Local News Archives for 2023-07

Police Break Up Highway Race

(La Porte County, IN) - What appeared to be a race between drivers on a stretch of local highway was broken up by a police officer.


According to La Porte County Police, a sheriff’s deputy last night spotted a blue Dodge Charger and a silver Buick Century eastbound on Indiana 2 near Rolling Prairie at a high rate of speed.


The Dodge Charger was clocked at 113 miles per hour while the other driver behind the sports car was doing well in keeping up while passing regular traffic.


The officer with his flashing lights and siren activated caught up to both vehicles about two miles later.  Police said the Buick began slowing down while the Charger continued to accelerate and weave through traffic.


The officer pulled over the now much-slower-moving vehicle and spoke to the driver, Bryce Baker, 25, of Hudson Lake, according to police. Baker was very apologetic and claimed to be blowing off steam from a stressful week.


Baker said he didn’t know the other driver but was trying to race him, according to police.  He was given a citation and allowed to go.


St. Joseph County Police were notified about the fleeing driver just in case he crossed the path of officers in that jurisdiction.

Field Day Upcoming at Pinney Purdue

(Wanatah, IN) - Purdue Extension is hosting a forestry field day where local landowners can get valuable information on managing their woodlands.


It’s scheduled from 9 am to noon on August 19th at the Pinney Purdue Agricultural Center in Wanatah, which has over 50 acres of woods and forest plantations used for research and demonstration.


“Songbird populations have been decreasing and many species depend on specific habitats for nesting and feeding. Managing forests for different habitats can help with the populations of these important birds,” said Purdue Extension Educator Jessica Outcalt.


She will be speaking about different Indiana songbirds and their habitat needs, in addition to what actions can be taken to promote these habitats.


Other Extension educators and Foresters will discuss ways to increase acorn production and habitat management for other species like deer and turkeys.


This program will take place in the woods, so appropriate clothing and footwear is encouraged.


You can RSVP for this free program online at https://tinyurl.com/INForestry23 or by email at pwolery@purdue.edu.


For more information, please call the Purdue Extension – Starke County office at 574-772-9141.


A flyer with more details can be accessed at the Pinney Purdue Ag Center website at www.agriculture.purdue.edu/pac/ppac/.


If auxiliary aids and services due to disabilities are required, please contact Starke County at least three days prior to the event.

Dead Bats Still at Shoreline

(Michigan City, IN) - There were still dead bats along the Lake Michigan shoreline Monday, roughly 48 hours after they started being discovered in large numbers by beachgoers in the Michigan City area.


“They’re still up and down the beach,” said Maggie Power, 34, whose family has a summer home at the lakefront in Long Beach.


It was Saturday, when she spotted about 30 bats washed up on the sand and floating at the water’s edge during a two-mile walk with her children toward Michigan City.


If the sight wasn’t nerve-wracking enough, the full-time Chicago resident said a few dead bats floated near her while she was swimming Sunday at the municipal beach just a short walk from her second residence.


“I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Power, who has been going to the home every summer for all of her life.


Anthony Povlock, 26, of Trail Creek said he was at Washington Park Beach in Michigan City on Saturday for about one hour before hearing someone reveal finding a bat.


Povlock said he got up and while walking around discovered at least a dozen of them within about a 25-foot radius of where he and his friends had gathered.


“It was quite strange.  It’s not every day that you see dead bats on the beach you know.”


Other people along that several-mile stretch of shoreline reported finding dead bats sometimes laying in groups.  So far, no estimates have been given on how many dead bats washed in from the lake.


Indiana Department of Natural Resources spokesman Marty Benson said the bats were probably migrating over the lake when caught in the late Friday night and early Saturday morning storms that contained heavy rain, high winds, and hail. He said they were likely eastern red bats, which are migratory.


“They tend to migrate in groups and, unfortunately, when they encounter storms like we had this weekend large numbers of bats can be affected,” he said.


Benson also said DNR is working to collect more information about the event.


Per the DNR, anyone finding a dead bat along the shoreline or anywhere else should not physically handle it. Instead, such discoveries should be reported to the DNR at on.in.gov/sickwildlife and a DNR biologist will reach out to individuals if more information is needed.


According to the Center for Disease Control, bats are the leading cause of rabies deaths in people in the United States.


LaPorte County Health Department Administrator Amanda Lahners said a bat carrying rabies can transmit the disease from a bite or if their body fluids come into contact with the open sore on a human or animal. However, Lahners assured the risk of contracting rabies from a dead bat is much lower, though.


She said the virus usually dies within 24 hours after the death of an infected bat or animal.


“If it’s hotter it can be less than that.  If it’s cold or freezing it can last a little bit longer,” she said.


Power said she’s also upset no effort appears to have been made by local officials to inform residents about the bats and, so far, there’s been no cleanup.


Michigan City Park Department Superintendent Ed Shinn said any clean-up would likely have to be ordered by DNR since the state owns the narrow strip of land from the water’s edge to the high water mark.


In general, the high water mark is roughly where vegetation is growing about 100 feet or so away from the edge of the water.


“It varies along the shoreline and it varies from day to day,” he said.

Air Conditioner Blamed for Dogs Perishing

(Lake Station, IN) - At least eight dogs on their way to Michigan City died from the heat this past weekend.


Authorities state an air conditioner in the cargo area of an eastbound truck where the dogs were being held failed during transport.


They were being taken from Chicago to a K-9 training facility in Michigan City when the driver began hearing some of the dogs barking and pulled over in Lake Station.

He looked in the cargo area and spotted the dogs under heat-related medical distress.


There were 18 dogs in crates in the back of the truck. At least eight of them died, with the rest being taken to local animal hospitals. 

Bats Wash Up at Michigan City Beach

(Michigan City, IN) - Dozens of dead bats, perhaps more, were discovered at the beach over the weekend at Washington Park in Michigan City.


The Indiana Department of Natural Resources reported this morning that the reason for dead bats washing up along the shoreline is being investigated.


There’s speculation the bats may have been migrating over the lake from Canada before being knocked into the water during the heavy rain storms late Friday night and early Saturday morning.


Some beachgoers Saturday were stunned by the sight and tried moving them away from the water to protect their children. Others even refused to go into the water.


Tony Povlock, 26, of Trail Creek said he was at the beach for about an hour before noticing close to a dozen bats not far from where he and several friends were gathered.


“Within a 25-foot radius of us, there were at least 10, though probably more gathering in the water washing up there on the sand."


Michigan City Park Department Superintendent Ed Shinn said he’s also looking into the situation.

Mrvan Pushes for Local Funding

(Washington, D.C.) - Indiana’s 1st Congressional District includes only part of La Porte County, but Congressman Frank Mrvan has stepped up to the plate to fund local initiatives in a federal spending bill proposed in Congress.


They include:


  • $180,000 for the Michigan City Police Department to acquire license plate readers.
  • $1 million for Michigan City to fund construction and upgrades to an all-inclusive playground and fitness park project at Fedder’s Alley.
  • $2.5 million for Michigan City Harbor to assist with operations and maintenance there. 
  • $959,752 for the City of La Porte to replace combined sewers with new separate sanitary and storm sewer facilities and a storm sewer extension.


Mrvan spoke from the House floor about the projects on Wednesday. He specifically mentioned the appropriations for La Porte and Michigan City Police. “I am grateful that a transparent process was established for all Members to include eligible projects in the House appropriations measures,” he said, “and believe that this process is an essential component of our ability to advocate for economic growth and success in our districts.  As we move forward, I will continue to work with all of my colleagues to move these measures forward and complete this Constitutional responsibility as soon as possible.”


What happens to these proposals is now up to Congress.

New Battery Plant Ready to Take Root

(New Carlisle, IN) - The new battery plant east of New Carlisle will start becoming a reality within weeks, perhaps even days.


St. Joseph County Economic Development Director Bill Schalliol confirms that dirt will start moving very soon. “Assuming everything goes as scheduled,” Schalliol said, “they anticipate having construction crews in early August onsite, with work happening all through the fall and into the winter.”


Schalliol said the first phases of construction will only involve excavation and infrastructure at the over 650-acre site near SR 2 and Larrison Boulevard.  A facility to accommodate over 1,600 workers should begin construction in the spring. “They don’t anticipate having any steel onsite until February of next year,” Schalliol said.


General Motors is hoping to open the car battery plant in late 2025 or early ’26.

Crop Duster Narrowly Misses Semi

(La Porte County, IN) - The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating a crop dusting plane coming within a razor’s edge of a moving semi-truck on U.S. 30 in La Porte County.


It happened near Hanna on Wednesday.


A posted video shows the very low flying crop duster heading from a field toward an eastbound semi-truck then veering left around the truck at the last second to avoid a collision.  


So far, the name of the pilot has not been released.


Clifton Howard, 26, of North Judson recorded the video while traveling behind the semi-truck in his car. 


Howard said he began videotaping when the low flying crop duster was off in the distance above a farm field because he loves seeing them fly and wanted something to show his friends.


He didn’t know when he started recording there would be such a close call between the plane and tractor trailer.


“I was more amazed than scared or shocked or anything. I was like, wow, this guy’s got some skills.  He’s got, pardon my French, but he’s got some balls on him.  I was amazed,” he said.


David Eby, who owns a crop dusting business in Wakarusa, strongly criticized the pilot.


He said the pilot should have gained altitude before crossing the highway to spray another field and believes het decided stay very low to the ground to beat the semi truck across the four lane highway to save time.


Eby said there’s no reason, whatsoever, for a crop dusting pilot to risk lives.


“It makes the whole industry look bad,” he said.


He also said the pilot should be stripped of his license.


“He violated a lot of laws, a lot of common sense law,” he said.


The video on Howard’s page on Facebook has drawn over 15,000 shares and close to 3,000 comments.


Howard said he was heading home from his refinery job in Whiting when he recorded the video.

Impaired Driver Overturns Vehicle

La Porte County Police say a man was impaired when he overturned his vehicle yesterday.


Just before four a.m,  police were called by a man reporting a stranger knocking on his door.  Upon arrival, police said investigators learned the stranger was a man looking for help after the accident on 700 West near Hanna.


According to police, 29 year old Justin Garetto of Wanatah said he left a bar and later had to swerve to avoid an animal in the roadway.  His vehicle came to rest on its roof. 


Police said Garetto refused medical attention.


His alleged blood alcohol level was more than two times the legal limit.  

Alcohol a Factor in Fatal Motorcycle Accident

(Weesaw Township, MI) - A fatal motorcycle accident happened overnight in southwest Michigan.


According to Berrien County Police, the victim and his motorcycle were located in a ditch in the area of W. Elm Valley Road and Mill Road in Weesaw Township just to the north and east of Three Oaks.


Police said the victim was 47 years old and from Granger.


So far, police say the investigation indicates speed and alcohol were factors in the accident.


Life saving measures were attempted but not successful.  The name of the victim has not yet been released.

Stormy Morning. Minimal Outages

(La Porte County, IN) - There was rain coming down practically in buckets early this morning and along with it some power outages.


So far, there are not that many outages in the immediate area.


According to NIPSCO, there were 16 customers in the La Porte area and just one customer in the Michigan City area without power at about 6 a.m.


In southwest Michigan, close to 200 Indiana Michigan Power customers had no electrical service just before sunrise in the New Buffalo area.


The number of customers without power in the Three Oaks area was 16.


According to I &M, there were about 70 customers in the Springville area and fewer than 20 in the Heston area without power.

Quick Verdict in Wife's Murder Trial

(La Porte, IN) - It took a jury Thursday less than 30 minutes to find a La Porte woman guilty on all counts related to the fatal shooting of her husband and dismemberment of his body.


Thessalonica Allen, 36, was convicted of murder, abuse of a corpse and altering a crime scene, both level 6 felonies, along with two level 5 felony counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and two level 6 felony counts of neglect of a dependent.


Allen, formerly of South Bend, faces anywhere from a 45 to 65 year sentence for murder.  Anywhere from six months to six years on each of the remaining counts could be added to her sentence.


LaPorte Circuit Court Judge Tom Alevizos did not set a sentencing date.


She was found guilty in the fatal shooting of Randy Allen during an argument inside the bedroom of the couple’s home at Maple Tree Apartments at 1405 W. 18th St. in July of 2021.


Allen claimed self-defense.


During closing arguments, one of her defense attorneys, Kurt Earnst, portrayed her as a battered wife who moved to LaPorte to get away from her husband, Randy Allen.


Earnst said Mr. Allen followed her and her four children to their new home, though, and continued living with them against her wishes.


The fatal shooting occurred two months later.


Her 16-year old son, Deshawn, testified his mother and stepfather got into argument over a social media post from her that he discovered on her computer.


He accused her of cheating and they argued for about 20 minutes before winding up in their bedroom.  Earnst said he was lunging toward her when she shot him in the arm.


The bullet ricocheted into his rib cage and came to rest in his spinal cord.


LaPorte County Deputy Prosecutor Julianne Havens disputed the claims of abuse and Mr. Allen forcing himself upon his family in their new residence.


Havens said the woman obtained a protective order against her husband prior to the shooting but lied to get it judging from her retracting her story later.


She also said notes recovered from the home written by Mrs. Allen revealed she planned to kill him.


Havens said she acted on her plans after finding herself alone with him in the bedroom with nobody there to witness what she was about to do.


"They made the decision to be together. Later when she decided she did not want to be with him anymore is when she began writing the notes,” Havens said.


Earnst, though, disputed claims the killing was premeditated.


He said his client acted on her fears of being physically abused again. Earnst also said where he was shot doesn’t make sense if her plan was for him to die.


“If you plan on killing somebody, you shoot them in the head.  You shoot them in the torso or do you shoot them in the arm?,” he said.


But, Havens said Mrs. Allen did not make any effort to seek help and even told her children after they rushed over not to call 911 despite their stepfather bleeding to death on the floor asking them to.


She also said the evidence shows Mr. Allen was leaving the bedroom, instead, when shot.


Havens said the children also heard her say “you’re not leaving” just prior to hearing the gunshot.


After the shooting, Havens said Allen had her children help her drag the body outside where they tried placing it into her vehicle to dispose of it.


The body was too heavy, though, so she purchased an ax the next day and used it to remove his legs.  Havens said they dragged the body outside again but it was still heavy for them to lift.


Mrs. Allen later asked the biological father of her children for help in removing the body from the home but he immediately left and called police.


She said Mrs. Allen also went out and purchased cleaning supplies and had the children help her remove blood left from the shooting.


“These are the actions of someone who committed a crime and how I have to hide it,” Havens said.

Fatal Motorcycle Crash in Michigan City

(Michigan City, IN) - A man on a motorcycle was killed in a crash in Michigan City last night.


The La Porte County Coroner’s Office has identified the victim as Richard Sims, Jr.


Police said the motorcycle about 10 p.m. was westbound on Woodlawn Ave. at a high rate of speed.  While approaching a curve, the brakes were applied and the back tire locked up causing the motorcycle to skid, police said.


Police said the motorcycle then fell on its side.  It slid about 160 feet before striking a utility pole near Hitchcock St. on the city’s west side.


Coroner Lynn Swanson said the 40-year old Sims was from Michigan City.


Police said investigators were still waiting for the results of a toxicology test to determine whether alcohol or drugs were involved in the accident.

Methamphetamine Dealer Plucked from Roadside

(La Porte County, IN) - A traffic stop near Rolling Prairie turned into a good sized drug bust.


Police said vehicle was pulled over last week on 500 East near Oak Knoll Road after the officer recognized the driver and knew she had a suspended license.


As the officer approached, he detected a strong smell of marijuana coming from the vehicle.


After all three people inside the vehicle stepped outside, police said the officer noticed a large bulge in the crotch area of a female passenger later identified as Crystal Sanchez.


During a search at the county jail, police said a syringe case was removed from her pants.  The case allegedly contained 55 grams of methamphetamine along with several prescription pills, police said.


Sanchez, 22, of Hammond was charged with dealing methamphetamine, a leve2 felony and Class A misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance.


She could face anywhere from a 10 to 30 year sentence on the methamphetamine related count.

Drug Bust of Moped Driver

(La Porte, IN) - La Porte City Police arrested a man on a moped for allegedly having methamphetamine and heroin.


On Sunday, an officer was parked at 11th and F streets considered by police as a “high criminal activity area” of the city. A man on a moped was pulled over for Hollywood stopping a stop sign.


Matthew Borders, 27, of La Porte was found with a small amount of heroin inside an orange colored winter hat that he had on his head and inside a sock on his foot.


Inside the sock on his other foot was allegedly one gram of methamphetamine.


Borders is charged with possession of methamphetamine and possession of a narcotic drug, both level 6 felonies along with possession of a controlled substance as a Class A misdemeanor.


Police said he also had Suboxone pills on his possession but did not have a prescription for the drug often used to help addicts wean themselves from heroin and other narcotics.

Child Hit by Rock Crashing Through Windshield

(La Porte County, IN) - There were no major injuries when a chunk of asphalt crashed through a windshield in La Porte County and struck a child in the vehicle.


La Porte County Police said 32 year Kara DeVaux of La Porte was eastbound on State Road 2 near 700 West Wednesday afternoon. The tires of an oncoming work truck apparently kicked up a chunk of asphalt from the highway.


The asphalt struck the hood of her SUV then crashed through her windshield, striking her 10 year old son in the back seat of her Ford Explorer, police said.


Police said he boy not wearing a shirt was left with scratches on his stomach and a few welts on his left arm.


The windshield had a hole about the size of a softball.

Man in Chase Grabbed in Tomato Field

(La Porte County, IN) - A man fled in a stolen vehicle through a Westville area tomato field but it didn’t take long for police to catch up.


John Skomac, Jr., 40, is charged in La Porte Circuit Court with resisting law enforcement and criminal mischief, both level 6 felonies.


He could face additional charges of auto theft depending on the findings of the ongoing investigation.


According to court records, Westville Town Marshal Corey McKinney was investigating a report Monday about a Nissan Rogue being stolen overnight. Suddenly, the stolen vehicle pulling a four wheeler on a trailer passed him on 1100 South.


McKinney began pursuing and soon pulled behind the vehicle after the suspect turned into a driveway and stopped.


Skomac of Michigan City was repeatedly being ordered out of the vehicle at gunpoint when he stomped on the gas pedal and cut through a yard until entering the field, according to court documents.


Police said Skomac with the officer in pursuit was about 150 yards into the field when the vehicle he was driving became stuck in the soft ground.


He then fled on foot but stopped after running out of breath at Alida Road, police said.


Police said he refused commands to show his hands and lay on the ground, which forced the officer to strike him with metal probes fired from a taser gun.


According to court documents, the electric shock applied from the probes stuck in his chest and thigh failed to impact Skomac, though, who took off running again.


He was on the nearby CSX Railroad tracks when the officer pulled out his gun for a second time after Skomac reached into his pockets and refused to display his hands again.


After Skomac became districted, the officer pushed him to the ground and held him down until he was placed in handcuffs by La Porte County Police officer John Roby.


According to police, the tomatoes belonged to farmer Tyler Paarlberg and damage to his crop from the pursuit was estimated at $5,000.

More Answers to Gun Violence Sought

(Michigan City, IN) - Michigan City officials are looking at doing more to try and reduce gun violence in a community where the use of a firearm on average happens every day.


One thing being considered is formally asking local judges to keep suspected repeat gun offenders behind bars longer.


City Councilwoman Angie Nelson Deuitch said judges not granting bond reductions for offenders with a history of gun related offenses could make a noticeable difference.


“We need to make sure that they understand we are serious about our streets and about our people,” she said.


During a July 24 meeting of the city council’s Gun Violence Prevention Committee, she released statistics that revealed police since the beginning of 2020 responded to more than 1,500 complaints of shots fired.


Police seized more than 700 guns and made 270 gun related arrests.


Deuitch said there were also 17 gun related deaths in Michigan City over the past three and a half years.


“That’s high for a community our size,” she said.


Michigan City Police Chief Steve Forker said steps taken recently to reduce gun violence include providing more intelligence to patrol officers so they’re better aware of who they might encounter in the neighborhoods.


License plate reading cameras automatically notifying police to the location of a vehicle suspected in a crime have also been installed.


Forker said the devices will soon be able to detect the sound and location of gunfire for a quicker and more effective response by officers.


He said a lot of other things need to change, though, like a culture glorifying firearms to make even more of an impact.


“I don’t think it’s a problem we can arrest our way out of,” he said.


Forker said about a half dozen people were shot during a one week period in late June and early July.  The shootings occurred at three different locations.


He also revealed about 10 gang related arrests were made in early July at one location where several firearms were recovered from officers having more intelligence about certain individuals.

Funnel Clouds Reported in Michigan City

(La Porte County, IN) - Emergency weather sirens were blaring in La Porte and Michigan City late this morning.


They were activated in response to reports of funnel clouds during a thunder storm in Michigan City near the High School and on Ohio St.


Bob Johnson, who lives near Michigan City High School, said he was out walking his dog about the time the funnel clouds were spotted about 11:30 a.m.


“It got real dark out.  It looked like nine o’clock at night.  I had to turn on every light in the house to kind of look around.  The wind was blowing pretty good.  My mom and dad live right by me and there were some big branches down in their yard,” he said.


Matt Kay, who works at Service 1 Marine near the Michigan state line, said the skies there looked about the same during the storm.


“The clouds right now are very broken but they’re still dark and swirling,” he said.


A severe thunderstorm warning for the area expired at noon.

City Preparing for Lakefest Weekend

(La Porte, IN) - Road closures and parking availability have been announced as the City of La Porte gears up for its third annual LakeFest this weekend.


From this Friday through Sunday, a wide array of festivities will be held at La Porte’s Pine, Stone and Clear lakes. Featured events will include P1 AquaX races, live music, fireworks, sand volleyball tournaments, kids activities, an artisan market by The Collective and more. W


With events spread throughout the city, Park Department Superintendent Mark Schreiber said residents should be aware of road closures.


“The LakeFest Committee has put together a tremendous weekend of entertainment.  We worked hard to ensure there is something for everyone. We expect a large crowd for Saturday's fireworks and concert, headlined by Everclear, so we encourage those attending these events to arrive early,” he said.


The following roads will be closed over the weekend:

  • Grangemouth Road: 8 a.m. Saturday, July 29, until 6 p.m. Sunday, July 30
  • Hoelocker Drive: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday, July 29, to any traffic – including pedestrians – for fireworks staging

Parking for LakeFest attendees will be available at the following locations:

  • Friday through Sunday at Fox Park: Parking will be allowed in all the lots surrounding the Dennis F. Smith Amphitheater and Ron Reed Field. On Saturday only, the south lot off McClung Road will be closed from 7 a.m.-5:30 p.m. for The Collective Artisan Market and then opened at 5:30 p.m. for Premier Parking Pass holders only. Also on Saturday evening, parking will be allowed at Scharf Field and auxiliary lots off Truesdell across from The Banks and off Clear Lake Boulevard across from Dunes Event Center.
  • Friday through Sunday at Soldiers Memorial Park: Parking will be allowed in the Stone Lake Beach House lot and along Grangemouth Road from the beach house to Lakeshore Drive on the east side of the road. Overflow parking will be allowed along Veterans Parkway and at the Park Office. The Cummings Lodge parking lot will be closed.

Schreiber also noted boats are encouraged on Stone Lake to enjoy the Catalina Wine Mixer concert at 7:30 p.m. Friday.


However, Stone Lake will be temporarily closed to watercraft in order to host the P1 AquaX races from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.

Hammer Drops on Local Fentanyl Dealer

(South Bend, IN) - A Michigan City woman will be spending time in a federal prison for being involved in the sale of fentanyl.


Carissa McCoy, 42, was sentenced at US District Court in South Bend to 63 months in prison, following her pleading guilty to conspiracy to distribute fentanyl.


After her release from prison, McCoy will spend 5 years on supervised release.


According to documents in the case, McCoy, for a few months in 2021, conspired with others to distribute fentanyl in the Michigan City area. The home she shared with one of her co-defendants was found to contain an undisclosed amount of cash, firearms, and ammunition related to their alleged criminal activities.


In August of 2021, McCoy and one of her co-defendants were stopped by law enforcement while traveling back to Michigan City. At that time, McCoy had over a kilogram of fentanyl pills on her possession. 


The case was investigated by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration and other agencies such as the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the LaPorte County Drug Task Force and the Michigan City Police Department. 

Self Defense Claimed in Wife's Murder Trial

(La Porte, IN) - First witnesses were called upon Tuesday in the trial of a LaPorte woman accused of fatally shooting her husband and dismembering his body.


Thessalonica Allen, 36, formerly of South Bend, has been charged in La Porte Circuit Court with Murder, Abuse of a Corpse and Altering the Scene of a Death, all level 5 felonies. This is in addition to two Level 5 felony counts of Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor and two Level 6 felony counts of Neglect of a Dependent.


Her husband, Frank Allen, was killed in the couple’s bedroom on July 27th, 2021 while two of her children were home at Maple Tree Apartments at 1405 West 18th Street.


She is claiming self-defense, alleging her husband beat her in the past and was lunging toward her during an argument when she fired the gun. Her attorney Frank Rodriquez, during his opening statements to the jury, asserted that "She was trying to defend herself."


Rodriguez said the family was living in South Bend when Mrs. Allen moved to LaPorte to leave her husband several weeks prior to the shooting. However, Frank purportedly followed and moved in with them anyway.


La Porte County Deputy Prosecutor Julianne Havens said the killing was premeditated, judging by notes written by the defendant recovered from the residence that outlined plans to either kill him, have him fired from his job or arrested.


While they were arguing, Havens illustrated how Mr. Allen told her he was leaving, only for the defendant to tell him “...you’re not leaving.  You’re not going anywhere” before shooting.


“She was planning to do it all along not because she had to. She wanted to,” she said.


The investigation showed that Mr. Allen was shot in the arm, the bullet deflecting toward his ribs and piercing one of his lungs before coming to rest near his spine.


Two of the defendant’s children were home at the time. Deshawn Addison, 16, testified the argument was over a social media post his stepfather found on his mother’s computer. Addison added, saying he soon heard a gunshot during the argument and rushed over from his bedroom with his sister, Cheyenne, to see his stepfather lying on the floor on his stomach.


Addison said he told him to call the police. Mrs. Allen then allegedly told her kids not to call the police, and made no effort to call 911 while her husband was bleeding to death.


Before passing, Addison testified he heard his stepfather’s final words.


“His words to her were he did not want to die,” he said.


Havens continued describing the events, noting how Mrs. Allen then left to pick up her two other children from daycare and purchased cleaning supplies she, and her two older children, used at her request to remove her husband's blood.


She later asked the same children to help her drag the body to her vehicle, allegedly planing to drive to South Bend and set it on fire with the body inside.


However, the body, now inside a tote bag, was too heavy for them to place into the vehicle. The next day, Havens alleged the defendant went to Rural King and purchased an ax, which she used to remove both legs from the body. The body, now missing both limbs at the knees, was dragged outside again yet remained too heavy for them to lift into the vehicle.


It was then dragged back in,  placed in a bedroom closet, and later supposedly discovered the following day by the father of her four children.


Havens said Mrs. Allen asked him to come over, but it wasn’t until he arrived from Benton Harbor that she asked him for help in placing the body in the vehicle.


He immediately left and called the police.


The defense also told the jury there was a protective order in effect against Allen at the time of his killing.


Officers, after an extensive search, found Allen outside a hardware store. She immediately stepped out of her vehicle and while crying told officers “you guys don’t understand. He beats me."

Indiana Farmers Set Earth Friendly Record

(Indianapolis, IN) - According to a recent survey, Indiana farmers have set a conservation record this year by planting an estimated 1.6 million acres of overwinter living covers.


“Protecting our most vital natural resources is top of mind for our Indiana farmers and this year’s record breaking cover crop acreage is a testament to that,” noted Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch, who is also Indiana's Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development.


“Through the implementation of cover crops and other conservation efforts, farmers are ensuring our land and water resources remain healthy and productive."


Cover crops and small grains, planted in the fall after harvest, help increase organic matter in the soil and improve overall soil health by adding living roots for additional months of the year. Cover crops also improve water infiltration into the soil while other covers, like legumes, serve as natural fertilizers.  Apart from corn and soybeans, cover crops are planted on more acres than any other commodity crop in Indiana.


"Hoosier farmers have held strong at 1.5 million acres of cover crops planted since 2021, so we are excited our farmers were once again able to move the needle forward," said Don Lamb, Indiana State Department of Agriculture Director. 


As a result of the cover crops planted, it is estimated that 1.7 million tons of sediment was prevented from entering Indiana’s waterways, which is enough to fill more than 480 Olympic-size swimming pools. Overwintering covers also prevented 4.3 million pounds of nitrogen and over 2.2 million pounds of phosphorus from entering Indiana's waterways.


The conservation survey also showed that about 68% of farmed acres were not tilled and 17% had employed reduced tillage after the 2022 harvest.

Testimony Begins Today in Murder Trial

(La Porte, IN) - Opening arguments have been scheduled this morning for the trial of a LaPorte woman accused of murdering her husband.


Thessalonica Allen, 36, has been charged in LaPorte Circuit Court with Murder, two Level 5 felony counts of Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor, Abuse of a Corpse and Alteration of Scene of Death, both Level 6 felonies.


Allen stands accused of fatally shooting Randy Allen inside the couple’s home at 1405 W. 18th Street on July 27th, 2021.


According to court documents, her two children told investigators they heard a “loud bang,” and then ran over to their mother’s bedroom only to find Allen on the floor, who was asking them to call 911.


The children said their mother told them not to call 911 and go to their room instead. Later they were awakened by their mother asking for help in dragging the body out of the house and loading it into his vehicle. However, due to the weight of the body, they were unable to move it


The children also testified seeing their mother come home the following day with cleaning supplies and an ax. She later allegedly asked them for help in placing the body, now missing its legs, into a tote. Regardless, it was still too heavy for them to lift. The children purportedly told police their mother had plans to transport the body to South Bend and set it on fire.


According to the investigation, police were called two days after the killing, by a man claiming Allen just asked him for help in moving the body into the vehicle.


After an extensive search, authorities located her inside of a vehicle outside a hardware store on LaPorte’s west side. She immediately began crying and told the approaching officers “You guys don’t understand. He beats me."


The tote containing the dismembered body was located inside a closet in the children’s bedroom.


Per further evidence in the case, the children said the victim was on a computer helping them with their homework, when he spotted a website their mother had visited. He allegedly confronted her about it, and that led to an argument taken into the bedroom where the gun was fired.


The children also told police their mother had them help clean up the blood and boil water to use on the carpet in her bedroom.

Thousands Lost in Bitcoin Scam

(La Porte County, IN) - La Porte County Police are investigating a report of a woman soaked for over $17,000 in a Bitcoin scam.


Purportedly, the 58-year-old woman was contacted on her phone Sunday, and told she was under federal investigation for money laundering. The woman said she was also informed she needed to withdraw all of the money from her bank account and place it into another account.


After doing so, the woman asked for credentials and received a text message containing a badge with the supposed name of the person she was talking  to. Following instructions provided, she bought Bitcoin with the money at stores in Michigan City and La Porte, before then seding the funds to an address she was given.


She had also followed the caller’s instructions and purchased a number of gift cards at Walmart to send to another address, but still had them in her possession when calling the police.


Authorites then instructed her to take the gift cards along with the receipts back for a refund to recoup at least some of her lost revenue.


According to police, the company owning the machine transferring cash into Bitcoin said the funds, once deposited, are untraceable.

Woman Taken in Phone Scam

(La Porte County, IN) - A La Porte County woman is out close to $1,000 after falling for a cable TV scam, and could have lost even more if not for quick action by her bank.


According to La Porte County Police, the 61-year-old Springfield Township woman, on Friday, reported she received a call from someone claiming to be with Xfinity wanting to lower her bill.


The woman gave out her debit card number, but after speaking with several more individuals, “all with broken English and middle eastern accents,” she cancelled the deal.


She later checked her account and discovered four transactions were made totaling just over $976.


According to police, she then went to her bank which had already stopped payment on a fifth transaction for about $5,000 before drawing the funds from her account.


The bank, suspecting fraud, also cancelled her card. Reportedly, all the transactions were from Singapore.

Loverboy to Perform in La Porte

(La Porte, IN) - A rock band with major hits from the past is scheduled to perform in La Porte.


Loverboy, with their trademark red leather pants and bandanas, is booked for September 22nd at the La Porte Civic Auditorium. The band has sold more than 10 million albums with hits including the classic 80’s songs “Turn Me Loose” and “Working for the Weekend.”


Civic Auditorium Director Brett Binversie said it is quite a feat to have La Porte be one of their next stops on the road.


“Nobody loves classic rock and roll like the residents of La Porte, so we are thrilled to be bringing in a worldwide ‘80s classic like Loverboy".


Opening the show will be Carpool, one of the nation’s top tribute bands to The Cars.


Binversie said balcony tickets for the show start at $45. Tickets for reserved floor seating start at $60.


Doors will open at 6 p.m. with the opener taking the stage at 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.

ATM Theft Suspects Father and Son

(La Porte County, IN) - An attempt to steal an ATM in La Porte County resulted in the arrests of a father and son suspected in numerous similar crimes throughout other parts of northern Indiana.


Blake Tweedy, 41, and Branden Tweedy, 23, have been charged in La Porte Circuit Court with Level 5 felony Burglary and Level 6 felony Attempted Theft.


Sheriff’s Deputies, at about 12:30 a.m. on July 8th, responded to a burglary alarm at the Family Express at 4093 E. U.S. 20 in Rolling Prairie.


The investigation reveals one of the men allegedly shattered the front window with a metal instrument, thought to be a bar or pipe.


A tow strap, fastened to the back of a pick-up truck, was wrapped around the ATM inside the store.


One of the men in the truck accelerated, only for the strap to break upon gaining tension. Police said the ATM was damaged, but not removed from the store.


Court documents reveal the suspects were identified from store surveillance, which captured the license plate number of the vehicle registered to an address in Hebron where both men resided in separate apartments. The physical descriptions of the men also match the images of the suspects caught on the video.


According to Indiana State Police, the men allegedly stole a motorcycle at the Harley Davidson Shop on U.S. 421 outside Michigan City a day before they were arrested on July 20th.


The men are also suspected in ATM thefts or attempted thefts in other Indiana counties such as Porter, Starke, Pulaski, Newton and Cass.

Victims of Motorcycle Fatality Identified

(St. Joseph County, IN) - The victims in a fatal accident involving a motorcycle in the New Carlisle area over the weekend have been identified. 


59-year-old Mark Pierce and his passenger, 54-year-old Jane Ryall, both of South Bend, were riding the motorcycle and both died as a result of their injuries.


The accident happened Saturday afternoon on U.S. 20 west of Quince Road when the motorcycle was hit by a passenger vehicle that veered over the center line.  The driver of the passenger vehicle sustained just minor injuries and is cooperating with investigators, police said.  So far, police have not revealed why the vehicle veered over the center line because of the ongoing investigation. 


U.S. 20 east of New Carlisle was closed for three hours after the accident. 

[UPDATE] Fatal Motorcycle Crash Closes US 20 Near New Carlisle

(St. Joseph County, IN) - U.S. 20 east of New Carlisle was closed for three hours while authorities reconstructed an accident that claimed the life of a motorcycle rider.


The accident happened around 2:00 p.m. Central on a stretch of U.S. 20 about half a mile west of Quince Road. Preliminary information indicates that a small SUV collided with a motorcycle after one of them crossed the center line. The rider died at the scene; the SUV driver was taken by ambulance to a local hospital. No details have been released at this time, as police continue to investigate. Traffic was routed around county roads until the highway was reopened a little after 6:00 p.m.

La Porte County Sheriff's Office Helps End Area Crime Spree

(Hebron, IN) - Teamwork among various law enforcement agencies was the key to ending a crime spree that hit northern Indiana, including La Porte County.


At about 7:00 Thursday morning, a State Police SWAT team executed several search warrants at a house in Hebron.


According to a police statement, State Trooper Jace Haddon and La Porte County Sheriff's Captain Andy Hynek led an investigation of a theft ring that included no fewer than eleven police jurisdictions, stretching from Logansport to Michigan City.


Arrested were 41-year-old Blake Tweedy and 23-year-old Branden Tweedy of Hebron. They have been charged with burglary and theft. Prosecutors are sifting through charging possibilities since crimes allegedly took place in multiple counties. 19-year-old Devin Tweedy was also taken into custody for an unrelated warrant.


The Tweedys have been linked to several ATM thefts in northern Indiana, as well as the theft of a motorcycle from the Harley Davidson Store of Michigan City on Wednesday. They are scheduled for an initial hearing in La Porte Circuit Court on July 28th.


La Porte County Sheriff Ron Heeg praised the teamwork involved in the investigation. "The La Porte County Sheriff's Office thanks all of the agencies for their hard work in bringing this crime spree to a stop this morning," he said. 


"Multi-jurisdictional investigations can sometimes be tricky, this investigation went well as everyone was focused on bringing these criminals to justice."

Food Banks Fed More Funding

(Indianapolis, IN) - Food banks across the state are set to gobble up an unprecedented plateful of funding.


The state has announced a spread of $2 million to 11 food banks. That’s twice the amount received last year. The increase was approved in a budget bill recently passed by the Indiana General Assembly.


The Food Bank of Northern Indiana, which covers this area, will receive $233,000. The Foodbank of Northwest Indiana will get $195,200.


According to Feeding Indiana’s Hungry, demand from food pantries and soup kitchens has actually risen after the pandemic, due largely to lingering inflation.


The next Food Bank visit to La Porte will be next Friday, July 28. Volunteers will be at the La Porte County Fairgrounds from 10 a. m. – Noon CT or as long as supplies last. That distribution is sponsored by The United Way of La Porte County with added USDA product and will serve 250 households.

Delphi Murder Suspect to Stay at Westville Prison

(Carroll County, IN) - A judge has turned the tables on Richard Allen, the man accused of killing two teenagers in Delphi in 2017, by denying his prison transfer.


Allen has been housed in La Porte County at the Westville Correctional Facility. As a high-profile suspect, he was incarcerated there for safekeeping. However, Allen’s attorneys argued that the location was detrimental to his health and impeded his defense, and they moved to have him transferred.


In April Special Judge Fran Gull granted permission for Allen to be moved, but there is no record of a transfer taking place.


Then on Wednesday, in light of further evidence, Gull reversed course. "The evidence presented at the hearing," she wrote, "did not support many of the allegations advanced by defendant counsel. In fact, the evidence presented demonstrated that the Defendant is treated more favorably than other inmates housed at the Westville Correctional Facility."


The order seemed to leave the matter of Allen's transfer up to correctional authorities. "If the Department of Correction believes a facility other than Westville is more appropriate, or more convenient for Counsel," Gull wrote, "the Court is confident that the Department of Correction will move the defendant accordingly."


Allen has been held in Westville since November. His jury trial is currently scheduled for January 8.

Charges in Drug House Raid

(La Porte, IN) - Charges have been filed in connection with a suspected major drug house in La Porte.


One of the alleged suppliers, Daniel Turner, has been charged in La Porte Circuit Court with Level 2 felony Dealing Methamphetamine.


According to court documents, a home at 503 East Maple Avenue was under surveillance on July 3rd when enough probable cause had developed to search what police described as a “high drug activity residence.”  


Turner, spotted by police leaving the house, on foot was detained a short time later.


Information developed that Turner was a supplier of drugs to the home where 194 grams of methamphetamine were recovered during a prior search.


Other drugs found inside the home included 10 grams of suspected fentanyl and prescription pills, along with drug-related items like a measuring scale, hypodermic needles and smoking pipes.


William Panos and Mary Daniel were also charged with Level 6 felony Possession of Methamphetamine.  Panos was also charged for the small amount of heroin recovered from the residence.


Turner could face anywhere from a 10-to-30 year sentence. 

Water and Sewer Extensions Planned

(La Porte County, IN) - There are plans to provide municipal water and sewer service to other parts of northeast La Porte County in the very near future.


Project Engineer Ken Jones told the La Porte County Commissioners during their meeting Wednesday that lines would be extended to Saugany Lake and Hudson Lake and the work could begin next year if financing can be secured for what he estimated to be a $9 million project.


Providing municipal utilities to those communities has been talked about for years because of concerns such as lots without room to install a new septic tank and field and the potential for the lakes and wells to become contaminated with wastewater.


Jones, who’s an engineer for the La Porte County Sewer and Water District, said municipal utilities could also help those areas grow since an electric vehicle battery-making plant employing a projected 1,700 people is planned outside New Carlisle.


Municipal utilities are viewed as a major advantage in attracting development along with new residents.


“Just the proximity alone could bring some collateral benefit to La Porte County,” he said.


Commissioner Rich Mrozinski said most Saugany Lake residents are in favor of having municipal water and sewer. He added that Hudson Lake could once again be more of an attraction if hooked into municipal services. 


“It’s really gone downhill over the years.  With the battery plant and we’ve got some other pretty big projects we’re working on, we’re going to need housing.  We all know what lake property does.  With the addition of sewer lines, I think you’re going to see a turnover and bring Hudson Lake back to what it used to be,” he said.


Jones is asking La Porte County government to partially contribute financially to the project to help bring down the cost of rates for prospective utility customers.

Unemployed Meth Dealer Charged

(La Porte County, IN) - A La Porte area man has been accused of selling methamphetamine.


33-year-old Corbin Perkins was allegedly found with several bags of methamphetamine and more in a backpack that was in his vehicle during a traffic stop in the area of 500 West and Small Road about six months ago.


According to court documents, Perkins told officers he sold methamphetamine because he’s unemployed.


Perkins is currently being held in the La Porte County Jail on $50,000 bond.


He’s charged with Dealing in Methamphetamine as a Level 2 felony in La Porte Circuit Court along with Level 6 felony Possession of a Narcotic Drug.


Perkins could face anywhere from a 10-to-30 year sentence on the allegations against him.

Federal Prison for Local Drug Dealer

(South Bend, IN) - A Michigan City resident is heading to a federal prison.


42-year-old Meliki Marion was involved in the sale of fentanyl in the Michigan City area. Marion and other members of the drug-selling ring told, at minimum, some of their buyers the pills they were purchasing were oxycodone, but they were actually fentanyl.


Marion was given nearly 11 years in a federal prison at the U.S. District Court in South Bend. 


Authorities note Marion and other co-defendants in the case were found with fentanyl when stopped by police while heading back to Michigan City in 2021.


Marion was also found with about $3,000 in cash while attempting to run away from her home in the midst of being searched.

Man Loses Appeal in Son's Abuse Death

(Indianapolis, IN) - A La Porte County man in prison for the death of his son has lost his bid for a lower sentence.


Alan Morgan is currently serving a 70-year prison sentence.


Most of term is in response to the death of his four-year-old son, Judah, who was beaten, tortured, malnourished, and found dead two years ago in the family’s Union Township home.


The Indiana Court of Appeals unanimously upheld his sentence.


Morgan, 30, argued the sentence was too severe, especially because he pleaded guilty and did not have much of a prior criminal record. However, one of the judges in the written ruling described him as “one of the worst offenders.”


Right now, his earliest release date is in 2073.


The boy’s mother, Mary Yoder is scheduled for trial in September 25th on charges like Neglect of a Dependent for allegedly not reporting the abuse and allowing it to occur.

La Porte County Switching to Vote Centers

(La Porte County, IN) - La Porte County will be making the switch from precinct voting to vote centers.


The La Porte County Commissioners Wednesday unanimously granted final approval to the proposal, which was also previously supported by all members of the La Porte County Council and La Porte County Election Board.


La Porte County Clerk Heather Stevens said switching from precinct voting would be more convenient, by allowing residents to vote at any polling location in the county.


One of the driving ideas behind voting centers is increasing voter turnout. For example, Stevens said people returning home from their jobs on Election Day are often pressed for time to reach a polling location to vote in the precinct in which they live before it closes.


Under a voting center format, she noted, registered voters would be able to stop at the first polling place in La Porte County they pass after work, which could be up to 30 miles or more from where they reside. Stevens also spoke of how money would also be saved from having fewer polling locations to staff.


Initially, her plan calls for the number of voting sites to go from 52 to 38.


Commissioner Rich Mrozinski applauded the change, which had been discussed for years before all of the local decision makers came on board with the idea.


“I say it’s about time,” he said.

Michigan City Hosting Night Out Against Crime

(Michigan City, IN) - The Michigan City Police Department is inviting the public to an upcoming event aimed at reducing crime.


The annual National Night Out event is one where citizens and police officers come together at one location, and get to know each other while taking part in fun activities. Likewise, the event is partially meant to send criminals a message their activity will not be tolerated.


Michigan City Police Chief Steve Forker said the function will be at Pullman Park on West 4th Street, and begin with a bicycle ride on the Singing Sands Trail to the Porter County line and back.


Forker also noted that it’s the first time in many years the police department in Michigan City has taken part in National Night Out.


“We’ll have basically a little pop up block party,” he said.


Music and food will be among the other offerings on hand. The activities are scheduled August 1st from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

More Light Shed on Taylor Swift Stalker

(Michigan City, IN) - A LaPorte County man accused of stalking and threatening Taylor Swift has been ordered to undergo mental health treatment before further prosecution of the case.                                    


Mitchell Taebel, 36, of Long Beach has been placed into the care of the Indiana Division of Mental Health and Addiction until his condition improves enough to be deemed competent enough to take part in his defense.                                                                                                                                            

La Porte County Prosecutor Sean Fagan said his commitment was in response to the findings of more than one court-appointed mental health professional after they independently evaluated the defendant. The prosecutor’s office along with the defense went along with the recommendation.


“We signed an agreed order of stipulation that Mr. Taebel is not competent to participate in his own trial,” he said.


Fagan noted that the goal is for Taebel to understand his alleged criminal actions at the time, and be capable of helping his attorney mount a defense so the formal trial process can resume.


“Do you know what happened then?  Are you fully aware of what’s going on now?,” he said.        


Taeble is charged in LaPorte Superior Court 1 with Level 5 felony Stalking; Level 6 felony Intimidation along with Invasion of Privacy and Harassment, both misdemeanors.


Symptoms of his alleged obsession with the pop music superstar, beginning March 25th, included a 10-hour marriage proposal video he posted on YouTube.


Taebel has accounts dedicated to Swift on YouTube and Facebook.


There were also messages he left on her official Instagram account, making statements like “he would happily wear a bomb if he cannot be with his soul mate” and “shoot ourselves if we had to” if they could not be together, per court records. There were also electronic messages from Taebel expressing a desire for them to meet, along with threats to harm Swift and her dancers on stage if they carried out certain performances.  


The pictures he allegedly sent to her included one of a man holding an AR-15 rifle.


On May 5th, police said Taebel traveled to some luxury condominiums in Nashville believing Swift was there, and while claiming to be a famous television show host, asked security to let her know he was in the lobby. Authorities were then called and he allegedly fled.


He then later went to Nissan Stadium in Nashville where Swift was scheduled to perform that evening, and got as far as a VIP area when asked to leave due being on a list of security threats. After returning home, he allegedly posted a message wishing death for people who think it’s illegal to go to where somebody lives to see if they want to meet.


Police said he also maintained thoughts of him being elected President and Swift becoming his First Lady.


Swift’s management team was alarmed enough by his alleged actions to seek a temporary restraining order, which was served to Taebel on May 13th. He allegedly violated the order by posting more messages about Swift and tagging her on social media.


Fagan said the case is on hold indefinitely because of the unknowns involved in how long each mental health patient responds to treatment.


“It really just depends on a bunch of things not in anybody’s control,” he said.

Solar Panels for La Porte Airport

(La Porte, IN) - The airport in La Porte has received federal funding to draw energy from the sun. 


Over $300,000 dollars will go for installing solar panels at the city-owned airport on Indiana 39 on the city’s far southwest side.


The idea is to save money from the airport operating at least partially on the energy from the sun. and help in the fight against climate change. The grant from the Federal Aviation Administration stems from the President’s goal of zero emissions contributing to climate change by 2050.


About $90 million in FAA grants were awarded statewide.


Over $20 million of that funding is going to the Indianapolis International Airport for things such as solar panels in parking lots areas around the terminal along with runway reconstruction.


The airport in Indianapolis already has more than 80,000 solar panels on 183 acres.

Mental Health Care for Alleged Taylor Swift Stalker

(La Porte County, IN) - A La Porte County man accused of stalking Taylor Swift is now currently in a mental health facility.


According to court records, 36-year-old Mitchell Taebel has been ruled unfit as of the moment to stand trial. As a result, a judge has ordered him into the care of the Indiana Division of Mental Health and Addiction, where he will remain in their custody until deemed competent to stand trial.


The Long Beach man allegedly expressed his desire for Swift by sending her emails and traveling to where she was performing in an attempt to gain access to her.  Authorities noted that some of the emails found were threatening.


In May, he allegedly gained entry to her luxury condominium building in Nashville, and later a nearby concert building where she was scheduled to perform. He even produced a video of himself asking Swift to marry him, tagging her with the video in a social media post.


In every physical instance however, he was removed due to being viewed a security threat.

La Porte County Man Convicted in Murders

(La Porte County, IN) - A La Porte County man has been found guilty in the stabbing deaths of two of his family members.


Yesterday, a jury convicted 43-year-old Kyle Earley on two counts of Murder, regarding the stabbings of his father and uncle which occurred at the family’s home in Michiana Shores last September.


During the incident, evidence shows that one of the victims was on the phone with his wife, who then overheard the bloody acts while the line was still open after said victim dropped it. Authorities arrived and found Earley leaving the residence, covered in what appeared to be blood. He also had a cut on his hand and scratches on his face. 


Earley was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder and Schizophrenia prior to the killings and had previously threatened his father and uncle in the past.


Earley's sentencing is scheduled for August 17th, where he could face anywhere from 45 years-to-65 years on each count.

A Ride to Remember

(La Porte County, IN) - A group of bike riders paid their annual visit to La Porte County on Tuesday to pay tribute to fallen law enforcement officers.


Cops Cycling for Survivors has been circling the state since July 10th. Five officers who died in the line of duty last year are pictured on the box truck that accompanies them along the route. The truck is driven by former La Porte County police officer Mike Kellems. Along with the signatures of well-wishers, the names of other fallen officers going back 100 years are displayed.


But in Indiana three more officers and a police K-9 have fallen just in the last month, giving this year’s ride an even more serious tone. Justin Reeder is a Porter County police officer and board member of Cops Cycling for Survivors. “It doesn’t matter if they passed away two weeks ago, or if they passed a hundred years ago. We’re still riding for those officers,” he said during a break in the ride.


“[This year] it’s been a lot more emotional, physically and mentally. You can see it in the rider’s faces. But we just keep pedaling on, because that’s our mission.”


Reeder said they started the ride the day of the burial of Sergeant Heather Glenn of Tell City, who was shot and killed while trying to arrest a domestic violence suspect. Riders encountered her parents just a few days later.


“They met with us in Jasper, Indiana,” said Reeder, “and you could see how fresh it was. It was one of the most emotional things I’ve ever experienced on this ride.”


According to Reeder, 47 officers have signed up to participate at various stages of the ride. He said Tuesday’s trek through La Porte drew the most riders so far. Unlike last year, the weather has cooperated. It has rained only one day.


Among the many cyclists was local police officer Dylan Travis of the Michigan City Police Department. “It’s a great experience. I really appreciate the opportunity to be able to do this,” he said. “It’s a great cause, just happy to be able to do it.” Travis said his supervisor encouraged him to participate, knowing that he’s an avid cyclist. This year, Travis rode for just one day, but hopes to go longer in future rides.


On their way to South Bend, the cyclists stopped in New Carlisle at the grave of Neil Thompson, a La Porte County patrolman who died during a car chase in 1980. Thompson’s sister and brother-in-law came up from Indianapolis for a short graveside service.


During the stop, Kevin Getz, a State Police Sergeant from Bloomington, spoke to HTNN. “The reason for the portraits on the side of the truck is to let all Hoosiers know that these officers died in the line of duty,” he said. Then, before heading back on the road, riders gathered around a local police widow whose husband and his K-9 partner died in the line of duty thirteen years ago. They shared a moment of prayer and reflection. 


“There’s been a lot of love,” said Getz about such encounters, “a lot of fellowship, a lot of remembering, which is what our motto is: “’Ride to Remember.’”


Getz said when one of their own is killed, officers traditionally wear a black band on their badges until the day of their burial.


“In Indiana we have been continuously mourning since June 28th. There has been no reprieve, no opportunity to remove that band.”


This year’s ride will wrap up on July 22nd in Elwood. As long as there are officers making the ultimate sacrifice, Cops Cycling for Survivors will continue to keep their memories alive.

Baby Box Used in Kokomo, Another One Coming to La Porte

(Kokomo, IN) - Another newborn was surrendered to a Safe Haven Baby Box. This time down in Kokomo.


The two-day-old baby girl appeared in the box at Kokomo’s downtown fire station on Monday. According to the fire department, the mother left a note sharing her love and the hopes she has for her daughter.


It’s the fifth time this year a newborn has been safely surrendered in Indiana and the twelfth time nationwide.


Baby Boxes are built into a wall where a desperate mom can safely place a newborn. After an alert sounds, first responders get to the baby within minutes. State law allows such a surrender of a baby up to 30 days old without prosecution.


There are currently 103 Baby Boxes across the country. That number is about to increase to 104, with the addition of another Baby Box here in La Porte.


The Board of Public Works has authorized a grant received from the Department of Homeland Security for $10,000. The newborn safety device will be installed at Fire Station 2 on East Shore Parkway on La Porte’s north side.


In 2016 Coolspring Township became the second fire department in the country to install a baby box. Since then, two babies have been surrendered there. Franciscan Hospital in Michigan City also has a baby box.


Fire Chief Andy Snyder says the new device should be installed in a few months.

Operation Back to School Helps Veterans' Kids

(Indianapolis, IN) - The Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs is once again offering to help the children of military veterans through Operation Back to School.


The program provides up to $500 for each child of a veteran to help cover back to school expenses.


Families with children in grades K-12 (up to age 18) or full time college students (up to age 23) who still live with their veteran family are eligible.


There is still time to apply. Applications will be accepted until August 31. To access an application, click HERE.

Another Gang Member Charged

(Michigan City, IN) - Another alleged gang member in Michigan City is facing gang and gun-related charges.


19-year-old Chance Roark put guns into the hands of fellow members of the Lakeland Street gang who were barred from posessing firearms due to previous crimes.


According to court documents, the investigation shows Roark was also involved in the sale of "switches", which are devices that give semi-automatic handguns the ability to fire like machine guns.


Evidence of the transactions were discovered on Facebook through private messages with buyers. In one instance, Roark offered one buyer a switch for $100, only for them to then request five switches for $250. 


“During the conversations, Chance was observed either soliciting or being contacted in regards to the selling and obtaining of machine gun conversion devices from one of his associates,” authorities noted.


Police suspect two guns seized from Roark wound up in the hands of fellow gang members recorded on video, firing machine gun-converted weapons into a wooded area.


In addition,Roark was the driver of a car searched during traffic stops roughly a month apart from each other this past Spring, where a gun was found in the vehicle during each time.


Roark has been charged with Providing a Fiirearm to a Criminal and Criminal Organization Activity, both of which are Level 5 felonies.

Winning Lottery Ticket Bought in Michigan City

(Indianapolis, IN) - If you’ve purchased a lottery ticket in Michigan City recently, you’ll want to check its numbers again!


One $50,000 winning ticket for Saturday’s drawing was purchased at the Lucky Stop at 1912 Franklin Street, according to the Hoosier Lottery.


The winning Powerball numbers for Saturday were 2-9-43-55-57, with a Powerball of 18.


Lottery officials remind the public: If you have the winning ticket, make sure to keep it in a safe place and call Hoosier Lottery customer service at 1-800-955-6886 for instructions on how to claim your winnings. 

Charges in Graduation Gang Fight

(Michigan City, IN) - Charges have been filed in connection with a gang fight during last month’s graduation ceremony at Michigan City High School.


According to court documents, the fight near the tennis courts on June 4th was between members of the Lakeland Street Gang and Blow Gang.


There, roughly 10 individuals were punching, kicking and shoving each other while bystanders attempted to flee the area.  Officers working the graduation ceremony broke up the altercation.


Charges including Disorderly Conduct and Criminal Organization Activity were filed in the case.


Shabaa Holmes, Juelz Holmes, Kahlil Gipson, DaQuarius Howell, Terry Jones, Mario Ward, Jarese Bishop, Dontia Grant, DeAndre Grant and Daniel Jarrett could each face prison time for their alleged involvement in the fight.


Authorities noted that some, if not all, of the alleged participants were among the graduates. The suspects have been banned from all schools in Michigan City and school related functions.


A month later, Shabaa Holmes, 19, has been arrested for allegedly possessing a pistol, modified with a machine gun-conversion device at a home in the 1000 block of West 9th Street.

No Injuries in Emergency Landing

(Porter County, IN) - A pilot was not injured during an emergency landing near Valparaiso yesterday afternoon.


According to Porter County Police, the small plane had engine trouble when the pilot landed in a field in Morgan Township. Some damage was reported to the plane.


What caused the engine problems on the plane is currently under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board. Authorities have not released further details.

U.S. 30 to be Partially Closed

(La Porte County, IN) - A stretch of U.S. 30 in La Porte County will be partially closed beginning Wednesday, with the eastbound lanes between U.S. 421 and 900 W to be closed for a three-to-five day period.


Indiana Department of Transportation officials note the closure is for repairs following permitted work near the intersection of U.S. 30 and U.S. 421.


Eastbound traffic on U.S. 30 heading toward U.S. 421 will be split into a left turn lane and right turn lane so motorists should approach the signal with caution and follow traffic directions carefully.


According to INDOT, the westbound lanes of U.S. 30 will be closed in the same area for repairs at some point after the eastbound lanes have reopened.

Merger of More Sports Programs Considered

(New Buffalo, MI) - Two more sports programs at New Buffalo and River Valley high schools could be merged together due to declines in enrollment.


Officials from both school corporations are examining whether to consolidate the girls’ softball and girls’ basketball programs, with the former's season in New Buffalo this year having been cancelled due to an insufficient amount of players. The football program at both schools was merged in 2021 after River Valley was unable to field a team the previous year due to the same issue.


During a heavily-attended public meeting July 13th at New Buffalo High School, it was revealed enrollment at each high school has declined 33% since 2009. Currently, enrollment at New Buffalo High School stands at just shy of 180 whereas River Valley high School has roughly 20 fewer students.


New Buffalo High School Athletic Director Matt Johnson noted that the combined football program now has enough players to field a varsity and junior varsity squad, which allows younger players to compete more at their level instead of being forced to play against much larger varsity players.


The goal would be the same for merging the girls’ softball and basketball programs, both vulnerable to serious mismatches against larger schools unless one or two classes happens to have a good crop of talent. The problem is a bit more exasperated in New Buffalo, which has two more high school sports programs than River Valley.


“We’re just stretched thin from what we offer,” Johnson said.


Johnson said enrollment declines at both schools have sort of leveled-off in recent years, but there’s no indication the number of students in either district will be going up enough any time soon.


Per local realtor Pete Rahm, a majority of young families with children have been priced out of the housing market, with the average price of a home in both school districts combined at about $700,000. The median housing price is around $500,000.


“There are no homes for school families to buy,” he said.


New Buffalo English teacher Krista Totzke spoke in favor of the proposed mergers.


She said her daughter had to play her first two seasons of girls’ basketball on the varsity before she was physically ready, because there weren’t enough players to field a junior varsity squad.


“It’s like playing with adults on some teams,” Totzke said.


Rich Knoll, a former school board member and assistant high school girls’ varsity softball coach in New Buffalo, urged the audience to put aside their feelings about the longstanding rivalry between the schools and support merging both sports programs. Without a merger, he said there might not be a girls’ softball team in New Buffalo for a couple of seasons until students in some of the lower grades with higher enrollments reach high school.


Knoll also said combining the two programs would also eliminate the stress of urging students to participate in sports and wondering if there will be enough players to fill every roster.


“It’s time, folks.  It really is folks,” he said.


New Buffalo Mayor John Humphrey also spoke in favor of the mergers. He has a daughter on the softball team whose season was cancelled after she invested a lot of time in instructional camps to improve her game.


“She is dejected and very angry about it,” he said.


Like the combined football team, Johnson said the girls’ softball and basketball teams would more than likely rotate practices and games between the schools to make traveling less of an issue as much as possible. He continuted, stating that the programs, if combined, would move up to Division 3 to play against more competitive teams based on the enrollment of both schools.


However, he said the schools already play against Division 3 teams in the area like Brandywine and Buchanan because most Division 4 schools are a two hour drive away.


Under Michigan High School Athletic Association rules, Johnson said the school boards in each district must approve merging the girls’ basketball programs by August 15th for the cooperative to be in effect for the next season.


The deadline for the upcoming season for girls’ softball is October 15th.

Another Shooting in Michigan City

(Michigan City, IN) - Michigan City Police are investigating another shooting.


Officers were called to the 500 block of Pleasant Avenue late Friday morning, where a 37-year-old man from Gary was found with a gunshot wound in his right shoulder before being given first aid.


Initially, the currently unnamed man, was transported to Franciscan Health with what was described as a non-life-threatening injury before being taken to a hospital in Chicago for more advanced care.


So far, no arrests have been reported.


Anyone with information is asked to contact Michigan City Police.

Fatal Crash near Westville

La Porte County, IN) - A fatal single-vehicle crash occurred near Westville over the weekend.


La Porte County Police were called in at roughly 2 a.m. Saturday morning to the area of Indiana 2 and Old Indiana 2, where, for currently unknown reasons, a pick-up truck left the road and went into a deep ditch, before coming to a stop in a field.


Allan Vanblaircom, 55, of Valparaiso suffered an upper-body injury and later died as a result of the accident. A 28-year-old Chicago-area woman who was also in the truck was not hurt.


Police said they’re still waiting for the results of a blood alcohol test to determine if intoxication may have been a factor in the events that unfolded.

From Pioneer Princess to Queen of the Fair

(La Porte, IN) - Since she was a toddler, 20-year-old Jaxzee Marks has been a Pioneer Land kid. This year she became Queen of the Fair. On the opening day of the 177th annual county fair, Marks was crowned Miss La Porte County Fair Queen.


“I’ve been around the fair my whole life, always been around the petting zoo,” Marks told HTNN while petting a silver donkey named Slurpee.


“I feel very fortunate to be able to hold this title.”


Marks is a 2021 graduate of South Central and a former 10-year 4-H member. She is going into her junior year at Ball State, where she studies elementary education.


She might not have ever aspired to the honor of Fair Queen, if not for the encouragement of a long-time family friend. Marks said Dick Reel, the “father of Pioneer Land,” inspired her to participate in the Queen Pageant. “He always wanted me to run for this,” Marks said.


“Especially in the years before he passed away, I was able to really get to know him. He would always come over to our house for cookouts, and we were able to really bond.”


Jaxzee is the daughter of Jack and Starla Marks of Hamlet, who are still heavily involved in Pioneer Land.


Marks stayed busy all week bestowing ribbons at 4-H livestock shows. She also met Jordan Davis and Lainey Wilson before their concerts. But being Fair Queen isn’t all glamour.  On Thursday, Marks participated in a pie-eating contest and bested La Porte County Sheriff Ron Heeg in a goat milking competition. She also drove her uncle’s tractor in the antique tractor parade.


On Wednesday the current Indiana State Fair Queen visited La Porte’s fair. In January Marks will compete for that title. In the meantime, she will fulfill her royal duties around La Porte County.


“I’m really excited to be able to go to all the little festivals that we have,” Marks said, “especially the Scarecrow fest, the Pumpkin Fest in Westville.”


In August she'll get to meet the other Indiana county fair queens in Indianapolis.

Bicyclist Killed on Toll Road

(St. Joseph County, IN) - A bicyclist was killed on the Indiana Toll Road east of La Porte County early Saturday morning. The accident happened just after 3:00 a.m. CDT west of the U.S. 20 bypass exit.


According to Indiana State Police, a westbound 2021 Kia struck a man on a bicycle that crossed lanes into its path. The driver of the Kia cooperated with police and agreed to a chemical test for intoxication, which is standard procedure in a fatal crash.


Westbound lanes were closed due to the investigation for over an hour. The St. Joseph County Coroner is still working to identify the cyclist.


Bicycles are prohibited on the Indiana Toll Road. By state law, any bicycle operated on a highway at night must have a lamp on the front with a white light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet and a red light or red reflector visible from behind to a distance of 500 feet.

New Prairie Softball Gets Congressional Shout-Out

(Washington, D.C.) - New Prairie’s state championship softball team set records this year. Now they're part of the Congressional Record.


On Thursday 2nd District Congressman Rudy Yakym took a minute from the House floor in Washington, D.C. to congratulate the team on winning the school’s first-ever team championship.


In June New Prairie defeated Tri-West for the Class 3A title. “The Cougars’ 4-2 win,” Yakym told members of Congress, “was especially meaningful because it marked New Prairie’s very first state title in any sport.”


Yakym also recognized head coach Derek Hicks and two of New Prairie’s leading players: pitcher Eva Geyer and power hitter Abby Robakowski , who broke the state’s home run record.


For Yakym’s full remarks from the House floor, follow click HERE.

Michigan City Shooting Under Investigation

(Michigan City, IN) - Police in Michigan City are investigating another shooting that happened Friday morning.


At about 10:35 a.m. police were dispatched to the 500 block of Pleasant Avenue on the city’s northeast side. Officers located a 37-year-old male from Gary with a gunshot wound to his right shoulder. They administered first aid until paramedics arrived.


The unidentified victim was taken to Franciscan Health Hospital in Michigan City and treated for a non-life-threatening wound. However, he was later transported to a hospital in Chicago for more advanced medical treatment.


Police continue to investigate what happened. "Numerous articles of evidence were collected, and multiple witnesses were interviewed," they said in a statement. 


"Officers and detectives continue to interview witnesses, attempt to identify a suspect(s), search for video surveillance in the area, and collect additional evidence."


Anyone who may have witnessed the incident and has any additional information, video surveillance, or cell phone video is encouraged to contact Lieutenant Anna Painter at (219) 874-3221 x1077 or via email at apainter@emichigancity.com.

Public Invited to Park Picnic

(La Porte, IN) - The public is invited to a park in La Porte Saturday to eat and take part in activities at no cost.


A pop-up picnic will be hosted by the Kiwanis Club at Rumely Park.


Free hot dogs, potato chips, light refreshments, and tennis lessons will be among what's on offer.


Parks Superintendent Mark Schreiber said the public is also invited to use the basketball court, playground and visit with police officers and firefighters, who'll bring a fire truck for people to climb into.


“We’ll have all kinds of activities for kids.  We just really want people to come down and get reengaged with their park. Looking forward to it,” he said.


The pop-up picnic is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Bohacek Named to Roads Committee

(Indianapolis, IN) - A local lawmaker will have a role to play in trying to make travel safer in Indiana.


State Senator Mike Bohacek of Michiana Shores is now a member of the Interim Study Committee on Roads and Transportation.  The committee, among other things, will take a look at how to prevent roadway fatalities and other driving safety issues.


Other tasks of the committee include the following:


·        Studing civil penalty assessments and the enforcement of overweight loads regarding their impact on state infrastructure;

·        Reviewing road and bridge renaming proposals; and

·        Advising the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles in approving new specialty license plates.


“Interim study committees provide lawmakers more time to hear from industry experts on topics that may directly impact legislation.   I'm looking forward to discussing and considering policy to help keep Hoosiers safe on our roadways and improve Indiana's infrastructure," Bohacek said.


Committee members will meet during the summer and fall to come up with recommendations that will be presented to the legislature next year.

Local Officer Charts Course for Ride

(Indianapolis, IN) - A La Porte man is leading the way for bicyclists riding throughout the state to financially help the family members of fallen police officers.


Mike Kellems is driving the supply truck and behind him are about 20 bicyclists now in the southern part of the state.


Kellems, a retired La Porte County Police Officer, said the killings of two law enforcement officers and a jail officer in Indiana recently has weighed heavily on the shoulders of the riders. He now wears a badge for the police department at Purdue University Northwest.


“It’s been a tough ride emotionally,” he said.


The 13-day ride began Monday in Indianapolis and will make a brief stop in La Porte on Tuesday, before ending five days later at a cemetery in Indianapolis where a tribute will be paid to fallen officers.


Kellems said the riders, before leaving La Porte, will be served lunch at the Scipio Township Volunteer Fire Department.


The riders will then stop in New Carlisle to honor the late Neal Thompson at his grave.  Thompson was a La Porte County Police Officer when killed while chasing a stolen ambulance in 1980.


So far, Kellems said the riders are holding up well physically, despite the heat and humidity in hilly southern areas of the state they passed through over the last two days such as New Albany near the Ohio River.


The 22nd annual ride is conducted by the organization "Cop Cycling for Survivors."

Cream of the Crop in Dairy Competition

(La Porte County, IN) - A farm girl has proved herself no stranger to winning for showing animals during the La Porte County Fair.


Mary Minich, a 14-year-old South Central School student, has a heifer that took first place at the fair this week in the Holstein winter senior calf division.


Minich said she believes the structure of her calf’s body and it being larger than other calves in her category were among the factors that worked in her favor during judging. 


“She carries herself pretty well."


Minich noted that her calf’s mother has been named a Grand Champion twice in the past, with her family's history in the dairy business since 1909. She and her five siblings, combined, showed off 15 cows during the fair this week.


Minich then remarked on how showing a cow is a lot of fun and about the pay-off for the effort put in training the animal to do well in show.


“Training all of them, it’s a lot of work. It’s a lot of work that goes into it,” she said.


She said the over 1,000 dairy cows on the family’s farm are milked three times a day.

First-Time Grand Champion at Fair

(La Porte County, IN) - A local farm boy has reached the top of the mountain for the very first time, for showing animals during the La Porte County Fair.


A female sheep belonging to Nic Spence, 17, was declared the Grand Champion among other ewes shown before the judges this week.


The La Porte High School student and longtime 4H member, who has never had a Grand Champion animal during his years of showing animals at the fair, was sort-of taken aback when his ewe was announced as the best overall.


“I didn’t really know what to think. It was unbelievable to be honest. I was really happy about it, though,” Spence said.


He also entered a spotted pig that was named Reserve Grand Champion Gilt for that breed.  


His family lives on Johnson Road near the Indiana Toll Toad, on a farm with about 100 sheep.

Boy Trains Chicken to Ride Skateboard

(La Porte County, IN) - A LaPorte area boy is turning heads with a chicken riding with him on his skateboard. 


Daniel Price, 10, said he began training “Froot Loop” not long after she hatched about a year ago because he wanted a chicken as a pet. 


Price didn’t know how to ride a skateboard at the time, but wanted to so he decided he and his chicken would learn together.


Now, they’re like a ship captain and first sea mate on a boat, except Froot Loop sits on the front of a skateboard while Price stands on the back.


“The bird trusts him and he trusts her. They just have that bond. I love it, ” affirms the boy’s mother, Erin Price.


The first-year 4H member and his chicken often skateboard together in their neighborhood outside LaPorte, where the family lives on a six-acre farm wjth nearly 20 other chickens along with a few roosters and goats.


Recently, Price and his feathery friend skateboarded together numerous times during the LaPorte County Fair, where he kept his bird on display with other chickens in the 4H Poultry Barn.


June Lenig, a longtime member of the 4H Poultry Committee, said it was the first time she had ever seen a chicken on a skateboard. She was also amazed at how the chicken doesn’t budge and even seems to enjoy riding.


“I couldn’t believe it.  Usually, they’re not that tame and that bird just sits there,” she remarked.


Initially, Price said training the bird wasn’t easy.  Her first reaction like any typical chicken was to jump. It took about a week of him repeatedly placing the chicken back on the skateboard for her to stay on it for any length of time.


Price elaborated further, saying that he also placed corn on the skateboard for the chicken to eat to add to her comfort level with the four-wheeled device.

Sometimes, he left the chicken alone on the skateboard for a few minutes with verbal instructions to stay on it until he returned.


“I’d come out and she’d be in the same spot,” he said.


A few weeks later, the chicken seemed glued to the skateboard even while it was moving.


The chicken also rides with Price now on the handlebars of his bicycle and inside a wagon he pulls behind him while peddling.  She also tags along on the ground while the boy tends to the family’s other farm animals.


“She likes me so much she just follows me around like a dog."


Mrs. Price said she was not surprised at the results because the animals, especially Froot Loop, seem to connect with her son.  She said he seems to have a knack for knowing when to exercise patience, while not giving up and understanding their needs.


“He knows when she’s tired and wants to be left alone,” she said.


Bigger things could lie ahead for the Kesling Middle School student, who recently posted a video of him and the chicken skateboarding together.


The video has drawn enough hits for him to receive $60 from YouTube.


Price said his next goal is to train Froot Loop or one of his other chickens to “use the bathroom in the toilet.”


He’s not sure how to go about it yet, but is confident of pulling it off.


“I have no clue.  I’ll figure it out,” he said.

Police Investigate Apartment Complex Shooting

(La Porte County, IN) - La Porte County Police are investigating the shooting of a man at a Michigan City-area housing complex.


Just before 11 A.M. on Wednesday morning, officers responded to Woodland Crossing Apartment Homes after receiving reports of a shooting at the complex along Woodland Ave. just north of U.S. 20.


Authorities said the victim was a contracted lawn maintenance worker at the facility.


The investigation shows the victim was approached on foot by a male individual who then began shooting at the worker. 


The victim sustained a non-life threatening gunshot wound to one of his hands.


The suspect entered a nearby vehicle and fled northbound on Woodland Avenue.


So far, no arrests have been reported.  Anyone with information with asked to contact the La Porte County Sheriff’s Office.

Former Chief Deputy Retires

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


James Sosinski began as a jail deputy with the Sheriff’s Office in 1982, later becoming a patrol officer three years later.


Sosinski was second in command as Chief Deputy under Mike Mollenhauer, who was Sheriff from 2007 to 2014.


Sosinski later accepted a position as civil process server for the Sheriff’s Office, verifying the residency of registered sex offenders and delivering civil papers until his retirement.


“I publicly congratulate Jim on his retirement.  He faithfully served the citizens of La Porte County for four-plus decades. He and his family made many sacrifices along the way and throughout his career,” per La Porte County Sheriff Ron Heeg.

Police Focus on Speeders

(La Porte County, IN) - Speeders in La Porte County are facing a greater risk of being pulled over.


The La Porte County Sheriff’s Office this month is taking part in a statewide effort to raise awareness about the danger of speeding, and to urge drivers to obey speed limits.


For the rest of the month, police said officers are on “high alert” for speeding vehicles during what’s been dubbed the “Speeding Slows You Down” campaign.


“Speed limit signs are not suggestions, they are the law,” asserts La Porte County Police Capt. Derek Allen.


In 2021, speeding resulted in the deaths of 252 people in Indiana or more than one-fourth of all motor vehicle fatalities. Speeding was sldo blamed for 290 fatalities statewide last year, and is projected to cause 300 speeding-related traveling deaths in Indiana this year.


“If you are killed in a crash or if you kill someone else, that is it.  There is no second chance."


Allen noted that the enforcement effort, paid for with federal dollars, is focused on roads known to have a high number of speed related crashes.

Lainey Wilson Fair Concert Escapes Storm

(La Porte County, IN) - The Lainey Wilson concert at the La Porte County Fair dodged a bullet from Mother Nature last night, starting on time with only a few sprinkles of rain at the very beginning of the opening act.


The start of Wilson’s performance was pushed back roughly a half-hour due to an approaching storm.  However, the storm did not pass over the fairgrounds and things were dry for the young country music sensation's set.


“It was just an absolutely wonderful show,” as noted by La Porte County Sherrif Ron Heeg who, along with several of his officers, also met and had their pictures taken with Wilson in turn following the sold-out performance.


Rain also posed a threat to the Jordan Davis concert Tuesday but the precipitation stopped just prior to the country music artist’s performance, which was also heavily attended.

Steroids Arrest in Traffic Stop

(La Porte County, IN) - A man passing through La Porte County was arrested for allegedly having steroids without a prescription.


Mark Slider, 44, has been charged with Illegal Possession of anabolic steroids, a Level 6 felony.


According to Indiana State Police, a trooper pulled him over Monday afternoon for erratic driving on the Indiana Toll Road near Rolling Prairie, where a hypodermic needle in plain view inside the car gave the officer probable cause to search the vehicle.


A box containing multiple jars of anabolic steroids and several more hypodermic needles were found in the back of the vehicle. The Colorado man told investigators he obtained the steroids online and had forgotten he had them.


In addition, Slider was also in possession of a drug used to treat erectile dysfunction called Trimix, which he claimed he legally purchased at a pharmacy in Colorado and uses in turn.

Age Limit for Marriage Raised to 18

(Lansing, MI) - In Michigan, people have to be at least 18-years-old to get married now as Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed the legislation into law as of today.


Previously, Michigan residents ages 16 and 17 could marry with written consent from a parent or guardian.


Michigan has now become the eighth state to outlaw child marriages.


According to data obtained from the state senate, around 5,400 minors were married in Michigan over the past two decades, with over 90 percent of them being girls, some as young as 14 and 15 years old.


The data also revealed significant age gaps in some cases that included a 16-year-old girl marrying a 45-year-old man, as well as a 17-year-old boy tying the knot with a 68-year-old woman.


Supporters of raising the age limit claim marrying too early is detrimental to children and outdated. 

No Injuries in Rollover Crash

(La Porte County, IN) - A motor vehicle wound up on its side, but there were no injuries in the Tuesday accident outside La Porte.


According to La Porte County Police, Alexis Schmitt, 22, was behind the wheel of a 2001 Ford Taurus.


Schmitt told investigators she couldn’t remember how, at 2 P.M., she lost control of the car which then slid sideways across the two-lane road and struck a mailbox. The car then rolled once and came to rest on its side in the yard of a home in the 5500 block of West Johnson Road.


Schmitt along with her passenger, Nathan Shireman, 23, were not hurt when located outside the vehicle near the driveway.


The car was towed after being disabled in the crash.

Life-Saving Competition Moves to La Porte.

(La Porte, IN) - An annual fund raising competition will be held this year for the first time in the City of La Porte.


The 5K and 10K walk and run, dubbed the "Bolt for the Heart," has been hosted in Michigan City since the event’s inception four-years ago. There, money is raised to provide life-saving devices in the vehicles of police and other emergency responders countywide.

The devices themselves are designed to restore the heartbeat in people experiencing cardiac arrest.


Mayor Tom Dermody said the goal is to have well over 1,000 people taking part in the competition, presently scheduled for October 14th.


“We need sign ups early.  We have committed to 1,200 participants because we know La Porte supports Bolt for the Heart and we’re about saving lives."


La Porte City Councilwoman Julie West illustrated that one way to register is to simply use one's phone on a code displayed on a banner hanging at Cummings Lodge.


“Anybody that comes by there can go ahead and register for the race,” she said.


The La Porte City Police and County Sheriff’s Office are among the local law enforcement agencies that have received the life-saving devices with money generated by the event.

Tonight's Lainey Wilson Concert Still On

(La Porte County, IN) - Despite the threat of rain, the sold-out Lainey Wilson concert scheduled at the La Porte County Fair this evening is still on. Fair officials noted that the weather forecast is being actively monitored, but for now, the young country music sensation will still be taking the stage.


”The decision is ultimately up to the performer if they perform or not,” per fair officials.


People can go to the La Porte County Fair page on Facebook, which will give updates on the status of the concert scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m.


Despite the sellout, tickets are still available on webpages like StubHub where tickets were going for anywhere from over $70-to-$260 apiece.


Several thousand people turned out last night for the concert at the fair by country music superstar Jordan Davis. The at-times-heavy rain yesterday stopped prior to the concert, with conditions remaining dry throughout the performance. 


Sand Sculpting Returning to Michigan City

(Michigan City, IN) - The Singing Sands Sand Sculpting Festival appears to be on its way to becoming a Michigan City tradition, as the three-day lakefront art festival will return to Washington Park for its third year on June 7th, 2024.


“Bringing the Singing Sands Sand Sculpting Festival back for a third year is so exciting,” noted Michigan City Mayor Duane Parry. 


“This event has become one of the premiere events on the shores of Lake Michigan, and people come from all over to enjoy our beautiful beach."


The Singing Sands Sand Sculpting Festival previously debuted in June of 2022, and was a huge success.


The centerpiece of the event is a professional sand sculpting exhibition and competition, drawing some of the world’s most talented and well-known sand sculptors who create incredible works of art. The festival also includes a Kidz Zone, sand sculpting demonstrations, the Quick Sand speed sculpting show, live music, an artisan market, and a great variety of food and beverage options including a full bar.


According to the mayor’s office, Michigan City Special Events will again partner with The Sand Lovers, LLC, a professional sand sculpting and event management company, which specializes in major sand sculpting events.


Bill and Marianne Knight, both professional sand sculptors, brought this unique art form to Michigan City for the first time and believe the event will continue to grow.


“The Singing Sands Sand Sculpting Festival is quickly becoming one of the premiere sand sculpting competitions in the United States,” said Bill Knight of The Sand Lovers, LLC.


“We are proud to continue our partnership with Michigan City Special Events and look to continue growing the event.”

Prison for Good Sized Meth Dealer

(South Bend, IN) - A federal prison sentence has been handed to a Winamac woman for Dealing in Methamphetamine.


Laci Lindsey, 49, was sentenced Monday at the U.S. District Court in South Bend to 80 months in prison followed by 5 years of supervised release.


According to documents in the case, Lindsey between May 2021 and April 2022, sold methamphetamine multiple times, the total amount coming close to 300 grams. A search of her residence recovered more methamphetamine, a scale, a drug ledger, packaging material, and other drug paraphernalia.


The case was investigated by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Porter County Multi-Enforcement Group and the DEA North Central Laboratory.

Fair Security Prepared for Huge Lainey Wilson Crowd

(La Porte County, IN) - La Porte County Police are bracing for tonight’s Jordan Davis concert and the Lainey Wilson concert Wednesday at the fair.


Tonight's concert is nearly a sellout while Wilson will perform before a sold-out crowd.


Deputies with the La Porte Sheriff’s Office provide security annually during the fair.


Sheriff Ron Heeg noted that he doesn’t expect anything real major to occur but large crowds pose more of a security challenge.


“I think the Lainey Wilson concert alone is going to draw 7,000 plus people.  That’s the size of a small city and that’s not including all of the other fairgoers that are going to be out there."


Both concerts are scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. 


If you want tickets to see Wilson, they’re available on websites like StubHub, where they're currently ranging from $73 to $260 apiece.  



Move to La Porte County a Success Story

(La Porte County, IN) - A maker of commercial air compressors and other mobile forms of power is expanding for the third time since relocating to La Porte County.


Vanair Manufacturing, Inc. plans to add a 100,000 square foot building at its current site along County Road 300 North just south of Interstate 94 outside Michigan City. The projected $8.3 million investment in new construction and equipment was recently awarded a 10-year tax abatement by the LaPorte County Council.


Ralph Kokot, chief executive officer of the company, said the firm has experienced remarkable growth since the move 15-years ago while citing further increases in demand for products for the need to further grow the company.


“We are thrilled to embark on this exciting expansion project and contribute to the economic development of La Porte County,” he said.


More than 70 jobs are projected to be added to the existing workforce of about 160 from the investment.


Vanair Manufacturing was founded just over a half century ago, originally a small operation with less than a few dozen employees on two land-locked sites along U.S. 12 in New Buffalo Township and The Pines in Porter County. This stood until the company began looking for a different location to consolidate and expand, per Matt Reardon with the Center for Economic Development, Planning and Governmental Affairs for La Porte County government.


Reardon said his office showed representatives of the firm a roughly 50-acre undeveloped site targeted for economic growth. He said they were drawn by the affordable cost of the ground along with its close proximity to Interstate 94 for quicker distribution of products and receiving supplies.


The company’s decision to relocate there was made official when offered tax abatement by La Porte County government and other incentives from the state.  


Reardon credited the firm and its ability to compete in the marketplace for the success achieved at the new location. However, Reardon said the tremendous growth of the firm shows what’s possible with a little help from the public sector.


“This is a good example of what can happen.  This is a really good example."


Kokot agreed roles played by stakeholders from outside the firm have made a positive impact.


“We are grateful for the collaborative efforts that have put us on the map and allowed our business to thrive,” he said.


Vanair Manufacturing also makes other commercial mobile power products such as generators, welders and battery charges.  


Reardon said the economic activity generated by all of the expansions doesn’t compare to the financial home run struck from landing a major automaker, for example, but the benefits are still noticeable.


“It’s a good impact.  Singles and doubles count, too,” he said.


Despite the abatement, Reardon said property taxes will be owed by the company on the latest expansion at a discounted rate. Tthe amount collected annually on the new construction will be about half the $72,000-a-year billed after the tax abatement expires.


“It all adds up."

Naked Stranger Tries to Shower with Hose

(La Porte County, IN) - A Michigan City man is accused of trying to take a shower with a garden hose outside another person’s home.


According to La Porte County Police, officers on Friday were called to the 1800 block of Welnetz Road outside Michigan City before sunrise. There, an 80-year-old woman reported a man (whom she believed to be nude) was trying to shower with her garden hose.


Upon arrival, officers found the man was completely exposed below the waist, with no water running for his "shower." The individual, 41-year-old Ruben Penn, explained that he had sprayed himself with insect spray but his skin started burning, so he stopped to try and shower himself off with the garden hose.


Penn has been charged with Public Indecency as a Class C misdemeanor, and purportedly Penn was impaired by synthetic marijuana at the time of his arrest.


Previously in 2012, Penn was given a 10-year prison sentence for dealing cocaine.

OWI After Near Collision with Officer

(La Porte County, IN) - A La Porte County man, after boating, was soon arrested for being highly impaired after nearly striking a police vehicle.


Jeffrey Clougher, 58, had an alleged blood alcohol level of .348 percent, which is more than four times the legal limit.


A patrol officer, late in the afternoon on Sunday, was eastbound on Severs Road before spotting a vehicle westbound in the eastbound lane coming straight toward him.


The driver, later identified as Clougher, “jerked” his vehicle back into the proper lane to avoid a collision near Indiana 39. The officer then turned around and stopped Clougher's car.


Police said Clougher had a strong odor of alcohol on his breath and, at one point during the traffic stop, gave the officer a business card instead of his driver's license. 


Clougher told the officer he had consumed several whiskey and cokes while boating on Pine Lake for several hours.

Chicken Wins in Flight After Promised Rewards

(La Porte County, IN) - Promises of popcorn and a ride on the Ferris wheel might have given a chicken enough incentive to become the grand champion flyer at this year’s La Porte County Fair.


Margaret Tomich, 9, of Kingsbury entered her Rhode Island Red hen named “Tia” in the bantam weight division in Monday’s contest. 


Her chicken, after being pushed from a 10-foot-high platform, flew more than 27 feet to win the division crown.


Each winner in the four weight categories qualified for the chance at becoming grand champion during a run-off.


Tomich said her bird looked tired going into the grand champion round, but responded in winning fashion with another flight greater than 27 feet after promising her chicken popcorn and a ride on the Ferris wheel.


“I pushed her one more time to fly, and she did it,” she said.


Tomich said she also had her chicken practice flying every day for about a month prior to the competition. Both of her winning flights were the longest Tia had ever flown.


“She isn’t really a good flyer but since we practiced, she was getting better."


Meagan Surma, 11, of Rolling Prairie entered a buff Brahma chicken that won the middle weight division crown with a flight greater than 30 feet. Surma was surprised at how well her bird, “Reagan,” did in the division portion of the competition.


“At home, she doesn’t fly that much so I thought she might not fly here, but she did,” she said.


A Welsummer chicken belonging to 16-year old La Porte area resident Kim Crawford took the heavyweight title with a flight of more than 37 feet. Crawford said she did not expect her bird, “Cheese,” to do nearly that well given her age and lack of experience at flying.


“She is an old hen and I’ve never flown her before.  I’m pretty happy.  It’s a pretty good feeling."


Her family has about 50 chickens used for selling eggs on their small farm.


A chicken belonging to Dakota Kennedy achieved the greatest distance of more than 44 feet to take the featherweight division title. Her bird fell just a few feet short of becoming the grand champion, though.


About 40 youth in the 4-H program entered their birds in the contest, per Carolyn Krause, a member of the La Porte County 4-H Poultry Committee. Krause said the chicken flying contest is the most popular 4-H event during the fair, which runs through July 15th. 


After landing, Krause noted how the chickens being chased with nets while trying to escape the arena is a real crowd pleaser.


“They love to see them run,” she said.


Leading the cheering section was Carlene Mudd, who comes from Louisiana with her family annually to visit her parents outside La Porte and come to the fair. Mudd said she especially likes rooting for the chickens during their usually short lived bid for freedom.


“We like to see the chickens escape. We’re cheering for the chickens."

No Arrests in Most Recent Shootings

(Michigan City, IN) - No arrests have been reported yet in the shootings of two people in Michigan City.


Michigan City Police reported that officers responding Friday afternoon to reports of shots fired in the 400 block of York St. located two victims, ages 36 and 28, with multiple gunshot wounds.


One victim was transported by helicopter to Memorial Hospital in South Bend with life-threatening injuries. The other was taken to nearby Franciscan Health with non-life-threatening injuries.


Police said numerous pieces of evidence and statements from witnesses were collected to try and identify the suspect., with video surveillance in the area also being sought after to further efforts to come up with a suspect.


Further details have not been provided due to the ongoing nature of the investigation.


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

Huge Turnout for Taco Fest

(La Porte, IN) - There was a record crowd, perhaps, for the annual Taco Fest in downtown La Porte over the weekend.


The city’s Events Coordinator, Brett Binversie, estimated that about 1,500 people turned out Friday night for Taco Fest on Monroe Street, just north of Lincolnway.


“It was a packed house,” he said.


Binversie noted how there were more food trucks from last year and that many of the trucks sold out of food because of the heavy turnout.  He went further, saying that there were also long lines at downtown restaurants participating in the event.


“Fantastic turnout,” said La Porte Mayor Tom Dermody, remarking on it was great to see long lines at downtown restaurants.


“People were just exploding from all over and had a fantastic evening.” 


Taco Fest is part of the city's Friday Night Live series, offering various events and entertainment at the same downtown location once a month during the summer 

Local Manufacturer Keeps Growing

(La Porte County, IN) - A La Porte County firm has plans to expand, as Van Air Manufacturing has announced thta it will add a 100,000 square-foot building near its headquarters just outside Michigan City.


The over-$8 million dollar investment is projected to create 75 jobs, adding to its roughly 200 strong workforce.


Officials cited remarkable growth over the past 15 years and current need to meet further increased demand for their products.


The new construction is expected to be completed before the end of the year.


Van Air Corporation has existed for just over 50-years, originally operating outside New Buffalo on U.S. 12 before moving to the Michigan City area just south of Interstate 94 about 15 years ago.

Scipio Township Breaks Ground on New Fire Station

(La Porte County, IN) - Scipio Township has broken ground on a new station for its volunteer fire department.


The new facility will also be located at 500 West near Pinola. It’s on a parcel behind the Family Express donated by a local landowner.


The current fire station was built in 1954. According to Scipio Township Trustee Kaelynn Deckard, “We’ve really grown out of that station. It was really designed for trucks at that time. Trucks have gotten bigger, equipment has grown.”


The new building will be over 4,000 square feet. It will have room for an engine and a tanker, as well as a meeting room and locker space for firefighters. It is being built by Core Construction at a cost not to exceed $2.5 million and should be completed late this year or early 2024.


Scipio Township’s service district includes Pinola, the La Porte County Fairgrounds, La Porte County Home, Juvenile Detention Center, and four state and county highways. Scipio is unique in that it has two fire stations. The main one, Station 2, is located near the La Porte Municipal Airport. The Pinola facility, Station 1, handles calls west of State Road 39, Deckard said.

Library Can Make You a Digital Navigator

(La Porte, IN) - There’s more to libraries these days than books. Just look at the La Porte Public Library’s new Digital Navigators program, which is available to help with almost any technology need you may have.


Toni Bulger is the library’s Outreach Service Manager. “Digital Navigators is based on a national program through the National Digital Inclusion Alliance,” she told HTNN. “and we really liked what they were trying to achieve, so we’ve rebranded our technology help services here at the library to fall under that Digital Navigators umbrella.”


The library offers scheduled classes for particular technology topics. A basic class on computing, for example, is being offered on Monday, July 10 from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. Other upcoming classes will cover how to use digital library resources like Libby, Hoopla, and Kanopy.


Librarians can also meet one-on-one to help with technology needs. They can help you figure out a new cell phone or tablet. You can check out TechPacks, which include a Chromebook with a portable hotspot. Bulger said the TechPacks were funded by Healthcare Foundation of La Porte and Friends of the La Porte County Public Library. The library can also help you find affordable home internet service and assist in accessing employment and health services.


Whatever are your technology needs, librarians at any of the branches or at the new Exchange Building are ready to help make you a digital navigator.

Bouncy Houses Up in Flames

(La Porte County, IN) - A box truck containing bouncy houses was destroyed by fire.


At about 6:00 Wednesday evening, first responders were called to a home north of Wanatah in Clinton Township. A box truck had caught fire in the engine compartment.


Reports indicate the truck contained several bouncy houses for party rentals and related equipment. Operators of the truck told police they had arrived at the residence to pick up a rented bouncy house when the truck's engine started smoking. Despite efforts to extinguish it with a fire extinguisher and a garden hose, the fire spread quickly through the rest of the vehicle.


Heat from the blaze reportedly melted some sections of the customer's house about twenty feet away.


Firefighters from Cass-Clinton and Hanna Volunteer Fire Departments brought the fire under control. No one was injured in the mishap.

Report of Murder a False Alarm

(La Porte County, IN) - If you listen to the police scanner, you may have caught an alarming emergency call on Wednesday.


Police received a call from an intoxicated male saying that he had killed his brother-in-law. He gave a residential address near the Heston Hills Event Center. Chatter on the scanner indicated that he had wanted to do it for a long time.


First responders did their due diligence. A trace of the call revealed that it had originated from outside of Houston, possibly from La Porte, Texas. Police think it was the same individual who made similar calls a few years ago.


Police did a welfare check, just in case, and confirmed that there was no murdering going on.

Police Seeking Help From Security Camera Owners

(Michiga City, IN) - To help crack down on crime in Michigan City, police are inviting the public to register their home or business security cameras to assist with future crime investigations. Doorbell cameras and similar surveillance devices have become more common and can greatly help law enforcement solve crimes.


Simply follow the link below and register an account with your location. Authorities will be able to send you announcements of criminal activity.


Police emphasize that registering your camera does not give them access to it. It simply allows them to alert you if a crime has happened in your vicinity. Police may then ask to view your video footage, if it might help with their investigation. They will send a link where you can easily upload the video.


Follow the link HERE to register your home or business security camera.


There is no cost to register for this feature and registration is completely voluntary.

Center Township Rolls Out New Fire Engine

(La Porte County, IN) - The Center Township Volunteer Department has a shiny new rig. They proudly displayed it along this week’s 4th of July Parade route.


Engine 241 is a custom-built, 36-foot-long 2023 Spenser Truck. The engine is a multi-purpose apparatus. “This is a combination truck. It’s a rescue truck and also a fire engine,” said Center Fire Captain Eric Haverstock.


“We have all of our vehicle extrication equipment on it, and we also have all of our fire suppression equipment. So we can actually do any type of rescue scenario, or we also can do firefighting activities from the truck.”


Haverstock said they just retired a 25-year-old KME engine. The new Spenser gives them more versatility.


The truck is not red, but blue, which Haverstock says is a return to tradition, not a departure form it.


“True fire trucks were always blue and white,” Haverstock said. “And we added a little red on there, so you got your American pride—red, white, and blue.”


The truck was just recently delivered. It was ordered about four years ago, then was delayed for two years due to the supply chain slowdown. It cost about $700,000, equipment and all.

Michigan City Teen Charged in Violent Carjacking

(Lake County, IN) - More details have been released regarding last weekend’s carjacking that ended in a crash near Michigan City.


The incident started in New Chicago Saturday evening. According to police, 17-year-old Khalil Gipson of Michigan City shot a woman in the chest and stole her car.


Police chased Gipson along U.S. 20 at speeds close to 120 mph. He eventually crashed into a wooded area near Town of Pines west of Michigan City.


Gipson is being held in Lake County, charged with Attempted Murder and Robbery Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury. Police say he had just been released from custody in Illinois for a similar carjacking incident.


The woman he allegedly shot was airlifted to a hospital in Chicago. There has been no update on her condition.

Victim in Firetruck Accident Identified

(Porter County, IN) - The victim of a car-versus-firetruck collision last weekend has been identified.


The accident happened on U.S. 20 just west of Michigan City Saturday afternoon. Police say an Toyota Highlander carrying five people turned left, not yielding right of way to traffic, which happened to be a westbound antique fire truck.


The SUV burst into flames, and bystanders helped victims get out. One of them died at the scene. He has been identified as 66-year-old Terry Romich of Green Lake, Pennsylvania. Romich was not the SUV's driver. Three others were airlifted to Chicago-area trauma centers.


The firetruck, which had just left the Michigan City Patriotic Parade, was owned by the Orak Shrine of Michigan City. The truck also caught fire. Shriners say they are waiting to find out whether the truck can be salvaged.

Healthcare Foundation Announces Grant Awards

(La Porte, IN) - The Healthcare Foundation of La Porte has announced its latest round of community funding.


A total of 36 grants have been awarded totaling over $3.3 million in this first funding cycle of 2023. Money was awarded in four categories: Healthy Children, Healthy Living, Healthy Minds, and Healthy La Porte. The list of recipients is below.


The City of La Porte is by far the biggest beneficiary this round. Just over $2 million was awarded to help pay for the Clear Lake Greenway Loop Project. Also, over half a million dollars is going to La Porte Community School Corporation to support mental health efforts there.


HFL never stops giving. The next round of funding applications is now open and closes next Friday.


The Healthcare Foundation started in 2016 with money from the sale of the old hospital. Since 2017, they have invested more than $38 million in the community.


HFL's healthy children icon is a purple circle with two children depicted in white, throwing a ball back and forth

Healthy Children $885,006


Fly High Youth Services: Fly High Youth Transportation and Back to School $5,000 (1 year)


Junior Achievement of Northern Indiana serving La Porte County: Youth Economic Education $2,000 (1 year)


La Porte Community School Corporation: Support for Youth Mental Health at La Porte Community Schools $547,666 (3 year)


MAKS CORP: LaPorte County Emergency Request/Safety Project $2,500 (1 year)


North Central Community Action Agencies: Children’s Vision Screening Program $2,000 (1 year)


North Central Community Action Agencies: Weatherization Deferral Program $15,000 (1 year)


Northwest Health – La Porte: Slicer Health Clinic $144,400 (1 year)


Northwest Health – La Porte: Lil’ FISH Club (TM) $52,440 (1 year)


St. John’s Lutheran School: Preschool/Pre-Kindergarten Play Area Relocation and Upgrade $24,000 (1 year)


The Salvation Army of La Porte: The Salvation Army Backpack Program $75,000 (1 year)


The Salvation Army of Michigan City: Weekend Backpack Feeding Program $15,000 (1 year)



HFL's healthy living icon, a green circle with a white person running inside of it

Healthy Living $2,249,985


City of La Porte: Clear Lake Greenway Loop Project – Additional Funds $2,021,823 (1 year)


Community Food Pantry of Galena, Hudson, Kankakee, Wills Townships: $3,500 (1 year)


Holy Family Parish: Sacred Heart Food Pantry Accessibility Relocation $13,750 (1 year)


Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church: Macedonia Soup Kitchen and Deliver $7,500 (1 year)


Michigan City Fire Department: Michigan City Firefighter Fit to Thrive $21,275 (1 year)


New Prairie United School Corporation: Empower Hour $95,000 (1 year)


Northwest Health – La Porte: Community Caring Connections $76,800 (1 year)


Northwest Health – La Porte: Diabetic Prevention Program $3,537 (1 year)


Sacred Heart Food Pantry at St. Mary’s: Food Assistance for Families in Michigan City $6,800 (1 year)



HFL's healthy minds icon, a golf circle with a puzzle piece inside of it

Healthy Minds $59,425


Citizens Concerned for the Homeless: Keys to Hope Community Resource Center - $40,000 (2 year)


Held in Hope: Held in Hope Miscarriage Kits for La Porte County $3,750 (1 year)


The MAAC Foundation: Mental Resiliency for Responders $9,000 (1 year)


Northwest Health – La Porte: Freedom from Smoking Group Program $6,675 (1 year)



HFL's healthy La Porte icon, a blue circle with a trail at the bottom; a person rides a bike toward the right and an adult holds the hand of a child walking toward the left

Healthy La Porte $124,382


Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Gary: Safe Haven: Homeless Prevention $20,000 (1 year)


City of La Porte Park and Recreation Department: Summer Nature Camp 2023 $2,660 (1 year)


City of La Porte Park and Recreation Department & Northern Indiana Mountain Bike Association  Soldiers Mountain Bike Trail Improvements

$8,700 (1 year)


Homeward Bound: Create Digital Marketing Capability with Jumpstart $13,000 (1 year)


Interfaith Community PADS: Completing Phase Two – Interior Painting $5,000 (1 year)


La Porte County Family YMCA: Fourth Grade Free Swim Lessons $10,000 (1 year)


Lubeznik Center for the Arts: Public Art to Enhance Our Community $15,000 (1 year)


Michigan City Area Schools: MSE (Multi-Sensory Environment) Special Projects $15,000 (1 year)


MOMS Club of La Porte/New Prairie, IN: Mom and Me Adventures - Technology Support $400 (1 year)


Paladin: Unreimbursed Medical Expense $7,122 (1 year)


Stepping Stone Shelter for Women: Building a Trauma Informed Environment Phase Two $25,000 (1 year)


The Singing Company of LaPorte County: The Singing Co. Of La Porte County Annual Christmas Concert $2,500 (1 year)

Winamac Bridge Lights up for Veterans

(Winamac, IN) - The iconic swinging bridge down in Winamac now has a glowing patriotic flair.


A rededication ceremony was held Monday night after red, white, and blue lights were added to the Veterans Memorial Bridge. The bridge, which spans the Tippecanoe River in the Winamac’s park, honors those who made the ultimate sacrifice during World War I and now shines for all veterans. 


Those who organized the effort to spruce up the bridge say its opening in 1923 was one of the biggest public events of its time in this area. This week they tried to recreate that pageantry.


The Culver Academies Naval Band provided patriotic music. To honor fallen Pulaski County soldiers, Gold Star Families and relatives of POWs dropped rose petals from the bridge into the river. As a final touch, veterans and volunteers walked the bridge wearing military uniforms from every U.S. war. The Pulaski County Historical Society and Winamac High School’s drama department helped provide the attire.

Shooting Leaves Four Injured in Michigan City

(Michigan City, IN) - Police in Michigan City are investigating a shooting that left four people injured.


It happened Monday night shortly before 8 p.m. in the 1100 block of Salem Street. That’s just west of Trail Creek.


Apparently a gathering at that location erupted in gunfire. 911 received multiple calls reporting people with gunshot wounds.


Police located the victims, ranging in age from 19 to 25, at Franciscan Health Michigan City Hospital. Officers were able to interview them before three of them were flown to the University of Chicago Hospital for further treatment.


No additional information has been released, as the investigation is ongoing. “Numerous articles of evidence were collected, and multiple witnesses were interviewed,” a Michigan City Police news release stated.


“Officers and Detectives continued to interview witnesses, attempt to identify a suspect or suspects, search for video surveillance in the area and collect further evidence.”


Police believe the shooting to be an isolated incident.


The Michigan City Police Department is seeking information from anyone who witnessed this incident or has video footage from the area on Monday night. Contact Detective Corporal Kay Pliske at (219) 874-3221, extension 1086 or via email at kpliske@emichigancity.com

Mustang Rekindles Memories for Raffle Winners

(La Porte, IN) - One of the highlights of this year’s Red, Wine, and Brew event was a raffle for a classic 1968 Ford Mustang. Organizers were selling tickets along the 4th of July Parade route and right up until the drawing around 2:30 Tuesday afternoon at the Summit.


The winners of the raffle were from nowhere near La Porte, which is evidence of how far-reaching Red, Wine, and Brew has become.


Carey Garwood spoke with the winners over the phone moments after drawing their names. Mark and Nancy Schaller from Lagrangeville, New York won the classic Ford convertible. Garwood said they bought their ticket over the phone after seeing the car on a website that promotes charity car raffles. She distictly remembered selling the ticket and how the Schallers regaled her with stories about their adventures in cars when they were younger.


“Mark is actually the son, Nancy’s the mom. The dad is the one that called me back,” Garwood said. The elder Schallers explained to Garwood that Nancy had a 60s Mustang early in their marriage, but replaced it with a four-door sedan when they had kids. “They’re extremely excited to win,” said Garwood.


“She could hardly even speak, thinking about winning this old dream car and getting to drive one again. They can’t wait to come out, bring a trailer, get it, and take it back out to New York.”


Garwood says about 3,200 tickets were sold. Garwood said a number of tickets were purchased by people from outside the community who heard about Red, Wine, and Brew through the internet. One person from Montana bought $1,500 worth of tickets.

Late Start Builds Suspense for Great Parade

(La Porte, IN) - A flyover by two A-10 Warthogs opened Tuesday’s 77th annual La Porte 4th of July Parade. It was the perfect day for a parade, and Lincolnway was packed with spectators.


The military flyover kept everyone in suspense by arriving a few minutes behind schedule. Parade organizers said the A-10s may have been fashionably late because they had eight other parades to buzz. Nonetheless, La Porte Kiwanis Club members, who ran the parade for its third straight year, breathed a sigh of relief when the planes finally flew over and the parade began.


Nearly 30 more entries than last year filled the parade route, and organizers said the spectating crowd seemed larger than in recent years. One of the Kiwanis organizers, Joy Zigler, suggested that the bigger turnout could be a COVID bounce-back.


“I don’t know if it’s because we’ve got a couple of years under our belt, post-COVID,” she said. “I think that’s part of it. I think everyone’s out-and-about and back at it.”


Zigler added that a lot of civic groups that often participate in the parade are now rebounding from their numbers dropping during the pandemic. “I think they’ve have time to build and increase that and get the participation back,” she said. “A lot of work goes into this.”


The parade featured five bands, eleven fire departments, and multiple other first responders, as well as crowd favorites like Purdue’s Boilermaker Express, Mangled Axles Jeep Krew, and the Guardian Riders. Six grand marshals, all of them La Porte success stories, shared special dignitary honors.


As parade floats filed onto Lincolnway, Mayor Tom Dermody, as always, expressed his La Porte pride. “We have so many special people that make this community what it is,” Dermody said.


“It just doesn’t get better than this. It’s why we’re the [state] capital for the day."

Man Rescued From Lake Michigan in Critical Condition

(Michigan City, IN) - According to Indiana Conservation Officers, one person was rescued Tuesday afternoon near Washington Park Beach in Michigan City.


A little after 4 p.m., a swimmer was reported missing. After a brief search, Washington Park Beach lifeguards pulled the body of an adult male from the water. He was transported to Franciscan Hospital Michigan City where he is listed in critical condition.


The identity of the victim is being withheld pending family notification.

Ten Busted on Gang-Related Gun Charges

(Michigan City, IN) - Ten people in Michigan City have been arrested in a police sweep aimed at cracking down on gang-related gun violence.


Action was taken by members of a newly-created Crime Suppression Unit within the Michigan City Police Department. Police Chief Steve Forker and his administration created the unit to address numerous recent shooting incidents involving the “Lakeland Street Gang.” In a statement following the arrests, a spokesperson for the Michigan City Police Department said, “This effective investigation is an example of the focused efforts and utilization of new resources by each office to address the menacing activities of this group.”


With the help of other law enforcement agencies, officers coordinated search warrants at two separate residences. As a result, ten people were arrested, including the following six adults:

  • Shabaa Holmes (19)
  • Chance Roark (19)
  • Shane Roark (20)
  • Jarese Bishop (21)
  • Terry Jones (22)
  • Deonte Miller (26)

Four juveniles were also taken into custody.


Police seized numerous firearms, a machine gun, ammo, firearm accessories, and tools related to the manufacturing and altering of firearms.


At least five different felony charges were issued, and each adult offender faces a $15,000 cash bond. They will all appear soon in La Porte County Superior Court 1.


To report gang-related activity, or for more information about the Crime Suppression Unit, call 219-874-3221 or email  bmoore@emichigancity.com.

4th Parade To Be Bigger and Better

(La Porte, IN) - This year’s La Porte 4th of July Parade is prepped for another patriotic showing. Here’s everything you need to know:


The theme of the 77th annual event is “Made in America – With Home Town Pride.”


The Kiwanis Club of La Porte is organizing the parade for the third straight year.


Road closures are scheduled for 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday.


Barring last-minute change, the parade will begin following a military flyover of two A-10 Warthog fighter planes from the 122nd Fighter Wing out of Ft. Wayne. “As Indiana Capital for the Day, LaPorte will once again have a flyover,” said Kiwanian and Parade Co-Chair Dawn Zigler.  “As of press time, that military flyover is set for 10:10. This year’s pre-parade flyover tradition will be done with two A10 Warthogs, flown by members of 122nd Fighter Wing, out of Ft. Wayne.”


The parade route, as always, will proceed west down Lincolnway, starting at Tipton and ending near Andrew Avenue.


This year’s parade is bigger and better. 113 entries are registered this year, compared to 85 last year. Co-organizer Drummond Osborn says local businesses have made an extra effort this year to create old-fashioned floats befitting a traditional parade.


Six dignitaries will share honors of marshaling the parade, including: Grand Parade Marshal, The New York Blower Company; Honorary Grand Marshals Craig Dwight and Julie West; Celebration Marshals the 2023 3A State Champion New Prairie softball team, New Prairie assistant football coach Bill Gumm, and the Slicer Tech robotics team.


As for parade floats, expect quite a variety. Along with antique cars, clowns, politicians, five bands, eleven fire departments, and multiple other first responders, crowd favorites like Purdue’s Boilermaker Express, Mangled Axles Jeep Krew, and Guardian Riders will follow the giant American flag carried by local Boy Scouts.

4th Parade Marshaled by Multiple Dignitaries

(La Porte, IN) - Six dignitaries will share honors of marshaling this year's La Porte 4th of July Parade.


The theme of this year's parade is "Made in America – With Home Town Pride." By naming multiple parade marshals, organizers are trying to spotlight La Porte County's many homegrown sucess stories.


The following honorees will be featured throughout the parade route:

  • Grand Parade Marshal-- The New York Blower Company, which has been a LaPorte manufacturer since 1919.
  • Honorary Grand Marshals-- Craig Dwight, a 2023 recipient of the State’s Sagamore of the Wabash Award and Julie West, whose decade-long work to get Jake’s Law passed paid off this year.
  • Celebration Marshals include the 2023 3A State Champion New Prairie softball team, New Prairie assistant football coach Bill Gumm, who was named Indiana Assistant Coach of the Year, and the Slicer Tech robotics team, which recently competed on the world competition stage.

The parade will start followng a military flyover after 10:00 a.m.

Teenage Carjacker Crashes Near Michigan City

(Porter County, IN) - A police chase involving a carjacking suspect ended with a crash near Michigan City Friday night.


Shortly before 7:30 p.m. police learned of an armed carjacking in New Chicago. After reportedly shooting the vehicle’s owner, the suspect had fled eastbound on U.S. 20. Thanks to a LPR camera (License Plate Reader), officers located the car near State Road 49 and initiated pursuit.


As the chase approached the La Porte County line, police said the suspect was driving in excess of 120 mph. Unable to navigate the curve just east of Railroad Ave., the driver lost control and crashed into a wooded area. The Porter Police Department released the following description from the scene of the crash:


"The suspect was partially ejected through the windshield and asked officers for help. After being removed from the vehicle and placed into custody, officers began assessing and treating the suspect for injuries. He sustained minor injuries from the crash but was transported to a hospital for further evaluation.”


According to police, the 17-year-old suspect had just been released from custody in Illinois for a similar armed carjacking incident. He is reportedly being held at the Lake County Juvenile Detention Center, charged with Resisting Law Enforcement, Theft of a Motor Vehicle, Reckless Driving, Never Receiving a License, and two other traffic citations.

One Dead in Collision With Antique Fire Truck

(Town of Pines, IN) - An accident involving an antique fire truck and an SUV resulted in at least one fatality west of Michigan City.


A collision occurred Saturday afternoon on U.S. 20 near Town of Pines in Porter County. Reports indicate the old fire truck struck a Toyota Highlander after the SUV turned left into its path. The fire truck, owned by the Orak Shrine of Michigan City, had just left the Michigan City Patriotic Parade. 


The Highlander burst into flames with five passengers inside. According to first responders, courageous bystanders helped them out of the vehicle. Three of them were airlifted, one was taken away by ambulance. One person died at the scene.


The fire truck also caught fire after the collision. Its driver, Dave Shivelac, was not injured.

Interstate Driver Egged on in Road Rage Incident

(Lake County, IN) - Indiana State Police cracked a case of road rage involving a firearm and eggs over the weekend.


On Friday evening, police received a 911 call reporting a road rage incident in-progress on I-65. The suspect had reportedly thrown an egg at the victim’s car and then pointed a gun at them.


Police tracked down the fussy driver heading southbound on 65 and pulled him over. In the vehicle, officers found a carton of farm-fresh eggs, along with an older-model Beretta pistol. The gun was fully-loaded; the carton was missing one piece of ammo.


The outcome could have been much worse than it was, and police say it’s no laughing matter. There were two children under the age of five in the victim’s car, which reportedly had egg debris splattered all over its passenger door and interior.


65-year-old Paul Mihalich of Demotte was transported in handcuffs to Lake County Jail and charged with Intimidation with a Firearm, Pointing a Firearm, and Criminal Mischief.


Police share this piece of advice for holiday motorists:


“With summer heating up and traffic increasing due to construction zones, the Indiana State Police encourages anyone that experiences road rage while driving to take a deep breath, and don’t make a rash decision that could not only affect you being charged with a crime, but an innocent person, even a child, being potentially harmed by your decision to act, rather than not to act.”     

Local BBQ Business Rising From the Ashes

(Michigan City, IN) - A popular La Porte County food vendor is bouncing back from a devastating loss with lots of help of the local community.


Social Cue BBQ and Catering of Michigan City has gathered quite a following among local foodies. Owner Brealon Hervey discovered his passion for cooking in 2017. He left his day job two years later and bought the food trailer just as the pandemic hit. His business survived COVID, but now it’s a trial by fire.


Last Sunday morning, a charcoal fire gutted his trailer while it was parked at an event in Michigan City. Since then, local businesses have stepped up to help. One raffle has already earned over $6,000. Another raffle took place at the La Porte American Legion on Lincolnway Saturday afternoon.


Hervey says over 300 businesses have reached out to offer support, leaving him almost speechless. “I can’t even understand it, or begin to even put into words how they’ve done what they’ve done,” Hervey said.


“Everybody has gone above and beyond what I would ever even ask for, what I could ever even imagine.”


Hervey says most of the efforts have been spearheaded by Infinite Painting & Design, Flying Nimbus LLC, and fellow foodie and friend Nicki Kist.


Losing a major part of his business didn’t deter Hervey from being generous himself. On Thursday Social Cue served food at a local fundraiser for a children’s hospital in Chicago. Hervey set up a tent and some folding tables did what he does.


“We kept our promise; we said we were going to come, and we went,” he said. “We still made a donation to the cause.”


Hervey operates a brick-and-mortar restaurant at 1701 Franklin Street in Michigan City. He’s hoping business there will keep him afloat until his BBQ wagon is replaced. In the meantime, he’s getting by with a little help from his friends.

La Porte Parade NOT Cancelled

(La Porte, IN) - Rumors of changes to the upcoming 4th of July Parade have been greatly exaggerated.


Some rumblings on social media have claimed that the parade on Tuesday has been canceled due to poor air quality. But that’s fake news according to Drummond Osborn, Kiwanis 4th of July Parade Co-Chair. “Unfortunately, with a flick of the thumb, misinformation can spread pretty easily,” he said.


"From what I understand, looks like the weather forecast should be good, and we'll keep our fingers crossed that the air quality keeps improving."


Air Quality Index levels have returned to normal since being elevated mid-week by smoke from Canadian wildfires.


Osborn added that the flyover by A-10 Warthogs to start the parade is still scheduled to happen at about 10:10 Tuesday morning.


Osborn said this year’s parade looks to be bigger and better. Last year, there were 85 entries. For Tuesday 113 are signed up.

Prices Up on Toll Road

(La Porte County, IN) - Prices are going up for the Indiana Toll Road starting today.


The toll rate for most cars will increase to $14.70 for a full-length trip. That's a jump of $1.20. The rate for a typical five-axle semi will increase to $79.30.


The company that now owns the Toll Road is required to invest in maintenance and improvements. Projects in Lake, LaGrange, and Steuben counties are planned, as well as upgrades to toll plaza technology.

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