duttlinger as fire chief but the department once down to a handful of firefighters no longer has a serious manpower shortage.


“As soon as he was gone, now they have 14.  So, I guess you can draw your own conclusions,.” He said.


Shoffner also said the department had not filed taxes as a corporate entity “for who knows how long.”


“I think there’s a lot of misconceptions about the entire thing but everything is being done by the book.  That was validated by the state, the Indiana Township Association, everybody.  We’re doing the right thing,” Shoffner said.


PNW Honoring Women in March

(Hammond and Westville, IN) - Purdue University Northwest will recognize Women’s History Month during March with several programs focused on empowering women, discussing key women’s health issues and recognizing accomplished university and community leaders.


PNW’s month-long recognition kicks off on March 7 with the 2023 Northwest Indiana Women on the Rise reception presented by the Society of Innovators and the Leadership Institute at PNW. The honorees are recognized women community members shaping local business, guiding communities and encouraging growth in our region.


Two presentations follow on March 8th and March 9th involving history and maternal health. Mary Beth Fraser Connolly, PNW continuing lecturer of History, on March 8 will present “Bringing Mercy to the World: The Sisters of Mercy’s Missionary Experience in the United States and Peru,” recalling the first group of the Sisters of Mercy congregation who left Ireland for the U.S. and influenced the American Catholic Church. The event is part of the department of History, Philosophy, Politics and Economics’ “History Matters” speaker series.


On March 9th, Dr. Janet Seabrook, CEO of Community HealthNet Health Care Centers in Gary, Indiana, and a PNW alumna, will deliver a keynote talk on disproportionately high rates of maternal morbidity for people of color. Seabrook’s talk is paired with a screening of “Aftershock,” a documentary film that follows two Black fathers who seek justice and attention for maternal health for people of color following the deaths of their partners to childbirth complications.


More events hosted by PNW celebrating Women’s History Month include:

  • Lunch & Lead: Women’s History & Leadership with Danita Johnson
    • Danita Johnson is president and CEO of Edgewater Health. Johnson has been recognized for her many accomplishments, including receiving the Sagamore of the Wabash Award, the state’s highest civilian honor. She is also the recipient of the state of Indiana Governor’s Distinguished Hoosier Award and an inductee into the Northwest Indiana Business & Industry Hall of Fame. Johnson will discuss how women leaders can help inspire and teach us to live our best lives. Johnson’s presentation is open to the public and will occur virtually over Zoom.


  • Breaking Bread: Roe v. Wade Impact on Poor America & the Post-Dobbs Era
    • Cheri Honkala is a nationally renowned advocate for the poor and unhoused. Born into poverty, she was a single teenage mother who completed high school although she and her son were living in her car. She has dedicated her life to eradicating conditions that cause poverty. Honkala co-founded the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign / Poor People’s Army. Honkala will address the Supreme Court’s rulings on abortion in Roe v. Wade and Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization and their impact on impoverished populations.


  • Building Community Through the Arts: Women’s Art Exhibition Showcase
    • Building Community Through the Arts (BCTA), hosted by the College of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences at PNW, is a bi-annual event promoting cultural awareness, civic engagement and preserving community identity.
    • This spring semester’s BCTA event invites women artists from PNW and the local community to register and showcase their various artworks in a Women’s Art Exhibition.


For more details and to register to attend these educational and cultural events at PNW celebrating Women’s History Month, visit pnw.edu/womens-history.

La Porte County Sets Minority Hiring Goal

(La Porte County, IN) - La Porte County government has formally set a goal of hiring more minorities to reflect the racial make-up of the population here.


The La Porte County Council Monday night unanimously adopted a resolution to actively seek more minority job applicants.


According to the resolution, 11.4-percent of La Porte County residents are African American while the percentage of African Americans working for county government is 8.5 percent. 7.4 percent of La Porte County’s population is Hispanic.  The percentage of Hispanics currently employed by county government is 1.9 percent,.


“This is a tool to start the process and get it going and, hopefully, it starts the dialogue and we get things moving forward and put this item behind us, because in 2023 we shouldn’t be having this conversation,” said Councilman Randy Novak.


Councilman Earl Cunningham said adding more Hispanics, for example, could help in situations when a translator is needed to communicate with a Hispanic constituent.


He also expressed a need to hire more minorities whose positions are more out in the public so more people notice how the make-up of county government reflects the local demographics.  Cunningham said most minority employees seem to work behind the scenes in places like the county jail, community corrections and juvenile services center.


“Most people would be shocked to realize as we went through the correspondence on the numbers that we’re as close as we are.   They’re just not in places that are highly visibly and we need to improve that considerably,” he said.


La Porte County government has been pressured by minorities in recent years to establish a workforce more reflective of the racial make-up here.

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