Local News Archives for 2023-11

Upcoming Food Drive for Holidays

(Michigan City, IN) - There will be a food drive in Michigan City this weekend to help families during the Christmas season.


The Salvation Army is hosting its annual Stuff-A-Sleigh food drive at both Al’s Supermarket locations in Michigan City on Saturday.


Major Dale Simmons, of the Michigan City Salvation Army, said that demand for food assistance has gone up by about 20 percent since last year.


“We’ve been serving more than 500 local families every month through our different programs.  We haven’t seen these kinds of numbers since the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said.


The Stuff-A-Sleigh program is this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.


Customers are invited to purchase pre-packed bags of food for $7 per bag to donate to the Salvation Army food pantry.  Each bag will contain pantry staples like pasta and sauce, vegetables, canned tuna fish, beans, soup, and macaroni and cheese. Monetary donations can also be made at the register.


Anyone wanting to volunteer for this and other future events can contact the Salvation Army of Michigan City at (219) 874-6885 ext. 1003.

New Truck Stop Opening Soon

(La Porte County, IN) - A new truck stop just outside of Michigan City should be opening next month.


Love’s Travel Stop, which has more than 600 locations in over 40 states, is on U.S. 421, just south of Interstate 94.


Construction was made possible by extending water and sewer lines underneath the interstate to the site, close to the old Waste Management landfill.


Matt Reardon, who’s in charge of economic development for the La Porte County government, said construction plans were first submitted several years ago, but it took time to veer around unexpected roadblocks in the development.

“It’s a challenging site. I mean it’s hard to identify people that want to build next to a landfill, but this is right off the highway and fairly appropriate for that location,” he said.


The closest Love’s Travel Stop locations to La Porte County are in Gary, Plymouth, De Motte, and South Holland, Illinois.


Love's Travel Stop is expected to open its new location in mid-December.

Havens Vying to Replace Retiring Judge

(La Porte, IN) - After maintaining a longtime presence in courtrooms, La Porte County Deputy Prosecutor Julianne Havens is now vying for the seat La Porte Circuit Court Judge Tom Alevizos is vacating after serving the final year of his three six-year terms on the bench in 2024.


Alevizos, a former city council member in Michigan City and former state representative, chose not to seek reelection.


Havens, citing her extensive trial experience, recently announced her candidacy for the position. The 1991 graduate of the Valparaiso University School of Law said she has prosecuted cases before at least 20 different judges in northern Indiana since becoming a deputy prosecutor in La Porte County in 1992.


She continued her prosecuting career in St. Joseph County and Starke County before returning to practice law as a public defender in La Porte County in 2011 and working with the La Porte County Prosecutor’s Office since 2015.


During her career, Havens said she has formulated unique insights into the qualities that make an effective judge and vowed to be guided by the values of honesty, fairness, and hard work that had been instilled into her by her parents.

State of City Speech Tonight

(La Porte, IN.) - La Porte Mayor Tom Dermody will give his annual State of the City speech tonight.


Several hundred people are expected to attend.


La Porte Economic Advancement Partnership Executive Director Bert Cook said the mayor will discuss the successes of his administration this year, and paint a picture of what’s planned in 2024.


“There’s quite a bit there. We got a lot of important initiatives that will continue on,” he said.


The State of the City speech is scheduled from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. this evening at the La Porte Civic Auditorium.

Gunman, 16, Charged as An Adult

(Michigan City, IN) - A teenager is being charged as an adult in connection with recent gunfire in Michigan City.


Ja’Narri Garrett-Coleman, 16, has been accused of shooting a home in the 1900 block of Tennessee Street on November 20th. There were reportedly people inside the structure, but nobody was injured.


That same day, gunshots were also fired at a home where Garrett-Coleman resides in the 600 block of Russell Street. The boy returned fire at the gunman, who was inside a motor vehicle driving by the residence, per authorities.


Police have noted that Garrett-Coleman is a gang member who has been the target of several gun-related incidents this year.


He has been charged in La Porte Superior Court 1 with two counts of Criminal Recklessness and Child in Possession of a Firearm, all Level 5 felonies. 


Last year, the boy was found guilty in juvenile court of Dangerous Possession of a Gun.


La Porte County Prosecutor Sean Fagan said the decision to try the case in adult court was made over concerns about the juvenile’s criminal history. His office has, earlier this year, also taken a tougher stand on gun-related offenses to try and help reduce the number of shootings in Michigan City in recent years.


“If people are alleged to have done certain crimes then we need to step up our enforcement to stop this behavior. It’s not acceptable,” he said.

Zoo in Michigan City Open Saturday

(Michigan City, IN) - While the return to summer isn’t here just yet, you can still enjoy a day at the Washington Park Zoo this Saturday, December 2nd from 10:00 am until 3:00 pm for the first Wild Winterland event.


Visit the Zoo during the off-season to see some of your favorite animals, enjoy the fresh air, and even visit with the staff for "Keeper Chats" throughout the day to experience some of the education ambassadors up-close like the armadillo, corn snake, hedgehog, mini horse, and chinchilla.


Be sure to bring your camera and your warm holiday sweater for a photo with one of our costume mascots from 11:00 am until 2:00 pm in the classroom or swing by the Peacock Cafe for hot cocoa, and be sure to browse through the Treehouse Giftshop for some zoo-terrific gift options.


Due to the limited visibility for some of the tropical animals, admission is reduced for this very special day:


Adults: $ 5.00

Children ages 3-11 years: $4.00

Children under 2:  Free

There is no cost for members of Washington Park Zoo.


For more information on this event and zoo updates, please visit the Washington Park Zoo’s Facebook page and website.


Photo:  The Three-Banded Armadillo will be one of the featured “Keeper Chats” during the event.

Michigan Near Top for Christmas Trees

(Durand, MI.) - About two-thirds of Christmas trees in the U.S. come from just two states, but Michigan is the next largest producer.


According to the United States Department of Agriculture, Oregon harvested 4.7 million Christmas trees last year while just over four million trees finding a home during the season came from North Carolina. Michigan ranked third, producing slightly more than 1.5 million Christmas trees in 2022.


Coming in at no. 11 is Indiana, with about 150,000 Christmas trees harvested last year.


Amy Start, Executive Director of the Michigan Christmas Tree Association, said the Great Lakes state ranks high because of its climate and having a lot of ground ideal for raising Christmas trees. Christmas trees grow best in soil that drains well from being hilly and containing a higher percentage of sand. Start spoke further, saying that the roots on Christmas trees are prone to rot if exposed to a high moisture content in the dirt.


“Christmas trees don’t like to have their roots wet.  You’ll have to pick a different crop if you live in an area with good soil,” she said.


The largest Christmas tree-producing area in Michigan, and one of the leaders nationwide, is Missauke County, located in the northern Lower Peninsula of the state.


According to the USDA, more than a half million Christmas trees come out of Missauke County near Cadillac each year, while the nearby Wexford County harvests about 170,000 trees annually. Montcalm County, northeast of Grand Rapids, produces slightly more than 100,000 Christmas trees in a season while over 70,000 trees are harvested in Oceana County along the eastern shoreline of Lake Michigan near Ludington,


A decent amount of Christmas trees also come out of the southwest corner of Michigan, with the largest producer in that part of the state being Allegan County with more than 60,000 cut annually.


About 9,000 of the trees in Michigan come yearly from Berrien County.


“A lot of parts of our state have that kind of soil that just makes growing Christmas trees the perfect thing,” Start said.

Fleeing OWI Driver Charged

(La Porte County, IN) - Problems keep mounting for a driver who was allegedly impaired and fled on foot from a crash near Michigan City.


Yvonne Noe, 28, has been charged with Operating a Vehicle while Intoxicated, Driving as a Habitual Offender, and other counts.


A week ago, La Porte County Police said Noe drove into a ditch in the 5300 block of North County Road 400 West. She reportedly then fled on foot, but officers soon found her hiding in the backyard of a nearby residence.


Her alleged blood alcohol level was close to three times the legal limit.


Two of her charges were upgraded to Level 6 felonies because of her being convicted of OWI just three months ago, in addition to Driving as a Habitual Offender.


Noe is still being held in the La Porte County Jail without bond.

U.S. Senate Honors Knight

(Washington, D.C.) - The U.S. Senate has passed a resolution honoring the life and achievements of former Indiana University basketball coach Bob Knight.


The resolution was sponsored by Indiana Senators Todd Young and Mike Braun.


“Coach Knight embodied so many Hoosier values: perseverance, accountability, and above all hard work. Coach Knight will always be remembered by Hoosiers, and it was an honor to be able to commemorate his life and success with this Senate resolution with Senator Young,” Braun said.


The resolution celebrates Knight’s achievements during 29 years at Indiana University. Those accomplishments mentioned in the resolution include three NCAA titles, 11 Big Ten Conference championships, 24 trips to the NCAA tournament, and coaching the last team to go undefeated and win the NCAA tournament during the 1975-76 season.


“Some of my best memories growing up in an IU family were watching games with my Dad, from IU-Purdue nailbiters to Big Ten and NCAA title runs. Bob Knight was a basketball genius who made a tremendous impact on the players he coached, the IU community, and the entire state of Indiana. I’m proud to join with Senator Braun to pay tribute to the life and legacy of The General, who will be remembered on and off the court for generations to come,” Young said.


Knight passed away on November 1st at 83 years old.

Leaf Pick-Up Resumes Today

(La Porte, IN) - Leaf pick-up resumed today in the City of La Porte after being brought to a halt due to light snow yesterday.


La Porte Street Department Director Jeff Batchelor said the plan is to complete all three of the originally scheduled passes through the city, as the second round of pick-ups could be completed early next week given that most of the leaves have already fallen.


“We’ll do the second round. Finish up with it sometime next week and go right into the third round,” he said.


Mayor Tom Dermody gave thanks to citizens for their patience and cooperation with the leaf pick-up.


“People have done a great job raking all of their leaves off and making sure we can get them,” he said.


It looks like Mother Nature will be cooperating with the leaf pick-up, with temperatures over the next seven days expected to rise into the upper 30s and into the 40s.

New Police Chief for New Year

(Michigan City, IN) - Michigan City will begin the New Year with a new police chief, as Marty Corley will take charge of the police department beginning January 1st.


Current police chief Steve Forker will replace Corley as assistant chief.


Corley, a 23-year veteran of the department, said his priorities will include adequate staffing of patrol officers and additional staffing in the investigative division, along with more officers working in community policing.


The move is part of the new administration being put together by city councilwoman Angie Nelson Deuitch, who will be sworn in as mayor on December 30th.


Deuitch soundly defeated current mayor Duane Parry in the November 7th election.

Northwest Health Closing Two Clinics

(Porter County, IN) - Northwest Health may be closing urgent care clinics, but not the ones in La Porte and Michigan City.


The health care system is shutting the doors on urgent care facilities in Portage and Valparaiso, beginning December 1st.


“We continually review how patients access our services as well as opportunities to operate more effectively to meet community needs,” said Northwest Health spokeswoman Kelly Credit.


Credit said employees at the urgent care clinics are being offered roles elsewhere within the health system.


"As always, we will continue to look at how we can most effectively serve patients and our community moving forward," she said.  


Credit also noted that there are no plans to shutter the urgent care clinics in La Porte and Michigan City.


“Those are not, and will not, close,” she said.

Driver Involved in Death Charged with Selling Drugs

(Michigan City, IN) - It appears a La Porte man was the driver of a vehicle involved in a death related to a recent drug deal gone wrong in Michigan City.


Jordan Glancy, 19, has been charged with Dealing in a Schedule 1 Controlled Substance and Dealing in Marijuana.


According to court records, he agreed to sell an ounce of marijuana and some chocolate psilocybin mushroom-based drugs to Mykel Trice, whom Glancy told investigators he knew from high school but had never sold drugs to previously. 


Early Saturday, Glancy reportedly pulled up to a home where Trice resided to carry out the exchange. However, Glancy told investigators Trice and 18-year-old Jermaine Carter unexpectedly got into his vehicle and, while driving, Trice pointed a gun at him and demanded everything he had in his possession.


Glancy then lost control of the vehicle on purpose to avoid being shot, which led to Trice winding up pinned beneath the drug dealer’s Chevy Tahoe, which came to rest on its side in a front yard in the 400 block of Walker Street.


Carter was shot in the leg during the shootout that followed with Glancy.


Carter, who was wearing a mask at the time, has been charged with Murder and other counts in connection with the death.


Glancy could face an up to 30-year sentence on the most serious of the counts, which is a Level 2 felony.

Death from Drug Deal Gone Bad

(Michigan City, IN) - A Michigan City man is still being held on charges in connection with a possible gang-related shooting and death.


Jermaine Carter, 18, has been charged with Murder and other counts.


According to authorities, Carter and Mykel Trice got into a vehicle over the weekend after the driver therein agreed to sell them an ounce of marijuana and psychedelic mushrooms. However, one of the men pointed a gun at the driver’s head, demanding everything he had in his possession. 


The investigation reportedly shows that the driver flipped the vehicle multiple times in the 400 block of Walker Street to avoid being shot. Trice, an alleged gang member, was ejected in the process and found dead underneath the vehicle. Carter was shot in the leg during a gunfire exchange with the driver and taken to the hospital by the mother of the victim.


Court records show Carter has a prior criminal record as a juvenile.


He's in the La Porte County Jail currently awaiting the outcome of the case on a 1 million dollar bond.

Alleged Fentanyl Dealer Posts Bond

(Michigan City, IN) - A Michigan City man has been accused of selling fentanyl. Devante Byrd, 28, was allegedly caught selling the deadly drug at his home in the 3200 block of Dody Avenue


The first transaction, made in May, involved $300 for 20 fentanyl pills. The following month saw 10 fentanyl pills sold for $200. On one occasion, police noted, there was a toddler present during the exchange.


Currently, Byrd is waiting for the case to be decided at home after having posted $2,500 cash bond last week.


If convicted on both counts, he would face anywhere from a five to 28-year sentence.

Santa Gearing Up for Michigan City

(Michigan City, IN) - Michigan City is readying to roll out the red carpet for Santa Claus, who will be featured in the Festival of Lights Parade slated for this Saturday beginning at 5 p.m. at 9th and Franklin Streets.


The parade, featuring jolly Saint Nick, will proceed northbound on Franklin St. to 4th Street, leading to a tree lighting ceremony outside the Michigan City Public Library and the following activation of the lights covering much of the grounds at Washington Park.


Registration is still open to be part of the parade at no cost, per officials.


Before the parade, the Festival of Lights Chili Challenge, pitting city departments against local organizations in judging for the best chili, will occur.


The competition will take place at four local businesses in the Uptown Arts District.   They are Good News Vintage, Barker Hall, Canterbury Summer Theatre, and Up4Movement. People can pay $5 to taste and vote for their favorite chili, with all proceeds going to Meals on Wheels of La Porte County.


“We are so excited to get the season started,” said Mayor Duane Parry.

Deer Freed of Plastic Pumpkin

(La Porte, IN) - A deer just outside La Porte is now free of the plastic pumpkin stuck over its face while roaming the countryside for about two weeks.


After numerous sightings, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources contacted a veterinarian who sedated the deer with a tranquilizer gun Friday night in the 300 block of Bordeaux Drive.


There were growing concerns about the adult-sized doe’s ability to survive, due to her mouth and snout being totally inside the hollow plastic jack-o’-lantern.


Dr. Larry Smith, who examined the deer after firing a tranquilizer into it from about 35 feet away, said the animal was a little underweight but still in “relatively good shape" and did not appear dehydrated.


DNR Conservation Officer Tyler Brock said there was some water at the bottom of the orange bowl-shaped pumpkin when it was removed from the head of the deer.


That led Brock to believe the deer bobbed her head into nearby Pine Lake or a stream to fill the container with water, noting that water could have seeped in from the gaps between her face and the upper rim of the pumpkin for her to drink at the bottom.


He didn’t see how it would be possible for the deer to have eaten much, if anything, from her mouth covered by what was essentially a muzzle.


After awakening a few minutes later as the effects of the tranquilizer wore off, the deer stood up on its own before scampering away.


“I’m sure it had a good meal quickly after,” Brock said.


Brock said the plastic handle on the pumpkin, normally what some children use to collect Halloween candy, was draped over the top of the deer’s forehead, creating just enough tension to keep the container from slipping off her face.


“The relief, the happiness I can’t even describe,” said Gretchen Worley, who lives at 1714 North Rustic Drive


Her home is near the heavily wooded subdivision just outside the city limits where the deer was tranquilized and most often spotted.  On most days, Worley said, she spent hours at a time searching for the deer hoping to get close enough to remove the plastic pumpkin with a four-foot-long hook pole.


She spotted the deer on several occasions and once got as close as 25 feet from the animal, but each time it ran off.  Worley also noted that she worked with a couple that made the drive from Jasper County to assist in the search with a drone.


Out of habit, Worley said she caught herself trying to spot the animal from inside her vehicle while driving home the night after the deer was set free of the pumpkin.


“I had to tell myself that it’s over. I don’t have to be on pins and needles. I don’t have to have my binoculars glued to my eyes. I got accustomed to it,” she said.


Brock said the deer’s ability to survive was probably helped by the fat wild animals put on this time of year to feed off of when food is not as plentiful during the winter. He also illustrated how only veterinarians in the state are licensed to tranquilize wild animals as long as a conservation officer is present.


Smith said it was getting dark when he fired the tranquilizer gun from the backyard of a home while conservation officer Alex Toth kept his flashlight on the deer inside a wooded area.


He said the orange pumpkin, shining in the light above the shoulders and neck of the deer, helped provide him with a target through the slight clearing between the trees.


“Luckily, I was able to take a shot and hit it on the first shot,” he said.


Brock said deer winding up with plastic pumpkins over their heads doesn’t happen very often, but also is not uncommon as wild animals like raccoons and opossums sometimes wind up with things like bags and boxes over their heads.


He noted how the objects usually work themselves loose from the animals before conservation officers have to get involved.


Regardless of the outcome, he feels there’s a lesson for the public to learn each time.


“It’s just an example of being aware of what we’re leaving out and how that can affect wildlife,” he said.

La Porte Welcomes Santa into Town

(La Porte, IN) - Santa Claus was given a warm welcome in downtown La Porte over the weekend, first appearing in the city's annual Santa Parade before addressing the crowd gathered at Plaza 618 at Lincolnway and Monroe Street for the tree lighting ceremony, as well as Christmas caroling and other festivities kicking off the holiday season.


His trademark “Ho, ho, ho” filled the chilly air to the cheers of many enthusiastic children.


“Thank you all for showing up. This is amazing. Beautiful,” he said.


Amid the buzz of the crowd, a child shouted “Let’s go Santa!"


Santa Claus, in a sleigh on a float, was the last of more than 30 units in the parade which also included Mayor Tom Dermody waving to the crowd on State Street on top of a fire truck.


“Who wouldn’t enjoy Santa coming to town?” he said.


After speaking briefly to the audience, Santa Claus took a seat inside his chalet to visit with children, standing with loved ones in a line stretching roughly 200 feet long.


Amy Wallisa of La Porte came with her nine-year-old daughter, Mikaela, and the girl’s father, Jose, to enjoy the festivities.


“It was wonderful. It brings the community together and it brings Christmas spirit. We need that right now. I think everybody does,” she said.


Her daughter presented a list of items she wanted for Christmas to Santa Claus.


“She’s been a very good girl. Hopefully, Santa is good to her,” she said.


Other units in the parade included a fresh-out-of-the-factory-looking 1948 Ford pick-up truck.


“I polish it and take really good care of it,” said Robert Alt, who borrowed the truck from his mother to drive in the parade. The La Porte area man said the dark green truck, with 164,000 miles on the odometer, is still very dependable.


“Love it. It starts every single time,” he said.


 Eden Riley, 12, also of La Porte walked the parade route with a 23-year-old miniature horse.


“She’s very sassy sometimes but everybody loves her. She’s good. She’s very good,” she said.


Among the other dignitaries in the parade was State Representative Jim Pressel of Rolling Prairie, who was dressed as one of Santa’s elves.


“What a great turnout. Merry Christmas to everybody!” he said.


The conditions were almost perfect for getting into the Christmas spirit, with temperatures close to freezing, very little wind, and plenty of sunshine.


“It’s crisp but it feels good,” said Amy Johnson, a member of Crossroads Christian Center which had a float in the parade.


La Porte Events Coordinator Brett Binversie said he was definitely pleased with the turnout and effort from volunteers in making the festivities possible.


“We’re very happy. We love our community. Happy to see everyone out having a wonderful time,” he said.

Fleeing Shoplifter Located in Bathroom

(La Porte, IN) - A suspected shoplifter is facing charges after being caught hiding in a bathroom stall in La Porte.


About two weeks ago, 45-year-old Bonnie McGriff, of Michigan City, reportedly put on a pair of black boots at the Walmart in La Porte and stuffed other merchandise from the retailer into her purse.


She then was confronted by a security officer for not paying for the items before allegedly running inside the nearby McDonald's. There, officers found her hiding in a bathroom stall at the fast food restaurant still wearing the stolen pair of boots alongside the unpaid-for merchandise.


McGriff also has been accused of having about a gram of methamphetamine inside her purse. She has been charged in La Porte Circuit Court with Theft, Possession of Methamphetamine, and Unlawful Possession of a Syringe.

One Dead, Two Arrested in Michigan City

(Michigan City, IN) - One teenager is dead and two others are in jail following an incident in Michigan City early Saturday morning.


According to Michigan City Police, a patrol officer heard multiple gunshots in the Eastport neighborhood around midnight. The city’s Flock Safety Raven gunshot detection system pinpointed the shots to the 400 block of Walker Street.


Upon arrival, officers found three vehicles involved in a crash. 18-year-old Mykel Trice of Michigan City was found dead and pinned underneath a vehicle that had overturned. 19-year-old Jordan Glancy of La Porte, who was determined to be the driver of one of the vehicles, was taken into custody while police investigated.


Moments later police were called to Franciscan Health Michigan City for a patient with a gunshot wound. Investigators encountered 18-year-old Jermaine Carter Jr. of Michigan City, who was being treated for a non-life-threatening gunshot wound to the right leg. After his release from the hospital, Carter Jr. was detained.


Police have not released any further details on what transpired. According to a statement issued by MCPD:


“Numerous articles of evidence were collected, and multiple witnesses were interviewed during this investigation. Investigators from the Investigative and Traffic Divisions continue to interview witnesses, search for video surveillance in the area and collect additional evidence.”


Glancy has been charged with Dealing a Schedule I Controlled Substance (Level 2 Felony) and Dealing Marijuana (A-Misdemeanor). He was issued a $50,005 cash bond.


Carter Jr. has been charged with Attempted Murder (Level 1 Felony), Attempted Robbery With a Deadly Weapon (Level 3 Felony), Criminal Recklessness (Level 6 Felony) and Unlawful Carrying of a Handgun (A-Misdemeanor). He was issued a $100,005 cash bond.


Both men have a hearing scheduled for November 28th at 8:30 a.m. in La Porte County Superior Court 1.


The Michigan City Police Department would ask anyone who may have witnessed this incident, has any additional information, or has video surveillance/cell phone video of this incident, to contact Detective Sergeant Lendell Hood at (219) 874-3221 (ext. 1074) or via email at lhood@emichigancity.com.


The public can also use Facebook Messenger, the crime tip hotline number of 219-873-1488, or the WeTip Hotline for General Crime (800) 78-CRIME and possibly receive a reward upon an arrest and conviction. All WeTip call information is sent directly to the LaPorte County Prosecutor’s Office, and anyone providing information can remain anonymous.

Candlelight Tour Returns to La Porte

(La Porte, IN) - Owners of historic homes in downtown La Porte are preparing for next weekend’s Christmas Candlelight Tour.


Six private homes will be decorated for Christmas and open for self-guided tours. They are located along Michigan and Indiana Avenues and on Second Street and Woodlawn Drive. As an added bonus the First United Methodist Church and County Courthouse will also be open for exploring.


There will be live musical entertainment at all locations and refreshments at the church.


The special event will happen next Saturday, December 2,  from 3-7 p.m. and next Sunday from 1-5 p.m. It’s sponsored by Preserve Historic La Porte, a nonprofit citizens’ group dedicated to historic preservation. "We are humbled and excited to announce the return of the Candlelight Tour in 2023,” said Pam Ruminski, long-time chairperson of the Candlelight Tour. “As always, our members, volunteers, decorators, and homeowners are committed to putting on another magical event for everyone.”


This is the 20th year for the Christmas Candlelight Tour, which returns after a three-year hiatus. So it’s a great opportunity to rekindle that love of local architecture. According to PHLP President Mark Kurth, “The Candlelight Tour is both a gathering together of the members of our community, as well as a rolling-out of the welcome mat for tourists and all those who want to experience the historic beauty of the City of La Porte.”


Advance tickets are $25 each and are available at the following La Porte locations: Coachman Antique Mall, CO-OP Shoppes, the La Porte County Historical Society Museum, Meridian Title, Town & Country Florist, and Thode Floral.  Tickets are also available at the Antique Market and Hoity Toity in Michigan City.


Advance tickets are also available by mail.  Send your check payable to:  Preserve Historic La Porte, P.O. Box 853, La Porte, IN  46352. The organization asks that you please provide an e-mail address or phone number, so they can confirm receipt of your payment. Payment must be received by December 1st, and such tickets will be provided only on a “will call” basis, at the First United Methodist Church.


Tickets can be purchased on the tour for $30, but only at the Methodist Church on 1225 Michigan Avenue.

Pinging Leads to iPhone Thief

(La Porte, IN) - The pinging of a child’s stolen iPhone resulted in the arrest of a woman for the alleged theft.


Kristy Miller, 42, has been charged in La Porte Circuit Court with Level 6 felony Theft.


According to court documents, in late October an 11-year-old boy left his cell phone at a hotel along Pine Lake Avenue, where he just had a birthday party.


After discovering his phone was missing, a tracking device was activated, and a signal from it indicated the device was near the 600 block of Fremont Street.


Pinging was soon detected at other locations across the city, which indicated whoever had the phone was in a vehicle being driven. Just over two hours later, police said, the boy’s father went to the Maple Lane Mall where the phone was pinging again.  Responding officers approached Miller, walking out of one of the stores, and she handed them the device.


Court documents revealed Miller was captured on video surveillance adjacent to a coffee pot in the lobby of the hotel where the boy left his phone, reportedly renting a room at the establishment at the time.


The iPhone was valued at $850.  Miller could face as much as a 30-month prison sentence.

Santa Ready for La Porte Parade

(La Porte, IN) - The annual Santa Parade in La Porte is tomorrow.


The parade, with a few dozen or more floats, begins at 3:30 p.m. at State and Tipton streets. It will then proceed west on State St. to Michigan Avenue, before heading south to Lincolnway, and east on Lincolnway to Plaza 618 at Monroe Street.


Plaza 618 is where the tree lighting ceremony and visits with Santa in his chalet for children and their families will occur.


There will also be food trucks, hot chocolate, Christmas music, and other festivities.

Christkindlmarkt Resumes Today

(La Porte, IN) - The Christmas season in La Porte is gearing up, as the Christkindlmarkt at the La Porte County Fairgrounds, which started Wednesday, resumes today.


There are plenty of vendors offering various handcrafted goods along with food, drinks, decorations, and Christmas trees.  There are also activities to partake in, like skating on an iceless ice rink or listening to live music.


Bethany Lutheran Church is hosting the event, which runs from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. today and Saturday.


The Christkindlmarkt is a centuries-old holiday tradition that began in Germany during the Middle Ages.  Markets back then spread from town to town and later began appearing worldwide.


Christkindlmarkt is the German name for the market, translated as “Christ child market.”

Sale of Cookie Walk Tins Begins Soon

(La Porte, IN) - Plans are being made for the annual cookie walk in downtown La Porte. 


People taking part can purchase their tins, available for $15, and for storing their cookies beginning Tuesday.


Organizers of the event say people should not wait too long to purchase their cookie tins, as they’re expected to quickly sell out as they have done in previous years.


The cookie tins will be available at the Civic Auditorium, Pink Sheep Boutique, Hotspot Café, Downtown Delights, and the Whole World of Good store.


The Cookie Walk is scheduled for December 9th, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.


Participants will be given cookies to place in their tins at downtown shops participating in the event. 


For more information, call the Civic Auditorium or go to bbinversie@cityoflaportein.gov.

Holiday Train Passing Through Saturday

(La Porte County, IN) - The holiday train is scheduled to pass through La Porte again tomorrow.


It’s been an annual holiday tradition for about 25 years now.


The Polar Express, covered in Christmas lights, is scheduled to pass through La Porte and other communities like Chesterton and Portage sometime after 3 a.m. tomorrow on the Norfolk Southern tracks.


It’ll take just a few minutes to pass through La Porte, but that’s plenty of time for people to take pictures and videos.


The holiday train tours the U.S. and Canada, raising money, food, and awareness for the work food banks do in their communities.


Since 1999, the train has raised more than $22 million and more than 5 million pounds of food for community food banks across North America.

Needy Families Receive Thanksgiving Meal

(Dowagiac, MI) - About 1,000 needy families will have a Thanksgiving meal thanks to the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians.


Officials from the Four Winds Casinos owned by the tribe held food distribution events across the area on Tuesday, with food boxes given out including a turkey, potatoes, stuffing, pumpkin pie, corn, and cranberry sauce.


Organizers said they appreciate being able to help families in need while so many are struggling.


This was the 9th year for the tribe's food giveaway.


The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians own all of the Four Winds Casino locations in places like South Bend and New Buffalo Township. 

Wad of Cash Taken from Vehicle

(La Porte County, IN) - A thief is enjoying some stuffing today in the form of stolen cash.


La Porte County Police were called Tuesday morning to a home in the Mill Creek area, where two vehicles in the driveway were entered sometime during the night on County Road 200 South.


Authorities explained that over $300 was reported stolen from one vehicle in addition to an iPhone charger from the other, both of which were left unlocked.

Arrest This Morning at Shopping Mall

(Michigan City, IN) - A suspect was arrested at a shopping mall in Michigan City today.


So far, details are sketchy, but it appears some type of theft occurred late this morning by a man not displaying a weapon at Lighthouse Premium Outlets mall.


There was a brief foot pursuit, triggered by an apparent theft or robbery in the area of the mall's Subway before the suspect was tasered a few blocks away at U.S 12 and Wabash Street.


Apparently, the suspect reportedly also had a warrant out for his arrest for a previous crime.


We’ll provide more details as they’re made available.

Good Fortune from Lottery Mistake

(New Buffalo, MI) - A lottery ticket mistake in New Buffalo turned out to be good fortune for the buyer of the ticket.


According to the Michigan Lottery, an Illinois man went to the Go Lo station along U.S. 12 just west of Whittaker Street about two months ago. There, Michael Sopejstal asked for a lottery ticket with ten rows of numbers for the Lucky for Life drawing.  However, the store clerk gave him just one row of figures.


"I asked the retailer for a ticket for 10 draws, but he accidentally printed a ticket with 10 lines for one draw, but I told him I still wanted it," he told the Michigan Lottery.


The man paid for the ticket and later checked the numbers to find it was good for $25,000 a year for the rest of his life.


According to lottery officials, the man decided to take a lump sum payment of nearly $400,000, citing a desire to travel and build up his savings.

James Bond Helped by Local Firefighters

(La Porte County, IN) - Local firefighters had to put out a blaze at the home of James Bond.


No, not the famous fictional secret agent, of course, but an actual person who lives just outside La Porte and happens to share the name of the long-running character from print and film.


On Monday afternoon, firefighters were called to the 3900 block of East 100 South where the 64-year-old Bond was trying to put out a vehicle fire with a garden hose.


According to investigators, Bond had kept an SUV in his garage since the spring and finally took it for a drive two weeks ago.


On Monday, he started it up again and, while it was idling in his driveway for about 15 minutes, the engine compartment caught fire.


Help was then needed from Pleasant Township firefighters, who put out the blaze that was no match for Bond’s garden hose.


The cause of the fire, so far, is not known, per officials.

Juvenile Dies in Area House Fire

(Medaryville, IN) - A candlelight vigil is scheduled this evening for a child who died in a house fire in Pulaski County.


Officials were reportedly called to the home in Medaryville just before 2:30 a.m. yesterday where, upon arrival, witnesses revealed the child was still inside the burning structure. 


One adult and other children in the home made it out safely and were looked over by medics at the scene. However, rescuers were unable to reach the child who ultimately perished in the fire.


The cause of the incident is currently under investigation per authorities, and the identity of the child has not yet been released.


Churches in the area will hold the candlelight this evening at 6 p.m. at the Medaryville baseball diamond.

Lower Gas Prices for Thanksgiving

(La Porte County, IN) - One thing to be thankful for this year at Thanksgiving is lower gas prices, as statistics show that the price of gas in the area is about 50 to 60 cents lower than last year around this time.


According to Gas Buddy.com, the lowest priced gas in the La Porte area this morning was at the Family Express at U.S. 20 and State Road 39, listed at $3.02 per gallon. Right across the highway from there, gas was just four cents higher per gallon at the Marathon station.


Gas was as high as $3.29 a gallon in the City of La Porte in places such as Kroger and the Marathon station on Indiana 4.


Meanwhile In Michigan City, gas was as low as $2.97 a gallon at the Go Lo station on Michigan Boulevard and just barely above three dollars a gallon at most other filling stations.


The price of gas this morning in New Buffalo was $3.15 per gallon at both stations in the city, as well as at the Shell Station just outside city limits near Interstate 94.

Technical Glitch Blamed for Derailment

(Berrien County, MI) - Authorities are shedding light on why an Amtrak train derailed last week outside New Buffalo.


According to the Berrien County Public Safety Communication Center, a technology issue involving the computer-assisted dispatch system appears to have contributed to the accident based on preliminary findings of an ongoing investigation.


The technical glitch left the dispatch center unable to pinpoint the correct crossing location after a car that Thursday night was located by police on the tracks on Lakeside Road. A tow truck was attempting to remove the vehicle from the rails when an Amtrak train was fast approaching. 


Normally, all approaching train traffic is alerted to stop until vehicles are removed from the rails. In this case, however, it appears the operators of the train were not informed to stop before the collision with the tow truck and the car it was attempting to remove from the tracks.


There was an explosion and fire from the vehicles following impact while the train itself derailed, but remained upright.


About a dozen passengers on the train suffered non-life-threatening injuries. Two men from the towing business and the car's owner just a short distance away from the point of impact were uninjured.


Authorities noted that the technical issue that led to the incident has since been resolved.

Officers Commended for Efforts in House Fire

(La Porte, IN) - Two police officers in La Porte have been recognized for their efforts in assisting at the scene of a recent house fire.


On November 4th, the backside of an apartment house was on fire in the 1400 block of Monroe Street.


Among the first emergency responders on the scene was La Porte Police Officer Ryan Allen, who began assisting a woman unable to move after jumping from her upstairs housing unit to escape the smoke and flames. He dragged the woman away from the burning structure, staying with her until the arrival of medics, who transported her to a hospital.


La Porte Police Chief Paul Brettin noted that the woman later thanked the officers for their efforts in a social media post. 


Allen and Officer Adam Jaskowiac, with firefighters on their way, also reportedly went inside the burning structure to see if anyone was inside and also used a hose to start applying water on the blaze until firefighters finished suiting up.


“Corporal Jaskowiac grabbed the hose and started spraying the building with Allen holding on to the hose,” Brettin remarked.


La Porte Fire Chief Andy Snyder said an elderly man in a first-floor apartment was helped to safety by firefighters.


A man acting as a good Samaritan also went inside the burning structure looking for anyone who might be inside. Unfortunately, the individual allegedly did not stay around long enough for authorities to get his name.


Per Brettin, “We’d like to thank him as well."


Snyder said the cause of the fire was undetermined, but it was likely an accident or electrical in nature since there were no signs of foul play. 


Regarding damage done, Snyder illustrated how the fire was contained primarily in the second-floor porch area. Water and smoke damage was done to one upper-level apartment and the apartment below it. 


Two cats perished in the fire, he said. 

Traffic Stop Becomes Drug Bust

(La Porte, IN) - A recent traffic stop by La Porte Police turned into a drug bust with help from a K-9 dog.


Jemeal Birdsong, 37, of La Porte has been charged with having five grams of methamphetamine and 57 grams of synthetic marijuana in his possession.


On November 15th, an officer clocked Birdsong traveling 50 miles per hour in a 35-mile-per-hour zone on the U.S. 35 overpass, soon discovered to be driving with a suspended license.


During a traffic stop, police said, Birdsong was found with the drugs after a K-9 dog alerted the officer to the presence of narcotics.


Birdsong was then reportedly allowed to make a phone call, and overheard informing a woman that “he was going away for violating his probation.”


Court records show Birdsong has past convictions for crimes such as Leaving the Scene of an Accident and Operating a Vehicle while Intoxicated.

Charges in Summer Shootings

(Michigan City, IN) - An arrest has been made for the shootings of two men in Michigan City during the summer.


Wayne Witt, Jr., 24, has been charged in La Porte Superior Court 1 with two counts of Level 1 felony Attempted Murder; two counts of Level 3 felony Aggravated Battery; Level 4 felony Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Serious Violent Felon along with Level 5 felony Criminal Recklessness.


According to court documents, Ralphael Hudson and Marteay Chunn were shot on July 7th in the 400 block of York Street, with Hudson suffering from what appeared to be a severe graze wound to the head and Marteay being shot multiple times in both legs.


Video images of a man getting out of a car linked to the gunfire match the physical appearance of Witt and the vehicle he was spotted driving prior to the shootings, per authorities. 


Other evidence was also gathered in places like the suspect's residence in the 1100 block of Salem Street.


Witt, who has a prior robbery conviction, has been held in the La Porte County Jail without bond since his November 16th arrest.


He could face as much as 40 years on each of the attempted murder counts.

Charges Piling Up Against Fly

(Michigan City, IN) - Things are not getting any better for a Michigan City man already facing the possibility of significant prison time, as Kahlil Fly, 20, is now alleged to have committed sex crimes against a 14-year-old girl.


Fly has been charged in La Porte Superior Court 1 with Sexual Misconduct with a Minor; Child Exploitation and Possession of Child Pornography.


According to court documents, the evidence includes video images of Fly and the girl engaged in sexual activity in addition to text messages to each other about their physical desires.


It was also revealed Fly purchased morning-after pills, apparently for the girl to take after intercourse to end a pregnancy.


Recently, Fly was in the La Porte County Jail and, during a video visitation, he and the girl professed their love for each other. The girl also showed him a tattoo of his name she had placed on her chest.


Fly has been in jail since September on charges of dealing a wide variety of drugs as well as alleged firearms violations.

Heavy Damage in OWI Collision

(La Porte County, IN) - A La Porte area driver who took out a utility pole was allegedly under the influence of alcohol.


Gregory Eiland, 50, has been charged with Operating a Vehicle while Intoxicated after being found with an alleged blood alcohol content of .10 percent.


According to La Porte County Police, the man was traveling on 300 North in Coolspring Township when his Chevy Silverado veered left off the roadway, hitting a bush and severely damaging a utility pole.


Eiland reportedly told investigators that he worked until midnight at his place of employment in Porter County, heading home after picking up a food order. He could not remember being in a crash and must have fallen asleep while behind the wheel.


There were no injuries, although authorities noted that his vehicle appeared to be a total loss. 

Nearly Hit Officer Makes OWI Arrest

(La Porte County, IN) - A driver, after nearly colliding with a police vehicle outside La Porte, was arrested for being highly impaired.


Marcus Duke, 51, of Chicago has been charged with Class A misdemeanor Operating a Vehicle while Intoxicated.


According to La Porte County Police, a sheriff’s deputy traveling on Indiana 39 early Friday had to veer to his right so as to avoid a collision with an oncoming car veering over the center line near Severs Road.


During a traffic stop, the officer allegedly detected the odor of alcohol on the driver’s breath in addition to spotting an alcoholic beverage container in the passenger seat.


Duke reportedly admitted to drinking vodka at a relative’s house in La Porte but cited his use of a cell phone for his erratic driving.


Police said Duke was arrested with an alleged blood alcohol slightly more than three times the .08 percent legal limit.

Thanksgiving Dinner Less Costly Than 2022

(Indianapolis, IN) - It seems like Hoosiers will pay less for a Thanksgiving meal than the national average this year, based on information from a new survey by the Indiana Farm Bureau.


According to the INFB, Indiana residents will pay an average of $54.64 to feed ten people on Thanksgiving. That’s about 11 percent lower than the $6.12 cost to feed the same number of people on Thanksgiving nationwide.


In addition, Hoosiers will also pay about 10 percent less than last year as per the Bureau


On average, a 16-pound turkey in Indiana will cost $22.11, while the expense of fixings such as cranberries will be $2.26 per pound.


See the above graphic for the prices of other traditional Thanksgiving food items based on the annual INFB survey. 

Coroner Arrested for OWI After Crash

(Michigan City, IN) - The La Porte County Coroner is facing drunk driving allegations following a single-vehicle crash over the weekend.


Lynn Swanson, 67, of Michigan City has been charged in La Porte Superior Court 4 with two counts of Operating a Vehicle while Intoxicated.


According to court records, the most serious count is a Class A misdemeanor for having an alleged blood alcohol level above .15 percent.


The crash happened at roughly 9 p.m. this past Friday outside the Lighthouse Place Premium Outlets mall in Michigan City at 601 Wabash Street.


According to Michigan City Police, Swanson was not injured in the accident. However, the front end of her 2014 Dodge Journey was heavily damaged from striking the entrance sign to the mall on the city’s northwest side. There was also considerable damage to the undercarriage of her vehicle, which traveled through some landscaping before hitting the sign hard enough to knock it slightly off its concrete base.


Swanson had already called for a tow truck before responding officers arrived.  There, Swanson reportedly told investigators she was heading home from Three Sheets Bar and Grill at 227 West Barker Avenue, just west of Franklin Street. She also said that she was trying to get to nearby Michigan Boulevard “the back way,” but didn’t know how the crash occurred. 


When asked how much alcohol she had consumed, Swanson allegedly said “too much."


Judging by tire markings from her car, Swanson was westbound on 4th Street but, instead of turning on Wabash Street, she went straight through the intersection toward the entrance to the mall.  After leaving the road, her car proceeded over some landscaping before striking the sign. As a result of the impact, the front passenger side tire on her car was flat, pushed back against the wheel well.


Swanson was booked into the La Porte County Jail with an alleged .164 percent blood alcohol level, or slightly above two times the .08 percent legal limit.


She posted a $605 cash bond the next morning.


“This was a terrible mistake and I am devastated,” Swanson remarked when asked for a response to the allegations.


Swanson is nearing the end of the third year of her first four-year term as coroner.


Deputy Prosecutor Running for Judge

(La Porte County, IN) - Candidates are emerging for open seats in the La Porte County government next year.


For example, La Porte County Deputy Prosecutor Julianne Havens has announced she’s running for judge of La Porte Circuit Court, given that current judge Tom Alevizos will not be seeking a fourth term.


Havens, who made her announcement Thursday during a gathering at the Portofino Grill outside La Porte, is a longtime deputy prosecutor in La Porte County. She was previously the lead prosecutor in a La Porte murder case that ended with the wife of the victim receiving an over 60-year prison sentence two months ago.


In the case, Thessalonica Allen, 36, also cut the legs off the body of the victim, Randy Allen, after she shot him in the arm. Randy bled to death after the bullet lodged next to his spinal column, reportedly. 


She claimed self-defense but the jury, apparently unfazed by her arguments, quickly reached a guilty verdict.

For Local Police, 26 a Lucky Number

(La Porte, IN) - This week La Porte County first responders reached a significant milestone, thanks to a few local organizations. Every police vehicle in La Porte County is now equipped with a portable AED.


The initiative started about five years ago with a partnership between Franciscan Health Michigan City, Bolt for the Heart, and the Play for Jake Foundation. 165 AEDs have been placed in La Porte County squad cars. Franciscan Health contributed $20,000 to kick-start this year’s effort. They were also the lead sponsor for the Bolt for the Heart walk/run on Oct. 14th in La Porte. 36 local businesses contributed sponsorship money, as well.


Recently, advocates reached out to remaining local police agencies to see how many more AEDs were needed. Julie West was there when they tallied the number: 26.


“Of course, that teared me up a little bit,” said West. “You know, that number, obviously, has a significance to me and to a lot of people. I feel God’s hand is in everything that we do, so it’s pretty cool that we ended up with that number. I get signs all the time from Jake, especially at times when I need it the most.”


26 was the number on the uniform of her son Jake, who died of sudden cardiac arrest on a La Porte High School practice field ten years ago.


The Play for Jake Foundation hosted a special ceremony this week at their headquarters in La Porte. The 26 AEDs were presented to the police departments of Long Beach, Trail Creek, Purdue University Northwest, Kingsford Heights, Westville, Kingsbury, Pottawatomie Park, and the City of La Porte. La Porte County is now one of only three Indiana counties with an AED in every law enforcement vehicle.


According to a spokesperson for Franciscan Health, sudden cardiac arrest kills 335,000 people without warning each year. Ninety-five percent of those victims die because CPR and defibrillation are not administered quickly enough.


In an emergency, police officers are usually the first to arrive. “As you know, law enforcement out in the field is first on the scene so often,” said La Porte Police Chief Paul Brettin. “Officers know how important this is.” According to the American Heart Association, at least 40,000 more lives per year could be saved if the first person on the scene knew CPR and applied an AED within five minutes.


West says her foundation, with the help of Franciscan Health and the Healthcare Foundation of La Porte, will now focus on building resources for maintaining all the AEDs that have been given out. She says they are looking for other ways to get AEDs into public places, so La Porte can be designated a “Heart Safe” community.

Haney Announces Re-election Bid

(La Porte County, IN) - La Porte County Commissioner Joe Haney has officially announced that he’s running to retain his District 3 seat. “Over the past several months, I’ve spoken to several people, had good conversations with my wife as well,” he said. “And the message has really resonated, and I believe there’s a lot more I can do.”


Haney, a Republican, is particularly proud of managing the county employees’ healthcare plan. Through an employee clinic and a pharmacy program that he helped set up, Haney says employees get more care for less cost. The county’s self-funded health insurance has gone from break-even to a $1.3 million surplus, according to Haney. Now he wants to work with members of the County Council to address a looming budget deficit.


Haney noted his involvement in getting an EMS base established in Rolling Prairie and wants La Porte County’s EMS system strengthened as a whole. “Porter County, right next to us, per person, has twice as many ambulances as we do,” he said. “The southern half of the county is covered by one rig and one ambulance.” Now that pay for first responders has been increased, Haney says effectively managing human resources is the next step, so personnel don’t get burned out.


Haney says he also intends to focus on structural problems at the La Porte County Courthouse. He says water ingress from the roof and through the basement is becoming a major issue. “These problems, they don’t get better,” said Haney. “You have to fix them.”


Haney has taken heat for taking a stand against politics as usual. He says he’s ready to continue the fight for a second term. “I’ve found myself in the minority position quite a lot over the past two-and-a-half or so years,” he said. “But I’ve been able to make a lot of good improvements, had a lot of good impact—really open up and kind of expose, for lack of a better word, some of the stuff that’s happening here in La Porte County.”


Haney says that he’s still committed to passing a comprehensive ethics ordinance for county officials—one that is agreed to by majorities of both the County Commissioners and County Council so that only a majority vote by both bodies could repeal or change it. He says there is still a need for regulations and safeguards that keep elected officials on the straight and narrow. “I think that’s all anybody wants, and I don’t understand why there’s been such a push-back to that,” he said. “But there’s no reason why we can’t get that done, and I think we can.”


Haney will be challenged by Democrat Randy Novak, who is currently a county councilman.

Area Football Teams Split Results for Championship Berths

(Northwest IN) - On Friday night four area high schools remained in contention for football glory.


Starke County sent not one but two schools to semi-state football championships. Unfortunately, neither one earned a trip to the state finals. Knox’s undefeated season came to an end with a loss to Indianapolis Chatard Friday night. And North Judson’s bid for a state championship was upended by Adams Central.


In Class 4A, Northwood, who beat New Prairie last week, defeated Leo. Northwood will face East Central, the team that beat New Prairie in the state Finals last year.


Northwest Indiana will be represented in the Class 6A State Championship by Crown Point. The Bulldogs stayed undefeated with a double-overtime win over Westfield. They will face Ben Davis next Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Ruiz to Run for Congressional Seat

(East Chicago, IN) - Another Republican has thrown his hat in the ring for the state’s 1st District Congressional seat.


Ben Ruiz, of East Chicago, is a small business owner, who is running on an “America First” platform. Upon announcing his candidacy, Ruiz made this statement:


"I have declared my candidacy because I feel there are issues facing Northwest Indiana that need to be focused on immediately, and not minimized by party or politics, as we continue moving in the wrong direction. Our sense of who we are as a home of family values and economic freedoms is being threatened by liberal and socialist agendas, along with inside-party fighting. Partisan politics cost the voters the opportunity to have who they send to Washington diminished by back-room deals. We have a better sense of community when we know that our representatives are fighting for our values and not the government’s. Transparency is key when carefully planning and considering decisions within the area. We must effectively be able to communicate with the people of Northwest Indiana, and not only allow them to help make our communities great again, but America Great Again.”


Ruiz spent some time in La Porte County while running in the previous Republican primary. “Since running in the 2022 primary, I have come to understand our region better,” he said. “We love Northwest Indiana because we are a diverse community with close ties to one another. We are open to visitors and outside commuters, but we have no desire to become another Chicago where safety runs on a thin line.”


Ruiz goes against Randy Niemeyer, Lake County Republican Party Chair, in the primary. The incumbent is Democrat Frank Mrvan, who won in 2022 with just under 53% of the vote.


The 1st District covers Lake and Porter Counties, as well as western portions of La Porte County.

Newborn Taken in at NW Indiana Baby Box

(Schererville, IN) - Another little baby was safely surrendered in a Safe Haven Baby Box. This time over in Schererville.


Authorities did not reveal exactly when it happened. The location was Schererville’s Fire Department #2. It’s the second newborn recovered there in the last year and a half.


Safe Haven Baby Boxes are devices built into the wall of an emergency response location, where a newborn baby can be safely turned over without any questions asked. Adoption happens with pre-screened families in 30-45 days.


This is the seventh baby handed over in Indiana this year.


There are two Safe Haven Baby Boxes in La Porte County—at Franciscan Health in Michigan City and at the Coolspring Township Fire Department, with another being installed at La Porte Fire Station 2.

Passenger Describes Scary Derailment

(New Buffalo, MI)  - A southwest Michigan teenager heading home from college for the weekend was among the 200 passengers on a derailed Amtrak train involved in a fiery crash.


Evan Messinger, 18, of New Buffalo said he didn’t know what was happening at first.     


“We felt the train shake as if you were in an airplane with turbulence and then all of a sudden we were tipped sideways almost,” he said.


According to the Berrien County Sheriff’s Office, there were no serious injuries in the Thursday night derailment along U.S. 12 in New Buffalo Township. All of the train cars remained upright on the tracks.


A vehicle reportedly stuck on the railroad tracks was in the process of being removed by a tow truck at the Lakeside Road crossing between New Buffalo and Three Oaks. A westbound Amtrak train was unable to stop itself from hitting the vehicle and tow truck on the tracks, both unoccupied at the time of impact.


The engineer and 10 passengers were treated by local ambulance services for minor injuries.


No light has been shed by local authorities on why the car was stuck on the tracks.


Messinger said he was traveling home from Southwestern Michigan College in Dowagiac, where he’s a freshman. He wanted to spend the weekend with his family before heading back to the campus for classes on Monday and returning home again for Thanksgiving.


At about the time his passenger car began shaking, Messinger said the train started coming to a stop fast enough to almost throw him out of his seat, also seeing what he described as a “big ball of fire” and feeling his window heating up on the inside from the flames.


“That’s when I knew something was wrong,” he said.


Right away, Messinger said, he called his father and, like the other passengers in his train car, was scared, if not, panicking.


“There was a bunch of random emotions going on,” he said.


He and the rest of the passengers, eventually, stepped out of the train cars and waited in a field beside the tracks. Messinger said he was too far away to tell what was burning, yet was close enough to see the flames and what seemed like a few dozen firefighters trying to put them out.


“It was definitely a traumatic experience. I’m so glad to be alive right now I’m really glad to be here,” he said.


All of the passengers on the train were safely evacuated and taken on school buses to New Buffalo High School for temporary shelter. There, many passengers were picked up by family members and friends at the school, while the remainder of the people were taken on buses to the Amtrak station in Chicago just before 1 a.m. Friday, per the police.


Evan Burian, 18, also of New Buffalo, said he and Messinger were texting each other during his trip when he informed him about the derailment just after it occurred. Burian went to the scene and took Messinger home.


“Everyone was freaking out and trying to get out of the train as quick as possible,” he said.


Zack Forker, a 2022 New Buffalo High School graduate, said he also went to the scene after learning about the derailment. He also went to the school where he saw passengers along with their family members hugging each other.


“It was hectic. It was scary,” he said.


Authorities stated that no further details would be provided at this time due to the incident being under investigation.


Several train cars were removed from the tracks and placed in the field while crews began the process of making the repairs. 


Lakeside Road is closed to through traffic from Kruger Road to U.S. 12 during the repairs, according to the Berrien County Road Department.

Amtrak Train Derails Outside New Buffalo

(New Buffalo Township, MI) - There were no serious injuries from an Amtrak train that derailed Thursday night outside New Buffalo.


The engineer and 10 passengers were treated by local ambulance services, as per the Berrien County Police.


Just before 9:30 p.m. Eastern time, a vehicle was reportedly stuck on the railroad tracks and in the process of being removed by a tow truck at the Lakeside Road crossing beside U.S 12 east of Red Arrow Highway.


A westbound Amtrak train was unable to stop, striking the vehicle and tow truck on the tracks and derailing, yet staying upright.


The approximately 200 passengers on the train were safely evacuated and taken on school buses to New Buffalo High School for temporary shelter. Many passengers were picked up by family members and friends at the school, while the remainder of the people were taken on buses to the Amtrak station in Chicago just before 1 a.m. this morning, per authorities.


Police noted that the incident remains under investigation and that no further details are being provided at this time.

Alleged KHAT Mules Post Bond

(Michigan City, IN) - Two men suspected of transporting a large amount of drugs through La Porte County have posted bond.


Abdusalam Yusef and Rabi Abrahim, both from Minnesota, have each been charged in La Porte Superior Court 1 with Level 2 felony Dealing in a Narcotic Drug.


On November 2nd, the men were in a rent-a-car and stopped by an officer for tailgating on Interstate 94 in the Michigan City area. The profusely sweating driver and passenger denied a request from the officer to search the vehicle. However, a positive alert from a K-9 dog to the potential presence of drugs gave police probable cause to search through the car, according to court documents. 


There, reportedly 17 pounds of KHAT were found in the trunk of the vehicle and passenger compartment. According to drug experts, KHAT comes from a flowery plant native to Africa and produces a sensation similar to cocaine and methamphetamine.


Official investigation shows the men rented the car in Minnesota and were heading to the Detroit area with the drugs.


Bond was set at $50,000 for both men, who each could face anywhere from a 10 to 30-year sentence. They later posted bail when their bonds were reduced to $5,000.

Driver Grabbed in Wrong Way Pursuit

(La Porte, IN) - Several drivers were forced off the road during a police chase in La Porte’s downtown area around 1 p.m. on Wednesday.


La Porte County Police said Travis Florer, 34, was stopped for going the wrong way on a one-way street, pulled over at Jefferson Avenue and Jackson Street only to allegedly take off a short time later in his 1991 Chevy pick-up truck.


There were a number of near collisions with oncoming vehicles as Florer ran traffic lights and stop signs, still headed the wrong way against eastbound-only motorists, per authorities. Eventually, he reportedly pulled into and came to a stop in a parking lot in the 800 block of Indiana Avenue. 


After quickly being handcuffed, Florer claimed he didn't know why he had fled and exhibited signs of possible mental health issues.


The Michigan City area man was charged with Resisting Law Enforcement and Reckless Driving. There was nothing illegal found in his vehicle.

Dollar General Approved for Springfield Township

(La Porte County, IN) - On Wednesday night the La Porte County Commissioners gave their blessing for a new Dollar General Market store in Springfield Township. The intended location is on U.S. 20 just east of State Road 39.


Tom Cowan is with Zaremba Group, a real estate developer representing Dollar General. He told the commissioners that two years ago the company had planned to open a standard 9,100 square-foot store on one parcel along U.S. 20, but were delayed. Now they want to rezone an adjacent smaller parcel, bringing the location’s footprint to about two acres, and construct a 12,480-square-foot store.


The Dollar General Market is a new trend in the company’s business, with larger stores that feature fresh food, produce, and more frozen food selections.


No timeline was discussed for the project.

Bohacek Proposes Regulation of Porn Sites

(Indianapolis, IN) - A local state legislator has filed a proposal to protect children from exposure to pornography. State Sen. Mike Bohacek of Michiana Shores recently filed a bill requiring age verification for websites with pornographic content.


"Indiana has an opportunity to protect children from many types of pornographic material on the internet by simply limiting access to adults," Bohacek said. "These verification methods aren't restricting the rights of legal adults, just tightening the law to ensure kids don't access harmful material."


The legislation would make it a Class A misdemeanor for a website operator to knowingly or intentionally publish a pornographic site without reasonable age verification methods. The penalty would increase to a Level 6 felony with a prior violation or conviction.


The bill will be up for consideration in the 2024 legislative session. Similar legislation has already passed in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Utah, Virginia and Texas.


"States are only just beginning to implement meaningful protections to keep pornographic material away from our children, so it's important for Indiana to be a leader for others to follow," Bohacek said. "Today, kids carry the internet in their pocket, so we have to be proactive. This is a way to ensure our kids are using the internet safely."

Amtrak Proposing Chicago to Canada Trips

(Windsor, ON) - It might be possible for local travelers to take a train into Canada in the future.


Amtrak is proposing to construct a new commuter line connecting Detroit to Toronto with service to and from Chicago starting in 2027.  It would take close to 10 hours for a one-way trip from Chicago to Toronto, according to Amtrak officials, with theoretical stops including existing Amtrak stations in Michigan City and New Buffalo.


If the line is built, officials are touting potential economic benefits for communities along the proposed route.  Despite being 230 miles apart, the last time Toronto and Detroit had direct rail service was in 1967.


Chicago, Detroit, and Toronto have a combined metropolitan area population of 17.6 million people. Per Amtrak officials, the new route would link over 25 Fortune 500 companies to Toronto, the economic center of Canada.

Busy Intersection OWI Arrest

(La Porte County, IN) - A driver was allegedly caught while highly impaired in a heavily traveled area outside La Porte.


An officer spotted a vehicle pass through the intersection of Severs Road and U.S. 35 at a high rate of speed on Monday, as per La Porte County Police.


After getting behind the driver, police said, the officer witnessed the driver veer over the center line of Johnson Road several times. The speed of the vehicle was also rising and declining before being pulled over near Crichfield Elementary School. 


During a traffic stop, 65-year-old Cynthia Miller allegedly told the officer she consumed "two beers."


However, the La Porte area woman’s alleged blood alcohol level was nearly three times the legal limit. A partially consumed half-pint bottle of tequila was reportedly found beside the driver’s seat. 

Bond Posted by Alleged Prison Smuggler

(La Porte, IN) - Bond has been posted by a prison dental assistant charged with trying to smuggle drugs and tobacco into Westville Correctional Facility.


According to court documents, a hard object was felt between the legs of Jill Konieczny during a routine pat-down search while reporting for work at the prison on November 6th.


Konieczny, 43, allegedly claimed the object was a maxi pad because she was in her monthly menstrual cycle. However, upon further investigation, the object found taped between her legs contained a large amount of methamphetamine and close to three ounces of tobacco.


Experts said the 147 grams of methamphetamine in her possession was enough to meet the needs of a single user for at least a year.


Initially, the Michigan City woman was being held in the La Porte County Jail on a $50,000 bond. Konieczny's charges were filed in the LaPorte Circuit Court where she, following an initial hearing Tuesday before Judge Tom Alevizos, posted bond.


She could face anywhere from a 10 to 30-year sentence on a Level 2 felony charge of Dealing in Methamphetamine and one to six years on a Level 5 felony charge of Trafficking With an Inmate.


Her trial date has been set for July 30th.

Feedback Sought for U.S. 30 Plans

(Indianapolis, IN) - The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) is looking for more public feedback on its plan for improving the U.S. 30 and U.S. 31 corridors.


INDOT initiated a Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL) study in the summer of 2022. It’s scheduled to wrap up with a list of recommendations next fall. Of interest in this area, of course, is the busy stretch of U.S. 30 that runs through La Porte County. 


INDOT says they have accumulated 55 possible solutions, which they refer to as the "Universe of Alternatives." Now they’re trying to narrow that universe into a workable plan of action.


“The ProPEL U.S. 30 and 31 study area encompasses 180 miles across 12 counties, so we must carefully examine how the corridors fit and function in each area,” said Project Manager, Sandra Flum. “The safety, traffic flow, connectivity, access, and other considerations will naturally look different among communities. Similarly, we are listening to how residents in each study area envision the corridors to reflect the character of the area.”


Potential improvements range from better roadway lighting to major freeway expansion. Overall, safety is the biggest focus. INDOT is considering various intersection improvements, such as Reduced Conflict Intersections (RCIs)Continuous Green T (CGT) Intersections, and quadrant roadway intersections.


To get more information and to weigh in on various options, follow the links below. Public feedback will be accepted until December 22nd. 


Details regarding the options for U.S. 30 can be accessed at ProPEL 30.

To submit a comment for the project in this area, click here: US 30 West.

Other means of obtaining information are listed below:


ProPEL US 30
Twitter: @ProPELUS30
Instagram: @propelus30_31


Fiery Crash Closes U.S. 31

(Berrien County, MI) - Northbound U.S. 31 saw quite the fiery crash just north of the state line Tuesday. A collision between a semi and a box truck occurred just after noon.


According to Michigan State Police, a northbound tractor-trailer hit a box truck that was working for the Michigan Department of Transportation.


The semi’s trailer burst into flames. The highway was closed for several hours for fire suppression and cleanup.


No serious injuries were reported. 

State Police Nab Juvenile Credit Card Crooks

(Elkhart County, IN) - An Indiana State Police trooper apprehended a couple of credit card fraudsters and their equipment.


A routine traffic stop of a 2023 Chrysler on the Indiana Toll Road near Elkhart turned into something a little bigger last Tuesday.


Police discovered that the car was stolen and in it was equipment for credit card skimming, along with gift cards to load stolen credit card information onto. Skimming involves crooks using various gadgets to steal credit card info at points of purchase.


The occupants of the car, both juveniles, were taken into custody.


Police offer the following advice to avoid credit card skimming:


  • Pay inside, if possible.
  • Use the tap-to-pay function.
  • Use a credit card instead of a debit card.
  • Cover the keypad when typing your zip code or PIN. Fraudsters often use a pinhole camera to capture this information.
  • Look to see that the security tape is not broken on the pump in the area of the card reader, suggesting skimming equipment may be inside the machine.

Cubs New Skipper Has Local Roots

(South Bend, IN) - The Chicago Cubs formally introduced their new manager Monday at a press conference. Serious baseball fans may know that the new skipper, Craig Counsell, has ties to this area.


Counsell was born in South Bend in 1970 and played collegiately at the University of Notre Dame from 1988 to 1992. Counsell's father played for Notre Dame in the 60s and later coached there. Craig followed in his father's footsteps, becoming team captain of a talented Irish team that came within a game of the College World Series in his senior season. Counsell still holds the school record for walks with 166, while striking out only 82 times.


In his 16-year MLB career, Counsell won two World Series with two different teams. After managing the Milwaukee Brewers for nine seasons, Counsell recently signed a record-setting 5-year $40 million deal with the Cubs.

Accident Closes U.S. 6 Near Walkerton

(Marshall County, IN) - U.S. 6 in Marshall County was closed for about three hours Monday morning due to a multi-vehicle crash.


The accident happened around 7:18 a.m. Central Time near Sycamore Road southeast of Walkerton. According to the Indiana State Police, a gray Nissan Rogue heading north on Sycamore ran a stop sign at U.S. 6 and collided with the driver’s side of a passing westbound semi. The 2023 Freightliner rolled onto its side, blocking all lanes of traffic.


The Nissan’s driver, a 17-year-old juvenile, was extricated and taken to Memorial Hospital in South Bend with injuries that are not considered to be life-threatening.


Another car received minor damage in the incident, but that car’s driver was not injured. Neither was the semi driver.


U.S. 6 reopened at about 10:18 after the vehicles were removed from the scene.

Fatal Car Crash Near Purdue Northwest

(La Porte County, IN) - Police are investigating a fatal crash that took place south of Michigan City Sunday morning.


Shortly after 11:00 a.m. county sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to US 421 and CR 125 South. That intersection is at the north end of Purdue’s Westville campus.


According to police, a 2016 Jeep traveling north on 421 collided with a semi-truck heading south. The truck, driven by 50-year-old Carl Thomas of Knox, then hit another northbound vehicle, a 2019 Buick SUV.


The Jeep’s driver, 34-year-old Amanda Bolka of South Bend, was taken to the hospital with undisclosed injuries. A passenger in the Buick was also taken to a local hospital. The Buick’s driver was airlifted to a regional hospital and later died. Their identities have not been released, pending notification of the family.


The truck driver refused medical treatment at the scene.


Toxicology reports are pending, as police continue to investigate what caused the accident.

Children Pulled from River in Winamac

(Winamac, IN) - Two children were rescued from the Tippecanoe River in Winamac over the weekend. One of them is in critical condition.


Shortly before 10:00 a.m. Saturday morning, a 911 call reported two children struggling in the river behind a residence near the northeast side of Winamac Town Park. According to the Department of Natural Resources, a five-year-old and a one-year-old were playing outside when they went into the river for unknown reasons.


Two adult family members pulled the children from the water after hearing the 5-year-old call for help. All four were transported to a local hospital. The one-year-old was later moved to Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis in critical condition.


Police continue to investigate the incident.

Veterans from Three Wars Remembered by Family in New Carlisle

(New Carlisle, IN) - A special memorial ceremony took place in New Carlisle on Saturday morning. The honorees were three deceased local veterans – a father and two sons, who served in three different military conflicts.


Clifford MacMillan fought in the Philippine Islands during WWII. After the war, he moved to Hudson Lake and worked for the Studebaker Corporation for many years. Clifford died in 1987 and is buried in New Carlisle Cemetery.


His sons both graduated from New Carlisle High School and were also veterans. Deane MacMillan, who served in Korea, passed away last year. Robert MacMillan, who served in Vietnam, died in April. Their cremated remains were interred in a coral reef memorial off the coast of Florida.


On Saturday morning all three were honored with a memorial presented by the American Legion Post 297 and their American Legion Riders. Johnny Vanek was the ceremony’s main presenter. “It’s a triple ceremony, which is ultra-rare,” he said. “It will be the only tombstone in New Carlisle with three markers to signify three different conflicts.”


Flags and special grave markers were presented to family members, as a bugler played “Taps” and a 21-gun salute crackled in the autumn air.


82-year-old Terry MacMillan of Hudson Lake was on hand to see his father and two brothers honored. He was very proud of their accomplishments. “My dad eventually became vice-president of Studebaker Corporation, even though he only had an eighth-grade education,” said MacMillan. “However he did get an honorary degree from Michigan State.” MacMillan said his brothers also earned college degrees after serving in the military. He recalled his brother Bob being very artistic. “He had joined the army as a paratrooper,” said MacMillan, “and he said the scariest thing he ever did in his life was have to jump out of an airplane with a chute that he had packed himself.”


MacMillan’s sister, who lives in North Carolina, could not attend the ceremony. But many other family members, from multiple generations, were in attendance.

Battle of Wills Amicably Settled

(La Porte County, IN) - The issue of fire protection in Wills Township appears to have been settled.


Another public meeting was standing-room-only Monday night at the old school house that is the Wills Township Community Center. Up for debate was whether the township board should renew its fire protection agreement with the Kankakee Township Volunteer Fire Department or pursue other options.


The township had received an offer to join the New Carlisle Fire Territory. A financial report had been commissioned with Baker Tilly to evaluate that possibility.


Last month, residents expressed seemingly unanimous support for maintaining coverage by the volunteer department in Rolling Prairie. On Monday Wills Board President Barry Halter explained why other options had been pursued. After decades of charging the same rate, Kankakee Township had recently raised its rate by 50%. According to Halter, Wills representatives hoped to negotiate a better deal, but when talks with the Kankakee Trustee broke down, they looked elsewhere.


Residents had stated their case in previous meetings, but a few reiterated their frustration with the process. Discussion was serious, but civil. Back and forth it went, until debate was abruptly halted, and a vote taken. Board members agreed to stick with Kankakee Township. They will pursue a 3-year contract for fire coverage, reportedly for $60K per year.


At the end of the meeting, the conversation shifted to the need for better supporting volunteer fire departments. State Representative Jim Pressel spoke about legislative attempts to promote volunteerism and fund training. Andy Snyder, who is not only a Wills Township resident but also La Porte’s Fire Chief, also spoke. Like many residents, he thinks there will be a growing need for fire protection in the area, with the expansion of the New Carlisle manufacturing area just a few miles away. Snyder said he supports creating a small four-person fire station in Wills Township.


Whatever the long-term solutions may be, Snyder said after the meeting Monday night that he felt the right decision was made in sticking with Kankakee Township.

Another Big Fish on the Line for Economic Development Area

(St. Joseph County, IN) - Yet another massive development could be coming to the Indiana Enterprise Center east of New Carlisle.


On Thursday the St. Joseph County Redevelopment Commission approved an agreement with a developer known only as Razor5, which is said to be working for a larger, well-known company.


St. Joseph County Economic Development Director Bill Schalliol says details are not being revealed, because the company is just beginning work to scout the area for a suitable location. “Now that the access agreement is in place, they’re going to go out and study the area,” he said. “They’ve got a 90-day window to do the examination on the property, and so they’re doing that now, especially with the good weather, so that they can get in and make a determination before spring, if this is a project site that will work for them.”


According to Schalliol, Razor5 has sights on two different parcels north and south of State Road 2 totaling 840 acres. The new project, once completed, could be even bigger than the $3 billion battery plant which just began construction.


But Schalliol suggested that the project, whatever it entails, might not be a one-shot deal like a factory. “It’s just an opportunity to buy land so that they can grow a campus over a number of years.” The land is privately owned at this time and is within the boundaries of the IEC planning footprint.


News of the new development comes just a week after St. Joseph County announced plans to enlarge the footprint of the IEC, leaving many residents to wonder what’s going on. Schalliol says his office will be holding a public question and answer session on Monday in New Carlisle. “Certainly we’d encourage those that are within the area to come,” he said, “but if there’s anyone else that has questions about the projects, certainly we’ll take time to answer those questions.”


The open house will be from 4:30-5:45 p.m. Central Monday evening at the public library in New Carlisle.

Quiet Zone for La Porte Expected Very Soon

(La Porte, IN) - The sound of train horns in La Porte could be a thing of the past very soon, as Mayor Tom Dermody says a federal Quiet Zone designation could become official by the end of this month.


He said federal railroad officials were here recently and instructed the city to make some minor changes, involving safety markings at the crossings for the nearly completed approvals process to keep moving forward.


“The Federal Railroad Administration was very complimentary on all of the work that has been done by the City of La Porte and we’re just tying up a few loose ends,” he said.


The city has been working toward Quiet Zone designation for a number of years, in response to complaints from residents about train horns blaring every half or so because of the amount of traditionally heavy freight train traffic.


The requirements included the installation of four gates at all of the crossings to prevent motorists from veering around and possibly winding up in the path of a train.


Dermody said he fully expects the designation to be stamped sometime before November 30th.

Veterans Day Ceremony in La Porte

(La Porte, IN) - Veterans’ Day is this Saturday, but the annual Veterans Day ceremony in La Porte was held earlier this morning


The guest speaker was George Lawson, an Iraq veteran who grew up in Kingsford Heights.


Lawson talked about many things, including how rewarding it is to serve the country and the respect that comes with it, especially from people in other countries. He said supporters of the military back home are the reason veterans are held in high regard.


“No matter where I go in the world to know I get to represent you, what an honor. When people tell me thank you for your service, I’m like, no, thank you,” he said.


Lawson also said the future of the country is always in the hands of the next generation wanting to serve.


“They’ve done what they could do and it’s time for the next generation to take that.  Ronald Reagan said we are just one generation from not being free. That is so true,” he said.


Lawson spoke further about the heartfelt sacrifices families make when their loved ones join the military and sometimes find themselves in combat. He recalled telephone conversations with his mother while serving the country.


“I didn’t realize the fear and the joy of me talking to her and her knowing I was o.k.  It was something I didn’t appreciate until now,” he said.


La Porte City Councilman Roger Galloway, who’s also a veteran, led the large audience in the singing of the national anthem. In addition, patriotic performances were conducted by middle school and high school students in choir and band in La Porte.

La Lumiere Opens Practice to Public

(La Porte, IN) - The nationally ranked La Lumiere college prep boys’ basketball team held an open practice last night at the La Porte Civic Auditorium.


Head Coach Pat Holmes said his team, with just two returning players from last year, has the potential to bring home a national championship, but this year’s crop of new players need time to learn how to play better together.


“We’re very talented but it’s a lot of new guys,” he said.


For a moment, Holmes, during practice, led his players off the court for a quick tongue-lashing on the need to play with more energy.


“Our competitive spirit needs to get better. It’s early. We’ll get there,” he said.


La Lumiere, which has several graduates in the NBA, won the national title in 2017 and has come close several times since then.


Expected to lead the way for the Lakers is junior Jalen Haralson.


The 6’7” Haralson, being recruited by NCAA Division 1 teams like Indiana, Purdue, and Duke, transferred from Fishers near Indianapolis. He says he came to La Lumiere to improve from being pushed harder and playing against better competition.


“I can definitely see the improvements in my body, my mindset, my skill set. I feel like I took this really well,” he said.


Senior Steven Solano, of New York City, is also expected to make a good impact as the 6’11” center makes slam-dunking the ball seem effortless.


“A lot of special players come to his program. I’m just looking for a place where I can develop my talent and be in the best position possible to get to the next level where it’s college for the NBA,” he said.


He's being recruited by colleges like St. John's, Loyola-Chicago, and Michigan. 


After practice, several players signed autographs and posed for pictures with fans.

Authorities Not Laughing at Robbery Joke

(La Porte, IN) - If he was joking, it’s no joking matter for him now, as charges have been filed against a La Porte man whose alleged prank had a store clerk afraid he was going to rob her.


Quintin Golden, 31, was inside the Family Express on J Street waiting in line to pay for a cigar on November 4th.


Suddenly, police said, he announced he was robbing the place and told the clerk to give him everything in the register. Surveillance video reportedly captured Golden stating “I hate to do this. Don’t move. Give me everything in the register. Don’t move.”


In response, the clerk said “Oh, my god. Not again."


A short time later, Golden allegedly told her “It was just a joke.”


After a male customer left, authorities said, Golden was the only person in line when he told the clerk he was waiting for him to leave, before again instructing her to give him everything in the register.


A few seconds later, Golden said he was just playing and apologized, saying “It’s Halloween.”


Golden could face an up to six-year sentence on Level 5 Felony Attempted Robbery.

La Lumiere Open Hoops Practice at Civic Tonight

(La Porte, IN) - The public is invited to an open practice this evening by one of the best college prep boys' basketball teams in the nation from La Porte County.


La Lumiere will host the open practice session at the Civic Auditorium, scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. and last for about one hour.


After practice, there will also be a press conference about the nationally televised La Porte Invitational coming in early January, as well as remarks about the upcoming La Lumiere boys basketball season.


The Lakers are a former national champion. 


La Lumiere and other high-ranking college prep teams will play in the third annual invitational at the Civic Auditorium over three days beginning January 4th.


Tickets are now available. 

Meth Found in Vagina of Jail Inmate

(La Porte, IN) - A La Porte woman was allegedly found with a bag of drugs in her vagina.


Airel Payton, 20, was a passenger in a vehicle that was stopped for a bad headlight four days ago on Lincolnway, just a few blocks west of the old La Porte Hospital site.


Police said a K9 dog detected the presence of drugs.


The driver, James Johnson, 50, of Kingsford Heights was allegedly found with a half gram of methamphetamine in his wallet.  Another half-gram was found inside a purse belonging to the woman. 


While at the La Porte County Jail, a bag containing over two grams of methamphetamine and a smoking pipe were discovered inside Payton’s vagina, according to court documents. 


Payton and Johnson were both charged with Possession of Methamphetamine.

Blunt Force Ruled in Westville Inmate Death

(Westville, IN) - Authorities are investigating the possibly suspicious death of an inmate at Westville Correctional Facility.


Indiana State Police were called to the prison at about 8 a.m. on Tuesday after the inmate was found deceased. So far, investigators have not shed any light on what happened leading up to his death.  However, the La Porte County Coroner’s Office ruled following an autopsy that the cause of death was blunt force trauma.


The inmate has been identified as 35-year-old John Taylor of Greene County, which is south and west of Bloomington.


According to court records, he was serving a 9-year sentence for Armed Criminal Confinement and Battery to a police officer.


Once the investigation is completed, authorities said, the La Porte County Prosecutor’s Office will consider charges, if necessary.

Services for Dirt Bike Driver in Collision

(La Porte, IN) - Services have been scheduled for a man who died after a La Porte dirt bike crash just over two weeks ago at Kesling Park.


Bryan Porras, 31, was headed northbound on A St. when he wound up in the path of an oncoming pick-up truck making a lefthand turn, according to La Porte Police.


Porras was in very critical condition when flown to Memorial Hospital in South Bend, where he passed away about a week later.


According to police, the 17-year-old driver of the pick-up truck claimed he didn’t see the oncoming dirt bike. It was dark and the dirt bike did not have headlights or reflectors.


Visiting hours are scheduled today from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Haverstock Funeral Home. A graveside service is scheduled for Friday at 11 a.m. at the Calumet Park Cemetery in Merrillville.

Prison Worker Charged with Drug Smuggling

(Westville, IN) - A prison worker has been accused of trying to smuggle drugs and tobacco into Westville Correctional Facility.


Jill Konieczny, 43, was a dental assistant at the prison.


According to authorities, a hard object was felt between her legs during a routine pat-down search at the prison on Monday.


Konieczny allegedly claimed the object was a maxi pad because it was that time of the month. However, upon further investigation, the object reportedly found taped between her legs contained a large amount of methamphetamine and close to three ounces of tobacco.


Experts say she had enough of the former to meet the needs of a single user for at least a year.


The Michigan City woman is being held in the La Porte County Jail on $50,000 bond.  She could face anywhere from a 10 to 30-year sentence on a Dealing charge and another one to six years on a Trafficking charge.

Victim in Motorcycle Fatality Named

(New Buffalo, MI) - A man killed in a motorcycle crash just outside New Buffalo has been identified.


According to Berrien County Police, the victim was Michael Nowicki, 45, of Edwardsburg, Michigan.


Before 9:30 p.m. Monday, (EST), an off-duty Berrien County Sheriff’s Deputy happened to notice a motorcycle on its side at U.S. 12 and Red Arrow Highway next to a parking lot. 


Just a few hundred yards from the city limits, Nowicki was found lying in a grassy area close to Roma Pizza after leaving the road and hitting a traffic sign. Despite the efforts of medics, he had reportedly succumbed to his injuries at the scene of the accident.


The accident happened close to Roma Pizza, just a few hundred yards from the city limits. 


Investigators, along with medical examiners, are working together to determine the circumstances leading to the collision.


Anyone who witnessed the crash is asked to contact the Berrien County Sheriff’s Office.

Gift Certificate Giveaway for Military Service

(La Porte County, IN) - The United Way of La Porte County will be supporting local veterans and active duty military personnel with $20 gift certificates for Al’s Supermarket.


The first 100 active or retired servicemen on Thursday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. will receive gift certificates for use at any Al’s Supermarket location in La Porte and Michigan City.


According to the United Way, a valid military identification or DD Form 2 must be shown to receive a gift certificate.


“We know the sacrifice so many of us have made during their time of service and we are excited to be in a position to give back to our local heroes and comrades,” said Dave Sisk, Director of Engagement for United Way of La Porte County.

United Way of LaPorte County helps people in need of critical human, health, and social services.


For more information or to make a donation, please visit unitedwaylpc.org

Raiders Bring Home Conference Title

(New Buffalo, MI) - The Red Arrow Raiders won their first conference title since both New Buffalo and River Valley high schools merged their football programs three seasons ago.


The Raiders were 3-1 in their division of the Southwest Michigan 8-Man Football League.


Eau Claire, Tri-Unity Christian, Wyoming Lee, and Twin City were the other teams in the division with the Raiders, who lost only to Twin City 18-12. Twin City comprises students from Countryside Academy, Michigan Lutheran, and Our Lady of the Lake.


Raiders Head Coach Matt Johnson, who’s also the athletic director at New Buffalo High School, said winning the conference title in their division was important.


“It just kind of helps solidify where our program is heading. That we’re competitive and able to win the games we should win,” he said.


Johnson said the division championship also helped ease the sting of a season that included a disappointing loss to Twin City and their last two games ending in losses to Bridgman and Gobles.


The Raiders were down by just five points at halftime to Bridgman, who went on to win 30-8. In the latter instance, Gobles defeated the Raiders 68-8.


“The last two games were tough, but we knew they were going to be tough,” said Johnson.


The Raiders finished with an overall 5-4 record.


“We won big. We lost big and we won some squeakers and we lost a tight game. We kind of experienced all of the possible outcomes you can experience in a football season,” Johnson said.


The division title was also the first for any football player from New Buffalo High School since the Bison won the Red Arrow Conference championship in 2013 during Johnson's first year as head coach.


Johnson was pleasantly surprised the most by linebacker Vaugh Nikkel, who hadn’t recovered enough from a baseball injury while playing for the Bison in the spring to practice or play much early in the season.


Eventually, he became a major contributor on defense.


“He really stepped up and had some really, really big games for us,” he said.


The Raiders are losing eight seniors, including Ryder Wolnik, Payton Lijewski Owen Slavens, and Cameron Forker.


However, Johnson said, next year looks promising with quarterback Ethan Lijewski and lineman David Nicely among the returning impact players, also noting that there’s promising talent among the varsity players mostly on the bench this season as well as the junior varsity squad.


Johnson said he hopes some of his players hit the weight room so they can effectively fill open positions on the offensive and defensive lines.


“That’s going to be our biggest question mark,” he said.

Elderly Man Grabbed in High Speed Chase

(Michigan City, IN) - A suspected drunk driver led police on a motor vehicle chase ending in Michigan City early today.


It all began just after midnight when, according to La Porte County Police, a sheriff’s deputy tried pulling over a driver in a sports car for speeding in the area of 400 North and 950 West.


The 66-year-old driver then hit the gas and his speed, eventually, exceeded 120 miles per hour headed northbound on Franklin Street, disregarding numerous traffic lights along the way to 4th. He then got stuck behind a train at 11th and Pine.   

As a result, he allegedly fled on foot, but age and possibly the golf shoes he was wearing slowed him down, leading to him soon being grabbed by authorities with help from a K-9 dog.


The driver, identified as Robert Keller from Colorado, was arrested for Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated among other counts such as Resisting Law Enforcement.

Mayor Dermody Cruises to Second Term

(La Porte, IN) - La Porte Mayor Tom Dermody couldn’t be happier, perhaps, with the results of last night’s election as not only did the Republican win reelection by a more than two-to-one margin, all three Republican candidates in contested races for City Council also won handily.


“I truly am honored. To give us a sweep of all of the races I think sent a strong message,” he said.


Dermody received 72 percent of the vote in his race against Democratic challenger Ron Zimmer.


Returning to the City Council are Tim Franke and Laura Konieczny.


Taking her seat on the City Council for the first time will be Republican Lauren Huffman, who finished second to Franke for both open council at large seats.


The seven seats on the City Council will now be filled with Republicans after Democrat Laura Cutler, who represents the 3rd Ward, chose not to seek another term. She will be replaced by Drew Buchanan, who ran unopposed in the May Republican primary and the November general election.


“This is the trust the residents have given us and we have to show them that we’re sincere to continue on the next four years,” Dermody said.


Dermody said the focus of his next term will remain on areas like new housing for all income brackets, code enforcement, and clamping down on drug dealers.

Michigan City Elects First Black Mayor

(Michigan City, IN) - The first African American Mayor in the history of Michigan City was elected in a landslide Tuesday night.  Angie Nelson Deuitch, a Democrat, defeated Republican incumbent Duane Parry.  Deuitch, a member of the City Council, received 64 percent of the vote to 33 percent for Parry.  Libertarian Mike Walker collected three percent of the nearly 4,500 votes cast in the race.


About 200 of Deuitch's supporters, who packed the Uptown Social banquet hall at 9th and Franklin Streets, chanted “Angie, Angle, Angie” before she came out and addressed the crowd.


“There was a reporter that said it was a toss-up.  It’s tightening. Did you all see anything tightening?  We knew from the beginning didn’t we?  We understood the assignment and we did it,” she said.


Almost every one of her supporters raised their hand when asked who knocked on doors, made a donation to her campaign, made a phone call or wrote a post card to drum up support for her bid to become Mayor.  Deuitch described her campaign as a “labor of labor” dedicated to rooting out negativity and thinking only positive about the city’s future.


“It’s about how we’re going to lift up Michigan City.  We are about to elevate Michigan City to the next level,” she said above the cheers of the crowd.


Former Michigan City Redevelopment Commission President Don Babcock said Deuitch has proven herself over the past 20 years to be an effective community leader in areas like neighborhoods and schools.  He also described her as having drive and genuinely caring about the city.


“You might not always get your way, but being part of her team something is going to happen and it’s going to be good.  People get excited about that,” said Babcock, who’s now involved in community outreach and economic development at the Purdue University Northwest campus near Westville.


Babcock went to say everyone in the community is going to benefit from the economic boom expected from the South Shore Commuter Railroad’s nearly completed double track from her guidance as mayor.


“It’s not going to be just the wealthy that are going to benefit from that.  The whole community is going to benefit.  We’re going to strike that balance where everybody wins,” he said.

La Porte County 2023 General Election Results

(La Porte County, IN) - The 2023 General Election Results are complete.  Overall, 8,101 votes were cast for a 20.72% voter turnout in La Porte County.


While these are considered "unofficial" results, they are the final results as reported on Election night for the "contested" races in La Porte County. 



Mayor of La Porte (Vote for One)

     Tom Dermody (R) 71.73%

     Ron Zimmer (D)  28.27%


La Porte City Common Council At Large (Vote for Two)

     Tim Franke (R)  32.40%

     Lauren Huffman (R)  25.38%

     Susan Antoszewski (D)  19.75%

     Kim Glanders Noe (D)  22.46%


La Porte City Common Council Ward 5 (Vote for One)

     Laura Konieczny (R)  66.32%

     Joseph (Joe) Mrozinske 33.68%



Mayor of Michigan City (Vote for One)

     Duane Parry (R)  32.53%

     Angie Nelson Deuitch (D)  64.18%

     Mike Walker (L)  3.29%


Michigan City Common Council At Large (Vote for Three)

     Elizabeth (Liz) Bergeron (R)  11.46%

     Ian Osborne (R)  11.44%

     Jason R. Straton (R)  7.99%

    Bryant Dabney (D)  21.18%

     Vidya Kora (D)    22.57%

     Don Przybylinski (D)  25.36%


Michigan City Common Council Ward 1 (Vote for One)

     Roger Willoughby (R)  15.09%

     Greg Coulter (D)   56.17%

     Rodney J. McCormick Sr. (I)  28.74%


Michigan City Common Council Ward 2 (Vote for One)

     John Haynes (R)  34.14%

     Daisy Lee (D)   65.86%


Michigan City Common Council Ward 5 (Vote for One)

     Philip Grams (R)  36.60%

     Tracie Y. Tillman (D)  63.40%


Michigan City Common Council Ward 6 (Vote for One)

     Socrates T. Gray (R)  35.81%

     Nancy Moldenhauer (D)  64.19%


Long Beach:

Long Beach Town Clerk-Treasurer (Vote for One)

     Ernest Summers III (R)   38.33%

     Meg Collins (I)  61.67%


Long Beach Town Council Member at Large (Vote for Five)

     Mary Lou McFadden (R)  8.30%

     Cheryl Flemington (D)  8.51%

     Robert L. Roule (L)  1.94%

     David Whitfield (L)  5.83%

     Kendra Bartlett (I)  11.00%

     J.D. Haley (I)  15.92%

     John Kocher (I)  8.90%

     Anita Remijas (I)  10.67%

     Joy Schmitt (I)  12.79%

     Shannon (Walker) Wojcik (I)  16.13%


Trail Creek:

Trail Creek Clerk-Treasurer (Vote for One)

     Crystal Frever (R)  56.16%

     Joshleen M. Denham (D)  43.84%


Trail Creek Town Council at Large (Vote for Five)

     Chad P. Denham (R)  12.60%

     Kyle Kubik (R)  13.73%

     Peter Pizarek (R)  14.79%

     Jennifer Heath (D)  16.99%

     Christopher Ott (D)  13.94%

     Laura Lisak Saenz (D)  14.01%

     Warren R. Schacht (D)  13.94%



Westville Town Clerk-Treasurer (Vote for One)

     Tracy M. Williams (R)  43.98%

     Lori Mercer (D)  56.02%


Westville Town Council Member Ward 1

     Bob Wanmer (R)  44.96%

     Michael Albert (D)  55.04%


Listen to 96.7 The Eagle on Wednesday morning for full coverage of the election results from Hometown News Now.


Home Since Birth Destroyed by Fire

(Kingsbury, IN) - Burning a brush pile on a windy day might have been the cause of a fire that heavily damaged the home of a Kingsbury man who had lived there since birth.


Firefighters from Kingsbury and other surrounding departments responded to a two-story house on a more than three-acre parcel late in the morning at 6527 S. 50 West.


The owner, Dennis Young, 71, said he was burning an old garage that had been knocked down over the summer in a brush pile that included leaves about 150 feet from his residence. As he was walking away from the fire to do something else, he noticed smoke coming from the corner of his house.


He believes the fire must have been caused by burning embers blown into the side of his residence because it was windy and there was only green grass between the brush pile and his dwelling.


“The wind must have done it because I don’t know what else would have done it,” he said.


Kingsbury Fire Chief Mark Ritter would not speculate on the cause of the fire.


“Anything is possible. We’re looking into it. That’s all we can say right now,” he said.


The fire was under control, albeit still burning three hours later.


Ritter said it took a while to put out the flames, which had spread inside the walls and into the attic, requiring water to be poured onto the roof from a ladder truck. Likewise, a number of walls had to be torn into to find and douse out flames.


“One piece at a time,” he said.


Young said there were a lot of memories in the house and antiques he had collected over the years therein. He plans to live nearby with his brother, Robert until he can have a new house built on the property.


“It’s a pretty sad day to see something like that happen,” he said.

Voter Turnout Viewed as Steady

(La Porte County, IN) - It’s Election Day for municipalities throughout La Porte County, as voters are casting ballots in La Porte, Michigan City, Westville, Trail Creek, and Long Beach.


La Porte County Republican Party Chairman Al Stevens was at the American Legion Post in Westville. Amid the town's two contested races this year, he described voter turnout all morning there as “pretty steady.”


“That’s pretty good for a small town like Westville,” he said. 


Republican Bob Wanmer is challenging Democratic incumbent candidate Mike Albert for a seat on the town council while Clerk Lori Mercer, a Democrat, is opposed by Republican Tracy Williams.


One of the voting center locations in La Porte is the Civic Auditorium, where Civic Auditorium Director Brett Binversie noted that voter turnout was steady as well, but slowed down about two hours after the polls opened at 6 a.m.


“They had a nice flow up until about eight o’clock. As usual, they’re anticipating it’ll pick up around lunch hour again,” he said.


The mayoral race between Republican incumbent Tom Dermody and Democratic candidate Ron Zimmer, as well as three seats on the City Council, will be decided.


Turnout in Michigan City, where incumbent Republican Duane Parry is challenged by Democrat Angie Nelson Deuitch is also viewed as steady.


“There was a big flow this morning. A lot of people vote before going to work.  Maybe lunchtime will probably bring a larger crowd,” said Chris Yagelski, an administrator at the Mayor’s Office.


Nelson Deuitch, a member of the Michigan City City Council and candidate in their respective mayoral race, would become the first African-American mayor in the history of the city if elected, in a race many people believe is too close to call. 

Motorcyclist Dies in Crash with Road Sign

(New Buffalo, MI) - A man on a motorcycle was killed last night in a single-vehicle crash just outside the city limits of New Buffalo.


Before 9:30 p.m. (EST), an off-duty Berrien County Sheriff’s Deputy happened to notice a motorcycle on its side at U.S. 12 and Red Arrow Highway next to a parking lot. 


Police said that it appeared the motorcyclist left the road before hitting a traffic sign.


The 45-year-old victim was found lying in a grassy area, and despite the efforts of medics, the man succumbed to his injuries at the scene of the accident, per authorities.


So far, the name of the victim, reportedly from Edwardsburg, Michigan, has not been revealed.


The accident occurred close to Roma Pizza, just a few hundred yards from the city limits.

Bicyclist Killed in Collision with Vehicle

A motor vehicle crash in Berrien County, Michigan claimed the life of a bicyclist just before 8 p.m. last night on Galien-Buchanan Road in Buchanan.


Police said the vehicle was driving in the same direction as the 53-year-old female bicyclist when they crashed, killing her in the process.


Investigators are reportedly still trying to determine exactly what caused the crash, although authorities have found it appears drugs and alcohol were not factors in the incident. 

La Lumiere Having Open Practice in La Porte

(La Porte, IN) - The La Lumiere Boys Basketball Team will host an open practice at the La Porte Civic Auditorium to help promote the third annual La Porte Invitational set to take place January 4th-6th.


Members of the media and public are invited to watch the team scrimmage, where there will also be a press conference.


La Lumiere, which is one of the top college prep basketball programs in the country, has a national title under its belt along with several players who’ve advanced to the NBA.


The nationally televised La Porte Invitational features teams with similar talent.


La Lumiere Head Coach Pat Holmes said players from past tourneys have also gone on to the NBA and about 20 major college programs.


The open practice is scheduled for Thursday at 5:30 p.m. and is free to the public.


Among the players on this year’s roster for La Lumiere are Jalen Haralson, who has offers from schools like Indiana, Purdue, Michigan, and Gonzaga, and Danny Murray, who’s being recruited by schools like the University of Massachusetts.


For questions, please contact City of La Porte Communications Director Jessica Bruder Spoljaric at 219-325-8368 or jbruder@cityoflaportein.gov.

Downsizing of Coast Guard Station Planned

(Michigan City, IN) - There are plans to convert the U.S. Coast Guard station at Michigan City into a part-time facility before the next boating season, as other select locations are also facing a similar downsizing situation.


In Michigan City, the decision is not being taken lightly by local officials, who have been mounting a grassroots effort to have the decision reversed at the federal level.


Mayor Duane Parry said a Coast Guard boat in Michigan City can reach a boater or swimmer in distress within minutes, whereas the wait for a vessel from the next closest location would be much longer.


“That’s a matter of life and death,” he said.


Phil Gurtler, a public affairs officer for the Great Lakes at the U.S. Coast Guard station in Cleveland, said a manpower shortage nationwide is forcing the decision to restore staffing and other resources to levels they should be in areas where service calls are highest.


“We are going to reallocate some of the personnel and assets,” he said.


On average, he explained, staffing at all locations is down by about 10 percent from what the Coast Guard feels a station should have to be “optimally manned.” The numbers reflect the growing challenge of recruiting people into the military over the past few years.


“It’s been a continuous issue. It’s just kind of reaching a point now where some decisions have to be made,” he said.


Right now, Gurtler said the plan for Michigan City is to fully staff and equip the U.S. Coast Guard station on weekends during the summer when use of Lake Michigan is at its greatest. Whether it would be open from Friday through Sunday or strictly for two days on weekends has not been decided. Currently, the facility is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week year-round.


“We’re still crunching the numbers for what times it’s going to be active versus not active,” he said.


The primary coverage area of the U.S. Coast Guard station in Michigan City includes a good stretch of the Indiana shoreline to the west and east into Michigan, including New Buffalo.


The Michigan City station averages about 125 search and rescue calls a year, according to figures provided by the U.S. Coast Guard. Gurtler said service calls, when the station is not open, will come from either the Coast Guard locations at Calumet Harbor near Chicago or St. Joseph, Michigan.


Whichever site is closest to the emergency will provide the response.


He said local first responders with access to boats, helicopters, and other water rescue gear will be relied on to handle calls until the U.S. Coast Guard can get there by boat or by air.


Already, Gurtler said, police and firefighters begin rescue attempts if they’re the first ones to arrive.


“It’s kind of a coin flip sometimes to see if we get on scene first,” he said.


Both of the U.S. Coast Guard helicopters serving the southern end of Lake Michigan are stationed in Traverse City and Detroit.


Parry said he was in the process of sending a letter denouncing the idea to decision-makers in Washington D.C. Help is also being sought from elected officials including Congressman Frank Mrvan and Indiana Senator Mike Braun.


Parry said he also believes there could be a negative economic impact from a percentage of people not wanting to use the lake without having the Coast Guard nearby.


“Whether they’re coming over here to charter a fishing boat. Whether they’re coming over here for a pleasure cruise or just to hang out at the beach, there’s a comfort zone having a Coast Guard station close,” he said.

LaPorte County Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Jack Arnett is also involved in the effort to keep the U.S. Coast Guard station open every minute of every day. He noted that securing federal grants for dredging Trail Creek leading to and from Lake Michigan is difficult enough, but could become harder without a full-time U.S. Coast Guard station to help lend credibility to money requests. Dredging must be done every so often to keep Trail Creek deep enough for the owners of larger watercraft in particular, who play an important role in the summer economy.   


He said the lake is also used in the spring by commercial and recreational fishermen.


“It’s a huge deal. We got to put the full court press on to get elected officials to understand that,” Arnett said.


Gurtler said he doesn’t argue that U.S. Coast Guard response times in the Michigan City area would suffer. However, he said a U.S. Coast Guard boat from Chicago or St. Joseph can still be there within the two-hour timeframe mandated by Congress for coverage areas.


“I can say with certainty if the Coast Guard wasn’t confident we could meet all of the requirements and, frankly, keep the public safe, we wouldn’t be selecting these particular spots,” he said.

Early Voting Ends Before Tuesday Election

(La Porte County, IN) - Early voting in La Porte County expired earlier today at 12 p.m.


The only time left to vote now is Election Day, which is tomorrow. Only municipal races this year will be decided by voters.  


La Porte County Clerk Heather Stevens said about 2,500 ballots have been cast since early voting started a few weeks ago. She estimated that roughly 80 percent of the early votes were from Michigan City, where interest in the mayoral race seems much greater than the one in La Porte. In fact, she estimated early voter turnout was higher in Long Beach than in La Porte.


“I think La Porte is going to get there. I think they’re going to do it tomorrow,” she said.


The election tomorrow is the first time voting centers will be used in La Porte County. People can vote at any of the 17 locations in municipalities with contested races.

Get Ready for Winter Driving Week

(Indianapolis, IN) - It’s Winter Weather Preparedness Week in Indiana after the state experienced a measurable amount of snowfall last week.


Under a proclamation by Governor Eric Holcomb, the traveling public, through Saturday is asked to take steps to prepare for the potential hazards that come with winter weather.


For safe travel, the Indiana Department of Transportation offers the following tips:  

  • Slow down and adjust travel to conditions, especially on snow-covered roads.
  • Never tailgate or drive beside a snowplow, as the driver's visibility may be limited. If you must pass, do so carefully. 
  • Be prepared in case of a crash and becoming stranded; always carry an emergency kit in your vehicle with food, water, a phone charger, sand or cat litter, flares or bright LED alternatives, a flashlight, and blankets.
  • Keep your vehicle full of gas and check your battery, fluids, and spare tire.


Throughout winter, roads can become slick even after pre-treatment and regular treatment during and after a storm. 


According to INDOT, snowplow drivers typically work 12-hour shifts during a storm and, on average, take two-to-three hours to complete a full route.


INDOT has prepared for winter operations by hiring seasonal snowplow drivers, completing training with current staff, inspecting equipment, and securing materials necessary for combating winter road conditions like salt.

Three in a Row!

(Culver, IN) - After struggling to click on offense in three of their previous four games, New Prairie was looking for a get-right game. The Cougars got right Friday night and came away with their third straight sectional crown at Culver Academies.


New Prairie got off to a slow start. Their first play from scrimmage was a penalty, and their first pass attempt was intercepted. After converting on fourth-and-inches, Culver scored first with 4:50 left in the first quarter.


But just two plays later, sophomore Reed Robinson broke free on a run to the outside. With a nifty cutback, he turned the 58-yard scamper into a score.


That was all the spark the Cougars needed.


Four long runs by senior quarterback Marshall Kmiecik set up four short-yardage touchdowns—one each by Kmiecik, Robinson, senior Brock Sinka, and junior Zak Henrich. A fourth-quarter interception by junior Keegan Taylor with 2:42 remaining set up another Henrich touchdown, making the final score 43-14.


In the first half, Culver’s methodical short passing game tested the New Prairie defense’s swagger, and the escapability of Culver quarterback Michael McColgan confounded Cougar rushers. But the Eagles were unable to turn big plays into points.


New Prairie, however, found their rhythm and capitalized. Head coach Casey McKim credited the offense’s effort and timing. “We were winning our individual matchups consistently, and our backs were really seeing it, and we were kind of in synch again,” he said after the victory. “Our kick-outs were tremendous by our guards, and then our backside pullers, whether we had one or a couple, they did a great job of looking inside.”


According to McKim, getting blockers and runners to work together has been a point of emphasis all season. “Really, you know, it’s just nine dancing bears out there working in unison to the beat of the music, and it just so happens that we have guys in front of us, and we adjust our dancing based on what they’re doing. That’s the best way I can describe it.”


On Friday night the dancing bears made plenty of running room for New Prairie’s four horsemen: Kmiecik, Robinson, Sinka, and Henrich, who combined for 410 total yards and all six Cougar touchdowns. Kmiecik led the way with 236 rushing yards. Robinson added 127.


New Prairie’s defense was feisty once again, with 16 different Cougars registering a tackle. Juniors Hayden Scott and Harrison Groves led all tacklers with 11 each. McKim praised their hustle: “Our kids just kept running to the football. That’s the biggest thing in my mind,” he said. “I was just proud of our kids just attacking all the time.”


New Prairie’s victory marked their third straight sectional championship. It’s their ninth sectional title since 2004 and the first sectional three-peat in school history. The Cougars (10-2) will go on the road for the third straight time this postseason to face Northwood (10-2) next Friday.

IEC Expansion Proposed

(St. Joseph County, IN) - St. Joseph County is looking to expand the footprint of the Indiana Enterprise Center (IEC) east of New Carlisle. A plan was recently submitted to the county's Redevelopment Commission.


It includes an additional 1,500 acres of land—about half on the territory’s southwest side, and half on the southeast. Also included are two properties along US 20 in New Carlisle: a former trailer park and the current site of the American Legion.


Economic Development Director Bill Schalliol says the updated layout gives planners more flexibility to improve infrastructure for future development. About 78 new parcels have been added to an acquisition list on the outskirts of the territory’s previous boundaries, bringing the total number of included properties up to 309. “We would not, obviously, seek to acquire 309; in fact, the county now owns about 37 of those properties,” Schalliol said. “It’s just another tool that allows us more flexibility. If a property came up for sale, or if somebody wanted to move out of the area, or in the event that we needed it for water, sewer, roads, or trail projects, it just gives us more flexibility to buy.”


According to Schalliol, some parcels have been removed from the plan. Ultimately, the final placement of the new GM battery plant prompted the revision. The new configuration, he says, will facilitate improvements for future businesses, recreation features, and possibly new housing developments in that area.


However, the expansion is not a done deal. There will be a public meeting to discuss the plan on Monday, November 13 at the New Carlisle Public Library.

Michigan City Warehouse Finds New Life

(Michigan City, IN) - A vacant warehouse in Michigan City has been repurposed, thanks to a business expansion.


Bay Logistics and Martin Transportation Systems have expanded operations at an existing 190,000 square-foot facility on West US 20.


The family-owned companies provide transportation and warehouse services. They currently operate a warehouse in Grand Rapids, Michigan with a fleet of over 1,200 semis and 3,000 trailers. They also have facilities in Arizona and Mexico. According to Kurt Cuncannan, Chief Operating Officer of Bay Logistics, MTS recently earned another Supplier of the Year designation by General Motors.


“Our new Michigan City operations will serve as a trucking terminal, truck/trailer maintenance shop, and a 180,000 square foot public distribution center,” Cuncannan said. They have rehabbed the Michigan City facility with a new roof, painting, HVAC, lighting, truck docks, and parking lot upgrades.


Cuncannan said his company chose Michigan City because of its location along the I-94 corridor. Michigan City’s Economic Development Corporation helped facilitate the deal. “We are honored that the team has added another spot here in Michigan City as part of the company’s extensive portfolio,” said Michigan City Mayor Duane Parry. “Our business landscape and connectivity to Michigan and Chicago continue to pave our way toward more momentum and additional growth.”


Bay Logistics currently operates from 6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday with a team of 10 employees. Cuncannan said that MTS is currently looking to hire additional truck drivers and mechanics.

Meeting Set for Wills Fire Protection Discussion

(La Porte County, IN) - A date, time, and place has been set for the next meeting regarding fire protection coverage for Wills Township:


Monday, November 6th at 5:30 p.m. Central at the Wills Township Community Center.


Wills Township covers an area from the east side of Rolling Prairie to the St. Joseph County line. Township leaders are considering options for fire protection, which include renewing their contract with the Kankakee Township Volunteer Fire Department or joining the New Carlisle Fire Territory.


Last month about 60 people attended a hearing and voiced seemingly unanimous support for maintaining ties to the fire department in Rolling Prairie.


Township leaders have been waiting on a report from financial consultants Baker Tilly before making a decision.

Mayor's Race Viewed as Up for Grabs

(Michigan City, IN) - The campaign for mayor in Michigan City pits an incumbent against a member of the city council in a race viewed by many as too close to call.


Republican Duane Parry is running for a second term against Angie Nelson Deuitch, a democrat, who would be the first African American mayor in the city’s history.


Parry, 74, also previously served one term on the city council.       


Among his biggest successes he cited as mayor include the police department being much closer to full strength again with help from significant pay increases.

Parry said officer morale was also boosted after he named a new police chief about a year ago.


“Our police force is stabilized now.  It’s a young police force.  I’m very excited about it,” he said.


Parry also pointed to the recent purchase and installation of technology alerting police immediately to the sound and location of gunfire to catch more individuals firing weapons and curb their growing use in the community.


The technology works with flock cameras to obtain the license plate numbers of fleeing vehicles linked to the gunfire and their location.  


“We’ve already had several arrests using this equipment.  It’s really a game changer. It truly is,” he said.


Since the technology is proving very effective, Parry said his goal is to have every person setting off alerts with gunfire arrested within 24 hours to enhance the aggressive approach to reduce shootings


“That will keep us at the forefront of public safety,” he said.


Parry also expressed a desire to maintain the small town charm of the community as much as possible during a period of major growth anticipated from quicker travel to and from Chicago on the South Shore commuter line.


Trains are expected to start rolling in May on the double track from Michigan City to Gary.


Groundbreaking has occurred on three high rises containing hotel rooms, condominiums and apartments to meet demand from an expected increase in Chicago area residents coming here to visit because of much quicker rail travel.


Thousands of new residents are also projected because of reduced travel times making it more convenient to live here and work in Chicago.


“We’re taking off,” he said.


If reelected, Parry said a top priority will be to aggressively pursue new housing construction to meet demand and build upon recently unveiled plans for the first construction of new single family homes in the city in decades.


He also wants to restore the city’s manufacturing base, which he believes holds the real key to providing more good paying jobs.


“I want Michigan City to be a working community with an extremely low unemployment rate and people having productive jobs.  White collar, blue collar, service, manufacturing. That’s what I’m looking for,” he said.


Deuitch, 52, owns Diversity Square, a business focusing on connecting high school students not going to college with employers, workforce development and obtaining grants for things like food assistance in the community.


Previously, she was employed by NiSource, the parent company of NIPSCO, to make sure anyone working on their pipelines was qualified to perform the work.


She served previously on the city council from 2008 through 2011.


Deuitch said much of her campaign has focused on improving municipal services like trash pick-up and addressing other needs expressed by citizens by having an administration that communicates effectively and is more accessible to the public.


For example, opening the lines of communication between city department heads and their employees is one way to get better public service results out in the community.  


“There’s no cohesion in city government right now.  We have a lot of broken systems that are not working,” she said.


Deuitch said next on her priority list is partnering with schools and other groups like Ivy Tech to create more opportunity for people by improving their job skills so they can still live here and earn a livable wage.


“I think we’ve missed some opportunities to do that,” she said.


Deuitch said she also wants to develop a capital improvement plan for replacing vehicles and other equipment before they unexpectedly start breaking down or become no longer usable.


To curb rising gun violence, Deutich said her workforce development plan is part of the equation but she also wants programs aimed at changing behavior so the first reaction to conflict is not shooting a firearm.


Deuitch also placed an emphasis on better access to mental health to help address problems with violence and homelessness stemming from poverty and opioid addiction.


Her other priorities include guiding citizens to benefit as much as possible from the significant growth anticipated when construction of the double track for the South Shore commuter line is completed next year.


Deuitch viewed the possibility of being first African American mayor in the city’s history as progress but one she earned.


“It’s great.  It’s historic, but I’m the most qualified to be mayor.  That’s number one.  I’m qualified,”she said.

Bumpy Retail Road Repaved

(Michigan City, IN) - The City of Michigan City has gone to work to improve a road close to three major retailers after some had described it as being in horrible condition.


In response to these complaints, the city took ownership of Meijer Drive and repaved the road in front of the Michigan City Meijer, Lowe’s, and Menards in its entirety.


Mayor Duane Parry worked aggressively for the city to acquire the road and repave it two weeks after its ownership had been transferred, according to the Mayor's Office.


Assistance was provided by the city’s Redevelopment Commission, the Board of Public Works and Safety, and engineer Brad Minnick. The same parties are also involved in seeking permission from the state and property owners to extend Meijer Dr. to the nearby Walmart access.

Both Sides Square Off in Annexation Fight

(La Porte, IN) - Both sides in a promised legal battle over an annexation effort by the City of LaPorte squared off before stakeholders on Friday.


Attorney Christian Matozzo, who represents “Citizens Against Annexation,” along with LaPorte City Attorney Nick Otis and City Planner Craig Phillips addressed the 39 North Conservancy District Board.


Matozzo, of South Bend, raised doubts about the city’s ability to annex the district consisting of 150 residential, commercial, and industrial property owners along Indiana 39 from Severs Road to the Indiana Toll Road.  


He questioned whether the city has the money to start providing municipal services to property owners in the district should the annexation go through.


Matozzo went further, saying that the city, from heavy borrowing in the past to finance upgrades to its aging infrastructure, is legally prohibited from taking on more debt to fund a $12 million dollar upgrade of the conservancy’s existing water lines.


“We have the money to pay for the improvements,” said LaPorte City Attorney Nick Otis.


City Planner Craig Phillips said the money would come from placing the conservancy into a tax increment financing district. 


Revenue generated from increases in property value within the district because of the infrastructure upgrades and any further development would be captured and applied to the debt, he explained.


Phillips also said that the city has not exhausted its ability to borrow enough funds to do the work.


“We have far and above the capacity to do this financially,” he said.  


Under a Memorandum of Understanding, the city has agreed to put in larger diameter lines that carry enough water to improve fire protection and meet higher demand from anticipated growth in development, in addition to a water tower, a new booster station, and to perform any necessary looping of the water lines.


Under the MOU approved by the City Council and District Board, it’s also the city’s intention to complete the work in three years.  


However, Matozzo said, the city should have to complete the work before annexing instead of waiting until enough tax dollars are collected from the property owners to begin the work.


“What does annexation really mean? Annexation means not 'Let’s take over property, raise everyone’s taxes, and then build it.' Annexation means we have the money, and since we’re already giving you the services, we’re just going to step in and pay for it,” he said.


Currently, the city is the provider of water to the conservancy district but decided last year to not renew the contract before its 2025 expiration.


Under an ordinance adopted in 2016, the city no longer provides utilities outside the city limits but will honor existing service contracts until they expire or until those service territories are annexed into the city.


Otis said annexation is the solution for property owners not having to pay for the upgrades themselves and to keep water flowing through their taps.


“Where will you get your water when the contract expires?” Otis said.        


Matozzo also mentioned that a public notice announcing the intent to annex and outlining the right of property owners to remonstrate has not been published in the newspaper.


Notices have not been delivered to property owners by certified mail as required by state law, despite an ordinance to annex being approved by the City Council on September 6th.


He said there can be no annexation or a remonstrance unless the notices are given.


Otis said public notices haven’t gone out yet because of the complicated work involved to make sure they comply fully with the law, but they will at some point. 


“We are certainly going to comply with all of the notice requirements,” he said.


Over the summer, the city obtained 57 percent of signatures from district property owners requesting annexation, which is the first requirement in the state process to move forward.


Matozzo believes a remonstrance, once all of the facts are properly laid out, will be supported by the required 51 percent of the property owners for the arguments to be heard in court.


“That’s what we think will happen once this notice is sent out,” he said.


39 North Conservancy District Attorney Shaw Friedman said all five members of the board are in support of the annexation, saying that the conservancy has done a fantastic job of borrowing funds to pay for installing the infrastructure more than 20 years ago and luring additional growth while retiring the debt.


The city has agreed to buy the existing infrastructure for $2 million in the form of credits on the water bills of district property owners.


Friedman said paying for the needed upgrades and maintenance of the system, along with much tougher water testing requirements for conservancies, is too much of a burden now for the small district.


“It’s been the little engine that could, but we could no more,” he said.


Board President Mark Childers said he believes annexation under the agreed-upon terms is the best plan.


“The main goal is to help develop the area further,” he said.

Local Road Dollars Awarded by State

(Indianapolis, IN) - Some communities in the area have been awarded state funding for road and bridge improvements.


For example, State Senator Mike Bohacek of Michiana Shores said over $3 million has been granted to communities in his district.


The La Porte County government will receive $1 million and Starke County gains just below $200,000 in turn.  Other communities awarded state road and bridge funding in his district include Knox at more than $386,000.


"Improving infrastructure like roads and bridges is crucial to improving the quality of life for those in our community," he said.


The funds are from the Community Crossings Matching Grant Program, which matches the dollars provided by local municipalities for roads.


"I commend our local leaders for taking advantage of the Community Crossings Matching Grant Program and look forward to seeing the impact this funding has on Senate District 8," Bohacek said.


The CCMG offers two rounds of applications each year, with the next call for applications occurring in January 2024.  

Fight Brewing to Save Coast Guard Station

(Michigan City, IN) - A grassroots effort is building to keep the U.S. Coast Guard station in Michigan City from potentially closing.


There’s been talk in Congress of closing the U.S. Coast Guard station at Michigan City’s lakefront, and among those on the front lines in the battle to shoot down such an idea is Michigan City Mayor Duane Parry.


Parry said keeping the station open is critical to the safety of people using Lake Michigan in the area.


He explained that the Coast Guard response time to calls along the Michigan City shoreline is about 10 minutes and that it would take much longer for a Coast Guard boat to arrive here from Chicago.


“It’s a two-hour response time from Chicago. That’s a matter of life and death,” he said.


Parry went further, saying that there could also be a negative economic impact from some people not wanting to use the lake without having the Coast Guard nearby.


“Whether they’re coming over here to charter a fishing boat. Whether they’re coming over here for a pleasure cruise or just to hang out at the beach, there’s a comfort zone having a Coast Guard station close,” he said.


Parry said he was in the process of writing a letter denouncing the idea to decision-makers in Washington D.C.

Metal Detectors for County Employees Debated

(La Porte County, IN) - La Porte County government employees might have to start going through the metal detectors at both courthouses in La Porte County.


Commissioner Rich Mrozinski is part of a committee looking at ways to improve security at the courthouses in La Porte and Michigan City.


Currently, Mrozinski notes, members of the public are screened before being allowed inside the structures, but county employees are allowed to step around the metal detectors.


He said an ordinance requiring county employees to walk through the metal detection devices before proceeding was found in the books.


Mrozinski says a decision could be made at the next courthouse security committee meeting.


“We’re going to have another meeting of this committee to discuss this.  But, unless we change the ordinance, it’s what it says. Every employee needs to go through,” he said.


Mrozinski brought attention to the matter during Wednesday’s La Porte County Commissioners meeting.


The following day, La Porte County Commissioner Joe Haney said he believed ordering county employees to go through the metal detectors might cause delays for people waiting to get inside to take care of their personal business.


People have to remove any belts and do other things like empty their pockets before stepping through the metal detectors.


“We haven’t had any issues, so far. They come to work every day. They do a great job. I trust them,” Haney said.

High Level Hoops Back in La Porte

(La Porte, IN) - The nation’s top basketball prospects will once again gather to play at the historic La Porte Civic Auditorium.


According to the Mayor’s Office, the games will return for a third year beginning on January 4th, with additional games the following two days.


The nationally televised and live-streamed basketball event will feature 11 of the best high school programs in the nation, along with over 20 of ESPN’s top-ranked recruits as well as matchups featuring local powerhouse La Lumiere.


With its old-school charm and classic “Hoosiers” feel, Mayor Tom Dermody said there’s no better stage than the Civic Auditorium to watch the NCAA and NBA talent of tomorrow.


“The La Porte Invitational brings together some of the best high school basketball this country has to offer. A handful of young men who played in the Civic gym during the first two years of this event are now playing in the NBA. I’m not sure where else you can witness this sort of talent develop and unfold. Basketball of this caliber is hard to come by, and watching it in a building as historic as our Civic Auditorium is the icing on the cake,” he said.


As a preview of what can be expected at this year’s invitational, the Lakers will host an open practice at the Civic Auditorium at 6 p.m. on November 9th.


La Lumiere Head Coach Patrick Holmes said members of the public are invited to observe the practice and meet the team ahead of January’s showcase.

Local Man Recalls Ties to Bobby Knight

(La Porte County, IN) - A La Porte County man once received Christmas cards every year from Bobby Knight, back when he was the head basketball coach at Indiana University.


Mario Rosa also met the now-late larger-than-life figure when he helped deliver him an order of frog legs.


Knight passed away this past Wednesday. He was 83 years old.


Rosa said the Hoosiers, in the 1970s, were in Gary for a game at the Genesis Center when a police officer friend asked him to go along with him to retrieve an order for Knight from a restaurant known for its frog legs.


Rosa, who was living in Gary at the time, jumped at the opportunity since he was a big fan of the Hoosiers and the legendary coach.


He was also a middle school basketball coach in Gary.


Rosa said he met Knight, who liked frog legs, during the delivery of his food.


“He was very nice and very cordial. For me, it was a great, great experience. I loved Bobby Knight. I aspired at the time to be like him,” he said. 


A few years later, they made another connection after the often-volatile Knight was detained briefly for an encounter with a police officer in Puerto Rico.


He was head basketball coach for the team from the United States during the Pan American games on the Caribbean island when a dispute over facilities led to an encounter with the police officer, who alleged he was assaulted by Knight.


Knight returned to the U.S. and was absent from the courtroom when later convicted of misdemeanor assault, never returning to the island.


Rosa said he wrote a letter of support to Knight while he was awaiting the court’s decision on the case at his home in Bloomington. In response, Rosa said Knight wrote back thanking him for his support and apologized for his behavior.


“It was kind of exciting when you receive a letter like that,” he said.


Unexpectedly, Christmas cards from Knight from wherever the team was playing at the time started turning up in Rosa’s mailbox annually for about eight years.


He said the cards were mailed from places like Alaska and New Mexico and signed “Robert” not “Bobby,” he said.


Unfortunately, Rosa lost all of his cards and the letter from Knight, but his younger brother filled at least some of the void by purchasing a roughly 20 x 20 autographed picture of Knight for him a few years ago.


The picture depicts Knight throwing a chair across the basketball court during a game against arch-rival Purdue in 1985. It now hangs from a wall in his office at the La Porte School Corporation where he’s the Family and Community Engagement Coordinator.


Rosa said he was sad to hear the news of Knight’s passing and recalled becoming a fan of the team at Texas Tech University when Knight after leaving Indiana accepted the head coaching position there.


“He was an icon here in Indiana. I became a Texas Tech Red Raider fan for a while,” he said.

NIPSCO Scam Warning

(Merrillville, IN) - NIPSCO is alerting the public about a scam involving the use of the utility company’s name.


According to the utility company, customers are being contacted directly or during online searches finding an imposter website entitled “NIPSCO Energy.” Whoever is behind the scam is using an 888 phone number.


However, NIPSCO says it’s not a NIPSCO utility number affiliated in any way with the company. NIPSCO’s web address is NIPSCO.com, and the number for the utility’s care center is 1-800-464-7726.


Per the company, NIPSCO never calls customers directly to ask for account or payment information or demand payment through a pre-paid card.


“Please do not share your account information with anyone unless you are sure it is NIPSCO,” utility company officials stated.


Customers unsure about a phone call, email, program offer, or person claiming to represent the utility company should call NIPSCO’s customer care team at 1-800-4-NIPSCO.

Services Today for Student Killed in Crash

(Union Mills, IN) - Services have been scheduled today for a South Central High School student killed in a motor vehicle collision with a semi-truck last week.


Mark Steuer, 16, of La Porte died on Thursday when an oncoming tractor-trailer traveling on U.S. 6 turned left and into his path at 425 West.


According to his obituary, Steuer loved sports and rooting for his favorite teams like the Chicago Cubs, Denver Broncos, and Michigan State Spartans. He enjoyed activities like fishing and going on camping trips to Wisconsin. He was also known for his humor and generosity.


A celebration of his life will begin at 6 p.m. at the South Central High School south gymnasium following visitation, which begins at 3 p.m.

Church Announces Thanksgiving Eve Meal

(La Porte, IN) - State Street Community Church, in partnership with the Pax Center, will host its 11th Annual Thanksgiving Eve Meal in La Porte.  


It’s scheduled for Wednesday, November 22nd, from 5-7 PM, at the church located at 209 State Street. 


Lead Pastor Nate Loucks said 300 to 400 people normally attend, which is a testament to the community's spirit of togetherness and gratitude.


The dinner, consisting of turkey, ham, an assortment of sides, and desserts, will be free and open to the public.


Loucks said the occasion is about more than just consuming food. It’s about building and strengthening communities and creating lasting friendships.


“Our mission is to uphold the tradition of sharing and thankfulness during the Thanksgiving season. Thanks to the generosity of our faith community and community partners, we are honored to host an event for our friends and neighbors in LaPorte County to come together once again,” he said.

Possible Court Battle Over Annexation

(La Porte, IN) - A legal challenge appears to be in the works to try and stop the City of LaPorte from annexing the 39 North Conservancy District.


Attorney Christian Matozzo of South Bend said legal action will be taken on behalf of some property owners in the conservancy, once the city formally notifies every property owner in the district that an ordinance to annex was approved by the City Council on September 9th and that they have a right to remonstrate.


So far, Matozzo said the city has not provided district property owners with such notification, which is required under state law for annexation to happen.


“If these requirements are not met under the code the annex fails,” he said.


Once the proper notifications have been received by certified mail, Matozzo said, there’s a 90-day period to file a remonstrance to the proposed annexation that would then be decided by a judge.


Matozzo said he will lay out his legal arguments and other concerns about the proposed annexation during the 39 North Conservancy District Board meeting on Friday.


Over the summer, the city obtained 57 percent of the signatures from property owners needed to meet the first state requirement of having majority support from district landowners.  


The conservancy board and City Council soon entered into a Memorandum of Understanding outlining conditions that must be met by the city for the district to support the annexation. These include replacing water lines in the conservancy with larger ones for increased flows to provide better fire protection and open up the district to further residential and commercial development.


The city also agreed to pay $2 million for the existing infrastructure district landowners paid to have installed about 20 years ago to promote development.


Payment under the MOU would be in the form of credits on their water and sewer bills.


Matozzo said the purpose of his presentation will be to persuade the board to withdraw from the MOU and become one of the remonstrators.


He questions whether the city has the financial ability to pay for the water system upgrades estimated at more than $10 million in a timely fashion.


“They say we’re going to pay you for the infrastructure and capital improvements. With what money are they doing that,” he said.


Matozzo said the other reason for addressing the board is to pressure the city into providing the proper notifications because a remonstrance cannot be legally filed until after the notices have been received.


“We will have our day in court,” he said.


He alleged the city has been going through the legal process quietly since the annexation ordinance passed, so as to avoid drawing attention from potential challengers until after the remonstrance deadline expires.


“We think that really the public has been kind of put to sleep,” Matozzo said.


If 65 percent or more of district landowners sign a petition to remonstrate, he said,  the proposed annexation under state law will automatically die. 51 percent of the signatures from district property owners are required on the remonstrance petition for a court to decide the matter.


Matozzo believes more people, including some individuals who previously agreed to be annexed, will come out against it once all of the facts are laid out.


City Attorney Nick Otis has accepted an invitation from the board to be at the meeting to respond to the concerns, said 39 North Conservancy District Attorney Shaw Friedman.


“The city is the one that is petitioning for annexation so they really need to answer the legal questions on the annexation process,” he said.


Mayor Tom Dermody said he will also be there to hear the presentation.


The Mayor said the proper notifications haven’t been sent because he wanted to hear from the city’s financial consultants one more time to make sure the resources are there to properly serve the area targeted for annexation.


Dermody said work has also been occurring to comply with other legal requirements.


“We know the process. Everything is still moving. We’re just taking our time. The 39 North residents deserve that and we do things correctly,” he said.

Traffic Stop Leads to Drug Bust

(La Porte, IN) - A recent traffic stop in La Porte’s downtown area turned into a drug bust when, at about 2 a.m. this past Sunday, a driver was pulled over for not using a turn signal in the area of East Lincolnway and Tipton Street.


The operator of the vehicle, Ronald Waters, 45, was found with a suspended license and improper plates. After noticing the driver’s hands shaking and other symptoms of being unnerved, police noted that over four grams of methamphetamine were located inside one of his pockets.


Walters was taken to the La Porte County where an unused syringe was also allegedly found in his possession.


He is being held without bond on charges of Possession of Methamphetamine and Unlawful Possession of a Syringe, both of which are Level 6 Felonies.


He's also charged with violating probation, according to court records. 

Vehicle Crashes at Restaurant

(Michigan City, IN) - Fortunately, the only injury to come from a motor vehicle crash at a Michigan City restaurant earlier this morning might have only been a case of heartburn.


According to police, an elderly woman crashed her vehicle into the patio at Sophia’s House of Pancakes on Franklin Street, south of U.S. 20. Apparently, the driver lost consciousness while behind the wheel for a moment and refused medical attention following the crash. 


The patio suffered heavy damage as a result of the incident, per authorities. However, no damage was reported to the indoor portion of the restaurant.


First Snowfall Causing Accidents

(La Porte County, IN) - Right now is a good time to brush up on your winter driving skills, as an inch or two of snow was on the ground earlier this morning.


There was also black ice on the roads in places because of frozen precipitation melting due to the warmer ground before freezing again as a result of temperatures in the upper 20’s.


One of the traffic accidents this morning involved a truck hitting a tree on U.S. 421 in the Westville area.  In that instance, it appears the driver climbed out of the vehicle on his own, bleeding from the mouth.


La Porte Street Department Director Jeff Batchelor said plows were not needed but crews this morning laid salt down in spots like Boyd Boulevard.


“There was ice that was out on Boyd Boulevard that was really, really bad. Besides that, the rest of the roads were not bad. But, you never know about black ice because there’s some black ice out there. Just slow down and take your time,” he said.


The first accumulation of the season should be gone shortly because the high-temperature today is expected to be about 40 degrees.

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