Local News Archives for 2023-03

Storm Scam Season Alert

(Indianapolis, IN) - With thunderstorms brewing, Attorney General Todd Rokita is warning Hoosiers to be wary of scams. 


With Spring storms, scammers will be out in full force trying to con Hoosiers out of their hard-earned money, and calling it clean-up, repair, or rebuilding. 


“Hoosiers can protect their hard-earned money by asking questions, demanding a written contract, and doing old-fashioned research.  It can be tempting to accept help to fix damages to your home, but it’s crucial to take a step back and fully vet the contractor,”  Rokita said.  


Unfortunately, Rokita said too many con artists appear on people’s doorsteps, promise to make needed repairs and never return after given a down payment.


Rokita is sharing the following tips to help keep from becoming a victim to storm-chasing scammers: 


  • Be skeptical of people promising immediate clean-up and debris removal.  
  • Know that FEMA doesn’t charge application fees. If someone wants money to help you qualify for FEMA funds, that’s probably a scam. 
  • Check out contractors’ reputations before enlisting their services.  
  • Ask for IDs, licenses, and proof the contractor is both bonded and insured. 
  • Get more than one estimate for work.  
  • Don’t believe any promises that aren’t in writing.  
  • Never pay by wire transfer, gift card, cryptocurrency, or in cash. 
  • Don’t pay the full amount for the project upfront. 


Dealing with a disaster is never easy. But when scammers target people just trying to recover, the experience can become even more difficult. If you ever suspect a scam of any type, file a complaint at indianaconsumer.com or call Attorney General Todd Rokita’s office at 1-800-382-5516. 

Money Saving Workshop for Businesses

(La Porte, IN) - The La Porte Urban Enterprise Association is sponsoring a workshop to review tax-saving incentives available to businesses located within the LaPorte Enterprise Zone.


Officials say instructions will also be given on how to complete the required forms and when they should be filed.


The workshop will be at 10 a.m. on April 13 in the Clear Lake Room of the Healthcare Foundation of La Porte at 140 East Shore Parkway. Steve McKinney, representing Indiana’s Department of Local Government Finance, will also provide information about the Investment Deduction Form EZ-2.


Various tax and financial incentives are available in LaPorte’s Enterprise Zone that impacts a business’s cash flow, with officials stating the incentives will be explained in detail.


All businesses within the Enterprise Zone are invited while businesses that have never used the incentives are strongly encouraged to attend the event.


To make a reservation for the workshop, businesses may contact the city’s Office of Community Development and Planning at 219-362-8260.

Local Woman Once a Budweiser Clydesdale Driver

(La Porte County, IN) - She realized her childhood dream of becoming a Budweiser Clydesdale driver. Shelby Zarobinski no longer works for the self-proclaimed “King of Beers,” but she has nearly a dozen of her own Clydesdales the public is welcome to see periodically at her family’s five-acre farm in northern LaPorte County.


Currently, she’s building a house for herself and a barn to keep her Clydesdales on 12 acres across the street from the family farm near County Road 1000 North.


Zarobinski, 31, said she hopes to begin construction in August.


If being a Budweiser Clydesdale driver wasn’t high enough on the ladder, she’s one of nine board members governing the Clydesdale Breeders of the United States.


Her path to becoming a Clydesdale driver began in 2006 when she won a 4-H essay contest.  The top prize was a Clydesdale partially paid for by the LaPorte County 4-H Wagon Masters’ program. 


Over time, her herd, from breeding and with help from her parents and other family members, grew to the 10 mares and one stud that presently exist.


“It’s an addiction.  People are like, well, you can’t have just one,” she said.


Zarobinski said the newborns are kept to perform tasks at the farm while the rest are sold to people looking for Clydesdales to show or keep as a family pet and ride.


“The Clydesdales truly are a gentle giant. Really, really good temperament. Great to work with,” she said.


Once her Clydesdales are relocated to her property, Zarobinski said a neighbor renting the ground to raise corn and other crops will use the giant horses for plowing and other farming related chores, which was common practice in agriculture before the advent of machinery.


“We’re going to start actually using them for how they’re supposed to be used,” she said.


In 2013, Zarbobinski said becoming a Clydesdale driver was on her mind when she received her commercial driver’s license, which is required by Budweiser for the position. She then moved to Canada near Toronto with several friends and worked on a large farm for nearly a year showing Clydesdales, helping the owners with their seed business, and doing various farming-related jobs.


Zarobinski said her move back to the U.S. came after she noticed a job opening Budweiser posted for a Clydesdale driver and her application was accepted. She went to corporate headquarters in St. Louis for a few months before stationed at the beer maker’s West Coast Hitch in Ft. Collins, Colorado.


Soon, she was going to parades, festivals and activities tied to major sporting events like the World Series and Super Bowl to show the famous team of horses in the U.S. and Canada.


“We traveled everywhere west of the Mississippi,” she said.


She even traveled on a barge with the Clydesdales to Catalina Island off the southern California coast for two weeks of shows.  Zarobinski said she was in her fifth year as a Clydesdale driver when forced to leave because of all the events seeking Clydesdales being canceled during the worldwide pandemic.


She returned home and became a hazardous materials tanker driver for Airgas USA where Zarobinski is now an operator.


While she was away, Zarobinski said the family farm began having open houses and other occasional events like sleigh rides for people to see and experience the horses.  Once she moves across the street, Zarobinski said the openhouses will continue but she might have to reduce the size of her herd someday because of the demands of her new career.


She also wants to give her parents a chance to take a step back and spend more time with their grandchildren.


“I really thank them for the five years I was gone for continuing to breed, take care of the horses and sacrifice their time so I could live out my dream,” she said.

Slicers Defeat Hammond Morton 10-0 in Home Opener

Grant Olson and Drew Flores threw a combined five inning one hitter, backed up by errorless defense and timely two out hitting propelling La Porte to a 10-0 five inning win over Hammond Morton. It was the 2023 home opener for the Slicers.


Olson cruised through the first four innings. He gave up a two out double in the first, the only hit of the game for Morton, and issued walks in the second and fourth innings. After the second inning walk to Evan Blankman, Olson promptly picked him off. The senior lefty struck out seven. Drew Flores pitched a perfect fifth inning striking out two.


The Slicer offense came to life after suffering a perfect game 1-0 loss to Penn on Tuesday.


Morton lefty Billy Vukobratovich struck out the side in the first inning only giving up a one out double to Carter Moses. The first would be the only inning LP failed to score.


Vukobratovich’s control deserted him in the second. He walked Tommy Samuelson and Kai Jones then hit Ryan Bruemmer with to load the bases. After striking out Drew Catron he issued a walk to Ben Dubbs scoring Samuelson for the first run. Leadoff man Kade Flores then hit a fly ball to short left field allowing Jones to tag up and score giving LP a 2-0 lead after two innings.


The Slicers broke the game open in the third sending 10 men to the plate and scoring six runs. RJ Anglin started the festivities ripping a single into left center. The ball was not fielded cleanly by Jacob Stepek and Anglin moved to second on the error. Jax Land hit a fly ball to center moving Anglin to third on a close play. Samuelson followed with another fly out to center and scoring Anglin to make it 3-0. 


La Porte’s bats came alive with the bases empty and two out as the next six hitters reached base. Jones singled and stole second. He scored on Bruemmer’s scorched double down the third base line making it 4-0. Catron walked before Dubbs knocked in Bruemmer with a base hit making it 5-0. Kade Flores was hit with a pitch to load the bases. Moses slapped a single to left center that easily scoring Catron and Dubbs. Coach Scott Upp saw a sloppy cutoff throw and sent Flores home to score. Anglin flew out to center to end the inning and the Slicers led 8-0 after three.


Alex Rodriguez came in to pitch for the Governors in the fourth. He got pinch hitter AJ Mrozinske to fly out to center and Samuelson to pop out to the first baseman in foul territory. Pinch hitter Brock Schultz drew a two out walk and stole second. He scored on Bruemmer’s single to make it 9-0 after four innings.


The Slicers made it a 10 run mercy rule win in the fifth picking up a run off of Morton’s third pitcher of the day Ivan Gallegos. Kelli Hay popped to short to start the inning. Kade Flores ripped a base hit to left center then stole second. Pinch hitter Thomas Hill hit a hard line drive right at the left fielder for the second out. Anglin walked before Mrozinske hit a slow roller toward the third baseman for an infield hit. The speedy Flores scored from second to end the game. 


La Porte pitchers have given up just one run and three hits in 12 innings so far this year and the defense has not committed an error. After striking out 12 times at Penn and adding three more in the first inning Thursday Slicer hitters only fanned one time in the final four innings. Seven different players had hits for LP in the game. Moses was 2-3 with 3 RBI. Bruemmer had a double and single in three trips scoring once and driving in one. 


Olson was the winning pitcher and was named the Salisbury and Spence Edward Jones Player of the Game.


La Porte is scheduled to travel to Logansport Saturday for a doubleheader. First pitch at 10:00 AM Central Time. The next home game and DAC opener will be Tuesday vs Portage. First pitch at 4:30. All Slicer games can be heard on 96.7 the Eagle WCOE.


Photos courtesy of Angie Anglin.

Famous Chef Sees Potential in La Porte

(La Porte, IN) - La Porte has the potential to become a leader in the hospitality industry, according to internationally acclaimed Chef Marcelo Marino during his March 28th presentation in downtown La Porte.


"La Porte has all the ingredients to become a Hospitality Industry Leader in the region. The talent, the desire, the knowledge, and the passion are there. Together we can create wonderful experiences for our community,” he said.


Marino was the keynote speaker for the first Hospitality Excellence Series hosted by the La Porte Economic Advancement Partnership in partnership with the Northwest Indiana Small Business Development Center and the Michigan City Chamber of Commerce. Marino is also a restauranteur and educator in what’s been, so far, a 35 year career in the industry.


He also emphasized the importance of businesses working together instead of seeing each other as competition and thinking outside the box for appealing to customers. 


“Chef Marcelo Marino is an example of what it takes to not only bring the hospitality segment together, but a community. We have great assets in our local restaurants, and we need to show them support. I hope the event along with his energy and excitement for our community galvanize our businesses to come together and work cooperatively,” said LEAP President of Business Services Mike Riehle.

The next session will be at Hotspot Café at 602 Lincolnway on May 9 beginning at 4:30 p.m., focusing on marketing and sales.


If you are a professional in the restaurant/hospitality industry and are interested in joining the Excellence Series, please reach out to Riehle at miker@laportepartnership.com to learn more.

Water System Flushing Approaches

(La Porte, IN) - The La Porte Water Department will begin its regularly scheduled water system flushing in the coming weeks, according to Water Superintendent Tim Werner.


Starting Sunday, Apr. 9th and continuing for the next three to four weeks, crews will be out to flush fire hydrants throughout the community Sunday through Thursday between the hours of 8 p.m. and 5 a.m.


“Though some may see it as a nuisance, hydrant flushing plays a crucial role in maintaining our water system,” Werner said. “This process allows us to make notes on existing infrastructure and improve the overall quality of our city’s water, and we appreciate our residents’ patience as we work to continue providing high quality service to our community.”


Werner warned that during this necessary process, discolored or rusty water may occur in some areas. Though the water is safe to drink, discolored water in washing machines may affect clothing.


To avoid staining clothes, he said residents should check their water before doing laundry. Should clothes have some staining, avoid drying and call the Water Department for free rust removing solution.


Residents with questions can contact the Water Department at 219-326-9540.

School Bus Encounters Power Line

(La Porte, IN) - There was a power line scare involving a La Porte school bus this morning, which prompted firefighters to respond to the area of Niesen and Warsaw streets on the city’s northeast side.


According to authorities, the bus was crossing the South Shore Railroad freight line tracks at about 7 a.m., only to then snag a low-hanging low voltage line after clearing the crossing. The line, ripped from a pole and snapped, then came to rest on the side of the bus and around one of the axles.


La Porte Fire Department Battalion Chief Doug Biernacki said there was also one student along with one aide on the bus.


“We advised them to stay inside the bus while we assessed the damage,” he said.


Nobody on the bus suffered any harm, and eventually the school bus was allowed to resume traveling once firefighters determined the line did not have any power running through it.


Biernacki said who the power line belonged to was not determined right away.

Facebook Marketplace Used in Theft Ring

(La Porte County, IN) - A recent theft ring crossing state lines was found to involve the stealing of trailers and use of Facebook Marketplace to cash in by two men who are both currently in custody.


Jeffrey Glancy, Sr., 50, and Dustin Bush, 29, are each charged in La Porte Circuit Court with three Level 6 Felony counts of Theft.


According to court documents, Glancy and Bush stole three trailers during a recent two week period in La Porte County and one trailer in Michigan in the New Buffalo area.


At least one of the stolen trailers was sold using Facebook Marketplace.


In that case, police said the enclosed utility trailer was offered for $1,600 but sold for $1,100 after Bush and the buyer from Cedar Lake negotiated the final asking price.


The victim met Bush on March 8 at Country Acres Apartments in La Porte to retrieve the trailer.


Per authorities, the cases were solved from leads obtained during the New Buffalo area heist.  Police were able to identity two men captured by video surveillance stealing the trailer because of their criminal pasts.


Glancy, who has a history of burglary and theft, was released by the Indiana Department of Corrections last year.  Bush has mostly theft and drug-related convictions.


Bush was once charged with burglary after chased by police in La Porte from a burned out apartment in 2015.  The pursuit ended with an officer yelling at him to drop what was believed to be a possible weapon from his hand. The item turned out to be an elongated purple rubber sex toy allegedly stolen from the condemned residence.


The burglary charge was later dismissed.

Annual LakeFest Taking Shape

(La Porte, IN) - The complete schedule of events slated for the third annual LakeFest in La Porte was announced today. LakeFest will run from July 28th-30th at Stone, Pine and Clear lakes. Watersports will be featured along with music, art and food.


"LakeFest is a manifestation of all that makes La Porte a unique place to live and visit, and its success over the previous two years is a testament to how this message has been received by the members of our community and beyond," said La Porte Park and Recreation Department Director Mark Schreiber.


Schreiber said there will also be multiple family-friendly events taking place at various locations around town throughout the weekend as in the past. He said highlights of this year's festival include P1 Aqua X Jet Ski races, live music, comedy shows, activities for kids, an artisan market by The Collective and outdoor recreational activities.


"We have some amazing performers and a few new attractions that are sure to make this year's event extra special,” he said.


For the full schedule and to learn more about individual events, visit laportelakefest.com.


Concert performers will be announced in April.

Another Gunfire Scare in Michigan City

(Michigan City, IN) - Michigan City Police are turning to the public for help in a case involving gunshots striking three vehicles and a residence. Officers, at about 10 a.m. on Wednesday, responded to the 400 block of Hayes Avenue on a report of numerous gunshots fired from a moving vehicle.


Police said no one inside the home struck by some of the rounds were injured. There were also no injuries reported from any of the vehicles struck with bullets. Evidence was obtained from the crime scene but no arrests have been made.  The investigation, though, is ongoing.


Anyone with possible information that could be helpful to solving the case is asked to contact Michigan City Police.


Lead investigator Sgt. Lendell Hood can be reached at (219) 874- 3221 Ext. 1074 or by email at lhood@emichigancity.com.


Per authorities, ”We would also like to remind the public that you can contact us via Facebook Messenger, through our crime tip hotline number of 219-873-1488, or the WeTip Hotline for General Crime (800) 78-CRIME. You can always request to remain anonymous!"

Patrol Officers Hired

Sheriff Ronald C. Heeg officially announces the recent hiring of three Merit Deputies.        


Deputy Joseph A. Walker, 44, began his employment with the La Porte County Sheriff’s Office on February 6th.  He was born in Crawfordsville, Indiana and is a 1997 graduate of Southmont High School.  Deputy Walker is a graduate of the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy.  He is also an Indiana Law Enforcement Training Board Certified Instructor.  Deputy Walker is married, has two children, and resides in rural Scipio Township.





Deputy Pablo J. Pesa, 31,began his employment with the LCSO on February 20.  He was born in Argentina and is a 2009 graduate of New Trier Township High School in Winnetka, Illinois.  Deputy Pesa holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice and Psychology from Indiana University.  In addition, he has attained a Master’s Degree in Government and Counter Terrorism from Reichman University in Herzliya, Israel.  Deputy Pesa is a graduate of the Indiana University Police Academy.  He is an Indiana Law Enforcement Training Board Certified Instructor and has also earned the following specialty certifications: Emergency Vehicle Operations Instructor, Law Enforcement Phlebotomist, Drug Recognition Expert and Master Taser Instructor.  Deputy Pesa is trilingual and fluently speaks Spanish and Hebrew.  Deputy Pesa is married, has one child, and resides in New Durham Township. 


Deputy Jet Balenia,34, was rehired by the LCSO and began his employment again on February 20 following a brief hiatus.  He was born in Talisay City, Philippines.  Deputy Balenia graduated high school and attended Colegio San Agustin in the Philippines.  In 2014, he obtained his U.S. Citizenship.  Deputy Balenia is a graduate of the Northwest Indiana Law Enforcement Academy. Deputy Balenia is married, has two children, and resides in Lake County, Indiana.






“Please join us as we congratulate and welcome Deputies Walker, Pesa and Balenia to the LCSO.  We are very excited that Deputies Walker and Pesa have selected the LCSO to continue their law enforcement careers.  In addition, we are thrilled that Deputy Balenia has returned to the agency.  All three are doing very well and already making an impact with their peers in the Patrol Division,” Heeg said.



Girls Softball Season Cancelled

(New Buffalo, MI) - The New Buffalo High School girls’ softball season has been cancelled due to a shortage of players. NBHS Athletic Director Matt Johnson said the decision was made March 23rd after practice.


“We just didn’t have the numbers to be able to confidently field the team for the whole season,” he said.


Johnson said there were only seven or eight committed players showing up for every practice.  He said there were also no guarantees when two players from last year’s team would be physically able to compete due to injuries during the off-season.


The future eligibility of another player was also in doubt because of grades. The first game for the Lady Bison was supposed to be March 29 at Brandywine. Johnson said starting the season hoping to have enough players could have resulted in forfeiting a bunch of games.


“We needed to make the decision when we did so our opponents have the time to find other games,” he said.


Johnson said players on the team also have time now to play another spring sport if that’s what they wish to do. 


The plan is to field a team in future seasons by trying to increase turnout at the high school and in the youth leagues for children 14 and under. Johnson said youth league participation is high in the younger age brackets but starts tapering off some after 12.


“We just have to look and analyze to see where we’re missing that connection between when those girls stop playing and then we don’t get them at the high school level either,” he said.

Threats Cancel Drag Show

(Valparaiso, IN) - A drag show planned near Valparaiso has been cancelled due to threats of violence.


The drag show was going to be part of the annual Halfway to Halloween market at the Porter County Expo Center in May.  Threats of violence started being received after a Facebook post revealed children under 12 would be admitted for free.


In a post on Facebook, organizers of the drag show said it’s unfortunate hate and fear still exists, and they don’t feel safe going ahead with the drag show.


Jennifer Ruth Green, a Republican who lost her bid for a seat in Congress in November, was happy with the decision judging by her social media post.


However, she condemned organizers for wanting to have a drag show in the first place, saying “please communicate that our children deserve better.”


The market is still on for May 20th without the drag show. 

Slicers Fall 1-0 in Opener, Penn Pitchers Perfect

The La Porte Baseball team felt that Penn, last year’s state champions and currently the #1 rated team in Indiana, was great. Tuesday night, they found out the Kingsmen were perfect. Adam Lehman for 5 innings and Dawson French, the final 2 frames, hurled a perfect game, retiring 21 straight Slicers in Penn’s 1-0 season opening winning over the Slicers. 


Senior RJ Anglin, who went the distance for the Slicers, wasn’t perfect, but pitched magnificently. He allowed just 1 run and 2 hits in the loss. The two hits accounted for the only two baserunners in the entire game. 


Anglin retired the first nine Kingsmen he faced through three innings. The only offense in the game came in the bottom of the 4th inning. Penn leadoff man Cooper Humes hit a ground ball double down the first base line. Cam Dombrowski failed on two attempts to bunt Humes to third before hitting a chopper to Slicer second baseman Kade Flores. La Porte got the out but Humes advanced to third. Anglin came up with a huge strikeout of the number three hitter Adam Lehman for the second out. Catcher Zach Peletier hit a hard grounder just out of the reach of shortstop Kai Jones to drive in the game’s only run.


Aside from lack of hitting, this was as well played a high school game that you will ever see. No errors were committed by either team and there were no walks or hit batsmen. The game was played in an unheard of one hour and seven minutes.

Anglin struck out seven in his 6 innings of work. Lehman fanned nine over five innings with French adding three more Ks in two innings of work. The closest LP came to a baserunner was a hard one hopper back to the mound by Flores that was caught in self defense by Lehman and borderline strikeout call on a full count to Ben Dubbs. Junior center fielder Ryan Bruemmer made the defensive play of the game, making a running over the head catch at the warning track in the second inning. Anglin was named the Salisbury and Spence Edward Jones Player of the Game.


La Porte is scheduled to host Hammond Morton at Schreiber Field this after at 4:30.

OWI for No Headlights Driver

(Michigan City, IN) - Driving without headlights on resulted in a Michigan City man being arrested for drunk driving again. Brenton Williams, 33, is charged with Operating while Intoxicated.


According to court documents, an officer before 11 p.m. on March 22nd spotted a 2013 Chevy Malibu on Franklin Street near Southwood Drive traveling without its headlights on.


The officer turned around and went after the driver, who continued northbound without his headlights activated before pulling over in the area of Franklin St. and Coolspring Avenue.


A computer check of his driving history revealed his license was suspended, not helped by Williams allegedly having a blood alcohol level nearly two times the legal limit at the time.


Police said the OWI charge was elevated from a Misdemeanor to a Level 6 Felony due to Williams having a prior conviction for driving impaired.  An empty bottle of rum was located in the vehicle.

Shoplifting Team Snared at Walmart

(Michigan City, IN) - A man with guns and a woman teamed up to shoplift from Walmart in Michigan City but were caught with hundreds of dollars in stolen merchandise, in addition to various drugs like methamphetamine and morphine.


Those are the allegations filed against Mario Reyes, 35, of Valparaiso and Stephanie Godfrey, 32, from downstate Anderson.


According to court documents, they were stopped on March 21st after paying for just three items in the self-checkout. 


Police said Reyes served as a lookout while Godfrey placed store items into a buggy and the lining of a coat she brought into the store. Reyes was also found with three handguns located on both of his hips and mid-section.


61 individual items like clothing, jewelry, cosmetics and groceries, valued at nearly $600, were returned to the store.



Convicted Thief Nabbed for Stealing

(La Porte County, IN) - A convicted thief wanted by La Porte County Police is back in custody. Authorities say 50-year-old Jeffrey Glancy, Sr. was taken into custody just hours after help from the public was sought in locating the fugitive, found in a home in New Carlisle hiding underneath a basement stairwell.


Police say Glancy was wanted in both La Porte County and Berrien County, Michigan for stealing.  According to public records, Glancy has been to prison before for prior crimes like burglary and theft.


Apparently, he didn’t waste much time turning to crime again.  The Michigan City area man was released by the Indiana Department of Correction several months ago.

La Porte Trail Extension Cementing

(La Porte, IN) - Cement continues to pour for extending the Chessie Trail into downtown LaPorte and some of the surrounding residential neighborhoods.



Currently, much of the work is occurring on 1st Street where sidewalks are being torn out and replaced with a 10 foot wide trail.


Nearly 30 trees along the route have also been removed to provide an open, smooth trail made of concrete for walking, jogging and riding bicycles.  Much of the cement poured Tuesday was on 1st St. near Indiana 2.


Mayor Tom Dermody said the extension reflects a commitment from his and past administrations to provide more recreational opportunities and promote healthier lifestyles through physical fitness.  Dermody said this and other trails built in recent years at Kesling Park and beside Stone Lake are also in response to public demand.


“They want more things to do. They want more trails.  We’re going to be a leader in the quality of life here in La Porte and we’re working at it every single day,” he said.


Presently, the 1.5 mile long Chessie Trail completed in 2019 runs from the east side of Pine Lake at Kiwanis Teledyne Park to NewPorte Landing.


The extension is about equal in length.


Once completed, the Chessie Trail will cross Pine Lake Ave. next to Lily Lake and head south into downtown on Lake Street and Tyler Street  The trail will then veer west onto 1st Street before ending at TransPorte, the city’s bus transportation service at 102 L Street


“It’s going to be a nice project,” said Code Enforcement and Street Department Director Jeff Batchelor.


Batchelor said there are few, if any, trees left to cut down for the trail extension.  About half of the trees removed were less than 10 inches in diameter with the largest measuring nearly 40 inches across, he said.


Batchelor said construction should be completed by no later than June 30th.


“They’re hoping to get it done sooner,” he said.


City Engineer Nick Minich said the cost of the trail extension is about $1.6 million.   


He said federal dollars are covering 80-percent of the expense under a program aimed at reducing motor vehicle use and better air quality. The remaining funds were from a grant by the Healthcare Foundation of La Porte.


Dermody said all of the existing trails are receiving very good use.


“We’re excited to continue this and it’s going to be fantastic,” he said.


According to a city website, the original stretch of the Chessie Trail was built on the former right of way of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway.  The railroad later referred to as the “Chessie System” brought freight into and out of La Porte from the late 19th century until the line was abandoned. The line also served the former Allis Chalmers farm equipment plant, which closed down in the 1980’s.

Law Catches Up to Fleeing Shoplifter

(La Porte, IN) - A Union Mills woman allegedly fled after caught shoplifting at Rural King but was quickly located and placed into handcuffs.


Shannon Vandusen, 46, is charged in La Porte Circuit Court with Theft, Possession of Methamphetamine and one other count.  She’s also being held for authorities in St. Joseph County where she’s wanted on several mostly felony warrants.


According to court documents, Vandusen on March 22nd went inside a changing room at the store on the city’s west side and began concealing various articles of clothing inside of her coat. She had been in the changing room for a lengthy period of time when the store manager knocked on the door.  Vandusen responded she would be out “in a minute," but was still inside about 20 minutes later when the store manager approached the changing room a second time. 


Police said Vandusen stepped out and walked to the center of the store before running out the exit doors and fleeing eastbound on Indiana 2 in what was described as a Cadillac Escalade. Ripped merchandise tags were found behind the mirror inside the changing room along with empty clothes hangers.


The suspected getaway vehicle turned southbound on Clay Street before it was stopped in the 400 block of Harrison Street.  Police said Vandusen was wearing a coat that contained various pieces of clothing such as shirts, hats and a scarf. The items were apparently stuffed through a cut in the pocket used to hide the merchandise in the lining of the coat. In addition, she was also wearing a stolen pair of Wrangler jeans.


Vandusen was found with less than a gram of methamphetamine at the La Porte County Jail.  Another small amount of the drug was located in the vehicle.

Arrest of Gunman Threatening to Shoot

(La Porte, IN) - A La Porte man allegedly went inside a home making threats with a gun.


Johnathan Sindone, 27, is charged in La Porte Circuit Court with Unlawful Carrying of a Handgun and Theft, both Level 5 Felonies, and Class B Misdemeanor Disorderly Conduct. According to court documents, police were called Sunday to a home in the 1200 block of Michigan Avenue in La Porte. Sindone allegedly went inside the home with a loaded gun claiming he was going to “shoot somebody.”


As a precaution, police officers closed Michigan Avenue in both directions and ordered Sindone spotted through a second story window to come out of the residence. He complied and officers slowly approaching placed in handcuffs on the front porch, according to court documents.


Sindone, who was recently evicted from a home in the 500 block of Maple Ave., was yelling obscenities but kept shouting despite orders to stop. The loaded gun Sindone took inside the home was found on the second floor.  It was against the law for Sindone to have a gun due to a prior felony conviction, authorities said. The gun was reported stolen out of Allegan County, Michigan.


A woman inside the home was hiding when learning Sindone had come into the residence.

Pay Hike Sought for Election Workers

(La Porte County, IN) - Election workers in La Porte County could receive a pay increase.


Clerk Heather Stevens told the La Porte County Council last night that wants to increase the pay of early voting election workers from $13 to $16 an hour, in addition to giving Election Day workers a flat $50 increase. Currently, Election Day inspectors are paid $200, lead judges $180, and everyone else $150 for what turns out to be a 13 hour day, she said.


Stevens said efficiences have been found to reduce the amount of election workers at some voting locations without a pay hike increasing the cost of running an election.


“I can increase the pay and still save money at the very same time,” she said.


The council, which oversees the finances of county government, advised her to seek approval for the pay increase from the La Porte County Election Board.

OWI for Johnson Road Speeder

(La Porte County, IN) - A man traveling at highway speeds on a two lane, curvy road outside La Porte was arrested last evening for driving impaired.


Spencer Wiggins, 50, of Michigan City is charged with Operating while Intoxicated and Driving on a Suspended License. According to La Porte County Police, he was westbound on Johnson Road near 500 West when clocked at 77 miles per hour, the specific stretch of road having a speed limit below 45 mph.


Wiggins claimed at the time to have consumed two beers at a friend’s house in La Porte. However, he had an alleged blood alcohol level of .104-percent, or slightly above the legal limit. Wiggins was also cited for Speeding.


Per authorities, traveling that fast on Johnson Road is particularly dangerous because of the homes and curves in spots, along with the center lines being faded and difficult to see especially at night. 

Final Concert of Anniversary Season

(La Porte, IN) - The La Porte County Symphony Orchestra will conclude their 50th Anniversary season with The Texas Tenors and the Purdue Varsity Glee CLUB in concert.


The performance is scheduled Saturday, April 22nd at 7:00 p.mat the Civic Auditorium.


The Texas Tenors have amassed a huge fan base worldwide with over half a million followers on social media and more than 20 million views on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram.  The Emmy Award winning vocal trio with a repertoire ranging from classical to country was a top finalist in “America’s Got Talent.” 


The Purdue Varsity Glee Club has served as ambassadors of the university with honor and dignity for more than 125 years.   Comprised of 67 singers, the Glee Club will perform one-of-a-kind arrangements tailor made for the La Porte County Symphony Orchestra. 


Opening the concert will be “Celebration Fanfare.”


LCSO Music Director, Dr. Carolyn Watson, will be leading the musicians of the LCSO as well as the Glee Club and The Texas Tenors.


“A lot of planning has taken place to make this final concert incredibly special for both our audience and musicians,” said LCSO Executive Director, Tim King.   “This will be a great finale to an incredible season,” he said.


General Admission balcony seat tickets are available for $30 by going to WWW.LCSO.NET. They will also be available for sale at Roxy Music and the Civic Auditorium in La Porte or by calling 219-362-9020. There will be no free student admissions to this concert.

Pine Lake Avenue Resurfacing Announced

(La Porte, IN) - Pine Lake Avenue in La Porte is going to be resurfaced beginning soon.


According to the Indiana Department of Transportation, the resurfacing will be from New Porte Boulevard to Indiana 39.The work to be performed by Rieth Riley Construction will begin on April 3rd. According to INDOT, one lane will be closed at a time through the duration of the project. There will also be intermittent intersection closures with no more than two intersections closed at the same time.  The work will be ongoing through early July.


“Motorists should be prepared for changing traffic patterns and intersection access through this area,” INDOT officials said.


INDOT said work will include patching, replacing curb and gutter, bringing ramps up to compliance with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act and installation of additional drainpipes. This project will also work in coordination with construction on Phase 2 of the Chessie Trail. 


The organization encourages drivers to allow extra time when driving through this area and follow traffic directions carefully.  Motorists should slow down, exercise caution and drive distraction-free through all work zones.

Tailgating Results in Drug Bust

(La Porte County, IN) - A La Porte man is facing drug charges after pulled over for tailgating on Interstate 94.


Thaddeus Stone, 34, was spotted by a police officer just one car's length behind a semi-truck late at night on March 17th, where he then made sudden lane changes before exiting onto U.S. 421. The officer, now behind him, witnessed his car veer across the fog line on the ramp before heading southbound on the four lane highway. 


A short time later, Stone pulled over in a gas station parking lot near 300 North. As instructed, Stone took a seat inside the police vehicle while the officer conducted a computer check of his driving record.  After getting, Stone was allegedly spotted throwing a glass smoking pipe into the grass. Police ultimately found four grams of methamphetamine in his coat pocket.  A search at the La Porte County Jail turned up less than one gram of cocaine in one of his shoes as well.


Stone is still being held today in the jail on two Level 6 Felony Drug Possession charges and a misdemeanor Possession of Drug Paraphernalia count.

Wrong Way Driver Arrested for OWI

(Michigan City, IN) - Police say a man driving in the opposite lanes of a state highway in Michigan City was taken off the roads for being impaired. Richard Jones, 55, of Michigan City is still being held in the La Porte County Jail today following his early Sunday morning arrest.


According to La Porte County Police, a patrol officer had to swerve to his right to avoid a head-on collision with the suspect northbound in the southbound lanes of Indiana 212 at Freyer Road. The officer turned around and, while catching up, the vehicle drifted into the proper lanes before veering eastbound on U.S. 12.


The 2002 Chevy S-10 pick-up truck began swerving back and forth over the center line on U.S. 12 before soon pulling into a driveway.  Police said Jones revealed he just left a bar after consuming several beers. His alleged blood alcohol level was slightly more than twice the .08-percent legal limit.


Police said the charge was upgraded to a Level 6 Felony due to Jones having a prior OWI conviction from January of this year out of Porter County.

Business Collective in Bloom in New Carlisle

(New Carlisle, IN) - A little storefront in New Carlisle has sprung back to life with a business collective that celebrated a grand opening Friday night.


The collection of six businesses is nestled in a building in the heart of downtown New Carlisle. Locals know it as the original location of Moser’s Café. Molly Hannon bought the building for her own design and architecture business, Paladin Design House, but realized she had some extra space for other businesses to occupy.


“Originally it was just going to be a building renovation,” Hannon said. “It was just going to be my office space with an apartment upstairs.” But Hannon connected with some other small business owners who were looking for downtown space. It started with a local florist who was operating out of her house and grew from there. “It just all happened kind of organically, which is great,” Hannon said. “There’s a mix of people here and the businesses and personalities is pretty exciting.”


The small businesses include the florist, a local fresh produce vendor, a yoga/Pilates studio, massage therapy, and Hannon’s own general store and lunch counter, which her 10-year-old son is helping run. Her design business has been relegated to a desk in the corner of the space. But Hannon loves sharing the old store with other entrepreneurs.


Hannon is a New Prairie High School graduate and studied architecture at Notre Dame. After living in South Bend for a few years, Hannon missed the small town ambiance of New Carlisle.


With the recent closure of the large, decades-old Village Shoppes, New Carlisle’s downtown was in need of a shot in the arm. Hannon hopes her store is proof of a resurgence. “There’s some new blood coming in,” she said. “I think it will be good for everybody to feed off of each other.”


The new storefront in New Carlisle will be open Mondays through Saturdays 9:30-1:30 Central time or by appointment.

Mill Creek Man Killed in Motorcycle Crash

(Gary, IN) - A Mill Creek man died in an interstate motorcycle crash earlier this week.


Around 7:10 p.m. Tuesday night, Indiana State Police responded to the scene of an accident on I-80/94 in Gary.


An investigation revealed that a sport-style motorcycle was travelling eastbound at a high rate of speed, passing vehicles along the skip line. The motorcycle made contact with the back of a semi, resulting in a crash that caught the bike on fire. Despite efforts of Good Samaritans to revive the rider, he was pronounced dead at the scene. The accident restricted eastbound traffic for several hours.


The motorcyclist was later identified as 22-year-old Quintin Mayo of Mill Creek.


Police issued this statement regarding motorcycle safety:


"While legal in other states, the Indiana State Police would like to remind motorcyclists that in Indiana, it is not permissible for a motorcycle to pass other vehicles while riding the skip lines. It is not only illegal, but it is extremely dangerous. Also, with spring’s arrival, that means warmer weather and drivers will start to see more cyclists out on all of Indiana’s roadways. A common safety slogan is 'Be aware, motorcycles are everywhere.'"

Sand Castle Gets Needed Funding

(Michigan City, IN) - A Michigan City homeless shelter got a big financial boost for renovations.


This week Sand Castle Shelter for Homeless Families received a big check for just shy of $50,000. Jim Musial, Executive Director for Citizens Concerned for the Homeless, accepted the grant at a ceremony at Blue Chip Casino on Thursday. The money is from American Rescue Plan funds. It will help with a new roof, tuckpointing, and other exterior repairs on the shelter’s 121-year-old building. A second phase of renovations next year will make interior improvements.


Sand Castle offers 30-to-45 day residential programs to La Porte County families in need of temporary housing.

Civil Suit Filed Against State Prison in Michigan City

(South Bend, IN) - The family of a prison stabbing victim at Indiana State Prison is looking for justice and a hefty settlement.


In October 2021, 25-year-old Juwan Jones of South Bend was stabbed by a fellow inmate at the prison in Michigan City. Records indicate Jones was serving a 30-year-sentence for attempted murder.


His family alleges that the prison was understaffed and did not do enough to save Jones’ life. According to a lawsuit filed in South Bend’s U.S. District Court, it took prison staff half an hour to call EMS, and by the time Jones made it to a hospital, an hour had passed, and he had lost too much blood.


The family has hired Washington, D.C. lawfirm Black Lawyers for Justice. Lead attorney Malik Zulu Shabazz is the former Chairman of the New Black Panther Party. Shabazz said the family seeks change in the prison system. "ISP must change," he said, "and this lawsuit is about forcing real change at ISP." The lawsuit also seeks $20 million in damages.

Parking Lot Suicide at Elkhart County School

(Middlebury, IN) - A small town community in Elkhart County is coping with a tragic loss.


On Friday a public school staff member died by suicide in a middle school parking lot. It happened around midday Friday at Northridge Middle School in Middlebury, between Elkhart and Shipshewana.


The victim was identified as John Homan, a teacher at the school. According to the Northridge website, Homan taught multilingual learning.


The campus was placed on lockdown for a short time. However, school district officials said there was no danger to students or to the public. A police investigation was underway Friday afternoon, which closed the north side of the school parking lot.

No other information has been released.

Mayor Touts Financial Recovery in Speech

(Michigan City, IN) - Michigan City Mayor Duane Parry cited turning debt into a surplus as one of his achievements during his annual State of the City speech on Thursday.


Parry said the city has $5 million in cash reserves after he inherited a $3.4 million budget deficit from the previous administration. He said the black ink was attained despite the city paying the cost of materials and labor for the extension of water and sewer to over 400 acres annexed by the city in 2018 near the airport.


“This is what I call sound fiscal responsibility and money management,” he said.


Parry is running unopposed for the Republican Party nomination in the May primary. There could be a rematch in November between him and former mayor Ron Meer, who’s running for his prior job against four other candidates for the Democratic Party nomination in the May primary.


During his speech at Blue Chip Casino, the Michigan City Mayor also highlighted developments like a 100 unit single family subdivision making its way through the approvals process. He expects the development to be approved by the city’s plan commission in the near future.


“This is the first new residential subdivision in Michigan City since 1955,” said Parry, who began clapping and what appeared to be tears of joy to the applause of the audience.


Parry also touted changes he made at the police department such as the naming of a police chief, Steve Forker. Parry said arrests are now up and so are the number of guns being taken off the streets.  He also said fewer officers are leaving the department as a result of higher morale.


The Mayor further vowed to crack down on contractors and individuals not disposing of trash in a timely fashion along with litterbugs by enforcing local ordinances.


“You will be a good neighbor or face the consequences,” he said.


Parry, during his over 30 minute presentation, also cited achievements like the Great Lakes Grand Prix being named best event in 2022 during this year’s Indiana Tourism Conference and housing cleaning at the Michigan City Housing Authority.


Parry also referred to what he called a blueprint for leading Michigan City to major transformation. Included in the game plan is the beginning of construction this year of high rise developments containing residential, hotel and retail space resulting from the South Shore Railroad commuter line "double track" project.  He said the developments and other items contained in the blueprint are designed "to make Michigan City the most desired place on the shores of the Great Lakes to live, work and enjoy life."

Arnold Retires from Sheriff's Office

(La Porte County, IN) - A longtime member of the La Porte County Sheriff’s Office has retired.


James D. Arnold began as a jail deputy in 1999 and was promoted to patrolman nearly two years later. He was a patrol officer until April of 2019 when promoted to patrol supervisor under the rank of sergeant.


“I publicly thank Sgt. Arnold for his years of service.  I wish him good health and the best of luck in his future endeavors,” said Sheriff Ron Heeg.


Arnold was a candidate for Sheriff last year running as a Democrat.  Andy Hynek won the Democratic Party nomination then lost to Heeg in the November general election.

Trail Extension Taking Shape

(La Porte, IN) - Extension of the Chessie Trail in La Porte is well underway.


Right now, much of the work is occurring on First Street. where sidewalks are being torn out for extending the trail currently running from Pine Lake to New Porte Landing. Once completed, the trail will extend across Pine Lake Avenue by Lily Lake and into downtown on Lake Street and Tyler Street then 1st Street.


Code Enforcement and Street Department Director Jeff Batchelor said the trail extension will end at the TransPorte office at 102 L Street.  He said nearly 30 trees mostly about 10 inches in diameter have been cut down from tree lawns along the route to help make the path smooth.


Few, if any, trees are left to be removed.


Batchelor said the sidewalks will be replaced with a 10 foot wide hard surface trail.


“It’s going to be a nice project,” he said.


Construction should be completed by no later than the end of June.


“They’re hoping to get it done sooner,” he said.


At some point, the next phase of the extension will take the trail to Soldiers Memorial Park.


City Engineer Nick Minich said the estimated cost of the trail extension is just over $1.6 million.   80-percent of the expense is covered by federal dollars while the balance will be paid with a grant from the Healthcare Foundation of La Porte.  

Meer Proposes Scholarships for Police/Fire

(Michigan City, IN) - A candidate for mayor in Michigan City wants to offer scholarships to police officers and firefighters to stop high turnover rates.


Former mayor Ron Meer says the money is there from the city’s existing Promise Scholarship Program. The program, offering $5,000-a-year scholarships, was started several years ago with a percentage of the city’s share of riverboat proceeds. In addition, Meer said he would push to use the new public safety income tax in La Porte County to increase the pay of police officers and firefighters in Michigan City.


The idea is to attract more emergency responder applicants and retain them once hired.  Meer, who previously served two terms as mayor, said public safety for him is absolutely a top priority.


“This makes us competitive.” he said.


Right now, only qualifying residents within the city limits are eligible for scholarships under the existing program. Meer said he would look to change that to include police officers and firefighters even if they live outside the city.


Police officers and firefighters in Michigan City were given pay raises last year, but the amount was viewed by administrators in those departments as not enough to solve problems with turnover and staffing shortages.


Meer is running against four other Democrats for the party’s nomination.

Marijuana Shop Borders La Porte County

(New Buffalo Township, MI) - Marijuana will be legally available soon a short distance from La Porte County. Rolling Embers Cannabis is scheduled to open in Michigan on April 5th, according to the company’s website.


The marijuana shop is going into a new 3,000 square foot single-story building constructed along Michigan 239 at Wilson Road near Interstate 94, south of the New Buffalo city limits.


New Buffalo Township hasn’t legalized marijuana yet, but the land where the marijuana shop exists is owned by the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, the operators of nearby Four Winds Casino. Indian Tribes are considered under federal law a sovereign nation, which means they can operate under their own laws on their property.


Currently, New Buffalo Township and the City of New Buffalo are currently following the process for considering making the retail sale of marijuana legal. Since marijuana remains illegal in Indiana, anyone caught with legally purchased marijuana from Michigan can still face arrest in the Hoosier state. 

Candidate Forums Scheduled

(La Porte County, IN) - The spotlight for two consecutive days will be on candidates for local offices in the May primary. The League of Women Voters of La Porte County is sponsoring a candidate forum at 7 p.m. on March 29th for people running for mayor and city council in La Porte. The forum will be inside the Commissioners’ Meeting Room on the main level of the La Porte County Complex.


Another forum for mayoral and city council candidates in Michigan City is scheduled March 30 also at 7 p.m. at City Hall inside the City Council chambers.


The LWV is partnering with Access La Porte County in the forums.


The candidates will give opening and closing statements. They will also have the opportunity to answer questions from the public. Only written questions screened by the LWV’s Voter Services Committee will be accepted at the forum.  Members of the public are asked to submit questions in advance to lwvlaporte@gmail.com. Written questions will also be accepted from audience members present at the forums.


Access LaPorte County (ALCO) will live-stream the events on ALCO's FaceBook page, which will be rebroadcast on ALCO's Public Access website and YouTube channel.

Big Response to Free Biggby Coffee

(La Porte, IN) - People in a long line of vehicles waited for up to one hour today for a give away at the new Biggby Coffee in La Porte.


Free coffee of any choosing from the menu was handed out in the drive thru from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.  The giveaway resumes today from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.


Biggby Coffee at 1222 W. Indiana 2 officially opens on March 28th.


“Can’t beat it.  Free coffee,” said Katie Haddock of New Carlisle.


Haddock said she learned about the giveaway on Facebook and with errands to run in LaPorte made the drive then stopped in with her sister and children.


“I planned my day around it,” she said.


Mike Spurr of Kingsbury had already waited 15 minutes but was fully prepared to remain in line until receiving his coffee.


“I’m retired now so I can just take my time.  I’m in no hurry,” he said.


Spurr said he also learned about the giveaway on Facebook and since he had things to do here decided to pull in out of curiosity.  He had never been to a Biggby Coffee anywhere until today.


“Everybody says it’s good,” he said.


Amanda Swanson of La Porte pulled in with her boyfriend, David Stellema.  They waited for one hour and watched a TV show to help pass the time.


“It’s a free drink.  There’s nothing else to do,” she said.


Cindy Frank ordered a “Spotted Owl” and a “Butter Bear Latte” for her girlfriend, Krissy Petrocelli, who was seated next to her.


They were eager for their first ever Biggby Coffee since learning a few months ago about the beverage chain planning to locate here.  They listened to music and talked to each other to help pass the time.


“I’m just excited to try the coffee,” Petrocelli said.

Traffic Stop Leads to Other Potential Crimes

(Michigan City, IN) - A traffic stop in Michigan City resulted in a drug-related arrest and possible leads to other criminal activity.


Jeffrey Griffin, 61, of Michigan City is charged with Possession of Methamphetamine. He was stopped during the early morning hours of March 11th at U.S. 12 and Liberty Trail for speeding.


The officer, who was in an unmarked vehicle, was nearly finished writing a warning ticket for speeding when a K-9 dog brought to the scene by another officer alerted him to the presence of drugs. Less than a gram of methamphetamine was located in the vehicle along with nearly a dozen syringes, one of which was loaded with a dark brown colored liquid substance, per authorities.


Court documents also revealed a notebook listing various accounts along with a driver’s license and  forms of identification belonging to another individual were discovered in the vehicle. 


Evidence appearing to be related to a website called the “Dark Web” was also found in the vehicle, known infamously to be used to engage in a wide range of highly illegal activity related to drugs and other things like child pornography. The website can be accessed only by a specialized web browser to keep activity on the site anonymous and private.

Spring Clean-Up Soon in Michigan City

(Michigan City, IN) - The annual Spring Clean-Up in Michigan City begins next week.


According to the mayor’s office, the city’s refuse department will pick up brush and other yard waste, along with a wide assortment of other items such as furniture, appliances and tires.


The city is divided into three zones for the pick-up with each zone receiving two passes by the refuse department.  Materials will start being collected Monday in Zone 1. Officials said residents can place items beside curbs or in alleys, whichever is most convenient.  The Spring Clean-Up is scheduled to run through May 5th.


Other items eligible for pick-up include unpainted concrete, rugs, lumber, mattresses and box springs along with appliances such as stoves, refrigerators, air conditioners and water tanks.


Pick-ups will occur on the same day as regular trash collection.





March 27th - 31st and April 17th - 21st

Zone #1 is bounded by Lake Michigan on the north, Kieffer Road/400 N on the south,

Franklin Street on the east, and County Line Road on the west.



April 3rd - 7th and April 24th - 28th

Zone #2 is bounded by Michigan Boulevard on the north, Kieffer Road/400 N on the south, Roeske Avenue on the east, and Franklin Street on the west.



April 10th -14th and May 1st - May 5th

Zone #3 is bounded by Lake Michigan and Shoreland Drive on the north,

Michigan Boulevard on the south and west, and Meer Road on the east.

Suspected Illegally Parked Drug Dealer Charged

(La Porte, IN) - A suspected drug dealer was taken off the streets in La Porte after being discovered while illegally parked. Kaden Schroeder, 22, was arrested March 14th when a police officer in an unmarked vehicle noticed he was parked in a no-parking zone in the 300 block of Jefferson Avenue.


According to police, the La Porte man was approached by officers after a computer check revealed in turn that his license plate was expired and there was an active warrant for his arrest out of Elkhart County. Six grams of cocaine and a significant amount of hydrocodone pills were found in the vehicle, along with a small amount of marijuana.


Two loaded handguns along with several magazines, each loaded with ammunition, were also recovered during the vehicle search.


He’s been charged in La Porte Circuit Court with four drug-related counts and Unlawful Carrying of a Handgun. Authorities note he was prohibited from having firearms due to a prior conviction for possession of cocaine in 2019 out of Elkhart County.


He’s currently being held in the La Porte County Jail without bond.

Bill Orders Lost Farm Land Count

(Indianapolis, IN) - State lawmakers want to know exactly how much farm land has been lost in Indiana over the past decade or so.


The Senate has voted 47-2 to send House Enrolled Act 1557 to the governor to be signed into law. The measure was previously supported unanimously in the House.


The bill directs the Indiana Department of Agriculture to conduct an inventory of all farm land lost in the state from 2010 to 2022 and list the primary reasons it was taken out of food production.


The findings along with any recommendations or potential legislation designed to stop future losses must be submitted to the General Assembly by July 1 of next year. According to supporters of the measure, the report should also shed light on whether food security has been jeopardized in any sort of way from overdevelopment.


The bill was sponsored by State Rep. Kendell Culp of Rensselaer. His district includes a portion of Starke County.


State Senator Mike Bohacek of Michiana Shores said the bill was probably not the result of any future food shortage alarm bells going off. Bohacek said the measure likely stems from simply wanting to know if there’s a need to respond since he doesn’t believe such a farm land inventory has ever been taken in the state. 


“We just want to see what’s going on,” he said.


Bohacek also said he’s especially curious to find out how much farmland has been lost from development of wind and solar farms because of the continued push toward producing clean, renewable energy.


The governor must sign the legislation for the inventory to be taken. 

Alcohol Related Crash Even More Tragic

(La Porte County, IN) - Newly obtained information shows a recent fatal motor vehicle crash allegedly related to alcohol consumption outside La Porte was even more tragic. Not only was a child killed as originally reported, but an adult passenger may never make a full recovery from injuries described legally as “catastrophic.”


Dawn Coleman, 42, of Fish Lake could face time in prison for the death of her seven year old daughter, Amber Jones, and severe injuries to 45-year-old Alfred Jones for a crash while allegedly driving while impaired.


She’s charged in La Porte Circuit Court with multiple counts of Operating while Intoxicated, including two Level 4 Felony counts. According to police reports filed with the court, Coleman had a blood alcohol level of .172-percent or more than twice the legal limit when her Chevy Suburban hit several trees and came to rest in a wooded area. The crash occurred after midnight on February 26th in the 3000 block of North U.S. 35.


The family was heading home to Fish Lake after visiting relatives in Portage.  Coleman told investigators she consumed two large plastic cups of wine and possibly fell asleep while behind the wheel. Police said Coleman was taken to Northwest Health with a head injury and later transferred to another hospital.


However Jones, airlifted to Memorial Hospital in South Bend, was hurt even worse. Court documents revealed he suffered a shattered hip and pelvis along with severe injuries to one of his legs. Jones also wound up with paralysis severe enough that his ability to live independently will be significantly impaired.


An eight year old boy riding in the backseat with the girl sustained only minor injuries.


Coleman could face anywhere from 2-to-12 years on each of the two most serious counts.


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

New Buffalo Closer to Decision on Marijuana

(New Buffalo, MI) - Whether to allow the sale of marijuana in New Buffalo is now up to the city council to decide. The New Buffalo Planning Commission on Tuesday voted 3-to-1 to recommend approval of a zoning ordinance specifying where marijuana shops can locate in the city.


City Manager Darwin Watson said the city council will begin the process next month of deciding whether to grant final approval to the proposed zoning ordinance and if the sale of marijuana should be legalized in the city. Unless amended, the proposed zoning ordinance would allow marijuana shops to locate in select locations primarily on the far east and far south sides of the city.


Communities in Michigan were given the option to allow for the sale of marijuana after voters statewide in 2018 chose to make the drug legal for retail distribution. New Buffalo decided not to allow for the sale of marijuana, but started considering it after taking a survey that disclosed registered voters in the city by about a 2-to-1 margin favored legalizing marijuana.


Planning Commission Chairman Paul Billingslea said he believes the proposed zoning ordinance accomplishes what he and his colleagues set out to do.  That was to follow the wishes of citizens while not allowing marijuana to be sold in locations highly visible to the general public such as downtown.


“We tried to develop a zoning plan that keeps this on the edge of town in areas that are not highly occupied right now.  We think this strikes the best balance,” he said.


Specifically, the proposed ordinance prohibits marijuana dispensaries from being within 1,000 feet of a school or church or adjacent to residentially zoned areas. The sale of marijuana would also be prohibited within the city’s central business district.


“It probably captures what we discussed previously,” said New Buffalo Planning Commission member Roxanne Rau.


“It’s exactly what we discussed,” said Debbie Schmidt, another member of the planning commission.


Voting against the favorable recommendation was New Buffalo Planning Commission member Mark Joseph, who felt allowing for the sale of marijuana would be a mistake. Joseph said marijuana is not viewed as seriously anymore but it still poses a risk to the physical and mental health of users. He also pointed to studies that show higher motor vehicle accident rates in communities where it’s legal. He said legalizing marijuana also sets a bad example for youth.


“I’m from the generation that saw marijuana make the leap from the underbelly of society to being accepted.  I’ve seen too many people who have used it as a gateway drug and helped bury a couple of them,” Joseph said.


Mayor John Humphrey said the city council could make some minor changes like requiring marijuana shops be a certain distance from each other before voting on the proposed zoning ordinance. Humphrey said the city council will also review the regulations governing the operation of marijuana shops in Michigan before deciding whether to allow it to be sold here.


“There’s still a lot of discussion to be had. That’s where we’re at,” he said.


Watson said the earliest the city council can begin the final decision making process is during their next regularly scheduled meeting on April 17th.


He said the matter could be decided in July or August if there are no delays in the process, which require public hearings on the proposed zoning and legalization prior to a vote.

Baby Hogs Die in Barn Blaze

(La Porte County, IN) - Some baby hogs perished in a barn fire early Tuesday near Rolling Prairie.


Firefighters from multiple agencies were called just before 5 a.m. to the 5700 block of East 700 North. Morgan Hayes told investigators she woke up and was looking at the barn when she heard a loud pop. Hayes, 31, also reported seeing a spark and light inside the metal pole-type structure, according to police.


She then contacted family members and 911 for assistance.


Kankakee Township Fire Chief Chip Winters said the barn was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived.


“It was a complete loss,” he said.


There was no damage to a home about 150 feet away from the barn, but five baby hogs being raised for 4-H to show during the La Porte County Fair died in the blaze, Winters said.


He said the fire may have been caused by a heat lamp keeping the baby hogs warm falling into the saw dust bedding of a hog pen, but that's not known for  certain.


A four wheeler, several tools, a golf cart and scaffolding were also inside the barn, per the authorities.

Cornfield the Route Home in OWI Case

(La Porte County, IN) - A driver was allegedly so impaired, what should have been a short drive home ended in being found face down in someone’s back yard after venturing across a cornfield.


La Porte County Police say 39-year-old Dawn Hess may have had some cocaine to go with her extreme alcohol buzz. Before sunrise on Monday, officers were called to a residence in the area of Severs Road and Fail Road, where Hess was on the ground behind a home and her car was heavily damaged.


Per the authorities, she was tending bar at Mickey’s and later left to drive home just down the street. However, her ride turn out awfully bumpy.


She drove completely across a corn field, losing her front bumper along the way, and wound up striking a mail box and road sign before coming to rest in a backyard.


Hess was taken by ambulance for minor injuries, but required a wheelchair to get her inside a hospital due to being unable to walk as a result of her alleged condition.


Her blood alcohol level was .29-percent or nearly four times the legal limit. She was also allegedly found with multiple bags of cocaine.


Hess was later booked into the La Porte County Jail on charges of OWI and Leaving the Scene of a Crash. She could face additional charges for the alleged possession of cocaine.

Sand Sculpting for Charity

(Michigan City, IN) - The return of the Singing Sands Sand Sculpting Festival to Michigan City’s Washington Park will feature a new amateur competition helping to raise funds for local LaPorte County charities.


“The Singing Sands Sand Sculpting Festival Community Challenge” will take place on Saturday, June 10, as a part of the three-day sand sculpting festival scheduled for June 9, 10 and 11. The Community Challenge will allow local businesses, professional groups, service organizations and anyone that wants to participate a chance to raise funds for the charity of their choice.


The entry fee per six-person team is $2,000 with half of that fee going to local charities. Officials said the goal is to secure anywhere from 20 to 30 teams.


“The Community Challenge gives us a chance to give back to our community and allow groups to experience the fun and satisfaction of this incredible art form. By securing 20 teams, we will be able to put $20,000 back in to our community. If we can reach 30 teams, $30,000 can make a big impact on our local charities,” said Terry Greetham, Director of Special Events for the city.


Teams will create a unique sand sculpture with the only requirements being it must include their group name and the name or logo of the charity they are representing.


Teams will be given hands-on training by professional sand sculptors along with an equal amount of sand and time to create their sculpture, officials said. The sculptures will then be judged by the professional sand sculptors, and medals will be given to the top five teams.


“This is such a great addition to this amazing event,” said Mayor Duane Parry.


Teams can register for the Singing Sands Sand Sculpting Festival Community Challenge by contacting Eric Williams at ewilliams@emichigancity.com.

Driver Ejected. Alcohol Suspected

(New Buffalo Township, MI) - Alcohol is a suspected factor in a serious injury single vehicle collision outside New Buffalo over the weekend.


According to Berrien County Police, a 42-year old Valparaiso man was taken by ambulance to Franciscan Health in Michigan City then later transferred to Memorial Hospital in South Bend.


The man, driver of a pick-up truck eastbound on U.S. 12 near Forest Beach Road late Saturday night,  went off the highway to the right and struck a road sign, mail box and several trees. The truck then went into a ditch and came to rest in one of the eastbound lanes of the four-lane highway.


The driver was ejected from the vehicle.  So far, the name of the victim has not been disclosed. Per the authorities, it’s believed the driver had consumed alcohol but the crash remains under investigation.

Another Win in War on Blight

(La Porte, IN) - Another dilapidated dwelling was demolished today in La Porte.


A burned-out house in the 1100 block of Clay Street was taken down this morning across from Lincoln Elementary School. Once the site is cleared, Mayor Tom Dermody said the goal is for the lot to be put back to good use for housing.


Tearing down blighted properties and redeveloping those sites for new housing has been a major focus of Dermody and his administration since he became mayor just over three-years ago.


“Addressing problem housing with the opportunity to build quality housing, affordable housing once house at a time,” he said.


The house demolished today was heavily damaged by a fire just over a year ago.


Dermody's many successes include demolition of the old Tibma Bakery on Woodward Street and getting that site ready for potential affordable housing development.

Traffic Stop Becomes Major Drug Bust

(Michigan City, IN) - Siezed heroin left a driver in handcuffs during a recent traffic stop in Michigan City. Anthony Vigil, 36, is charged with dealing in a narcotic and other counts including serious felon in possession of a firearm.


According to court documents, the Michigan City man was at a drug house nearly two weeks ago in the 900 block of York Street. After leaving the residence, police said he was pulled over because his vehicle had expired plates. 


With help from a K-9 dog, more than 10 grams of heroin and other drugs, in addition to hypodermic needles, were allegedly recovered from the car.


Police said dozens of pills and a small amount of marijuana along with a handgun were also seized, the latter of which especially illegal for Vigil to have due to a prior criminal record related to drugs and other felony crimes.

Plans Unveiled for New Prison

(Westville, IN) - A new state of the art prison in Westville costing $1.2 billion would be slightly smaller in size but contain more beds from efficiencies in the design.


Construction of the proposed new facility on the same grounds of the existing Westville Correctional Facility hinges on the state legislature and governor approving the funding.

The money is contained in the next two-year state budget to be considered by the house and senate before this year’s legislative session is over at the end of April.


The plans were laid out Monday night by Indiana Department of Correction officials during a public meeting hosted by the South County Community Coalition at Westville School.   

SCCC President Al Stevens of Hanna said the meeting was called to obtain answers to many unknowns in the community about the project, which could begin as soon as this summer.


Stevens said DOC officials were thorough in going over the plans and responding to questions from the over 100 people in attendance.  He was especially glad to learn the intent is to use local labor and materials in the construction as much as possible.


“It was just good to shed a little light on what they’re actually going to do,” he said.


The SCCC was formed several years ago to provide more of a voice for southern La Porte County in response to feeling overlooked at times by their elected officials.

About 1,500 construction jobs are projected to be created during the three or four years it would take to build the facility.


According to DOC officials, the new prison would have 4,200 beds or about 500 more than the existing facility.  The new prison would also have 18,000 square feet of classroom space and over 200 beds for mental health and addiction recovery.


The current workforce of about 900 would remain about the same, but there would be fewer correctional officers and more employees involved in programming designed to keep offenders after their release from returning to incarceration.


Annie Goeller, Chief Communications Officers for the IDOC, said the facility would also be more secure for staff members, the community and offenders because it’s designed as a prison.  The current facility designed as a mental health hospital when it opened in 1951 was converted into a prison in 1979.


“This, by far, is not one of our oldest facilities but it is one of our most difficult facilities to manage because of the lay out,” she said.


Kevin Orme, Director of the IDOC’s Construction Services Division, said the current prison has shortcomings in security because of its original design and replacement parts to repairs breaks in some of the infrastructure are becoming more difficult to find.  Orme said some high voltage parts actually have to be made by staff members to restore power during outages.


“This facility is truly, truly at the end of its useful life as a correctional facility,” he said.


Other features of the new prison would include solar panels to save on the cost of electricity.


Goeller also addressed considerable speculation that Indiana State Prison in Michigan City might be relocated to the grounds as part of the project.


“At this point, that is not something that is on the table,” she said.


However, she said the DOC is always looking for ways to operate more cost effectively statewide and will continue to do so.


The state prison has about 2,200 inmates.


“That’s not a decision that we would be making now for sure and it’s a decision that would have a lot of factors that would go into it.  I can say right now that’s not something that we’re doing but we’ll continue to look for efficiencies,” she said.  


There’s a push in Michigan City to relocate the prison built in 1860 to help redevelop the long economically struggling west side near the NIPSCO generating station, which is slated to close sometime during 2026 to 2028.


More boat slips, upscale housing and developments related to tourism could be part of the vision for the lakefront property just east of the Indiana Dunes National Park.  


Michigan City Common Council member Angie Nelson Deuitch said the site of a prison is not pleasing to visitors or compatible with what that area of the city is positioned to become.


“It’s just a horrible location for a prison.  People are coming here for all of these things and they have to pass by the prison,” she said.

Styx Tribute Band Next on Civic Stage

(La Porte, IN) - Fans of the legendary rock band “Styx” should enjoy the next installment of the Civic Concert Series.


Performing at the La Porte Civic Auditorium on April 15th is Anthem’s Grand Illusion, a tribute to Styx and one of the top tribute shows in the Chicagoland area and beyond, said Civic Auditorium and Events Director Brett Binversie.


“We’ve had a successful start to our Concert Series season, and we want to keep that momentum going. “We expect a fun-filled evening and hope to see many smiling faces at next month’s show,” he said.


Opening the show will be Nawty, playing Motown hits through today.


Binversie said balcony tickets are $20. Reserved table seating on the floor starts at $250.  Doors will open at 6 p.m.  The opening act will take the stage 7 p.m. A cash bar will be open to patrons ages 21 and older.


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

La Porte a Weekend Sports Destination

(La Porte, IN) - Well over a thousand youth volleyball players were in La Porte for a major tournament.


A national qualifier for the Amateur Athletic Union was held at the Dunes Event Center over a several day period last week.

AAU teams from as far as Fort Wayne and Chicago came to compete.


Mayor Tom Dermody said the event also drew a lot of attention from outsiders wondering why there were so many vehicles parked outside the facility at New Porte Landing.


“1,300 kids.  Cars everywhere.  Part of the quality of life we’re relentless about,” he said.


Dermody said the number of visitors also provided a boost for local hotels, restaurants and other businesses.


“Something good is always happening in the City of La Porte,” he said.


The Dunes Event Center, once known as Dunes Volleyball Club, was founded in 1989. It relocated from the Rolling Prairie area to New Porte Landing when construction of the 50,000 square foot facility was completed several years ago.

Search Confirms No Drowning

(La Porte, IN) - A search for a possible drowning victim in La Porte had a happy ending.

Nobody was ever in danger.


Firefighters from La Porte and Center Township responded to Pine Lake about 2 p.m. on Saturday after bystanders along the shoreline on Lakeside Street reported an empty boat in the middle of the lake.


La Porte Assistant Fire Chief Kelly Burke said there were also conflicting reports on whether anyone in the boat wound up in the water.

Burke said firefighters were searching from boats and with binoculars from the shoreline when the owner of the boat was found and reported the boat drifted out into the lake after coming loose from its dock.

“They went to the address where the boat came from and confirmed that no one was on it,” he said.

Burke said firefighters cleared the scene about 45 minutes after first receiving the call.

Mayor Set to Deliver State of City Speech

(Michigan City, IN) - Michigan City Mayor Duane Parry is scheduled to give his annual State of the City address later this week.


According to the mayor’s office, Parry will explain what he believes are the most important challenges, from homelessness to housing affordability and economic resiliency, facing the community.


Parry is scheduled to deliver his presentation Thursday at 9 a.m. in the Stardust Ballroom of Blue Chip Casino following a continental breakfast. The doors open at 7:30 a.m., with non-profit grants funded by the federal American Rescue Plan to be awarded following his speech.


Parry, who’s in the fourth year of his first term, is unopposed in seeking the Republican Party nomination in the May primary. Five candidates are running for the Democratic Party nomination in the primary.


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 Coleman involve multiple counts of Operating while Intoxicated, in connection with the death of a seven-year-old girl and major injuries sustained by Coleman's adult front seat passenger.


According to La Porte County Police, Coleman was the driver of a vehicle southbound on U.S. 35 just after midnight on February 26th. She had 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.  Authorities stated Jones was transported to a regional hospital by helicopter with critical injuries. Likewise, Coleman’s injuries requiring hospital treatment were described as serious. An eight-year-old boy riding in the backseat with the girl suffered only minor injuries.


An initial hearing in the case is set for March 31st before Judge Tom Alevizos, where 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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